Moving with Motion Capture

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Innovations in cg technology have provided a bridge between the subtle imperfections natural movements and the mathematical precision of cgi. Between the varying degrees of traditional key framed animation and fully motion captured movies, we have seen wealth of beautiful visuals for us to marvel at. Our addictive new studio gadget - the leap controller, has opened up even more possibilities to the masses utilizing motion tracked technology to innovate cg production. Although not capable of full body motion capture this little gadget given us plenty of inspiration and fun!  Integration into the maya interface has allowed interesting new ways of interaction, but at this stage it's still someway from being a replacement input device from our trusty Wacom tablets - not quite Iron Man yet!. Then there's the 2nd generation of Kinect sensors, which is sure to open up a community of budding mo cap enthusiasts using consumer technology.


On the upper end of the scale there are ever more impressive systems which still push the boundaries in cg, and even the study of sport science and bio mechanical analysis. The different methods now available are a testament to the r&d into the possible applications of motion capture beyond cg.
Current setups range from active and passive marker systems, led by Vicon to mechanical exoskeleton style systems such as systems from Animazoo. (Although these are restricted to 1 character per suite). With the success of the already aforementioned kinect, the development of marker less technologies is exciting, and an area we will be exploring in coming months, with particular attention towards the developments of the New York based Organic Motion ranges.

FADP have recently expanded their studio space, with a particular emphasis on developing a facility to utilise this technology to benefit the media industry, talent and prospective clients in our wonderful South Westerly region.  Look out for developments and updates.  

 LeapMaya

Merry Christmas!

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As a year of new faces and places comes to a close, thankyou to all our clients, collabourators, neighbours and friends...  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Roll on 2014.  Team FADP.

MadCatz launch the MOJO, their new micro Android console

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Madcatz have just launched their latest product in time for Christmas, the MOJO. An exciting new micro console designed to bring mobile gaming to the big screen. It links to your android account, allowing you to play your purchased apps on the TV using their innovative bluetooth controller. It hosts a wealth of other feautures, such as clipping your phone to the controller to play on the go, or using the controller to play PC games via bluetooth. Plus it has full internet access, streams movies and plays your favourite tunes. It's certainly billed to be a big seller this year, and a gadget that appeals to all ages.

We had the great pleasure of working closely with MadCatz HQ in the USA to design and create their promotional video for the new MOJO. We were delighted with the end result, which is currently being played within game stores all over the world. If you haven't had the pleasure of seeing our vid, check it out here:

FAdp took this project all the way from concept to sound design, and will soon write a case study explaining how our team approached production challenges and managed to complete the task in hand. So, watch this space...

Stephen Fry Helps Our Project reach over a million views

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The World Hepatitis Alliance three unwise monkeys video has now reached over 1 million views on YouTube, helped by the fact that Stephen Fry believed it was tweet-worthy. The project has certainly managed to raise awareness of this terible virus to people all over the world, and hopefully entertained viewers at the same time. If you haven't seen it yet, check the link in the page below:

FAdp animator wins 'Animation & VFX' Award

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Congratulations to FAdp's technical director Dan Barker for winning the BrandYou Award for 'Animation & VFX'. He took the award for his innovative work for Adhesive Live, where he created a dancing 3d character from musical instruments which was projected on a large backdrop at Colsten Hall and dynamically driven to beat match the live DJ's.  Heres what the judges had to say:

"Dan shows real talent. His animation is very accomplished both creatively and technically. It's a nice, well paced animation and decently rendered, and you can tell a significant amount of thought went into it."

 BrandYou Winner Award

 

BRAND YOU is a new initiative from Bristol Media, created to celebrate the outstanding contribution actual people bring to the creation of exceptional campaigns and projects.

Check out more details from the event at:
http://www.bristolmedia.co.uk/news/1605/brand-you-winners#.Uk03l4ash8E

FAdp finally Join FB

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Find us facebook logo

 

FA digital productions have finally got around to setting up their business page on Facebook, so check it out now and get sharing, liking and poking us......

The 'Three Unwise Monkeys' Case Study

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We were approached by viral marketing specialists Red Pill to help create their vision for the 2013 World Hepatitis Day Campaign. The underlying message was 'don't ruin a good story' - unfortunately something that the viral infection so frequently does to so many people’s lives. They wanted a video that would appeal to the masses and get viewers to think about and confront the truth behind Hepatitis.

It's certainly no easy task to take a morbid topic such as Hepatitis, and keep it light hearted enough for people to like and share amongst friends. Red Pill did a great job of collaborating ideas and research to come up with such an exciting, challenging and effective concept. Being given the strapline 'Don't ruin a good story', they decided to find three of the most famous movie scenes of all time and incorporate the World Hepatitis Alliance's brand mascot for 2013; the three unwise monkeys. 

The monkeys are a take on the traditional 'three wise monkeys' proverb; which represents the principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". In context, the WHA monkeys suggest it unwise not to talk about, listen to or look at the facts surrounding hepatitis.

The next task was to decide on the classic movie scenes in which we were to ruin the well-known storyline. Each monkey would have their lead role to destroy; either from not seeing, not hearing, or not speaking. After much deliberation, the final decisions were the shootout from 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' in which Clint is replaced with the 'see no evil' monkey and would therefore be fatally shot! For the second film, they wanted to replace Indiana Jones in the boulder scene with the 'hear no evil' monkey, who wouldn't hear the boulder coming and would therefore be squashed! Third and finally, the ‘speak no evil’ monkey would star in the blue pill/red pill scene from 'The Matrix', in which he would instead take the blue pill on which he chokes to death! 

Having read through the brief, we immediately realised there would be some technicalities involved with removing whole actors from the film footage and replacing them with much smaller monkey characters. We felt confident in our abilities to deliver, especially considering the campaign was for a charitable cause!

The first task was to go through each movie scene on a shot by shot basis in great detail, allowing us to work out what could and couldn't be done, and the most suitable method for each technical challenge presented. Because of the limited budget, we wouldn't be able to model, texture, rig and animate full cgi monkeys, so the decision was made to use puppets. This was the first time we had ever had to green screen a puppet, which turned out to be a fantastic learning experience for us. The type of puppet we used was not controlled by strings above, instead the puppets required 2 puppeteers which would surround the puppet and sync the leg, arm and head animation via solid green rods.

Despite the puppeteer’s fantastic job of animating the cuddly critters, they did create slight difficulties for the film crew and lighting technician. We were aware that there was no easy solution to the shadows they would cast, so we decided to rent a real time keying monitor as used for TV weather forecasts. This allowed us to instantly see any problem areas plus add a back plate to the monitor, verifying that the camera angle, perspective and lighting would match the original film footage.

The 4k RED camera helped us capture as much colour information as possible, ensuring the best possible chroma key. There were a couple of shots which proved problematic with the green rods and puppeteers crossing the line of sight to the lens, so we overcame this through the traditional process of rotoscoping.

Once we had a clean key of our favourite takes, we began to comp each shot together. The majority of shots would require some clever Photoshop work to create a matte painting which covered over the original actors' area. The majority of these were created prior to the shoot, allowing us to use them as an empty back plate. However, now that we had the monkeys in place, we could see any obvious areas that required touching up. Once happy with the matte painting, we would need to track the camera to make sure that it moved seamlessly in every scene.

Each shot possessed its own unique technical challenge, such as the boulder scene from Indiana Jones. In the original, Harrison Ford actually runs towards the camera filling the whole screen, and our matte painting would need not to cover the boulder. It soon became apparent that we would need to recreate the whole scene and camera in 3d - allowing us to add in our own 3d boulder.

 

Other challenging technicalities included the shootout scene, which involved real pyrotechnics and a number of stuffed monkeys until we caught the desired look. Squashing monkey-Indy involved the use of a green covered ball. In the matrix scene, taking the pill from a hand and placing it inside the mouth and reflections on glasses that should represent 2 separate camera angles in their own right were steps to overcome. The final stages of colour grading actually involved down res-ing the footage to match the original movie quality.

In all, it was one of the most rewarding, varied and eye opening projects we have taken on, mainly due to the fact that we were delivering feature film effects on blockbuster movies with a comparatively modest budget! We were certainly pleased with the end results, and appreciated reading all the complimentary YouTube posts. Having had over 1 million views on YouTube, all those involved with the making of three unwise monkeys can certainly feel that the hard work paid off, and FA Digital Productions can rest easy knowing it has helped to build awareness of Hepatitis around the world. Check out the end result below!

 

World Hepatitis Day

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In collaboration with Red Pill and The World Hepatitis Alliance, FAdp produced this cheeky viral video starring the charities iconic three unwise monkeys. The aim was to raise public awareness for the official World Hepatitis Day, while keeping the content humorous and light hearted. Let us know your thoughts.....

Welcome to Park Street...

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ParkStreet

We are really excited to be moving to a fresh new BS1 space, situated on Park Street Bristol - the popular and lively centre of the city.  Recently nominated for a Google award as the UK’s hippest street, the location boasts an array of art galleries, trendy boutiques and record stores, with an underlying hive of creative companies, which we feel privileged joining.  With stunning Georgian architecture, and attractions such as the famous Banksy Park Street piece, we will have plenty of inspiration to draw from.  

After an evolutionary and rewarding opening year of business as FADP, the opportunity to upscale and grow into our own space will be an adventure on its own.  Before the magic happens, we will be getting our hands dirty to make it an inspiring and welcoming place to work, meet, ponder and play.  With the capacity to undertake larger and more ambitious projects, we can't wait to uncover new collaborations and bigger opportunities to keep making more things move - FADP style!  Our hop across the city will be complete by early June, so join us for a chat and a choice of exotic teas.

Adhesive Live video

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To follow up the Adhesive Blog, here you can view a collection of some off the 3d clips used by VJ squad Limbic Cinema at the Adhesive Live event.  It was a real privilege to be on board with so many talented artists and collaborators including sponsors Red Bull, and Creative director Mark Wools.  Till next time!