Monday, 28 March 2011

Lighting Test

I decided to take a day off from the work I'm usually doing and try something new for a change to help break up my pace and stop me from turning into a zombie... I thought it would fun to experiment with lighting and volumes to create the effects of light rays piercing through the cracks of the wooden planks.

As i've never tried lighting before I searched for a tutorial online that would teach me what I needed for the effect I was trying to make, it was difficult to find a tutorial which was easy enough for a beginner like myself to follow and understand correctly but i eventually found this one

I followed the step by steps and applied them to my own scene which was the interior of the treehouse, I was surprised to find many of the settings to get the lighting right were actually attributes which have to be adjusted in the render settings, I was mostly interested by the 'Physical Sun and Sky' feature that inserts a light based background with an adjustable horizon which represents a natural light in the scene from the sun which can be seen in the shot above which is more of a mid-day sun. Just knowing about this feature has opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities in terms of me modelling for environments and making renders, so I'm excited to implement it into future pieces of work I do for myself and my portfolio. in terms of this project however it may not find a place as our shots are meant to be very dark and stormy and a 'Physical Sun and Sky' would slow our render time considerably, even if we set it to night time it will hardly be seen as well so in the long run it will not be practical.

The image above is a render showing the 'Physical Sun and sky) feature in conjunction with a particle volume node to create the lights rays through the cracks. However to render this single frame took 2 1/2 hours and the results are less than satisfactory in my opinion as the light rays look incredibly grainy and have a strange pattern on them which reminds me of the caustics and patterns you would see when light shines to the bottom of a swimming pool. However in the end it was a fun experiment and I feel I gained a good amount of knowledge that will be useful in the long run of my career and personal development, but it will not be relevant to this project, especially since we already have James Ferdinando as our lighting artist who is a lot more experienced and technically capable than I could ever hope to be. 

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Character Modelling...yikes!

Karen has been modelling the characters for our animation and has been doing a great job, however she is currently starting to be overwhelmed with tasks and other responsibilities as the team leader and feels that she is running out of time to finish them. As I am currently on schedule with my tasks karen asked if I would be able to finish a few parts that she hadn't finished yet.

The main parts that needed to be finished was to attach the arms and legs to the body by merging the vertices. This was an easy process by also very time consuming at the same time which I now understand why Karen asked me to help her out while she attended to more urgent tasks that had popped up. Altogether it has taken approximately 2 weeks to finish them due to time being spent on other units, especially getting my dissertation completed for the deadline. 

This has been a good opportunity for me to become familiar with the geometry of the characters and understand how they are layed out and work which has greatly assisted me in terms of planning how to unwrap the geometry for the UV maps. To be honest I was a little worried when I first started to work on the characters as they are the most important part of our production, and if I messed up in any way it would be down to me to fix the problem that I created. I found that I don't like working on characters in terms of modelling, I can't explain what it is, but there is something about it which doesn't interest me the way in which environments do. 

I returned the character files to Karen and she was very pleased with how they were, now I can start UV mapping and texturing the props, environments and characters.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Interior Render

I just wanted to show a more clear render of the interior of the treehouse, the details and the positioning of the planks is a lot easier to see.

A problem i've noticed with the modelling however which I did not realise whilst I was in Maya is that the planks for the floor inside the treehouse are all lined up equally in a row, so the cracks between them all match up and look a little odd; I will have to go into the scene file and fix this by adjusting the vertices and moving them so they are offset and look like they have been constructed a bit more randomly like it was built by an amateur or a an inexperienced father.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Shader Experiment

Karl modelled a mirror to go inside of the treehouse, we need the props to be as accurate as possible so I started experimenting with making the mirror reflective.

I selected the faces which make up the glass part of the mirror and applied a blinn layer to it, I then had to experiment with the material attributes to get the look of it right. The main settings to use were reflectivity and incandescence which helped achieve the result that can be seen above. We're still unsure whether the mirror will be seen in any of the shots so until we know I think it's safe to say that we can stick with the outcome I got which we can tweak and adjust if needed to make it more realistic and reflective.