Monday, 12 December 2011

Production: A Generic Cactus

Not the most interesting of props to produce, however it was a step up from the trough. Here we have your everyday, generic, low-res cactus. Its got simple geometry and only a 512 texture map, with some noticeable repetitions, however as it will be a background prop this will not be a problem. I nice high-res version is soon to come as this will be one of the focus shots in the animation. Also i have applied a base colour to the most recent generic house that i have produced.

Cactus: HDRI Lighitng, Basic Colour Map, Ambient Occlusion.

Cactus: Model

Cactus: WireFrame

Generic House: Base Colour

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Production: Generic House Set Dress

As we will begin to put together a master file this week, i thought it would be nice to test out a few of the props with a building and see how there working in coallition with each other, and as you can see with this quick test i think there working really well. Soon the world in which we will be creating will be puzzled together piece by piece.

Production: Generic House

I spent the day modelling and laying out the UV's for this generic house. The base model is there, but there are still some minor details which need adding for variation. Such as; some corrugated iron panel's, extra fixings along the walls, and some props surrounding the building, all of which will be added when it comes to set dressing the scene. The Chinese style roof surprisingly took some time to model. As simple as it looks, working out a productive way to achieve such shape, proved to be more difficult than expected. Textures soon to come, once a decent HDRI lighting setup has been finalised, which whilst on the subject, i think i have finally aquired the correct HDR image for the animations environment. The image was taken during dusk in the desert, so the overall colour values and tone of the image may still be too cold, however a simple edit might be needed as this is the closest we can get to replicating the lighting within the correct environment. The image below is just a jpeg version for preview purposes, the one in which we shall be using is very high res and the propper HDRI format.

Generic House: model render.

Generic House: model wireframe.
Desert HDRI

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

A Little Update

Ive spent the last couple of days mainly working on texturing the saloon bar, but have also modelled and began to texture some props for the environment as well. As the saloon bar is quite a central building within the environment, it needs to be worked on with slightly more detailing than other buildings. So far i have put down a basic colour for the building, i now need to go over it again adding variation to the textures, for example, different colourings on the wood, and dirt. In terms of props, i have modelled a trough, a barrel, and a lantern. 

All of the props have a 512 texture map, with some high-res 1k texture maps for the close up props. The barrel is rendered with a simple colour map, and the trough with a colour, and normal map. The HDRI lighting is still just a rough mock-up for test renders, with a more refined lighting system on its way soon.

Barrel: HDRI lit, colour map, ambient occlusion.

Barrel: model render.

Barrel: model wireframe.

Lantern: model render.

Lantern: model wireframe.

Trough: HDRI lit, colour map, normal map, ambient occlusion.

Trough: model render.

Trough: model wireframe.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Some Visual Reference

Ive recently watched Cowboys and Aliens, and Rango in aid of visual research, and found both films to be stunning - Rango more so than Cowboys and Aliens, but thats simply because its CG. Both films hold a great amount of visual reference, in terms of both art direction, and physical set dressing. Here's a few screen grabs of Cowboys and Aliens, displaying their extensive set design, which creates a great sense of reality within the classic western environment. I would have done the same for Rango, however the whole film is pretty much of great reference.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Pre-Viz: Overall Cut #02

Not much of a change, just the added sound track, which aids in the understanding of the piece. The sound track is not final, nor is the cuts and video footage edited to the sound. Simply a soundtrack overlay of the previous pre-viz. As rough as the cut is, the sound track is working really well, and will serve as a template in which we can edit our footage to. 

Production: Saloon Bar

In the past week i have been working on a range of things needed for the project, however my main focus has been within the saloon bar model. A personal favourite building of mine, so i snagged that one and got on with modelling it. Below we have the near complete model (minor details needed), its pretty high-res in places where it is needed as there will be close up camera shots around this building. However, a lot of the detailing will be created within texturing, the roof being the prime example, the camera will never be anywhere near to roof, so a simple colour/normal map will be sufficient. The planes that lay behind the windows will be cloth and animated for the top middle, with the lower windows being a near see-through cloth, similar to the oriental walls within houses. To save this model falling victim to a perfect/straight/generic cg model, each plank of wood has been offset and curved slightly to replicate a higher sense of reality, and believability. With another minor detail being the slightly lowered decking planks near to door, allowing for degeneration of high traffic walking areas. 

Saloon Bar: Render

Saloon Bar: WireFrame

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

R&D: Lighting and Texturing Test #01

In the past week project work has been rather slack due to the hand in of our first draft for the dissertation. All went well on that side, however due to some focused time spent on the dissertation, it was lost on the minor project. Now its time to get back on track and push forward with production. Below we have the finished high-res generic shack with its first coat of textures. The shack has a basic block out colour map assigned to it, and the render is comprised of; HDRI lighting system, no bump/normal, no specular map, but it does have an ambient occlusion layer. Theres some pretty positive outcomes so far, so i can just imagine how good the final render will be, once it has another level of detail within the colour, and a normal/spec map to work in its favour. Some changes that will be made include, the shutters on the window, and the red texture (which is supposed to have a painted wood effect). I textured the base of the shack and the details within it via a UV map within Photoshop, and for the metal panels, i simply created a few tile-able textures, and applied them straight onto the object within Maya. Some variation still needed, but a positive start to the mammoth amount of modelling and texturing that lays before us.

High-Res Shack: HDRI Lighting, Basic Colour Map, Ambient Occlusion

High-Res Shack: UV's

Low-Res Shack: UV's

Generic Shack Tile-able Textures

We have also put together a rough timetable for production, which will be updated every week.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Pre-Viz: Overall Cut #01

Using the camera movements that we already had in place, Sam rendered them out for a more readable pre-viz, which i then edited together for a rough overall cut. Even though its rendered its still pretty crude; as i adjusted the timing of each camera movement in PremierePro rather than re-rendering them in Maya. Some shots are still needed here and there, but its pretty hard to get them right as this is just a pre-viz file. The main point of this pre-viz version is was to work out the timing of the animation ready to hand over to Zack, who is working on our soundtrack. So he can match the sound to the shots, and then we can match our shots to his sound. With this pre-viz as reference, its pretty clear to me now where we need the sound to work for us, through out different parts of the environment. The next stage will be to send this over to Zack, with some notes on cues and timing, and work out the final shots of the animation.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

R&D: Lighting and Texturing Test #01

In discussion with Sam, we decided that we will definitely be rendering the animation in Mental Ray, and that we will either be lighting the environment using the Mental Ray Physical Sun & Sky, or using a HDR lighting setup. I created a basic wooden plank texture to use, and so far i have teseted out the HDR lighting which has pleasing results. In the image below the, i have used the high-res version of the shack produced for r&d, applied the simple wooden plank texture, and lit the scene using a HDR image and final gathering. The texture has no bump or spec, and personally i think the lighting is working really well. It will need some further tests to gather the right brightness and colour, but i think its on the way to something spectacular. I havnt been able to work out how to use a normal map with this lighting set-up as of yet, which i guess can not be done as there is not one source of directional light?? The next step will be to light the shack using the Mental Ray Physical Sun & Sky, more to come soon. 

High-Res Shack: HDR Lighting

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Production Begins!

Its official, production for mine and Sam's collaboration has begun. A side from the pre-viz me and Sam have been working on i decided to spend the night modelling a generic shack that can be used numerous times within the environment (within variation), as well as a basic model for some texture experiments. This is the high-res version of the shack which will be close to the camera, with a low-res version on its way. I also spent the evening working out a nice showcase scene in which we can simply pop our models into for nice presentation. 

Generic Shack - High Res: Render

Generic Shack - High Res: Wire Frame

Generic Shack - Low Res: Wire Frame

Monday, 7 November 2011

Pre-Viz: Alley Way #01

A more refined set of camera moves, first produced by Sam. There still needs to be a load more refinement added to this set of camera movements. Plus some more extended cameras further down the alley way, just before the entrance to the courtyard.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Pre-Viz: The Street #02

After a fair few different camera angles and playblasts, Ive put together another rough cut for the street part of our animation, i feel this cut is working much more in our favour compared to the previous one. As i think the long shots, slow the animation down and can be quite bland. With a series of short and medium length cuts, with camera angles/pans in all directions, i think portrays a much more easy on the eye animation. Editing the shots so they play in chronological order through out the environment, and so each camera cut is not too far away from the other within the environment world and space, adds extra perception to the environment and its space.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Pre-Viz Round Two

Once we had the area marked out that we were going to build upon, it was then the tasking of modelling some rough, rather crude looking buildings to fill the space. After these were in place we have then begun to work out some rough camera moves. A rather long process as it is this stage where we are working out exactly what we will need to model and what camera shots will be used. Working on on a final rough edit of the piece now will save a ton of time in post production, so it will be a long few days of camera shots. Below are some initial camera shots with some rough editing.

Pre-Viz 02
Pre-Viz 03
Pre-Viz 04
Pre-Viz 05
Pre-Viz 06
Pre-Viz 07
Pre-Viz 08