Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Body Mechanics: Push and Pull

[If the video doesn't work, you can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPf7LrU_X-4]

Alright, it's been one, crazy, long week, but I finally completed this! I added some basic textures and lighting just to make the scene more "complete."

Assignment Description: 

This was part of our Body Mechanics assignment; we had to animate a character interacting with an object by pushing it and pulling it. 

Completion Time and Render Time:

The actual animation took me about 4-5 days to complete, a few hours for the texturing and lighting, and a whopping 12 hours to render! [I think it took long because I rendered in Mental Ray with the Physical Sun and Sky turned on...and Final Gathering]. I worked on this for approximately 4-5 hours each day.

How It Was Made:

I'm not gonna talk about the animation, because that's pretty much straightforward [start with the blocking, add breakdowns and inbetweens, add follow through, anticipation, secondary movement and facial expressions]. I thought this would be a great and funny example of showing a push and pull...don't you hate it when you pull a door when you have to push it? I'd have to say that the most challenging part would be when the second character pushes the first character out of his way...I recorded lots of reference of myself and finally got the result. As for the render, I wanted to render the background separately without doing render passes [honestly, I haven't learned anything about render passes, so I tried an alternative to getting only the character without the background]...finally, I discovered that Targa files contain an alpha channel, and the physical sun and sky is not rendered in a targa file. I turned off the primary visibility for all the buildings on the set except for the main characters and the interactive objects [like the door]; this resulted in a slightly faster render while preserving all the light information. Finally, everything was composited in after effects. I also included a "breakdown" so that you can see all the joints of the characters and how it looks "behind the scenes," as well as a "FaceCam" which focuses just on the facial expressions.

Final Words:

I think this turned out really well and it's the very first animation I've done with 2 characters in the scene. 
The movie quality has been slightly reduced because it's been all over the place...from Maya to After Effects, from After Effects to Final Cut Pro, from FCP to a video compressor and then back to FCP. So I started out with about 1GB of footage and was able to compress everything down to about 16MB!

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Thanks, and enjoy :)