Delivery

Here’s the final product, I decided to go with a more trailer-like feeling.

And here’s a short breakdown.

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Rendering

So rendering was problematic. Because of long render times I decided to use the Rebus renderfarm. I did a lot of single-frame test renders before I sent away a longer sequence and the tests all looked good, the only downside to Rebus is that it splits all the passes in my exr files to different files. So everything is fine and dandy and I render out 50 frames of 100 to start with, but when I start to shuffle out the passes to build my beauty in Nuke I notice that the only thing that looks right is my master beauty, all the passes are messed up, something I earlier though was caused by the motion vector pass.

The weird looking passes and how it should look

The weird looking passes and how it should look

I spend then whole next day just trying to pinpoint the problem, changing something, re-render, change something else, re-render and so on. Finally, at the end of the day I discover that it’s the AO pass that’s causing all the trouble, as soon as I delete that everything works like a charm. As soon as that is fixed I start rendering out the heavy beautys on Rebus and lighter stuff on my computer, like motion vector and depth passes.

However, I will have to re-render the flyby scene because of an annoying light I simply forgot to delete, but I can still do all the compositing with the sequence I’ve got and then just switch it to the re-rendered one so it’s no big deal.

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Animation, rendering and motion blur

So, this past week I’ve done a bit of everything really. I started out with setting up the close-up scene, in which I use pretty much exactly the same lighting as in the flyby scene. Some test renders from the close-up scene and a low res sequence I rendered out of the flyby scene showed me that I had to work a bit more on the specularity and glossiness of the shader.Mi28SpecShaderBlog

When all that was done I had to ad a background on some way. I started out by creating the picture from some free stock photos of the internet and then just made it very blue/whiteish, trying to match the feeling of the filmed plates but from a much higher altitude, with atmosphere and whatnot. Then it was time to put it behind the helicopters in someway. I tried to project it in a couple of different ways, I also had the idea to cut it up and put it on several different planes to get some kind of parallaxing  but non of the results was really pleasing. I solved it by creating a sphere primitive, deleting most of it and just keep a concave surface that I assign my texture to, and then I just slightly animate the offset in the place2dTexture node. This gave me a pretty good result and with a bit of depth of field and grading it will look even better.CloseUpBGDomeBlog

And now I’ve started animating. It’s been pretty straight forward, one key at the beginning and one at the end for the rotors and then just enter a  value in the proper rotation field. And for the helicopters themselves I’ve just gone in and added a little rotation or translation up or down, here and there to mix it up a bit and not make it so perfect and computer generated. I also introduced some camera shake with a couple of fractal textures to the close-up camera.AnimCurvsBlog

Alongside animation I’ve also done a bit of render testing and tweaking. I’ve set up all the contribution maps and passes that I want. But the main focus has been on comparing Maya-rendered motion blur and motion blur done in Nuke with a 2d vector pass. The 2d vector pass itself can be a bit problematic, I firs added it with the other passes in the different contribution maps for the different helicopters but this really messed the data in my regular passes, most who was just empty or just black with that looked like white highlights. So I tried putting it in a separate render layer, remove all lights and assign a black surface shader to everything, but not the vector pass looked all weird, either I just got the data from one of the helicopters or it looked almost like the normals was reversed and it had calculated the inside. What finally worked was to re-save it as a whole new scene, with just one render layer (except for my master) with the 2d vector passes as the only passes in that whole scene. Despite all that I’m still going with the 2d vector solution because rendering motion blur in Maya is simply too heavy and takes way too long time for it too be worth it.

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Finishing lighting and shading

As I though the lighting went pretty quick, I basically just retouched a stock HDR image making it a bit more blue and then added a soft area light from above and one from below and I think the result is quite pleasing, and I will always be able to fix stuff in comp later on since I will be rending out several passes to build my beauty.WBallBlog

I’m currently shading the models and I plan on being to with that tonight. The Ka-60 will have a quite matte metal finish and I think a semitransparent blinn shader with a dirt map  will be sufficient for the windows. The Mi-28 will be slightly more reflective and therefore have higher Reflectivity and BRDF: 0 Degree Reflection values. The windows have a mia_material_x_passes with a tweaked GlassThin preset and dirt map on it.

A very simple animation, just a translation between point A-B, no rotation or motion blur or anything.

A very simple animation, just a translation between point A-B, no rotation or motion blur or anything.

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Selection problem

Yesterday when I was about to start shading the Ka-60 i ran into a weird problem I had never experienced before, I couldn’t select certain meshes. When I tried to select the left wheel I simply couldn’t do it, I could still see it so there wasn’t some shader problem and I could still select it in the Outliner but I didn’t see it getting selected in the Viewport, no wireframe or anything. I wasted maybe an hour trying to figure out a solution before I asked my classmate Kim, who had apparently ran into the problem before. He told me to select it in the Outliner and smooth it with the 3 button, and it magically worked. But it could apparently still be problematic in renders so the best way to fix it was to export the whole model as an .obj and re-import it again. After doing that everything worked like it should again.

Result of trying to drag select the wheel.

Result of trying to drag select the wheel.

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Wrap on the textures

The textures are finally done. It took a little longer than planed but since I’ve already done the tracking it all works out in the end. Now the lighting and shading phase starts and I’ve started lighting a white ball that I shot on set. I reckon the lighting will go pretty fast since it’s basically a diffuse blueish light.Mi28TextureDoneBlog WBallTestBlog01

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Steady progress

Yesterday morning I got done texturing the Ka-60 so after lunch I started UV mapping the Mi-28. I don’t know if it’s an easier model to UV or if I just got better at it, but it went much faster than the other one. So now when the UVs are laid out I will export it to Mudbox and start painting it. I will also paint the texture for the rotor that I will use on both helicopters, but because it’s pretty much just rotating very fast in the whole clip the texture will be very simple.

The Mi-28 UV mapped

The Mi-28 UV mapped

Screen grab from Mudbox on the final texture

Screen grab from Mudbox on the final texture

A quick and dirty render with the final texture and temporary shaders

A quick and dirty render with the final texture and temporary shaders

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Stamps and stencils

So, I spent a good part of yesterday (Tuesday) creating and testing different stamps and stencils for Mudbox. Some of them I used to paint in rivets and plates over the hull in a bump map to add a bit more detail and make the surface a bit more interesting. Others I used when painting in dirt or rust or other wear and tear things. I felt that I could take some time to do this properly since I’ll be using the same stamps and stencils for the next helicopter too.

A small selection of stamps and stencils I made

A small selection of stamps and stencils I made

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The U to the V

So, the UV mapping is finally done, it took a bit longer than I first thought even though I used Transfer attributes on the parts that are the same, like the rotor blades.UVDoneBlog

Now the painting of textures can begin. I will do most of the painting in Mudbox since it’s a software I know and have used before both to texture and to sculpt. I would have loved to learn Mari but right now I simply don’t have the time and I stick to what I know. StartTxtrPaintingBlog

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End of modeling

Today I wrapped the modeling on the Ka-60 helicopter. Reusing wheels and rotor from the other helicopter saved me a lot of time and I’m pleased with the result. When the modeling was done I took the opportunity to make some lighting tests, if my panorama will work, what final gather settings work best and so on, stuff that I will dive deeper in when I’m actually gonna light my scene, but I got a couple of quite nice, blueish renders of the helicopters.

Image converted using ifftoany Image converted using ifftoanyI also did some research on how to best create the rivets and metal plates in the texture, research that will be continued tomorrow when I start UV mapping the Ka-60.

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