Control Box Issues

For the 2nd video I was tasked to create a control box which to my knowledge, in that context, was just a box for cables and fuses etc. So I set to work on creating a fairly basic box with handle and this is what i got.

 

However upon talking to the client and receiving some feedback on what exactly this box was and its uses within the garment and warehouse type setting in general we soon both agreed that this was not really appropriate to show in the videos as it could be very misleading.

 

 

It seems the real name of the control box was a “Industrial PC Cabinet”. This meant back to the drawing board for me however I already had a smaller version of the lower section of the cabinet so at least I didn’t have to start from complete scratch.

 

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I then figured out a neat way to film around a single object which I explain in The camera movement post.

 

And this was the final outcome.

 

 

 

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Smooth Camera movement using splines.

Today I had the issue of realising that free handing the camera using manual keyframes left the shots looking quite wonky and wobbly, overall quite unprofessional. I also needed to have quite a few scenes where the camera moves 360 around a single object. Therefore I went to checkout out some tutorials on Lynda. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any specifically related to what I wanted and as I am under time constraints I didn’t have time to watch a whole lecture.

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This would have been useful but I really needed to cut to the chase. So i went straight to youtube.

 

I found this interesting video however it was still not what i wanted and failed to help me out. Then I remembered about a little thing called Align to Spline. This is where you can connect any object to a spline and have it follow along the spline path.

With a little refresher from youtube I was on to a winner. With a little tweaking and some dynamic spline conversions I arrived with a fairly slick looking piece of animation.

I then decided to add this knowledge and skill to my Cabinet animation…

 

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This was basically it. As you can see from the picture the camera is attached to the blue spline and goes up and around the cabinet. This means that it is a guaranteed stable shot. I also added a target expression which is attached to the camera along with the spline expression.Screen Shot 2017-05-04 at 12.07.18.png

This meant as well as a stable shot around the object the camera would also keep the cube (Cabinet) in its sights at all times and therefore create that perfect 360 camera movement around a single point.

 

Here is the final outcome….

 

Using the Lighting Dome

For this test I downloaded a free lighting dome kit from HelloLuxx. As I wanted to have a go at lighting a scene for myself rather than just being lazy and throwing some GI (Global Illumination) on it.

I decided to also make a basic 3 point lighting setup to really see for myself if it was worth using this kit for my animations. For the lights.

This is the shot with a simple 3 point light – key, fill and back. I also added a vignette to draw the attention to the centre.  Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 20.07.33.png

This is with the lighting dome, (once i figured out the settings) it is basically a dome with around 24 different lights around it therefore illuminating the scene in a much more professional way. This also helps to speed up my workflow as the scripting can alter more than one light at a time and it comes with an inbuilt gradient adjuster meaning i can a gradient across all the lights rather than alter the colour behind each individual light.

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The image gets darker towards the back, however this helps to show more depth within the animation. There is also less noise in the shadows which helps to create a cleaner and sharper picture.

I feel it is necessary at this stage to put real consideration, thought and effort into lighting as it can really improve what could be quite a dull and lifeless animation. Here are both animations, as i cant decide which i prefer with just a photo so i decided to render out each to give me more perspective and also see how each lighting effect is affected by different camera angles and movement…

 

With the light dome

 

I definitely prefer the light dome version. It is a bit darker than the 3 point however i can easily adjust the brightness. What really attracts me to this is the definition and different shading on each side of the machine the contrast between warm and cold make this look really professional and i think i will definitely use this for the rest of the animations needed for C-tex video 2 and 3.

Advanced Lighting Techniques in Cinema 4D

Lighting has a very important role to play in all things but especially in 3D as it is a lot harder to effectively use lighting in a realistic way using the standard light settings. Therefore it has become important for me to progress as an animator to incorporate more professional use of lighting by using the inbuilt lights in C4D.

This tutorial has been very useful in pointing out the fact that all 3D light is flat and does not react in the same way naturally occurring light does. Instead of bouncing off surfaces and bending the 3D light carries in one continuous line. Therefore some extra measures have to be taken to create a visually rich and high contrast images.

The introduction to 3 point lighting is also a game changer and although i already had some knowledge of this lighting technique i failed to use it before in  a 3D environment. Another point well made was using more than 3 points as the lights in 3D only pick up shadow, mid tones, and highlights whereas in reality there is five main points of light shadows, quarter tones, mid tones, three quarter tones and highlights. Therfore we must add in more soft lights to create a higher dynamic range of light. This effect can be achieved by adding in different layers of light slightly off point from each other and emitting slightly softer light each time.

I could just use GI (Global Illumination) with a HDRI image however this would defeat the point of the experiments and learning about lighting is the real goal here. It is also mentioned that GI is actually a pretty lazy way of lighting and can make you’re image look flatter, however using it alongside a proper lighting rig can improve the image/animation. Therefore I still need to learn proper lighting techniques to boost the potential of my overall animations.

Adjust the default light C4D – This is a quick way to change the position of the lights within a space. This could come in very handy and i feel it will definitely speed up my process as well.

Free Light Dome – A quicker alternative to GI as these are all separate lights it will be faster and also there is a lot more control over colour schemes and shadow maps.

10 Tips for better lighting in Cinema 4D – Similar stuff to the first video, however it does mention the use of different shadow types and features. It states that “Area shadows are by far the most superior shadow type as they offer high accuracy and the most control.”. However  “area shadows are the slowest to render. To speed things up you can decrease the number of samples and accuracy, this will give you results faster but also will introduce noise.”

So a lot to think about and experiment with…

 

Project 5 Animation Sequences

For project 5 there is around 4 main 3D sequences that occur in video 2 and 3. These are highlighted in the storyboards.

These consist of showing the ctex machine and its flower pattern lights (the animation used for the concept/prototype)

Showing the fabric rolling left and right so that the customer knows to notify ctex about which direction the fabric rolls on their own machine.

Showing a PC on the left and right of the machine so the customer knows to notify ctex about which side the controller will be standing on.

And lastly the control box being closed to show dimensions needed to install. Or if they don’t have one to offer purchase of correctly sized control box.

Therefore I have created a timeline and lists to hopefully create all the assets in the allotted time.

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As you can see so far I have created most of the initial assets needed for the animations however I still have to create the control box and also figure out a way to actual get the fabric to roll.

I have also created a basic setup where most of the animations will occur. Although this is very early stages and really just a jumping off point in terms of layout and structure.

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I tried to use this tutorial to add movement to the fabric but unfortunately on my first attempt i couldn’t get the motion graphic elements moving. This was very irritating however I will attempt it again with a more thorough understanding of the concepts behind it and hopefully it will be second time lucky… Watch this space….

 

I have also made a start on the computer side to side animation as i have created all the necessary assets for this section. Again it is really basic with no real texturing or lighting etc. However it is a starting point for further development….

 

PROJECT 5 – The Final Brief

For project 5 I will be revisiting C-TEX and making a further 2 videos to complete the C-TEX Colour package. These will be available after the client has made the initial purchase of the machine and therefore will go into a lot more detail about pre installation of the machine and also training there workers to use the machine, and also showing the managers how to get the right information that they need from the spreadsheet that the program creates. Detailing different information about the materials being tested.

The first video is the sales video which was completed for Project 3.

The second video is a pre installation guide –

Pre-Install Video Script

Should be less than 5 minutes

Thanks for buying c-tex colour, this video guides you through 2 things:

1. The information we need from you in order to manufacture c-tex colour ready for you

2. For you to prepare ready for the installation

So…the information we need.

Firstly, we need a photo of where you would like c-tex colour to be installed. Here are some examples…

Then we need some dimensions so we can fit c-tex colour to your machine

Here we show you the dimensions we need

Secondly we need to know the direction the fabric is flowing in: please indicate this with an arrow

Thirdly we need to know at which side of the machine you wish the PC and Operator monitor to be located

Also please take a photo of your length measuring wheel (if you already have this installed) so we can assess how to fit our encoder onto this

Lastly, machine construction: Please indicate the materials your machine is made of and thicknesses. For example, Solid Mild Steel 6mm thick, Mild Steel Box Section 2mm thick with section of 100 or Wooden Section 15mm.

Therefore, the photo you send us will need the additional information as shown here (photo with all details on)

We can then build c-tex colour to fit your machine

Onto the second step:

For the installation we need:

Network Access to machine area for us to connect the c-tex colour PC to your network

Electrical power: single phase

If you have not purchased a control cabinet from us and you will be providing yourselves this needs to be onsite when we arrive. We require minimum internal dimensions of Height: 1000mm, Width 600mm, Depth 600mm. The operator monitor can be mounted above the control cabinet of you can purchase a control unit with monitor surround.

If you have not purchased a PC from us and you will be providing yourselves, please ensure this meets the specification we list in our agreement document and is available when we arrive onsite

If you are running c-tex colour for an inline process, for example a continuous dye range or sanforiser or compactor we will also need a mains compressed air supply provided, to include a regulator and moisture capture mechanism.

When we arrive onsite for the installation we need to meet with your factory engineering manager and IT manager to present what we are going to be doing while onsite and what support we need.

We will also need a meeting room with a projector or large monitor in order to give a training presentation for 1 hour. For the training we will need your colleagues who will be: operating c-tex colour, analysing the results of c-tex colour and managing the implementation of c-tex colour.

Adam has done these rough storyboards which really helped me to visualise what exactly needed to be done in terms of 3D animations. As this is the job role i will be fulfilling for this final project. I will of course have to make some more detailed sketches of what exactly needs to be shown in 3D and camera movements etc, however this quick visual is very handy for mapping out the whole video 2 sequence.

 

The third video is a training video – Full Script to follow…

 

Researching into Animated Text effects

After realising through testing and feedback that simply overlaying text over the top of my animations was really lacklustre and ineffective. Although I do not think i have enough time to actually create new text for the animations, I decided to do some more research into different methods of animating and incorporating text into scenes without it feeling rushed and just generally a bit rubbish and unprofessional.

YouTube was unsurprisingly my first port of call as with most technical and instructional research.

However i felt that this particular example would be a bit too much for my animations and i felt that i needed something a bit more subtle and understated but still interesting and effective.

I think this kind of call out style could be very effective as it also highlights the area that it is referencing and doesn’t stop the viewer from watching the animation. Their attention is drawn to the point of conversation and then sprung out to develop the information.

These are also a very efficient way of showing this information. I like the style of this as it is very minimal perfect for a non obtrusive way of highlighting certain areas of the animation.

I also found some free call out templates which could come in handy as they would speed up the process so i could maybe even do some mock ups of what the animations would look like with more professional text. Call Out Titles

I then decided to look further into text animation and different types text as well as just using call outs this is an effective way to show professionalism within a brand and also to show my skills as an animator. I found this really useful website entry which outlines a lot of different types of text animation all using Adobe After Effects.  10 Essential Text Tutorials.

This has definitely helped me understand why these techniques are used and also the benefit from them. It is a shame I didn’t use some of these skills in my Met Office videos, however after some solid research I can definitely see the purpose and skill behind these videos and it is definitely something i will use in the future to boost the credibility and enjoyment of my work.

Hopefully this information will come in handy. Although this may not be used for project 4 due to my poor time management, it is still useful and could help inform my work process for project 5 both to create effective text animation and to push my professionalism and working after effects skills.