Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Car Compositing Module

For this module I was required to create a photo realistically rendered BMW using Maya, Photoshop, and Nuke.

There were a few challenges for me to face with this module as I had not yet done any kind of rendering in Maya, and I had never used Nuke before, but I was excited to learn the skills and software.

After extensive research into the car, and examples of other digitally created cars in both still and film form, I practised the process of rendering with the help of Digital Tutors. Here is what I produced when following along with the tutorial:

I was quite pleased with the results and I received praise for my shaders, which I found encouraging as shaders are one of my favourite aspects of the pipeline.

Once I had become familiar with the rendering process and had received the resources, I began work on my final image. I worked quite hard to try and create accurate shaders and tweak the lighting to correctly match up with the environment, however the HDR I was given (I think) was taken at a different angle to the backplate which really threw off my reflections and shadows despite my attempts to fake a visual match.

I then took my image into Photoshop where I assembled all of the different render passes and tweaked them to make the car sit better in the environment. I added small details such as the tax disk and dirt to the vehicle to try and give it an extra layer of realism. Though the image looks comparatively cloudier than the Maya produced Master Beauty (above) I like my final results, I know there is much to improve on, but for my first attempt at rendering (and photorealistic rendering at that) I think I did quite well.

The second part of the module was to place my rendered vehicle into a piece of live action footage, this required the use of Nuke to create tracking data so that the virtual scene would match up with the movement of the live action camera.
Apparently, I did the tracking very well, but my render layers did not reassemble in as quite an aesthetically pleasing way as they did in my still composite and due to time constraints I couldn't render out all of the layers that went into the still image, which left my vehicle looking rather unconvincing. I think that if I had more time to render, and were more accustomed to Nuke then I could've made it look a lot better.
My footage was originally 5 seconds long but due to an error in the last number of frames it got cut short.

Here is my footage:

Overall, I learnt a lot from this module, I was introduced to Nuke which was something I have been anticipating for quite some time and it is something I would like to work on in the future. 
I was also introduced to the process of rendering with HDRs, which is something that seems to be catching on within the animation industry so I am glad to have learned a bit about it.