Monday, November 29, 2010

Yeah, I'm still alive.


I finally got around to finishing the animation I was working on way back when. I had to render it out and ran into quite a few issues there (crashing on renders, losing progress on lighting, having to redo lighting multiple times, fixing animation after renders were done, etc.)

Anyway, here it is:

"Trust Me" - final from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Some notes: I didn't make all the fixes that were recommended to me. I really would have liked to, but my enthusiasm for this piece was dwindling, so I decided to get some small things fixed and call it done. There are things I really don't like about it, but at the same time, there are still little things that surprise me.

I've talked about the animation in previous posts, so I'll talk a bit about my rendering here.

First off, lighting. As mentioned above, I ran into issues, losing much progress. What I ended up using was a heavily modified physical sun and sky, plus 4 area lights (2 blue, pointing up, 2 orange-ish pointing down/sideways). I'm fairly certain I had the lighting much better at some point but lost my work. I'm satisfied enough with what I got.

Motion blur was crashing Maya, so I had to render without it. I added it in After Effects, so it's a bit shoddy in spots, especially on big motions. using a trick we used on the thesis, I made the occlusion layer blue-tinted to add color to shadows. I then placed an orange solid layer multiplied on top of everything to give a warmth to the colors. It came out a little dark on Vimeo, though. It looks good enough on the actual video.

While I'm making a blog post, I figure I'll throw up this little picture I made for the Progressive Metal music subreddit on Reddit:

See it in action!

I'll be making a Progressive Rock one too, sometime soon.

Aside from that I've been in a bit of a creative rut. I hope to fix that with the free time I'll be having when I head home next month for almost 3 weeks.

What I plan on working on is an animated music video for a friend, Bruce, and his band, Killbot Zero. It should be fun and quite the challenge. I've worked out some ideas of what I want to do:

- Bruce recommended something that looks like a video game.
- I'd like to do it in the style of a side-scrolling beat-em-up
- It would feature cartoon versions of Bruce and Chris (the two band members)
- Characters would look like sprite animations, but not pixel-art. i'd like them to be drawn and colored in Photoshop.
- I'd like it to be 2.5-D. My ideas were building a set in Maya, or After Effects. I think After Effects would be the less confusing option, but After Effects slows down big time handling sets like that. I still have to decide what to do there.

Just so you can see the kind of awesome music they've got, here's a taste:

They've written a song specifically for this video, and it's excellent. I'm pretty excited for it.

And as you may, but probably won't recall, Bruce was the guy who performed the drums on this song of mine this past Summer:

Direct Link (Right click, save as)

Hey, if I can't shamelessly self-promote on my blog, then what's this thing for?