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AnimaTechnica (aknzrdude)'s Production Diary

Posted By aknzrdude 13 Years Ago
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aknzrdude
aknzrdude
Posted 13 Years Ago
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Some background: I am in the process of creating a new movie which is tentatively titled - Voyages of the Sojourner - a steampunk themed movie set in 1880's with some of today's technology. With this thread, i wanted to start a diary on how i put together the movie. Note i'll assume you are familiar with the user interface. WARNING I expect this thread will be graphics intensive so be warned.

How i approach movie making in iclone
Obviously everyone approaches movie making differently. I have always focused more on visuals first, story second (sacrilege!) but i typically would fart around and design a set or character and suddenly a story idea emerges. This is true with this Steampunk movie. I first designed some characters and the idea emerged. But hey whatever works for you


IDEA # 1 : A Movie is a bunch of scenes connected by the plot
The sentence above pretty much sums up how i approach the movie. i break the story down into a bunch of scenes. One key point is the visual style, costumes etc.. must sort of be the same through out. One of the scenes for my movie involve a captain sitting in his cabin contemplating the journey - so we will use this diary to describe how i approach this

IDEA # 2: Each scene might involved many different projects, or might require rendering many different footage, requiring an external video editor to assemble them all later

First Steps -collecting the elements
1) i determine i need an ocean scene where i can show the ship bobbing in the water, this establishes that our character is a captain of a ship

2) I need an interior scene where the captain is in his cabin. I go over to images.google.com and search for images that help guide me. I go to 3D Warehouse to see if one is already created to my satisfaction. If i can't find anything my options are to create my own using 3D blocks or buy one already made. Head over to RL's store or coolcreators.com or clones2go

in this case i found a galleon cabin at clones2go

I also needed a ship for external shots so found one at 3D warehouse

I also needed some crew members and to save time creating my own, went to coolcreators and got Alley's Medieval pack that can double as crew members

3) i need to decorate the cabin - to personalize it for the captain - so back to 3D warehouse i go and download some props which i convert using 3D exchange. I could not find a photo frame i liked so will make my own using 3D blocks

so now we have almost all we need but do need to make a few ourselves
Here's a list of various elements that I'll be making for this scene

1) make the ocean scene - sky, waves, water, ship and set up the camera
2) decorate the cabin, create photo prop
3) set up lighting for the cabin
4) set up the camera angles i will be using to film
6) edit the captain's motions
7) design the captain's costume





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13 Years Ago by aknzrdude
aknzrdude
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Creating a Basic Ocean

see the end result video here

here's how we got there - CREATING THE OCEAN
1) basically use iClone's built in WATER - drag it into the workspace. The WATER prop has built in animated bump maps which simulates water moving



2) now for the sky, we can use one of the 3D SPACE props - these are props that goes over your scene as skys, ceiling, even caves. Basically put a sky prop to your workstage, apply texture to it, then animate it



3) Here's how you apply texture. I use google to look for sky pictures i can use as texture maps








Attachments
Water Drag.jpg (1.4K views, 36.00 KB)
Sky Drag.jpg (1.5K views, 48.00 KB)
Sky Text open.jpg (1.5K views, 45.00 KB)
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13 Years Ago by aknzrdude
aknzrdude
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4) Click on DIFFUSE, then the OPEN icon and select the image you want to use for your sky



5) Now Click the OPEN icon again and this time click on OPACITY we'll add a plain black jpg. Adjust OPACITY strength slider to ~50 Why? because i want to create a SKY that is somewhat transparent. Why? becuase i will add another SKY prop, make it a bit bigger than the first one to become an outer sky - the transparency will help the camera see the outer sky prop. This way when i animate the sky prop it will look like i have layers of clouds



6) Now save the prop by clicking the "+" on the left panel. Now add this same prop to the scene. You should now have 2 360 SKY props on your content manager




7) Go to the transform section (top right section of the MODIFY section) and adjust the XYZ size of one of the SKY props to 115 - this becomes our outer sky layer





Attachments
Sky Text open E.jpg (236 views, 54.00 KB)
Sky Text open F.jpg (1.4K views, 38.00 KB)
Sky Text open G.jpg (1.4K views, 32.00 KB)
Sky Text open B.jpg (1.5K views, 47.00 KB)
Sky Text open D.jpg (1.4K views, 42.00 KB)
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13 Years Ago by aknzrdude
aknzrdude
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ANIMATING THE SCENE

8) now we prepare to animate the scene. First off i can adjust the direction the water is flowing. To check, click on PLAY on the timeline just below the workstage


Use the WATER MODIFY panel, select DIRECTION and change the number to change the direction of water flow -try different numbers to get a sense of direction. You can also change the color

ANIMATING THE CLOUDS
9) for this scene, i want the clouds moving in one direction. with 2 SKY props I have 2 layers of skies sop what I'll do is make each sky prop rotate slowly but at different speeds to simulate layered cloud moving



10) Adjust the motion of the first SKY, by using the TIMELINE and the ROTATE control. Then repeat the same procedure for the second SKY but this time set the ROTATE to a lower number than the first SKY. As an alternative you can leave this one alone not have it move





now you see how the video shown above (or linked here) was created. Next well talk about lighting and camera. But first i gotta sleep


Attachments
LIght3.jpg (222 views, 62.00 KB)
Light1.jpg (207 views, 37.00 KB)
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13 Years Ago by aknzrdude
gizmo
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I like the idea of two sky props aknzrdude. Had not thought of that one. Good thread.

Cool gizmo
IHatePie
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Definetly a good thread, and I look forward to continued postings...
sumthinwong
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Finally a real "how to", thank you Aknzrdude for your time in this endeavor. Maybe some help from the others of us who could contribute from time to time or jump in with additional info. Thanks again for starting this I look forward to its continuation.

All arts is political, otherwise it would just be decoration. And all artists have something to say, otherwise they'd make shoes.

Earl of Oxford








sisch
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Thank you - for one thing it is great to see how others are working, and for me this is especially great - I'm learning a lot! Smile

Sisch's Reflections


aknzrdude
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ANIMATECHNICA's Heart Ache prevention tip - always save the project after you're done or better yet while you are doing it! when I'm working on a movie before i render out or add a new camera i save the project. Create a directory in your custom folder, label it TEMP WIP - and save any work in process projects there - in case you screw up or iClone crashes. For out little project here, i will be converting the scene into a night scene so i will save what i have so far

LIGHTING BASICS

Ok we just finished our first movie set, now let's think about how we want to light it. I'm no expert in lighting but i basically do everything by trial and error and through this have developed my own flavor on how i light things. More on that later. First let's talk about iClone basics

We have 3 light types in iClone
1) DIR./SPOTLIGHT - DIR refers to directional light - this lets you shine the light along a specific direction. Great for showing sunrise and sunsets for example. SPOTLIGHT - well i think it's self explanatory. Both of these lights you can animate and cast shadows

2) POINT LIGHT - looks at these as local lights, they only affect the immediate vicinity. Great for simulating light coming from lamps, torches. I use this primarily in my movies. These lights you also animate (move, change color,intensity n rotate) and link to objects

3) AMBIENT light - this light can be viewed as your global light or sunlight - it lights up in all directions. It also gives some iClone movies that 'flat' cartoony look. I seldom use this light. It is defaulted to GRAY color but i usually turn it to BLACK

now we will use a combination of texture adjustments and lighting to make our scene look like it is night time




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Light0.jpg (1.3K views, 47.00 KB)
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13 Years Ago by aknzrdude
aknzrdude
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TURNING DAYTIME INTO NIGHT
see sample of this section's output video

1) Back to our original project, to make it look like its night time,my first step is to adjust the color of the WATER


[/img]

2) Now let's work on the SKY 360 prop - 2 ways to do this - a) change the texture (as described in STEP4 of my previous post) and load a night time sky picture OR in my lazy method case i just turn down the SATURATION of the material - this effectively removes the color from texture so i am left with a greyscale picture as my texture map.





3) now we almost have a night time scene. Let's tackle lighting - go to STAGE-LIGHT and follow the image below.




4) ok got my night scene - you can adjust the lighting, or lower the BRIGHTNESS of the SKY texture map to make the scene even darker, i purposedly left it somewhat lighter for this tutorial. Now i realize it could benefit from having a moon. To add a moon, i go to images.google.com and look for a nice moon picture





5) Now i need to convert that pictureinto a prop so i load a BILLBOARDprop




6) Now go to PROPS - MODIFY - MATERIAL and we'll work with the material maps



there we now have a usable night time ocean scene - don't forget to save the project- in fact everytime you create a new prop, save that prop in your custom folder


Attachments
Light0.jpg (197 views, 47.00 KB)
Light1.jpg (208 views, 37.00 KB)
LIght2.jpg (1.3K views, 71.00 KB)
Edited
13 Years Ago by aknzrdude



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