I spent most of my time this week working on the textures shaders for Dyer and Danforth. The majority of the work into render testing the eye shaders, as they need to be incredibly detailed in order to convey the necessary emotion in our script. I also brought up asset management and workflow with Nick at our weekly meeting, and he worked us through a few options for
Task #1: Textures / Shaders for Dyer & Danforth
Summary: This week I textured Dyer and Danforth. I spent most of my time working on their eyes, trying to find a shading solution that gave them that lifelike sparkle. I started off with a very helpful tutorial but ended up making a few modifications — for example, I added an extra layer of geometry for the cornea and modified the displacements on the iris geo to add some depth during close-ups. I’m almost worried that the eyes are TOO lifelike, but I’m sure that any uncanniness will be resolved when I work on hair this week.
I started with VRaySSS2 shaders for their skin, then painted 3 different skin maps for each character: overall color, scatter radius and subsurface color. The eyes also have levels of subsurface scattering, which I think helps to soften them a lot. I painted a layer of veins in the sclera that can be animated to create a bloodshot eyes effect, which I’m sure will prove useful for many of our shots.
- Positive Stuff: I especially like how Danforth’s textures came out.!
- Problems / issues: Dyer isn’t bad, but he lacks the freckles, imperfections and level of detail that Danforth has. I feel as though Dyer’s current state lacks a lot of his personality, and I’m hoping that will be fixed once I give him his very distinctive hair and mustache. I talked to Dave about this, and he agreed that we shouldn’t create imperfections without having a story behind them. I’ll revisit these characters next week while working on the hair.
Task #2: Asset Management / Directory Meeting
Summary: At this week’s meeting, Nick ran us through a project directory template that he has used in the past in asset-heavy productions. I took notes and consulted a few other people (including Jeremy and Team Coffebot), and tomorrow I’ll be setting up our project folders so we can get rolling with shot placement and animation.
- Positive Stuff: This format allows for a very clean, detailed and extensive project that has intelligent locations for all assets. This includes places for personal folders, technical research, reference, and both 3D and 2D production assets.
- Problems / issues: One of the main things we have to troubleshoot for this project is how to store and update rigs and textures without breaking the references within our Maya files. Because I was under the impression that the render farm can’t handle non-local referencing, we came up with a few options for redirecting Qube to texture locations outside of the default project window. After talking to Ross and Ian, however, I learned that we can link our textures to external folders so long as they exist on the network. This will require some testing on the farm, which I will be working on this week. I will also message Ross this week and see if he can give me a breakdown of their renderfarm pipeline.
LIST OF UPCOMING TASKS:
- Hair testing!
- General pipeline stuff (directory creation, farm testing, etc)
- Helping with camera layout