Saturday, 30 December 2017

@Alan - Major Project - Spitfire Landing Gear Port Feedback

I have finished adding what I was considering to be the most challenging addition to my base mesh which are the ports for the landing gear to slide into (and the addition of the vent that I don't know the specific name of) into the undercarriage.

After trying different methods of integrating it into the mesh I think what I ended up with is pretty successful, but I would like to get some feedback on my sculpting as this is still my first real attempt as modelling something hard surfaced.

Here's an image of my actual Airfix Model for reference.


I noticed a mistake after posting that I have fixed involving a stray Vertex behind the vent which I fixed.

Friday, 29 December 2017

Major Project - Spitfire Mesh Update.

Here is an update on my spitfire model for my Major/Minor Project. The mesh is now mostly complete with the addition of landing gear and cockpit to be added. The biggest issue I had with this was trying to keep the design smooth and flowing while including the hard edges of the cockpit and the spaces for flaps and rudders, so most of my time on this was spent going over the lines and curves of the plane until I was happy with how it looked.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Major Project - Orthograph Updates.

Here were my original Orthographic views I would go on to base my final Orthographs on. I decided that instead of doing an exact reproduction of a real Spitfires design that I would instead stylize it slightly to invoke the idea of it being my personal talisman. Essentially all I had done is exaggerate some of the features of the plane, I extended the wings, increased the canopy size, made the exhausts slightly bigger etc.

After I was happy with these alterations here were my final Orthographs. I also added the lines for the Ailerons (Wing Flaps), Elevators and Rudder as these are moving objects and would have to be modeled as another piece each.



original side (see below)

But when it came to modelling the side profile, I started to feel like I had taken this view off the plane too "off model" so to speak, the plane felt too tall and not sleek enough.

This was the point I got to when I realised it didn't look how I envisioned it.

So I took my Side Orthograph back into Photoshop and changed the proportions and some of the lines slightly, leaving me with this. 

new side

So now the model looks like this:

model updated with changes to side profile.

This in my Opinion looks much better and makes the plane look more sleek and accurate while still exaggerating its iconic shapes in some areas.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Major Project - Interim Crit Presentation.


Major Project - Animatic with Narration.

Here is my Animatic, it features my narration and a musical score I felt was fitting for now.

Major Project - Final Narration Script

To finalize my script, I read my original (found here) out loud and recorded myself doing it over and over, and I would make notes and changes about when parts didn't sound right or roll off the tongue naturally, the end result was the script you see bellow.

Major Project - Animatic (No Audio)

While i'm syncing in my Narration here is the raw video of my Animatic.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Major Project - Pre-Viz Scene Concept Stills.

I've made some early Maya concepts featuring the setting of the final scene of my film, where my Avatar character discovers an old Lego plane hangar that the younger version of the character built around the unfinished plane when he gave up, symbolizing how in real life the model was hidden away in a box.

As this is one of the most important settings of the film, to really get an eye in for it I got my Test Spitfire Asset (with the addition of landing gear) and designed as close as I could imagine to a Lego Hangar. For the final design I can add many more layers to give it a smoother more detailed look to better replicate the shape of a real hangar, but fundamentally they're very simple buildings.

I will be seeing about getting some assistance with the Arnold lighting tomorrow with Alan.

Real historical Hangar I based the design on.

Major Project - Visual Mood Reel (reupload)

Here is a short collection of live action recordings I made over the last month to try and capture some of the visual themes I felt I could use for reference in my film.

(uploaded the wrong version before)

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Major Project - Concept Art 1 and Scene Idea Proposal.

I've been brainstorming idea's for the visuals of my animation today to go along with the narration based documentary story. A theme that I feel is a rather large part of my story is the idea of evidence of improvement, the fact that I was able to learn how to be more careful at making Airfix kits over the years to the point I am at now where I am happy with the end result.

But something dawned on me which is something that I always used to do with anything art related and only recently stopped doing. I had always removed old art or put away things I had made in the past that I was no longer happy with compared to my work today, I realized over the last couple of years from artists online and my other course mates example that you should never really dismiss your old works, and just embrace it as part of your process of improvement.

So I figured that a good way to show this was with a final dog fight style chase through the scenery set up throughout the animation. My "Avatar" (the main character that essentially represents me) see's the first Airfix plane that I ever made (which I talk about at the start that after a while I hid away because I no longer was happy with it) flying overhead, so he goes about trying to shoot it down in the perfected modern plane I had built, trying to literally shoot down my previous work example. Towards the end I though as he's getting a pretty clear shot he notices something along the lines of the pilot of the old plane being a younger version of the Avatar character, to show that you should never look at the things you made in the past in a negative light, and just accept its all part of the process of getting better at something, ending with both planes coming into land and then hard cutting to the real world versions of both planes being placed on a display shelf, thus the last shot of the film.

So I tried to visualize this scene as best I could with a first draft of concept art as I had the best imagery in my head of how I wanted this scene to look.

Please feel free to leave feedback on my climax idea and my concept art!

The new plane (left) chases down the old unfinished plane (right) around the Lego tower that features earlier on a sky that includes the pattern of my cutting mat.

First sketch.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Major Project - Pre-Viz Spitfire

As I am starting work on my Pre-Viz and conceptual shots for the my film I have started building place holder models for the final products. First things first I've started with the Spitfire, as its for the Pre-Viz I tried avoiding going into crazy detail and using orthographic reference, so I just referenced it by eye with my real world models I had on hand. While it is lacking full detail I still tried to capture all the important parts that I feel will feature in some way (engine exhausts, canopy, wing shape).

For these rendered shots this was my first time trying to set up my own custom scene in arnold so they might not be exactly perfect, but my aim with the shader for this Pre-Viz render was to capture the plastic look of an unpainted Airfix model kit.

I have included these images too of some progress shots of the Airfix model I was building ( so you can get a better idea of the shader I was trying to replicate, with better lighting I think this can be easily achieved. (you can also see the inaccuracy's between the real model and my render easier i.e. the cockpit shape, propeller and the empennage)

Saturday, 11 November 2017

@Alan - Maya 2018 Query.

Just starting a fresh project in Maya 2018, I've noticed a couple of really cool new features for modelling, for example they've added dimension units along the width and length so you can get precise (although i'm not sure what the measurement is in).

But something I did noticed that from the get go on this project that my Outliner is full of... well, stuff. The only thing I have contributed to this is the "default layer", is this normal for 2018?

Friday, 10 November 2017

Major Project - Airfix Spitfire Time-Lapse

My project is based on my experiences through life building Airfix kits and how the process helped me develop into a more careful person and become overall less haphazard. The style of my film will be that of a documentary, so to help myself fully understand my entire process of how I build a kit from scratch today I decided to film myself building a kit from scratch over a Time-Lapse.

I did this so I can observe the different stages the kit goes through leading up to its finish, essentially serving as the most in depth resource for research I could have. With this I can reference the stages for my animation and my digital modelling 

Also as all the raw footage is at 1080p some of the clips may be useful for the final film or test animatics, to add a sense of real world evidence to the story.

You'll notice in the video that I didn't add any weathering details of panel lining after I had finished painting the model, this was due to me wanting the video out as soon as possible, and I know that I focus on small details for far too long so I would be stuck getting something that doesn't change the overall model looking perfect for a long time.

Music: End Titles (Dunkirk) - Dunkirk (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Major Project - Researching Examples of Animated Documentaries.

As my project is looking more likely to take a Documentary style I have been looking for examples of films that have used animated imagery to better convey what the narrator is saying to the audience. I feel like I have found pretty good mix of films that feature figurative and literal imagery to their stories.

Stickboy // Animation Montage from Giant Ant on Vimeo.

Stickboy is an animated piece that was made to be played with at a live orchestra, with these small narrated segments split up in between performances. This one is focuses less on specific occurrences and more so on the product of accumulative negative experiences and the potential fallout that could occur.

This is a short animated around an interview with the animator Ryan Larkin by Chris Landreth, the style of this interview is a bizarre mix of what almost looks like rotor-scoped animation with going for a sub realistic look, but at the same time its completely surreal, much like Larkin's animations.

I believe that this animation is a fictionalized story, but the way it is told and visualized is that of a documentation horror story. It features live action segments mixed in the animation, really giving it a more creepy vibe.

This is an animated segment from the documentary about Kurt Cobain "Montage of Heck", the reason they animated this segment is because its actually a recorded interview with Cobain about his youth, so this very real styled 2D animation style is almost like watching an actual video recording of Kurt in his teen years.

StoryCorps are a channel on youtube that find then interview people with interesting or emotional stories and will then animate it appropriately, usually serving as a tribute to whoever the story was about or giving the viewer some moral advice.

Waltz with Bashir Trailer from filmDIY on Vimeo.

Waltz with Bashir is a critically acclaimed animated film about a man who has lost him memory of an event in his past, so travel's to meet the people he knew back then to get their recollection of the events. This film has a realistic but stylized aesthetic to look more like a graphic novel, leading up to the final scene where he recalls his memories and it switches to real footage of the event.

I'M FINE THANKS from eamonn o neill on Vimeo.

Finally I included this film even though its not narrated like a documentary, because I feel like it really captured the inner conflict of the main character and how the bad events of his past tied in. It also is creative with its use of time skipping and playing with the audiences expectations.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Major Project - Early Narrative and Film Concept.

Phil and I have been discussing the idea of what Airfix kits mean to me now and what impact they had on me when I was younger. I mentioned how in my youth I was a very accident prone child and didn't really have great motor skills so I would frequently break my own belongings by accident or mess something up I was trying to make. But I have also always been someone who prefers perfection, so I always tried to make things perfect and flawless but actually lacked the care and precision to make anything the way I wanted, so I would commonly reject the items and hide them away.

The way the project is heading at the moment is a mixed media animated documentary narrated by myself where I recall the experiences of when I was younger and struggling with my perfection stigma combined with my ham handedness, and how I now learned over those years to overcome my lack of delicacy and clumsiness and became careful and could control myself better, so I can now build something as perfect as I want as long as I take the time.

Here are some key images I put together that relate to the narrative, in order from left to right descending; A lego tower, messy paints, an unfinished Airfix kit, a completed Airfix kit, a messy drawing (lack of careful precision), a broken toy car, and an old action figure missing limbs.

And here is the first draft of the basic narration that Phil and I have made through email sessions based on my answers to questions about my past and feelings associated with Airfix modelling and my perfection obsession, I will use this as the basis for my narration.
Now I am beginning the process of figuring out how I can apply visuals to the narration in a way that fits the documentary style but implements the more artistic and symbolic parts of the story.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Major Project - Mixed Media Examples.

Over the last couple of weeks Alan, Phil and I have been discussing the idea of my Major Project centering around the building process of Airfix Kits, and what they meany symbolically to me throughout my life.

A development that Phil and I have been deliberating is the concept of the of the project featuring a mixed media approach to the film, featuring a mix of real world footage and computer generated imagery. So before I have a script ready I thought I would show some examples of similar films that Phil and I have found. 

Tom Grigat - Stopmotion Model Builder.

The Model Maker from Callum Lawrence on Vimeo.

PESfilm - Stopmotion Studio.

Mid Credits Animation from Kubo And The Two Strings - Studio LAIKA

I have also included this Vox feature about CG animation that is made to look like stopmotion by respecting the physical rules of the objects they're animating, and using lighting and camera techniques featured in stopmotion fan films.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Maya Tutorial - Depth of Field Exercise

We rendered a scene using the depth of field settings in the Arnold tab on Maya, we then added a filter over the top to make a vignette using a ramp shader. Because of the way this came out I thought it would be fun to take it into Photoshop, give it a sepia filter and make it look like a scene from an old Noir movie.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Major Project - My History of Planes and my Family.

Apparently when I was a very toddler, I couldn't understand that I wouldn't be able to fit inside of toy vehicles, like I would try to get inside of a toy car or plane on the, even though only my foot would have maybe fit inside. 

For the longest time I can remember I have held great interest in different vehicles, I had a very early onset obsession with trains I remember as I used to compulsively watch my one Thomas the Tank Engine VHS Tape the entire way through while repeating every single line of dialogue (before I could even talk) and when old VHS tapes would reach the end of the recording they would automatically rewind to the beginning and play the entire episode in reverse, at which point I have been told by my brother in law that I would repeat the entire reversed audio as it would play because I'd watched it so many times. One of my most vivid memories from when I was very young was when my dad took me to a steam train yard full of retired trains, and I remember being amazed by the scale of them.

After that my attention drifted to cars, both my parents were racing cars when I was born, my mum retired shortly after but dad kept going until I was about twelve. Because of this motorsport is a big interest in the family, cars to a lesser extent. I've always found myself drifting towards older cars though, something about the timelessness makes them eternally cool to me, and I still frequently watch historical races mostly featuring cars from the sixties and seventies and the racing is still great because the cars are so basic, it really comes down to driver skill and how they throw these machines around the corner at their limit.

My parents and my big sister before I was born

But of all vehicles I've found myself interested in, one has stood out and persisted for many years, I've always loved planes especially, I dont exactly know the origin of my interest of planes, from what I can piece together I can assume it was a co-effort from my Dad and Grandfather. When I was very young my dad would travel a lot for business so trips to Heathrow were frequent as we lived in London, being able to see the plane take off that you know someone's on is a weird experience, because when you're on the plane you don't really realise just how fast you take off and get altitude, you're gone so fast. Same for when you come back, this giant tube comes out of the sky and suddenly this person is just back somehow, a strong memory I have from one of these trips was when my dad was coming back from Ireland, so mum and I took pictures in a passport booth to give to him, and when he came out the terminal he gave me a replica model of the Aer Lingus plane I had just seen him come in on, to this day I remember how that model plane looked with a the four leaf clover on its tale.

My Grandfather has a great interest in historical aviation, primarily World War 2 war planes and early jet fighters, this reflected on my Dad as well as my Grandfathers favourite plane is the Spitfire (the plane that debatable won the war) and my Dads is the Electric Lightning, one of the most iconic early Jet Fighters.

The Electric Lightning (my Dads favourite plane)

My family originates from Dover so my Grandparents still lived there when I was younger, so I would stay with my Grandparents quite often. I remember the a room of my Grandparents house by the front door that was full of miscellaneous stuff and no one really went in there, but I remember seeing many framed photo's of paintings and pictures of planes and some old figures that undoubtedly belonged to my Grandfather. 

He would take me out in his car to some of the fields around Dover near the castle, I remember their being sheep in these fields that I was afraid of due to how many there were. But after he convinced me they weren't scary we would go in to fly the gliders and rubber band planes we had built before hand, some of them would go super high because of the strong winds near the coast, and when they got high enough it was almost like you're looking at a real plane, because you have no point of reference for size so its almost like watching a real spitfire fly over you.

I must have owned hundreds of these, such an iconic part of my youth.

There were some stories that my Grandfather told me and my Dad relating to the war, one was that when they were the Battle Of Britain film on location in Dover they needed a large fire for a Junker Dive Bomber prop to crash into, so they got my Grandads tire shop to make a large tire fire which my Dad helped with throwing tires into, and then they crashed the fake plane into it which features in the film.

But he had a really vividly cool story that he told us about when he was a child in the War that was evacuated in the rural area near Dover, he was sitting by a railway line and he was watching dog fights happening in the distance, but then he heard the infamous noise of the Doodlebug V1 rocket propelled bomb and spotted it flying over head in his direction, he mentioned feeling dread as he knew it wouldn't hit him but it was going somewhere and would cause serious damage. But then over the hum of the rocket engine he heard another louder sound building up, the roar of a Merlin V12 Rolls Royce engine, and only one vehicle sounded like that, from the clouds came a Supermarine Spitfire diving to gain speed in pursuit of the Doodlebug, prop planes weren't fast enough to catch up to the rocket propelled early missiles, so they had to dive to gain enough speed to keep up with them. 

V1 Doodlebug

So the Spitfire is now pulling up behind the V1 and gaining on it, one would assume the pilot would have then opened fire on the rocket and shot it down, but this could prove to be dangerous due to the intensity of the resulting explosion, but pilots had figured out an alternative method. The Spitfire pulled up to the V1 until it was almost touching it, almost in the burn of the rocket, and then started to look as if it was going to overtake it, so the rocket and the plane are side by side at this point. My grandfather then told me that what he saw next was the Spitfire use its wing tip to lift the wing of the V1 up, making it turn towards the ground, and as V1 didn't have a tail flap it couldn't recover from this action and started flying towards the ground near my Grandfather. 

The rocket hit a field near by and started sliding along the dirt, still propelled by rocket until it eventually hit the railway line near by and exploded, so in the end the V1 still caused damage and hindered the war effort by taking out a train route but that could be fixed relatively quickly and there was no loss of life. So this was undoubtably a very heroic act my Grandfather had witnessed and I can assume was a very large factor in his love of the war plane. After looking into the method that the Spitfire pilot used on the V1 I found out that they didn't actually touch the wing tip when they performed this, and they would actually just place the planes wing just underneath the rockets which would disrupt its airflow and cause it to spiral out of control as if it had been tipped.

Supermarine Spitfire

My Dad and Grandfather took my to a lot of air shows when I was younger, and in 2002 we were at one where a Vampire Fighter Jet crashed very close to us which was a little traumatic. But I still enjoy air shows and try to go to ones near by and visit air museums when i have the time. As I got older I would frequently find myself investing in airfix model kits of fighter planes I had seen in films and at air shows, something about being able to build this thing that I liked so much was just so appealing, like you'd produced something even though you were just following the instructions. I was always afraid of painting them though because I doubted my own abilities and didn't want to ruin something I loved so much so some times I just left them unpainted. But it was just being able to hold something that you only really see from afar, and investigate all the small details and see every panel that made up the plane that was so appealing to me. 

Today when ever I'm feeling a little down and out about something, or I'm just feeling like I have nothing to do but want to be productive ill usually get one of my old kits out I was too afraid to finish when I was younger as I have more confidence I can do them now, which is a nice feeling to be like, yeah I can do this and be able to put the finished model on my shelf. 

So finally before I came to university I originally wanted to be a pilot for an airline, so I had planned to join the RAF Cadets and start doing what I needed to get my pilots licence, but then I found out a short while later that I was colour blind, which prohibits me from being a pilot unfortunately. So instead I decided i wanted to design planes, so I started to work towards become an Aerospace engineer, so that I could also potentially work on the Aerodynamics on F1 cars, but when I got to college I found the process of designing them to be less about free form expression and design and way more about physics and maths, which I managed but found incredibly boring. But using the cad skills i learned on that course I decided to instead become a 3D modeler, so that I could design any planes I wanted and not have to worry too much about exact sciences, and potentially make planes for films or games based on my own designs or of historical ones, or maybe even fictional flying vehicles like the spinners from Blade Runner. So its almost like i'm still making my airfix but on computers, and I haven't looked back!

I was testing myself last week to see if I could remember how to draw a Spitfire without reference, I feel like I did a pretty reasonable job capturing the look of the specific features of the plane as to make it identifiable, so I feel comfortable in my ability to do full concept pieces featuring them.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Maya - Shading and Lighting Tests,

Today we were doing some tests with Arnold shaders and material settings, we used three shaders today: The Wire-Frame Shader, The Ambient Occlusion Shader, and the Skin Shader with textures and assets from EAT3D


Ambient Occlusion 

Skin Render

(Head Asset supplied by