Saturday, March 8, 2008


After a week of hacking on Massive, I was finally able to get something out of it.

A couple of highlights:
1. Gave up on RenderMan Pro Server - I haven't been able to get a hold of this software for months now, and I decided to just render with Massive's native hardware renderer and make the most of it. Also, the integration between the Windows version of Massive and RenderMan might present additional problems.

2. Camera moves - you're supposed to be able to import a Maya camera straight into Massive, which is really nice if you want to choreograph the crowd to an existing camera move. But I couldn't get this feature doesn't work, and after two and a half days of segmentation faults and crashes, I gave up. So now I am manually copying the camera keyframes from Maya to Massive, one channel at a time. This process is not as simple as it sounds because Maya and Massive deal with camera aperture in completely different ways. As a result, I had to figure out the conversion between Maya's aperture/film aspect values and Massive's film back to make sure that the camera angles matched. Totally fun.

The first video is what I got when I aligned the camera position but the aperture/filmback didn't match.

The second is a much more accurate alignment after I figured out how to convert between the cameras (the color correction is just something I threw on in Premiere).

So now I have to get the dudes to stop walking back into the train. This is harder than it sounds because I am working with a library agent that Massive provides which is tricky to customize. Still, at this point I'm not averse to manually painting them out if I have to.

Also, I'll work on replacing the models with my own, or at least switch their clothing. I also need to integrate my own motion capture shoot data into this scene. I may just do that as a separate pass at this point.

I'm still not entirely convinced that trying to render in Massive is better than my earlier hacked Maya workflow in which I exported the animation curves out of Massive and then attached them to characters I had created in Maya. The advantage to using Massive is that it's very efficient at rendering (so far) and it's easy to move the agents around, change their outfits, etc. The disadvantages are that the Windows version of Massive isn't very stable, and that I need industry-grade RenderMan Pro Server (to match the rest of my elements that are rendered with RenderMan for Maya) which is not available at my school.

1 comment:

sheila said...

Wow- this process is incredibly complicated! It looks great, though- and you are learning a lot about the software! I hope this learning curve doe not put you behind schedule. Great work!