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Justaviking's iClone 7 corner

Posted By justaviking 2 Years Ago
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Justaviking!..

 …What a strange idea…using snips of songs to illustrate your story? One wishes that ‘Gilbert & Sullivan’ or the writers of 1800’s operetta’s had only thought of it?...Please don’t be offended…
I only mean that it is so seldom seen, it’s much more shocking and strange than the last entry into the ‘Alien’ franchise… 

Did it work…kinda’ yeah! What a brave move, well worth investigating further?..

As to the animation…we ‘aussies’ have a reputation for not giving a damn, so… 

‘…Don’t give a damn!’

Textures…yeah, yeah…footsliding…yeah, yeah, etc, etc. 

All ‘old problems’ till Reallusion manages to come up with the answers… 

Interesting tale. Almost, totally believable…but as it was a ‘Pinhead’project, I don’t think that was necessarily part of the ‘brief’ at the start?..


Characters who ‘mostly’ had something to say, who then, made me wonder what the response was going to be.

The landscape did seem to be a little sparse, except at the end, perhaps this occurred in Iceland, they have few trees and small plants there…I think it’s mainly lichen? 


…Everybody did what they were supposed to!

 

Goddamn it. I love it. No-ones gonna’ win an Oscar, but everybody…(read the line above…)

Animating to script doesn’t mean…’Oh, Oh, but I can’t stop peoples feet sliding…it means, 

How can I get my hero to logically pair up with (whoever or whatever…) in the most interesting way, given the tools at my disposal? 


Pinhead is a nerd, a klutz, a doofus……………but, he obviously has some ‘backstory’…(for anyone from the original post) with a guy
…who although he looks very much like Chuck from IClone 5’ has not only some moves but even a little attitude...( how…why?..)

He is real. He eventually shows us traits and responses we all either wish/or hope we had…and at the end he turns out to be a hero.
(This is not how every story has to end; but in the best stories, they have to end..like they end…and this is perfect.)
 

Excellent voicework…(although I thought the villain would be a just a tad more annoyed at his rapidly approaching demise?) 

I didn’t for an instant notice the time going by, this is a pretty beefy project ‘41.03’. Is it a film’/piece of cinema…Hell Yeah!...

The use of camera, close-ups, cutaways…(the foot slipping on the ledge…original? I hardly think so, does it work,..hell yeah!..)

And you did this in IClone 5?..’ FIVE’ people…I just got some test stuff out of IClone 5’…and that was all.

 

Watch this folks’…look, listen and learn….

 

 

 



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Dennis,

I'll watch later -- way too early for me to get my eyes open enough at the moment -- but something you mentioned (and then Delerma also echoed) reminded me of something important and it's OT.  You mentioned your wife commented on your work.

I find it's incredibly helpful to get feedback from my harshest critic, my significant other.  Since we've been married for over 30 years you'd think we might think alike, but she offers such a different outlook on things, particularly my animation, that it nearly always causes me to rethink and, yes, change things even though my first response is "well, she doesn't get it".

For those of us who are one-man shops, having this kind of feedback from a trusted friend (one who won't completely tear you a new one :>Wink is invaluable.  Unless they are just really into animation or your work, it's unlikely you can involve them early (which would be the most helpful) but you ought to for sure at least let them have a look at the "final" product -- and then take that into serious consideration.

While there is a lot of "we need to be true to ourselves" the simple fact is that the opposite sex in particular sees things differently -- viva la difference, as Spencer Tracy once said, but taking that into account will make your work SO much better it isn't even funny.  If my own wife hasn't seen and approved what I've done the job isn't finished.



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justaviking (1/19/2018)
a)
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.




Let's leave aside things which iClone has improved natively (shadows, hair physics, textures in the cell and even lighting -- GI has solve many, if not most, problems with interiors in that regard).  Folks will still have issues with the rest, because we are most familiar with people we notice if their behavior, facial or body movements aren't "authentic".  I've talked about this elsewhere, but I do think we approach the uncanny valley nowadays, and it's a slippery slope, because the more real we get the more folks notice these things.  In something like this particular video we are apt to "cut it some slack", just as when we watch 2D animation we don't need for it to even behave the laws of gravity or anything approaching normal.

But the more "normal" something looks the less we are likely to ignore it when it doesn't go all the way, and I think this is going to continue to plague us now that our tools are very sophisticated.  IOW, we've all seen what good facial stuff looks like now, and whether you have Faceware or whether you've just not spent a lot of time in the facial editor, folks are going to be unforgiving if it doesn't look that way.

I also think the comment about the actors waiting for their turn to talk: oddly enough, this is also true of real people who don't understand that acting is also reacting.  But we can take a clue from the actor's workshop and understand it's just as important (maybe more so) to show our actors reacting to the speaker as it is to get the speaker right.

As for the last comment, about getting small movements -- this is where I think mocap works the best.  I don't like using it for "big" motions but just for standing around and moving slightly.  I find using my iPisoft setup for these things adds a TON of realism (plus it's easy to do).





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justaviking (1/19/2018)I am writing in response to this post in the "Filmmaking versus Animation" thread:  https://forum.reallusion.com/FindPost354832.aspx

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.

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.)


Thank you for pointing out your animation problems that inhibit you from (perfectly) following your "Kidnap" script.

My goal is improve my animation skill so that....(One Day I'm Handed a Script) and consistently meet deadlines.
The Pinhead projects is perfect for this.

I like the "Kidnap" story and would practice....
After blending mocap, removing the robotic animation, (Add secondary animation) and follow the script.
I'd practice the fist part and not move forward until I get it right.

IMO: Animation is the key to how well you tell any story.
There is a wealth of information on "How To's for Storytelling", but NOT for "How to Do the Animation" (with iClone)
Thank you for sharing this.

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Thanks for the replies.

I was trying to quote some of your comments and make specific replies, but the forum is having trouble getting the formatting right (even after pasting into and out of Notepad to remove any text formatting).  So I'll be a bit more random in my responses...



First of all, thank you for the kind comments about the "story" and the "characters."  Although I do care about the technical aspects, I personally put "story" first, and then the remainder usually suffers from a deadly combination of lack of time and lack of skill.  But your ability to endure the technical shortcomings and enjoy the story means a lot to me, so thanks again.

Spiny Normal has a way with words, and made some amusing comments, such as his colorful description of the landscape.  I agree.  There are trees floating a meter above the ground, and other issues too.  That was the first landscape I ever tried to sculpt, and I did manage to make a "cliff by the sea" which was important to the script.  But the rest of it is, once again, only a pre-vis quality.  The road is simply a textured plane added over and over again.  It tells the story, but that's about it.

If you watch some of the exterior scenes at the theater, you might notice a fire escape stairway comes and goes.  I thought it would be a good addition, but I didn't get it added to all my scenes consistently.  This is where the ability to externally reference an object (like we can with some textures) would be great.  Then I could update the master item, and all my scenes would inherit the updated copy the next time I render.  For a while I thought Pinhead should tie a rope to the fire escape and around his waist, in case he fell, (and especially for Alura to hold onto), but thinking about the technical issues of trying to animate a rope took it out of the script.  And there's a bit more peril without the safety rope, so I guess that's okay anyway.

The "singing" idea was chosen as a conscious decision to "do something different."  The movie "Mama Mia" used a similar concept with classic Abba songs.

Pinhead and Viking do indeed have a backstory.  I used Viking (Lars) in a previous Pinhead video, and Viking was literally stabbed in the back and nearly died.  In that story, you learn that Viking was a "special forces" military guy who is now more like a private detective.  It was a lot of fun to reference that, and hopefully I did it in a way that didn't require you to see the earlier movie.  It was also fun to show that they were childhood friends, though it's a bit amusing that they haven't changed clothes in at least 25 years.  LOL.  Once again, time limitations - and the lack of Character Creator - pushed me into simply scaling their bodies a bit.

I'm glad the voice acting was acknowledged.  One of my daughters did the voice of Alura, and I think she did a fine job.  A a coworker (Mo) did the villain.  I recorded Mo in a conference room at work, and in a couple places you can hear the footsteps of people walking by in the hall.  Later, wearing headphones and listening to Mo and me talking between takes, was quite an experience.  The contrast between our voices was so astounding, and wow, my voice sounds so wimpy next to his.  And that laugh of his, piped directly into my ears, I loved it.  I didn't know Mo very well at the time, and was unsure about asking him to do a voice-over for my video (and he's a big, intimidating guy).  As you can imagine, he's been told before that he should do some "voice acting" and was very excited about it.  It was also interesting to "direct" someone I didn't know very well, but I made myself do it, and he responded wonderfully as we did several takes of each scene.  He also provided some great suggestions and inspiration on a couple of lines.  We both got a bit of amusement that he, a black guy, was doing the voice-over of a white character.  His only complaint was he didn't like when I named the villain "Vernon."  I think Mo felt the name was a bit lame.  Oh well.  As an actor, he had to accept it (even though he could crush me with his bare hands if he wanted to, LOL).

Regarding feedback from friends and relatives... I find they can be both your harshest critics and they can also be overly kind.


Thanks again for the comments.  I love conversations like this, including critiques.  I better go eat now before my lunchtime is over.



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justaviking (1/19/2018)
...But your ability to endure the technical shortcomings and enjoy the story means a lot to me, so thanks again.

No... Thank You! Please continue sharing your work.
Your work keeps my head on straight.

I will take any story... any thought or idea... and practice the animation (to get it correct).
...then everything comes together (following any script).

Your work shows me exactly what animation problems I face using iClone to follow a script.

I personally put "story" first, and then the remainder usually suffers from a deadly combination of lack of time and lack of skill.  

From my Weakness (Point of View):
 I refuse to put anything first, second, third, etc..
"I know the better I learn to animate... the better I can tell any story and follow any script."

I know my weakness (Animating)...and will work on it, relentlessly.
I have a long way to go and a lot to learn...
Thanks Again. 


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justaviking (1/19/2018)
 For a while I thought Pinhead should tie a rope to the fire escape and around his waist, in case he fell, (and especially for Alura to hold onto), but thinking about the technical issues of trying to animate a rope took it out of the script.  And there's a bit more peril without the safety rope, so I guess that's okay anyway.


ANIMATING TO A SCRIPT

Back to that idea, I thought about my "rope" story and it reminded me that sometimes the script has to adapt to budget, technical, and schedule constraints.

Whether in animation or live filming, everything has a cost.  That city-wide car chase scene that damages 300 vehicles is expensive in both worlds.

On a positive note, sometimes being forced to rewrite something results in a better product in the end.  What you don't show (but allude to) can be as important as what you do show.  And replacing a 3-minute scene with a 20-second scene might improve the pace and timing.

Or, on a negative note, it might cause you to cancel the project and shop for a new script.  So it's always good to try and think those things through in your pre-production meetings, even if you are the only person in the room.




@Uncwe

Even when my work can serve as an example of mistakes to avoid, I'm okay with that.   Wink

Regarding not putting one aspect of a project ahead of the other, it's a great goal, but I don't think it's physically possible to focus on everything at one time, especially as an individual.  Especially if you don't want your 5-minute video to take a year to produce.  It's also a matter of passion and personal interest.  Some people love lighting, or camera work, or editing, or clothing, or modeling props.  All that stuff interests me greatly, but "story" is closest to my heart.




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justaviking (1/19/2018)
@Uncwe
Even when my work can serve as an example of mistakes to avoid, I'm okay with that.   Wink

On the contrary.... Your work displays realistic results (For Me as a new user)... with little to no iclone tool experience.
I have animation experience creating secondary motions and correcting animation.
The key for me is to learn iclone's animation tools and apply what I've learned.

Regarding not putting one aspect of a project ahead of the other, it's a great goal, but I don't think it's physically possible to focus on everything at one time, especially as an individual.  Especially if you don't want your 5-minute video to take a year to produce.  It's also a matter of passion and personal interest.  Some people love lighting, or camera work, or editing, or clothing, or modeling props.  All that stuff interests me greatly, but "story" is closest to my heart.

Rampa (1/17/2018)
...It can also be challenging to animate all the activity of it for people without animation experience. It is for me.

When "Experienced" iclone users state this...
Getting this right... Is a major concern for me.

The "Script" will always change... I want to gain the animation experience to follow these changes.


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@Uncwe - I think I understand what you're saying.  You want to be more productive with iClone, right?  All I can suggest is to spend  serious time with it.  I find it is becoming a larger and larger application, and that's both a blessing and a curse.

iClone can do so much, and do it well, but It's difficult to be proficient in everything it has to offer.  Some of the features require a bit of a deep-dive, such as the new PopcornFX plug-in.  Even time-saving features like Faceware require some time and practice before you get the good results it is capable of producing.

Good luck, and always remember there are a lot of kind people here to help answer questions (when they're not busy reading my long-winded posts).



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justaviking (1/19/2018)
@Uncwe - I think I understand what you're saying.  You want to be more productive with iClone, right?

Yes.

justaviking (1/19/2018)
I am writing in response to this post in the "Filmmaking versus Animation" thread:  https://forum.reallusion.com/FindPost354832.aspx

When you posted this...... the thread contains massive info for film making ideas.

justaviking (1/19/2018)

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.

When I saw this... I'd hope the justaviking thread would contain "Animation" talk of "How-To"...follow a script using iclone animation tools.
Thank You for the advice.

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