torstai 26. syyskuuta 2013

Thoughts about [PMV] Cubed

So. I made that PMV called "Cubed". Now that I have some spare time today, I might as well write some thoughts about it just like I wrote about my other PMV, "The Dive Game".

Here goes.

Cubed was the second (well, technically third) actual PMV on which I started working on, right after the PMV for Fluttershy. I started from the idea of a single cube with the mane 6's cutie marks, since a cube happens to have six sides. I managed to split the music I used into multiple sections, so that there would be a slower part in the middle for the floating streaks of light, and it turned out to work quite well, at least in my opinion. Overall I planned this video on paper quite extensively, which felt kinda weird, but really helped in the end.

After I had gotten to the part where the streaks of lights re-attached to the cube, I left the project to work on "The Dive Game". The reason for this was the fact that I wanted to have something awesome to show at a brony meetup, and the deadline for Bronycon's PMV contest (which I submitted Cubed to) was a long way away, so I had loads of time to work on something else.

Having finished TDG, I continued working on Cubed. I noticed that I had definitely gained more skill with AE, and my style had changed a bit. At least I can see the change, it might just be due to the fact that I've watched it way too many times. Probably more times than is healthy for me. But anyways, I finally finished it, and submitted it to the contest. Then I had to wait.

Cubed ended up winning first place in the Action category. I definitely didn't expect it, I didn't think it was that good, but I guess the judges liked it ^_^ . I wish I could have been at Bronycon to attend the show, it would have been amazing.

Now for some more specifics, if anyone's interested...

The music

DotEXE - Run Away From Me. I should have used a different song. First of all, like some of you have pointed out, the pace of the song was kinda slow. That forced me to make the animations a bit more sluggish, which kinda annoyed me now that I think of it. But overall it still worked out fine.

The second problem with it was that it was copyrighted by Monstercat. Since I had gotten my YT partnership over the summer, I had a contract which stated that all my public videos must be monetized. Thus I couldn't use the song without Monstercat's permission, since that would have probably gotten me un-partnered. I tried to get a permission from Monstercat twice, but they never returned my messages.

Thus I had two choices: to never upload it, or to upload it somewhere else (Monstercat lets people use their music on Youtube if proper credit is given, and you don't make money from it). If you're reading this, you probably know which alternative I chose

The scenes

I started working on the PMV with my previous PMV still in fresh memory. I wanted to avoid making a huge mess of the project, so at first I tried to make everything as "perfect" as possible. By that I mean that I animated basically everything by using specific numerical values instead of animating stuff by hand. That way my sight couldn't fool me, and I knew exactly where each element was.

Later I realized that that way of animation wasn't really the best way to animate stuff, but instead I eventually switched to animating stuff by hand, but making sure that the positions are still perfect: if it seems to be in the middle of the screen, it is exactly there.

The cube & streaks

The cube was interesting. There is no easy way it and the streaks could have been created without using expressions, and knowing a bit of geometry. Also, it helped me out that I'm naturally good at math, so different equations and expressions are pretty clear to me. I basically didn't even move the 3D objects around straight from their transform controls, but had made different sliders and angle controls to move them all simultaneously in unison. Thus it was possible to make the streaks as symmetrical as they ended up being.

The composition camera was also animated with expressions since I wanted it to be smooth and perfectly aligned with the sides of the cube, so that all the cutie marks would be exactly the same size when the camera turned around. (Note: if making 3D camerawork in AE, I'd suggest learning how to make a "camera rig" expression. AE's 3D camera doesn't really like to work all that smoothly without expressions...)

Making the 3D spinning motion around the cube with the streaks turned out to be a tedious task. The plugin I used, Particular, didn't know how to render each of the streaks in proper 3D space, thus I had to manually tell AE which streak was on top of what object. It took a lot of time, and it didn't even work perfectly since I wanted to get the job done as fast as possible. I'm sure there's a way get it to work "automatically", but that's something I'll have to look into if I ever need more streaks...

So that's about it. I could talk about the project way more, but that would require even more typing, and this text is already way too long for my preference. I hope I cleared up some things about the project though!

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