Archive | October 2012

Rationale.

After coming through the portal, our hero is faced with several problems. One, he has changed form again, two, he is in space and there is no gravity, and three, his dog is still nowhere to be seen. From gravity to none, would be quite disorienting and therefore he panics before grasping onto a handle that he drifts by. He stops to catch his breath, then looks ‘up’.  He then sees a large robot banging on the cage underneath it, trying to get the barking, imprisoned dog to be quiet. It then notices the Hero and turns towards him. The hero is distraught and looks around for something he might be able to fight with. He notices a button on a stick in his hand and presses it. It triggers his backpack to grow wings and jets, rocketing him forward/up completely out of control.

The camera angles are set so that it conveys the concept that there is no up or down in space. From this point it changes to horizontal again because that is more easy for us to view it.

After spiraling up, he gets knocked away by the villain. Still out of control, he loops around and knocks the robot on the head in passing. Angry, the villain rushes up after him using a jetpack that it can obviously control. It blasts in front of the hero, catches him, and throws him back towards the space station. Landing hard against the side, and a moments pain, he sees that the villain is connected to the station with a plug. Hoping he can control his pack and with the villain looming over him, he presses the button again and rockets towards the plug with the robot after him, trying to stop him. The hero reaches the plug, pulls it out and the electricity that seemingly flows throughout the villains body starts to recede. At the last moment, the villain separates itself from the cage and jettisons out of the shot. The cage crashes to the station and the hero relaxes in relief. The dog then proceeds to jump out of the cage and towards a large door which opens for it revealing itself to be another portal. Getting up, the hero is sad that his dog has gone on ahead but quickly resolves to follow it. He gained a bit of confidence when he pulled out the plug so this time when he presses the button he shoots forward to where he wants to go and to the next scene.

The idea behind the villain is that it’s actually just a maintenance/rubbish robot. Before the hero arrives, the dog is mistaken for trash and is put in a ‘cage’ When the hero arrives, and zooms forward, the robot is just trying to make it stop moving so that it can be collected which is why it throws it down towards the station in scene 5.

The pictoplasma style means that it could be anything. So space doesn’t have to be void of colour. therefore it was made bright and full of movement with lights pulsing different colours. The floating cubes changed from being asteroids to stars because when they were clustered together in a ring, they glowed too brightly and were not visible in all the shots.

The hero was given a helmet to tie in the fact that he was still a terrestrial-like being that needed some form of air.

Gravity was played with but was mostly just not there. When the events start happening on one of the panels of the station, the station could be slightly magnetised or even the the characters’ had parts of them that were magnetic and to escape the pull, used jetpacks.

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Final Animation.

https://vimeo.com/52221819

It is actually 36 seconds however the extra second at the end is so the music can finish and transition nicely to the next scene.

For the most part I like how it turned out. I think that scene 6 was too rushed and that scene 7, the dog jumping out of the cage could have been sped up. Most of my qualms are timing issues and could be addressed with tweaks or even 3-4 seconds extra. I could have splined for another few days too.

I didn’t want the dog to bark because A. I couldn’t find a nice small dog noise and B. There is no sound in space anyway so i’m not sure what I was thinking putting sound effects in it in the first place.

Post-Production list.

In post I added:

Music from Myke,

Small sound effects for major events such as jetpacks starting and collisions,

Colour correction – the end scenes were slightly darker than the starting ones,

Motion blur,

Depth of field,

A warp effect on the portal at the start to show that space was being distorted.

And lots and lots of optical flares to give it that sci fi effect that was established in the Startrek movie.

Renders and a Playblast.

Rendering – Problems.

The helmet.

I wanted an occlusion layer to get that added effect however it is extremely difficult to get transparency to work on it. Especially when that transparent surface has reflections and refractions on it.

How it can be fixed:

Texture Baking. Texture bake everything underneath the transparent surface. In this case, Hogan’s head. This will allow the occlusion to stay on the head and accept refractions. This was quite complicated and I was sleep deprived so I decided not to use this.

My shaders were toons. I had to change all my shaders to a Mia_Material so that I could put ambient occlusion on the shader itself. This lets the glass shader work with the surrounding scene. I used this method because though tedious, was very easy to do. I left the eyes as toons because I wanted that vibrant flatness that stands out from the rest of the character.

Another option is a Python script here. Applied to everything that the glass shader moves in front of will fix this problem too.

http://linghaoli.com/blog/?cat=6

It can be used for other things as well but its probably best in a not so busy scene. It also makes alpha planes work in an occlusion layer which is absolutlely brilliant.

Dog.

I was originally going to use derpy dog but it didn’t really fit my aesthetic. Also when I found out about all the problems my helmet was causing, I switched to robodog. Otherwise There would have been two helmets in the scene and I don’t think i could have managed that.

Animating.