I modelled and applied Lambert and blinn based colours to my box of chocolates for our room but decided I wanted to try and take the texturing to another level;
So I brought it into Substance Painter:
There were some issues in the mesh after baking that I want to avoid in the future. Not quite sure how they happened but making sure my initial mesh is completely error free is a real goal of mine in my design process.
Substance Painter is a software I would really love to become more proficient in as I really enjoy it and it makes your assets look SO MUCH BETTER.
People I have talked to in class told me it reminds them a lot of photoshop, in terms of the different layers and masks. In terms of my design process, it was trial and error; seeing what looked good and what didn’t. It was really fun to explore all the different possibilities of how you could make a texture look, depending on what levels you chose for the base colour, metallic, roughness etc.
I ended up using a lot of metal based materials in this because they gave that glossy feel I really wanted to get across in the image (AKA there’s no flipping way anyone could dig their teeth into this chocolate box haha).
Fun fact: I used the renderer found in Substance Painter to render out these images below!
I decided I would also really love to substance paint the daisies I had created also. I think the flowers, overall, work better in regular Maya Lambert materials but it was really good to test what the daisies could look like with more painting details.
Unfortunately due to the way I had UV mapped the flowers and everything individually, the painting process was quite difficult! Most of the places I painted wanted to run into the other which made it quite difficult. However, I am quite pleased with the final result and I’ve learnt a lot from the experience! I can’t wait to try more!
Over the course of the past year of my studies in Animation, I have come to realise I am very passionate about the overlap of live action and 3D animation. For this particular personal project, I decided to look into an area of film which I’m really interested in; combining my love of photography and photo editing to research colour grading.
I haven’t had my own camera to shoot on until only two months ago, so the jump from using my iPhone SE to a Nikon D6O camera with standard lens has been an interesting one. Although I would love better equipment, I think having a camera which takes more effort to get a good shot on has taught me a lot about how to use the Manual settings in a camera to the best of my ability which in turn, has made my shots more dynamic.
I don’t have a video feature on my camera so I’ve had to stick to taking still shots but this hasn’t restricted me too much as I am deeply inspired by an artist who captures images in a cinematic way called Gregory Crewdson.
“The cinematic photographer uses actors, large-scale sets and locations to present and preserve single still images in much the same way as a film crew shooting a scene.”
“My pictures are about a search for a moment – perfect moment. To me the most powerful moment in the whole process is when everything comes together and there is that perfect, beautiful, still moment. And for that instant, my life makes sense.” – Gregory Crewdson
This style of photography inspires me deeply as it is creating a short snapshot moment whether organic or engineered, and creating a piece of interesting “almost” cinema.
I also found a lot of inspiration from a lot of different sources but this website in particular is great as it contains a lot of shots by famous cinematographers in film: http://framefilter.blogspot.co.uk
Further websites that inspired my research:
One film maker in particular who has always inspired my work is the incredible Wes Anderson and his main cinematographer – Robert Yeoman. The video below is a compilation of lots of shots with different colour grading. These different palettes have deeply inspired my work and the overall approach to my photo capturing process.
I decided to research a number of videos online to gain more understanding of how to make the most out of my photography in the colour grading process. This video below helped so much to explore a simple yet highly effective way of colour grading in Photoshop. Through trial and error I’ve come to realise I tend to not restrict my colour grading to just one programme but work between Photoshop and Lightroom.
I took this shot in the Cathedral Quarter area of Belfast and decided due to the natural contrasts in lighting it would be quite effective for creating a cinematic colour graded still.
Before I even take a photo into an editing programme, I try my best to shoot (manually) the best image I can possible. The only part that definitely requires editing is the overall exposure levels but that is because I shoot on a very low ISO level (around 200/400) and RAW. This means that I have a better capability of adjusting the image afterwards.
So, for certain shots like the one below, the image required the least amount of photo editing as I was happy with the overall look of the shot when I took it. The only adjustments I really made was the colour grading (I made it much more sinister with a subtle red hue coming through). I also really liked how the light was falling in this image so I only really adjusted the foreground lighting where the wire was subtly coming towards the camera. I liked how it drew the viewer’s eye into the darkness so I selected that part of the image in Lightroom with the Radial Filter and Adjustment Brush options to bring up the exposure levels and increased the highlights.
For this shot below, I loved capturing that split moment of the light catching on the metal pole in the houses across from where I lived. The sun was setting and it felt like the perfect moment. I took a second to frame it as well as I could.
This shot reminded me of a scene from Rear Window (1954) for some strange reason! Maybe it was because I felt slightly intrusive taking a picture of my neighbours’ housing haha. The moment was too perfect to pass on; sorry neighbours! In the colour grading process, I decided to go with a mainly warm colour palette. I added a slight fade effect overall and the black bars effect with the movie aspect ratio 16:9.
Another colour grading test:
I decided to go for a cool toned and increased blacks picture to create a slightly sinister feel to the overall photograph still.
To further my research, I decided to try and combine my photography with some animation techniques by looking into Parallax photos. I thought it would be interesting to combine my colour grading process with creating moving images.
This video was great for explaining a simple technique for creating a Parallax. I’ve picked up so many handy tricks for using new features in Photoshop like the “Timeline” option which made this whole effect possible.
These are by no means cinematic but simple tests for this effect.
This first test was not the best simply because there wasn’t a strong enough contrast between the foreground and background image. It also felt like the timing of the two images getting bigger and smaller wasn’t working quite right. However, it was a good practice for learning something new.
This time I tried again but with an image I shot which I believed would suit this style of effect much better. Overall, I think this image lent itself to this technique much better due to the very clear distinctions between the foreground and background images. It also helped that the main focal point (left part of the image) was a lot closer to the camera that the rest of the image. It made it much more cinematic feeling.
Overall, this personal project I developed in my own time on top of the rest of my work has been incredibly rewarding. At first I thought this type of photo editing was too far removed from my degree but I quickly realised due to its strong links to film it wasn’t. It’s been so good to explore a part of my creativity that I haven’t been able to before.
I have really enjoyed getting to use software such as Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. The entire editing process has been so much fun. Being a part of the journey from taking a still image to editing it in a programme is probably one of my favourite past times now!
I was assigned the very last section of the frames for our animation of Daisy. This scene was to be her just talking to the camera and asking at the end the famous words, “what matters to you?” to the audience.
Before I started animating her, I tried to look at famous animated child characters for visual inspiration and a better clarity of how a child might act in front of the camera! I focused in particular on Agnes from Despicable me (2010) as I felt she was the closest to how I pictured Daisy acting.
Here is my first test of animating Daisy for the end part of our animation. I had problems with the sound but it did allow me to think more deeply about how she would move after a change in her pitch (I had the animatic playing in the background for sound help). I also turned her texture off just so it didn’t distract me from the key movements I wanted to hone in on while animating her.
This was a fun time to explore fully the rig which Glenn had made for Daisy. I tried to make as much use of the small gestures like blinking, tail wags and ear twitches as possible to bring her to life.
For this final edit, I started the animation from scratch again and tried to add a few more subtle movements. After looking at video references of how real life kids act and getting into that mindset when acting out potential movements, I felt I captured to the best of my ability, the way in which children are never fully still.
In my first attempt, the core of her body was too still which didn’t reflect the spontaneous nature of a child. Therefore, in order to rectify this, I added quite a lot of movements in her upper body.
I applied spline to most of the tangents in this animation then tried to work from there, but sometimes I felt it went a bit too “floaty”, mainly towards the end. If I were to go back and change anything, I would add a few more defined movements with her arms.
I added a walk to the beginning of the scene so she’d walk on screen then face the camera. Using a walk reference photo, I tried to base the key movements on this to make the walk cycle a bit more realistic.
The final version of her animation in this scene:
I also spent A LOT (emphasis on a lot lol) on trying to animate the cape for our montage scene in the animation. We went through every option possible to make the cape move with Daisy in a realistic way but NCloth was not working for us which caused a lot of inconvenience. I tried creating blend shapes which didn’t work, we tried rigging the cape and that didn’t work either. We went back and forth on methods, then just decided to animate the cape by manipulating the cape with the soft selection tool and lifting the vertices. What also caused problems was the cape kept going back into Daisy’s mesh so I had to keyframe her head movements differently from the original piece of animation to make sure there were no deformations in the mesh.
You can see a more finalised version of the cape movements animated in this animatic:
During the ideation process of designing Daisy and Bruce, Lauren had started to draw out some possible side character ideas for our animation. This inspired me to create my own.
I had been looking at other painting software online to try out something other than Adobe Photoshop for a change and found Krita. Painting digitally has always been daunting for me as I come from a much more traditional background so I found I really liked the simple interface of Krita. It made my drawing a lot more organic and real feeling; much more like painting on a real life piece of paper or canvas.
I tried to keep to the barnyard animals we had mind mapped together as a team and designed characters based on them.
For my first design I wanted to paint a shetland sheepdog character and was very inspired by these paintings I found on Pinterest:
This is a very stylized painting of a shetland sheepdog I created in Krita. I tried to keep a somewhat realistic colour palette but make the colours slightly warmer toned.
After designing the sheepdog, I decided to sketch out some more concept designs in Photoshop in greyscale:
This is a Fox Doctor character who I decided to exaggerate his long skinny limbs for dramatic effect. I added a doctor’s coat and glasses to give him a more humanoid feel. I felt naturally drawn towards an illustration style in these designs.
Inspiration behind the image:
Then I created a female Llama nurse character who I tried to make as appealing as possible. I tried adding small details like the stethoscope and nurse hat to make her role in the hospital more obvious.
Inspiration behind the image:
Lastly, I designed another character who looks like more of a administrative style character in the hospital. I think he naturally fell into this kind of design as he is an owl who is renowned for representing wisdom in our culture. I added glasses and a bow tie for a quirky touch to make him more appealing. I also added him holding a clipboard to allude to his kind of role in the hospital.
Inspiration for my owl character design:
Later, we decided it would be cool to have these character designs as portraits of the workers in the hospital! So, I gave them colour and they have been used in our final animation.