Hello again everyone! Apologies on the delayed log, its been a hectic couple of weeks.
This is the last of the animation logs, but not the last of this Blog series. I handed in my animation logs for assessment not 5 minutes ago, and that is a relief!
For Dracon Interactive news;
As I'm sure you've noticed, the website is now sporting a massive makeover. This is due to the fantastic work of the Fiverr artist "WillowCookie". Using the source material that she provided for the DI Social Media headers, this site now has a more unified aesthetic, more Dracon, less template.
Fatal Core work proceeds! We have added 3 more members to our group for this project, members of Voxious Studios. Talented all, and I cant wait to see how they do. For my own work, I have completed the Golem, or Elite AI, integrated shields, changed the physics so bullets are more optimised, redid the cockpit's lighting, got told the cockpit will be replaced, and spent 2 entire days fixing a merge error (that one had me angry). Overall, work is proceeding on, and, dare I say it, ahead of schedule. At this rate, we might even find time to include some surprises at the end!
Dragon Lands MK-III is going ahead, if slowly. Using Unity's Mecanim Blend Tree technology, I am piecing together a simplistic series of character animations, but this is painstakingly slow. Because of all the various responsibilitys DI is facing at the moment, and because of the inferior quality of the animations we are using. Thus, late December, Dracon will be purchasing a marker-less motion tracking system, to see if we can make our own humanoid animations. It should be exciting!
That's all for news for now. Be sure to check out our twitter @DraconInt for more frequent, smaller updates!
So: Animation stuff (more than usual!)
Rigging is the process of assigning a rig to a mesh, to facilitate in the animation process. The animator can use ‘controls’ assigned to various areas of the mesh such as an arm of a humanoid, the page of a book, or the lid of a chest. I will be probably using this process soon in the animation process of my treasure chest, for the lid and the loot.
Animation (verb) is the process of moving the components of a mesh over time. This can be through translation, rotation or scaling. The purpose of this is varied, from telling stories to creating individual game assets. Animation uses the previously mentioned “rigging” to facilitate this process. An example of an animation I will be attempting, is to move the chest lid away from its base, and raise the loot from the chest, while slowly rotating.
Lighting is an essential stage in the production of an animation that involves creating a singular or multiple light source to create differing areas of lighting. These lights can be coloured, and of varying intensity, and can also be animated. Various types of lighting include Spot, Point, Direction and Area
lighting. These are used to simulate different circumstances. For example, a spot light is good for simulating a torch, while a directional light is good for simulating a sun.
Rendering is the addition of all effects such as lighting, particle effects, normal maps and occlusion maps to a mesh, whilst creating a finished product. This is generally done during the later stages of the development process. Once this is completed, all that remains is Compositing and post rendering effects, colloquially termed “touch ups”.
Compositing is the collation of all rendered elements in a scene into a single unified animation. From here, the animator may perform actions such as color, contrast and brightness adjustments, and add additional visual effects such as particle effects or motion blur. This is the final step in the animation process
3D Animation and Modelling History Highlight
Sinbad: Beyond The Veil Of Mists was the first movie made primarily with motion-capture. While it used tradition animation in places, it used a now-common ‘mo-cap’ technique: covering an actor in dozens of references ‘markers’ that are tracked and triangulated by a computer in real time. While the movie sold badly (under $30,000 domestic), it paved the way for movies like ‘The Mummy’, and later, the Iron Man series.
This technique has also evolved beyond the movie industry, into gaming. Many games, especially those of AAA quality use motion-capture technology, such as Tomb Raider and Uncharted. This helps increase immersion, and overall game animation quality.
Inspiring 3D Modeller
Konrad Kaca is a 3D modeller working for the team that created the hit game SUPERHOT. The entire game is created in a vibrant low-poly artstyle, with coloring of whites and grey’s offset by splashes of red. This style is very appealing to me, and I particularly admire the way that Konrad modelled the humanoid meshes so that they were “destructible”. E.g. by creating each mesh with a series of submeshes that could have force applied to them upon impact. This means that every mesh became more complex, yet the optimisation of this did not visibly conflict or lessen the overall quality of the aesthetic.
Okay, so that's enough of that!
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