Saturday, 1 February 2014

Illuminated Knight Opening Cinematic

Once I'd rigged my character and created the cathedral interior it was time to bring it all together. Based on my storyboard I broke the scene down step by step to help make the animation more manageable.
The first time we see the knight is when he opens the cathedral door and a battle rages behind him. I'd already created vectors of knights fighting to animate in the background and wanted to blend them into a fiery background to emphasise the hellish world the knight was trying to escape.

Light is very important to me in this scene as it plays a big part in the overall theme of the game concept. As the knight walks down the aisle I wanted the light from the stained glass windows to ripple over him, almost as if it's defining his form. To achieve this I used volumetric lights with the stained glass textures as projection maps. It's the first time I've used volumetric lighting and I had to experiment with different settings to achieve something I was happy with. I animated the phase value in the volumetric fog settings to simulate small dust particles that move about within the light shafts, to suggest the building has been neglected for quite some time. However the more I added to the scene the more difficult it was to get feedback on how it was looking as preview renders were taking forever!

It's way too bright at the moment but there's still a lot of experimentation to do before it's finished, but as proof of concept it's starting to come together. I've set up the various camera positions, but still need to work on the animations of the knight before I can move forward.
 If I'm honest it's been a bit of a struggle, I came to college with some knowledge of 3D modelling and hoped my tutors would be there to help when I needed answers to specific problems with rendering, animation, and lighting. As self motivated as I am and the countless hours I spend searching the net for answers when I get stuck, the college has not been able to help with any of my issues. At the moment I'm struggling with render times, it's going to take days to render this animation as is and I just don't have the time to take my computer out of action for that long. If college set up Backburner on the networked PC's they have 3DS Max on (something that would take minutes) I'd be able to use a render farm and get it done in a night, but throughout my time I've encountered heavy resistance to any kind of change. For now I'm going to have to leave this animation and come back to it during the summer when I can render it in my own time.

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