• Nicole Jones

Week 2: Rolling Ball Project - The Ball is Rolling

Updated: Apr 13, 2021


The end of Project 1 is coming up close and for week two I was hoping to take more photography sets because I wanted the chance to test the 360 camera for my HDR image. Unfortunately, I ran into some difficulties and was unable to acquire any more photos, but I did manage to get some shots using the Fish eye lens.

Fish Eye Shots

With no new photo sets I continued to work with the current set that I had been using in Maya. One of the first adjustments I needed to make was fixing the ground plane because I realized that when setting up my render camera I accidentally shifted the ball and plane polygon too high up from the ground plane. Once I corrected that mistake I adjusted my key light slightly to have a better match to the angle of the shadow in the reference photo with the grey ball in the light.

Adjusted Key Light Angle in Nuke

Key Light Settings and Rendered Image

With my key light angle adjusted to where I wanted I moved on to create my new fill light render layer. Before my adjustments I had been using a surface shader image projection on a sphere polygon to make my HDR dome; however, I decided to which to the AiSkydome and found, like many of my fellow classmates, that the sky dome was the superior method to project my HDR image.

AiSkydome Fill Light Pass

AiSkyDome Fill Light

With my fill light and key lights in place I made three more render layers, two for my shadows and the third for my occlusion. I accomplished this my adding the ball, ground, and lights into their respective layers. Within both the shadow render layers for the key and fill lights I added an aishadowcatcher onto the ground plane and turned the visibility of the ball over to capture my shadow passes. For the occlusion shadow I did the same thing to achieve the shadow pass, with the except of adding an aiambientocculsion shader instead of an aishadowcatcher.

The next slightly more complicated part of my adjustments was adding the environment shadow. To achieve this I made two separate render layers for my environment prep and environment projection. In my environment prep I made a camera and positioned it in the same spot as my key light. While looking through my key light cam I could see the projection of the clean plate image, which I rendered and brought into Photoshop. Once in Photoshop I made an alpha image with a Gaussian blur. With my new alpha image I went to my environment projection render layer and set up a surface shader projection on the ground plane and linked the perspective to the key light. The one problem I ran into though was that when I brought the alpha image into Maya and linked the image to the key light cam, the shadow did not extend far enough to the left. This was a problem because I knew the simulation would have pieces scattering around. To fix this problem I simply zoomed the key light cam out a little until I could see more of the image surface. With the right projection in place I added the same surface shade from the ground plane on to my ball to get the environment shadow projection.

Environment Shadow Prep

Environment Shadow Test

With my render layers in place all I needed was the animation simulation from my VSFX partner. Unfortunately, my partner ran into several issues while working on the simulation, the biggest issue is that every time we imported the abc file into Maya file the surface of the ball was extremely fractured and we couldn't figure out how to fix it. We tried asking other classmates and our teachers, but we couldn't get the ball to the perfect surface that we wanted. In the near future we hope to fix this problem so that the composite can have a smoother, nicer looking ball. However, for the time being my partner Javier tried to get the ball as decent looking as he could and I composited the images from there.

Geometry Problem with Ball

With the renders that I had, Javier helped me composite the image because as I mentioned before I am still relatively new to Nuke and while I was able to composite the some of the more basic aspect of the images, my partner Javier showed me some features of Nuke to help make the composite appear better.

Nuke Breakdown and Adjusted Composite

For the future my partner and I hope to fix the geometry issue so that the ball can be smoother and once that issue is fixed, I would like to add a different texture material onto the ball.


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