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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Skeith

SCAD x The Mill: Week Eight

Updated: May 17, 2021

Process Blog for SDGM 560, a 10 week collaboration with The Mill at SCAD.


Week Eight Updates:

This week has been dedicated to our final changes in Houdini and Maya, and our last push of renders before we focus on compositing in week 9. We have really started putting the last touches and adjustments, as well as integrated the pyro and debris into the final composite.

To start off the week, Naige and I began troubleshooting an odd artifact we were getting using vector blur in Nuke on the tires.

Original pass with 2 keys.

We were getting a sort of hexagonal shape instead of a smooth circle. Since the motion blur was being ignored in Maya and added in Nuke, we originally thought the issue was from how we were shuffling the channels to use vector blur. However, when changing these settings had no positive effect we turned back to Maya. We found that we actually needed a greater number of keys in our Arnold Motion Blur settings. This helped us get to a starting point for Naige to achieve the look we wanted in Nuke.

Test with 4 keys.

We ultimately rendered with 5 keys, and by stacking multiple vector blurs Naige was able to get a much smoother circle. The next task I focused on was our terrain. In shots 2 and 3, the road looked really sunken into the ground almost like it was in a valley. This was making the road feel smaller, and actually was not physically accurate because in the real world the road would always flood. For both of these shots I went back into Maya and using the sculpt tool pushed areas of the terrain down to make the road feel more risen, while also working to emphasize the hills on either side.

To continue adding detail to each shot, I also worked on the addition of boulder geometry to help the texture already in place in all three shots.

Shot 1 Before (above) vs After (below).


Shot 2 Before (above) vs After (below).


Shot 3 Rocks Before (above) and After (below).

We also felt that the shadows in shot 3 needed to be emphasized in order to really show the dips and hills in the terrain. I brought a smaller version of the terrain for shot 3 into Substance Painter and painted a black and white mask that Naige could use to grade the specific areas of the landscape, and then applied it with a surface shader in Maya.

Before vs After Shadow Mask Test.

Throughout the week we each worked on getting our final renders on the farm, for Naige to put together into the updated composite. As we wrap up our work in Houdini and Maya, I can't wait to see the final touches in compositing!

Most Recent Composite:

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