Isla Nublar

Isla Nublar

by rdjmcintosh on 28 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

This is my 2nd Year Animation Project at SAE Institute Glasgow " Isla Nublar".

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Round of applause for our sponsors

This is my entry " Isla Nublar " for the 2020 Rookie Awards.

This project was created at the end of 2019 solely by myself over the course of 13 weeks for my 2nd Year Character animation module at SAE Institute Glasgow. The Environment was created by myself within Unreal Engine 4.22 using a variety of  software and Quixel Megascan Assets. Trees and Foliage were created in SpeedTree, textures generated within Substance Alchemist and Animations keyed in Autodesk Maya.

Dinosaur Rigs were supplied courtesy of Truong CG .

This project was an excellent learning experience for myself as it was only my second venture into Unreal Engine, and the first time animating within Maya. I also got exposure to the basics of SpeedTree and Substance Alchemist which was very beneficial to future projects. 

I learned a great deal about the production pipeline for a project this size and how to better stage the process moving forward. There were several blockades throughout this project when it came to implementing third party rigs into Unreal Engine and tackling them gave me a greater understanding of this process.

I am currently trying to refine my skills as a 3D Environment Artist so despite this being an Animation Module I was more focused on the execution of the environment throughout the project. 

Treating the environment inside Unreal Engine more as a film set helped me make informed decisions on how the scene would be structured. This meant staging shots for cameras and making space for the actors was always at the forefront of the process when designing the "set".

Even though I was not too focused on the character animations I did get some decent outcomes over the course of the project. The scope of the animation being as large as it was meant I had to make some concessions when it came to bridging scenes.

This left me with some very rigid sequences at parts that I was never happy with, but the time constraint of the project left me unable to refine them. This was also true with the post processing. Had I more time I would have liked to polish a lot of the renders and experiment with some different lighting and colour grading over a few days. 

Limitations within third party rigs also meant that this 4th character had to be entirely removed from the project. This " Red Whisker" bird was unfortunately incompatible with the rigging tools ( Advanced Skeleton 5 ) I had been using  for adaptation to UE4 and within the time constraints had to be abandoned despite completed animations.

All of these issues I encountered however were ultimately very beneficial in the long run. I learned so much throughout this project that I have been able to carry that through to my recent work.

After completing " Isla Nublar " I moved onto a research project  on Modular Environment Design within Unreal Engine 4. Everything I learned about texture authoring, lighting, post processing, camera sequencing and framing from " Isla Nublar " was instrumental in creating this project.

Moving forward I hope to have the opportunity to create another Cinematic like this utilising the skills I have developed since. In May 2020 I was lucky enough to have "Isla Nublar" featured on Unreal Engine's Student Showcase. Hopefully what I have learned since then will allow me to create even better work in future.

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