Iron Sky – Day 108
It’s now September 1st, and we have about 75 days to complete all our shots for the film. This week has been very busy with last minute previs touch ups, texture re-works on various craft and doing some general house-cleaning while we get ready to receive a locked VFX cut of the show and begin the fun work of hammering out the shots through lighting, pyro, breakout and render and then to a large degree comping shots as well. None of this ‘scares me’ but I am concerned about rendering capacity. We have some really really fast machines but because of the way the show was “designed” original (by maya people who figure it was going to be done in renderman, which is great for disney and other big big houses but total insanity on a show this size and this budget) we have a lot of assets that are working with 10K maps. This puts a major strain on the server and the network itself. While we have done a few things to optimize the network itself not to mention major amounts of work done to assets making them as efficient that they can be while still maintaining if not improving on the looks of many things – its still a concern how much overhead is being sucked up on network data transfers during the rendering process and then later in comp. Then we get to the actual rendering speeds themselves.
While I was on BSG our VFX supervisor put in place the requirement that pretty much everything, regardless of what it was be rendering in and out at around 20 minutes per frame. Of course back then we were rendering at 1280×720 and upres’ing to 1080p. That was one of the cheats we used to get the show done on time on our weekly schedules and of course that was 5 and 6 years ago almost now on machines from that era. So where we are today is comparable to a certain degree. However many of our frames now are taking upwards of an hour. Why? Radiosity. Something we rarely used on BSG at all. At least in house.
For the moment I think we will be ok so long as we are always moving forward with renders and keeping the farm loaded to the max and using every machine possible during the night as well. the trick here is to not get bogged down in revisions and try and send things through the farm right the first time, even if it means more, simpler passes per shot than stuffing everything in to the least amount of passes we can get away with in an attempt to save time. In my experience, its better to have what your compositors need and then some than to short them on something they really need or want to finish a shot off and have them waiting for it. It’s all about moving forward.
Let’s see how this goes. Personally, I would like to toss our current render controller out the window as it actually slows us down in terms of shot submission to the farm and its not as robust for sending back bad frames or resubmissions of frames if you need to change something mid render. Smedge is much better for this as are others like SquidNet. Not to mention cheaper in a lot of ways.
Well, I’m currently doing one last alternative look into the nazi zeppelin textures for the show.Â The goal being to try and get them to look like the Red October in space. Yup, you read that right. The intention of many of these shots was to feel like a submarine movie I am told by our art director. So once last go at it with the existing texture maps and some LW classic surface editing love and hopefully I can nail that down.
Tuomas has been permitted to stay for the rest of the month which is very important to us as he’s our key modeling guy, so that’s good. Thank you Undo Graphics for letting us keep him 🙂
Happy modeling elf that he is.