Scene 3 – animating discs in water scene

For scene 3, I wanted to show the transition between focusing on the veins, and moving into the underwater scene. I copy/pasted the vein and discs from scene 2, and placed them in my underwater scene with the fish and lily pads.

Attaching disc to motion path
Attaching disc to motion path

Next, I needed to animate the discs sliding through the vein. I attached the discs to a motion path. I tried attaching multiple discs to one path, but they all bunched up into one shape, or I received errors from Maya, so I duplicated the path and made a few tweaks to each one so it varied slightly.

Maya error
Maya error

In the end, I wound up using multiple motion paths and the Hypergraph Editor to tweak how each one animated, so I could get some variation in speed over distance.

Hypergraph
Hypergraph

Upgrading the fish

I spent a few hours fine-tuning the textures on the fish and adding eyeballs.

Fish with texture
Fish with texture

Afterwards I worked on putting bones inside the fish and binding the skin to the bones so it could move.

Fish bones 1
Fish bones 1
Fish bones - rotation
Fish bones – rotation

Batch Render

Although I still have a ways to go, I wanted to be sure I understood the batch render process, and I was curious to see how my textures were actually looking with the animation. Maya doesn’t process the actual movie file. You have to batch render a sequence of stills, then open these up in Adobe After Effects to be rendered as a movie. I followed a good tutorial here.

Aftereffects
Imported into After Effects

Here is the actual movie:

Reworking the hospital scene

My instructor pointed out that although I had done a lot of experimentation and learning, my hospital scene had gotten pretty far away from my original storyboard idea, and I needed to simplify. With that in mind, I worked on getting the figure from a standing pose to a lotus (cross-legged) pose. This was difficult at first, because I could not figure out how to get his knees to bend and lower properly.

Standing
Standing
Weird knee bend
Weird knee bend
HK Mode Body Part
HK Mode Body Part

To select the knee area of the body, I had to right-click on that joint and choose “HK Mode Body Part” from the menu. That allowed me to select an individual body part and move it. I was able to get the knees, elbows and hands into position.

Because the Bones of the skeleton cause some strange deformations of the skin, you have to know how to “Paint Weights” for the skin to direct how much influence the bones have over the skin. This seems more art than science at this point; I am still struggling.

Paint weights shoulder

Paint weights on the should don’t look too bad.

Paint weights 1

The leg and hips area need a lot more work. The bones in the hips are causing a strange deformation of the skin around the belly.

Issues around belly
Issues around belly

The next thing I wanted to do was change the background into something serene and beautiful yet not distracting. I found a tutorial on Youtube describing how to apply a movie as a texture, and I selected a motion graphic of clouds. I used Adobe Media Encoder to convert it to an AVI file. I followed the directions in the tutorial, but in my Playblast animation, the background does not animate, so I will need some help with this.

figure-movie

Below is the playblast with the IV coming down from the bag. Also, I will remove the floor in the final scene. I simply forgot!

Animatic 1 – human figure

It took a lot of trial and error, but I finally figured out how to set keys and do my first animation with the human figure. In this scene, the figure sits in a chair and the IV tube comes down toward the arm.

Nex

Here is another animatic after I added some lighting. I used an ambient light behind the figure near the doorway, and a diffuse spotlight directly in front and slightly overhead. I wanted it to look like a clean, white, sterile environment. The shadows give it an edge of tension to empathize with the tense feelings of the patient.

Next I created a curve that I wanted the camera to follow around the room. I was inspired to make a curve similar to the “golden ratio.”

Camera curve
Camera curve

I adjusted the height of the beginning and end points, so that the camera would go up and down as well as around the curve.

You can see from the animatic that it needs some tweaking, but this helped me understand the general theory.

The figure will need some correcting due to the skin deformation that occured when the bones were rigged. I will need to do more research/get help on understanding how to correct with paint weights.

Hospital room

I began adding some walls, furniture and textures to the hospital room. Overall I think I need to work on the textures more; I’m not sure about the transparent wall but I wanted to experiment with something just to see how it looked.

Hospital room
Hospital room
Room 2
Room 2

Here is a close-up of the IV drip bag.

IV bag
IV bag

When you get close up to the figure, you can seen some deformation of the skin that was caused when the rigged “bones” (used for animation) were attached inside the skin. This deformation will need to be corrected using paint weights or other techniques. (Need more help/research here.)

Next I created a camera and constrained it to a motion path. You can tell from the animatic that the path needs some tweaking, but this first attempt helped me understand the theory. Now I can go in and refine my curved path that the camera is attached to.

Blood vessel and red blood cells

For this scene, it will be a close-up of the blood vessels flowing through the vein.

Blood vessel
Blood vessel

This was done with a simple Pipe polygon. I did the UV unwrapping first while it was still a straight pipe (much simpler that way) then I used the rotate and scale tool to shape it into a more organic shape. I wanted the open end to be exaggerated, so I scaled it up.

Lastly I used a sphere which I scaled down into a “squished” shape, then pulled vertices down to make it even more concave. The Paint Selection tool worked great for selecting just the vertices I wanted, and Soft Selection gave it a softer shape when I pushed them down into a concave shape.

Overall this scene came together very quickly.