ANI210-Wk02

After completing the pre-production stage of the RED project, our team plunged right into the production process and started modeling our assets and characters. Each scene’s assets were distributed among our team members, with my portion consisting of the mushroom models and the werewolf character. In contrast to the character I modeled last trimester, this time I was much more limited in time and poly budget, since we will be rendering in real time in Unity. In this post I will discuss real time rendering and the low poly modeling method.

VsCAP.jpg

(Collings, 2009)

(How can you create detailed low poly meshes?, 2016

According to Unity’s online manual, the polygon count for character models targeted for desktop platforms ranges from 1500 to 4000 polygons for optimal render speed (Unity, 2016). In real time rendering the actions or images are generated as they occur in-game so a lower polycount is essential to conserve processing power; the higher the polycount, the longer the render time. Although render time is affected by various factors, the assets are still what mainly determines the speed (Silverman, 2013). The amount of detail on an asset is often determined by its proximity to the camera. This means that the closer the object is to the camera in a given scene, the higher its resolution will be of that object and a few variations of the object are modeled. This technique is called LOD, or level of detail, and is very useful because if the farther objects are less detailed then the key objects closer to the camera can be a lot more detailed (Masters, 2014). This technique is often used in video games, as can be seen on the gun model below;

lod_combined

(Mendes, 2014)

In video games, for example, modelers often pose the following question to themselves when creating an asset; what is the importance of the asset in the scene and should a lot of precious time be spent on it? Will the player examine the asset at close-up? Will the player be interacting with the asset? All these factors determine the LOD (Pettit, 2015).

Although we are not producing a game but a cinematic trailer, the fact that we will be rendering real time means that we have to take the LOD of our models into great consideration. For example, the mushrooms that I have modeled are very low poly since they are a minor detail in the scene. The werewolf model, on the other hand, is one of the two main characters and will require a much higher LOD. The budget for the werewolf has been decided to be 10k polygons and that also includes the opacity map planes which will be essential for the fur.

So far I have found modeling the wolf to be equally interesting and time consuming. I am learning a lot about anatomy and the low poly modeling technique and I will keep modeling until the desired quality, shape and polygon count is achieved.

ANI210-Wk01

For the duration of last week, team RED’s combined efforts were focused on creating the storyboard and animatics for the production of our cinematic. Our team was divided into people working on the 2D portion that included the storyboard, concept art and 2D animatic, and the 3D portion consisting of the scene blocking and 3D animatic. My role fell under the 2D group and through the process of drawing the thumbnails and storyboard, I have not only become more acquainted with the task but also got to learn from my mistakes.

The purpose of storyboards is to communicate your ideas in a clear visual way by illustrating the key frames of the story (Creative Blog, 2016). They’re used in various industries including Video games, Film, television and animation. The style of the storyboard should reflect the mood and atmosphere of a scene to the maximum extent, while the position of the characters should clearly indicate the actions (Ron, no date). Our main issue was interpreting the story in a dynamic way; a lot of the frames initially failed to convey the action clearly and had to be redrawn a few times to achieve the desired effect. This was only possible with the feedback and helpful input of our professors, they also helped us develop a more concrete and engaging storyline.

Using the correct camera angle for each scene is crucial to achieving the greatest impact on the audience. There are different types of camera shots ranging from long shots to close ups to high angles and each can be used for different effects. For example, the extreme long shot introduces the audience to a new location and where the character is positioned in that location. It is also know as the ‘establishing shot’ (Brian, no date). In our animation, there are a few establishing shots including the first shot of the cinematic which shows the landscape of the forest and the tower in the distance. Another element of camera positioning that was featured a few times in our storyboard is the camera tilt. This technique makes the audience feel a sort of unbalance and renders the scene more dynamic. For this reason, we have used the camera tilt in some of the chase and fight scenes.

The storyboard should interpret various details of the cinematic and there are a few questions one must ask when drawing each frame. These include:

  • What is the setting of the scene? What is the background?
  • If there is a character on screen, what is he doing?
  • How do the props in the scene fit in with the context of the scene?
  • What is the message you are trying to deliver?

(GoAnimate, 2015)

Analyzing each frame in such a way helps ensure that each frame serves a purpose and correctly interprets the story; otherwise there is a risk of the cinematic becoming boring.

By the end of this week I have become much faster in drawing the storyboard and have gained a lot of useful knowledge and feedback.

References

Creative Blog, S. (2016) Create storyboards for your animations. Available at: http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/create-storyboards-your-animations-21619177 (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Ron (no date) Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytelling. Available at: http://www.floobynooby.com/comp1.html (Accessed: 23 September 2016).

Brian, L. (no date) Storyboarding basics by. Available at: http://www.brianlemay.com/Pages/animationschool/storyboarding/storyboarding%20basics.html (Accessed: 23 September 2016)

GoAnimate (2015) What is A Storyboard and why do you need One? Available at: http://resources.goanimate.com/marketing/what-is-a-storyboard-and-why-do-you-need-one (Accessed: 23 September 2016)