30 January 2012 Previous

Tube - Teaser

I awoke to the drone of the aircon in the hotel room.  It was 4am on a mid-Summer morning and still humid outside.  The soft tapping of a keyboard could be heard, Bassam was still working - which meant I had dozed off again.

"Sorry, how long have I been asleep?" I asked,
"Just a couple of hours", he replied.

Today was the third day of the 2009 New Orleans SIGGRAPH, and we had one day left to finish and render the Teaser for screening. It was completed successfully, but not without Keg -the server- going down on that last day, leaving Chris Perry sitting on the show room floor with his laptop, hacking the shots through to the renderfarm.

View the teaser here

While Bassam did the direction, editing, layout, lighting, compositing and other tasks, Jamal and I spent most of our time on the modeling, texturing and odd background painting.

The best part is, of all the time invested in this, the shot was only 8 frames long.

Invariably the biggest headaches are sluggish scenes, which we were not short of given the tunnel shot with all its repetition and the scurrying cockroach shot with loads of cockroaches.  Specifically, a low proxy had to be created for the cockroaches because the original model - used in the close up shot - was very heavy.

Placing and animating them was also tedious as they started to slow the scene down, especially at 4am moments before sending them off to the render farm.  The best part is, of all the time invested in this, the shot was only 8 frames long.  The result, however, I rather enjoyed. 

Below is a short illustration from start to end.

Roach Scurry - Modelsrails_01_02_texturedrails_01_03_composite

The vines in the final shot were also very heavy, the curves are plentiful and on high resolution. I enjoy texturing with images and UV unwrapping, and will often avoid procedurals if I can help it.  This is one area where i'm forced to face texturing with procedurals - curves and UVorco.

Luckily the materials had mostly been created and I just had to link them to the curves.  Procedurals were then used - somewhat generically - to break up the spec value.  For some reason when rendering this shot -and the closeup of the cockroach- the Spec was glitchy and would flicker from frame to frame.  Perhaps as a result of small Spec highlights and an early Blender 2.5 version, so hopefully it's been solved.

Rails Modelrails_02_02_texturedrails_02_03_composite

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