Aviva Gomberg: the FINAL PPJ

WOW final PPJ! This is so exciting who even knows what to say! I am in high spirits today because the end is near.

This week I just finished everything I needed to do I guess. Renders, comps, background plates, what have you. I feel pretty confident in the work I did, and am more relaxed today than I would’ve expected for the day before the project is due. Lots of crazy late nights, weird, reversed sleep schedules and high stress this past week but I feel fairly optimistic. I kept doing this thing were I would get home at 6 am from the labs and then play the Sims even though I desperately need the sleep. It’s been a weird last week.

THE GOOD: Really the only news you need to hear. I went to the senior sendoff today with a bunch of other digms and i won a TV in the raffle!! Very exciting.

THE BAD: I did waste a lot of time so the work I did I probably could’ve done more productively. But whatever.

 

 

Party on.

 

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PPJ# 7 Aidan Dougher

I animated all week. I sent a few things off to the farm and animated again. I have been just refining and fixing, and have been told to fix the rig for my danger flower, and I have no time to do that. I don’t know where I’m going to get the time from seeing as though I have put in almost 60 hours this week and I’m still not done animating. Animation is hell.

I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing. Right now, I am so drained, I have to concentrate to type out these words because my fingers are too tired. I haven’t felt like this since I stayed up for 72 hours sophomore year here at Drexel. But this drain is not from my being sleepy, I believe it is from a stupid disease that my dumb boyfriend has. I just feel so tired and wish that I could stay at the labs later like I used to. But at around 8ish for the past two nights I have felt so drained that I just can’t stay any longer. Right now I am pushing through because of stress, but I really, really need sleep.

The Good: is there good? I have a very negative outlook this week, but I suppose the good is that we are almost there.

The Bad: WE HAVE TO FINISH IN 7 DAYS. I HAVE AN ADVANCED LIGHTING ASSIGNMENT DUE TOMORROW, AN ESSAY AND A PROPOSAL DUE THIS LATER THIS WEEK. I’M NOT PANICKING, YOU ARE PANICKING. …we are so screwed…

Anna Merchandises

So we are looking forward to the senior show and thinking about things we want to have. First on our list was team t-shirts which has been kind of a thing at previous senior shows lately. We really liked the purple color over the white, but the color was apparently discontinued very recently and we had to look at other color options.

We are going with a dark grey.

We also decided to bake! We ordered a custom shape cookie cutter, and we’re going to make doggo shaped sugar cookies to have at the show.

Spring PPJ #6 – Team

We sent out a time-lock for music industry last week! We’re excited for the collaboration.

The team is still in varying stages of animation and rendering. There has been a large push to get teammates who are further along to get their animations in a satisfactory enough state and take shots from teammates who are still far behind on their animations. All of the deliverables are due June 6, so that leaves us with 29 until it’s due, but definitely not 29 days to work!

The Good ~ The renders are coming out nicely! Team members are ready to start picking up other people’s animations to bring them closer to polish.

The Bad ~ The deadlines imposed by the project manager have been met with a lot of resistance. June 6th is the project due date, and there is no time left for possessiveness and perfectionism, especially when those who are behind have barely started rendering. Resources are, and have been, major concern.

PPJ# 6 Aidan Dougher

I am on my first week without a job. Hurray, I need to start my search for after graduation. Our team lead is not being the leader that they need to be and got scared by something last week, and now they are taking it out on everyone. There is no structure to our pipeline, there is nothing being planned correctly. If I am done with my entire animation by next week, I should have something else to work on, I shouldn’t be able to twiddle my thumbs and just relax, but as it stands, there is nothing to work on. It is week 6 of the last term, and we barely have our animation together. Our team lead is worried about resources and keeps saying that we don’t have enough, we need to get this done now. But, we all have been rendering, we all have been doing our share. The fact that she thought something was finalized because it took her a week to render, but had never gotten the okay from everyone that it was finalized is just crazy. We need more communication, we sit next to each other in the labs every day but there seems to be a lack of it when it comes to final renders. Nothing should be finalized unless the team gives it an okay. You can’t go off on your own and say “whelp took me a week to render this, couldn’t possibly spare time to render it again, so, its finalized. Don’t need to inform my team.” Everyone on our team needs a structure where our animation gets passed by everyone, then it can be rendered the final time and not need any adjustments. Not everyone has to be happy with the animation, but if the animation is overall a positive and there are only a few negative things about it, it can be sent to the render farm. Our team lead also has imposed deadlines on us which is fine, but she imposed deadlines on certain people and I have a feeling that she isn’t imposing them on herself. She also made these deadlines last week and gave us a week and a half to figure out how we were going to accomplish that goal. She doesn’t seem to realize that she has become a bit of a tyrant. Another problem that I have been having with our team lead is that all last term and this term, when we would have our Monday meetings, she would schedule them and not really care is some of us, namely Will and myself couldn’t make it. It’s not a team meeting if everyone isn’t there. I had told her this several times, but it seems that she was only thinking of how to schedule it so that she could catch the bus home.

Now that I’m done with that rant, onto what I worked on this week. I worked on Animation mostly, and I attempted to make a  better blendshape for Anna using a script called extractdeltas but that doesn’t seem to be working. I need access to the plugins on the computer that I choose to do the blendshape on, and the lab computers don’t allow me access. I am trying to see if I can do it on my own or someone else’s computer who has maya 2016.5, but haven’t had much luck. I also had to go in and fix the dog and man’s outer eyes for my scene because they were overblow due to our over exposed lighting. My animation is slowly getting to the point where it needs to be, I still have a lot to fix and I need more feedback. But I also am working under the impression that my shots are going to be taken away from me, which minimizes my part in the project, another thing my team lead and I don’t see eye to eye on. I get that my scenes aren’t where they need to be, but giving me a week and a half’s notice that they are going to be taken from me if I don’t have them up to par is some bullshit. My team lead and I had a discussion last week where I said ” hey, your going to impose deadlines, you have to let me know about it way before it happens so that I can plan accordingly.” But right after that she imposed another surprise deadline. I have two more classes than our team lead, and she seems to think that because she works and is taking two classes this term, she knows what I’m going to be capable of, maybe she does because this was her situation last term, but this is being a little absurd. I’m just fed up with how things are being run, because they aren’t being run efficiently, and they aren’t being run with everyone in mind. I might have to deal with this in a workplace setting, but our team lead is not my boss, I get equal say in what happens. She is supposed to plan out the pipeline of our project and make sure that we all are getting things in on time. She hasn’t done that until last week, and even then, she hasn’t planned it all the way through.

I’ve been doing a couple of test renders of my more finished scenes to see how everything plays, and have been getting render errors, but I think that my have been my fault since apparently my renders having been getting enough memory dedicated to them. I’m still animating these scenes and they aren’t finalized but it’s good to see what goes terrible wrong and what doesn’t.

The Good: Final Stretch of our animation is here, just a few more weeks and we will be done.

The Bad: I am mad and will probably remain mad at some of the bullshit that is going on. I am an angry person right now, and don’t want to deal with the team lead’s bullshit, or anyone else’s really. I just want to get my part done efficiently and be proud of it, I don’t want it minimized because the team lead got scared. I need help in moderation, I don’t need the team lead thinking that she is the overlord of this project so she can give and take as she pleases. My contributions won’t bring the team down if I take a bit longer. Our project won’t fall into chaos if I need three extra days with my work.

Spring PPJ#5 – Cali Chesterman

Another productive sprint with a 40 hour week. My lower back is sore and my wrist’s nerves are pinching. My goal is to get all my animations done by Thursday.

Project management has been my personal hell. I am constantly being hit by the blunt end of my teammates stress sticks and told how unsympathetic I’m being. In this type of environment, where our “personal” lives are so intertwined with our “working” lives, team members have a REALLY hard time separating them. The reality is that, as of this post, we have 36 days to complete senior project. Two teammates and myself are at render stages. As I polish my shots, they go straight to render. At least half of the frames fail. The teammates who are behind are not being realistic about the resources we have and the hours needed to put into polish. One teammate is being overburdened, but refuses to share shots. I am confident that this teammate can complete their work and make it look good, but we’re OUT OF TIME for possessiveness. Another teammate hasn’t been using the project management system, reporting hours, or checking off tasks, and it looks like little to no animation progress every week. What is this mess?

I can’t even bring these horses to the water’s edge. They sure as hell ain’t drinking.

The Bad ~ My teammates are stressing me out and are behind. I can’t understand the logic of “I have too much work, but I vehemently refuse help”. I also can’t understand needing more structure, but refusing to even log-in to the structure that exists. I keep getting berated for being bad at communicating deadlines, although, the deadline of senior project was no surprise and everyone knew it was coming. I try not to micro-manage people and their timelines, but now this is getting ridiculous.

The Good~ I am still in a good spot with my animations and should be done by Thursday. Then I can take on Aidan/Aviva shots.

PPJ#4 – Aidan Dougher

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.

Spring PPJ #3 – Team

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.

The Good ~ Environments locked. Matte paintings done. Danger Flower rig done (again). Ship done (again). Lights locked. Overexposure instancer bug fixed.

The Bad ~ Shadow render layers not fixed. Advisor not communicating much, and we need him in this final stretch.

Anna Teaches You How to Fix Particle Instances That Don’t Obey Light Linking in Renderman 21

So we’ve been having this issue ever since we started using light linking in our scenes. We tried to fix it with the new render setup that Maya 2016.5 has, but nobody knows how to use it and it seems really super buggy and unfinished so that caused way more issues than it solved. Legacy render layers were similarly unsuccessful even though that had always worked fine in the past. So we’re back to rendering everything on the same layer, which means that we had to face this issue to move forward.

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When using particle instancers, they completely ignore the light linking that we setup for reasons no one truely understands. However, I have figured out how to fix it.

See link: https://rmanwiki.pixar.com/display/REN/PxrIntMultLightFilter

Basically you have to grab the lights that are not supposed to be affecting the instances and multiply them by zero.

Step 1: Select a light that you don’t want to affect your instances. Create a PxrIntMultLightFilter.

 

Step 2: On your PxrIntMultLightFilter, in the attribute editor, set the intensity to zero to cancel out the unwanted lights.

 

Step 3: The PxrIntMultLightFilter can be linked to objects the same way regular lights can be. Deselect everything except the misbehaving instances and the shading groups.

 

Step 4: Apply the PxrIntMultLightFilter to your unwanted lights. This will only affect the instances since we linked them to the filter in step 3. Click on the unwanted light, go down to Light Filters in the attribute editor, and right click on the box to select the filter we created in step 1. Existing filters will show up at the bottom. Do this for all unwanted lights.

 

Step 5: Render!