Thesis is back (I hope)

So I haven’t touched my thesis in two weeks. I know that sounds bad on paper but to be fair I was on break in New York for thanksgiving and then I had to do a lot of other class work last week such as writing a final paper and finishing my rig for rigging class. I plan on diving back in immediately and I’ve already made some discoveries on how to make my film look better recently.  My hope is to finish up models and textures this semester and then start animating over break so we’ll see how everything goes.

So turns out that textures look a lot better in renderman when you put them in a pxrtexture node instead of directly into the diffuse, who knew. Now my normal maps actually look good, which is great. The knight at this point is just going to be a long winter studios rig with some armor, there’s no way I’d have the patience to rig another character. That’ll be a winter break problem so hopefully it’ll get done with all my free time, granted I’m not catching up on games and anime.

I think I finally have a look for the film in terms of textures. I’m trying to keep a majority of stone and wood for the building and other assets. Renders are actually looking pretty good but I’m definitely going to need to cut down the times a bit, 14 minutes is a little long. Story wise, I’m going to try to return to the shot list and cut down some of the numbers so i’m not working with 100 plus maya files. Maya is finicky enough as she is, I don’t need to keep track of all those files and hope they all work correctly.

So I guess to summarize the plan; Finish up models and textures this semester, work on the knight and start animation over break and then hopefully animate almost all of next semester. We’ll see how it goes, stay tuned.




Thesis Blog Post 3

Man, sure has been a while since I’ve posted one of these. Thesis has been going fine for the most part, at least I think because its hard to tell when you have twice as long to work on a film. I’ve really just been working on modeling, texturing, lighting and render tests for the past 2 weeks so its been sort of a slow and steady work pace. Haven’t touched the animatic since animatic night but I do have a pretty solidified version of the story I’m looking to animate. I really should get the final design for the bakery down this week. I have a hard time making decisions and how the film should look so I feel like I have gotten a whole lot of productive done but its just part of the process I guess.

I think the main issue I’m having with this film is just a general lack of inspiration and motivation. Yes, I know its a graduation requirement and It’s a great thing to put in a reel to get a job but this film is pretty much all I work on every day and it does get pretty tedious. I like the concept and I’m excited to start animating it I guess but in general I’m just lacking the passion I thought I would have working on this thesis.

I have no idea what the knight’s progress is, I haven’t touched him since last weekend. I’m awful at designing so I still don’t have a concrete design in mind. Worst case scenario I can just put armor on a pre rig but I’d rather have at least one character I can say I made myself, you know. I think besides general production stuff this week’s goal is to find some motivation because I’m really not looking forward to all these tasks ahead.

Thesis Blog Post 2

Probably should’ve been doing these daily but looks like its gonna be a weekly thing. Anyway, things are moving along like usual. Most of my week has been working on rigging for my knight character. I’m going to redo his design for the 3d model and hopefully I can make him my next goal. There’s also the issue of giving the baker an apron but I’m not sure how much it will mess with his deformation so I may just omit it altogether. May just put some flour on his shirt and call it a day.

I’ve discovered that I really enjoy doing visual work on this film. I spend a lot of time doing test lighting and I’ve recently found out how to combine textures in photoshop, making some really cool results. I’ve had some trouble separating photorealism and stylization though. Renderman is a physical based renderer so things tend to look more realistic by default. Things look really nice but the catch is that any hand painted texture I use kind of looses its stylized look. I know photorealism is an important skill in games and movies but I want to achieve a look that people will remember so I plan to do a lot more experimentation.

Story is still at a standstill but I plan to get it going again with my adviser on Tuesday. I;m still not sure how I’m doing in terms of progress because I don’t like working on the same thing for long periods of time. Animatic night really burned me out so I’m hoping to get some visual stuff settled before going back to it. At this point I think the knight character is kind of a priority. I may just work on him this week, we’ll see. I have a back up in mind if he doesn’t work but regardless I need to rig some character for rigging class so  we’ll see how this goes.

Thesis Blog

After a grueling week of pumping out a basic 3d animatic and contemplating the various story changes brought up, I’ve decided to take a break from story for a bit and focus on the look department of the film. Modeling my assets and testing out lighting will probably be the bulk of my week. Hopefully I can meet with my adviser this week and iron out some final story elements but for now I think i need to take a break and just focus on visual concepts and modeling. Render tests are going well. Pixar’s renderman is quite nice but the render times are pretty bad at the moment. Looking to chop those down soon.

The bakery model is almost done and the other models shouldn’t take too long to sculpt in z brush. My main concern right now is my knight character because I still don’t have an absolute final design. I also am working on the basic mesh at the moment but its been hard having to do the geometry just in maya. Its definitely feasible to complete this rig but I have no idea how soon that will be. I think the year long process has had an interesting effect on my concept of progression because I keep rushing things as though they’re due at the end of the semester. Other classes are also starting to wear me down. Not in a sense of work but more along the lines of I’m starting to care less and less. They say thesis comes first of course but its hard to work on stuff everyday when you have random assignments and test popping up in other classes throughout the week.

In short the film is definitely still on track but I think I need some new motivation to keep me going at this point. Don’t get me wrong, life is fine right now but the repetition of working on a long project is starting to wear me down I think. Well see how it goes. Stay tuned for more posts.