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I’m not dead yet…

November 19th, 2008 Posted in Animation Stuff, It's all about me

To anyone who has been wondering, no I have not fallen in the shower and can’t get up; nor have I run off to a small island in the south pacific to hide for the next four years while the tragic comedy that is our Congress plays itself out here at home.

The fact is that I have been obsessing over the car. There comes a point in making a model that you are so close to being finished that you can taste it. You start staying up late and getting up early so that you can work on that one last section that needs to be tweaked. Or, you just want to work on it a little bit longer so that you can finish this texture on that one part.

I think every modeler does it. We latch onto it until we are sick of looking at it and just want it done. Then when it’s close to being finished we set up shots and do render after render as we tweak away at the lighting, the ambient lights, the textures, and the cameras – essentially everything. We want a model that someone will look at and not realize it’s a computer model.

I’m sure I’ve driven Michael, Jennifer and Gatakitty nuts with all the shots I have sent them saying “What do you think of this?” or “Should I change this section over here?” My wife has gotten used to me saying “Hey, hon, would you look at this with me for a moment?” Half the time I am sure she has no idea what I am talking about since modelers speak in a foreign language that sounds like this.

“So, I moved these vertices over here and then went ahead and split this one. I was going to smooth it but I decided that using the approximation editor was a better way to go. Now, I did tweak the specular on that one part and gave it a light to highlight the ambient occlusions but I don’t think we need to use any more samples in final gather….”

Yea, I know, but trust me it all DOES mean something… really, it does.

Anyway, what it has resulted in is that I’m working on the interior of the Camaro now and in about a week it will be just down to minor tweaks and nudges and so far this is how it’s looking.  With the second image I had added the dials and the dashboard glass.  The logo on the steering wheel is my company logo for when I do independent work – I like it.

I’m also close to finished with lighting it on the outside. See, computer lighting doesn’t act like regular light. Regular light follows the laws of physics, and for computer lighting to do that would require a lot of processing power and a lot of time so instead we fake it by using bunches of lights. You have a car sitting on a shiny floor and normally light would bounce off the floor and give a reflected light on the car but with animation, I have to actually set a light on the floor and it’s only job it to cast a very subtle light onto the side of the car from below to mimic how a bounced light would work.

In all I have four lights for the interior of the car right now, and that will probably go up to six or eight. The exterior has 7 and when I’m done will probably go up to 12. It not that many really, in the Fellowship of the Ring, they used around 40 lights just to illuminate the inside of the Balrog’s mouth – now that’s a lot of lights.

Anyway, I’m not dead, just a little obsessed.

Now, I just need to tweak that one spot on the center console…

5 Responses to “I’m not dead yet…”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    At least you aren’t talking about sub ledgers and CRCD in your sleep. I’d much rather see screen prints of the car than the various work-paper tweaks that have been keeping me up at night.


  2. Instinct Says:

    There is that to be grateful for.


  3. gatakitty Says:

    I guess I shouldn’t have mentioned the center console, Wingleader. If I hadn’t, Jamie would have her husband back by now.

    Mea maxima culpa.

    Me and my fat mouth…. (that was a freebie given in the spirit of contriteness)


  4. Instinct Says:

    She does curse your name in her sleep


  5. gatakitty Says:

    …a dubious distinction, indeed…


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