PPJ #14 – Cali Chesterman

This has been a time-intensive sprint. I’ve spent more than 50 hours working on it, in one single week. I’ve finally fixed all of the blendshapes and integrated them into the man’s GUI, so now everyone can have more intense facial expressions, in addition to a hair blowing in the wind SDK. The textures have all been updated on the man, so now his eyes have refraction. I got a lot of my animations done (but there is still a lot to go), with the focus of polishing about 6 seconds, or three of my shots. The dog animations still intimidate me a little bit, but as long as I keep those eyebrows strong and those puppy eyes large, we should be good.

I’m a lot better at technical work than I’d thought. As we were rendering, we’ve run into a bunch of little errors, the largest one being the man rendering fine in a single-frame render, but double transforming in a batch render. There’s a Renderman Node called Evaluate Frequency, which has fixed that problem. It feels nice when problems are easy to fix and don’t dwell. This week is also full of meetings to discuss team management things with my advisor. If you’ve been keeping up with our PPJs, you know there’s been a lack of weight-pulling from some team members. I’m trying to strategically figure out how to not let that bring us down. I’m all about conflict solution, but I cannot do it on my own.

The Good: We have fixed a lot of the bugs we have run into this week. Anna and Aidan have been on top of their animation game and have continued to refine. Will has finally made the necessary camera edits to his scene so it matches our poster. The lighting in Aviva’s scene looks very nice. I’m more confident in my own workflow, but I still wish I’d planned this project a little differently.

The Bad: Senior project is on my mind 24/7. I’ve been dreaming about crashed renders, the Man, and the Dog and feel guilty when I’m not working on senior project.

Other: I have taken a leave of absence from work. This harms me financially, but I have accepted that my job is temporary and senior project is setting the stage for my career, and thus should be my priority. It’s a complicated opportunity cost that a lot of my peers cannot empathize with. This project needs to be good, at least for the team, but they’re becoming increasingly pessimistic. The only thing I can do right now for them and myself is put out my all. On the positive, I feel less drained every day not having to deal with customers – it’s a bittersweet feeling.

*Cue Titanic Song*