Friday, July 25, 2014

MONSTRO! Early Tests

Last time, I mentioned I would try to dig up some of my animation tests from the upcoming short film 'MONSTRO!'which is directed by Christopher Romano.

Well I've went ahead and done exactly that! Below are some early and rough animation tests I did when exploring our Houdini pipeline. I was figuring out how to best set up shots, as well as doing some major rig-wrecking. None of these are particularly incredible, and as you will see I didn't even have clothed models or textures to work with yet, but it was a fun exploratory time. If nothing else, it will help give you an idea of how I spent most of my internship a number of years ago. Well...most of it, anyway.

First up, we have the first animation test done for 'MONSTRO!' I was exploring the process of animating characters in Houdini while also assessing the first pass of the body rig, which was based on the Houdini auto rigging tools. There wasn't a face system yet, which I ended up having to develop later. I was also making sure to test out ways of having characters interact with props and the environment in Houdini. This test was animated in 12 fps to test a stop-motion style look, which was being explored for the film:

Next, we have a lipsync test. This was done to test out the first pass of the face rig I developed. I was seeing how far I could get with extremely limited controls, and to get a better idea of what necessities were still needed in the system. The face rig was a limited blend-shape based rig, using CHOPs expressions to mimic a 'set-driven-key' type of behavior (for those familiar with Maya), and some fancy SHOP network magic to add in some asymmetry. The audio is Pappy O'Daniel from 'O Brother Where Art Thou?'

After that, I thought I'd post this weird cloth sim animation test. It was created to have something to test parameters on, for a first-pass DOPs/CHOPs based cloth rig system. Obviously these particular settings don't work very well, but I also should have expected that due to how pushed the animation was :) It was fun to go really goofy with it.

And finally, after getting a working body rig, and developing and improving the face rig system, I went ahead and did a full body dialogue test to see how well the character would hold up when acting.
The rig is pretty limited, so this test was more to see how far I could push it, and to explore ways to get some more traditional animation concepts in there. The goal was to make it convincing despite the limitations. The audio is Ray Stantz from 'Ghostbusters.'

Welp, I hope you've enjoyed these goofy little tests. For more, be sure to check out the MONSTRO! channel on vimeo. Also keep your eye open for when 'MONSTRO!' comes to a town near you! You can also keep up with the film on facebook and twitter, if you so desire.

This is probably it from me on this subject, at least until the final film appears online, which I will be sure to post when it is released publicly.


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