Friday, 30 March 2012

The new improved story.

As people can tell I have not been on the blog for a while telling you about my project. This is because there has been a big spanner that has hit the clogs of the production last week in rushes. Making everything stop and explode. As a true creative mechanic I have been able to cool the fires that were exploding everywhere. Fixing the tweaks to the machine to get it running again, especially before I came home to Plymouth leaving the comfort of university.

A couple of explosions to the production were.

1. The film footage was not of good quality.

In which I agreed the grainy look, did not go well with the story. The colour needed to be corrected, I was going to do in this in Aftereffects using the grainy look to my advantage.


2. The actor were not convincing enough due to the fact they knew the story.

Personally I believed the acting was good. Needing small improvements in areas however for a student project I would not be able to have the quality of acting like Blockbuster movies.

3. Confusion of the storyline.

If personally people cannot understand the storyline then I am pretty much skewed with the rest of the project.

However as I do with every comment I receive I take it, PANIC. Then sit down and sort the problems to improve my animation. No matter how much I may not like the comments, if people are having this confusion it needs to be corrected.

 I went away and thought about the visual look of the animation, does this have to be live action with CGI? Do I need to show more of my skills as a CGI artist and make everything 3D? I agreed with myself, it needed to be CGI.
 Scrapping the live footage, I came to the beginning again. My next decision was narrowing my story, I came to the conclusion I wanted her to be a werewolf however people didn't see that they didn't understand the inner story I had in my head. So finally I narrowed it to

There is a statue of a wolf
who awakens at night
prowls the alleys at night
finds a girl and chases her
bites her and turns her into a werewolf.

I then spent my weekend creating a storyboard and animatic, I have the animatic and need to scan the storyboard in, this week but here is the animatic.

I then emailed Laura and Teagan stressing that I needed a tutorial with them to talk about the new story and whether it was an improvement and to run with it for my project.

My first meeting was with Laura at ten, She suggested to me that I should create a poem for the story to have more stable story to the animation and allow the audience to slowly come to realise what was happening. Which personally I thought was a fantastic Idea. I like poetry and it would go with the new storyline, extremely well. For the rest of the tutorial we spent time looking over the rhyming dictionary. Breaking down the length of the poem and the different words I can use.

2lines                      Awakening of wolf

                               Montage of wolf

2lines                     Sensing the girl


Prowl, howl, growl,
might, bite, plight, flight, insight
sense, tense, dense, immense, intense, suspense
awaken, shaken, taken, reawaken

Laura also suggested the poem should be read by a male voice to keep the menace of the animation someone with a husky voice.

Laura was happier with my new story and my new ideas and told me to concentrate on the poem and get things going with the project so I am in a stable position when I get back in April for my tutorials.

I then went to my tutorial with Teagan, Teagan had no clue about my story or what my project was about, so I showed her my animatic/film with everything I had put together so far which I will put on here at a later date. I then showed her my new idea and the suggestions Laura had given me. Personally she liked the idea of live action footage with CGI as it is common in the industry. However now changing my idea I am sticking to all CGI with some green screen shots of the girl using shadow.

She wrote down a list of suggestions for me to improve the animation.

1. Wolf rigging in arms?
2. Yellow eyes.
3. Font on plaque
4. Moonlight waking the wolf.
5. Tie the girl in at the end with something in the beginning
6. Pose of the wolf in the beginning
7. From your original film, us textures from walls including graffiti
8. timing of the poem ( read the poem aloud and time yourself)
9. Look at German Shepperd's running.

Unfortunatly the wolf rig, I cannot do anything with as I am not a rigger.
The yellow eyes I will change easily as I have the texture.
The plaque I am going to look at war memorials at home and the fonts on there
moonlight is defiantly an aspect I will be using.
the girl I am going to tie in at the beginning is a shadow that passes the wolf statue and the wolf tracks it with his eyes.
I have taken textures from the alleys that I filmed and now attaching them to the 3D models of the alleyways I have been working on for the last week.
The poem is gradually getting there.
Plus I am researching German Shepperd's and how they run.

All these tips have improved my work and I can see that in the progress of the last week.

My Poem


Secluded in my place
I am ready for to bring the pace
I awaken in the night
Moonlight spraying me with life

My position so tense
The shadows bring my suspense
Your soul will be shaken
I have been re awakened

Listen to my growl
Shiver at my howl
Skin so pale
I will not fail

Let us finish this chase
Stand face to face
Look into my yellow eyes
We have found our ties.

Here are some render tests of textures as well.

The project is coming on in many different ways, I haven't told my team the changes yet unless they see this blog in which I will have other things for them to do with the project.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Guardians Poster

Some of my friends have told me that the title the darkness is a very well known name due to a comic book and other things, which obviously would not be good for me to start using it so I have changed it to Gaurdians.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


I thought I would put my poster of The Darkness on my Blog as it advertises my work further and it shows everyone working on this Project.

wolf run

Friday, 16 March 2012


Work is going well. I have uploaded my research images on wolves, werewolves, gargolyes and films with different types of werewolves in. This is all on my 'the darkness' page. The reason I have put these images up is to show everyone were my ideas have come from and why my wolf is different, why it doesn't have hair why I picked blue for its colour and why it is a brick texture. I wanted something unique and different but not too much that it looked weird. So I used natural wolves as my base because a believed that werewolves should be orginal in some way. I then took the wolf base and played around with colours. This is when I started to look into films. Blood and chocolate was my first film I picked because they were natural wolves and had fur. I drew alot of natural wolves with hair and I really liked them however the wolf seemed too plain. So I then started looking into werewolf films like underworld, dog soliders and resident evil. I really like the zombie look from the resident evil film, even if the were dogs and not werewolfs. I liked the skin look of the dogs with the viens showing and muscle this included dog soldiers and underworld were the have skin with tuffs of fur. So I started to think about skin textures and a colour that would go well, seen as the werewolves were mainly grey or black. I knew this wouldn't work with my project because my outdoor scenes were too dark. I then tryed an orange red burnt texture for the wolf but it the wolf looked too solid so I then started to change the colour. So I watched Avatar and the colour they used in their film and obviously the blue stood out the most. Especially on the viper wolf so I changed my wolf to blue. However it looked too solid so going back to skin textures I thought I would look at hard textures like brick and granite textures. Then I thought what it the wolf looked like a gargoyle. So I then started researching images of gargolyes and really liked the look and texture of them so I tried it out on my wolf and if fit really well. Plus it blended well with the live action footage and it will still easy to see the wolf. So that is how I have my main wolf. I know I haven't showed much of my concept art but that is because I have been trying to carry on with the animation so some time this week I will try and scan them in and upload them onto here. Here is also a walk/trot cycle of the wolf.

Sunday, 11 March 2012


here are the titles, Sorry to everyone I thought it had uploaded on the blog with the last update but it hadn't sorry.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

I have finally got my rig sorted thanks to Paul Whiting who changed the original creative crash rig to allow the mouth to open and close. Plus added my blendshapes to them, so a big thank you to Paul. Now on to the animating of the wolf which is proving difficult however I think I have finally cracked the wolf running thanks to this fabulous step by step run that I found on Bing images. I have been animating for the last couple of days and testing it out on the live footage, I believe it is getting there with some work, I still have lots to consider with angles plus I still haven't finished my live footage. However here are some few videos to show you what I am getting up to plus my credit sequence I have animated and finished. (Charles Beeching did not do the music for the titles it is from Mutemath called spotlight. I won't be using this music in my titles however its on here now just for entertainment until I have an idea for the title music later.)

Friday, 2 March 2012


The images you see are the uv maps, I stitched them together in maya and created a texture for them in photoshop the uv map to my right is a the bottom teeth, I put a simple gravel texture on the teeth so it would work well with the brick look I gave the wolf. 
The texture on the left is the front teeth top and bottom. This was made with two textures a blooding spotted texture and a gravel texture I layered them in photoshop and use the overlay effect to match the textures together I then flattened the image and changed the levels on hue and saturation to give it a green/blue colour.

The texture on the right is the uv map of the tongue and I used an elephant skin texture changing the brightness and contrast to allow the ridges to look defined, I used this texture as it went well with the teeth and it allow it to stand out.
The rendered scenes on both sides are different settings in maya to let me see the difference in the bump map on the skin, I found whilst using mental ray and changing the quality to production the bump looks smoother (right) compared to the draft quality (left) that looks too bumpy.

The rendered image on my right is of the teeth and tongue, I tested the each texture in maya to make sure that they suited the character I think it works well with the wolf.

on the left is an old texture on the wolf I was trying to make it look like fresh scratches into flesh and veins showing up however it look more burnt than anything and did not go with the feel of the film, plus the problem with a brighter colour is the blending with the film and it would have started to look too stuck on.

 These three images are the end result of the wolf, I believe it looks really good and spending time on the textures has really improved my character, the use of fur was too technical and would have take me months to understand properly and I have over come this by looking back at my wolf and come up with a different style and concept which has worked in my favour as I have now sent the model off to be rigged and ready to animate which has freed me to experiment more in animation and compositing.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


I have spent today uv mapping the eyes and textureing them using photoshop. I spent time over the eyes of my wolf as this will be the soul of the wolf. I needed them to look as though they were human and not a regular wolf so the audience could understand that it was a werewolf, films
and books do this like twilight, the anita blake books by laurell.k.hamilton and other authors such as christine feehan, kelly armstrong, charlene harris. They all try and give their werewolf characters some humanoid features and one attribute most common to this is the eyes. So today I spent time over the colour and look of the
eyes. Origanally I was going to use
a blue colour like my texture on the wolf however this looked very unreal and gave no emotion to the character, I wanted the wolf to look mencing, I wanted the wolf to look like he had just shifted and it was painful.Because lets face it having your skin reform into a wolf would be painful. So as you can see down the left  
handside the different colours I used, the main colour that stood out was the red, I used a eye texture that I found on Bing images, copied and pasted that on my UV map, created a new layer on my panel and paint bucketed the layer with a solid red or green or blue then with the filters I used overlay to create this vivid colour I did use other effects. 

However they did not give me the desired effected. I then took these textures and tested them in maya by using the hypershade and rendering out a frame I was able to see what they
looked like on the wolf. As you can see on
the right handside.

finished Textured UV map

These eyes are the final eyes that I choose for the wolf, I darkend the pupils and gave him a red colour I found it looked striking and effective for the mood of the wolf.