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Grandads Story Transcription Technical Document Visual Style: Combining Raymond Briggs and Victor Comic books UCA

Rochester, Kent BA hons CG Art and Animation Unit Code: RCGA2003 Software: Autodesk Maya and Adobe After Effects Paul Lavey paul-lavey.blogspot.com 18th April 2012 This document describes the process taken to achieve a unique visual style for my transcription project entitled Grandads Story. Based on the novel Dads Story written by father, the animation describes my grandfathers experience as an air gunner during World War II. The key to achieving a unique visual style relied on combining works of Raymond Briggs animations with the English comic books called Victor.

1. The Snowman, Raymond Brigg

2. Victor Comic book cover art

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Scene breakdown I will be using scene 03 from the first act of Grandads Story as an example of my pipeline. This particular scene describes my grandfather falling asleep in his bed prior to joining the RAF in September 1939. He dreams of rising out of his body, eventually flying out of the window and soaring over London. The scene is made up of; a bedroom environment with a 3D character in bed another version of the character floating up out of his body a background street environment

3. Bedroom Screenshot This is all modelled and textured in autodesk Maya. As this scene contains multiple passes combined with multiple layers, it is necessary to organise the file names. In this case it involves a scene file for the camera movement, the bedroom environment with the sleeping character, the background street environment and finally a scene file with just the character rising out of the bed. Note, saving a scene file with the animated camera means it can be imported into each scene and render passes with the same camera movement.

4. Separate scene files examples Page | 2

Combining Raymond Briggs with Victor comic books To achieve the illustrative, cross hatch feel of Raymond Briggs work, two beauty passes must be rendered for each scene. To organise the rendered sequences separate render layers can be assigned on the render layer tab. Using the bedroom environment scene with the stationary, sleeping character as an example; I selected all of the geometry in the outliner (figure 5.) and assigned it to a new render layer (Figure 6). I called that layer Beauty_Pass_01. I then clicked on that layer and used the hypershade to assign the relevant shading network to each object (Figure 7). In this example I have used the bedroom environment lambert network with the first cross hatch lambert.

5. Outliner

6. Render tab

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7. Assigned cross hatch texture 01 to each object I repeated this process creating a new render layer called Beauty_Pass_02. This time I assigned each object with the opposite cross hatch shading network. Using the bedroom lambert shading network as an example, figure 8 and 9 show the UV mapped colour channel for the bedroom. They may look similar, but the cross hatches go in the opposite direction. Figure 10 and 11 show the difference between the rendered results.

8. Bedroom Colour map 1

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9. Bedroom Colour map 2

10. Beauty shot 01

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11. Beauty shot 02 To achieve the comic book look, (bold colours with thick black outlines) I created a new render layer in the render layer tab and called it Toon_Pass (Figure 12). I then selected the relevant pieces of geometry and changed the main menu tab to rendering. Then I selected Toon>Assign Fill Shader>solid colour. I made the solid colour bright. In this case, I have assigned light brown colours to the bed and duvet. Once I assigned a solid colour to each object, I selected everything and clicked Toon>Assign Outline>Add new toon outline. This assigned everything with a solid black outline (Figure 13).

12. Toon Pass render layer

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13. Toon Pass I created another render layer in the render tabs and called it Occlusion_Pass. I assigned the shot cam and all of the geometry apart from the walls. I then right mouse clicked on the Occlusion_pass layer and selected attributes. I then changed the preset to Occlusion (figure 14). This made everything appear to go black in the viewport. When I render a still, the geometry is white with shaded details (figure 15).

14. Occlusion preset

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15. Occlusion Pass Now I batch rendered the passes in the render menu by clicking Render>Batch. Before I did, I went to the render settings of each render layer and changed the file name prefix accordingly. I.e; Beauty_Pass_01 to Scene_03_bedroom_ch1 (figure 16); Beauty_Pass_02 to Scene_03_bedroom_ch2; Toon_pass to Scene_03_bedroom ; Occlusion_pass to Scene_03_bedroom. This organised my rendered sequences into the images file of my project file. In this case C:Users\Paul\Documents\maya\Grandads_story_Actone\images (figure17).

16. Changed file name prefix of each render layer

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17. Organised render sequences I opened Adobe after effects, imported both the beauty pass sequences (beauty_pass_01> scene_03_bedroom_ch1 and beauty_pass_02> scene_03_bedroom_ch2). I added them to a new composition and renamed it beauty_comp. I expanded the drop down menu and alternated the opacity of the top layer from 100% to 0% and back again (figure18.) This alternated the cross hatch passes, recreating Raymond Briggs cross hatch style.

18. Beauty passes I then created a new composition and called it Bedroom_Comp, making sure the time index is the same as the beauty_comp. I dragged and dropped the Beauty_comp into the Bedroom_comp. Them I imported the toon_pass sequence, drag and dropping it on top of the Beauty_comp. I then changed the layer mode to soft light and reduced the opacity to 65%. The makes the black outlines sit above the two cross hatch layers. Thus, combining both Raymond Briggs cross hatch style with the comic book Victors style. Then I imported the occlusion_pass sequence, dragged and dropped it on top of the toon_pass layer and changed the layer mode to overlay (figure19.) This gsve the composition a punchier feel (figure 20).

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19. Combining all the passes

20. Final composition

I repeated the entire process for the background scene and the extra character floating up out of his body. I made sure to render them out as tiff sequences with the same camera movement so the layers matched each other perfectly.

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20. Scene 3 composition Written by Paul Lavey In association with the University for the Creative Arts. Rochester Kent. Illustrations

1. The Snowman; Raymond Briggs Art http://lyddprimary4r.primaryblogger.co.uk/2011/12/15/the-snowman/ - Accessed 18/04/2012 2. Victor Comic book cover art http://www.thevictorbookforboys.com/thebestofthevictorbook/index.html - Accessed 18/04/2012

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