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From 2D to 3D

Taking my character design into 3D i had to make some slight changes in considerations for animation and other aspects. Things seem more materialistic in 3D. In my 2D design I had a fair few steps leading up the back of the boduim, i reduced that to 3 believable steps, believable in hight.

I also didnt pin the leather to all the steps. I would have needed a lot of polys to do that and i was trying not to go crazy on the count. I just pulled in the leather as much as i could. There was going to be no real close up so it made sense.

I left of the belts joining the cradle to the stand. I figured that the belts would stretch excessively when the cradle would move with the animation so i left them out.

I had concerns about modeling  the corset cord and making holes in the mesh for the eyelets. Sometimes the simplest answers are overlooked. The cord was made by extruding a nurb circle along a CV curve, something i hadn’t done before, but was so quick and easy,  tool that will come in really handy in the future  As for the eyelets, i didn’t need to make hole in the mesh. The camera isnt going to be close enough to see there isnt actual holes in the leather. Rayrace shadow create that illusion for me.

I think i have created a really nice detailed object, with some basic texturing and bump maps i think it looks great.



Taking influence from several sources, the disables statues Mark Quinn etc. I have come up with a character that is tamer than I had expected.

I wanted something really deformed and strange. Something like what you would see on resident evil and silent hill. Something like this sketch i drew.



but ended up with something looking very human and would appeal to more audiences.

I decided on nudity for venerability, that she has been stripped of everything and left in this cold dark place. I wanted to keep her fairly flat chested as I feel large breasts would have distracted the audience from what else was going on in the scene. I think it would have brought a sexual aspect to it and that wasn’t what i wanted to achieve.

In terms of the rest of the body, i started off wanting quite a twisted ‘ creature’ but as development panned out she became more human and people sympathise more with human characters because they can relate to them. I think I would have been limiting my audience if I made it to dark.



I watched fascinating documentary on channel 4 , How to build a Bionic Man. I am so interested in things like this, replacing part of the body with augmentations. It is something of science fiction that is and in some areas has become a reality. But what I am trying to stay away from is robotics and more biological augmentation. In this documentary there is a penitent who has had his heart replaced with a bionic heart. This is a similar concept that I want in my character, she has had augmentations implanted not organic in nature for the purpose of experimentation.



I have commandeered a pin board in the mez, to put up my work and organise my storybard. Which has been quite handy, its easy to switch around shots and  also, I used it to show Dom, my sound guy, the ideas and give him an idea of what it will pan out like.


p1 p2 p3



Looking back now, wish i had done a full anamatic, but i was unsure what angles i was going to shoot for the dance until i saw it. But having seen the dance now, it wouldn’t have made a difference, i could have set the cameras up and chosen what angles i wanted and see how much I had to render. Instead after i did the planed shots you see in the storyboard I have been winging it if im honest, which meant i was rushing it because the dead line was getting closer.  Im lucky it turned out the way it did, half decent.

Not to self… NEVER do an animation or short film again with out an anamatic. I could have saved so much time and stres if I did and the result would have been a lot better.

Tacking out sections of my statement of intent I will reflect on the thing I said I would do.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 18.26.06

I have not based the story on the physically and mentally disabled but largely influenced on periods when physically and mentally disabled people where largely discriminated against. I think I  felt I need some moral reason to do this piece and make a statement but what is actual is is the story of what my character is going through and what she is, based on past discrimination of the disabled.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 18.34.39

I think i used the wrong word in this, narrative should have been narration.

I was concerned if my editing would be upto this, but feedback from my final Crit confirmed that the audience could follow the story without any narration. They understood what was going on and commented on emotional responses they experienced for my character.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 18.53.47

Because of the emotional responses of the mature audience in the final crit, it reinforces the fact that my animation is for the maturer audience. Taking a look at the BBFC it seems my animation falls into the 15 category as there is nudity.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 19.02.30

Im in no illusion that my character is photorealistic, but i gave it a good go. The character is the most realistic i have done so far and not just in modeling but in texturing also. There are so many aspects that go into making something photorealistic, i could spend a whole module on it. But i think i achieved a style of realism, in the fact that she is a believable living entity.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 19.11.04

I did out source a dancer , use IPI soft and apply it to my character. I am very pleased i did as she was able to give me the flexibility in the character that i had imagined.

Screen shot 2013-05-07 at 19.13.28

That meeting was successful and Dom has created the music and foley will be added before the end of year show.

The deliverables as stated are:

Between 2.5 and 5 minute animation exported as 1920 x 1080.

I do have an animation within that boundary, just not 100 complete or with sound

Music Duration

For a while now, people have been saying your animation is to long. I asked Dom, to try and cut it shorter. I suggested a spot that I thought might work and sent an email to him and he came back to me with about 2o seconds cut out. It might not seem a lot but in animation and rendering times, it is quite a big chunk. Thats over 500 frames times that by 4 for all the render layers I would need and that over 2000 frames removed from the work load. It has made it a bit more manageable. It is a shame it needed to be cut but sometimes these things have to be done to make things work especially in film and moving image. I personally don’t think it takes away from the track, it still works.

Notes from the documentary The seven Dwarfs of Auschwitz.

– seven jewish dwarfs, then seen as part of freak shows and entertainment. Made a living out of show business, ‘exhibiting their deformity’

-Deformities’ were an obsession for the Nazis, killing or using them for guinea pigs.

– Doctors decied who would live and die, who were fit to work. Women and children and crippled were sent to die as they weren’t seen as able to work. One of these doctors was Joseph Mengele ( the angel of death)

-Doctor Mengele, collected people with deformities, mengele’s zoo. If Mengele hadn’t have taken these dwarfs they would have died less than an hour later. Their dwarfism baught them some time

A doctor gave his opinion on what Mengele was doing and described the experiments as bizzar irrelivent and appalling , from which they could not have learnt anything from. These doctors on the cams had the opportunity to do what they want with no consequence and took advantage of that, medically relevant or not.

Just a bit about the mocap I have been doing. So like I have said I have used the 30 day free trail of IPI Soft marker-less mocap and I am super impressed and defiantly considering purchasing it in the future for me realistic animations. After capturing the data I was finding it difficult to process the recorded data. Not because of the software put the hardware. I had borrowed a friend’s laptop to record the data on, as I needed a portable windows machine to download the trail on and use to record. Unfortunately the laptop wasn’t always available to me so I lost out on a few days of processing time. On the days I did have it, the 2 mins of mocap data I needed to process was estimated at taking 3 days! At that rate I would never have got it done. So my tutor managed to get it installed on one of our windows desktop computers in college and what was going to take 3 days took 35-40 mins to process. So the approximately 3 mins of mocap data I had was done in a few hours and jitter removal.

Something I noticed with IPI was that it can have trouble identifying arm rotation. Sometime the shoulder joint or wrist joint would snap hard on the rotational axis.

To get the mocap onto my character:

  • Export the character mesh and bound rig as a FBX
  • The export tab IPI studio – and import target character. – Connect corresponding bones of the imported fbx rig to the IPI rig, using the dropdowns.
  • Export animation- save as FBX

Any controls added to the imported rig before it’s sent into IPI, they will not be connected once re imported to Maya.

My rig seems to work pretty nicely. Connections needed to be broken on the hip joint for translation, to stop the bobbing up and down. My character is in a fixed position and wouldn’t be able to translate only rotate.  Importing her back in Maya and on her podium, having the hip still able to rotate meant she was popping through the mesh where she was connected to the podium.

Going back to IPI studio I left the hip as unused. This meant there would only be movement above the hip and the hip was static, this would mean the mesh wouldn’t poke though the podium. Exporting and importing it back into Maya this disconnection from the hip seemed to make the whole upper body twist about 30 degrees to the left.

To try and eliminate this I tried the HumanIK rig in Maya, to see if it had a better relationship with the ipi rig.

I had had a play with it before, adjusting the number of bones and different components. Personally I don’t see the benefit of it, other than it the automatic naming conventions and the fiddly bits like the finger bones and feet are done for you. It seemed quite temperamental too. As my character had no lower legs or forearms I tried deleting them from the outliner. From then if I tried to change the rig in away way the deleted bones would pop back. It also didn’t like it when the bones were extended, they would later spike out when doing other amendment. When the rig did decide to behave and we managed to bind the mesh, testing the rotation of the bones with the mesh would terribly mangle and deform the mesh. When it did work and it imported into IPI studio there seemed to be no difference in the behavior from my rig.

Annabeth mentioned that the podium should be moving slightly with the animation also. I had already considered that but had gone on my ‘if I have time list’ and had planed to use a bend deformer. But we tried to see if we could use that hip data to get movement into the podium.

This meant combining the mesh of my character to the podium as one full piece. I’m porting that into IPI using the human IK rig gave the podium a dress like effect when the data was applied. This however didn’t work great. There were a lot of amendments and connection breaks I would need to figure out. Also having combined the podium to the body, the texture and UV map on the podium were over ridden by the UV’s and character texture.

So having come across all of this I decided to just go with my custom rig and just have the hip data set to un-used. No its not perfect and yes I should have done more testing so I was ready for these issues before needing to apply the data due to time running out. But from the results I have gotten it looks so much better than I had expected!

To get a closer mocap performance to simulate the constraints of the podium I could have bound the legs of my dancer, but I didn’t think that was wise for health and safety reasons. The dance I needed was very erratic and she really needed to keep her balance, binding her legs could have resulted in injury.

As a last resort  I said I would be the actress for andrew Howdens Final Major Project, if we couldn’t source a dancer. It wasn’t a case of acting experience, but more filming, lighting and green screen experience.

We did a quick test shoot, for the green screen and tracking plate for the wings and all went well. Unfortunately the actual shoot was a bit of a disaster and I can only sympathise for him. To get better shadows blue screen was used for the floor, but it did key out as expected and there was lots of creases and being silk it would curl up around my feet. Also the new tracking harness Andy had created moved with my shoulders and not the centre of my back where the CGI wings attach. So that was also un usable. I have offered to re shoot, so he has something to show at end of year.

I had been so busy doing renders and animations I hadn’t put any of my shots on a time line until it was time for final crit. So using my rendered shot and play-blasts I put together a rough edit. It was coming together for the first time and got an idea of how it was going to look. I think the rendered out shots look really nice, better than I thought they would. Think the depth of field works really well in giving a sense of ‘depth’ to the scene. There are some lighting inconsistencies, the lighting seems to change from shot to shot but I can balance that out in after effects. There is however a change in light towards the end of the animation, where the sun should come out and give my character some warmth and happiness for a short period. But I don’t think its obvious enough so I need to really show that more.

I am looking forward to seeing the screams fully rendered, well looking forward to all of it being fully rendered.

Using the rough edit I could see what I needed to render and where I need shots, how long they need to be in FPS and I could visualise the shots.


It also gave me an estimate of how long my animation was going to be. as it stands it is 3 minutes 50 seconds. So that fits nicely in my 2.30 to 5 min put forward in my statement of intent.