Category: DAVE School

The error at FileLodge is fixed.  The file is up.  It’s huge (sorry… submission quality for class) at 22MB.  Hope you like it enough to endure the download.  You might have to click through a FileLodge ad.  I haven’t figured out their policy on the ads yet (perhaps after "n" downloads, they allow you to go straight to the movie?).
Oh, and know what… SCHOOL STARTS TOMORROW FOR THE KIDS!  Maybe I should have mentioned that in its own post.  It always seems so early!
Red Rubber Ball
Here’s a video we’re making right now to learn kinetics and transfer of energy.  Sounds very scientific, but we were told explicitly NOT to do it scientifically.  We are to do it artistically by feel.
It’s not entirely tuned yet, but it’s pretty close.  The first ball (red/white – medium sized) is like a kickball.  The second (gray/dark gray – small) is like a marble.  The third (green/white – huge) is like a shotput shot.
I’ve done this numerous times in computer programs, where you tell it the dynamics of the ball, and it’s not too hard.  In this exercise, you put the ball where you want it to start and end, then adjust the speed characteristics to move between the positions realistically.  It’s more difficult than it seems.
We’re given the environment and balls and the rule that the balls must simply roll off the "shelves" (no up/down inertia to start).  Aside from that, they just need to move realistically.  Interestingly, no two videos in our class are even remotely the same!
MPG Format (1.7MB) - Better motion
QuickTime Format (1.2 MB) - Better picture quality

One last pose.

The Green Flash does "Bullet Time"!

Today, we submitted our poses for grade. The three in my previous post were included, and I tried to improve on them, but really couldn’t — every tweak I made to the model made the joints look worse instead of better! So, I decided to take what I had and make another pose. Other students were using props, so I added some of my own… bullets with trails. I like this shot a lot!


btw… We got some birthday vacation video.  I’ll get that up as soon as I can get it edited and uploaded.  I don’t want to completely lose the personal touch here!


What a poser!

We’ve spent the past few days adding a skeleton to the character we’re building. This allows him to be easily posed and animated. It’s quite time consuming and intricate to add the "bones" and tell them what they influence. The creases between the bones almost always come out funny, and you have to then map out levels of influence so that you don’t balloon-animal joints.

Now that he’s got this skeleton, we’re required to make three images with the hero in different poses which show the different joints in various positions.  We were told to be creative, but realistic.  Note that there is no environment in these pictures, just a makeshift backdrop.  This is also part of the assignment.  It allows the teacher to make a silhouette of the character during grading.

So, the next step is to take this new skeleton and use it to make a "walk cycle". These images aren’t due until Thursday morning, so I’ll probably be tweaking them and making improvements tomorrow.


Green Flash!

Here he is at last — The Green Flash! We’ll be posing him tomorrow and making a "carousel" picture (a video rotating copy of him for inspection). This is due Wednesday morning.
For those who don’t know, the emblem on his chest is representative of a phenomenon called the "green flash" (who’da thunk it!).  If you are above the horizon (i.e. top of the Empire State Building) and looking at the sunset, you can occasionally catch a glimpse of a green light atop the setting sun.  The pictures I saw of these events showed a yellow sun and black sky, giving me the color scheme.
Late Edit:  I made a video of the character rotating in this pose.  Click Here for the video in a larger, separate window, or press "Play" in the media player to see it there.
Image and concept ©2006 EricAtRandom
Here he is again, with and without the glasses. But only without  the clothes. Gotta get to work on that costume!
I also have to fix up those fingers.  Maybe some eyebrows??

I need a hero!

…so I’m making one!
Here’s the birth of our latest project.  We’re going to animate a 3D cartoon character in the style of the TV show "Teen Titans".  Why I’m such a green-on-black addict, I don’t know, but that’s what I’ve chosen.  I believe he’ll go by the name "Green Flash" (no relation to "The Flash" is planned).  His friends tease him with the names "Pineapple Man", "The Green Thumb", and "Chia Pet" (OK, so my friends are teasing me with those names having seen him … let ‘em have at it! ).  Oh, and a body is in the works, although I have yet to figure out his costume.  One rule — NO CAPES!
Read more about green flashes here to help understand his name.

More video.

I’ve added a couple more shorts to the tiny videos I put up in the Media Player.  There are now three (four if you count my little intro video):
  • A fly-by of the building – 4 seconds
  • Shuttle from space (original) – 3 seconds
  • Shuttle from a camera anchored to the fuel tank – 3 seconds
I know, the building one is really long, but if you sit through the whole 4 seconds, the other two are shorter.    Humor aside, it took 10 hours to generate the building video on a pretty powerful machine (~5 minutes per frame time 120 frames).  The others were significantly shorter because the models were significantly less complicated.  Still, you don’t just push a button after your design is done and get a video.
If you want to see it full sized in a separate video player, click here.
Late edit: Let me know if you have trouble with the video link… it wouldnt’ work at my school.  You should not get an ad for filelodge (I think that’s what they send when they can’t find the requested file).  If this happens, click "Play" in the Media Player.  Same video, just shown smaller.


We animated today. Check out the big three-second video in the media player. Not bad, eh?

The clouds of smoke are a bit "overdone", but this one looks good in motion.  This is a frame of the video in the media player..

This is a nicer close-up view of the shuttle in what I believe to be its final state. We have until 11:30am to tweak it, and I do expect to do some tweaking.  Since this render, I’ve added the little side adjuster vents on the front under the cockpit windows.

I have another video I’d like to make. Three seconds is the required duration for the assignment. The teacher showed us an animation that looked like the downward-facing camera mounted on the SRB’s. I may use my left over time to practice that technique.

We learned smoke effects today. I guess I need more work.

This just looks like it’s in need of an exhaust system overhaul. Black, puffy smoke balls don’t cut it. I’ll work with the teachers on this tomorrow (which is now "later today").

This took so long to generate, I couldn’t imagine animating it (i.e. 30 frames per second??)… but that’s the plan. I’ll keep you up to date! I have to get the clouds fixed  first.