• Charlotte Grant

Misc Assignment Update (Ft. Nuke, Python and Academic writing!)

Alongside our group project (which I'll update more about soon) we've also had a lot of misc assignments to complete throughout February, a compositing assignment, an essay and a scripting assignment.

For the essay, we were given a choice of 3 topics, one by each of our theory lecturers. I chose a topic on "Visibility and Invisibility" of CG techniques as I felt it the most interesting and my essay was about how keyframe animation is used Invisibly in Life of Pi (the tigers movements are mimicked in order to replicate real life and make the audience believe it was an animal actor rather than a computer generated creature) and visibly in The Gruffalo, where the models are made to seem hand sculpted and despite the back plates of the movie being captured from real life sets, the animation on the gruffalo isn't created to seem realistic or made to mimic real life.

It was one of the more interesting essays I think I've been set and it was very interesting to research. I really enjoyed Life of Pi as a movie, so watching all the videos on the making of the movie was very interesting! I'll likely post the completed essay on here at some point for people who are interested (I'm just going to wait until the course is over, because I don't want to set off any plagiarism filters and what-not by posting it online!)

The second assignment we've had recently was compositing. We've had several great lessons recently by our lecturer Mel about using Nuke to composite our render passes. I'd not used Nuke at all previous to this, or had any experience rendering out passes for my animation, but I've learned a lot from it. I won't post our Nuke assignment here, because they're all the same, but our task for this assignment was to replicate a rendered video as closely as possible, using nukes tools to rotoscope, colour correct and get all the passes in order. This was mainly done using the shuffle nodes to place all the required passes (there were some trick passes as well that shouldn't have been placed into our nuke scene (like GI, when we were using RAW GI) there were also some broken parts of the scene, like incorrect alpha layers that needed to be rotoscoped out, a lot of colour correction and some bloom to be added to the scene. It was an incredibly challenging assignment! I found it quite stressful at the start, thinking about how much needed to be done to replicate the video we were given, but once the basic structure was down, I really enjoyed problem solving and figuring out how to replicate the more finer details of the scene! Colour correction was probably the hardest part of the task for me, but hopefully I did alright with it!

Here's the screenshot of the node graph that we were required to submit, including notes on what we did and why! It's pretty nuts, haha! (larger view here) I'd definitely like to give compositing a shot again in the future and will likely be doing it on Munchin Monk when we get to that stage in the production (we're getting close now!)

The final misc assignment we've had is a scripting assignment. I believe I spoke a little about our first scripting (exam style) assignment in January and this is the part two for that. It was a pretty open brief, we were required to create a script that "produce or contributes to the production of a scene, animated sequence, tool or simple game" and we got marks for every extra thing we included in this script from this list: Conditional Constructs, Repetition Constructs, Functions we have defined ourselves that return a useful value, Python Library Functions, String Manipulation, Parameterization and User Input and Control.

This was a hugely open brief and considering I had little experience in scripting and this was all very new to me, I decided to start simple and aim to create a "Planet Creation tool" in Maya. I wrote out what I wanted to achieve as a baseline and then added more complex ideas as I completed these, gradually building upon the tool.

Here's the document with my main ideas from the start of the project.

I managed to complete almost all the goals I set out to do for this (even if the text/print function at the bottom is a little random) and the only part I was unable to figure out was the layering of textures through scripting.

Below is an image of the basic 'planet', 'moon' and 'ring' that is produced from the script.

and here is the read-me we we had to create for hand-in explaining how the interface works! :)

But yeah, that's the scripting assignment for you! I know it's quite a simple script but I'm actually really pleased with what I've achieved, especially in regards to the UI. Python was completely new to me at the beginning of this year and although this assignment was the one I was dreading the most, I've actually had fun with it! Not sure my script is actually useful in any way, haha, but I have learned a whole bunch from doing it :)

That's the end of this post, lots of the misc assignments we've had these past couple of months! It's the last week for Munchin Monk now, so I'll be posting more about that soon!

Until next time!