I’ve falling ill lately and as such, I have struggled to keep productivity going during the weekend and week nights. To be honest, I’ve found a happy madium in being able to balance the workload equally amongst the team which takes away the stress I usually feel of having to compensation for team mates who don’t put in the effort. My team have been incredibly balanced since the beginning and I feel that we are support each other effectively. Last friday we delegated what each of us were modelling over the week but we made sure to keep in frequent communication to ensure that people didn’t end up modelling the same thing or producing unnecessary or irrelevant material. The benefit to this has been that we learn from each other. I spent plenty of time working with camera and lighting, and then went on to explore textures and UVs. With the ambition of our idea, we wanted to attempt to texture the models in a dynamic way to give more life to the world than simply have the style look forced and unnaturalistic. I began experimenting with wrapping and mapping UVs as well as using nodes to generate realistic looking textures including focus on bump mapping and displacement mapping. I followed a series of tutorials in order to get an understanding of how materials work so that I could utilise this to our advantage at a later stage. Due to the focus on texturing, I needed to ensure that this was practical and efficient in case we ran into a major rendering problem late in the development.
At one point, I began to model my assets in Mudbox until I realised a major practicality issue – there are too many polygons to attempt to render. While admittedly, Mudbox gave me more control over the model, the reality was that I had no ‘logical control’, in that I was seamless adding texture without considering the +7000 polygons present in the scene. There were more faces in the rocks than there were in the entire landscape we’re using. As a result, I resorted to using the Mudbox models as 3D concepts for Maya models, which gave me more understanding of the mesh I needed to create. In order to get to the modelling stage, I had to draw out the geometry to get an idea for the complexity of it’s shape in case I ran into issues during the model and had to restart. With James working on the landscape, I spend an hour teaching him and Daryl texturing for terrain and models, which also gave me more insight into how to use the other features in mapping to give the texture the best effect. After that, I taught them how to use lighting to test to see if the shadows and reflections looked effective on the designs. In one shot of the film, a distorted shadow comes into the soldier’s field of vision so I had to experiment with different lighting to ensure the shadow looked effect and could work. Since the film was in a daytime setting under an intense sun, I’m currently working on coordinating the lighting in ensure that the 3 point lighting set up looking natural yet intense as well as blending shadows well. Due to the positioning of the sun in midday, I had to ensure there were no erratic shadows that distorted as well as making sure that the character models were well exposed and recognisable to the audience.
Good lighting comes with good composition so I’ve also been focused on cinematography and staging. When the assets are complete, we need to ensure that the miss-en-scene doesn’t look deliberately staged and set up as it will break the cinematic illusion. If we were to simply create the properties needed in the film, the world would look empty and boring. As a result, I created a series of vegetation as well as various miscellaneous props such as barrels and boxes to fill the world with more contextual detail. As a result, the composition will make the world feel more alive, but also making sure that that props aren’t just littered over the set which can obscure where the audiences’ attention should be.
I also spent some time experimenting with shadow and lighting to reveal the creature.