PDA

View Full Version : Developer's Diary #3



Ryan Roye
09-11-2010, 06:57 AM
Developer's Diary is a series of videos I am making to outline the triumphs and frustrations we face when creating 3d animated content. In each periodical video, I go into detail on what we are doing the same, what we are doing different, experiments performed and so-fourth.

In this issue I go over the following topics:

-New stuff we've run into (subpatch, weightmap, procedural textures)
-Disagreements between me and Taben
-Behind the scenes with audio production (music, voice acting, sound effects)
-Delura series progress

Enjoy! And yes, I have nicknamed Taben deepthroat for his voice

Runtime: 15 minutes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC4HQMbVmuY
http://www.ac.tanadrinestudios.com/Forumpicholder/devdiary3_forumimage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC4HQMbVmuY)

hrgiger
09-11-2010, 07:36 AM
Thanks again for these, I do enjoy watching. I would say you guys should really post questions when you face obstacles with your project on the forums, you'll learn all kinds of things. The thing with subpatch levels in Layout and the issues with procedural textures are pretty simple issues that others could have advised you on. (by the way, there's a plug-in out there to mirror your weights)
As far as using hard body dynamics, are you guys upgrading to Lightwave 10? I think the new bullet dynamics will be much better to use then the current hardfx in Lightwave.

oliversimonnet
09-11-2010, 08:02 AM
haha cool
i love your Developer's Diary
and your videos look good because the animation is good
they are prety entertaining (your videos)
also the blak wolf like character with the blue armour, i think looks pretty good :)

Ryan Roye
09-11-2010, 08:15 AM
Thanks again for these, I do enjoy watching. I would say you guys should really post questions when you face obstacles with your project on the forums, you'll learn all kinds of things. The thing with subpatch levels in Layout and the issues with procedural textures are pretty simple issues that others could have advised you on.

Yeah, the subpatch level thing was a real headsmacker to me (one of those "DUH!!" moments). The biggest issue is that its difficult to know what words to use to ask so that other people know what you're talking about and what you're trying to accomplish. I do ask questions on these forums, I just make sure they are things that I couldn't eventually figure out myself before doing so. Also, sometimes there are things that you think are normal for a 3d program that are not from a new user's perspective. I thought the disappearing subpatched object upon moving was normal, so thats another reason I never asked.

As I'm still learning the fundamentals in a lot of areas (UV mapping especially), I'm kinda iffy about upgrading my 3d software. I'd rather get a firm foothold in my current version, 9.5, and then move on to something new when my needs in 3d animation increase. Does that make sense at all from a more seasoned person's standpoint?

on a final note, I sure am glad youtube allows 15 minute videos now...

evenflcw
09-11-2010, 09:12 AM
Sweet. I was wondering just yesterday when the next episode would be up and looking forward to it. Interesting, entertaining and inspiring as always. Thanks for another episode!

Did you and Taben discuss the "uncanny valley" problem as well with regards to improving the look of the characters. Ie. improving the detail of the character models might make the current level of animation insufficient to sell the characters. A simple box can be made to look live through rather simple (but great) animation, but making a realistic human character model look truly alive is a mammoth task in comparison.

hrgiger
09-11-2010, 07:41 PM
I thought the disappearing subpatched object upon moving was normal, so thats another reason I never asked.

As I'm still learning the fundamentals in a lot of areas (UV mapping especially), I'm kinda iffy about upgrading my 3d software. I'd rather get a firm foothold in my current version, 9.5, and then move on to something new when my needs in 3d animation increase. Does that make sense at all from a more seasoned person's standpoint?



The disappearing subpatch objects actually have nothing to do with it being a subpatched object (at least not directly). Your object disappearing in Layout has to do with the bounding box threshold. This is the polygon limit count that Layout uses to temporarily disable any objects visibility to allow for faster interaction in a scene. If you increase your bounding box threshold number, your objects will stay visible as you move your view or objects, but may slow down the interaction level. Normally, I set my bounding box threshold very high, and turn my subpatch display down to 0 or 1 depending on how heavy of mesh it is.

As far as upgrading... You should upgrade when it makes sense for you personally. Both UV mapping and hard body dynamics are supposed to be much improved in Lightwave 10. If those and any other additions to Lightwave 10 help your workflow, then you may want to consider upgrading. Other then some new additions, Lightwave 10 modeler and layout will work in much the same manner that they do now so you can continue learning the same things in 10 and have the benefits of the new additions. But you have to decide if the additions are worth the cost of upgrading. Just remember though that that price of upgrades are going up after Ligthwave 10 is released by $200 so factor that into your decision as well. Cheers.

Ryan Roye
09-11-2010, 07:54 PM
If you increase your bounding box threshold number, your objects will stay visible as you move your view or objects, but may slow down the interaction level.

Thanks very much for the tip, I tried it out and immediately noticed a huge difference when moving around the camera in my current scene. Its so much less of an eyesore to not have all my props and objects disappear and reappear all the time :). I'll probably experiment with this value a little to see what my computer can take before affecting speed, I can imagine myself setting it low for animation and high for scene setups and whatnot.

inquisitive
09-21-2010, 02:20 PM
nice video, not boring at all. It's all meat and potatoes :) - Makes me want to get started with my project too.

crashnburn
09-22-2010, 03:13 PM
I had a look, very good. One question, are you rendering out direct to avi files or image sequences? Rendering direct to video can have its pitfalls.

Ryan Roye
09-22-2010, 05:11 PM
One question, are you rendering out direct to avi files or image sequences? Rendering direct to video can have its pitfalls.

I remember someone else suggesting that in a comment via youtube, and from what I understand the big advantage is being able to output to any other format without loss of quality. Currently I am outputting to Indeo Video 5.1 AVI.

However, after some brief testing I found myself wondering how to get my video editor to support such a compilation. I use Video Studio 11, its pretty simplistic but just barely enough to meet my needs without putting strain on my out-of-date CPU. I don't see any options for outputting image files to video in that program. If there's a free program or a way to compile the images into other formats, I'm open to suggestions.

One other problem I found when testing images is that the amount of space the images take are gargantuan compared to video:

70 megs per 20 frames of video (1 second, I animate at 20fps). To store a 5 minute video would require 21+ gigs of memory.

Not too bad if you have a 500 gig HD with a sole purpose of saving your works, but that upgrade to my computer will have to wait for a bit. Its definitely something I can see myself being concerned with as I produce more and more content and begin to build a library of stuff I may one day have to compile into a different format.

crashnburn
09-22-2010, 06:37 PM
For starters. Lightwave can be used to convert image sequences into video files, it does have basic compositing capabilities.

The pros of using video files; primarily, if your system goes down, power failure, software crash etc, you have whatever frames were rendered so less chance of losing an entire render. You will have more control over quality and you will have a better base for editing your renders.

The cons are more space taken up by the images, but how cheap are large capacity hard drives.......very.

As for 70megsa for 20 frames......wow, you don't need to render out to EXR or TIFF or TGA format, something like jpeg will be ok if your final output will be lower quality for the net. You mention time for R&D in you diary, this would be a good one and a potential time saver, with the added bonus of higher quality if you decide to.

I know others on here will have other suggestions....and better ones. But remember that you have a lot of flexibility if you use it. And there are a lot of free applications that can be of use.

To add, I bought Sony Vegas here for less than 40, about 60USD from amazon. Maybe worth a purchase if money is an issue.

DragonFist
09-22-2010, 06:37 PM
It is best to out-put to images when rendering. If something goes wrong with that 30 hour render while you sleep, if you are outputting to video, you have lost everything and have nothing but a corrupt video file to show for you efforts. Outputting images, if you get a crash, etc. You still have all the images previously rendered.

Once the renders are done, you can add the sequence created by the render as the background image to an empty scene and "re-render" to video. (the images aren't actually re-rendered and each one take a fraction of a second to pass and "render") to get your video output - without the risk talked about above.

I don't know the editor you are referring to, but most editors can input image sequences. Even windows movie maker can do it (though it set all images to last for 5secs by default and I would not recommend it anyhow.) But like I said, you can re-use lightwave to make it video footage anyhow.

calilifestyle
09-22-2010, 06:59 PM
Enjoying your developers diary.