Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 10 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
Software and Programming
|Every studio has their choice of 3D software to use. None is really better than the other, it really boils down to the artist and the studio's preference. My software of choice is Lightwave 3D. Can you guess which 2006 film about the battle of Thermopylae used Lightwave 3D as the primary choice for the visual effects software?||A Quiz in 3D...The Art of Computer Animation
300. Screaming Death Monkey and Pixel Magic, two of the effects companies used for the visual effects in "300" used Lightwave 3D for the effects. They did a production profile with Newtek, the makers of Lightwave 3D, about how Lightwave was used in the production pipeline of "300."
If you are interested in behind the scenes features, it is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0stRHsw5YE
Render Farm. A render farm is a series of computers linked together via a network, each capable of rendering a single frame of the animation. Once each computer finishes a frame, it grabs the next available frame to be rendered and begins until all of the frames have been rendered. Most 3D animation packages have built in software that controls the other computers. The process is usually called "network rendering" within the software.
|Everything in a 3D scene has to be either manually animated or calculated by the computer, as nothing is preset in the software. What is the calculation called to recreate real world effects such as gravity, wind, liquids and collisions?||A Quiz in 3D...The Art of Computer Animation
Dynamics. Dynamics are used to create wind, liquids, smoke, gravity and collisions- most anything that would be too tedious to manually animate.
A practical example of dynamics would be as follows. Modeling a shattered wall, as if an explosion went off. Then adding a collision object and animating it through the pre-cut wall. You would then apply a hard dynamic to the wall to react to the collision. Gravity would be applied to the scene, which if you remember the numerical value of gravity from Physics class: -9.8 m/s^2. Then you add a ground dynamic plane to keep the wall and all of its shattered parts from falling into oblivion as per the effects of gravity. Once you apply all of these dynamics and tweak a few parameters under each tab, you calculate the interaction and view the results.
|Light in the real world continually bounces off of objects to illuminate an area. In the 3D software, this real world light simulation is extremely render intensive on the computer, but produces beautiful results. Can you guess what most software dubs this simulation?||A Quiz in 3D...The Art of Computer Animation
Radiosity. Radiosity is the calculated bouncing of light within a space to light a scene in the computer. The results are beautiful, giving a truer sense of realism to the artificially created objects. The only drawback is the render time is usually multiplied by ten or so.
Pixar, in my opinion, is the king of using radiosity. When I first watched "Ratatouille" I was blown away by the lighting, it was so dramatic and realistic. Pixar later released a technical paper citing how they lit the scenes and how radiosity played such a large part to create the tone of the film.
|Unlike traditional animation, in the world of 3D, the computer interpolates the movement between poses rather than having an artist manually animate each and every frame. What are these key poses called?||A Quiz in 3D...The Art of Computer Animation
Key Frames. Depending on the animation requirement's of the object and the desired result of the artist, there can any number of key frames. In my own experience, I've had roughly two key frames per second per limb of a character walking and I've also done facial animations that required a new key frame every two to three frames to match the phonetic syllables of human speech.
The beautiful thing of 3D in the computer is the interpolation between the frames. Rather than animating every frame like in 2D work, I can set a pose at frame one, and set another at frame 14 and the computer calculates the motion between the two key frames...thus saving me from manually animating the twelve in between frames.
Primitives. Most modeling uses polygons added together and molded, but you will often need a standard shape to add to an object. These standard shapes are called primitives. Every piece of software has a similar set of primitives, but includes others. A sample standard set from Lightwave 3D, my software of choice, includes a box, a ball, a disc, a cone, and a capsule. There is a drop down list of an additional fifteen or so primitives.
Texturing. Texturing is an art all of its own. It takes a great amount of time to tweak a texture. The basic texture usually includes a channel for luminosity, diffusion, color, specularity, glossiness, reflection, transparency, translucency, refraction, bump and smoothing.
In a nutshell, luminosity and diffusion control how much light is absorbed by a texture. Color defines the basic color of the texture. Specularity, glossiness and reflection comprise the three aspects of reflection. Specularity controls how the light is spilled over the surface of the object. Glossiness controls how glossy a texture looks. And reflection defines how much actual reflection you will see in an object. Transparency defines how much you can see through the object. Translucency controls how the light is absorbed through an object. Refraction is how the light bends through a transparent object (think of looking through the bottom of a glass, how everything distorts.). The bump channel defines how course a texture is and smoothing refers to how smooth the texture is.
Modeling. Believe it or not, the process is most often called "modeling." Basically it involves taking four point polygons within the software and combining them and moving points to shape the intended object. It is a fun, but time consuming process, as the only shapes within the program to use aside from polygons are basic objects such as circles, cylinders and cubes called primitives.
I don't know where the name came from, but it is funny to think that I tell people I model professionally from time to time.