Sunday, July 29, 2007

Buck: Gravity

We recently finished this piece Damn Gravity for fuel tv. I personally really liked it because of it's unique graphic style and character animation. The character, skate ramp and props were done with maya's toon shader and outlines, all rendered on separate passes. I rendered out the outline pass when the character was un-smoothed to give it a rigid offset feel....the toon shading was rendered with the characters smoothed.
Actually not too much 3D rendering work here, a lot of great design, and hand drawn stuff.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shave and Haircut- Part 4 (Mental Ray or Maya)

Shave and Haircut for Mental Ray...coming soon.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Shave and Hair Cut - Part 3 (Procedure?)

Working with hair I have found that I can spend hours and hours adjusting maps and test rendering. I have found that it is extremely important to have some sort of procedure when attacking a project or else you can get lost for hours if not days fine tuning maps trying to get your look only to come to a dead end and start from scratch. Here is a work in progress of the steps I have begun to take when first starting:
1. Roughing out scale and root width is probably the best way to start. Keep the hair count down for quick renders until you start getting a good sense
2. Determining UV Sets or apply an additional fur set to faces can help you allocate denser hair where needed. See the UV section.
3. Determine how close you are actually going to get to your character. If your getting close to the face it's important that you allocate a lot of time to render. The closer you get....the longer the render. As you pull back you'll find that your root width doesn't need to be as fine thus by using thicker hair you can use less....decreasing that render time.

(more detail to come)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Shave and Hair Cut - Part 2 (Uv Maps - UV Sets)

UVs are really important even though shave does a nice job of distributing hairs no matter what they may be, so if your uv's aren't equally distributed the hairs won't group in unwanted places which is great. I have found recently that it is really important to create more than one shave hair set on a surface. By selecting faces on the geometry and creating new hair this can really pack hair in places and put less hair in others.

For example the hair on a animals face is typically very fine and short. This requires one to up the hair count to fill in places that require fine fibers of hair. If you Create a UV set for the head and one for the body, you can pack more hair into the head shave node and avoid this unnecessary hair count for the body.

If you are using UV sets you can assign them to these faces which is nice. I did think this was a good option for a while but then I had to start paint too many mattes and it was difficult to keep a handle on everything. (I have found that it is best to work with one nicely laid out uv set...anything more than that is too stressful :)

Note: Try not to include uv's into a uv set that don't contain any fur (like the inside of an animals mouth). If this fur has zero density you might as well not include it so what would be essentially invisible fur is now allocated somewhere more useful.

Note (2): If you are using two uv sets I have found that sometimes it is hard to match the look of to two hair sets at it's seams. Make one of your two uv sets include both of your areas, then use the density map for each hair system to "blend" at the seam. I am still working at this technique but it seems to be a good solution for now.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Shave and Haircut - Part 1 (Scale)

I am deep in the throws of a project requiring Shave and Haircut for Maya. I have been using this software on and off for the past year or so. Slowly and progressively learning how to manage time and get good results. I have posted many questions on the forums hoping to get a response, but there don't seem to be too many folks forging the threads for shave and haircut topics.

Anyway the first thing that I want to talk about is:

Geo Scale:
First things first, the scale of your object and the scale of your hair is very important. If the scale of your object changes, (for example your animal gets referenced into a scene and the animator scales him up) this will mess up how you originally intended the hair to look. So make sure your model's scale is fixed and that in no way in the future will his scale change before starting to work with Shave.

Hair Scale:
By scaling up and down or using mattes to scale your hair, this can affect the integrity of your clumping down the road. I have found that it is best to create your hair, and then use the scale brush tool (make the brush big, zoom out and scale all the hair down to the approximate length). I hear this is much better than attenuate because attenuation can cut your hairs too short and you'll be popping and fixing hairs rather than having control right off the bat (A great tip by Chris Chrisman). From there, I will minimally affect the hair using black and white maps until I have it right, or I will cut the hair, (this is an assumption but this seems to reinitialize the hair's scale to a default setting rather than globally affecting all of it attributes).