Project delivered on time. Have completed the post project reflection. Will be uploading video soon.
Have rendered the shots and started compositing. Some of the AO shots needed to be re-rendered as the Final Gather AO I used gave a lot of flicker. The alpha problem I mentioned in the previous post creeped up again in one shot. But It’s not that noticeable. I will have to put this in the backburner for now and concentrate on getting the shots done.
I’ve composited the shots and added music and sound effects, all royalty free downloads from http://www.freesound.org .
Presented the playblast for the beta-presentation to the panel. Panel seems to like the progress. Got some good feedback regarding my camera work. So have to move some cameras around to make shots a bit more dynamic. Have finished the lighting and have setup render layers so I can start rendering out the shots. Few problems have creeped up while setting up render layers. Some of the textures in my scene have transparency map on them. In the render layers, only the Colour layer recognises this alpha. All the other layers, like AO, Key light, Fill Light, etc. don’t take alpha into account. As a result they render out as polygons without alpha. While compositing, this is going to give problems, as there will be a translucent box around the texture.
To get around the problem, instead of using the preset layer attributes in Maya, I have to create shaders individually for every texture that has alpha. So for the ambient occlusion layer for instance, I have to have one shader for all objects without transparency. And then I have to create individual surface shaders for all the objects. For some objects, I have decided to get rid of the transparency altogether. These should solve the problem.
Have setup render farms and started rendering the shots. All shots should have finished rendering by end of next week.
Shots are a bit more polished now. Have started to put together a playblast to be shown to the panel next week. Finalising camera moves. From the initial playblast it looks as it the shots are a bit “choppy”. There seems to be a lack of flow from one shot to another. I will have to preserve the pose of one shot and have to start animating from that pose on the next. So far I have followed the animatic to plan my shots. The process is made more difficult by the fact that all my shots are in separate Maya Projects. Therefore transferring a pose from one Maya project to another requires a lot of manual work. The easiest way I found, and one I’ve been using is to just screenshot the last pose of the character from one shot and use it as the beginning of the next shot. So far its working ok.
Also have started sourcing music and sound effects. I want the classic cartoony feel to the film. Since Sound is not my speciality, I am assuming this is going to take a while to get right.
Have animated the rest of the shots. Few more cleaning up to do. Have put together a playblast to show the panel for the beta presentation. Had to shoot few more reference shots. Started lighting scenes to get a feel for the visual look. Realised that the texture on the deer is not entirely convincing. This is mainly because of a shot where the camera is really up close to the deer’s skin. At this proximity, the flat texture gives away the illusion of fur. So ideally I had to look into using Maya’s fur for the texture of the deer. After spending about two days in researching fur, I however decided against using it for the following reasons.
1. The fur made the deer look a bit too realistic. Even when I tried to make the fur look cartoony, it did not sit well with the rest of the environment. Having a fur like that would mean that the grass and bushes need to be remodeled to fit into the world.
2. Fur takes way too long to render compared to non-fur models. Since I am a bit behind schedule I would need to look into ways of cutting render time. Having fur, and the problems fathomed to be associated with it is going to eat into the remaining time left in the project.
3. The problem of camera proximity shot where the texture on the deer is failing can be fixed as follows. With a Z-Depth pass rendered out, I can then focus on the background, i.e., the caveman and have the deer in the foreground a little blurred. This will still give the impression that the deer is in the foreground, but it will take care of the texture failing problem.
Have decided to name the shortfilm “Of the Wittest”. Thought it was fitting.
Halfway through animation now. Have done a playblast.
– Environment assets modeling completed.
– Shot 1
Remaining environments use same assets.
Both character models rigged and ready to go. Started animating shot 1.