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Justaviking's iClone 7 corner

Posted By justaviking 2 Years Ago
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TonyDPrime
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@Justaviking-  Cool!
Do you find people's behavior to fall into overlapping patterns, or do you see diversity in everyone you meet?
theschemer
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But what about one ear lower than the other?? Tongue
animagic
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wires (11/29/2017)
Well done Dennis.

Speaking of skin colour, there's a WIP that I found online last year that deals with just that subject. Angelica Dass has been comparing human skin to the PANTONE© Guide, amazing work that can be viewed here.  

That's a nice resource, Gerry. I like the head shots, as they also show how asymmetrical real faces are, something often overlooked in modeling.

I took one of them, Pantone 63-6 C, and created a head in CT8. I then refined it further in CC 2.0.

https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/8d26aace-85fd-4a00-8048-27c5.jpg

I think it's also a good resource for those who want to practice their head-making skills.

EDIT: Legal requirement: Photography by Angelica Dass (www.angelicadass.com)


https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/1a09220f-ab50-42ac-ad1a-33ec.pnghttps://forum.reallusion.com/Uploads/Images/d14339d0-cd32-4b35-88f9-40a0.png


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justaviking
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@Gerry - Thanks for the interesting resource.  I haven't gotten a good look at it yet, but I look forward to delving into it more deeply.

@Tony - I would say there are some generalities, mostly along demographic lines, such as where people were born and raised.  Those generalities tend to be include cultural differences that go with those demographics that tend to affect politics, food, and other such preferences.  More of a factor at work, though, is people's employment background and job function.  People who work in finance, project management, manufacturing, maintenance, engineering, sales, etc., seem to fall into different viewpoints and perspectives, some of which are justified by their responsibility to the company.  I find that those differences to be the ones that make it easier or more challenging to work with someone.  I spent many years as an "outside consultant" and I often found myself bridging gaps within the companies where I consulted, and putting aside any humility, I often helped "translate" between internal organizations and healed many long-running conflicts by deciphering what people "meant" as opposed to what was "heard" by those across the table.  Lots of re-wording and many analogies often helped break down communication barriers.  But I've never had race or gender be an actual obstacle I've had to overcome.

@Schemer - Hmm, lopsided ears.  Now I have something to look for tomorrow.  Tongue

@Animagic - Nice work on the avatar.



iClone 7... Character Creator... Substance Designer/Painter... Blender... Audacity...
Desktop (homebuilt) - Windows 7, i7-3770k CPU, GTX 1080 GPU (8GB), 16GB RAM, Asus P8Z77-V Pro motherboard, 500 GB SSD, terabytes of disk space, dual  monitors.
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TonyDPrime
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justaviking (11/30/2017)
@Gerry - Thanks for the interesting resource.  I haven't gotten a good look at it yet, but I look forward to delving into it more deeply.

@Tony - I would say there are some generalities, mostly along demographic lines, such as where people were born and raised.  Those generalities tend to be include cultural differences that go with those demographics that tend to affect politics, food, and other such preferences.  More of a factor at work, though, is people's employment background and job function.  People who work in finance, project management, manufacturing, maintenance, engineering, sales, etc., seem to fall into different viewpoints and perspectives, some of which are justified by their responsibility to the company.  I find that those differences to be the ones that make it easier or more challenging to work with someone.  I spent many years as an "outside consultant" and I often found myself bridging gaps within the companies where I consulted, and putting aside any humility, I often helped "translate" between internal organizations and healed many long-running conflicts by deciphering what people "meant" as opposed to what was "heard" by those across the table.  Lots of re-wording and many analogies often helped break down communication barriers.  But I've never had race or gender be an actual obstacle I've had to overcome.

@Schemer - Hmm, lopsided ears.  Now I have something to look for tomorrow.  Tongue

@Animagic - Nice work on the avatar.


Sounds like you were the Ambassador!

justaviking
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When you find yourself laying toilet paper onto your scanner, you know you have a strange hobby.
(At least it was clean TP.)





iClone 7... Character Creator... Substance Designer/Painter... Blender... Audacity...
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wires
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justaviking (12/3/2017)

When you find yourself laying toilet paper onto your scanner, you know you have a strange hobby.
(At least it was clean TP.)


As long as you're not sitting on the office copier after hours things should get better. BigGrinTongueHehe

Gerry



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justaviking
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Thanks, Gerry.

I'm doing fine, but Pinhead was a bit distressed.
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/0a498ef9-4c4d-4d4c-a265-4129.png
Here is a close-up of the prop:
https://forum.reallusion.com/uploads/images/bd2b2902-eacb-4443-add4-fde6.png



It is amazing how many things can be discovered even by making such a simple little prop, but it made a great test-case for developing a good start-to-finish workflow.  It's still not a well-optimized asset (no pun intended), but (again, no pun intended), the number of details and steps can be amazing.
- Blender modeling
- Proper scaling
- Hidden geometry
- High-poly and low-poly meshes
- Triangulation and decimation of meshes
- Blender modifiers and edge loops and hard edges
- Doing all the above Blender stuff in an optimal sequence
- Multiple materials
- Color ID maps (especially with respect to different materials)
- FBX vs. OBJ file formats
- Scanning
- Textures and Substances
- Painting and material selection
All these things, and more, become considerations in making a high-quality prop.  This particular one does not embed everything I've been practicing and stringing together the last couple of days, but I think I have a real good handle on it.

For example, briefly, there are distinct pros and cons to using multiple materials in Blender, versus using vertex color painting to make an ID map, especially when you export to Substance Painter, and that's one of the times you really want to export as FBX rather than OBJ.  Yeah, so many moving parts.  But fun.




iClone 7... Character Creator... Substance Designer/Painter... Blender... Audacity...
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justaviking
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a) I am writing in response to this post in the "Filmmaking versus Animation" thread:  https://forum.reallusion.com/FindPost354832.aspx
b) You don't have to read that entire thread but plead to read at least the one post I linked to.
c) This could, and probably should, become its own thread, but I'm not quite ready to start it yet.  But I wanted to step out of the established thread for this side conversation.

I am going to reference one of my own projects.  Not to boast, since I know it's full of flaws, but I think I can use it as a good foundation on which I can make some comments.




ANIMATING TO A SCRIPT:

In this case, I wrote the script, nearly in its entirety, before starting any significant iClone work.  So in that case, I was animating to a script.

I did some technical proofs-of-concept before getting too far into the project, but I did not do any storyboarding  I went straight from script to iClone.


BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE SCENE:
A man has kidnapped a lady.  Until now, we haven't really known why, or what the connection was between them.  In the scene immediately preceding this one, her boyfriend (Pinhead) was asking for help in rescuing her, and that person suggested Pinhead tell him more about the kidnapper.  That is where we cut to this scene.

It should start at T=19:27 and run to 21:07   (1min 40sec)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnASRNU8vn4&feature=youtu.be&t=1167


FILMMAKING CHALLENGES:

A core feature of this "film" is it was a semi-musical format, using *existing* songs.  That meant I had limited control over the duration in some places.  It also made the script writing very challenging in places.  There were a couple songs I really, really wanted to use, and the lyrics were perfect, but the genders were wrong.  You can't have your leading man sing with a female voice half-way through the movie.  It really made me appreciate a filmmaker who can have custom-written music, performed specifically for his movie.


ANIMATION CHALLENGES:

Because it involves singing to a music track, the normal audio-to-viseme method would not work - the music interfered with the words.  It also meant the text-to-speech method would not work because the speed and timing would change drastically.  My solution was to speak/chant the words into my microphone in time with the music for audio-to-viseme generation.  It still took a lot of viseme cleanup to make it better.  I think I did a pretty good job of cleaning up a few songs, and some parts turned out pretty well.  The song in this scene represents a mediocre "singing/viseme" result.  (A couple others were left in a horrible state because I of the project's deadline date.)

MY FILMMAKING CRITIQUE - POSITIVE:

This scene is a bit of backstory and exposition, but I had to explain WHY the villain kidnapped her.  I thought I did a reasonable job of it.  (Others may disagree, of course.)

I think most the "acting" is reasonable.  I still like most of the basic gestures and hand and body motions in terms what the director (me) wanted.

Is "acting" in this sense a filmmaking or an animation critique?  Consider when she gasps and covers her mouth at 20:35 as she realizes this is all the result of a romantic obsession.  I call that "directing and acting" which I think puts it into the filmmaking category.

MY FILMMAKING CRITIQUE - NEGATIVE:

My wife really thought I got too "dark" as the scene faded out.  Not in terms of the lighting, but it may have implied an even darker turn of events than I intended.  I wanted her to be in a certain amount of peril, but no, he is not going to rape her.

At 20:03-20:08 I wanted her to follow his hand motions because I thought that would be a natural thing to do.  I think I overdid that a bit (I'm calling that a "director's" error, not an animation error.)

I'm mostly satisfied with my camera work.  There is always room for improvement, but overall I'm okay with it.


MY ANIMATION TECHNIQUE - POSITIVE:

Repeating myself, I am generally pleased with the main "acting" animations - the hand motions and most of the head motions.

I was also quite pleased with the "physical" interaction between the characters, such as when he grasps her hands at 20:52 and also when she pushes back against him at 20:57.  The hand interaction is not perfect, but acceptable to me (especially if you don't go frame-by-frame).

MY ANIMATION TECHNIQUE - NEGATIVE:

Well, that could fill a book.

The faces are largely expressionless.  This scene was typical of my lack of "eyebrow" and other facial animations.  I did it in small places, but again it fell victim to one person working on a large project with a deadline.  It sure would have been a great time to have Faceware to capture all the emotional acting without all the painstaking animation.

There is also a lack of "life" when they aren't doing any specific acting.  They typically become mannequins when they are waiting their turn to talk.  The standard "idle" motions wouldn't work, but some breathing would be nice, and any small motions to add some life.

I also cheated where the villain "walks" forward at 20:42.  He just slides forward.  That's partly because I still find it challenging to have avatars walk short distances and stop at precise locations.  In a different scene I tweaked a similar "glide," adding a touch of up-and-down motion to the body, which still isn't perfect but is a big improvement to a simple translation.

Lighting was close to default lighting.  Sadly, that was one of the main things I wanted to do a better job on when I started the project, but it got left on the back burner again.

My "jail cell" set has some very rudimentary textures.  What I used helps tell the story, but they are certainly nothing to be proud of.

And the shadows!  I had trouble with them.  They were so blocky.  In some scenes they were even worse than in this scene.  Part of that was my fault, I'm sure, but it also shows again the huge improvements made from iClone 5 to iClone 7.

Hair.  The girl's hair had no physics, and goes into her body.  The villain's hair it a bit too big for his head, but I couldn't simply scale it down or it had other problems.  This predated Character Creator with conforming hair.




CLOSING:

I don't know if this added to the "filmmaking versus animation" discussion or not.  Feel free to comment here, especially agreeing or disagreeing with my comments in this post.

You can also critique my video if you wish.  Technically, most of my iClone videos end with what I would call a "pre-vis" quality.  As a personal focus, I'd rather tell a decent story with low-quality video than the inverse.  As a film, I feel the first third or so is rough, and could use some editing to make it tighter, and at least one of the songs is sort of forced into the script and should maybe be cut out, though I'm pretty satisfied with the "film" aspects of the second half (relative to the vision I had).




iClone 7... Character Creator... Substance Designer/Painter... Blender... Audacity...
Desktop (homebuilt) - Windows 7, i7-3770k CPU, GTX 1080 GPU (8GB), 16GB RAM, Asus P8Z77-V Pro motherboard, 500 GB SSD, terabytes of disk space, dual  monitors.
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Edited
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Delerna
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 am going to have tea and watch a movie shortly but just wanted to make a few quick comments now. I think I am going to watch and read this again and maybe post some more thoughts at some stage.

For me the biggest thing is yes, you are right this is full of flaws but wow, I watched that whole video and you had me wanting to see what was going to happen. My wife also came in and saw part of it and she enjoyed what she saw. For me perfect animation is not necessary, so long as it is reasonable and works with the story then that is good enough. Especially for us who are trying to learn how to make interesting videos.
Obviously once I get effective with that then that is when I would work harder and spend more time on improving my animation. But telling a story well makes up for animation that is not perfect. I have seen many professional cartoon videos where that has happening. I have also seen plenty where the animations and graphics are astounding but the story was rubbish and I quickly stopped watching it. So in my opinion, telling stories well is what I need to spend the time on first up.

One more thing, I agree with you about storyboards. There are uses for it I think but I think its primary purpose is to assist large teams to all see the story in the same way. It takes time to do it but that time is worth it for a large team.  When I am the only one doing the story then I know what it is I am working on so instead of spending time doing storyboards I will just work on my project

Anyway. Off to tea



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