Drawing animation for VR in 360

Long time no post – must be the number one starting sentence in blogs :)

Small animation test I did:

If you cannot see video directly (not logged in Facebook?) try looking here: http://littlstar.com/videos/3c44d6ae
So here I will share my techniques and mistakes – what i would do differently next time.

EQUIRECTANGULAR PROJECTION

So I decided to try if it is possible to draw animation for VR. That means in equirectangular projection. Probably that’s incorrect statement – one could draw images on cube faces or other projections…

Still we are most familiar with equirectangular projection and cube faces would require to mach images in 6 separate pictures. Though this could be an approach if there are small objects to be drawn and they would remain quite stationary in frame. In this case we would get less distortion and it would be probably easier to draw.

NO SCENARIO ?

First its always nice to have at least some sort of scenario, something for audience to care about. And that’s a first thing i will make sure i have for my next “film”. There was a plan in a beginning to add forth scene – the abstract one… but that was before i learned about problems of camera movement and other things about confusing people and making them vomit…

So the plan was, after our “viewer” drops “dead” in water he starts “hallucinating” and animation is shown in this manner:

abstract_the_fall
deleted scene…

This gif file turned out not very representative of idea and of how i did it,… oh well .. still want to experiment with more “hardcore” / abstract imagery but .. well.. might be some other time. Mind you I have never seen my work on dk2 or even cardboard….

3D GRAPHICS

So I made most of my animation in 3D and rendered sort of a flat looking image that i afterwards processed a bit to make it look less “3D” like. Also I used cell shader to render outlines of my animated models and printed these that they would be hardly visible. That was for rotoscoping.

hardly visible for print
hardly visible for print
flat shading
flat shading

PRINTER / SCANNER

So in planing stage i have counted that i ll need to draw close to 1000 frames. And then there was a question how to scan it all? So i asked around in print shops and it was around 100 EU just for scanning. So i decided to try and buy a scanner for myself. There where not many options that i found in close by shops. Ebay was out of question cos sending costs would be prohibiting to me. So i found this weird brand i have never heard of – BROTHER. There was also a cheep RICO option and i don’t remember why i went for brother instead… might be cos it was A3 instead of A4.. BROTHER MFC – j6520DW has a automatic page feeder (around 30 pg) and can scan or print A3 pages. The scanner / printer is definitely a “budget” thing but it did the job. If you google this model you will find quite mixed comments about it. One has to be careful loading pages they turn out not as straight as i would like them to be, some seem to rotate couple of degrees and basically its impossible to use scanned images unless you stabilize the motion..

PRINTING AND STABILIZATION

Ok so i am using automatic feeder which means each page is positioned not perfectly while scanning and i do get quite a bit of wobbling. First images I printed for drawing where a4 and covered most of pages width like this:

placement for print
placement for print

So not only that each frame was in slightly different position of previous page but in some cases i would lose parts of scanned image. So next time I will not print so close to borders. Even if pages will be rotating and moving I will not lose image. The green lines show point placement for image stabilization in After Effects.

Parts of image gone...
Parts of image gone…

RANDOM FRAMES

For all or most of background images I drew around 7 frames only. Then I used script or expression in After Effects that would randomly load these 7 frames for required duration.

fr = 12; // frame rate;

numFrames = 8;

seedRandom(index,true);

seg = Math.floor(time*fr);

f = Math.floor(random(numFrames));

for (i = 0; i < seg; i++)

f = (f + Math.floor(random(1,numFrames)))%numFrames;

framesToTime(f);

SOUND

The sound was another problem. I wanted to experiment with binaural sound… but i got so fed up with this animation that in the end i just added some sound effects from free sound library.. just not to be a silent film. So again sound changes your experience so much.. if there is a chance ill get a professional sound person next time…

What did I miss?

images
images