Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Applications at the Speed of Light

It's been a little challenging updating this blog on a regular basis! A lot of things have been happening in the last few weeks!

Last week in particular was especially busy. Electronic Arts opened up an animation internship for the Fall that was previously only available for the Summer. It's been quite the venture trying to get together a demo reel to showcase everything I wanted to show them. Normally, my process is just to shove everything I can (that I still like) into a portfolio and call it a day. For both of my reels, I've been adhering to Jonathan's advice to begin and end with some of your strongest works. My primary goal was to show that I can conduct a Motion Capture session, clean the data, integrate that data into Motion Builder, and clean the animations before I finally bring them into engine. Motion Capture is becoming more and more of a passion of mine and something that I wish to keep exploring during my time at FIEA. In the Summer semester, I'll definitely be trying to do some more MoCap projects! In any case, here's the final demo reel that's being sent off to EA:

Fortunately, I was able to get some feedback from Jonathan about my reel and apply that just in time for the final version. It was definitely an awesome way to get a lot of animations for Ley Lines almost completed while simultaneously learning more about the entire application process for an artist. Another good thing about this whole process was that it enabled me to speed up tremendously with Motionbuilder! That, in itself, is pretty darn neat. I think that I'm finally beginning to overcome this gigantic learning curve to the whole program.

I was able to whip together a video that gives you guys a peek into the MoCap process! We had some brief snippets of our Project Lead Matt whacking our actress Taylor with a plastic sword to simulate being hit in-game by Shellek. It's pretty nifty! The data's been coming out pretty well. 

There's some other animations I've been working on lately! For instance, there was a pendulum animation, we're currently working on some dialogue, and I'm still doing Vala's animations! This week, I also hope to get more into rigging. Stay tuned for my posts all about that. ♥

As for other things? In Common Core Art, I've mostly been working on storyboarding. I personally want to get some more experience with that. As animators, we need to know how to set the scene and make dynamic poses. Fortunately, I've had the joy of getting to work with some other artists in this venture!

So. Storyboards. I did 1/3 of the ones you see above! I got to work with Ashley and Alex on these for our original cinematic pitch. This narrative was going to display Vala's final struggle with the Grand Centipede  with her, of course, reigning victorious over this creature. In this iteration, however, her fate is left ambiguous and up to interpretation for the viewer.

But then a restructuring to the entire narrative process happened - which turned out to be for the better! Now, we're changing up what exactly we're going to do so everyone a part of our team will be able to focus on their specialized interests, along with any skills they hope to develop along the way.  I, myself, will have the opportunity to learn rigging from our awesome team of Technical Artists (and maybe the faculty along the way :B). One of my goals leaving FIEA is to graduate as a "technical animator". I've learned how to set-up and handle a Motion Capture shoot, operate Vicon Blade, edit in Motion Builder, and how to integrate my animations in Unreal and Unity (along with learning the many, many pitfalls that could happen along the way ...). What's primarily left for me is to learn rigging far more intimately! I'm looking forward to this happening in the coming weeks. ♥

I got to work with Ashley and Samantha on the roughed out storyboard for the new sequence! We currently have everything almost mapped out like it should be. As we speak, Ashley and Katie are working together and utilizing some of the feedback we received from Ryo today to make these boards more readable and include some of the "beats" we were missing. Our character artists have brought in their concepts for their creatures too, and we have taken scale into consideration. For the next set of storyboards (moving on to the animatic phase), we will be able to make something far more refined and capture every beat we're hoping to! All the while, we're hoping to showcase every artists' hard work for the end project. With how this set currently stands? We're aiming for a length around 30 seconds.

Stay tuned for other updates on animations & game lab!

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