This project has gone through some amazing changes since the beginning. However, in this version, I am not quite satisfied. I most learn to grow from the mistakes I've made while creating this and continue on.
Let's not get too excited because this is starting to look good! I fixed the saturation on the grass. Currently, I am using a ramp to drive the color. In the last post, I used arbitrary shades of green. This time, I color picked the greens from the Ivy texture. Speaking of the ivy, that is still a huge work in progress! I'm still trying to figure out how to get them to look more filled in and creating branches, on top of adjusting the shader. I've also been adjusting the shader on the fence, adding depth of field and a camera move, and added the basket back in (Don't know if I'll still keep it). The bike is officially 100% fully UV'd. That took much longer than it needed to and I cannot guarantee that all the UV's are perfect, but I feel like a UV expert! I guess the worse part of this update is that the render time for this frame jumped from 5 minutes to 18 minutes.
No Basket. 17 min 49 second render time
This looks a little different... I am still moving forward with the bike. Unforunatly, do to time constraints and my main focus being on Doll Story, I have decided to scale down the project. No more Martha. No more Abbey Road. Just a bike next to a fence.
I painted in textures in Substance Painter. Brought the maps into Maya to render in Arnold. I am having some issues with a few of my specular roughness maps not working as expected and I'm getting a lot of noise/fireflies on the tires. They are just problems to solve. This frame had a local render time of 5:35.
This time around, I matched the shots with the music. Let me just say, this new animatic is like night and day! The first two shots are very slow in my option. Maybe when I start adding subtle motions, it won't feel as long. The shot where its just the dog in the basket, I'm want the dog to be looking around, sniffing the air, and wind blowing throw her fur.
Updates & Same changes
Everything in this animatic is really rough and in its early stages. I'm sharing want to share with several people to get good feedback and to make this project even better. Between posts, I have made a number of updates. Here are some below.
I've never used Maya's Paint Effects. In the past, people have told me never to use them because of how bad the end up looking. Which, those people were not wrong. So I never really bothered to learn until now. I know I wanted plants in my scene and I wanted them animated. The only other option I could think of would be to use Speed Tree (A software that I don't have and my school doesn't have a license for). I started watching tutorials on paint effects. They are extremely easy to use and implement, but you have to put some work into them. Getting dynamics in the plants were fairly simple to add. I also learned how to save out the geometry so that I can apply my own textures to the leafs and stems. Paint Effects are going to be how I'm getting animated plants.
Martha, My Dear
Wireframe in 3DS Max
I spent about a day in ZBrush trying to zRemesh parts of the bike. The thing about doing it that way is the bike becomes very high poly. It wasn't until much later in the day when I went back into 3DS Max to see if the model had really been modeled in tris. Turns out, no! I thought that maybe I've been exported out the model wrong and tried reexporting a few times before turning to google.
The first page I went to was an official 3DS Max to Maya page from autodesk. The article was had recently came out in mid-April. So this had to work. Unfournatley the post was very unclear on finding the right menus to go to. There were even screenshots of Max they added but the images are so small, that I can't tell what I'm looking for.
The second page I went is from Autodesk Forums posted way back in 2012. The first reply was what the first page wanted me to do, but the commenter actually said how to get to the menus. Immediately try again, but I still have the triangles. I go back to the post and see that the author comments back with the same problem. One more scroll down and Boom! The solution that solved everything!
Here are the steps:
Renders from the Website
There's always a risk with using free models that come from the internet. The bike model I ended using looks nice based off the pictures. There are no textures, and no markings giving me a point of reference for the model. Even with just the shaders, it looks nice.
The original format I downloaded this in was a 3DS Max file. I've used this program several times before to quickly convert models to FBXs. I brought this into Maya and turns out that the model is not bad. The picture was accurate and the poly count wasn't insane. When the model was created, the pieces were merged together based on their shaders. But a quick Mesh > Separate broke everything apart. Some parts of the model, like the seat for example, was modeled in quads while other part, like the frame, were tris. The bike is angled on its kick stand so it doesn't stand up straight.
I'll go through and clean up the mesh. The bike, also, has no UV's so I'll be going through and adding those. I'll also go in and replace parts of the model that are not holding up. At first glance, the pedals and the gears are not what I am looking for.
In my journal, I drew some thumbnail sketches and simple blocking. I am trying to figure out the best staging for the camera and I'm thinking about textures.
In short, I want to have a bike leaning against a wall outside. The goal in mind is to focus on a variety of weathered textures. It sounds just as traditional one might think so I'm still working a adding something a little extra.
Reference Image Hunting
The Start of a Location
The environment is just as important as the bike. Where is it located? Why is it here? After looking over some of the reference, I really preferred bikes against a withering brick wall with some greenery starting to grow through cracks in the ground.
I started to think of locations where I might find such locations and remembered the song "Penny Lane" and the album "Abbey Road" by The Beatles. I took to Google Maps Street View and "drove" down both streets. I, eventually, stopped in front of 47 Abbey Road and saw this as the perfect location. I love the vines hanging over the wooden fence that's apart of the mossy brick wall. The concrete tile of the sidewalk can bring so much. There is so much texture in that one spot.
As the main character, the bike has to tell its own story. Who's the owner of the bike and what does this bike say about them? This is going to rely on models I find, but I do like the rustic, older bike models. I'm even partial to the the flower basket. I am still figuring out pieces of the story, but I know new ideas will come in time.
For a color scheme, I want vibrant greens from the vines and rich browns from the wood. I'm really drawn to the bright, unnaturalistic red bikes. They really make the bikes pop out in the photos.
The Next Steps
I'm doing some research on a future project for one of my classes, and I stumbled across this image of a stairway. I'm not too big of a fan of how the photo was taken but I really liked the simplicity of it. As a quick practice, I decided to take inspiration and recreate it with a twist.
By quick practice, I didn't want to be overly picky about this shot. I threw on some lovely shaders that are hidden in the darkness., but I was more focused on lighting. This was kind of fun. I might see if I can find time to do another.
In the scene, there are 2 lights. A keylight (pxrRectangleLight) that is the main portal light through the door, and an HDR using the Luxo Jr. HDR that I am using as a fill light to bounce into the stairway. I am, also, using a pxrSurface with a slight emissions on it to create a void effect through the door. The key and emission lights are both keyframed from a white/blue color to a red color.