3D Production Pipeline – Part One

Today I will be discussing the production of a three-dimensional pipeline and the various stages it requires to create 3D graphics. These stages have clearly been outlined in the SAE course material. However, doing my own research on the subjects, I’ve discovered that these terms are universal for producing any object using 3D technologies and programs.

Pre-Production

Before getting started in any 3D component of a project, it’s important to formulate the concepts the 3D Artist wishes to create. During this pre-stage, designers must accumulate various ideas for characters and environments, including the look, style and flow of these animated worlds. By creating a large variety of concepts, it offers a wider scope of choices for the management team of the project to choose the final product from.

From this stage, concept artists are able to work alongside digital sculptors in order to construct preliminary imitations for the desired designs for characters, while the research and development team finalize the special challenges for finer character details for later stages.

3D Modelling

With the final character design chosen, the project is further passed on to the 3D modellers. At this stage, it’s the responsibility of the modeller to take the two-dimensional concepts and, by using programs such as 3DS Max, construct them into three-dimensional models that can be given to animators for further work.

There are two main techniques that modellers are able to use in a production pipeline today. Polygonal modelling is primarily used to translate more mechanical/architectural models like environments, while digital sculpting is best suited for creating organic models, such as characters.

The following video provides a quick look at the stages of modeling that was required for the Oscar nominated hit film of 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers”. Not only does it demonstrate the character models, but also gives everyone an idea of the scope it required to create such a large environment.

References

Boudon, G. (2013). How Does a 3D Production Pipeline Work. Digital-Tutors Blog. Retrieved 12 March 2015, fromhttp://blog.digitaltutors.com/understanding-a-3d-production-pipeline-learning-the-basics/

ILMVisualFX,. (2013) Behind the magic: The Visual Effects of “The Avengers”. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnQLjZSX7xM

Slick, J. (2015). An Introduction to the 6 Phases of 3D Production.About.com Tech. Retrieved 12 March 2015, fromhttp://3d.about.com/od/3d-101-The-Basics/tp/Introducing-The-Computer-Graphics-Pipeline.htm

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‘The Begun of Tigtone’, A Review of…

Dear Journal,

If you were looking for a family fun animated series, then you have come to the wrong place. ‘The Begun of Tigtone’, as you can tell from the convoluted title itself, is a skewered short pilot episode for the ‘Tigtone’ webseries that makes a dark parody out of the mainstream conventions of fantasy.

Created by Andrew Koehler and Benjamin Martin in 2009 to 2014, this five year long production follows our not-so respectable anti-hero Tigtone, who’s a daft, two-dimensional cliché who is set the task of… Well, to put it simply, [SPOILER] to take some beans to a blacksmith. Along the way, he’s challenged by trivial puzzles, absurdly clad Snake Goddesses, and a nonchalant Wood Elf who appeared to share a striking resemblance to the late Freddie Mercury. Throw in some cleverly placed pop culture references and convoluted language, and you have yourself the story. The End!

I would firstly like to commend the brilliant voice actors that took part in this series. Especially those of Nils Frykdahl who portrays Tigtone, as well as Bill Corbett, the man responsible for bringing ‘Ghost Wizard’ to life. Without their efforts to capture their characters as superbly as they did, this series would not have come to full fruition.

The opening sequence, in my opinion, was one of the many highlights of ‘The Begun of Tigtone’. It starts with Tigtone, filing away his thoughts into his journal, when suddenly you’re transported into his story. The effects and style of the animation (thanks to illustrator Zack Wallefang) are realistic, yet quirky and unique, due to their use of 2D mocap animation technology, which is able to warp the characters faces by using motion capture data. With the use of such technology, this sequence was powerful and awe-inspiring. That’s until Tigtone tears through the bowls on a beast with a backing track reminisce to an 80’s classic videogame soundtrack.

Enter stage right: Ghost Wizard.  Who I suspect was modelled after Christopher Lee’s Saruman (Lord of the Rings), the Ghost Wizard acts as an unwilling guide for Tigtone’s journey, setting him on his way to deliver a bag of that can be forged into a weapon. This didn’t seem to please Tigtone, and because of his yearning for excited and risk, he professes the following to the Ghost Wizard:

“Nothing… Nothing at stake? Well, then I, MYSELF will place the world at stake!” [2:37-2:45]

Let’s face it, there’s nothing more exciting than a lunatic waving around a sword whilst crying out the world is in his hands.

The ‘Captive Sun’, as well as the ‘All Hope is Null Village’ scenes tickled my ribs. Just as soon as we caught a glimpse of wisdom and leadership from our beloved anti-hero, it’s quickly snuffed out by those glamorous ‘magic marbles’. Please, don’t read into that. They’re literally magic marbles. Or so they believed until Tigtone distracts the crowd with them and sends an arrow flying between a child’s brows to feed a starving village. Ah, crude humour at its finest.

What came after, however, was too chaotic and, for the most part, confusing. For a series that was designed to be silly, I felt that they overdid it with this. I couldn’t help but wish those scenes would have ended sooner. Like the Snake Goddess and the Perhaps if Andrew Koehler and Benjamin Martin had left those out, or spent more time on refining them, it would’ve come together a lot more smoothly.

In the end, however, I still loved this pilot episode dearly. From the design, the voice acting, and to the crude pop culture references. It was utterly transfixing and had me sitting on the edge of my seat, wanting more Tigtone in my life. I’m not going to lie when I say I have recommended many of my friends to watch this. They have praised it for its creativity and left-of-center approach, and mentioned that it was well worth 14 minutes of their time.