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3D World_Sep 2016

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FREE! 8 HOURS OF EXPERT VIDEO TRAINING! ANIMATION SPECIAL • Discover how Laika embraced CG • The secret to a faster workflow • 10 skills every animator needs 3dworld.creativebloq.com September 2016 #211 HOW TO… CREATE BLENDER SAND MATERIALS MASTER DEPTH OF FIELD IN 3DS MAX USE MODO’S FUR AND HAIR TOOLS RIG FACES COMBINE MODO 6GBFREE! IN MAYA AND ZBRUSH OF R&ESVOIDUEROCES Create expressive How to set up perfect MODEL GAME rigs with ease displacement maps CLOTHING Harness the new tools of Marvelous Designer



FREE!VIDEOTAurNnDtoApSaSgeE9T8S EDITOR’S WELCOME A vibrant world of animation is just a page turn away… SUBSCRIBE CG animation comes in many shapes; this issue we look at 3D printing, stop-motion, Subscribe to 3D World VFX creature creation and more! Plus and get both the print animator and ilmmaker Keith Lango explains how small teams can hone their and digital editions. worklow to speed up production. There’s Turn to page 26 for also great training for facial rigging too! the latest offers! Ian Dean, editor [email protected] SPOTLIGHT ON OUR CONTRIBUTORS Martyn Culpitt Eyad Hussein Elías Villagómez Martyn is VFX supervisor at Image Engine, and Eyad is a senior character technical director Elías started out in fine arts and studied has worked on R.I.P.D., White House Down and with five years of experience in the animation graphic design in Mexico. He worked as Jurassic World. On page 28 we catch up with industry. Eyad currently works at Buck Design in a motion designer in Canada and currently Martyn to discover how Image Engine created and animated Los Angeles. Read his extended tutorial on mastering the latest works in Berlin as a game artist at Wooga. Read Elías’s tutorial the aliens for blockbuster Independence Day: Resurgence. tools in Marvelous Designer, starting on page 40. for mastering fur and hair in Modo, starting on page 52. www.bit.ly/211-id2 www.eyad.tv www.bit.ly/211-gomez Henning Sanden Francis-Xavier Martins Alex Williams Henning is a London-based 3D artist working at Francis-Xavier is a character artist and CG Alex is a veteran animator who has worked MPC as a character modeller and texture artist. generalist, with over a decade of experience on some classic films, including Who Framed He has worked on films including Batman V in games, media and TV. He returns this issue Roger Rabbit? He now teaches animation Superman, Ghostbusters and Pirates of the Caribbean. On page to show how you can quickly sculpt weird and wonderful at Escape Studios. On page 106 he shares the 10 key skills 62 he shares his process for setting up displacement maps. creatures using ZBrush. Turn to page 18 for Francis’ advice. every animator should know if they want to succeed. www.henningsanden.blogspot.co.uk www.polyjunky.com www.alex-williams.com EMAIL WEBSITE FACEBOOK TWITTER [email protected] 3dworld.creativebloq.com www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine @3DWorldMag 3D WORLD September 2016 3 3dworld.creativebloq.com

DIGITAL ISSUE 211 SUBSCRIPTIONS CONTENTS Get the latest magazine for Our complete line-up for this free in our current offer or month’s 3D World download a back issue on iPad and iPhone today! www.bit.ly/3dworld-app 8 ARTIST SHOWCASE 8 ARTIST SHOWCASE 18 KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Feast your eyes on the best new art The best new art from the CG community Discover Laika’s innovative 3D stop motion and CG hybrid technique FEATURES 28 INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE 34 ANIMATION SECRETS 18 KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Discover Laika’s innovative 3D stop motion and CG hybrid technique 28 INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE Go behind the scenes as Image Engine reveals its epic VFX work 34 THESECRETTOBETTERANIMATION Legendary animator Keith Lango explains how to speed up production 40 TUTORIALS Improve your CG skills with practical tips and tutorials from pro artists 76 ARTIST Q&A All your software queries solved by our panel of professional artists 98 COMMUNITY News and views from around the international CG community 109 REVIEWS Find out what our experts think of the latest software and hardware 114 FREE DOWNLOADS Get your hands on 6GB of resources REGULARS 26 SUBSCRIPTIONS 82 PRO SUBSCRIPTIONS 96 DIGITAL BACK ISSUES 108 FREE PLURALSIGHT COURSE How Image Engine created and animated the CG aliens for their big screen comeback Discover how to speed up your workflow 3D WORLD September 2016 4 3dworld.creativebloq.com

NEW!SIGSGHROAtWuPrHnPRt2oE0pV1a6IgEeW83 56 MASTER THE ART OF FACIAL RIGGING IN MAYA TUTORIALS Use Maya’s Utility nodes to rig a production-quality face for animation 40 CREATE REALISTIC CG CLOTHES 40 MODEL CG CLOTHES 62 IMPROVE YOUR MODELLING 72 MASTER 3D FAN ART Master the new tools of Marvelous Designer to create CG garments Marvelous Designer’s new tools explained How to set up perfect displacement maps Create accurate character models 48 DESIGN AN ANIMATED HERO 98 30 YEARS OF BLUE SKY STUDIOS 102 HUMSTER 3D WINNERS How to explore a character through Ice Age: Collision Course director Mike Thurmeier reflects on 30 years of animation Who won the latest CG art challenge? animation using Maya 110 ANIMA 2 112 INTERPRO E200BWE 113 OCTANERENDER 3 52 CREATE HAIR AND FUR Add people to a scene with ease Featuring Nvidia’s 24GB Quadro M6000 Now with full volumetric support Use the hair and fur tools in Modo to model cartoon characters 3D WORLD September 2016 5 3dworld.creativebloq.com 56 RIGGING A FACE IN MAYA Learn how to use Maya’s Utility nodes to rig a face for animation 62 CREATE A CHARACTER WITH STYLISED REALISM Master displacement maps in ZBrush and Maya for a quicker workflow 68 CHARACTER CREATION FOR VIDEO GAMES Speed up your character design workflow to create game art 72 MASTER 3D FAN ART Discover a new lookdev workflow for accurate figure modelling VMFIIODLFDEEROSEELE&S!, COMMUNITY 98 30 YEARS OF BLUE SKY STUDIOS From Robots to Rio, how the US animation studio has evolved 102 HUMSTER 3D CHALLENGE See the art and discover the winners 104 STUDIO PROFILE The Sequence Group shares its story 106 ANIMTION TIPS The 10 skills every animator needs REVIEWS 110 ANIMA 2 Add people to a scene with ease 111 SCAN 3XS GW-HT20 A modelling and rendering wonder 112 INTERPO E SERIES E200BWE A monstrously powerful system with Nvidia’s 24GB Quadro M6000 113 OCTANERENDER 3 Otoy adds full volumetric support

wwwY.bOitU.lRyT/3NOdEDwXASoTYrUlIdBTS-SsOSuCUGbRsEEI!TBE ISSUE 212 CONTACT US NEXT 3D WORLD MAGAZINE MONTH FUTURE PUBLISHING Discover the secret Quay House, The Ambury, to better game art Bath, BA1 1UA telephone: +44 (0) 1225 442244 email: [email protected] website: 3dworld.creativebloq.com facebook: www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine twitter: @3DWorldMag EDITORIAL PRODUCTION MANAGER Mark Constance EDITOR Ian Dean PRINTED IN THE UK BY: William Gibbons & Sons Ltd ART EDITOR Jo Gulliver on behalf of Future. PRODUCTION EDITOR Felicity Barr DISTRIBUTED BY: Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT, CONTRIBUTORS Tel: 0207 429 4000 Cirstyn Bech-Yagher, Tanya Combrinck, Pietro OVERSEAS DISTRIBUTION BY: Chiovaro, Rafael De León, Alex Duce, Paul Seymour International Francis-Xavier, Mike Griggs, Paul Hatton, Eyad Hussein, Morten Jaeger, Jason Knight, CIRCULATION Kulsoom Middleton, James Morris, Scott TRADE MARKETING MANAGER Juliette Winyard Raymond, Barbara Robertson, Henning Sanden, 07551 150 984 [email protected] Elias Villagomez, Antony Ward, Alvin Weetman, Alex Williams, Kai Wood LICENSING SENIOR LICENSING & SYNDICATION MANAGER MANAGEMENT Matt Ellis [email protected] MANAGING DIRECTOR MAGAZINES DIVISION Joe McEvoy + 44 (0)1225 442244 Fax +44 (0)1225 732275 EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Matthew Pierce GROUP ART DIRECTOR Rodney Dive SUBSCRIPTIONS UK READER ORDER LINE & ENQUIRIES: ADVERTISING 0844 848 2852 ADVERTISING MANAGER Sasha McGregor OVERSEAS READER ORDER LINE & ENQUIRIES: (0)1225 687675 [email protected] +44 (0)1604 251045 ACCOUNT DIRECTOR George Lucas ONLINE ENQUIRIES: www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk (0)1225 687311 [email protected] EMAIL: [email protected] SALES EXECUTIVE Chris Mitchell (0)1225 687832 [email protected] PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Visit www.yourfuturejob.com PRODUCTION CONTROLLER Nola Cokely Future is an award-winning international media group and leading digital business. We reach more than 49 million international consumers a month and create world-class content and advertising solutions for passionate consumers online, on tablet & smartphone and in print. ON SALE 13 JULY Future plc is a public Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne company quoted Non-executive chairman Peter Allen PLUS! GET STARTED IN LUMBERYARD on the London Chief inancial oficer Richard Haley SUBSCRIBE TODAY: www.bit.ly/3dworld-subs Stock Exchange (symbol: FUTR). Tel +44 (0)207 042 4000 (London) www.futureplc.com Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244 (Bath) All contents copyright © 2016 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored, transmitted or used in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price and other details of products or services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any changes or updates to them. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage. We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).



ARTIST SHOWCASE The best digital art from the CG community THE MAGICAL JOURNEY BEGINS ARTIST Harold Tovar SOFTWARE Blender, Krita, Photoshop Created for a Blendernation online challenge with ‘Journey’ as the theme, this epic render took Columbian video game artist Harold Tovar three days to make. “What I enjoyed the most was translating the characters from 2D to 3D – I usually start sketching some ideas before jumping into the 3D software, but for these characters I only had some rough sketches on a piece of paper. When the characters started to come to life in 3D was an exciting experience,” says Harold. All of the elements were built from scratch in Blender using simple geometry, as Harold explains: “The low-poly scene allowed me to adjust the initial composition and also helped me to find a good angle for the final render.” After more detailed modelling, and lighting set using a HDR image in the background, Harold assigned UV coordinates on some objects and started to work on the materials, “and thanks to the Cycles viewport render function in Blender, I could see the changes GET PUBLISHED on the fly and adjust the materials as needed,” EMAIL YOUR CG ART TO explains the artist. [email protected] “After that, I submitted the final render to Visit the online Vault to download the Blenderartist forum, I received some good extra process art for these projects: advice from other artists, so I decided to make www.bit.ly/vault-anim some changes; sometimes it’s good to receive critiques and advice from other people in order to improve your work,” he says. FYI See some of Harold’s breakdowns at www.behance.net/haroldtovar 3D WORLD September 2016 8 www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine

It’s good to recieeive critique and 3D WORLD VIEW advice from other people in order “The lighting and use to improve your work of colour in Harold’s illustration bring to life the magical, fun ideas the theme demanded. Great work Harold!” IAN DEAN Editor 3D WORLD September 2016 9 www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine

SHOWCASE NEOLIBYAN ARTIST Tushank K. Jaiswal SOFTWARE ZBrush, Maya, 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop “I’m a really big fan of the works of [German concept artist] Marko Djurdjevic,” says freelance video game artist Tushank Jaiswal, from Lucknow in India, who explains: “I saw his concept Neolibyan from Degenesis and fell in love with it and so decided to make it in 3D.” Tushank says he started the sculpt over a year ago but work got in the way, so finding the time he recently returned to finish the project, spending a month on it. “I worked on this character to practice how to sculpt clothes. There’s no way I can even think about doing cloth simulation! Though I struggled a lot initially, I got the idea later on. I wanted to get the feel of cloth by just sculpting and making strokes,” says Tushank. “The cloth around the head was the most challenging and fun aspect to this project.” FYI To explore more of Tushank’s work, visit www.artstation.com/artist/tushank I wanted to get a feel for 3D WORLD VIEW cloth by just sculpting and making strokes “The model is a real success, it’s so lovely to be able to see the fine folds and creases in the clothing.” FELICITY BARR Production editor 3D WORLD September 2016 10 www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine



SHOWCASE COMMISSIONER GORDON ARTIST Hannu Koskinen SOFTWARE Corona, 3ds Max, Substance Painter, ZBrush This wonderful portrait of Batman’s Commissioner Gordon started as a quick “fast lunch crunch ZBrush bust,” says game artist Hannu Koskinen, “It evolved into a full character that I finished back at home.” The art took five days to create. “Almost all of the geometry was done in ZBrush using DynaMesh and Zremesher,” says Hannu who likes to use his personal projects to speed up his process. “I like to get things done quickly. When I’m just creating images in my free time everything doesn’t need to be perfect. I will try to cheat or take short cuts as much as possible. Zremesher gives me good enough geometry so that I can pose the character correctly and make morph targets for the face. In the final image nobody will see the geometry, so it doesn’t bother me if the topology isn’t that good.” Hannu’s renderer of choice here was Corona: “I really enjoy rendering with Corona; it’s very artist friendly and usually I don’t need to touch any of the performance settings,” he says. “I like to experiment with DOF. It gives me the ability to make the viewer focus on the subject also I don’t need to worry too much about the unnecessary details.” Hannu enjoys sculpting as it’s fun and fast: “I can quickly try out ideas, render them in Corona and go back into ZBrush to adjust the shapes.” FYI See more of Hannu’s portfolio wotk at www.hannukoskinen.artstation.com 3D WORLD VIEW “The expression is absolutely superb on Hanuu’s sculpt, it’s a great mix of comic and serious tones.” JO GULLIVER Art editor 3D WORLD September 2016 12 www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine



SHOWCASE BEASTS SHALL RISE ARTIST Christian Hecker SOFTWARE Vue, World Machine, Daz Studio, Photoshop This epic scene is a collection of references, says 3D illustrator Christian Hecker: “First and foremost there is The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. And since I have a love for grand landscape vistas and cityscapes, I wanted to try one out. I have done some sci-fi cityscape pictures in the past, but have never tried to do something fantasy-related.” Christian used Vue for the scene, with terrain created in World Machine, while the dragons and buildings were pre-made but modified models. “The biggest challenge was to bring all the different elements in to Vue and make it work; especially making sure that the terrain worked for the city,” says Christian. “When working with a 16bit height-field you have to be super accurate when adjusting things in Photoshop. A lot of time and test renders went into that process. I also struggled with the mood quite a bit. I had several versions with different colourscapes in the end. The one I chose for the final version was a last-minute decision. Sometimes it’s good to follow your intuition – especially with colours.” Christian says he loves the joy of looking back at how a project was done and remembering all the struggles he managed to overcome to get the final result: “Every one of these pictures tells a story and has a creative journey behind it. Having a large print before me, looking at all the fine details and its depth is really pleasing. And if a picture is very well received, I do enjoy people’s feedback!” FYI Explore more of Christian’s epic art at www.tiger.deviantart.com 3D WORLD VIEW “The depth of the scene and scale of the final composition delivers a great fantasy setting that oozes atmosphere.” IAN DEAN Editor 3D WORLD September 2016 14 www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine

Every one of these pictures tells a story and has a creative journey behind it 3D WORLD September 2016 15 www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine

SHOWCASE 3D WORLD VIEW PICTURE PERFECT “This character has a Jean worked on Native really distinctive look. American for over two I love her expression and the muted colour months in his spare time, experimenting with palette.” shapes and expressions FELICITY BARR Production editor NATIVE AMERICAN ARTIST Jean Marcel SOFTWARE ZBrush, 3ds Max, V-Ray, Photoshop While 3D modeller Jean Marcel used a common combination of software – ZBrush for sketching, V-Ray for rendering and Photoshop for compositing – to create this cute native American, the goal was to simplify his process. “In fact, I tried to reduce the amount of softwares used. All I wanted was to focus on shapes and appeal, and for this, ZBrush is just great,” says Jean. This process translated into Jean’s mental approach to the artwork, a simpler workflow enabled the artist to focus on the character and interpretation of the concept. When creating the character, Jean enjoyed: “Not to worry about any technical aspect, such as topology, UVs, lighting, rendering.” The project was an excercise in translating a 2D image by Carlos Luzzi into 3D. “Being fond of a good story, I like to All I wanted was to focus on shapes and appeal, for this capture something that tells the story of the ZBrush is just great character, such as mood, pose and so on… Demonstrate the character’s personality, keeping its simplicity in forms.” FYI To explore more of Jean’s portfolio, visit www.jeanmarcel.co 3D WORLD September 2016 16 www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine



F E AT U R E Kubo and the Two Strings 3D WORLD September 2016 18 3dworld.creativebloq.com

Mixing CG, VFX and 3D printing, Laika's fourth stop-motion movie pushes the medium to new heights, Barbara Robertson meets the team… T he animation studio behind 3D computer graphics helped tell this story in Coraline and BoxTrolls, has upped two ways: Laika’s Academy Award-winning 3D its game once more, delivering printing team broke new ground by printing outstanding action on a large scale an entire puppet and two characters’ heads in with Kubo and the Two Strings. In colour in plastic. The visual effects crew crafted a dramatic scene early on in the water for the incredible ocean scene, extended feature, the child Kubo and his mother ride sets, and created CG crowds beyond what they precariously in a small boat that flounders in had achieved in previous movies. a violent ocean. To save them, Kubo’s mother uses the pick from her Japanese lute to Plastic in colour magically part the sea. The scene is a great achievement for a stop-frame animated film, Although Laika continued to print face parts and it’s only the beginning of the technical and for Kubo and all the other human characters’ artistic virtuosity in this breakthrough feature. expressions with 3D Systems’ powder-based printers using techniques developed for Directed by Laika CEO Travis Knight ParaNorman and honed for Boxtrolls, the and based on a story and character characters in Kubo demanded new techniques. designs by Shannon Tindle, Kubo and the Two Strings is a fantasy action “Powder-based parts are fragile and prone adventure set in ancient Japan. The human to inconsistency and breakage,” says Brian and mythical characters wear elegant kimonos McLean, director of rapid prototyping. “When and have elaborate forms. Some characters we looked at the mythical creatures in Kubo, are even origami. we saw a sharp nose on the Beetle’s face. The “It’s pretty unorthodox for a stop-motion Monkey had hair all over her face. And, Moon movie,” says producer Arianne Sutner. “It’s Beast had translucent elements. With the a quest movie with large exteriors and big powder-based printer, the Beetle’s face would characters. It’s mythological. But at its centre, end up rounded, and Monkey’s hair would it’s an intimate family story.” break. We had to change the character designs “Action in stop-motion is nigh impossible,” or find a new way to do them.” explains Travis Knight. “The spirit of spontaneity is not something the medium does Laika had first used Stratasys’ plastic-based well, but I wanted to try. What really got me system for Coraline, hand-painting the parts excited, though, is the emotional core, the story to colour them, and still used that system for of a boy and his family and what becomes his internal components. So, Brian called Stratasys surrogate family.” to see if the company might be working on a colour printer. They were, and they were looking for beta testers. 3D WORLD September 2016 19 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E Kubo and the Two Strings WE HAVE TO USE SUBDIVISION SURFACES. ON A REAL PUPPET, THEY PLUG HAIR INTO LITTLE SLOTS AND HAVE AN INTRICATE LAYERING SYSTEM. WE HAD TO MATCH THAT Eric Wachtman, look development lead New colour 3D printing techniques were experimented with to ensure the puppets for Kubo and the Two Strings looked as close as possible to their CG concept designs 3D WORLD September 2016 20 3dworld.creativebloq.com

Kubo features epic shots not seen CROWDS OF CG before in stop-motion, aided by a STOP-MOTION PUPPETS mix of CG and new techniques Look development lead Eric Wachtman explains the complexity of the CG crowds for Kubo and the Two Strings Before the visual effects team began work on the CG crowd characters, look development lead Eric Wachtman gathered samples of all the fabric they would create digitally from the puppet costume team. “We looked at the fabric under a microscope to find weave patterns if any, and then came up with procedural systems inside shaders for weave creation,” Eric says. “Everything is digital. We didn’t use texture maps.” Although the 45 characters the team would create shared the same topology, each wore a unique costume. Modellers created the costume shapes with Marvelous Designer software. For the crowd characters’ hair, the team modelled guide curves and used custom RenderMan procedures to generate the hair. “Often, we can’t get away with flat ribbons,” Eric says. “We have to use subdivision surfaces. On a real puppet, they plug hair into little slots and have an intricate layering system. We had to match that.” To provide lighting and depth of field reference for the virtual camera, a survey team had stand-in puppets in costume walk around. The effects team didn’t use crowd software to create or animate the characters; they positioned each carefully crafted CG character in the live-action plates. Brian explains: “The machines had five available at one time: cyan, magenta, Crowd characters were wonderful capabilities. All the things we or yellow, plus black, and white. created individually loved: dimensional accuracy, fine detail, using software such as workable nested parts, live hinges, things “We could now print texture maps with Marvelous Designer that moved. The problem was that the gradients, but the question was whether and RenderMan, before software was antiquated. Operators had to we could match a compelling character being added into the assign colours based on closed surfaces, design using three colours,” Brian says. “It live-action plates on shells. Eyebrows needed a separate took creative problem solving.” shell, for example. It was painting by number and impossible to get gradients.” They settled on magenta, white, and cyan for Monkey’s face; and black, yellow, For the powder-based faces, the and magenta for Beetle’s face. Then came Laika crew created a UV texture map in Moon Beast, a huge (by stop-motion Photoshop, wrapped it around the 3D puppet standards) spiny, translucent, and object, and sent it to the printer. But, the luminescent character. Stratsys printer couldn’t use texture maps. “We knew he could benefit from being John Hiller, an independent software printed with plastic, but there was no developer suggested by Stratasys, helped way we could achieve him with only three Laika bypass the printer’s software and colours,” Brian says. create the colours they needed for Kubo. Thinking out of the box “Using John Hiller’s software, we could feed in a texture map,” Brian says. “The To make Moon Beast a reality, the software would identify a colour or a team did some creative thinking: “He gradient and get the needed combination had translucent elements,” Brian says. of colours from a lookup table.” “We were shooting stop motion, so we wondered if we could photograph him However, Stratasys’ Connex 3 printer had under different lighting exposures and use the ability to mix only three colours of the each as a mask.” 3D WORLD September 2016 21 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E Kubo and the Two Strings UNSUNG HEROES After running a battery of tests, the team Each lead character had its soon discovered that if they created a own 3D printer set to its Visual effects supervisor gradient using the white and black resins, colour requirements Steve Emerson explains the white would pop and the black would the unique process used to fade to invisible. Laika employ similar techniques and have create facial expressions similar roles as their counterparts in the “We worked with the visual effects team live-action world. They build environments, Laika animators create facial on this,” Brian says. “We printed Moon extend sets, and create CG characters. expressions using sets of 3D Beast in black, white, grey and clear, then Their toolset includes Maya, Katana, Nuke, printed parts. It’s up to the roto- photographed him under different lights. Mari, Houdini, RenderMan Reyes and RIS. paint artists to erase all those VFX used each photograph as a different thousands of lines; they paint mask. We got shimmer, gold, glows. It was “Kubo pushed us harder than any of them out as they have done since amazing, and a huge leap of faith.” our past projects,” says visual effects Coraline. For Kubo, though, they supervisor Steve Emerson. “Kubo goes upped the game. Moon Beast became the first puppet on a worldwide odyssey through mythical printed entirely with a 3D printer. It was Japan and we knew out of the gate that “The puppets have a face also the first time animators used a puppet we would be heavily involved in those mask, an eye ball, and an that would look different in the final shots. environments. And, Kubo is a storyteller. animate-able eyelid,” says Steve. When he tells a story, crowds in the village “This time, for the first time, we “It was nerve wracking,” Brian says. “The gather. We knew we would need to create painted out the gap between the puppet didn’t look like the artwork until CG extras.” eyelid, the eyeball, and the face post-processing.” mask. We tried it and it was so The biggest CG environment and interesting that Travis [Knight, A proof of concept test during arguably biggest challenge was the ocean, director] rolled with it. We’d production, though, convinced everyone which needed to be too big and too active never seen anything like it before. that the technique would work, and to create practically. It gave the puppets more of a justified installing another printer. human quality.” “We had never done water with this “Because the printer could use only scope at the studio before,” explains the three colours and replacing resin is a Steve. “My priority became finding a long laborious process, we had separate water specialist.” printers for Monkey, Beetle, and the Moon Beast,” Brian says. That specialist was David Horsley, who had received a VES nomination for the CG water in Kubo’s world water simulations in Life of Pi. “We knew he could deliver photorealistic water from The 3D printing team gives Laika’s day one,” Steve says. “So from then on, we filmmakers the freedom to have puppets worked with David to make the water feel with nearly unlimited facial expressions like it belonged in Kubo’s world.” and to work with puppets difficult if not impossible to create in any other way. The Oliver Jones, who rigs practical models, visual effects team expands the world in provided animation tests of water created which these puppets perform. with practical materials for reference. Despite its name, stop-motion animation “We looked at those and at the artwork is live-action filmmaking even though the to come up with our design aesthetic,” ‘action’ takes place one frame at a time as Steve says. “Then, we got to work.” animators position and reposition puppets on stage sets. Thus, visual effects artists at For calm waters, the team used fractal patterns in Houdini. WE HAD NEVER DONE WATER WITH THIS SCOPE AT THE STUDIO BEFORE. MY “We wanted a lot of negative spaces PRIORITY BECAME FINDING A SPECIALIST and surfaces balanced nicely with areas of dense information,” Steve says. “We could Steve Emerson, visual effects supervisor do that quickly in fractals.” For choppy water, Oliver had built a physical rig made of iron on which he had layered various materials, and then animated the rig. “We keyed in on patterns we could blend with an ocean simulation to get a Kubo look,” Steve says. “We wrote a herringbone whirly pattern in Houdini and RenderMan and had a mix between a displacement shader and an 3D WORLD September 2016 22 3dworld.creativebloq.com

The VFX team at Laika employ similar workflows to live-action film, software includes Maya, Katana, Nuke, Mari, Houdini, RenderMan Reyes and RIS 3D WORLD September 2016 23 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E Kubo and the Two Strings Every scene in Laika’s films are touched by CG, whether you realise it or not BY THE NUMBERS Seconds of animation per week: 3 to 4 Crew members: 400 Visual Effects Artists: 70 Number of printers Powder-based (for facial expressions): 5 Plastic-based (for mythical characters and internal parts): 5 Number of faces printed: 65,000 The Kubo Puppet Unique mouth expressions: 11,007 Unique brow expressions: 4,429 Total faces printed: 23,187 Possible facial expressions: over 48 million The Monkey Puppet Unique mouth expressions: 8,171 Unique brow expressions: 3,789 Total faces printed: 15,581 Possible facial expressions: over 30 million The Beetle Puppet Unique mouth expressions: 6,168 Unique brow expressions: 2,227 Total faces printed: 10,545 Possible facial expressions: over 13 million The Moon Beast Puppet Individual parts all 3D-printed: 881 Colour-printed parts: 130 Metal body, leg armature, and internal dressing pieces: 751 The 3.5-foot Moon Beast Hand has 58 3D-printed parts 3D WORLD September 2016 24 3dworld.creativebloq.com

LAIKA TURNS TEN! Director and Laika CEO Travis Knight gets hands-on with From its first film to its fourth, the little studio that’s mini-movie star Kubo housed in Portland, Oregon has proven that stop- motion films are viable and evolutionary ocean simulation,” adds look development “I’m proud of the innovation here,” says founder, CEO, and lead Eric Wachtman. “The shader is director of the current film Kubo and the Two Strings, Travis Knight. “We’ve taken a stodgy art form to a place it’s never attached to the simulation and they work been before. What I’m doing now is the most satisfying and creative thing I’ve ever done.” together. David orchestrated the blending In terms of crew size, the studio hasn’t grown much in 10 back and forth.” years. The total staff for the studio’s first film, Coraline, was 450. The total staff on Kubo, was 472. For the big waves, the crew referenced “I think the biggest change in a department in terms of the artwork, and then created a single numbers is the rapid prototyping department,” says producer Arianne Sutner. “We have more people in that department plane with a wave simulation on it. supporting replacement faces.” “We used hand-painted textures That department is responsible for Laika’s main innovations in puppetry. Laika’s Brian McLean and Martin Meunier and procedural animation; procedural received a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy in 2016 for their pioneering use of rapid prototyping displacement,” Eric says. “We hand- for character animation in stop-motion film production. painted the texture and detail in Mari “We were probably the first to do replacement animation,” Arianne says. “And, we’ve continued to improve our character and used flow vector maps to give the animation, learning how to make [the puppets] emote in subtle and human ways.” illusion of movement. Then we added the The second innovation has been in the use of visual procedural displacement to have this water effects to push the puppet world off the “table-top” and into expansive environments with crowds of characters. jibe with other water we had established.” “The goal Travis [Knight] had in the beginning was to For the shots in which Kubo’s mother tell stories in any genre,” Arianne says. “But, there were limitations with stop-motion and as a producer, I would veer parts the sea, the team created the away from scripts with too many characters or too much action. The technology to do what we felt comfortable surfaces with mesh geometry and then doing wasn’t there 10 years ago. But now I’m working on an incredible action adventure. It’s dynamic and we’re able to do added foam, spray, and splashes with it. There’s nothing we’re afraid of trying. We want to take on bigger challenges – a movie every year. It’s wonderful that particles on top. Look development for Travis is committed to making these movies.” the water took about six months and it was Arianne and Travis attribute Laika’s success in part to the stability of the team. “We’ve had 10 years of keeping the band a year before the team felt like they were together,” Travis says. “We can do things now with camera, lighting, set fabrication, visual effects, faces, and so forth, that in a groove. we couldn’t have done four years ago. It’s unusual for a stop- motion team to be together as long as we have, but because “We never want the VFX to be intrusive,” of that, we can do these things.” emphasises Steve. “Hopefully, the first The studio’s success is also tied to the willingness to experiment. “We don’t stick to certain rules,” Arianne says. time you see it you just respond to water. “We have breakthroughs on every film. The goal is not to be limited by or defined necessarily by stop motion but by the Then if you look again, you might notice movies we’re making. The way we work is unique. All our characters move a frame at a time; they’re real things in space the cool design aesthetic that’s in there. with real light, and there’s a magic to that. But, no part is not touched by CG. We don’t do that because it’s easier. We have We wanted something beautiful that a reason. It becomes something new on the screen. I wish we could come up with a name for what we’re doing. Maybe we belonged in the world.” should call it LaikAmation.” Creating CG water was only one way in which the visual effects team helped transport the puppets and the audience into the gorgeous, magical world of Kubo and the Two Strings. The striking film is a powerful example of how a seamless blend of 3D technology, CG visual effects and stop-motion can create something unique and beautiful. FYI Kubo and the Two Strings is out in cinemas on the 19th August. 3D WORLD September 2016 25 3dworld.creativebloq.com

GET A SUB FROM ONLY £11.25 SUBSCRIBE TO 3D WORLD Whether you want 3D World delivered to your door, device, or both each month, we have three great options to choose from. Start a subscription today and save up to 47% IN EVERY ISSUE… ARE YOU A CG UNRIVALLED ACCESS PROFESSIONAL? GET OUR PRO PACK From Pixar to ILM and Epic Games, the best artists ON PAGE 82 write for 3D World IN-DEPTH TUTORIALS Training covering the latest trends and software in easy- to-follow tutorials FREE RESOURCES Get video, models, textures and project files every issue to develop your CG skills 3D WORLD September 2016 26 www.3dworld.creativebloq.com

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F E AT U R E Film VFX INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE Ian Dean meets Image Engine‘s Martyn Culpitt to discover how their epic VFX brought the alien invasion back Epic is a word that crops up a lot when Marytn explains how the sheer scale of these talking with Martyn Culpitt, VFX supervisor environments offered the biggest challenge to with Image Engine, who were responsible the team, coupled with the pressure that so many for creating 170 shots for Independence shots were being created around these assets. Day: Resurgence. “The environments were so big that we needed It comes as no surprise, given director so much model detail and depth to sell them Roland Emmerich’s track record of grand-scale and have the audience really believe the actors destruction, and Image Engine’s successful were there. It would be fine if we only had one big collaboration on the same movies, White House environment, but we ended up having three!” Down and 2012, we’d expect nothing less than complete and utter global chaos. As well as the alien platform escape shot, Image “Very ambitious; the movie is epic!” Engine worked on the expansive prison sequence exclaims Martyn. “The scale of the where hundreds of aliens are being held in cells. shots is absolutely huge. There are so “We created the full CG prison asset including many different pieces that are needed everything that surrounded it, then put the alien for each shot. A lot of the work we did was with colonists into the cells. We also integrated the the actors on blue screen plates, so it was a lot colonists into live-action plates, having them of work to create the full-CG environments that interact with the human actors,” says Martyn. surrounded them.” Tech savvy Complex environments New technology, software and pipeline One sequence, the “epic escape sequence,” developments came to the fore to ease as Martyn describes it, tasked Image Engine’s production and sell the environments as real, 120 artists to create a CG environment that living places. Scheduling and tracking was done was 1.5km in diameter (nearly 1 mile) in which using a customised version of Shotgun, as well as the heroes find themselves on a huge platform the studio’s core technology Gaffer/Cortex, and inside the alien mothership. asset management system Jabuka. Martyn says: “A lot of effort was put into “The pilots themselves were shot on blue simulating both water and foliage. Rendering screen, and we created the whole platform as volume also went through several rounds of a full-CG asset, which included alien fighter optimisation. We also developed a workflow ships, entrances to the platform, and a full for creating laser effects in comp, driven by control tower for the aliens,” explains Martyn. animation point cloud data.” “There were also several alien columns in the background that added to the depth While Maya was used for asset building and and scale of the scene.” animation, look dev and lighting were done in proprietary software Caribou, and compositing 3D WORLD September 2016 28 3dworld.creativebloq.com

Image Engine worked on the VFX for Independence Day Resurgence for over a year, “from pre-production and being on set, up until the final shots were out of the door,” says Martyn Culpitt ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WHEN DEALING WITH CHARACTERS IS THE FACE; IT’S AN INSTINCTIVE THING TO LOOK AT THE FACE OF ANOTHER HUMAN OR ANIMAL Martyn Culpitt, VFX supervisor at Image Engine 3D WORLD September 2016 29 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E Film VFX WE CREATED THE WHOLE PLATFORM AS A FULL-CG ASSET, WHICH INCLUDED ALIEN FIGHTER SHIPS, ENTRANCES TO THE PLATFORM, AND A FULL CONTROL TOWER FOR THE ALIENS Martyn Culpitt, VFX supervisor at Image Engine “We used forward path tracing in 3Delight was done in Nuke. For the FX, Houdini 15 growing in the environment,” explains to render the show. We’ve had a lot of came into its own, along with OpenVDB for Martyn. “We also had surface fog that was caching data for the lighting department. driven by the actors and aliens. It ended up success with this RenderMan-compliant being a complex scene with varying FX sims engine on previous projects. We did not test Image Engine carried out a lot simulations and elements that brought it to life.” alternatives for this project specifically, but and effects work for the ‘Foliage’ sequence, we periodically benchmark to identity areas in which aliens and pilots interact in a murky, Creating depth watery environment set inside the alien for improvement,” says Martyn Culpitt mothership. The pilots are walking through With so many elements and layers bringing waist-high water amongst alien plant life the sequence to life, it’s little wonder that while trying to escape from pursuing alien the Foliage sequence is Martyn’s favourite: soldiers. Shot on blue screen, Image Engine “I really love the look and atmosphere; created a full-CG environment. it’s dark and moody and there is fog everywhere. It feels like you’re in a cross “This [shot] included large water sims that between a cornfield and a swamp at night.” were driven by the actors’ and CG aliens’ movements as they waded through it. The The sequence also ticks the Epic box. In water sims also interacted with floating total there are over 500,000 plants in the surface plants and thousands of plants sequence of varying size and scale, with 3D WORLD September 2016 30 3dworld.creativebloq.com

The alien mothership was a huge undertaking for the team at Image Engine, who created the vast platform in great detail CREATURE FEATURE The aliens are back with the slobbering chops and tentacle bits, but this time, they are entirely CG... “I was a big fan of the original movie,” says Martyn Culpitt. “I still remember seeing the aliens for the first time and how scary and intimidating they were. There was that one moment were the aliens push the president up again the glass: it was awesome!” That love of the original movie impacted on how creatures would be treated in the sequel. There are new aliens, and new ways to shock the audience. “I loved how Roland [Emmerich] played with only seeing glimpses of the creatures; it really helped put you on the edge of your seat. In ID2 there are similar scenes where you get fully immersed and then there’s a big jump! It has that same sense of atmosphere and pacing, which is great,” explains Martyn. Adhering to the feel of the original movie’s creature movement when bringing these creatures back to cinematic life as CG characters was important. “The animation team did a fantastic job on the movements and really stayed true to the original movie, especially when it came to the tentacles and the way they whip around,” says Martyn. “It was important for Roland to have that connection and familiarity with the original movie.” some alien plants standing 24-feet tall, and all simulated in water, covered in fog, with volumetric lights and buzzing insects. Going large A dedicated team and R&D department solved problems, and rendering pushed the 700 HP workstations (25,000 core) to its limits. “It was a huge scene and complicated to get all the pieces to come together… The FX sims and look dev also make the sequence come to life with so much depth. I think it’s pretty amazing; the team did an incredible job,” adds Martyn. To achieve such epic design, Image Engine’s producer Shawn Walsh had began talking to Marc Weigert and Volker Engel from production studio Uncharted Territory in 2013. Roland Emmerich was hands on when production started. “Roland was great to work with,” says Martyn. “[He] was very open to our ideas and concepts for various shots and sequences.” Image Engine’s in-house concept artist, Rob Jensen, sat down with Martyn to brainstorm ideas. “Rob and I got into a really good groove, learning what Roland liked and didn’t like. In the end we had such a solid grasp on what he wanted his film to be, as he is so clear 3D WORLD September 2016 31 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E “I think there is Film VFX pressure on any project,” says Martyn “Roland was great to Culpitt. “That said, work with! He has a I don’t feel like we really strong vision and needed to live up to knows how to achieve it,“ any other films out says Martyn Culpitt. “We there: ID2 will stand created lots of different for itself. The VFX layouts and blocking anim work looks great and scenes to show him, and the movie has such once he liked something a strong following” he didn’t change his mind. He knew what he wanted and once he got it he stuck with it“ The epic scale of the film pushed the Image Engine team, so even simple models, such as this alien harvester for the key crash scene, were massive and larger than life. “This harvester model was 160 meters long (525 feet), 45 meters wide (147 feet), and 36 meters tall (118 feet), and an alien troop transport that housed hundreds of alien soldiers,“ says Martyn Culpitt and communicative. Very rarely would he change what we presented; it was a great collaboration.” It’s a relationship that helped when Image Engine turned its attention to creating the aliens, as 96 of the allotted 170 shots were creature focused. All but the Queen (created by Weta Digital) were handled by Martyn’s team, and these fell into two groups, colonists and soldiers. Creature work A lot of time was spent reviewing the first Independence Day movie to closely study what Roland had done. The team had to make sure they kept the first film in their minds when dealing with the animation and the overall look and feel of the characters. “One of the first things Roland said to us was that he loved the feel of the tentacles from the first movie, and that he wanted our CG characters to have the same sense of energy and life,” says Martyn. Time was spent in R&D creating new animation rigs and systems to get the alien tentacles working with the same physicality as the original film’s puppets. “In the end we created a pretty amazing rig that could use dynamics, and then switch 3D WORLD September 2016 32 3dworld.creativebloq.com

“This was a huge build for us as it was so big in reality: roughly 1.5km (nearly 1 mile) in diameter. We also had to work in complex interactions, such as the pilots interacting with the Alien soldiers on the platform as they attempted to take control of alien fighter ships to go and battle the Queen,” says Martyn Culpitt and blend to then having full control over THE TEAM PAINSTAKINGLY REFINED THE MODELS SO the tentacle,” says Martyn. THEY‘D HOLD UP TO ANY LEVEL OF SCREEN DETAIL, FROM EXTREME CLOSE UPS TO WIDE SHOTS The animation team used a mix of motion capture and extensive keyframe work Martyn Culpitt, VFX supervisor at Image Engine to achieve the right feel for these alien characters, one which has many layers of “We had to do the same for our digital “If the lighting isn‘t right, then they just don’t animation and depth to the performance. characters,” says Martyn. “The team painstakingly refined the models so they work. The team spent a lot of time dialling Alien animation would hold up to any level of screen detail, from extreme close ups to wide this in for each shot, ensuring we got the “We took a lot of time to refine the facial shots. Then look dev took over and added animation and model shapes so that the all of the textures and shading. This right sense of shape on the creatures. Roland face really came to life. I think one of the was a complex task as there was a lot of most important things when dealing with subsurface detail needed, so getting the wanted the aliens to feel scary and dark, so characters is the face; it’s an instinctive subtleties in the colours and shading took thing to look at the face of another human time. In the end I think the assets look you only got brief glimpses of them. Not or animal,” explains Martyn. “Therefore, if amazing and really held up to any shot you get the subtleties and nuances working we put them into.” over-lighting them really helped with that: then the audience will fully believe it. There is a shot in the movie where we come As well as fine-tuning the colours and seeing only part of the face or body is way extremely close to an alien colonist’s face shading, the team had to work hard and and you can see the nostrils flaring and be precise with the lighting, otherwise the scarier than seeing the whole character!” other breathing shapes in the face – it’s alien characters wouldn't come to life and scary because it feels alive.” wouldn’t be terrifying. To ours eyes, the look is spot on with what The modelling and look dev on the we’ve seen from Roland Emmerich's seminal characters was vital to sell the work. On the original movie Roland Emmerich 1996 film, but with this feature, the director’s spent a lot of time creating the full-scale models as props, adding subtle details gone epic: things that just weren‘t possible into the puppets. in the first film due to limitations in VFX and technology, he‘s now able to imagine and achieve, such as the giant mothership. FYI Independence Day: Resurgence is out now in cinemas. 3D WORLD September 2016 33 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E Animation production tathoneimbseeattctireoernt Legendary animator Keith Lango reveals how focusing on performance and coherent style is key to speeding up your animation production 3D WORLD September 2016 34 3dworld.creativebloq.com

A DIFFERENT ROAD In making the short Poutnik, Keith Lango took a different approach with the production, to allow artists to focus on the performance A nimation is inherently can’t cut back in one area to promote HDSLR. I shot the locations around slow, expensive and another as audiences will notice to the Pacific Northwest near Seattle, laborious. So when the detriment of the film. “It's like an Washington where I lived. This made animation workshop orchestra where a few instruments the acquisition of the background Anomalia held a two- are out of tune. An incoherent artistic footage very affordable and easy and week ‘lab’ to create approach makes for an awkward, it let me develop the story by thinking a 10-minute short if not wholly unpleasant viewing through the scenes in my footage,” with a team of 20 experience. Our minds yearn for explains Keith. animators, called Poutnik, director cohesiveness,” Keith explains. Keith Lango had a tough task ahead: Another key decision was to If you take short cuts on animation, simplify the character designs. While “A typical large Hollywood but keep highly detailed models and the characters were CG models animated film requires textures, then things look off. Cut (rigged by students at Rigging a character animator to corners on models and shading, but Dojo), they would appear like 2D complete about three keep the motion detail very high and characters. “They were flat black, seconds of final animation per week. you may have a better chance of with simple blocky silhouettes, no A team of 20 animators moving at success, “however, then you run mouths, no clothes and no hair. This those speeds meant that we would only be able to produce two minutes Any CG animator knows the feeling of dread when they switch of animation in total – nowhere near enough to tell the story we had set their stepped blocking animation to spline tangents – the energy, out to tell.” And this, points out Keith, doesn’t vitality and power of the blocking performance gets washed away begin to address models, rigging, WHAT IS sets, lighting, rendering and VFX… up against that three-seconds per simple, streamlined design meant ANOMALIA? it’s no wonder Pixar spends $1 million week problem,”says Keith. that animators would not need for every minute of a movie with to worry about a bunch of fancy Anomalia is a dedicated hundreds of artists and technicians. You need to find a working extras,” says Keith, adding: “We animation training “If you try to compete with that level balance between artistic choices boiled everything down to the core of detail and quality with a small team and a style that enables the team to focus solely on performance. By academy based in the you are doomed to fail miserably. At to work efficiently. keeping them a flat black we didn't Czech Republic. With some point you must choose to work need to worry about deformation teachers from every smarter, not harder,” says Keith. Keith made some key decisions, problems in the mesh when major animation studio, first to use black and white, “Colour animating, because there was no including Pixar, Disney, Make tough choices and all of its complexity was now off shading on the characters to reveal Blue Sky, Aardman, the table.” Then, live-action footage them. Nor did we need textures.” LucasArts and more, Detail is the problem, identifies was used instead of CG sets, the Keith: “Each passing year leaves team animated CG characters and Lighting was next to simplify, with Anomalia offers us with ever higher expectations props on an empty scene with the each shot a single shadow light to get professional training of what will be seen on screen in video of the shot set to an image contact shadows on proxy geometry animated projects. Textures will plane in Maya. “I shot all of the for later compositing. for film and video be more detailed, shading more background footage myself using game animators. realistic, models more detailed, my Blackmagic Design Pocket “Another choice was to animate www.anomalia.eu animation more refined…” And you Cinema Camera and my Nikon D7000 at 12 frames per second instead of 3D WORLD September 2016 35 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E Animation production ENRICH THE DESIGN te em mae he hracrs fel and dawn “We also used multiple toon outlines on the because the silhouettes of the character were characters to make them feel more hand constantly shifting. Plus, we procedurally drawn. Procedural noise shaders and cycling animated the verts of the character meshes keyframes were employed to animate toon line to keep the silhouettes alive even while the attributes like line width, line end thinning, character stood perfectly still. By placing this offset, transparency and so forth. This solved animation on a deformer node, but keeping the problem where toon lines can feel fake and the construction history of the mesh, we mechanical because they never vary from the found that the mesh would re-parameterise rigid, settled geometry of the mesh. on a frame- by- frame basis to try and accommodate the shifting verts. This added By animating the offset we enhanced to the effect and was a very happy accident.” the feeling of the lines being hand drawn 3D WORLD September 2016 36 3dworld.creativebloq.com

KEEPING IT SIMPLE the typical 24 fps of film,” continues to finely animate every micro- Take ownership Keith made the decision Keith. “This made life easier on the movement, in order to keep him alive to work in black and white animators by reducing the number while holding a pose. This bold, stylistic direction didn’t due to the complexities of frames to manage and clean come easy to a generation of of working with colour up by half. Nearly all special FX “We found that a dead held pose animators weened on Toy Story. were hand drawn, animated was perfectly suited to the style Everyone aspires to the Pixar style, elements composited in during because all the procedural animation most schools teach it, most students post-production.” kept them from freezing and looking want to master it, most employers dead,” says Keith. “Basically this want animators who can do it – “but Performance first meant that the animators needed it is doom on a project like this,” to only do ‘blocking plus’, with no states Keith, who had to untrain When the decisions had been f-curve spline clean up at all.” his animators… implemented, the result was a strong character with a cohesive visual All shots were animated with This meant the team had to rise language and free from needing stepped curves and rendered that above focusing on detail and polish, way: “Any CG animator knows the and instead focus on performance, by DIFFERENT APPROACH feeling of dread when they switch “taking away their security blankets Each shot´s background their stepped blocking animation of limitations and giving them greater was projected on a wall to spline tangents – the energy, ownership of the character, the vitality and power of the blocking performance and their scenes.” for Keith to then describe performance gets washed away in a the character´s actions sea of mediocre computer-generated This meant another gamble from in-betweens, that need to be Keith. Starting with no animatics, or meticulously managed to bring that even storyboards, Keith only had vitality back.” his video background plates on a shot-by-shot beat sheet. On the The Anomalia team did away with first day of production each shot’s this step and employed no computer background video was projected, By keeping them a flat black we didn't need to worry about deformation problems in the mesh when animating, because there was no shading on the characters to reveal them generated in-betweens at all. Every in sequence, onto a wall and Keith movement that you see in the short would then describe what the is exactly what the animator chose character was supposed to do. to show. “This was beyond liberating as it completely removed the slow, “I would describe where he should grinding, tedious work of making sure be, where he should go, what he that every little part and movement of should do along the way, what key the character was cleaned up.” action or occurrence in the film's story happened in this shot, as well This meant the animators could as the emotional arc of the character focus on performance, which is for the scene,” says Keith. “I did this, central to any good short. “So we put shot after shot, for over 120 shots, for all our eggs in the basket of character a few hours.” core performance and let all the details and polish and technical This was an approach adapted wizardry of high-end film animation from Keith’s time in live-action films, go by the wayside,” Keith reveals. here transferring instructions given to actors onto animators, “As a director 3D WORLD September 2016 37 3dworld.creativebloq.com

F E AT U R E Animation production your job is not to tell them how to do The new working practice took a and then this was trimmed to ten BALANCING ACT anything, only what needs to happen few days to bed in, but soon Keith minutes to create the original edit. When working on Poutnik, and the core emotional journey of the says the results were clear as the This ‘coverage’ ratio of 1.8:1 sounds Keith had to find the balance character. Then you get out of the animators began experimenting slim by live-action standards, “but between artistic choices and way and let your actors act and film and bringing the character to life in by animation standards this amount a style which enabled the them for as long as it takes them to unique ways. “The team added neat of coverage is unheard of at any team to work efficiently get the scene.” little mannerisms and actions that level,” reveals Keith. were so charming – fantastic Animators were elevated to actors surprises for me as I saw people “All of this was achievable and given the stylistic limitations of think up little moments to bring to because we let the animators production (there was no cleaning the scene that made the character explore the scene as the character, up and polishing), they were able feel like a real, feeling being. This removed all the extraneous bits off to try new things in a scene, make was exactly the same feeling I get their plate and simplified the style mistakes and redo. when I direct on a live action set,” of motion they were required to says Keith. “I love to be surprised as do,” continues Keith. “Most were Honest performance I watch one of my actors do able to do multiple takes of an idea something that was so unexpected, and iterate to improve a scene. We Shots were divided up as Keith but so deep and so honest to the even had the luxury of re-writing described each scene – each character. These were the moments the key climax of the film, because animator taking four or five scenes. to live for and our team had a lot of as we animated and edited the film Characters were set up in front of the fun experiencing this deeper level image planes based off a template of collaboration.” scene for ease and consistency. Each animator did their own layout work to Shot length match the video backgrounds. With cameras set, the animators got to Again, taking inspiration from live work but “Without a story reel with action workflows, the animators predetermined shot lengths, folks would pass on each scene to Keith, were left without the safety net of after a review pass and adjustments, previously made choices,” explains and he would edit the footage. Keith, which gave them room to make “Sometimes I would re-order scenes the performance happen as they based off the happy surprises saw fit. “I trusted them to own the they gave me,” he says, explaining performance completely rather than how after two weeks the edit and colour in the lines that someone animation were finished. else had already drawn for them, which is how most animation The 20 animators had created production happens.” 18 minutes of footage in two weeks, A dead held pose was perfectly suited to the style because all the procedural animation kept them from freezing and looking dead it became apparent that the climax needed more oomph!” By streamlining the process, the team were able to think up new ideas for the finale, spec 11 new shots, divide the workload and in less than 24 hours animate and edit a whole new ending. “This degree of nimbleness in an animation production was exciting. In the end our commitment to performance and story won out,” says Keith. “By keeping our artistic limitations coherently constructed and in rhythm with each other, we BASIC DESIGNS achieved something that has a Character designs were kept simple, appearing as unique, appealing and relatively 2D, flat black with simple blocky silhouettes inexpensive visual style. It was exactly what we hoped to achieve from the start.” FYI You can watch the Poutnik short at www.vimeo.com/153982054 3D WORLD September 2016 38 3dworld.creativebloq.com

AN ANIMATOR’S VIEW Dalisod wthuoerreke’sekdhiissasehnaecionnnroimhtoefoprnoineomPsusltinai,k,e What did you think of the process? solid actor irst and last. Great blocking of The technique Keith Lango introduced on the a solid idea is so much more important than short ilm is very special, from the perspective details and polishing, And once an animator of an animator. It forced me to focus mostly on becomes strong with the tools and the the very essence of my performance. craftsmanship of the motion, the skills to perform will be the only difference between How did it work for you? two equally skilled animators. Working on This style is nothing more than pure blocking, the Poutník short ilm instilled in me this no extras, which allowed me to have a lot order of priorities because I was forced, by of time to think nearly as a live-action actor Keith and the style itself, to think that way. in real time, and offer the director multiple acting choices to choose from in a single day. What can other artists take from this? That’s how fast I was able to animate. But This unique style proved to me that if one the core value was in realising that being an is a skilled 3D artist, such as Keith, who is actor is the most important skill to have as able to develop smart technical solutions an animator, because amazing polishing and for low-budget projects – where effectivity details won’t save the day. and fast production is a real production condition – he or she can save animators What did you learn from the process? tons of time, so they could work with a As Keith mentioned, animation today is director practically as live action actors, dominated by the Pixar-style quality. But to which gives them much more space for become a solid animator, one needs to be a authorship than they would otherwise get. SHOWING GRATITUDE The team of animators working on Poutnik learnt a lot from Keith's process of working 3D WORLD September 2016 39 3dworld.creativebloq.com

TUTORIALS Create realistic clothes TUTORIALS Practical tips and tutorials from pro artists to improve your CG skills MARVELOUS DESIGNER | ZBRUSH CREATE REALISTIC CREASES AND FOLDS Learn new skills and techniques as Eyad Hussein demonstrates his process for creating realistic clothes for CG characters ARTIST PROFILE Making realistic virtual clothes is one of the in production. If you are a game character artist, Eyad Hussein most challenging tasks since the innovation VFX artist, character TD or even a concept artist, Eyad Hussein is a senior of CG animation. Clothing is an extremely Marvelous Designer is the right tool for you to character technical important aspect of 3D character development; it create beautiful clothes with natural folds and director living with five can tell a story behind the character’s personality. detailed wrinkles. It also allows you to build your years of experience in Making virtual clothes became easier because of own library, mix and match clothes, as well as the animation industry. the advance technology we have nowadays – we saving you a significant amount of time! Eyad currently works can use our creative imagination with the right at Buck Design in Los tools to create realistic clothes in just a few hours! I believe that Marvelous Designer is Angeles. www.eyad.tv Marvelous Designer (MD) is one of the leading essential for all animation studios and softwares for creating and simulating virtual TOPICS COVERED clothes. The technology is based on real-world it should be part of the pipeline Clothes creation sewing patterns to generate clothes, which is Marvelous Designer the standard way clothing is made in the fashion Marvelous Designer is very powerful software Simulation industry. The intuitive tools and the well-designed if you have a well-designed workflow. In this ZBrush detailing software interface make it easy for everyone in the tutorial I’m going to share with you the steps industry to use MD. you will need in order to start building your own clothing library for the next generation I believe that Marvelous Designer is essential of computer graphics! for all animation studios and it should be part of the modelling and animation pipeline. Major For all the assets you need go to game and animated film studies like Konami, EA, www.bit.ly/vault-anim Ubisoft, Weta Digital and Double Negative have taken advantage of MD’s compatibility and use it 3D WORLD September 2016 40 www.youtube.com/3dworld

POWERFUL SOFTWARE Marvelous Designer allows artists to create stunning clothes, while saving a significant amount of time FOLLOW GET YOUR THE VIDEO RESOURCES When you see the Play icon, You’re three steps away from this use the link issue’s video training and files… 1. GO TO THE WEBSITE Type this into your browser’s address bar: www.bit.ly/vault-anim 2. FIND THE FILES YOU WANT Search the list of free resources to find the video and files you want. 3. DOWNLOAD WHAT YOU NEED Click the Download buttons and your files will save to your PC or Mac. 3D WORLD September 2016 41 www.youtube.com/3dworld

TUTORIALS 1 Create realistic clothes SKETCHING Fashion is made up of two important elements: the design (the shape of the garment that’s made up of patterns) and the texture (the surface quality and colour). Begin by sketching these elements so you have a good idea about the clothing before starting in MD GATHERING 1 PLAN THE GARMENT 2 SEPARATE THE GARMENTS REFERENCES Begin with some research You don’t have to be a fashion designer to use MD, MD allows you to create a library of clothes and each but you should know the basics of fashion design. garment you create can be modified and re-used Before diving into MD, research and The most important thing to know is how to read to fit other characters. If you are dealing with very gather references. I start by deciding the sewing blueprints! Go to the public library, grab complex clothing design, you should work on each the type of clothes I want to create some sewing books and read about the basics of garment separately and then merge everything in and researching sewing blueprints sewing. Sketch on paper the clothes to understand one file and simulate them using the layers system in related to my clothing. Pinterest the sewing patterns and to explore some ideas. MD. This method will allow you to focus on designing is the best place to start. I write Think about three major things: the main patterns one garment at a time; you will never get distracted down the garments on a Google that create the garment, the sewing seams and how by other garments in the scene and it will make sheet and make folders on my these patterns are sewn together, and finally the MD simulate way more efficiently, avoiding any computer for each garment to save other details such as pockets, zippers, buttons, clothes intersects. the references. I also go to clothing and so forth. stores to find and photograph similar items to my design. KEEP IT SIMPLE When tracing a pattern, keep in mind that what you trace is not your final piece of cloth – you’ll adjust the pattern a lot while designing! Keep your patterns as simple as possible and only use one point on each corner CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO www.bit.ly/211-cloth-1 3 3D WORLD September 2016 42 www.youtube.com/3dworld

4a FIRST DRAFT This is the first part of designing clothes; the main goal of this phase is getting the general shape of the garment and exploring ideas. The screenshot shows the drafted clothes after simulation, which the tutorial covers in the next steps CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO SYMMETRICAL VS. www.bit.ly/211-cloth-2 ASYMMETRICAL Using the Symmetric Paste and Merge Functions When you draw a pattern, make sure you draw half of it and then use the Symmetric Paste Function. Sew them together and when you are satisfied with the pattern shape, use the Symmetric Merge Function to combine the two patterns together. You can then work asymmetrical! 4b 3 TRACING A BLUEPRINT horizontally or vertically, so choose the points then right-click and choose Align. Use the Edit Curve Point To trace a blueprint, draw a pattern using the (V) tool and curve all the edges until you trace the Rectangle (S) tool in the 2D View, add a new fabric pattern. Only trace half of the pattern, then copy and from the Object Browser, then map the sewing paste it using the Symmetric Paste function. (See the blueprint image as a texture from the Property tracing and drafting video). Editor. Apply the fabric to the pattern, use the Edit Texture Tool to fit the blueprint inside the pattern 5 SEWING shape. Add another fabric, change the colour to anything other than white, and change the Opacity Arrange the patterns in a way that’s easy for you to to something around 50. You will then be ready to understand. At this point you will sew the garments the start drafting the patterns on top of the blueprint. same way that fashion designers do in the real world. (See the tracing and drafting video). There are two types of sewing in MD: the Segment Sewing (N) which allows you to sew from one Segment 4 DRAFTING Line (Edge) to another, and the Free Sewing (M) that allows you to sew freely from any one part of the pattern Start drawing over the blueprint patterns using the to another. If you hold down [Shift] it will allow you to Polygon (H) tool, but just one point on each sharp sew one segment with N amount of segments. You can corner until you close the pattern. Try to keep the use the Edit Sewing Tool to flip the sewings and to edit patterns as simple as possible – the fewer points them if needed. (See the sewing video). the better! You might need to align some points CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO EXPERT TIP www.bit.ly/211-cloth-3 The picking point! If you click on the garment in the 3D View, a small blue point will appear in the 2D View, which indicates that location! This can help you with troubleshooting the garment issues, and helps you with sewing the patterns together by indicating the sewing edges! SEWN PATTERNS The small dash that crosses a line shows that this garment line is sewn to another line. The two similar lines in colour indicate that these two lines 5 are sewn together 3D WORLD September 2016 43 www.youtube.com/3dworld

TUTORIALS CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO 6 ARRANGEMENT POINTS Clothes Creation www.bit.ly/211-cloth-4 The Arrangement Points are the blue circles on the 6 BUILD ARRANGEMENT POINTS Avatar’s body – you can turn them on from the side If you’re looking to build a library icons in the 3D View. These points are very useful for 7 arranging the patterns on the Avatar and it will help REFINE GARMENT of clothes, use the arrangement you later on if you decide to reset the patterns. MD points while designing as they Avatars come with Arrangement Points by default, MD lets you refine allow you to reset the patterns but if you are using your own character, you have to the garment shape to their default position in the create your own set of Arrangement Points. You can in real time, while 3D view, then you can quickly do that by saving a default set of MD’s Arrangement Points, load it on your character, then use the Avatar running the sim. simulate the same clothes Editor to tweak the locations of the Bounding Use this advantage on other characters Volumes and Arrangement Points. to adjust and refine PLACING PATTERNS 7 ARRANGE THE PATTERNS the garment by Select each pattern and place it on the dragging the Turn on the Arrangement Points on the Avatar, then arrangement point it’s related to select the pattern using the Select/Move (Q) tool patterns in the in the 3D View, or using the Transform Pattern (A) 3D View tool in the 2D View, and place the pattern on the 8 arrangement point that is related to it. Move the pattern after placing it, and make it align very close to the Avatar’s body to prevent it from falling down when simulating. You can use the Arrangement Offset in the Property Editor to make the pattern wrap around the Avatar. If you don’t have any arrangement points, just align the patterns manually close to the character. (Download and follow the arranging and simulation video in this issue’s online Vault for more detail). 8 SIMULATION Make sure to save your file before running any simulation in MD! Double click on the Avatar and from the Property Editor set the Skin Offset (the distance between the Avatar’s body and the garment) to something very low, maybe 1.00mm, or even less to make it look more realistic. Click on Simulate (Space),and the garment should fall down and start draping around the Avatar’s body. While running the simulation, you can drag the patterns in the 3D view to fix the folds, or to change the location of the garments, play with the garment until you make it look good on the Avatar. (Download and watch the arranging and simulation video in the online Vault to see how to do this in detail). 9 MEASUREMENTS Taking measurements helps when modifying the garment patterns to make them fit the character’s body. There are two main tools for taking measurements in MD: the Circumference Measurement (CM) and the Length Measurement (LM). Use the Basic CM tool to take measurements for: waist, hip, thigh, knee, calf, ankle, bust, neck base, arm hole, elbow, and wrist. Use the Height LM tool to get the heights for: bust, neck, gluteal, waistline, cervicale and leg. Then use the Surface Tape Measurement tool to get the pants and shirt lengths. 10 FITTING THE CLOTHES You should make sure that the clothes are not very tight on the character’s body and also not very big. Turn on the Strain Map to locate the problems, check where the patterns are very tight (indicated by the red colour), edit the patterns in the 2D View and make them bigger in these areas, then run the simulation for troubleshooting. If the clothes are big, just resize them and cut the extra fabrics. Keep cleaning the patterns as much as you can, that will help you later on before detailing. If the Strain Map is a yellow/green colour that means you are on the safe side. (See the fitting the clothes video for more detail on how to do this). 3D WORLD September 2016 44 www.youtube.com/3dworld

CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO TAKING MEASUREMENTS EXPERT TIP www.bit.ly/211-cloth-5 Depending on the type of clothes you’re designing, it’s a good idea Fabric bending to take measurements at the You can adjust the Bending- beginning. The most important Weft and Bending-Warp to ones to know are the character’s a higher value by going to Fabric Property>Physical height and the waist length Property. This will make the fabric very stiff and will also prevent it from bending – similar to cardboard! 10 STRAIN MAP The red colour 9 indicates the pattern is very 11 DESIGN THE FABRIC tight on the character and You have to design your fabrics before going any should be fixed to further with the detailing. MD has some good prevent simulation presets you can use as a starting point. Run the problems simulation and tweak the fabrics in real-time. Start off with cotton for soft fabrics like shirts, skirts CHOOSING THE and pants, and leather for hard fabrics like bags, RIGHT FABRIC belts and hats. Then tweak the physical properties Below you can see to make them work with your design. Sometimes three different you will need to use different kinds of fabrics for a kinds of fabric and single garment. how they change the feel and look 12 INTERNAL LINES TROUSER of the trousers Use the Internal Lines at the beginning as DESIGN LINES 11 guidelines for designing the garment. Mark the On the right waist, the knees, the elbows, and divide the you’ll see the 12 pattern into parts. Later on you can use them to major internal fold the garment and to add details, such as holes line placement and elastic! To make a fold, draw a line using the for the trousers. Internal Polygon/Line (G), then from the Property Some were used Editor adjust the Fold Strength and Fold Angle. If to design the you are looking to do roll-up folds, such as sleeves folds and some and collars, select the Internal Line then use the for the guidelines Fold Arrangement tool and change the fold angle manually. To make a gathered fabric effect, turn on the Elastic and adjust the Intensity and Ratio values. (See the internal lines video). 13 POCKET DETAILS Draw the pocket shape on the garment using the Internal Lines or the Internal Rectangle Tool; select 3D WORLD September 2016 45 www.youtube.com/3dworld

TCUreSTaItOMe RrUeIaALliALstSTicIOclNothAeNs D 130 CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO RENDERING THICKNESS www.bit.ly/211-cloth-6 Adjust your settings according to your needs Simulation Thickness represents the collision limit for garments. Having a low thickness value will add more wrinkles to your garments. The Rendering Thickness is the visible thickness that you see when exporting a thick garment! A POCKET DEFINITION MAKING POCKETS A pocket is a small bag sewn into, or Simple and advance pockets have the on clothing, in order to form part of same concept. Draw the pocket pattern it – used for carrying small stuff. It shape on the garment then copy and should be open on at least one side paste it as a pattern, then sew it! CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO it, right-click and choose Copy As Pattern then paste www.bit.ly/211-cloth-7 it near the garment. Use the Free Sewing Tool to sew the pocket to the internal lines – mostly you will need 14 to sew three edges and leave the top edge open. CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO In the 3D View right-click on the pocket pattern and www.bit.ly/211-cloth-8 choose Superimpose (Over), then run the simulation. If you want to have some wrinkles on the pocket, just 15a make the pocket pattern a little bit bigger! (See the pockets video.) 15b 15c DESIGNING BAGS Bags in general are a complicated subject, so always begin by making the 14 HOLES AND DARTS back pattern piece your starting point, then pin it and build on top of it To make a hole in the garment draw a closed shape using Internal Lines. You can use the Internal Circle (R) then edit the shape, right-click on the Internal Lines and choose Convert to Hole. You can use the holes to create the pattern darts – the darts can be used to tighten the pattern without changing the overall outer shape of the pattern. I highly recommend using darts as they give extra realism to your clothes and they maintain the texture look. There is an individual tool for creating darts in MD, and it does exactly the same as creating holes. (See the holes video.) 15 BAGS Start with the bag back pattern piece, create it and apply a hard fabric to it; I usually start with S_ Leather_Belt, pin it [Shift]+[W] in the air to prevent it from moving while simulating. Add and sew the sides, the bottom and then the front, leaving the top open for now. Change the fold angles of the sewings from 180 degrees to 90 or 270, depending on the fabric’s normal direction. You might need to put an inflated piece of fabric inside the bag to make it look full. Add the pockets and add all the extra details, then add the top cover pattern. (See the bags video.) 16 POSING MD AVATARS You can pose MD Avatars using the built-in joints system. Start a new scene with the clothes off, switch to the X-Ray mode by pressing [Shift]+[X] to see the joints and translate/rotate them until you hit a pose – switch between Local or World Gizmo for better rotation axis. Save your pose to the library from File>Save As>Pose. Load MD Avatar with the clothes on or add your garment to the scene, go to the library and then drag and drop the pose on to the character. Make sure that the particles 3D WORLD September 2016 46 www.youtube.com/3dworld

CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO 18a www.bit.ly/211-cloth-9 www.bit.ly/211-cloth-10 CLICK TO PLAY VIDEO www.bit.ly/211-cloth-11 16 17 18b Generally, if you’re looking to sculpt keep it as tris! Here I convert all the patterns to quad EXPERT TIP over the exported mesh, you have to mesh, and in the Export Options I choose Multiple convert the patterns to quads Objects, Unweld, Thin and Unified UV coordinates. Layer Clone and Pressure You can use the Layer Clone distance is set to 20, then after MD finishes the 20 DETAILING IN ZBRUSH combined with the Pressure simulation, adjust the Particle Distance value. to inflate the fabrics. Make This is an extra step outside of MD. At some point sure you freeze all the other 17 POSE WITH MORPH TARGETS you’re probably looking to add some details to your patterns that are nearby clothing. Start by exporting your garments one by before adding any pressure; If using your own character, you can import a morph one as .obj files, and then load them into ZBrush as high pressure values shape (blendshape) of the pose and apply it to SubTools. Flip the Normals if there are any reversed, might damage your the character. From File>Import >Obj, choose then choose double-sided. Make sure that you have other patterns! the morph file, and then select Load as Morph Polygroups using UVs then add thickness using Target. If you have a very complex pose, set your The Panel option from the Geometry Palette, set FINAL SCULPT Morphing Frame Count to something very high, the Polish to 0, Bevel to 0 and the Elevation to -100. The image below shows the clothes around 250 frames. In some cases you will need to Divide the subtool a couple of times and refine the after adding details and refining the have inbetweens to avoid intersects. Load your first folds using the Standard Brush. Add extra details wrinkles. Accessories were added, inbetween, let MD do the clothes simulation, then using the MicroMesh and the NoiseMaker. such as a zip, wires and buttons load the next one, and so on. 20a 20b 18 MIX AND MATCH CLOTHES 20c Start a new file and load your Avatar, from File> Add>Garment. Add all your garments to the scene, set the Particle Distance to 20 for everything. Select all your garments, right-click and choose Deactivate (Pattern and Sewing). Start from the underneath garments, activate it then simulate. After you’ve finished the simulation, right-click and Freeze the garment. Go to the next garment which should be on top, Activate it and set it to Layer to 1, then hit Simulate and Freeze. Repeat this step for all garments, and after you’re done, Unfreeze everything and run the simulation again! Now raise the particles intensity gradually from 20 to 4 to increase the garment’s quality and simulate each time! (See the mix and match clothes video.) 19 EXPORTING You have to ask yourself questions about the output mesh! Triangulate or quadrangulate? Single object or multiple objects? Unweld or weld? Thin or thick? Generally, if you’re looking to sculpt over the exported mesh, you have to convert the patterns to quads and if you’re looking to simulate it in other software, you can 3D WORLD September 2016 47 www.youtube.com/3dworld

TUTORIALS Create an animated hero MAYA 2016 DESIGN AN ANIMATED HERO Scott Raymond shows how to create and explore a character through animation T he following tips break versatile rig made it possible to down my process for really push the character poses animating Bink for Eric and find the most appealing Miller Animation Studios’ version of him possible. upcoming web series. Bink is a curious little seafaring creature With such an experienced who was captured and taken to crew, I needed to make a testing laboratory. My sure my animation was as challenge was to make the most professional and polished as appealing introduction to the possible. Sometimes a minute character as possible, in just a of your time can save hours short amount of time. of someone else’s time down the road. You’ll When I joined the production, find some of these best rough blocking was already practices listed as well. in place. I had to incorporate Being a good co-worker and Eric Miller’s vision and existing great collaborator is probably setups, while trying to define one of the most important Bink’s unique personality. It was skills to have as an animator. essential to learn the background To learn more about Bink or of the character and the larger watch the episode, visit story being set up. There was a www.milleranimation.com/bink. lot to convey in each shot – every frame was important. Luckily, a For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-anim Scott Raymond UNDERSTAND BLINKS After eight years at DreamWorks Blinks become even more Animation, Scott is impactful with a large- now teaching and eyed character design like developing a new Bink. Break the shot down animation program into the different kind of at Austin Peay blinks. There’s reactionary, State University. such as when he hits the ground www.bit.ly/211-scott or gets poked. There’s natural blinks, such as during a head turn TOPICS COVERED or to help keep a stationary pose Blinks alive. Finally, there’s motivated Motion blur blinks, which help show us what Camera views the character is thinking, such as a Dialogue change of thought or a realisation. 3D WORLD September 2016 48 www.youtube.com/3dworld

HOW TO BREAK DOWN YOUR ANIMATION ONE BLOCK OUT With the first pass just block out the body, head and limbs with your keyframes. Place a key anywhere the character reaches an extreme, changes direction, or changes speed. I make sure to key on every control for each keyframe, and set it to Stepped Tangents. The more blocking keys you lay down, the easier the following splining pass will be. TWO CLEANING UP With my next pass I start cleaning up the curves in the timeline. Now I’ll add in the face and hands in a more straight-ahead method. The mouth and any lip sync can be left until the very end, because the mouth especially needs to be staged to the camera. THREE ADDING POLISH When the shot is in its polishing stage, I’ll finally go in and add any overlaps and overshoots to my animation. I’ll also add in (again using a straight ahead method) things such as the ears, necklace, and tail that depend on the final physics and momentum of the body. This will add that feeling of weight and gravity to your character and animation. CONTROL BLINK CURVES With large eyes, really polish the blink animation curves – they will take longer than typical blinks. Build in the slow-in and slow- outs, taking care that there’s always a bit of the pupil showing (preventing a dead-eyed frame). Also, be sure to hold the close position at least two frames for it to be readable, or it will look like a flash frame. The top lid should be doing at least 80 per cent of the movement to meet the bottom lid. USING DIALOGUE The dialogue was interesting because it was a unique vocalisation rather than traditional words and phonemes. Relying on reference, I’d mimic the sounds and look in the mirror to see what shapes my mouth would make. It also helps to increase the height of the Time Slider. This lets you see the waveform larger and you can better visualise all the dialogue moments. Go to Preferences>Settings>Time Slider: Height 4x. 3D WORLD September 2016 49 www.youtube.com/3dworld

TUTORIALS Create an animated hero MOTION BLUR USE REFERENCES It’s important to The secret to good animation is good references. Initially for the remember that your shot of Bink waking up, I had used some cat stretching reference I animation needs to found online. Talking with our producer/director Eric Miller, he exist beyond the first wanted Bink to be more of a curious toddler than and last frame. Animate animalistic. Fortunately, I have two young kids myself, so I studied a five frame buffer so how they woke up from a deep sleep. Adding those specific, unique that the animation will moments makes it feel grounded and real. motion blur properly at the start and end of the shot. The same principle applies as to why you don’t cheat and move a character or prop into place in one frame – the resulting motion blur will give you away. You may not see it until lighting, which is a costly place to discover the problem. HEAD FOLLOW The Head Follow control is a powerful tool if your rig has it built in. It can usually be set to follow the Body, the Local Axis, or a more traditional All. Depending what movement your character is doing, this can save you lots of extra animation and give a natural feel to the character. However, be careful trying to match poses between shots with a different follow type! 3D WORLD September 2016 50 www.youtube.com/3dworld


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