Nostromo

I feel like I’m making a little headway with the animation now. I’ve been building some environments in Photoshop from the scores of photos I took at the Science museum. I’ve also managed to come up with a stronger animation than the previous attempts by using Daz 3D and making it look cel shaded. Much neater and more professional looking. to incorporate a similar feel into the backgrounds I also made them feel a little more drawn.

I’ve been mucking about with an After Effects plug-in called Newton. I wanted to have some hanging swinging cables a little similar to the chain room in Alien.

I had a lot of issues attempting to do this with any natural feel before I started using Newton, essentially a very powerful physics engine that works out the relationships between items on the screen. After a bit of experimenting and tutorial watching, I feel like the cables added to the overall movement of the scene. I’ll definitely be using them some more within the animation.

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Newton

Audio

One issue with a live remix by people who aren’t musicians is timing, chaos, dissonance and really not knowing what to do.

A couple of things that might be worth taking into account

– if using something like the launchpad, a live metronome playing back should give people a visual indication of timing.

– hierarchies of samples. certain samples played back will cut off other samples.

Renderererer

A couple of tests using different forms of shaders – the one on the left is using Visual Styles shaders which make everything look a little more cartoony. The right one is a ‘lower quality’ render from the main 3Delight render engine in Daz 3D.

I actually still prefer the first version I’ve come up with as it has a raw and cel shaded look to it.

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More controller ideas

So the way I see it I have a few controller options available to me for the display part of this video:

– Midi drumkit. Would be fun for people but takes up more room and has the added equipment issues of a drum brain connected to the computer. This also introduces some latency to the setup. Drum – Drum brain – Mac.

– Numark Orbit. Wireless and has a big dial in the centre and accelerometers which allow for a combination of manipulation of filters and visuals. The buttons can be programmed with colours which make the whole thing quite flashy to those holding it.

– Novation Launchpad. Not Wireless, but is great in terms of the actual usability. Tonnes of buttons to interact with which are all programable with their own ‘animations’. This would allow an even bigger element of interactivity for the viewer.

– iPad with a controller program installed. Would be pretty simple to set up especially as it can theoretically use as many ‘pads’ as you like, but there’s the issue of it not feeling real enough and there also being no visual feedback when playing.

Another approach

After much deliberation I’ve decided to change my approach slightly to how the main character in this animation is rendered. Initially I was using Daz 3D as a starting point for the look of the character and then taking the skin tones, sizing and initial shots into Painter. In Painter I was individually painting each frame so that the character looks like he was moving. The main issues I have with this are that I wasn’t happy with the look meshing well with the backgrounds and the amount of time it takes to actually do a small amount of animation. Even with my fastest frame painting at 5 minutes it was taking waaay too long.

Hence a change of tack. I have been experimenting with animating within Daz 3D itself, but making the character look more cartoony in look. What I’ve ended up with is something that looks kind of like rotoscoping without it actually being so – elements of Scanner Darkly there. These initial tests are looking pretty interesting, but I know that I want to experiment slightly more with the textures of the character (I really need to come up with a name for him…).

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A Scanner Darkly

Interestingly, this actually brings it back closer to my original idea to the look of the characters from Renaissance and the Fear of the Dark/ Charles Burns films.

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