Sunday, 26 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's Skinning Progress

As I mentioned, I skinned the inside body in preparation of the N-Cloth. I came a cross a few problems but I think I have a good base for my rig. On to rigging then.

Head/Mouth Skinning
Full Body Skinning

Friday, 24 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's Rendering Set Up

With Alan's help today we managed to bring Megan to life and make her look more 'healthy' in a way. I was fortunate enough to get some good advice on shaders, lighting and render set ups when it comes to making the character look organic.
I also got hold of a very nice velvet shader for the hat found in Creative which means I wont have to use fur which takes more rendering time.

This is the shading network I used for her which consists of a smpler info node, a mib_ambient occlusion material from the mental ray shaders and a ramp of her skin tone and specular colour.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's Modelling Complete

All the basic modelling is done with only a few tweaks left to be done on her. Next step is to UV Map her and experiment with some clothing textures and shaders to make her look less doll-like.
I have also modelled her actual body in preparation for the collision used for the N-Cloth.
Full-body Model

The Face

Hand and Wellingtons' details

Layers of geometry preparing for the N-Cloth

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Transcription: More Facial Experiments (with actual improvement)

I've been really frustrated to get her face look right so I added more baby features to her which made her look ridiculously young. After speking to Alan he suggested to bring all her features back to avoid making her face look flat. Now her face looks rounder and definately less freaky than it was before.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's Face Tests

i've been experimenting with these all day now. I think the last one works best with the button nose and wide face. I need your opinions plese :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's Body and Head Modelling Process

The body wasn't hard to do. I just had to keep the geometry simple to make the N-Cloth work better when I add it on later.
 The only thing that concerns me is the face. I changed it to bring it closer to realism, like bringing her eyes closer together, and as a result, she became more generic and lost her charm. I am going to post up different versios of her and see what works best for her face.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's Head Modelling Progress

I spent today and a bit of last night working on Megan's face. I've got a basic shape to work on now and I am happy she's starting to get together . I still have to work on the face and make it look as similar as in the drawing as possible (at least I hope so). I was afraid that she would loose her cuteness but I think it is still somewhere there. Can't wait to work on the rest :)

Here is a bit of her progress.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Maya: Animating An Action Part 4- Converting Keys (Initial convertions)

Transcription: Megan's Alien Turnarounds

As a hand drawn character, Megan's Alien needs its own turnarounds. I have no idea how I am going to animate so many heads but it's still early days and of course it will be done after Megan's 3D animation.

Transcription: Film Review on Paprika (2006)

Fig.1: Film Poster
 Director: Satoshi Kon
Producer: Masao Takiyama
Year: 2006
Country: Japan

Filmmakers have always been fascinated by dreams and hallucinations, psychological states that are universal and remain enigmatic. Satoshi Kon's Paprika (2006) is a fascinating journey to the dream universe, a place where our craziest visions come to life inspired by our experiences that take place in our real life. It is a great example of Japanese, surreal imagery and a real animated masterpiece. 
Fig.2: Paprika
The film is set to the  future where great technological advancements enable psychotherapists to enter their patients dreams with the help of a device called DC Mini.Three of the devices were stolen with one of the technicians involved becoming a suspect.The team that got together for its recovery involves Tokita, the giant scientist that contributed to its creation, the professional Dr. Atsuko Chiba and detective Konakawa whose past has left him with bizarre dreams. The team takes the risk to enter nightmares which emerge into the real world and delusions disintegrate causing patients to become victims of their own dream worlds and as  Justin Sevakis suggested:  "Dreams are a potentially happy thing, and those who have been subverted by the “psycho-terrorist” are almost drunk on the possibilities of this new world that has none of reality's rules." (2006.Sevakis) This postmodern twist to the film raises questions like the link between dreams and reality, a subject matter which remains mundane every day magic. 
Possibly the most interesting trait of the film is the connection between Dr. Atsuko and Paprika, a young and energetic therapist who plays the role of Atsuko's alter ego when she enters the dream world of her patients. The relationship between the two characters is expressed in the most subtle way which is almost subconscious, communicating trough reflections. These reflections signify the films postmodern nature, the ability of reflecting upon your own nature and self recognition.(Fig.3)

Fig.3: Atsuko's self reflection.
 An other interesting issue that Satoshi Kon raises in the film is the link between dreams and cinema. Konakawa's dreams were similar to action films which suggests the influence our dreams can have from visuals we are bombarded by daily from the media.
Of course, what is Paprika worth talking about it its visuals. Kon's directory is oddly playful, full of action and weird viewpoints through the characters' eyes.. The colours, the detail and cinematic style of the animation is a real treat for every film lover, a rich visual eye candy.

Fig.4: Dreams merged together.
Paprika is, other than a very successful film in its visual aspect, an interesting examination of how dreams and movies can have impact on one's life. It is a film well worth watching, which will not dissapoint any anime or film lover.


Sevakis, Justin (2006) Film Review At: (accessed on 17/2/2012)

List of Illustrations

Fig.1: Film Poster At: (accessed on 16/2/2012)
Fig.2: Paprika  At: (accessed on 16/2/2012)
Fig.3: Atsuko's reflections At:  (accessed on 16/2/2012)
Fig.4: Dreams merged together (accessed on 16/2/2012)

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's Alien

In an attempt to make the alien more sophisticated like Alan suggested me, I gave it more character. He is going to be hand drawn, so a specific structure to his body is essential.

I wanted his colouring to look more sketchy like a child has added the colours on to him.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Transcription: First Animatic of Children Say..

So this is my first animatic in which I can already see the changes I have to do to it to make it work better. Plese ignore the creepy music box music. It's only temporary :P

After Alan's tutorial I have a few things to correct and look into:

-The composition will work better if Megan is shrinked down when she describes the Alien, so the audience won't be connfused with the centre of attention which is the Alien.
-It would work better if the Alien was fully animated.
-Make sure to bring the Alien to the same level as the character (make it more sophisticated) so they both match.
-There is no need to record my voice again when I ask Megan questions. It is staged well without it.

Ignore  youtube squashing down  my video

Some stills....

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Transcription: Megan's First Concept

After asking people which face they like the most, they pointed me out the one with the panda hat so I decided to experiment with it. I like how random her clothing is and the fact that she's a tomboy. I can really see the oversized hat working as some sort of mask to hide her shyness and her pulling it up and down while she's talking.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Transcription: Children's Body Language and Body Proportions

Going back to Justin Wyatt's character design classes, I made a few poses that came out of my mind. It is incredible how much the body can tell without any facial expressions. 

Transcription: Megan's Head Designs

Clearly trying to be as cute as possible here. All 4 of them are really different with big personalities.

I used Preston Blair's advice on how to make cute characters and it worked well.

disney cute character diagram