30 May 2013

11 Second Club: Render Breakdown

Hey peeps!

It is finished! I have already submitted my entry to the 11SecondClub servers. Soon, everyone will be allowed to vote, and in a week from now or so, the final results will be published. I'll keep everyone updated here :)

I've decided to show a little sneak peak of how the shot will look, and explain you a bit the process with a image. I have to give credit to Leandro Martins and Tom Pinon, as they gave me huge rendering tips, and also my brother Gustavo Romano, who helped me by "painting" the backgrounds. Something between texturing and mattepainting, it went incredibly well!

Here is the breakdown:

Well that is it for now, expect news really soon!

23 May 2013

11 Second Club: Stop animating, to the render house!

Aaaaaand it's final. Not because I'm satisfied with it, but because i need to start with the rendering now if I want to have it looking pretty at the end, in TIMe! For the render, I'll take advantage of my brother's help, he'll do some mattepainting for the background. Myself, I will do the render of the characters, and supervise him of course! We're once again taking inspiration from Spartacus, and "cartoonyze" it a little bit. Here's the final animation playblast:

18 May 2013

11 Second Club: Not final, but close enough!

Hey worldwide fans! By fans, I mean Mom, Dad, the girl, and the stalker who is reading this right now!

Last week, as all the animation was going faster than expected, I relaxed a bit too much. I still need the promised holidays after AM, and never stopped! So, for a couple of days, I didn't dare to touch Maya. I was back at it yesterday, and because of all the pressure from everybody (by everybody I mean Tom Pinon) here's my latest update.

The new part is the last, it's far from finished, lot of weird stuff going on, but on the good way. This time I tried yet another workflow: Animating "straight-forward". That means that I had the initial pose only, and I started animatign with splines right off the bat, "feeling the flow" and with no real solid plan. Tomorrow, maybe after, it will be finished, and after some general polishing I'll hit the render button!

Here it is. Fans, please thank Tom Pinon personally for this update!

10 May 2013

11 Second Club: Gulp!

Gulp! One third of the month gone! Good part is, two thirds of the animation are close to final! I never thought it would go this fast, I was expecting having more trouble with time management... But well, truth is, without AM's weekly critiques everything goes much, much faster! Even without all the file problems I had - more recently, setting up the chains rig - I did this in a week worth of animation. So, I'm pretty happy with myself, I'm not as slow as I thought I was! Just a bit less ;)

Technical note: The chain rig is pretty simple: It's like an IK arm, with 10 elbows!

"Buuuuh, shush Fonz, just show us the video update"

Alright, alright, jeez, here it is:

07 May 2013

11 Second Club: It moves, it moves!

Hey señores and señoras. One thing I've been struggling is, the staging of the 1st shot. I know how bad it is to make camera changes in animation, but following the feedback of my awesome animator friends, I had a though decision to make. They said the Roman Soldier should be "bigger on cam", because he is a bit too far away, and the attention of the shot is on him. I experimented a little, and these are the options: (please ignore that the helmets are missing in one of them).


 which one should I choose? I think I'll use the original one (the 1st), but maybe you can change my mind... share your thoughts please! 

 Since last update, I have move forward in the 1st shot - haven't touched the others yet. The basic part of making him "move" is done, still a lot of work in small details, but well the main part is there. I have to animate the prisoner's legs, just keep them alive. That will be HARD! Luckily, Arslan Elver gave me awesome tips on how to keep things still but not dead, and will rely on those teachings in this particular part of the shot! here it is:


04 May 2013

11 Second Club: The Story, Camera Layout and Basic Lipsync

This blog post contains my work of 3-4 May. Sadly, I had a ton (and a ton means a lot!) of problems with my scene and Maya. The result of this is that I was fixing stuff for 80% of the time, and the only rest 20% on developing the Shot. I had to start all over at some point, and still have some things I need to catch up!

PROBLEMS (attention! technical talk):
I can't be too sure of why, but when I opened my scene the rigs wouldn't work, leaving the meshes behind, some of the objects and materials disappeared / went wireframe... It was ruined! I think all the problems appeared from mixing reference's materials, applying a texture to "lambert1", a stupid sword rig that always bugged, or something else. The way I solved it was.. starting over, NO references, and NO touchy touchy the lambert1. Everything seems fine, until now... I still haven't added a sword, but I will make my own, instead of risking it all with the buggy one.

So, last post I promised to tell you the story, and here it is:

The first thought that came to mind was... Russian Mafia. With that deep threathning voice, full of that Putin accent... Hard to think of something else! I didn't go with it for 2 reasons: First, first idea is always cliché. In this type of competition, you want to stand out, with your animation skills as well as your shot idea! And Second... Well my last shot was Mafia, wasn't it? Not a good idea to repeat it, reel wise!
After some thought, influenced by Spartacus, a TV series I watch with my brother (it's awesome by the way), i thought of the Roman and Gladiator world - something that was always appealing to me! I believe that many generations ago, my ancestors were proud citizens of the greatest Empire in History, Rome of course!
My first idea inside the Roman World, was to have a Roman Dominus (slave owner) speaking with his new slave. Checking on his background (you come from a family of thieves), he then would decide to make a Gladiator out of him, as punishment AND second chance (and now, as a guilty man, you will try to rewrite your history) - meaning that being a gladiator, he would make himself a better future with "arena honor" and be forgiven of his crimes.
For the scenario, I decided to have two huge brute soldiers alongside with the Roman slaver, and they would obstruct our vision to the "surprise", the thing that tells us that the slaver means Gladiator with his words. The dialogue is pretty intense, and I wanted to make sure that there was suspance and intimidation. But then the problem had risen... What could that be? My ideas were: a gladiator statue, with two of them fighting; a simple gladiator sword; a window view of the arena, etc... But all of them, either were too difficult to make (i should focus on animation anyway) or weren't clear enough to the audience. Then, I had another idea, much easier to represent, easier to understand as well! Instead of a slaver telling his slave he would become a gladiator... I would make a Roman General ask a prisoner to join his army. This image explains it by itself, doesn't it?

This was before the crash. Here's my "Director's opinion" on how to convey this story:
In the 1st shot, we should be intimidated by the Romans, so the cam is looking at them from down to up. Also, we can see the prisoner's chained leg with rags on, which tells us who he is.
For the 2nd shot, helped by that sound FX, I wanted to show how scared the prisoner is by the tone of the Roman and how the situation is looking. We do a pretty close shot of his very, very scared face.
And for the last, I wanted it to be more or less like the slaver's view. Staging wise, it would be great to leave space in the middle to reveal the Roman armor, behind the brutes, once they move. here's it:

I decided to take a friend's advice and try to get the (basic) lipsync out of the way before blocking, and then adjust it on the polishing phase. Hope it goes well! Here's the rough, basic, ugly looking lipsync:
(note: The chars are in T poses because I lost everything I had done in the other video and had to start over. I know how it will look now, so I'll redo that tomorrow before blocking

That's it for today, hope you ebjoyed it! :) ciaoo

02 May 2013

11 Second Club, the race begins!

As I've promised, I am entering this month's competition of 11 Second Club. For the ones who don't know the competition, "11SC" is a monthly animation competition, where animators from around the world participate, from absolute starters to industry professionals. Usually, around 300 people participate in it! The same 11 seconds of dialogue are used by every participant, which makes it really interesting, because we get to see how everyone interprets it, the stories that are created.
I will put my progress here as detailed and often as I have never have! I will try to make it daily.
I am really happy with this month's soundfile (hear it here), sometimes it's not as interesting as this month's! But, because of my availability, I HAD to participate in this month, so whatever came, I would animate it.
I have already come up with what the shot will be like. The characters are ready to animate, tonight I should have the cameras set-up ready too, as well as the scenario. Tomorrow (or tonight, if I can) I will do the detailed storyboard, with every action and movement on it, as well as record video reference - I won't rely too much on it this time tho.
So, I'll save some of the juice for other posts, and today, the only thing I'm going to reveal is... the characters! Hope you like them, even without knowing what they will do in the animation. (And yes, I know, 4 characters in one shot... but don't worry, I have it under control! ;)

And here's the dialogue I'll be animating:
"You come from a family of thieves. And now, like all guilty men, you try to rewrite your own history."

Oh, almost forgot! I have made a new render on the Mafia shot. Check it out! I didn't upload it in separate so this is the full reel.. but don't worry, i wont make you watch it again. It's the first shot in it!
See you tomorrow!