Week 7

a CMU ETC Production

Week 7

Diving Into Production

This week was challenging but productive.

We started off with a bit of a handicap, because two of our team members (Jared and Niharika) came down with a bad cold going around Pittsburgh. As a result, not as much progress was made on scheduling and animation as we may have liked.

However, that did not keep us from making progress. Powering through their colds, Jared and Niharika went to the CMU Pool to record some animation reference videos using a GoPro. This will help us to better visualize how it looks when the human body is swimming and drowning. We learned it isn’t easy to drown as you might think!

A lot of time had been spent over the past few weeks iterating on the animatic and storyboards, but this week we came to a consensus that they needed to be locked down. We decided on all the camera angles and are currently in the throes of translating the locked-down 2D animatic into a 3D one. This meant that we had officially made the transition from pre-production to full production!

Hair simulation has continued to be one of our biggest obstacles, as it isn’t a well-documented field of study. Making the hair look natural for our mythical setting has been challenging, but Kristy has been giving it her all and we are starting to get a clearer picture of how hair flows and moves underwater.

Another big accomplishment of this week was finishing and weight painting Sirena’s rig. This means that Niharika can freely animate the model, and Muhammad can start working on cloth simulation for Sirena’s attire. The clothing design will be based on traditional Polynesian garb.

The Halfway Mark

On top of all this, the team needed to prepare for next week’s Halves presentation. If you’ve read an ETC blog before, you probably know what this is, but if not it is essentially our midterm examination. The team has to give a thorough 15-minute presentation to faculty and peers about what has been accomplished so far, the roadmap for the second half of the semester, and what challenges we foresee. This means not only crafting a good presentation, but also frequently rehearsing to get comfortable talking about the material.

To best illustrate our goals at Halves, we put together a short teaser with the completed shot we made and refined. The teaser also showcases some of our environments, as well as Amara’s voice lines. The other major thing we want to present at Halves is our first pass at the 3D animatic. In this way, the audience can see what we’re capable of making, and visualize that on top of our entire scene structure.

Thanks for reading and we will let you know how it goes next week!