View Full Version : 3D Workflow

10-30-2003, 08:32 AM
Does anyone have, or know of, a workflow model for 3-D development. I need one that begins with the steps of modeling and goes through the development of scenes, and, ultimately, rendering. I work for a corporation (a "WHOPPER" of a company) that recently added 3-D animation to its capabilities and I need to setup some kind of process around it.

God bless.....

10-30-2003, 08:41 AM
Exactly what kind of document do you need to deliver?

Just something to make the bigwigs happy?

Something to train people?

There's no official workflow...here's a vauge one...

1) Get objects -find, buy, download or make them
1a) There is no one way to start an object, in most cases
2) Set up a scene
2a) Set up animation
2b) Light
2c) Go online to ask question
2d) Surface
2e) Check email - someone has responded to your question
2f) Wonder why CIM is still allowed to post
2g) Fix object geometry
2h) Do test renders until lunch
2ha) Hide McDonald's bag
2i) Surface more
2j) Search Flay for plug-in
2k) Pine for Worley's G2
2l) Repeat above steps at random
3) Render
4) Post render composite

10-30-2003, 08:49 AM
That's about right. I'm especially confused by Step 2F. Why is he still allowed to post? Perhaps that's a question for the tips and tricks section.

10-30-2003, 08:50 AM
Not funny.

10-30-2003, 08:56 AM
You're right....it's for the suits. Something about accountability and scheduling and bla bla bla bla.....

Who is CIM??

10-30-2003, 09:17 AM
Heeheehee hee LOL Stranahan!

Anyway, I was goin to ask the same question a couple of weeks ago, in the meantime I have made up a first draft in Microsoft project format, if that would be of any use to you ?? - though I'm not very experienced LW'er Cg artist, it was basically to give the big wigs an idea of the time needed to get through a project (and prevent all those same big wigs from asking me to produce everything they decide on on a whim.. "wouldn't it be nice if we got him to this in 3D..." every 5 ******* minutes!

10-30-2003, 10:06 AM
Originally posted by AHorbett
Who is CIM??

I don't know who CIM is but i've been reading this forum about CIM. CIM always wanted Lightwave become MAYA! (i think) Maybe i'm wrong.

Elmar Moelzer
10-30-2003, 10:50 AM
Hey Adam!
Here is a more serious example of wrokflow (this is the way we do it here):

1. Plan ahead:
Check whether you have allready got some of the parts of the scene in your object/scene- database (if you have got something like that already, you will certainly collect a lot of objects/scenes after some time). Reusing objects is can save you a lot of time and is pretty easy with LW.
Prepare the storyboards and make sure you dont invest more work into the project than necessary.
E.g if you are never going to get close enough to an object there is no need to model tiny details.
If the models are going to be seen very close up it might make sense to have different detail- levels for models to save rendertimes.

2. Get reference- material:
I cant stress this enough. The better the reference- material the better the result. Good reference are a must.
With reference- material I mean blueprints, character- sheets, photographs etc.

3. Prepare the reference- material:
Lay the blueprints out so the different views all the have the same size and so you can use them well when having them in the BG while modeling.

4. Modeling: Plan ahead and use whatever technique works best for you.
Make sure to save steps and if you are using subpatches make sure that you keep them in an unfrozen state as long as possible.
Plan the use of endomorphs, UVs and xgons early. E.g. it sometimes makes sense to apply a UV- map early in the process (see my polygon- hair- tutorial on the newtek- HP).
If there are going to be simillar objects in the project make sure you can reuse parts or steps of a model for others, so you dont have to start from scratch again and again.

5. Surfacing: Load the object into a simple scene that has good lighting and that contains overbright spots (a sky that is brighter than 100% i.e), so you can see realistic reflections.
You might have to use some scene- settings too (i.e for an ocean- scene I had to adjust the displacement- maps first and then do the surfacing on top of that.
Do a lot of testrenderings.
Make sure the Camera- settings are about the same (resolution AA- level) as the ones you are going to use in the final scene.
Paint your textures in as high- resolutions as possible.
Use as low- res- versions as possible in LW.
Try to keep your texturing modular.

6. You will have to switch back to Modeler sometimes to fix weightmaps or UVs.

7. Do that for all objects.

8. For characters: Do the setup in an empty scene, parent the entire character- setup to a Null and use Load From Scene to merge it into the full scene. Sometimes it might be more conventient to do some animation in an empty, or almost empty scene as well.

9. Load all objects into the full scene and arrange animate etc...

10. Set the render- settings (Camera and Renderpanel).
Use Imageviewer FP for viewing testrenders.

11. Lighting:
Testrender, adjust, testrender, adjust, testrender...

12. Add effects like particles, fog, glows, lensflares etc.

13. Set the image- format to render to (never render to animation- files, despite for quick tests or something).
The image- format will mostly depend on the needs of the Post (Aftereffects, Digital Fusion, Shake, Nuke, etc).

14. If you want to render to Layers set that all up now.

15. Send to Screamernet or render locally.

16. Post:
Never forget that LW can be a pretty cool Post- tool as well and sometimes it makes sense to reload the rendered sequence into LW and render an effect over it.
I.e I was not able to get a volumetric light to blend with the BG and the fog in a scene the way I wanted it to. So I simply
rendered it over a BG- sequence in LW.
If you work with post- tools that can use HDRi it can sometimes be a good idea to use these formats even though the use can still be a bit problematic sometimes and the filesizes will be larger too.

A final tip: Try to save memory wherever possible (especially large imagemaps can suck up memory quickly and things will get slow then).
Do as many testrenders as possible. Render sequences to preview animations.
Try to avoid using 3rd- party- plugins!

Hope that helps

10-30-2003, 11:07 AM
I couldn't give a serious answer until I knew what was being asked...

If it's something for the suits, it just needs to look reasonably complex. What Elmer said is good, and I'll write more later..but...

First thing I'd adding in planning is to decide why you're using 3D and what elements can be done without 3D - like with a photo, or a 2D element, or so on...

10-31-2003, 02:21 AM
That's some nice stuff there elmar, thanks for sharing and I'll be incoporating that into mine, in the meantime here's a simplified version (attached) of what I had so far, it's a very specific template for a my projects (Vis for new Tram routes) so it would need a bit of work to suit anyone else's.

10-31-2003, 07:51 AM
There is nothing wrong with CIM. He just wants LW to become better. He used to state his opinions straight out without "sugar coating" them.

He got banned on cgtalk before, because he didn't behave nicely ( according to the moderators ) when Policarpo announced to leave the LW cgtalk forum, but now CIM is allowed to post again and Policarpo uses cgtalk's LW again as well, so all are happy now ;)

10-31-2003, 07:53 AM

I'm curious - why try to avoid using third party plug-ins?

That seems like the only bad bit of advice in there....

If someone, or better yet their company, can afford some of the great 3rd party tools out there, there isn't any reason I can think of not to use them. This is especially true for a small house.

10-31-2003, 08:06 AM
Originally posted by Stranahan

I'm curious - why try to avoid using third party plug-ins?

That seems like the only bad bit of advice in there....

If someone, or better yet their company, can afford some of the great 3rd party tools out there, there isn't any reason I can think of not to use them. This is especially true for a small house.

Maybe it has to do with network rendering. I seem to have problems with some 3rd party's.

10-31-2003, 08:21 AM
Funny you ask, I just stumbled across a nice flow chart this morning before reading your post.

Try This (http://www.digiprodsolutions.com/docs/DPS_Brochure.pdf)

Page 7 of the PDF (labeled page 6) has a very good overview of the process.


10-31-2003, 08:27 AM
There's another step I'd add, maybe...

R & D - Researching any potential problem or new areas. This is best done outside of the scene, and before you get into it. It's good to have a fall back plan, too.

About 3rd party and network rendering - no, this shouldn't be a problem, if you've set things up right. Certainly no more of a problem than any plug-in, 3rd party or not.

It also occurs to me that Elmar's step 11

11. Lighting:
Testrender, adjust, testrender, adjust, testrender...

....could really be helped with a 3rd party plug-in, namely Steve Worley's G2. It would be...

11. Lighting
Render, adjust.