I have a new animation showreel!
This shot didn’t need so much work, so it has mostly been rendering and simulating her hair to add some life to it – somehow I had completely forgotten to animate the hair, it must have been dark or something…
For this shot I adjusted the cinematography and polished up the mouth shapes. I still need to work on my lip-syncing and mouth-shaping skills, but they’re getting better. I’ve also learned to add motion blur and depth of field in comp, so that’s nice!
My end year exam for second year needed some work, and could make use of a bit more push and anticipation in the animation. Also, lip-sync wasn’t really great so I’ve improved that as well. Finally, since it’s no longer for our end year exam, I changed the framing so it felt nicer. Before it had to be full body, but that didn’t feel right.
I’ve been polishing up some shots for my showreel lately and/or doing some new renders of the shots. It’s really satisfying to see your model, though simple, get a bit of nice lighting and shading, as well as some sound to set the mood.
A simple animation test of a tree falling. It’s not in-game but a render from Maya. It’s part of one of the first scenes in the game, and it should be noted that the player can walk across the tree after it has fallen. Doing prop animation like this was actually more fun than I had imagined, and certainly has its own challenges. Also, for this particular moment I got to watch a lot of falling tree on YouTube, which always serves a good laugh :)
In the production of our game “feels”, I’ve been doing some shader testing for developing our look. We’re still not exactly where we want to be, but it’s progressing. The shader still has some issues, like not working correctly with lights, but these are getting fixed.
At the same time we’re trying to figure out if we should stick with our one-shader-fits-all approach or try to move some aspects, like fog, into a different pass. So much to learn…
Below is the shader network from Shader Forge. Feel free to use it as a point of departure, but be aware that it has some issues.
When working with any kind of visual medium you want to guide your viewers eye to a certain point and often hierarchically. This is done by using elements of design like lines and texture, but today I’m going to talk about color. More specifically value or luminance of colors and how to properly check these in Photoshop using a grayscale version of your image, to clearly see how your values are stacking and how contrast is distributed.
Different colors have different luminance. What is confusing about this is that brightness and luminance is not the same. Brightness is how bright a color is on a scale from 0 – 100%. Luminance, on the other hand, is the “perceived” lightness of a color.
Photoshop has numerous ways of converting a color image to black and white, unfortunately most of these are wrong in the sense that they don’t truly convert the colors to the matching gray tone in terms of how bright we perceive different colors. So these don’t work for checking your values!
The thing about colors are that we don’t perceive all colors as equally bright. For example, yellow appears to be brighter than blue. The short biological explanation is that we have three types of color receptors in our eyes; red, green and blue receptors, which respond differently to different wavelengths/colors of light.
The diagram below illustrates how bright we perceive different colors.
Real World Example
In this painting by Edvard Munch there’s a good variety of color and yellow color on the wall behind the man helps him stand out with his blue shirt and darker warm orange face. We can clearly separate his silhouette from the background. Also notice how the elements in the background aren’t distracting, like the yellow circle in the clock or all the things on the wall.
Now, when we look at a grayscale version of the painting, it becomes obvious that many of these areas are very identical in terms of value, and this is exactly what we perceive when looking at these colors.
Hold your cursor above the image below or click it to view different versions.
If we then look at the two last grayscale versions, these treat the colors very differently. Let’s first look at the Hue/Saturation version where I have simply desaturated the image. Notice the yellow wall has become a medium gray and is now almost identical to the value of the man’s face. The stuff on the wall is also much more prominent. About the same points are true for the last version of the painting, which is using a Black and White adjustment layer with its default properties.
This is not ideal. But it is not a bug either.
What happens is that Photoshop’s way of desaturating when using Hue/Saturation is to find the hue and brightness of a specific color and tone it down. The problem is that Photoshop doesn’t take luminance into account, it only deals with brightness.
Something even more strange starts going on when using the Black and White adjustment layer, since it allows us to tell Photoshop of to convert different colors to different tones of gray. This is useful when artistically converting photographs, but not when checking values in a painting. Setting these values to their corresponding percentage unfortunately won’t give us a perfect result either.
The Right Way of Converting To Grayscale
One way is to go to Image > Mode > Grayscale, which then properly converts your painting to grayscale. This is very cumbersome!
The solution is to use a Color Lookup Table (LUT), which tells Photoshop how to convert colors to a proper grayscale. Starting from Photoshop CS6 you can create a Color Lookup adjustment layer.
Download the zip file containing the 3DLUT here:
Extract the zip file and move the file Grayscale.3DL to Photoshop’s presets folder. Restart Photoshop and now you should be able to create a Color Lookup adjustment layer and load in the Grayscale.3DL by following the guide below.
Profile locations on Mac:
~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CC 2014/Presets/3DLUTs/
Profile locations on Windows:
Users/[user name]/AppData/Roaming/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CC 2014/Presets/3DLUTs
Replace [user name] with your username and the corresponding Photoshop version. If the 3DLUTs folder doesn’t exist, you can simply create it.
The last thing to do is to simply load the LUT on a Color Lookup adjustment layer, illustrated in the image below.
- Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Color Lookup…
- Double click the icon of the adjustment layer, this will bring up its properties. The properties window can also be found in Window > Properties.
- Finally click on Load 3D LUT… and select the Grayscale.3DL.
A little jam session during the production of feels, our bachelor project this year. Featuring a broken guitar with two strings, drums played with pencils, and high-tech iPad keyboard.