In today’s world, 3D and VFX technologies are no longer exclusive to movies and animations. Many artists use 3D technology to express purer visual art. This semester, I want to try Loop, which is very popular now. Loop is a scene that can loop seamlessly and wirelessly. Many new media artists and VJ artists use this type to express their visual creativity. My reference is this video collection. I think they are very cool, so I also want to make a Loop, but my style will be very different from theirs.
2) Project structure
To complete the design and production of a Loop, we must first understand the principle of Loop. A very simple question: how to achieve wireless repetition and seamless connection of scenes? In the second week, Nick helped me a lot. He showed me the project structure of a linear Loop scene. Starting from this structure, I found that all loops can be divided into two types, one is linear and the other is circular. The linear structure generally completes the visual repetition by repeating a cycle of camera movement. The circular one forms a closed path by itself to automatically form a cycle of repetition.
3) Visual design
I plan to make 4 Loops, each of which will be presented in a season. This idea has been highly affirmed by Nick. At first, I wanted to design a story, that is, a person walks through the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter to express the life cycle of a person’s life. But later I discovered that the rendered landscape was not so surreal or fantasy, so I changed my mind. I decided to make 4 distinct seasonal scenes to express a purely visual art.
In spring I chose to use cherry blossoms and bamboo to express, and the ground uses mixed materials to express the time when the first snow has just melted. The material of the distant mountains is a rock with moss because at this time, everything begins to recover and plants just start to sprout. As for the background of the weather, I chose a texture with cyan and fewer clouds.
In the summer, I designed the water surface, and the water surface uses mixed materials to express the different depths of refraction. For plants, I chose lotus and lotus leaves, which represent the oriental style. The distant mountains are dense green, and the sky is the texture of cumulonimbus clouds that are common in summer. I think this can express a passionate and warm summer.
The overall colour of autumn is brown and earthy yellow because autumn is a season when everything begins to wither. I used 3 different coloured maple trees to construct the entire environment. At the same time, the ground uses a mixture of red clay and loess. In order to increase the texture of the ground, I also randomly arranged stones. There should be no plants in the distant mountains at this time, exposing the bare ground, so it is earthy. In order to match the overall tone of the sky, a warm yellow and foggy style was chosen.
Winter is first composed of snow, but unlike covered with snow, I designed a mixture of snow and black rocks to enhance the rich ground texture. The trees are all leafless types, one high and one low to arrange the environment. The distant mountains are made of white snow with outcropping ridges and rocks, which are inspired by real documentary pictures. The sky is pale, indicating the fragility and weakness of the sun.
4) Plant distribution
Because the design of my scene this time is very large, I didn’t use the manual placement of plants. I used Octane’s Scatter node to parameterize the distribution of plants on the entire ground. And use random effects to control their size and angle. At the same time, the advantages of the Scatter node can also accelerate the rendering speed of the same sub-object. This is undoubtedly a good technical solution for thousands of plant scenes.
5) Motion and the character design
I designed a cycle of 180 frames for each project so that I can get a cycle rendering of 6-7 seconds. But in the end, I found that the scene was moving too fast, so I adjusted the original design of the walking person and changed it to a flying object. I made two kinds of flying machines, one was an aeroplane, and the other was a Doraemon wearing a bamboo dragonfly. I chose Doraemon because I personally like it very much, and it is also suitable for my four seasons scenes. And 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the birth of Doraemon, I want to pay tribute to this great cartoon image.
Conclusion and reflection
First of all, the completion of the personal project this time is very good, and I think there is almost no big difference compared with the original proposal. Moreover, I think that personal projects must first have a personal style and artistic language, which I have done well. But on the other hand, due to the relatively small number of rendering frames I set, this makes the animation of the last cycle extremely fast, which exceeds my expectations. So I can only redirect the animation time of each cycle to 50% of the original in post-compositing. The consequence of this is that the frame rate becomes lower, which leads to a visually insufficient smoothness. But through the use of frame fusion algorithms, some of the problems can be offset. This animation speed issue is what I did not do well this time, because I did not make enough playback previews in the 3D software. On the other hand, because the plants are randomly arranged through the Scatter node, there are a lot of collisions in the flying part of the middle character, which is not considered at the beginning. Due to the limited production and rendering time, I did not have enough opportunities to correct these two problems. But now I know how to solve it, and I will avoid it when I design and make Loop next time.
Finally, thanks again to the teachers who guided and helped me: Christos Sfetsios, Aldo Filiberto, Nick Savy!