The Apple iPhone 5S was finally announced last week. No longer sure which smartphone to buy? Isn't the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One better? Get the lowdown on these flagship models and learn how to determine which phone is the right one for you. Also my first YouTube tech video!
Here's an extended edit of the final project for my advanced Maya class with the ITP 3D wizard, Prof. Lance Winkel. The objective was to model, texture, rig and animate a 3D character from scratch. Since I had already been looking to do a CG + live action test using Image Based Lighting (IBL) I thought I'd spice things up by making the project a live-action short.
Lighting the CG model: I captured an HDRI probe (read: cheap garden reflective dome) on location and utilized Image Based Lighting (IBL) to light all the CG elements to match the live action footage. IBL is extremely useful, especailly in low-light scenarios as was the case in my footage. Sure, additional light sources and tweaking was required based on the specific background plate, but the HDRI map created a solid starting point to work with.
3D Camera Mapping: As is the case with most short notice video shoots that take place in two hours amidst finals week, some of the footage I went home with was less than optimal for vfx work. Most notably, the video I shot for the "mech running down tracks" sequence had too much motion blur to be tracked in Boujou. To salvage the shot, I took a good clean frame of the train tracks footage and recreated the set using 3D camera mapping (also called photogrammetery). After some photoshop clean up work to fill holes that the perspective shift would cause I had the flexibility to do a lot of different camera moves. This made the the zoom in and out on the mech running towards the camera at a very easy task and gave me flexibility to create the exact camera move I wanted in the comfort of post-production, without sacrificing realism and quality.
Learning Resources: Paul Debevec, AD and professor at the USC ICT is a pioneer in the areas of HDRI, IBL and Photogrammetry. He also happens to have a plethora of resources about these areas online, including research papers and HDRI probe images: http://ict.debevec.org/~debevec/
Modelled, rigged & textured from scratch in Autodesk Maya:
I'm going to use this model in a short live-action video. I'm looking forward to integrating 3D elements with live-action footage, especially since it's shot in a low light environment (a majority of the video take place at a tram station at night). I'm planning on using HDRI environment maps I shot on location to extract lighting information and light the 3D model to match the background footage we shot. The addition of accruate reflections are also an important touch to create a realistic looking composite. The render above has been lit with one of the two HDRI maps shot on location.
An immensely enriching semester has passed. Undeniably daunting, but nevertheless successful. Learning SAP, User Experience Design and good old Discrete Math has added yet more tools to my pallete. While they might seem disparate at first, in this world of convergence and technology, everything is applicable.
It's also been incredible connecting with more creative thinkers and artists here at USC. Plus, Professor Lance Winkel's Advanced 3D Animation class has carved space in my schedule, allowing me to pursue that which I do for fun and get elective credit towards my engineering degree :)
With winter break behind me and two very different projects ahead, I'm excited to finally have time for my more artistic pursuits. But after an extruciatingly long flight from New Delhi, I must first rest and recouperate. But man, I can't wait for school to start!