Monday, 7 November 2011

Dissertation questionnaire

Hi everyone,

If you happen to come across this blog post, would you please be so kind as to fill in this questionnaire on the process of motion capture.  It has two video clips that you will need to watch and answer questions about, both of which are around 1 minute long; but you will not need a thorough knowledge of motion capture to answer.  Here is the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/VY77ND5

Thank you!!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Life Drawing from 2nd November

It has been so long since I last got the chance to do life drawing as the classes I used to go to at the Lewisham Art House clashed with uni.  But thankfully, three fellow animators used their initiative and organised three life drawing classes for their E & E project.  I have attended the first of these three and here are the drawings I did; drawn within timespans ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.













It was actually harder than I thought to get back into it as I haven't had the chance to do it properly (apart from the odd sketching session on Posemaniacs) but I'm hoping I can get back to speed in the next 2 weeks.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Getting more professional

My order from vistaprint finally came in the post after about two weeks; so now I have contact cards to give people whenever I want to get in touch and work on something.  I'm quite pleased with them, because they really reflect my creative identity.
Oh and just thought I should mention that I am setting up a business alongside five other animation students called Ravensbuzz, which aims to promote short subject student and independent animation through the selling of merchandise.  I am the Head of Web Design & E-commerce for this business and I have been busy setting up and maintaining the web site, along with all the social media profiles.  I have also constructed an e-commerce page so that people can buy our products online.

Have a look: www.ravensbuzz.co.uk

Monday, 5 September 2011

New BA Blog

I am still on my summer holidays from uni, but I have finally managed to come up with a decent final film concept that I am still developing; I have therefore decided to create my blog for third year work early and document my progress.  Take a look and follow... http://jameswatersbablog.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Great news!!

So, the Red Bull idea that I proposed in the previous post never got off the ground, which is sad as I had a good idea.  It didn't take off because I had too much work to do and could not focus on any side projects for that time and I had a very tight deadline to complete the project.

Anyway, there is no use kicking myself over it as I have two lots of terrific news to share with you all :D

First of all, I have recently learnt that I passed my Foundation Degree with an A- grade, meaning that I have achieved a DISTINCTION overall.  I was only one of two people to achieve that result so I am really happy about that.  Now, I just have the third year ahead of me in September, which is going to involve coming up with a final film idea, as well as writing up my dissertation.  The latter of which I am really dreading!!  Largely because I am worried about how I am going to manage my time doing the research and writing it up and also I am worried in case it overshadows other more animation-based projects.

As for the final film idea, I am trying to come up with a GOOD idea that the tutors will choose to go into production; I always liked the idea of being a director.  The first idea I had was centred around a boy watching TV, but his remote control starts taking charge of things around him and it ultimately deploys nuclear missiles.  I am tempted to ditch the idea, largely because I know how it will start and finish, but I am not sure how to keep it consistently funny throughout.

Another loose idea I have is to have two characters competing against one another with different musical instruments.   An idea I have is to have it set in medieval times and the characters are trying to practice their respective medieval instruments (lutes, etc.) and eventually one of them decides enough is enough and builds a Flying V guitar and freaks the other out with his guitar shredding.  I like this idea slightly better but I am worried in case it is TOO similar to the Pixar short, One Man Band.  There is also a very funny Looney Tunes cartoon called Long Haired Hare in which an tenor is trying to rehearse but can't concentrate because Bugs Bunny continuously plays an irritating song on various musical instruments, each of which is consecutively smashed by the tenor who confronts Bugs.

I am hoping to find some more concept ideas through doodling (I'll post up some sketches that I have been doing in a later post) but I have also been watching work on the site Aniboom for inspiration; there are really some genius pieces of work on there and they are all done by people like me; students and up-and-coming animators.

Second bit of good news is that I have just launched a mobile phone version of my site: m.jamespwaters.com

So far, it has an uncategorised gallery of all the drawings that you can see on the computer version of my site, as well as a link to my Showreel.  I have not put up any other animated work, as the tool I used is not capable to creating a page with various links to videos.  The website also has a link so you can email me or follow me on twitter directly.  Anyway, I'd be happy if you tested it out and let me know what you think.

In the mean time, I have been following a tutorial by Josh Johnson in this month's issue of 3D World on how to animate a bullet going through an apple.  It mostly involves using morphing to animate the breaking of the apple, but I will post it up once it is complete.  I'll also post up any more short film ideas that I come up with.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Red Bull Project

There have been many posts on this blog this year where I have said, I haven't posted up here for a while... but I really haven't!!

This is mainly because I have been working on my Industry Exercises project that I have been documenting on a separate blog.  It has been going pretty well though, if you look, you will see that I am in the process of putting together another showreel; as well as a fully packaged DVD which reflects my professional image.  I have also been working on a third year film called "Snatched" and I have animated a free falling animation sequence.  But if you want to learn more about that, visit my Industry Exercises blog, www.jpwani208.blogspot.com

Anyway, in this post, I would like to introduce you all to my first summer project.  This is going to be Red Bull's Canimation competition which is going to involve producing a short animated piece that advertises the drink, Red Bull.  There is a prize of £500 and the opportunity to get my work in the cinema, if I win.

I already have a fairly good idea for this Red Bull animation and it is based entirely around the concept of Concentration and Focus.  It came during a discussion we had about the project in uni and we were talking about focusing our ideas and keeping them simple when coming up with animation for advertising.  I instantly remembered a very clever video I saw which involved the viewer paying attention to one thing, but not something else.  Here it is:

I would really like to do something which involves colourful shapes passing a ball around and then a Red Bull can dancing in the background, and it is up to the viewer to find that Red Bull can; with the underlying message being; Red Bull keeps you focused


I will, however, do my research and develop this idea further.  Not only do I need to focus on this project, but I also need to develop a short film idea for the third year, which I am finding tricky at the moment.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

New unit blog

I am going to put the ESting project on hold for the time being.  The reason for this is that I am now back at uni and I have started a new unit called Industry Exercises 3.  For this unit, I have chosen to help out some of the third year students with the animating in their final film.  I will also need to produce a Showreel, complete with an interactive DVD.

To follow my progress during this unit, I have made yet another blog: http://jpwani208.blogspot.com/

This blog will be available from the toolbar on the bottom right of this page and is called 'Industry Exercises III'

Thursday, 7 April 2011

EStings Concept Art + Animatic

After initially struggling to come up with some ideas, I did some concept art and sketches against the possible pieces of music.



I eventually came up with an idea of a monster sneaking into a bedroom, and as he is about to lift off the bed covers; the E4 logo startles him.  Here is the animatic,  I have timed the animation around the evil laughs in the soundtrack.
video

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Easter project

I haven't posted on this particular blog in quite a while, largely because my course wants me to devolve my blogging to a few unit-specific blogs.  I have since been trying to figure out a purpose for this blog and I have decided that I will use it to document my more personal projects and interests.

I have recently finished two units; one which involved producing a tutorial on UV Mapping and the other was a short film that I worked on within a group and demonstrated various skills in Post Production.  Both of these projects came out really well and I was very satisfied with them both.

Now I am on my break from uni until 18th April and I need something to keep me occupied until then.  I have recently heard about the EStings, an annual competition run by E4.  For the competition, I will need to create a 10 second break bumper or ident for E4, either animated or live action.  E4 is known for its surreal promotions, so I can really use my imagination when putting together a piece for the competition, just so long as it has the E4 logo in it.
The ESting will have to be exactly 10 seconds long, so that means I have 250 frames to work with.  I want this to be original so I will start by sketching a few ideas that I have around the E4 logo.  I must have this done by 1st July, but I will aim to have it done by May, if I can.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Brand new look :)

The last IPP session that I had at uni was on branding; particularly our personal branding.  This lecture on branding actually inspired me to make the immediate decision to redesign my website, so it would better reflect the image that I want to promote.

The problem with the pen scribbles layout that I had previously was that it did not really say much about who I am.  It was quite limited and reserved, which could suggest that I am a limited and reserved person, myself.  Furthermore, it was just a template that I selected from Wix.

I decided that I would redo the website, using Kash Kong James, a character that I designed, as the central image.  This is a character that I was inspired to design when we were brainstorming possible team names and we decided to put three names of parkour moves together (kash, kong and monkey) to make this name.  Although he is not a part of the project, I designed Kash Kong James to be my own alter-ego.

I decided that I would use this character as part of my own personal brand, and I came up with this new web site design that was created entirely from scratch.  The image I am trying to portray is a more original one that conveys a much slicker, fun and more mysterious image.  I've also made a few other amends, including the ability to share my site on Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon.

This will probably be the last post I put up here in a while, but don't forget to check out my other blogs to see the projects that I am doing now.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Yet another new blog

It seems like a need a blog for everything these days.  Here is my blog for the Industry Exercises 2 unit, that will involve writing up a tutorial on a certain area of the Animation pipleline: http://jpwani207.blogspot.com/

Feel free to follow if you would like to see my progress in writing up my tutorial and developing my own skills.  It will also be available from the "My Other Blogs" sidebar on the bottom right of the page.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

New unit + New blogs

I have now finished this Environmental Project that I have been documenting the past two months or so and the final outcome is this piece of animation that we are all proud of.



This is also available to view on the Animation page of my site, under the Collaborative work section.


Lately, I have been concentrating on the two new units for my second year; in particular the Post Production unit and I have recently formed a group with four other people on my course and we have called ourselves the Kash Kong Monkeys.  We got that name from by combining the names of parkour moves, seen as we are currently discussing making a piece involving parkour or freerunning (yes, they are two separate disciplines!)

This time, I won't be documenting the unit on this blog; instead, I will be documenting it on two separate blogs (one group, one individual) as that is how they want us to do it.  Here are the links:

http://www.kashkongmonkeys.blogspot.com: This is the group blog for the Kash Kong Monkeys, which all members of the group will be using for keeping in touch and sharing ideas.

http://kashkongjames.blogspot.com/ This is my individual blog, from which you will be able to follow my personal contributions to the project as it unfolds.  As of yet, it is empty, but I will soon start posting stuff up on there.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The opening sunrise

One of the last scenes that I textured/lighted for the project actually belongs at the beginning of the piece; the first sunrise.  According to the blockout and storyboard that we made, this would last around 250 frames (10 seconds).  We made a few creative changes before I started to make the sunrise; these included changing the opening so instead of the eagle flying past the camera shot, the scene opens with two wildebeest.  The eagle is now introduced in the following scene.

Another change to this shot was that instead of the camera shot panning around at the end, it remains static, meaning that it was no longer necessary to keyframe the azimuth.

I started by creating the sky with the sunrise and I used this tutorial to guide me.
From frames 1-180, I set the Sky Brightness colour to red, to create the red texture of a sky before the sun has fully risen.
This is how it would look around frame 100.
At the first frame, I turned the total brightness of the sky to 0.  I wanted the light to emerge fairly slowly so I keyframed the elevation of the sun and brightness of the sky so that it would only start to rise at around frame 60, as we figured out in our blockout.

In this shot, we also witness the transition from pitch darkness to daylight; however, it is still early morning in this shot so I made sure that the total brightness was kept to a minimum and that there was a fairly high density of clouds.  From frame 200 onwards, keyframed the sky brightness colour so it moved from red to blue and I also increased the density of the clouds.  I kept the elevation fairly low.

This is the outcome of the rendered sunrise.

video
I now had to create the sense of sunrise in the wilderness scene itself and the sense of light filling the scene.  This shot takes place within the same scene file as the eagle scene, but in a different area.
As the wildebeest were shaded with Shaded Brightness Two Tones, this meant that regardless of whether there was darkness in the scene, they would be visible in the rendered scene.  In order to resolve this, I converted the wildebeest's texture to a Light Angle Two Tone; a texture that is dependant on the angle of a directional light.  In other words, if a light is pointed at it, it is visible; but if the light is turned away, it becomes less visible.
I set the rotation of the light to begin at around frame 70, a few frames after the sun begins to rise. By the 250th frame, I set the directional light to point straight at the wildebeest, meaning that the wildebeest would slowly come into view, along with the rest of the scene.


As for the ground texture, that did not seem to respond to the lighting, so I came up with another method of making the texture transfer from dark to light. I selected the texture in Hypershade and in the attributes editor, I set the density to 0 and set a keyframe at around frame 60. I then set a keyframe at frame 250 and increased the diffuse. This now created the sense of light filling a dark scene, when I rendered it.
I composited the sunrise and the wildebeest scene together in AfterEffects and put it in to the final film. If you want to see the final piece, it is available on my website, under the Collaborations section on the Animation page. It is entitled "Cradle of Civilisation"

Friday, 7 January 2011

Blend shaping a lion's face

One of the shots in the Serengeti project is a low angle shot of a lion striking a wildebeest.  To create the believability of the lion striking the wildebeest, I decided to put a blend shape in the lion's mouth to make it open and close.
How I did this was by selecting the model and going into the blend shape window; and creating a blend shape, which effectively created a copy of this lion.
I set a key at 0 in the Blend Shapes window, which meant that when the blend shape was set to 0, it would just appear as I modelled it.  I then moved the blend shape setting to 1, and with the copy of the lion, I moved the vertices so that it's mouth was open.  I set a key in the Blend Shapes window, meaning that when the blend shape set to 1, the original lion model would open its mouth as well.  I added the copy of the lion to a layer which I then made invisible.