Here are the tips and rules I set for my storyboard workflow on the Mango project. For the past project Sintel, I decided to make it on traditional ( each frame drawed on paper ), but as the tools get betters 3 years after, I decided to go with digital storyboarding for this new project. I used Krita 2.4 ( last version, compiled from fresh sources ) as my main tool. Krita’s features presented here are really recent for some and were done on purpose to boost this workflow. But lets starts for now with the spec I use :
A technical test, using 4k footage from real Amsterdam, tracked, integrated with some cg elements, all rendered in Cycles.
Of course being a test, we focused on some aspects and moved quickly on to others, so the modeling is a real simple kit-bashing, but still, kits are incredibly useful and a lot can be done with a small number of beam/girder/truss modules.
These use materials similar to the greeble objects in an earlier post, but even simpler: no AO bake, just an image with various B/W gradients, then each piece is UV mapped on one of those to set rusty/shiny parts, then tileable textures using a cube map projection.
It was too hard to finish the storyboard the day before yesterday as we promised: we were fixing the script and the concept-arts while too many new ideas were incoming. But as our pre-production period allow us still around 10 days remaining we decided to take time and enhance all what we can. It’s amazing to work with Ian and we have a very high creative period in Amsterdam now.
Also, this is a perfect time to blog-post older concept-arts. This are ideas we will probably never use; but this not mean they are ‘dead’ concept; if you look for free CC-By concept-art, feel free to give them a try for your own 3D models. I would be happy to see them have a 3D life.
My first day working in the institute is finished! This morning I finished polishing up the next draft of the script. I’d been chewing on the first version for a while, and realized it suffered from being spread a bit too thin, and dramatically detached (non of the stakes directly affected the main characters). It seems like the best changes are always obvious in retrospect (‘does the protagonist have a ‘motivation’?’) I consolidated the scenes to take place in only two locations, and brought the antagonist into the same scene as the protagonists, and the story is now a lot stronger!
David (arrived saturday!) surprised us this morning with a complete storyboard of the first three scenes. It’s A_M_A_Z_I_N_G! Here you see Ian and David going over the shots. It’s so much fun :)
The script in its core (premise) is still the same, but it has been condensed to be more centered on events in future Amsterdam; removing the scene in space with a battle fleet. More you won’t hear from me now :) This week David and Ian get full freedom – just make it awesome! Next week we’ll get real and will start planning.
With the production start of project Mango getting close it’s a good idea to test your own workflow a bit … because when instead you’re swamped with tons of work you can’t spend time thinking how to make things smarter and faster. So I tried to put together some questions and topics that always bothered me when I do environment models and shaders. Nothing amazing or innovative, but hopefully good for speeding up work, here’s what I came up with:
You got to love a carefully painted custom texture map, with all those subtle (or strong) weathering effects placed in the right spots just for that object.
Only issue: painting textures takes a lot of time! :)
Speaking of environments, that’s a real issue: your environment is often made of tons of different pieces, all quite detailed as models but not that important by themselves to afford the time for accurate custom painting. In my experience, in arch.viz. you only can afford tileable textures and no custom painting, in games you have to custom paint, and in movies you ‘simply’ need the best quality and realism…
Still, in any case it could be handy to have some kind of automation to get some weathering effects (based on the shape of the object) without custom painting, and keeping the unwrap phase reasonably fast. ‘Automation’ for this stuff won’t help quality much, but speeds things up. So it’s good for minor objects or as a base for important ‘hero’ pieces.
That’s the idea behind the tests below, dealing with: batch-bake of AO/dirtmaps, unwrapping multiple objects together, node shaders (cycles in particular)