Animating and Rendering!

Once we had the scene set in place, all that was left to do was import the files and animate then render each scene. Rachael and I met and discussed each scene, what was happening, the camera placement and how many frames per scene in correlation to the animatic. Considering that the animation was to be 24 frames per second, we used this as a guideline for the animation. We had a slight leeway with the timing as our animatic wasn’t as long as the animation should be (25 seconds max.) This was helpful as we needed some extra frames to make the animations look more natural. We divided up the scenes and split them between us to animate. There wasn’t actually a massive amount of animating to be done thankfully so we knew we’d manage.

We created a check list of each scene and then whether it had been animated or rendered so we knew what we had completed and what still had to be completed.

The scenes from the right hand side were the ones that I had to complete by animating and rendering them. I’ll insert some screen play blasts to show the un-rendered movement of each scene.

Scene 2: A close up of the apple, with the only moving camera shot. (24 frames)

Scene 4: Worm leaving its hole in the ground. (took turns as this was probably the hardest to animate)

Scene 7: Apple flying through the sky. (25 frames)

Scene 8: Apple hitting the tree. (19 frames)

Scene 9: Apple falling on the ground. (25 frames)

Scene 10: Apples falling from the tree. (24 frames)

I simply animated these scenes by using the controls on the worm and then moving the apple and also slightly moving the tree when the apple hits. Using the key frame button in the animation menu was the how I created movement.

We looked at some inspiration before animating the worm’s movements. We needed to see the different ways that worms can move and the best way was to look at other animated shorts about worms.

A Worm’s TaleRobbyEarly Hatchling Gets The Worm

When it came to rendering, we used Arnold first time round. We split the rendering across 4 of our MacBooks and a Mac Computer in uni….it takes forever! We changed the render settings:

  • Image format – tif.
  • Frame/Animation – NAME.#
  • Start/End Frame – (frames that need rendered)
  • Renderable Camera – Cam. 1/2/3 etc.
  • Width – 1600
  • Height – 900
  • Image Size – HD_720 (first), HD_1080 (final)
  • Camera (AA) – 6 (higher = takes longer)
  • and; Render Sequence once this was all set

After rendering everything with Arnold, Rachael found a renderer called FurryBall. We used this as we rendered with Arnold in HD_720, so when using FurryBall it came out much better quality for the final animation. Also, Arnold took about 6 times longer to render the frames. For the final hand in on 12th May, we plan to use Arnold to render our frames in HD_1080.


Compiling, Colour & Texture

When putting together the scene, we decided it looked a little bare with only the 2 main trees in the story so I duplicated some of the background trees that Rachael had modelled to simply fill the background. We added clouds that Jess had modelled from a previous project that didn’t come of use and also used some grass models that Rachael had done, scattering and resizing these I was able to make the scene look a little more realistic as such.

I replaced a few things in the scene and grouped everything together to tidy up the outliner box. This made it easier to see what we were using and what didn’t need to be there. There was different objects in the outliner box that weren’t in use and were unnecessary so I just deleted these. Grouping the main trees, the ground, clouds etc. By doing this it was quicker to find what we needed

Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 15.27.31
Outliner Organisation
Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 10.48.13
Scene (low quality render view)
Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 15.00.25
Scene (rendered HD_1080)
Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 15.00.10
Apple and Grass Close-Up (rendered HD_720)

Rachael and I decided that it was best to keep the models low poly and keep the colour/textures pretty plain to save render time. We needed to get it finished and we knew we had a shortage of time. To get it complete we thought this would be the best option so we knew rough time for rendering and could add more after the presentation if we wanted to. Although it looked a little plain and very cartoony, we wanted to keep the colours bright so that at least it had a happy and energetic vibe going on. We stuck to the simple lambert shader with colour and didn’t add any textures apart from the apples on the trees, we used ‘Blinn’ for these to give them a slight shine like fresh apples would be as you can see in the middle image.

We also added a skydive light and added a colour to this so that we could have a sky but also a constant light that gave similar drop off like the sun as it was an outdoor setting. We had trouble with adding shadows when transferring the file, it disappeared and we had to figure out how to get this back. We realised that the shadows were still there they just hadn’t been showing in the render view. Once we rendered in a high quality (HD_1080) with Arnold, it looked well.

Modelling and Rigging

Modelling was taking place by team members while I was taking control of fixing and finalising the animatics. As we ended up having to recreate 3 due to different criticism, this took a lot longer than expected and we had this on top of experimenting with modelling before we could start to properly put the scene together. Different objects had been modelled quick which we needed up using due to not having as much time as we would like, such as the welly boot, some simple low poly trees, basic apple, apple core experiment model. Jess created some experimental worm and orchard models and Rachael worked really hard modelling majority of the scene which I was grateful for whilst completing the animatics.

When it came to rigging, we only had to rig the worm and the welly boot. The welly was just rigged to kick forwards with one control which you can see clearly from the link:

Welly Boot Rig Video

The worm was the most difficult and we had to ask Alec for help as there was so many controls we wanted – The eyeballs, eyelids, mouth, tongue, neck, mid-body, tail and tail rotation. Alec was a great help and we ended up wth exactly what we wanted.

Worm Joints Rig Video

Worm Face Rig Video

The expressions on the worm were very important in our story as they play a majority of the worms emotions and how he reacts to certain actions and events. Simple movements such as the eyelids widening and closing to show blinking and emotions such as excitement and shock when he sees the apples.

Animatics: 1st, 2nd and Final!

So we had a few changes within our story throughout and there was a lot of indecisiveness. We first decided that we wanted one apple to drop in front of the worms face and then Darcy gave us the idea that the apple core could hit the tree and then multiple apples drop. We eventually settled on this idea as it seemed more natural but also gave a bit of exaggeration and excitement in the end of the storyline.

Before this happened, Jess had created an animatic which we took criticism from and changed up slightly. We had to change up the background, use more tone, reassess the timing of the frames and also create a scene from birds eye view so that we could easily tell the story in a way that became understandable to the audience. E.g. direction of worm movement and apple core being kicked.

Jess’ animatic:

After this I decided to create one based on the criticism we had been given from the class: My second animatic attempt

In this animatic, the camera was lost within the shots. There was too many up close shots and again it was hard to tell what was going on in the clip. We also got advice to change some of our sounds as they were already quite popular such as the sound for when the worm is trying to make it to the apple core. So we changed those slightly as you can see in the final animatic:

I tried to keep it as simple as possible compared to the second one as there was a lot of detail which resulted in the incapacity of trying to differentiate each object in the picture.

Mike helped us with the shots of where the camera should be to help the visual story read clearer. He gave us the most important shots and we added a couple of our own demonstrating the key details of the story.

This was a real help with the final animatic as it finally gave us the best perception of how we wanted each frame/scene to look in the final animation.

30 Sec Animation: Colour Chart/Scene Concepts

Screen Shot 2017-03-21 at 15.28.38
Colour Scheme

So I created this basic colour scheme just based on the concept art that we had created as a group. I thought it would be helpful to have so that when sketching/modelling, the whole group are on the same wave length in terms of the colours that we plan on using. This might change slightly but currently it will be handy to refer back to. This goes down the colours in order and shows each object that will be in the animation.

Some more concepts also for the scene. As the story was slightly undecided, I created a couple just to have regardless of whether we were to create a full forest or just one/a couple of trees.


30 Sec Animation: Storyboards and Animatic

For this, I created the storyboards to work from with the animatic.


I tried to include different camera shots, close ups and long shots to show size comparison etc. From the feedback given, I realise that I need to work on proportions between the apples, worm , foot and tree. I need to emphasise whats big and small and make sure there is a visual difference. Also, I think that anticipation within the movements of the worm and the foot could be included to emphasise the actions more. Possibly a bounce of the apple? Once we look at the principles of animation, I’ll hopefully be able to interpret this into the storyboard/final animation.

The link to our animatic: The Apple

Jess digitally sketched the scenes out and Rachael chose the music and put the whole thing together. After watching it, I think we need to focus on tonality and where our light source is coming from, developing on the background so it’s not constant the whole way through and also timing of the scenes. Some of the images last a little too long and it doesn’t look right, it drags out.

30 Sec Animation: Pitch and Concepts

So we started by coming up with a few ideas that we could talk about to get feedback off each idea and see which would be best… to realise it was actually a presentation/pitch. We had the idea of a worm trying to get to a rotten apple core, it being kicked away and a fresh apple landing right infant of him. We liked the idea of a worm because we knew this would be easy to create in MAYA, a long with an apple, tree, grass and a foot. We tried to keep it as simple as possible. We were told that we had to give a visual display of our story or feedback on whether to continue was almost impossible.

So in the week following, we created concept sketches and models and also did some research. We originally used the Disney Pixar short ‘The Early Hatchling Gets The Worm‘. We used this and then found a couple of others after thinking of the story that we thought would be great to use for reference of how to make the worm move in MAYA: Robby and A Worm’s Tale. Both of these have different stories but also both show different movements that may be helpful to look at when trying to add movement to our worm.

FullSizeRender 9
Concepts of Main Scenes. In order: top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right

Just created these quickly with watercolours and watercolour pencils to demonstrate the main scenes and characters in the story. Other group members did some concepts as well.

I also went onto MAYA and tried to model a rotten apple core.

I tried to add some shading on different faces but just ended up looking square. So I need to look at how to blend the darker shades into the lighter. I also need to make it look a bit more rotting by making the shape a little less even and crisp looking. Arnold also wouldn’t let me render view, so I need to figure that one out!