For my second portfolio piece I ventured into learning Renderman to light and render a pre-made environment. I wanted to make it a lighting exercise by lighting the environment during the day, night, and an eerie desaturated look. Then take those renders and bring them into Nuke to re-familiarize myself with compositing.
For the first project I explored gobo lighting for Unreal Engine 4. I started with making a massive texture pack to be inputted into light function materials. After making the texture, I made animated materials for the gobo lights. Finally, I wanted to make a tool that would make the material parameters editable to the user in a friendly manner. I had already made a small caustic light tool that does the same thing, so I dusted that tool off and built onto it.
In the end I've made a caustic and gobo light tool that can take in the created materials, expose certain parameters that can be manipulated by the artist.
For this final semester at FIEA, I plan to spend to on developing portfolio pieces that pertain to layout artistry and lighting artistry. I hope to potentially experiment with shot framing, different lighting for different tones; lighting environment pieces and experimenting with Renderman; and creating light systems for Unreal Engine 4.
1) One idea for a layout project would be to take animated scenes created by animation students at FIEA and frame and light it in different ways to convey different tones (while still being the same animation). The purpose of this project is to be able to demonstrate how changing visual cues through camera framing and lighting can create different connotative tones even though the actual acting is the same through each piece. I'm still in the process of deciding to go based on film genre or style.
Potentially using the kind of soft lighting from 40s classics
or adapting a particular director's style like Hitchcock or Wes Anderson
For sure would like to experiment mixing warm and cool colored lighting techniques too.
2) Another idea is to take environments built by FIEA 2D3D artists, lighting them in Maya and render them out using Renderman. The purpose of this project is to become familiar with Renderman (all the while experiment with lighting to convey tone, similar to the project idea above).
3) Revisiting Unreal Engine 4 is another idea for a project. In particular--a collection of light systems. Upon viewing the Unreal marketplace and looking up what was available for 'light,' there were packs for volumetrics, IES packages, lightning vfx, and etc. However, I saw no packs for gobo lights. So an idea would be to create a gobo light systems pack with a variety of light projections at the ready for engine.
Not a single gobo light pack in sight.
An example of a gobo light projection
4) Continuing on with gobo lighting, I can take it a step further and work to create an HDRI (high dynamic range image) that is a gobo light itself. So there could be light projections cast all around a 360 degree environment. This would take some creativity as I would need to acquire an HDR image--one where there'd be light projection in particular i.e. a forest for instance. And then create the gobo projection and find if there's a possible way to combine them or fake combine them so the projection would be cast around 360 degrees.
An example of an HDRI
Someone created big gobo projection onto their environment. I would like to attempt it seeming like the gobo's being cast by the HDRI.
For this assignment, I had to make a level in UE4 with four areas (or a single place with four rooms). I learned a lot with this project and had many issues to work with. Counting some technical issues, the biggest lesson I had to learn was having everything to a scale. I started with a MASSIVE plane of land to work with. But when I started putting things in, everything looked so small. And I don't know if foilage with the foilage brush is scaleable, but those came out even smaller. So I had to accomodate to the plants as my measure of scale. I started over a number of times, making the area region smaller each iteration. I finally settled on a size that might be big enough. I definitely want to go back and polish more though.
The first region is an enclosed village. It has shops, a pub, homes, and trees. There are a lot of trees in this region.
The second region is for a woodcutter who has hidden himself away amongst the trees. Within the lush forest lies faint traces of his presence with axes marking tree stumps. The woodcutter is also the village's herbologist who'll trade their goods on occasion. He's a grumpy dude who hates having to interact with others, so sometimes, people from the village will commute to him.
The third region belongs to a family of fishermen who live on a small, humble coast. Their little inlet opens up the bigger waters, which they will venture out to on their little boats. They live by a lighthouse that has always been able to lead them back home from their trips. The family lives a ways from the village, but they will also make trips to sell their goods.
The final region is the home of a hermit flower girl. Though she lives in complete isolation within a flower field, she's relatively close to the fisher family and her friendship with them is what keeps her from going insane. Living in an area of lush flowery, she makes her living by selling to the village. She doesn't make the trips herself, but the fisher family will include her goods when they head out to town. The village's blacksmith is a definite fan of her products.
The assignment this week was to model a starfish character. He came out quite pudgy and would be quite squishable. Even though I already knew a way to model, I learned a different (an more efficient way) to model a character. Below is a sample of the starfish as a solid and its wireframe.
The second assignment was to get into groups of three and redesign a Nintendo character. The group I was in took Ganondorf (from Legend of Zelda) and made him cute and small. This is the model sheet for the redesign.