The Studio Talk presentation “Tokyo Race Lighting for ‘Cars 2′” was a brief but informative session that covered the lighting strategy of the Tokyo race. The lighting strategy was broken down into four categories:
- Diffuse lighting
- Reflection lighting
Diffuse lighting was further broken down into track lights, illuminated signs, and headlights. Reflection lighting was a more detailed talk focused on the importance of cutting down the render time and thus the cost. Optimization seemed especially important because it dealt with making the scene renderable and generalizing lighting techniques to create a lot of different looks efficiently.
First thing this morning The Studio hosted two back-to-back talks. The first was Pixar’s presentation of “New and Used Cars” and the second was ILM’s presentation of “The Spirit of ‘Rango:’ Dissection of Character Animation and Rigging.”
New and Used Cars
The Studio Talk started off with funny tidbits about each of the presenters, which seems to be an ongoing theme for the Talks. The presentation focused on the shading techniques developed for Cars 2 to help reduce render time and expense. The team made three advancements:
- Layer consolidation method
- Metallic flakes
- Circular scratches
With the layer consolidation method, the team was able to collapse the layers and keep their parameters. This allowed them to reduce render time 17% with only small differences between renders that were consolidated and non-consolidated. The metallic flakes section focused heavily on the math and some of the criteria for the shader. The final segment was regarding circular scratches. The key takeaway is that they aren’t circular. The texture is directional and more of a line that when applied circles around the center of the highlight.
The Spirit of “Rango”
This presentation was met with a lot of interest and quickly turned into standing room only. As a refresher, the movie’s trailer was shown first. Then the ILM team went into some of the differences of animated features versus live action movies:
- Everything is virtual
- Asset management (assets can be tracked easily during any time in the process)
- Performance vs. interaction
- Rig Complexity
After giving the overview of the differences, they moved onto getting the characters from concept to animation ready. This section naturally transitioned into their procedural rigging program, Block Party, which uses standard blocks for all base rigs. This system made it easier to share animations between models, which in turn made it easier to animate so many characters.
The discussion moved onto proprietary plug-ins, facial rigging, and the animation tools used. Then Kevin Martel, the lead animator of Rango (the character), went over the character development process. This process includes getting to know the character as though he/she is a real person; this makes animating them easier because it gives insight into what their mannerisms might be like. The team had some required movie viewing for inspiration for Rango who is more like Don Knotts than a chameleon. This in addition to performance references from Johnny Depp and the animators helped bring Rango to life.
The Studio opened its doors today at noon. To kick off the opening, there was a roundtable chat that explored the past, present, and future of digital technologies. The moderator for the chat was none other than our keynote speaker: Cory Doctorow. The chat filled the available seating and had some attendees standing watch. In addition to the Studio Presentation, the Studio also kicked off its Workshops. If you’d like to get your hands on the Studio’s Presentation and Workshop schedules, you’ll find Student Volunteers in red vests passing them out near the entrance.
Computers are set up for workshop participants in addition to having various companies present to show off their wares. There is also an “electronic crafts” area where people can let their creative side out while also creating electronic masterpieces.
Come check out The Studio in West Building, Ballroom A. It’s open from 9am to 530pm except for Thursday when it closes at 1pm.