Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The last few months

The last few months has been absolute mayhem, hence the big gap between my last post. 
This is what has happened. -

  •  Attended the degree show at Staffs university in June, where I presented my final piece Red and showreel, I also listed a print in the mini print festivals and sold a 3D stereoscopic one.
  •  Moved out and in with family.
  • Went to stay with Family in Portugal for a few weeks before graduation. (Working Holiday)
  • Graduated University in July with a BA Hons in 3D character animation and special effects.
  • Got engaged to my lovely partner.
  • Started self employment as a free lance animator / digital print maker.

  • Passed my driving test and got our first family car.
  • And have recently started applying for free lance work and full time jobs (keeping all options open)

It’s been hectic and worrying having no fixed place or definite plans but looking back now there has been a lot for me to be proud of and a lot of exciting things to come in the future. I have started work on some digital prints which I will start to blog about when they get closer to being ready. They are a unique idea and hopefully I will sell loads and have a nice targeted market for them (who knows, they may end up in some high street stores....)

Blog again soon :)

Just Graduated - (from left to right) Joy, Woody, Me, Damien, Tumelo and Emma
3D print that sold at the mini print festival

Friday, 25 May 2012

Stuart Taylor 3D Animation - Red by Heg Doughty [Official Music Video]

T odays the day when Red gets released to the world. I am very happy with the overall outcome of the video and delighted with the help and support of those involved in the making of it.

A poster has been created for this years degree show to promote the work and thank those involved.

Footage by Jon Nobbs Red - written and performed by Heg Doughty Red - recorded by Ray Hendriksen and Adam Loveday Edwards Character concept artist Tammy Daniels Assistant modeller Tom Wilsdon Storyboard artist Derek Woodmass Special thanks Georgii Innes

Poster for the degree show

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Reflection on Red Project

T he piece is now completed and looking back on the last 6months I am happy with how it has turned out.

The issues I solved along the way from grit and determination and hours of trial, error, googling and coffee drinking was made worth it. I have discovered a new style of animation and modelling as well as developing a rig from scratch which is something I can translate into other projects in the future. I think about that paper origami animation and the paper fox project that I saw in Feb and how this helped me shape the project - it would have been a different look all together if it wasn't for this and Tammy's drawings on the characters or Jon's footage of Heg.

The lessons I can take from this project is to not try and do everything myself, in the future I will take more help on board knowing that ideas and team collaboration lead to faster work flow and creativeness outside my own mind.

I think that working for a studio or free lancing will require this approach and that I now have the right mind to accept these and use them to any new projects advantage.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Mini Print, CV Competition and Compositing

I have been ridiculously busy for over the last week working on a few things for the final degree show, FMX and the Red video.

The Red video is in its final compositing stages and I hope to have this finished to take with me to FMX. I am currently looking into how to make people aware of the video and enter it into some competitions.

I have had 4 different limited addition prints made up for the Mini Print festival here in Staffordshire in June of Little Red and the wolf. Two of these are 3D stereoscopic prints which will be sold with the glasses.

Keeping in with the theme of stereoscopic and the Red project I have entered my CV into the university creative CV competition which the winner gets a new I Pad!!

I am really excited about the Red Video completion and I am making a short list of company's and magazines whom maybe interested in writing a piece on this video.

Here a couple of images from the last week.
Heg and the Wolf

Selection of prints for sale

Friday, 4 May 2012

Student 3D animation Showreel 2012

T oday I have finished compositing my final year of University's Showreel. The reel I am taking to FMX next week where I hope to meet some interesting people and do some networking.

I have received excellent news that the music video Red has been printed onto one of the Staffordshire University banners so if you are going then please look out for it.

Here is the reel - both on You Tube and Vimeo I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Dolly Peg's Vintage - Blog Start

M y mother came to visit me last week and we discussed her ideas for her webpage and what she would like to ultimately get out of it. She had originally wanted some online presence with the shop and educate people on the history of the clothes and memorabilia. She didn't want to sell her items or advertise them for sale and she explained how she liked giving them new homes and helping out events and fashion shows.

The more we talked about her future and what she was doing with the her charity the sunshine village in Egypt the more she realised that she needed to sell her items to give them new homes and make some money so she could go and visit Egypt more often.

With that we brainstormed on what the site could look like, what different tabs she would need for her items and the style and the look of the site. She now wanted a jukebox style page as someone had offered her one for her shop and linked to her Facebook page as well as affiliate with other places like Reddish Mill and the sunshine project.

The idea is for her to upload the item she owns, a brief history of what it is and where it came from and a link to contact her in regards to viewing or purchasing the item.

 I will start off the uploads and give her a tutorial on how to maintain the site and upload even from her mobile phone.

Below are a few images, I built the jukebox in Maya, textured and took a render, it hasn't added a great deal to the look, but allowed me to play with the lighting to recreate the image.

Built the JukeBox in Maya

Textured in Maya

Final rendered image for website

Monday, 23 April 2012

Dolly Peg's Vintage

I have been into university today to discuss possible ideas for external brief projects with tutor Laura Weston.

I have completed the Birmingham CBSO animation and done some modelling for a Stars and Heroes project and now I am looking for another short project to fulfil my external brief criteria. Laura suggested that I build a website/blog for someone that doesn’t know how to do it and would like help promoting themselves. I have chosen a store in Reddish called Dolly Peg's Vintage ran by my mother.

She has sold and worked with 1930's-1960's vintage clothes and accessories for many years and has a real passion with what she is involved in, whether it be selling in the shop, running jumble sales or going to swing and jive dances.

I have spoken to her and she is really excited with the concept and has many ideas for what could be on there, the style and feel of it. As well as the chance to have the maintenance of the site taught to her and traffic to her shop.

The shop is in Houldsworth Mill shopping Centre in Reddish and she is one of the only ones in the Mill that doesn’t have anything online that helps display and sell her items.

I have created her the blog and email address and she has given me a lot of direction to go off to start with. I have asked her for images that she wants displayed and to write about her shop so that the public can see what it is about and where to find her.

So Far

- 1930's style decor
- A candy shop appeal
- Dolly Pegs and buntings (Dolly pegs are old style clothes pegs, I didn’t know this)
- Pale Pinks and Greens
- Old cake stands
- The old power of women feel.

 I have offered to also help her out with a logo for DollyPeg's so that she can have branding and uniqueness due to other Dolly Peg sources on the internet

Here's an image of the type of thing I think she is looking for, but we shall see what material she sends to me and what it is like.

image of a 1930's kitchen by http://cdn.homedit.com

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Stereo Anaglyph Images

I have been researching today on how to make stereo anaglyph images in Maya. I was creating a logo for the prints I am going to create of Red and the Wolf and I thought as old retro style 3D image might look cool.

I have created the logo and some special edition 3D prints, below are some of the images, you'll need the old red and blue 3D glasses to view.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Red - Opening Scene

O pening shot rendered of Red, there were some issues with the shadows top left flickering (which I have resolved by removing the odd frame) and the quality is not as sharp as I expected. This may be using H264 codec but will do some more tests. The rendering took around 10hours to do 700 frames which isn’t too bad as could leave it over night, but with FMX around the corner and the need to use my computer for other projects I may have to compromise and find a setting that works.

I will render the next sequence out tonight and see if the quality is any better now that the camera is inside the book and the textures and light are about to go dark.

Overall I am happy with how it looks and the feel and can’t wait to see how the next bit looks.

Monday, 16 April 2012

CBSO - Competition

T his is the my entry for the CBSO competition, unfortunately I didn't win but I have enjoyed the process and it has made me what to enter more of them.

It took a lot more time to complete the project than I originally thought, as the animation of the ribbons and then complications with twisting, popping of the curves took a lot a of time to inside of Maya to figure out. Although this took time, I have been able to use what I have learnt for my final project when I have animated the vines in the pop up book.

Here is my animation for the CBSO hope you enjoy.

 Looking back on the animation if I stated again I would know how to animate the basics of the ribbons and add more flow and speed to there journey. I would also work more on the camera angles to emphasise this and give the ribbons more personality.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Red - Render Tests

H aving completed the animation on the characters I am now looking to light and test the textures in the scenes. I have changed the floor texture as it the natural grass texture was not fitting in with the look and I have been advised by Friend David Cockburn to adjust the contrast on the texture.

The ditch (modelled by Tom Wilsdon) I have integrated into the scene and now grows with the trees at the start of the story. I have UV mapped this and taken it into Photoshop to apply a similar texture as the trees.

I have added trees around the sides of the book that grow at the beginning and will move up during part of a chase scene to face Little Red.

The Ditch the Wolf falls down

Day Version of the Woods

Night Version of the Woods

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Red - Shot List

T he character animation has been completed after a few days of little sleep and planning the camera shots, what will be seen and what I can use again. The great part of this animation is when the story reverses and its shown from the wolfs point of view, I have been able to tweak and re-use animation and have it look completely different due to the cameras perspective.

It is coming together now, the list of things to do are -

Animate Vines
Rig and animate the trees
Update Little Reds eyes texture
Work on the lighting of the shots
Split it down into render layers - Shadows, animation and book.
Texture and UV Ditch to fit with the books textures and have it grow with the book at the start.
Fix overlap issues
Playblast all scenes to see how it will look

I will need to look into how best to Credit the people that have helped on parts of the animation.

Enough taking my time up now, I'm off to work on the book!! :)

The Images below are my Camera shots and the details for rendering and whats left to add into them.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Business Cards

T oday whilst I had a free minute, I designed and ordered some business cards to take with me to FMX next month, through Vista Print. I like the straight forward, clean rendered look at the moment, so thought I would bring this across in my card too.

I just need to work on a show reel and packaging now and I will be all set for a fun week.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Video Footage Arrived!

T he postman brought me this morning a SD Card with 9GB of video footage for the Red Project courtesy of Jon Nobbs The footage is amazing and the shots and variety that I will have to choose from is fantastic. I will now rework the animation to allow for a few of these shots to fit in.
I am thinking the intro part of the piano before the book opens, the middle part of the song where it changes to the wolf’s perspective and towards the end of the song where Little Red is running through the trees.

 Yesterday I have managed to block in half the animation for the video and with he paper feel I need only tidy up some of the curves to get it how I want.... I hope to finish the animation within the next week and have the time frame luxury of render tests and compositing before FMX.

Here are a variety of shots of Heg singing from the footage taken. 

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Red - The New Look!

I 've spent at least 5hours today trying to get the lighting and feel right for this animation and I have made some pretty drastic changes. First of all the scene file was too heavy and kept crashing because of the textures and props in the library. The renders I was managing to get didn’t capture the characters as I’d hoped so I then tried to forget the lighting and work on the animation and this got me frustrated with how it was going to look.

 I kept looking at the promotional renders I have done of the characters and how well they stand out, the feel, appeal and have decided to get rid of the library environment and have this all on a white back ground. The first test render came out amazing and it felt like my hours of hard work this last year had been worth it.

I will have to change some of the shader glows to match the environment and work with the render settings to get a faster render but I am more than happy to render longer for a better outcome. The old style wouldnt render with mental ray and kept crashing, the new style is mental ray renderer, a lot sharper and less blury. I will run all of this by Heg and I welcome and feedback with the new look.

The renders below show the original look in the dark library and the new directional look.

The old Library look-inside the book
The old Library look-frame1

The old Library look-page 1

New Direction Test Shot 1

New Direction Test Shot2 

New Direction Test Shot3 

New Direction Test Shot4 - Will need to work on shader glows

Friday, 30 March 2012

Wolf and Little Red - Textures

I have worked most of the day with painting textures in Photoshop and unfortunately none of them looked as good as the original textures I have used. So I made the decision to keep these textures but bake them all into one file to use on the models.

This should give me a smaller scene file to work with and allow me to go and make changes to the incandescence and other attributes along the way. I have added little red some books and created a cluster control to move these with the arms and allow them to be thrown on the floor when ready. They were then textured with photos of a few old music bilbles Heg sent me and applied to the UV Map.

I have also emailed Lecturer Huw Thomas some renders of little Red and the Wolf in hope of getting them put onto banners for FMX.

Render for FMX

Render for FMX

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Little Red - UV Mapped

H ere are the comparison renders from UV mapping Little Red,  like the wolf  the texture will fit nicely now on to her mesh. I have left her with similar eyes to the wolf but they will have a white paper texture added to them. I kind of like the emptiness of the eyes and after lots of research into paper eyes on the internet I feel that this is the best approach.

I plan to do some Hi-Res renders of them both to try and take to FMX Germany with the music video.

Left Original UV's - Right UV Mapped

Left Original UV's - Right UV Mapped

Left Original UV's - Right UV Mapped

CBSO - Competition Entry Finished

I t took the best part of 2days to render out the images for it but the CBSO competition is now finished and sent off via dropbox to them. I have had an email back from Ruth Green who is collecting the entries and has advised me that the judges are meeting next week to decide the winner. I am happy with the out come of the piece which I have managed to do with limited time and this being the first competition I have entered has taught me a lot with deadlines and compromising with outcomes. The winner will get to go down the Birmingham at the end of April and see there animation on the large screen whilst accompanied by the CBSO. They also get a placement at an award winning studio and an Intro to final cut pro x course. Fingers crossed!!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

CBSO - Render Tests

I have been working on my entery for the CBSO competition today, I have finished the animation and worked hard to ensure I have a nice clean render and light set up. I am concerned about the compositing side of this, as I need to make sure that I hit the timing of the beats.

I just need to playblast the whole animation now and then start rendering, below are a couple of render tests for the piece.

At Full HD they are taking over 2mins so I will be looking to adjust some settings or risk rendering for 90hours.

quick 640x480 render

quick 640x480 render

Full HD render

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Wolf - Uv Mapped

T his afternoon I have UV mapped the wolf ready for texturing. The map took a while as I had to make sure that the texture fit under the deformers on the wolf which I missed the first time around. There is only a slight difference on the test shader but you can see from the checked texture that it will make all the difference.

I aim to take the wolfs UV's now into Photoshop and paint a paper texture for him.

UV's Before

UV's After

Texture Before

Texture After

Checkerboard Texture Before

Checkerboard Texture After