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Ben Poon
07-01-2003, 03:13 AM
Hello everybody,
I've been a long-time lurker here on CGTalk and I've finally mustered up the courage to put up one of my projects for critique:


"Another Luxo Wannabe"

http://www.benpoon.com/cgtalk/cgtalk_benpoon.jpg

1.7 mb Quicktime Movie:
http://www.benpoon.com/movies/mov/benpoon_luxo.mov


The focus of this project was: character animation, compositing, and lighting/ rendering. The Luxo model was provided by my Pixar class instructors: Scott Clark and Pete Nash. The animation was completed a while ago as an animation project for my Pixar 1 class. During my last semester at the Academy of Art I had the good fortune to take an Advanced Rendering class taught by Jeremy Birn -- awesome teacher and really nice guy (go buy a copy of his book: Digital Lighting and Rendering, you won't regret it). I revisited my earlier Luxo project and applied all the stuff that I had learned in Jeremy's class and the final result is what you see before you -- because the animation was essentially finished, I could focus on the lighting/ rendering/ compositing. Well, I've done my Stuart Smalley daily affirmations so my fragile ego is ready for your critiques. Just kidding :) Thanks in advance for your feedback.


Best Regards,

Ben Poon

tenl
07-01-2003, 03:48 AM
Very Nice animation.

The only thing that I would say is missing is some music.

Cartoony Music

Regards,
TENL

Ben Poon
07-01-2003, 07:42 PM
Yaaaayyyy!!! My first reply! Thank you for the feedback Tenl :) You're absolutely right: it definitely needs some sound effects and an appropriately chosen soundtrack -- cartoony would definitely be the way to go. I think in the beginning, when the Luxo-wannabe is still offscreen, some metallic foot stomps would help soften his abrupt appearance onscreen. Maybe if it was mainly coming from the left-channel speaker to direct the audience's eyes to screen-left in anticipation of his entrance. Well, thanks again for taking the time out to post a reply :) Any more critiques anybody?

KolbyJukes
07-01-2003, 07:51 PM
oops! I downloaded this last night and watched it a couple of times, I was going to reply, but I guess I got distracted.
The compositing is great! I love how the light casts over the couch and wall.
You certainly got the LUXO wiggle down, as well as the overall personality of the character. Only one part of the animation stuck out, just before he's about to hop on the ball for the first time, he jumps up and down in place about three times, it seems like he's jumping way to fast. Maybe that's just me.
Good stuff,
-Kol.

Soulstorm
07-01-2003, 10:06 PM
haha, very nice animation. my crit is that in the beginning the movements appeared to be a bit jerky

ADiSH
07-01-2003, 10:14 PM
really nice:thumbsup:
look like something from Pixar..
you really should add music though..
:thumbsup:

mattmos
07-02-2003, 12:52 AM
Nice work. I'm interested as to why you chose such a light background image though, surely this would have worked better with a darker/night-time scene so that the light from the lamp showed up better? Don't get me wrong though, still give it a :thumbsup:

dimitrios_c
07-02-2003, 03:20 AM
nice, except the ball doesn't seem to be behaving right...or was that part of the gimmik, the fact that Luxo couldn't make it budge?

Ben Poon
07-04-2003, 02:40 AM
Sorry it's taken me so long to respond, I've been pretty busy -- job-hunting, personal obligations, ect. Again, I'd like to thank you guys for the feedback :)

Kwak: Thank you Kwak. Yeah it does seem a bit fast now that you mention it. Sometimes you get too 'close' to your own work and its hard to 'see' things clearly. That's why your feedback is so important; you guys see things from a fresh perspective.

Soulstorm: you mean the light cast on the wall? It bothers me too. The problem is that Maya's renderer doesn't motion blur lights (or shadows) so, even though the Luxo wannabe and the ball get the benefit of motion blur, the spotlight doesn't; that might have something to do with the jerkiness you mention. I haven't come up with a good solution to this problem short of maybe hand blurring the spotlight and shadow passes in Shake. Any ideas?

Adish: Thanks for the kind words Adish. That's probably the biggest flaw of this piece: it is derivative and unoriginal; I mean, there must be thousands of Luxo Jr. 'homages' floating around out there. I'm almost afraid of including it on my demo reel for that very reason -- unfortunately I HAVE to since I don't have that many pieces to include and it's my most recent project. My next project will definitely be much more original :)

Mattmos: that's a good question. I'm afraid I don't have a suitably good answer. I guess for me, the spotlight effect wasn't my main focus; I was more concerned with the subtle interaction of all the elements in an attempt to create an overall convincing scene. For instance: the Luxo wannabe's reflection in the hardwood floor distorts along the uneven surface of the floor. The ball's reflection does too. Also, Luxo wannabe's reflection has to obscure the reflection of the back windows but still has to let the local color and texture of the floor show through. Look closely and you'll also notice the lamp and the ball both have a 'contact' shadow from the overall ambient illumination in addition to the shadow cast specifically by the lamp's light bulb. Both the lamp and the ball have to carry reflections of the environment and of each other. It was a real mental challenge for me to keep track of the zillions of render passes, shadow masks, ect. Straight in my head -- at one point I even had a Fresnel mask for the lamp's and the ball's reflection passes but the effect was so subtle that I figured the audience wouldn't even notice so I discarded them. It got so bad sometimes that when I'd sit down to work, I had to stare at my Shake script for a couple of minutes just to figure out what I was trying to do during my last session. I could go on and on but you get the point: the spotlight was just one of many subtle effects that I had hoped would add to the suspension of disbelief. Did that make any sense? You'll have to forgive me; I'm terrible at explaining things as my writing skills are pretty lame -- that's why I went to art school :)

Dimitrios_c: Hmmmmmm. No, unfortunately, if the ball is behaving unconvincingly, it was not intentional -- it means that I didn't do a good enough job animating the ball. Could you elaborate further? Does it deform too much/ not enough? Or maybe I should add a tiny bounce after every time Luxo wannabe hops on it? Does the ball fly off the screen too fast? Ect. Thanks.

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