Animation and Rendering

Animation
After rigging came animation. Rob and I divided the animations so we both had to work on three animations of 24 fps. We created these animations following the storyboard and montage.

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The monster was easy to animate thanks to the rig. I never really liked animation before, but working with your own model and with a smooth rig was really fun. I don’t mind animating that much anymore and I’ve gotten better at it.

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The most important parts of the body were controlled with FK and IK handles.
The other small things like the toes and fingers were controlled directly with the joints.
Animating was quite easy and the rig worked really well, but the jaw was a different thing. the jaw didn’t have his own joint and was fixed to the head for small movements i had to select the faces and animate it by hand. for the screaming scene Rob created the needed joints to animate it properly.

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After the animations were done we were going on to Rendering and Lighting.
The lighting and Rendering went pretty well, the lighting was almost perfect from the beginning. we just used the Arnold skydome light with a picture of our forest and a 3 point lighting setup on the monster.
We had to put of the shadows on the front light and put a green image plane behind the monster to put it in our video.

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We rendered the animation to a tif format and used the render sequence to render all the frames after each other. It took some time to figure all the settings out and the first few renders were way to light because we accidentally put the gamma setting up.

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I’m very happy how this turned out and it was a great experience. I’ve learned allot and feel motivated create more animations and renders.

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360 video editing

For the 360 video part, we used the Samsung Gear 360. In addition to our main video, we wanted to introduce the 360 video as a prologue that builds up the tensions with foreshadowing sounds.

Spatial audio

In order to simulate a realistic 3D sound, we used the H2N zoom, this device has a spacial audio recording mode that simulates the direction of the sound.

Stitching

After the video was shot, the footage needed to be converted “Stitched” to an equirectangular layout to be able to edit in premiere and after effects. This was automatically done from the Gear 360 software on my Galaxy S6.

VFX elements

As not much is happening in the video, we decided to put more atmosphere in the scene. The setting is a rocky forest, and as there are no large rocks to be found in the Netherlands we had to improvise.

Process

I Opened the video in Photoshop as a reference, to create layers with rocks and adjust them to the lighting and color of the scene.

Furthermore, a stock footage from mist was added in After Effects and final color grading was done in Premiere pro.

 

Animating the monster

Together with Paul, we animated the monster in Maya. We divided the several scenes. Afterwards we decided the positions of the monster and had to estimate how long each animation should be according to the recording footages we have.

We used the standard of 24 frames/sec as a measurement to set the speed.

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After pitching the playblasts with our teammates, we got to the rendering.

Rendering

We used the Arnold rendering system that is integrated in Maya 2017.

To get a realistic result, we needed to keep in mind:

  • Light direction
  • Angle
  • Texture

For this, we used an image plane of the footage as a reference. Lighting was done in a 3 point lighting setup with an additional Arnold light dome that contained a picture of the footage. This light dome creates a realistic reflection on the surface of the animated monster.

For the rendering we removed the background and placed a solid green to key out in After Effects in a later stage.

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Texturing in ZBrush

Learning ZBrush

This week I got to work on the texture maps of the 3D monster. For this we decided to work in Pixologic ZBrush. This Tool is incredibly powerful in making detailed photorealistic 3D models and and allows for sculpting with the use of textured brushes and alpha layers.

As I have never worked in ZBrush before, I had to find out how the interface works and determine which workflow I should approach.

Painting textures

Paul sent me his lovely created 3D model, which I imported in ZBrush.

Base

After getting used to the software and studying some photo references, I started painting by using a leather like material. I started by painting a dark color on the material, followed by layers of lighter color to articulate the shape of the muscles and other limbs.

I used a dotted alpha layer to simulate a realistic lizard skin.

I wanted to create a sharp, detailed texture, so I found that I had to increase the polycount a lot. This required me to map the texture to a lowpoly mesh in a later stage (see Baking textures)

Progress

With this, the texture was finished. I’m quite pleased with the result.

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Baking textures

I increased the polycount a lot to achieve better results. However, this is not what I wanted to keep because the model has to be managable in Maya for the animation later.

For this, I had to bake the high resolution texture into the lowpoly model that was delivered to me.

Using the UV Master tool, I made a lowpoly clone of the model, which I unwrapped and flattened, this gave me the UV map to work with.

Texture map

Afterwards, I copied the UV to the highpoly model to map the textures to it.

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The texture was now baked onto the lowpoly mesh. With this, I created a model that looks the same as the highpoly model when smoothed out, and yet is perfectly managable in Maya.

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Normal – and specular maps

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With this texture, I created normal maps and specular maps in crazy bump to get an even more realistic feel to the texture. It lets the texture appear to have a lot of detail in depth, without the geometry changing.

Importing in Maya

In the meanwhile, Paul had been setting up the rig skeleton and applying the weight paints. The model is now ready to be animated.

Maya

360 video VFX research

The 360 video is going to take place in a forest, where the camera is filming from a static position. To keep a consistent style with the other video, the surroundings have to be altered digitally to get a forest with large rocks that you wouldn’t find in the Netherlands.

Skybox Studio

Skybox studio is a set of plugins and scripts that can be used in Adobe after effects. It allows you to open the 360 video and alter things on the spot.

The tool allows you to work with different perspective types, the following options should be kept in mind.

1. Equirectangular Map

This is basically the 360 video “wrapped open” it is not easy for editing, but allows the user to see an overview of the video in a 2D view.

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2. Cube Map

A cube map renders the video in an unfolded cube. This is a great way to view the way 360 video works in 3D space.

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3. Sphere Map

A sphere map renders the video in a sphere. The camera is placed in the middle and the video is displayed in the internal view of the sphere.

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Applying Skybox

Skybox can be run over an existing 360 video in After Effects. Simply run an included script and select the options you want.

  • We need to import 3D assets, check this in the options.

 

2D objects

2D objects can be imported using 2D layers.

  • An image will appear distorted because of the spherical shape. This can be solved using the skybox converter option
  • This could be used for object in the background, where the viewer doesn’t see the difference.

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3D objects

3D object might be more difficult to achieve, because it needs additional plugins that are not free.

  • A paid option would be Video Copilot’s Element 3D, which allows you to place 3D objects in a similar way to 2D objects.
  • To add realism, we should make use of texture maps, that work with an equirectangular format.

 

 

https://www.rocketstock.com/blog/creating-360-video-effects/

 

 

 

Creature design continued

After the plot was finalized the creature design was further discussed. In the movie, the main character hides behind a rock at some point, where the rock reveals to be the creature who stands up. After the plot twist, the creature crumbles apart.

The creature needed the following features:

  • Consists of parts (can crumble apart)
  • Has a rock-like appearance
  • Has quadruped features but can stand on two legs (Intimidating)

With this, the final creature design was made. This creature will be modeled in 3D by Paul.

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