Saturday, 31 May 2008

I kinda like the idea with Captain Man on squares- there could be a sketch of him dancing and this reflection donig sometime else? Another idea could be someone needs to be saved/rescued and Captain Man and the Wrestler is battling it out for the victims support to be saved by them.

Thursday, 29 May 2008


This is also an idea for a scene- Captain hero walks onto some squares that light up when he steps on them so he starts dancing. :)


Ok Captain man is rigged. I had loads of problems as polys we're moving where they shouldn't, the outline appeared in the wrong places etc. I'll make a test like the others to check if it still works.


Urgh. I hoped there wouldn't be problems with this character but i've been running into problems with the skin weights tool. Every time I paint weights, the program 'forgets' what I painted and reverts back to the old bad weights meaning that when you rotate an arm parts of the chest rotate with it too!

Well, we're working against the clock so as a solution i've had to use the (urgh) 'reduce polygons' tool to simplify the model and extend the arms out and use the rigid skin tool. It worked quite well, and if anything adds definition to the model as there are more bumps around the model which can only be seen with the outline- so it looks like he's mroe muscular. It's hard to describe but it looks fine.

If all goes well I might be able to smooth him again to add back the definition and make it more like the drawings of him.

Production Schedule

We're keeping to our production schedule but so far we're 4 days behind. We need to keep working hard to meet our deadlines with good work. Other deadlines for other projects are looming putting more pressure on us to get good work done in time. We're closer to our production schedule than last week though so it's at least good knowing we're improving on our timing.

Wrestler Done

Wrestler is looking good. Animating him is a piss as hoped, so here's an image demonstrating how he looks when he's moved about- and one with another random background.

The wrestler is done now. However we had some problems with the texturing. As this character is unlike the other characters as the wrester has a lower polycount and hard edges, this created a problem for the highlighting of the characters textures as the highlights depends on how the polygons are facing the scenes light source. If the character side is totally flat then there won't be any variation- so it would be either light or dark - no inbetweens. We overcame the problem by adding some more polys around the character to make is look like there is some highlighted areas when really it's just a lighter textured part of the character. Other parts of the character had to changed from the drawing though to solve problems with the outline.

The outline tool is a random one as sometimes it works fine and othertimes it's annoying as it sometimes sees random verticies as border lines so you end up with random black lines on your character. After merging some polys and reducing details on the waist the problem was eventually sorted.


Here's a render of the final man. The character has been changed/improved a bit- he looks more awesome and has a cape :D. I put him against an old holiday photo I took to check that the character design still fits well against live-action backgrounds. Love the work we've done so far but we're running behind schedule! Looks like we'll be working into the night.
I think this animation is amazing.

This was made in 2004 (before Robots). So mabye the idea came from this?

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Production Schedule

We've been keeping to our production schedule. But we're running a bit late- this week should be focusing on animating but at the moment we're still rigging the characters and modeling. Not good! The animation part shouldn't be too difficult so I think (hope) we'll be alright.

Wrestler Model

James has been working on the wrestler model. So far we think it's looking good. This model has to have harder edges to keep it close to the original drawing. So far, feedback on this work from mates has been positive.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Wrestler model continued

Wrestler Model Start

I have started the model that is the wrestler charater I have tried to keep him as simple as possible to keep the square shape

Monday, 26 May 2008

Captain Man is about finished. A bit of tweaking needed but this is about how he should be looking.
Close final of the hand. A bit of fiddling with the fingers and polys, I moved around the fingers to how they are positioned on my own hand. I kinda like this model it's a very attractive hand (I wonder why).

More on the hand

The best thing about modeling a hand is that you don't have to flick between windows/screens to check how it looks as you can just lift up your own hand and look around it. The same can be said about every other part of the human body when modeling but the hand is the easiest to observe.

The Hand

Captain Man's hand as it is now. Even though this would be in 2D, the hands have to be modeled well. It's important to get the proportions right. Also, this could be difficult with the Toon shader as the toon shader likes to add crease lines where they should be. Getting rid of as verticies- without losing detail would reduce the chnace of this happening.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


I guess we can call this research as this program is made in Maya

Tweaking more

The skirt was hard to texture as it seems to stay grey no matter what I do. Got it sorted in the end though.


The egg with some extra details. It took me ages to work out how to create highlights and textures within the toon shader. The model has also had some Hardware Texturing defined allowing us to render an image of the character in under a second. The black outline on the character is looking how we intended now- a solid line that doesn't break and is smooth. Check out the cloth like material in the red arm stripes.

Camera problems

Ok, first major problem. The guys at Nick really liked the idea of the characters in a moving live-action video. Only problem is that we need a HD camera to match the HD renders of the characters. Also, Maya doesn't feature a great decoder so once a render is made with a background video, the quality of the background will decrease a bit, so we need to get our hands on the best source video we can.

We managed to rent a HD camera for a few days, with batteries and a tripod. We managed to connect successfully connect the camera to the laptop to allow us to record directly into Windows Movie Maker without any quality loss but the silly camera refused to enter record mode without a tape inserted into the camera rendering the camera useless to us as finding a DVCPRO tape proved to be harder than finding any meat in a MacDonald’s Mc’Chicken Sandwich (sorry I’ll end the jokes now). I mean we travelled miles to every electronics store in the area and most people acted like I’d just made up a tape format that doesn't exist. Some guy at Curry’s said "I just work here; I don't know what DV tapes are".

I found some tapes on some dodgy website for £20 which I'm not trusting so I asked my housemates who do Broadcast what they do- they said that they borrow tapes from their teacher.

Video Problems

Here's the first version of Captain Man ©. This man was used for the pitch for Nick with the promise that the final version would look more like the drawings, we're making a final version of him now. The script for this one is the character looking at the camera, blinking, scratching his face and farting. The animation was really a test to prove that we could make this animation and also to see if the idea had any charm to it.

Creating our animation involved box modeling; starting with a cube and creating points to add definition and shapes. Ideally we could have created the characters using the EP curve tool, but I didn't know how to convert them to polygons! Anyways, this seems fine as it'll add a bit more depth to them and help us keep away from a style becomming closer to South Park which is made in a similar way in Maya.

The background is a simple flat surface which can be fillled with a motion video. The characters are placed infront of the video and viewed from a side pane which makes the characters look 2D. I used my handy Mini-DV based camera for this which is limited by a resolution of around 520 lines. When you compare the capture on the left which uses a photo as a background with the one on the right using my video, you'll notice the big difference in quality. The characer can be rendered in a standard 720p HD resolution. However, my camera can't record video to match this standard so we need a HD camera from Uni.

Update on our progress

I've been a bastard letting James post our work onto our blog alone, and then I remembered that we're a team so I should at least put something on our blog. So here's my first post. Go team retard!

Works has been going well so far. Overall Nick was happy with our pitch. They even asked to keep a copy of the DVD of our work- probably to steal our ideas and make a cartoon series about them I bet/hope :(

Anyways, they said to go back to the drawing board and think about the characters some more. The characters designs are great (thanks go to James!) but they are lacking story and character, they suggested that each character should have his/her own motives and should all be related to each other more closely.

Isn't this meant to be a 10 second advert filler? How much story can you fit into that? How can you explain character personalities and motives in such a short time? What’s wrong with a pointless fart joke? These are all questions we kept to ourselves at the time of pitching as it looks like we need to re-examine our characters and storyboards to make something tailored to what they want.

They suggested some ideas such as the superman being a complete failure at his job due to his tiny size and how the characters could all be living together in a living room. They loved the combination of live-action and 2D/almost 3D animation.

Monday, 19 May 2008

360 of Sparks the Robot

A 360 move clip of sparks the robot model

Sparks the Robot Modeling contiued

I think I have found the right colours for him and I have also added the hat and pupils and I tink it is a pretty good start

Sparks the Robot Modeling Start

This is the start of the robot I will continue to find the right colour blue because I dont think is is the right one and it has been textured in toon shader

Bert Bannana Model 360 turn

A 360 turn of bert Model

Bert Bannana Modeling Continued

I have textured Bert in the toon shader opition in maya I have also added an eye brow and pupils

Bert Bannana Modeling continued

I have smoothed the model and finnished the mouth I have also made eye sockets and created eyes

Bert Bannana Modeling Start

This is just the start of the bannana called Bert I have got the basic shape down of the block out, The start of the mouth limbs feet and hands