Discipline of Choice

So for my discipline of choice I wanted to try something new with the environments I create, usually I stick to hard surface modelling creating interior environments and stone structures. This time however I wanted to create something with fluid in it as well an organic creature. Recently the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean came out and it got me thinking about 2nd movie with the Kraken attack. This lead me to planning a dynamic kraken scene based on Dead Man’s Chest.

My main concern was the water, at first I thought of creating the water in maya using bifrost but I found that that lead to complications with importing it to marmoset which is the program I use for rendering my models. So I ruled that out, instead my cousin Michael told me about a program called Cinema4D. I used a plugin called Hot4D for Cinema4D that allows you to create realistic water and texture it. It wasn’t a difficult process as there are tonnes of online tutorials for it. The hard part was bringing it into marmoset and getting a luminance shader for marmoset. It was a challenge getting it to work but it worked really well. It was a little trouble finding the balance between blue and the green hue that the sea emits.

For the tentacles of the Kraken I originally used some curve tools in maya and then extruded a cylinder along the curve. After that I exported them in zbrush, after sculpting the suckers and such in zbrush I then zremeshed it so it was a low poly mesh and baked it. After that I brought it into substance painter and exported it into marmoset.

Here you can see some renders of the final product as well as some earlier versions. I will also include a link to my artstation so you can see the marmoset viewer. It is lower quality since I don’t have a pro subscription but it still shows it off quite well.

This project was a challenge, it brought me out of my comfort zone in terms of creating an interesting scene but it’s nice to do something different. Up until now I have been creating environments and assets with not real story to them, they are just environments. However with this piece of work there is so much going on and I think I did well achieving a dynamic scene which is what I was aiming for. I wanted to make it seem like the scene was in motion.

I can still however pick flaws with, the most notably being the water and the lack of foam. With the water breaking on the ship and the tentacles there should be water lapping up against them rather than the objects just sitting in the middle of the water. Sadly I haven’t figured out how to do this in Hot4D, I know you use a vertex map to create the foam but I haven’t learned how to put it into practice but I will eventually. However I have been working on this for a month on and off and there comes a point where you have to say it’s done.

30 Second Animation – Design

The design took a lot of thought. Mainly because it depended a lot on what the story was going to be. Once we decided that our story would be a thriller/horror style animation we wanted from here we started creating concepts. At first we wanted a more modern setting but as we went along we found ourselves attracted to the older Victorian/Edwardian style houses and decor that is usually associated with horror and thrillers. We did a lot of research including a huge mood board on pinterest and watching movies like woman in black which was a huge inspiration for our work as well as some more classic “horror” animations (not really but they have a nice style). More specifically Tim Burton’s work, his features more widely known like the corpse bride and the nightmare before Christmas to his more lesser known work like Vincent, a 1982 film about a boy who dreams of being like Vincent Price the famous actor who is famously known for his work in the horror industry. In the animated short the narration is done by Vincent Price. The style that is found throughout Time Burtons work is what we tried to capture in our own. This style is heavily influenced by German Expressionist art, most notably The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and Nosferatu as well as many others. The warped surroundings and decor used to full effect to help make the audience feel more of the surroundings whether its claustrophobia or entrapment. We wanted to have that influence in our own animation with our warped and bizarre character in a liveable environment but also have a warped and bizarre surrounding to help keep the believability within the animation.

The character design as well was heavily reflective of the time period in which the animation was set. The characters are based upon Victorian dolls, perhaps not in style but in fabric. The use of cloth for the body and the porcelain face was used heavily in dolls of this time period and so we wanted to have that come through in our work. This also allows for a good use of opposites with the body being hard and rigid and the body being soft and moveable as well as the arms. We also used this to our advantage by making the monster and the character similar but with a difference. The monster having a hard body and the character having a soft one. The similarity in the materials and the use of the stripes eludes to there being a possible relation between the characters (Is the monster really a monster hence the light hearted ending) as well a subtle difference so that the characters are not carbon copies of each other. Another huge influence was from Amanda Louise Spayd, creator of the dust bunnies. Another huge influence was from the the short animation, The Maker directed by Christopher Kezelos which features 2 of Amanda’s dust bunnies. The style is cute but unsettling and we had a huge influence from her work and style.