Week 15 – Final Blog Entry

As a whole the final sequence works pretty well. It is easy to understand what is going on and what the intentions were at the start of the project. The plot is clear and the use of techniques is good. The character design looks better than initially expected. However there is room for improvement. For example if I was to do this project again I would make the character look less cartoon like and make it more look as if its part of the scene than as if it doesn’t belong. There would be more camera shots from more angles, which would make it look more professional. The acting and sound levels could also be improved which would make it look less amateur but for a first year project and the techniques and skills I’ve learnt this year, it is good outcome.

To create the final sequence we started off by thinking about what we would like do in terms of what sort of effects we want to use and learn more about. We all wanted to have an animated character incorporated into a live scene and we wanted to use the motion capture software as well. From there we decided on a story, which would be able to use both processes. Once we decided on the story we assigned roles, which was, research into the animation and special effects industry, research into the how it’s done and watched movies that include animation in live scenes. From there we gained inspiration on storyboarding and character designs. The tutorial lessons helped me allot to get my ideas out of my head and see what they would really look like and try out some effects and gain experience and ideas for the final sequence. After the storyboarding we looked at the location to see if it would be the correct locations to film and as we were restricted to the university campus we planed around the location. By doing this we were also able to think about what sort of shots we could take and what sort of motion capture data we would need. We managed to do all the planning and concept work first because it would help us plan ahead and get on with the practical side of the project. Once we had all the planning and research done, we started to get the motion capture data for the animated character and started to record the scenes. The motion capture was difficult and hard to understand. We spent a whole day’s session just getting use to he software, which then helped us in being able to get all the motion capture data in the second session. We kept going wrong in making the skeleton but once we figured that out it went smoothly. In pre production we put the shots together to see how they dwell together. This gave us a precise look into how the sequence would look and flow. After that we got the character rigged and watched tutorials on how to apply it into a live scene. We did tests and trials to see what it would look like and see if we had the correct materials to start to put it all together. By doing this we had a few problems like the rigged character wasn’t working properly, we could have done with more shots and some shots were a little blurry. However as we had planned to finish a week early we had some time to sort these problems. In the end we managed to achieve what we set out to do and came out with a good product.

I feel I have developed a lot over the duration of the year. In the foundation project, I didn’t really know what I was doing, the software’s were all new to me and making any sort of animation was a first for me which is why I found it hard to produce the stop motion animation. However after tutorials, group work and practice in using software’s such as 3dsmax and doing a lot of research my knowledge of the animation and special effects industry has increased and has inspired my work over the year. I’ve noticed a change in the way I think creatively as I am coming up with a lot of ideas which are outside the box and unique.  By looking at the progression project I can see I have come a long way in terms of not letting anything stop me from bringing my ideas to life. At the start of the year I didn’t think I would be able to incorporate an animated character into a live scene but the progression project has shown me I am able to. Over the year I’ve learnt the principles of animation, the basics of 3d animation, not only how to create an animation but how to create characters, objects and environments. I’ve developed my knowledge of video audio concepts and learned how to blue screen and add various filters to videos. My concept designs have become much better, accurate and I now have a greater understanding of perception and how to show this in my drawings. Human and animal anatomy has enabled me to draw accurate characters and has given me the base to create more conceptual drawings that would involve parts of both human and animal anatomy.

The way I worked is the same as the requirements in the animation and special effects industry. The way we set out the project for example, research followed by planning, followed by designs and concepts, followed by tests and trials followed by the final sequence were to a very high standard. My input in getting the character and storyboard right is important because without a appealing character and not having a good plan of how you want the sequence to look is vital to weather the audience will like it and watch it or not. It also gives the creators the chance to visualize how it would look. In saying that, without an interesting plot the sequence would be a failure. By doing research throughout the whole project instead of just at the beginning of the project influenced our intentions and bettered the final sequence. By doing this we was also able to see what had already been done and how the technology and skills had developed over the years. Motion capture is being used more and more today, not only in film but also in advertising and exhibitions. So to have some motion capture in the final sequence shows that we are planning of what the industry is expecting of us and what it’s growing into. The use of other techniques such as 3D animation, match moving, concept designs and simple things like research and editing, shows that we have not forgotten the basic principles that come together to make a successful animation and special effects sequence. By having a camera as a head instead of a human head shows the creativity and willingness to try something different and challenging than just doing something that is simple and safe just to meet ends. The year has developed my research skills as its helped me go more in depth and rich in research.

Overall I think the outcome of the final sequence is better than I imagined it to be at first. By learning the techniques, skills and knowledge of the industry’s has developed my understanding and had an input into the way I went about the project to make it a successful one. This would not have been achievable without the practice and guidance throughout the year by tutors and fellow students. I managed to use the software’s and equipment’s I wanted to and in doing so learnt a lot about how some scenes are done in the film and advertising industry. It gave me an insight to what is expected and need to be successful in the professional world of specials effects. By doing some camera tracking and match moving, I’ve been able to see what my future in the industry could and would be like.

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