Visual Effects and Animation

For this week’s project I did a composite of live film and an animated character. This character is a chicken that I had previously created in Autodesk Maya. To create the chicken I started with a full-scale character design picture, which I uploaded into Maya to use as reference while I modeled it with polygons. After modeling the character by taking basic shapes like spheres and stitching them together, I rigged the character (implemented a skeleton with joints) and shaded it.

To composite the video I first filmed myself running around, imagining the chicken chasing me. To stabilize this video I learned that Youtube actually has a stabilizing button which performs the stabilization for free just by uploading and editing through youtube. After stabilizing, I downloaded the video and exported this .mov file into a sequence of Tiff images (using Premiere) to import into Maya. After this I created a new camera object that pointed at an image plane that played the sequential tiff images so I could overlay my character on top. Finally I animated my chicken, lit the scene and rendered; adding sound back into this new composited video.

Some bumps I ran into included animating the chicken to appear as if it came out of the computer. Originally I wanted to animate the chicken out of the computer, but this proved more difficult than I imagined, so I used a particle effect explosion. I originally wanted this puff of smoke to be white, however I found in order for it to shine white I needed a light to shine on it, which would in turn shine on the chicken, making it way too bright. So I decided to make the smoke black to avoid blowing out the chicken.

Some adjustments I would like to make for the future include maybe some textures for my chicken and maybe some better lighting for more accurate shadows. I would also like to turn the smoke white, and try and animate the chicken as if it were coming out of the computer screen.