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Work in Progress 2 – Troubleshooting

March 1, 2013

Having to lower resolution from 2.7mil – approx. 250k: Most of the car parts had 2 iterations of turbo smooth on them, but the stack was not collapsed, this meant I could delete the turbo smooth modifier and manipulate the low poly mesh. However, some parts were collapsed to do some poly insetting/bevelling, ie the badge on the front bumper. I had to import parts from earlier saved iterations and merge the two parts. This served as a good reminder of importance of saving in a new file as you work.

It is extremely important that panels are positioned perfectly when they are linked to the transformer, any movement of panels will cause problems when they don’t align in original frames. It is very easy to make mistakes; I have found myself constantly turn off edged faces and checking around car. Subtle things such as wheel height that might be noticed later will be difficult to change later when lots of animation tied to it. I adjusted it so that they were perfect before linking.

Troubleshooting01

My method of linking was poor; it left panels not perfectly aligned even if the pivots were unchanged, and the motion of the skeleton affected the interpolation between key frames. Initial animation testing methods were all on one side, so when it went wrong I just deleted the geometry and mirrored over new geometry from the other side. Worst case scenario would have to import in parts from old saves, but havent had to do that yet.

Troubleshooting02

I started using link constraints – this is a far superior method. I have redone animation on all parts. It is a much more secure way of animating also, avoids any panel movement providing I don’t forget to turn auto key on and off. My method was dissecting the car and slowly linking pieces one by one, always checking that the original position had not been disturbed. Placing them on the transformer in their final locations, copying set position keys to new locations so that they can be selected without disturbing the link key.

Half of the animation in between will be unlinked, real world animation; so that I can make it realistic, without being hindered by the moving skeleton – which makes it hard to animate as it affects the curve in between two key frames.

Another problem I encountered was panels that had been broken and then smoothed were breaking up smooth shapes, my solution was to delete turbosmooth on both, attach and weld. apply turbosmooth and collapse, then separate into different objects. some distorting still but better than before.failing to spot this would mean spending hours animating these two panels only to notice that the only way to fix them would involve deleting all that animation.

It is crucial not only to solve problems but to anticipate them too. This might seem like overkill but it is this attention to detail that, I believe, will make this an exceptional showreel piece.

Comparing renders – how something looks in the viewport is not always how it will look when rendered, for this reason I frequently render and check that everything is in order. Every time I break a piece of geometry and make new seams which I would like to be hidden, I render to make sure the shaders are behaving as they are in the viewport. This is the attention to detail that I put into my work, to ensure it is the best it can be – of the three changes made here you probably would only spot the crack in the panel being repaired:

test10 test11

The other two changes were the grounding of the rear wheel and the improving of a hidden seam directly above the front wheel.

Found a problem where I was halfway through linking car pieces to model (necessary to complete the modeling) also testing animation, both of pieces and of the biped. Noticed that autokeying of biped parts to improve quality of standing up transformation would adversely affect any piece of the car linked to that bone. ie anything with link constraints would not stay in position when trying to keyframe bone positions within the confines of the keyframe information on the linked pieces. I experimented extending workspace past my safe t pose frame and animating bones there. linked pieces worked as intended as they have no future keyframe information at this point. option 1 looks like getting standing up animation perfect and then removing all the dislodged parts. discovered that for things like spine pelvis etc that requires rotation, i could make a rotation keyframe (eg -10 degrees x) in my safe area past my t pose frame, and then move that ontop of or inbetween existing key frames without affecting car geometry. can also delete key frames without it affecting the link constraint pieces.

This problem only affects first 4 seconds as thats how far I have keyframed. For later sections of animation, I will finish all primary animation first then secondary animation. The head was unaffected as no link constraint parts. Elbow look at constraint also unaffected fortunately. Not many parts put on legs at this point so not too much hassle there.

The solution I employed was to copy and paste key frames to the safe area and building new animation there then drop it back in. Model is all over the place so a little confusing but a solution nonetheless:

Troubleshooting03 Troubleshooting04 Troubleshooting05

Another excellent demonstration of the importance of testing ahead of schedule. I still havent finished modeling yet but am fully aware of what is going on in all of the next stages in the pipeline. I have been doing early materials tests with placeholders and thinking of how many different ones needed. This means I am getting a lot of time to look at it in test renders etc and make artistic decisions. come up with different ideas of easiest way to do it.

Current idea – uving some portions, have a few different hi quality general weathered metal textures in photoshop, make from them all the various maps required. use same texture repeatedly on different parts, no 1 big unwrapped texture map. just all the individual parts unwrapped on top of each other; each part using the whole texture space.

When first rendering to see what it looks like, I analyse and break down all elements to see which direction to go with them. Needs to be a camera angle from which it looks best although I would like to make it acceptable from all angles.

I have produced a few draft quality renders of my progress so far from a number of camera angles.

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