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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Moore

04.26.2020 | Project 2 - Finishing Touches

For my submission, I felt compelled to add more texture to my grey ball match in order to make it look more like my reference. I wanted to try to recreate the odd partnering that the ball in my reference had. I was able to do this by creating a circular ramp and then I adjusted the UV repetitions to that it stretched in the U axis. It resulted in something pretty close to the reference. Then I plugged this ramp into the displacement. Then to get the look of brushstrokes across the surface, I simply used a bump map I found online. However the quality of the map wasn't high resolution, but since I was only using it for subtlety, I made the decision to go forward with it. A part of me feels like could've possibly gotten a better result by working procedurally instead. But since this wasn't the focus of the project, I moved on to my model.

Before I rendered out my animation, I needed to make two more render layers. One for my fake caustic, which is where some of the refracted light reflects onto the ground, and then one specular reflection, because I felt like the true specular on the glass was lacking.

In my caustic layer, I assigned the ground plane an aiShadowMatte material and made the shadow color white. Then I assigned a new aiStandard to my model and made the transmission = 1. Then I adjusted the transmission color to what I felt like would be the correct color reflected on the ground. But when I made the transmission color a yellow-orange color, my shadow (which I made white) was blue? I'm not sure why, but it was inverting my color, so I just re-adjusted the transmission color until it appeared correct in the shadow.

Then in Nuke, I read in another file of my shadow layer combined that with a ramp node to become the mask for my caustic image. The ramp allowed me to have control over the fall-off of the caustic so that the full shadow wasn't glowing. I merged the ramp into my shadow mask and then merged in my caustic with the new shadow mask. Then I merged that over my existing shadow composite.

I realized however that once I rendered out my animation that I would also have to animate the ramp in Nuke, but I found that it wasn't that much of an extra hassle. This was the result.

In my specular reflection layer, I removed the dome and the ground plane to isolate the keylight's influence. Then I assigned an aiStandard to the model. I turned the diffuse weight to zero and then adjusted my the specular IOR to be 200, so I would get strong reflections. Then in Nuke, I simply merged it over the existing result of my foreground composite. It really helped to shape my model and give it depth.

Now with my final render layers setup, it was time to render out my animation. It was a pretty simple animation. I just wanted to make it seem like my angel model was ascending to heaven. Once I everything was rendered out, I plugged the individual sequences into Nuke. Additionally, the photoset that I was using (taken by Sarah Alstyne) also had a moving image plate. So I replaced my still of the clean plate with my video. Then I did some color correction and animated the ramp I used for my caustic. Once that was done I wrote out my final composite of a TIFF sequence, and read the sequence into after effects to be placed into my project breakdown.


Overall, this was a pretty fun project to do. It was really exciting seeing the look come together and I feel like I got pretty close to recreating the qualities of honey calcite. Below is the final project with a breakdown.

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