The animation and dynamics is complete, pending final approval from Angus.

A breakdown:

1. Shot 008: DNA being damaged by UV rays (to be added in post). Apparently the optimum way to animate a “shake” is to make the Graph Editor curve look like a soundwave.

soundwaveOther than that, Blendshapes provided the bulk of the animation.

Blend2. Shot 009: Medium-wide shot of DNA damage. Self-explanatory, really.

3. Shot 012: p53 binding to DNA. Finally I got a chance to actually use the rig I spent a whole day making! Not for very much, mind.

4. Shot 013: DNA transcription by RNA polymerase. This has been by far the most difficult shot of the film, taking almost a full day to do.  It would have taken even longer had I not done so much R&D on it.


Many elements worked together in this scene:

First, camera and molecules were animated along Motion Paths.

The nParticle emitter was inside a funnel-shaped mesh, which acted as a container to shape the particles. Trying to time the emission so that the funnel didn’t fill up too slow or fast was difficult.  Also, the Nucleus node was animated along the motion path too, so that no matter what angle the Polymerase was at, the gravity would always be pointing backwards along the DNA, thus ensuring that the nParticles didn’t end up “sliding” along the sides of the funnel too much.

Also factored into the timing were Clusters, which stretched out the mesh as time progressed.  As the clusters had to move with the Polymerase, dealing with double transforms also became an issue. I found my answer here:

  1. Group the cluster
  2. Move the group’s pivot to where you want it to be (regarding rotation, etc)
  3. Parent constrain the group to the joint/object
  4. IMPORTANT: turn ON relative mode on the cluster (it’s a check mark in its attributes)

Here is one of my original R&D tests:

5. Shot 014: Extra-wide shot of mRNA creation. Not much to say here, except that continuity became an issue when I saw the first playblasts together so I had to deviate from th animatic a bit.

6. Shot 019: Tumour-suppressor proteins entering the nucleus. Motion paths, motion paths, motion paths…

7. Shot 020: DNA repair.  I am very proud of that litte “bounce” of the DNA.

8. Shot 021: Tumour-suppressor proteins leaving the DNA.  Particles along a curve flow, with MEL scripting to produce the tumbling effect.

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