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DeedgeMinds
09-18-2013, 10:09 AM
Hello all,
Really proud of this one and proud that all the animation was done in LW. Whole piece is just LW and AE. The 2d look is just native LW surfacing, nothing fancy.
Xoom is an energy provider that operates in states that have energy deregulation. We're slated to do a few more and look forward to doing them in LW.

http://vimeo.com/74732157


comments, crits, and questions welcome.

nickdigital
09-18-2013, 10:45 AM
Wow, looks great. All the character animation was done in LW? It looks like it was animation done in Flash or Harmony.

DeedgeMinds
09-18-2013, 11:02 AM
Wow, looks great. All the character animation was done in LW? It looks like it was animation done in Flash or Harmony.

Yes, all character stuff is LW. Screenshot is below.

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jeric_synergy
09-18-2013, 11:06 AM
Really liking the rim-lighting!

Excellent look! Good animation! VO is very lacking.


(uhh-ohhh: never even heard of 'Harmony'. sheesh)

nickdigital
09-18-2013, 11:40 AM
Yes, all character stuff is LW. Screenshot is below.

117164

It'd be great to get more insight into the character animation process. You have animation and poses that were very 2d in their execution (bendy limps, squash and stretch). I assume these were all custom rigs...not Genoma? It would also be great to hear how you handled the scenes with multiple characters. Managing multiple rigs in Layout can result in poor Layout performance.

- - - Updated - - -



(uhh-ohhh: never even heard of 'Harmony'. sheesh)

https://www.toonboom.com/

bazsa73
09-18-2013, 11:59 AM
Superb! I love the tentacles, how was it done?

DeedgeMinds
09-18-2013, 12:33 PM
The tentacle in the third shot was straight bones. The the others were done using the SplineControl tool.

nickdigital: I will post some stuff this evening about the process. Although I imagine you'll find it underwhelming.

nickdigital
09-18-2013, 12:40 PM
nickdigital: I will post some stuff this evening about the process. Although I imagine you'll find it underwhelming.

Oh I doubt that. The quality that you were able to produce is actually very inspiring.

ernesttx
09-18-2013, 12:50 PM
Yes please provide some insights. This is excellent work and the animation is very good. I love the look and feel of it. Very 2D and that is what I like. More please :)

robpowers3d
09-18-2013, 04:03 PM
This is exceptional work. We would be interesting in doing a profile on you and possibly more. Would you be interested in that? Are you able to show this work?

Ryan Roye
09-18-2013, 05:07 PM
Agreed. I think more than a few of us love the idea of emulating a 2d look with 3d software. Excellent work on the video and indeed you should be proud of this solid publication.

Remember that getting a 2d feel can be a specialty all in it's own in regards 3d apps in general, so don't take that knowledge for granted.

evenflcw
09-18-2013, 05:09 PM
Awesome work! Great look and great animation.

DeedgeMinds
09-18-2013, 07:03 PM
This is exceptional work. We would be interesting in doing a profile on you and possibly more. Would you be interested in that? Are you able to show this work?

Thanks Rob. We would love to do a profile! Definitely interested. We are able to show this. We just started uploading a ton of stuff up to vimeo. We're still trying to get it organized, I'll shoot you a link tomorrow once we get the videos arranged like we want them.

geo_n
09-18-2013, 07:27 PM
Excellent work! Would also like to know more about the character rigs. So fluid animation.
Don't forget youtube. Vimeo has problems with some tablets.

DeedgeMinds
09-18-2013, 08:24 PM
I'll put some screen shots with descriptions here to show how we went about this.

Have to give a lot of credit to Nick Swift who worked with me on the pre-production art. His stuff made us want to really pull this off retaining as much of his art's look as possible.

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The key to the characters was simplicity. You can see below that there wasn't a lot of geometry there at all. That actually helps get those nice curvy limbs when its time to animate.
Keeping those sausage link style fingers also helps convey that 2d sense.

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The rig is actually fairly simple too. The rig uses IK on both the legs and arms. For this cartoony stuff, I find the less complicated the rig the better. I've used the genoma presets for some other stuff, but I really like to get in there and screw with the bones too much when I'm doing a lot of squash and stretch. Speaking of, all the squash and stretch is really done by grabbing the bones and scaling them by crazy amounts on the z axis at just the right time. I've seen rigs where that type of squash and stretch is built into the controls, but I have no idea how to accomplish that. At one time, a million years ago, I was actually good at rigging, but I definitely plateaued at some point. All the characters use the same rig with just a few tweaks here and there.

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Texturing was another case of simpler is better. The thing I loved about the initial art was the red tint to the nose, tips of fingers and ears. There is also some nice toothy shading on the pants and sweater the character is wearing. This was accomplished with a weight map that was used to alpha out a darker color of whatever surface it was used on.

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Here's a render with the surfacing settings being shown. You can see at the bottom the weight map is being used to shade the skin. To get that toothy-ness to the shading, I used a grungy, gritty black and white texture that was front projected onto the surfaces using the photoshop multiply blend mode. The same shading weight map was then used to alpha out that grunge map. You can really see it in the nose, fingers, and pants of the character in the render. I like the effect that the gritty texture stayed in place as the character moved over it. Subtle but worth it. Lastly what I guess is the real thing that gives that toon shading appearance it the cranking up of the diffuse sharpness under the advanced tab of the surface. You can see it is set to 150. This really makes nice hard edges on the shading.

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The other part of getting that toon look is to do something just stupid. You can see below I cranked the ambient lighting up to 100. I was going to set the luminance to 100 and diffuse to 0 on the surfaces, but then realized lighting wouldn't affect a surface with that setting. So I cranked the ambient lighting up to 100 that way I get the flatness in the image, but I can still use lights to affect the model. You can see this was lit with just two distant lights providing the rim light around the character. If you wanted say a dark blue night for example, you would just color your ambient light a dark blue. Super simple, but that combined with the cranked up diffuse sharpness, gives a good look.

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As far as the animation goes, its just old school key-framing and squash and stretch. You can see below how far I pushed the stretching along the z of the finger bones. This same type of stretching was done on everything from the feet to the head to the spine bones.

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Also just surrounding the renders with other hand drawn elements helps put the CG stuff in that 2D world.

I'm sure you are now horribly disgusted at the lack of anything really ground breaking being done. But, hopefully you'll see its all very doable. I've always loved animating in LW and never understood why nobody took it seriously as a character animation tool.

Anyhoo, I hope I answered some questions. If there's anything more specific you'd like me to go more into, let me know.

thanks,
Danny

dwburman
09-18-2013, 09:04 PM
Wow... good stuff. :)

jeric_synergy
09-18-2013, 09:13 PM
Wow, Danny, thanks for the breakdown!

nickdigital
09-18-2013, 09:15 PM
Excellent write up, thanks for taking the time to do it.

digitaldoc
09-18-2013, 09:41 PM
Really cool! Thanks for the info. Inspiring.

vector
09-18-2013, 10:24 PM
Not sure what is better: the video or the explanation :)

Dodgy
09-18-2013, 11:58 PM
Excellent work there!

djwaterman
09-19-2013, 12:49 AM
Is all the other animations on the Vimeo channel LW or is it a mix? Anyway, stellar stuff, totally agree with the boneless rigging look, proper 2d feel that seems free from the limits of a sophisticated rig. I copied ll the breakdown images, there was that cartoon monkey a month or so back in these threads, did you see it? It had an interesting breakdown of surface shaders as well. Sorry, can't find it right now.

ksnoad
09-19-2013, 01:10 AM
Brilliant!

Thanks for the breakdown too :)

Kev xx

Netvudu
09-19-2013, 03:44 AM
Wonderful stuff. Lots of talent oozing from that work.

SaleVonGeist
09-19-2013, 04:06 AM
Very nice work indeed! :thumbsup:

souzou
09-19-2013, 04:09 AM
This is awesome work, and many thanks for sharing some of the techniques behind it. Very inspiring!!

Waves of light
09-19-2013, 04:23 AM
This is breathtakingly awesome and beautifully executed. And thank you so much for the explanation. I love your simplistic approach.

MAUROCOR
09-19-2013, 06:40 AM
Very nice work, Danny! I love it! Contratulations!;)

pauland
09-19-2013, 06:58 AM
Excellent. I'd be very proud of that too.

I'm curious about some of the edges - some of them look slightly fuzzy ( not blurry ) - for example - the table where the character sits - the edge is pin sharp against the character, but on either side it has a fuzzy look. Same for the fingers on the hand - some sharp, some fuzzy. Is that some special processing?

DeedgeMinds
09-19-2013, 07:18 AM
Thanks for all the kind words everybody! Glad the breakdown helped.


Is all the other animations on the Vimeo channel LW or is it a mix? Anyway, stellar stuff, totally agree with the boneless rigging look, proper 2d feel that seems free from the limits of a sophisticated rig. I copied ll the breakdown images, there was that cartoon monkey a month or so back in these threads, did you see it? It had an interesting breakdown of surface shaders as well. Sorry, can't find it right now.

Yes all of the stuff on our channel is Either LW or AE or a combination. We've been a lightwave house since '97 and have seen no real compelling reason to change.

DeedgeMinds
09-19-2013, 07:23 AM
Excellent. I'd be very proud of that too.

I'm curious about some of the edges - some of them look slightly fuzzy ( not blurry ) - for example - the table where the character sits - the edge is pin sharp against the character, but on either side it has a fuzzy look. Same for the fingers on the hand - some sharp, some fuzzy. Is that some special processing?

Glad you noticed! It shows up much better in the Full HD version. It was one of the things I liked about the artwork Nick Swift created. It all had a nice rough edge to it. There was a little AE alpha work to get that look. I'll post something a little later about that.

Speaking of Nick, I wanted to give him a plug.
His blog: http://brokenlynx.blogspot.com/
His portfolio site: http://nickswiftportfolio.blogspot.com/

mikadit
09-19-2013, 08:38 AM
Very nice! Thank you for sharing!

nickdigital
09-19-2013, 11:30 AM
Anyhoo, I hope I answered some questions. If there's anything more specific you'd like me to go more into, let me know.


Can you go into the resources required to get the project done? Number of people, timeframe, etc.

Waves of light
09-19-2013, 11:34 AM
Just checked out some of your other Vimeo stuff. I presume that's all LW too. The Phoenix Academy stuff is excellent too. Why haven't you guys/girls posted on here before?

DeedgeMinds
09-19-2013, 02:03 PM
Can you go into the resources required to get the project done? Number of people, timeframe, etc.

Out total staff here at the studio is 7 artists and 1 administrator.
We usually have around 3 or so projects in house at a time, so we're constantly spinning plates and jumping from project to project.

Myself and one other animator handled the 3d animation. Nick Swift did all the final art for the backgrounds. Two people modeling and texturing. One of the Modelers and myself handled the AE stuff.
From the moment the animatic was approved, turnaround time was 2 weeks. While the animatic was going on, modeling was taking place, so I'd say total time from delivery of script to handing over final was 4 weeks.

DeedgeMinds
09-19-2013, 02:09 PM
Just checked out some of your other Vimeo stuff. I presume that's all LW too. The Phoenix Academy stuff is excellent too. Why haven't you guys/girls posted on here before?

I guess its like the carpenter who's house is never done. We are our own worst self promoters. Finally decided to get off our butts.

luciano
09-19-2013, 03:51 PM
I guess its like the carpenter who's house is never done. We are our own worst self promoters. Finally decided to get off our butts.


woooow, really compliments ... I love this kind of animation .... but above all the style fused with Lightwave ... I congratulate you, for we have other suggestions on the setup of the scenes ...

DeedgeMinds
09-19-2013, 06:44 PM
Excellent. I'd be very proud of that too.

I'm curious about some of the edges - some of them look slightly fuzzy ( not blurry ) - for example - the table where the character sits - the edge is pin sharp against the character, but on either side it has a fuzzy look. Same for the fingers on the hand - some sharp, some fuzzy. Is that some special processing?

Here's how the rough edges were accomplished. Below is an animated gif that shows the breakdown of the layering. Hope it makes sense. If we had the time, I would have rendered more stuff out in separate passes, so that all parts would have the rough edge, not just the image edges. But it gives a good effect none the less.

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toeknee
09-19-2013, 10:39 PM
You know I see your work here and it makes me proud to be a lightwaver. This is truly inspiring animation. From concept through completion you have created a solid work that show great talent in animation—and ever more importantly in compelling story telling. I will use this as a work to show as an example of understanding the whole picture.
I do have two questions however, first is how long did this take from concept to completion? And the second question was is this a one man gig or did you do this with others?

Waves of light
09-20-2013, 02:35 AM
I guess its like the carpenter who's house is never done. We are our own worst self promoters. Finally decided to get off our butts.

And we're all very glad you did.

pauland
09-20-2013, 03:49 AM
Here's how the rough edges were accomplished.

Impressive - very clever.

bazsa73
09-20-2013, 04:03 AM
Dee is member since last year, wrote 11 posts but did a supercool animation. :D Some folks on these forums could adopt this attitude instead of
blaming NT or LW being incapable of CA. Whatever.

geo_n
09-20-2013, 04:27 AM
Its not really blame. Most of the issues are legit. When you have people like pooby, RH, chris jones post about lightwave issues and deficiencies its important for developers to listen. Or lw wont progress for the better.
This work here is superb but I would argue that you have talented animators here rather than lw itself being exceptional for CA. Really the credit is the animators even if they were given fk rigs they probably could still have done well. Thats pure talent and determination. Exception rather than the norm.

safetyman
09-20-2013, 05:47 AM
Excellent work. I really like the look of the characters and all, but the animation is really what makes this superb. Really inspiring stuff.

allabulle
09-20-2013, 06:26 AM
Great work and fantastic breakdown. Thank you for sharing and congratulations!

otacon
09-20-2013, 01:29 PM
Its great work. I love the simplicity of it. I think that is the real strength of LW. In a good artists hands you can get quality results from simple techniques. The other stuff on your page is really nice too.

jeric_synergy
09-20-2013, 01:43 PM
I need to go back and take a hard look at the eyebrows...

faulknermano
09-20-2013, 10:23 PM
I'm sure you are now horribly disgusted at the lack of anything really ground breaking being done.

On the contrary: the simplicity is *very* refreshing -- a breath of fresh air -- and not to mention exciting. I think it's in true 'LW-style' that you keep it as technically simple, and get very impressive results.

Congratulations, and kudos to the awesome team of people you work with.


best,

lernie.

jeric_synergy
09-20-2013, 11:58 PM
I'm sure you are now horribly disgusted at the lack of anything really ground breaking being done. But, hopefully you'll see its all very doable. I've always loved animating in LW and never understood why nobody took it seriously as a character animation tool.

NOTHING could be further from the truth!!! You've showed us that once again, it's the artist, and not the tool, in a brilliant and fun way.

I think everyone here is admiring and grateful that you were so generous in sharing your process. :bowdown:

Sincere Thanks,
Eric

DeedgeMinds
09-21-2013, 04:22 AM
Thanks so much everybody. Glad to share.

I've patrolled the forums many times looking for answers, so I'm happy to give something back and hopefully help out.

djwaterman
09-25-2013, 08:28 AM
Someone resurrected this thread so I was able to get you the link to the 2D monkey surface node post that I was unable to locate before.

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?136625-Marty-the-Monkey-LW-11-6-nodes

You might find it useful in your next 2D inspired productions, somewhere in the thread is the link to a website with all the info and sample.

DeedgeMinds
09-25-2013, 08:58 AM
Very badass!

I still feel like a fish out of water on some of the node stuff, but I'll definitely try to learn the ins and outs of this particular setup.

Thanks for resurrecting that post!

JoPPa
12-13-2016, 04:20 PM
Really nice one!

Exclaim
12-13-2016, 05:08 PM
The tentacle in the third shot was straight bones. The the others were done using the SplineControl tool.

nickdigital: I will post some stuff this evening about the process. Although I imagine you'll find it underwhelming.
Well done!

Wade
12-13-2016, 05:15 PM
Glad this got a bump so I could find it. Hummm can it be dog eared so I can find it again?

djwaterman
12-13-2016, 07:00 PM
I see that Rob Powers chimed in on the first page and asked if you'd like your production company profiled. Did this ever happen?

allabulle
12-14-2016, 05:30 AM
I'm curious about it too.

lardbros
12-14-2016, 06:32 AM
Its not really blame. Most of the issues are legit. When you have people like pooby, RH, chris jones post about lightwave issues and deficiencies its important for developers to listen. Or lw wont progress for the better.
This work here is superb but I would argue that you have talented animators here rather than lw itself being exceptional for CA. Really the credit is the animators even if they were given fk rigs they probably could still have done well. Thats pure talent and determination. Exception rather than the norm.

Missed this thread the first time around, but loving the work, it certainly is inspiring and great animation, no matter what application was used.

I'm going to have to disagree with the quoted comment above... it kind of implies that someone who isn't any good at animation, can create good animation with a good rig. I don't really believe this to be true.
Good animators, can indeed make a good animation using a basic rig, but also... a bad animator will never be able to create good animation using a brilliant rig :)

Just my opinion though of course, and don't want to detract from the awesome work in the thread :)

The Dommo
12-14-2016, 08:00 AM
I have to admit, I missed this originally too!
But, that has got to be some of the best stylized character animation in native LW that I've ever seen!

Congrats!

Dom