Digital radio on the road and about
Even if I’ve already did a lengthy post on this campaign, I thought I’d to another to sum up my experiences with two more promos from this behemoth project.
I started out drawing up storyboards using Mischief, seen below. And be warned mischief-users; even if they brag about infite zooming, theres is definetly no such thing as infinite amount of strokes before the software grinds to a halt. This storyboard, not too complex at all, would not export and had to be screenshot’ed out.
I refined the character, called “Ivar” from here on out, and modelled cars, trees, car radios and more characters, only halfway into the allocated time realizing I needed more manpower to pull this job off.
The excellent agency Blink Studios took some time out of their busy schedule and helped me out modelling the roads and buildings for the third and forth shot, the junction. Thanks to them, this film saw the light of … tv screens.
Two more characters needed modelling and rigging. I can’t say I’m entirely happy with the outcome of “Linda”, especially the hair, but with a lingering deadline closing in, I just had to move on. A tip for in-experienced CAT-riggers such as my self; The rig can’t easily be mirrored, so make sure you mirror your model before you start rigging.
The environment in most of the shots is populated with trees, grass and stones, which are all spread out across the geometry using Pflow, 3ds Max’s built in particle system. This made for fast mock ups of the entire scene, and gives you great options for giving each tree/stone/grass sublte variety. It is not without hickups unfortunately, for example you might get instances of geometry outside of the areas you have specified. I managed to squeeze my way through it though, but don’t send off heavy renders before you’ve test-rendered.
A few other things I’ve learnt the hard way during this production is that the feature rich State Sets in 3ds Max does not render anything you’ve specified in the Render Elements dialog, nor any G-Buffer channels from the EXR-save dialog, when you render using a backburner render farm. I planned to use State sets to have multiple cameras in the scene, and easily render several shots from the same scene, but as I was dependent on using z-depth for DOF and motion vectors for motion blur when comping in Nuke, this turned out to be almost fatal. Luckily there is a excellent script for 3ds Max that lets you export your geometry to Nuke, so that you can recreate those missing channels without having to re-render everything. Yeah, because exporting a FBX from 3ds Max to Nuke is completely useless, even though it’s supposed to work. Take my word for it.
The conflictingly/confusingly named Scene States however does give you the extra channels you want, although if you need more than beeing able to send of different cameras with differently named outputs, you’re out of luck. It did save me though.
Digital radio – out and about
The very last promo, finished just before my very much needed holiday, was a single shot journey through the placed to which people might bring a radio.
Below are the final rendered/comped images of the above storyboard.
A quick, final advice if you render with mental ray and plan to do motion blur in post: don’t. As far as my experience go, the vectors you output from 3ds Max, does not produce the intended result when you use them with the vectorblur node in Nuke, even if you modify like you have to to get anything meaningful. Let Mental Ray do it on render, even if it costs a few more minutes in total.
DAB on the road:
DAB out and about