# Topology

Topology is an important part of any modelling process, small edges are connected to each other and connect to all across the model this is called topology. Topology is a technical consideration of the modelling process and you can easily figure it out how the character will animate or another aspect of the good topology is when modelling for animation increased and the resolution of the polygonal area of the model will undergo and most of the deformation happens during the animation in joints, facial features & moving parts.

I’ve modelled this character in MDU125 and try to model with good topology and try to consideration of all the necessary aspects of the good topology.

I’ve watched few tutorials from digital tutors which helped me to understand the character modelling and the right topology, but this tutorial I guess is the best tutorial for me and anyone who wants to learn  topology, form and proportion, In this tutorial he described everything in detail it really helped.

http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/1028-Character-Modeling-Concepts-in-3ds-Max

When we edit an organic model which is going to be used in animation, then we should consider the topology very closely that edge flow should follow the form of the shape and should be positioned right because if it’s not right then there is a possibility that when there is a bending happens it will distort the faces.

Mesh’s Edge flow of the lines describes the effectiveness of the topology depending how good or bad. Sometimes it doesn’t really matter how well the edge flow forms the shape of that mesh, often when we apply smoothing groups on our mesh, subsurface modifiers will distort the shape if it’s bad topology, so the edge flow should be distributed evenly and add some extra edges to the corner.

If the mesh is designed to bend, then avoid the use of N-gons because they have so many vertices, quads are better than the  N-gons, but still not that good because when we bend our mesh it will collapse but triangle are retained when bending happening. There should be enough lines available to follow the direction of the curves.

In the above picture you can see, that there is no collapse in yellow mesh but green one collapsing.

For the head, it should be better edge flow and its form concentric circles around the cavities like eyes and the mouth, because this significant measure allows lots of flexibility of easy reshaping opening or closing. For the smooth curves around the limbs that bend fingers and elbow joints, it’s better to have three or more edge flow around the bend. If it’s aligned poor edge flow around the joints, then there is a more chance to have deformations, but if we want to have a good topology then we have to consider the above points.

https://blenderartists.org/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=265136&d=1381997025

# Concept Art/life drawings

I have attended few sessions of life drawings which was really helpful for me to understand human anatomy and it was life drawing so we have a chance to polish our drawing skills because each pose has a specific time and we’ve learned reflections and shadows in drawing too.

In this trimester I’ve tried to do few concept art for my project Aftermath which was pretty challenge  for me because this is the first time I was doing some concept art because in previous trimester I’ve done few of concept art but it was very rough but this time I would say I’ve produced very organic much-improved work.

# Staging

Staging or the screen space is the area where all your work/animation will play. A communication between character and the viewers which show pose or the action and it can relate to the story through the attitude, mood, reaction, or the idea this is called staging. Every scene, sequence and the frame of the movie should relate to the overall story because time is very limited in a movie, and don’t make confuse the viewers with all the actions at once, try to use one action clearly stated to get the idea what actually trying to communicate.
We tried to apply the same strategies to our VFX project that our staging would work with our overall story and how the viewers will connect. So for that, we had a conversation with our facilitator Brett and he gave us some effective advice to our project how to use the correct colour scheme and how are some of the elements will work when the camera will move.

So, this is our final output of staging. We have the biggest challenge is that we have moving camera and then we have holographic images popping in & out, so that is why we need correct staging for our scene.

# 3D Animation Workflow

There are three common stages of the 3d animation workflow:

• Pre-production
• Production
• Post-production

### Pre-production

All of the concept art, style guides, art bible, and project planning are  involved in this phase, where all the planning happens.This is the time where we discussed how are the things going to work? What kind of risk involves the project? for that, we prepare all the risk management.

In Pre-production phase, we do rough animatics for the project so it’s easy to assess how the animation will work what possible environment, colour theme and poses Is going to work. Storyboarding is one of the essential parts that also comes in this phase, so for any project, this is the phase where we have to make sure that if we want to do any kind of experiment this is the best time to use.

### Production

This is the phase where we start our modelling process. This is also a very important phase where we have to do the implements after the research in the first phase, after modelling we go for the UV mapping. UV mapping is the 3D modelling process of projecting a 2D image to a 3D model’s surface for texture mapping, once it’s complete then we go for the texturing. Texturing  is the process where we do all the detail to the model. Rigging is the next process where we create a skeleton for a 3d character so it can move/animate, then we go to the animation once the character is rigged.

### Post-production

This is the last but important phase of the animation where we finalised our animation and go to the rendering  and a composting process, In this phase, we also do the lighting and shadows and this is the final process of the animation workflow.

### VFX Workflow

In this trimester I was doing my specialising in VFX, and for the VFX I followed same above strategy instead of a few things;

Pre-production phase was similar I’ve done all my planning create my art bible, storyboarding/script, and animatic as well before the shoot because we were doing holographic SCI FI UI Hud with live action shoot.

In the production phase, we start working on after effect and create some HUD elements for our scene and the filming was the part of this phase as well.

In the final phase of Post-production, where we have merged our all of our effects with our live action shoot.So pretty much the same workflow I’ve chosen for my VFX project except few things.

# Exhibition & Showreel

In this trimester we’ve been involved in two major projects Aftermath and VFX and both of my projects were group projects and I can say at this moment both of my projects gave me more confidence to show my skills to the Industry professionals.

In this exhibition, my target audiences were an industry professional, employees, my seniors and juniors too, so that is why I’ve tried to make my show-reel simple and concise I just added only those assets what I really think it looks professional. This time, I’ve researched on the colour combination, avoid choosing bright colours and try to sync my video with subtle background music. I’ve received very good response from the people who saw my show reel, most of them like my slow pan camera work in the show reel.

The Aftermath was a modelling project for me, I created seven different models in 3Ds Max and for the texture, I used Quixel that was a fabulous experience and then all the assets we took into Unreal Engine where we create our alleyway environment.

My 2nd project was VFX where we decided to go live shot. In the beginning I was thinking I could do this project pretty easily, but when we started this project, it was quite difficult, there were lots of small stuff we should’ve planned earlier, but we overlook few important stuff and we couldn’t manage to complete our project on time, but the good thing was we both have completed our assets for the project at least we have partial complete scene which we showed in our show-reel.

# Skills I learned. Research Topic

### History of vfx

What is vfx? In filmmaking, visual effects which are commonly known as VFX is a process of imagery created an atmosphere which merges with a live action shot.   The movie industry has depended on some kind of VFX even in the early years of filmmaking. Whether it was the fake blood in 1965’s Battle of the Bulge or the King Kong (1933).

In 60’ stop-motion animation has been created by Ray Harryhausen in Jason and the Argonauts (1963), he brings those skeleton life in the movie and they were fighting with actors. It was a very famous sequence in the effects industry of its time especially in 60’s.

70’s was the revolutionary year for the vfx because the first star wars (1977) movie was released and introduced an improved and enhanced version of special effects in the movie. The genre of the movie was SCI FI and it’s all about aliens, spaceship and planets. In this movie, they introduced industrial light and magic which is still one of the popular effects sequences.

80’s was a massive step forward in vfx with movies like Raiders of the lost Ark, E.T, Blade Runner, etc. A beautiful futuristic city with flying cars featured in the Blade Runner. The first  computer generated images introduced in the Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, but Tron took a step further it’s an entire scene featured by the computer generated. After that, we saw more and more CG elements in 80’s movies. The Adventure of Andre and Wally B was the first ever 3D animated short movie in 1984 by Pixar.

After the success of CG elements in 80’s, the new revolutionary period had begun in 90’s. We saw further enhancement in VFX in movies. In my opinion, the Jurassic park was the revolution in CG world, it takes the CG  world to the next level. Jurassic Park has some breathtaking sequences which turn impossible to possible, further, we saw a masterpiece in the 90’s like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Total Recall, The Matrix and many others we saw amazing vfx sequences.

There is a long list of VFX movies, but the movies I’ve discussed above was the movies which I think plays a vital role in the VFX industry. Current Industry is getting more advanced, enhanced and professional, now we have a better education and technical equipment and there are tonnes of different types of software pre-made plugins which makes our work smooth, easy and looks more realistic.

### The role of visual fundamentals

Michelangelo is quoted as saying, “A man paints with his brains, not with his hands.”

I think there is no argue with this above quote it is absolutely right that paints with a brain not with hands. You must have some basic knowledge and skill but its all depends that how you utilise that and when? and must have some good sense of understanding of the basic fundamental in order to become a good and successful artist.

The role of visual fundament is very important whether you doing artwork, animation or vfx, it always produces an aesthetically pleasing result in you work. The role of the visual fundamentals is to communicate a specific message to a targeted audience, through the intentional and aesthetic manipulation of elements.

Now the question is how did I used my skills and knowledge in my current projects obviously if I compare myself in past I could rate myself far much better like now I always tried to research before starting any project. I tried to make an art bible colour theme, texture, design and other elements, it makes my work more easy and more define.

In Aftermath we have research what kind of alleyway we are looking?what texture are we going to use? What will be the genre, atmosphere?what kind of assets requirement? So that help us to create our desired environment what we were looking.

### HDR Lighting

High-dynamic-range rendering (HDRR or HDR rendering), also known as high-dynamic-range lighting, is the rendering of computer graphics scenes by using lighting calculations done in high dynamic range (HDR). This allows preservation of details that may be lost due to limiting contrast ratios.

Our facilitator Brett has given us a task research on Hdr for our scene and showed us a demo how to implement. The primary advantage of the HDR rendering is that a large contrast ratio is preserved in a scene with HDR rendering, but without HDR, if the area is dark in the scene it will clip to black and if the area is bright it will be clipped to the white. It also affects refractions and reflections, how the light is preserved in optical.

Steve has given us Marmoset tutorial (https://www.marmoset.co/toolbag/learn/hdr-panos) link to research about the HDR and it really helped us to understand about the HDR. I took pictures for our scene in order to do HDR rendering for our scene.

### HDR Lighting Test

We had one session with Brett, Where he showed us how to test the HDR light. He showed us IRAY render setting for the HDR lighting, and then I and Nico tested separately for our scene and I think it worked not bad for me and looks ok for me but afterwards we don’t have time to work on HDR, but I will keep doing my research and try to learn about the HDR.

This is the image I used for background, I have taken few images from surrounding during our shoot for test of our HDR lighting.

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Reference:

“High-Dynamic-Range Rendering”. Wikipedia. N.p., 2016. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.

### 3D Models For VFX

I’ve designed few 3D models too for my VFX project, but why we require a 3d model for the VFX project? Actually when I decided to create a holographic scene with SCI FI hud popping out from the table then I decided instead of going for a 2d object I will make some 3d models because it’s better to give 3 dimensions view in a live action shot it will look more believable.

I’ve designed buildings for our scene and the human model. Building was designed for the map as soon the person who’s standing in lab touch the button all the map pop out from the table in holographic image and these buildings highlighted as they are the target or high risk, then this person received a call from rebel who wants to destroy the city, he will appear with all his information and this 3d model will represent him.

3D models are now very important in almost every walk of life why it’s quick, easy to understand(not like 2d abstract art) and realistic. When we talk about the VFX why we need 3D models for a vfx project for example, In action movie if need to destroy a car or a building so we have to build a building or use any car to destroy but 3d models are far much better, realistic and flexible in terms of what are the requirements, simply make 3d model and use it, it’s risk free you can use multiple time with different orientation.

# VFX Specialisation

Well, I was so excited that we were going to start our specialise VFX project. I have to collaborate with Nico and we decide to create a holographic scene with SCI FI HUD, for that we’ve created our assets list because if you collaborate with someone else the workload should be equally divided by both of them.

Initially, we created our final script for the scene which is pretty small about 30-40 second long, now we have to ready for our shoot and for that we spoke to Micheal to act as an actor and he agreed.

Cross-Discipline

So this is our cross-discipline project with film student Jamie, who was doing our camera, light and green screen. On our first shoot, we have to show that Micheal (actor) received a call from rebel and he threatens him that he will destroy all the cities and later he hacks all his system. We have successfully shot our scene.

Just for the 30-40 second scene, it took us to shoot about 5-6 hours,  but I’m happy that at least we’ve learned new skills about how to film a scene & how we have to check small stuff which creates a significant effect on screen.

Unfortunately, while we start to shoot our scene we have no paperwork or plan obviously it was our first shoot, but Jamie was quite professional he was kept asking us how to shoot, but we made one mistake that we filmed all the scene in green screen, but actually we need green screen only on the desk where an actor was working we need to create a CG table instead of that, and for that now we have to shoot all the scene again otherwise, if we stick with our first shot we have to create all the scene in CG which was impossible. So the easiest way was to shoot again.

So our next shoot we were quite prepared and completed our R & D, I’ve created a whole demo scene in 3ds max and we plan every single step that we have to execute the plan this time, even we test different lighting effects which took about 3-4 hours but we were quite amazed by the Jamie skill he created exactly what we want with almost no shadows in the background and that looks so good.