Saturday, 7 December 2013

In Case I Don't See Ya...

... good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

You may have heard that I'm off. Again.

I'm not really sure how to word my reasoning, so instead I'll give an idiosyncratic, chronological summary of my experience of the course told entirely with animated gifs.














So yeah, that's my curtain call. I'll miss you all bunches, I'll still be about on the blog, but I burnt out once, and am coming dangerously close to doing so again, so in the end I've got to choose my health over my degree. Thank you all for an awesome two and a half years. It's been a heck of a ride.




P.S. Oh hey, isn't this a thing.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Character: The Pilgrim & The Unicorn

Humanity has found a new land far across the ocean, Tir Tairngire, and has attempted to colonise it. Unfortunately for them, this land is already inhabited, by a brutal and highly advanced species called the 'aes sidhe' (pronounced ays-shee-thuh), or just 'sidhe'. The sidhe command powerful magic and technology, and are not thrilled by the intrusion of humanity (who they refer to as the 'fianna', or rabble). After an initial attempt at open warfare the humans yielded, and the sidhe reluctantly allowed humanity to settle the small pockets of land that they didn't really want anyway. As such, a guerilla war between the two peoples has broken out, and the humans back on the other side of the sea are hesitant to send help to the original colonists. Travel between the pockets of human civilisation is dangerous, as monsters, fairy beasts and the sidhe will do harm to any human they find trespassing in their domain. As such, human settlements are isolated and ruled by those with the strength to enforce their laws.

Our protagonist is a young woman, in her early- to mid-twenties, who has been placed under a curse by an angry sidhe after letting her curiosity get the better of her and wandering into the faerie wood to see what it was like. She was caught, and cursed to wander eternally; a terrible fate will befall any place where she stays longer than three days. Forced to travel from place to place through a harsh and dangerous land, she is tough and self-reliant, but also lonely and eager for human contact.

Her companion is a fierce but socially awkward unicorn, of uncertain age but claiming to have been alive since before humanity came to Faerie. She was captured by humans and bound in magical chains stolen from the sidhe and, given the phenomenal strength and endurance of unicorns, was put to work as a pit pony. She was largely left alone to carry out her orders, and was bound with a highly unpleasant bit to prevent her from speaking. She has an entirely understandable dislike of humans.

The Pilgrim and the Unicorn met when the Pilgrim came to the mining town where the unicorn was kept. She began asking too many questions, showing a far greater interest in the unicorn than the townsfolk were comfortable with. They arrested her and tossed her in jail, ignoring her pleas to be released. After three days the curse kicked in; the terrible fate of the mining town was the unicorn's chains falling away, leaving her free to wreak havoc and exact her revenge. Having been bound by humans, and thus a non-person by the standards of Faerie, the Unicorn was unable to return to her home in the forest. With nowhere else to go she joined the Pilgrim in her wanderings, swearing an oath of loyalty to her upon realising that she was responsible (if indirectly) for the Unicorn's freedom.

The pair of them travel Tir Tairngire, never staying too long and never setting down roots. They provide each other with the company they won't find anywhere else. They are knights-errant of a sort, righting wrongs and helping people where they can. Due to their travels their villains are many and varied, but the only villain I'll be designing in the sidhe who found the Pilgrim out in the woods all those years ago.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Golgi Apparatus - Finished? Maybe?


And this is where I'm at with the Golgi apparatus. I'm tempted to leave it here, but I keep thinking 'not detailed enough, not detailed enough'. Opinions or advice, anyone?

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

For the Sake of an Update

Sorry I've been quiet. Here's where I'm at so far.

ATP, with stand-in colours and a bend deformer for animation.

Rough of the overall cell with nucleus and nucleolus.

DNA, with currently invisble split down the middle to separate into RNA.

Current progress of the endoplasmic reticulum.

Mitochondrion, also with bend deformer.

Ribosome, hopefully looking more like a ribosome than the ones in my animatic.

Vesicle, without deformers yet.

Golgi complex, which still hates me.


And the voiceover, kindly provided by Taff Girdlestone.

Also, apparently Golgi is pronounced the Italian way, what with Camillo Golgi being Italian and all. For some reason I had thought the discoverer was Hungarian.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Golgi Apparatus Model - Help?




So my modelling for the cell is almost complete, but I'm having a tonne of trouble getting the Golgi apparatus to look right. Above is what I've got so far, any suggestions on how to move forward/make a better model/interpret the diagram? Thanks muchly.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Monday, 18 March 2013

Pitch Presentation



Presentation Animatic


The final, mostly-timed animatic, complete with sound. The sound is not the final music that will be used in the animation, this is simply a placeholder to show my intentions for the soundscape.

Rather a Lot of Things

So, muggins here has been working in the dark again, even though she promised not to.

To begin with, here's my definitive influence map. I've been on a bit of a Daniel Danger kick lately, and it really shows in my lighting.


 Composition and colour thumbnails. Those last three were where I really hit my stride with the lights.

A little .gif testing how I might animate the glow effect, which I ultimately scrapped in favour of the light-fixed-to-camera idea.


A couple of paintings with which I got into arguments.



And some concept paintings of, from top to bottom, a centrosome containing two centrioles, a group of vesicles approaching a mitochondrion, and the nucleolus within the nucleus.


One script.


A rough, not-quite-finished storyboard that's finished enough for me to know what I'm doing.

And an utterly unfinished animatic; there's no sound, and it's almost completely un-timed. The fades are to indicate that the film will be made up of a single continuous shot, with no hard edits at all to suggest a continuing movement through the cell. The animatic will be complete by my pitch on Tuesday.

So there you have it. And only 15 minutes after Sunday ended, too.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Commission Thumbnails 1

 I have two minutes to make an audio-visual revision tool (try saying that ten times fast) on the structure of eukaryotic cells. I won't be going down the heavily stylistic route or the 'whee look how cool science is' route (science is already cool), instead I'll be making my animation for people with a degree of prior knowedge. This is due in no small part to the fact that I am a terrible teacher.


 Studies of cell components. There will be more of these in the future.

A very simple map of the cell. Nothing is labelled, but I know what everything means.

This is one possible 'route map' for the animation. Not this particular camera move, obviously, but the 'itinerary'; nucleus, nucleolus, smooth ER, rough ER, ribosome, Golgi complex, vesicle, mitochondrion, centriole, lysosome. This path roughly follows the movement of RNA and protein through the cell, with some license taken to fit everything in.

As I'm not going to be stylising the structure or anatomy of the cell, I have a different problem in creating visual interest. Therefore, I'll be focusing on my screencraft, particularly lighting. At this point I have two possible 'gimmicks' for my lighting, one being lighting inside the cell components themselves that switch on and off, and the other being a light locked to the camera to give the sense of an explorer carrying a torch, or a submarine and its light. I have no doubt more light setups will follow.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

CGAA ACT Speedpaint Challenge 01


All right, all right, so it's twenty minutes past midnight on day two. I'm nocturnal, don't judge me.

In other news, abstraction and I still don't get along. We had an agreement; I didn't like it, it didn't like me. We were considering a mutually beneficial restraining order until this came along.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Carcere III (finally) Underway


It may not look like much yet, but this is the framework for the final CG version of Piranesi's Carcere III. Naturally there's a whole lot more to be added, but for a day's work this isn't too bad. There would have been more if I hadn't realised that several of my calculations were wrong (including the central tower) and had to be redone, which was kind of a bummer until I decided 'stuff it' and eyeballed as much as I justifiably could. Still worried the tower might be too tall, though.


Also, look at this spiral. Look at it. That there is three hours of fiddly, painstaking work to get the messy-as-all-hell polygons of the original curve to behave themselves, so it gets a screenshot all its own.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Mathematism, part the First


And so it begins, my inevitable descent into uncontrollable OCD. I want to get this model as accurate as possible, so with a red pencil, a near-dead iPod as a calculator, and a pink tape measure more suited to the fashion lot upstairs, I set out to calculate as many of the values in this piece as possible. As you can see, I didn't get anywhere close.

However, I did make two critical discoveries; first, this etching actually has a vanishing point. The horizon is about 50 feet below the shot. Second, Piranesi is not using the 70 degree field of view of a human eye here; the camera angle is about 135 degrees. No wonder the perspective looks weird. Given the time these etchings were made (1760-ish) and the amount of knowledge about perspective that was available then, I suspect Piranesi's camera angle was a (mercifully consistent) mistake, rather than an artistic choice. It also explains why I was having such trouble reproducing the shot in Maya.

This will be continually updated overthe next few days as I nail down all the measurements. Watch this space for an exercise in dullness and pedantry.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Step Three: Ragequit

After four-odd weeks of fighting with the perspective of Carcere XIV, I decided 'stuff it' and moved onto the far more perspectivally legible Carcere III. Proportions of things aren't spot-on (especially not that bridge on the rigt of the shot), but  I actually understand what;s going on, which is an improvement. The main part of the scene is fully pre-vized, just need to figure out the back of the scene, figure out and then fix the measurements, finish the background of the scene and work out the camera and then I'll be ready to go into production.