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  • Writer's pictureNicole Jones

Week 1: Rolling Ball Project - Setting Up in Maya

Updated: Apr 13, 2021

After talking with my teammate Javier and agreeing on which reference images to use, I began setting up my camera in Maya. I first started out by making sure I entered in the right focal length which in this case was 72mm. From there I created an image plane using my cube reference photo and made a cube polygon in Maya to align to my photo.

Once I established the correct camera angle I then proceeded to create my HDR. First, I uploaded the images of the chrome ball close up, and then merged the photos into one to create my HDR image. After the merge was complete I simply cropped the image to the edges and then exported an HDR radiance file. Then I went back into Maya to create a HDR Dome using a polygon sphere, and then projecting the image of my HDR onto the sphere.

With my HDR Dome and camera in place, I went on to the more difficult aspect, my animation. My teammate and I agreed on a drop in animation for this scene, but unfortunately I am not the best animator, so this part took a little longer than it should. To be honest, I still and not totally happy with the timing of it, but I am looking to improve this issue this week.

With my rough animation worked out, I then created two separate render layers, one with my key light and the other with my ground plate with an aiShadowCatcher, which I rendered out and brought into Nuke to start the compositing process. I tried my best to angle the light in the right direction and I believe that I came fairly close, but I realize that I will need to go back and adjust my positioning, as well as add more lights to my scene to create a smoother workflow process in Nuke. In addition, I realize that I made a mistake in not adding the rest of my lighting and shadow effects, such as my Fill Light, ambient color, and occlusion shadow. I was under the impression at the time that all we needed was our Key Lights for now, but I plan on correcting that mistake as soon as possible.

Key Render Shadow Catcher Render

Once in Nuke, I hit another road block, for I had not used Nuke in a little over a year and I had a hard time remembering all the proper steps to correctly composite my rendered image sequences. However, after looking back in my old notes I was able to composite most of the image together. I did get a little help from my teammate Javier, who is very familiar with Nuke and he showed me some pointers on how to make the shadows appear better on the ground plane. I am looking to add a material texture to my ball by the end of this week, as well as improve my shadows and light positioning to help make a better quality composite.

Nuke Breakdown

Nuke Composite Pass 1

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