24 May 2010

Maya progress: Working on Final Scene


(examples of developmental stage)
Today I almost finished the last scene which is the midle one in animation - The Gathering
and Transformation of Slime Mold (lighting is left). There were quite few changes in the way I originally planed to construct the animation. First of all, I didn't use animated textures I was prepared- about 500 frames of of colour, specular and bump animated sequences, with the timing matched to each other ... The problem was that it just looked awful on the mesh - stretches in various places ect. I'd have had lots of problems to solve... And really, there's enough confusion already - whit very complex shots of continuous camera movement, where a fluid transformation has to be expressed : / But fortunately I had a very successful discussion with Simon Holand today; he suggested another solution how to create the changing texture that both would look great and save loads of working, rendering time. Thanks again for that Simon!

I animated textures inside Maya! :) By playing around with fractal textures settings and doing so for colour, specular and bump I came with quite successful results. In fact, I'm not ashamed to say, it looked way better then what I was prepared: D

the movement from cell field gathering to a slime mold and subsequently slime mold transforming to a fruiting body has to be continuous I used .. 4 different objects turning their visibilities on/off accordingly in the timeline.

But this again required the textures to seamlessly mold into each other (since the texture is also "transforming" )

I used Blend node to combine two huge shaders: animated "gathering" (cell field growing into slime mold) and the "transformation" shader - a liquid-like transparent and solid texture. I was reaching for seamless blend from one look of the slime mold to another.

This was the geeky part: D

But the more important was to watch carefully the timing. The animation is hugely indebted to music and the pace of animation relies on the pace of sound track. The absolutely vital reference for that was the pre-viz. I counted the time twice: first how long an action/transformation takes in my blocked-out animation (the pre-viz) secondly the intervals between the important notes in the soundtrack.


  1. You know just reading about your process - which, as you know, is like a secret language only you young people understand:D - I found myself smiling! I'm really very happy that Simon was able to help you and accelerate your working; I can just feel you smiling through your words; you are all working incredibly hard and in a sustained way - and your dope sheets I love, of course; I love a working document! I can feel your Maya brain growing - like a fruit slime mold! I hope all is going well with you and your animation. Looking forward to Friday - a lot! :-)

  2. Thanks Phil :) ... really really hope to be not disappointing :)