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AnimationAction?

ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
edited January 2015 in Work in Progress #1
This is my first serious attempt at animation: The brief is my youngest needs a film clip which has never been set to music for part of his Music Degree, he has to dub it with his own music and include sampling techniques. Most of the students are going for silent films but we hit on the idea of making our own and using an existing program to give us a good sample base for themes and sound effects.

The original idea was Stingray, but the under water scenes proved too complex for my setup to render. So we switched to UFO, still Gerry Anderson, although we still have water as a component the scenes can be darker and simpler. I have until Christmas, I will be interspersing short animation clips with talking heads, courtesy of his student buddies.

Here is the mother ship of Skydiver on the blocks....
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Post edited by Zanussi on
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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    And with more flesh on it.

    I have some sample clips but will have to figure out some way to host them as they are too big to upload.
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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    They're Heeeeeere!
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  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    a tip for you, get "your youngest" to do some of the cgi work himself. that way he can claim, atleast partly, that he made the cgi video. you would not believe how much this impresses lecturers, during my degree i had to submit a report on something so i created some , very simple, cgi illustrations to go with it. all i did was model the necessary thing, slap on a tiled texture and take some screenshots(sketchup cannot do animation or true rendering) in sketchup with it's primitive shadow effect turned on. when i received feedback the professor marking it said they were amazed by the graphics i had included, no doubt the illustrations contributed to the 95% mark i received. basic cgi is fairly easy but a high enough proportion of the population think it very hard that it is seen as a sign of significant skill.
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    a tip for you, get "your youngest" to do some of the cgi work himself. that way he can claim, atleast partly, that he made the cgi video. you would not believe how much this impresses lecturers, during my degree i had to submit a report on something so i created some , very simple, cgi illustrations to go with it. all i did was model the necessary thing, slap on a tiled texture and take some screenshots(sketchup cannot do animation or true rendering) in sketchup with it's primitive shadow effect turned on. when i received feedback the professor marking it said they were amazed by the graphics i had included, no doubt the illustrations contributed to the 95% mark i received. basic cgi is fairly easy but a high enough proportion of the population think it very hard that it is seen as a sign of significant skill.

    He has a special dispensation on any visual work, but thanks for the suggestion.
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    A forced absence, but I lived through it (just). Time to get back on the digital horse, here is the basic Skydiver model ready to combat the aliens...


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  • DaemoriaDaemoria171 Posts: 0Member
    Interesting design of the space submarine(?) but your presentation can use a lot of work if you intend to get critiques.

    Throwing the model in front of a brightly lit contrasting background does two things. It makes artifacts on the edges of your mesh when downsampled for the internet, and is at the same time very, very distracting.

    Consider how you light it as well. A simple 3 point light rig is a very quick way to display the curves and panel designs on shapes like this. Actual 3 point light set-ups are considered standard in photography for this very reason. There should be plenty of tutorials on this set-up in max just a google search away.

    Your material work on the vessel is very flat, and needs a good specular component in order to make it appear dimensional.

    I hope I didn't come off too rude, this looks like a very interesting design, but the presentation hurts it currently.
  • TralfazTralfaz405 Posts: 846Member
    A space submarine!!???? What!!???

    Just kidding. Skydiver is part of S.H.A.D.O's UFO monitoring network. It is a submarine in that it travels under water, but the front part that looks like a fighter jet, is just that. Skydiver would rotate in an upward angle and then the 'jet' part would disconnect from the sub and launch into the air. Derek Meddings, IMHO, was a true genius when it came to designs, models and special effects.

    Wait a minute. I might be showing my age again. UFO was shown in the late 70's I believe. So, if you were born after 1980, chances are you may never of heard of it. This show was before Space 1999 and had its own moonbase.
  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    the model looks rather nice, and it appears to have enough physical detail for anything except closeups on parts of the hull. it needs some texturing now, plain grey is not showing off the details i can spot. and though i'd neverthought of it before daemoria is very right about it being a bad idea to show the model against a background brighter than itself, i would suggest putting it against a grey fading background (light grey at horizon going to black at the top and bottom of the image) but give it some colour first.
  • StarriggerStarrigger272 Posts: 647Member
    Tralfaz wrote: »
    A space submarine!!???? What!!???

    Just kidding. Skydiver is part of S.H.A.D.O's UFO monitoring network. It is a submarine in that it travels under water, but the front part that looks like a fighter jet, is just that. Skydiver would rotate in an upward angle and then the 'jet' part would disconnect from the sub and launch into the air. Derek Meddings, IMHO, was a true genius when it came to designs, models and special effects.

    Wait a minute. I might be showing my age again. UFO was shown in the late 70's I believe. So, if you were born after 1980, chances are you may never of heard of it. This show was before Space 1999 and had its own moonbase.

    It was actually early 70s but if your as old as I am what does a few years matter?

    here is a link to additional info that includes links to HULU viewing if you would like to see any of the episodes:

    http://epguides.com/UFO/
    Come on over to my place CGI Worlds
  • TralfazTralfaz405 Posts: 846Member
    Starrigger wrote: »
    It was actually early 70s but if your as old as I am what does a few years matter?

    Ask me again in 20 years when I am 78! :D

    Ahh damn! Now I am depressed...
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    Bit quick to judge there guys, this is a "Work in Progress" thread, mainly cos I know I need guidance. Here is the first skin job, I am not totally happy with it but it will do will I rough out the animation.

    I agree it is impractical, of course it is, an aircraft on the nose of a sub? the conflicting requirements of air and water dynamics would be a nightmare. BUT, it has been done, submarines have carried aircraft, some U-Boats deployed gyro-coptors and the French, British and Japanese Navies all built submarines with hangers for aircraft, but the big hanger doors proved a massive Achilles heel.

    I don't know the dates but I would guess Skydiver came to drawing board about the time that ballistic missiles started appearing on submarines, I suppose a manned jet was not that big a jump for the UFO writers.

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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    See if this works, the spinning is a bit out of control but it is the first rush and done from a hospital bed with a dozen tubes and things stuck in me ;)
  • SanderleeSanderlee1 Posts: 0Member
    That's actually only a little faster than they're depicted as spinning in some episodes. It's not distractingly high.

    I'm a big fan of the show and, so far, you're doing it justice. Keep it up.
  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    the camouflage looks a bit wrong, first why is a submarine using a "pine forest" scheme, second the edges are a bit too hard(have them fade between colours rather than a solid line. actually having camouflage on a sub makes very little sense anyway, put some on the jet if needed but give the sub the usual black/grey coat of paint(that would also improve the look of the model as the lines would no longer be so broken up).
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    The photos in the UFO annual show a mottled pattern of greens and greys, which was also used by some American units in WWII, particularly those operating around island chains, it does need more work though, I lost track of all the mixer channels somewhere.

    Here I have dropped Skydiver into a test tank to work out a wake, I will add waves next.

    [video=youtube_share;-OVdyCOEp4A]

    Technical stuff: the surface of the water is a mesh with a Flex modifier, I have attached a UDeflector to the ship to push the water away, unfortunately that sent the render time ballistic so I shadowed (he he, get it?) a simpler model of the ship to push the particles around and hid it. The U type Deflector has the advantage of using the shape of the object so I could tune the shape to get a nice ripple effect down the side of the hull. A very useful tip is to use a POINT CACHE modifier, that was way cool as it allowed me to get the wave effects working in real time, no need to render the whole scene after every little change.

    Next to ponder is some spray, I am thinking some sort of particle fountain for that.
  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    video is a bit low res but a cool effect. i don't understand all the particle methods you are using to create the ripples and wake but i would warn you that if they are highly physically accurate simulations this may slow down render times a lot.it might be faster for rendering if you did simple effects with just a moving bump map texture against a cone shaped mesh hanging from behind the sub.
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    You are not kidding, my poor old Pentium 4 dual core is starting to run red hot! I will use bitmap backgrounds and such, setting the scenes at night help there, but I also want some "beauty" shots (got that phrase from a specialist effect guy on TNG)

    Adding waves that would interact with the wake proved horribly difficult, I decided to try a plugin, my first attempt at such. I tried HOT Ocean first, but for the life of me could not get the hang of it, could not even produce foam! Next was Phoenix Fluid Dynamics, what a toy this is proving to be!! Superb, but horribly complicated and greedy on memory and CPU. Taken me a week to get the basics and now working on my first animated sequence with it, here is the construct for surfacing, I have cheated and nicked a tutorial file and substituted my own model and sea state.

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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    And the test render. Like the previous test tank run it is a two stage process, the dynamics are generated first and then the actual render is run. I will set the lighting to a moonlit night before I start that.

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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    Yee Haa! Skydiver ships it green as she wallows back after blowing to the surface.
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  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    those latest two renders look great, you've got the lighting right and corrected most of the major errors i mentioned about your earlier renders. for those "breaking the surface" shots use of complex dynamics simulations makes sense, it's just for underwater scenes you can cut out dynamics completely and just use bump mapped textures. the texture remains stationary relative to the environment as the object moves over it, hence the object(a rough cone shape behind your submarine) can ripple like a wake. i use that method for my engine flames in blender, it's similar to the thing shown here.
    http://www.blendswap.com/blends/view/72992
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    Cheers, but I want some night shots too and my first attempt is not a great success, I managed to get a blue touch to the foam, but it lacks the Phosphorescent glow I was aiming for, I am trying for a soft glow to the sea that we see in Southern latitudes to throw the boat into detail, back to the lighting setup. The real challenge I am expecting is launching the fighter, rather that have an underwater motor start I think I will go for the ballistic missile approach: popping up above the surface via a massive air charge and then igniting the motors.

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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    This is more like it! Not totally realistic but then it is Science fiction ;)

    I have added a green-blue self illumination to the body of the sea and increased the ambient and Omni light sources targeting the spray and foam.

    Build 23.jpg

    Time to render the animation now, this could take a while!
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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    Wow, this has been a sobering lesson! I planned three ten second clips, surfacing, accelerating to Flank Speed (love that expression the Yanks use, no idea where it comes from though, top speed in the RN was usually known as "Up Homers") and then an overhead pan of the ship cruising.

    The first part was not too bad, an overnight render, but the second clip took a staggering week! Third clip now on hold while I look at reducing the load. I pasted the two clips together with Pinnacle video editor and slowed them down to half speed to give me this forty second cut. Not brilliant, particularly as the shape of the effects rectangle is pretty obvious in places, but I think it is usable. Taking a break now to get some work done on the fighter in the air.

    [video=youtube_share;5iywWVSisc0]
  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    the moon light on the water looks good. the moon itself and the sky not so. the complex waves and splashing are cool, though submarines can generally surface a bit faster than shown here. i'm guessing the water is that colour as if it were an algal bloom, but i would personally go for plain grey/dark blue seawater.
  • RandalRRandalR0 Posts: 0Member
    i think its cool.


    To me, the water dynamics action was very cool. I wouldnt even know where to begin on
    that, if I were to make it myself.
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    Agreed the moon is simple, but it won't be in later shots so I figured I would skimp for now and keep the eye on the foam effect, I will be zooming to the moon for the Interceptors.

    I have swapped out my Neolithic Pentium duo for an i5 quad which has hugely increased Render performance, but puzzlingly has not effected the pre-render (or simulation to give it the proper name) for Phoenix FD. Making this clip it took me far longer to run the pre-render than the actual render, not sure why, no obvious bottle neck in task manager.

    Anyway, stayed with Phoenix to try and re-create the cool Firefox effect of an aircraft throwing up a wake and appropriately used Chaos Afterburn plug-in to generate the glow in the smoke particles for the engines.

    The wake was made with a wedge shape in the "water" linked to the aircraft and hidden for render. I had to tone down the effect as it rapidly went nuclear in particle generation. Phoenix is very nice, but even a tiny change the complex controls can send your computer circling down to hang hell.

    [video=youtube_share;5JZ3_ch3U9A]

    My last for a bit, back under the knife next week, if I am spared will work on the underwater sequence of the launch next.
  • spacefighterspacefighter1 Posts: 0Member
    too dark. i think the latest clip might be particularly nice but i can't really see. if you boosted the ambient lighting it would be easier to make of details of the aircraft rather than just it's, fairly impressive, exhaust plumes. if the clip shows what i think it shows you have made a "spray up" effect where it is flying across the waves at low altitude, that too would look better under brighter light. you obviously have a real talent with particle systems, i would just revert to manually building some spray objects, you just need to make this video brighter to show off the latest example of that hard work.
  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    It seems I live. Yes, they are too dark, I only just realised I was viewing them on a high contrast monitor, they look a lot better there.

    I am re-visiting the scenes though I intend to use some of the dark clips still, first a glimpse of the revised moon...

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  • ZanussiZanussi0 Posts: 0Member
    And while being sliced and diced I had my laptop along which cannot handle video rendering, but I was able to get the Moon Base Interceptors going, I also knocked up a fully posable Earth which will come in useful for other projects as well. My brother makes sci-fi models for the BBC and gave me rocks for these interceptors but I am going with a certain amount of artistic license.

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  • SanderleeSanderlee1 Posts: 0Member
    Hull texture is a bit too glossy (I don't recall them being shiny in the show, more that same matte white / light grey they used for the Eagles in Space:1999 too). But the design is looking good!
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