Tuesday, 23 June 2009


As a scuba diving guide I often get to guide a group of people that I have never seen before on an unknown terrain. This is a hugh responsibility. There have often been strong currents against us or we had other issues connected with mistrust, lackage of self-confidence or experience. There were several times that I simply wanted to stop and surface, but so far ... I have always pulled myself together and brought them all safe and sound to the end.

I have feeling that guiding my final year degree film team throughout the year was prety much the same thing. I was given a chance to work with people that I have never worked with before. There have been many troubles (from personal to technical) and there has been a lot against us, but we didn't give up.

Despite all the pressures we managed to finally pull ourselves together and create a beautiful film. It is true it is not finished yet, but it is done.

Thank you for that all! And I wish you a very successful future.

Saturday, 20 June 2009



I am still in a process of building my own website, which will include the whole section solely devoted to our final film. I will of course credit all the people who contributed.

the website is called www.anjatolar.blogspot.com

and there you can see also other projects and associated work that I worked on through the years at Ravensbourne.

Other project promotional material:

Logo and business crads


rough film

This is still not a final version of a film as I did most of the work myself and I am still improving it. There is lots left to be fixed. In general I simplified it, so it is more "understandable" for the viewer, but gaining descriptiveness it also lost its very abstract look from before, which, to admit, I slightly regret.



Althoug one meter long prints is the last thing on earth that a busy worker would like to do when trying to finish the project...it kind of turned out great experience as it is for the first time for me too see how 2D animation fits on the top of 3D backgrounds (later on when compositing, 2D was actually planted "in-between' 3D rendered layers wit a help of camera tracking).


Titles and credits

I have several ideas for these. First I wanted to develop my own type, but then I found some nice ones on web and also compositing different elements I created the "peace and harmony" seal stamp, which is the part of film logo.

film promotional material. I did a few versions of title and credits, going from more simple to complicated and back again!


CREDITS BEFORE ( a bit confusing for the eye):


Experimenting with animation techniques

The initial idea for this film was, to achieve the synesthesy of different animation techniques; 2D, 3D and live action. The reason for that was to achieve viewers involvement with the story, but also feel the tactile quality of the with material (paper). This lead from photo collaged backgrunds to 3D environments with 2D animation composited on the top. Live action was firstly expressed through photographed frames of hand movement. I had an idea of 3d crane being animated with live action hands, but after speaking to some experts and I excluded that idea as it would simply take all my time to be solved and I couldn't afford that. This is why I decided to completely abandon the idea of having a live action involved and simply concentrated on marriage between 3d and 2d.

camera tracking

There is no way to properly track the motion of 2D animation to fit 3D camera move. It was always jumping around, no matter how hard we tried. So I needed to do the camera tracking. Camera tracking is done with the help of a poly plane placed on the spot where would otherwise be 2D animation. This plane is assigned a texture with high contrast pattern that is easily definable from near or far for the tracker to lock onto. Tracking can be done nativly within After Effects, using its point tracking system, which gives varied results. It would be better to use Mocha, which is AF plugin and offers planar mapping system and gives into account the whole image data (planar tracking instead of point tracking ).

I used tracking because the other option where I assigned the 2D animation onto a plane in Maya as an animated (.mov) texture. The problem was that Maya didn't take opacity into account no matter what movie file I used (regardless I turned on the transparency option).


All compositing was done in After Effects, importing 3D backgrounds in layers, enabling me to have bigger control over them. I discovered that I need to put on "premultiplied" option to keep the light effects the same as when rendered out,

2D animation was imported in editable layered PSD files, previously sorted out with animation option in Photoshop.

2D Frames of crane flight from the top, composited on the top of rendered layers from Maya:

Final look:



Similarly also supports the passage between two worlds. It is more theatrical and sharp creating more inevitable feel of hospital scenes and on the other side light brightness creating the atmospheric feel of dreamlike landscape. For the second one I used a lot of glowing effects and played around with the depth field options of the camera lense.

To achieve versatile light effects I decided to do light linking (Window- Relationship editors- Light Liking- Light- centric.) in every scene, which was absolute pain as once we assign one object to the certain light, we also need to exclude all the rest of the objects. This needs to be done right after modeling as if we bring another object into the scene at that point- that means that all the lighting needs to be re-linked. Linking also enabled me to assign fog to just certain lights (objects ) and the same with reflections in the water.

A lot of objects (lights in the hospital scenes for instance) are actually enlightened within themselves with the help of texture attributes like glow, incandescence and specular. shading, so they aren't really enlightened by separate light, which saved us rendering time. Light linking also doesn't provide any shadows, which is why everything needed to be rendered out on layers in order to drop shadows in After Effects.I also noticed that in case I use matted option when importing layers into AF, the lights get completely different as if I use " matted- premultiplied" option.


vFX (Bomb explosion and particle animation)

After Charlie tried many times to do it in 3D, I decided to simply do it in After Effects and it took about 10 minutes to do.

The bomb explosion made out of hands I made in After Effects, using watercolor images of hands in varied poses (I used rotoscoping to draw them). I used this as a reference texture for particle effect in AF. I used vector mask in a shape of mushroom cloud to mask out any stray particles to maintain the atomic bomb explosion look. The animation of glow was applied on top of this effect.

This same effect was used in certain parts as a transition between images, to give burnt out effect.

I also animated ripple effect on the water when character jumps over the puddle.

I also used "fast blur" effect to soften the edge of some imaginary scenes.



The worst scene for me to render was (still is) the hospital scene where camera dollys through a waste amount of appearing cranes. The reason for that is that Simon Butler instead of animating the cranes with one same reference which he could simply intsance to get more copies...actually duplicated the crane within reference folder several times and after that also within scene. This means that every new object has its own texture, which (beside the enormous polgon count) made scene so wast that it is constantly collapsing, even if rendered with render farm. I was trying to render it for more than a week. e also didn't stay clear with naming the objcts, which made the thing even worse for me to arrange renders and adjust glow on the objects!

Also I have to mention that all the scenes I have received from no matter whom weren't clearly named and arranged (despite my request for it in annual plan and meetings) so it was a great nightmare for myself to do anything further in them.