So I wanted to add more nuke stuff in here, but like I mentioned in my post mortem the mila shaders/lights were super buggy and temperamental. I did try and revive the files but it was all just too much and had to cut it completely.
So basically after my last success, I attempted to make a sad cube. Now from what reference I looked at, sad things don’t really like to move that fast. I couldn’t just animate the cube to stay in one place… could I? Anyway, with the limited body flexibility i have, I decided to have him ‘walk’ if you will, just rather slowly. I tried to make him as sad as possible without trying to defy gravity. I even made him blue too come across as sadder. But sadly that didn’t work as well as I would have liked. To critique my own animation, I think he floats too much on the way down. An easy fix in the graph editor though.
By Daniel Miltinan
Daydreams has been an awesome experience to sum it up. Yes there was good times and bad times. Over the entire 13 week period we went from concept to product, a lot easier said than done. Working in a group simulated what it would be like working in a professional studio. Who would have thought communication was so important.
So as I previously mentioned there were many ups and down, let’s focus on what went according to plan. During the early weeks of the project we brainstormed possible ideas to pursue. This was great, everybody was contributing and we were all getting excited about the future prospects of the project. It came to the point when we all needed to pitch and vote on the ideas we liked best. For whatever reason I was absent for the first half of the day when ideas were being pitched, not only does this mean i didn’t hear all of the possible ideas in detail but I also missed my chance to pitch any of my own ideas. I was disappointed purely based on the fact that I had some cracker ideas, but it was my own fault that I couldn’t make it to class. Moving onto the voting process. With the help of Phil’s input we managed to narrow it down to two ideas. Each idea had equal votes meaning I had the deciding vote. This put me in a weird position, I wasn’t really keen for either of the ideas. Both being very abstract. Jacobs idea seemed slightly kind of vanilla to me and it didn’t really have that ‘wow’ factor to it, that left me with Steve’s daydream idea. I wasn’t too keen on Steve’s either, maybe it was a mix between his struggle to elaborate and express himself or knowing what the trimester would hold giving him creative control. Obviously we did end up going with Daydreams and I can honestly say that I don’t regret the decision.
We did manage to hit milestones throughout the early weeks of the trimester but little did we know what was to come and that the project was slowly slipping from beneath our noses.
Where do i begin. Many of the smallest tasks ended up taking longer than expected. As a group we were being too picky with small decisions for example the whale model. Alex was in charge of modeling it, and he managed to create three fabulous and diverse whales. But when he showed them to the class the directors weren’t happy with them. At the end of the day, the whale that we did end up going with had minor changes made to it, so few changes that I feel like would could have locked in one of those three whales and had been done with it. Alex was also frustrated because when he did ask for feedback on our slack channels nobody responded. No one person was to blame, but it made a mess of such a simple process. Now the model was completed our texture artist Daniel.W was able of producing the texture for it. I could go on about the textures for the whales, but honestly I just struggle to see how it took 8 weeks to have these textures finalised. It didn’t help that Daniel.W hardley attended class. Our producer should have been on top of him asking to see his work. I know that Daniel is a new addition to our class but this subject is meant to emulate a real studio, a real producer wouldn’t let that lack of effort slide.
Joel was working on the particles all trimester and in the final cut we only used particles in one of the five scenes. We didn’t utilise our resources properly, meaning the people working on this project. In the last few weeks we managed to get mila materials working properly, I know this sounds silly because applying mila materials is so simple. We kept finding heaps of bugs in maya that stopped us from achieving even the simplest of tasks for example applying our specular texture to a whale. Because we started with a master file we kept giving it to people to work on and then they would pass it on to the next person and so on, anything could have happened to this file that we couldn’t possibly keep track of, the easiest way of explaining this is by a classic chinese whispers metaphor.
Moving on, like I said we managed to get the mila shaders and lighting working but by this time it was already too late. Despite knowing that we wouldn’t have enough time to render out each frame in mental ray we continued to do so anyway. It wasn’t until Phil stepped in and told us to use maya software instead. We did end up making the necessary changes but it took us much too long to make these decisions. I think the director and producer were ambitious which is a great attribute to have in my opinion but also knowing when to cut your losses and move onto another plan is just as valuable. Week 12 most of the team lived at uni and despite our efforts we didn’t manage to have a completed film by the deadline. As a team we put in too little effort at the start and too much at the end. 5pm Friday 19th of August was our deadline for the film. A handful of us me included waited outside Phil’s office for the hand over. He took our usb and copied across the files to his computer. He gave us a quick pep talk and congratulated us for our efforts even though it wasn’t enough to get us where we wanted to be. I think we all were waiting for Phil to give us extra time and push the deadline back but this never happened. Really he had already done more than enough to help us out. That hand over was very emotional, especially for Jacob who i can easily say single handedly put more into this project than anyone in our team. All this aside and moving on we were given until monday midnight for an updated submission for the exhibition. We managed to pull something together, and watching the finished film for the first time was such an unreal experience. We had put of heart and soul into that film, countless hours late nights and stress. To see is takes its final form was indeed humbling and totally worth the pain we went through. I’m excited to test myself yet again in the trimester to come.
After watching a number of reference videos of excited children this was the best representation i could come up with in the form of a cube. I jumped into maya and let the key frames flow, it was actually quite fun. I kept it simple only animating on two axis and the x rotation. Obviously making the splining process a whole lot easier.
I will attempt a sad cube now.
So its finally time that I’m analysing short videos of people in different emotional states.
Which emotions do I i choose to try and replicate, remember I’m only doing three.
Well again trying to be efficient and effective as possible, the character in my film will need to display excitement, sadness and love. All every broad physiological states, but maybe this is a good thing and will allow for much flexibility in terms of what will and what wont work.
So I googled “acting excited” and came across a few examples i suppose, none of which really stood out to me. I think they were mainly just all inconsistent armature actors posting their acting monologues in hope of becoming known. It then occurred to me that maybe i should be searching for another key word to give me videos i can actually work with.
The best type of acting is the type where you aren’t trying to act. I think what I’m trying to say is I need to think of something that excites people and observe their genuine reaction.
So I ask myself, what excites me? opening presents excites me.
I’m now watching videos of children opening presents.
My favorite example thus far.
Common denominators are things like quick movements, failing to remain still, loud high pitch noises and always a happy expression. The only thing my cube cant and wont do is speak or talk or make any noises. I’m still looking forward to challenging myself.
Okay so, basically through out the trimester it was our job as students to part take in a research assignment of our choosing. As an animator I have decided to pick something related to animation.
Basically for my other class (CIU major project development) im producing a short film about a Rubik’s cube. I figured kill two birds with one stone and learn how to animate emotion into an inanimate object, in this case it being a cube.
Yes our Rubik’s cube will have limited facial expressions and we will be able to manipulate the feel of the piece using visual ques as well as music, but the point of this exerciser is to gain awareness as to what it takes for emotion to be communicated entirely from movement alone.
So where do I start? Good question dan I’m glad you asked.
I tried researching topics about emotions in inanimate objects, and after having trouble finding anything relative I remember Phil saying that it was us that are meant to be doing the research, not imitating the answers that others have already found.
I then began to thinking of the best plan of action. I will analyse clips of people acting in various emotions and then try and use these same principles and apply then to a cube.
My final goal is to have my cube convey 3 different emotions.
BabyX generation 3 is a simulation of a brain driving a simulation of a face created by
Dr Mark Sagar
Autonomous animation (self animated)
It has variable inputs such as sight and hearing, and will react based upon these inputs.
It has learning capability as seen in a technical demonstration of BabyX saying the words of simple farm yard animal pictures.
The Uncanny Valley
Originally coined by Masahiro Mori in 1970, the term “uncanny valley” describes our strange revulsion toward things that appear nearly human, but not quite right. This revulsion usually involves robots, but can also include computer animations and some medical conditions.
With the inprovment to computer hardwear, we are able to get much more realistic real time render results. Such as BabyX 3
Entertainment – games/virtual families or game characters reacting on your facial expressions.
Education – Helps children with autism for example when you want to engage with a child but on an emotional level. Long distance Learning. Allows the teacher to gauge an emotional reaction to various questions.
Anti robotic – natural interaction, making the computer feel like a living thing. Example, we would interact with a pet dog very differently to how we would react with a stuffed toy dog.
Not scary, making you more connected with information in a more natural way.
Not just a hollow model.
Internal organs are actually functioning.
Running off an accurate neural net simulating chemical balances in the brain.
This software is not limited to a babies face, any model can replace the current avatar.
(2016). Bloombergcom. Retrieved 26 July, 2016, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-03-23/meet-baby-x-an-example-of-new-zealand-s-cutting-edge-cgi.
(2013). Stranger Dimensions. Retrieved 26 July, 2016, from http://www.strangerdimensions.com/2013/11/25/10-creepy-examples-uncanny-valley/.
(2016). Aucklandacnz. Retrieved 26 July, 2016, from http://www.abi.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/our-research/animate-technologies.html.
(2016). The Creators Project. Retrieved 26 July, 2016, from http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/baby-x-the-intelligent-toddler-simulation-is-getting-smarter-every-day.
Daydream is the name of the major group project for our Studio 3 class. This idea was required to challenge or involved a certain cultural aspect of Australian society. We Questioned the importance of Australian cultural relevance during our idea generation. It was brought to our attention that applying for government funding or grants is easier to do if the project incorporates our country in some way. In simpler terms, the government prefers to fund something relevant.
We started brainstorming various ideologies, problems and milestones in our current society. After weeks of discussion we were steering towards really deep and dark topics. We thought it was best to pitch individual ideas and use the coloured hats to talk about concerns, positives, ‘what ifs’ for the project regarding each idea. Narrowing it down we came to a vote. Funnily enough it was myself with the deciding vote. So we ended up choosing Steve’s ‘Daydream’ idea. Onward we developed it further.
We start off the film in a 2d dull and drab world. 2d animation is a huge decision to make right off the bat. Most of the class is isn’t very familiar with 2d animation, but we were up for the challenge regardless. Having a flat world gives the illusion of minimal direction. Left right up and down. The character in this sequence is an old man. His clothing isn’t particularly fancy. He doesn’t look happy or sad. It probably important to note that this film is meant to be interpreted differently among viewers. Not to say that we aren’t guiding you through the viewing. Anyway, we feel the drab colour scheme only goes hand in hand with the blocky 2d imagery. The world the train travels through will be very industrial. We feel like this depicts a concrete jungle. No vegetation or greenery.
Suppressed by a dull life of an industrial society. We are trying to incorporate an Australian metro train into the film. Perhaps not an exact replica, but heavily leaning towards the metro feel. THe character will be sitting alone on the train. The shot we have is very wide showing all of the empty seats around him. Old, lonely and dull. Dare i say meaningless life? It certainly doesn’t look pleasant but no doubt it’s a good life for some people. As the train proceeds to travel, the old man stars outside the window. The overlapping power lines grab his attention. They weave as if they are dancing. The shot gradually turns the weaving power lines into bright characters. It is as this point in the film where we transition from 2d to 3d. Adding another dimension to this world. This is the beginning of what we are calling ‘The dream sequence’. The intertwining power lines each become their own character emitting a trail of light behind them. They corkscrew up in the air like they’re dancing. These two characters are meant to look similar to each other, but not the same. They will have slight differences to their body shapes but not gender defying features. The gender neutral aspect of this is to help the viewer stay away from typical male female relations or heterosexuality in general. We do not wish gender to take away from the abstract nature or the dream. People may see these two characters as in love or destined to be together, which is fine. Everyone will relate to these characters in a way of their own. The same goes for the way we will be colouring them. We are choosing colours that aren’t depicted as gender based in our current society’s ideologies. I think a light yellow and blue are going to be used, but isn’t yet set in concrete.
After they descend from the corkscrew they will lower to the surface of water. This large body of water looks infinite as it merges seamlessly with the starry night sky background. We are still on the fence about whether or not we want this to be more surreal or abstract. So far it feels very surreal. But we also think that it’s easier to piece together a story from surreal imagery as opposed to abstract imagery. We are trying to let people decide for themselves what this production means to them. So keeping the film more on the abstract side is crucial. Its also worth mentioning the darkness of the dream sequence. Although this is meant to be a daydream, the deep black backgrounds suggest more of a sleeping dream. When people read the title of the film ‘Daydream’ they can hopefully make the connection as to why the world transitions to abstract events. We feel the dark backgrounds give us an awesome opportunity to play around with light emission. Having bright vibrant colours as well as dynamic lighting will be a large payoff for the compensation in static backdrops.
We don’t have any dialogue in the film. We hope to capitilise on this with the use of somber soundtracks and hopefully good atmos. Using string instruments to create a mystical sounding scores will only add to the hypnotic dances and interactions from our characters. The dream sequence comes to an end by spiraling back into and yet again seamlessly back into the original power lines. At this point we have converted back into the 2d drab world. The old man reacts with a soft smile as the screen fades to black.
Daniel Miltinan’s CIU 111 essay
NSW CREATIVE INDUSTRIES OPPORTUNITIES AND OBSTACLES
When people ask what jobs are available for animators, I respond with “there is a lot of different work to do in the creative industry”. However, finding an ideal definition of this term is quite hard since it is kept very general. “The ‘Creative Industries’ have been defined as ‘those industries which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent and that have a potential for wealth and job creation through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property.’ 1 They form a composite industry sector for which a number of definitions have been developed.”
Creative industries more specifically include advertising and marketing, built environment which implies focusing on architectural services like planning and design for residential, institutional, commercial and industrial building, creative and visual arts including photography and museums, design with special focus on fashion, graphic design and industrial designs but also the field of media including film, TV and radio, music and performing arts, publishing and electronic games.
However, these are just the main creative industries which are all very diverse and each field offers even more sub-categories and employment opportunities.
This is why I will especially focus on film, TV, electronic games and digital design.
Ill talk about the growing demand for digital content and how it’s surpassed direct competition, education and how government support hook my interests to the industry,
Growing demand for digital content and delivery
In general one can say that there is a growing demand for digital content and delivery in the animation industry. On October 15th 2015, the website lazygamer.net published an article titled “The video game industry continues to out perform Hollywood”.(Lazygamernet, 2015) It talks about the continuing growth of the game industry, even though it cannot be directly compared to the film industry because it reaches a much smaller crowd. They go on giving the example of a film ticket which only costs around 15$ to purchase. In contrast to this, the average game cost about 90$ which is about six times as much. So even if the film industry is reaching a lot more people, the game industry has a much more premium price and higher return so both of them make a similar profit.
Education, skills and training in the animation industry
“The NSW Government has identified the Creative Industries as a key driver of our State’s economy.”
During my studies at high school, I was offered the opportunity to undertake a tafe course in the field of information technology. At first this opportunity didn’t really appeal to me, but then i was notified that all students undertaking the course would be paid to study as well as having the grade contribute to our final VCE scores, so I just decided to give it a try. The course was a certificate III in Information technology but the in-class-work we competed was all based around blender which is a free animation software. Working with it made me realise my passion for 3D modelling and animation amongst other things. It had such an impact on me that once i graduated school, I purseed a university degree in the same field. Also, the government is aware of the potential of the creative industry and is sponsoring the tafe courses like the one I partook in to raise the students interests to allow for a growth in this domain which leads to further development and the increase of the importance of animation itself.
Electronic games development
One of the most popular video games was developed by the American student Nolan Bushnell on September 29th 1972. He invented a video game machine which made it possible to play a simple version of the famous ping-pong game. This game was called “Pong”. The screen would show two rackets (white bars on a black background) just as a quadrangular ball and the score. This game very soon became really popular so that Bushnell decided to found his own company named Atari. Less than three years after the publishment of “Pong” Atari now sold a home version of this game. The increasing development of computer technology in the 1980s also led to a growth of the importance of the video game industry. Many of what we call “classics” nowadays were developed at that time. One of the most important machines for video games at that time was the C64, a home computer that was invented by the company Commodore. It was mainly used for reasons of entertainment (not work). However, the games developed back then showed a massive lack of quality and therefore couldn’t really raise people’s interests. Also, people copied games instead of buying them (this is still a current issue) and a conclusion of this was the downfall of the video game industry. This situation only changed with the market entrance of the video game concern “Nintendo”. In 1983, they published the “Nintendo Entertainment System” which was a game console with exchangeable modules which were very hard to copy. Furthermore, they published games which are still popular nowadays, amongst these are “Jump-and-Run”, “Super Mario Bros.” just as the adventure game “Zelda”.
Then Commodore joined the competition by developing their new video console “Amiga” and so did the Japanese concern “Sega” with their console “Mega Drive”. When Sega published the video game “Sonic”, it came to a real competition between the different concerns and the video game market grew more and more. In the following years the video game market was mainly coined by technical and graphic development. Only when Nintendo developed the “Game Boy” in 1989, another meaningful step for the game industry was taken. The Game Boy was the first mobile video console which made it possible to exchange games in form of modules. At the beginning it was only available with the game “Tetris” which became one of the most popular games of its time and due to its huge success soon there were more than 1200 games developed for the Game Boy. People loved the new possibility of playing games anywhere and at any time so seven years after they published the original “Game Boy”, the “Game Boy Pocket” was now for sale. It was a more compact version with an improved screen, higher contrast and a lower energy consumption. Only two years later, Nintendo published the new “Game Boy Color”, the first hand-held console with a screen technology that was able to display more than 32000 different colours. However, also the home console market did not stop growing. Examples for this are the Playstations one and two, both developed by Sony. During only a couple of years the graphic of current consoles went from simple two-dimensional displays with 256 colours to realistic three-dimensional illustrations.
Look back at the brief history of games, some of the problems are arising again. The nintendo 64 had game cartridges in order to stop games from being copied easily, combating the war on piracy and heaping the industry alive. How ever in recent times piracy is at an all time high. Most games on the computer are based no longer on a hard copy, but in digital copies. This is making it incredibly easy to replicate and distribute on popular websites like piratebay and kickass torrents. Games That are harder to do this with are the multiplayer games.
New South Wales has the highest diversity due to the increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse population.
Since New South Wales is going through a major change demographically speaking, it’s allowing the creative industry to be more creative. Having a diverse society means enormous opportunity for creativity because of having various audiences available for creators to target. This also promotes culture solidarity and various cultural awareness.
Export opportunities in animation.
Sourcing manufacturing or other services to other countries is a common practice.
“Price is another India selling point. One survey placed the per-hour cost of Indian animation at $60,000 while the same cost in the United States would cost about $250,000 to $300,000” (Howstuffworkscom, 2008)
This is an incredible difference in price. Does it have a positive or negative impact on the industry tho? Does outsourcing these jobs mean we aren’t supporting the economy of our own country? Well no, not really. The jobs being sourced internationally to countries such as India are just the grinding work. The quantity of work, the tedious jobs. This cuts costs substantially and increases profit margins for the native organisations.
Innovation and productivity challenges in the creative industry
In the last couple of years, there have been a few interesting technological advancements that can be used directly for the creative industry for example, 3d printing, virtual reality and 4k resolution films and even 360 degree videos. 3d printing is already a billion dollar industry, only recently has it become affordable for people to buy high quality 3d printers. The most common and affordable printers come in kits requiring the user to assemble them themself. The possibilities for what can be printed are almost endless but the people capable of designing and producing digital models for printing are finite. This alone will open up industry opportunities in this field.
Virtual reality is practically like re inventing the screen. Allowing users to be fulling immersed in any digital environment. This will forever change the way games are developed and played, again a new opening for a new industry. Recent advancements include higher resolution headsets as well as a higher frame per second reducing side effects such as motion sickness or nausea. They are also incorporating real time tracking to the virtual world allowing users to see the location of their hands.
The only advancement that has currently got its drawbacks is the 4k display. With current projectors now able to project such high resolutions, the new film standard is 4k. Now you may think this is awesome and a step in the right direction but when it comes to animation films it causes a big problem.
“According to Bruno Mahe, the technical head at one of Illumination Entertainment’s studios, the resolution of current animation projects would have to be bumped up by at least 2.5 times. Increased resolution means increased memory needs, which means that the render farms of 20,000 computers that Illumination uses currently (amounting to a memory allocation of 680 terabytes on last year’s Despicable Me 2) need to grow accordingly.”(Cinemablendcom, 2014)
Basically when it comes to increased resolution for animation, the computing power required jumps through the roof exponentially making films a lot less profitable.
In conclusion, the creative industry is already enormous. Only time will grow it, but from my point of view it has the necessary tools to allow it to thrive. The government is aware of its potential and is willing to support it where they can. Its an incredibly fun industry to be apart of and I love the fact that I’m a contributing stakeholder. I don’t know exactly what the future holds for this Industry, but I do know it will be promising.
Cinemablendcom. (2014, 20 November 2014). There’s A Giant Problem That The Animation Industry Will Have To Deal With. [Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://www.cinemablend.com/new/There-Giant-Problem-Animation-Industry-Have-Deal-With-68334.html
Lazygamernet. (2015, 15 October 2015). The video game industry continues to outperform Hollywood.[Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://www.lazygamer.net/industry-2/the-video-game-industry-continues-to-outperform-hollywood/
James vincent. (2015, 11 September 2015). Watch legendary Disney animator Glen Keane draw in virtual reality. [Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/11/9309727/virtual-reality-drawing-glen-keane-disney
Howstuffworkscom. (2008, 11 February 2008). How Outsourcing Works. [Weblog]. Retrieved 12 May 2016, from http://money.howstuffworks.com/outsourcing4.htm