Final draft before rendering

Here is our final pre-vis before we begin rendering, you can see our final cameras, final characters, final animations and final graphics.

We are currently changing some shaders before rendering so we can cut down render times but that’s the last major change. We are doing this because in test renders like those seen below the reflectivity of the current shader is making the scene hard to read and has way too much noise.


BBC playblasts

Here are a few tests for cameras, lighting and animating and the two animatics. I will also upload the final animatic before we began rendering in a second post.

Sneeze test – John

Flickering Light Test – John

Sign Test – Jonny

Virus Animation – Jonny

BBC animatic 1 – John, Jonny, Phillip

BBC animatic 2 – John, Jonny, Phillip


BBC Models

This post is solely for the models in the scene. Here are some renders of the models, lighting and characters and virus.

BBC references

For the scene we had to get the look right, our environment is heavily based off of 60s sci fi and classic sci fi movies like alien, blade runner, star trek and star wars. We also took inspiration from game environments like dead space, alien isolation and portal.

We wanted to have a classic sci fi corridor, with with the classic beam lights on the ceiling, some floor lights for atmosphere and the clean hard edged surface that is so commonly featured in sci fi media. Here are some images to more clearly show what we wanted to achieve.

One thing that was very important for our environment and story telling was the lighting. We wanted to have the lighting reflect the mood of the environment. We chose to go with a few main colours that are heavily associated with science fiction, danger and sickness. Green for sickness, red for danger and blue and orange (seen heavily in the above references).

We decided to make this project a homage to science fiction due to the fact that during the time of the radio broadcast that we are creating visuals for the whole idea of secret agencies and testing facilities were controversial and heavily associated with strange activity. It is a goldmine for the science fiction and since our segment is about a testing facility, looking for volunteers to help cure the common cold we thought we would turn it into a play on a contagion. Since it is about vitamin C having no effect on the common cold we wanted to show this through the common colds virus growing in size and becoming more volatile (seen in the animation by it growing larger and changing).

For the characters in the animation we wanted to pay homage to robots seen in science fiction movies and tv shows of that era like Doctor who or star wars. Since this whole project is about bringing new to the old by adding new visuals to an older radio broadcast we also wanted to push that feeling of space age technology that was beginning to evolve at the time of this broadcast. In the animation the volunteers have a more robotic anatomy. For the volunteers we took a lot of inspiration from I robot and crash test dummies (if you want to read into you could say that the volunteers are crash test dummies for the supposed cures).

Here are a few references for the robots.


The Sword

The sword was possibly my favourite part of the modelling and sculpting. I based it of a concept for a sword in world of warcraft. Initially it was modelled in maya and then sculpted in zbrush to be baked down. I had to split it down into separate parts so each of them could be baked down one at a time.

Here is a few renders of the sword in each of its stages with the original concept.

I have also uploaded the sword and the stone model to sketchfab so you can look at the model closer. Enjoy!

Marmoset – rendering the assets

So i wanted to have a go at using a PBR rendering software to see how the normal maps would look in real time. I also found that marmoset has a plugin that unreal engine and has the ability to export it as a unity package which is perfect for me since i want to turn this into a game environment. I used a free trial of marmoset but ended up buying it because it was so fun to use, the shaders and lighting provided with the software is fantastic and easy to use. The viewport as well is easily manipulated and has excellent quality. Altogether it is an excellent software and very fun to use.

Below are some renders to show how the normals look on the models.

UV mapping the assets

This was a huge problem for me in this project, i worked on the uv maps for the assets for ages trying to perfect the seams getting them all sewn together neatly so they would look very clean but every time i tried to bake the models details the models always came out with the hard edges looking weirdly shaded and the model coming out with various shading errors.

I had been stuck on this error up until 2 days before hand in but it turns out my issue was extremely simple and that just made it even more frustrating when i figured it out.

My set up for baking was to soften the edges of the model in maya then harden the uv edges, after that i would export the lp mesh and its cage. Then i would export the hp mesh from zbrush and bring it into xnormal for baking.

The majority of these came out clean but i did run into an issue where there would be small black triangles on the models. However these were easily corrected by bringing the normals into photoshop and paint over them. This happened on my sword here is how it looks before and after, you can see the small triangles on the handguard of the sword.

Here are a few of the normal maps and the models with them.