Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Major Project: Reflective Statement

It's very strange to think that this project is 'done' now - it's been such a large part of my life for the last year that it's hard to think that it is over now. I suspect I'll continue to work on When however, since there are parts of the film that I'd like to continue to improve and tweak...although I could probably tweak it forever. I've really loved working on this project, despite it being challenging at times. I admit I felt a pang of anxiety uploading the full animation since it is so personal, but I am also proud of myself for being able to create a film that I hope will make people think in ways they may not have before.

I feel that I'm lucky that I got to work on something really personal already (Dysmorphia) because it built me up to being able to work on this sort of project. I think one of the main things I struggled with was trying to detach myself from some of the personal aspects of the film, such as the room and whispers. I found the sound editing one of the more emotionally draining parts of the project, but I am happy that I worked through it and I think the whispers really enhance the impact of the film.

I'm also very happy that I've collaborated with Bruce Reid, it was a pleasure working with him and has further taught me to have trust and faith in others. I admit I was very anxious forfeiting some control over my project, but I am glad that I did because the final product would not have been as emotional if Bruce didn't create the soundtrack. I hope I get the opportunity to work with Bruce again in the future.


I was very nervous overall about the Maya aspect of the project starting off with due to the shift from using Mental Ray to Arnold. I knew I wanted to achieve realism but I wasn't sure how I'd be able to do this even with a renderer I was more familiar with...let alone having to re-learn a lot of it. This project helped me recognise how much I really do enjoy texturing and lighting, which is something I want to continue to learn and develop in the future.

I am relieved I was able to achieve the aesthetic that I have, because I honestly didn't feel confident in my abilities at first. I have a bad habit of saying that it was 'luck' that I pushed the right buttons to achieve what I wanted, but I'm trying to allow myself to recognise that it had a lot to do with my ability to sit down and play around with settings and research till I was happy with it.

Overall I think I could have done better managing my stress and emotions in relation to the project, but I feel it is still an improvement from where I have been on past projects. I had moments where this project eclipsed other parts of my life and I was probably more obsessive over it than I should have been. But again, I think I have improved on this especially considering how personal this project was.

I also wish I had researched a bit more into the rendering process as I'm not sure if I accidentally caused the render times to be higher than they really needed to be. That said, I am pleased with how I managed my time and organised myself to ensure I had all the footage I wanted fully rendered as consistently as possible. I usually struggle with making compromises, but I was able to decide that sometimes I had to decrease the quality of my renders to ensure everything was done in time and that I could at least improve on those scenes in After Effects

In addition to enjoying the lighting and texturing part of my film, I did also really enjoy working on the VFX in After Effects as well as simulations in Maya. I wish that I could have experimented more with other visual effects/compositing software, such as Nuke or Houdini but I knew I had to limit how many new things I was trying (Substance Painter/Designer, InDesign) to ensure I created a final product. It was a struggle to get things like nParticles and nCloth to work the way that I want them to, but I'm glad I pushed myself through it to show that I can do it.

It was honestly amazing and so much fun to focus on one film for a whole year. It is incredibly satisfying to see the final product and how months of work coalesced into something complete and polished. Overall I hope that it creates some sort of impact - whether it makes someone feel less alone or if it encourages someone think of mental illness in a way they have not before. While I am somewhat sad about being done now and I'm nervous about the future, I am also looking forward to it.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Major Project: Possible Vimeo Thumbnails

As I wait for my film to finish rendering and uploading to Vimeo, I wanted to create a thumbnail image. I mostly focused on room and brick shots, since I don't want to give away too much of what else is in the film. I'm not sure which one I prefer most, so any feedback would be helpful!









Saturday, 12 May 2018

Major Project: Sponge Shot Tweaks

I've been working on tweaking the sound design and VFX in my film. One thing that was suggested to me was to interrupt the sponge scene since it's quite a slow-moving shot which makes it not feel as hostile as it should/could be.

I created five different variations, each one having heavier interruptions/distortions. The first video only has the static shot interrupting the sponge, then I add on layers of meat, autumn leaves (the road shot), needles, and 'unbearably cold' in addition to more glitch effects. The reason why I have uploaded via YouTube this time is because I've been uploading a lot to Vimeo and I want to ensure I have enough space left in my upload quota to upload my final film.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Major Project: Soundscape Progress Update 005 (With Music)

I've now added the music and soundscape Bruce Reid created for my film. I spent a long time tweaking effects and volumes of different sounds to try and ensure that the main voiceover could be heard, important whispers and sound effects were audible where important, and that the music shined through when I wanted it to.

For the line about 'rejection' I initially began to play around with the music cutting out mostly, but I found it odd and immersion breaking. I think leaving the music there keeps the film uniform and flowing since prior to the 'rejection' cut-out the music is quite subtle...so when it's all that is left remaining I hope it keeps the film moving without the cut-out being too distracting. I did, however, do a similar effect for my gem. This is because I have whispers, the screen doesn't go black, and again I want the gem to be aggressive rather than just eerie.

I'm still adjusting all of the volumes, I tend to work on sound design using high quality sound-blocking headphones so I realise it sounds different on computer speakers. I'm trying to alternate how I work so I get it working alright both ways. I am really happy with how this is turning out so far.

I've also been considering adding some sort of 'warning' on my film and Art Of. I don't want to seem dramatic, but since my film discusses some serious topics I feel it may be irresponsible for me to not give any sort of context to the film's subject matter especially since the title is quite ambiguous.

I worry that some things I say in the film (some of which are things people say to me that I myself find triggering) may be destructive for others to hear if they are in a bad place. I have a similar situation with my Art Of, where I discuss my reasoning behind what each entity represents. While I specifically avoid using numbers, sizes, measurements, and so on...I am aware that things I say could possibly be seen as triggering and I want to be sure I'm not doing anything harmful. Due to this, I plan on adding a 'please be aware' sort of message to my film and Art Of just to be safe.