TAR of Zandoria, Episode 1

[youtube=http://youtu.be/d18ysusFmx0]

I’ve been working on this for so many months, it feels great to finally have something to share with you! Thanks to all of my friends and family who have encouraged me to keep going, especially to my wife Sharissa for her faith and support!

I hope you will share the video with your friends and followers, so that TAR of Zandoria finds some fans 🙂

Shot 1(5)

I was watching some behind the scenes shots from the Blue Sky film “Epic”, and saw a lot of reference footage that was acted-out by the animators and used as a reference. I thought that the motion and timing was very naturalistic, and if a big studio can do it, then why not me?

1(5)-rotoscoping

So I opened up the iPad and filmed a couple of takes of me taking off my shield/hat and flipping my staff around to use as a club, as storyboarded.

TAR_SC1_6A

Dropping the footage into Animation:Master as a rotoscope, I was able to step forward in the timeline and see myself acting out the shot.  The timing and spacing was already worked out–I just stepped to where I needed to set keyframes and posed TAR to match….

One thing that had struck me as odd on the Blue Sky example is that the reference shot matched the finished shot exactly for the camera angle…. To me, I had thought of myself as TAR, standing looking into the shadows at Ninja Pass–preparing to charge into a fight! The best camera angle came after I had dropped TAR into the Choreography.

Switching to Zbrush

Image

I’ve been doing some 3D printing at work using a Makerbot Replicator 2 and I’m really excited by the technology. The ability for an artist or designer to create something digitally and then turn it into an actual object is a paradigm shift in manufacturing. It is something that is on my mind every day…

Zbrush is the perfect tool for this, so I’ve decided that it is something that I need to master. I exported my Animation:Master model of TAR as an .obj as well as his shield and club and, using Dynamesh, merged them into one Ztool. Then I sculpted some more detail into the body (I’m not finished yet, this is only a couple of hours work…).

There are some really cool features in this program that make me think that it might be easier to create characters from scratch in Zbrush and then export to an animation program. A lot of studios use Zbrush, so might be a better workflow for doing freelance too.

[Edit] Here is what it looks like in makerware

Tar_ThingHere is the link to the “thing” file on Thingiverse–download it and print it!
http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:158321

Rigging

I’ve been working on the rigging for the new version of the “Tar” model. I’m using the TSM rig for these characters –though it is no longer supported by Anzovin. That’s OK, A:M isn’t really a mainstream software….
the most tedious part of this process, no matter what control rig you choose, is the CP weighting and smartskinning. On this model, I am taking the time to stick with the recommended process and work with the “pre-rig” version and literally work-out the “kinks”.
I’ve just finished weighting and smartskinning the model ( I still need to add some little tweaks, eyes, ears, tail–but almost ready to run the “rigger” plugin).
My hope is to get an animation-ready model done, textured, and rendered for the Hash, Inc. ‘mascot’ contest layer this month.