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CalumAH
12-30-2004, 12:46 AM
Right, I'm looking to animate a small scene (around 1 minute long). Now the scene comprises of three soldiers (in combat gear), in a dark room, but lit so we can make out bits of them. Their laser-sights are flashing across the room. Now, the animation of the men walking is going to have to be pretty realistic, same with their clothing. I'm using a Mac, what software do you recommend I use for this animation?

BigJay
12-30-2004, 02:39 AM
On the mac you only have a few options for 3d software.

Lightwave, has decent soft dynamics to make cloth with. $1500

Maya which has better cloth but I am not sure how much you have to pay to get that version.

Animation Master, decent cloth capabilites but only uses patches and the renderer needs to tlc to get movie results out of it. $300


how big is your budget?

are you a student? there are educational versions of these packages

how much skill do you have in doing this kind of thing will also play a big factor in what you can realistically expect out of any software you use.


hope that helps

CalumAH
12-30-2004, 07:11 PM
I have limited experience with 3D applications, I've played around with Maya and Cinema 4D (demoes), and I use SketchUp a lot..

I am a student, so I guess that kinda explains my budget! Not too expensive, but thankfully student prices appear to be pretty sensible, all versions of Cinema 4D are under £500... Are there any examples you could show me of what I'm looking for? Perhaps a rendered SWAT guy in any of these programs? Or a shining laser? Might help me make up my mind much more easily!

Thanks for the help.

tibes
01-01-2005, 01:25 AM
The project you've described sounds quite involved. I would suggest that you spend some more time learning about the techniques involved before starting an ambititious project.

Any of the software described by Big Jay will be able to produce the results you're after, however that's dependant on your knowledge/skills of the software.

Remember, there is no "make it cool" button :D

CalumAH
01-01-2005, 01:34 AM
What's so involved about my idea? Is it the laser aspect? Or just the movement? Or the texturing of the people? Out of curiosity, would Cinema 4D be a good option to look at?

BigJay
01-01-2005, 02:03 AM
Oops, I forgot cinema 4D. there is a module you'll need to get the more advanced animation out of it. Cloth dynamics I am not sure if you need another module for or if it is already in it.

Animation master will give you th eeasiest time animating.

The laser is just a cylinder with glow and high ambiance so it is easy in any software.

Animating a buch of characters is not that hard. You should be able to make a walk cycle you can apply to all of them then tweak the top half of each of them. AM is good at that. LW is not. rest I have no idea.

I don't see much of a problem doing this.

tibes
01-01-2005, 02:31 AM
What's so involved about my idea? Is it the laser aspect? Or just the movement? Or the texturing of the people? Out of curiosity, would Cinema 4D be a good option to look at?
I'm not clear on your experience level (e.g. Have you done any organic modelling before?) however from your posts it sounds like you don't have prior experience doing a project like this?

All this depends on what your expectation of the end result is, but if you want something fairly realistic, then you need a requisite amount of experience in many areas. What you've described requires expertise in design, modelling, texturing, dynamics, rigging, animation and lighting. If you haven't done these before, then you're facing a pretty steep learning curve, considering that you'll be learning the software as well.

Just my $0.02. My advice would be to fill in the gaps in your knowledge first with Maya PLE or other free 3D software before spending up on commercial versions.

CalumAH
01-01-2005, 04:46 PM
My advice would be to fill in the gaps in your knowledge first with Maya PLE

That is exactly what I've been doing for a while, just playing around in the program. Also downloaded a walking man from this forum (I think), just so I can see what it's going to be like.

The thing is, I don't want it to be hugely realistic, kind of in between really, more of an Incredibles look than a more realistic one (as in smooth clothing, not fully textured etc).

The main problem I always have with 3D programs is how to create the correct lighting, are there any decent tutorials you could recommend to me?

Oh and Cinema 4D (the one I'm looking at, at least), does come with that animation plugin.

I'm thinking of doing another scene instead, one with much less to learn, it's just a guy running through a darkly-lit room (as in moonlight shining in through the windows), but as I mentioned above, lighting causes a real headache.

Marc-OlivierBouchard
01-01-2005, 09:47 PM
I don't know how easy or hard you think it is, but my estimate is it will take you more than 6 month learning the software, modelling, rigging, animating and lighting before being being able to produce something close to watchable. Unless your are really experienced in traditional animation and arts (I mean years of experience).

CalumAH
01-01-2005, 10:12 PM
Six months? That's really not at all bad, and I've got no problems with having to learn it, I'm just glad there's such a great community to turn to when (not if!) it does all go wrong!

Marc-OlivierBouchard
01-01-2005, 10:59 PM
8 hours a day...

But hey, good luck, hope you do it.
Can I ask what is it for? Any specific project?

CalumAH
01-01-2005, 11:05 PM
I've been wanting to make short films for ages, decided that the easiest way (well, with regards to organising everything) to show people what I want to achieve is to animate it. Plus it might look rather good... Hopefully!

Marc-OlivierBouchard
01-01-2005, 11:54 PM
I believe CG is not by any means the easiest way to make short films. It is a lot longer, harder and you have to know a lot more.
An actual short film, you need knowledge of cinematography, lighting, directing, acting, sound etc.
A CG short film will ask you for all those skills plus you have to make everything yourself and learn a software. From personnal experience I recommend you start with live action, experiment a lot, shoot hours and hours of material. It helps you understand lighting, movement, composition. In CG you start from a blank page. If you do not refer to real life experience it is easy to fall into clichés.

All these coments are only valid if you are serious about making short films. If it is only a hobby, I say go ith what you like the most. Although the lack of knowledge in other fields may have you feel trapped at moments.

It is though a wonderful medium...

CalumAH
01-02-2005, 01:19 AM
I've shot a lot, it's just the whole organisation structure is where it all goes wrong (people dropping out etc) and I want to make something that only relies on me. But you're slowly killing any hopes....

I am serious about films, but at the age I am now it makes sense to get involved with lots of software, lots of free time and very cheap prices....

tibes
01-02-2005, 10:07 AM
Remember it's more about art than software. The software won't sculpt your characters for you, you must do that. The same is true for every other part of the process.

Don't be put off by what we're saying - if you are serious about computer animation then you'll do it anyway. Just be aware that there is a lifetime's knowledge to learn about every part of the process. And even seemingly small steps can be hard to make at the beginning.

The software exists for free out there to do what you would like to do - so get out there and do it, expensive tools are not important.

Good luck! :thumbsup:

AJE
01-11-2005, 10:43 PM
Consider doing all of your animation in MotionBuilder (now owned by Alias).

It's not a modeler, or a renderer, but I don't think it's that expensive, and the animation capabilities for multiple characters is pretty strong.

Model in something else, animate in Motionbuilder, render in something else (or the original program that you modeled with).

jmBoekestein
01-14-2005, 04:20 PM
I have limited experience with 3D applications, I've played around with Maya and Cinema 4D (demoes), and I use SketchUp a lot..

I am a student, so I guess that kinda explains my budget! Not too expensive, but thankfully student prices appear to be pretty sensible, all versions of Cinema 4D are under £500... Are there any examples you could show me of what I'm looking for? Perhaps a rendered SWAT guy in any of these programs? Or a shining laser? Might help me make up my mind much more easily!

Thanks for the help.

If you want the animation to look realistic, it's going to require a lot out of you. Very oftne this goes to mocap departments I think. Can you imagine the amount of muscles in a human body, and especially in a tense soldier, doing their thing. That's a lot of dynamic movement!
If it really needs to be done or you really want to, I do suggest taking enough time to learn a package and the parts of it that you'll need especially.

spook
01-19-2005, 08:53 PM
i feel what all these guys are saying to you and you should definetely listen to what they have to say bro, but dont let it discourage you from doing something. do the project to the best of your ability then post it and let us tell you what you could improve in. i believe learning from doing is the best way to learn. just dont let the end result of your first project frustrate or assuade you from the posibility of what it could look like if you jus put a little more time into learning more on the areas you are short in.
also if you dont model that well there are tons of resources for free models that you could rig and use in a scene just to get the feel for things like lighting and stuff. and if your concerned about stuff like software:these guys are totally right, its not the software its the artist and there is alot of free software out there that you should explore before you go spending your money on something that you might not feel completely comfortable with.

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