Production Diary – The Lost Chapters

week 2:

This week was used to build blend shapes for the face. Because we didn’t have enough time and assistance to build a fully joint driven face rig we settled for blend shapes. I used the simple technique of just copying the base mesh and then manually translate and rotate every vertex into position. I would have used soft mods, but the damn thing wouldn’t work for me.

We designed the shapes in blocks (eyebrow up/down, mouth corner in/out, that sort of thing) rather than full expressions. Hopefully this will give us a lot more freedom to make expressions when we animate.

By mid-week it looked like I was making good progress, but in the end I had to use the entire week to do the shapes.
The primary reson for this was that I had to make sure that the different block played together nicely. When you move the inner eyebrow down it should look good on it’s own, but also looks nice when you do it together with the middle eyebrow. This took some trial and error but I think I came up with a good solution that also gives nice freedom.

week 3:

mostly spend doing the final face rig. Sune Kempf came in again and walked us through the setup process that he recommended that we use. It is a face setup where the main face rig is hidden and remains in place while a secondary set of controllers then travel with the face (or camera or whatever you prefer). All facial deformations are then transferred from the face-rig mesh to the primary mesh via a blend shape.
The advantage is that you don’t really have to worry about cluster deformers doing double translations or weird rotations and stuff like that, because the face rig isn’t actually moving.

Another good thing is this way two people can work on the rig at the same time (one face, one body) and just put it together in the end. It would be even more awesome if I wasn’t doing the entire rig on my own.

week 4 and 5:

I started to build the set. It’s done with standard poly tools. Nothing fancy so far. So far I have done most of the two main control clusters and a large secondary… thingy.

We still haven’t done any texturing (>_<) because I am still not clear on how exactly we are supposed to do it. I still hold for a Kingdom Hearts 2 style shading, but I think I am the only one who are actually considering it.

Another problem we have been solving is translating geometry to mentalray. With the amount of polys we seem to end up with, the standard approach of just smoothing and then rendering is much to slow. In stead we have been looking into the approximation editor which seems to be a good solution. It does mean that we have to revisit some geometry to make sure everything is tris and quads, as the AE doesn’t seem to like 5-edged polys.

week 6:


A power failure in the power supply of our servers completely shut down all access to our drives with all our materials on them. Monday they said that they would have it up and running later that day or at worst: Tuesday. Tuesday they said that would be up later that day. Wednesday they said that would probably be a while yet. Thursday they got out internal mail up and running but still no drives.

So we have been working very sporadically using as much energy on figuring out what we can actually do, as we use on doing it.

So I have been modeling different small stuff. Random structures, stairs and the likes.

week 7

Holiday! And meltdown continues unless out tech department pulls a miracle out of their sleeves and the chances of that happening are currently so small that… they are… ehh… very small.