Overall, this project has been a fun and enjoyable experience that has presented challenge and obstacles to overcome. I feel choosing to work with a piece of software that I had no prior knowledge of like Cinema 4D (C4D) was the best choice. Initially, when considering my options, I came to the realisation that working with Adobe Muse wouldn’t have benefited me as greatly as working with C4D as I had already used the software in Semester B. Also feel that pushing myself into something unknown has further developed my ability to conduct effective research. As I didn’t know how to operate C4D, I had to find information that would tell me how to use the software and how to achieve certain results. A good example of this was finding a video by Greyscalegorilla, explaining his 3 favourite modifiers within x-particles, a lot of this information what highly useful in my own project.

Along with this journey, I faced a lot of difficulties. As my project was unique, it was very difficult to find direct solutions to my problems, and because of this, I ended up conducting a lot of research online, specifically on YouTube to find hints as to what might be wrong. Additionally, not all of my problems where technical, some of them were subjective as I would work on one aspect of my project for a long time and would constantly go back to refine the settings, e.g. I could spend hours changing the colour of the cube to try and make it complementary with the other colours within the scene.

One of the main and most challenging problems I faced when creating my animation was the displacement map. Discussed above, the edges of the cube didn’t align properly and produced holes on the vertices, this meant that I had to conduct further research on the issue and I found myself looking on a lot of forums. Fortunately, I was able to find cheat to solving this issue with a bevel deformer, however, this didn’t actually solve the issue, it was more of a mask for the problem. Furthermore, I also experience frustrating problems of C4D crashing after rendering. One instance of this involved the programme crashing after rendering the first shot for 30+ hours, this was a difficult issue to comprehend and forced to learn the hard way about specifying a save location before starting renders.

When approaching future projects like this one, I would allow myself more time to render. Within my Gantt chart, I highly underestimated the amount of time I would need to render, and I quickly came to the realisation that it wouldn’t finish before the deadline. Subsequently, there were ways around this, however, it meant that the rendering quality had to be dropped, producing a low-resolution image. In addition, I would also select an output location before rendering, this would prevent any loss any of rendered material if the programme crashed.


Final Animation

Below is my final product for this project in Semester A. The animation itself has achieved all of the criteria for the competition at being: 20 seconds long, having a resolution of 1280 x 720 at 30fps and also being titled accordingly for its submission to Vimeo within the 2017 X-Particles Challenge Page.

XPC2017-Andrew Cartwright from Andrew Cartwright on Vimeo.

In addition to my final product, I have also produced a high quality render of 1 shot from my animation. As the animation above had to rendered out at a low quality due to time constraints, I thought that providing some visuals as to how the animation should look at a high quality would be beneficial as together, they  show how the animation edited together with effects whilst also showing what the full quality versions would look like.

Overall, based on the fact that 12 weeks ago I didn’t know how to produce any of this, I am very happy with the animation. The way in which the I have utilised effects within post-production and also non-diegetic sound matches up to the vision in my head about how it would look – I feel that this was also aided by the smooth camera movement within C4D. However, I feel that I could have done a couple things differently which would have resulted in a higher quality product. Firstly, I would have focused on producing a higher detailed version of my storyboard that was more refined, I feel that storyboarding is the key to any good narrative based project as it full allows rigid and critical ideas to be at the core of the animation from the start. I should have storyboarded better as I feel that the whole animation was very fractured, none of the shots made the animation flow. Also, further storyboarding would have allowed for the shot choices and compositions of those shots to be more aesthetically pleasing, this would have be achieved by idea being refined and revised as it would have been through about more clearly.

Additionally, I also could have produced a low-poly video of the basic shot and composition for the animation, this would have allowed me to see before rendering if there was anything that needed changing regarding to the shots. Overall, this would have saved me lots of time when rendering as I would have only needed to render each shot once, instead of multiple times if I made changes.

Post-Production Part 2

Part 2 of the post-production continues to document my progress within After Effects when editing my animation, this section focuses more on the text side of the animation where the cube name and sphere text can be seen in the animation. I discuss the overall process of creating this as well as some problems that I experienced.

Post-Production Part 1

Since the rendering stage of my project has been completed, it is time to take all of the PNG sequences into After Effects to edit and apply effects. The video below uses a combination of time-lapses and also voice-overs to describe this process in general, whilst also discussing my ideas during the beginning of this stage – this part mainly focuses on importing the footage into AE, how each PNG sequence is being structured inside of the compositions and some effects being applied.


Multi-Pass Rendering

After already considering my rendering options, I decided to re-explore the different avenues that were available to me. As I was thinking of the final part of the animation, specifically the post-production, I wanted another way to render out my project as I realised that adding effects to the frames will affects all of the visuals – this would not be ideal as I wanted to add a glow effect to the X-Particles. The voice-over below covers my thought process and ideas about how I will complete this:

Since making this post, I have experience further problems with my rendering. After 30+ hours of rendering, C4D on my computer froze and became unresponsive forcing me to Force Quit the application, losing all of my progress. After discussing this with my tutor, it was suggested that I bump the settings down further to a low rendering quality in order to meet the deadline, as I still need to produce something. In addition, as this is a R&D project, this will be another factor I can reflect on in the evaluation process.

Additionally, it was also suggested that alongside the full low quality render, that I also render a small portion of it at a higher setting to show that the full image would look like.