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  1. #1
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    Train-Toons: Open-GL Test

    Edit: Animation Test post #11

    Got a big commisioned project. I am working with a startup company that wants to provide training to the financial industry through animated characters. My current task is to develop a character that will serve both as the corporate mascot and face of the company, and also be used as a presenter to deliver the actual training.

    After the cast is developed, I will stay involved in the production, helping to animate and lip synch the characters I will create. Kind of a dream job for me! Here's hoping it goes well, and they like what I create....

    I have drawn the character concept, next I'll do the turn-around, then take him into 3-d. Any comments crits or suggestions welcomed .
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    Last edited by 3dementia; 22-Mar-11 at 22:36.
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  2. #2
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    I decided to skip drawing the turn around, and just jumped right into Blender. I am trying to go fairly low poly at first, may turn it up later. 576 faces, about 3 hours of modeling. Started the body first, I usually go right for the head, but I wanted more time to get the juices flowing before I tackle it.
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    Last edited by 3dementia; 11-Dec-10 at 22:58.
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  3. #3
    Member Brachi's Avatar
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    holy grail, this looks like an important project! haven't looked at of your previous works, but I hope you can deliver good results in time.
    Looking forward for updates.



  4. #4
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Brachi View Post
    this looks like an important project!
    It sure is to me, my most important ever. Having to satisfy others,brings lots of stress, but I am still managing to enjoy the work.

    Finished the hands, always a tricky part. About 3 more hours. 6 hours total modeling time so far.
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  5. #5
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    Last up for 2nite. Finished shoes,socks, and neck. Can't hide from it any longer, gotta do the head next....ugh. I'll need some sleep before beating on that one I think. or coffee. (Coffee! Cappucino..Java Java Java! oh! errr...excuse me. )

    Hovering around 3000 faces, approx 10 hours of modeling.

    Edit: And some wires.
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    Last edited by 3dementia; 12-Dec-10 at 06:42.
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  6. #6
    Member Quandtum's Avatar
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    You know... I bought this book http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Chara...2161355&sr=8-1 a while back, it's incredibly simple and can be read in an hour, and it also changed the way I see everything I do (not just character development but EVERYTHING, unfortunately also makes me more down because I better understand the limits of my "creativity" now). So as it applies to your work I recommend checking out that book because....

    1.) I would have done dozens of character sketches to show the client before investing 10 hours into a model that they may or may not like.
    2.) Understand how 2D shapes (which will translate to 3D form) and exaggerated proportions help create personality (and how they influence the characters personality).
    3.) Of which, where is and what is the personality, I don't see it yet (other than maybe he's looks more like a credit to cash dude).

    I step back and look at this as imagine myself coming to this financial company and being the one to watch these training films. Compare it to an infomercial for a second, the main presenter is usually very animated, oozing personality, gesturing, big facial expressions and overall, nice to look at.

    Now, I'm being very, very critical here, but this is because this is your professional work (if it was just a model you were working on everything looks great btw but because it's your client and I know a bit about your capabilities) you can do way better here.

    So I issue you the challenge, show me someone I could watch for 2 hours ramble on about something that typically puts me to sleep but would keep my attention. Your character's job is to grab my attention and to keep it until he's/she's/it's gotten his message across.

    Again, sorry for being so very critical.

    Now (just normally) evaluating the model. Looks good, nothing wrong with it but a missing head =P . While I know materials are maybe place holders, I would still think hard about the colors and the fashion (again, another opportunity to build character and personality). I just imagine to myself what kind of person in the real world would I be looking at wearing those color of pants.

    Anyways, again, I am very sorry for being harsh, but I find myself caring enough about your project being a success that I needed to state myself. Congratulations and I'm quite excited for you, I hope huge success for you so you can grow the business! (...and hire some of us in the future =P )
    Last edited by Quandtum; 12-Dec-10 at 09:02.
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  7. #7
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    Jeremy it is good to hear from you my friend! Thank you for your wise words, I don't mind the critique you know . I totally agree with you about the many sketches, I actually did several, as you know I am more tuned towards a realistic style, creating this chibi character is out of my element. (and this style is what the client wanted btw)

    The thing is, I am under the gun. The client is looking at an application called state, produced by xtranormal. That is what I am competing with. The client brought this application to me, and in 2 hours of work we were able to produce this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i7NBMMBnhg. Believe it or not, they are satisfied with the results, and confident to move forward with that solution because of it's ease. I for one cannot stand it. Beyond awful imo. But you can produce something 2 minutes long in 2 hours. Really hard to beat. I have been given one week to produce a rigged, shapekeyed character with a library of premade actions and idle cycles. Once produced I have to demonstrate that I can beat xtranormal's output with Blender in the same timespan, animation and lip sync. 2 minutes of finished product in 2 hours.

    I have already conquered the lip sync issue, I have practiced to the point where I can sync 1 minute of speech in 10 minutes of Blender time. The next thing that must be overcome is the actions library and animating quickly. So you see, I am literally going all out. The company I am doing this for is formed between some very powerful people in the banking education world, and if I succeed, it very well could mean big things down the road.

    Edit: finishing up the face...
    As always I enjoy chatting with you man, thanks again for your excellent input. ttyl.
    -Mike
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  8. #8
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    Modeling is done!!! On to rigging.
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  9. #9
    Member Quandtum's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 3dementia View Post
    Beyond awful imo.
    Lego minifigs come to mind...

    Well for sure though, there is something to be said about ease of use and project schedule. Definitely big considerations in any project. I think it's good you're putting consideration into the visimes and lip syncing, will really help out.

    Not that the lego-minfig-wanna-bes are bad (or the animation was bad), but definitely should be able to do better then that.

    Could even Southpark-style it with 2D stuff and animate it in Blender...
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  10. #10
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    I've actually been seriously contemplating doing it in 2d.

    Anyway, here is rigged and quickly posed to get him looking somewhat like his concept art. I will start pulling shape keys into place, I plan to do all the facial acting with rvk's instead of bones. It's just quicker and more direct than complex facial rigging.
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  11. #11
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    O.K. So we have designed a basic set for the character, created a simple rig, and are now defining default actions.

    The basic concept is for non-animators to be able to animate using NLA strips of idle actions and gestures, coupled with an automated process for lip synch.

    I have defined these simple actions and processes, and this is the result of my brother(who doesn't use Blender) to putting them to work to produce this simple test.



    What do you guys think of the result? We are not trying to perfect full motion animation, but rather something that can be put together quickly to produce short training videos for banks and credit unions. Any feedback greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by 3dementia; 18-Dec-10 at 14:29.
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  12. #12
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    So things are successful! The client really likes the work done so far, and wants to move forward with the project!!

    Even better, since the test character was really rushed, I get the chance to redesign from scratch. Thanks Quandtum, your comment went a long way towards convincing them that a better character is needed.

    So we have renamed the star of our show to Ben Frank. And here is my first concept sketch.
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  13. #13
    Member Quandtum's Avatar
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    Cool, congrats! Looks like lots of work but has to feel good making some pay for something fun! Good work!
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  14. #14
    Member Brachi's Avatar
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    Hey, and when your character is going "live"? I mean, when is train-toons going to start doing business, do you know?



  15. #15
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    @Quandtum: Toadally! It's very cool actually, I'm sure it will be more fun once I resume sleeping.

    @ Brachi, thanks for asking, the date they have set is May 1st. I've got 5 character designs to do, and 4 sets. The characters are going to take loads of time, all the expression and model sheets, not to mention action and shape key libraries. I'm drinking lots of coffee .
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  16. #16
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    Making some progress, I just completed the model sheet for our friend Ben, probably the most technical drawing I have ever done. I think he is looking pretty dapper. What do you think?

    Up Next: Stella Story.
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  17. #17
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    O.K. Been up all night drawing. The project is coming along nicely in 2D, looks like I'll be there for a while.

    The shows will be based around a news broadcast format, and there are 5 characters to complete. As of this post, Ben's 2d design work is done, and I have finished his partner Stella's portrait. I also did a closeup side profile of Ben.

    Next up is Stella's Model Sheet. These two will be the Anchor and the Correspondent for the news team.

    Now you realize Stella is going to be my hot chick, so if you think she's cute (or not) shout out and let a guy know.
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    Last edited by 3dementia; 10-Jan-11 at 08:50.
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  18. #18
    Member Brachi's Avatar
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    nice, keep posting your progress, I'm following it, I really want to see it finished, something tells me it would look pretty cool. I'm not sure how they are going to be animated when the client request some training.. is it going to be all done by you? let's say some bank want to hire train-toons for a training program about x subject.. will you be called and do the animation based on their script or you'll let the character rigged and animated in such a way anyone can animate.. or another animator? cheers



  19. #19
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    @Brachi- Thx for commenting man, this one will be finished for sure, there is cold hard cash saying it will . As far as the animation, the characters will be rigged and animated by me, and I will create a library of actions for each. I explain the concept better here perhaps: http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=204920

    Well I have worked many hours on Stella's design. Here you see her inspiration board, face sketches, and the finished model sheet. A little bit of good news, I get to take a break from drawing, the powers that be want to see how well these current designs translate into 3-d (I have some skeptics in the ranks). We shall see.
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  20. #20
    Member 3dementia's Avatar
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    All right, as promised I have jumped into 3-d. Guess which character I chose to work on first....you guessed it, Stella! I couldn't resist, she will be the most difficult of all the characters, as she has to appeal strongly to both sexes.

    Those of you who are in the know will recognize this face topology, it's courtesy of our good friend Jonathan.
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