To spend the expected
student work time of 150 hours on development work for the short film "The
House of Seville".
will create "Characters" and "Props" and collect them as assets.
will produce as much as I can of this
data on how long it takes to do various movie-making tasks with this
Production: 4 Character designs: Victoria, Daria, Murdoch and Sylvester.
3 interiors have been fully designed, including props and lights at
Production - 4 minutes; 3 scenes out of of 12 scenes.
3D animation is new
to me, so the hours I spent were more than I expected, especially for work in
"Carrara" and Video editing. I spent 191 hours to complete 3
scenes. I found the software is more complicated then what I expected and there
were more problems than I expected. I think the problem-solving part was a
success, especially in my most complex scene, Scene 6.
In the original plan,
I planned to start animation immediately after storyboarding, but in reality, I
found that was impossible. In a project, it is always slow at the beginning; I
need time to get into the software, to get the idea of how the software works,
then to learn how to use the software. My productivity started increasing after
week10. For future project planning, I won't expect to go fast at the beginning.
between me and my client was successful, because we have the same purpose and
goals. My client supported me well with audio and script.
Artwork 3D Carrara
Artwork 3D DAZ
Artwork 3D Props
Achievement for me was
interior design, character design, animation and lighting.
I learned the value of
designing with color, contrast, lighting and composition. The 3 images below
range from early to late in the project as my work improved.
In this movie only Victoria represents
an ordinary person. Daria, Murdoch and Sylvester are strange people she meets
in her adventure. Therefore how can I distinguish these people? How can I give
the audience a strong impression of each character's personality? The
important factors are colour, pattern and emotion. Victoria's clothes had plain
colour and simple pattern. The script says that Daria has bad taste with
colour and clothes so I gave her pink hair and on her dress there are big pink
flowers. Sylvester runs a costume hire shop and I suppose he likes to try costumes
on himself, so I made his clothes look funny. When I listened to his voice, I felt
that Sylvester was an optimist, so I gave him a big smile and he is smiling all
When I started this project,
I didn't know anything about the software. I started with "DAZ
Studio" and "Mimic Pro". At the beginning I could only create simple
animations, for example, automated-speech-lipsync, nods and hand-waves. These
animations made talking work well, but a movie needs more.
When I started working on Scene
6, I was thinking of how to make a scene more interesting when the character
moves in the room, then my supervisor gave me some suggestions, he suggested I
should make the character roller-skate in the room. I took the idea and made
Sylvester "flying" when he is showing those props to Victoria, in the meanwhile
the camera moves and changes direction to make it looks like it is moving with
Then I did some research to
see how a director makes a movie, what movie visual language do they use. This
led me to show Sylvester "composing" Victoria like a photographer,
then I cut to the reflection of Victoria in Sylvester's eye.
At the beginning, I didn't
realize lighting could make good effects, so for Scene 3 I just used default
When I started Scene 6, I
tried out "Distance", "Spot" and "Moon" light. I
found Distance light had good effects to make the whole room light, and Spot
light just made a range of area light, for example, use it as a lamp. Moon
light was softer.
use or not to use Simplified Short Cuts?
My supervisor asked
me to compare 2 of the fast simplified methods offered by DAZ with their more
"LipSync" - this free plug-in to
"DAZ Studio" scans audio files for speech and automatically animates
a character mouth to lip-sync with that.
The detailed equivalent is "DAZ Mimic Pro", a separate for-sale
product which starts with an automatic fit but offers a range of controls for finer
control of the animation.
Conclusion - "DAZ Mimic Pro" gives significantly better results than
"Lipsync". In this case the greater complexity is worth the effort.
"Surfaces" - this is a simplified
way of fitting "texture" photos or drawings to the surfaces of
objects eg patterns to the surfaces of clothing. The detailed equivalent is
"UV Mapping", available in a range of free and paid-for software from
DAZ3D, Blender and other suppliers.
Conclusion - "Surfaces" did everything I wanted and I did not need the
greater complexity of "UV Mapping".
I did not have books or tutorials
to follow. DAZ is new software. Users seem to concentrate on still image
outputs with no-one mastering its movie-making methods . Therefore everything I
have done was through my experimenting. My supervisor also tested it and gave
me advice and help. It took me a lot of time to do testing, to try doing things
in different ways then to find the most effective way. For this movie, Scene 6
is more complicated than Scene 3 and Scene 4, but it took me less time to
produce (1) because my productivity was improving and (2) because updates from
DAZ were improving the software, especially in the areas of general reliability
and better import/export between different DAZ applications. My supervisor was
sending bug reports to DAZ based on my experiences and he believes DAZ was
3D is different from 2D, in
3D I don't need to make characters or props, there are ready made items, but I
need to buy them (with credit supplied). I have made a list of the amount spent, the total so far is US$108,
which includes 3 scenes, in this movie there are 12 scenes, I estimate that
production to completion of this movie will need at least another US$160 to
US$180 in DAZ Artwork purchases and subscriptions.
Joining fee and first month=US$30
4 months membership at US7.50 =
following are Platinum Club Member Prices.
Victoria 4.2 Morphs++=US$21
Victoria-4 Morphing Fantasy
Leisure Wear =US$2
Marie Antoinette Gown V4/A4= US$15
Michael-3 Everyday Wear2 =US$2
Michael-3 Everyday Wear =US$2
US$60+ US$25+ US$23= US$108
I have found some strategies
to save budget. Firstly, I tried to use props already made by DAZ, then I
changed the shape and colour to make them look different. For example, a top
could be changed to a dress by dragging the bottom edge down using the "Bridge
to Hexagon" DIY morph-making method. I also used the textures I designed myself,
and I made the textures very different, so the audience will focus on the
colourful texture and ignore the style of clothes, for example, Sylvester's
clothes are based on clothes for Michael-3.
I made simple props by
myself. I made a 3 storey building for the last shot "fire in the building",
because it was a wide shot and audience cannot see any details of props, so I
did not need to buy a prop.
I combined 2 characters
together. I had clothes for "Michael-3", but I did not have face and
head morphs for him. But I had bought additional "Morphs ++" for
"Victoria-4". In order to make Murdoch look old, I took my
supervisor's suggestion of connecting Victoria-4's head to Michael-3's body. So
I didn't need to buy additional Michael-3 morphs. Another reason for combining
these 2 characters was that my supervisor was of the opinion that Victoria-4
had superior lip sync performance and he therefore preferred a Victoria4-male-morph
head to Michael-3's head. This was just before the release of "Michael-4".
Time was a big challenge for
me. I had limited time to work on this project, so I used most of my weekends
and study break. And DAZ3D is very time consuming.
At the beginning, the school
computer allocated to me had bad rendering problems including restarting
frequently without any warning. As a result I had to keep redoing the work. I negotiated
with my supervisors and after they supplied a video card those problems were
Management of machine
performance is a big issue with 3D. I would like to point out the time I spend
on rendering, importing and saving.
Carrara took about 120
minutes to render 364 frames (15seconds) of movie. I needed to run rendering
overnight or study the timetable to find spare multimedia lab computers to
borrow time on.
Import of characters from "DAZ Studio" to "Carrara"
took 4-5 minutes.
Saving could also take a long time. Carrara often took 2-3
found that for some scenes I could be more productive if instead of one complex
3D scene, I worked with 2 or more simpler scenes then composited the
separately-rendered 2D together in the Video Editor. In the example below, I render
a background JPG from Carrara, I render a PNG image sequence from DAZ Studio,
then I combine them in Ulead MediaStudio Pro Video Editor.
I spent most of time solving
problems and doing analysis. I also learned some movie language to make a scene
interesting. If I were to do this again, I would work more with "DAZ Carrara"
and less with "DAZ Studio".
I think I did a good job in
a limited time and with limited resources. 3D is a new experience to me, I was
upset at the beginning, but I think I started to get into it and make
improvements. My supervisor gave me lots of suggestions, it helped me get into
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