Monday, 8 March 2010


My initial schedule did not really go to plan throughout this process. The main reason for this was because our group took a few weeks to decide on a final concept and we also had members joining later on in the process. There was an also adverse weather condition that held up the first few weeks of term and stopped us from really talking face to face and knowing what we all wanted. With regards to the final idea we had it on our first true group meeting, yet dallied around with others for a while that in hindsight wasted quite a bit of time.

I did begin my animation tests such as different water and using Maya Cloth for the flag quite early which I am glad about as I was able to utilise them quickly in the later stages, although rendering of the different elements did take a long time and my laptop frequently crashed at the end of the term, adding yet more time to render. In the end it came down to the last night for me to render completely. My schedule for the final night was to wake up every two hours and see how my rendering was going, which I did. There were a few times when rendering had not begun or my laptop could not cope with the final output, yet it did manage to render on time.

I am quite pleased with my work this term and feel that I have learned a lot from the project, including:

Using Particle effects to create fire
Using Softbodies and Dynamics for water
My modelling skills have definitely improved
UV and Planar Mapping for texturing
Using lights in the best was to highlight key areas
Layering of rendering and also objects within the scene
How to use real world objects and use them creatively for a different purpose

I feel like I worked really hard on the project and although certain members of the team let us down throughout, I am proud of my own personal achievements. I did not think that I would enjoy the project as much as I have due to being mainly interested in character animation beforehand, and I also enjoy modelling and texturing far more than previously thought. I believe that my models look well together in the environment and that the water and fire animations also add an extra level of complexity to the images.

On the other hand, I do feel as though there is a little bit of a divide between Lydia’s section in the cave and the main central part of the castle, mainly due to the lighting. I realise that the black background does not help matters and if we had been given a little bit more time I would have liked to see a starry sky in the background to give a bit more depth to the images. I was a bit disappointed with the lighting in the main castle, and wish that it had been just a little bit brighter or had more of a strong moonlit glow to enhance the textures and make them look more realistic. I think this would have made it look more akin to the cave where there are strong glows from the torches.

Another point that could have been improved is the camera angles. Our story boarder did not actually produce any storyboards so it was left to me and a couple of other members to try and sort out which angles were needed at the last minute. If I had known he was not going to produce them I would have done some more myself rather than just quick shot ideas. One bit I was sad about in my final renders was that when the camera is following the light trail around the room you can barely see the actual fire, which is annoying because in the playblasts the particle effects can be seen. I did move the camera frames to try and compensate this after my first render yet not enough, and I did not have time to keep rendering to test it due to the amount of time it took to do so. If I were to continue this project that would be one of the first bits I would change, although I do feel that the other camera shots showing this section show off the fire very well and the fact that it trails around the room.

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