25 November 2014

Lights, Camera, Scan......

So, today I had a really interesting afternoon at Ten24 in Sheffield where they make their bread and butter through 3D body scanning.

3d body scanning is the process by which a subject is photographed from many angles at once and then a 3D model, which can be used in video games or visual effects, is created from the images. The process is similar to that used by 123D Catch but Ten24, being a specialist company and not a free app, produce a much higher quality product.

Above is an image of their camera rig.... lots of cameras all of which are synced to fire at the same time to capture whatever happens to be in the middle them. As the studio was already set up, the shoot for each person only took a matter of seconds. It was a case of getting into the right position for the hand or head to be captured and take the photos.

With the information captured the next step will be to let the computer do it's job to create a mesh from the images. The raw mesh will be very noisy so then it is down to Ten24's skilled artists to clean it up and make it suitable for use in whatever capacity it has been commissioned for, or to be put on sale in their store. This part of the process can take some time depending on the model and their workload and I am very much looking forward to receiving my head scan when it has been completed in a couple of weeks.

21 November 2014

Bradford Bound.....

The Bradford Animation Festival has been running this week and I've been lucky enough to be able to attend along with students from the course I teach on.

BAF has been running for 21 years which makes it the UK's longest running animation festival and when you attend it is easy to understand why it has been so successful. the atmosphere is friendly, the events are excellent and the venue, the National Media Museum, is wonderful. 

The future of BAF appeared to be on the rocks for a while last year when budget cuts threatened to close the Media Museum. Fortunately though, for Bradford and the Festival, the Museum was saved and will hopefully remain open for a long time to come.

So, the festival, what did I see... I felt the majority of the animations that I was able to view this year have had a serious tone or have been rather abstract and, while I can appreciate a merit in the technical aspects of these pieces of work and the labour that has gone into their production, I found it rather difficult to engage with many of them. This hasn't diminished my enjoyment of the festival in any way though, I believe that it is important to personal and professional development to view art in any form as it can inform decision making and offer questions which, in response, may led to creative opportunities.

The festival speakers were, as always, excellent. In particular I enjoyed the presentation from Mark Shapiro of Laika. He talked about their most recent film, Boxtrolls, and the work that went into it's creation...One thing that stands out for me from his presentation is the importance of team work and hopefully everyone who was there understands and can appreciate, if they didn't already, that creative practice need not be a solo effort and, that by working as a part of a team in which each member has their own specialist skills, it is possible to create something far beyond that which might be possible if you are working alone.

Take a look at the festival site for a more in depth account of the goings on there this year and for an opportunity to listen to some of last years guests in podcast form.

4 November 2014

New Project Alert!....

I'm really pleased that I've begun work on a new project, it's the one that I mentioned in the end of my post about the CMC.

This project is going to be big and so I felt that it deserved it's own blog, check it out HERE... I've attached a link to the side of this blog which can also be used to navigate there if you like.

Virtual Puppeteer will document my journey towards the development of a control system that I will be able to use to animate characters in my masters animation project. This project doesn't actually begin for a year or so but I feel that I will require this time to learn the skills that will enable me to develop a controller which I can use to emulate the movement of a muppet style puppet.

Don't despair though, I will continue to use Polygon Soup in the same way that I always have.... by posting whatever I've been doing at irregular intervals.... the new blog is exclusively for the research and development of my puppet project.

So, it's exciting times as I take my first steps on this journey of awesomeness. Feel free to drop by and check for updates or you can follow the blog by clicking it's subscribe link.