Test Test!!

Now that the Blackbird is done is time to design the shots. Do some animation, lay out the cameras, prepare the render layers and make it look awesome in comp!

Although, I am actually taking a small break from this project. I usually get tired very fast of the current project I work on, and many times I even abandon some, but I am going to finish this one for sure!!
I am just taking a bit of time because I am also pretty busy at work, and with this project, I wanted to learn a bit of basic rigging, for a better animation of the plane. I was studying about this last week but I am pretty sure that the way I'll do it won't be the most correct, although hopefully will be good enough. It is just a flying plane after all. Probably animating a car is way harder, and of course animals, creatures and humans must be really hard. But I never wanted to be an animator so I'll just do it quick and dirty and leave it as decent as possible.

There are other things that are more concern about though, like, rendering, volumetric clouds, try to cheat motion blur in comp but with a nice result, making the Blackbird afterburners look as close to the real ones as possible...
I want to make sure that all of this things are under control. That's why, instead moving on, I am doing a lot of Development for those kind of things.

Usually in my personal projects I create an extra Folder in the project directory and I call it something like "Dev" and I start doing tests and playing around. I do this to create my generic materials, and to practice things that I have never done before or that I might have forgotten.

Sometimes, doing this kind of Dev process I create full scenes from scratch, but very quick and dirty. So I end up with very small subProjects and it's a lot of fun because I learn many things and do different task in a short amount of time. Sometimes, this even bring me to new ideas for future projects almost accidentally.

I love doing Development, I learn a lot and breaks the routine of working every day in the same thing.

I did this small video to study different tools to create volumetric light in Maya and how to use the volume layer in comp to create cool atmosphere effects.
I already had the spaceship which I downloaded from internet and it is great because it is simple in geo and low resolution, but it looks really cool and it comes already rigged!
I used this one a lot to block animatics of my past project.
The rest of the scene is very easy and took me less than a day to model and texture the complex. In fact, I usually use basic generic materials, so technically, there is no texture process, it is just shaders with good seamless textures, to save time.

This one is very interesting!
I wanted to test a way to avoid rendering motion Blur from Maya because that usually takes forever. It is true that is the best way to get more realistic motion blur, but my computer would not be able to handle it and I don have the patience either.

Rendering a Motion Vectors from maya and using it in Nuke to generate motion blur to the 2D layers is another way to avoid rendering Motion Blur from Maya, but sometimes it doesn't give me the best results, and even though it doesn't take as long as rendering real Motion Blur, sometimes it might take a while and it is an extra layer to set up.

I saw in a tutorial a very interesting way to get cheap motion Blur very quickly, no renders from Maya, it can be done straight in Nuke. There is though, some info we need from Maya, which is an exported FBX of our render camera. But that's all.
Once we bring correctly the camera to Nuke, we can use a node calle "MotionBlur3D". This now comes with 2 inputs, one for the camera and the other is blank. For the blank input I just plug an empty scene with its scanline renderer and render camera, and for the camera input, just the camera. This will give us as a result a Motion channel that we can shuffle into the rest of the layers, and after this operation, we can apply the Vector Blur using this Motion Channel as the UVs for the effect.

Now... this is a cheap trick, and works fine, sometimes... It actually works fine specially in full CG scenes with moving cameras. It might not be very suitable for live action plates with CG integration, or CG shots that are locked off. Plus, the motion blur is calculated based on the motion of the camera, not on the motion of the objects/characters within the frame. If the camera move is big, it will cover more the other elements that might cause motion blur which helps doing the trick.
And sometimes it causes small bugs in Nuke, when using the Vector blur, at some random frame, the blur can go crazy even though the values are super low, which is easy to fix with some keyframes, but it is a pain in the ass.
Anyway, for quick and dirty tests is very cool to use it, and sometimes it can even work for the final!

The last video I wanna show in this post is more related to the Blackbird Project. In one of the shots, I might be adding clouds to create a strong feeling of parallax and make the shot with a nice feeling of speed and very exciting.
At first I thought to use a 2D trick in comp to get the effect,although the camera move I would like to do is going to rotate a lot, so i would have to use a 3D solution with some 2D enhancements.
I am not a master of 3D and I specially suck when doing particles, fluids and dynamics, so 3D clouds would be something really challenging for me. But, luckily, Maya's default clouds seems to be good enough for my needs. They don't look so perfect, but they are much more than I expected they would look out of the box. I almost didn't have to tweak any parameters. They are a bit heavy to render (for this test I rendered all my layers at 640x360 and then brought everything up to 540p just to save time). I know the quality right now is very bad since it was a very quick test. But those clouds are going to add a lot to the shot, I'm sure about that.
Watching this video you can tell, how bad animator I am...XD I am really going to have to spend some time geting that looking better, although many of the shots I have in mind are very simple in terms of animation :P

Hopefully I'll have some final shots of TESF to show!

Thanks for watching!

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