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Old 02-05-2005, 04:27 PM   #16
Velusion
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Update:

I'm putting the final touches on the composition then I'll render out a file for the internet. This project has been a major learning experience for me. It seemed like nothing went right the first time. I had to do everything 2 or 3 or 4 times to get acceptable results. My big disappointment is that, for some reason, ray tracing is not working on the animation file. It works everywhere except when I open the file where I built the animation. I've been researching the problem for a few weeks but I don't see why it isn't working.... anyway, I ended up using shadow maps. They look ok but I don't really think they look real.

I'm going to post the final video composition in a week or so (including sound!) along with a gift from me to you

Stay tuned.
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Last edited by Velusion : 03-05-2005 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:23 PM   #17
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Can't wait to see this.
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Old 02-05-2005, 09:48 PM   #18
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Velusion

Nice job, although I can see why you have had rig problems. I think Vlad has said most of it but I would recommend a more 'simple' skeleton next time, it is no wonder you have had painting weight probs, due to the 'sharing' of values being too close to each other.

_J
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Old 02-05-2005, 11:50 PM   #19
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Very well done! It's nice to see this come together and I commend you for working through it to make it look this good.
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:30 PM   #20
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Thanks for your support, everyone.

Jango, Sorry I haven't updated my website to reflect changes that I made to the skeleton but I actually did simplify it. I took out the ribcage,all of the neck ribs and tail ribs too. It made weighting the skin much easier but still not easy. To simplify the process, I only painted the skin weights on one side of the model then mirrored them over. That worked very well but I still don't understand some of the choices that Maya made for me. For instance; when I bound the skin to the skeleton I don't understand why the end of the tail was affecting the skin weights around the neck. I mean, the tail joints are further from the neck than any other part of the skeleton yet Maya determined that they should influence it.

Also, I created an advanced foot rig that worked well for posing the feet but did not work at all for animation. The reason is that the foot rig used a MEL script that I wrote to reverse its hierarchy to allow the foot rig to be both a reverse foot and a forward foot. It you've ever used a reverse foot rig you know that they are wonderful for keeping the foot planted during walking cycles however, I couldn't see how I could also pose the foot with the toes curled under for a more dynamic look as the model walked. My solution can be seen on my website or on page one of this thread. Anyway, it worked fine for posing the model but if you tried to keyframe animate the model then rewind the timeline, the feet would become all twisted since the switching between forward and reverse foot rig were not keyframed. The MEL script was used but no record of its use was keyframable. I suppose I could have keyframed the color attibute of an off screen object then have an expression that would trigger the MEL script whenever the color condition changed (IF blue then run script...). I think I may have even tried that but it didn't work since I don't believe the timeline evaluated MEL script when jumping backward in the timeline (rewinding).

So, for the next rig, if I do a creature that needs very posable feet, I will look into building a forward and reverse foot rig that are parent constrained to the foot skeleton. I will write a scipt that will cause each foot rigs to locate and keyframe their position identically. After that all that will be left to do is keyframe the contraint value from one rig to the other (ie, forward rig to reverse rig).

If any of you guys know what I'm talking about and know a better way then PLEASE let me know. I want the same kind of foot control that Godzilla and the Jurassic Park T-rex have. When they walk, their toes curl under and it looks cool!!

Stay tuned for the video clip!
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Last edited by Velusion : 03-05-2005 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 03-05-2005, 01:59 PM   #21
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Hey Velusion

Ok dude no worries, it was looking pretty mean with those joints there for a bit. Glad its been tamed. As for you influences I usually use between 2 and 3 and that works quite comfortably. I do a fair bit of character stuff so I know what you mean. Maybe try some blend shape correcting as well for future projects thats helps alot too, I find that works great for me too.

Anyway back to work

_J
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Old 18-05-2005, 05:21 AM   #22
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Here it is. Finally after about 9 months of learning how to use Maya, I finished the T-rex project. Well, it's sort of finished. I'm going to add a soundtrack to the animation to make it complete but in the mean time, I want to share the final composite animation with you guys. I tried to adjust the colors so the images would look almost as good as the full resolution (D1) images but you're always going to lose some quality when you take a 1 gig file and convert it down to a 4 meg quicktime file.

Here is the link to the clip. Right click on this and choose "save target as"

It's late now and I'm going to bed. I'll stop by tomorrow to explain some of the ups and down of this project.

As soon as I finish the soundtrack, I will post the "complete" video clip in the FINISHED WORK section along with the gift that I mentioned a while ago.
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Last edited by Velusion : 18-05-2005 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 18-05-2005, 09:17 AM   #23
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Shame its a Quicktime video . . . bummer its not a DivX or WMV

I will have to get on a PC with Quicktime to view it

will view it tomorrow, can't wait

Cheers
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Old 18-05-2005, 09:20 AM   #24
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ok for me this project isn't finished yet,

the animation is pretty bad, i'm sorry if you spent ages doing it but it looks too rigid, the feet don't bend etc etc. If you want to be an animator then this wouldn't get you a job. I'm sorry that's really harsh but it's true.

As for the look of the dinosaur, it doesn't look at all like dino skin. it looks like it has no spec/bump or anything. Maybe a lot of it is lost in the compression but even so I would expect to see more. Did you goto a zoo and check out some really skin on a rhino or an elephant? that's your best reference right there. Even check out http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0233044/ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0214382/ these are shameless company plugs but that's why I'm being so critical

You're lighting is basic and i don't feel that your dino really sits in the bg plate at all. I don't know how much work went into the lighting (it tends to get forgotten about around here ) but you need to sort it out bigtime.

well done on taking your time over this and kudos for having the grit and determination to see it through for 9 months, i hope you learnt loads and transfer all that onto your next project. Don't take my comments personally, you will get a lot of (relatively in-experienced) people telling you how good it is because they honestly think it is, but I've been doing this for three years now and I can see the mistakes so I will help you by bringing them up



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Old 18-05-2005, 01:43 PM   #25
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Thatís funny because I made a QuickTime file in response to people who own apple computers and say they canít watch avi files. I figured that most pc owners have quicktime installed.

Pure_morning, Thank you for your comments. I do appreciate them and your honesty but you seem to be taking my work as some kind of a threat to you or your profession. Granted, my work is still riddled with problems but I hardly think itís as bad as you are claiming. Iíve seen much worse in some low budget movies. Iím still learningÖ..

The point to this project really wasnít to create something that could compare with the work of ILM. The point was to learn as much as possible in the least amount of time. Now that Iíve learned a few things I agree that for this to be up to the most demanding professional standards, Iíd basically have to start all over; remodel the dinosaur, re-rig it, paint better maps, refine the animation, etcÖ..

I welcome criticism but please try not to intentionally hurt my feelings.
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Old 18-05-2005, 01:56 PM   #26
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but you seem to be taking my work as some kind of a threat to you or your profession
No that's not what I meant at all. What I meant was that on these boards (and most others) people are too scared off saying what they think for fear of upsetting someone, or maybe they just dont know any better. I am lucky enough to have professional experience in this idustry and that's what i try and bring to my crits rather than "hey great job you rock!". which is what you will get from some people.

If you can't handle an honest crit then don't post your work up to be reviewed. If all you want are people to pat you on the back and say well done then you should specify this at the top of your first post.

I would never set out to hurt someone's feelings on a piece of work they have done because I know EXACTLY how much work goes into these things. I gave encouragement and praise on getting this far so I hardly think that classifies as being hurtful.

If you think my crit was bad you have never been in "dailies" at an FX house. there is no mucking around people tell you what they think and don't give a stuff for how you feel about it. This industry is brutal and you have to be thick skinned if you want to do it professionally.


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Old 18-05-2005, 04:54 PM   #27
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Alright. I think I understand your position a little better now. I've looked at one or two pictures of your work and I think it's fantastic. I think I could learn a lot from a guy like you if you'd be willing to help me out. During this project, I did come up against some technical problems that I could not solve and could not find anyone who could help. The foot rig for instance. I'm not at all happy with the foot rig that I ended up using but the one that I designed and built (including MEL script to control it) only worked for static posing. It would not animate and I couldn't find a way to keyframe the MEL commands in the script.

Here is a link to a clip that shows the foot rig being manipulated. click here

I need a mentor or at least someone who is willing to answer questions that I can't figure out. I have over $500 worth of books and instructional DVDs but I still run into situations that I can't research well enough to understand. I try to never ask questions unless I absolutely can't solve the problem on my own. If there are some people out there who wouldn't mind helping me out then please let me know. I usually post my questions on this board but I rarely get an answer that works for the really tough ones. So, what do you say?
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Old 18-05-2005, 06:47 PM   #28
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ok first off there isn't always an easy solution!! you need to remember that. How long have you been doing this? $500 worth of training isn't an unreasonable amount to buy. Do you eventually want to do it professionally?

The first thing I'd say to you is ask questions all the time!! I never stop asking questions. If i can't figure it out with a couple of tries I start asking around (ok i have 30-40 highly experienced people around me who've done loads of amazing work) but the point still stands. There is no point in you getting frustrated and annoyed with a problem when someone out there may be able to give you a pointer which unlocks the problem for you. I always tell the guys I'm training up to ask me as soon as they're stuck because they're no use to me sitting there trying to figure out a relatively simple problem that can be solved with two clicks.

Break you problems down into smaller chunks and get them right, for example you're foot rig. You should have got that working because your animation really suffers for it. if you're complicated solution doesn't work then screw it use a simple one that does. It's not always a case of trying to be overly clever

Anyways I can't mentor you as I have so many comitments already and i can't offer you that much of my time, sorry. But i am on the boards everyday so feel free to PM and i'll help you where I can or just point me i the direction of your thread and I'll do what I can (animation and rigging are not my specialist areas though )

final point, never give up. Always keep trying it will work in the end



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Old 18-05-2005, 09:21 PM   #29
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Finally got a chance to watch it. I thought it looked great. You've obviously overcome many problems already. Keep it up, I'm sure you will iron out the remaining glitches.

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Old 19-05-2005, 02:56 AM   #30
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BMS,
Thanks. I needed that :attn:
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