Fate Saga is a fantastical, action/drama animated series about fate and free will, and follows Cain, a knight who can see the future. With only glimpses of prophecies to guide him, Cain interferes in natural disasters and war in hopes of stopping his tragic visions from happening.

However, in a world on the brink of an apocalypse, is knowing the final outcome enough to change it?

Fate Saga is an original animated action/drama series taking place in a fantastical world based on Medieval Europe.

27 December 2010

Shot 47 Clean Up

Animation and Clean Up by Dana Corrigan

Now that I'm jumping back on clean up, I wanted to start off with this shot because it's one of the shorter animations that haven't been cleaned yet, that would still be challenging because it has a lot of subtle motion and hair flapping.

17 December 2010

Shot 61 Roughs

Animation by Amanda Christensen

In this shot, Cyrus throws down Cain's cape and tells him off. The fun part of this sequence is that, for anyone who doesn't know the character, what Cyrus is saying makes no sense. This is especially true for Cain, who has only just run into him.

This shot relies entirely on acting, and it was important to show how irate/unreasonable Cyrus is, as well as display how his actions would make him look crazy to Cain (or more crazy than usual) but, hopefully, it makes more sense to the audience because by now it should be established that he is an empath.

I thought Amanda was a brave soul for wanting to try this shot, because this was a hard one. But I love the acting in it! I love the broad gestures he uses for emphasis, and the more subtle gestures he uses when he says "every pore."

Issues with the model I think I'll be able to handle once I get to inking. I always ink the shots that anyone else animated because, especially with how quickly these shots need to get done, I can't expect everyone to be able to rough animate completely on model - and I don't want to give other clean up artists roughs that are off model. So currently I clean the shots roughed by other people (or my own shots if I feel they are very complicated/too rough to pass on easily), and pass off my rough animations to the others for clean up. So far it seems to work well. As long as the rough's volumes and proportions are close enough, I can fix the issues in the cleaning process.

Also, this is one of the shots where it's amusing to press the pause button and look at the in-betweens.

14 December 2010

Shot 63-65 Roughs (Updated 12/20/10)

Rough animation by Dana Corrigan

Update (12/20/10): I detailed Cyrus' head a little bit more during the new animation, and added his mouthshapes. His model isn't perfect, but I think I'd be better off focusing on making sure his overall motion is good and fix the issues with his proportions/volumes/etc. when I get to the clean up stage (or, to be more precise, when I can work on it with a Cintiq). I think it's ready for me to move on to the next shot, until I come back for the inking.

Update (12/18/10): I lengthened shot 65 so it encompasses more of the dialogue, and extended the part where Cyrus is crouched down to add animation to his head/shoulders to connect his motions to the dialogue. Tracy made a great suggestion about adding a moving hold and using his head to accent the dialogue, and I think it works pretty well! I'm holding off on adding the details and mouth shapes until I have fresher eyes than mine look at it and make sure it actually does look like Cyrus is talking.

Update (12/16/10): Detailed Cyrus' roughs, except for his mouth because I've realized that the voice acting doesn't match the motion. The voice doesn't sound strained enough for Cyrus' physical exertion, and I can't re-record it with the same person. So there are a couple of ways to resolve it: 1) Remove the line and just have him attack. 2) Have him say the entire line while Cain's on screen. 3) Change the placement of the line so it's mostly when Cain's there, but you see the beginning of Cyrus' crouching before the line ends. The voice acting might work a little better before he lunges. 4) Have Cyrus pause in mid-crouch and finish the line, then lunge.

#1 might work but I think Cyrus would say something right before he attacks. When he's angry, he rants so it's more in character for him to speak right before he attacks. #2 Timing felt slow. #4 Didn't feel right or in character for Cyrus to sit still and wait to finish the line. The attack is spontaneous (or, more accurately, Cyrus can't control his temper so well), so for him to stop to finish talking would make the attack feel more deliberate/pre-planned.

Right now I'm going the route of #3 so the timing is a bit different now. I think it's working the best though I'm still shuffling the frames with the audio back and forth.

Also I think Cyrus' head gets too big when he's leaning forward but I'll fix that the next time I work on it.

(Original Post) The only shot I'm really animating for this right now is shot 65 because it's in the trailer. Shot 63 has been started but it's very bare right now. Shot 66 is going to be animated separately but the storyboards are placed here as a reference.

13 December 2010

SC062 Roughs

Rough animation by YoonJeong Jo

This is the current roughs in progress for Cain, for Shot 62. Cyrus is going to be mostly (if not entirely) still. Acting emphasis is on Cain being both polite but in a rush - so it's important that Cain seems urgent.

10 December 2010

Shot 109 Composite Test version 2

Animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Fire roughs and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Susan "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Susan "Uzi" Souza. Composite by Dana Corrigan with help from Ryan Gatts

Based off of a rendered version of 108 that Ryan sent me, I made some alterations to shot 109's colors and set up. It's not exactly the same, and I couldn't add embers because I am using a trial version of After Effects and don't have access to some of the particle effects, but I like how it's coming out. I am concerned that the fire might be too bright, and might tweak some of the settings to bring some of the brightness down. Any suggestions, ideas or if you prefer the set up of one shot over the others, please let me know! Their settings are similar, but there are some differences (the biggest being the fire itself, and some of the contrast in the colors of the scene.

Shot 113-114 Composite Fire Test Version 2

Animation by Dana Corrigan, Clean up and color by Chrystal Giambastiani. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite by Dana Corrigan, with help from Ryan Gatts

Looking at the version of the composite fire that Ryan did, I tried emulating some of the effects on here. I'm using a trial version of After Effects, so I can't add the ember particles that he had. I'll have to wait until I can use the school's computers again before I can try that. But otherwise, I also toned down some of the effects because the fire is so close to the viewer, I wanted the viewer to be able to see through the flames due to the close proximity.

Shot 108 Fire Alt - Ryan's Version

Character animation by Tracy MacLauchlan, clean up by Dana Corrigan, colors by Megan Miller, Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra, background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Background textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Composite by Dana Corrigan and Ryan Gatts

Ryan gave me some great suggestions for some alterations to make for the compositing to give a better sense of heat from the fire and give a nicer aesthetic. This was the version he sent me after he had played around with some of the effects and particles. I really like what he did with it. I like the little embers and the brightness of the fire which makes it look very hot, and magical. I'm playing around with some of the other shots to get a look similar to this, and will post those next. If there are some shots you like more than others or any suggestions, let me know as I'm still in the process of experimentation.

06 December 2010

Wagon and Lighting Fixture Concept Art

Concept art by Kate Kirby-O'Connell

Kiosk Concept Art for Duero

Concept art by Kate Kirby-O'Connell

Test Composites added shots, updated textures for some and final fire for others

This is a video of all of the footage I have composited thus far, in chronological order although any shot that's not yet composited is missing, so there are definitely gaps. This is just a way to see all of the footage together and make sure details, like the look of the fire, remain consistent.

05 December 2010

Shot 109 Composite Test with Final Fire

Animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra

The colors aren't yet finished, so you may not be able to see Cyrus at all. But once his colors are finished, this animation will be updated. Since Zelda had the fire finished for this shot, I wanted to try compositing it as well.

Shot 135-140 Composite Test With Final Fire

Animation by Dana Corrigan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Colors by Ashley Woodard. Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra.

Shot 113-114 Composite Test with Motion Blur and Final Fire (Updated)

Background Model by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Animation by Dana Corrigan. Clean Up and Color by Chrystal Giambastiani. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite by Dana Corrigan

This is a test for the fire compositing into the scene. I've run the same effects on this fire as I did for the fire for Shot 108. I really like how those transparencies work in this shot because, with the fire segments on top of each other, you can only really see through the fire along the edges the most, while the area in the center is more opaque.

Any suggestions on the fire effects would be great! It's still an experiment with me so I'm willing to try any ideas!

Updates: Added motion blur to the scythe.

Shot 108 Composite Test with Updated Background and Final Fire

Background models by Alyssa Seidl, William Blake Harris and Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Textures by Suzanne "Uzi" Souza. Cyrus animation by Tracy MacLauchlan. Clean up by Dana Corrigan. Cyrus colors by Megan Miller. Fire animation and clean up by Zelda Vinciguerra. Composite by Dana Corrigan. Composite/After Effects advice by Ryan Gatts

With the textures in progress and the final fire coming together, compositing has never been so exciting! Admittedly I've never composited anything this complicated, but this is really interesting experience and I'm enjoying the process. This version of the composite is testing both the fire effects and the textures-in-progress.

Regarding the textures - I really like where it's going, especially on the right side of the pillar, where the texture is more smudged and doesn't have the lines. I'm really glad that we didn't end up having to color the backgrounds, at least for the Crystalin. Everything remains in greyscale, and is colored with the fire gradients I made in Photoshop and overlayed in After Effects.

This version of the textures has less contrast and is removing the straight lines. The section on the right is perfect, I think. Enough contrast so that the viewer can see that the wall has a wood texture, but not so much to draw attention to itself. And that little smudge adds a really nice touch and keeps the wood from looking too uniform. Uzi's doing a fantastic job, and I can't wait to export the final composite for this shot when the textures are finished!

Regarding the fire - For the fire itself, Zelda had it set up in three sections. When I imported the fire sections into After Effects, I duplicated the fire so that each section had two layers with the same animation. This would allow me to play with the Hue/Saturation on one layer, and be able to vary the opacity so that the colors would change just a little.

The top fire layers are a solid orangish/red color, are set to Overlay and have a low opacity to give the fire a varying redder tinge while (hopefully) maintaining its brightness. Ryan Gatts gave me a great suggestion to add a wiggle expression to some of the functions and effects, to make it less uniform. So the transparency of the top fire layers have it.

Also, the main fire layers (which are, for the most part, unchanged from Zelda's set up), have a slight opacity wiggle so you can see Cyrus' hand through the fire. But I have the opacity increase when he sets the scythe on fire so that the variance is smaller. You'll still see the scythe through the fire, but just a little bit.

Finally, all of the fire layers have blur effects, starting at 1 with the top/effect layers and 2 with the main fire layers. The wiggle is set to .5 and 1

Final Notes - I think all that is left to do for this shot as to add the highlights. Should there be shadows? Does anyone know of an easy way to add highlights or shadows, that would still look good? I have a couple of ideas/tests in mind, but my main concern is how long it might take and how much time can be spent on all the fire scenes by the time the trailer's completion in March. I do feel highlights or shadows are absolutely necessary, but I may try to do just one and hold off on the other until after March. But any suggestions would be great! And if there is anything about the fire compositing that looks off or any suggestions as to what I could do to make it look even better, please let me know!