I am happy to have accomplished this assignment successfully. Even so, it still has a lot of flaws that need to be addressed. But it’s the first time I’ve directed a short film on my own.
In fact, I had already decided before beginning the graduate program that I would need to do a lot of practice in graduate school, and I intend to finish with a short film of my own. I began planning my FMP in my third semester, concerned that I would not be able to complete my objectives on time. As a result, the robot’s production will be completed by the end of the third semester. Then, in the last semester, I concentrated on scene production, and because of my prior expertise, I was able to calmly deal with and solve problems when they arose. This decision appears to be the correct one at the moment. The earlier the activities are planned, the faster the project will be completed.
The rendering of the computer, I believe, is the most challenging aspect of the manufacturing process. I can’t see the entire rendering effect map during the scene construction because my computer configuration is quite outdated and the graphics card is from the GT710 series. It’s not even capable of rendering more than three props. This generated a lot of problems for the production of my short film. I can only render each prop separately, then imagine the final effect of the picture in my head before adjusting the lighting or props. It also made the final render quite challenging for me. Because I have not seen the whole rendering of my picture before the final rendering, many faults are only noticed after the farm has been rendered, and I must then readjust and re-render. Rendering consumes a significant amount of time.
Fortunately, I was able to find answers to most of the problems I ran into while working on the project on the internet. Chris was also quite helpful. The weekly sessions have been really beneficial in completing my job on time. I’m someone who likes to put things off until the final few days, but the weekly meeting forced me to stop this poor behaviour by requiring me to present some fresh progress during the meeting. This will assist me in completing FMP.
Despite the tight time frame, the entire project is solely my responsibility. However, when the final film was released, I felt a feeling of success and was pleased that I had been able to persevere in finishing this endeavour. Even if the voice acting isn’t up to par, the scene and the robot’s model are still riddled with flaws. However, completing this assignment increased my confidence in the VFX profession. And I believe that by starting with a small video, I will be able to produce more and better work. Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to the professors and classmates for their assistance!
This week’s images were essentially finished, so I prepared a little preview. However, there are a few lenses that need to be tweaked.
Petals on the floor, for example, should be replaced by leaves. I also ran into a new issue, in that I need to add a desk lamp to the robot’s hand in Figure 2, but I’m not sure how to make the desk lamp move with the robot’s hand. If this issue cannot be resolved, I may have to alter my stance. Complete this photo in a more straightforward manner.
My main purpose this week is to build a forest scene. Make a scene for the leafy forest in the early period and the deadwood forest at the end of the film.
The most difficult aspect of this photo is figuring out how to employ agents or other techniques to just create a lush forest. My computer configuration is not sufficient to support me in running a big number of models and data calculations due to its age. Before adding leaves, I attempted to model each tree straight in Maya. When there are roughly 20 trees, though, the computer frequently freezes or crashes.
I discovered on the internet that using a C4D plug-in called Forester, I can simply create a vast forest with minimal computer configuration. So I began to experiment.
The initial step is to establish an aircraft, after which you can search the Forester plug-in library for appropriate materials. The second step is to employ the octane render distributor to assist us to turn a single tree into an entire forest. and. To make the tree look more random and less uninteresting, add noise to the OC distribution. This will give the entire forest a more realistic appearance.
The Forester plug-in includes poor texturing. So I went with Quixel Bridge. There are a plethora of high-quality materials to pick from. At the same time, I planted another tree to contribute to the forest’s diversity. Also, two rock elements from Quixel Bridge were chosen and placed in the picture.
I ran the first rendering test after finishing these. However, there was a snag. The image appears to be too quiet. It’s nothing like a forest in real life. To make the image more agile, I added fog and a gentle breeze.
After completing the the storyboard last week,. For this week I began to set up the scene and the characters. In terms of roles, I chose to continue to use the robot that I completed last semester. The shape of the character might not change much here, but its material may need to be re-adjusted. Because this time I will use the OC renderer to complete it. All of the material properties need to be re-adjusted.
Last semester I used Maya’s Arnold renderer. Fortunately, there is an option to directly export Arnold materials to MAYA in Substance Painter. The previously exported Arnold material cannot be used in the OC renderer. But substance painter does not have an OC renderer option, so I have to set a setting that can export OC textures. In this way, the texture details of the robot can be better presented in C4D. The more difficult thing is that my computer is too old and there is no way to draw textures of the entire model at the same time. So I can only split the model into different parts and draw them separately.
Fortunately, exporting oc materials in Substance Painter is not very complicated. First create a new preset, and then select Base Color, Height, Metallic and Roughness in the input texture field. Then select ‘Normal OpenGl’ in the conversion texture.
The next step is to link the textures separately in C4D. The next step is to link the textures separately in C4D. Because the material of the metal is quite special, it is necessary to use the diffuse material and the metal material to mix to achieve the effect, so I carried out the material heavy chain according to the scheme in the first image 1.
The next step is to set up the scene. I purchased some models and reconstructed them. This is the initial effect. It’s not ideal, and the picture is simple. The lighting effect is also very general.
This week, I started planning my story and making storyboards based on the story.
This may be more like a trailer. The story takes place in the mountains, a robot living alone. One day the robot working at home suddenly heard an abnormal noise. When he came downstairs according to the sound, he found that his home was full of petals. Where do these petals come from. Why can this robot live alone in this place? This is the beginning of this story.
The main style, I want to focus on oil painting. Because I think the classically optimized lighting, tone and texture are more in line with the retro-futuristic style.
Regarding my FMP, my idea is to make a short film like a trailer and apply the knowledge I have learned over the past year to perfect the picture as much as possible. My main goal is the application of CG lighting and environmental design, but also to familiarize myself with the process of post-production. After completing this project, I feel that I can do my job well whether I join the company or as a freelancer.
During the summer vacation, I started to think about my short film story. I wanted a retro science fiction story. Then I found a lot of retro sci-fi movies for example, Metropolis（1927）, Ghost in the Shell（1995), Blade Runner（1982), Steamboy(2004) old sci-fi movies. From these movies, I felt the beauty of retro science fiction, and found that science fiction movies do not necessarily need colorful neon lights, minimalist design AI robots to complete. In comparison, I would prefer movie scenes like steampunk or retro science fiction. So I decided to make short films around retro science fiction.
In the production process, I will consider another question. It’s about the use of CG lighting. Sometimes some pictures will create lighting that does not conform to the laws of nature. For example, in the movie Christmas Star, there are some unreasonable lighting. For example, in a natural lighting scene, the shadow and bright and dark parts of all objects should be the same, but in this picture we can see the mountain on the left The light-receiving surface of the character is completely different from the characters. The explanation for this art director Sean Eckols is: because of creating a tense atmosphere to adapt to the story.
So the question I want to think about is whether the use of unreasonable lighting will affect the audience’s feelings and understanding of the story?
In this term, whether it is a cooperative project or a personal project, I have a deeper understanding of this major. It made me more familiar with the film and television production process.
For personal projects, my main purpose is to consolidate and strengthen the content of the last semester. Make me to be more familiar with the post-production process. From modeling to texturing to compositing. This pratices allowed me to solve many technical problems. Examples include how to create hard surface models in Zbrush, layered rendering in Maya, and texturing. I think these things can make me more confident in my future creations.
For me, the main purpose of the collaborative project is the research on special effects such as smoke particles, as well as the knowledge of what I have learned before. For example, the clean-up, camera tracking and shooting. This is the first time most of us have the shooting experience, so many problems have arisen. For example, we did not carefully consider the final effect of special effects when shooting. Therefore, it is difficult for us to match character actions with the animations of the portal effects. In addition, the lack of preparation of props made it difficult for us to Roto out later. If we use a green screen when shooting, we may be able to create better effects and save a lot of time. But I am very happy to have those kind of experiences. It can help me avoid many problems in my future creations. I am also glad to be able to complete this project with my team members. Diana is a very good leader. In this exercise, she helped me solve many problems.
In general, I have gained a lot this semester. Regardless of the results, I am very happy to have these experiences.
This shot is quite tricky for me. This shot mainly shows that Diana draws a stroke on the wall, and then the portal slowly spreads out to form a circle. like the image shows.
I tried several different effects in After Effects. But the result is not very good. The portal looks like a flat surface. It is not very suitable for the scene.
Here is the first version for test.
Obviously, this result is not ideal. And the style of this portal is different from other portals. After a group discussion, we decided to use the effect of smoke instead of light. So I created the portal in the same way as in the previous shot. However, adjustments have been made to the animation. Make the portal appear as a line at the beginning, and then slowly expand into a circular portal.
I rendering the portal separately into two parts, the main object and shadow.
I encountered several problems in rendering. The first is the voxel size of the portal. I found that when I adjust the voxel size to a smaller value, it will bring better and clearer results, but at the same time, the simulation cache and rendering time will be longer.
The second problem is that when I perform multi-pass rendering, there will be a problem as shown in the figure. In the rendering process, there is no white edge in this circle, but it will suddenly appear when the rendering is completed. It still exists when I composite it in Nuke. In the end, I found that the problem is the alpha channel.
This kind of problem will not occur after canceling the option of straight alpha in the rendering settings.
Here is the process of combination.
I clean up the material first, remove the signs and pipes on the wall. Then extract the projection through the shuffle node and merge it with the portal and the original material.
Then add another scene video to the screen. This expresses the meaning of Gherardo being transferred from another scene.
Then add the portal and shadow.
The last step is to Roto out Gherardo and use another roto node as a mask to make Gherardo through out of the portal. In fact, this is more difficult. Because this camera is in the front. Many problems cannot be concealed by covering up. And due to our early considerations, Gherardo’s actions are not very match with the portal animation. Through discussions with adlo, his suggestion to me is to adjust Roto to make the shot looks real.