King James Version (KJV)



Posted by Marius Oberholster on Thursday, March 31, 2016 Under: WIP
Hey all!

I gotta say, if GOD weren't as adamant about me getting to work this week, I would not have a post for you, hahaha. My mom hurt her wrist this week and I had to help extra around the house. Still do. Please pray for her healing and that it will be speedy! :D

Now, onto the post!

- Clouds
As many of you know, GOD was so gracious to let me make a cloud tutorial last week. What you'll see in today's post is the reason for it. Because of all my drama with the clouds, I didn't get much of the city done. Just look at this example:

(Not happy with this at all, haha)

Because I couldn't get the result I needed, it was time again for learning! GOD helped me tremendously and the cloud tutorial came out of it. For Susa, I felt led to add this as the cloud system - procedural SkyDome! :D

(It's the exact dome you see in the opening as well)

In case you missed it, you can watch the tutorial here:

With these out of the way, I could move onto the next phase - buildings!

- Buildings, background and masking
The buildings are inspired by old common buildings and modified a lot. These are actually a lot simpler than the ones I looked at, while having a tad more complexity in their layout. I modernized it a smidge with the buildings getting a small stall next to them with a sail. The key to this was randomness and so the 4 buildings I made were rotated and added to the mix. All in all, the particle system's total number says there are 3000 buildings. But you have to multiply that by 5. So it's actually 15000 (added planes to increase city size) + 3000 for the city - X (amount the mask cuts out) = 18,000-x buildings.
   The background was a whole other problem. Thankfully, GOD had me use displacement and since HE showed me a few tricks, getting the mountains to look like this, only took a short while (few hours at the most). Super thankful!! The highest mountains you can see here, are sliced by the sky dome.

   Masking was a crucial part of getting the city to look the way it does now (not the above, but at the end of the post). Masks define where people can and can't be, where buildings can and can't be, as well as where texture and color can and can't be. Without GOD awesome guidance and Blender's amazing flexibility with masking, this would not have worked. Without particles you can't have just short of 18,000 buildings in a scene!

Just to give you an idea of how it looks with the mask on:

(Masks typically don't have to be super high res - just clearly defined for the purpose)

Without masking in some way, you can't depend on particles effectively for this sort of thing. Which brings me to the extras.

- Extras
Almost every movie or video has extras of some sort - crowds, a few people at a coffee shop, etc. They are also commonly referred to as background. Which they are, but they require a lot of effort as well. In this particular instance, I needed a lot of variety and I am thankful GOD gave me discount on the amount of people I initially thought of making!! WOW! HE helped me make 6 men and 5 women. Not to say women are inferior, they were just less out in public in those days. In Susa there were many Jews, so not all were holding to Islam and other belief systems - which usually dictates the clothing of both men and women.

In addition to making these, I also had to make some static and some re-rigged for animation and it was a ton of work!! I'm very thankful I did it. I cannot tell you how much I've learned during this project!!!!! GOD is so awesome!!

These are the extras - say hi! hahaha

I went a tad out of the traditional way to make them add more randomness to the look of the crowd.

- Rigging and animation
Like I said in the previous point, These had to be re-rigged for crowd animation. Nothing major, just so there is movement in the crowd. Two of the guys wave. The rest shake head and explain and the women the same, just no waving - not because they are incapable, but women had less standing in that culture (still today prevalent) and had a much more subdued manner.

Rigging these was not easy. For about an hour or so, I struggled getting the bones to stick to the all-parts-joined models made with Make Human and modified in Blender. It kept giving me the same error and finally I went looking for answers online and I found this website called Stack Exchange, but the blender part and this particular page had the solution - removing doubles. I was like, nothing else worked, so let's give it a shot. Over 200 vertices removed and I was like, okay, hahaha. So that was one started - come to find the weight painting needed some adjustment - on every character. Took me all day yesterday's work time just working on those to get them rigged placed and animated (well worth the effort).

After animating them, I saw that the two guys waving were waving too uniformly, so I had to offset them. This is the animation test:

(it's like 3 seconds, so you're gonna need to watch it a few times, haha)

- Compositing
Usually, compositing is more of a later issue than an early one, but for videos like this, you want to get your compositing right, before you start modelling and filling your scene, so your objects can go to the right layers for rendering. In this case, I had to get get the freestyle stuff working with the compositing for mist, because it is a very large scene. So, Suzanne came to the rescue, hahaha:

I saw the two identical buildings intersecting and that the pathway was lifted, instead of sunk in like I felt lead to make it. For this image, the city was enlarged and afterward, the normal influence reversed and the landscapes added.

- Scrapping
To be honest, at one point, I thought this city looks horrible - nothing looks good, but kinda rushed and ugly. Maybe I should just scrap the whole Susa and start over, but GOD insisted that I don't and I am so thankful I didn't, because it turned out beautifully. HE can turn what we think is rubbish into something beautiful!! Always do your best to obey - it's to your advantage, even if it doesn't look like it makes any sense!! :D

- Freestyle VS Edge
As you've seen so far, there is a lot of people here. Particle count, prior to mask, is 100,000 total - static and animated. Freestyle will not do with such a large number - at least not on my PC, haha. Anyway, thankfully, edge is still in Blender Render and doesn't make up for it 100%, but certainly helps. I will probably have to add additional compositing to give Mordecai and Haman the Freestyle treatment, while leaving the crowds on Edge - no pun intended, hahaha.

- Result currently rendering
So, I would like to leave you with two renders. The first one, is the result from the currently rendering project:

(Location introduction shot)

And the second render is a street view of the road Mordecai will be coming down:

Very happy with the overall result - yes, some overlap, but that's what you get with particles. Unfortunately, I can't place them all manually and using less doesn't mean no intersection either, haha. Funny enough, when GOD had me test it, I had about 6 or 7 of one model on a plane and two were almost in the exact spot, just rotated, hahaha.

And that is it for today's post! A lot more than I thought I would have honestly. I hope this blesses you immensely and if you don't know JESUS yet, seriously, stop by this link - you'll be glad you did!

Have a great one and GOD bless!!

In : WIP 

Tags: god  jesus  holy spirit  blender  esther 6  esther progress  susa  city  people  extras  make human  modelling 

About Me

Marius Oberholster Hey all! I've been doing CG work full-time since 2011. GOD has been with me, supported me and taught me all the way. HE tells us to do all things as unto the LORD and that is my goal. I do whatever I believe the HOLY SPIRIT is leading me to do and it's not always easy, but it's always worth it to be obedient! JESUS is awesome!! If you don't know HIM yet, follow the link above!

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