Glimpses at the Production

Confirmed by comments on my recent post, I will try to refrain as much as possible from displaying potential spoiler images.

As this would mean, to cease showing any images from now on, I thought I could give you some look ‘behind the scenes’ of the type of work I am mainly involved right now concerning Ara’s Tale.

This is especially for you, the small but constant number of followers of this project 😉

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Production Ramped up Again

Production of the remaining shots of Ara’s Tale is running under full steam now.

Now with the dragon finished its fun again to do the lighting and compositing for the shots.

I already had the tricks and workflow for all the shots where Ara and the environment is shown. Closeups have a completely different setup than wide shots e.g. For the dragon I had yet to find a good workflow and best practices.

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Everything that has a Beginning …

… has an end.

After 180 exciting days working with and exploring Mari, the extended demo license finally expired today.

It was a fantastic experience and helped immensely during the work on Ara’s Tale. The textures would have looked different (and my state of health too), if I hadn’t had the chance to give Mari this extensive testing.

For Ara’s Tale, there is no more texturing work to be done, so I am quite happy with it.

And I also know for sure now, where one of my favorite areas of CG lies.

And finally I like to give a big Thank You to Jack Greasley from the Foundry for supporting me and giving me the chance to work with state of the art tools.

 

Dragon Ready for Production

After a lot of time texturing and shading this beast, I have now reached a point where I am ready to use the dragon for production.

There will be two shots where additional tweaking will be necessary but for all the other dragon shots I have now reached a usable state.

There are still some issues, but these are mainly visible in still images. I also did a quick test animation to see how the dragon behaves when its moving.

The lighting is basic and there is no SSS used in this animation, but I am quite satisfied with the overall result. It will work very well in the shots I have to do.

And now, finally, I can really work on those remaining shots …

 

Blender – Mari Diary #5

I apologize for the long delay before uploading the promised bump painting timelapse.

Two events have caused the delay:

  1. the update to the new kubuntu 11.10 version
  2. me having a brand new nexus s smartphone

Number 2 obviously and predictably takes away a lot of time :), but number 2 was unexpected and extremely tiresome.

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Dragon Iterations

Finally I have done all the remaining texture maps for the dragon’s head. What comes now is creating the material/shader setup for the final shots.

I have also recorded the texture painting process for the bump maps and the final result and am now in the process of putting all together. Expect a new blender/Mari diary soon.

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Blender – Mari Diary #4

As promised here is a timelapse ( with some comments ) showing the process of painting the color map for the dragon’s head.

The diffuse color map is now finished (almost finished, the mouth interior is still to be done). And I am currently working on the bump and specular maps, which will be shown in yet another timelapse.

Painting the color map was fun again and I am definitely looking forward to when all the maps are in place and I can start to tweak the material and shaders to get a first look at the dragon.

Timing is also quite ok, as I still have 34 days left from my time limited Mari license. This should be enough to finish the dragon and maybe fix the various odds and ends on the other models as well.

 

Dragon Texturing/Shading Progress

I thought I share some test renders from the current state of texturing the dragon and already playing around with the material/shading setup.

The basic building blocks are done with quite some polishing work still left. Doing the test renders, helps me to better estimate which changes are really necessary.

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Blender/Mari Quicktip

A very quick tip for using normal maps in Mari, which were  generated with blender.

When painting textures, I like to have the generated normal map displayed. This gives much more control over the painting process.

Unfortunately, the normal maps generated with blender didn’t display well inside Mari, and, having too little knowledge about the use of normal maps across different platforms, I almost accepted this.

A discussion on the blender bugtracker gave me the idea to try to invert certain channels.

In the end it was inverting the green channel, which gave the desired result

And this is how to setup the normal map shading module: