Posts Tagged ‘3D animation’

Thoughts from Inside the Star Thief Studio Project Class

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Star Thief Studio Logo - Animated Short Film Project

For two semesters, I was part of Star Thief Studio (formerly Studio E) – a project-based class that creates an animated short in an on-campus environment that mirrors an industry studio production pipeline. When I first started out, I had a very general idea of what I’d be doing, but in truth I was heading into the project pretty much blind, and hoping that I’d be able to perform on the same level as the other artists. During the first week, we were separated into different groups: pre-visualization (pre-vis), production, and post-production. The pre-vis group had duties including concept art, color keys, layout, and animation blocking— mostly preliminary planning and design. Members of the production group started on animation, character modeling and painting backgrounds. The post-production group was tasked with polishing, texturing, lighting, and general effects that would make the project visually appealing.

As a general painter and designer, I helped out in several different areas. My first group did design and layout, followed by texturing and painting.  I moved onto several other areas as well, helping out wherever needed, as phases of the production cycle started and ended.

Star Thief Studio Character Model

Star Thief Studio Character Model

Our studio’s pipeline used a structure where we tackled one shot at a time. First the storyboards were completed and handed off to a layout artist, who created a 3D scene in Autodesk Maya, based off of the storyboard. In addition, rough color keys were created to determine an artistic direction for the background elements. Preliminary animations were blocked out, based on initial layouts, and later replaced by polished animations with the finalized characters and completed backgrounds. The process concluded with a combination of polishing, re-assembling, and finalizing texturing and lighting. Because of our unique process, each group within the studio was constantly involved.

My day-to-day process started with talking with the team to find out what was needed and then picking up tasks to help complete a scene. Often, I took 3D models that our artists created, imported them into Mudbox or Photoshop and painted them.  I would then re-import everything back into Maya. The models were then placed into a scene to create the background.

Star Thief Studio - Oak Tree Model with Animated Leaves

Star Thief Studio - Oak Tree Model with Animated Leaves

By the end of my time at Star Thief Studio, I had experienced modeling, rigging, and background animation in addition to the painting that I was already doing. Working within the studio has shown me that you get a broader experience when working on a large-scale project.  I found myself juggling tasks I didn’t expect, and it was an interesting experience. It pushed me to grow my skills in certain areas which have helped me to become a more roundly-developed artist.

Whether or not I will actively use the skills I’ve gained on this project once I start my career, I do not know.  But, as a once very traditionally-based artist, I’ve definitely become more technically nerdy. What I do know is that by doing a little bit of everything, I understand more about the roles that comprise a studio.  This will help me in the future to understand the needs of everyone within a studio and allow the pipeline to run more smoothly.

I hope that everyone will enjoy our film when it is released, and perhaps will have an opportunity to understand and appreciate the multi-layered process of creating an animated short. This team has truly created something extraordinary.

Sierra Gaston

The Offering Premieres for Cogswell Community

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

The_Offering

On Thursday, October 1 at 12:30 pm in the Dragon’s Den, we will premiere the Cogswell-produced short animated film: The Offering. This animated short film was produced on campus by Cogswell students! The film has never been played before an audience, so the Cogswell community, including a few VIPs, will have the privilege of being the very first audience

Assistant Professor Michael Huber and the Special Project/Senior Project students worked tirelessly for three semesters to produce this studio-quality short film. They were supported by a massive collaborative effort from faculty, staff, visiting artists, industry professionals and alumni. This film is sure to attract the attention of studios and inspire prospective students everywhere.

Please pass the word: lunch and drinks will be provided. Come and see the premiere of this ambitious and artfully constructed film. Come celebrate the immense efforts of your friends and fellow Cogswell students.

This is a campus only event, so only current students, faculty, staff, and a few VIPs will be admitted. There will be a formal public premier at a later date.

-Michael Martin, Dean of the College

Short Animated Film “The Offering” Trailer Now Online

Friday, September 11th, 2009

The_Offering

If you have been following Cogswell news, you know that we are close to premiering the Cogswell student-produced short animated film The Offering.

Project X is a one-of-a-kind, project-based class – unparalleled in its scope and study as it incorporates every component of animation film production for the big and small screen. This class, under the direction of Animation faculty member and long-time professional animator Michael Huber, is only available at Cogswell Polytechnical College. Project X has no competition with regard to the quality of instruction it provides or the standards it sets for animation production value. Student participants have the opportunity to integrate all the disciplines of CG production including animation, modeling, texturing, effects, rigging, lighting, rendering, compositing and production management.

Take a look at the trailer, and keep an eye out for more updates on where and when to see The Offering.

To learn more about the multi-discipline project-based curriculum at Cogswell College, visit our website or better yet, arrange a tour of our campus and see where you can begin your career in video games.

-Michael Martin, Dean of the College