Worldbuilders – Post Mortem
In this entry I will be analysing and reflecting upon the work I did for my Worldbuilders project and seeing how I can apply what I have learnt here to future projects.
Below is a near final version of the complete deliverable, it still need some work, but it is very close to what it should look like. It was published on Youtube and Vimeo.
To complete the project I had to hand a series of deliverables that helped me me consider more the planning stages of projects, including developing the look of a project and planning out specific shots.
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
The team worked and communicated really well, this was important as the team was the smallest, we were always on the same page and has tasks to complete, as with other projects sometimes there are people that have no clue what is going on. I was the lead so I was in charge of allocating tasks and keeping the project on track, I think the
In this project we did plenty of testing which allowed us avoid problems down the pipeline, this allowed us to know what was achievable and what wasn’t. This is a process I would like to replicate in other project to a further extent, specifically identifying rendering solutions, as this was one major aspect we overlooked when testing.
The animatic was an aspect as well, as most of the Pre Production, that went extremely well. It was extremely successful at setting timing, as we had a near final cut and a strong pace to what would be the final deliverable.
On an individual basis I think I could have done better, as I was disconnected from the project not being very invested in it. I think in this project I pushed my modelling to another level and really went out of my comfort zone.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Rendering was the biggest issue as we didn’t test out rendering a scene of the size we had in Mental Ray. Some of the materials and textures incremented render times exponentially to the point where it was no longer viable to render out any of the shots in Mental Ray. This was purely through a lack of testing and a full knowledge of how to optimize renders within Mental Ray. With this in mind I will further test out render engines in future projects and ensure a few team members are familiar with the key aspects of said render engine and how to optimize it. Another step is to continue to render out shots further down the production line to have a closer estimate to the final render times, and rectify any issues early on.
Another element that went wrong was the environment, as the where gaps with the environment provided and there was no easy fix. My last resort was to remake the environment from scratch. This came from alack of communication between I and the team member in charge of making the environment and no real testing an implementation of the scene before final render time. A solution to this to implement different elements of the final scene early on test out the final shots to identify any geometry or shading issues.
The design of specific shots was an excellent experience as it allowed the team to establish a stronger visual identity to the shots and establish stronger shots that are more informed by story. There was a need to create tension and excitement through the camera and cinematography as most of the action was in still moment in time. I think the planning for each of the shots went extremely well creating tension, but it was the execution that went wrong. The elements of this process I will take forward are the careful planning of shots by taking careful consideration pacing and flow of a scene. Wan t I want improve in this process is to possibly simplify shots and try to execute them as well as possible, by firstly implementing more post production processes and allowing time to refine.
This was one of the most important processes as there was 3 characters in the project, we had to ensure they fit into the world and were of a high quality. Each team member was in charge of designing one character, all of the concept art was fairly low in quality as all of the team concentrated on the 3d side of things, I can’t speak much about other team members process when designing characters. But on a personal basis my method was to go between 2d and 3d several times to create the final design. I am growing comfortable with this workflow and will continue to use it. I think i could improve my design by going between 2d and 3d a few more times and taking into consideration how different elements will work when the character is animated, such as clipping armour.
I was as not heavily involved in this process although I did provide reference images and a rough idea of what the final environment should look like. I think this process could be improved with a stronger art direction, I plan on improving the art direction by having more focused reference and concept art to illustrate details of the environment as well as many different views of the environment.
Related to the previous two processes I think the character end of things went fairly well, but the environment was a bit underdeveloped, I think its because the previous two processes were underdeveloped. In terms of technique and process it was all successful, it could be improved with better modelling skills and implementing more advanced techniques and software.
Strong Work Ethic
In this project I had an extremely strong work ethic, putting in long hours, this was partly due to my obsession with making characters. Although I think I maintained this work ethic, I think in the long run it was a bit to much as it made me be burnt out by the end of the project. In future projects I want to maintain a more balanced work to free time ratio allowing to have a clearer mind when I am actually working.
Although I was relaxed and positive during the project, I am disappointed as I did not focus on this project enough creatively as I was not invested in it, this a problem I plan to solve by working on project and roles I am more passionate about.
Effective Communication Skills
In team my communication skills were very effective with everyone understanding their roles and tasks, and mostly agreeing with team members when it came to important decisions. Where I need to improve is in communicating the stage of the project to teacher and other key stakeholders, as this will be important in my career having to communicate with clients.
Time Management Abilities
This was my weakest aspect, as although I did put in time into this project, to much of it went to modelling. In future project I am planning on setting a hard cap on when modelling has stop, allowing to concentrate on equally important aspects in the production pipeline.
Problem Solving Skills
My problem solving skills were put to the test in the ending of this project, as mental ray was rendering to slowly for us to have a final deliverable, we explored many options as a team, with a final decision to switch to ART renderer. I am extremely happy with my problem skills in general, as I often find the solution to any technical problem. When it come to creative problems, I think I have to do more research on how to communicate things to audiences or create a better image through composition and creative choices.
Acting as a Team Player
I think I under performed here, although I did help my team members, I do think I assigned them less, and I should have assigned them more work. In future projects I plan to spread the workload more evenly.
I pushed my skills in terms of modelling and character design in this project, and I was very comfortable with other elements of 3d, but I think I could have made decisions faster and be more creative in the way I approached my shots and design, as I kept everything fairly generic. In future project I will try and push for a stronger visual identity by iteration more and having more confidence in my abilities.
Ability to Take and Learn from Criticism
This was a big part as feedback sessions where important in building the final deliverable, with major changes being made from feedback from teacher and peers. I think where we were lacking was in taking feedback in terms of scope, as we didn’t really take to mind that we had three characters. I want to improve in my abilities to analyze the scope of a project and it chances of success and any feedback help in that evaluation.
Working Well under Pressure
This was important as it was a small team and there were many more responsibilities on each team member, I was successful in this aspect as I maintained a level head through the whole project, but when related to time management I did a pretty poor job. Similar to what I am going to do for time management I am going to attempt to set out a clear schedule for myself in future projects as well as having key milestones with key deliverables.
In conclusion I am happy with how I performed in this project although I wasn’t satisfied with the final result, it taught me a lot about my own practice both in terms of hard practical skills and how work in a team.