Project 01 Blog

For the first project for my Technical Direction class, I wanted to make a tire roll through the scene. We were suppose to take pictures of a location and choose where we wanted to take pictures.

This was the place I decided to take my pictures. 

I like the fact that there was organic shadows and non organic shadows, It made the piece more dynamic and harder to work with, but I would rather have something harder to work with than easy.

I then had to take pictures of the gray ball both in light an in Shadow, a cube for perspective, a chrome ball to make my own HDRI and then take the clean plate but make a shadow plate.

This is the shadow plate. The shadow plate is used to make compositing the shadow for the final video easier because instead of trying to make the shadows by hand, I can just use the shadow plate to make the shadows.

With using the cube plate, I was able to make the camera in Maya line up with the camera angle that was used in real life. By doing so, I was able to get the scale of my scene and make it more accurate. 

I used the ball picture for multiple reasons. The main reason being to get the spot light in maya to work correctly. It was a way for me to accurately get the lighting in the correct position and the correct softness of the shadow. The other reason I used the gray ball is to accurately get the lighting on the actual ball. By comparing the ball to the picture, I was able to better make the CG ball more light the actual one.

The point of the chrome ball is my favorite part of the picture taking process. The point of the Chrome Ball is to take pictures at multiple exposures and then put them into photoshop and make them into an HDRI or a high\ dynamic range image. By doing so I am able to make the scene in my Maya be more accurate to the scene that was taken by the camera, I am able to get the same color of the lights and the darks by using the HDRI that I created.

After taking the pictures, It was time to start working on the GOBO.

The GOBO was probably one of the harder things for me to wrap my head around, solely for the fact that it was taking a flat piece of information, like a picture, and try to make it basically in a 3D space.

To make the GOBO, I had to go into photoshop and make the image purely black in white, that way when the ball or my object would go through the scene, Maya would be able to realize that there are suppose to be shadows there and that the ball goes underneath them.

After making the GOBO, I was focused on making other aspects of my piece come to life, like shadow occlusion, object occlusion, ground reflection, and those things of the sorts.

Finally it was time to go into Nuke.

Nuke is one of those programs that I enjoy a lot. It is a hard program at first and looks strange but is rewarding when done well.

After rendering out the images from Maya, I put them into my nuke scene and began merging things together to make a cohesive piece. The clean plate from the top, plus the other aspects, like the occlusion and the reflections all get merged together to make the final piece.

Project 02 Blog

The second project for my Tech Comp Class was to take a pre-existing rock and make a texture in the program Maya so that it looked as similar to the original as possible.

The rock I chose was a small green rock that was somewhat transparent but had this really cool interior texture that I wanted to see if I could recreate that but in 3D.

The first step was to take the pictures, the pictures did not come out well the first time. They were blurry and there was not a defined shadow. So, after losing a week's process, we went out to take another set of pictures where the shadow was harsher.

I'm somewhat disappointed that I had to move my shot to a different location, because I genuinely enjoyed the look of the first one. There were colors that came from different directions and the way the colored lights worked, it would have been fun to try and recreate them in a 3D environment.

I also had to redo the shots, because I had no movement.

After moving locations, it was time to recreate the photos. I shot a clean plate, a clean plate with the rock, and then the normal gray ball, cube, and chrome ball. This time though, I had to take 2 different shots for the movement in the background. I could either walk behind the camera, and have that as the movement, or I could pan the camera and have the camera move. 

I decided to shoot both, but in the end I had the shot with me moving in the background be the one I use, the camera track that I used for the pan wasn't working and it took longer for nuke to write my things so I decided on working on the shot of me moving.  

After getting a Stanford model (the dragon) it was time for me to start working on the shader, and the aspects of the inclusion, like ground occlusion, and shadows and the like.

The hardest part of this project was having to combine multiple shaders to get the one shader to look better. I initially started out with one shader, but in the end I had to use multiple ones with a mix node.

Then, after animating my rock, It was time to go into Nuke again.

I basically took the two shaders I made and combined them together to make my final shader come to life. The first shader I used was almost all Sub Surface Scattering. It was able to give my shader a nice milky texture and it was the base color of my "rock". The second texture I had was almost all Transmission. With that and using the mix node, I was able to give my "rock" a sense of transparency, like the original.

In nuke, it is about combining all the separate layers (that would normally be in one if you weren't splitting them) and combining them to make them into one coherent piece.

After rendering it and making it all come together, something I didn't notice until the EXRs were put into a sequence, was the cloud texture that I had in the middle of my shader was moving. So when my Dragon was moving through the space, the texture was moving through the dragon rather than staying still and being frozen on the shader.

I couldn't fix the problem and turned it in anyways because I was proud of the work I had done. This is the final sequence.

Project 03 Blog

This, project 03, was the hardest thing I have done in my Technical Direction for Compositing class.

This was the hardest thing, because it was a projection of a box, that we had to create the interior of and then make it so it looked like it was actually part of the scene.  

I had to recreate my lid of my box 4 times, and in the end I still don't think it looks correct.

The first thing we had to do was take pictures, and this was the first time I was going to be taking them on my own. Usually I had the help of others and others had my help, but this time I had to figure out the camera and set it up myself. Iw as able to set up the scene and take all the required pictures on my own.

The location of the pictures was one of the more important thing about this project. The interior of the box, had to somewhat correlate to the exterior of the box. My idea of the interior of the box was to have a child's bedroom, the only problem with that is the fact that I live in a dorm, and the lighting looks very industrial. 

I eventually was able to set up the camera and get enough light in my scene that it didn't look like a dorm but a child's room. The second problem was the panning of the camera. There were 3 ways we could make the camera move, we could pan from left to right, up and down, or have the camera hand held and move it that way. I chose in the end to have the camera pan from top to bottom because I liked the look it gave the overall shot.

After taking pictures and the videos, it was time to camera track, one of my favorite things to do. I couldn't figure it out in the second project, but for this one, it worked almost immediately.

Once the camera was tracked and exported to Maya, I was then able to start working on my model of the box to be projected on and worked on. This is what took me 4 tries to get somewhat right. The Lid of the box, the most important thing to make this look integrated, took me 4 tries. The cool and fun part about this project was learning something new, which is what I did for the box. We set up different cameras and projected it off from there and were able to create a texture from that, I enjoyed learning how to do that.

Once the lid was done, there were other layers that had to be created.

The mask Layer, which allowed me to work in nuke to put the interior of the box and the objects inside to fit inside and not e effected by the other layers.

The specular layer, which allowed me to control the specular outside of the constraints of maya and into nuke.

There was the inside layer and the objects that went inside. This was the layer that held the information to go inside the masked layer.

There was the projection of the lid, which allowed the originally closed box to appear like it was opening.

Then there was the the layer that had the shadows of the box appear on the bunny that was sitting next to the closed box

Once it was all compiled in Nuke, I had to make sure that the edges of the box didn't look weird of fake or anything of the sort, I had to make it look integrated.

This is the outcome