For the animated aspect of the shot Rosie drew up a story board of some creatures flying through the scene away from something bigger then have a giant eye open to suggest the awakening of whatever may be dwelling there. The camera will seem to be creeping into the scene as an observer as it is encountering this new environment for the first time.
We then sculpted the creature borrowing an asset I’d already built then morphing it and also the preset bat wings in the Maya sculpting preset meshes.
A challenge for all of us is the texturing – we had to balance a stylised aesthetic by designing appropriate textures or modifying the Maya and Mental Ray presets. The presets are much quicker to apply but some look out of place. To overcome this, we had many attempts at bringing assets into Mudbox and painting directly onto them which worked out very well and helped in bringing atmosphere to a rather basic wall texture. we tried to add stones and crevasses and even veins of crystal however the scene couldn’t render and would abort.
Putting veins into the walls worked very well on the initial import, unfortunate the render had issues executing the full render. Given more time we hope to correct this and give real depth to make the walls appear weathered and damp. I really enjoyed the control you get in Mudbox to fully customise the detail and will be exploring it for future projects.
A large part of this build was figuring out how to light a scene like this one because with all the freedom it gives for not having any ‘daylight’ you have to compensate in effectively illuminating the ambiance from another source. The light cone was a great way to highlight assets within the scene. The light is a Mental Ray light fog effect that is designed to look like moonlight. The cone primitive used in a previous version didn’t react at all when the creatures passed through it unlike the new beam that casts shadows and dust particles.
The some assets were removed in the final version as rendering caused a fatal error every time, I thought removing some of the geometry using a ‘material_x’ would reduce the information the machine had to process with light. It was finally discovered that this wasn’t the issue and there was a corruption with an object light within the eyeball. With this fixed it was a little late to re-build the other objects. This seemed to work out for the better with the scene having come out much darker than expected.