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Compliments of my need to practice

HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930

Before, thinking this is irrelevant to this board or forum, here me out, lol.

 

So, after about 15 years of being a static 3D modeler/World Builder (aside from writing animation scripts/code inside various VU's/Social MMO's). I decided a while back to take the plunge into animation. From Lattice Deformation and Armature Rigging, to Mocap adjustments and from scratch .bvh gestures.

 

I have been having to learn to use a lot of new programs to really get into this (such as Blender, Inkscape, Rokuro, Daz 3D studio etc.). I have been having to learn a lot more about programs I already use, as well (like Gimp and Wings3D). And, I will probably have to become familiar with many more programs, methods and environmental applications, as time goes on (and probably delve deeper in learning higher programing languages at some point).

 

But, most important to developing skill in this, is the need to practice. Secondarily I think it's important that I practice on things I can point to later down the line. I feel the need to work on projects that may get some degree of exposure (if I ever hope to one day, somehow make a living at what has been just side money and a hobby to date). With that in mind I decided to make a tag for signatures that people here can (if they like) use on other forums they may frequent (you can download this for upload elsewhere and use forum code to associate link backs to the main site). Here is the finished product of that:

 

[if the image is still, the animation simply has not reset yet, give it a bit, it will play again]

 

My hardware at the moment is not great and I am still pretty slow at actually producing something. In fact, rendering the frames for this in Blender at 100 samples per frame and 60 frames, took no less then 3 hours and 6 computer crashes. On top of that... It took about an hour and a half, to set it all up for rendering (split between today and yesterday - creating the icon, and setting up the material surfaces and textures, for it and the environment). Then about 2 hours in gimp making some modifications, piecing it all together (importing and cleaning up the logo as I couldn't find the correct font to make the lettering out of curve-text to mesh) and doing final adjustments to things like frame durations.

 

This finished tag for forum signatures (or I guess what ever else you find an excuse to use it for) is:

Format: Animated .Gif

width: 256px

height: 144px

Frames: 60

File size (optimized): 211.51 KB

Loop: Yes (infinite)

Duration: The play time from the first frame to the last is 4.08 seconds and the last frame holds for 60 seconds before the animation loops back to the first frame.

 

Enjoy!

 

image

Comments

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Member UncommonPosts: 2,077
    Originally posted by Helleri

    But, most important to developing skill in this, is the need to practice.

    And getting the advanced programs (i.e., 3DSMax and/or Maya) and building your own associated tools to streamline production.

     

    In animation it's about your technique and tools you'll use, as much as technical skill.

     

    I'll add to this: if anyone noticed on the Blizzcon panel videos the tools of the animators were using, at least one was trademarked -- that's an example of a custom built tool used in their studio. Just like the CGI movie houses have custom tools for their fancy animations, all stuff you won't find out of stock programs (and why student animations rarely look good, or require soooooo long to do).

     

    Get the pro tools, learn them, this is essential because it'll take years to master the interface. This is a butt of a problem with Blender it's UI is so convoluted and at odds with the pro tools. Wings3D (I love that program for basic modeling of non-hole shapes...can't make true holes in Wings) is the epitome of a clean UI that any program should follow...essentially a big wide canvas to work on.

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Helleri

    But, most important to developing skill in this, is the need to practice.

    And getting the advanced programs (i.e., 3DSMax and/or Maya) and building your own associated tools to streamline production.

     

    In animation it's about your technique and tools you'll use, as much as technical skill.

    Oh definitely...Just at this stage I haven't the funds for higher end software and hardware. So, the best I can do right now is practice and learn the free programs I can to the utmost. Maybe in 2-3 years I might be able to do good enough work and have established a large enough portfolio to get some jobs that will help pay for licensing on better programs and a better setup to put them on.

     

    I was using wings 3d for the longest time. I was even using it to do sculpties on sl and later .dea (using wings that way I could make kinds of sculpties few others could and did a lot of commission work for some of the bigger sl stores -can't say which ones though-). The problem with wings 3d is that it doesn't do rigging and animation (it's actually a really intuitive sub-division modeler that for some purposes is still faster and easier to use then blender)

     

    My point on this note (I do actually have one). Is that in making the move to blender the largest parts of the learning curve for me has been:

    1) The UI

    2) New tools

     

    Never the less. Having been a static modeler and texturer in wings 3d for so long laid a lot of foundational work for me to be able to pick blender right up (I realized in learning its basics that I already knew 70% of it) . So, I am sure at the very least a lot of practice with my new programs will give me some degree of prerequisite knowledge for when I am ready to move to the big expensive software. In the way that wings did for me moving to blender.

    image

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Member UncommonPosts: 2,077
    Originally posted by Helleri
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Helleri

    But, most important to developing skill in this, is the need to practice.

    And getting the advanced programs (i.e., 3DSMax and/or Maya) and building your own associated tools to streamline production.

     

    In animation it's about your technique and tools you'll use, as much as technical skill.

    Oh definitely...Just at this stage I haven't the funds for higher end software and hardware. So, the best I can do right now is practice and learn the free programs I can to the utmost. Maybe in 2-3 years I might be able to do good enough work and have established a large enough portfolio to get some jobs that will help pay for licensing on better programs and a better setup to put them on.

    Take some courses even at a technical college to qualify for student pricing.

     

    The reason why I'm stressing this is because if you spend 2-3 years learning on Blender, it's going to be incredibly painstaking to delink how to work on, say, Maya (which is the top-end CGI software). Reason why art students spend 4 years in art school learning on Adobe/Autodesk products, so they don't have to spend another 4 years learning yet another complicated UI when actually working in the industry.

     

    For animation especially, need to use the pro tools to save yourself years of relearning grief. Animation is a mastery profession like C++ programming.

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Helleri
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Helleri

    But, most important to developing skill in this, is the need to practice.

    And getting the advanced programs (i.e., 3DSMax and/or Maya) and building your own associated tools to streamline production.

     

    In animation it's about your technique and tools you'll use, as much as technical skill.

    Oh definitely...Just at this stage I haven't the funds for higher end software and hardware. So, the best I can do right now is practice and learn the free programs I can to the utmost. Maybe in 2-3 years I might be able to do good enough work and have established a large enough portfolio to get some jobs that will help pay for licensing on better programs and a better setup to put them on.

    Take some courses even at a technical college to qualify for student pricing.

     

    The reason why I'm stressing this is because if you spend 2-3 years learning on Blender, it's going to be incredibly painstaking to delink how to work on, say, Maya (which is the top-end CGI software). Reason why art students spend 4 years in art school learning on Adobe/Autodesk products, so they don't have to spend another 4 years learning yet another complicated UI when actually working in the industry.

     

    For animation especially, need to use the pro tools to save yourself years of relearning grief. Animation is a mastery profession like C++ programming.

     

    I totally understand. But, for the moment this is still very much a hobby. And I am simply not in the position to start-out-right as it were. I have also found. That like with playing games the more you play the quicker you pick new ones up. Because, knowing a lot of different systems gives you a large amount of experience to reference and apply forward. I realize I am on the slow road. But, my goals are long term. And, given I already make my living doing things way different then this. I am not under the same pressures someone who's future depends on it all is.

     

    I am no fresh faced kid out of college looking to "make it happen" and take the world by storm. I have time to learn from the most simple level up to the most advanced. I moved from things like HTML and Auto CAD and paint. To wings 3d and GIMP with HTML5 and some java tweaking. And, from here I want to move to blender and maybe photoshop and C++. Then see where I end up going from there.

     

    But, hey you have not said anything about the sig tag :P

    Think it needs any adjustments?

    image

  • GaendricGaendric Member UncommonPosts: 623

    I agree to what Kevyne said.

    The sooner you switch to the industry standard software the better.

    Yes, it is a financial strain at first, but well worth it in the long run.

    But I totally understand your standpoint.

     

    The animation itself is hard to judge from the small gif. Personally, I like it. Simple and straightforward, which to me is a good thing. 

    1 and a half hours to set that whole scene up from scratch is quite good I would say.

     

    If you want nitpicky feedback:

    The line where the ground meets the background is unnecessary and detracts from the overall look. Doesn't add anything, so it shouldn't be there.

    Otherwise the background is nicely passive and let's the logo shine. Thumbs up for that.

     

    The spot is too far on the bottom, should be either clearly in the frame as a part of the design, or be left out completely.

    As it is, it's not really either. Same as the line, if it doesn't add anything, it shouldn't be there.

     

    (as I said, this is just nitpick stuff)

     

     

     

    Sorry for the edit, you posted while I was typing it up, so I adapted it :)

     

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by Gaendric

    I agree to what Kevyne said.

    The sooner you switch to the industry standard software the better.

    Yes, it is a financial strain at first, but well worth it in the long run.

    But I totally understand your standpoint.

     

    The animation itself is hard to judge from the small gif. Personally, I like it. Simple and straightforward, which to me is a good thing. 

    1 and a half hours to set that whole scene up from scratch is quite good I would say.

    If you want nitpicky feedback:

    The line where the ground meets the background is unnecessary and detracts from the overall look. Otherwise the background is nicely passive and let's the logo shine.

    The spot is too far on the bottom, should be either clearly in the frame as a part of the design, or be left out completely. As it is, it's not really either.

    (as I said, this is just nitpick stuff)

     

    I know "pros" who need an hour just to get settled at the desk and fire up the software ;)

     

     

    Sorry for the edit, you posted while I was typing it up, so I adapted it :)

     

    Thanks! And, do you mean where the floor actually meets the background or that sharp falloff from the scene lighting hitting the floor?

    image

  • GaendricGaendric Member UncommonPosts: 623

    I meant where the floor meets the background. The straight line.

    You could  maybe get rid of the line and pull the spot upwards until it is partially behind the logo, so that it becomes a nice background component, but still let it reach behind the image borders (into eternity so to say, to keep feel of the image "open")

     

  • Kevyne-ShandrisKevyne-Shandris Member UncommonPosts: 2,077
    Originally posted by Helleri
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Helleri
    Originally posted by Kevyne-Shandris
    Originally posted by Helleri

    But, most important to developing skill in this, is the need to practice.

    And getting the advanced programs (i.e., 3DSMax and/or Maya) and building your own associated tools to streamline production.

     

    In animation it's about your technique and tools you'll use, as much as technical skill.

    Oh definitely...Just at this stage I haven't the funds for higher end software and hardware. So, the best I can do right now is practice and learn the free programs I can to the utmost. Maybe in 2-3 years I might be able to do good enough work and have established a large enough portfolio to get some jobs that will help pay for licensing on better programs and a better setup to put them on.

    Take some courses even at a technical college to qualify for student pricing.

     

    The reason why I'm stressing this is because if you spend 2-3 years learning on Blender, it's going to be incredibly painstaking to delink how to work on, say, Maya (which is the top-end CGI software). Reason why art students spend 4 years in art school learning on Adobe/Autodesk products, so they don't have to spend another 4 years learning yet another complicated UI when actually working in the industry.

     

    For animation especially, need to use the pro tools to save yourself years of relearning grief. Animation is a mastery profession like C++ programming.

     

    I totally understand. But, for the moment this is still very much a hobby. And I am simply not in the position to start-out-right as it were. I have also found. That like with playing games the more you play the quicker you pick new ones up. Because, knowing a lot of different systems gives you a large amount of experience to reference and apply forward. I realize I am on the slow road. But, my goals are long term. And, given I already make my living doing things way different then this. I am not under the same pressures someone who's future depends on it all is.

     

    I am no fresh faced kid out of college looking to "make it happen" and take the world by storm. I have time to learn from the most simple level up to the most advanced. I moved from things like HTML and Auto CAD and paint. To wings 3d and GIMP with HTML5 and some java tweaking. And, from here I want to move to blender and maybe photoshop and C++. Then see where I end up going from there.

     

    But, hey you have not said anything about the sig tag :P

    Think it needs any adjustments?

    I'm just pointing out that animation is a mastery profession. Like any profession where you must master the tools to produce goods, if you start using tools that are more of a handicap, by the time you are ready to step up to use the pro tools, it's years of grief unlearning habits that no longer apply.

     

    It's a heads up to not go through that grief.

     

    Both 3DSMax and Maya have trial editions that get you familiar with the UI, and that'll help. Students can qualify for the student editions which is dirt cheap from the commercial license products ($6,000 for Maya!!!). That's how you can enjoy both worlds as a hobbyist, but on the right track in also learning the pro tools...and can use the plugins to save time.

     

    It truly is about mastering the pro tools. Just like the master woodcrafter or millwright or mechanic who has to buy some really expensive tools to be good at what they do, with any efficiency.

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by Gaendric

    I meant where the floor meets the background. The straight line.

    You could  maybe get rid of the line and pull the spot upwards until it is partially behind the logo, so that it becomes a nice background component, but still let it reach behind the image borders (into eternity so to say, to keep feel of the image "open")

     

    hmmm...I really don't want to re-render the whole scene, lmao. But, The background/floor in the final .gif animation is 3 identical frames with the icon and logo doing their thing on top of those. And, that background/floor is saved as part of the scene in blender. So, I can play with the material surfaces to smooth out the transitions. I am iffy about moving the light it'self though or changing the intensity (i'm afraid the lighting on the orb won't look right compared to the background if I do)...i'll play with that through out the day and see what I come up with.

    image

  • GaendricGaendric Member UncommonPosts: 623

    What you could do for future animations of this type is to render the foreground with alpha channel and add it to the background externally. Most animations are composited.

    Your foreground didn't have any effect (shadows/reflections) on the background anyway. 

    Would make tweaking much easier.

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930
    Originally posted by Gaendric

    What you could do for future animations of this type is to render the foreground with alpha channel and add it to the background externally. Most animations are composited.

    Your foreground didn't have any effect (shadows/reflections) on the background anyway. 

    Would make tweaking much easier.

     

    yeah, it's a bit of pain to edit after the fact this way, lol...

    Nudged it over and up in this and killed the hard line the background makes on the floor....and tested it by replacing the frames....wouldn't work this way. I get some crazy artifacts. And, it just doesn't look...correct with the lighting. And turns out that hard background to floor line actually helps frame the lettering right (doesn't look right with it gone...it's harder to visually center the lettering without it. Feels offset even though it isn't, with that faint line gone).

    image

  • HelleriHelleri Member UncommonPosts: 930

    Re-rendered low rez, lighting setup changed, no background line, and frame play speeds adjusted:

    image

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