Scholarly Thesis - Jussi Kemppainen
Name of the Thesis:
Ugly to the bone

("Thesis" origin: late Middle English, literally 'placing a proposition'. Tithenai, 'to place'.)

18.1.2006
1. First patch of sketches.
Did some doodling. I could have chosen any character as my subject, but I chose the overdone muscular ogre type because it shows the rig best. Seeing the muscles in action on a huge orc is much more impressive than on a seagull(etc). But, instead of a warrior, I want to make him a trash truck driver. I have outlined a simple script for an animation in my head. I will probably write it down soon. After the script is done. I will film the action with real actors and use their movements as a reference. Also, I will hire somebody very muscular to act as a real life muscle reference. What better way to see how muscles flex than to have a model right there to be studied! (sounds gay)
30.1.2006
2. Further sketching
I have been busy. Moved to helsinki and had a crunch at work, so not much time has been used to do the thesis.
03.2.2006
3. Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore
Begin to doodle in 3D. I think that the head I came up with in just a few moments is pretty good. So I might stick with it. Rendered some angles and a turnaround animation. How I got started on the head was funny. I downloaded a human skeleton and modified it LOTS with the liquify tool on PhotoShop. After I was happy with the result. I loaded the skeleton in LightWave as background image and modeled a face that i thought would be formed from a bone structure of the deformed skull. It was a fast way to get interesting results.
03.2.2006
4. Oh, but anyway, Toto, we're home. Home!
Just a quick update on the model based on comments Ville gave me. He did not like the nose too much. So I went for a more animal look. RoaR! Now that i look on the light bulb nose on the previous iteration, it is clear that he was right: it looks off.
06.2.2006
5. More paper
Sketches from this weekend. Not much variations, but I have a pretty clear image of the character in my head. It is beginning to get more cartoony features as time passes. I am going to model some variants of body shapes in 3D next. That I can handle much better. (A render and a wireframe also included). EDIT: also fixed this page to display properly on IE. Man I hate Internet explorer.
06.2.2006
6. More renders
Just killing time, not actually progressing at all. I should already be making mockups of the overall shape, and not be modeling more detail in.
08.2.2006
7. Heavenly bodies
First patch of slightly different bodies. I'll model 20, then choose / mix the final body from that lot. After that I'm trying to get most of the skeleton and muscles done for next week.
13.2.2006
8. No Progress
I promised something done for this week, but failed to get anything done. But I had a great weekend meeting friends and strangers.
14.2.2006
9. Yes Progress
"you need to come over to draw for a few hours!" "what?". Pekka Veikkolainen made me draw more concepts with toothbrushes, toilet paper and ink. Here they are. After few hours of frantic drawing last night, I have decided to go for a more angular look. (the first 2 sketches in this update)
16.2.2006
10. Weeks go by and nothing keeps happening
Been watching lost a lot. Already going at the episode 12 of season 2 and I started last saturday! So, I haven't got anything done - at all. Oh well...
17.2.2006
11. Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone
Opened my trustworthy book of anatomy and begun to model the skeletal structure. The purpose of me starting from bones is simple: when I rig the character, bones move as rigid units. But the skin does not. When I now see bones sticking out of the skinned model in some poses, I know that i need to create morphs for the skin to cover those bones. I am hoping that this will make the poses and animations seem very realistic. I am going to model in the muscles for this exact same reason.
20.2.2006
12. Skeleton
Most of the bones (the important bits) are now somewhat done. I am not going to model bones for the feet or hands yet. After this, I will begin to add muscles in. One by one in layers. I am trying to model in as many muscles as possible, but I doubt that every muscle is required. Many muscles are still needed, because I am thriving for a skinny look. There will be some fatness, but I don't want to have sloppy fat around places. Tight & muscular is what I want. With bones showing underneath. Bulky but thin, simple, hm..
20.2.2006
13. Compulsory Thesis babble for school
Production plan, Intro for the written side of things, 1/3 of thesis done, and a list of expenses. I need to have them sorted by 21.2.

Production Plan

Stage 1
Sketching and design 17.1 - 15.2

Stage 2
Modeling the skeleton 16.2 - 20.2

Stage 3
Modeling the muscles 20.2 - 26.2

Stage 3
Modeling the skin 24.2 - 28.2

Stage 3
Painting the details and creating the texture 20.2 - 20.3

Stage 4
Rigging the bone & muscle models 1.3 - 20.3

Stage 5
Gathering reference material for skin deformations 1.3 - 20.3

Stage 5
Rigging the skin model 12.3 - 20.3

Stage 6
Filming the motion reference 18.3 - 19.3

Stage 7
Creating the animation 20.3 - 28.3

Stage 8
Written material 16.1 - 1.4

Stage 9
Setting everything up for the presentation (creating slideshow, finalizing animations, printing booklet) 28.3 - 13.4

List of Expenses

The art of rigging vol 1 & 2 126E,-
21.2.2006
14. Muscle Test
I have never done anything like this before. So testing is needed. Begun to work on the arm. Modeled the muscles (it was harder than I thought: it is so easy to get lost in the details) and managed to get some of the skin done. The elbow is not very well defined by the muscles, so it needs to be done carefully. Also he fact that the muscles on this character are not realistic, they are much harder to make so that they look natural.
23.2.2006
15. Muscle Test 2
The Olympic Games (finnish Curling team fighting for gold & finnish ice hockey team fighting for the possibility to fight for gold !!), friends and life to keep me from doing this thesis. Managed to make progress tonight tho. May look a bit shabby in the morning, cause I must admit I have taken a few.

Well, the arm muscle test was a sort of "success". So I just kept on going. The goal here is to model in all defining muscles, then create the skin based of the muscles and then refine the overall shape of the skin to match my ideas. I have been going a bit overboard with the amount of muscles I am actually modeling in, but it is not something to be worried about.
24.2.2006
16. No more testing, just go for it
Modeling the skin on top of the muscles is clearly providing results, so progress is happening on that front. It is cool how automagically the muscle detail just happens when you have done all the muscles individually first. Never before has doing more work felt like cheating. Ok that was not true.

The last file in the gallery of this blog entry is a QuickTime turnaround render of the current iteration. I am posting and rendering at a tight pace in order to record as much of the process as possible. Gives me good work-in-progress material for the written part of the thesis.

I am pretty confident that, at this rate, my schedule will hold. I will probably have the body "base" skin geometry modeled by sunday. After that I can begin work on the ZBrush displacement map that will hopefully really bring this character to life.
26.2.2006
17. Moving along
A snapshot of the current progress. Thigh muscles are in, as are the buttocks. Also the skin for the back is modeled and the chest area finished. Everything is going pretty well. Even tried ZBrushing on the current skin model and it was a joy. Only thing I am missing is a pen for my wacom intuos tablet. The skin model also deforms beautifully. The shoulder area works pretty well even with automated weightmaps! It is a nice feeling to see this all slowly coming together. This far the project has clearly been the most detailed organic modeling process I have ever done and it makes me happy that I have managed to pull it off this far without any technical problems or setbacks what so ever. The attached image files show the different layers of the character: skeleton, muscles & skin. The renders are larger than usually.
26.2.2006
18. Thight!
Yet another turnaround render. All the muscles I need to model in are basically done. From now on I just need to finish the skin. The hands and feet will be modeled without bone or muscle reference modeled in first.
27.2.2006
19. Can you stomach it?
Stomach region modeled in. This is the only part of the body I did not model any muscle reference for, because I knew it would most definitely not need that. I like the way the bones are penetrating the skin now. Additional ribs and abs will be modeled later on in ZBrush.
28.2.2006
20. "&" used to be part of the alphabet. Think about it Mr. &erson!
(alphabet, "alpha beta", the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. Running out of idiotic headers and not of useless information)

Because ultimately I am making the rig and animations in Maya, I practiced importing the model complete with all layers (bones, muscles & skin) to there from Lightwave and it worked out perfect! To be honest, I am still facing a bit of a problem: I don't know how to use Maya at all. I need to read some serious-ass 3D books to manage.

Some 6 hours later, 5 am

I opened a book, shuffled to page 215 and jumped right into Muscle deformations, skipping every single chapter from navigating in Maya 3D viewport to painting weightmaps. Let me tell you little about manually modeled muscle deformations at this point. Better known as "PSD" (Pose Space Deformation). PSDs are widely used in the film industry (for example, ILM created the Incredible Hulk using PSDs). PSD works in a way that is very innovative and provides the artist with ultimate control over the deformations. Using muscle simulations may have unwanted results that can be impossible or very slow to mend (Weta and Phil Tippet use lots of muscle simulations, so they are not all bad). PSD doesn't have this problem because it basically works like this:

You pose a joint, everything goes to hell: muscles intersect with each other, nasty shapes bulge out of the joints and the bones bend and twist like rubber. To fix all this you simply deform the muscles, joints, bones to collide with each other, wrinkle and stretch naturally and say "stay bitch!". Life turns great, muscles bulge like nothing and knees and elbows stick out like they ought to! PSD, the best a man can get!

Very few / no games support PSDs at the time of writing, which is odd, because PSD is the best thing since microwaved rice! 3ds max, SoftimageXSI and Animation Master Support PSDs. The two Applications I chose to work with (Lightwave & Maya) do not natively support them. At this point I was a bit worried because my thesis is solemnly based on PSDs and not so many plugins are out for OS X versions of the applications!! Fear not, I got hold of a mel script called Shape Builder (it actually came with this book I got, so um.. this was not too hard for me..) which makes it possible to create Pose Space Deformations very easily. After 20 or so minutes I already had some nice looking calf bulging action going on in Maya! At this point it actually seems that I may be able to finish this damned thesis. And what is best, ahead of schedule! It is so easy! As easy as forgetting to wake up in the morning.
The animation file included is just something I recoded from my screen. I opened up the example PSD scene in Maya and just rotated some of the joints in the example model (copyright CG|TOOLKIT) to show some basic PSDs.
28.2.2006
21. The blend shape of things to come
Today I did the first actual test with the model I have been making. As expected, the pose space deformation I created for the thigh is not very good: the muscle definition is lost and I had a lousy skin cluster. What this test did prove to me is that rigging a character in Maya is so much easier than I had expected: my previous experiences of rigging with LightWave have been so bad that Maya's ease of use leaves me speechless. Now I Just need to finish the model before I get too carried away. The Shape Builder mel script works perfect with bones that act mainly like hinges. Ball joints such as shoulders need a custom script that I need to create later on. The shoulders will be the hardest part of this project and I am not too eager to setting them up. I'll just save them for the last.
2.3.2006
22. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing
Heh, everything is pretty much done from the knees up. Not much more to do actually. On the modeling side. I am already a day late from my schedule, but something came up at work and I wanted to dedicate my time for it. SO, I will hopefully have this model finished by tomorrow. Because If not, it will be delayed to next monday (busy weekend).
6.3.2006
23. When it snows/ain't it thrilling/Though your nose gets a chilling/We'll frolic and play/the Eskimo way/walking in a winter wonderland
Weekend was spent riding a snowmobile. My arms hurt. So, no progress happened this weekend. Used some time at the office to extend the skin on the legs and tweak the shape of the hands. Also made the legs and arms a bit shorter.
6.3.2006
24. Put your best foot forwards
Quickly modeled the feet. Right now, the basic geometry of the character is done. Next stop: ZBrush. The ZBrushing will hopefully be done by tomorrow (If all goes well!)
I am bit late of my schedule, BUT because I have already done some practicing with rigging in maya, my start on the actual rig will be somewhat faster & easier. It should all even out eventually.
The Plan is now to modify the geometry in Zbrush and export out a subdivided model with a displacement map to create all the micro details. With ZBrush, I will add in all the "secondary" shapes and muscles and a lot of them micro details I just mentioned. Fingers crossed!
7.3.2006
25. The devil is in the details
First ZBrush renders are out in the open. The aim of this test was to see how ZBrush can be used to add detail to the model.
I now need to figure out how to best use ZBrushed objects in Maya. It should work well, because I know that king kong is made using displacement maps in maya. If someone else can do it, I can probably do it as well. Displacement maps also provide easier way of handling the blend shapes. If the polygon mesh is too dense, keeping the shape under control will be very hard.
8.3.2006
26. Between the devil and the deep blue sea
Snatched a wacom tablet from work and repainted the ZBrush displacement. From now on, I will focus on the rigging side of things. The model must do as it is now: there just is not too much time left.
My Maya skills are very rusty. For example something as simple as texturing objects is way beyond my reach. What is really slowing me down is the fact that I don't have internet connected at home yet. Maya's help files don't help me much because I'd have to read it all in order to get something out of it. What I need is step-by-step tutorials for dummies. I do know how to rig the character though, so what I need to study is all glitter and bling stuff, which is secondary anyway.

Passed a curious milestone today: The folder that includes all files related to this thesis just got over 1 GB in size (1 052 773 419 bits). WOW that Zbrush has some big tool files!!
13.3.2006
27. A mentally handicapped person
I should have the skin model rigged by 20.3. according to my plan. At the moment I have pretty much finished the bone structure of the body, but the skinning is nearly not done yet. I need to work hard every day to get this done in time (and if I want to do ANY animation wih this character!)

The video file on the right shows the current state of progress with the rig. The mesh is attached to the skeleton with default setting, thus all the tearing and whatnot. I need to paint the skin weights by hand. Also at this point all the loss of volume is apparent. When there is actually nothing (muscles) inside the skin to keep the volume when the bones deform, the skin looses volume. I will use PSDs to maintain that volume. A great example for lost volume is the twisted forearm. If you pay attention to that region in the attached movie file, you can see what I mean. Creating all the required PSDs for this model will be time consuming and at this point it is apparent that if I do not hasten my pace, I will not have all the stuff I wanted ready by the end f the month. I have got approximately 3 weeks of time to finish this thesis and only 2 of which I have planned on using the creation of the character & animations. I wonder where did all that time go? There was supposed to be so much of it left. The third seminar is wednesday next week (15.3) and for that I need to have

...No, I have been reading wrong. I need to have the thesis done by 16.5, not 03.4...

Man I am stupid.

Ok, this changes nothing. I will try to hold on to my planned schedule, this just means I got an extra month to polish stuff out. Yay!

Idiota.
20.3.2006
28. Platonic photoshoot
Lat week went without any major updates. I was very busy at work - again. I even enjoyed it, because i got to work on the stuff I like the best: realtime 3D. Back in to business. I visited my aunt last weekend and took some photos of her husband (attached). I'll use those photos as a muscle deformation reference for the shoulders and pectoral area. In the end, when I finalize the displacement map, I will also use these photos as reference for the ZBrush painting. Right now I am in the process of creating the skin weights for the character. I have got good book about painting skin weights and I will read it before actually doing anything in 3D. Oh yes, I also need to add bones to the fingers.

I am not so busy at work at the moment, so I will probably do some good progress with this thesis during the next week. My goal is to have the character fully rigged by next monday. Not including the PSD blendshapes, they are a bit trickier to do than I had expected. Sometimes the plugin that calculates the blendshape simply fails. I have not figured out why. This will not be a serious problem.

Because I write these blog entries at home, and then upload them to this site at work (I don't have an internet connection - yet), I usually make progress 'while' writing. I just did some ZBrush displacement map export tests. ZBrush is as easy to use as a VCR with chinese manual but boy does it make it possible to create detailed 3D art! I don't have anything to show right now, but I have learned to use the app in a better way. Just wanted to say that.

Also I did begun painting the weights today (it was a short chapter in the book). It seems relatively easy and, with the tricks explained in the book, also a fun process. I have always loathed painting weights, but just the other day at work, I found out how to enjoy painting weights in LightWave. After work I came home and tried Maya's skin paint tools and hated them. Now, I like the weight painting tools in Maya better! Also included is a screengrab showing what it is about. What does the black and white mean? White areas are fully parented to the selected joint, and black areas are not parented to the joint a all. I still have got a lot to learn about skinning. New problems surface all the time and the fact that I am not very good with maya is very present. Luckily all my problems have been minor and I have been able to work them out pretty easy. I hope is stays that way. At the moment I am about 70% through the 'required' part of my Thesis. It is good that I have progressed this well, because I now have got time to add some frothing.
My fridge is a piece of crap: it keeps on making sinister sounds. I need to call my landlord about it.

Someday.
21.3.2006
29. There is more than one way to skin a cat
Painted most of the basic skin weights. I am still not done with them, but it is close. I uploaded a preview animation of the rig with the new skinning and as you can see, it is looking a lot more finished (could not resist adding some simulated film look, sorry). The remaining errors and areas where the mesh looses too much volume will be fixed using Pose Space Deformations. I just tested a PSD on that rig and it made everything go 'pop'. So I need to look into that. I also finally found out how to render ZBrush displacement maps with Maya and it is gorgeous. Everything is slowly drifting together. I can almost see the light in the end of the tunnel. As you can see from the latest included still render, it looks awful compared to the previous renders. I still don't know how to make stuff look good in maya.
The sheep render and animation attached are basically the only things I have ever finished in Maya before this project. Now if only I could remember how I made those renders look so smooth! I just have to pray Google for help.

Also, I finally turned on spellcheck and fixed all the typos in the blog.
28.3.2006
30. Hurrah for boobies!
Today my goal was to make PSDs work, and it proved very difficult. First couple of hours I was totally baffled and nothing I did went as I hoped: I failed to make the PSD blend shapes work. I have very little experience in maya, so I had no idea if I did something wrong or not. Finally I gave up and redid the skin binding, this time round I created the blend shape BEFORE binding the skin. This was clearly the cause of all my problems. Fortunately, this was just what I had wrong! After re-skinning the model I did a fast muscle deformation test and it is working great! Again, this is a small step for humanity, but a giant leap for Jussi Kemppainen.
1.4.2006
31. FLESH I NEED SOME FLESH!!
If some movie files are not working. I don't know why. Working on it.

Just finished another new render in maya. Fine tuned the existing blendshapes and added one for the neck. I am taking my time, but I hope to get the torso and feet muscles done this weekend. I'll save the hands for last. Shoulders are still going to be a bitch. After I have the whole body PSD'd, I'll move on to creating the facial rig. That will be fun!

I mirrored the right calf blendshapes to the left side. It was a bit tricky because the model is not mirrored. I also created the muscle & fat movements for the neck and it looks pretty good.
2.4.2006
32. Pass the time of the day
Sunday: stomach
The stomach region is not done, but in progress. I did some of the chest/spine deformations already. Next I will move down to the actual bulk of the stomach, after that I will create the body twist shapes. In the in-between stages of a region, when for example the x axis deformations are done, the progress looks helpless. nothing works properly and the polygons do weird and unwanted things. After all the deformations are modeled in, the region will work properly.

I apologize for my poor animation skills.
2.4.2006
33. The fat is in the fire
Limb muscle deformations. The Muscles on the leg work now. Also worked on the arm a bit. Made sure that the ZBrush displacements work in MAYA and to my relief they do perfectly. For the shoulder I would need to create a Three Axis Driver expression. That is a bit of a nuisance to set up and would honestly take too long. I'll see if I can get some OK results with basic driven keys instead, so far it looks good and my reasoning is assuring me that it'll work fine! I also did some basic experimenting with fur and it feels possible. I just need to create a baldness map for the possible fur in ZBrush. I also downloaded maya 6.01 Bonus tools and they have SSS plugin. So I did some skin shading experiments. They did not work out at all, so I need to work on that more. I would like to have SSS skin in the final render.

Included are some renders of the current happenings.
9.4.2006
34. hrrgh
Arm muscle morph & stuff. I spent 3 hours in Maya without getting anything done. Then when I was just about to quit I was whipped bak into action and I got the arm muscles done. It was so annoying. As I look at that itle movie snippet, I see that I need to make the muscle bulge a lot more. A lot more. Also I was pointed that the crease in the front of the arm goes too far back. So I need to make the arm keep more of it's volume. It is an easy fix.
12.4.2006
35. Live up to the name
man creating the PSDs is BORING!! To ease my frustration I went to ZBrush central and browsed the user galleries. Then I launched ZBrush and noticed that instead of using a small brush, you just need to scale the object HUGE and use a BIG brush. ROAAAAR!

Ok, I tried to put the character in a casual pose and then I really cranked up the displacement values to the extreme. I think that the shape of the character is pretty much there. My next escape from making the PSDs is coloring the bastard. Until then, sleep well!
13.4.2006
36. Cloth test 1
After testing, cloth is doable.
20.4.2006
37. Skin deep
Allright, I am pretty much done on all fronts. I still need to create few morphs and mirror them, but the main body of the work is complete. Last weekend I spent doing nothing related to this project, so I need to pick up the speed again. I have decided to spent 7.5 hours per day at my job and not a second longer. Sometimes my hours slide and I am too tired to work on this model.. Here is the first ZBrush skin test I did for the upper body. I am going to paint it all over from the start again, this was just a learning draft. The final skin should be done before tomorrow morning :D

EDIT: Heh, I doodled with the displacement map and refined it instead of painting the color map. Well, tomorrow then. The 2nd image is new.
21.4.2006
38. All work no play
Just having a ball with the character and cloth simulations in maya.
22.4.2006
39. Texture testing
Creating the texture in ZBrush is a bit tricky. First of all, ZBrush is awful. It is as usable as a beartrap as a scuba gear. Shame that it can provide some exxellent results. ZBrush shading is so much different from maya that having the shades stay the same in both apps is very tricky. Right now I am testing every single change I make to the texture in maya straight away to see what works and what doesn't work

EDIT: 22.4 new images posted. The skin is getting there..
22.4.2006
40. Let your hair down
I spent some hours painting the fur density maps in Maya for this character It took awfully long, but the result is somewhat allright. So, here he is, now with some bodyhair here'n'there. The model is nearing completition on all fronts. Just need to create the clothes a.s.a.p.
23.4.2006
41. Turn around
The newest turnaround render. With 'live' character this time. Also included is the first overalls test. The cloth shape looks ok in still images, but when animated, everything goes to hell. I really need to work on the cloth properties.
25.4.2006
42. Overall the overalls are coming along nicely
Spent today trying to get the overalls done. Making the UV's for the cloth was insanely difficult, but once you learn it, it becomes rather easy. I did not spent too much time on the texture yet, but just applied a denim tile to it. I will also model a cloth cap for the character. He'll prolly be a Pit Stop worker with a wheelcart and some tools. Yah. After the clothes are created and textured I will finish the rest of the rigging: fingers & face. That means I should be finished with this model and rig this week! Then I will put my energy in a little animation with him.
26.4.2006
43. I second that
The texture & shape of the overalls is now done, the dynamics still need more work, as the animation shows. The fur did some oddities in the last render, but I am going to redo the fur from scratch later on. The still render shows the fully finished garment. The animation included is awful, but again I had no reference for the movement. For the final animation, I will videograph proper reference material to get the animation right for once.
27.4.2006
44. I third that
I widened the too thin shoulder straps and got the cloth physics to function rather well. Also, I worked on the skin tone & finally rigged the fingers. I removed the buggy fur (I broke it somehow). I am now nearly done. I just need to make some facial morph and controls for the fingers. Then, animation time!

EDIT: Tweaked the skin a lot.
28.4.2006
45. Dogs bollocks? I kill youse lot!
Created the eyes and added the look direction blendshapes to the eyelids. Did not get too much done, I have been lazy, but the thing is already showing a lot of characher with those spanking new eyes of him. I like the new skin. The second image is the texture map for the overalls (scaled down lots) and the video file demonstrates the simple eyes rig.
28.4.2006
46. To do:
A list of the things I still need to do for the thesis. After these are done. I can begin to toy with the character and maybe use im for some proper animation tests.

-Model props for animation

-Film animation reference footage
-Block out the basic movements
-Polish animation

-Mirror arm blendshapes
-Mirror leg blendshapes

-Create facial blendshapes
--move lips to 4 directions
--snarl upper lip, nose, cheecks. Separate for both sides
--move eyebrows
--push lips outwards

-Create facial rig

-Paint the fur

-Model the cap
-Ceate dynamics for the cap

-Write the written part of the thesis.

The character could do with lots more stuff, but I have to draw the line somewhere in order to beat the 14.5 deadline
29.4.2006
47. Walk the walk
Saku Jalkanen gave me a crash course of animation. The current render has some issues, like the too intense head movement. Also the arms move unnaturally. The second version should be way better. The rig I did for the character is not too bad. The cotrols it provides are sufficient for most the stuff this character would need to do. The blayblast file is the slightly updated animation. I think that even though the head bobbing is still too big, overall the new file looks way better.
30.4.2006
48. Rolling, rolling, rolling..
A brief breather from setting stuff up. Modeling the props for animation. Here is the first piece, the wheelbarrel. I will also model a beercan and some tools.
30.4.2006
49. Render
Big files.
2.5.2006
50. Burning out
The latest render of the walk animation. Added soft shadows. I have got 2 weeks time to finish this, so I need to get making the final animation a.s.a.p. My day job is severely limiting my time, but I am going to take some time off around the weekends to cope. So for now I need to forget working on anything else but the animation for a while. I am also making the animation a little less complicated than I originally intented.

My scedule for this week:

Today: Model ALL props

Tomorrow: Film the animation reference footage, block out the basic animation.

Friday: Finetune the animation

Weekend: Finalize the animation, finish model & setup.

Monday: Finish written part of the thesis.

Next week: Create the presentation for school, finetune the animation, render the animation.

Next weekend: Do what ever is left.

Remonder to self: the current pace of 8 hours work + 8 hours of creating the thesis + some hours of sleep may not be fast enough...
4.5.2006
51. Animation test 1
Begun creating the animation. Filmed myself goofing around with a beer bottle and am now making my character do the same. At first. I will run trough the animation with this simple blocking out the basic movements pass. After I have done this, I will add more detail in passes until I am happy with the results. If you see some odd use od the control curves, that is because i have no idea how to use them. The fact that Imade the rig doesn't mean I can use it! RIght now I am going at 25 seconds, and the final animation will be about 50 seconds long. After blocking out this 25 seconds, I can see that animating stuff may not be so awful after all. I may even learn it! In that animation I have not yet touched the back, so the character is very rigid. The video files together make the final animation. The camera angles are not like that. it will be one continuous shot. In the very end I will duplicate the walking loop from the beginning.
5.5.2006
52. Animation refined a bit
Allright. The animation is a bit more fine tuned now. I still need to work on it and I have reserved next weekend + monday for working on it full time. At the moment things are looking OK I guess. When done, the animation will hopefully have some good parts it it.
6.5.2006
53. Animation refined more
Some more refining. Added some animation to the fingers.
7.5.2006
54. Animation almost done
The animation is nearing completion. I will still work on the fine tuning tomorrow and calculate the cloth physics. The finished animation will sport a painted background environment.
8.5.2006
55. Rigid bodies
Beercan spiced up with actual opening & rigid dynamics.
9.5.2006
56. Reminders for Pekka
Pilvilayerit, ruoholayerit, lintulayeri, postilaatikko, lauta-aitaa, tuuliviiri(kukko), TV-antenni, lentäviä lintuja, kottikärryn jäljet, tomulayereitä, aseman logo, saatanan piikkipallo joka lentää tuulessa, vuorta taustalle, Kiviä, skorppiooni, liikennemerkki, vajaan roipetta, seinässä oleva valomainos. Background painting by Pekka Veikkolainen.
10.5.2006
57. Final animation preview
Here is the 3D part of the animation. Right now I am animationg the 2D painting Pekka made for me and Joonatan is creating the sound design. The rendering of the final frames is taking me 2-3 minutes / frame. that is not much, but I have got 1200 frames to render, so it adds up. I decided to render them all in one go. I have been able to work on some other stuff while the files have been rendering. So, here is a preview playblast of the whole animation, a test of the background in movement and a clip from the final render without the BG.
11.5.2006
58. First few seconds
Small preview of the final composition. The background is still missing lots of moving stuff like the character shadow, door flapping in the wind and clouds for example.
11.5.2006
59. Full animation Work In Progress
Door is now flapping & some of the birds are animated. I will set maya to re-render the end of the animation file, because I have a buggy bit there. Ground shadow will be rendered tomorrow night. This is basically what the animation will be in the end, just with clouds and ever flowing dust on the ground. The colour will still be fine-tuned. The final format will be HD quality PAL.
11.5.2006
60. Another preview render
Another quick preview render. At 50% resolution. Still needs some tweaking ^ character shadow, but basically we are done. In the end, there will be an extreme wide shot of the gas station. That shot is still not done.
14.5.2006
61. Stuff for the presentation
FIles for the presentation at school. Simple details of the rig system.
19.5.2006
62. This is so done
I got the animation rendered and had my presentation at school. This project is now officially over. I thank everybody that contributed somehow. You all know who you are. Check the final animation from the frontpage.