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largento
I had to give this one a lot of thought, but I've decided to work on a second project while still working on "Stalled Trek."

I realize that this will put some more stall into Stalled Trek, but I think it's the right thing to do.

The reality is that Stalled Trek is pretty ambitious and I want to get it right. As such, it's going to be a long time before I can finish it. Also, I'd like to have some more experience with the other aspects of the process (namely animating) so that my skills will (hopefully) match my ambition. I'd rather not have to go back and reanimate everything, like I'm having to go back and re-model the characters right now.

So, while I continue to work on the "hard" project, I've decided to work on a simpler side-project, which will hopefully allow me to make more of my mistakes on it... rather than on Stalled Trek.

I think this project will be a lot of fun to do, too. Not only because of the source material, but also because I won't be the Lone Ranger on this project.

Some history:

in 2003, a friend of mine pulled together a bunch of his friends and made a little home movie about pirates. Since we no longer live in the same part of the country, I wasn't going to be able to be involved, but thought I might be able to contribute in other ways. I came up with the notion of doing an animated sequence for the opening titles, using cartoon versions of the cast. Unfortunately, my life was in a bit of upheavel at the time and I finally had to accept that I just wouldn't have the time to pull it off. I had done the character designs, though, so we made some still images that were used behind the opening titles instead. Not nearly as satisfying, but what are you gonna' do?

Anyway, fast forward to now and my friend and I were talking and he said that he'd had an idea for a sequel to his movie, but it would require a lot more to turn it into a movie and he wasn't sure if he wanted to take on all of the work of doing another one.

I thought about it for awhile and finally asked him what he thought about the idea of doing it as a short animation. After some debating of the logistics, we both thought it would be fun and decided to do it.

The great thing about this is that my friend is an artist, too, so there's going to be a tremendous amount of sharing the load. He's going to write the story, storyboard it, design all of the props and paint all of the backgrounds. (The only 3D will be the characters and the props and parts of the sets necessary for them to interact with. This will keep the amount of modeling down to a much more reasonable size.) He'll also record all of the dialogue (using the people who played them in the movie he made.)

I'll *just* (ha!) do the modeling and the animating. :-)

I'm not pretending it'll be easy, but dividing the tasks like this and having one another to bounce back and forth off of and spur each other on, should make it easier than just doing everything on my own.

The look is going to be pretty cartoony and stylized. Like I said, the backgrounds will be flat and we're going to try to keep the story relatively uncomplicated and the number of characters to a minimum. The movie was done in black and white (my friend loves the old Errol Flynn movie "The Seahawks"), so this will be in black and white, too, which helps keep things simple, too.

In the end, the cartoon should make a great extra for his first movie and an excellent bit of practice for me on my way to completing Stalled Trek.

Since I'm not involved in the story (which my friend won't begin writing until next week or so), I'm not sure exactly what will be involved. I do have the character designs I did of the cast of the first movie and although I don't know if all of them will be used, I'll feel safe starting to model the main ones.

Here's the character designs I did all those years ago...

Click to view attachment

Not sure exactly how well they'll translate into 3D. I tried to keep them extremely simple back then and I think that'll help to make for simple 3D character models.

Here's a couple of the "stills" I did back then. I think the look of this will be very similar, just with the characters and some elements in 3D.

Click to view attachmentClick to view attachment

robcat2075
Those are wonderful looking drawings. Translating those to 3D will be an ambitious project. I'll look forward to seeing the results.
dougwills
The characters look great. Looks like a hit waiting to happen. Good luck.

-Doug
jirard
The artwork alone impresses me. I hope the 3d version turns out just as nice.
largento
Thanks, guys!

I've started working on Flemm's head. (He's missing his ears and I haven't joined the 2 sides of the head yet.) I'm finding that simplifying it is much harder than making it more complex. It's so hard to resist the natural shapes you get when you're modeling in A:M.

The body is going to be a lot of fun to do.

Click to view attachment
trajcedrv
Amazing concept art! This is going to be great! I am really interested how this will turn out! Enough exclamation marks!!!
largento
Thanks, Trajce! <--just one more exclamation mark. :-)

I've got some cleaning up to do, but all the structures are in place for Flemm's head. (I'll do his 5 o'clock shadow with decals.)

Click to view attachment

Here's a rotation:

Click to view attachment
robcat2075
That's quite effective. I presume you're not going to go the toon-render route?
largento
Thanks, Robert. No toon-render, no. I'm still dazzled and amazed by the 3D-ness.
Zaryin
Yeah, that's looking pretty good so far smile.gif.
largento
Thanks, Jeff!

I've got most of the body finished. I've still got to build the collar (which will join the head and body), the hanging part of the sash and his vest. Then spend some time cleaning it all up. I wish I didn't have to run out today, because I'm sure I could get them done in just a few hours. Probably won't be able to come back to it until late tomorrow.

I rendered out a turnaround to show my friend and thought I'd put it up here, too:

Click to view attachment

I'm having big time fun with this!
NancyGormezano
Those are really terrific looking stylized characters. You're doing a great job getting them translated into 3d. The 2d are very impressive as well.

Those long arms might? be a challenge when you start to animate him.
largento
Thanks, Nancy!

QUOTE(NancyGormezano @ Sep 4 2007, 11:07 AM) *
Those long arms might? be a challenge when you start to animate him.


Given my inexperience with animating, just the fact that he *has* arms is going to be challenging! :-)

largento
Whew! Progress at last! :-)

I'm nearly finished with the rigging for Errol Flemm. The only thing I have left is the face and I'm going to set that all up with pose sliders. I feel like I passed a few more mile markers with the rigging. I decided to create a custom rig mixing and matching things I've seen in other rigs and trying to make the rig work with the character, rather than making the character work with the rig. I'm going to do a bunch of animation tests with him and try to get out any bugs and then I'll use the same basic setup for all the other characters.

Click to view attachment
Paul Forwood
Congratulations on passing another milestone, Mark! Looking forward to seeing how your custom rigging stands up to the challenge.
Dhar
I'm glad to see this project come to life. These characters are just too good to pass on.

Nice work Mark.
largento
Thanks, Dhar!

I'm still working on facial pose sliders, but couldn't resist modeling a quick sword and putting him into a swashbuckling pose! Wouldn't you know that the weekend I finally get close to finishing him is one where I have obligations that are keeping me from being able to work on it as much as I'd like.

Click to view attachment
largento
Click to view attachment

Three strikes! (Well, actually just one strike, but I couldn't figure out how to make the file loop, so I repeated it a couple of times.) :-)

I was playing around this morning and just did this quick animation test. I did it using Parallels. I haven't used it in awhile and the latest updates seem to have really made it usable. The times I tried it before, you couldn't use quick-render and there were screen redraw problems, but now the quick render works fine. There are still some glitches with the screen, but they only seem to show up after you call up a contextual menu and go away when you move or zoom. Nothing like what it was doing before. That's killer, since I hate having to restart to use it in Boot Camp. Now when you're using Parallels, the Windows applications show up in the dock! So, now I see a Windows A:M icon with a little parallels symbol attached to it:

Click to view attachment

itsjustme
LOL! That's nice, Mark! It looks like you're going to have a lot of fun with this project.
largento
Thanks, David! I hope so! I'm definitely feeling less pressure about this project than I was about Stalled Trek.

Okay, I'm probably the only person who thinks this is cool, but I found out that if you keep the Windows icon in the dock and select it, it not only launches Parallels and Windows, but it does so invisibly and then opens the application minus the Windows desktop! The little "please wait" box and the title screen appear over the Mac desktop, like you're launching a Mac app! (Except not like the Mac A:M, since it doesn't have the "please wait" box or title screen.) :-)

Then the application opens fullscreen, rather than in the Parallels window.

Wowzers! :-)
largento
After making a color version of Flemm, I started thinking maybe I should look at doing the black and white after the render. Photoshop CS3 has a nice new Black & White tool that lets you really get what you want with it. I set up a quick action and the batch converting is really fast, so it's definitely doable. Here's a comparison:

First is the black and white model, then the color model and then the frame converted in ps. I think it has a nice "silver screen" look to it.

Click to view attachmentClick to view attachmentClick to view attachment

I've also started modeling the second character: Henrietta Morgan. My first attempt at modeling a female character. To add more pressure to get it right, this character was played in the movie by my best friend's wife, so I've got to worry about offending them both. :-)

Click to view attachment

I think hair will help a whole lot. :-)

Here's a turnaround:

Click to view attachment
3DArtZ
Looks good...
my personal taste is that the color image and the b/w on the right
has too much specular brightness.
Possible to tone it down abit?

Mike Fitz
www.3dartz.com
largento
Good point, Mike. I'll have to rethink those to account for converting them. I'll also need to figure out what kind of lighting works best. It's funny when I look at it now, it seems more like old black and white TV. Maybe the specular brightness is part of that impression...
LeeAnderson
Great work Mark! I love it! Your style always impresses me, it's so clean. Henrietta is also looking good, the modeling is really smooth. I look forward to seeing her with that same sassy look as in your drawings!

QUOTE(largento @ Oct 6 2007, 09:01 AM) *
It's funny when I look at it now, it seems more like old black and white TV. Maybe the specular brightness is part of that impression...


I agree, that's a cool look. Something that occured to me is that you could tone down the specularity and then add some bloom as a post effect, that could make it easier to control...it's hard to get things right the first time. With bloom, the overexposed effect could be more uniformly distributed across the frame. Keep the spec size though, it's great...just lower the intensity a little.

Whatever you go with, I'm sure it will look great!

Lee
robcat2075
Hey I think I voted for that guy!

You're B&W model would be more B&W if you didn't hit him with colored lights. Sure looks like he's got the default brown light on him.
MattWBradbury
I like this guy. He's got a lot of character.
largento
QUOTE(jimmy_caushca @ Oct 6 2007, 10:56 PM) *
Great work Mark! I love it! Your style always impresses me, it's so clean. Henrietta is also looking good, the modeling is really smooth. I look forward to seeing her with that same sassy look as in your drawings!

QUOTE(largento @ Oct 6 2007, 09:01 AM) *
It's funny when I look at it now, it seems more like old black and white TV. Maybe the specular brightness is part of that impression...


I agree, that's a cool look. Something that occured to me is that you could tone down the specularity and then add some bloom as a post effect, that could make it easier to control...it's hard to get things right the first time. With bloom, the overexposed effect could be more uniformly distributed across the frame. Keep the spec size though, it's great...just lower the intensity a little.

Whatever you go with, I'm sure it will look great!

Lee


Thanks, Lee! I'm really anxious to see Henrietta with hair so that I can stop thinking about Star Trek: The Motion Picture every time I look at her. :-)

I have a general sense of what you mean by bloom. I definitely think it's part of what I'm wanting to give it an old movie look. Is this something I can set during the render?

QUOTE(robcat2075 @ Oct 6 2007, 11:17 PM) *
Hey I think I voted for that guy!

You're B&W model would be more B&W if you didn't hit him with colored lights. Sure looks like he's got the default brown light on him.


Thanks, Robert! You're right, I think it's just the default choreography lighting.

QUOTE(MattWBradbury @ Oct 7 2007, 02:05 AM) *
I like this guy. He's got a lot of character.


Thanks, Matt!

Okay, I played around a little this morning trying to figure out what I liked.

Here's a more muted version of Flemm in color and with the black and white adjustment:

Click to view attachment

In color, I think it looks really nice. It's not bad in black & white, but it seems kind of flat to me.

Now, here's the over-the-top shiny one:

Click to view attachment

What I think I like about it in black & white is that there's more contrast. But... there's too much contrast.

So while I was messing with them, I decided to combine them to see if I could find that point in the middle:

Click to view attachment

For me, this is the kind of look I'd like to have. It has the right level of contrast to make it interesting, without completely blowing out everything. Now I just need to figure out how to get it to look like this. :-)

robcat2075
If you'd like a more classic B&W lighting appearance put a light behind and somewhat above him to light his top edges. This is sometimes called a "rim light". The "rim light" in the default A:M lighting is completely misplaced.

Click to view attachment

LeeAnderson
Great tests Mark, I like it!

QUOTE(largento @ Oct 7 2007, 05:26 AM) *
Thanks, Lee! I'm really anxious to see Henrietta with hair so that I can stop thinking about Star Trek: The Motion Picture every time I look at her. :-)


Haha! Is this the one where they go into a dark cloud at sea called Veeger?

QUOTE(largento @ Oct 7 2007, 05:26 AM) *
I have a general sense of what you mean by bloom. I definitely think it's part of what I'm wanting to give it an old movie look. Is this something I can set during the render?


Here's your first picture (a_muted.jpg) rendered with bloom in A:M...I hope you don't mind me posting this here...

Click to view attachment

You're running v 14 right? Bloom is a post effect. There are two ways to use it (that I like to use, anyway). With either way, you'll need to either import the bloom post effect from libraries or create a new post effect and right click/change type to/hash inc/bloom.

If you want to put it right on top of your scene you can just drag and drop it onto the camera...usually the settings are a little strong at first...for this I used 20% strength and 20% threshold with the defaul 6 radius.

Or, if you want a little more control you can render your whole scene out first without bloom and then use your animation as a rotoscope and apply your bloom to the camera then (it will render out the same way). I use bloom whenever I want that old movie kind of look.

Sorry for hogging your thread. I hope that helps and it will look good no matter which way you go!

Lee
largento
Thanks for all the help, guys!

I like the dramatic rimlight, Robert. That's an excellent idea. I'll take some grabs from "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk" and see if I can match them. Much better than just fooling around guessing what "feels" right.

Lee, thanks for the info on the post effects. I've seen the folder there in the PWS, but have never experimented with them. I just followed your instructions and it couldn't be simpler.
largento
Hopefully lighting is another one of those things that will come with experience. :-)

Here's the screengrab I made from "The Sea Hawk." ("Captain Blood," is a little *too* old looking.)

Click to view attachment

It's apparent that there's Robert's strong rimlight and Lee's bloom. It looks like from the shadow of his face on his right shoulder that there's a light to his left aiming down on his face and then a strong light in the front.

So, I set up the lights in a similar fashion and added the bloom post effect. Then in photoshop, I converted it to black and white and adjusted the contrast a little and added some film grain. You guys were spot on! The intense rimlight and the bloom really makes it look like an old black and white movie!

Click to view attachment

largento
Click to view attachment

Henrietta gets hair!

Here's a turnaround...

Click to view attachment
ypoissant
This looks like a cool little project and I like your character design. So far, your doing a good job recreating the design in 3D.

Here are 3 observations:
- You got the left fill light good but IMO, this fill light should have its shadow turned ON.
- The rim-light (also called hair light) is either missing or is not effectively positioned.
- Henrietta's neck should be pulled a little backward.
LeeAnderson
Those updates are awesome Mark! You're killing me! I love it!

One note about the backlight (smart people correct me if I'm wrong): it's general pupose is to seperate the character from its background. I know it's just a test but I'd consider darkening up the background a little on the first pic.

Henrietta is coming along very well! I'm impressed. The style reminds me of a model that Sze Jones did. You may find some inspiration from it (be warned, some of her stuff is a little too risque for my tastes...not this one though).

You're modeling is getting more crisp all the time. Congrats!

Lee
largento
QUOTE(ypoissant @ Oct 9 2007, 08:29 AM) *
This looks like a cool little project and I like your character design. So far, your doing a good job recreating the design in 3D.

Here are 3 observations:
- You got the left fill light good but IMO, this fill light should have its shadow turned ON.
- The rim-light (also called hair light) is either missing or is not effectively positioned.
- Henrietta's neck should be pulled a little backward.


Thanks, Yves! I think I know what I did wrong with the rim-light. I lowered the angle of the cone and messed with the distance and softness. Need to learn when not to mess with stuff. :-) I've been setting up a bulb light in front of the characters, then the keylight aiming down from just to the front and left of the character (character's left) and then the rim-light from up and just behind the character's right. I'm pretty sure like you say that the keylight didn't have shadows turned on. Next time I'll do that.

Are you meaning the neck should be back as a whole? Or maybe make it thinner and bring the front part of it back?


QUOTE(jimmy_caushca @ Oct 9 2007, 08:44 PM) *
Those updates are awesome Mark! You're killing me! I love it!

One note about the backlight (smart people correct me if I'm wrong): it's general pupose is to seperate the character from its background. I know it's just a test but I'd consider darkening up the background a little on the first pic.

Henrietta is coming along very well! I'm impressed. The style reminds me of a model that Sze Jones did. You may find some inspiration from it (be warned, some of her stuff is a little too risque for my tastes...not this one though).

You're modeling is getting more crisp all the time. Congrats!

Lee


Thanks, Lee! That model you linked to is amazing. The detail in the hair is fantastic. I'm trying to put more "edges" in these models. It does seem to define them more. I'm not quite getting exactly what I want, but I'm feeling like I'm improving with everything I make. I really appreciate the encouragement!

Point noted on the background. With the bloom, it gets even lighter than it's set. I should probably make up some sort of generic background to test them against. At least for right now, I kinda' like the really bright lighting on the faces. It's really kind to the modeling, too, since little imperfections are hidden by the brightness.

largento
Just playing around this morning... :-)

Click to view attachment
robcat2075
QUOTE(largento @ Oct 13 2007, 01:37 PM) *
Just playing around this morning... :-)

Click to view attachment


Just looking at that I'm wondering if his thigh bone originates too low in the hip area? maybe it's just the shadow.
case
I think is leg is in a background position!
Thats Just me!
case
I think is leg is in a background position!
Thats Just me!
largento
QUOTE(robcat2075 @ Oct 13 2007, 03:30 PM) *
Just looking at that I'm wondering if his thigh bone originates too low in the hip area? maybe it's just the shadow.


Bless ya', laddie! I've been noticing some awkwardness with the legs for awhile now and was chalking it up to my inferior CP weighting!

I went back and turned on my geometry bones and to my surprise found out that the thigh bones' start point had shifted inward. Don't know how that happened, but I must've completely missed it, since it was mirrored on to the other side, too. I fixed those and it seemed to help a little, but was still not right. So, I moved the start point up some and did some editing of the CP weights and I think it's much better!

Here's a pick showing just how much shifting happened when I replaced the old model with the adjusted one:

Click to view attachment

And here's the adjusted one:

Click to view attachment

It's still kind of an awkward pose, but I think the leg joints are much improved.

Much thanks, Robert!

largento
Whew!

I got sidetracked with other projects this week and wasn't able to do much with this until this morning and so I decided I would finally finish out all of the phoneme poses for Flemm and take my first shot at some lip syncing!

I had emailed my friend who played Flemm in his live action movie and asked him to record and send me a line like "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain" so that I could use that. The jokester did send me the file, but decided to record himself singing the line. :-)

So, as I started doing the lip sync, I just kept thinking that I might add a little more and ended up doing a full body thing. I didn't manage to completely finish it out (didn't really do anything with the fingers and I forgot to move the head), but it's the closest to doing any real animation I've done yet!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...

Captain Errol Flemm!

Click to view attachment
jirard
This is definately living up to the initial sketches Largento. Keep up the good wook!
largento
Thanks, Jirard!

I just bought my plane tickets last week to go to Kentucky next month to get together with my friend and lock down the script. He's got the basic plot of it, but I thought it would be fun for us to get together in the same room and play around with it. I think it's going to be pretty funny.

My friend has titled it "The Wannabe Pirates and the Indescribable Treasure of the Coconut King."

And it's gonna' have monkeys. Lots and lots of monkeys... who will look exactly the same, 'cause I'm only going to do one monkey model. :-)

phatso
The whole neck should move back. The ear is behind the neck, while real people usually have ears even with the front of the neck.

On the other hand - cartooning is stylization, after all. If moving her neck changes her attitude in a way you don't like, then leave it where it is. Look at how distorted Jirard's models are, and how expressive. Gotta keep the big picture.
largento
I haven't gotten back to the Henrietta model yet. When I look at joining the head and body, I'll check into it.

To be honest, I'm not sure what you're seeing about the neck. The only thing that strikes me is that there could be a sharper angle where it joins under the head.

Here's the photo reference of the actual woman compared to the model:

Click to view attachment

The model has hair on the back of her neck that might be making the neck look like it ends sooner than it actually does, but to be honest, I don't see that it is that different from the real thing.
largento
Here's an update on Henrietta Morgan aka "The Sea Queen."

Click to view attachment

As you can see, she's gotten a costume change from the original design. In the film my friend did, Henrietta had a dual role. In the end, you find out she's actually a pirate called The Sea Queen. Since the original designs were for the opening credits sequence, we didn't want to give away the surprise. This short takes place afterwards, so we went just for the pirate look.

I've still got some more to do before I can get to the rigging.

Click to view attachment
LeeAnderson
Both of these models look great, Mark! The lighting looks really cool too! Henrietta looks like she's pretty tough!

So, when do we get to see the Original film?

Lee
largento
Thanks, Lee!

I may very well end up doing this in color. McCrary (the friend I'm doing this with, both our first name's are Mark, so we call each other by our last names) and I have been talking about making this more of a one-in-a-series type cartoon, rather than a direct sequel to the movie. With the sort of formula storyline that plays out again and again. This is not to say that we'd definitely make any more of them, but this would be made like there were.

Henrietta is pretty tough. She's really a pirate. Flemm's just a wannabe pirate. The villain, Cutthroat Mac is a real pirate and hates Flemm (if this were a Popeye cartoon, he'd be Bluto). Henrietta tolerates Flemm, but she usually has to come in at the end and save him from himself... making her sort of the Popeye and Flemm the Olive Oyl. :-) I'm not sure if the analogy carries through all of the way. Flemm is obvlivious to all of this and thinks Henrietta keeps showing up because she's got the hots for him. :-)

McCrary's movie is a full hour long, so I'm not sure anyone would really be up for sitting though it, but I'll try to make a short clip and stick it up here.
largento
Here's about a minute or so long clip from McCrary's original movie! I feel the need to point out this was never a serious sort of enterprise and it was just my friend and people who go to his church having some fun with a camcorder and iMovie.

This encounter between Flemm and the monkey has always made me laugh, though. I've tried to compress this to a reasonable file size.

Here's the real people that these cartoon characters are based on...

Click to view attachment
LeeAnderson
Haha! Oh man, that's awesome! I love watching movies like this...you guys weren't taking yourselves too seriously but you still took the time to do a decent job. You see way too many home movies that are done in one shot with only the first two or three lines actually planned out.

"I'm deathly afraid of monkeys, anything associated with monkeys, including bananas!"

The shot of the tumbling monkey flying through the air is killing me

Haha!

Thanks for posting:D
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