Mastery Journal Reflections Month Two

Research and team dynamics facilitates team member self-awareness by engaging in teambuilding that helps people understand themselves and others as they work together.

Our group project was to make a game. We chose to me make a first-person shooter tower defense game. We were being very ambitious. My role in the group was producer. This role was not by choice, but by default of no one wanting this position, I stepped up. Producer is my goal to achieve during this program, though it was early to try this position, I did want to start the road of learning the skills of producer. My job in the group as leader was to keep teammates on task and be available to assist them when they need it. The system that we used for the game was unfamiliar to almost all the team, therefore most of my time was delegating to filling in the gaps that was needed in hopes to keep the project on track. It was challenging for me to keep the team on track with the deadlines.

My Experiences

During the month as my role as producer, I faced many challenges. The first week I had to familiarize myself with the basics of Level Design and the interface of Unity. Knowing this I was able to guide the level designer and writer inside of Unity so when they came across technical issues, we were able to fix swiftly and then move forward. During this week I used information from chapter six, communication, Communication Skills for Team Meetings. Levi (2018) to get communication between the coders and the level designers to a point where they could communicate the issues, they to each other, about the Unity interface issues.

 The end if the second week we hit a roadblock due to the lack of assets. I pivoted to Unity Hub to find free assets that our level designer could use. I was unable to find assets needy within a reasonable price range. I then asked a fellow Full Sail student, whose has assisted master’s students in similar situations. He made modular units that the level designer was able to use to make pre alpha layout to then give to the coders to work on AI and mechanics in Unity.

Our third week I tried alleviating some of the stress from our tech lead by learning how to set up walkable floors in Unity. Those five hours of coding lessons were enjoyable and eye opening, however that would be the last time I would be team leader because my decisions threw our team into turmoil.

The team disgruntlement paralyzed any further development in the game. Our team was fractured beyond repair. Levi (2018) Chapter 8 Power and Social Influence, I had been using the Passive Power style to that point, which is polite and deferential, but then a team member used the Aggressive Style which is, forceful, critical and negative.

Summary

Going forward I am going to learn more on how to effectively be a game producer in the industry. My current focus is inner team communication, which was my weakness link this month. I will never forget this month, not because of the negatives, but for what I learned. I have heard that failure is the greatest teacher. I learned a lot from the dynamics of this past month and know I can do much better next time. I understand that taking the leap to leadership this early and learning on the fly was a risk, but it was well worth it, despite what can be considered a less successful outcome.  I will carry these lessons with me on my journey through the master’s Program and continue to learn. Levi, D. (2017). Group dynamics for teams. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Till Next Month! Dylan

This Where I get to Work

The Emmy Award-winning sportscaster and radio personality Dan Patrick partnered with Full Sail University for the Full Sail University’s Dan Patrick School of Sportscasting.

The inaugural students of that program graduated at Full Sail the same day as my program. Our commencement speaker was Dan Patrick. His speech was brimming with witty stories and knowledgeable advice. His last words to us explained how he decides who with or where to work and it resonated with me.

This is where I get to work.

That is now my mindset for this coming year and when I am seeking a place to work.

Dylan Smith

Month 1 Mastery Journal

Month 22 Reflections

I made it!!!

My final class for this degree was, The Project and Portfolio VII: Computer Animation. This course uses progress monitoring to evaluate my discipline topics by reinforcing production deadlines and constraints. The course encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets based on compiled reference material for use in their student portfolio.

The DemoReel required three assets. I continued to add textures to the ScyFy hallway scene, and I am pleased with how it turned out.

The CityScape was my most praised scene at the Portfolio VI viewing.

My third scene was a Valley. It received positive comments at the viewing and they thought the scene was reminiscent of, Lord of the Rings. In that scene, I focused on Color Correction.

Below is a link to my Art Station and DemoReel.

Thanks for the support and taking the time to read my stories. Graduation is on Friday at two, and I am number 91 in the walking order.

There is a live stream link on the Full Sail website.

https://nerdzgarage.artstation.com/resume

https://go.fullsail.edu/about-graduation/live-stream

Till Next Month! Dylan


Reflections Months 20 & 21

Been busy so here are my last two months reflections.

Portfolio 6

PROJECT AND PORTFOLIO VI: COMPUTER ANIMATION
The Project and Portfolio VI: Computer Animation course combined hands-on learning experiences. This encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets, with a focus in compositing, based on compiled reference material for use in a student portfolio.
This was my best learning experience at Full Sail. I started by filming a hallway at a Disney Resort, hoping it had enough tracking to use for my project. Unfortunately, it did not have enough tracker points on the wall. My concept was to take a present-day hallway and turn it into a Star Trek hallway with 3D models. Entirely CG for walls and doors.
My teacher found a hallway that had defined corners, lights, and tracking. I worked for hours and hours to create CG elements. I had my friend, Adam, create a Star trek Turbo Lift that I added and textured. The tracking proved to be difficult to complete correctly. I went in off-hours to get guidance from my teacher, and it seemed that I had learned the hard way to fix things, and he showed me the easy to do everything.
I feel pretty good about how it turned out and will continue to work on it for Portfolio 7.

Demo Reel Sept 5


The second-class this month was ANIMATION PRODUCTION.
The Animation Production course develops the ability to plan, coordinate, and study assets, using traditional methods to demonstrate my strengths as 3-D artists. Working from a photograph and video reference, I learned how to develop characters, environments, vehicles, rigs, and animation ideas.
I had a verbal prompt that was 6 seconds that I had to build an animated scene to match.

This class was fine, and teachers were helpful, it’s just that animation is not in my field, and it was taking time away from my Portfolio project, which goes on my demo reel.

Raw Mo Cap Data in Cortex
Final Product

Last month I had MOTION CAPTURE learning techniques to digitize motion, edit sequences, and develop an understanding of simulated motion. I explored motion-capture setup, shooting, data tracking, skeleton retargeting, and animation correction and enhancement. I loved this class, this teacher and wish I had taken it sooner because I love working in Mo Cap. We designed a scene that included three actions, then filmed it in the Mo Cap room, (my teacher was my actor) then I take the data from the performance and clean it. Once it is clean, I assign it to a skeleton, then a rig which is the character and then animates it. This could only be done at school in the motion capture room on their computers. Did I already say I love this class??

Raw Mo Cap Data on Cotex
Complete Scene


Also, this month PRODUCTION MODELING which course is making model development as it applies to production in the animation industry. I explored a variety of topics, including developing surface flow, anatomically correct models, and pipeline techniques. It was a long, tedious process using a completely different workflow then I am used to. All and all, it was fun, and the people in my class were amazing.


Next Month Last Month!
See you at the end of the road!
Dylan

Historical Archetypes and Mythology Reflection Month 18

The Historical Archetypes and Mythology course introduced me to the connections between history, mythology, and iconic archetypes and the influence these relationships have had on classical and contemporary cultures of the world. Color symbolism was also explored to better appreciate folklore, heroes, and monsters of various cultures.

This month was incredibly interesting. I love mythology, and I thought I was versed in the subject; however, this class had about seventy-five percent new material that I did not know. Specifically, the Egyptian mythology I had learned about in high and had done my own, but I never knew it was so censored in high school.

I feel that I have a clear perspective on how to find and describe the Hero’s Journey. In fact, I cannot stop seeing it when I watch TV. I think that my paper on The Magicians was very thought out and my favorite essay I wrote this month. The paper on spiritual creatures was adventure into Japanese folklore. I love everything Japanese so picking a creature was difficult because there are so many to choose from. I ended up writing about the Tengu. He had an interesting evolution going from villain to hero over the centuries of verbal legends. Someday I hope to go to Japan and see the statues of Tengu in front of temples.

I did watch the required video on The Journey RA and then binged every video they offered. I found them so interesting.

This class had made me curious again. I have been so focused on the art that I have not read or watched anything for just fun on my own. I will remember to take time in the next months to do that because it was good for my mind and soul, like therapy.

This course has helped me delve deeper into the back story or mythology of the series I am writing. I have made myself a goal to write the Hero’s Journey for my show “Half Note Bridge.”

Till next month.

Dylan Smith

Reflections Month 17

Compositing and Scene Finishing


The Compositing and Scene Finishing class broadens the base of my knowledge by offering insight into the process of combining computer-generated imagery (CGI) with video and film elements. By learning what happens when rendered representation is integrated into the post-production process, I will better understand the core principles of proper compositing and finishing practices.
I continued to node-based compositing systems, 3-D camera tracking tools, and common rendering methods used in current post-production pipelines.

Pass One
Pass Two
Pass Three
Pass Four
Pass Five
Pass Six
Pass Seven
Pass Nine



Final Pass Turned below.


Final Pass

This is all the passes I made and had to make a CD render in Nuke. I was given all the pieces required, separately and the goal was to over four weeks put all the parts to together to match in an organized workflow.


It was much trial and error to get it to blend. The lecture videos were beneficial because they offered a step by step process.
This was my favorite class so far. I was fun as hell.


See you next month when I will be making a scene of my own design.
Dylan

Reflections Month 16 Full Sail University

This month was The History of Visual Communications which taught how people have used the visual arts to communicate stories and concepts throughout history and across disciplines. From cave paintings to digital media, students will explore how visual techniques have been used to convey emotions, break sociocultural boundaries, and share new ideas.

The first week was focusing on nature. We went to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which the central theme was Tiffany glass work. I was tasked to find a favorite piece of art in the Museum. I chose a vase that was delicately painted with cherry blossoms and fish. I looked Japanese.

We had to make concept art that related to our spiritual traditions and nature or landscapes.

I have always been drawn to the works of Vincent Van Gogh and Japanese Art. To me they there are many similarities. They take inspiration from the landscapes and transform them into fantastical or whimsical. The colors are bold and not necessarily the natural color for the subject.

Their landscapes which are described as mystical, lend themselves to the thought of Buddhism.

My arts foundation so far has been more towards the fantasy, mixing real worlds with my imagination. I believe that my art of nature has connections to Buddhism.

My piece was inspired by Vincent Van Gosh and his mixing of the environment around you and the twist of color and textures.

I went to the park and took pictures and videos of many things; flowers, clovers, trees, and birds. My original thought was to put the night sky in place of the clear blue sky. However, this did not work due to technical limitations. I then tried our pool water at night with waves in it. I liked the way it contrasted and matched. I ended up lightening up the water to give it more vibrant.

Next was Wabi Sabi art. The Japanese tradition of wabi-sabi offers an inspiring new way to look at your life. I drove to the Winter park to look for flowers around the lake, but when I walked around I was drawn to this tree because of the striking contrast of living, bright green leaves and dead, the hanging moss. I played with colors and framing.

The next weeks’ focus was Imagination. I had to create a deck of our own design and style. I chose to base it on the Series I want to make, Half Note Bridge, set in a bar in otherworldly New York.

The third week was all about art and propaganda.

The last week was about Imagination.

The main project was Abstract Music Visualization, which was picking a song, listening to it and then describing it through art.

John Newman – Love Me Again

The first time I heard this song, I envisioned, the reality in black and white and fantasy life in vivid color. I used it to make an AMV showcasing this idea.   

AMV showcasing my vision.

The reality is slowly deteriorating in the black and white. Fantasy is taking over. My image has the black and white burning away.

This month was awesome. I had a better connection with the projects in week one and week four. The abstract music visualization and Concepts of nature really resonated with me.

Next month is going to be amazing and totally busy.

See you on the other side.

Dylan

Reflections Month 15 Full Sail University

Character Animation
The Character Animation course focused on my animation skills by exploring methods for creating a movement that is entertaining, appealing, and clearly driven by the characters’ emotions and personality. I worked with classmates to act out and analyze methods for creating solid choices that are unique and interesting. Through discussion and analysis, I was introduced to the importance of evaluating my own work as well as the work of my peers. In other words, being critiqued. This month was very different from other classes because, though the critiques could be harsh, there was no information on how to improve the animations. I sought out clarification from lab teachers and fellow students.

The assignment was to animate to the audio clip and add the lip sync to the dialogue. This was my final turn in pass. I thought adding the lip syncing would be very difficult, however it turned out to be much easier compared to the basic walk. This basic walk had about 20 keys and brake downs for this four second animation. Then there is the addition of ears, tail, foot, hands and emotion. I thought it turned much better than the first project of just the walk and emotion. I fell like I have better understanding of animation

This was the first project and it was to animate a basic walk and an action. I am not really pleased with the final result, but there is never enough time….

This was the first brake down of the animated lip sync. This shows where I started.

This month was much more difficult then the other months so far. I am not sure if the teaching didn’t click or the amount of work in the time given.

Moving on. See you next Month!

Dylan Smith

Reflections Month 14

Project and Portfolio IV: Computer Animation

The Project and Portfolio IV: Computer Animation course combined hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments. This course uses progress monitoring to evaluate discipline topics by reinforcing production deadlines and constraints. The course encouraged me to use higher-order thinking to create quality assets. This course emphasizes modeling based on compiled reference material for use in my portfolio.

This month in the project of my Demo Reel, I was able to use these techniques, almost all successfully. I was able to perform all tasks relating to the compositing process such as layering of elements, tracking, matte extraction, rotoscoping and color correction. I used 3D tracking to get the point map on my main footage. I used 2D cornerpin tracking to help stabilize the images I layered in. I used a matte extraction to get rid of the skies in all of my assets and replace them. I used color correction on all my assets to the main footage.

I definitely had to troubleshoot all the way through this project. Having only had the basic compositing class, I had an uphill battle with the Demo Reel.

This month was challenging, and I am very novice; however, I went from knowing nothing to teaching myself how the nodes interact and works. This is the first time at Full Sail that my challenges and missteps were not frustrating. It was fun to problem solve the issues. I guess it was a little disappointing that I went to tutoring and there were zero Composting tutors, and no one had any idea of what I was doing or to solve the problem.

My Demo Reel presently shows that I have attempted layering of elements, tracking, matte extraction, rotoscoping and color correction. It shows that with only a little Composting training that the time I have put in, I am determined to become a competent and hireable Compositor.

Career Module IV: Career Strategy and Planning

In this class, I planned and prepared my short-term and long-term career goals. Through the advanced structured learning activities, I built build upon my individualized career research to create a career-strategy map that identifies opportunities and establishes goals and then create a strategy for achieving those goals. I also created two tools that will help me navigate my career path: a targeted employer list and a job tracker.

 Dylan Smith

https://www.nerdzgarage.com/

https://www.instagram.com/nerdzgarage/

Reflections Month 13

Compositing fundamentals This month was the beginning process of compositing which is incredible. I first put a CG truck over a live scene that was filmed on our Back Lot. I made a 3D scene in Nuke. My final project was a group three projects tracking in geometry nodes in 3D. What was easy for me that it was all node-based projects, which is easy to understand once you know what each node does and how they connect to each other. I had trouble with rotoscoping. It is where a manual green screen where you cut out people or things out of the scene, and it has to be done for each stage. It is tedious, and it must be perfect, or it is very noticeable.

Screen Shot 2018-12-08 at 10.35.38 AM

I had a great conversation with my Compositing teacher the first week about what my discipline would be, and by the third week, I had decided that I love compositing. You can do so much with it, and it is my chosen discipline for my degree in animation.

In my free time, I am working of flushing out the characters for the animated series I am writing. It is called Half Note Bridge and set in otherworldly New York in a time reminiscent of the twenties.

logo_transparent_background1

Fundamentals of Physics My other class this month was fundamentals of physical science and movement This class had online experiments that were interesting. One test was playing Angry Birds to shows physical movement and angles. Each week I had to design a diagram template that showed movement in Inertia, the force of buoyancy, the effect of sound waves and light waves. My favorite was week four when we worked space and dark holes.

Each week you could ask the teacher ANY question, and he would answer it. I asked a question about time travel, and he said that is subjective and not factual… as of yet. My other question was what would happen if two dark holes where in close proximity to each other and his answer was what I suspected, that they would fold into each other. Each month goes at warp speed, and I am learning so much.

These reflections that I am sharing are to help me remember my time at Full Sail University.

Dylan Smith