All done! I've just checked the date modified on the first files and it's been over two years and 700GB of files, including one Excel document. So watch it, and tell me what you think.
Finally, a finished shot! I think... These are the titles for the beginning of the film and after tweaking the noise in the volumetric lights (the clouds for non-geeks) I was able to get the render time on my MacBook Pro down from 90 hours at quarter resolution to just 10 hours for 720p HD. I think it might still need some little details, maybe dust motes or lens distortion but I'm pretty chuffed overall, what do you reckon?
This is the first edit, just using render previews from CInema 4D put together in After Effects to get a general idea of how it's progressing. Still needs a lot of work not to mention hi res renders, lighting effects, DOF, etc, etc, but I'm liking it so far...
Multi pass rendering means I can split the image in such a way that gives me much more control in the compositing stage - really useful for playing with depth of field, glows, colour correction, reflections and shadows in Photoshop. The same approach can be used for the finished animations in After Effects.
Now that I've worked on the whole environment for the film I've had to adjust the lighting to work throughout the animation. I've managed to get the fog moving convincingly through the rotating orange and blue light and I think these test renders will be representative of the finished film.
This is a stripped down render from one of the cameras in my animation so I can get a feel for how it's progressing. The overall pacing looks pretty good, I still need to have more animation of the two drills in action on the rifle and I'm going to include some Minority Report style graphic interface on the assembly line. I reckon the final edit will make or break it, made up from up to ten (maybe more?) different cameras and I'll need a render farm to deal with that. The devil is in the detail now. Looking good though...
I've thought of a name for my little film, it's got a romantic feel to it which is in contrast to the geeky content but it still harks back to geeky origins, it's a line from Aliens when Ripley is learning how to fire the rifle. What can I say, I'm a geek.
I've had a bit of time to think about the direction this should take and I've started a storyboard to try and gather my thoughts. I found some good reference in the NASA archives for the tools on the assembly line and have modelled and textured them in much the same way as the rifle.
I've decided to try and show the gun coming together as if it's on a production line with very futuristic tools refurbishing the battered gun. I'd like the lighting to come primarily from the blue glowing tools and an overhead sodium hazard light, rotating the scene in and out of darkness. It's turning into a music video, not just a modelling lesson!
Loaded into the relevant channels in Cinema 4D, it begins to take shape.
Photoshop next for all of the texturing. I've really gone to town with up to a hundred different maps. All of the careful labelling pays off here so I can keep track of all the maps. They're all 4K too. I've learnt from print that you can always res-down at a later date but you can't res-up! The image here is the colour or diffuse map for the heat vents around the gun barrel with the UV map laid out on top.
Each component is identified, carefully labelled and textured very quickly with some simple procedural shaders. The model is dropped into a studio lighting setup to check progress. At this stage most work has been completed in Maya, but from here on it's mostly Cinema 4D.
From here I took it back into Maya to do the UV unwrapping. This isn't something I've really got to grips with before so it was good to learn how to unwrap all of the complicated shapes that make up the rifle.
With the modelling complete, I took it from Maya into Cinema 4D and rendered out a simple turntable to make sure everything looked correct.
There's lots of good reference material online for the rifle from the film Aliens so I thought this would be a good way to improve my skills across the board, starting with modelling in Maya.