Friday, October 7, 2011

I'd like some TD madness with a side of help from my crew

Through-out the production, I have experienced many technical difficulties. Being the most technical of the crew, it is often my job to troubleshoot/solve these difficulties. Our first and largest issue to date was our characters... we have 14! At first I thought "I am just a texturing and lighting TD, what do I know about character modding?!?! Oh no!" haha, but I knew that my team needed me, and like any captain (co director in this case), I would rather go down with the ship then see my men drowning in the sea. After grasping a basic understanding of how previous mods were done on other projects (Norman in our case), I started studying the process a bit, doing a few tests, and then I was ready to move on. Next I had to get somewhat familiar with the standard Morpheous rig (Had some help with the animators/director on this due to my lack of animation control knowledge) Thanks Sean, West, and Ryo! The next step consisted of watching all of the videos that Josh Burton (Creator of Morpheous) posted about the rig on his website. These videos are a must watch if you want to use Morpheous to its full potential! Now it was time to move onto modeling. After some trial and error, I was finally ready to pass my knowledge onto my eagerly awaiting crew. The torch of modding lead was then passed onto Andrew West who at first struggled a bit, but is now a morphy modding maniac! West later teamed up with an outsider to the project named Daniel Moos who has recently became part of the Just Looking family, now working full time on the project. Between these two guys modding became unstoppable! So I feel the need to take this opportunity to thank the both of them for completing the majority of the character work. Thanks Guys!

After much thought about pipeline, I decided to switch over to using Vray for maya instead of Mental Ray for this project. This is due to the shear scale of this film. At 4 minutes and twenty seconds (80 shots), there is a good chance that there will be multiple lighters working on this film. Vray provides simple and intuitive render pass options that are simple to use and the fact that you don't have to litter your shading networks with gamma correction nodes is also a plus! Therefore if junior lighting artists who are looking to build there skill-sets and get some good looking work for their portfolios want to join the project, it wont be an issue to get them caught up on using render layers and passes. Also I have to admit that I am a sucker for Vray's photometric lighting! Hopefully they create a better workflow for volumetrics in the future though. As far as I am concerned, they are a bit unintuitive right now.

Characters are also being surfaced right now and will hopefully be completed in a month or so. The Vray SSS2 material seams slightly complicated after using the Mental Ray SSS_Skin material, but after many texture/color variation and many many button click, I will eventually figure it out. :)

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