Process Blog - Compositing for Technical Direction
Project 1: Light and Shadow
March 26, 2019
While waiting to shoot background plates and reference over the weekend, I began to texture my simple masking tape model that will roll through the finished scene. I scanned and photographed a roll of tape to get accurate textures, and created the maps in Photoshop. I still need to adjust the shader further and create a roughness map, and I also need to increase the thickness of the model.
March 31, 2019
Photography was difficult due to cloudy weather; however, my group was still able to photograph a few sets before the shadows were completely gone. I have started working with this set I photographed at Ruskin Hall.
The camera and key light position are matching well; moving forward I need to adjust the light intensity and shadow radius. I also included the hdr image and was excited to see the light direction, shadow, and color matching well in render.
April 2, 2019
After further adjusting the lighting, I have begun compositing the gray ball. Currently, I have set up four simple render layers including beauty, shadow, ground occlusion, and object occlusion. The result can be seen in the upper right.
One problem that I am having is getting the edges of the shadow to have a bumpy quality that results from the concrete. I attempted a displacement with the aiShadoMatte shader, but did not get the desired result. The ground occlusion also needs further adjustment; compared to the reference the darkening under the sphere appears shifted to the right.
click to play
April 5-7, 2019
Continuing to refine the composite, I created two new render layers: shadow reflection and shadow projection. Shadow reflection was created by changing the object material to chrome, changing the ground material to aiShadowMatte and turning off primary visibility, and turning off specularity on the key light. Shadow projection was created by isolating the shadows of the clean plate in a black and white image and performing a series of projections.
I then animated the tape object using rigid body dynamics in maya, which is something I attempted for the first time. I also increased the thickness of the tape roll and adjusted the maps. The color was changed to blue to create more difference between the tape and gray ball.
Overall, the project is going well. I still need to adjust the shadow so that the edges are bumpy, adjust the color corrections further, and add depth of field with zdefocus. I also noticed a premult issue that needs to be addressed.
April 9, 2019
To complete the first submission I focused primarily on color correcting, adding irregularity to the edges of the shadow, and adjusting the gray ball's material, along with changing the animation of the gray ball.
The shadow irregularity was created by adding displacement to the aiShadowMatte on the ground plane. I had difficulties at first, but eventually painted a simple texture in photoshop and found that increasing catclark helped greatly.
To create the material for the gray ball, however, I took a completely procedural approach by layering noise with blend color and add nodes (thank you Diana Castellvi for your help). Overall I am pleased with the results of this project, but would like to further adjust the color corrections--especially for the object occlusion and shadow reflection layers--and possibly add dirt variation to the tape material.
Project 2: Reflection, Refraction, and Translucency
April 13, 2019
The weather was once again cloudy, but photography overall went well. I have started working with this set I photographed at a fountain in Colombia Square.
To achieve movement in the background plate, I thought it would be interesting to film on the edge of a fountain and capture the running water in the background. I'm somewhat unsure if I'm happy with the composition of the background plates, but think adding the object will help.
moving clean plate
April 15, 2019
After shooting photography, matching the camera and light has gone well. I set up the basic render layers that will be needed, including beauty, shadow, ground occlusion, object occlusion, and shadow reflection. It is clear at this point that getting the displacement right on the shadow layer will be important the overall integration.
I also began working on the rock shader for the dragon. Rather than use texture maps, I plan to complete the shading procedurally in Maya using mainly Arnold hypershade nodes. I enjoyed the process when shading the gray ball in the previous project, and look forward to pushing it further in this project. My focus now is on transparency and establishing a sense of depth within the model.
April 20, 2019
Moving forward, I refined the position of the key light and adjusted the object occlusion layer so that the effect is stronger. I began the composite as well, and see that the shadow color and radius still need to be adjusted and shadow displacement added.
Major changes were made to the rock material incorporating new techniques learned in class. Two new materials were created--one dedicated to transmission and another to sub-surface. These materials were then combined using aiMixShader through a mask that incorporates fresnel and an aiNoise. I also added extra geo to the interior of the dragon to create a cracked, solid effect. I think the material needs additional variation and finer details.
April 23, 2019
In order to further control the composite, I created various render layers that isolate specific aspects. World reflections were isolated with a chrome material and low specular ray depth, and a mask was created in another layer by changing the skydome color to white. Ground reflection uses a chrome material on the ground, and I was able to fully isolate the reflection by using the indirect aov. Ground reflection onto the object was also isolated as well. I also began to work on the shadow displacement, setting up the layer and shading network.
I had some time to work on the shader a little bit more. I adjusted the color to match better and separated the specular into a different shader and mixed this with the current shader so that it specularity easier to control. With this, I was able to reduce the glossiness of the rock material without effecting the transmission.
April 25-27, 2019
I also made significant changes to the shadow layer, completing the shadow displacement and also modeling the crack between the two sections of concrete so that the shadow dips down in this area. Overall, I wish I had abandoned the aiMixShader earlier and had more time to develop the shader further, but I am pleased with the progress I was able to complete. It is really interesting to see the material interacting with the light with the help of the planes.
Working towards completion, I made major changes to my rock material. Using techniques learned in class I divided the sub-surface, transmission, and specular materials into different render layers that were composited in nuke using a fresnel mask. For the specular material, I used the same bump map as before, but for the transmission material I intersected the geometry with transmissive planes that have primary visibility and cast shadows off, creating a fractured effect. I also used these planes to create masks that allowed for control over cracked details.
Project 3: Animated Assets
May 2, 2019
Project Proposal - Since this project requires a box to open through projection and integration of an animated asset, planning was very important. I centered my project around an animated asset I found of a young boy playing soccer. This allowed me to create a theme surrounding this asset and plan accordingly. More information can be found in the link to the left.
May 4, 2019
Surprisingly, the weather was once again an issue as we filmed our final set of images for this class. Luckily, I was able to film as planned at Forsyth Park before the rain started. At the park, I decided to shoot my lunch box on a park bench.
Overall, I think the photography turned out well. I filmed many different camera moves in case there are any issues with camera tracking. I may need to adjust the exposure of the plate, it feels slightly dark to me now.
May 7, 2019
box composite wip
Between the four background footage options, I choose the tilt because it allows room at the beginning to see the lid open. However, I had a difficult time camera tracking at first--most likely because of the little to no parallax evident in the plate. I adjusted the camera track settings a lot, but what made the biggest difference was setting the camera motion to rotation only. The track is still sliding slightly at a solve error of 0.96, so I need to continue to refine the solve. From there, I was able to export the track into maya and begin working on compositing and render layers.
I modeled the lunch box based off of the real world measurements and lined up the tracked camera using reference geometry from nuke. The placement still needs to be adjusted, but a big issue is that the front left corner of the lid is tilted slightly. Currently, I have created four render layers for the box, including lid projection, box region mask, specularity, and diffuse. I also began matching the gray ball, and created a beauty and shadow layer. Next, I need to paint out the areas of the background plate where the lid is, create a shadow layer for the lid, and model the latch on the lid.
May 14-19, 2019
Moving forward, I worked on incorporating the animated asset into the scene. With the animation, an elevator-like effect was used to lift the character into view. I also added cones and a soccer net, and began working on materials and textures. With the box, I repainted the box projection so that the inner lip under the lid lines up better, and created a shadow plate to fix the edge issues. Next, I need to focus on further developing the textures, modeling the latch, and cleaning up edge issues. I also think adding depth of field with help the interior feel more integrated.
May 23-26, 2019
To complete the final project, I refined edge issues, modeled the latch, and completed the look development of the interior scene. The latch was challenging to model to match the latch below, and even though the shadow of the latch could use more work, I am happy with the results. While working towards completion, I also noticed a lot of missing elements that could help the scene to feel more integrated. For example, I added environment reflections on the edges of the projected surfaces, and added world reflections and diffuse changes to the lid.
I also worked a lot on shadows. I managed to add the reflection of the moving lid shadow in the side of the box, and was able to clean up issues with the shadow of the lid onto the lid of the box by splitting this layer into two. By adjusting the painted plate so that the box is left unaffected by the shadow area, I was also able to easily clean up edge issues with the lid shadow. I think my match of the depth of field works great as well. Overall, moving forward the shading and textures of the interior scene needs the most attention.
May 11, 2019
Over the weekend, I focused on getting the box as close to completion as possible. I created many new elements and now have eleven render layers. Issues I ran into include avoiding a double shadow with the lid shadow on the ground and on the lip of the box. There are still some edges not lining up quite right, but I was able to get the lid to match much better by adjusting the model based on the reference. I need to work further on edge issues, especially on the lip of the box and in the shadows, and complete the model of the latch to replace the projection on the lid.