Problems & Solutions
So folks we have had some issues regarding textures when attempting to import a scene from another computer. This seems to be a rather annoying and frequent problem. One way we have solved this is to manually re-assign the textures, but this takes up valuable time. The other day Dan showed me and Tom a way to set the textures by setting the project scene and its textures under source images rather than documents. I have to say that I do not yet fully understand how the texture system works. I also understand that other students have been experiencing similar problems. The other problem is that some of our scenes are far too complex for our laptops to render in terms of polygons and information. Sometimes it is due to a lack of memory or RAM. However we have solved this problem by dismissing the fly through approach and exploring the environment by using numerous shots. Thus we do not have to render all the components within a single shot. We have also taken this a stage further by making sure that any environment components not visible within the camera frame are deleted to cut down render time and lag/ delay issues. There is no point in including elements which the viewer cannot see. This is precisely what they do in film, however from the experience on this project, I have realised that using this technique is even more important when it comes to CG 3D environments.
The other problem is that we have discovered that we cannot use the render farm effectively as Qube is only compatible with mental ray and only works with .tiff format textures. We have used many .jpg when texturing, and it would be a painstakingly slow process of re-formating hundreds of textures. As we all know time is not a luxury we have, particularly as we only have a couple of weeks left. It has also come to my attention that during the last weeks Qube buckled under the pressure of too many projects being uploaded to be rendered which exceeded the memory limit. Numerous projects which were 4 Gb and over crashed the render farm, thus this is another reason why it was a good decision to render locally on our own laptops.
We have also decided not to render our scenes with an occlusion layer as we discovered that rendering this layer almost doubled render time. The result did not look too different from the
renders without an occlusion layer. The only way we could include an occlusion layer was by either rendering different layers separately of the same scene on several laptops simultaneously or the the render farm Qube was an option however I have already explained the issue with this method. So we decided to render without an occlusion render in order to cut down on render time.
I admit that there were on occasions, moments where I thought we were not going to complete our animated environment project or complete it to our liking and we may have spent a week more on concept design than we should have, but in my opinion this extra week provided us with adequate time to come up with some interesting designs. We supported and helped each-other to come up with solutions to quickly remedy a problem. Generally after these scares we focused our concentration and consequently completed a lot of work within a day, which provided a sense of accomplishment. Our project is a particularly ambitious one and has become a rather daunting project to complete during these last few weeks. It will be all the more rewarding once we finish the project.
I must say guys that you have all worked really hard on this project and we are almost near completion. I am surprised how quickly we have progressed during the modeling, texturing and rendering stages and have still managed to produce high quality work. I am also quite surprised at how well organised we have been particularly in time management. Your punctuality and attendance demonstrates your keenness and commitment to this project which is most appreciated and encouraging. Your willingness to turn up everyday for these last few weeks from 10 am till 6 pm is also appreciated. We have had frustrating moments and these last couple of weeks have been stressful, I know we are all rather tired too. It is very encouraging to see that all of you are prepared to work late into the evening to complete your tasks. Soon all this hard work will pay off, as I am sure all of you agree that our project is looking slick and professional. Completion is indeed within sight. Very soon we can all have a well deserved break from our dedicated efforts.
We have almost completed rendering, we only need a few more shots rendered. Next week we shall render off the final shots and begin importing the targa sequences into After Effects so that we can add the finishing touches such as backgrounds and sand trails. After this stage we can then import these polished sequences into Final Cut Pro, where we can edit our sequences and add those all important sound effects.