28 Sep 2011

SIP - Yggdrasil Mock Up

I created a pre-vis version of the 'Yggdrasil Treeship' today in Maya. The reason behind doing this is to bring all the components together and to make it take shape. I've used what I've learnt about the ship from the resources I have gathered to formulate the shape and colouring.

The ring around the base houses the alien 'Erg's in the containers. The ring would rotate allowing the ship to travel in all directions as the aliens emit the fields that allows movement. The rings around the tree house the domes along with the Hawking Drive along the base of the structure. The base of the structure will undergo changes to accomidate how the mechanics would work.

SIP - My Vision of the 'Yggdrasil Treeship'

From my previous post, I've managed to create an image of how I see the 'Yggdrasil' in my head. Here I will describe it.

The tree itself is large and almost dwarfs the rest of the ship. Wrapped around the tree is walkways leading to habitats on the tree and suspended around it. The base has more mechanical features including the walkways that house the Hawking Drives. The base leads to the underside that houses the Engineering and cargo spheres around the base. There tendrils that looks like roots emerge from the bottom. The special 'Erg' containers are connected to a ring that rotates around the ship creating it's propulsion. Also on the underside is the Hawking Drives. A forcefield surrounds the top half leaving the mechanical parts in the void.

I will be mocking up an image of the treeship in Maya and Photoshop to further get my image across.

SIP - 'Yggdrasil' Research

After my collection of 'Yggrasil Treeship' information from the novels that it came from, I've looked into inspiration pictures for it.

Here is a inspiration map to highlight some aspects.

And these are some key aspects.

The Norse 'Yggdrasil' is a towering monolith of a tree so I feel that the scale is very important. It needs to dwarf the mechanical components yet still feel apart of it.

The habitats must be futuristic and as of that I see them as the domed type hubs. These seem to be the most 'realistic' Interpritation due to NASAs research into the field.

The Hawking Drive seems to be that it doesn't equate to the engine itself. It's an extenstion of the engine.

The containers of the alien propellent system, the Erg, are imagined as just that... Containers. All though hinted at in the novels, that the inhabitants of the tree are communicate with them on some level, it's not confirmed. Due to that, I imagine that the creatures are almost forced into the situation.

26 Sep 2011

SIP - Vehicle Design choice

Over the weekend I've been looking into what vehicle I want to transcribe for the project. I knew i wanted it to be sci-fi and a spacecraft so I used literature to find one. I looked into fiction as I feel it gives more variety then what can be presumed of.

So I settled on the book 'Hyperion' by Dan Simmons for inspiration. I read the book a few years back on holiday so I could distincty remember a shi that stuck in my mind. The ship is called the 'Yggdrasil Treeship'.

Based on 'The Tree of Life' from Norse mythology, the treeships main purpose is luxury transportation. Acting as a fusion between organic life and mechanical prowess, the ship looks like a large tree concealed in a force field, wired into engines and machinery. The ship itself is propelled by small aliens called 'Ergs' who are encased in containers at the base. Another feather of the ship is the 'Hawking Drive' that enables faster then light travel. In the books, the Hawking drive has many appearances but the ones attached to 'Yggdrasil' are shaped like feathers on an arrow. The tree is entwined with machinery and life, such as habitat pods and walkways. Here are some descriptions taken from the book and author about the ship.

'The Consul remembered his first glimpse of the kilometer-long treeship as he closed for rendezvous, the treeship's details blurred by the redundant machine and erg-generated containment fields which surrounded it like a spherical mist, but its leafy bulk clearly ablaze with thousands of lights which shone softly through leaves and thin-walled environment pods, or along countless platforms, bridges command decks, stairways and bowers. Around the base of the treeship, engineering and cargo spheres clustered like oversized galls while blue and violet streamers trailed behind like ten kilometer-long roots...

The Consul paused, moved to the edge of the walkway, and took a quick step back. It was at least six hundred meters down - down being created by the one-sixth standard gravity being generated by the singularities imprisoned at the base of the tree ...

A Templar treeship normally carried between two and five thousand passengers; it was easily the most desirable way to travel between the stars.

Page 8 - Hyperion

This segment desribes when one of the main characters sees the ship for the first time. It explains the looks of the ship from an exterior point.

Treeships are living trees that are propelled by ergs (an alien being that emits force fields) through space. The ergs also generate the containment fields (force fields) around the tree that keep its atmosphere intact. There are only four treeships in existence including the Yggdrasil.

'Yggdrasil' description

In Dan Simmons' Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel Hyperion, the first in the Hyperion Cantos series, Ergs are quasi-telepathic sentient (but not sapient) silicon-based life forms discovered around planet Aldebaran which generate and control extreme force-fields.
In the same series, Ergs are used to propel Templar Treeships. The ergs also generate the containment fields (force fields) around the tree that keep its atmosphere intact. It is implied by the author that the Templars have devised some way of communicating with the ergs.

This explains the Erg and there existence with the habitats of the treeship. This allows me to picture how the ship and alien containers coexist.

 the Templars ply the spaceways in giant "treeships", organic starships grown in a manner similar to Dyson trees and capable of carrying thousands of crewmen and passengers over vast distances. Containment fields in the treeships maintain atmosphere and the passengers are placed in hibernation while the ship's Hawking drive is engaged. Slower-than-light movement of the treeship is achieved through the use of ergs, living organisms capable of manipulating gravitational fields.

Describing how the treeship operates. It also mentions the hibernation pods that are vital to it's purpose. It also applies the science fiction to a real scientific theory in Dyson Trees.

The Hawking Drive was developed by humanity before the Big Mistake, allowing the faster than light travel which led to the Hegira. It was named after Stephen Hawking; whereas the hawking mat was named after the species of bird found on old Earth.

The Hawking Drives functionality are the use for it.

... and it's Hawking Drive and Fusion Blisters set far back along the launch shaft like feathers on an arrow.

Page 14 - Hyperion

Describes the placement of the drives on the ship. This allows me to envision a pivotal part of the design.

The descriptions available to me and the lore of the world that Simmons has created allows me to see how I want the final ship to look. I plan to now mock up an idea of what the ship could look like by combining all the aspects.

23 Sep 2011

SIP - Refined Proposal

After a good talk with Alan today, we decided where to take the project. I decided that maybe the work i had set myself was a bit too large so i thought the best bet would be to tone it down to a core principle.

That principle being modeling (maybe some light animation at the end to showcase it).

So the main aspect is Vehicle design. In my case, a spacecraft. Me and Alan decided that I needed to find a context or purpose for the ship, as opposed to 'retrofitting' my previous idea.

I have a few ideas on where I want to look for a transcription base but I need to look into my options

SIP - Secondary Proposals

I've decided to write down my two ideas that have formed over the weeks in tandem with my current idea 'Edge'.

A small alien is alone on his small planet. His entire existence has been based on his floating rock and now he wants company. On the horizon he sees the back of another alien... Little does he know that the planet is so small it's the back of his own head.

A two minute animation following a small alien on his tiny planet looking for a companion, chasing his own image on the horizon.

A bird lives atop a tree making his nest with the twigs that fall from above onto a branch. He hops down from his nest, collecting a twig before going back up putting it in place. Another twig falls from the nest to the lower branch. He can't understand why this twig continues to reappear on the branch after he picks it up.

A two minute animation following a bird in tree trying to make a nest, getting frustrated in the progress.

22 Sep 2011

SIP - Male Size/Shape

This is the planned shape and size of the male in the animation.This one is not as important as the female because he will not be wearing a skin tight uniform, but the basic shape is still present.

I tried to make the head right based on Jolanta's feedback.

SIP - Male Influence Map

This is the Male Influence Map that shows the main inspiration for the Male Pilot and some of his characteristics. A key part of his character is that he plays in direct contrast to the female. So, the Female Pilot is in white and blue, the Male would be in black and red. This design choice will also be carried over to the ship design.

The flight suit will not be skin tight, instead opting for a looser fit, similar to that of a current flight suit. There will be computerised components of the suit, further opposing the more naturalistic look of the Female. The males flight mask will use a more insectoid look further enhancing the look of 'evil' whilst still performing the necessary function.

The 'Male - Shape/Size' is to follow soon... Having some issues with PhotoShop.

21 Sep 2011

SIP - 'Edge' Synopsis

The Synopsis for the current direction of the Self Initiated Project:

'On the edge of the galaxy, two opposing forces face off once more. Both expert pilots and masters of space combat must use all the tools at there disposal to emerge victorious from a battlefield where there is more to contend with then just the enemy.

This Animation will last between 2:00 - 2:30 minutes and will chronicle the fight between a female pilot inside a pristine, white space craft and a male pilot, inside a dark industrial space craft. The battle will be told through the actions of the cockpit, only using exterior shots to show context and location. The background will be visually appealing with the battle shifting to an Meteor Shower for its conclusion. There will be narration at the beginning explaining the setting.'

20 Sep 2011

SIP - Female Look and Influence

The Female Pilots look will reflect that of the ship. A minimalist, clean style that harkens the 'classic' Sci-fi look of the Skin Tight flight suit. There will be decals on the Flight Suit to enhance the Sci-Fi look and and a layer of variety. Another aspect of the look is that the flight mask will only cover her face, with a ponytail visable at the back. This will create a more organic look, further distancing the style from the Male counterpart.
The shape and size of the Female Pilot outline:

An influence map that inspired the look of the character (Clothing, Shape, and Mask).

The mask is inspired by the likes of Cyclops (X-Men) and the Cylons (BattleStar Galactica) but will feature a more curved look to fit with intended look.

Next up is the Synopsis for the idea and then the Male Pilot.

19 Sep 2011

SIP - Project Start - Current Idea

Since my final year of College, I have wanted to create an animation. An animation that I thought up at the time for a fake Major Project that we had to plan out. The Reason I've never made it before now is simply because I don't think I have had the Skill or Knowledge to pull it off well enough. I now believe I'm at a level where I can.

The 2 minute animation will be a space aerial dogfight with a little of a twist. The majority of the animation will take place inside the cockpit of two vastly different space crafts (one a clinically white, pristine environment, the other a smokey, industrial environment.) using the exterior shots for context and setting up the scene. The pilot inside the White environment will be a women, and a man in the other. In essence, its a space battle mainly played through the cockpit and the actions that take place inside.

Over the past two years I have created a sort of vision around the project so artistically I know how it want it to look and the direction I would like to take it in. Over the next few days I will be showcasing my influences for the look of the female pilot and the male pilot as well as the ships that house them. I also know how I want the characters to look and more of that to follow soon.

But for now here are some influences that apply to the animation itself.

Next is the initial size and shape of the Female character that I've drawn and the influences that have inspired her look and flight mask.

I don't want to blindly fire along with the idea so I look forward to talking with Alan on how to enhance it on Friday and of course, right here on the blog.

12 Sep 2011

Returning To The Creative World

Hello CG world, it feels like ages since I last saw you...

With the dawn of the new year literally round the corner, I'm going to upload something I've being working on during my limited free time over the summer.

Introducing Lrae (Earl spelt backwards... I'm so clever).
The goal I set myself was to create a Character from scratch all the way up to the animation process. I didn't have the time to do any face animation (blend shapes, Blinking), but I want to get back to it when I can. I tried to combine the cartoon character and game character tutorial to make him. I also tried to keep in mind that as a cartoon knight I wanted his movements to be restricted like it to some degree. It was also the first time I've ever done anything fast paced like a run, so that was fun, with room for improvement but a good start.

Anyway, just a little something I did when I could as a personal goal to me. I've never created a character for a project before so I wanted to before the Third Year.