Thursday, October 12, 2017

Freestyle Video Project

Freestyle Video Project:
Your new assignment is to create an original 2 minute video. Video concepts must be approved by me, and then proposals must be completed before time can be scheduled for shooting. We have limited camera's so everyone will have to pre-plan a shooting schedule. You will work in teams of two-four for this project. Your team must follow all phases of the project and meet all requirements. All teams are expected to work during class time, if you aren't shooting video than you should be editing, working on title animations, learning after effects and working through tutorials, creating graphics etc.



Subject matter, style and technique are wide open. Consider that almost anything can be turned into a video. You could make a video about what people eat for lunch, what cars they drive, you could make a short documentary, music video, experimental video, scene recreation etc. Let's discuss your concepts and ideas.

Project Phases:
  • Choose team members (no more than 4 per team)
  • Brainstorm project ideas
  • Write a 1 page project proposal
  • Upon approval write a shot list or draw a storyboard for your video (pre-production)
  • Schedule and begin shooting upon storyboard approval (production)
  • Edit and create titles, add audio and music, etc... (post production)
  • Each team member must edit their own example for turning in, work as a group but edit individually

Project requirements:
  • Keep TRT (Total Running Time) below 2 minutes
  • Video project must match original proposal/storyboard or shot list
  • Appropriate content only, including music selects
  • Proposal and Storyboards must be approved by me
  • Smooth camera work
  • Clean editing and titles

Schedule:
  • Proposals due Monday the 16th
  • Storyboards or Shot Lists due Tueesday the 17th
  • Videos due at E.O.C. the following tuesday

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How to Write a Good Great Resume and List of References

Hello Students,
Having a solid resume is the cornerstone developing your career. A well written and well designed resume is what sets you apart from other job applicants. A perfectly written job application, a quality resume and a list of positive references is the job seekers trifecta. In this class we will teach you these skills to help in your search for employment. Below is a list of resume writing tips, read over it before finalizing your own resume.

Link(right click to download): ROP PORTFOLIO HANDBOOK

Resume Writing Tips:
Put your typography skills to work:
Never use comic sans, zapfino or anything difficult to read or is more "expressive" than "rational". Use sans-serif for headers and section titles, pick a complementary serif font for all other text. Limit your fonts to 2, with 1 or 2 modifiers (bold, italic, etc). Also, refer back to our rules on typography in our introduction to typography and utilize those guidelines in your resume. Choose fonts that are complimentary to each other and assist in creating information hierarchy, this helps the reviewer find the information they need quickly. Choose a good sans serif font for your section titles and a complimentary serif font for the rest.

Have an objective:
Know the purpose of your resume and edit it for different job scenarios. Having a focused job objective listed on your resume will help you with attaining an interview and getting hired.

Back up your special skills with job experience:
List your skills but make sure your listed job experience, training or education reflects those skills. Are you really good at making websites? Let them know how and where you learned that skill.

Research and use the right keywords:
Every industry has its own language, research job offerings and pay attention to the keywords that are used. If you put your resume online with a job placement service they will often use certain keywords to search their database for potential hires.

Be descriptive with job experience:
A job title will communicate your role, but not the details of your work experience. List the duties, tasks, activities, skills and achievements that were part of your job.

Format your text:
Use bold text to start each section. Use bullets for lists. Make the document easy to quickly scan and read. Clarity of format is crucial, you have ten seconds before the employer will move on to another applicant.

List most recent job experience first:
This also goes for education, list the most recent first. If your still in High School you can say "future class of 2012", or "Currently attending HS".

List most important skills first:
When writing out your skill list make the most important skills the first ones on the list. If you are applying for a web design job, list your web skills first. Change and edit this for different industries/jobs.

Leave out the obvious:
It is not necessary to add "available for interview" or "references available upon request". References are standard and expected, and of course you are available for an interview. Thats the whole point!

Avoid negativity:
Don't trash talk past employers or state that you didn't like a past job. Simply state that you were looking for future opportunities.

Go with what you got:
If you haven't had work experience yet, just list any summer jobs, volunteer experience etc. If you have hobbies that are relevant to the job you can list those. If you don't have a diploma or degree then just list your estimated date for completion.

Proofread your resume:
Have your neighbor or classmate read your resume. Sometimes the spellchecker doesn't catch typos. The more eyeballs that see your resume before it gets in the hands of the employer the better.

Although these resumes contain similar information, styles do vary. Focus on what makes a resume readable, identifiable and effective. It should be unique to stand out from the rest, but not overly expressive as that can make legibility difficult.
  • Download the ROP Career Portfolio Handbook and follow the template to write your own resume from scratch
  • Create a 1 page resume that meets the handbook requirements for all included information
  • Use any program or online tools of your choice to write your resume
  • Demonstrate good typography, spelling and accuracy
  • Make sure your resume shows good information hierarchy so it is simple to read and each section is listed clearly
  • Email or print and turn in your resume  and list of references for credit - DO NOT POST YOUR RESUME ON YOUR BLOG! It contains sensitive information!
  • Due Wednesday

List Of References Writing Assignment:
It is incredibly important to develop a great list of references. These references will help you obtain jobs, college admissions or acceptance into special programs.

Who makes a good reference?
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Counseler
  • Present or past employer
  • Family friend
  • Anyone that can speak highly of your abilities, skills and worth

References to avoid:
  • Anyone under 18
  • Personal friends
  • family members
  • Anyone who cannot speak highly of your abilities or skills

Important Tips:

  • The format of your references should match your resume exactly, same header, same fonts.
  • Do not include references on your resume
  • Include at least three references
  • All references should be responsible adults who know you well and can speak to your character and skills
  • Always ask whether or not someone is willing to be a reference before including them in your list
  • Verify the contact information before handing over to an employer

Format:
Use the following format for your references, using your own accurate information of course:

Persons Name:   Bob Smith
Address:            123 Fake Street
                          Santa Cruz Ca, 95060
Phone #:             (831) 555-4321
Title and              Business Owner
work place:         Moland Spring Bottled Water

Grading:
Your resume's and reference lists are graded assignments. For a total of 10 points, grading is as follows:
2Pts - Resume and List of References is complete per Handbook Guidelines
2Pts - Resume and List of References is well formatted and easy to read
2Pts - Resume and List of References contains no typos or errors
2Pts - Resume and List of References are two separate documents with consistent style, font and header
2Pts - Resume and List of References are emailed to me as PDF files with descriptive file names (don't send a file called "untitled.pdf")

Have fun!

- Mr.W

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Introduction to Editing Video

Hello Students,
Today we will begin our introduction to video editing with Adobe Premiere. You will be editing pre-shot footage to create a fun and compelling promotional tourism spot for the city of San Francisco.

Objective: Learn how to edit video with Adobe Premiere, incorporate video and audio from multiple sources and edit for energy and continuity.

Imagine yourself in the Directors Seat... it's time to make your vision happen!

Part 1 - Learning Adobe Premiere:
  • Launch Adobe Premiere.
  • Watch videos 1 through 13 in the "Learning Premiere Pro" section of the Adobe TV website.
  • Practice the steps that you can as you watch the videos.
  • Find a sample video file to practice editing, color correction, outputting, etc...
  • If you can watch all 13 videos you are on your way to being a video editing pro! When complete watch the other videos in that section to learn how to process and distribute your edited files.

Part 2 - Editing a Promotional Tourism Video for the City of San Francisco

Project Concept: The City of San Francisco has hired you to edit a promotional tourism video. They have provided you pre-shot footage and your job is to make it sing! Your commercial will play on local television stations coast to coast, so it should have universal appeal. Your commercial should promote the unique sights that the city has to offer.
  • Your final video file should be exactly 30 seconds long
  • Use music that fits the energy of your video
  • Edit your video cuts to be timed with the music
  • There should be an edit in the video footage every 2 to 5 seconds
  • Make sure your sequence settings in Premiere match the specifications of your source video
  • Use color correction to enhance the footage
  • Use video transitions to keep the video compelling and interesting, but be careful not to overuse them or repeat them too many times
  • Create text titles to create a "call to action" at the end of your video, something like "Visit beautiful San Francisco today!"
  • Add a 2-Pop and pad the end with 3 seconds of black, this is your "titles and tails".
  • Have fun!

- Mr.Wilson

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Experiment With Maya Physics

Hello Students, 
Your next project is an exploration of Maya Physics. Maya uses a soft/rigid body system and different fields that can modify the interactions of these simulated objects, these fields are things like gravity and wind.... 

Maya Physics Experiment:

Objective: Learn how to use physics engines for complex 3D animations, repeat and experiment for visually interesting interactions. Render with Mental Ray and Image Based Lighting and Layered Shaders for your demo reel.

Your assignment is to follow the simple tutorial below, then create a fun physics experiment and then render it. Don't get too elaborate or your computer will take weeks to complete the calculations in your simulation, keep the number of objects under 20, more will slow down the calculation speed potentially. Use all the skills you have developed up to now to set up your 3D file with a proper project folder, render settings, materials, image based lighting etc.... just as we did in the cornell box project.

Part 1: Basic Physics Simulation

  1. Launch maya and make a new file
  2. Give your timeline at least 500 frames and zoom out the timeline so all frames are visible in the timeline
  3. Create a cube and shape it into a flat  surface like a table
  4. Create another cube, along with a sphere and a third shape of your choice
  5. Arrange the new shapes in a column that is positioned over your first flat table shape that you made
  6. Select the table shape and press down on the spacebar to bring up your marking menu, select "Soft/Rigid Bodies" and choose "Create Passive Rigid Body"
  7. Now Select the column of objects, the cube, sphere and third object of your choice and then press the spacebar to bring up your marking menu again and choose "Soft/Rigid Bodies" and select "Create Active Rigid Body"
  8. With your 3 objects still selected go back to your marking menu... this time select "Fields" and choose "Gravity"
  9. Press the play button to see your objects fall from the gravity and bounce on the tabletop
  10. Congratulations! You just made a physics simulation in 3D!


Part 2: Make Something Awesome
With a little ingenuity and some basic knowledge you can make a really cool simulation, try using more shapes or different types of platforms and passive solid bodies for interesting results. You can give passive objects a pivot point so they spin when hit. You can add a few keyframes to an active rigid body to launch it in a certain direction.  Here are some ideas you can do with just basic knowledge:
  • Make a wheel or sphere roll down a ramp and into a jump
  • Create a Newtons Cradle
  • Make a wheel or sphere roll on a track
  • Make an obstacle course for a sphere to roll down
  • Make bowling pins and knock them down with a sphere
  • Make a brick wall and knock it over
  • Make a tower of bricks and blow it over with a wind field (or sideways gravity!)


Part 3: Render Your Simulation
  • Once your simulation is perfect make some materials for your objects, make some shiny, some glassy and some have a matte surface
  • Set up a project folder for this simulation file, make sure you create the file directory first then "set" the project to that new directory
  • Turn on Mental Ray and load up your best settings, use an image based lighting setup to add some good realism to your scene
  • Render your scene and turn it in as a video file to mad max when it is ready



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

3D Materials, Lighting and Rendering: The Cornell Box

For this project you will be getting more familiar with the workflow and methods in using Autdodesk's Maya to create a 3D scene with objects, lighting, a camera and textures. You will then render this scene and adjust quality, then render an animation to learn the basics of keyframing and render settings as well.


Cornell Box Project: Lights, Camera, Action!

History of the Cornell Box: The Cornell Program of Computer Graphics has become best known for its research on physically based rendering. They believe that computer graphic simulations will never become predictive of reality unless we correctly model the physics of light reflection and energy propagation within physical environments. The Cornell Box experiments have come to symbolize our approach to physically based rendering, it is a simply physical environment for which they have measured lighting, geometry and material reflectance properties. Digital, or synthetic images of this environment are created and compared to confirm accuracy of our simulations with 3D software.

A photograph of the original physical Cornell Box.
For this project you will create a scene to simulate the Cornell Box. You will create an environment, objects, textures, a light source and explore the rendering software available in Maya to try and recreate the photo we see above.

A Cornell Box created by Seth Wilson using Maya. This scene contains the famous Utah Teapot. Textures are made with blinn, lambert, phong, the light is a point light using depth map shadows, the scene was rendered with Mental Ray
Cornell Box Project Part 1: Creating The Scene
  1. Open Maya and create a new scene
  2. Create a cube that is perfectly square, turn on Component Selection and delete the front face of the cube so you have a box
  3. Create 2 more cubes and scale/stretch and move them into position to act as your pedestals in the scene
  4. Create a cylinder, sphere, triange or cone and other primitive objects and arrange them in your scene as above using the move and scale tools
  5. Create a cube and flatten it with the scale tool, position it on the roof of your box to act as a "light" later on
  6. Open your Hypershade window (Window Menu/Rendering Editors/Hypershade) and create 2 materials using the Lambert material, make one have a red color and one green. Double click the material to see the material settings
  7. Select your box and turn on Component Selection, select the right face inside the box and apply your red Lamber material, then select the other side and apply the green Lambert material. Select the face first, then right-click on your Material and choose "Assign Material to Selection" to apply it to that face
  8. Create a point light and move it to the top of the inside of your box using the move tool. Turn on "Use All Lights" in your view options to see it affect your scene
  9. Render your scene and check the quality, if your light is illuminating the scene your are doing great!
  10. Close your Render Window
  11. Open your Hypershade window again and create different materials for each of the objects in your scene, try a blinn, a lambert, a phong and try creating a 2D texture such as a checkerboard patter
  12. Select an object first, then right-click on your Material and choose "Assign Material to Selection" to apply it to that object
  13. To make your roof light cube glow, create a blinn material and set it to have a white color, set the illumination to half way to make the object bright, scroll down to the Special Effects section of the blinn material and set the Glow Intensity to 0.010 and apply the blinn to your roof light cube
  14. Under the Create menu, create a Camera
  15. Change your view point to see through your camera, it will be called Camera1 and it is under the Perspective submenu in the Panel menu of your view window
  16. Center your camera to view your scene straight on
  17. Click the render button to see what you get! Compare with your classmates results


Cornell Box Project Part 2: Render Settings

  1. Your scene may not look like mine yet, that is because we must change some render settings for best results. Go to the Window Menu and under Rendering Editors choose Render Settings and you will see the Render Setting Dialog Box
  2. Under the "Common" tab scroll down to Image Size and set it to 1K square, this will make your render square, notice there are other settings for different resolutions, such as common HD video and film dimensions
  3. On the top of the dialog box, there is a pull-down menu next to the text "Render Using", change the pull down menu to Mental Ray, now there are new tabs available to peruse
  4. Under the Quality Tab choose Final Gather, open up the Raytracing section and set reflections and refractions to 10, Max Trace Depth to 20, Shadows to 2 and Blur Limits to 1
  5. Under Features make sure that Global Illumination, Raytracing, Final Gathering, Shadows are all checked on, along with the other defaults
  6. Under the Indirect Lighting tab make sure Global Illumination is checked on, set Accuracy to 500
  7. Under the Indirect Lighting tab make sure Final Gathering is Check on, Accuracy set to 1024, Point Density to 1.00
  8. Under the Indirect Lighting tab, open Final Gathering Map, set Rebuild to On
  9. Its a good idea to save these render settings as a Preset so you can call them up again later for other projects
  10. Now close the Render Settings, save your file
  11. Click the Render button and see what kind of results you get, there should be a serious improvement over the previous render
  12. Save your render as an image from the Render window to look at later so you can lean back and admire your hard work!




Part 3: How To Use Set Up a Project for Rendering in MentalRay and use Image Based Lighting

Step 1: Load Mental Ray

  • Open up your Maya file and go to Window Menu / Settings and Preferences / Plug-in Manager
  • Scroll down in the Plug-In Manager and find Mayatomray.bundle then click load/auto-load and close

Plug-In manager in maya

Load Mayatomray.bundle to enable Mental Ray

Step 2: Set Up Your Project Folder

  • Go to File Menu / Project Window
  • Click New and Navigate to your Project Folder (you should have this already created)
  • Click Accept
  • Go to your project folder through the finder and confirm that the folder structure was created

Project Window in Maya

Your project directory should show all these folders and files
Step 3: Set Up Image Based Lighting

  • Search online for HDR Probe or go to this link and download an image probe that is suitable for your scene
  • Place your HDR Probe or Enviroball Image into the Source Images folder of your Maya Project Directory
  • In Maya open your Render Settings by going to Window Menu / Render Editors / Render Settings
  • Go to the Indirect Lighting tab and click the Create button next to Image Based Lighting
  • An Attributes Window will open for your Image Based Lightning node, click on the folder next to the File Name area and navigate to your Source Images folder and select your HDR Probe
  • In the same Attribute Window scroll down to Render Stats and uncheck the option for Primary Visibilty, this will make your Probe lighting show up in reflections but not in the background of your rendered images
  • Your should see an Envirosphere in your maya scene, create a test render to see it interacting in the reflections on your objects
  • Render a large resolution image and save it to your folder for credit

HDR Probe courtesy of Paul Debevec

Maya's view window with an Image Based Lighting setup
3D Objects rendered with Image Based Lighting in Maya, no actual lights were used in this scene

Friday, September 15, 2017

Getting Oriented to the 3D World of Maya

Hello Students,
Today we begin a new project in using a 3D program to create computer generated imagery. We will be using Autodesk's Maya, a cutting edge program widely used in the entertainment industry. We will begin with the basics and move on to more complex projects such as creating 3D models, and adding lights, textures and cameras and animating them and move on to more complex tasks such as merging video and 3D together with motion tracking.

Tasks: Follow the tutorials below to create the model below:


Maya Basics:
Find and launch Maya on your computer, then open each of the links below if safari. Read through each page of the 3 lessons below and try out the steps for your self in Maya. These lessons will teach you how to use the Maya interface, how to create and manipulate objects and how to control your objects and your view of your objects. Create something with the skills you develop here and save the file as "mayabasics_yourname.ma" and copy it to the external drive to turn it in.

Link: Getting Started with Maya

Link: Creating and Manipulating Objects


Link: Viewing and Controlling your 3D Scene




Monday, September 11, 2017

Lightsabers, Camera, Action!

Hello Students,
To develop our motion graphics and visual effects skills we will work in teams to shoot a short video and use After Effects to apply a lightsaber effect. There a several ways to achieve this effect and I will demonstrate them both to the class. There are tutorials listed below to illustrate effective technique. This project will utilize masks, keyframing and effects to achieve the final result. The techniques and methods in this project can be utilized to achieve a wide range of special effects.



Lightsaber Duel VFX Project:

  • Work in teams of 2-3
  • Shoot a short lightsaber battle sequence that consists of at least 3 different shots, don't make too many shots where the lightsabers appear or you will create too much work for yourself
  • Create a short storyboard that shows each shot and include dialog, camera angle and camera action (camera pans left, camera tracks right, etc)
  • After shooting, copy the video footage onto each team member's computer, each team member must produce their own final video with their own VFX, SFX and final edit.
  • There are 2 methods for creating the saber effect, using the Beam effect or using solids with animated masks and glow effects added, this is the preferred method and will achieve the best results
  • Add sparks, lightning or lens flares to enhance the effect from our stock footage library
  • Add SFX to complement the illusion
  • When complete, export your final movie and copy to external HD for credit
Resource Links:
Tutorial: Using masks and glow to create lightsaber VFX

Grading Rubric:
2 Points for storyboarding and smooth camera work
2 Points for effective use of VFX methods
2 Points for clean editing, no glitches, added sound effects
2 Points for turning in on time
2 Points for good team work and participation by all team members


Due on tuesday, have fun!
 - Mr.W