Leonardo Da Vinci’s Crossbow

So for this world we have taken a lot of influence from Leonardo Da Vinci as I’ve mentioned before. We as a group really like how it makes the world that little bit more crazy and allows for a lot of experimentation. Since I am assigned the defense district this allows for me to look at a lot of Leonardo’s inventions. Since he often had to work for men of power he had to lower himself to create machines of war. He was a gentle man, he was even one of the first vegetarians in history, he would often buy birds in the marketplace and set them free after studying their wing structures. In Leonardo’s lifetime Italy was comprised of many independent city states who would, in turn, try to take over each others land and power. So whoever had the military and technological advantage had the upper hand so those in power obviously turned to Leonardo Da Vinci.

I do feel kind of bad using Da Vinci’s designs of war as a positive in the floating city since he would be against it but still in this floating city there would still be those in power and they too would need military advantages. Two designs that I will be focusing on will be the Da Vinci’s machine gun which he designed for Cesare Borgia. The war machines he designed for Borgia were both offensive and defensive which gives me a lot of material to work with.

However first I started creating the giant crossbow that Leonardo designed. I didn’t have any tutorials or references apart from my own sketches and Leonardo’s original designs but I still think it turned out well. Since Da Vinci provided scales with the drawings it made it easier for me to create it with scale in mind since I would be implementing it in my airship and in my military section.

Here are some screenshots of the crossbow and with it implemented into the airship. Da Vinci initially had wheels on his however I took them off for the airship since I imagine they would roll about the ship unless they were securely fastened but even then there still wouldn’t be a point in them having wheels on the airship. However I might redesign them so they have wheels that can be removed so they can be fastened to the deck or moved around the ship for further manoeuvrability. The wheels could also have a second purpose possibly to crank the rope back to notch the arrows. I might have to look at my designs again but I’ll do that later. Here’s where i’m at right now.

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Update – Crossbow Textured and placed on airship and around the defence district.


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Gladiator Arena

So as we begin to model we have split up the sections so we can being to design each of the sections of our city. I have been assigned the historical district and the military/defence district, which I am very happy about since they provide a challenge and I’ll have a lot of fun creating the models. So I started working on a gladiator arena last night and finished it tonight. It was actually fairly straight forward to make with the help of tutorials so making the rest of the main historical monuments and buildings from Rome should be fun to do, but maybe not straightforward. I also had a bit of fun messing about with nCloth and having gravity act on materials as well as playing around with wind pressures to make the flags look in motion.

I’m not going to talk through the steps of how I made the arena but you can find the tutorial here.

Here are screenshots of my model throughout the stages.

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I think it turned out really well, there isn’t a huge amount of detail however I think it would be hard to put in more detail than this within such an expansive model so I will most likely leave the buildings with this amount of detail until I feel like there should be more. It also depends on how well my computer can render out the model.

We had a lecture today on lighting and rendering so I had a go at trying to render out a few images of the arena. You can find them below.

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Modelling The Airship

We’ve been looking at how people would transport themselves and goods around the city. Our city is split into 5 sections currently. The centre which contains merchant & trading, politics, religion, farming etc on a tier system. Then surrounding this will be 4 floating areas. These four floating areas will hold the housing for the city of Rome and the housing will be encased within a modified version of Leonardo Da Vinci’s tank plan. The areas will be split up between the North, South, East and West of Rome. We decided to separate the communities like that instead of by their wealth. However within each area we will most likely dabble with this hierarchy of power, possibly with the richest in the North being at the top of the tank like a penthouse and then the poorer living at the bottom in sort of more hobbit like homes. However this post is meant to be about transport. So our two main forms of transport are Airships/Air Balloons and Leonardo Da Vinci’s self propelled cart which would travel around the city like the carts in Gringotts in Harry Potter. We took a lot of influence from bioshock with the floating city idea and one way they get about the city is by travelling along these skylines with magnetised hooks. We thought we could develop something like this within our world except make it more culturally accurate. Since Rome and Italy is a place of art and invention especially during Renaissance time I think it would be nice to implement ideas like this into our city.

At the moment I am looking at various designs of ships from Pirate ships to ancient Roman long ships. I am also taking a look at a lot of fantasy airships as well as some final years in our course who have a floating balloon ship (Aohdan, Michael Mcrea, Bobby Strain, Sam Hudson and Rebekah Quinn). So far I have the rough layout of the ship done. I had a go at modelling some ropes that would tie the balloon to the ship and I think it turned out well. I asked Alec to help me out with some issues with the rope deforming in a strange way with the curves but he showed me how to fix it and its all good now. Now I’m just building up the details of the ship and seeing how I can include Roman architecture into the design of the ship. Here is where I’m at so far.

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Updated. The model has been finished and textured. There has been additions like windows on the side, extra details like banisters and fencing around the sides as well as reinforced areas on the bottom of the ship. A Roman style hut placed at the back of the ship like in old designs of Roman war ships. Added as well is a series of large crossbow on either side for defence.

Jumping Jonas

So we’re starting to do harder animations. At least for us. So before we start rigging or modelling a character we began with animating a pre rigged character. This character is Jonas the lamp. Our task was to get him to jump. Now at first this was pretty hard, it seemed pretty complicated. But after watching the video Conánn gave us once or twice it began to click. It’s all stages, you start by positioning it where it starts, where it lands and where it is mid jump. It’s all a step by step process, you’re just building up layers of the animation. First you get he positions correct, then you squash and stretch, then you can mess about with timing and continue by adding more layers like rotation. After all the basics are done you can start to give it more character, like pushing it forward ever so slightly to show that its anticipating the jump or stretch the shoulder area so that it looks like its putting a lot of effort and force into moving forward. It’s the little things that make it come to life.

I enjoyed working with Jonas, it was nice to start working on a character animation. I’m liking the freedom that we have to just play about with him and making him do different things since it’s already rigged. I’ve made him jump but I want to try more by maybe making him look scared by making him shake or look around nervously. With the light as well it could be a nice effect seeing that dart around in the dark. Even with such a basic character there’s a lot that you can do, which I think is something that Conánn, Michael and Alec are trying get us to really see. That really complex models aren’t always the best thing to have especially when animating. That complexity isn’t always necessary to convey what you’re thinking, and I think this is going to be really important in our short animation.

Here are links to the animations:

Jonas Jump 1

Jonas Jump 2

Jonas Jump 3

Jonas Jump 4

Jonas Jump 5

Jonas Jump 6

Ball Bounce Animation

So for our first animation we went back to basics… kind of. We did a ball animation again but with different steps to simplify everything. Instead of doing loads of frames we divided the animation up using parenting & locators so that we can locate frames relating to certain things so if we are looking for all the frames relating to rotation they can all be found under the locator for rotation. This makes animating (in my own opinion) a lot easier. I like having a lot more organisation within the timeline as before it got very clogged up. Also it means that the Autokey is the devil and shouldn’t be touched which I like because before I would forget it was on and mess everything up. Also using locators seems to just make the whole process easier. Making the ball have a point where it thinks it’s hitting solid ground is great rather than having to squash it and then try and line it up with 0. Moving the ‘pivot’ I think that’s what you would call it (or centre of gravity I guess) to the base of the object is very handy. At least for this animation. Here’s another angle.

Ball Jump – Anticipation Research

So i tried to add more character to a ball, to do this I wanted to experiment with anticipation as well as arcs, slow in and slow and other principles. Here is the result. There of course a lot that I can improve on but I think it’s a good start into making the ball seem a little more lively. In my future experiments I want to have slow in and slow out have more effect, as well as this I want to correct the squash and stretch as when it’s at it’s peak it would take time for it to stretch out again, in this animation I would want it to wait more at its peak like on a roller coaster ride when it hits the top of the drop it will go up slowly then slowly begin to fall and speed back up.