View Full Version : Hooked

02-09-2011, 12:07 AM

Would love to get comments on our latest short "Hooked"

Chris Schoultz
Character Matters

02-09-2011, 12:41 AM
That's awesome man! All in Lightwave?!

02-09-2011, 12:51 AM
Nearly all in Lightwave, the character animation was Maya and exported to LW via MDD's.

02-09-2011, 03:58 AM
Very nice! The style of the character reminds me Finding Nemo a lot. Well done! Congrats!

02-09-2011, 05:15 AM
really amazing work! Would love to see a making of! The surfacing and Lighting are fantastic!

02-09-2011, 05:45 AM
Haha...that was super duper....great work :thumbsup:


02-09-2011, 05:47 AM
Great stuff! Very well done.

02-09-2011, 05:50 AM
I like it! Good stuff

02-09-2011, 07:50 AM
Very nice, nice colors and story!Can you post some info about this project?Some breakdowns, shaders info etc.?

02-09-2011, 08:06 AM
Brilliant work. :thumbsup:

02-09-2011, 08:21 AM
Very , very, very nice. I love that shortfilm :)


02-09-2011, 08:33 AM
It's another reason the Newtek site badly needs a showcase banner at the top so more people pick up on the best work and casual browsers can easily see what is achievable.

02-09-2011, 09:18 AM
It's another reason the Newtek site badly needs a showcase banner at the top so more people pick up on the best work and casual browsers can easily see what is achievable.


They need anything to promote the LW/and work done in LW better, cogh*look at luxology, modo*cough, I'm not saying they should spend fortune on marketing anything, just one person dedicated to updating the site and looking for LW related news etc.

But that's off topic a bit.

Again, lovely work!!

02-10-2011, 07:47 AM
I don't usually post because I am too lazy. There is a ton of great work on this site but this one really made me smile, awesome job!

02-10-2011, 04:54 PM
That short is GREAT. Love the lighting and textures!

02-10-2011, 05:26 PM
Everything about that short was great, but most importantly... the ending really made me laugh. Awesome job. :thumbsup:

02-12-2011, 01:08 AM
Superb work. Congrats man. Lighting and shading is awesome.

02-12-2011, 04:30 AM
Well done! The lighting/shading/texturing is very well done. I wouldn't have guessed it was rendered in LW... it has the look of Renderman/Arnold. :)

02-12-2011, 07:44 AM
One of the best looking lightwave renders I've seen! Pixar style renders!
I've been looking for tutorials, free and commercial, on how to do render animation like that. I've not found one.
Custom lightrigs, AO?

02-12-2011, 11:30 AM
really fun piece, congrats.

02-12-2011, 11:54 PM
Excellent, and the story itself was great as well.

02-13-2011, 12:22 AM
Hi there fellow lightwavers!

I was the lighting and shading arist on the Character Matters short film "Hooked" written and directed by Friedl Jooste.Our short film has been well met all around the internet, we feel privileged and humbled by it's reception with the world out there.

Here's a bit of background info. A few months ago some of my friends and i decided that we would like to start a sideline shortfilm project in our spare time, which wasn't really much because we were busy producing a cg stereoscopic feature film during that period.The feature film is "The Lion of Judah", directed by Deryck Broom, the first full length cg animated film to come from the african continent to the global big screen."The Lion of Judah" was also lit ,shaded , textured and rendered in Lightwave.

During the stereoscopic project, there was alot of rendering involved, many late nights and plenty of trouble shooting in some cases.Friedl ( lead animator and animation director), Lynton Levengood (lead texturer, concept artist and matt painter) and me (lighting, shading and comping artist) decided that we wanted to do something in our spare time to stay creatively active and keep growing as artists.We tried to think what would be artistically challenging, but at the same time lots of fun to create. We then decided to create an underwater animated short. Friedl came up with a story that is both entertaining, yet achievable to create. After reading the script , Lynton started to blaze away with concept paintings for Hooked. I started from home to experiment with methods in Lightwave to achieve a convincing underwater look, but in such a fashion that you could still clearly see the action taking place in the environment.

One morning Friedl came into work and called us all to his workstation, he had designed and modeled Breemie, the star of the short.We were all very happy and excited about the character he created and Lynton was itching to start the process of creating a color pallette for Breemie.Lynton did alot of experimentation with what would be the correct amount of detail in the texture, making the character believable but stylised.While the texturing was happening, i started shading tests on a untextured version of the character.Alot of sub-surface scatter tests were run.Sometimes you achieve something that looks good on a still frame, but the moment it moves it has artifacting.I enjoyed the challenge and in the end discovered settings that worked nicely on Breemie without any artifacting.I went with the Simple Skin Shader in the end and made a character light rig for Breemie that supports his shaders.For the rocks and ground i used Oren-Nayar and Kappa II was used on the plants.

We then decided to show what we have done so far to our boss and Character Matters Studio owner, Chris Schoultz, who was excited and supportive with Hooked. We showed him the character as well as a early environment light rig i made at home with volumetrics and caustics included.We asked Chris if he would be interested if we brought it into the studio and got the whole Character Matters team working on it after "The Lion of Judah".He gave the green light and we were all very excited, the project now seemed like more than just a pipe dream.Chris puts all the workstations and render nodes together himself.He is incredibly gifted with putting together severe workhorses(power user pc's) at the lowest cost.A typical lighting department workstation has 16gigs of RAM and 16 threads to render with, 3.4ghz per thread.Hooked would never have happened if he didnt agree to do the project at the studio.

The animation began soon after Lynton drew up the storyboard.Animation was done in Maya and then exported through MDDs to Lightwave.I had a master environment light rig into which the character was brought and i would then optimise the scene according to camera to lighten the load, but without getting
any inconsistencies in the shadowing or object placements.

Niki Cilliers (animator, rigger,modeler,fur specialist and concept artist) was in charge of the modeling and layout of the environment. Niki did all the layout for Hooked and as new objects were created in Maya, she would export it as an OBJ for me and i would then apply a basic surface to it before sending it off to the texturers. As soon as Lynton gave the thumbs up with the textures, i would apply the actual shader and the object joined the master environment scene.

Rudi Naude was responsible for creating the subtle particle dynamics to give the environment a bit more substance.He created this effect in Lightwave and we would then comp it in with Fusion 6 afterwards.

The light rig had it's fair share of challenges. The challenge, as always, was to achieve a look that you're happy with, but the render times need to be something achievable.I did alot of research and test sequences.I really wanted to push hard with the lighting and craft it to the best of my abilities, because i could see all the hard work the other departments were putting in and i felt a sense of responsibility to show off their efforts in the level best light solution i could create.
At times it felt a bit stressful, especially if a sequence that you had alot of hope for comes out with artifacting, then it's back to the drawing board again.It felt great when eventually i had all the technicalities sorted in the lighting and i could just put on some tunes and be artistic with every shot, zoning out in the passion of the work.

We feel privileged that Chris gave us creative freedom on this project, trusting us to produce something worthwhile for his investment.Knowing that he trusts us that much also had alot to do with a sense of responsibility in each department.

Working with Lightwave is an absolute joy for me. I have worked with many other mainstream apps before, but i feel that LW is unmatched in production speed and i absolutely love the LW renderer.Everything in Hooked was lit, shaded and rendered with tools that come standard with Lightwave, we had no third party renderer, no additional plug-ins etc. etc., Hooked was done with out the box Lightwave technology.

I used Fusion 6 to do the compositing , adding AO which was rendered in LW and a few post touches.

If any of you have any specific questions on the lighting ,shading or rendering side of things, please feel free to ask.

Thank you for taking the time to read through all this, i got a bit enthusiastic.

Cheers guys,

Ben Cooper (Character Matters lighting TD).

02-13-2011, 12:46 AM
As I said in my post, I've been looking for tutorials and tips for this kind of look in lightwave. I will have many questions. Hehe.
Do you use radiosity, raytracing, shadowmaps?
Local lighting per character?

02-13-2011, 01:11 AM
Hi Joji,

Hooked had no radiosity in it. For the environment i utilised LW's dome light as my "sun", with a quality setting of 6. This gave me soft shadows and a overall illumination pass over the entire scene. Area lights were used in key areas to "lift" parts of the environment.These lights were scaled up to achieve a soft look in the shadows from the raytracing.

There were parts of the environment that had to have custom lights effect them and not the master light rig, like the plants. I would get the environment looking pleasing in the master light rig, but the moment i used SSS on particular plants, the plants got hard to work with. This was why i decided to create custom lights that illuminate and shade the plants without having to touch the master light rig.

Breemie, the main fish character, had his own light rig as well. His lighting was three point lighting also consisting of area lights as well as an extra fill light, because of the shape of his body.I also applied a point light in some shots behind him to get just enough light filtering through his fins to achieve a nice bit of light scatter.

No shadow maps were used, only raytraced. Average render time per frame was 7 minutes (considering our systems have 16 threads to render with).

The caustics were faked with spotlights that had a image sequence attached to them. I then used that same image sequence for the volumetric lights
which made the speed, direction and shape matchup.

02-13-2011, 12:36 PM
Thanks Ben for the detailed lighting info. The surfacing is great, too. Any special node flow was used? Did you guys use lightwave 10 or 9.6?
I showed a friend this video and they thought its a disney or pixar animation. You have a very good team there.

Newtek, Matt, this forum needs a top row!!

02-13-2011, 01:22 PM
Excellent story. Beautiful renders. Top notch animation. 5 out of 4 stars. :thumbsup:

02-13-2011, 02:21 PM
NIce indeed! Congratulations!

02-13-2011, 10:35 PM
Hooked was done with Lightwave 9.6, we did gain access to a trial of
LW10 and my boss will probably switch over to it in the near future.

We are getting ready to enter "Hooked" into some animation festivals around the world.We'll keep you guys up to date on how it does.

It's great to get so much support from the Lightwave community.

02-14-2011, 01:05 AM
That's awesome! Great work loved it!!!

02-14-2011, 07:58 PM
Amazing work. Nice to see focus on the story too, not just the graphics and animation! :thumbsup:

02-15-2011, 01:51 AM
Thank for the comments guys. It looks like Hooked will be featured in 3Dworld magazine- will post a link once published.