Friday, January 17, 2014

manta ray vfx shot and breakdown

this is the culmination of several terms of learning, relearning, and persistence. looking back, there are a ton of things i'd do differently both for simplicity's sake as well as efficiency and quality. still, i'me pretty happy with this as a learning experience as i got to sink my teeth into a very generous portion of the vfx pipeline.

some of the steps that went into this project:

-shot on RED Scarlet
-tracked with PF Track X
-modeled in Maya14
-textured in Mudbox 14
-shaded in Maya 14
-rigged in Maya 14
-animated in Maya 14
-rendered with Maya 14's Mental Ray
-composited with Nuke 7
-effects in After Effects CS6

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

compositing a manta ray

the lighting didn't end up looking right in my last render, so i adjusted the image based lighting set up and brightened the shadows so they aren't more intense than the shadows in the plate. i used a pretty neat plug in called reel smart motion blur in adobe after effects to get the motion blur on the ray. it generates a motion blur based on the translation of the pixels in the image, not by actual 3d translation. this saved a lot of rendering time out of maya. the next step will be rotoscoping the tree trunk in the beginning of the shot and a few more color corrections.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

rigging a manta ray day 2

while weight painting the manta ray, i learned that i hadn't modeled it in an optimum way for animation. the muscle spline system i created for it's spine and tail was working, but distorted the mesh too much. i decided to just use a simple FK set up for the back and spine, as i am on a deadline. next time, i will definitely learn how to exploit blend shapes to get the animation i want. for now, this will do.

after wrestling with the rig, i finally got it into animation. the poor modeling on my part creates some nasty distortion so i resorted to moving the rig as little as possible.

it took an evening to troubleshoot the rig, redo parts of that rig, and animate the manta ray flying around a tree trunk:

manta ray comp animation pass 1 from towncg on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

manta ray sculpt

a few progress shots of my manta ray, modeled in maya and sculpted in mudbox. only normal maps were used in the final render.

modeling the Tantive IV

one of the first 3D models i tackled in school

Sunday, December 22, 2013

rigging a manta ray day 1

i created this manta ray back in my modeling 2 term, textured/shaded it a few months ago, and will finally be rigging it for a compositing project due early january. 

i started by creating a quick skeleton, trying not to create too many extra joints i'll have to worry about.

as the ray's wings are positioned in such a way for the model to appear dynamic, a muscle spline going across the wingspan was proving to be a little difficult to wrestle with. i ended up just applying a spline set up down the spine of the ray.

the muscle spline set up will allow for some quick and easy posing of the ray, easier than an FK system where i'd need to rotate each control to get a pose.

after completing the muscle spline system down the spine, i created controls for an FK system for each rotating point of the wings.

i included 2 additional controls along each wing to allow for simple layered control for quick posing. each of these controls will affect 1/2 of each wing.

i will be completing the rig after winter break concludes.