PDA

View Full Version : My First 3D Short and Recommended workflow for students and hobbiests


kelvincai
02-11-2005, 04:29 AM
Finally finished my first 3d short for a courses
please c&c

(http://www.cs.cornell.edu/%7Ejkc38/videos/bearsoccer.mov) http://www.cs.cornell.edu/~jkc38/videos/bearsoccer.mov
(please copy&paste the url)

My workflow is as follow:
1. 3D Animation
model, texture, and animated in 3DS MAX
rendered with MentalRay and default renderer for different scenes
highly optimized MentalRay setting and use Final Gathering only (no Photons)
output: RPF files (NTSC DV)

2. Composition
composited in Combustion
do DOF, motion blur and other effects using the RPF file formats
output: avi files for each scene(NTSC DV)

3. Final Editing
sound effects and scene transitions in Adobe Premiere Pro
output: avi (NTSC DV) or mpg (MPEG-2 for burning into DVD)

please comments on my workflow
and all things are done in my laptop (Intel Centrino 1.5G w/ 1G RAM)

since I will do another short for another course
this time I will use Maya
and Maya don't output RPF formats so that I can't do the tricks for DOF etc.
any suggustions for it? RLA formats?

dragonfollower
02-11-2005, 05:10 AM
The link doesn't seem to be working. I'm excited to see it though. Let us know when it's back up!

-Brian

kelvincai
02-11-2005, 05:15 AM
the symbol "~" makes it not working when click on it

please copy&paste it on a new window

Moderator: how to fix it?

scotttygett
02-12-2005, 12:53 PM
Finally finished my first 3d short for a courses
please c&c

(http://www.cs.cornell.edu/%7Ejkc38/videos/bearsoccer.mov)http://www.cs.cornell.edu/~jkc38/videos/bearsoccer.mov
(please copy&paste the url)

I'm on dial-up, so the 15 megs isn't practical, but I'll speak a smidgin to the workflow issues. Incidentally, this is covered in each of the specific aplication forums too, I think, though the chat tends to focus on ways of using proxies and plug-in's in the most efficient manner. Cornell, eh?



My workflow is as follow:
1. 3D Animation
model, texture, and animated in 3DS MAX
rendered with MentalRay and default renderer for different scenes
highly optimized MentalRay setting and use Final Gathering only (no Photons)
output: RPF files (NTSC DV)


I won't criticize your workflow, but here's what I would say mine looks like:

Rough notes (one page or a bunch of cards): genesis of the thing, which can be a longtime fascination, a collaborator's influence, maybe a dare that stimulates a joke, like "What's the hopefuliest film I could make?"
Drafts toward outline.
Sketches.
Modelling tests.
[I've been in a Cine Club for the pst year, and this throws a monkey-wrench and turbo-charges the process, because I have to bring in a project under deadline. I've learned that I have to have certain things when the deadline hits, because if I have the soundtrack, they give me credit for finishing the thing, as long as I've got a couple of frames that look right. It works as a storyboard and the audience can generally follow along. I tried it the other way, with pictures only, and nobody nibbled.]
Object rigging and scene compromising. (When I'm convinced there's enough of a script to get a few laughs, I'll generally start to play with the dolls. Since my goal is not necessarily finished animation, I don't sweat phonemes at this point, I make sure the minimum props will be available, some of which may get thrown out later. I'm already breaking up the scenes into versions with and without props for faster animation.)
Dialogue into a tape recorder, rough sound fx from public domain. It has to get on a disk somehow, and this can be a hassle, though there seems to be a fair amount of good editing software floating around.
Edited sound.
(Save the rough tracks in case you need to add or edit later, which is common, especially in animation where the longstanding tradition is to do the soundtrack completely first. Doing this with live action is possible but the movie tends to fly by. With animation, a smart quick pace is expected.)
It's possible to throw a bunch of elements together and find the script later. I seem to have done this about half the time, following inspirations and intuitions. The shortcoming of this approach is that there has to be a "rescue" involved for the writer, characters and audience -- historically, politically, practically, psychologically, metaphysically -- or I get bogged down. As a rule, have more than one character.
So, the "scratch" soundtrack is locked and it's time to pick some shots, assuming the props are adequate and the characters are crudely rigged. They should be completely rigged (skinned), because rigging is an inventory thing. Animators shouldn't have to do it.
Jason Wen warns that texturing can double production time, and so I've come to use "cards" for anything further away than ten feet and "settle" on something that's half right to get to a polish if there's time. For a fast food drive-through markee, I knew I wanted to use a "print screen" piece of typed words, which was paint-boxed and used as both art and bump maps, but it never fit the frame right. Hours fly by. I think I sacrificed a bunch of things and stopped. Then during tests, it turned out that a glass cover reflecting the character reading the markee kept the attention there, so I was off the hook.
Texturing can be a work-habit exercise, because one rotates through dozens of types of textures, and packages like LightWave allow one to use a null to scale and position the texture, and then by deleting the null, automatically load the numbers to the map, and then to the UV map, if needed. Both MAYA and LightWave have "shelves" where one can keep favorite textures, especially in case one goes tool far and loses something nice. Housekeeping is also required by using "Save all objects" to connect the current texture to the current scene's objects, and saving evolving looks as different Scene numbers.
LightWave will allow me to light the Scene completely, then save the lighting as a separate file to load into a two lioght set-up. Or converely, I can keep the lighting, but only use two or three lights for Open GL and set those to 0% during production.
At some point, I look at the clock on the wall and do some math on how much time I'll need to render, and then animate the camera for cuts that follow the soundtrack. LightWave allows the audio to play realtime during the Scene, and I'm guessing this is also a feature in MAYA and MAX.
If I can get away without compositing, I do.
Keyframing is the last step.
Then I render image sequences, and back them up zipped to a DVD.


2. Composition
composited in Combustion
do DOF, motion blur and other effects using the RPF file formats
output: avi files for each scene(NTSC DV)

One can create avi's or QT's without going to a separate application, and that's what I do, assembling everything but the sound in LightWave. If there's time, I'll do some title art. It's so easy these days to do something. It's a shame not to.

I haven't needed compositing much, and I don't own any programs that do it. I suppose I would use the anti-aliasing in LightWave and a card with the hidden alpha renders enabled to composite most shots, or risk some rendered depth of field.


3. Final Editing
sound effects and scene transitions in Adobe Premiere Pro
output: avi (NTSC DV) or mpg (MPEG-2 for burning into DVD)

It's odd how that jokes can disappear or move around depending on where music and sound effects are placed. I usually edit in the camera. I was able to see the finished film in LightWave using the audio feature, and then making a rough avi with sound. I also don't happen to have an editing program.



please comments on my workflow
and all things are done in my laptop (Intel Centrino 1.5G w/ 1G RAM)

Either way, you come to a deadline, monthly, or after ten or twenty weeks, and you have what you've got, and thank goodness, you can fix it. Maybe there will be a screening coming up, or something else that motivates you to add some keyframes and render some more.

I was downloading your short film -- I saw the alien test -- but it's only half loaded on my dial-up, maybe later.


since I will do another short for another course
this time I will use Maya
and Maya don't output RPF formats so that I can't do the tricks for DOF etc.
any suggustions for it? RLA formats?

MAYA has a lot of depth. I wouldn't be surprised if there are several redundant formats that provide you the options you're after, including saving separate objects to separate layers for Premiere. If you like to have more luminance values for HD or film, numerous formats are HDRI or "floating point."

kelvincai
02-12-2005, 07:41 PM
thanks scott
your comments are very detail and useful:)

making a good storyboard first is v. useful and save some time for later work

i kinda wanna to make animatic when hv rough models and props
to check the pace and camera

scotttygett
02-12-2005, 10:16 PM
I didn't notice that I omitted a storyboard up there. I suppose where it says "sketches," what I meant was the look of key shots. Since I love animatics, you'd think I would add that step, but I didn't.

I currently don't have a scanner, bitpad or digital camera, kind of like you with your laptop. And my workflow includes moving the camera to where I was thinking of putting it, and then cloning the camera and continuing to move it around with the new clone camera. I can wind up with 10 cameras that way, but I rarely lose shots I like, when I want them.

I have been forced by circumstance to shoot CG animatics. If I owned a decent animatic program and the wherewithal to load jotted sketches into it, I might do that step in order to meet deadlines. (MAX or LW can probably be configured -- dynamic parenting in LW, among other methods -- to provide a fair animatic solution.) But here's another pickle: do I want to become a better sketch/comic artist or get the darned shot? Most of my friends make extremely rough storyboard drawings, jotted on scraps.

There is also the part that isn't talked about with storyboarding: knowing what evocation/tradition/convention/point-of-view/transition is right for the performance/moment in the script. That comes up in the cinematography area; do a "search" for "crane shot" and you'll see what I mean. A lot of it IS probably intuition/godhead/fifth lobe/10,000 hours of accumulated TV watching, so don't let it scare you.

coffeefery
02-15-2005, 05:36 AM
Regarding workflow, I guess everyone has their own style, and depending on their experience, the workflow differs (hopefully each workflow flows better than the previous one, otherwise, it would be wise to humble oneself and learn from others why they could achieve thier work in a faster and better way).

Anyways, I would recommend a book called 'CGI Filmmaking: The Creation of Ghost Warrior' by Timothy Albee for anyone who's interested in working in a better environment if theirs don't seem to be working too well. Although the author uses LW, it shouldn't differ much when applied to other softwares (even though LW uses 2 apps - modeler and layout- instead of 1). For those who are working on a 'one'man' project, I highly recommend the book.

kelvincai
02-15-2005, 06:15 AM
thanks,

I definitely check out the book
We usually get inspired by other's works or work style

I believe a good workflow is kinda critical for animation production
It could save time if we could be aware of some stuff ahead of time and avoid mistake or redo at coming steps. It is especially important as I am doing stuff by myself

thanks man, again

CGTalk Moderation
02-15-2006, 07:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.