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"Back to Gaya" - the first CG Feature Film from Germany
Added on: Fri Mar 26 2004
Page: 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 

3DLuVr: Which difficulties and obstacles did each of you have to overcome for his respective job?

Manuel: Many! For every scene our lighting had to meet the demands of a certain mood, which by itself wasn't really difficult. But individual lighting set-ups usually only work for one particular camera angle. A different take on the same set also often required a totally different lighting. But when cut together, each camera angle still had to look identical to another in terms of lighting. So there was a lot of tweaking to be done to make sure, that there was no noticable lighting inconstancy throughout a scene. Also every character received its own individual lighting, which is not a biggie most of the time. And yet, especially at the beginning, I had to make many corrections before the supervisor would finally approve a shot. You quickly run out of time then, because another 15-35 shots were waiting to be processed every week. Plus, there were many unexpected problems to deal with, as usual for any software. And that even though you were already tight on time! But the higher you climb on your personal learning curve, the better you know what Maya likes and what might cause havok. :-)

"Every camera angle and every character required an individual light setup"

Toby: The biggest challenge was to create a landscape being so detailled, that it could even hold up against the 2K output resolution. My favourite is the canyon at the beginning of the film, through which Boo and Zino fly with their flight device.

Michael: At first we had to find a way to unwrap the characters' heads without causing any artifacts. It's really difficult to find a compromise between sharp edges and possible distortions for the unwrapped mesh. I vividly remember how it took me several days to get the mesh of my first character Zino (one of the main characters on the show) unwrapped in a suitable way, whereas it eventually took me just maybe half an hour later to generate such a distortion-free unwrapped head.
In general any part of the production was fraught with similar difficulties to be overcome. Such as "how to texture a character, so that it would work for any possible shot and on such a big screen?"

"How to texture a character, so that it would work [..] on such a big screen?"

Gildas: Uhm, where should I begin? Since we decided to use Shag:Hair under MAX for the hair and fur effects (Maya Fur and other tools we had previously tested could not compete), the first big hurdle to take was to get the data from Maya across. After a while we had found a way by writing the tools I mentioned before. But 3ds max and Shag:Hair also gave me a lot of additional headache. For instance, the dynamics (secondary motion of hair struts) were not yet technically mature. Especially the collission detection during hefty movements still leaves a lot to be desired. In such cases, some struts start to quiver and bounce uncontrollably. So I ended up animating some of the hairdos with SimCloth instead, because it can plug into Shag:Hair. Even though it was originally designed for the dynamics of fabrics only, for my purpose it also offered the ability to simulate the interaction between hair struts and deflectors, for example. And much better than Shag:Hair itself does, also when it comes to the overall naturally-looking movement of the hair. The downside of this is, that it takes about a hundred times longer for calculating the dynamics than Shag, so I could only really use it for a few situations, mostly when very fast movements had to be performed. [continued on the next page]

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