12/16/10

Ecorchè: Final Images

Final results for the class:













Organic Modeling: Final

The final results for the class:



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12/13/10

Thesis Project: Semester Summary

Brad Reynolds
ANM 670
Thesis Project Summary
Abstract:
I would like to create a set of retro-science fiction themed models based on the 1948 novel, “The City and the Stars” by Arthur C. Clarke.  The goal of the project would be to learn and demonstrate my skills in modeling, texturing, and rigging.
Project Proposal:
The golden age of science fiction from the mid-twentieth century offers a wealth of potential creativity for a thesis project.  During this time period of rapidly increasing scientific discovery and advancement, authors and artists were able to dream up a myriad of imaginative stories and gadgetry, some of which exist today.  It is from this era of science fiction that I am selecting the basis for my thesis concept, specifically from Arthur C. Clarke’s 1956 novel, “The City and The Stars.”
The City and the Stars takes place a billion years in the future in the city of Diaspar.  Due to apocalyptic events, the last remnants of humanity are all housed within the technologically advanced city that cares for all of their wants and needs instantaneously through a complex central computer system.  All inhabitants of Diaspar are actual reincarnations of former citizens, their minds being stored inside the computer system when they die.  Because of this, citizens have millions of years of selective memories within themselves during their lifetime.
The main character of the story, Alvin, is a ‘Unique,’ or citizen that was created without any past lives to remember.  Because of this fact, Alvin is driven by an insatiable appetite to explore the world outside of Diaspar.  Through a series of events, he discovers and travels to Lys, another community of humans outside of Diaspar who have adopted an almost agrarian lifestyle.  
Along with a companion gained in Lys, Alvin discovers and travels to Shalmirane, a fortress where the inhabitants of earth fought off the Invaders with unimaginable weapons.  During this excursion, they encounter an extraterrestrial creature who is the last survivor of a religious cult dating back to the days before Diaspar.  Accompanying the alien is a strange robot that came with the “Master” of the cult when they first arrived on earth millions of years ago.  Through a series of events, Alvin is led to the spacecraft of the Master and travels to a distant galaxy where he is introduced to knowledge that will change the lives of both those in Diaspar and Lys forever.
Deliverables
Drawing upon contemporary visual influences of the time during which the novel was written, the style of the models will reflect a nostalgic feel similar to the serial comic books of the 1930s. Two different and distinct visual styles would need to be included since the characters and props are from two long-separated time periods.  The general description of the models I would like to produce is as follows:
Alvin: Considered a “Unique” in the city of Diaspar, Alvin has never had a previous life, unlike all the other citizens of Diaspar.  During the time of the novel, he has just reached his twentieth birthday and is now considered a full adult, capable of living the rest of his existence unsupervised.  Unlike the rest of Diaspar, Alvin does not have an irrational fear of the outside world, but rather has an insatiable appetite for exploration.  Physically, Alvin has remained at twenty years old since he stepped out of the Hall of Creation.  Although the city of Diaspar will sustain his life, he will not appear to age a day during his existence.  Throughout the ages, the citizens of Diaspar have been refining the design of the human body, removing what they deemed to be nature’s unfortunate adaptations.  For example, the body is completely hairless, except for the head.  Other details such as nails and teeth have been removed, although a different device for masticating food (not described in the novel) has taken its place.  Citizens of Diaspar are physically perfect and exist in a variety of heights, weights, and races.  The clothing of the residents of Diaspar is merely ornamental, serving no function for protection or storage since the city maintains a constant comfortable temperature and can manifest any object at will.  During one of Alvin’s explorations of the city, it is mentioned that he wears a cloak as part of his attire.
The model for Alvin would be considered the “Hero” model and will be the primary focus of the project.  In addition to creating a high-level Z-Brush sculpt, the model would have high resolution textures, a muscle system rig, and cloth simulation for his cloak.
The Master’s Robot: Before the isolation of Diaspar, a human religious leader known only in the story as “The Master” began a religious movement that spread across the galaxy.  Upon the Master’s death, a number of converts fell away from the movement, but a number remained faithful.  One of the last of these followers returned to Shalmirane to await an impending religious event.  With this extraterrestrial follower was a robot of unusual design.  As the Master’s faithful companion, the Robot was programmed to only obey his commands and not communicate with anyone else.  The robot is of an alien design, originally designed by a species not native to earth.  The initially noticeable feature is its three lidless eyes, it’s primary sensory input, arranged in a triangle, but not giving a clear indication of where the Robot’s attention is focused.  It contains multiple robotic arms and a series of tentacles on its body, although it’s primary mode of transportation is a hover system.  Alvin and his companion discover the robot on their excursion from Lys to Shalmirane.  It mainly communicates with Alvin through telepathy, although it has the ability to speak.
The robot model would be a medium-resolution model to accompany the hero model.  In addition to a medium resolution set of textures, the robot would have have a rig set up for controlling the arms and tentacles.
The Master’s Spaceship: Reputed to be one of the fastest ships to be built, the Master’s Spaceship was also his home.  At a hundred feet in length, it has a rounded cross section and is described as being pointed in both ends.  Having been buried beneath the sands outside of Diaspar since the days when man first retreated from the stars, the ship is caked with hardened dirt, rock, and sand when it is first discovered by Alvin.  Despite this, the ship’s function and hull has been perfectly preserved by its memory circuits.  It initially contains no visible signs of windows or doors, but eventually reveals an airlock to its interior.  The design of the interior is incredibly homely with comfortable decor.  On the anterior wall is an oval viewscreen that covers the entirety of the surface.  Arranged around the screen is a semi-circle of couches, flanked by a series of tables with chairs designed for non-human species.  The ship is capable of traveling faster than the speed of light and is able to transverse galactic distances in a matter of hours.  In addition to its faster than light speed, it also has the ability to compensate for inertia, allowing for a complete and instantaneous stop without detriment to the ship or its passengers.
The spaceship would be another medium-resolution model complete with textures and set-key controls for various mechanical systems like the landing gears, engine vents, and airlock system.
Visual References:
Production Design: Retro Futurism
Bioshock
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Character Design: Retro Futurism/Utopianism
THX 1138
Metropolis
Mood: Warm Glow Mingled with Brooding Uncertainty
Blade Runner
Dune
Concept Artwork:
Current concept artwork has been completed by myself, Nathan Finlay, and Josh Farnworth.  Further exploration and development is desired for the final designs.
Task List:
Alvin:
-Modeling
-UV Mapping
-Textures
-Muscle Rigging
-Cloth Simulation
-Rendering
Robot:
-Modeling
-UV Mapping
-Textures
-Rigging
-Rendering
Ship:
-Modeling
-UV Mapping
-Textures
-Rigging
-Rendering
Gantt Chart:
See attached Gantt Chart.
Note: Because I will be transferring on site starting the summer semester, there may be additional opportunities available for collaboration or helping another animation student with their project.  If it is decided that my skills could be better used elsewhere, I may take up that opportunity and submit a redirect through the graduate offices.

Ecorchè: The Muscles of the Head

This week and for the final we are working on the muscles of the head.  This is the final stretch and I hope that it pays off.  So far, I think it has.





Organic Modeling: Final Push

This week is the final push for our models.  A few more refinements need to be made on mine, but I am getting much closer.



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12/5/10

Thesis Project: Gantt Chart

Although it looks as though things might be changing for me in terms of the content of my project, I still need the practice in budgeting and management side of things.  This week our task was to create a gantt chart that would accurately reflect how the tasks and progress of our projects would unfold:
Not a pretty picture, but necessary nonetheless.

Ecorchè: The Muscles of the Arm

This week we focused on finishing the muscles of the arm.  Rather than looking at the individual muscles (because there are a lot of them in the arm) it is helpful to combine some of them into larger forms.








Organic Modeling: Refinement Again

This week was more refinement for both models.  I went in and added a lot of muscle striations on the human while I softened the forms of the lion a bit.


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11/22/10

Thesis Project: Task List

This is more of an organizational exercise than a real creative one.  Like any project, by breaking it into little pieces, you can see all the tasks ahead of you and can plan your time accordingly:


Thesis Project Task List

Alvin
Modeling
UV Mapping
ZBrush
Texturing
*Muscle Rigging

Jeserac
Modeling
UV Mapping
ZBrush
Texturing
Rigging
*Cloth Simulation

Robot
Modeling
UV Mapping
ZBrush
Texturing
Mechanical Rigging

Ship
Modeling
UV Mapping
ZBrush
Texturing
Mechanical Rigging

Tower of Loranne
Modeling
UV Mapping
Texturing

Diaspar
Low Poly Modeling
UV Mapping
Texturing

Final Scene
Layout
Lighting
Camera Animation
Rendering
Compositing

Ecorchè: The Muscles of the Lower Leg & Start of Upper Arm

I think that this class is one of the best ways to engrain in your head the forms of the human anatomy.  This week we focused on the legs and added the muscles of the biceps and triceps of the arms.  The semester will soon be wrapped up, so I am anxious to finish this.








Organic Modeling: Refinement

This week was more refinement for our models.  I started working on the muscles of the face, but will need to define a few more things in detail later.


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I also finished roughing out the details of the muscles in my lioness.


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11/19/10

Thesis Proposal: Treatment

A treatment is a movie script version of a story, one step beyond a synopsis. It could contain a lot of detail, or very little detail. It all simply depends on how firm of a vision one has in their mind about the story. This particular scene is what I am focusing on from the novel, but I most likely won't have any animation to my project. That is just too large of an undertaking.


The City and the Stars: Alvin’s Departure


FADE IN:


TOWER OF LORANNE CORRIDOR


A narrow hallway leads to the blinding light of the outside world. Two figures, one of them clothed in a dark robe stride forward down the passageway. The light grows on their faces as they stride forward, illuminating ALVIN and JESERAC. A strange metallic ROBOT hovers silently behind them, its multiple arms and tentacles twitching occasionally in a mechanical fashion.


As they approach the end of the tunnel, the view of the expansive desert can be seen, along with the landing to an exterior balcony. JESERAC stops in his tracks just short of the exit, an almost panicked look on his face.


ALVIN pauses and gently turns to him.


ALVIN

I am only asking you to look, not to leave the city. Surely you can manage to do that!


JESERAC closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He inches forward, one small step at a time. ALVIN places a hand on his shoulder to guide him onward.


TOWER OF LORANNE BALCONY


ALVIN leads JESERAC out of the corridor and takes a few cautious steps onto the wide balcony. The outer railing is now gone, removed by the actions of the CENTRAL COMPUTER, leaving a sheer drop to the city below. JESERAC blinks as his eyes adjust to the brightness of the setting sun across the desert floor. ALVIN takes a few steps back from JESERAC closer to the edge of the balcony. The ROBOT hovers silently to the opening of the corridor.


ALVIN

I asked you to come here because I realize that you have earned more right than anyone to see where my travels have led me. I wanted you to see the desert, and I also wanted you to be a witness so that the Council will know what I have done.


ALVIN gestures to the ROBOT.


ALVIN

As I told the Council, I brought this robot home from Lys in the hope that the Central Computer would be able to break the block that has been imposed on its memories by the man known as the Master. By I trick that I still don’t understand, the Computer did that. Now I have access to all the memories in this machine, as well as to the special skills that have been designed into it. I’m going to use one of those skills now. Watch!


ALVIN turns his head to the ROBOT and nods a silent command. The ROBOT quickly soars out of the corridor entrance and toward the expanding desert. It picks up speed as it departs, its limbs and tentacles springing to life.


DESERT


A tracking shot of the ROBOT as it weaves across the desert, searching for something beneath the sand.


TOWER OF LORANNE BALCONY


ALVIN watches with a look of excited anticipation on his face. JESERAC’s brow is ruffled in confusion as he watches the tiny glint of metal race across the desert.


DESERT


The ROBOT suddenly comes to a stop, examining the surface of one of the sand dunes. Its arms and tentacles retract as it rapidly floats up a thousand feet in the air. A slow rumbling grows across the landscape and the sand of the desert floor begins to vibrate in a rapid crescendo. A cloud of dust slowly begins to seep from the ground and suddenly erupts into a hundred foot tall geyser of earth and sand!


TOWER OF LORANNE BALCONY


JESERAC and ALVIN both take a step back at hearing the the explosion of dirt and rock from the desert floor. JESERAC gives a concerned look to ALVIN, but ALVIN’s eyes are fixed on the events unfolding in the desert.


DESERT


A strong mechanical vibration fills the air as the debris from the explosion begins to settle. As the dust could dissipates, the source of the vibration is discovered. The silhouette of a long spacecraft, pointed at both ends, stands out against the setting sun. Tiny trails of dirt and the occasional clod continually fall off the surface of the hull as the ship slowly rises to meet the same altitude as the ROBOT. Once they are both at the same height, the ROBOT turns to face the Tower of Loranne and begins to rapidly hover back to the balcony. The spacecraft follows.


TOWER OF LORANNE BALCONY


JESERAC stands dumbfounded, unable to believe what he is witnessing, but has a sense of wonder in his eyes. ALVIN finally breaks his gaze of the spacecraft and turns to face JESERAC.


ALVIN

This robot was design to be the Master’s companion and servant– and, above all, the pilot of his ship. Before he came to Lys, he landed at the Port of Diaspar, which now lies out there beneath those sands.


ALVIN gestures to the gaping crater that once housed the rapidly approaching spacecraft.


ALVIN

Even in his day, it must have been largely deserted. I think that the Master’s ship was one of the last ever to reach Earth. He lived for a while in Diaspar before he went to Shalmirane. The way must have been open in those days. But he never needed the ship again, and all these ages it has been waiting out there beneath the sands. Like Diaspar itself, like this robot– like everything that the buildings of the past considered really important– it was preserved by its own eternity circuits. As long as it had a source of power, it could never wear out or be destroyed. The image carried in its memory cells would never fade, and that image controlled its physical structure.


The ROBOT finally reaches the balcony and hovers almost like an obedient pet next to ALVIN. The spacecraft gently begins to yaw as it approaches, like a boat preparing to dock. Suddenly a spurt of dirt is ejected as a small section of the hull opens outward, exposing a small, illuminated air lock. JESERAC, startled by this action, takes a cautious step backward. The ship, gently rocking as it hovers, glides to within a foot of the edge of the balcony.


ALVIN

Goodbye, Jeserac. I can’t go back into Diaspar to say farewell to my friends. Please do that for me. Tell Eriston and Etania that I hope to return soon. If I do not, I am grateful for all they did. And I am grateful to you, even though you may not approve of the way I have applied your lessons.


ALVIN turns and strides confidently toward the spacecraft. The ROBOT enters the airlock and turns around, waiting for ALVIN. ALVIN pauses at the edge of the balcony, taking a quick glance down to see the city of Diaspar sprawled beneath him, contemplating his next step. Raising his gaze to meet the ROBOT, he steps into the airlock of the spacecraft. Once inside, he turns again to look at his old mentor, raising a hand in farewell. JESERAC returns the gesture, a pensive look on his face.


JESERAC

And what about Council? What shall I tell it?


ALVIN

Tell it that a road that has once been opened cannot be closed again merely by passing a resolution.


ALVIN smirks confidently as the words leave his lips. JESERAC, responding in kind, gives a nod to ALVIN. ALVIN takes a step backward as the outer doors of the airlock close in front of him. The spaceship banks to the right, slowly edging its way away from the tower. The nose of the ship turns and banks upward, pointed toward the stars. The low hum of the spaceship begins to raise in pitch as it rapidly ascends toward the sky. Suddenly, in a blinding glint of the setting sun, the spacecraft hurtles itself toward the darkness of the night, a sonic boom echoing in its place.


JESERAC stumbles backward a bit in surprise at the awesome sound of the spacecraft exiting the atmosphere of the Earth. He glances at the sky, searching for the spacecraft, but cannot find it. His eyes fall to the stone floor of the balcony around him as he contemplates the consequences of ALVIN’s actions and how it has changed their society forever. As the last light of the setting sun drops below the horizon, he looks up again at the darkened sky. A slow look of awe and wonder begins to form on his face as, for the first time in his life, he sees the stars.

Ecorchè: The Muscles of the Upper Leg

This week we began work on the muscles of the upper leg. There is a lot of mass there, which is important if you want to actually move yourself around.