Tag Archives: Days Go By

Days Go By Blog 1:
A Nice Hand

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Hands can be difficult. They’re tricky to model, rig, and weight, and they’re not particularly easy to animate. I thought I had a modeled a good hand a while ago and saved it to my computer for future use. However, while I was working on the main character for Days Go By, I realized that the hand that I made wasn’t as good as I remembered. The knuckles weren’t deforming all that well, and I wasn’t crazy about how the thumb was connected to the main body of the hand. It was time to go back to the drawing board.

After a considerable amount of work, I finally came up with a better hand. The knuckles and the thumb now look a lot better and the point weighting has been improved. For those of you who don’t do character animation, every vertex on a model needs to be bound to an underlying structure of joints and bones which is also known as a rig. By manipulating the rig, you deform, and thereby animate, the mesh of polygons that form your model.

The thing is that each vertex on the mesh may be influenced by more than one joint. Therefore, in order for the model to deform correctly while you are animating, you must define the joint influences for each point. This is called weighting.

I made the following video to test out how my new hand model performs with the rigging and weighting. It is officially the first video of the Days Go By Blog:

For the test, I did not concern myself with textures or shaders. That will come later.

The 3D software that I am using to make Days Go By is MAXON’s versatile and easy to use application CINEMA 4D. The Studio version of C4D has a full set of character animation tools including the ability to build your own complex rigs. You can also use the Character Object which allows you to easily build entire advanced character rigs (for humans or animals) in just a few clicks. That’ll save some time.

The hand was modeled and rigged in C4D and the test was rendered in Redshift Render.
The hand was modeled and rigged in C4D and the test was rendered in Redshift Render.

For this test, however, I built the rig myself using the Joint tool and manually bound and weighted the points since I wanted to focus just on the hand.

To render out this test, I used Redshift Render, a new unbiased third party GPU render that I had heard good things about. While I am still learning how to use it, I must say that I am impressed by it and looking forward to seeing what else it can do. I’m not sure which renderer I will use for the final frames, but it very well could be Redshift.

Well, that’s it for this installment of the Days Go By Blog. I’ll see you on the next one.

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Days Go By Blog: Introduction

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In addition to being interested in filmmaking, animation, visual effects and the arts, I also happen to like writing songs. In fact, I’d love to make a musical one day since musicals combine so many of the things I’m interested in such as storytelling, art, design, animation, and music. It’s hard for me to imagine much else that would be as fun, or as creative.

With that in mind, I decided to make an animated music video of a song I wrote titled Days Go By. While a music video is not quite a musical, it is not that different either. You can think of it as a musical on a smaller scale, and, after all, what works small should work big.

A wise person once said that the journey is the reward and so I’m looking forward to this creative journey. In addition, the best way to get better at something is to do it. So, besides the fun of the journey, I’m looking forward to increasing my knowledge about 3D animation, rendering and music along the way.

Blog and Vlog

I also decided it would be a good idea to document my progress on the video by posting reports about it right here on this blog as well as videos on my YouTube channel. This would give me a chance to show others what I am making and hopefully foster a lively discussion about 3D animation and the creative process. I hope you will learn something from me (or even get some inspiration). In turn, I would appreciate any opportunity to learn from you.

Comments are, of course, welcome and encouraged both on the blog and on the YouTube channel. Therefore, if you’d like to be informed about updates as soon as they happen, please subscribe to the YouTube channel or send me a message through the Contact area of this blog and request to be added to my email list. I look forward to taking this journey together.

About The Song

I wrote the song Days Go By about a year ago, with the intention of it being used in a musical from the get-go, and recorded it in my home studio. The song has sort of a poppy feel, with touches of jazz and rock.

The DAW that I use currently is Avid Pro Tools 12. I’ve used other recording applications in the past such as Cubase and am interested in Studio One, but I am used to using Pro Tools. It also happens to be the industry standard.

The workstation that I use to record with is an HP Z840 which is just an awesome machine and one of the world’s most powerful workstations. If you are interested, you can read my review of it here.

The audio interface I used to record Days Go By was a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2. However I’ve since replaced it with a Behringer U-Phoria since the Focusrite stopped working when I brought it to Florida last winter (maybe I banged it somewhere along the way). I must say I’m liking the Behringer however. It has MIDAS preamps, Midi ports on the back and sells for a very reasonable price. It also has very sturdy construction.

My recording studio is basically located in my New York apartment.
My recording studio is basically located in my New York apartment.

My main keyboard is a Korg SG-1D which I bought some time ago. It’s got 88 nicely weighted keys and that’s where I usually write my songs. For guitars I have a red Univox Les Paul copy that was built in Japan in the 70s and a Fender dreadnaught style acoustic. The Univox has a nice tone to it and the Fender’s pretty good too.

I might go further into how I recorded Days Go By in a future post. In the meantime you might be wondering how you can hear the song, since it has already been recorded and mixed.

Here’s the thing, you can’t. Not because I don’t want you to hear it. In fact, I’d really like to play it for you. However, I’d like to save it for when the video is finished. That’s the one last thing that I would like to reveal after all the work is done. Maybe I’ll change my mind and play it before I finish the video. Then again, maybe I’ll wait.

Stay tuned for updates!

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