This week was very stressful and I’m exhausted, my course load is taking too much of a toll on me, so I had to cut down my hours at my job to just one day a week, which won’t be enough for me to survive on. But, I am polishing up my animation a lot and it’s getting to a much better place. In the middle of the week there was a problem with my scene file where my lights weren’t casting any shadows. But I fixed it, hurray! There was something weird going on with the environment scene Aviva made a few weeks back, and it was fixed by just taking her changes and applying it to an older version of that file. I’m still not sure what happened to her scene, but everything works now. I still have a lot to do, and apparently I have to go back and create some different blendshapes for the dog. That’s being put off to another date though, once my animation is in a better shape I can focus on that.
The Good: Uh, environment’s in a better shape?
The Bad: Animation isn’t there yet. I suck at life and I want an extra 24 hours in a day.
This Sprint is focused on gathering materials for our faculty “polish” presentation. We are working hard to get to that point and continue to hit a few speed bumps. The renderfarm is still a bit spotty, but again, a renderfarm is better than no farm. Anna is near completion of her Starry Night scene and has rendered out her sequences on the farm with a lot of success, with the exception of an eye rigging bug that we didn’t catch until last week and have been struggling to fix (it’s fixed!)
When the controller is moved
The Good ~ Polish, polish, polish! Render, render, render! We’re almost there. A lot of shots are in a good spot and need to be sent to the farm. Nuke Comps have been set up so post can start as soon as EXR sequences come in.
The Bad ~ The team is getting burnt out quickly again. We are now solely focused on animation and it can get boring doing the same thing day in and day out. We’re working through it. We hope the farm also stays alive enough for us to render in time for the showcase. If my calculations are correct, f DragonBones had no render farm and had to render everything from one computer, at the max amount of time it takes to render one frame, it would take 68 days to render. We have 43 days until our project is day. Worst case scenario, with most efficient render time on one computer is 21 days. We have that kinda time, and with that being the worst case scenario, we have a lot of buffer with the farm and having multiple computers available to us.
Afternoon renders from before
look at me
Night time ship renders (RMAN WORKING AGAIN!)
Long shot of the environment and the instances. We had to cut back on the instances from 25K to 8K. It was just an unnecessary large number that made the scenes run slow.
Oh boy where do I start! Mostly, I just worked on refining animation. Lots of refining. Tonight I made a rough of our showcase video. I have also been working on some drawings that I thought we could give out as little postcards at our senior showcase. I don’t know what else to say, I feel like I said it all.
The bad: I guess I could’ve worked more, I could always do with doing a little bit more.
The good: got a fair amount of refining done, though again, I still have a long way to go.
^^ Workin’ on a draw — was inspired by the comic Summerland by Paloma Dawkins — still have to color in and refine my lines
So the render farm has been an issue this week, which sucks because we have another presentation tomorrow. We’ve been trying to fix all our render issues and animate this week. The man’s eyes turned out to have an issue that we hadn’t caught before and I was able to fix that, though there was some confusing weirdness after I fixed it where the parent constraint only worked in the renders if it was keyed. which makes the point moot for us but still kind of tripped us up for a bit.
I’m working on setting up comps for us all in Nuke, but people have not been delivering when I ask for renders, so it’s been a slow process.
The Bad: We aren’t going to have all our shots rendered tomorrow. Even if the render farm had been working all week, we can’t animate and render at the same time and we weren’t going to take the week off while we render.
The Good: I feel like I am personally in a good spot, but I’m worried about our team as a whole getting up to the quality we need. I really don’t want to not graduate because of someone else’s shot not being good enough, but aside from literally doing it for them (which is what might have to end up happening) I don’t think there is anything that we can do and it’s very frustrating and anxiety inducing. If my grade and my future didn’t rely on anyone else right now I would not be worried.
This past week was spent primarily on animation. After changing my shots last week and creating a basic pop through of the new Scene 1, I had a lot of animation and polish to complete.
I started out by taking my pop through of the first scene and making sure the timing was right. I checked in with our team’s advisor several times to confirm the placement, timing, and actions of the camera and characters. On Wednesday I finalized the timing and pushed the pop through to a full animation. Thursday I again worked on the animation of the first scene and created a walk cycle for the man in the opening shot of our animation.
Both Friday and Saturday were spent polishing the animations of both the opening scene and the first scene. On Sunday I added a camera to the opening scene and created the shots. Upon reaching a comfortable place with my animations I created new playblasts and compiled them with the rest of the team for the next iteration of our animation.
In total I have worked approximately 26 hours this week. This time was mainly spent on animation of my scenes.
So this week I reanimated my entire scene. It was the worst, and it now is pretty choppy. Hopefully I will be able to get it looking better before our presentation. But, with many things, I might not be able to get it to the same place that it was in when the professors saw it last time. I also won’t get a chance to batch render before we present. I could try but I won’t have enough time with my renders being seven minutes long per frame, and even longer when it is on the farm. I also am unsure as to how happy the farm would be with my ground having a normals map on it now. I had my entire weekend off, and all I did was animate and work on homework. I really need a mental health day, unfortunately with rising tensions I will not be able to get a mental health day until my animation is completed and looks wonderful and is put through our render pipeline into our edit and then I will be able to rest. That won’t be for another month though. I don’t have motivation to work on this project right now, and with our adviser wanting us to work on senior project and check in with him everyday, I can’t take a day off. Even if I eventually get my scene looking fantastic by some miracle. I rendered out all of my scenes for Anna to set up nuke files for, and I’m concerned about our WIP video we have to have by the presentation. No one has worked on it yet, and I want to take on the task to get out of the funk of constantly animating. I like animating, but with the fact that I restarted from scratch I am very, very tired. I also need to apply to Jobs, but I have no idea what I’m qualified for, and I don’t have an updated reel or resume, and I don’t have time for these things. So that’s my state of being. Hurray.
The Good: We are almost there, polish polish polish.
The Bad: I am worn out, and I’m sure my team members are too. We don’t have much time, and I want to apply to Jobs right now, but have no time to put a reel together.
We had had this issue before that took us forever to see, where the iris of the man was not following the controller and was always pointed forward. But he’s fixed now! It was a small rigging oversight.
This past week I spent updating and tweaking lighting and textures. I also made some pretty large changes to the camera placements in my scene.
The readjustment of my shots was to more simply serve the animation. The same general mood and scene is delivered, but in a lot less time. This creates a simpler, cleaner scene for both animation and story. Now the camera stays more or less in one place, with only one major move. There is a zoom out on the initial shot in order to reveal the dog in the background. We start closer in on the man as he looks at the environment in the foreground. Then the camera cuts a little farther back to reveal the dog watching the man. The man becomes aware of the dog and there is a moment of recognition for both of the characters. Then the man simply walks off screen, wary of the dog. The dog pauses, then follows.
Other than shot readjustment, I spent my time refining some textures. The ship has been textured for a while but I decided to more precisely break up its UVs in order to focus on those areas more while texturing. I also UV’d the control console of the ship as I had not done that before.
This past week I also finalized my scene’s lighting. This consisted of small changes to overhead distant light and adding a rim light to the man.
In total, I spent about 20 hours on the project this week.
Our advisor tasked us with locking lighting and environment work by Monday, so from here on, we can focus on animation. We think we’ve hit our mark, but with spotty communication from our advisor, it can be hard to tell what feedback he’ll have. We’ve run into a few bugs, found by Anna, with render layers. As we’re trying to render out our environments separate from our characters, which requires shadow passes. However, this doesn’t work with Maya 2016.5, which is frustrating. She also found a bug with our particle instance, which collect too much light and get overexposed, which was (thankfully) a simple light filter trick.