In preparation for a meeting with Phil this week, I wanted to have a test on curve flow and surface flow rendered out as a test example. I created the surface flows, in accordance with my own workflow from last week, checked the render as I went along and all was fine. However, when I added in some curve flows, when it came to doing a bath render the copied surface flows rendered fine but the curve flows did not. It looked as though the particles has been reduced to an emitter at the origin and that was all it would render out, regardless of taking test renders at any frame before that. So, I tried a variety of combinations before realising that Maya only seems to allow the caching of 1 set of particles at any time, which I can appreciate. However, the same problem was not evident when I did the same thing with surface flows. The reason why this is the case, as yet I don’t know!
Supervisor Meeting – Tuesday 4th March 2014
I had my second meeting with Phil today, really just an update of my progress to date. What I aim to focus on next includes more testing with the curve flow and surface flow particles to add detail to the other particle goal geometry, in the form of moving within and on the surface of the structures. I had a look at animating textures but decided against that in favour of particles ability to reach intricate parts of the geometry via the flows mentioned above.
Phil recommended having a look at ‘Particle Illusion’, which features a kind of pre-rendered particle system which may be of use to me. I have yet to do that, but will comment in a future post on the suitability of it for my project.
Reflection on Practice
Today’s session involved our practice presentation for the mock symposium which happens in 3 weeks’ time. I had a good base to work from as much of the ground work has already been covered in previous presentations and discussions. What I focussed more on this time, were the reasons behind why I was doing what I was doing. Much of this relates to the reasons why I love music and why I considered visualising it in the first place, regardless of the more beneficial reasons for continuing the project. I had to ask myself what it was about music that intrigues me. Even though I have been a musician for many years, music is still a mystery. For example, why is it that a semitone, the difference between and major and a minor chord, can make us feel happy or sad? Yes, it can be described as the expression of emotion but what are the connections between music and how we feel and why do they work the way they do? Clearly, I have more questions than answers in relation to what many of us take for granted, but the whole idea behind my Cymatics research is based on my love of a good mystery. Additionally, the methods I have been using were worthy of focus in the presentation as were some of the results from my interview with David McCluskey which have influenced my thinking concerning the potential future work that can be done in that area.
The presentation went without any major hiccups and was well received. The experience of presenting in the room we will be doing the symposium was valuable, and unusual, as normally you would not have the opportunity to do so before a regular conference. Overall then, I will tweak what I already have, and add in a short clip of the Cymatics video to help people see what the animated music through water looks like, which is what I a basing my own 3D Cymatics modelling upon.
This week we had an overdue meeting, since we didn’t have one the previous week, and decided to assign appropriate jobs to everyone to get things on track again. Kieran and John H are going to work on the animatic, which is crucial to the next stages of animation and timing of the whole piece. I have been tasked with UV mapping the eagle, but before I do that, I will need to update the model somewhat, with little imperfections to enhance the ‘papery’ feel of it. Additionally, I will do a second fire breathing dragon test, this time using 3D fluid containers to test the idea of having an animated camera around the 3D fire, rather than the 2D one I completed before. The tree, on the other hand, is being designed and constructed by Lilly, which is fine by me, as she finds herself with little to work on until the animatic and rigging are completed. So it means I can concentrate on the fire tests and the eagle for now. On top of that, I will have to consider creating the music for the film as well, which in itself will be a considerable piece of work too. I will post images of my progress in due course.
Regardless of the fact that Lilly is taking care of the tree, I had nonetheless looked at some tutorials that focussed on paint effects as a means to crating and animating trees in Maya. So, for future reference and for the sake of completion, here are the details:
Animate Tree Growth Using Paint Effects
- Open paint effects and drag out a tree
- Open up the attr editor
- Go to a frame where the tree will have stopped growing, e.g. frame 100
- Open up the tubes section – creation – length min and length max – set keys for both
- Go to frame 0, reduce the values to 0 and set keys again
- Expand leaves section – set keys at frame 100 again for each length and width attr
- Go to frame 0, reduce the values to 0 and set keys again
- Do the same thing for the twig lengths and width
Building an Oak Tree
- Draw out a simple tube (default brush stroke)
- In default paint (might be called just Brush) set the global scale to 4
- Brush profile attr – softness 0; brush type mesh; no twist; turn on tubes;
- Creation – tubes per step 0; tube random 0; start tubes 1; segments 20
- Width scale – elevation min 1; elevation max 1;
- Creation – for the trunk – length min 0.4; length max 0.8; tube width1 0.2; tube width2 0.05;
- Width scale – for random shape for the trunk – [image 1]
- Shading – color set to white (it’s going to multiply 1 x 1 [[from color 2] so not to tint the texture)
- Texturing – turn on map color
- Texture type – file (image isn’t available!)
- Turn on map displacement (if you have the map)
- Mesh – tube sections 30 (helps render out the displacement)
- Texturing – turn off luminance
- Repeat U – 0.5 (only wants half of the image); Blur mult 1.3
- Illumination – turn on illuminated (will turn on per pixel rendering)
- Bump intensity 1.46; bump blur 1.15
- Mesh – sub segments 4 (provides rows of detail)
- Tubes – Behaviour – displacement – curl 0.021; curl freq 5;
- Growth – turn on twigs;
- Twigs – twigs in cluster 1; num twig clusters 19; twig start 0.4; twig length 1; twig base width 0.7; twig tip width 0.1; angle 1 – 44; angle 2 – 8; twig twist 0.23; turn on branch after twigs (twigs become branches)
- Behaviour – forces – gravity 0.12; random 0.05 (interesting one to animate);
- Growth – turn on branches
- Branches – split max depth 4; dropout 0.077; split rand 0.1; angle – suit yourself! (if there’s a problem with hitting the ground, turn on deflection)
- Growth – turn on leaves
- Leaves – num leaf clusters 1; leaf start 0.5; angle 1 47; angle 2 25; leaf length 0.06; leaf dropout 0.043 (little pockets of blank spaces);
- Leaf width scale [image 2] – smooth
- Leaf curl [image 3] – this will break up the light a bit
- Leaf twist 0.7; leaf bend 0.086; leaf segments 8; leaf translucence 0.5; leaf specular 0.15;
- Can load up your own texture or use the colours
- Leaf hue, sat and val rand – 0.07, 0.12, 0.12 or whatever…
- If there are breaks in the render – look at oversampling?
- Render???? Maya Software!
Going Live Part 2
Following the meeting and the decisions made there, I altered the eagle’s legs as well as adding in bumps and curls to make the overall look of the eagle more like paper. Here are a couple of shots:
The UV mapping took some reminding on how to do it, as it has been a few months, but UV layout once again came in very handy as did my previous notes on this blog!
And so to the fire breathing dragon test 2: The tutorials that I have been doing with fire have so far mainly used volume emitters or basic geometry as the emitting object. For some reason I had it in my head that I would create a cone shaped object and animate the scale and transforms of it, to be used as an emitter for the fire coming out of the dragons mouth. So, this is what I did, and rendered it out accordingly. However, I realised after rendering it out that the shape of the cone was far too visible and the fire seemed unrealistic. What I needed was something more like a hose firing out water – particles! I don’t know why I didn’t try this out first! Anyway, having a directional emitter (with some spread and random lifespan) and setting up a basic particle flow first of all, then connecting it to the fluid is most definitely the way to go! (Select the fluid container first then the particles – emit from object) Instantly, the problems with the cone shape disappeared and the random nature of the programmed particles was the appropriate choice:
Friday 7th March – Sean Yu – IBL’s in Maya
HDRI’s are used as means of lighting a scene via spherical environment mapping around your 3D scene. It provides accurate rendering via Final Gathering.
- Size in the scene is very important for realistic lighting, so, make sure that you model at the appropriate scale!
- Go for real size scenes
- Check the settings – working units set to either cm or metres (25fps PAL)
- Measure tolls are in the create menu – scale the scene as appropriate!
You need to remember and turn off default Maya lighting – it’s in render settings, common tab, render options. The following notes relate to Sean’s file ‘000_MSc_IBL’:
- Unlock the shot cam once you have rescaled the scene – reposition and lock again
- Render view – render menu – check that the correct cam is selected for rendering
- Render settings – make sure you use Mental Ray!
- Indirect settings tab – load in IBL
- Turn on the final gather checkbox!
- In the quality tab turn on production quality, if you like!
- Accuracy by default is set to 100. 300 is the industry standard apparently
- Output the file as an open EXR type, 1080p
- Point density 1.0 (indirect lighting tab) – 0.1 is fine for test renders
- Render settings – options – test resolution – change test sizes for smaller test renders!
- Can rotate the sphere to change the direction of the light source
- Check the render stats for the IBL (sphere) e.g. turn off primary visibility if you don’t want to see the dome
Maya generates linear workflow colours! You can’t mix those with 2.2 gamma corrected images! Mix them using 32 bit float buffer!
- sRGB + 0.454 gamma correct – linear workflow – then add 2.2 – sRGB out (to the monitor)
- So, render settings – colour management
- You can also do Render View – display – color management – attribute editor
- MIA shaders are used by industry all the time – material x shader
- Here, create 2 of them for the car
- Rename – use presets button to assign a specific look
- TIP – what’s useful here is that you can layer other shaders on top by using the presets – 10% blend etc…
If you’re using outside textures:
- Color profile – 8 bit – sRBG input profile
- If it’s open EXR use linear
So, when you’re connecting these nodes in the hypershade, connect it like this:
File – connect to a gamma correct node (as a value) – connect that to mia material (as color or diffuse – you can MMB drag the node to the color channel in the attribute editor). The gamma correct node is only needed for the diffuse map.
For a total 3D environment – output everything as 0.454 gamma corrected!
So we have FG lights and shadows, but we still don’t have a directional light main shadow.
TIP – add a light – select the show manipulator tool on the left of the screen to stick the pivot to the point of creation (origin in this case) – when you reposition the light, it still faces the origin, like a target light in Max.
One problem caused by IBL’s is noise, due to the varying light sources within the HDRI’s. We can fix that by blurring the images!
Open the IBL in Photoshop and add a Gaussian blur – something like 130 value! You can also reduce the size by quite a bit as well, reducing render time in the process. In this case, around 20% of the original size.
The problem we have now is that the detailed reflections in the car have now gone! So, we can fix this too:
We need an MIP production shader, but to activate them we have to type in the following code in MEL, run it, close and reopen Maya:
In MEL script, type in:
optionVar –initialValue “MIP_SHD_EXPOSE” 1;
Highlight the text and press the play symbol at the top of the editor to run it. Then save and close, reopen Maya and search for mip in the hypershade and all will be revealed!
Once you’ve done that, create an MIP rayswitch node, an mib_lookup_ENV and an mib_lookup_REFL node. The 2 mib nodes will feed into the mip node.
For EXR files, use color profile linear sRGB.
- Connect the (MMB) mib_lookup_ENV to the Final Gather attribute of the rayswitch
- MMB drag the mib_lookup_REFL to the reflection and the environment attributes of the rayswitch
- Connect the rayswitch node to the active camera – there is a cameras tab in hypershade – select the camera, graph menu, add to graph
- In the shot_cam shape attributes – mental ray attr – MMB drag it to the environment shader
- Now check that the rotation of the new shader is the same as the original IBL (copy and paste the values)
- Now delete the original IBL from the render settings menu
- Finally, you need to render only from the camera that you connected the MIP shader to, otherwise it will not work!