Sorcha found this Indigogo for La Noria (2015) and we liked the layout of their pitch.
- First they show their best shot,
- then they talk about who their team is and why you should trust them,
- then they talk about the story and concept,
- then the Indigogo rewards,
- then a sneak peak of La Noria.
Sorcha took the task of writing a script with all the information that we would need for the pitch. I tried to condense this into a shorter version:
We received feedback that we needed to structure the pitch better for the audience and explain why we used so many different styles. With this in mind, Molly and I took what Sorcha had written and re-iterated on this, adding more detail while trying to keep it short. Sorcha and I re-iterated again while recording to make it sound natural when spoken. We also tried to keep the story structure flowing so that each section had a reason to continue to the next.
Christian suggested adding parallax and a vignette to the 2D stargazing scene to make it stronger for the pitch video. I finished the 2D concept a little more and animated the layers with a camera in After Effects. Unfortunately we didn’t get to complete our 3D version of this as we didn’t plan enough time to add the characters. I tried to use Sorcha’s design of Julie in this (as it most match the Moebius-like style that we had discussed as a team) and then tried to match William to Julie. The lighting hid the line a little though and the colours changed after I colour corrected to fit within the scene.
Sorcha’s Julie Design
Sorcha’s Julie Design
Sorcha’s Julie Design
Line visible before lighting added
I’m trying to add a slight parallax effect to the stargazing concept for our pitch video. Usually if I wanted to create a parallax effect in After Effects I would animated the scale of different layers to scale with different timings. Jonny suggested looking at this video and it was a great reminder of how to use a camera in 3D space in After Effects. I had not heard of this method since foundation year and had forgotten it existed. By using this way, I can space the layers out in the z-axis and then animate the camera instead of scale. This also adds the ability to use other camera attributes such as depth of field and aperture.
*pitch video to be re-done
I blocked the hallway and living room geometry and the hallway and kitchen animation.
Did we deliver what was asked of us?
We delivered pitch material and put together a video. However, we should have made a clearer representation of Julie and William aging over the 10 years and we should have created more concepts showing scenarios of the characters in different emotions. We also didn’t finish the 3D scene which we were working on for the deadline. I feel like we could have easily finished this except that both Sorcha and I caught the flu and couldn’t work for a few days each. We really should always leave extra time in our plans for unforeseen events like this.
Dealing with the change in requirements.
Just before Easter, our requirements as a team changed a little. Instead of making a video which demonstrated gameplay, Jonny discovered that more concepts of the characters and their relationship would be better material for a pitch. We still wanted to make a 3D scene together but this required a new plan as our gameplay footage was now less suitable. Skype meetings worked well over the Easter break but I felt that we could have done better if Molly and Aidan could have met immediately after our meeting with Iglu. Only Sorcha and I could meet soon after our Iglu meeting to discuss the new project direction.
Better time and project management.
Looking back, my best weeks usually involved a team meeting early in the week. For example, I think that my best week was in week 02. Immediately after our meeting with Iglu, we had a white board ideation session in which we discussed and divided up exactly what we needed to do. This helped to lay down a clear path of what exactly was important to tackle straight away and I was confident to jump on a task immediately and give a whole week for completion. I also worked well after meeting with Sorcha on St. Patricks Day during which time we set mini-deadlines for certain tasks. We tried using Asana at one point but it didn’t seem to catch on. I’m determined to start using a tool like Asana instead of facebook.
Team decision making problems.
One of our problems was making a firm decision on style. Sorcha and I sat down to discuss this together when it seemed quite late into the project. This turned out to be the solution that we needed as I felt a lot surer of what we wanted after this meeting. I wish we had of identified the high importance of this earlier in the project and had as many meetings as we needed earlier on until we found a solution. We seemed to orbit around the problem for a long time until it became more obvious. The same problem was present for choosing final designs for the two characters. Another option would be, if the team is having trouble deciding, then the team should appoint one member to research into and make a solution for one particular part of the project.
Presentation of work and communication
I felt like I was too quiet during meetings with Iglu Media and didn’t present my work as well as I should have to Gareth and Jonny. Jonny and Gareth made a point during our first meeting about artists who were too protective of showing their sketchbook work. I think that I can be like this sometimes as I often start a sketch like a scribble almost and then make iterations until it looks presentable. I should have put more time into presenting my work beforehand for meetings and I should have been more prepared about what I needed to communicate regarding how I contributed to the team’s weekly outcomes.
After the grass, rocks and trees, the next challenge to tackle was the city in the distance. To create the impressionistic style of the city from my concept I figured that simple building shapes that could catch the light would be enough. With not a lot of time left, Paint Effects seemed to be the quickest solution, plus I really enjoy how organic the process of distribution feels with Paint Effects. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to figure out a method of distributing my own geometry with PFX so I resorted to using one of the default building brushes from the visor database.
I found that PFX will paint shapes perpendicular to the surface which is made paintable. This was a problem for my city designed on a steep hill and I found that adjusting the elevation produced too random of results (as one stroke had more than one house). I had houses pointing in all directions. I tried stacking planes which intersected the hill and painting on these instead. This method wasn’t perfect as there were some floating houses once I hid the planes but I got away with it seeing as the city was so far away and the style was more abstract than realistic.
Even though I tried to paint only on areas that would be seen, I still ended up with quite a heavy load of building geometry and some excess. After some frustration I remembered file referencing which I realised I haven’t been using enough of in the past. Even with using file referencing though, it still took a long time to load materials and switch between render layers with materials applied. Rendering was extremely quick though. Also, I built this approximately to real life meters which I’m not sure how necessary that was. I thought it might aid the parallax effect if we wanted to test the camera in Maya. Does the size of a polygon influence memory usage or is it just the number of polygons? Probably just the number right?
For shading, I used a ramp shader and directional light set-up similar to what I used for the rocks and played with the hue/saturation/brightness of the incandescence and shadow colour. For the water I used a reflective shader on a polygon plane and for the land I used a second plane placed over this with a transparency map made in Mudbox to indicate the coastal line. The land in particular needs developing. I was planning to make it seem at least more mountainous/hilly and perhaps indicate more forestation somehow.
Some render tests/progress:
Molly painted a sky which I tried adding to the scene also. The area light which I used to light the sky influenced the colours quite bit. I also haven’t added the clouds yet.
work in progress
I rendered selectable areas for the sky, sea and land for colour correction in After Effects. This is the scene so far. We have yet to play with the characters in the scene and the environment still needs developing.
This video was helpful for a simple method of sculpting rocks.