I felt that in order to understand the posing of the rigs Alec gave us, I needed to grasp the different types of joints movements within Maya. I did a little research into the FK and IK rigs in Animation to try and understand how to use the rigs we were given to the best of my ability.
Forward Kinematics – you rotate each joint individually until you get the desired positioning. For example, to move a hand to some location, you must rotate several arm joints to reach the location.
Inverse Kinematics – An IK handle lets you pose and animate an entire joint chain by moving a single manipulator. As you pose the IK handle, it automatically rotates all the joints in the joint chain. For example, if you move a hand to a doorknob, the other joints in the arm rotate to accommodate the hand’s new positioning.
Posing a character
Below are a few different poses I created using the Jill and Jack rigs. I tried to use dynamic camera angles as well when rendering out the final pose so that I was thinking about the camera too throughout.
Creating the walk cycle in Maya has been extremely challenging as I am the kinda girl who likes to add a lot of key frames (a habit I’m trying to kick lol). I also stupidly attempted to do the entire walk cycle with no real reference to work from the first time around which was not a smart move! I quickly learnt that bringing into my work the walk cycle image (above) by Richard Williams helped enormously to gauge the correct poses for each part of the walk. The only thing I will say is that, I thought less about adding my own spin on the walk because I was so focused on getting it to look like a believable walk, never mind a slump style walk or particularly bouncy one!
I found out the hard way that the less key frames you add in the walk cycle, the smoother it appears. This is why I scrapped many first attempts and kept trying until it was a lot smoother than the original. Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go to get my body mechanics looking less jittery but it’s all a journey I suppose! I will be reattempting more walk cycle styles in the very near future to improve on the knowledge I have gained through this project.
Rendered Walk Cycle
The main thing I would definitely change is add more movement to the head and upper body movement to make the walk more believable but apart from that I’m happy with how it turned out overall.
I found this video online and just had to share it because it is so wonderfully done
For my body mechanics, I decided to attempt to create part of a made up ballet dance scene. I looked up different dance animations to get inspiration and see how they made their characters move with style and grace.
Both of these videos greatly inspired me by how natural and smooth the rigs movements appear. I definitely want to try my best to re create this in my own animation.
I pushed myself with this piece as I choreographed the animation in my head with little reference and tried to translate the dance through my character. Each step of the dance came from me dancing out the made up choreography in my room before trying to animate it so I could think through how the body would naturally move. Ballet dancers seem to move pose to pose with lots of flexibility mainly from their arms but still remain as straight and with good posture at all times.
I listened a lot to “Fly” by Ludovico Einaudi which inspired the tempo and staccato style movements of the ballerina.
Unfortunately it’s a bit floaty around the feet area but overall I’m happy with the final outcome!
Due to the fact we were creating a 3D boxing arena based on the real life event in Jake LaMotta’s career, “The Raging Bull”, we wanted to get the bull imagery in somewhere to emphasise visually who the whole room was based upon.
We thought about having a bull silhouette to come across the main stage/arena or a model of a bull to place somewhere in the room but eventually we settled on a poster idea to both point visually to Jake LaMotta’s nickname and re-create the realistic vintage feel of the era of the 1940s. I used photoshop CC 17 with lots of layers of the symbol of a bull overlapped and old textures to capture that worn, old feel of a 1940s style poster design.
I tried to maintain consistency in the design by relying solely on real life vintage posters from the 1940s to inspire my own. Below are the two main designs which caught my eye.
I noted that a lot of the 1940s boxing posters had a simple colour scheme and A LOT of writing! Their font types were fairly consistent but with lots of variation on size. I tried my best to apply these techniques to the one for our scene.
To create the poster, I started with a beige colour base and then added an old looking texture as a layer.
I then brought in the bull motif in black to make it stand out.
Using this image, I duplicated the layers several times and changed their colour to red to create a overlapping, faded look.
I then began adding layers of writing in a strong, fairly flat looking font type to match the 1940s style posters. I tried to add more and more details like the time and date of the event, the pricing of the seats etc. to make it seem all the more real.
Finally, I rotated some of the font to make it seem more like the natural mistakes of the printing press of the 1940s and layered more old textures of the whole piece to make it seem more aged.
I felt like this version was working well with the font type and the use of positive and negative space seemed balanced, however, overall it didn’t seem busy enough or aged enough to match the posters of the time period.
First Frames of Animation
Trying to decide where we would place the poster in the scene was another tough decision but we came to the conclusion that honing in on it somehow would be an interesting way of introducing the story to the audience in an easy fashion. In many ways, these first few frames set the tone and helped explain the story before we even enter the room.
I created this intro for our scene by placing the poster on a wall in our scene and lighting it with a spot light. I played around with the settings to try and make the light more foggy looking and slightly mysterious to match the mafia undertone in our scene.
Setting the camera to track the poster, I key framed it to follow through the black of the bull, almost as if the camera were disappearing into the wall. At the same time, I key framed the spot light to swing back and forth in an eerie fashion to highlight the poster in time with the moving camera. Below are some of the shots we rendered out for the final scene.
Overall, I’m happy with how it all turned out! I had a lot of fun creating the poster from scratch and using it to create an interesting introduction for our boxing aftermath scene.
Broken Vintage Spectacles
UV mapping process
UV mapping in this much depth since first year has been extremely challenging. This is just an example of the amount of UV mapping involved in a vintage briefcase model. The problems I faced were mainly having to make sure the uv map didn’t distort in cylindrical objects like the old cigarettes I had to model.
In creating these assets for our scene, I tried to model the objects based on pictures from the 1940s to keep it as true to the time period as possible. I felt like this was important to do in order to make the scene more believable and tangible for the viewer.
Wireframe version of our scene
Renders by David Pollock 😀
My render of a camera shot angle I thought could be used in our scene
David, Conor and I sat down together and tried to mind map all the different room ideas we could come up with:
- Boxing Arena (1940s-50s) / Pool table
- Old person’s living room
- D day Beach
- Holding Cells (which have been escaped)
- Strange/evil bakery
- A murderer’s house/detective office (room with clues to their evil character)
- Kung Fu master’s place of meditation and training
- Stage show/eerie magic show
- 1920s moonshining / Speakeasy (L.A. NOIRE inspo)
We then tried to mind map further the ideas we liked most but finally decided on the boxing room narrative:
A 1920s Speakeasy –
Murderer’s House/room –
- Play up the innocent/familiar version of a kitchen/study/child’s room
- But it’s not all what it seems
- Wanted posters/ knifes/ spider string maps (ideation map)/ guns/ poison bottles/ gloves/ body bag/trap door
- Music/sound effects could start off innocent then turn eerie
- Carpet on ground could be upturned showing a weapon or blood
- Camera could go past and back on something that looked innocent enough but is actually disturbing
- Lighting/colours could be used to reflect eerie theme
Boxing Arena –
- Time period could be old or new.
- Two fighters.
- Could be a scandal involved/cheating
- Old vs new boxers (end of an era)
- Possible accident/taken too far (the referee could be bad or a cheater)
- Props – Banners/flyers/newspapers
- Sound effects/music to explain story too – shouting/screaming/ whistles/ booing/ dollar bills
- Possible camera technique- newspaper/flyer flies towards camera to start story then it blows away to go towards stadium
- Animal vs man
Full ideation process with team on Google Docs found here:
In order to develop on the boxing idea, I decided to research boxing scandals of the past or anything that could act as an interesting narrative for our scene. We were all naturally drawn to a vintage feel for our aesthetic so I tried to look for interesting real life events in boxing from the eras between the 1930s and 1950s.
BOXING SCANDALS OF THE PAST:
During my research, I found that there were a lot of intriguing scandals revolving around boxing in the 1900s.
The particular article that caught my eye was a story on a boxer named Jake LaMotta, “The Raging Bull”, from the 1940s. I found out he had been involved in a fix for $20,000 to lose the match against another less famous boxer called Billy Fox and gain favour with the Mafia. My team and I agreed this could prove to be an extremely interesting basis for our narrative in the boxing arena room. It would give us something to work from, story wise, in our modelling.
So, deciding on exploring this narrative in our scene, we tried to think of how to tie in the Jake LaMotta story with a dark mafia twist. We researched individually the possible assets we could create to tell the story of the scandal of Jake LaMotta’s career in boxing.
Thinking of possible assets:
- Mafia fedoras
- Mafia guns
- Boxing gloves
- Boxing Ring
- Vintage Glasses
- Vintage Chairs
- Vintage Flash Cameras/ Video Cameras
- Vintage Briefcases
- Blood stains
- American Flags
- Dollar Bills