Friday, November 26, 2010

Sketch Method coolness

The multipass 'sketch method' I've been using lately is particularly good for adding detail and blurring the sharp edges you get in 3D modeling when two objects meet. For example, a city at night (from far far above) ... click through to the better res version...

Now that I know how to do a proper city from the air, I might have to go back and re-do certain shots from Archon that I was never 100% happy with...

It works great for grass and plants too:

The standard render out of 3D max with one pass
You'd spend a lot of time getting this to look any
better just by adding detail and geometry...

5 passes, with noise modifier synced to the frame rate.
Yup, I'm happy with this :)

And a view in 3D, with my 'stand in' human proxy model for scale.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Skyline semi-spoilers review

(warning... spoilers directly below this disclaimer...)
You are cordially invited to join us for dinner.
We would consider you the guest of honor...
..In fact you can think of yourself as the main course

Ok, so it's grocery shopping day on planet Xorblax, but by the time you get to earth you realize you've forgotten your shopping list. No problem, 'cuz human brains were the only thing on the menu anyways, and it's not like the humans were using them anyways. Bring along a few friendly critters to smash shit up and chase the protagonists until everyone dies at the end.

Oops. Did I mention that everyone dies at the end... well, almost everyone. Kinda makes the first 15 minutes of the film pointless building up the 'character development' for everyone who ends up as intergalactic sandwich meat... Blue is the color of 2010, the shinier the better, and this film packs more blue in than Avatar and the Smurfs combined.

I'm glad to see that somebody finally found the 'color' swatch in the Trapcode Shine plugin. I couldn't take a whole film of orange...

I was entertained, though I didn't go in expecting much of this film. They got everything off the checklist:

  1. Aliens
  2. Scary CG critters that suck human brains out
  3. Army guys fighting aliens
  4. Explosions
  5. umm... other cool stuff too.. I guess...
It must be getting harder for previs guys to come up with original designs for alien critters and monsters. Notice how aliens these days are getting more and more legs, and eyes, and mouths, all in wierd places... like eyes on the feet... and feet that are mouths... and tentacles. gotta have lots of those. What are we going to do when all the movie monster critter ideas have been though up? Oh yeah... make good movies again I suppose..

Skyline... 824 stars out of 1111

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sets - Exteriors

Exterior shots are always the most time consuming to setup, there's lots of little details to add, plus you want to avoid elements obviously repeating too much, while at the same time using objects over again to same modeling time...

It's especially tricky when your shot required a close-up set as well as far away details. Each of these environments took me about 5 days to build. Now that I've established the materials, stylistic look and build methods, it should be easier to create the other outside shot environments that I'm going to need:

This top scene is going to be a long render... the frame time is clocking in at about 5 mins per frame... and the shot here is going to be a good 30 seconds long... I'm tempted to animate this shot first and get it rendering while I build my other sets...

A lot of my time was spent optimizing the poly count on the market booths here. I've got high-poly versions of all the booths for closer shots, but once I started to fill them out like I wanted to, it was computer crash time, so I had to go in and cheat a bunch of the detail that I had put into the high poly models, I eventually got the models down to about 1/4 the poly count of the originals... the computer is still sluggish with everything on the screen at the same time.

This shot is going to be a "cheat".. in that I'm going to over-render and do a camera pan in comp... This makes life a little easier, since I can then render in stages, from back to front, and then comp in layers of actors who I have to animate into this scene as well.