New IRTC animation topic (Jan 2006): Inventions

General discussion about JPatch

Postby dcuny » Sat Dec 31, 2005 8:07 pm

I love the kangaroo! It's got a lot of personality. I'll agree with squirrelhavoc that the legs are a bit odd - they're look like folded pants instead of legs - what you'd find in a kangaroo costume instead of an actual kangaroo.

I've seen blinking eyes done by squishing the eyes - Aardman's The Deadline - but they seem a bit weird. Maybe that's just me. :)

I'm curious to see what the IMP-Edit will look like. I was looking at Shake last night, but there wasn't a lot of detail. The "strip" interface that Blender has is rather nice:

Image

What sort of "layers" support did you have in mind? I know that you can declare various layers in Blender, and then show/hide/render different layers. One thing that I should add to Inyo is support for alpha transparency, since it would make compositing a lot easier. One other thing that would be nice would be for a type of object that only renderered shadows, so you could composite shadow casting objects in seperate layers.

The main items on my "To Do" list for next year is adding support for lipsync, and to get all that partially completed, untested and undocumented stuff in Inyo working.

But that's getting a bit ahead of myself... ;)
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Postby sascha » Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:47 am

I love the kangaroo!

Thanks :)
I'll have to rework the legs anyway when adding bones.
I've seen blinking eyes done by squishing the eyes - Aardman's The Deadline

Yes, that's what I was thinking about. I'll see how it turns out. Another option would be to make the eyes disappear entirely - or to change their color (to the color of the fur).
I'm curious to see what the IMP-Edit will look like.

Yeah, me too :wink:
Right now it hasn't got a GUI at all and just interprets a beanshell script. I was thinking about some standard NLE GUI - with a storyboard kind of view and selectable transition effects.
Plus the possibility to add a soundtrack (different audio tracks). Something like Audacity, but with the possibility to have several clips on the same track (at least I didn't figure out how this could be done in Audacity, so when editing The Impostor I ended up with about 20 individual tracks - one for each sound effect).

What sort of "layers" support did you have in mind?

I was thinking about two modes: One "2D" mode where the user can set the apparent z-value of each layer. It would be possible to add post-processing effects to each layer - e.g. an automatic depth of field - once JPatch knows the z-positions of each layer the user could move the cameras focal plane or change the aperture, resulting in different blur filters being applied to the individual layers.
It might be a good idea to include the layer editor into the NLE - this would enable some nice effects - e.g. a cut in one layer while the shot continues in another layers. I've seen this a lot in CGI animations: E.g. someone rides a horse in the foreground, and the background cross-fades between different landscapes, etc.

The second mode would be true 3D - using z-buffer information of the layers to compose them.

Yes, an alpha channel in mandatory. Not only for transparency, but also for anti-aliasing when blending the layers.
Using a floating point image format (HDRI?) would be interesting for some PP effects like color-bleed or glow-effects too.

The main items on my "To Do" list for next year is adding support for lipsync.

I'll try to come up with some generic time-line interface in JPatch. The timeline should be as independent as possible - e.g. it should be responsible for rendering itself as well as for processing mouse-events. I think we'll need to discuss the lipsync integration in more detail later...
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Postby dcuny » Sun Jan 01, 2006 6:17 pm

I've got an algorithm in pbrt for getting the "bleed" effect; it should work just fine in ldri as well. In fact, they specifically mention the "bleed" effect being useful in faking hdri effects. :)

We'd talked a bit about having a "generic" interface for the timeline, so things could be added. We'll obviously have to discuss how the JPatch data structure will need to change as well.

I haven't coded transparency support into Inyo yet, but it should be pretty straight forward. All I need to do is track how much of each pixel is filled with sky.

I suspect that 2D compositing will be the more practical than 3D compositing.

I've never really worked with video editing software, but I have a pretty good idea what's available. Still, I think more research (and feedback from people who have actually used it) will be helpful.

I was going to ask if you if IMP-Edit was going to use Beanshell, but you already answered that question. ;)
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Postby sascha » Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:15 pm

I've got an algorithm in pbrt for getting the "bleed" effect; it should work just fine in ldri as well. In fact, they specifically mention the "bleed" effect being useful in faking hdri effects.


I've never tried it, but I think how it should work is:
If any color component of a pixel is larger than 1, it will be clamped. To get the bleed effect, the remaining fraction should be added to the neighbor pixels. This is easy if you get the (not clamped) data directly from the renderer. If the data comes form a file, it will most likely already be clamped to the 0..1 range (i.e. 0..255 or 0..65535 for 8 or 16 bit formats) - unless it's a floating point format that can store color values outside the 0..1 range.

One possibility would be to use 16 bit output, but dramatically underexposure it - so that only 8 bits are needed to represent the pixel colors, the remaining bits could be used fot the color-bleed effect PP effect.
Both RenderMan and Mega-Pov offer builtin image postprocessing functions that could be used - but it won't work with layers then...

About the NLE software: I think the bottleneck is the disk - it won't be possible to load and display 30 high-res png files per second - at least not with the builtin png loader. But a realtime preview would certainly be nice - so I think what's needes is a (only slightly) compressed interim file format for all images (with the resolution limited to e.g. 320x240). These images could be used for realtime preview - the compositing of the final movie would use the original high-res high-quality frames then.

IMP-edit is currently just a kind of framework that has defines some (easily extensible) transition effects and has a subtitle tool. There's no GUI yet, so I used beanshell to create the sequences - but adding a GUI won't be very difficult, I just had no time (and no real need) to do it...
Adding layer support and a blur filter should be straightforward too.
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Postby dcuny » Sun Jan 01, 2006 9:36 pm

I think that filter's called a "bloom filter", although there's another algorithm by the same name. It actually works the opposite way: instead of looking for bright pixels and "leaking" their light into surrounding pixels, it looks at each pixel an adds the contribution of bright pixels around it. I'll try to post the code in a day or so.

I think fake blur filters use a similar sort of logic.

One thing that I've seen added in post processing is things like camera shake and multiplane pans. This requires that the software be able to handle multiple images of various resolutions and sizes.

I haven't heard much talk about post-processed motion blur these days. I was under the impression that A:M used to have a faked motion blur, but it was pretty much universally despised. Since characters can be independantly composited, it should be possible to generate motion blur as a post process effect. I need to look into that; I assume that it would work like morphing software.

Despite all the cool effects that are possible, my main interest is in being able to use compositing to generate images faster. It's a truism in the graphics world that no matter how faster your hardware is, it's never quite fast enough. That's especially true if you're using a raytracer!
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Drilling machine

Postby sascha » Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:34 am

Here's a first sketch of the drilling machine:
What do you think?
Attachments
drill1.jpg
drill1.jpg (39.49 KiB) Viewed 3682 times
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Postby squirrelhavoc » Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:43 pm

Looking good so far, but I always pictured it yellow, since most construction equipment (here in the US anyway) is yellow. Or green, that would look good too. The treads must have been hard to do, and Im wondering how you will animate those
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Postby sascha » Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:27 pm

I agree, yellow would be better, I'll change it...

The treads must have been hard to do, and Im wondering how you will animate those.

Pretty simple with the "weight selection" tool. I'll post a quick "tutorial" on how to create twisted objects...
I think I'll animate it using a bone with a rotation-degree of freedom along the drill's axis. If I set the limit to 0 and some value much higher than 360 I can rotate it several times...
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Clouds

Postby sascha » Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:15 pm

A simple test-animation for the 2D cloud layers. You just need to imagine the man flying by, grabbing the camera and turning it 180 degrees :)

Image
clouds.mpg

What do you thik?
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Postby squirrelhavoc » Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:00 pm

If I get the idea right, he is falling on the screen and the clouds are scrolling by, and when he turns the camera, the clouds stay still but he falls off the screen, is that right? I like that idea
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Postby sascha » Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:37 pm

Actually at the end of his tunnel he ends up on the opposite end of the earth (in Australia) - and as we all know, everything's upside down there - so he falls off the ground (in the machine). That's why the clouds are upside down too, actually he's falling upwards. In panic he jumps off the machine, and once he realizes what's going on "flies" to the camera and turns it by 180 degrees - now thow ground is where it should be again - unfortunately he's going down too...

He hits the ground and a kangaroo hops by to see what's goind on. When he tries to stand up, he's hit by his helment and falls into "coma" again. Kangaroo shakes head in wonder.

After the credits, we see a last shot of the kangaroo, just before it is hit by the machine...
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Postby dcuny » Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:24 pm

The cloud animation is fine, although it looks obvious when some of the clouds repeat. I've always been a fan of the billowy clouds that are found in the Monkey Island adventure games:

Image

The digger has all the right parts, but lacks character. It should look more toony or something. It's hard to judge the drill with the spline line showing, but it looks like it's too twisted. Either the drill has to be longer, or just don't have the screw complete a full revolution. I don't think anyone will notice the cheat.

I don't think you actually have to animate the treads; you might be able to get away with not even spinning the wheels. No one will notice, as long as there's no spokes. The spinning bit in front should distract them from the treads.

How'd you do the composite of the clouds?
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Postby sascha » Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:03 pm

The cloud animation is fine, although it looks obvious when some of the clouds repeat.

I can make more clouds or move them slover so the won't repeat.

I also think that it's not a good idea to stop the camera completele - maybe it should also start to fall down (clouds would start to move upwards again)...?

How'd you do the composite of the clouds?

I've wrote a little program ;-)
It takes two (or more if necessary) png images and displays them with a given offset and camera-rotation. I've made them with "The Gimp" - it supports transparent png's with alpha channel - Java2D can compose them together nicely. I used an accumulation buffer of 8 frames for the motion blur effect.
Because they're just images, I can use any cloude shape - I'd just need images with alpha channels (480 pixel wide).
I'm not sure if it's a good idea to make then look too 2D like - the IRTC judges might take off some points. But then on the other hand, I like the 2D/3D mix...

I'll use the program for the digging shots too.

The digger has all the right parts, but lacks character.

Yes, I think you're right - do you have an image or drawing of what you've in mind?

It's hard to judge the drill with the spline line showing, but it looks like it's too twisted.

Ok, I'll try to unwrap it a bit.
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Postby dcuny » Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:23 am

Here's a shot of the drill machine from the video game Rise of the Underminer:

Image

Notice that it's a cone with a plane wrapped around it. I think visually this works a lot better than twisting the entire drill head. Also, the drilling machine is tubular, which is typical of most designs I've seen.

The body of the machine needs to be longer than the drill, or it looks like the drill will topple the machine over (it's the heavy end of the machine).

The treads should be at least half the height of the machine, because the drill's going to be pretty heavy. You don't want the tread to block the door, so I'd make the body of the machine longer, move the treads to the back of the machine, and put a wheel underneath the door to balance. It doesn't make real sense, but I think visually it fits.

Of course, the real question is how he's supposed to see through the drill bit. In your design, the bit is smaller than the machine, but I think that's the wrong solution. I'd just make the drill larger, and ignore the problem.

As for the movement of the clouds, I really wouldn't be able to say without seeing both versions. So go with whatever one you want. I agree that you'll get dinged for using another application to render the scene anyway. :?
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Postby pndragon » Tue Jan 03, 2006 5:01 pm

A suggestion:
The treads should be at least half the height of the machine, because the drill's going to be pretty heavy. You don't want the tread to block the door, so I'd make the body of the machine longer, move the treads to the back of the machine

Don't make the treads part of the machine at all. Make them part of the tractor delivering the drilling machine to its launch site. The machine itself doesn't need to be any more than a bullet with a massive drill bit (like you would find in your toolbox) attached to one end...

--- Jim
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