Saturday, 30 January 2016

Adaptation A - The Characters

I've been working on the characters for the infographic as I need a few variations, So up first we have the workers ready to survive the shift and after that we have the customers.

I wanted the customers to look simpler than the workers, because they are being portrayed as savages.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Adaptation A - Frame Design

I've been trying to create a frame for the inforgraphic to take place in as I want it to look like a training video as I think that will add to the overall look and humor of the infographic.

This is what it looks like at the moment, it is influenced by an actual training video from Asda and an advert campaign that they launched (I'll show that influence below). I'm not sure if I prefer the textured version or the plain version, I feel like the plain one works for me, but feedback is welcomed.

The plan is to have the character animate within the frame while the voice over reads out the script, like in the earlier tests I did a banner will transition in to show what step the infographic is on.

This is the advert that inspired the new frame, I liked the idea of stitching and keeping it quite simple.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Maya Tutorials - Dynamics Part 6 - Emit From Curve

If you think this could be your new home planet, you're looking in alderaan places....

Sita Sings the Blues Film Review

Fig. 1. Sita Sings the Blues poster.

Sita Sings the Blues (2008) is an animated film created by Nina Paley that amazingly she made by herself, an impressive accomplishment that would have been a lot of work. It is quite clear that the film is made by one person with the repetitive animation that happens throughout the film; however Paley does an excellent job at creating an eclectic animation that has broad style changes throughout.

Fig. 2. Sita still.

The story was very interesting as it told two stories juxtaposed that ended in a similar fashion. One side of the story is about the Ramayana, it focuses on the story of Rama and Sita which is broadly a story about love and relationship issues. One second Rama and Sita are happy and in love, the next she is being kidnapped and then questioned about her purity, while all of this is taking place the second story mirrors it in the modern day, interestingly the second story is about Paley and her failed relationship. The personal touch really feels strong throughout this story and the use of comparing her relationship troubles to Rama and Sita seems like a very intelligent decision. The film story does a lot of work to keep you interested, the narrators discussing the story with each other and having slightly different versions really does make the film feel more personal and in a sense quite comical.

Fig. 3. Manuscript style still.

The styles change vastly throughout the film, when the film becomes a musical the characters look extremely influenced by Betty Boop, they become very cartoony and quite funny to look at. When it gets a bit more dramatic and the scenes become more serious it changes to an manuscript painting style, which makes it feel more like an adaptation of the Ramayana in an informative way, however this doesn’t appear to be the case as the story seems to be a way of expressing her troubled relationship. In the modern day Paley used a lot of collage which to me seems like another intelligent decision, she separates the scenes with different styles so you know what is happening, how to feel and what to expect. The only downside is that it could possibly be seen as a bit un-immersive as the constant change to style breaks the film up a bit.

The film can feel a little repetitive in times, for example the songs start to become a bit of a chore to listen to and some of the animation is very repetitive which is completely understandable as it was all created by one person. This is the only real negative point as watching the same animation over and over can be quite draining, for the most part however it wasn’t too bad.

Overall I enjoyed the film, I felt like it did drag on a bit after a few of the musical numbers however the overall impression was good. The narrators offered a lot of comic release and I found it quite funny when they were discussing the story each giving different versions and names, their opinion about the events was also a very nice touch that made it feel very personal. I liked the eclectic nature of the film and thought that it was very clever and precise in executing it, the story was good and it definitely help hold the film together.

Illustration List:
Figure 1. Sita Sings the Blues poster. (2008) From: Sita Sings the Blues, Directed by: Nina Paley [Film still] At: (Accessed 28/01/2016)
Figure 2. Sita still. (2008) From: Sita Sings the Blues, Directed by: Nina Paley [Film still] At: (Accessed 28/01/2016)

Figure 3. Manuscript style still. (2008) From: Sita Sings the Blues, Directed by: Nina Paley [Film still] At: (Accessed 28/01/2016)

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Adaptation A - Character Designs

I did some character designs for the infographic, I like 3 and 5 the most out of these. The plan is to have little actions playing out as the voice actor narrates the script.

Adaptation A - Script

This is the 'script' I have currently settled on, I found a nice upbeat voice actor that I will be getting in contact with to see if he is available.

The ABC of Customer Service

  • Always smile
  • Blame your manager when a customer complains
  • Customers are always right
  • Decipher the shopping list….. Scribbles abstract enough to be Picassos
  • Educate your co-workers….. Let them do the work
  • Find the needle in the haystack
  • Get ready for the grumbling customers…… who state they will shop somewhere else
  • Hope that no one asks for help
  • It’s almost break time
  • Jaded with the customers bluntness
  • Knee-deep in screams and complaints
  • Lunch time is soon…. Right?
  • Merciless customers unleash hell
  • Nasty children running a mock
  • Oblivious customers ramming you with their trolleys
  • Plan an escape route….. it’s time for a break
  • Queer questions asked by strange customers
  • Remember that smile
  • Sneak around customers…. You can do it unleash the inner ninja
  • The tedious day is almost over, remain tenacious
  • Unfortunately you’re targeted by the customers with all of the problems
  • Voiceless employees carry on…. Even when the going gets tough
  • Wayward customers borrowing things….. Another half of a sandwich is missing
  • You need the money. You need the money. You need the money
  • Zero commitment…. It’s home time

Before I commit for the voice actor I would just like some feedback on the current script, does it read okay, etc.

Adaptation A - ABC's

I decided to do another list of ABC's to have some extra options to choose from, on this newer list I decided to instead of gradually becoming bitter, it would start straight away. I see the overall tone being quite funny and having an upbeat cheerful voice actor reading them out, while the infographic plays out the events.

For comparison here is the old list of ABC's:

Any feedback would be extremely useful as I would like to sort out the voice actor asap.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mudbox Class - Strange Sheep Creature

Using the base Simon gave us I made a weird looking sheep thing, using a mouse to make this was a bit difficult. I think I prefer ZBrush at the moment, I feel like it has a lot more features and tools that are slightly more intuitive.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Adaptation A - Infographic Tests

I did a few tests today trying to figure out how the different steps could be revealed, this is what I came up with so far.

The first idea was to have the banner pop up with the letter, how ever I felt as if this was a bit static so I wanted a more dynamic way of showing the letter.

The second idea was to have the banner roll down and this was the first attempt at that, I also tried giving it a bit of rotation as it left the screen to make it a bit more interesting to look at.

The third is probably my favourite so far (still up for a lot of change), I fixed some issues with the rolling banner making it feel like it fits better and changed the rotation as it leaves.

The interface needs some adjustments still but it is slowly getting there, I have been working on the 26 things again to have a few different lists to choose from.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Maya Turorials - Dynamics Part 4 - Directional Emitters

Today I did the directional emitter tutorial, it was a quick and easy one to get through, with some interesting results. I can see how the blobby surface particle render type could be sued to create water, 

Maya Tutorials - Dynamics Part 3 - Omni Emitters

Catching up with the maya tutorials I missed, I think i actually prefer the idea of the render buffer to the actual renderer. I liked the idea of the flipbook built in, like having fcheck already open. Blowing stuff up is also always fun....

Adaptation B - Survey

For my Adaptation B project I plan on personifying music genres into characters for a fighting game, for time sake I will probably only manage one character however I think it will be good to design a few, so the variety to choose from is better. If possible I would like just a few words that you associate to the music genres that are posted below, so like have a listen and let me know what words come to mind.

1. Indie - Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent
2. Metal - Asking Alexandria - I Won't Give In
3. Jazz - Dave Brubeck - Take Five
4. Rap - Eminem - Rap God
5. Country - LOCASH - I Love This Life
6. Classical - Mozart - Symphony #40 in G Minor
7. Blues - Muddy Waters - Hoochie Coochie Man
8. Rock - Nickleback - How You Remind Me
9. Pop - Taylor Swift - Blank Space

Adaptation A - Design Idea

I've been extremely busy all week recording a new album which was a lot of fun but also very draining, so I unfortunately have a bit of catching up to do. Here is an idea that I had for the design that might work quite nicely, it was to show the ABC's in the style of a training video.

The space in which the character is in would play out different scenarios, like customers yelling at him and stuff while the other side would have the related text. I thought about also adding some kind of clock to the interface to show that the work day is progressing, as when the day gets closer to the end the customer service generally is worse (not always but it depends on the abuse received).

Mary and Max Film Review

Fig. 1. Mary and Max poster.

Mary and Max (2009) is an animated comedy/drama, written and directed by Adam Elliot who also worked on a few other shorts leading up to Mary and Max such as Harvie Krumpet and Cousin. Much like Mary and Max these shorts are used to discuss different disabilities, usually done with a dash of comedy making them light hearted and not overly serious.

Fig. 2. Max still

Mary and Max is the story of a young Australian girl named Mary and her American pen pal Max, two very lonely souls that want nothing more than a friend. Mary is a girl that has a very dysfunctional family, a young lady that doesn’t fully understand the world and Max is an obese, nervous man that has Asperger’s. Elliot does a pretty good job of handling the topic of mental illness in a world which is increasingly sensitive, while using humour as a release throughout the film. The film mainly involves the pair sending each other letters and the reactions that come from them, Marys letters often leave Max stressed and nervous, as she doesn’t truly understand that her questions aren’t completely appropriate.

Fig. 3. Marys mum still

The film is very touching at moments, funny in other moments and then distressing the next, it is a rollercoaster ride of emotions throughout with scenes that make their friendship look beautiful and very touching, to scenes which involve death and attempted suicide. In one scene Mary sends Max tears in a jar as he tells her that he is unable to cry even when he would like to, a moment which makes the audience feel touched, later on however when Mary uses Max and his Asperger’s as a case study for university, the betrayal and sadness is truly imprinted onto the audience, it breaks apart their friendship and causes the film to spiral deeper into distressing moments.

It deals with a lot more than mental illness; it also uses Mary to touch on dysfunctional families, growing up with a mother that is always drunk. This eventually becomes the case for Mary as she becomes an alcoholic and slowly becomes as dysfunctional as her mother was. It tackles loss, as Mary loses just about everyone in her life through either death or being abandoned. While dealing with that, Max’s life is also being played out; this touches on the delicate aspect of mental illness. It shows how Max reacts to certain social situations and how he becomes nervous and unable to articulate what he would like to.

Overall I enjoyed this film and found it rather moving; although it had dark tones throughout that made it slightly uncomfortable to watch at times. I liked how it touched on delicate topics and made an emotional story that was funny at times and devastating moments later. The animation was charming and admirable as the effort and time spent appears vast, honestly after watching it I didn’t overly enjoy the film, however after letting it settle in my mind I believe that it was a very well made film that had a different take on the story of friendship.

Illustration List:

Figure 1. Mary and Max poster. (2009) From: Mary and Max, Directed by: Adam Elliot [Film still] At:  (Accessed on 23/01/2016)
Figure 2. Max still. (2009) From: Mary and Max, Directed by: Adam Elliot [Film still] At:,h_933,w_1400/t_mp_quality/yhv2pxwaebnvyxedxgvp/mary-and-max-2009-your-drawing-is-an-interesting-visual-portrayal-of-yourself-529396.jpg (Accessed on 23/01/2016)

Figure 3. Marys mum still. (2009) From: Mary and Max, Directed by: Adam Elliot [Film still] At: (Accessed on 23/01/2016)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Pipeline 2 - Maps Part 4

Today I did the base maps for the game asset, this was a quick and useful tutorial which will definitely be useful in the future.

 Stone base map

Wooden plank base map

Friday, 15 January 2016

Adaptation A - Design & ABC's (so far)

After my tutorial with Alan he suggested looking for influence at Asda, so I went and took some photos of branding and shelves that had a nice layout.

Here's an couple of ideas I had for the infographic one involves using a products to display the abcs on and the other was more influence by adverts, the first idea would have the camera pan across the shelf and the labels would represent the letter, while the product gave information. The second idea would have the banner rotate in, this has the information and letter on it. An icon that relates to the information would then animate into the frame.

The ABC's so far, I think they will need adjusting but this is the first attempt, it was meant to start off nice and then by the end it was meant to be more bitter, kinda like a normal day in retail.

Maya Tutorials - Dynamics Part 2 - Particles Grid

I had a lot of trouble setting up the grid with the cursor initially, I ended up using locators to snap to because that seemed to work better than a cube. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Maya Tutorials - Dynamics Part 1 - Sketching Particles

The particles looked a bit blown out after I batch rendered them but they didn't seem that bad when I was test rendering, here is the quick animation though. Particles were always something I found daunting but these feel controllable.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Pipeline 2 - Maps Part 3

Ambient Occlusion maps are done and I am ready to move onto the next stage, here are all the maps in gif form.

Pipeline 2 - Maps Part 2

This tutorial went rather well, maya decided to co-operate with me, although I had to export my scene and import it into a new file as the other normal maps were acting up again (this seemed to fix the issue, the lambert 1 shader would stay attached on the objects which was messing with the normal map material.)

Pipeline 2 - Maps Part 1

I spent my whole morning fighting with this tutorial but it is finally done, I ran into a lot of issues when making the maps for the stone base, it wasn't making a complete map and it made my whole pc crash. I basically just left the stone base and carried on with the other bits and when I returned to tackle the base again, it decided to miraculously work. Lets hope the next few tutorials go smoother than this one.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Adaptation A - Ideas & Research #2

I've been working on figuring out different ways that the infographic could possible work, below are my ideas so far.

For this idea I thought about having a shopping trolley with a moving background, as it goes over the different letters, a image that relates to them would come out of the trolley and the voice over would give the information. The issue with this idea is that it could potentially get boring very quickly, where as I need something to be engaging for 26 letters.

The next idea is more character driven, the character would be in a circle (coin) and it would flip to change the letters. As the infographic went on the character would get more and more unhappy as it begins to discuss how customer service isn't always very nice. It would need some more information outside the circle but at the moment I am unsure how to add to it.

I've been watching a few more infographics for addition design ideas, below are a few that I liked.

Pipeline 2 - Modelling Part 3 - High Resolution

Today I did part 3 of the game asset tutorial, it was interesting to adjust the low resolution models into higher resolution versions, I am interested to see how we are going to bake the normal maps out.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Pipeline 2 - Modelling Part 2 - UV Layout

Today I did the second part of the bridge model, laying out the UV's was slightly different as I wasn't sure where to find the old unfold tool, so I used the new unfold but made sure to pin parts of the UVs so they kept to the correct size.

Adaptation B - Initial Ideas

I've been thinking about Adaptation B and what I would like to do in the future, I decided that I would like to focus on 3D Animation and develop work in this project that could be used for my showreel. Here are the first few ideas I've had, due to the time restriction a whole refined animation could prove to be difficult, as getting to animation isn't a quick process.

The first Idea I had was to visualize music genres as characterful spirits for a fighting game, the overall goal would be to have a character that has animated cycles ready for the game such as idle, breathing, walking, running, attacking, etc. This idea involves taking representation of different genres and creating characters from them, in my mind they feel more like spirits that clearly reflect the genre.

The second idea was to adapt gods from Japanese mythology for a game, either a fighter or RPG. One of the gods I was thinking about adapting was Amaterasu who is the sun goddess or her trickster brother called Susanoo, the storm god. Like the first idea it would involve creating the character and having animation cycles ready.

The third idea was actually to adapt my dogs mental behaviour to people leaving the house (not sure if this really counts), whenever he is left alone he literally destroys the house and gets to places that are blocked off tight enough to stop a zombie apocalypse. So I was thinking of making a short animation in which the dog is actually defending the house from the appliances taking over.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Pipeline 2 - Modelling Part 1 - Low Resolution

I started the second pipeline today, I am interested to see how different modelling for games is compared to what I already know. Next up is laying out the UV's so the models pieces can be duplicated.

Adaptation A - Initial Ideas

I did some initial ideas for how I could show the information in the infographic, trying to relate them to the theme of retail. At this current moment I think that a voice over would be a good idea for this project as it will help give the information across a little quicker and it should help the imagery do its job.

Idea 1 would have the camera panning down the line, showing the ABC's as it pans down. Idea 2 would have the images that relate to the ABC's jump out of the basket and finally idea three would have the ABC's chnage in the trolley, as the background moved behind it.

Adaptation A - Infographic Research

I've started looking for examples of infographics to get an idea behind existing designs and what I think will look good for my infographic.

Here are some image based ones that I thought could work, I prefer the examples that use less text and focus more on imagery to give information.

Below are some example infographics i have been looking at.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Pipeline 1 - Character Texturing Part 7

Pipeline 1 - Character Texturing Part 6

One more texturing tutorial to do and the character is pretty much finished.

Pipeline 1 - Character Texturing Part 5

Jeans are now done, it was pretty difficult to do as the UV map wasn't straight, but they aren't looking too bad. Shoes are up next!

Pipeline 1 - Character Texturing Part 3 & 4

Hair and shirt done, next up is the jeans.

Pipeline 1 - Character Texturing Part 2

Pipeline 1 - Character Texturing Part 1

Today I started doing the texturing tutorials for the character, the shaders are blocked out and now I am ready to get texturing.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Character - Guardian Props

The main prop for the guardian is his work station that keeps order amongst the worlds, this machine is tampered with by the villain which causes the worlds to become messed up.

Character - Hero Props

The hero's main prop is his bag which he uses to carry his disguises and items.

Character - Guardian & Villain Poses

Today I did the poses for the guardian and villain, I still need names for all of the characters.