Research: Fertilisation inside the Gametophyte

Posted by Sam Hayes On Thursday, April 29, 2010 0 comments
I have a good idea of how I want my animation to look and I'm going to post up some sort of colour scheme to 'build to' so I can keep it consistant. However, the one part that I'm attempting to visualize is the Fertilisation that occurs between the Sperm and the Egg inside the Gametophyte (The small leafy offspring) I want this to be as cinematic as the rest of my animation, so I'm going to visualize it as being quite 'sudden'. I'm researching into the process to see where I can take liberties while still putting across the correct information.

The images I've found show the layout fine, just not the process and the way it all 'moves'.

The video below (Found on Shahbir's Blog) gave me a good idea. I imagine what it would be like to 'go down' into the image, I imagined it as being a green-landscape, almost 'rocky' with tissue, With huge sacks of the Sperm cells bursting, hundreds of sperm cells then start streaming across the landscape, heading for the Egg and then crowding to reach it. I can imagine some lovely concept art for this, I just need to knuckle down and try and create whats in my head.

Target Audience - GCSE Secondary School Pupils

Posted by Sam Hayes On Tuesday, April 27, 2010 0 comments
I've decided on my target audience for my Fern animation. It will be targeted at Secondary School Pupils doing their GCSEs (14, 15 and 16 years old). It may also be useful for older students (I never knew anything about Ferns before yesterday, so It would have definitely educated me) I've decided on this for several reasons:

  • The visual style and animation techniques will be familiar to people this age, and they will be more interested in learning the information if it is in a dynamic and visually-pleasing way
  • I can sum up the information in a moderate way, I will not need to research advanced Bio-Chemistry (Thank God) but at the same time I can include information that pupils of a younger age would not grasp.
  • The animation will not need to be patronising, I can aim it directly at this year-range, assuming how much the viewer already understands.
  • I did my GCSE's not that long ago and I believe I still have a good idea of what I wanted to see and how information was 'digested'.

Fantastic Voyage (1966)

Posted by Sam Hayes On Tuesday, April 27, 2010 0 comments

Fantastic Voyage is a  Sci-Fi-adventure film produced 1966. It revolves around a team of scientists and doctors who shrink a medical team along with a submarine to microscopic size in order to inject them into another scientist's body to save his life. Although it is far-fetched, it does take a scientific approach and features plenty of scenes based around human anatomy including the ear, heart and brains. The film is not only constantly referenced for it's storyline, but the special effects that were used were groundbreaking. The visuals were very vivid and alomost psychedelic with bright colours floating around the ship.

It featured a couple of recognisable actors, Rachel Welch who starred in One Million Years B.C, a film which featured in my essay as Ray Harryhausen produced the effects. Another character that was familiar was the doctor played by Donald Pleasence, who played 'The Forger' in The Great Escape, which I watched last week for ideas on my drawn animation.

First Narrative Draft + Research

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, April 26, 2010 0 comments
Edit: You know when you say a word so many times it stops making sense. Well Fern no longer makes sense. Yesterday I hadn't thought about Ferns for years, now I have typed this word hundreds of times and my brain has been ambushed. Better press on though

This is the first idea I've had for a narrative. It maybe too long, and there isn't enough scientific detail in it as of yet, but I think I'm getting some useful ideas down, so it's worth it for now. It's in an image so I can refer to it and change it around easily, rather than having a wall of text.

Quick Concept

Research: Life Cycle of a Fern

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, April 26, 2010 0 comments
I've compiled a couple of different Fern cycles I've found (one of which was provided in the Brief) as well as microscopic photos of the plants into four-stage cycle, this allows my animation to be split up between these four parts, which lead on from each other. I've also found a fern which I'd like to base the animation around - The Sceptridium or the 'Grape Fern'. The reason for this is the almost Sci-Fi design of their spore pods, shown in the research.

Now that I've complied this, I completely understand the process and have a few ideas about how cinematic I can make certain parts. I also see where The Haploid and Diploid comes in, which I'll have to include in the animation.

Micro-Biology Choice: The Life of a Fern

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, April 26, 2010 0 comments
After an incredibly informative and entertaining breifing this morning by our Commissioner, Peter Klappa I have chosen the topic for my animation: The Life of a Fern. The main reason I chose this is because I saw a lot of potential for CG in the cycle, such as the spores being released from pods and the plants sprouting from the earth. After a bit of research, I'm happy with my choice. I am going to resolve a narrative and begin my concepts this week, so I can produce as many 'convincers' as I can before the Pitch on the 10th.

Maya Rigging and Character Animation

Posted by Sam Hayes On Sunday, April 25, 2010 0 comments
Here are the rigging tutorials:

Character Rigging

Mechanical Leg


Tail Rig 

Can Exchange
I understand the theory behind this one, but I still had a lot of problems with it. First Maya would crash when mirroring them, then my right arm is bending awkwardly (Which I think is something to do with the IK as I had to re-create it after not mirroring) next, the can seems a little off the hand, which I think might be a problem with the pivot, which I had a crack at fixing. I'm going to re-do this one to get it right.

Walk Cycle Mechanics

Unit 6 Brief

Posted by Sam Hayes On Saturday, April 24, 2010 0 comments
I've been looking through the online brief we received yesterday and also thinking about some of the information Phil told us. In two weeks time, May 10th , we have a Pitch presentation to our Commisioners, by this time we need a full grasp of what our final production will be along with all our pre-production. This includes our narrative with storyboarding (In animatic form), concept art and some Maya pre-visualisation, which seems about the same as the previous Story-telling unit, this gives a rough idea of how much time will need to be spent on these.

A major decision in this unit that Phil explained yesterday was the target audience, which can be anything from primary school children to undergraduates. The tone of the production will be based on who we choose to 'instruct'. I was thinking about this and depending on the further information we receive (what we're assigned) I think setting a target audience at GCSE level is a good choice. This way, the basics and important parts of the process can be explained but it will not be saturated with scientific information, neither will it be too simple. Also, creating this in a 3D animation allows it to be scenic, filmic and cinematic. Students at GCSE would have a better appreciation and understanding of this. Once we've been given the detailed brief I'll have to consider this.

As for the production, a lot of planning is going to be needed, taking into account render and editing times.

Unit 6: Commision. The Big One.

Posted by Sam Hayes On Saturday, April 24, 2010 2 comments

Next week we begin our 6th project: Commission, which seems to be the largest project so far. We only have five weeks to complete it, which is less time than our previous (which flew by) so it seems that time-management will be the biggest challenge. I have no distractions this project, meaning I'm going to put a lot of hours into my final animation.

Over the last few weeks I've been practicing with Maya, both with Alan's tutorials and a few online resources and I think I'm getting a bit more of a hold on the software and I am also sure I'll learn a lot more before the next crit. Below are the final requirements for the unit, a bit of a daunting list.

1) Final animation
2) Concept art
3) Storyboards
4) Animatic
5) CG Pre-Vis
6) Research (including market research)
7) Your brand development and visual identity
8) Your ‘Making of’ pages (see below)
9) Life-Drawing
10) All exercises as specified in your ‘After Effects’ workshops
11) All Maya exercises as specified in technical classes

I'm looking forward to getting a grasp with After Effects, as it seems to really improve the way 3D turns out. I'm going to start a bit of research this weekend, doing what I can before we get our detailed brief.

As the next project seems to be the start of 'visual identity' I'm working on making my blog a bit more unique and better laid out. I'm still fiddling with it, hopefully I'll be happy with it soon.

From Muybridge to Avatar: A History of Animation

Posted by Sam Hayes On Friday, April 23, 2010 0 comments
A video showing the evolution of animation from Eadweard Muybridge to James Cameron's 'Avatar'

Click for Youtube

Final Animation: The Great Mistake

Posted by Sam Hayes On Friday, April 23, 2010 0 comments

All done!

Posted by Sam Hayes On Friday, April 23, 2010 0 comments
This was a tough week, but everything is finally done. I completed my animation earlier today but needed to finish up a few things before tommorow. I'm not ecstatic with my final animation, but considering it was my first go, I'm quite happy. It could definitely be improved, especially the chair movements. I'll have the final uploaded to youtube tommorow.

I wanted to produce a good animation timeline as I really enjoyed seeing the history of Visual Effects throughout this unit. I have some bits and pieces spread back over my blog so I decided instead of spammming more posts showing animator's work I would compile it all into a video. I started working on this at about five in the evening and have only just finished, but I'm incredibly happy with it. I think it shows the progress from early visual effects to today's cutting edge quite well. It lasts about 9 minutes and contains quite a bit of footage from a variety of films, plus what I consider to be a tasty soundtrack. I will also post this up tommorow.


Posted by Sam Hayes On Tuesday, April 20, 2010 0 comments
I've been working on my animation for a while now, and it is going OK, but I'm still a bit worried about how it will all look when put together. The animatic is below, it is a bit rushed, and the story may not be too clear, but my animation is a lot more readable so far. I've only got about 15 seconds animated as of now, so I need to keep going and make sure it's together for the crit.

Final Storyboards

Posted by Sam Hayes On Monday, April 19, 2010 0 comments
Here is my my final Storyboard and a bit of concept. I have two versions, the rough one, which is one image and a set of them that I used to create my animatic, which are clearer and generally better. I will post up the animatic when it finished uploading.

Progress (or rather not)

Posted by Sam Hayes On Sunday, April 18, 2010 2 comments
I haven't made a blog-post in over two weeks, and considering it is almost the deadline, I feel like a bit of a twat. I've returned from holidaying for  down in the South-West (Which was great) back into the world of the washed. I spent all of the last two weeks with everything but Animation on my mind, which was both terrible timing and a terrible decision. I'm going to be honest and say I do not even have one frame of animation drawn as of yet, leaving me with about 4 days (3 of those drawing) until deadline.

My animation and final mark this unit is going to suffer incredibly and I admit I've only had myself to blame. I am going to submit on Friday though, which is doable, I have all of my requirements done (Essay, Maya etc) apart from the main animation. I know it isn't what Phil wants to hear, but I'd be happy with just passing this unit.

Cracking on, I'm going to post up my animation and storyboarding tonight, and begin animating tommorow after the Maya class, if my body can handle the caffeine, I'll make it by Friday.


Yes I'm buggered.

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I'm a student studying CG Arts and Animation at the University for the Creative Arts, I'm living in Kent.

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