Exit Hank Fletcher

This project was the focus of my entire Animation Studio online class. I was to develop a 10 second animation to be included in a sci-fi futuristic television program called In Future. I was required to animate an existing or newly designed character into a setting, which supports the role of the character. The character was required to interact with props or supplementary characters within a live-action backdrop.

I produced the video from proposal to storyboard to photography to the video above. I had this class during the same quarter as my Character Rigging and Portfolio Production classes. It was 1 month and 1 week long. This was one of my most difficult quarters throughout my entire college program, and surely the most damaging. I listened to text via text-to-speech while driving to and from school, I read text and watched video tutorials while I cooked and ate meals, I worked from wake to sleep, even on the weekends, and I did not get enough sleep for many nights. It was a non-stop crunch.

I checked out cameras and photographed the spherical IBL (Image-Based Lighting) image and the background video near the pond across the street from the Art Institute of Michigan in Novi, MI. Then I created a model to mimic the physical environment to simulate shadows, reflections, and physical presence for interaction in animation. I only had 1 rigging class, this is literally my first attempt at rigging my own 3D character. The character in this video was previously modeled in Maya with UVs mapped, but it was rigged during this same period. I modeled, mapped UVs, and textured the hovercraft during this quarter. I also designed the "In Future" logo during this time in Photoshop. There really wasn't much work into the audio. I faded things in and out in Premiere.

I had to overcome multiple problems while persisting production. First of all, a class-related website was blocked by my virus protection software. It wasn't too hard to have the article explained by the instructor elsewhere. Next, the character's body would protrude through his clothing. This was a problem with the painted skin weights, and it was cleared up by paying closer attention to the weights attached to the arm UVs. After that, for some unknown reason, partway through the quarter, my mapped UVs were scrambled, and when I tried to fix them, my work would not save when I saved the file. I had to continue to work on unrelated parts of the project without knowing whether my UVs and textures would look right. One suggestion that seemed probable was that there was a compatibility issue between the NVidia-associated software programming and the drivers for my AMD graphics card. Fortunately, before the end of the quarter, there was an update for my graphics card software, and I was then able to save my work. I also had problems with the animation tangents on the hovercraft, which was due to 2 conflicting tangents from adjacent key frames. This shouldn't have been a problem, it was caused by my absent-mindedness after dealing with so much chaos and confusion with so little sleep. Finally, the largest problem of all was the work-to-allotted-time ratio. I could have done so much better, especially on the animation, but I was literally not allowed enough time to do so.

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