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Wildsided
Hi guys,

Didn't know exactly where to post this but as it's stuff I'm working on I guess this'll be as good a place as any biggrin.gif

First up is a squadron of Arwing's from the game series Starfox that will be used in the opening skit of episode 14.

Click to view attachment

You can also check out Gwen our soon to be new co-host by visiting Epic Gamin say hi to Gwen
robcat2075
I know nothing about the game, but cool ships, none-the-less.

Have you experimented with lighting that so it's less flat-shaded?
Wildsided
I haven't to be honest Rob, I'd like to if there's time but the Skits are usually only 20 secs to a minute. They're more to set up the joke than anything else. i have big plans (lol perhaps too big, I'm good at biting off more than I can chew) for the Christmas episode though so I'll take special care then. There's a lighting rig on the forums somewhere that I've got my eye on.
Wildsided
Quick update on the Arwings. I remembered that as part of the scene the Epic Gamin' team would be visible sitting in the ships. And that meant I needed a cockpit. So i built one this afternoon and installed it into the model. It's not super detailed but for its purpose it doesn't need to be.

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This is a view through the ships canopy


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These 2 are just the Cockpit model. The spaces below the console are for the pilots legs. In a real plane there would probably be pedals there. But as they'll never be see I didn't see the point in making them.
Wildsided
Here's a quick render of Gwen in her ship and reporting her status to the squadron leader. This is just a lip sync test so no camera movement or even a background at the minute. It's also just her voice audio, i'll add ambient noise and music during post.

Dan

Click to view attachment
Shelton
Cool cockpit. nice job on the modeling of both mechanical and organic. Good start.
Rodney
Looking very good thus far. smile.gif

...and I see you are taking advantage of the PNG format:



Nice!

I'm going to suggest something but just file it to wherever appropriate... there is a lot I don't know about your project.

You might benefit from working only in shades of grey (that is grayscale from black to white) at the initial stage as that will help tremendously when you later focus on texturing and lighting. One of the major benefits (there are many) is that it will help to allow focusing the attention of the audience. One of the reasons texturing can be reserved until the last stages is that it can be approached very straightforwardly and logically; leather has a specific look as does steel and flesh but all will react differently in the context of your lighting. You can augment your composition and focus a lot before you even apply any texture or lighting.

You are doing great stuff and this is just what I thought as I looked at images from your project... use only where it might apply.

The girl in this last one I really like!
I look forward to your next update.
Wildsided
Thanks for the replies and advice guys. That's what I love about this community, everyone is supportive and the more experienced folks don't mind sharing their knowledge and experiences with the software. Instead of just pointing out flaws and saying their stuff is so much better. The weird fact is that I read some really negative stuff about the hash forums before I joined, but god knows where the posters opinions came from.
Wildsided
Just got through with my Sonic model for Episode 15 of Epic Gamin'. He still needs rigging but figured I'd post a few pics of the model.

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Rodney
Very Nice!

I've got to say... that is the first model of Sonic that has made me appreciate the guy.
And because you are posting PNGs you especially rock!



I really enjoyed your latest videos on Epic Gamin'. smile.gif
Rodney
Someone will be along shortly to ask for view of your model's mesh/wireframe.
So... heads up! wink.gif
Wildsided
Forgive me if this is an obvious question that everyone knows the answer to. But Rodney why do you prefer .PNG's? Aside from the obvious that they're decent quality but relatively small.
Rodney
QUOTE
Forgive me if this is an obvious question that everyone knows the answer to. But Rodney why do you prefer .PNG's? Aside from the obvious that they're decent quality but relatively small.


Back in the olden days before the PNG image format there was only one format that could effectively be used on websites that allowed images transparency. Nowadays most digital artists take this format for granted but many still don't realize the extent of it's utility nor how to take advantage of it.

Each image format has it's strengths and weaknesses but when dealing with web graphics PNGs are quite powerful. For instance, some people render or save to the PNG format but don't take the time to bother with it's ability to set areas of the image as transparent. And of course this is accomplished in A:M by rendering with Alpha Channels (i.e transparency) on.

I don't mean to distract you from more important work but... way back in 2008 I put cobbled together some random musing on this and related topics. PNG images were rendered out to formatted HTML which automatically organized and layered the output. I experimented with some of the basic options before getting distracted by something else that was new and shiny.

For a variety of reasons I termed the process Lendering. Be careful, even three years later this stuff is still state o' the art. wink.gif

These days formats such as flash/swf have produced pretty awesome stuff but... with the advent of HTML5 and other technologies who knows what could become of PNG art.

I'm not sure I answered your question... despite it's wondefull attributes PNG is probably not the best format for digital art. But it can do some things other formats cannot.
Wildsided
Yeah I like PNG's because of the transparency. I use Toon Boom Studio for when I dabble in 2d animation, but I draw the characters in photoshop and then import them into TB. PNG's were the only files I could get TB to recognize that the background of the image was transparent and I wasn't trying to import a big white block.
thumperness
Alrighty. I am going to make a plea for you to post here or email me the working sonic model when you are finished with it. My 10 year old autistic son would go completely nuts if I could do a little bit of something with sonic. He is a sonic fanatic! yay.gif
Vertexspline
really nice work indeed !!! and btw ----- Sonic the hedgehog rocks !!!!!!!!
Wildsided
Rodney - I just re-read the thread and saw you liked the show! Thank you so much, Without too much of a sob story, I lost my job (Bakery manager of all things) last year due to severe depression and decided that as I've done jobs I hated all my working life I wanted to do something that i enjoy for once.

Luckily my wife has been very supportive of me doing the web show and as it's (besides my family) all I've really got to keep me sane it's really encouraging to hear people say they like it.

Thumperness - Once I've got it all rigged up (it'll be one of my own rigs, but shouldn't be hard to work with) I'll send it over to you. knowing some good is coming of something I've done would mean the world to me.
robcat2075
Hey I just saw the Sonic model, looks like you're splining great!
Rodney
QUOTE
...decided that as I've done jobs I hated all my working life I wanted to do something that i enjoy for once.


I sympathize with you.

Long long ago... after my boss promoted me out of job I looked forward to doing every day to one dealing daily in the deepest and ugliest elements of human nature, my boss asked me, "So, How do you like the job." My reply was along the lines of, "It's a love/hate relationship; sometime its the best thing that ever happened to me and sometimes it's the absolute worst." (Actually, I probably said, "Chief, it's a love/hate relationship." and he supplied the rest of the conversation. He knew exactly what I was talking about.

I'm glad your wife is supportive (if not sympathetic) of your need to pursue something you enjoy doing so much.
It's sure to be a sacrifice for her, so remember to thank her in little and big ways, often.
...and smile a lot.
Wildsided
Quick question for anyone in the know. I tried using Net Render yesterday and was all excited to halve the render time by using the 2 cores on my PC. The problem is when I got to picking the format i wanted to save the output file as. I didn't have any video options. I could only pick Targa, PNG, JPEG, Open EXR (never heard of that) or BMP.

I'm sure there is software available that could stitch the seperate image together into a video, but I don't really want a folder with 2000 plus images in it. I might be missing something completely obvious (I'm good at that). But does anyone know how to make .mov or .avi available as selectable file formats?

Dan
Rodney
Dan,
You can use A:M (the 32bit version) to perform your conversion.
The steps are:

- Open A:M
- Make sure your Project Workspace is open
- Bring in your image sequence via Right Clicking on the image container (Don't forget to select the check box that says "Import Image as Sequence".
- Once the sequence is imported Right Click on the image set and Select "Save Animation As".
- You can change this to any available movie format or image sequence.
Done.

Prior to v13 you had to use the alternate method (still also available in A:M) of bringing in your sequence as a Camera Rotoscope and then re-rendering that out to the .MOV or .AVI format.

A little background to help you better understand:
I was under the impression that Netrender could render to .MOV but I was resently corrected on that. Netrenders focus is distributed images and it needs separately rendered images to do that.

The fact is that *usually* you *always* want to render to sequential images. (There are a lot of good reasons for that)
All versions of A:M up until the 64bit version can render out to and save to .MOV format but due to issues with Apple Quicktime 64bit there is no option for that.

The good news is that you can use v16 32 bit to convert your sequence.

There are other options to convert images sequences outsideof A:M of course. More about those as needed.
Hope this helps.
Wildsided
Fair play Rodney, nothing stopping me deleting the folder with the stills in it once I'm done I spose. Is the saving the image sequence in A:M after it's rendered and imported a pretty quick process? If not it's no big deal I'll just have to factor that time into the production schedule. Lol I'm sure we'd all get a lot more done if we didn't have to wait for rendering. Ah well them's the breaks
Rodney
QUOTE
Is the saving the image sequence in A:M after it's rendered and imported a pretty quick process?


It is. Of course the time will vary depending on the length of your sequence.
Wildsided
Hi guys!

E.G Episode 14 is now up if anyone wants to watch. Dissidia Final Fantasy - Epic Gamin' Episode 14

This episode features the official introduction of Gwen as a main character in the show and is also the first episode to include 3D animation. Hope you all like it. I'll hopefully update again shortly with some stuff for the next episode.

Dan
Rodney
There you are... interacting with 3D characters on the screen... how many people can say that?

You are living the dream. smile.gif

Keep it up!


I really like your sense of setup and how you are leveraging your current understanding of computer animation... I'd say optimizing even. A great example of this is how you introduce your co-host and then she interacts with you through voice over the course of the show. No need to actually animate her in those scenes. As your knowledge and proficiency increases she'll be able to interact in ever more complicated scenes. Way to leverage A:M's capabilities and turn constraints into solutions for EG!

I assume you script and storyboard each episode?

My other question would relate to Gwen... or the voice of Gwen. Is she having fun with this or what? She can pretty much be anything she wants to be.

Excellent episode!
Rodney
Dan,
If you already use another program to edit your EG episodes together you should be able to use that to smash your sequential images into a .mov. Most of the better editors can even use images sequences directly. I'm thinking mostly of program such as After Effects or Premiere but others as well.

The thought being that if you've already rendered the images out separately you might be doing yourself a disservice by smashing them together if the program will actually work better with them as separated imagery.
Wildsided
Thanks Rodney!

Gwen is actually my wife Nicole. Since Simon became increasingly more......let's say absent (Hence his cardboard stand in). I felt the team really needed a consistent 3rd member, because there's limitations to what you can do with one guy and a puppet. So Nik offered to voice the 3D character.

I do currently script the show and animated this one around the live footage. But for future I'll have to start more advanced planning and storyboarding especially for the 'skits'. The show's tag line is 'More than just a game' and that's something I really want to expand on.

The plan is to have 'Dan' working on the time machine from episode 7 and it screw up and hurl the team through time and space into various videogames and we interact with the characters and be involved in the plot of the game.

For instance early on in Final Fantasy VII, the bad guys blow up a support structure and drop a whole sector of a city onto the slums below. At the time the main cast of the game are at the top of the support tower trying to prevent this from happening. In epic gamin' we'd arrive at that point at the base of the tower and hold of re-inforcements. The thought process being that we can't change events that took place. But in the game the characters aren't bothered by enemy re-inforcments and the viewers would see that the E.G team were the reason for this.

Obviously that'd be a fairly complicated scene to put together so i'd definitely have to storyboard it.
mouseman
Very entertaining, Dan! Good stuff!
Rodney
You'll have to make a proxy model of yourself... you know.... for those long shot full figure effects. smile.gif

I don't want to scare you off but the episodic nature of Epic Gamin' might make it perfect as a Special Projects topic here in the A:M Forum. You are already leaning heavily into production and that might help to keep the A:M related aspects focused.

Note that I am NOT suggesting Epic Gamin' itself move here. No way! BlipTV appears to be a perfect place for that. Maybe more of a "Making of Epic Gamin'" where others enjoy the show and regularly provide feedback. Of course we can do that just as well in this WIP thread too.

No pressure. Something to think about. If the WIP ever gets too unwieldy it might give you some room to breath.
Wildsided
Thanks Mouseman!

That's definitely something to think about Rodney. I don't know if my stuff would qualify as even close to as good as the talents in the special projects, but down the line who knows smile.gif

I like the idea of making of a 3d me for long shots. I shall call him 'Stunt Dan'. Lol he can do all the work in fight scenes!

There's a couple of experiments I'm working on as far as combining 3d and live action that I hope to post soon. One of the ideas is to film tech's head close up and have the rest of him as a 3d model to make him more versatile. But I worry that'd take away from his puppet charm. Never know until you try though right.

The other one is props based. It'd be a lot cheaper if I could make my props in 3d and then add them into the scenes. Plus it's not like my 'studio' (Read spare room with a green screen and a camera) has a lot of space for prop storage.
Wildsided
Rodney suggested I make a me model for long shots. Behold Baldylocks and the three hairs



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Wildsided
Hello! It's me again with a couple of pics.

The first is a weapon that will be appearing in the series in the new year. It's called 'The Cutting Edge' and is based on the concept of the Gunblade from Final Fantasy VIII. However if you look at the Gunblade in that game, it's based around a revolver.

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This means the blade runs straight down the middle of the gun barrel and makes the gun aspect useless (how Squall fires it is beyond me)

So around 2004 I designed my own Gunblade, this time based around a sawed off double barrel shotgun. this way the blade can go between the barrels leaving them clear to fire. The gun shoots a concentrated laser blast (because regular shotgun rounds spread and would damage the blade or worse)

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And here's a pic of Gwen posing with the Cutting Edge.

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Rodney
Very Nice!

Baldylocks too. Now that... is a scary... very interesting guy.
Nice job on that model!

An easy way to get that blade to lighten up a little would be to crank up the Ambiance Color and Intensity. (Assuming you don't add an environment map)

QUOTE
the Cutting Edge


I like it!

But you know... in a later episode she should add some other cool parts... modular-like...all the latest and greatest on the market.
You simply have to demo two handed gunsword mode... insanely humongous (but amazingly lite) ranger finder mode...
You know... accessorize!

I really like the rendering of Gwen. It has a calming effect and yet, I feel like I'm about to see her open a can of whoopass. (whatever that is)
You are getting really good at this.
Paul Forwood
You seem to be having fun. smile.gif
Nice models, Dan.
Zaryin
Who doesn't love a gunblade! Nice!
Wildsided
Hey guys!

I've not uploaded anything in a couple of days, I've been busy doing the review for the next episode. But I just finished my model of Shadow the hedgehog. I don't know how I'm going to use Sonic and Shadow yet, but the more resources I have the better right?!

Anyway here's a few pics

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Rodney
Looking very good.

You make this stuff look easy. smile.gif
Wildsided
Lol Thanks Rodney.

I wouldn't say easy but easier than a lot of.....well actually all other 3D software I've tried. That said there's a whole bunch of stuff I don't get with A:M. Like SimCloth, Robert makes that look easy.
Wildsided
Hey guys!

Epic Gamin' - Episode 15 is up. We're celebrating October with a double dose of Resident Evil. First up, Resident Evil the Umbrella Chronicles.

More Gwen this time, we also learn a little about Dan and Tech's back story. Gonna keep building this up until the new year when we're hopefully gonna launch into the full on 'more than just a game' angle.

Anyway here it is, hope you enjoy it.

http://blip.tv/EpicGamin/resident-evil-the...sode-15-5651870
Wildsided
The next episode will hopefully feature a skit involving an angry Sonic and Mario. Sonic is already done and I've just finished modelling Mario's Head. So I thought I'd drop in and show you all a quick render before I hit the sack.

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Later guys
itsjustme
Looks great so far, Dan!
Wildsided
Right that's Mario done. Now to rig him and Sonic and then start recording dialogue.

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Rodney
I ended up watching a few more of your episodes along with this last one.
Gaming (even if you don't game!) sure can be addicting.

...and here you have yet another impressive model.
I can tell already that episode is going to be good! smile.gif

Wildsided
Thanks David and Rodney!
totlover
These models are very nice!
NancyGormezano
Yes indeedy, the models look very well done!
Vertexspline
wildsided-----really nice models and great effort pushing these out so quickly. Nice work indeed.
Wildsided
Thanks for all the support guys it means a lot.

If you asked any kid growing up in the 90's

"Hey kid, gimme an example of something that would just never happen?"

Below is an example of what they might have said.

Click to view attachment

Now they're both rigged I can get some audio done and put the skit together.
Wildsided
Sorry to get off topic for a second here guys, but I just realized why I love 3D animation so much (Don't get me wrong I love 2D animation as well just for different reasons.)

I remember as a kid I spent a lot of time playing with action figures, spaceship toys etc and making say he-man run and jump onto battlecat to race over and save the day.

Most of the action took place in my head but it just occurred to me that 3D animation is the next logical step from that. When you make and rig a 3d model you're essentially making your own action figure and making them act out those scenes that were once reserved for inside your head.

Anyway that's the end of that little outburst just thought i'd share.
Paul Forwood
Nice models!:)
It looks like you could weight the central spline, at the elbow, to 50% upper arm and 50% lower arm to ease that distortion.
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