Dragon Re-Render

Here is a re-render of the original dragon animation. I have fixed some of the issues but it still needs work. The sky-dome layer somehow became offset in the frame count so I had to unhook it in Nuke.

Below you can see the repaired reflection pass along with the other layers that were brought into Nuke. There is no longer a red ground shadow reflecting up from the ground plane. 

Nuke tree and a screenshot of the last render.

Progress on the Dragon

The first composite did not turn out well. Mistakes were made. Long drawn-out fights with the render farm ensued. I did learn a lot from the experience.

Poblems with my layers

Some of the issues I encountered included forgetting to double check some of the overrides that I set within certain layers. I am new to rendering layers and shuffling AOVs. One valuable lesson that I learned is to stay extremely organized and carefully name everything. Above you can see where I forgot to tun off the sky dome in the reflection pass. Also I left on the cast shadows for onr of the ground passes causing red reflection in the dragon.

The renders above were from my final composited animation. YOu can clearly see many issues that I will be working out over the next couple of weeks.

Putting it all Together


I am far from happy with my results so far. The project needs a lot of work and the clock is ticking. The above images include CG representation of the sphere and cube, this helps me align the cameras and match the sunlight and shadows within Maya. The cube is for perspective and alignment while the sphere is to see the specular diffusion cast from the software lights. Below are some test renders within Maya, They include the sky dome, spotlight, dragon, and a ground projection of the environment.


These are some of my original test renders and variations of the shader as I explore Arnold and fine tune the lighting. The render layers include Sky dome, direct sun, object occlusion, ground shadow, and ground occlusion. The next step is to bring them into Nuke and see how they look stacked up.

Nuke is a cruel mistress. Compositing is fun but a new mountain to tackle. I have included some early srcreen grabs of the layers within Nuke. I am in the process of sett

Project 2 – Compositing Reflection, Refraction, and Translucency

Day 1 and 2

Shooting the background plates

The weekend I set out to shoot the background proved to be a challenging one. Friday and Saturday ended up being overcast making it difficult to capture shadows and daylight information. Photos were washed out and otherwise not interesting.  Sunday proved to be a better day because the sun was out intermittently. It was difficult chasing breaks in the clouds. I would set the white balance and then the sun would hide behind a cloud. The second obstacle was the wind. The trees were moving causing any shadows and close up branches to move making bracketing the HDR a challenge. It was a waiting game between sun and the wind, all the while hoping that none of the equipment and props didn’t move.

I had three possible background plates but some of the exposures were off because the sun kept ducking behind the trees. Just before sunset I decided to head out to the Old Dairy Farm and out to the marsh to catch the last of the light and was able to capture the below background.

Another challenge was shooting the background so close to the ground. I used a small flexible tripod that was light compared to my others. keeping it still was not easy when taking multiple exposures. The small tripod really came back to haunt me letter when I started setting up the plates inside of Maya. Below was my last attempt to capture a background. This last batch of photos was going to be my background only in my rush I forgot to shoot a clean plate...lesson learned! I decided to go with the marsh photos above, but at the last moment changed my mind.

Once I realized that the clean plate was missing I decided to take to rush back to the location and re-shoot the angel plate. I changed my direction due to the location of the sun and gathered the final photos below. Again the the small lightweight tripod caused me issues that I discovered while compositing the HDR,s. I ended up alligning the photos in Photoshop helping to keep all the backgrounds consistenent. This is important when stting up cameras and verifying perspective. It also helps to dial in shadows and specular information.