Saturday, February 26, 2011

Computer 3D Modelling and Animation I: Getting started

Hey everybody! Ben here! As you may or may not know, this session I am taking a Computer Modelling/Animation course! Get excited! :-) This is the class I've been looking forward to for this entire session, and already I'm loving it. I'm using Autodesk 3Ds Max for the software, which is extremely similar to VIZ, which I used to create my Ace of the Air animation in high school. Needless to say, this gives me a bit of an edge when it comes to completing the tutorials for the class.

For the past week, I've been experimenting with the software and completing the tutorials provided by the instructor. Attached are the final results of these exercises, complete with a description of the major tools used to create them.

Spherical boxes - This exercise introduce the class to the Edit Mesh tool. Using Edit Mesh, animators can take control of the individual vertices, lines, faces, or polygons of an object and manipulate them to change the shape of the original object. In this assignment, we changed a box to a sphere-like shape using the Edit Mesh tool.

Apple - This exercise continued using the Edit Mesh tool, as well as introducing a tool called MeshSmooth. The latter tool can be used to reduce the number of jagged edges created by editing the mesh, resulting in a nice, rounded shape. The exercise called for us to edit the mesh of a sphere to create an apple-like shape, then use MeshSmooth to get rid of the jagged edges.

Milk Bottle - This exercise continued to use the Edit Mesh tool while introducing the Extrude tool. The Extrude tool is used to take a two-dimensional object and give it volume. In this exercise, we took the top face of the original box and extruded it, creating new shapes that could be scaled down to what we needed them to be. After we created the rough shape of the milk bottle, we added a MeshSmooth modifier to make it rounded and pretty.

Extruded table - This exercise continued to teach us about the Extrude tool. Creating a rectangular box, we used the Edit Mesh tool to move the individual "steps" of the rectangle (the structures that give the object its shape; think wireframe) to new locations, which then were extruded and used to create the "lip" under the table and the four legs of the table.
Bowl - This exercise introduced us to the Lathe tool. This useful tool can be used to take two-dimensional shapes (called "splines") and extrude them around a central pivot point, creating a 360o object. For this project, we used the Line shape to create the basic shape of the side of a bowl (from the center to the edge), then used the Lathe tool to rotate the shape around the exact center of the object.

Lofted Table - This exercise introduced us to the Loft tool. The Loft tool can be used to create compound objects out of basic shapes. For this project, we created the tabletop like we had in the previous assignment, then created the legs using the Loft tool. To do this, we first created a square and a circle for our loft guides. Then, we drew a line and used the Loft tool to add first the circle to the line (which created a cylinder) then the square (which created a cylinder that morphed into a rectangular prism). From there, we manipulated the position and number of the shapes to create the table legs seen here.

Computer Monitor - This project introduced us to the SoftSelection tool. This tool works similarly to Edit Mesh, except that it affects the vertices (or whatever type of modifier you are using) around the selected vertex to some degree. The so-called "falloff" of the SoftSelection tool can be increased or decreased, depending on the situation, and can be used to create slightly rounded objects effortlessly.

Lamp - This project is similar to the table in that it used the Loft tool quite liberally. In addition, this project required us to create several different pieces of the lamp (the base, the lightbulb, and the lampshade) and put them together manually.

Can you tell I'm having fun with this class? I hope it shows. From here on out, it's going to get even more fun and complicated!

Until next time.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Life Drawing for Animation: Final Project

Now for the final project! I broke this down into two separate posts for two reasons. Firstly, there were supposed to be a total of 30 drawings for this project, and if I had to include even more drawings in that last post it would have been a very long post. Secondly, by combining the drawings in one post, I believe that you'll be able to better see the progression, not only of the animation and how it would look, but also of the growth in my ability to see the proportions of the human figure.

The final project for this class was relatively simple: Draw 30 frames of a human figure going through a set of motions while keeping consistent proportions and details. Every week, we were required to draw 7-8 rough sketches of our figure, with the final project being a redrawing and animation of those "frames." I have divided the sketches based on the week they were drawn, so that you may be able to see the progression of my drawing skills.

First week

Second week

Third week

Fourth week

After creating the initial drawings, the final step was to redraw the sketches and create a portfolio-worthy "animation." Being the technical guy I am, and wanting to have a chance to play some more with the VisTablet I bought, I opted to draw the figures in Photoshop, which I would then use to animate.

Rather than posting each of the individual drawings (which would probably overload this blog), I am instead posting the final .gif version (click to watch):

Not too shabby, eh? :-P I was pretty pleased with it. It certainly looks a lot better than the original sketches.

And that's a wrap for Life Drawing and Animation! Up next: Computer 3D Modelling and Animation I. *insert extremely excited face here*

Until next time.

Drawing the Human Figure...Not So Easy, Actually.

Hey all! I apologize for the long hiatus this blog took. The class that I was taking ate up a lot of my time and, quite frankly, I didn't feel that any of the drawings I did should ever be posted. Not that they were completely horrible, but I didn't feel that they were on a par with the rest of the drawings that I have posted on this site. Nevertheless, this blog is intended to document my progress, so I need to swallow my pride and post what I've done. This post will deal with the regular weekly assignments (the gesture and timed drawings), and I will post another entry later that will deal specifically with the final project and the various drawings that were part of it. Anyway, enough talk! Now for the drawings.

Week 2

Gesture Drawings: Basic shapes - These three drawings were part of the second week's assignment. Building off of the basic concepts we learned in the first week, these drawings gave me a chance to practice my proportions and get the basic shapes of my figures. There are several mistakes in these, but considering the fact that I was just learning the techniques, I didn't do too bad.

Gesture drawings, timed: 1 minute - After practicing the art of adding basic shapes to a linear skeleton, it was time to practice speed. These drawings represent several different figures drawn in 1 minute.

Gesture drawing, timed: 3 minutes

Gesture drawing, timed: 5 minutes

Week 3 

The following fifteen drawings are all part of the same assignment. Like the one from the previous week, we were required to create 15 gesture drawings. Unlike the previous week, they all needed to start displaying characteristics of real human figures, like faces, hands, etc. As you can see, drawing people is NOT my strong point.

Gesture drawing, timed: 1 minute - Another timed drawing assignment. 

Gesture drawing, timed: 3 minutes

Gesture drawing, timed: 5 minutes

Week 4

Gesture Drawings - More of the same, really. As you can see, my figure building has improved somewhat, but all in all the poses are still not 100%

The next 15 drawings were yet another timed assignment. The first 5 were 1-minute, second 5 were 3-minute, and the last 5 are 5-minute.

Week 5
Gesture Drawings: These following drawings were gestures that placed an increased emphasis on the position of the head. At about this time I got a Ken doll, which I used for modeling. This helped me see the proportions much more easily, and I think it shows in my drawings.

Gesture drawing, timed: 1 minute

Gesture drawing, timed: 3 minutes

Gesture drawing, timed: 5 minutes

Aaaand that's that! I'll post another blog soon with the final project. See you soon!

Until next time.