Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anatomy of a Shot

I picked a random shot to illustrate the steps that I go through. I'll keep updating this post until the final render.

Shot 53: Goon moves toward Bir
Animatic Duration: 2 sec

Stage 1: Storyboard/Animatic - mid-December 2007

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Stage 2: Layout Create Maya scene and import characters. Rough out camera angle/scene composition. - July 2, 2008

Notice that the screen direction is flipped horizontally compared to the storyboards as a side-effect of some story edits that I made during the animation phase of the film.

The character design has also changed significantly. I didn't feel that this character (Sam) needed a beard because the hat is the point of the story. Also, Maqbool already has a beard which will contrast well with Sam's lack of one during the final confrontation scene.

Angle 1:


Angle 2: Roof lines up better with his eyes


Stage 3: Animation July, 2 2008

1st pass blocking/rough animation

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More blocking - the hand wipe was really slowing down the momentum of the scene, and felt out of character/confusing i.e. is poor Sam sweating and tired after a long day of killing people? I considered other options such as having Sam wipe his mouth instead or maybe spit, but none of those actions seemed to fit either. So now he's just going to walk towards Bir. By framing the shot wider, Sam doesn't need to raise the knife as high, again making the shot less over-the-top as compared to the storyboards.

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Several hours later, this is the final animation. I also adjusted the camera movement.

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Since I use RenderMan to smooth the models at render time, I usually do a quick render to preview the animation without paying much attention to lighting.

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Sure enough, I ended up tweaking the camera angle based on the preview render - I widened the shot by changing the lens so you can see Sam's leg stepping over the dead body. No one will probably notice, but I like having it in there because it also breaks up the walk cycle a little bit.

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Stage 4 - Crowd - November 25, 2008
I usually add in the crowd right before I render, because my pipeline involves getting all the crowd animation into Maya, and this makes the scenes really heavy. At this stage, it takes about 5 minutes just to open the Maya file for the shot.

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Stage 5 - Lighting/Rendering - November 27, 2008
I'm not the best lighter :) so everything comes out looking pretty flat usually.

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Stage 6 - Compositing/Final Shot: March 8, 2009
Here's where I add dust, depth of field and color correction.

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Phew.

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