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.
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.
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.
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.