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Iron Sky – Day 37

Well its become hot again here in Tampere and the office is – how to put this mildly… Frakken hot!

Not much we can do about it however as we are rendering some very long (+500 frames per pass) establishing shots  and need all the care and quality that we can afford to throw at them at this time. I’m not too keen on the render controller being used which will remain nameless. It requires way too many hops and skips and jumps to submit a job and while it does have a few handy features, the price tag for it per node is not worth it compared to some other controllers. This controller also has a tendency to crash (at least 6 times in the last 24 hours) and while it does a pretty good job at recovering, it still blows out a lot of work done and its difficult to figure out “where we were” for renders. Resubmitting frames is a pain in the ass that’s for sure. It’s not an automatic thing after a job fails or frames fail. It is getting the job done, but I wonder how well or ahead of the game we would be with a different controller.

In other news, Phil Corne is here and settled in and Tuomas arrives this weekend. Once we are all in the same place we start ramming out shots for sequences across the entire film. There is a lot of work to do, but I am very comfortable taking on the additional shots we have been assigned. Why? Because LW artists are able to carry their own water into combat (meaning we can take a shot from start to finish – with little hassle).

I’m finding out more and more about Maya and why it fails miserably in a production like this and wonder why any production house that’s on a budget or operating in this economy would even consider using Maya at all. There are so many draw backs to using Maya when compared to LightWave, XSI and even Max. Not many people know this or will even admit to it, because have been programmed over the last 15 odd years to only accept that Maya is king – but it simply isn’t the case. It just doesn’t handle things that we take for granted on the LightWave side with any degree of elegance, speed or intuitiveness.

For example creating a backdrop radiosity set up in Maya is a major operation that involves several complicated steps in order to just “get there” – then you have to deal with Mental Ray and its finicky functions to render anything out. There is no WYSIWYG immediacy (something Larry Shultz and I have pushed as a major strength for LightWave against other apps – and again we are proven correct – because of our experience in working in mixed pipeline productions over the past decade, if not more in Larry’s case for example) and that really really slows things down.

To find maya generalists is next to impossible or they are really really expensive. At least with LW artists we all know “the package” and anything we don’t know we can generally get into easily because of the methodology and mentality of how LightWave works and artists work with it. Autodesks best feature for Maya is its marketing. Not the program itself. While it may be powerful in the hands of 50 TD’s and “artists” – its broken in more than a few ways and broken in very expensive ways that can only be compensated for with code. Code costs money. Work arounds? Alien language in Maya land. It’s “this way or nothing” because its incredibly inflexible unless you have a linux/mel/code monkey on staff full time. Meanwhile if you have work to do, the other artists who are using maya are stuck until they can get something coded for them, either a mel script or mental ray shader or what have you before they can move forward.

It’s time to unplug Maya completely. I think anyone who is a Maya artist needs to learn LightWave3D and LightWave3D artists need to learn more about Maya so that when the time comes we can help those Maya artists up off their asses after being knocked around by Autodesk brain-damage injections (maya upgrades) so much they have no idea what else is out there. But its not just the artists who need “re-education” (there is no other way to put that term even if it sounds harsh or totalitarian – fight fire with fire is how it works sometimes) it’s also studio producers and in general the 3D market itself.

And Luke just crashed Maya, exporting FBX. Case and point. Thanks for reading 🙂

 






7 Comments to Iron Sky – Day 37

  1. Scott says:

    I like that good to hear that Lightwave kicks Maya’s booty-ass.. I wish more people could see that I get tired of people putting me down because I use Lightwave.. I will always use Lightwave because it gets the job done period end of conversation..

    Thanks Kat..

  2. Charly says:

    Like reading these posts! Keep them coming 🙂

  3. Cory says:

    Can you give more details on “production like this”? If I watched the correct teaser trailer #3, it looks like a standard VFX production – what kind of parameters/constraints are you working with?

  4. kat says:

    Definition meaning – Low budget, major time constraints, director and art director constantly fiddling (aka pixel fucking, this is an actual term in the business) when we don’t really have time for it and that time has passed and should have been done months ago. We are going to give them what they want, but its going to have to be on our terms now. However, because we are now moving everything from Maya into LW – while its painful in some ways it gives us the flexibility now to maneuver where as before it was pretty impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel for our due dates.
    The VFX in teaser 3 were done in LightWave btw, rendering most of it on my personal render farm of 15 systems in my apartment in Vancouver.

  5. Jumanous says:

    Interesting. First useful bit of decision making writing I’ve seen on the net. Now I just wish there were some interesting tutorials (i.e. create this awesome scene, vs this is how you shatter a box primitive). I find lightwave very interesting (the price helps!), but man it is hard to find good tuts for noobs who are used to max (i.e. me). I spent a whole day trying to figure out how to network render — I finally found out it was called screamer net… then I gave up on it because all the documentation was far too daunting… I ended up going for the renderer which cannot be named.
    but anyway. Thanks for the heads up. Any good tuts you know of would be much appreciated. Particle systems (splashing water on rocks and dust) and just the general interface navigation would be a good start!! Thanks again.

    • kat says:

      Hi there.
      Actually LWSN is really easy to set up manually and I generally have a few test nodes set up on my desktop just to test with outside of my regular render controller. What part do you find daunting about it? Also the LightWave interface is about as straight forward of any of the major 3D apps out there, but I do highly recommend you switch it to the “Studio Production” preset layout, which can be found under “EDIT, MENU LAYOUT” on the far left of the GUI under FILE.
      We have lots of tutorials here on L3D. Browse around but if you don’t find something you are looking for let us know. We do requests.

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