After passing the commercial project from my last trimester, I’ve been given a new project with my new team to shoot a film and add visual effects or CGI.
My team and I discussed with one another and brainstorm ideas of what the story of our film should be about. I came up with an idea that tells a story about a young man spending his quality or lovely time with his wife. Everything was going fine and romantic until his wife starts to disintegrate. Everything around the young man is erasing itself including himself. The young man wakes up only to realize that it was all just a virtual reality simulation. I made a storyboard on how I imagine the story will go.
In the first panel, the story shows the wife just looking over her laptop (perhaps even a virtual device. Next, a little robot servant approaches towards the wife and surprises her with a tray of a delicious meal. The robot gives the meal to her and the wife looks at her husband, leaning on the wall while holding out two drinks. The husband walks towards her wife and sits next to her on the couch. The husband tells her happy anniversary and gives her one of the drinks. The couple then interacts with each other. After the husband drinks, the wife starts to disintegrate along with everything else around them. After the wife disintegrates, the husband starts to fade as well and finally wakes up and finds himself sitting along on a strange chair in an empty room.
We came up with concepts on what visual effects to provide in the story. Here are the concepts of what I made
This is my design of the helmet. The helmet covers most of his head while the area in his eyes is visually holographic.
This is the design that I came up with for the robot. The robot is small and is capable of hovering around. Its face is a screen that changes its expressions digitally.
Next week, my team and I will be looking on the final changes of our project.
Few days ago, I was working on the post -production of compiling the clips and the rendered scenes with the sound effects into a video. The day after that, it was finally the day of showcase. I came as soon as I can to the showcase and helped prepared the video before people come into our campus. The video was not ready yet while I was preparing it. I showed the video to my lecturers the work I made so far, and they suggested that I should extend the standoff frame from the beginning till the middle of Toro stopping from his leap. They also suggested that I change the color contrast of the standoff scene to show that the characters are being filmed and to help give off a cinematic vibe. The color contrast was mostly changed on the red and blue contrast. Here is what my first edit was looked like:
And this is the edit that my lecturer helped made:
As soon as we were done preparing the video, the behind the scenes video, and our marketing, people came in one by one and checked other projects made by animation students. When one person came to our table and checked our video, the person loved how the animation was well done. The person even claimed that my animation was better than the ones others made. One by one, people came to our table, watched our video, and gave feedbacks. Aside from our animations, the only things that needed work was to add visual effects such as the sand dust and some audio that needed improvement. Here are the feedbacks made by the audience:
Overall, everyone enjoyed the humor, the animation, and the story behind it. It made me a bit more confident about my animation skills and I hope to improve more in the future.
Here is the video of our commercial that we showcased:
Last week, I finishing animating the rest of the scenes and got to lighting, camera placement, and rendering. After the renders were done, I took the responsibility of doing post production by compiling video clips and editing the scenes.
I first start off by compiling the video according to the animatic that I’ve made, and edited scenes that should’ve ended longer. For example, I have imported one frame from the rendered sequence and add it next to the clip to make the end of a clip a bit longer.
I also imported ambient occlusions on most scenes and placed them on top of the clips to make the shadows more revealing and immersive. I adjusted the ambient occlusions by adjusting their brightness and contrast. Next, I adjusted the curves to find a perfect balance of the ambient occlusions’ shadows and their brightness. Then I applied the hue and saturation adjustment and moved the master hue to zero.
After arranging and editing the ambient occlusions, I added a solid layer to create a frame that decreases the ratio but sets up a scene of a standoff between the Bull and the matador.
After testing out the frame ratio, I moved on to importing sound effects and music done by the audio students as collaboration. I carefully placed the sound effects on the top of the list, so that I can be able to organize properly and time it as best as possible to match the scene. I also recorded myself to provide a punchline and a shout because there was no audio available for that and I was not able to ask for help from the audio students on time. There are some missing scenes that were not ready yet due to rendering problem and there was a lot some sound effects that were not placed yet. Hopefully for the next day, I will get the missing scene soon and reveal the finalized commercial.
Last week, I worked on several animation such as the last scene from the commercial. For the past week, I also worked on other animations such as the middle scene and the standoff scene. In this blog, I will explain how I animated the characters having a standoff with each other.
I first animated Toro by adjusting his poses on certain frames. I made Toro pose like every other animal and animated him with a ferocious action or taunt. I animated him by tilting and moving the pelvis. I also moved and tilted Toro’s chest along with the head. I made the hands of Toro stay on the ground by applying the IK constraint. So that way, the hand will not move whenever the chest moves. I tilt the head in different directions whenever the chest moves as well. For example, when the chest moves down, the head is tilted upward just to follow the follow-through principle. So, when the chest moves up, the head is tilted down and when the chest stops and rests, the head is still tilted down and then tilts up after a certain number of frames. After that, the head moves a bit and stops to rest. It almost gives off a little bounce effect. After that, I moved Toro’s hand to smack the ground in a circular path or arc. After the hand along with the arm, I also adjusted the shoulder along with the chest. However, the movement of the chest and shoulders have to be a few frames apart from each other. When the chest moves, the shoulder follows after.
I applied the anticipation principle to Toro because since the story of the commercial starts with the matador having a standoff with the bull, I wanted the Bull to sprint and charge towards the matador. But in order to bring about that action, I needed to adjust Toro’s pose and make the audience anticipate that Toro is going to charge. I carefully position the bull by moving his hind legs close together. The pelvis moves front as the chest puff up which helps create a curved back. Toro then move back with his pelvis and lowers his chest close to the ground. Toro moves his right hind leg forward and gives himself a push to leap. I then adjusted a pose and made a slow animation as Toro leaps. When Toro tries to come to a stop, I applied the ease-in, ease-out principle which states that certain actions builds up to accelerate or slow down. So, when Toro tries to stop, he slowly decelerates until he finally comes to a final halt.
Here is what the rest of the animation looks like:
A week ago, I mentioned about animating the advertisement scene where the bull places the hot sauce bottle on the table in front of the camera. I started animating other scenes such as the matador’s standoff with Toro and the last scene where Toro and the matador are eating chips together as buddies. I focused mostly on the last scene because my teammate already started working on it. It was my job to refine the animation.
First, I used link constraint at a certain frame for the matador to hold the bowl, and for both the characters to grab one chip. When both the characters place the chip in their mouth, I link the chips to the world, so that they will not follow when the hand moves. After linking the chip to the world, I animate the chip to enter their mouth and link the chip to the head so that the chip will stay hidden inside.
Every time I move the hand, I animate it to move in an arced curve because not all movements are always straight. The arc is one of the 12 principles of animation that states that a lot of characters move in a circular path. Next, I added a follow-through in certain animations such as the hand movement and tilted it whenever the hand moves in certain directions.
I also applied a follow-through from the pelvis bone to the chest and to the shoulders whenever Toro moves such as the part when he picks up one chip. The reason why Toro is animated from those bones is because since Toro is a big, wide animal standing next to the small matador, he had to move in a way that he barely struggle picking up a chip while trying to avoid hitting the matador. I also animated those bones when Toro starts laughing. Just as the pelvis moves up and down along with the chest, so do the shoulders move. The shoulders should at least move in a follow-through or move after the chest movement.
Here is the what the rest of the animation looks like:
Last week, I worked on applying face morphs for both the characters of the commercial. The past week, I started animating the bull, Toro, in few of his scenes. I first started animating the advertisement scene where Toro places the hot sauce product, Fuego Del Toro, on the table. I first start by merging Toro from the other files that one of my teammates prepared and placed him next to the table with the hot sauce bottle.
First, I positioned the bottle on Toro’s hand. Next, I adjusted Toro’s fingers to show that he is holding the bottle. Before I went any further, I created a circle shape and aligned it to the bottle to act as a link constraint. The link constraint allows me to link the bottle to Toro’s hand for a certain number of frames. So, whenever Toro moves his hand, the bottle follows. The constraint can also let me link the bottle to the world which will make the bottle not be linked to anything. That is when Toro lets go of the bottle and leaves it at the table. I positioned and animated the hand to raise the bottle and gently place the bottle on the table in front of the camera.
I followed one of the 12 principles of animation called overlapping or follow-through. The follow-through is a principle or a technique that tells about how any movement or action gives off a realistic impression. It helps follow the laws of physic or inertia.
I used the overlapping principle for the hand whenever I move it. For example, when I animate the hand to move or fall down, the hand will be tilted up, and when the hand reaches a stop, the hand is still tilted up until the hand tilts down after a certain number of frames.
I also added secondary animation to Toro’s hand when he places the bottle on the table by moving his hand and his fingers down to give an organic result. Secondary actions are small gestures that support the main action and adds more dimension to the animation.
I also animated Toro’s hand to move the bottle and tilt it just to make the actions playful.
Here is what it looks like:
The past week, I only worked on applying face morphs for the matador. This week, I worked on applying face morphs for the bull, Toro. With the same method, I clone the body and hid everything except the face.
I used soft selection to change the structure of Toro’s face according to the facial expressions’ topology. I made the first expression with his eyes closed, so that when I animate, the bull can blink. I also made the bottom eyelid move up a bit along with the cheek so that it creates a stretch effect.
Next, I moved or stretched up the eyebrow areas to give off a raised eyebrow or a shock look.
Unlike the human face, the ends of the bull’s lip are not tilted. I made the angry expression by moving the top part of the end up and curved. I moved the end of the lips down, so on the side of the lips, there is a curve that shows a rise and fall shape. After adjusting the lips, I also moved the eyebrow areas down and pulled it to give off a squish effect. Between the eyebrow areas, I also changed the topology of that area to have a down, curved flow. I also pulled the area because just as the eyebrow areas bulge out, the area between them result with the same effect.
When making a pout expression, I pulled each ends of the lip and tilted it one side and another. I move the ends of the lip closer to each other to make the lips thin and small. Also, when Toro makes a pout expression, the front of his lips bulges out. I moved the top, front area of his lips up and pulled it. I also vertically tilted the lips a bit to make it have a curved shape. I also applied the same step towards the bottom part of the lip by moving it down, pulling it, and tilting it down. Here is what Toro’s expressions look like: