View Full Version : my "pushing buttons" short film
13-07-2004, 05:45 PM
finally I'm able to show you my new "pushing buttons"-short film. I worked for about 3 months on it using only Softimage XSI 3.5.1, Photoshop and After Effects. I'd appreciate some opinions about it and what could have been better. So, I hope you enjoy the movie... you'll find it at:
http://www.alexmlehmann.com/ (then click on the character>movies). I'd prefer the 20MB quicktime-movie version.
Alex, Stuttgart, Germany
13-07-2004, 09:41 PM
nice! I really like it. was it hand animated or did you use mo-cap??
13-07-2004, 11:00 PM
Thank you. To answer your question:
the complete movie was done with MoCap using a Vicon system. I'm glad that one doesn't see it - I've worked quite a bit to get rid of that mocap-look in the animation. I did this movie as part of my studies and one of my goals was to use mocap for a cartoon short film and try to keep it as "unvisible" as possible.
The worst thing about the mocap was that one of our actors was only 10cm bigger than the other... so I had to do a lot of retargeting. And if I'm to animate it once again I'd go for hand animation (except for the credits). In the end I nearly had as much keyframes to stabilize the motion as with hand animation... LOL. So with HA your much more flexible in timing and for changes during the animation.
It was a nice experiment using mocap and it did work but IMHO hand animation is far better for that kind of animation (esp. to integrate squash and stretch etc.) :)
05-08-2004, 01:43 AM
Now thats a good animation!
How long did the whole project take? it looks amazing!
08-08-2004, 07:29 PM
brilliant animation! A lot of fun to watch and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing this with us :)
08-08-2004, 10:32 PM
Well, thank you, guys! I'm excited you like it. I worked about 3 months on it doing all the cg work. I had a friend who provided the motion capture data. All was done using Softimage XSI 3.5.1 which I really suggest using! It is a great piece of software.
Just post your questions - I love to answer all of them =)
09-08-2004, 12:58 PM
wow softimage? i've never heard of it... how does it compare with 3dsm? i love you animation! it's very inspiring... it seemed a whole lot more like real people wearing costumes since they moved so life like... :) how is that rigged?
very cool, is motion capture the thing where they wear ping pong balls and the camera only picks up the light from that? anyways wicked cool animation, i got mad at the guy though when he blew the big guys flower to pieces. i was like "@$$hole..." lol anyways its great :)
07-09-2004, 04:09 AM
Yes, you're absolutely right. It's either about wearing small reflective ping pong balls that reflect infrared light to cameras (six up to "endless") so that they create a 3dimensional relation to these points or about magnetic fields where you are running through.
You will find tons of info about these different systems on the net. I've used a Vicon 8 with 12 cameras at my university because I had to do the whole movie in 3 months next to my studies. The modeling, rigging and lighting did take quite a while so I decided to use motion capture very early.
It doesn't do the work for you anyhow. You have to set nearly as much keyframes to correct size-problems (between the real actors and the virtual ones) and to give the animation the right feel. You should buy the Hulk DVD to get an overview what you can do with motion capture. IMHO it also shows that small people shouldn't try to act as big monsters - that can't work... and you can see it in Hulk's body language. Ang Lee is a fantastic director... but he's around 1,60m not 2,50m.
Anyway, I hope that answers your question and that this isn't too late. I was in the US for Siggraph =) Yahoo!!!
07-09-2004, 04:18 AM
Whoa... I've almost forgotten to answer this one.
Van Helsing, Sunshine on the spotless mind, Harry Potter 3. All done by the incredible artists of ILM. And all done using Softimage XSI (and yes, other tools as well).
Softimage XSI is (IMHO) one of the greatest tools in this industry. If you've never heard of it compare it to Maya but for 'artists' and not technicians. It is easy to use and very powerful. It features vScript and JScript as well as an API to get deeper into the system. It is an all-in-one package from modeling to rendering featuring one of the coolest renderer on earth: Mental Ray.
It is unbelievable stable (NOT A SINGLE CRASH DURING THESE 3 MONTHS PRODUCTION!!!) and very flexible. And it is fast. I started with Maya, and yes, I will work someday with Maya (for a while) again, I guess. But I love XSI. All of you should check it out. Give the tool a week and try it out for free. Similar to the Maya PLE you'll find a Softimage EXP version on the net:
You can download hundreds of cool tutorials there, too! Check it out, I think it is worth the time.
07-09-2004, 09:01 PM
Very well done, fun to watch :D
Softimage|XSI surely is a very good complete package,
but I for myself will stick with Maya I guess ;)
PS.: I think the blue guys "pinafore" seems a little weird skinned / rigged.
07-09-2004, 09:52 PM
Yes, you are absolutely right. There isn't any 'rigging' at all, unfortunately. I had to stick to my timetable and so it was just weighted the same way the points are weighted underneath.
There are more things that bug me: I didn't have the time to animate the eye-movement... this really bothers me. And you should take a closer look at the movement of the big blue guy (Todd). It's lacking the feeling of weight and has some big problems with the character rig (which is in fact a copy of the smaller guy's one).
It is always a compromise between time and quality. I decided for finishing the project in time and moving on... now I can work on something completely different =)
Thanks for your comments. I really enjoy the discussion.
Alex, der wo auch sogar ein deutsch sprechen koennen tut, weil er in Stuttgart wohnt ; )
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