I guess I’m in production now, those terms can seem a little oblique when working on 3D animation as it often feels like you’re either in pre or post. However or whatever it’s defined as, I’m now working on the characters… and have been making a lot of progress.
Taking a factory-line type approach, I’m working on all the characters simultaneously (the prime cast at least). Firstly I’m modelling each of their heads, starting out with a rough sketch approximation of the character and then diving straight into Cinema 4D to translate the sketch into a final model. I initially created one of the film’s characters and am using that model as a base mesh on which to mold the others. The advantage of this method is that although the mesh’s points are in different locations from a character to character basis, the mesh is similar for all in ways that will count in later stages such as rigging. I will be doing the same for the bodies soon, create the body for the initial character, then use that to mold all the others.
I hope to have all the heads and most of the bodies completed by New Years and having all the characters finished, rigged and ready to go in their entirety by the end of February 2013. There’s lots to do though in that time, outside of the rigging many of the characters will need multiple states, both clothing, appearance and from a facial rigging standpoint, I believe I will need to manually create all the different expressions and mouth shapes for each of them to ensure they can speak and emote, not necessarily extensive, but enough to begin animating. I can always add extra options and functionality as and when needed.
Something really important I’ve been learning about 3D, at least in this ultra-indie approach is how when you begin, you literally start with nothing and it takes a lot of time to accumulate working assets… but the more and more you create, the more time you save the next time around as 3D assets are very malleable. For instance, I’ve made a base head mesh that I really like, am comfortable working with… as I’ve mentioned the base mesh will be used for all the characters in the film, but If I was to create a short, I would likely be able to use that very same base mesh, no matter if the style for the short was completely different from the film. The same goes for most things, I don’t have my own rig as of yet, but when I do, I will use that same rig for all the characters in the film and anything else I could want to do in the future. That’s one nice reassurance from all of this.
I recently created a ‘Porbeagle’ (Film) page here. It has a little early information, some social links and a mailing list if you would care to sign up. If you’re a regular/subscriber it’s not necessary, it’s more for people with some vague interest who would just like to know when the film is released.
I also have been posting some ‘Porbeagle’ updates on Tumblr, I really like the social side of Tumblr, the barrier for interaction is much lower and convenient. So if you are into Tumblr follow me for extra updates.