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View Full Version : Snowy Graveyard Scene - What can I add?


JaredTaylor
05-07-2010, 08:20 AM
Hello.

I'd like ideas for what I can add to this scene and general ways of how I can improve what I have already. The snow is nParticles, the fog is a fluid.

I'm going to duplicate the tomb to add another, I'm going to add some stones along the path that the grim reaper will be walking along. I'm going to make several more gravestones, but then I'm out of ideas.

The scene is for a very short animation I'm doing for my end of year 12 week production. We haven't been taught how to texture, render, light, or animate yet - it's all part of the course though so I'll learn, what I've got here is what I've learned on my own so I really need advice.

The scene is meant to be the world in between life and death. Where the grim reaper travels to get to the land of the living.

Thank you all for your time and input.

http://i44.tinypic.com/142xb3s.jpg

Molte
05-07-2010, 02:51 PM
It is not as much as how many objects you can add to your scene as much as what in conveys.
I would strongly advice you to storyboard/animatic out what camera angles your supposed to use in your scene, and build up the scene by that. Making sure it doesn't look to framed and that it leads the eyes in the right direction.

First you build your scene up by making sure the ground works with your animation, then you can start adding the larger objects where you feel it fits inn. And then thirdly when you nail your cameras you can start detailing inn with smaller objects where it is needed.

Cosmo126
05-07-2010, 03:54 PM
Hello Virtualistic, my first impression at looking at it is definitely the lighting. It definitely adds mood depending what lights you add/how many/what intensity, etc. Do you want a night scene, maybe a day scene, a morning scene? It's a neat concept for sure, and like Molte said, plan everything out. Storyboards, sketches, anything to help you flesh it out. That's what i can think of off the bat.

Good luck!

zmuh11
05-07-2010, 04:27 PM
I very much agree with Molte that making an animatic to lock down your camera angles is an absolute must. It will really help when it comes to adding extra details because you wouldn't want to spend hours modeling something really nice then not having a camera see it.

Ideas for adding objects.
*Maybe some horizontal bars for the fence.
*Some more dead brush/foliage/maybe some dead flowers to signify somebody left something for the dead?

Really awesome scene though, I like your snow shader.

Can I ask a question in these forums as well? How did you accomplish the snow on the ground?

musashidan
05-07-2010, 06:09 PM
I would agree with molte's observations. On the point of conveying an overall theme or idea: as the scene is now the lighting is completely neutral. It's hard to tell if this is indoors at night (in lighting terms not the fact that it's a graveyard) or outdoors in evening time. The diamond shaped object behind the grave on the right is unreadable and also obscures the headstone in front. The horizon line is too visibly stark and stands out as unreal. it might be no harm to break it up with trees and various other dilapidated elements.

JaredTaylor
05-07-2010, 11:15 PM
Hi everyone, thank you all for the responses. I appreciate it!

I have the cameras worked out in my head, and atm it's been enough to work with, but I will storyboard it hopefully tonight and show you guys the result.

I want a night scene, don't really know how to light it, but I did my best.

While waiting for my post to show up I did extra work and I'll post it at the end of this post.

I added the horizontal fence but haven't had time to do the foliage yet. Which I shall do.

I don't quite understand what you mean with the horizon line, Musa. You say just add some dead trees in the background, are you saying it's bland? Please clarify so I can fix it :)

http://i42.tinypic.com/1zf4ruw.jpg



Oh, right, the snow shader-- I almost forgot. It's really quite simple, make a phong E, change the color to a ramp texture, change the top of the ramp to black and the bottom to grey (if you make it white it'll be too bright), then plug a sampler info into a ramp which is plugged into the incandescence, the incandescence ramp should have white at the top, and blue at the bottom (but drag it up quite a bit so it's overall effect is greater). Lower reflectivity a lot, adjust specularity, and that's all it is.

Cosmo126
05-07-2010, 11:50 PM
If it's a night scene, then try to work with mood a bit more. Right now it's too blown out for a night scene. Look at how films light night scenes. Start with one light so that it's completely dark, then start ramping up the brightness or color. Mess with the shadow color so that it helps add more mood.

JaredTaylor
05-08-2010, 12:49 PM
Hi everyone, I did the storyboard :) Still working on the scene mood and everything... sigh, what a mission. Appreciate input!

Please click this link, I wont use image tags because it is pretty big, and cgtalk will scale it to an unreadable size.

Thanks for looking!

http://i43.tinypic.com/2upqsme.jpg

JaredTaylor
05-08-2010, 02:49 PM
http://i40.tinypic.com/2nuhpw5.jpg

IestynRoberts
05-08-2010, 03:16 PM
Hey Jared!

I like the concept of the story :)

The scene, to me, could be done with a lot of work though. If you're going for a moonlit scene, trawl through google images to see what it looks like. There's a lot of blue tints at moonlight - this is lacking on your renders.

The snow on the ground right now looks like glass. There are some really great tutorials out there on creating snow (sorry don't know what software you're using, but here's a decent one for Maya); Snow Shader - Maya (http://www.creativecrash.com/maya/tutorials/rendering-lighting/shaders/c/realistic-snow) .

Another thing - your scene has no shadows. I've been up on high mountains, where no light pollution touches, in snow, and you'd be amazed how much light the moon actually bounces on us. The shadows are amazing. Right now, the scene lacks everything that portrays it as a night time.

Also, the tree, rocks and the wood on the wee huts are the same colour. Vary them up - this will give the scene a much better contrast.

Keep going, and I hope you'll get it right :)

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 03:43 AM
Thanks!

I'll definitely take your advice.

I'm actually having some problems with raytrace shadows -- some areas are getting darker, but the shadows just aren't showing up on the ground... my light has shadows enabled, the shadows are enabled in the render settings...

Prior to reading this I made a short video (it's only 5mb) of what my scene looks like with animation. Found here: http://www.vimeo.com/11588413

I've read a lot of snow tutorials, but I don't want realistic snow, I want cartoony snow, I'm pretty happy with the way mine is atm. Aren't you?

Cheers

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 05:28 AM
http://i42.tinypic.com/mws9qe.jpg

Meloncov
05-09-2010, 08:41 AM
I think you went overboard with the stars and falling snow in the latest one; it starts to overwhelm the rest of the image. I'd tone the blue back a bit; while it's not technically wrong, I don't think it supports the mood you're going for. One thing that can help a lot while trying to work out lighting is to take the image into photoshop, than paint and/or use adjustment layers to figure out what you want. Then go back and try to replicate that effect within your 3d program.

A wild guese as to what is causing the lack of shadows, you may have raytraced shadows on a render that doesn't support ray traced shadows (such as Maya's Software Render). Definitely figure that out; I don't think you'll be able to get the image to work without shadows.

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 11:32 AM
Maya software render does support raytrace shadows.. ;) I had the light settings wrong is all.

Thanks for your input, I shall tone down the snow, but the blue is there based on steven spahlberg's paintover

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 12:42 PM
http://i43.tinypic.com/25pkb9i.jpg

leigh
05-09-2010, 01:53 PM
You have far too much ambient light in your scene. My recommendation would be to lose all the little particles and whatnot while you're working, and and focus on lighting just the basic scene. That way you can focus specifically on what the light is doing, as opposed to getting distracted by other elements. One of the most common mistakes made by those who are new to lighting is simply using the light to make the scene visible and to add shadows. This isn't the right way to approach it. Lighting is both a tool and an art. Use it to add a new creative element to your scene, use it artistically to create an effect, not simply to make everything not dark.

Read through this, it's a great primer for lighting, and for getting you to think more creatively about lighting:

http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/tutorials/light01.htm

I've done a quick paintover of your render. Night time scenes should have high contrast and low saturation. The sky along horizon should be lighter going to darker, and you should use strong rim lighting to outline your objects - notice how I've painted light onto the edges of the fence, gravestones, trees, and other objects. This is how a night time scene should be approached. Since the moon is your primary source of light here, avoid having other lights that are casting shadows, apart from the two lanterns. You'll need additional fill lights to avoid overly dark patchiness, so you're obviously need multiple lights, but the moon is your main shadow caster here, with the lanterns being secondary.

http://www.leighvanderbyl.com/paintovers/graveyard.jpg

Your lack of textural details in your scene is going to cause problems with your lighting as well. In order to get interesting specular details, you need some displacement and bump mapping. This will prevent flat, unattractive patches of light. Snow, for example, is actually very detailed and wet looking, so try to get that look in your shader. This will add more interesting detail to your scene.

Your scene has a slightly quirky Tim Burton-esque feel. I'd suggest you watch The Corpse Bride and also The Nightmare Before Christmas for some ideas on how to light your scene.

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 02:49 PM
Thanks Leigh..

Ok.. I'm baffled...

And I'll respond properly once I figure this out and can actually fix my scene.

Default lights are disabled. I have no global illumination. I deleted every single light from my scene, but my scene is still illuminated!

I've checked every shader and none are glowing. How can I fix my scene if it's too bright without any lights at all :/

both maya and mental ray render a lit scene without any lights in, i went select all by type - lights then deleted them.

leigh
05-09-2010, 03:06 PM
If I recall correctly, Maya has a default ambient light. I don't have Maya here at home so I can't check for sure, but I think you disable it in the render globals somewhere.

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 03:14 PM
It does, but it's disabled =(

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 03:35 PM
some do, some dont, turning it to black doesn't solve the problem though, it still renders as if lit by ambience

here's a render without light and default lighting disabled

http://i42.tinypic.com/v3o9bn.jpg

leigh
05-09-2010, 03:37 PM
Do your shaders have ambient values?

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 03:39 PM
oh, it's just the incandescence is too high.. nevermind, i'm so stupid sometimes... i've never had to light a scene

leigh
05-09-2010, 03:54 PM
Don't use incandescence unless you specifically want those objects to emit light. So you'd use it for luminous objects like neon signage and whatnot, but not for anything else.

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 03:55 PM
thanks a heap Leigh, I'm really starting to learn.

My scene now looks.... .... different. I'll keep working on the shaders then post results. It's 4am, I have school tomorrow, and I'm not tired, going to be an epic trying to keep awake fit tomorrow loaded with caffeine.

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 04:44 PM
I don't even know if I should be happy with this result =/

http://i44.tinypic.com/1zb7681.jpg

IestynRoberts
05-09-2010, 05:48 PM
Wow Leigh! That's an awesome paint-over you've done there!

The lighting tutorial that Leigh posted to you is awesome, especially the night section on page 3 - give it a good read, and watch those Burton films - it'll inspire you.

One question I've got - what are the weird lines that come up on your renders on the snow? Kinda like a lighter patch of white, and are scattered around? There's one on the bottom left & right of the latest render.

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 09:15 PM
I will definitely go over that tutorial sometime and try to find those movies, second hand maybe.

Would love to be able to get my scene looking closer to Leigh's paint over, but don't know if I can, I'll try.

Those weird lines are bigger chunks of snow, should I take them out?

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 09:27 PM
http://i43.tinypic.com/w0qjkk.jpg

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 09:43 PM
Ok I have a problem, there isn't enough light and I can't really put more in without making it not dark enough. Audience need to be able to see what's going on, read the sign, the tomb stone, etc.

http://i44.tinypic.com/mviu5s.jpg

JaredTaylor
05-09-2010, 11:55 PM
Hi guys,

I had two dilemmas. The sign and tombstone were unreadable due to the darkness, and there wasn't enough contrast between my dark-blue scene and black character.

So I made the moonlight a lighter blue, it looks like it might be a bit worse but at least it's practical.

Here you go:

http://i41.tinypic.com/k36pew.jpg

urgaffel
05-10-2010, 12:36 AM
If you want the viewer to be able to read the text on the tombstone, you need to move your light or make it glow. Glowing text on the tombstone might look a bit weird though. Another option is to have a small lantern hanging off the cross that illuminates the tombstone, or it could be sitting on the gruond. Or maybe a candle.

Anyway, I think it would be good if you nailed down the camera angles you are going to use and then light the scene to get the best result. If this is the camera angle you've chosen, it will be really hard to read the text regardless of how you light it because it will be too small on screen. One way to get around that would be to cut to a close up of the tombstone and then to the wide angle shot. However, planning and nailing your shots before you start to put some serious work on them is a good idea since it can save you a lot of effort. It shows you where you need to put the detail and where you can cheat.

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 01:16 AM
I have got the camera angle down, I even posted the storyboard earlier in this thread:

http://i43.tinypic.com/2upqsme.jpg (http://i43.tinypic.com/2upqsme.jpg)

The lantern over the tombstone is a good idea.

Bergquist
05-10-2010, 01:17 AM
wow, that is some craziness you've got goin on here...

First off, I don't believe you have turned off the incandescence on all your shaders.
You need to do so, completely. And make sure all the ambient channels are turned off completely as well. This means you can't have a ramp with any values or anything else plugged into either one.

Secondly, for now, and until you are practically done, turn off all of your glows, turn off all your light flares, and turn off the fog.
I don't want to see anything glowing in your next render. Got it?

This goes along with what L was saying about how you need to get rid of your snow particles and little extras that over fill the screen until you have your lighting more complete. Glows, flares, and tons of little extras like the snow just get distracting and don't allow you to light the scene properly.

Now, are you still rendering with maya software, or using mental ray?

Why do you have bright white pathway stones? Is it just the incandescence you haven't turned off yet, or do they have an ambient on their shader or what?

Whats up with the new green glowing patches on the ground?

Is the moon light and those two lanterns your only lights? Or have you added others for fill already?
I'm assuming that blue globe in the sky is suppose to be the moon.

Lastly, what kind of light are you using for your main three lights (the moon and the two lanters)?
You should be using a directional for the moonlight, but it looks like you're using a point or something.




Hope I wasn't too much of a stickler, hehe
Thanks,
-Bergquist

Edit: I would just like to add, I love your idea! And those story boards you did before look very nice and are exactly what we were talking about for you to put together. Nice work!

urgaffel
05-10-2010, 01:36 AM
Oops, I apologise I didn't see the link, I got distracted by the pictures. I agree with Bergquist, that's a pretty good layout and shows you the main angles you'll be using. Since you have the close up of the tombstone, you can move the main light (the moon) a little bit to the left so you get a bit more light on the tombstone instead of the almost side on light you have now. Or you could rotate the tombstone slightly.

I also have to second what B says about stripping out the effects. You want to add those last, focus on getting the materials and lighting right first, then add glows, flares, particles, fog and all the other jazz. They are the stuff that makes a good scene look better but you need to have a good base to build on first. While effects can be more fun to do than getting the base right, they are a bit of a distraction (especially the flares on the mausoleums, they draw the eye).

Btw, if you have time and feel like it, render out the storyboard sheet with your lighting set up to see what it would look like in the movie. I'd create a camera for each shot and name them accordingly so you can easily do some quick renders and bash them together in PS to get a new shot-sheet. That way you can see which angles work and which don't. You can also cheat a little bit with the different shots but not too much since you want to keep the continuity...

What I'm trying to get at is that the scene might look good in one shot but not in another so there might be some tweaking needed. You might have to use different light setups for different shots for ultimate control. But that is probably over-complicating things so feel free to ignore the last couple of lines!

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 03:42 AM
Thanks everyone, right now I'm at school, so this will be an abrupt response-- longer version in 3-4 hours when i get home.

Moon is spotlight, will change immediately to directional light.

Mausoleums are point lights.

Will setup cameras and render each shot.

Ok, huge important question, I'm using incandescence with a ramp set to none for the interpolation, this gives me zero incandescence on black areas like the face of the tomb stone, and it makes the rim very very bright like what'd happen with actual moonlight. How do I get that rim light without sampler info -> ramp -> incandescence??

edit: Stahlberg said to keep the rim lights via incandescence (via pm)

Thank you, longer version incoming soon.

Bergquist
05-10-2010, 03:55 AM
imho, No.
To set up your lighting, turn off your fake rim light.

For now, detach it completely, and light the scene with absolutely no incandescence on anything.

Then, after you have your lighting set up, you can add back more rim light if you need it.


Edit: I would also light the scene adding one light at a time. Don't try to get all three to look right together from the start. Have the scene pitch black, and turn on the moon light. After you have that worked out completely, shadows and all, add in your fill light. Work that out completely. Then add in your lanterns.
Last is the shader-based lighting additions like the rim light via incandescence.

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 06:26 AM
wow, that is some craziness you've got goin on here...

First off, I don't believe you have turned off the incandescence on all your shaders.
You need to do so, completely. And make sure all the ambient channels are turned off completely as well. This means you can't have a ramp with any values or anything else plugged into either one.

Secondly, for now, and until you are practically done, turn off all of your glows, turn off all your light flares, and turn off the fog.
I don't want to see anything glowing in your next render. Got it?

This goes along with what L was saying about how you need to get rid of your snow particles and little extras that over fill the screen until you have your lighting more complete. Glows, flares, and tons of little extras like the snow just get distracting and don't allow you to light the scene properly.

Now, are you still rendering with maya software, or using mental ray?

Why do you have bright white pathway stones? Is it just the incandescence you haven't turned off yet, or do they have an ambient on their shader or what?

Whats up with the new green glowing patches on the ground?

Is the moon light and those two lanterns your only lights? Or have you added others for fill already?
I'm assuming that blue globe in the sky is suppose to be the moon.

Lastly, what kind of light are you using for your main three lights (the moon and the two lanters)?
You should be using a directional for the moonlight, but it looks like you're using a point or something.




Hope I wasn't too much of a stickler, hehe
Thanks,
-Bergquist

Edit: I would just like to add, I love your idea! And those story boards you did before look very nice and are exactly what we were talking about for you to put together. Nice work!

Woo, finally got out of jail, err, actually I think they call it school nowadays.

I'm now going to open my scene, go select all by type -> lights, and hit delete, then I'm going to delete all my ramp and sampler infos going into incandescence and ambience, hide my fog and snow, then I'm going to start from scratch and try and get things right like you suggested... :)

I'm rendering with Maya Software, because I'm at school we're learning Maya Software in the first year and mental ray in the second year (if I choose to do it which I probably wont, my reel's looking promising enough that I may land an internship and possibly a job after that), so I have to stick to what they teach us to use. We have no choice, it's mandatory.

Those green lights... well the idea is that theres hellfire below, and thats the green glow eminating from it, but I don't think I'm all that fond of it, it clashes with the blue horribly. I mean, the concept of hellfire below is nice, but just doesn't work practically.

I have no fill lights, not sure where to put them. I think I'll go with the above idea of hanging a lantern off the cross.

As for being a stickler, the more negative you are the better I improve, so keep it coming, long as it's constructive then it's appreciated :) (which it is!).


-----------------------------------------------

Btw, if you have time and feel like it, render out the storyboard sheet with your lighting set up to see what it would look like in the movie. I'd create a camera for each shot and name them accordingly so you can easily do some quick renders and bash them together in PS to get a new shot-sheet. That way you can see which angles work and which don't. You can also cheat a little bit with the different shots but not too much since you want to keep the continuity...

Great idea, will get on it ASAP soon as I've re-done the lighting, then I'll modify the light based on fixing the shots.

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 06:48 AM
Raytrace shadows aren't working with my directional light, to put shadow on my directional light I have to pump the intensity to 3000 from 1 to see anything, and then it's horribly artifacted.

edit: was just shadow color

another edit:

1) Why is the shadow color acting as a master color grading control for my entire scene
2) Why can I not get any shadows at all from a directional light no matter what settings I use

edit again:

I moved the light miles away, and finally got shadows, huge 300x over-exaggerated shadows. So I moved it closer, shadows didn't go smaller, snapped it right on top of my scene, shadows are still stupidly long.

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 08:29 AM
I think I got directional lights sorted, never had to light a scene before.

I finished lighting the scene, minus the optical FX on the lamps.

Opinions? BTW that moon doesn't light the scene, it's positioned where the moonlight WOULD come from, it affects no object, it's there for aesthetical purposes, looks better than a polygon moon.

Edit, ok that's it, wth did my shadows go. they disabled themselves again even tho they're enabled, and nothing i do will fix it, great... freaking bugged light

edit: k having a skydome turns off my shadows, no comment.

http://i43.tinypic.com/fucbpd.jpg

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 08:58 AM
Alrighty.. all done... what can I do to improve it, and better/worse than the previous one? Should I put in fake rim lights?

http://i41.tinypic.com/8ww1ma.jpg

leigh
05-10-2010, 09:25 AM
Your previous render was a huge improvement, in my opinion. All it needs is rim lighting. Switch your fog off until you've completed the lighting.

I do think your fog is too strong and too uniform. I recommend you render it in a separate pass (do you know how to do that?) and play around with it in comp. Also, keep it lower, in terms of actual height. The fog should be creeping around on the ground, not obscuring your entire scene, and should ideally be in the background, not all over the foreground.

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 10:03 AM
Thanks heaps Leigh, and the rest of you :)

Fog is off now. I'll add in the rim lights now, or am I missing a step? My tutor says it's still got a long way to go and I'll learn and the scene will progress when we study lighting texturing and rendering at school -- we'll also learn to render in passes and composite during that time.

I'm impatient though, I want to know how to make it the best it can be now. I've been reading jeremy birn's book but it just isn't helping.

He said on clear snowy nights there is no haze, so the fog probably has to go, it can exist in the background though. Thoughts?

leigh
05-10-2010, 10:18 AM
Fog is off now. I'll add in the rim lights now, or am I missing a step? My tutor says it's still got a long way to go and I'll learn and the scene will progress when we study lighting texturing and rendering at school -- we'll also learn to render in passes and composite during that time.

I'm impatient though, I want to know how to make it the best it can be now. I've been reading jeremy birn's book but it just isn't helping.

Well I think your enthusiasm is great. Your tutor is right that you still have a lot of work to do, so don't feel like you need to rush things. Even professional artists take a while to get things done, you know. So don't rush through things, take your time to focus on each part of the process sufficiently. Good to hear you have Jeremy's book, just familiarise yourself with the theory. Lighting is definitely one of the harder parts of 3D so don't get frustrated that it's not perfect yet, as lighting is such a complex task that it will take a while to get it done. So try to have more patience, with yourself as well as with your software.

He said on clear snowy nights there is no haze, so the fog probably has to go, it can exist in the background though. Thoughts?

Considering this scene isn't realistic, don't feel that you need to stick with reality, do what looks good. Even on film sets, they'll add in effects and stuff that aren't necessarily realistic, but simply add to the mood or enhance the environment creatively.

Remember that while your task is a technical one, it's also a creative one. Do what looks great. Study other people's work to get inspiration. Here was a recent night time scene that was posted on the forums:

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=871407

See how he has quite a bit of light, but he's used it cleverly to draw your attention to certain parts of the image. He's also used fog quite nicely to add some mood to the scene. The right hand side of the image is particularly successful.

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 10:29 AM
Before long my fog will be complaining about motion sickness... ;) Doing what looks good it is.

Here's the "finished" (as in, not finished, but finished) version.

http://i44.tinypic.com/wk32v4.jpg

Thanks for showing me that guy's work, it is really good. I don't know where I want the attention to be drawn though, as the grim reaper will be moving through the scene, I could have a firefly or two that follows him around (just a point light with glow) -- is this a good idea? Then the audience would follow the fireflies, and I'll have them buzz constantly around what the audience should be looking at.

I don't know if I need to fix the horizon line yet, it might not come into play with my shots, I'll do what was suggested above and render them out. My skydome that no longer works with directional lights fixed that =(

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 11:02 AM
http://i39.tinypic.com/mli0zc.jpg

leigh
05-10-2010, 11:08 AM
Here's the "finished" (as in, not finished, but finished) version.


Give yourself a pat on the back because your work has improved leaps and bounds since you posted this thread. Your rim lighting could be brighter and you could still have a bit more contrast overall, but it's starting to look good.

I could have a firefly or two that follows him around (just a point light with glow) -- is this a good idea? Then the audience would follow the fireflies, and I'll have them buzz constantly around what the audience should be looking at.

Yes, that's a great idea. In a night time scene, you need to use light to draw attention to things, so unless your reaper will be carrying a lantern of his own, using fireflies would be a very good and very creative way to draw focus to him.

I don't know if I need to fix the horizon line yet, it might not come into play with my shots, I'll do what was suggested above and render them out. My skydome that no longer works with directional lights fixed that =(

You definitely need to get rid of the line because it is distracting. Fade it to darness or obscure it with fog.

kanooshka
05-10-2010, 01:30 PM
One thing to keep in mind is that the sky doesn't need to be black. This image from a great reference
http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk
http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/tutorials/02-night-right-wrong.jpg
shows how unnatural it looks to have a landscape that's brighter than the sky. Think to yourself, where is that cool blue light coming from?

As for the horizon. Even adding mounds of snow similar to what you have the foreground would help breakup the harsh line that splits the image.

Bergquist
05-10-2010, 05:28 PM
The render is starting to look much better!

so lets see here...

First off, in my opinion, I would kill the light flares on the lanters. Flares in general are a beginner's move. Also, in real life, cameras don't see the flare all the time, just when the camera's lens lines up at just the right angle with the light source during its course of motion.

Secondly, your directional moon light isn't coming from the same direction as your moon.
Its best to position the light itself at your fake moon's location, then point it at the scene.
(for a directional light, it doesn't matter where in the scene it is located, it will do the same thing, but this is just to help you better see what direction you have it lilted.)

The length of your Moon's directional light shadows will then be created by the lilt of the directional light.
If you have it pointing straight down, no shadow length at all
If you have it pointing horizontal across your scene, your shadows will be almost infinitely long.
Somewhere in-between to fit your idea is prob best, and the length they are now looks just fine.

Also, I wouldn't have your moon made in 3d.
I would have it as a picture composited in.
You could also composite in the bg sky. I would definitely recommend doing it this way.
The easiest way I know of to get rid of the bg environment color is in your render settings, on the type of output file, set it to PSD (Layered). There are two types of psd you can render as, make sure you go with the layered one. Then give yourself a file name, and when you render, it will save out your render to that location with the background color as a separate layer in the photoshop file.
(the location is determined by what folder you have your project set to)

For you skydome issue, a giant object like a skydome will cast one giant shadow over everything if the lights are on the outside of it.
You can either make it bigger, so the lights are inside of it, or just turn that objects render stat to cast shadows off. That's what I would do if you want it in the scene.
To do this, select that object, go to your attribute editor, and go to the Render Stats drop down menu. There you will see all kinds of goodies, the first of which is to turn on/off Casts Shadows.

on your shadows,
Always leave your shadow color black. Always.
Then color or lighten your shadows with a color fill light.
If you break this rule, It should be intentional and for good reason. Anything you create that is suppose to look anything like real life will never break this rule. Situations that call for colored shadows that the color is not created by the fill light will be unreal or surreal situations that are just bizarre....
(by the way, the reason your shadow color was putting the whole scene in that color was because the whole scene was in the shadow of the skydome)
Also never have your fill light be any less than the value of 1. That's not the intensity, that's the color value. 1 is from white all the way to the deepest saturation of the color, so you're not mixing in any black. Then adjust how "gray" or bright it needs to be with the intensity.
(generally, the fill light should not cast shadows)

Do your lantern's have shadows turned on?
Do your lantern's have fall off?
I would do both.

Generally fall off in maya works like this,

all of these intensities are equal:
None = light intensity of 1
Linear = light intensity of 10
Cubic = light intensity of 100
Quadratic = light intensity of 1000

for your lanterns I would also use Depth Map shadows
with a resolution of 1024
and a filter size of 3
this will give you more occlusion and not two different crisp shadows.




....wow, that was a lot of rambling, sorry about that, hope it all helps!

nickmarshallvfx
05-10-2010, 08:39 PM
Great improvements, its always cool to see people take crits and suggestions on board and really use them to good effect. I agree with the comments about the sky, there are very few situations that the sky gets darker than the land, and its a difficult thing to sell even when its natural. Take a look at some good night photography to help inform the balance of lighting in your piece. Looking good man, keep it up!

N

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 10:18 PM
Give yourself a pat on the back because your work has improved leaps and bounds since you posted this thread. Your rim lighting could be brighter and you could still have a bit more contrast overall, but it's starting to look good.


Thanks! Will fix the rim lighting.


Yes, that's a great idea. In a night time scene, you need to use light to draw attention to things, so unless your reaper will be carrying a lantern of his own, using fireflies would be a very good and very creative way to draw focus to him.


I know the post below says optical fx are a beginners thing, but I think they'll work perfectly for a firefly.


You definitely need to get rid of the line because it is distracting. Fade it to darness or obscure it with fog.

Just did my... what do you call it, shot breakdowns? Well, the horizon line isn't visible in any of my shots, which is a good thing, but I'll probably fix it regardless.

First off, in my opinion, I would kill the light flares on the lanters. Flares in general are a beginner's move. Also, in real life, cameras don't see the flare all the time, just when the camera's lens lines up at just the right angle with the light source during its course of motion.

Done, thanks for the tip :)

Secondly, your directional moon light isn't coming from the same direction as your moon.
Its best to position the light itself at your fake moon's location, then point it at the scene.
(for a directional light, it doesn't matter where in the scene it is located, it will do the same thing, but this is just to help you better see what direction you have it lilted.)

You're right of course, I tried my best to fix it, hopefully it's in the right position now.

For my final production I might composite the moon/bg in after fx, but for now, it looks alright.

Thanks for the skydome tip, I wasn't aware of how directional lights worked at all, which is why I couldn't get it right at the start.

Yes lanterns have falloff and thanks to your suggestion have shadows now.

One thing to keep in mind is that the sky doesn't need to be black. This image from a great reference

I changed it to a gradient, tealish blue->very dark blue, thanks!

Great improvements, its always cool to see people take crits and suggestions on board and really use them to good effect. I agree with the comments about the sky, there are very few situations that the sky gets darker than the land, and its a difficult thing to sell even when its natural. Take a look at some good night photography to help inform the balance of lighting in your piece. Looking good man, keep it up!

Will do, thanks! :)

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 10:20 PM
Is the color of the firefly light right? Does it clash with my scene, in a good or a bad way?

I have yet to fix the rim lighting, will do it asap.

http://i39.tinypic.com/np2kjb.jpg
http://i42.tinypic.com/23t47f4.jpg

Bergquist
05-10-2010, 11:07 PM
First off, I'm so sorry.
I didn't even think about the fact I told you to make the moon a directional light, and then totally forgot that it doesn't matter where you put it relative to the skydome, the skydome will always cast a shadow until you tell it not to...
that's kinna the first rule of directionals, the light isn't relative to the placement of the light, just its directional tilt.

The light of the firefly doesn't look bad at all, but it just doesn't look anything like a firefly.... maybe a pixie or something fantasy, but its way to big to be a firefly. But again, I kinna like it, and don't think it looks bad at all

the firefly light needs to have fall off. it doesn't need to be lighting the top of your big grave thingies...
i would also give them a depth map shadow of like 512 with a 3 in filter size
when you shorten their radius with a fall off, the shadow thing won't mean much now, but when you have a character right beside them, its going to look weird if its giving off that much light and not casting a fuzzy occlusion shadow

the lanterns look too bright, but more importantly, i would get rid of their lower cap or at least make it smaller. Its casting such a large shadow that makes the lantern almost useless in a real life situation.

the shadows from the moon still don't look like they are coming from the correct direction

I've been meaning to ask this, What is that white square indention in the lower center in the snow?


Unessential Rant... But I think It would help:
I don't know why i didn't notice this before, but unless there are some tall trees hanging over your giant grave thingies, there is no way snow would have lumped up like that on top of them.
Under them, yes, but snow only lumps up like that if it fell there all in one lump, like from tree branch or something. Snow can build up a snow drift on one side of it though, but the top will be level.
Now, I like them, so I would find a way to make that snow have a reason for being there... ie have giant tree shadows cast across your environment, so the viewer could surmise they are just very big and out of frame. I think some giant tree shadows would look really cool anyway and add to the creepiness, just make sure they are winter trees with no leaves and your set!
The easiest way to do that would be to get a picture of a bare tree, then turn it into an alpha, so the tree is black and the bg is white, then just set it up on a giant single poly plane. Put the texture you made in the shader's transparency and then go into the plane's attribute editor and in the Render Stats turn off primary visibility.
You'll want to keep it off frame a little so the shadow doesn't look weird laying on the ground in front of nothing, but this way, if it does sneak into the upper corner of your render, you won't have to worry about it.

Cheers!

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 11:09 PM
I just decided it's now a wisp or a ghost actually, and I didn't like the greenish-yellow, so I made it a bright purple. It doesn't clash with my scene will providing some contrast to the blue. You know.. .it's a color harmony.

It actually does have a falloff, I think my mistake was making it too intense. I'll increase the faloff to quadratic. And intensity to... well, I'll test some renders.

Unfortunately I'm on school computers now so my renders are taking like 6-8 minutes instead of 1-2 :/

Not sure what you mean by 'lower cap'

Square indention is a hole that's been dug in the ground, a younger grim reaper is hiding there waiting to take out the older one, it's all part of the story you see. ;)

As for the snow on the trees, doesn't this fall under 'what looks good' vs. 'realism' as with the fog?

JaredTaylor
05-10-2010, 11:58 PM
http://i39.tinypic.com/21jc32u.jpg

urgaffel
05-11-2010, 12:08 AM
Have you thought about using a blue-red-orange-yellow grading? Like so

*edit*

I painted over this image http://i39.tinypic.com/np2kjb.jpg so you can flip between them in PS to see what I did.

Bergquist
05-11-2010, 12:20 AM
ello again,
as far as the snow piled up on your giant tomb thingies,
i feel everything in "art" should be what looks good over realism
thats kinna why it was labeled unessential rant, hehe
but i still think giant tree shadows would make the scene just look cool... and creepier too

when i say lower cap i mean the geometry at the bottom of the lantern that cast a shadow...
notice the horizontal "slit" of light on the giant tomb thingy, well the bottom shadow of that is being cast by the bottom of your lantern.
If you make that piece smaller, the shadow wouldn't start until further down, and i think it would look better if the "slit" or light expanded all the way to the ground.
Does that make more sense?
It would be no trouble to render a couple of examples for you if you need me to

JaredTaylor
05-11-2010, 01:04 AM
Should I take out the lower cap altogether?

Urgaffel, that does look better, thanks!

Bergquist
05-11-2010, 05:15 AM
After thinking about it for a minute, I would say no. Don't take it out all together as there would be nothing for the light source, which is probably a candle, to sit on.

But making it much smaller will probably do the trick
Cheers

JaredTaylor
05-11-2010, 05:54 AM
Good idea :)

Here is my current result. So err, I'm bored, and don't want to work on something new. Which means I need something else to do.... what can I do to improve this even further, is there a next step I can take? Something that'll take me an entire month to get right, even? ;)

http://i42.tinypic.com/nlpq1z.jpg

kanooshka
05-11-2010, 12:22 PM
One thing I'm noticing is that the firefly is dimmer than the light it's emitting on the tree. Brightening the firefly would fix the issue but would also bring up another. If there's only one bright point in the image all attention will immediately be drawn to that area. If you wanted the firefly to be the only focal point you could leave it bright but I'm guessing that's not what you want with this image. The solution for that could be having two, three or even more light sources visible in the scene. They wouldn't have to be main light sources but they would at least balance the bright areas between each other. Maybe you'd like to add have a few fireflies instead of just one. If not that then maybe some fairly bright lamps emitting dim light in a few places throughout the scene.

Either way, good work, your image has come a long way from the initial post!

JaredTaylor
05-11-2010, 01:29 PM
Hey Kanooshka, what about simply lowering the intensity of the firefly (actually, it's a spirit or wisp or something now..) by half?

Only problem is that I have to animate the wisps and have them moving about the scene, I suppose one could simply hover there and bob up and down but that might just distract the viewer. I have 12 weeks to animate this, starting in .. well, 3 months before december 02 or 12, I forget which one ;)

Edit: Looks ok with intensity of from '9' down to '2'.

Edit2: for some balance, I can have captured wisps for lights instead of lamps. ;)

JaredTaylor
05-11-2010, 02:00 PM
Here we go, much happier with the result :)

http://i44.tinypic.com/akcyno.jpg


Now the question is, --and I should of showed the character a long time ago, my mistake-- does the visual style of the scene fit the visual style of the character? I think so.

http://i40.tinypic.com/dnf5zq.jpg
http://i42.tinypic.com/r72k2v.jpg

JaredTaylor
05-11-2010, 09:50 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9o4yBEhWCs4

unwrap
05-11-2010, 10:52 PM
I don't want to seem harsh but I think you'd be better off not animating your scene :D. Seriously, avoid abrupt camera movements. Not only camera motion is too fast, but it feels like somebody keeps kicking it and it keeps hitting the wall, or something like that. I recommend, first of all, opening the animation graph and flattening all tangents (do you know how to do that?). But I'm no expert, let's see what others think.

Kev3D
05-12-2010, 12:10 AM
I've been following this thread for a bit, the scene is looking a lot better then when you started.

The character doesn't look like he's lit with the scene, is he?

urgaffel
05-12-2010, 12:17 AM
Try to stick with traditional camera moves to begin with. Static shots, pans, zooms. At the moment it looks like the camera is animated between the shots you have in your shot-sheet so I'm not sure if you're just having fun or if you intend to leave it like this. Please don't leave it like this.

Bergquist
05-12-2010, 12:32 AM
Didn't know if you noticed, but you placed globes around all three lights, the two lanterns and your wisp, which now shadows out the light completely.
You need to go into each one's attribute editor and turn off their ability to cast shadows in the Render Stats

JaredTaylor
05-12-2010, 12:44 AM
Please don't judge my scene based on the camera angles, that's just a quick muckup to show it off, the actual shot cameras are static, only one of them even pans. The rest just cut. Oh, the final shot camera zooms.

I'm just having fun basically.

Thanks for the tip about the globes, I'll look into it.

kanooshka
05-12-2010, 12:54 PM
The modeling style of the character seems to match well with the environment around it. I think the tricky part will be making the character pop out from the background as well as handling the shading/lighting of the blade on his scythe.

Right now the scythe really sticks out more than anything. It's very large, the brightest thing in the scene and right in the middle of the image. The viewer's eye gets drawn directly to it. You may also want to think of the shape and placement of the scythe staff. In the closeup image you posted it lines up perfectly with the fence and in areas where they overlap there's no noticeable difference of where one object ends and the other begins.

To differentiate the dark staff and cloak from the background you're going to have to use a lot of rim lights motivated by either the moon or wisps. Otherwise, the character's silhouette could get lost in the background. It may also work out if the snow was lot brighter and leaving the character as is. Using the contrast to draw attention to it.

As for the current lighting on the character, it doesn't seem to match with the environment he's in. I'm not sure where the warm lighting is coming from. Also, the majority of the character's lighting is coming from the front which flattens him out. Try using the existing light sources in the scene, the moon or whisps, to light the character and see where that takes you.

JaredTaylor
05-12-2010, 09:42 PM
I'm a bit baffled as to why the character wasn't lit by the scene, he should of been, maybe when I imported him the light linking wasn't set up.

I'm going to make the scythe blade dark grey so it blends more with the environment, then make it smaller, it's stupidly big and causes a little bit of a problem when he walks with it.

I thought a purple rim light on the cloth would look good, but it's just causing contrast problems, rim light must be white for it to work properly, so will fix that ASAP.

Thanks man :)

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 01:07 AM
I fixed the lighting based on input from my tutor, basically the light angle changed, the moonlight became the backlight, the wisps become the keylights, and I might turn off the fill light for higher contrast.

http://i41.tinypic.com/j5wlg0.jpg

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 03:30 AM
http://i44.tinypic.com/160u2ia.jpg

abbeytermeer
05-13-2010, 03:43 AM
the scene itself is very dark and dim (good for a graveyard scene), however... i think the colors need to be less saturated and the lights on the buildings changed to a color that matches the scene. the saturated color (especially the warm up against the cool scene) immediately draws your attention. Plus, you have it twice on opposite sides so your eyes are battling the picture.

by making the light source congruent with the scene allows you to focus on the character. the character should be the first thing people notice (as it is the most interesting thing in the scene and the base to your storyline). to balance a cool scene and make a particular topic the focus a warm color should be used. Since it is a black and white character... holding a flame?

Also, there needs to be the rest of the world! my first impression of this piece is a little iddy biddy planet of a graveyard... when im sure it's surrounded by something. maybe woods in the background? dark dark trees up against the dawning sky would be a nice contrast.

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 04:00 AM
I can lower the saturation when I composite it in after fx once the story is done.

I can change the wisps to a blue-ish purple; while keeping the main wisp orange, but giving the character an orange lamp rather than having the wisp fly around.

Bergquist
05-13-2010, 04:50 AM
hmmm.........

your shader based rim light is so bright now that it looks like moon light, which would be fine except for the light that comes across the scene from the left. I'm guessing thats where you moved your "moon" to.
And, did you change the type of light the moon light is? It looks like you did, and it doesn't look right.
But either way, if you want the shader rim light to be that bright, I would just kill the moon light.


Now that you have the lanterns acting as your key lights, I would even more strongly suggest you get rid of your glow...
and again, I definitely suggest almost getting rid of your flares completely!
And I'll keep saying it until you do.
Newbies are thick headed about their glows and flares, but I'm not going to let you do this to yourself.
Just consider them evil things that instantly make your art into kitsch (look it up if you don't know what it means).
Only when you scene is done! like done done! Finished lighting, texturing, animating, and completely rendered, should even think about adding them back in, and when and if you do, do it during post and only in the very slightest!
I can't stress this enough...
Last thing I'll repeat about glow, and that is, for an animation, not a 3d still, it should only be done in post production!
If you let maya put the post effect of glow on your renders for you, when you go to render the entire animation out, it can change ever so slightly from frame to frame, and your entire animation will flicker. That's a very annoying thing to have to re-render out your whole animation for.
Please just trust me on this, for now, forget about the glows and flares.



I agree with Auria for all the reasons she gave that the lanterns are too saturated.
And that is something I would change now, not in post.
Did you get rid of their fall off? Because they are making shadows way farther than they should be...

also, imho, I think the scythe should be made out of metal, not solid white or dark gray....


Regards,
-Bergquist

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 05:57 AM
Let me just slam my head into my desk real quick.

Ok, optical FX are gone, they're now purple, they're now less saturated.

I don't see the problem with those shadows, they aren't going unnaturally far, the two lamps are pretty intense.

Moon light is still directional.

Problem with scythe color: Anything but matching the environment makes it pull attention because of the constant movement and size, if it has no contrast from the environment, it wont pull attention.

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 06:08 AM
better?

http://i43.tinypic.com/x57js.jpg

Bergquist
05-13-2010, 07:29 AM
better!

The purple works much better, imho.
normally i would say they are still way too saturated, but as this is more cartoony, and they no longer brutally distract they eye, if you like them then i think they work great

now that we have this, lets turn the moon back on.
make it less intense to start with, and you can bump it up more after we get it going.
lets see renders of it coming from all four main angles to see which way works best for both shadows and for the fill light.

We can also start playing with more than one wisp now. We want them to make our character the main focus, and with the changes you just made to the lanterns, this should now be a much easier task


Thank you for working with me on the optical fx

Sincerely,
-Bergquist


Edit:
About the scythe color,
I totally agree, that's why I would make it metal. Metal will be gray and have a good deal of reflectivity. Most of the time it should be the color of the environment its in with a glint/streak of light every now and then depending on its angle.
I think this would work well

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 08:09 AM
Thanks so much for your input!

To be honest, I'm actually quite happy WITHOUT the moon, do you think I should still turn it back on?

If so I'll get those renders done.

In the meantime; what I've done in the past few hours is a revised storyboard, revised story itself, camera breakdowns, pose breakdowns, everything up to the point where if the lighting was fine I'd be ready to animate.

Please pay ZERO attention to the actual poses, I put minimal effort in them or I'd be up all night, at this stage they aren't important to me long as it portrays a basic idea.

Please right click and 'view image', or if you're on internet explorer click the link to the image.

edit: tinypic makes it too small, will have to find a better host or crop it into different files, one moment

edit 2: lets try that again.

edit3: Bergquist, do you know why when I import a character using the reference editor the maya hair and maya fur is no longer attached to the character? In the original file it has been tested and is functional.

http://i39.tinypic.com/wwhzzs.jpg
http://i40.tinypic.com/30wkr5d.jpg

kanooshka
05-13-2010, 05:31 PM
I feel like the work has taken a few steps forward in some directions but steps back in others. The image is way too dark. If you look at the histogram of the image, post #77 there aren't any highlights at all. There's a little spike at middle grey but that's it. In night scenes it's important to have contrast but it's also important to have highlights. Personally I feel the atmosphere you created in post 45: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showpost.php?p=6505884&postcount=45 was one the strongest. The ground looked like snow, it looked cold, it was obviously night and it looked barren.

Also, there's a blue sky but no light coming from it. Try adding some sky light even if it's just a small amount.

There are also some strange bright areas like the top of the coffin and the side of the object on the left side of the image. These don't seem to be motivated.

Keep going!

Bergquist
05-13-2010, 09:37 PM
I totally agree with Dan, there were a lot of good things about the image in post #45
I think that one was your best so far with only a few tweaks needed

The main difference in that one, and what you have now, is the fill light.

There really isn't a key light for this scene...
When you get the wisps working correctly and have them near your character, they will be what I consider your key lights.
The Hair or Rim light is shader based, and the moon really is the fill.

You need the fill.
I would suggest turning back on the moon, and placing it where it was before.
The shadows looked good, and help diversify the scene.

I like the way it is now too, but I think its too dark.
I wanted to get you to build up your lighting though, instead of fighting with your lights for balance all at the same time and not knowing which ones should be playing what role.

This has allowed us to see that the lanterns aren't going to work for key lights, and let us know that it will have to be done with the wisps.
Rendering out the actual camera shots with these few lights has allowed us to see this.
That was a good move on your part

But now, yes, we need to get some fill light back in there, and like Dan suggested, you could do this with the sky dome of "bounced" light, or with the moon light you had.
I would go with the moon because I really like the shadows you were originally getting from it.



To your query about the reference...
First of all, what on earth has fur and hair in your scene?
secondly, and more importantly, I'm not ever sure you can reference a hair system...
I have to say, this is the first time in a long time anyone has been able to stump me.
Make sure you are referencing all of the channels, inputs, and everything...
make sure it is parented correctly...
and after that, I'm sorry bro, but I have no idea
I'll ask around, and see if I can come up with any answers for you on that one.
but yeah, what do you have that's fur/hair anyway?

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 09:45 PM
I'm not allowed wisps, they said I have too much to animate already. Instead I have grim reaper carrying a lantern to illuminate his path / face / objects.

Right now, the thing with hair/fur is the grim reaper, it was the quickest and easiest way of giving him hair and a beard without having to remodel his entire face, re-do his blendshapes, his face rig, etc. -- a lesson I learned in poor preproduction and the result of such. I needed him to look older, apparently animating him as if he's old isn't sufficient for some people, even though death doesn't theoretically age... well, I guess that's what a parody is for. If I had it my way, the audience would know he's old from the way he walks. The young one skips away.

My tutor wasn't a fan of having the moon be behind the scene, because the camera is looking at the front of the scene, and a lot of objects come out darker. Or something like that, I swear he had a better reason than I can remember.

Which is better, 1 or 2, then based on which is better, how can I tweak it?

Right now #1 is more practical. Edit: Actually due to the fact that he's carrying a lamp, #2 can work too, it might even work better, because I don't want the tombstone illuminated until later on and might save me a focus pull.


1
http://i44.tinypic.com/2hr1z6a.jpg



2
http://i39.tinypic.com/16ljuys.jpg

PS- it might have been a step backwards, but I'm trying to bump into something better here.

Bergquist
05-13-2010, 10:15 PM
I personally like #2
but it doesn't help us much with a fill...
Lets try this,
Leave the moon light where it is in shot 2, and then duplicate it. Change the new lights tilt to be coming from the right side of the screen, and just a little towards the viewer. Basically in the exact opposite direction that the moon is pointing in shot 2. Then lower the intensity to about half of what the moon is, and turn off its shadows.
This will give us a true fill and I just want to see what that would look like
Thank you for indulging me bro

Death holding a lantern instead of the wisps will work fine. I can't believe they told you a wisp was too much animation to handle... if their letting you do a hair system, and everything else, thats kind of a joke, but whatever

I also totally agree with you about Death's age... I don't feel he needs a beard or hair, but yeah... i guess I'm never the only one with an opinion

I would like to see a render of your char with the hair. It might be easier to texture it on a very low poly beard instead of an actual hair system. But if the hair system does look good, and you want to use it, when you're finished with the character, just import the character completely and ditch the reference.

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 10:28 PM
I want to run something by you.

My tutor walked up to me, with hardly a moment to spare, and said 2 tips: delete one tomb, simplify the terrain.

What are your thoughts?

Will do what you suggested for fill ASAP

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 10:32 PM
no 1 or no 2

btw i only have 12 weeks to animate this, they want me cutting out everything I can to make it feasible.

this is also a 1 year course with 3 years worth of stuff cramped in, so they don't have time to teach us every trick either -- we get 7 weeks of animation.


1

http://i44.tinypic.com/212zmoi.jpg



2

http://i41.tinypic.com/27x4hs5.jpg

JaredTaylor
05-13-2010, 10:38 PM
Yay, triple posting.

And here's the character with hair, I'm happy enough, but not as happy as I could be.

It's not dynamic, I wont have time to tweak it, if I finish way before the deadline I might make it dynamic... if I even use it.

I don't want to use it. I want to portray his age through decent animation.

http://i41.tinypic.com/wrx829.jpg

Bergquist
05-14-2010, 06:54 AM
wo, thats kinna weird... i have to say i'm not fond of the hair at all....

On what your tutor said, I wouldn't do either.... I'm not sure what he was thinking, but I want you to add giant tree shadows to make the terrain more... just more (not that you have to, its looking good), but not delete any of what little you have...

As far as your shots go, Its hard to tell, but I like 2. It actually looks like it has a little fill on the top of the giant tomb thingies, but not like the fill is being created by another light source anymore, just like a fill should be, it looks like bounced light.
I would say the bottom right corner... and whole right side could use a little more fill light, but as its not at all the point of interest, I'm not sure it matters much. Maybe even better that's its darker and doesn't distract the eye.



Alright! As always I'm looking forward to your next update! Cheers!

JaredTaylor
05-14-2010, 07:08 AM
This is the exact situation I didn't want to be in-- now I have to choose to either decline someone's advice who is my tutor or someone who has helped me considerably (which the tutor has also done).

Either way it seems to reflect on me badly. And I notice a lot of people get upset when you ignore their advice, I had that problem when I got critique from people who didn't do 3D and were too emotionally attached to their comments.

I already hid the tomb, I'm not deleting it, and I'm looking at my shot breakdowns and it doesn't seem to matter either way, there are a couple of shots with it in there, but neither would really be affected by it's presence.

So basically I'll unhide it if it calls for it.

The second one is ambient light lighting the scene, I'll go with that.

I asked my tutor via message what he thinks about leaving old death looking young, I hope he goes for it, because that's what direction I reaaaalllyyyy want to go in. Looking forward to his thoughts on it.

So, number two clearly wins, what can I do to improve #2?

Bergquist
05-14-2010, 08:16 AM
mmmm, i understand.
And you're totally right. You should check to see if what you are deleting even matters. Will it even be in frame? That is an excellent question you should always ask yourself

If in the end it makes your tutor happy to delete something, and it doesn't really make that much difference any way as its barely ever in frame, then I would do it.

Most likely, you're always going to have an official art director, and what he says goes, whether you think it looks good or not.
So in this case, I'm going to consider myself the extra advice, and imho, you should consider your teachers and assigned tutor your art directors.
Also, this way if your teachers don't like the decision, you have a more concrete alibi, and can blame it on the tutor, hehe
But I will also say, I'm probably a lot more understanding and giving now that you have explained your situation and hardship, prob a good thing to remember when dealing with others who will be critiquing your work.

On a similar note:
It is a common miss conception that hair grows after death.
It does not.
Not only that, but hair follicles are in the skin, not the bone. Fact.
So technically, your Death character shouldn't have a beard or hair at all.
Just thought you would like to know since that is the direction you are leaning.
You can dig up some evidence on the subject to present to your teachers and tutor if you need to.

JaredTaylor
05-14-2010, 09:27 AM
You're a life saver! I owe you much, my work couldn't have got near this stage without your (and other people's) input.

Question remains, how can I improve #2 even further? I can't see anything that wrong with it.

I've removed the fog because it makes it look windy, and the character can't really react to the environment -sufficiently- unless I add ncloth and make his clothes billow.

Took a look at your work, and it's really inspiring, but I wish you'd finish some of them someday ;)

urgaffel
05-14-2010, 01:23 PM
I agree, no hair would be best because it will be a pain to get it to light properly and look good without any animation on it. You'll be saving yourself a lot of work too!

Shot number 2 looks good. You have some jagged shadows in the lower right, not sure why that is. I'd also suggest adding low low hills in the background to hide the seam between the blue sky background and the black little area you can see just below it. I can't do a paintover at the moment but it would just have to be really low rolling hills that is a dark blue colour, really simple stuff. It's possible it doesn't even have to be lit.

Bergquist
05-14-2010, 05:40 PM
how to improve shot 2?

I would still like to see another directional light fill coming from the opposite direction as the moon.
about half the intensity as the moon, with shadows turned off.
This would be in addition to the ambient light fill you just set up.

Next we could finish setting up Death's lantern light....

but its really getting close on the lighting

On what Peter mentioned about the jagged shadow on the bottom right side, its prob being caused by a low poly count on the terrain itself. If its not really smooth already, try smoothing it again and see if that jaggedness goes away.

JaredTaylor
05-14-2010, 11:26 PM
No hair it is, thanks guys! I could make his robes have holes though, look worn out, etc.

http://i39.tinypic.com/1zq59no.jpg

edit: smoothed the environment, but now my scene is 300k poly lol, oh well, not too bad. The jagged shadows gone, cheers

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