RGCA - All 3 Categories - Bleetz

Hey Gang,

Draft title of my (First?) trailer Entry is:

"Pale Red Redemption"...... a paler kid's version of a certain game, and I bet you don't need any hints, but if you do; it's better red than dead, right?.. but I also love science fiction, fantasy & bugs bunny, so I'm bound to stray a wee bit off track...

And yes, it's a totally serious crack at animation as a Newbie. I've only been animating for a year, however it's something I've been aching to learn for centuries... and I can assure you that's no exaggeration at all

However, I go cross-eyed whenever I open Maya, Max or Blender, all of which I've had for several months and still haven't managed to export a single asset successfully yet... (and why the heck can't those programs talk to each other like iClone's family can...!?!... *pant, growl, hyperventilate*)

Anywayz... Who needs them for now? haha... my software suite for this project will be:

* My much loved iClone5 Pro Pipeline, which includes 3DXchange
* A 25 year old edition of Photoshop, which came free with my first PC
* and whichever old video editing suite decides not to crash on the day...

As a Junior Newbie I can't share any of the really cool tips about the fabulous new features in iClone6 yet - because I'm still trying to work them out myself - so I'll be aiming most of my blog presentation at Newbies who are even greener than me, and just having riotous good fun while playing about with all the tantilizing tips that I wish I'd known from Day 1...

... and somewhere along the way, I hope to fulfill all the requirements for each of the three categories, because:

My project(s?) will aim to demonstrate:

* At least 3 Styles of Humanoid Skeletons
* At least 3 Styles of creating unique animations
... and cram it all down the throat of one little story that - hopefully - still manages to makes sense, while doing nearly everything with iC5 and its family of friends...

So - as we say in the outback - pull up a stump, light the campfire and break out the popcorn... the adventure begins! Yay!!

Here's my first 2 main characters warming up with a friendly first bump. Probably won't make the final cut, but I had to throw them in a scene anyway to get a feel for how simple/detailed I'd like to get with this...



  • ThePoetTrees
    Okay, that's the first 150 frames done in under 12 minutes, thanks to iC5... and then the rest of the night to take screenshots and write it all up...

    and I'm not entirely sure if I'm uploading the images properly, because all I can see is thumbnails, while everybody else seems to have lovely big sample images...

    So please, if you can guess what I'm doing wrong, I'd really appreciated a quick note, because blogs are *not* my thing.. hahaha

    In the meantime, here's...
    Three Top Tips for Setting up Animations...

    (see image)

    Edit: Finally figured out how to load images! *facepalm*
  • ThePoetTrees
    ... Crikey what a talented bunch of members are thriving over here at Polycount!!

    I've just been surfing your old threads while my last file uploads, and I've learned about so many new modelling sites! Thank you! Thank you!!

    ... And here's my last update for the night:

    Proof that we don't always need slick avatars to pre-visualise a scene, when a handful of fun DIY toonies can play with us as stand-ins...

    Horsie was re-coloured in 5 clicks, and John Marston Jnr in 5 (plus 20 minutes in my old photoshop to whip up a cheap set of clothes for him)...

    - with a free holster and Colt from the iClone store, a free hat from 3DWarehouse, and spring-boned facial features from iClone's Toonmaker1&2... but it was so hard to choose, because the Monster Pack offers a lot to choose from too - with an infinite number of unique creations possible - and they're nearly all compatible with "normal" game style human avatars too... which we'll see later when I race through to Stage 2


  • direx
    It's really funny to read your "blog" ... keep it up ...
  • ThePoetTrees
    RE: "It's really funny to read your "blog" ... keep it up ..." - Direx

    Wow, thanks... you may live to regret it, but a little encouragement goes a long way, especially from a legend like you.. Loooooove your channel!!!

    (Okay, and why is there no emoticon for drooling and bowing at the feet of Gods?...)

    Back on track: here's a quick update...

    This image (and all the geeky scribbled notes and tips on it) are intended for Newbies who are even greener than me - rare, I know... so to avoid any further embarrassment (for me, most likely)... all pros are now cordially and formally requested to look away.

    Or as they say in the movies; "Nothing to see here, Move along... move along..."

    Unless you're really, reeeally desperate for a giggle... see image attached.

    EDIT... No need, I can (almost) pass myself off as an experienced blogger now, haha!.. Here is the image embedded for your viewing convenience...


  • ThePoetTrees
    Attachment not found.Welcome back to my newbie project:

    "Pale Red Redemption: Mustang's Revenge"...

    Oh mannn! I just realized that pale red = pink... when I only mean that it's a pale comparison to the real thing, hahaha...

    Oh well... that's only a draft title anyway... and mine is set 50 years later, when we're all too old to care about such things - except that John Jnr is fiiiiiinally going to learn a lesson in payback... or not.

    << CLICK HERE for my Daffy Duck Evil Laugh... Go on, I know you want to... >>

    Then if you're a junior newbie like me, come join the hilarity by opening the latest update below in this pic called "THREE STYLES OF ANIMATING HAIR"...

    Sure, you'll be chuckling the night away at the two "Newbie Mistakes" I always make - but they're both done deliberately now, I swear, promise and vow on my favourite bar of chocolate because they really do speed up my workflow during character creation, scene design and animation...

    So one of my mistakes is now labelled as a handy tip... Can you guess which one?


    Or to quote the super-talented comedian Bill Bailey; I'm #RollingOnFloorLaughingMyButtOffButSomehowStillTyping

    EDIT: no need to click on the thumbnail anymore... my kids taught me how to embed an image properly, so here it is:


  • ThePoetTrees
    To See, or not to See?
    - A Contest Decree for all "Mother's Day" Devotees:

    Said my Toon Horse to me; "If this contest proceeds,
    it's a dead certainty and a sure tragedy,
    without eyes that can see, I'll be minced meat indeed.
    Or cut off at the knees, hacked down to a pony."

    Said I with wry glee;
    "That's just in-sanity.
    You've got au-dacity,
    packed with vi-tality,
    And your an-atomy,
    trumps our hu-manity.
    So just suck it up, steed.
    Or it's off to the tannery."

    Then he stomped around verily, like a nag with morality
    listing facts with voracity, while avoiding depravity.
    He waved hooves at me, elaborately, poking holes in my strategy,
    convinced of calamity, and the coming catastrophe.

    Then he came to a halt rationally, trying not to be panicky,
    and said he'd fight with alacrity, and a dash of rare gallantry,
    He'd even fight like a cavalry, worthy of iClone 6 pageantry
    If I'd strive for an apogee, and give him eyes without atrophe.

    Said I with a sigh; "Maybe."

    He pranced about happily...
    I pondered it tactfully...

    His eyes were un-boned anomalies,
    and his face morphed only passably.

    Then he slumped down frustratedly, mistaking silence for apathy
    and explained timeline anatomy, with keyframes acting unilaterally

    ... until I finally agreed to comply with his plea.
    And leaning back on a tree, I scratched my head like a flea,
    until the thought came to me that should fix it with ease:

    And in a double-click spree,
    I swapped the o-pac-it-y,
    for an access-ory
    in 10 clicks of my keys.

    Then we shouted "Whoopie"
    and popped the cork on Chablis,
    to kick start the melee
    and toast success with esprit.

    - by Bleetz, the Trainee

    PS: Click HERE to see
    how we did it for free
    ... Yes, really...

    PPS: It's so lovely to see,
    That it's now more than just me,
    Entered in *three* categories
    of this cool opportunity...

    EDIT: Inserting the pic properly:
  • ThePoetTrees
    "Fresh Moves to make Gamers go WOW"

    If it's unique avatars you wish to endow
    with fresh moves to make your gamers go "Wow";
    here's a quick post for "Newbie Know-how"...

    It's fast and fun, without being high-brow.
    So check out this pic & vid if you want to allow
    any human to move like horses or cows:

    Then Ciao for now!
    (Still feeling poetic after mother's day, hahaha)

    Image 1: Creating Unique Humanoids that can also behave as Quadrupeds

    Video 1 & 2: How to Convert Quadrupeds into iClone non-Standard humanoids...
    Then keep watching the Warlord tutorial that follows to see how it can work for almost *any* unique build of skeleton: [Thanks Warlord!!]

    [ame=" 1: How to convert Quadrupeds into iClone non-standard humanoids:[/ame]

  • ThePoetTrees
    Newbie Know-How: Facial Bone Mapping

    So what's the word that's got all our tongues flapping?
    It's the cool tools for lip-sync morphs and bone mapping.

    Don't be a newb, like me, and get caught napping.
    The kit is a gift with this pack without wrapping.

    It'll get your keyboard a-tap-a-tap-tapping.
    No more swearing or forehead slap-slapping.

    Let's hope the gamers will be clap-a-clap-clapping,
    if you check out this pic and cool tute for re-capping:


    [ame=" 1: How to convert Quadrupeds into iClone non-standard humanoids:[/ame]
  • ThePoetTrees
    What have we got? We've got the plot!

    In our First Entry, For kids, Rated G...

    Our violence is wholesome and clean, like Bugs Bunny.
    It's Elmer Fud, culling wildlife to eat,
    while his Toon Horse prefers targets set free...
    (with plot twists from sci-fi and fantasy)

    So Rule #1 for comedians from John Cleese to Disney:
    We can kill, maime, decapitate in all kinds of spree,
    But the moment there's blood - for some - it becomes real,
    so most games get released for ages over sixteen.

    Weird but true: John Cleese tested audiences, hoping to see
    if his Movie - Fish called Wanda - could be rated G or PG,
    where an animal lover killed a few dogs accidentally
    while trying to shoot their rich owner, a cranky old "granny"
    but each audience kept reporting the same thing:
    They laughed much harder and became devotees,
    if the dogs all died horribly - minus anything gory...

    Conclusion: We don't need blood or gore to make money...
    If the scene is set up well enough to make it funny.

    P.S. Check out this pic (or CLICK HERE) to see our "Toon Treasure" for God-Mode & Anarchy:

    Or watch that prize-winning scene, which demos this lesson for commedians:

  • ThePoetTrees
    Sooo... it's the weekend, and my avatars wanted to play.

    So, I said, sure dudes, just demo the software first, with nothing cliche:

  • ThePoetTrees
    Okay, so here's my first 3 styles of skeletons:

    *Cowboy is a standard G5 "Mr Pose" human from iClone

    *Horse is a quadruped converted to non-standard humanoid via 3DXchange, as shown in previous posts.

    *And meet CactusDude, created with iClone's simple invisible "clonebone" skeleton and a few distorted spheres attached for limbs... the flowers are part of a sub-plot for kids...

    And while doing their screentests, it struck me that I really do need to change the name of my entry, because these iCloonie Toonies are behaving more like Elmer Fud with Tarrantino directing... so it's now called:

    "High Noon Toons"...

    ... and who knows, prize winning or not, if they can chalk up enough Likes on facebook after the comp, then maybe they'll earn their own spin-off series "ForToons of War"...

    Haha, see what I did there? See what I did?

    Groan... apologies if my humour is a bit off... I'm still recovering from "Poetry Week" thanks to Mother's day in another forum for much younger gamers, where they dared us to use nothing but lyrical verse *everywhere*...

    EDIT: PS - This image is *not* rendered... none of them are... these are all just screenshots taken in iClone, with a simple vignette in the image layer...

  • ThePoetTrees
    A little tweak here, a little there...


    ... and Wolfie's now dressed to kill, or at least some slick smiting of those pesky piglets... [/URL]
  • ThePoetTrees
    Second Entry:

    ... because one of my kids loves cows, I have to do a whole story about a cow now as well... and astronauts and fairy tales... so I grabbed this basic little critter from the ultimate arcade store as a kind of Goldilocks in Space, akin to the Goldilocks arcade games, but you know... in space

    Goal: to find a safe planet and claim it before the current inhabitants trash it - with double scores if you can guess the main theme... haha


    And here's a screenshot from the 1st planet:

    And because it's been a lovely rainy weekend, my first entry leapt ahead by a big chunk too... e.g. here's the gang from that project, sneaking off set during a break to play mischief with some of the other entrants who are obviously too good for their own good... (insert evil laugh)...

    but it's okay... obviously I caught them in time, so if you've suffered any blue screens of death, they weren't from us

  • ThePoetTrees
    A fun productive weekend so far...

    Rebuilding that iconic scene for my first entry "High Noon Toons"...

    And having a "blast" with my second entry: "Lost Cow in Space"...



    (With many thanks to Zach Mertz for making his buildings free in 3DWarehouse)
  • ThePoetTrees
    Okay, so the purple Mystery planet is a bit hard to see in this shot, coz... you know... it's mysterious... and made with simple primitives and textures inside iClone.

    Oh, and sorry, guys, but I really must confess how much I love modelling in Cinema 4D... I'd never need to leave that software at all, if iClone didn't lure me away by making rendering and animation so fast and easy...

    But that's also why it was such great fun to "duck home to C4D" and whip up the little "moon ship" and city planet with a few splines and a cloner - exported as 3DS files to iClone via 3DXchange...

    Not sure what I'm doing wrong, but 3DXchange doesn't like my OBJ or FBX files from C4D yet, and the materials don't survive translation with me at the helm either, so I just texture everything once it arrives safely in iClone... (which is less work doing it that way anyhow.)

    So now I'm off to whip up some landscapes & quick scenes for each planet...

  • ThePoetTrees
    A cute closeup of the little "Moon Ship"...

    Texture is just a jpeg of cheese from google images, used for both the diffuse and bump maps in iClone.

    Atmosphere is only a primitive sphere from iClone too, using a dirty glass material.

    The "ozone exhaust" is just an iClone cloth tube with a bubble emitter.

    And the bow is from the Toonmaker kit:

    Time: 15 Minutes

    Value at seeing the look on my kids' faces: Priceless

  • ThePoetTrees
    Another day at my desk, and wow, didn't the time fly!

    PROJECT 1: "High Noon Toons:... I only planned on modelling a piano for the Wild West Saloon... the prop came free from 3Dwarehouse (thanks Tecflip!), but I broke it up into sub-props via 3DXchange with dummy pivots in iClone to animate it for music - and had enough time spare to build this much of the bar and building from scratch as well, using mostly primitives and diffuse maps in iClone... and although I've still got a lot of work with lighting, railings, doors and destructible furniture, I'm especially pleased with the stairs, which gave me stacks of trouble at first, because of all the odd angles... but now they're solid enough to film a scene underneath with Harry Potter, haha...

    Weird facts: the red carpet came from a photo of my childhood home, and one of the bottles on the bar has a label, as if I was the brewer, because, you know... I kinda was, even though it's only imaginary... oh, yeah, and if you look reeeaally closely, and squint both eyes through a miscroscope, you'll also see that it's my face on the money on the poker table :P


    PROJECT 2: Here's Planet #3 for "Lost (Cow) in Space", which smashed my own personal record for animation in a day, because it has 13 avatars, 28 fires, 5 Cameras and several other particles etc, and gave me so many great angles, I've now also scored a year's worth of wallpapers for my pc.

    Want some? I think I'll share them for free on facebook or pinterest...

  • ThePoetTrees
    Snip, Snip, hack, slash...

    Haha! Ever wonder how many movies could be made from the cutting room floors in Hollywood?

    I do... every time I need to sacrifice a frame for the sake of deadlines and project time limits.

    e.g. Here's some of mine that hit the floor today, from my second entry:

    "Lost (Cow) in Space"

  • AndrePeisker
    I like your style! :thumbup: :poly121:
  • ThePoetTrees
    LOL, according to my son I need to redo it all because i made the Stygi too big.

    He then proceeded to quote dinosaur facts at me like a RainMan... Sheesh, kids these days... where's their imagination?

    On a lighter note, he also spotted the avatar of Cerberus in my skit and pointed me to this fun little factoid:


    ... which begs the question; how the heck did I make it all the way through school without learning that?

    Oh, yeah.. I would have been off in my own little world, doodling toons in my homework book :P
  • ThePoetTrees
    Took the phone off the hook so progress leapt ahead on both projects again today. Yay!

    First; a smashing fun time - literally - with physics for High Noon Toons,
    because what kids' game is complete without a good ol' fashioned car chase...
    albeit without the cars, since they weren't invented back then:


    Still a few kinks to work out (a glitch in the door frames, the horse's stirrups pass through his leg twice and barrels pass through the cloth briefly)... This is my first attempt at these physics, so I used a project template and was learning with every click...
    but I'm loving the soft toonshader in iClone, as shown in this test vid, so I might play with that a bit more too.


    And here's a quick update on Planet #4 in my second entry Lost (Cow) in Space,
    which includes aspects of arcade style games for younger players:


    Note: for Newbie KnowHow on converting skeletons and motions from quadruped to biPed, please refer to my two previous posts on that subject (13th & 20th May)
  • Capemedia
    Starting to look good this :)
  • ThePoetTrees
    Thanks Cape!

    ... Today's update for Lost (Cow) in Space: It's official. I suck at physics.
    Thank goodness I'm... ehh-hemmm... *deliberately* going for a slightly jerky toon style, or else my first attempt at chain physics would be *totally* atrocious, and not just embarrasing... hahaha...

    but on the bright side, there's still plenty of time to panic, and to keep tweaking and tuning... so guess what I'll be doing...

    and yes, that is a typo in the image below... it's supposed to say "Releasing the glowing hound-fish-bird-alien-thingies"... but that's their technical species name, obviously. I just call them blobs in the menu. I made them accidentally - complete with full facial animations - when I slipped with my mouse on the slider a few days ago, and inadvertently re-sized a talking fish avatar too small, but found the little toon character inside that gave the mesh all of its facial features... and it's so cute, I couldn't *not* use it as an alien... hahaha


    And the update for my other entry High Noon Toons will follow soon... right after I'm finished arguing with my neighbour's bull, who is currently trying to burrow under our electric fence...

    Never a dull moment around here
  • ThePoetTrees
    Project 1: High Noon Toons

    Game Level 1: "Choose Your Bang Stick"

    Okay, so this set is nearly ready to animate. There's a bell in the church tower now, and all the doors, signs and other props can move, break or explode...

    Game lovers will spot plenty of in-jokes in this scene too, where the targets can also shoot back... haha

    But in the meantime I'm working on other levels, because I've spotted a terrific pack of toon weapons and explosives by another Polycount member out there in the other forums, and I'm just waiting for them to get back to me so I can include their dynamite and other crazy fun things here if possible... otherwise, I'll be taking a day to make my own models using primitives etc from iClone...


    Project 2: Lost (Cow) in Space

    Planet #4: Animating with Emitters... in this level there's a few, including a lovely lavender lava eruption that I made using a popvideo from iClone's Motion Montage packs, five Toon Flames, and some spooky eyes that come and go in the shadows.

    Here's the original image that I've been using on my webpage for nearly a decade:

    I really love that turquoise shade, even though it's a little cliche nowadays for SF&Fantasy... and I may go back to it... I've tried this scene re-shaded in 7 different colours via p[hotoshop, and the purple seems the most "alien" for younger players, so here's how I set up the scene - yes, on water, so the pond works with automatic ripples and reflections:

  • animagical
    Offline / Send Message
    animagical triangle
    You said you were new to iClone? I'm really impressed at how quick you learn!

    I also appreciate the various tutorials . I'm not new to iClone, but I haven't done much character importing so that will be helpful to me for sure.

    And the best part, you seem to have fun! But where do you find the time?
  • ThePoetTrees
    Fairly new, yes. I've only been animating for a year, of which the first six months were C4D and CTA... but luckily C4D is like Max, Maya, ZBrush, Bone Rigging (with wizards for any number of legs, eyes, arms etc) and it also has superior HD rendering all rolled into one, (even for toonshading)... so most of the skills translate really well.

    Then in accordance with Fate and the wild ride of Life, my eldest son fractured 6 bones in his neck and back while defending his wins in the first round of state championship supercross, which also kept us both housebound - and since he can slaughter me at computer games - learning iClone to help hasten my lifelong dream of animation gave me a cool excuse to stay close but not too close while he recovered at home on the farm.

    The 3 things that lured me to try iClone were the motion library, facial mapping to make avatars resemble real people, and the fast pixel rendering (although I still render everything out as png sequences for the final result)

    I also have a secret weapon: I've only been able to sleep 3 to 5 hours/day since my kids were born, so every week has 10 to 12 working days... (shhhh... don't tell the tax office, haha)

    Seriously, though, this is me on a good day:

    But I'm very pleased if any of my newbie notes can help you with rigging, because you certainly helped me with that little tip yesterday about hitting F2 in 3DXchange to rename the sub-groups. Mannn, I've been muttering G-rated curses over that since Christmas...

    And until your latest updates, I never realised that 3DXchange could smooth out a lot of low-poly issues... normally, I'd just pop a prop in a hypernurb over in C4D, and export it back in, so that's one less step in the workflow to help speed things along...

    which brings me to my latest update...
  • ThePoetTrees

    Over what "Great and Glorious Thing" shall we battle?

    Weird but True: All great game stories need "The Great and Glorious Thing" over which all of its players shall boldly and fiercely compete, kill and die... usually many times.... and it has to be something so empowering, and so highly valued, that the necessity for it requires no lengthy preamble to players. It has to be obvious.

    And yes, "The Thing" is obvious for my entry Lost (Cow) in Space , because it's a battle for survival, so "Life Itself" is the Great and Glorious Thing...

    But I've been scratching my head for "High Noon Toons" since the comp began, because I didn't want to draw inspiration too heavily from any particular game that we own or know of - until inspiration struck this morning - to the tune of my Beloved playfully arguing with my youngest in the lounge room...

    And lo, behold, the heavens did shine upon "The Great and Glorious Thing"... as my Dear One attempted to hold it up out of our son's reach - until the youngest and eldest did join in their valiant quest, climb and leap boldly over the sofa and succeeded in tackling and seizing "The Great and Glorious Thing"... and in doing so, the youngest also beat the "boss level" in our home and won the new rank of "Couch Commander" for a week...

    So here it is, "The Great and Glorious Thing" that sparks the fued in High Noon Toons... in a tooniverse where they *did* have these back in the old west:

    Hmmm.. looks a bit drab here, but it'll be gleaming White and Gold once I'm finished with it in iClone...

    [IMG]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VnanO0ry1GY/VWsu0_CXZ4I/AAAAAAAAA6g/G9bn4pZJtKo/w480-h267/X-Box+Controller.png width="200" height="150"[/IMG]
  • ThePoetTrees
    More Freebies & Newbie Know-How Tips from the Battlefields:

    Lipsync Tip:
    As shown in previous posts (and more to come), iClone has terrific tools for creating fast, easy and accurate lip-syncs.

    And for both of my entries, High Noon Toons and Lost (Cow) in Space, I need voices and vocalisations for many different characters...

    So I'm using this free ap from Scoompa for my phone to record and change my voice to various other male/female/animal/robot wav files, which can be emailed or bluetoothed instantly to my pc.

    Note: It's not really the "best" voice changer ap, even though that's what it's called in the freebie section of the google-play store... but the wav files from it are compatible with iclone, and they sound much cleaner in iClone than they do during playback in the ap itself (and there are no annoying ads that interfere with recordings, like in many other freebie voice changer aps):


    Viewport Tip:
    To save time switching between test-views, wide views and camera views etc, using the mini-viewport can help speed up the process of animating assets that are partially out of view, like this, while using normal lighting to see changes more clearly:

    As a newbie myself, I'm still learning from tutorials every day, so here's the one that helped me discover and learn a few tricks with the mini-viewport and other cameras:


    And HERE is the LINK to the page in iClone's free user manual, which also helped. :)
  • ThePoetTrees
    Tweak, Twist, Twerk...
    Here's the latest update for my
    iCloonie Toonie Comedy Combat series:

    The pic says it all... well, except for this wee p.s. re the freebie tips for other newbies:

    There'll be five fun i-motions for iClone in the set from this scene,
    which I'll also share as freebies as soon as I drag the remains of my bedraggled newbie corpse over the deadline...

    But in the meantime, here's the iProp I made to help me fine-tune each motion.

    It's opaque white, but appears pinkish in this scene due to the lighting.

    And yes, it's always set as a dummy, so it can't render in iClone, even by accident. I normally use it as a fixed prop, or attach it to the rootnode of the character (depending on how I need to measure changes in movements over distance, or in place, or sometimes both), and I leave it opaque so I can also keep an eye on the background. And I re-size it to suit the height and range of body "stretch" for the clip.

    Pros don't need it obviously. Who knows what kind of mystical magic they use to improve precision of their character movements... I just know that making this little DIY prop has helped me, so if you're a newbie who thinks it may help you too, see attached, and go wild...

    Doh!... this forum will only let me attach the file as a png - so to make it an iProp: simply download, then Control-drag it from your folder into your scene, then use the modify panel to adjust size, position, opacity however you like, tick the box "Set as Dummy" in the first section of the "modify" panel.. and then save it into your "custom" iprop folder (under the set/props menu tab) by clicking the plus sign.

  • ThePoetTrees

    My Hero: 3DXchange to the Rescue!

    Yes, it's true... this modest little ap just solved a pesky problem that's been bugging me for ages: how to "re-create" polys that were deleted from props and accessories to save system resources. {Tiz a common problem with freebie assets from 3DWarehouse and other modelling sites}

    Normally, I'd need to export the prop to modelling software and rebuild each poly, manually. But 3DX works magic with only 3 clicks, as shown in this pic...


    ... which has just saved me ***HOURS*** of fiddly work in both entries
    High Noon Toons and Lost (Cow) in Space, because they both have hats with complex shapes that were costing me precious time by doing it the long way...

    Time instead: Less than 2 minutes each. Yay!!!

    As a newb, I have no idea what those buttons are *really* for, but I'm curious now, so I suppose it's nearly time I should read the manual. hahaha... It's just such an easy program to use that everything I normally need is obvious - or else, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. :P
  • ThePoetTrees
    Soooo.... you know how FPS games often give players a choice or two about how their scene ends?

    I must be overdosed on caffeine, because the options for this scene turned out more like a moooving meme...



    oh mannn, I've gotta get some sleep.

    It's just gone 2am here, so I'll snip, slash, edit and start again from scratch on the morrow... LOL
  • Alemar
    The last image look nice... could you post bigger?
  • ThePoetTrees
    Alemar wrote: »
    The last image look nice... could you post bigger?

    Yes, I'd love to... and thank you for your interest... this forum has been reducing the size of my images automatically, so if you are on a pc and click control-scroll it will zoom in to make it much bigger - and then control-scroll the other way to zoom back to normal.

    Or I think the only other way to post the original size of this png file is by attachment. So I have attached it HERE (or you can click on the thumbnail below)

    I also just noticed how dark it is on a mobile phone screen, and this also makes me worry about how it might look on small screens like an i-pad, which many children will be using when I publish it as an e-book with animated pop-ups after the competition. But I'm not sure how to fix that, except if I lighten up the whole scene, but then it won't look like night on an alien planet. So I still need to scratch my head a bit longer to think about other things I can do... maybe some more explosions or hand-held torches to throw light into the middle..?

    I'm not sure, so I'll play a bit more with the special effects... iClone has so many to choose from, I'm sure there must be a solution here somewhere, and it's probably right in front of me, staring and blinking straight at me... if it had its own avatar, I bet it would also be screaming and waving to me about the solution... haha

    Also re my next update: We've lost power out here on our farm since yesterday, so I'm not sure when my next update can be. We're currently running our diesel generator, but we need to conserve it for our freezers and fridge (and for the excellent tutorial that iClone just gave us about SFX in iC6 because that was too valuable to miss!!)... So goodbye for now. I hope the mysterious problem can be solved by our local power teams soon!!! :)
  • ThePoetTrees
    Will that be Cash or Charge? Haha!

    Answer: Credit please - by which I mean end credits.

    Why?: Because I just sold my first animation to a primary school, (YIPPEEEEE!!!) which also means I need a respectable studio logo much sooner than the deadline for this competition. (Shiver!)

    And although I'd already whipped up this little guy a while ago, using a head from the Toonmaker pack (big nose mostly, with opacity for the other body parts set to zero) plus horns with fun bones and springs from the Monster Workshop and a font that I made in C4D (although since then I've also learned that I could have used fonts from the iClone packs I already owned... *facepalm*)

    ... as a newb, I couldn't get the lighting quite right in iC5 - my fault, not the software, I'm sure

    ... until I rendered it in iC6 and WOW! It's 1-click Magic!


    Okay, 2 clicks, if you count F10 to render natively, as well as the check box for ambient occlusion.

    Bizarre but true: my antivirus software (Avast) blocks Indigo and I haven't resolved how to fix it yet, so this logo was rendered *only* using the new native iC6 renderer with ambient occlusion switched on, but only at the standard settings, and no toonshader (yet)

    + I also need a Youtube Channel (which also means Google Page) in order to upload my entries for the comp, so I posted them altogether - and I'm thrilled to see I must be doing something right, because they've attracted nearly 500 views in barely 2 days! YAYY!!!!

    And all for the need of a 4 second credit!

    The New Rendering is in the logo above.
    And the old rendering, for comparision, is at the end of the sample video on my brand new Youtube and Google Channels.

    So thanks Reallusion... I'm very far from expert at any of this, and yet some sweet old lady (probably with eyesight even worse than mine) just compared me to Pixar for her grand-kiddies, so even if my potential market *is* old and senile or too young to know any different, today just scored a big fat smiley face on my desk calendar :)

    And as a bonus, I've also polished up my 4-second credit for both of my entries here.
  • animagical
    Offline / Send Message
    animagical triangle
    Newbie AND you sold an animation to a school? You're fast. Anyway, congratulations!

    I like your logo, it seems to fit the style of your movies.
  • Onizuka_Eikichi
    That's a really cool logo! What's a tarampa?

    I think you and me are the only Iclone newbies around in this comp.
    I'm glad I discovered Iclone its so much fun to use.
  • ThePoetTrees
    animagical wrote: »
    Newbie AND you sold an animation to a school? You're fast. Anyway, congratulations! I like your logo, it seems to fit the style of your movies.

    {blush} thanks... but I'll confess I had a head start on the contacts with the schools, when I posted in the RL forums about 6 weeks ago, calling for other iCloners who might want to join me in setting up a website for international promotion of their existing work, which might also be suitable for the *starving* educational market, because I saw an opportunity and wasn't quite finished my first vid at that time, so I thought somebody else might be able to take advantage to help test the waters... and because there's strength and added value when many creative people "flock" together to offer a wider range of talent. But I had no takers, so I had to go it alone.
  • ThePoetTrees
    That's a really cool logo! What's a tarampa?

    Very pleased to meet you! (*Newbie hugs*) And thanks for the positive feedback... I still see little things I need to fix... and now that he's "live", his first request is for dark sunglasses, claiming that two positive responses makes him a star. LOL

    RE Tarampa: it's the sweet little farming district in rural Australia, where we live.

    Population 16, and we're 4 of them - and I'm related to nearly everyone else - at least until recent years when many others built and moved out from the city.

    So calling my little garden shed "Tarampa Studios" is a bit of a joke, really. But if Hollywood can have Hollywood studios, and the Universe can have Universal Studios, I figure our little country town has enough pride to stand up boldly and be counted too... even if we do get trampled by the big boys for a while.

    But "Beware the wrath of the ram," I say. Because I've owned some rams that are so stupidly determined and belligerent to stand their ground, that they would back up and threaten to take on tractors, big trucks and anything else that gets in their way - even if they do end up dizzy and shaking their heads each and every time. Because it takes a whole fleet of Mac trucks, before they'll walk away, and even then, it's usually only for a day.

    And you can't spell Tarampa without ram... so it all makes sense - in a crazy round-about-way.
  • ThePoetTrees
    Whhhheeeeeeee... Slip slidin' awayyyyy...

    Always fun in a water park, but never in a timeline between motion tracks - until I found this Cool little Tool in the Timeline to help me keep all my avatars in line, right where they're supposed to be.

    I'd also post a screenshot to show how this helps my current scene, but it's 3am, stuck in hospital halls again with kids, and what else can keep me from climbing the walls while they're asleep, except catching up on tutorials and any pages from the iClone manual that I foolishly skipped over in my haste to get started...

    And I need to keep this update brief, because that 500 year old nurse is glaring death-daggers at me for the third time this hour, even though smartphones are allowed in this section.


    Hmmm.. wonder if she'd go ballistic if I asked for a desk and powerpoint for my laptop?

    Stay tuned... maybe I'll survive to post that screenshot after all...

  • ThePoetTrees
    Game Changers

    These are the motivators that compel our characters to action.

    In stories, they're called Instigating Moments, Turning Points, Plot-twists, Dark nights of the Soul, climaxes and finales.

    In games, they're often revealed during the preface narration, the cutaway scenes over which players have no control, in secret/hidden game areas, and on boss levels.

    They can be subtle, as shown in my first entry; High Noon Toons... during the initial campfire scene, while the horse is taking his "morning constitutional" against a cactus without yet knowing that it's alive... as in *alive* alive... you know, with legs and eyes, and machine gun thorns as weapons:


    Or they can be loud and cataclysmic, and the main characters may even see it coming and still be powerless to stop it, as in my second entry; Lost (Cow) in Space

    CLICK HERE to See It Coming.

    And Click Here for the Comical Consequences.

    Ironically, the exploding planet takes only 3 seconds on screen, but took me three days to set up, because I wanted to pop the earth comically, so I tried several different ways, including balloon style, but they all looked a bit cliche - so I chose this option.

    Or click on a thumbnail to enlarge:
  • ThePoetTrees
    ... and the reason I've been a bit quiet this week:

    I lost track of time setting up my next planet for the Lost (Cow) in Space to "conquer" (or not, as the case may be, haha):

    Arriving in her little "moon ship"
    Health & ozone levels: Running low.
    She's down to a mere bubble:


    And in good old fashioned game style, she's made a trade for an upgrade. So here's 3 of the locals taking the new "moon ship" mods out for a test sail:
    This took me a whole day and a half to get the flap in the sail cloth just right. At first it was determined to flap like silk - which took only a few minutes to set up, and I could have left it like that and I dare say nobody would notice or even care. But the whole purpose of my projects like this is to learn something new, so I just kept tweakin, and tweakin until I turned silk into canvas...


    And now I'm a little stuck on the the next tricky bit - at least for me. Because the natives live in tree-top tee-pees:
    (haha, try saying *that* 10 times fast after an hour at a party)...


    And although they look okay at a distance, the texture maps for leaves and trees are giving me grief on close-up, regardless of whether I use png,
    or use a jpg with an opacity map built from scratch - which is what I'm doing with my chin today... giving it a good hard scratch to see if I can solve it another way.


    Crikey, I smother a smile every time I see those alien recliner sun-lounges, because my mum used to have one like that way back in the dark ages, and I used to joke about how alien it looked - even though it was only retro - but now I can prove I was right, because look... it's right there on an alien planet :P

    Wish I could do more, but I've got to go away for work this week... sigh
  • animagical
    Offline / Send Message
    animagical triangle
    Three different entries is of course fairly ambitious if you have to work as well... I can barely finish one.

    I can see the problem with the teepees, the material somehow looks wrong as if it is paper. You could try a normal map perhaps to get some wrinkles in and make it look more like cloth.
  • ThePoetTrees
    Well, thankfully, not even I'm crazy enough to try for 3 entries, it's only 2 - just "High Noon Toons" and "Lost Cow in Space".

    Maybe you're thinking of that third animation that I finished recently and sold, but it's not suitable for the contest, because I started it before the contest opened, and I haven't been blogging about it here - except for mentioning it just that once after I heard the great news from my first animation client.

    And now you have me worried about the tee-pees too, haha... they're actually supposed to look delicate as a way of hinting that their planet never suffers bad weather (which will probably make more sense when you see the whole thing together)

    The pesky problem is actually with the horizontal blurry lines over a third of the image, due to the edges of the leaves on the trees. Here's a better image with the region circled in pink, and some of the blurry lines underlined in pink to help see them better:


    I don't think it's iClone's fault... if anything I think it's too good, which is why those clear edges have a little ghosting as if they're in shadow...

    Oh, wait! Shadows!!!... Ping! Maybe I need to switch them off for this scene... stay tuned.

  • animagical
    Offline / Send Message
    animagical triangle
    I think I may have a solution. The lines you see are most likely interference between the Opacity channel of the trees (which are props I assume) and the depth-of-field setting of the camera. Try this:

    Select the tree and then in the Modify panel, select the texture settings.

    Look for a setting called "Alpha Threshold". Mark the checkbox and play with value. That may help.

    See the attached screenshot (I cannot FTP to my website right now, so I cannot insert the image).
  • jgesq
    So glad I got a chance to dig down and look at this material. An invaluable series of resources and insights. Thanks.
  • ThePoetTrees
    YW - I'm rather surprised myself at some of the cool things I've learned during this whole process of working to a deadline with a specific project or two in mind. In the past month I've shot from junior member to tutor in the RL forums, which is quite funny considering how nervous I still feel about sticking my toes into water this deep with so many super stars.

    Yet two of the coolest features of this competition are the requirements to blog about our processes (which is helping me more than anybody, haha) and the chance to ask questions of those with far more experience.

    So here's my latest update (just a quickie after a week away in the real world to earn some coin):
  • ThePoetTrees
    Fast-n-Dirty Bone Mapping for Newbies

    This little dude is for my 2nd entry Lost (Cow) in Space...

    He's only getting basic facial bones for fast-n-dirty lipsyncs, as shown,
    because he only needs to scream in agony...

    [insert evil laughter]

  • ThePoetTrees
    Just polishing up another planet for Lost Cow in Space...


    You probably don't recognise them, since they're all wearing clever disguises, but the buskers on Preddie's home planet are Alf, Lego Bobba Fett, ET and a female grey alien, with her little podling bobbing about in his jet-pram, while Optimus Prime, Slig, Daleks and a few other old favourites are playing about nearby...

    Note: this is the ground view of the city planet that I showed in an earlier post, but for those who missed it:


    ... which should also help to explain why I think Preddie loves to get away for tropical back-to-nature murder sprees on Earth now and then... I mean, really, who wouldn't, if you had to live on a planet like that? So the first pic also depicts him kissing his latest lady farewell while his dropship is loading up in the background for his next camping trip away with his pals... And I dare say he may return with a cute pet face-hugger for her so she can have a pet on a leash like the other dude strutting his stuff down the pavement...

  • ThePoetTrees
    Newbie Know-how: Tweaky Tip #13,417
    or thereabouts, haha

    Seriously though, for such a simple avatar, this little cow is stacks of fun.

    It's amazing how much expression can be gained from the back of her head, just by tweaking her ears - which are normally animated automatically using the spring settings so they bounce naturally when she walks...

    but here I've switched them off in only 3 clicks to adjust them manually for her reaction as she comes in for a closer look at the gold city planet on her little "moon ship"...

  • ThePoetTrees
    Bonus Levels:

    Whipped up two more fun planets for Lost (Cow) in Space today... these two are "bonus levels" and were going to be optional if I ran out of time.

    Lucky for me, iClone makes it easy for Newbies, but I'll confess I also cheated a little with these two by using the same camera angles for the main character as she swoops in to land, and then aborts at the last second...

    First at the Sneazy planet, where germs and allergies are cute, but still pesky...


    And then at the gravy planet, where the local "sharky" natives are a little too keen to see her...


    And I had so much fun with these, that I'll be making extra scenes after the competition closes so I can finish fleshing out the whole thing into a featurette length for kids with gifs as pop-ups in the ebook edition that will also be available for sale in time for the holiday season.

    Fingers crossed.

    So now for the really hard part; editing it all together...

    (shivers in fear)

    I'm gonna need coffee... and chocolate... and the rest of the coffee...

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