Friday, July 11, 2008

23 shots left to light...

A huge week! We got seven shots final, going one over what we needed to do for the week (and coming awfully close to hitting eight). A large chunk of the Operator-on-water shots were included in this set, including his penultimate shot in the film. Here's a frame from u7_17 (note to self, uploaded at full-res with the "large" setting from Blogger, we'll see how it comes out on the other side):

Note this shot doesn't actually feature the water surface, but it does have some fake caustic reflections which aren't even visible in this frame. Sorry about that. But the water itself in these scenes has been done with a Maya ocean rendered both with the Maya Software renderer and with RenderMan Studio for reflections and refractions. We accomplished the latter by using a MEL script which Brian Kendall started and I touched up that molds a polygonal mesh to fit the displacing surface of the Maya ocean. Each frame of the molded mesh is saved as a blend target so it's easy to animate through the molded surfaces. The final touch is a RenderMan subdiv attribute attached to the poly mesh.

Okay, I convinced myself to put up a frame from u7_11, which is almost final, that shows this hybrid water surface solution more clearly:

So things are moving ahead very well. We're almost at the point where every remaining shot presents some kind of super challenge, but I feel that our efforts thus far this summer have us primed to solve whatever problems come up fairly efficiently. Next week will feature the film's opening shot, a 1000+ frame monster that is finally poised to finish in lighting after some layout tweaks I made yesterday. Next week also features some underwater shots, including atmospheric lighting effects being worked on by Hampshire College student and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Intern Will Colón. Is that a long enough title for you? :)

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