Sunday, 7 March 2010

The final =(

Thanks to my precious team members: Karen,James, Michelle and Ryan.
The term has now ended, and we've finally finished our Digital Environments project. I would like to thank my team members for our their hard. I honestly had so much fun working with you guys this year!!^^ Was the best experience I had actually working in a team!! Each of us all played a very important role, and seriously without James, our master pieces couldn't have been put together so well so I thank you especially for the rendering job!

Conclusion to the project...
The end result wasn't bad. We aimed to finish everything a week before the deadline to get rendering and editing all done in the last week. However, as I mentioned before the render farm was being a right pain in the B*** so rendering couldn't be done properly. We found errors, corrected them with our tutors advice, but the render farm still refused to work. We all round to the other groups to ask how their projecs were going. ALMOST EVERYONE rendered their projects on their OWN laptops. So we did exactly the same. Out of 5 main layers James and Karen had cleverly split; only 1 and a half managed to render in time for editing, its not as we expected, and half of James efforts in lighting the cave luminously pretty much failed simply because of time.But I guess 1.5 layers is better then nothing right?^^ We're all very disappointed about the render farm. But at least we know how the system works now! -EXPERIENCE!! -
We're all very glad we got the whole footage rendered out, and the fact that we DIDN'T give up even until the very end shows determination! we fought till the VERY end! Its actually a miracle we didn't hand in a playblast, technology was simply dying on us. Fuses breaking, computers overheating, the render farm just not working. Its not as stunning as it should be, and we've already spotted a few errors after it rendered out! So as a team we've decided, as soon as we get back into uni we will sort these out, then render the separate layers again for our personal show reels.
After rendering the missing layers we had, we attempting to start com-positing in after effects. But the software strangely REFUSED to open the layers, so sparks, smoky fog effects and such weren't possible. However, PREMIERE did accept our files! so we composited the rest there. We cutted parts out to make the scene seem more in-tuned with the background music. After adding sound effects and Ryan's and Michelle's Pro opening and credit ending we spotted out one sound effect (the door slamming) was too loud in comparison the the others. But since time was out, and half the group had already run over to the studio for the hand in box. We left it.

I personally think we did very well, considering we're second year students but we never got taught anything on modeling an environment, only characters. There's no point in imitating real life things so much really, it would be easier to pick up a camcorder wouldn't it? We aimed for a realistic look for the cave at first, but that clearly wasn't possible. More time and experience was needed. We're all clearly in the learning process. So its a great start! Being able to work in a caring team, willing the SHARE sources is truly an amazing experience. I would say, I aim had changed during the middle of the term, as modeling and texturing was split between everyone, it became a stylized piece of art. With the luminous lights to give that essence of mysteriousness, the calm yet gentle instrumental, the hard rocky buildings in comparison the the caves shades and forms and the rusty metallic power generator going a bit funky. =D

Heres a few rendered pics^^

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Its been yet another very long day in college.. The Render Farm has FAILED the class, as it seems. The people who HAVE managed to render something had actually rendered most of their work on their own computers. Karen and James have in fact been slaving infront of the render farm for almost a full week.

We asked Jared for advise since all our other tutors wasn't any where to be seen. Even when he had 3 whole year groups to manage, he still had to time to see us, we're so thankful for that moment!!
Anyways, he advised us to :
* Check the size of our texture
*Take out the lighting layer if that doesnt render
*Take out huge parts that could be blocking the rendering from starting
*Optimized the whole project.

I felt realy guilty after hearing the advise, the team seemed very worried, I MAY have modeled too much detail into the cave? Or maybe too much into the power generator?
We were all blaming ourselves as we walked back into the studio.

But HEYYY, after checking! THE PROBLEM WAS THE TEXTURES!! 5000x5000 in size, now that jus explains alot!! for smaller items the textures were 1000x1000! xD After sorting that out the render farm finally worked!!

The render farm decided to reject and FAIL rendering half way through rendering a single layer last night. My members were stressing whilst I was stressing over my other project. I had to rush in to help comfort everyone, things then calmed down. Apparently rendering in sections on our own laptops would be faster and more reliable then the render farm, so we decided to claim the computers in the ICT suite. However, there was a class there for the whole day! As we rendered we sat in to an After Effects class, it was pretty interesting! We all felt all nostalgic sitting in that room. The days we had Dan.. learning our first few steps in maya.. awww xD

We've now left the suite to do its thing, using maya's mental ray to render, its hell, and we MIGHT not make it in time, but if thats the case I've decided we should render 5 seconds of the beginning, 5 seconds of the middle and 5 seconds from the end of the project. Its not the full scene but after compositing it MAY just help us get the grade we've all worked so hard to earn!
Jared HAS advised us to do something similar, but half the group refused. We don't want to submit a playblast alone. its not only going to destroy our success, But also waste away our efforts!!! Before leaving college today we all gathered our " fighting spirits" joked around THEN left! A ype of motivation so we all wont be so down as soon as we get home. We shared this time with our other friends Laura,Harry,Dean and Karl too! so all is good =D

I wish everyone GoodLuck^^ I bet not many of us are going to sleep tonight! but its all going to be worth it^^

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

In reference to past findings...

In reference to Michelles past findings::

It was THIS video I aimed for. The lighting really bricks out the mysterious atmosphere we're looking for. However, Its just a smooth walk through of a cave, nothing animated except for the fire. I think the team over did it with the flames.. Its amazing and all but a bit too repeatable! ><

I noticed, the walls and floor were VERY flat. Not much effect was put into making the area look cavey enough. Keeping that in mind, trying out MudBox was the best plan!! Made modelling the inner walls more fluent. However, I kind of over did it with the effects. There ground plane was too cavey, the points would either stick out of the buildings or be SEEN through the windows. So to fix this, I had to import the file BACK into mudbox then Export it as an OBJ again. It not only fixed the problem, but also helped james work out where to puut the lighting =D

For now, the project is coming along very well.
Me and Michelle worked out how to use Qube, The render farm stuff. But, much was needed.
We Stumbled upon many problems last tuesday, (wasnt our day to go in, but for the team we must go in extra days!)
**Some members not keeping on track
**James had problems with the lighting it wudnt render properly. So we had to ask Alex for help
**Qube went weird at first for me and Michelle and Alex was weirdly no help. We wanted to TEST rendering on the render farm, but he sasid it was a waste of time.. SOOOOOO we worked it out ourselves.
**Michelle will re-do the camera animation to PERFECTION after we went over the "draft" with Jared.
**We went in PANIC mode for around..30-45min, but after comforting everyone, things were fine again =D

Now that texturing and Lighting has been completed.. OR IS being completed.... all thats left is rendering =D

Half of our group wishes to add more ideas last min, but I have my other project to concentrate on, so im afraid I cant help set their "dreams" comes true. Ive alrady given an extra week to the team, with my our attention set on Digital Environments. Its been a pain having the turn my attention onto other projects. I hope next term wont be as harsh.~

Friday, 19 February 2010

The CAVEE test =D

Since lighting and texturing isnt my job I thought I'd jus slap on a random material, I stuck in directional lights n spot lights to bring out the caves rocky texture. With the real texture its probably gna look wayy better. I thought I'd try out MudBox instead of pulling and smoothing the individual vertexes out. It turned out better then I expected!! I had to.. Export the block out of the cave into a FBX file, then import that into mudbox, remould it, then SAVE. I then had to convert it back into Maya to save as a MB file =D

Learnt alot today from tutorials on mudbox and maya working together. Something I feel the need to learn more in depth after this project has finish.

Monday, 15 February 2010


1)The Original Plan
2)After making the Oil Refinery's and the SUPPORTS for the top.
3) The Main building is complete
with metal fences + Chimneys for the west side of the smaller block.
4)Compressors/ converter looking things plus MORE PIPES! =D
5)The FINAL Power station/Generator. More Gas cylinders, Broken Fences laying around. Broken Supports.

Closer study on structures =O

Friday, 12 February 2010

Blast Furnace!!

Priest of Steels Creation -I jus sketched it out to get the feel of the shapes =D