EAE 3650-001 Fall 2017 Motion Cap., Scan., Rig

EAE 3650-001 Fall 2017 Motion Cap., Scan., Rig

Syllabus for Motion Capture, Scan, and Rig with Paul Mattson


 
Classes begin: Thursday, August 21                          Classes end: Thursday, December 7

Class Materials: Purchase a used copy of Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (Paperback) by Amy Wallace, Ed Catmull

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0593070100/ref=tmm_pap_used_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=used&qid=1501029256&sr=8-1

 Time Requirements: This class requires a minimum 3-4 hrs per week, and as we get towards the end of the semester two Saturdays to complete our project.

 Class Requirements: This is a very hands-on class so attendance is a must, which will be considered in calculating final grades.  In order to help you develop the skills needed to land a Video Game Developer Position in a studio, you will need to show up to each class, prepared with assigned tasks, as we will be building on the learning and skills from the previous class.

 Objectives: In this class, our focus will be the character creation pipeline. We will be starting first with rigging a simple character, followed by adding an interactive environment. We will, also, hopefully do some motion capture, scanning, and importing (depending on availability and workability of the school’s hardware), putting all content into a character game demo to build each student’s portfolio.  Given the time constraints of only 16 classes, and the breadth of material, we will not be able to cover every facet of modeling, 3-D sculpting, programming, rigging, motion capture, and scanning. We will, however, produce a mobile app that students will have on their own devices or as a unity project that is expandable, and mentoring will be provided throughout the process for the development of each of these skills.

 Here is a list of what we will try to accomplish together:
* students will use professional time-saving tools and practices to rapidly rig characters.
* students will experience a realistic character development pipeline.
* students will have a demo app to show off their character development processes.
* students will receive guidance for obtaining employment after graduation.
* students will learn:
how to rig and animate in-game inter-actable objects.

  • how to collaborate as a team to develop unique demos for each student.
  • how to work with motion capture content.
  • how to load actor animations on characters in game.
  • how to re-target characters animations to be used on different characters.
  • how to get characters in game to interact with objects.
  • how to set up pipelines to get rigged characters in game.
  • possibly how to create and animate 2D platformer characters.

 (Throughout the process, I will post videos for complex portions of the project as needed and give access to those for you on Google Drive.)

  

Week 1: Aug 24

Objective: An introduction to creating a simple, but unique, demo app for each student to learn the process of 3D and 2D character pipeline development.

Rationale: To introduce the process of getting characters consistently in game with expected results.

 Classwork:

  1. Introduction to character pipeline development: character content that works on mobile, Next Gen and Cur Gen consoles, and video production the most effectively. The scope and sequence of the class.
  2. Brainstorm: Braintrust Exercise: give an example of what will be needed for next week.
  3. Discuss: characters and character development, demos, student and employer expectations, mechanics, and examples of other similar demos, objectives, goals and simple development schedule. Discuss style guides and color theory.
  4. Discuss examples of good and bad character development (visual literacy), scoping, milestone exercise, and refinement.
  5. Class discussion: group or individual demo development, combining efforts, demo themes, designs, 2D and 3D platforms, and ways to show off characters, camera moves, and overall objectives.
  6. Class selects to either combined efforts or semi-combined/individual efforts. Discuss development based on scope.
  7. Collect and share email addresses; create a slack channel.

 Homework:

  1. Students read "Failure Chapters," from Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull.
  2. Discussion of how it's better to follow a bad plan and be united than a good plan and be dividedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrjusPeOZRk
    www.youtube.com
    Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration Ed Catmull, co-founder and president of Pixar Animation August 5, 2014 6:30 ...
  3. Google search strong character examples, designs, resumes, and demos.
  4. Collect characters and content currently in development.
  5. Brainstorm an ideal character demo on paper.
  6. Research, Youtube, study, and practice

 

 Week 2: August 31

Objective: To learn how to make deliberate, intentional, informed decisions and not reactionary decisions.

Rationale: To introduce students to the ideal planning and decision-making process behind character development.

 Classwork:

  1. Have the students share:  a) something they learned from the reading; b) what they want to learn from the class; c) their favorite 3D character and why?
  2. Review characters and rigs that students have been working on.
  3. Mini Pixar - Braintrust: review each student's ideal character demo (from homework).
  4. Show examples of effective and not-so-effective character development.
  5. Demonstrate the importance of model sheets, and character studies.
  6. Review some favorite character developers: what do they say?
  7. Research: How to overcome a creativity block.

 Homework:

  1. Research the pre-production process of a favorite 3D character.
  2. Read "The Hungry Beast and the Ugly Baby," from Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull.
  3. Revise and polish ideal character demo ideas based on Braintrust discussion.
  4. Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 3: September 7

Objective: To decide as a team how to best develop and create an amazing character demo. To review and plan development and scope of the demo project.

Rationale: To introduce students to the planning and decision-making process behind character development and dive into development. To begin breaking the work down into bite-sized chunks with regular milestones.  To nail down dependencies, demo themes, and designs.

 Classwork:

  1. Process discussion: design by committee vs. design / vision owner: why it is good to rely on process.
  2. Class agrees to the strongest demo designs.
  3. Each student chooses what role they will fill for developing the app.
  4. Agree on the strongest and most achievable design: class agrees to direction, scope, demo mechanics, overall design, and platform.
  5. Break down the demo providing all of the animations and camera moves to best demo the characters.
  6. Platform discussion: intro to Unity 2D and 3D (world content, characters, and animation, (http://www.bfxr.net/,https://freesound.org/, http://audiojungle.net/category/sound/game-sounds, and Unity VFX)
  7. Character development team discussion: review how many days we meet and what will be done outside the classroom.
  8. Students select individual content focus: demo concept art, design, themes, UI, and goals.
  9. Demo Breakdown: User Stories = consumer(user)/artist/programmer desired content.
  10. Students: track down examples of concept art, model sheets, silhouette sheets, code, and demo designs.

 Homework:

  1. Research your area of interest based on brainstorming. Present your findings next week. Examples could include: splash screens, inspiring art, fantasy character designs. images, videos of character animations, videos of similar character demo animations, thumbnails, sketches, theories, concepts, demo game flow, resources, UI, Humor, examples of other work, basically anything that might help us or inspire our design.
  2. Image search keywords from brainstorm: i.e. video resumes, concept art, video game character examples.  Watch YouTube Videos of character animations that match our theme and design.
  3. Research according to your area of interest:
    1. Demo game flow: Comp a game flow chart that diagrams how the user progresses through the demo.  (Google: game flow, game flow chart)
    2. Concept: Google key words from our brainstorm and find interesting concept pieces. (Google: video game character concept, video game environment concepts)
    3. UI: Google simple UI designs.
    4. Texturing: Google small 3D shadow box environments, find something that might inspire our demo.
    5. Modeling: Google examples of character designs and find something that might inspire our demo.
    6. Animation: YouTube animations of character demos.

  

Week 4: September 14

Objective: Introduction to character pipelines, Maya, and Unity.

Rationale: Lay the foundation for the target platform.

 Classwork:

  1. Review characters and environment designs, review direction.
  2. Scrum Planning Meeting
  3. Maya Units, Unity Units, Scale, world space, consistency, 1:1 development.
  4. Exporting from Maya to Unity, data wrangling, animation controllers, state machines, and animation overrides.
  5. Performance discussion: static geometry vs skinned content discussion, pushing pixels vs. pushing geometry.
  6. Demo character development: AO, GI, texture, and vert count, character rigs, tips and tricks.
  7. Demo environment development: AO, GI, texture, and vert count, character rigs, tips and tricks.
  8. Begin: Whitebox assets no textures, simple demo mechanics.

 Homework:

  • Final demo designs, refined art, demo environment design, refined mechanics, refined schedule.
  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 5: September 21

Objective: Introduction to content development. Review character rigs and assets from other teams and developers.

Rationale: Show good and bad examples of character rigs. To give the feel of an actual studio experience.

 Classwork:

  1. Intro to Scrum Planning Meeting and 3-week sprints;
  2. Review homework demo designs;
  3. Start WhiteShadow box;
  4. Work on Demo Mechanics;
  5. Refine UI;
  6. Game flow;
  7. Block rig;
  8. Reviews/Dailies.
  9. Demo Scrum Meeting (10min).

 Homework:

  • Refined asset list (characters, animations, environment, object interaction, UI)
  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 6: September 28

Objective: 3D character rig development 101

Rationale: To teach how to create rigs.

Discussion: Work directly with the animators. Create test animation scenes that you can use to stress test rigs.

 Classwork:

  1. Blendshape vs joint facial expression controls;
  2. Skinning: Maya all methods and processes (painting, editor, exporting, editing, and re-applying);
  3. Maya expressions.

 Homework:

  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 7:  October 5

Objective: 3D character rig development 201

Rationale: Students will learn how to create rigs they would want to use.

 Classwork:

  1. IK and FK, switches to go between IK/FK;
  2. Set driven keys, pole vectors;
  3. When to and when not to bake animations;
  4. Animation clips.

 Homework: Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 8:  October 12

Objective: 3D character rig development 301

Rationale: To teach the students how to create rigs they would want to use.

 Classwork:

  1. Changes to the rig (Adding and removing bones without breaking the rig);
  2. Reference rigs and slave rigs (multi-platform development);
  3. Re-Targeting animations to different rig / body shapes;
  4. Rigging tools.

 Homework:

  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 9:  October 19

Objective: Students will learn the polish phase of character development.

Rationale: How to add AO, GI, and texture enhancements to characters.

 Classwork:

  1. Texture process: Photoshop, 3D texture painting, spec, normal maps, and texture formats.
  2. Alpha.

 Homework:

  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 10:  October 26

Objective: Learning object rigging, along with an introduction to alternative rigging methods.

Rationale: Students will learn how to create intractable object rigs in static environments.

 Classwork:

  1. Object interaction pipeline: explicit and procedural;
  2. Parenting objects and baking animation data;
  3. Final game animation resolution/quality.

 Homework:

  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 11:  November 2

Objective: Introduction to MoCap lab, Mocap development and pipeline, MoCap clean up, Maya MoCap Pipeline.

 Classwork:

  1. Mentoring
  2. Character demo development

 Homework:

  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

  

Week 12:  November 9

Objective: Students will learn MoCap character implementation in-game.

 Classwork:

  • Working with slave rigs.

 Homework:

  • Research, Youtube, study, and practice

 November 11th Saturday – Crunch Mode, Pizza and Development

 Week 13:  November 16

Objective: Students will learn about animation process and best practices, Art Lock

 Classwork:

  1. Animator tools;
  2. Block animations;
  3. Spline animation;
  4. Clean-up and changes.

 Homework: 

  • Animate demo animations

  

Week 14:  November 30

Objective: Students will learn about 2D character development and pipeline, Rolling Art Lock

 Classwork:

  1. Mentoring
  2. Character demo development

 Homework: 

  • Polish pass

 December 2nd Saturday – Crunch Mode, Pizza and Development

 Week 15:  December 7

Objective: Last Day of Class, students will work on polishing the demo.

 Classwork:

  1. Mentoring
  2. Character demo development

 Homework:  Fix bugs

  

Week 16:  December 14

Objective: Last, Last day of Class, Students will learn to build to devices.

 Classwork: Pizza Party

Course Summary:

Date Details