Final Week

Well we’ve wrapped things up in regards to our 10 second clip, and all in all it went as well as I think it could’ve for our first group project.
We had a few issues with lights not pairing properly with geometry just before we started rendering, but we managed to fix it as well as we could by parenting lights to individual pieces of the model.
Now all that’s left is everyone’s reels and submissions.

2nd to last week

This week has been pretty hectic trying to tie everything up scene wise for rendering but it’s coming together alright. I finalised the placement of the animated robots in shot 2 and the placement of miscellaneous scrap and debris.
I had some difficulty with the placement of the robots in the main scene itself as Maya would not allow me to key the referenced rigs into place, so I improvised by creating an intermediate piece of geometry that I could parent the referenced model’s rig to and then set keys on the parent geometry to keep the robot in place without interfering with their animation. I did have to edit some of the animation of one of the robots in it’s own scene to fix a small problem with a prop, but otherwise this method worked really well for fixing the layout.

Robot rig fix

Needed some last minute robot animation and discovered that the paint weights on the robots hand were off.
When I tried moving a finger it would drag half the hand with it, so I re-painted the weights for each digit. Hopefully now it’ll work fine and I’ll be able to sort the animation out.

OIIO error solved but not really

Alright.
I’ve been working on the scene on my teammate’s account as the error didn’t affect the scene when they opened it, and then I asked them to do some scene setting while I was away for a few days. It went well and they handed the scene back to me.

I decided to try and implement some possible fixes that Paul had suggested in an email he sent when he got back, but when I opened the scene and tried using Arnold everything worked. The OIIO error has just disappeared? Obviously there’s an actual reason but I have no idea what it might be. Morty didn’t alter any file paths or re arrange any of the folders and I didn’t change anything either before setting the project and opening the scene. I’m grateful it’s gone but I wish I knew exactly what caused it in case I run into it again.

OIIO error cont.

Alright I’m about to lose my marbles but the good news is that when Morty loads up the same project on his account, it works fine, which is great news because it means that our entire scene hasn’t been decimated.
The bad news is I’m still no closer to figuring out how to fix the error that it seems is on my end only.
From what I’ve managed to find it seems most likely to be file location related so I’ll have to go through each of my folders to try and figure out which files are causing the problem.

Unspecified OIIO error

After some more searching I found some others who had experienced this error aswell. It’s an ‘unspecified OIIO error’ and is apparently a texture error. The thread suggested deleting all the textures and re exporting them from substance, and also unchecking the ‘auto-convert textures to .TX’ in the render settings, however neither of these approaches solved their problem. I was unable to attempt the re-exporting textures option so I tried the latter, but as expected it didn’t solve the issue.
Another thread was answered by an autodesk technician, who offered solutions such as ‘You’re rendering on OSX, so I don’t think that Windows path is going to work’ & ‘You’re running MtoA 1.3.1.1, not MtoA 1.4.2.2′ but neither of these seem to have solved anyones issue either.

I’ve found an official Autodesk page for the error though that states that the ‘error happens when Arnold cannot access textures for various reasons. Often happens when network rendering and the user account used does not have access to textures stored on network shares.’
Even so, the filepaths should still have worked, so I’m not sure how this might have happened. I’ll look into the file locations of all the textures again to try and be sure.

1st thread source: https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/maya-shading-lighting-and/issue-with-arnold-rendering/td-p/6926189

2nd thread source: https://forums.autodesk.com/t5/maya-shading-lighting-and/error-texturesys-unspecified-oiio-error/td-p/7199906

Autodesk knowledge network page: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/maya/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Maya-Arnold-Texturesys-error.html

Arnold Issues

Would it be inappropriate to title this entry ‘i’m in hell’? probably.
But i am in hell. 100%.
Just when I finally thought I had the scene finally sorted, file paths and all, issues have come up with the arnold renderer. When I finished populating the scene I decided to do a quick test render to ensure everything was in order for when it was passed on to the others, but the renderview window either came up horribly pixelated (not even just noisy, the image was made up of about 32 squares), or just plain black, and it froze if you tried to switch between camera views.
This is probably the last thing we need so close to the deadline.
I tried looking up how to solve the issue and eventually came across a suggestion to untick the ‘abort on error’ box in the render settings.

I tried doing this and its kind of worked. Arnold is now “properly” rendering the scene, but now certain textures are completely missing despite the file path editor showing that they should be resolved and working fine.
I’m going to try another suggestion from the same thread but it’s a code thing, and I’m nothing if not an idiot when it comes to coding.
Worst comes to worst I’ll have to redo the entire scene again, which is painful to think about but if thats the only way to fix it then that’s what i’ll do.

Thread source: http://forums.cgsociety.org/t/arnold-renders-a-black-screen/1756751

28/03/19 Presentation

Despite initial anxiety, the presentation went pretty well! I’m actually feeling more comfortable getting up and speaking to a room full of people, although i still need to work on eye contact.
Overall we received some really positive feedback about our progress, especially regarding lighting and texturing, Ziyuan and Yingjiao have been amazing so far at what they’ve been doing.

Moving forward, I’ve had some trouble with file layout but honestly that’s just a hole I’ve dug myself into. When I passed the scene to Ziyuan for rendering and comp, when she opened it the textures and stand In’s didn’t load because I hadn’t formatted the file pathways correctly. I’ve been working, with penny’s help, on replacing the strings and ensuring they’re all resolved to the best of my ability, and so far it’s worked well, so we should have a properly functioning scene that can be passed around with (hopefully) no problems by the time I’ve finished.

For now we have to focus on VFX the most, but otherwise things are progressing well, and we’re feeling optimistic about the time-frame we have left to complete this sequence.

Foley

This Tuesday Mort, Jack and I went to the sound studio in the Phoenix building to record the stuff for the sound effects in our sequence. We ended up bringing a whole variety of stuff from our flats to try and come up with the sounds we needed for things like the ship engine, the fire and the crashing of the collapsing tower and ship crash landing.

It was a pretty surreal experience smashing pasta and noodles and slapping trays full of lentils in a professional sound studio for our project, but it was probably one of the most fun things we’ve gotten to do for this project so far.
There were some cool videos we saw both in lecture and on Youtube that were useful reference for the interesting ways you could create the necessary sounds from pretty mundane objects, like crinkling a brillo pad or bubble wrap for the crackling of fire, or scraping a fork down a baking tray for tearing metal.

For now we’ll be experimenting with layering and editing some of the foley we recorded to try and mix the best sfx for our sequence that we can.

Week 7

Things are going pretty well.
I’ve been  dressing the scene with our groups textured assets and it’s coming to together pretty well. I had a few problems with texture file paths but Ziyuan gave me the link to an Autodesk tutorial that was a massive help.

Using the video it was relatively easy to fix the file paths and reapply all the necessary textures.
Unfortunately our rigger has been having issues with the robot rig, so although it’s textured I haven’t been able to start properly animating it in scene, which is a bit worrying considering how far through we are but for now I have plenty to keep me busy scene wise.
I’ve also had some issues with some of the prop scales; some are much smaller than needed so I’ve had to spend a considerable amount of time trying to fix that so they can be put into the scene properly.

Trying to stay optimistic for next weeks presentation, putting the scene together now is helping show how far we’ve actually come on this project, so I’m confident we’ll have some nice test passes of our shots to show everyone on Thursday. Here’s hoping all goes to plan.