Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Environment Animating- Aerial View

The final piece of the puzzle for the aerial scene has always been the dynamic smoke effect. Initially the plan was that plumes of smoke rose upward casting a great shadow on the floor. But after talking about stylisation I changed tack and created a very different but altogether more pleasing composition. 

From a physical plume of fluffy blue smoke to dynamic planar trickery. I ended up using sprites and a painted texture shape to create the swirl of cloud featured in the renders

Below shows the progress through animation to what I feel is the final render. I will add some extra crows in the compositing stage, but as for now, I declare this particular scene complete.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Environment Designing- Aerial View

I kept the build of this scene extraordinarily simple and it consists of mostly planes and the prevalent use of transparencies which become obvious in the subsequent renders as I try to replicate the rather striking reddish pink of my thumbnail.

I went for more orange based lights in the end and managed to create some nice long shadows. I also imported my rigged warrior character to use as the tiny men seen distantly on the ground. I wanted to make sure you could tell that the specks below were actually running because you can just make out arms and legs. To make the ground a slightly more interesting space I created patterned shadows, the same as the larger ones in the general forest, but on a miniature scale.

With the basis of the environment complete I got to work on some of the more concerning animation challenges. I needed a small squad of men running across the scene.After a helpful conversation I was given a multitude of options as to how to tackle this and settled with creating an extraordinarily basic run cycle on my full rig and caching the geometry (via alembic.) I then imported the alembic cache ten or twelve times, placed the men in position, looped their animation cycles and animated them from one spot to another. It worked a treat!!!

The only feature missing from this scene now is the billowing smoke from the village. I hope to achieve this with dynamics. I'll be posting test play blasts shortly and trialling the additional smoke if I can stylise it the way I hope. Onwards.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Environment Designing- The Forest and the Clearing

My introductory shot is in the middle of fairly dense forest. Morrigan's hideout. This is a longer panning shot tarting at night and turning to day, slowly introducing her character.

When I finished creating the trees I added a series of planes representing the leafy and branchy canopy above the environment, which appears to be working rather well. I also had to go in and alter my UV maps o allow for nicer edges and details to my distant trees which were suffering awfully from pixilation. The renders below show a pan across the majority of the scene.

Before and after of the distant tree pane alterations

The panning shot across the scene

I am fairly happy with this scene for now. The video below gives an idea of how I wish the scene to play out, prior to the addition of Morrigan herself and her crows mobbing her in the clearing at the end of the scene.

Environment Designs- Treetop Hill Blossoms and Planar work

So more recently I've been tackling the trees some more and in particular adding geometry to act as the blossoms for the Spring sequence and the additional bump mapping of the tree. I had to go back into Photoshop and refine the map. In the close up you could see an awful amount of pixelation. I also went back in an adjusted the distant tree planes so that they were less obviously flat but the addition of the last 3D tree definitely helps break up the horizon.

Later I moved onto the planar work of the background and building the distant villages. It still needs works. I get the feeling I may need to divide the distant trees into more planes and stagger them. Im hoping to be able to emulate their shadows without having to model them. We shall see shortly I hope. I have a few details that need adding such as a sort of marriage between the ground and the trees.