11-24-PPJ Josh Hollander

I missed last week’s PPJ, so tonight’s will be something of a double feature.

Last week, I worked with Gabe and his merry band of animators to get all our scenes ready to go with cameras, display layers, proper heirarchical organization, etc.  I also worked on styling VRayFur for Danforth’s hat lining, and figuring out how to best re-generate our city in Maya.

Layout / Scene Preparation (last week)

  • Summary: Finished placing cameras in our scenes, cleaned up the outliner, made sure everything was named sensibly and consistently, and set up references and display layers as per Gabe’s request.  All our scenes are now ready for our animators!
  • Positives: I’m free to start detailing our environments, do render tests, etc. now that the animators have what they need.
  • Negatives: None.
  • Hours: 4-5

VRayFur

  • Summary: I helped Val out with designing lining for Danforth’s hat.  It’s supposed to be a wooly / cotton lining (see above), and I tried creating it using VRayFur.  The results were promising, but not quite what we were going for…  I think a blend of displacement mapping or particle scattering with a thin layer of fur for detail will be our best bet, and will test it this week.
  • Positives: Creating the whole lining using fur is surprisingly fast, both to tweak and render.  And though the look this produces is not quite right, it can easily be combined with some other elements to make a much better appearance.
  • Negatives: Nada.
  • Hours: 2

City Re-Generation

  • Summary: The original drafts of the city were created using a procedural generation script for 3DS Max, and unfortunately Maya doesn’t have anything similar.  I spent a while looking for a good procedural solution in Maya, something that would allow me to easily update building models and control height, distribution, etc.  After hours of searching and testing, the most promising tool appears to be XGen, though it’s somewhat notoriously unstable at the moment…
  • Positives: With XGen’s expressions and mapping system, I should be able to broadly control how the cityscape generates, and hopefully export the final product as a particle system or a bunch of instances.
  • Negatives: XGen is very unstable (it crashed on launch several times while I was testing it), and that really scares me.  I want to be sure this won’t cause any problems during rendering or for our animators before implementing it.
  • Hours: 4

UPCOMING TASKS

  1. Stress-test XGen, with anticipation of using it for cityscape.
  2. Spruce up the city and temple scenes for our end-of-term presentation!
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