Final Project Idea

27 10 2011

When I began brainstorming ideas for the final project I knew that I wanted to create an interactive environment that is very character oriented. When I found this video I liked it for  a couple different reasons. I like the fact that the project is focused mainly on interaction with the characters and that they are stationed within one “room”. Also, I was really interested in the fact that they used an Android phone for the interaction. I would like to develop a new idea that expands upon these two aspects. This will give me more experience in creating, modeling, and rigging characters, as well as developing an app for Android. I also get the chance to work with 3d graphics, most likely in Unity, and possibly 2d graphics for the Android interface.

Conceptual inspiration

Project website:

Technical research:

Getting Started with Android Development for Unity



25 10 2011

Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Market (MIFA) is from June 4-9, 2012 and is held in Annecy, France.

120,000 tickets | 7,100 accredited | 529 films screened | 223 films in official selection.

Submissions are taken between November 15, 2011 and February 15,2012. Register by January 2012. Call for shorts, features, TV series and special features, and cross-media.

Official Selection
Submitted projects from 2011
Submission information

182 projects were submitted in 2011: 77 short films | 33 features films | 56 TV series and specials | 16 cross-media

(not part of the official selection but ones that the Festival would like visitors to see)

Annual appointments:
Politically Incorrect: a look at the more out-of-step and impertinent side of animation, treating political, religious or social subjects.

The Big Sleep: a tribute to the people who have left the world of animation between two festivals.

Animation with Attitude: subjects like illness, racism, drugs or the holocaust, seen through an animated eye.

Between Frames sessions meet with the teams behind the films to talk about aspects of the films that may not have been seen.

Recruitment sessions with many companies present.

4 days | 6 conferences | 35 international speakers.

Conferences are from June 5-8, 2012 and are open to everyone. Are held to “ensure enriching debate covering topics as diverse as special effects, studio strategies, the productions chain, along with case studies and reflection on the future of the industry”.

Final Reflections

20 10 2011

Stephen, Rachel, and I set out to create a mapping that really interacted with the existing architecture. When we saw this frame we were all very excited. We wanted to the viewer to be completely surprised by seeing something unexpected in our projection while still matching the style of the environment. The gargoyle is obviously not something you would expect to find here, but he blends with the overall feel of the building. There are other faces carved all around the top of the building. Also, the large torches fit in with the massive columns in the front of the building.

We were able to accomplish this project mainly through the use of Maya and Blender. We used these programs to create the models, lighting, animation, etc. VPT was only utilized to help skew the video in real time. The key feature that make our projection work is the matching of the 3D modeled frame and the actual architecture.

The work flowed through to each person very evenly. We all collaborated on the story and then split the work up. Rachel created a storyboard, modeled the architecture, and animated. I modeled, rigged, and skinned the gargoyle, found the sounds for the animation, and animated the frame shattering. Stephen modeled the torches and wrote a script to make them look like they are flickering, animated, and took the lead on rendering.

Rachel’s storyboard

Stephen’s torch

For the most part the process of creating the projection went as planned except for a few snags. The first thing we struggled with was getting power to our projector. The outlets on the front side of the building did not work, so we used 3 power cords spanning about 115ft to stretch the distance. Then, it took about 3 or 4 test runs to get the architecture model to match up with the actual frame on the building. Each time it would be slightly off in different places. In the end we were able to recreate our projection set up so closely to the right spot that it only took a couple tweaks in VPT to get the projection correct. We had to put a lot of thought into the placement of the camera in Maya. Finally, it took a few different shatter scripts until I found one that worked well.

In the future, of course, we would like to fix some of the flaws that we simply couldn’t due to the time constraint. For example, the gargoyle flies outside of the frame for a short time. This breaks the illusion of him actually being in front of the building. The project would also look more convincing if we had added much heavier shadows. The projection on the building washes out the slight shadows that do exist to the point where they are virtually nonexistent. Finally, it would be a simple fix to add something the the render that covers up the projection that spills onto the section of the building that comes forward on the left.

We feel the project still has a lot of potential to expand. With more time and more projectors, we could extend the projection up and down the entire height of the building. This would allow us to utilize the existing windows and give us more room for the character to fly around.

Rendered video (with sound)

 Video taken at location

Frame Shatter

18 10 2011

After a bit of browsing I found a great plugin for Maya to help me shatter the frame in our project. (“PullDownIt” – Not only did it shatter the geometry well, it also has a second component that created a simulation of the geometry falling down. It took a while to figure out the settings for all the different rigidbodies, but I think it turned out really well. Here is a playblast of the simulation:

Wing Rig Research

10 10 2011

I had never rigged wings before, so I had to do a lot of research. This video outlined the simplest method that I found. I followed this video as a guide while creating my rig. The “arm” bone for each wing is made up of 3 joints. Within each wing there are 3 smaller bones. These are each made of a joint chain controlled by a spline IK. I used cv curves to make controls for the splines. The clusters inside the control curves are linked to the the clusters controlling the joints of the spline IK’s. Although this was a fairly primitive rig, I felt that this system provided a good way to translate the clusters together, while  indicating what kind of curve the wing will form.


10 10 2011

I created blendshapes for the main faces that the gargoyle will make throughout the animation. This will speed up the process of animation slightly.


9 10 2011

Main character model