Thursday, 15 March 2012

The final completed film!

So in just over three weeks of working on this late into the night I've finished the entry, before I go into any long explanation and review of the process I'm going to let you watch it, remember to change the quality settings to HD and enjoy.

As I had explained in my early posts this project had been inspired by the works of Damien Hirst, I was keen to produce something creative that was tied into the world of modern art but didn't follow the cliched and overused paintbrush effect.

As a fan of Damien Hirst's work I looked to create a homage to his cow and steers sculpture, for me I envisaged it as a complete campaign of stings that ask the audience is this art? From the several ideas I had for me this was the most striking. At first I didn't think I could do it, not because of a lack of technical skills but because I was afraid it would be seen as copyright infringement. Fortunately I spoke with an art director from sky creative about my ideas and she advised me about changing the animal and including some movement so it becomes a nod to Damien's work rather than a clone.

I started off modelling a zebra which soon became a horse and the reason for this was explained in this post here.  With the horse completed I began experimenting with hair/fur and that is what I spent the remainder of the weeks doing. I tried several plug-ins and found all of them to have their challenges I settled with using Joe Alter's Shave & Haircut but render times were incredibly long. Some of my test shots were displaying artifacts and often maya would crash.  This was all a learning process and with the plug in being so specialized finding sufficient learning  resources online was a challenge. With much experimentation I found the settings that best suited my project and was able to render it all out using various workarounds one of which is explained here

During the course of the project I learned many new techniques fur/hair was just one of them. Until now my use of render layers, passes and motion blur was non-existent and once I had learnt about these features I felt it was necessary to pass them on in some way through the use of technical tutorials and tip posts. I even researched html so that I could add meta tags to my blogs to promote them online. 

While I am very pleased with the result of my work there were compromises I had to make. The third shot although not overly noticeable is actually void of any hair/fur. This isn't because I can't produce the effect, I've proven that with the first two shots, the reason is purely a time one the shots were all ready but with the fur pass taking twenty minutes per frame to render on that shot alone it had to be abandoned. 

My total render time for this project had all ready clocked up 46 hours the additional fur would have added a further 48 hours to that total. I couldn't leave my computer running for 94 hours it would never have coped and to split the render up would have taken up 8 days of my schedule, time I wouldn't have. The lack of fur in the third shot is a shame but it doesn't detract from the look and feel of the sting. I planned it fromt he outset to time well with the music and to hit the competition briefs criteria.

What I've really gained from this project is an effective showreel piece and a variety of transferable CGI skills, and hopefully a place on the contests shortlist.

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