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The Mill Collaboration | Week 4


We got through mid-terms! Despite the hectic-ness caused by the render farm being down all weekend, the team worked super hard to crank out a lot of new progress to show!

What we accomplished

  • First pass lighting and full renders for every shot

  • Continued lookdev/UV/drum textures

  • Adjusted camera angles/timing

  • Shot new green screen plates for crowd

Moving forward

  • Fix animation curves

  • Refine lighting

  • Refine compositing effects and keys / reshoot for edge quality

  • Work with samples and render quality

  • Finish train textures/shaders and add to visualization

Updated 'Viz'

Here is the final edit of our week 4 progress with all the elements comped together! Addressing the notes from last week, we added more cars to the train and added more frames to shot 1 & 2 in order to slow down the beginning and have a better overall read of a build up of 'excitement' and 'epic-ness'. We also shot a new green screen crowd plate.

Seeing it put together was super helpful to assess what needs to be done moving forward:

  • add more variation to Shot1 background for a pretty bokeh effect

  • adjust the animation curve of the train animations so it doesn't look like its slowing down

  • have a clear and purposeful color transition in shot 02 to have the read of warm-->blue be smoother.

  • Line up the spotlight animation timing from shot 03 - shot04 for a clearer read.

  • more texture detail/attention to the closeup of guitar

Refining the Asset List

We started off the week by revamping our asset list to be able to have a clear and concise way of referring to project priority (story-wise and quality-wise), who is in charge of what, and the overall status of completion. This was super helpful to make because it let us as a group discuss on what would be okay and not okay to cut in the scenario that we run out of time to produce a good quality result.

Lighting Progress

My primary goal for this week was to focus on having a first pass of sequence lighting on the last 2 shots. This was super fun for me because it was so cool to play around with different colored spotlights and volumetrics!

Shot 04 Lighting & Comp (with and without crowd)

Shot 3 was much more challenging to me to light because of all the crazy bright lights everywhere paired with the highly reflective surfaces in the foreground and background. Luckily the zDefocus helped separate that out visually to make it less overwhelming to look at.

Shot 03 Lighting & Comp (Earlier and Later frame)

In order to have better control of color and intensity values in comp, we rendered out our shots in multiple passes (beauty, volume, smoke, confetti FG and confetti BG).

Atmosphere FX by Gen (with my lighting setup), Before and After atmosphere Composite

A UV-ing Headache

A big problem I faced this week was that when Ken tried lighting the close up of the train in shot 1, an issue kept occurring where the texture was not reacting well with the light and you could clearly see the errors in the uv seams. I had all the UVs cleanly laid out in the third image below, however when brought into substance painter it appeared all cluttered (seen in the centre image). I later found out from Miranda that this was due to a layering of multiple UV Sets, an issue that is common from downloaded models. Once I was able to clean that up all was good and I could move on to texturing and lighting!

Updated Train Turntable

This V2 version showcases the front and the back of the train cart. I cleaned up a lot of the graphics from the last version--taking time to re-uv the model served a huge benefit.

Close up still renders of the train's look dev. I picked angles that would be showcased in the cameras of the final shots. And of course I make a powerpoint for everything, so for the texture references compiled all of my images into this google sheets document:

Shooting Green Screens

I am very grateful that my entire group is currently in Savannah and that we were able to all meet up at Monty to film our crowd plate together. We borrowed Professor Gaynor's green screen (thank you professor) and had 3 of us + Jessica from Team SpeedyRaycers help dance to some rock music in the middle of the classroom on a Saturday afternoon.

Miranda was then able to take the green screen footage and key them out to be placed on individual cards to make up our crowd. Unfortunately we were not able to get access to the proper green screen studio, and we were a little under-prepared in terms of understanding which shutter speed settings to use, so the footage's motion blur created faulty keys and we decided we were going to reshoot on a different day.

To wrap everything up, here is a video of my desperate attempt to get sequence renders out before we present on Monday--using the empty school classrooms to my advantage and locally render!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for next week :)

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