Race 2420 – Animated Short

Race 2420 is a 4-minute long animated short created by a 5-person team in 15 weeks.

I was the 3D artist on the team in charge of modeling, materials, lighting and rendering.

It has been a very challenging and fun project.

It gave me a better understanding of the whole animation pipeline and I am very proud to see it grow from plain models to the beautifully rendered final images.

I have learned a lot.

(The write up is in progress. I will keep updating it)
Modeling

We have a relatively simple character design so the character model was created very fast. The challenge is the environment part as I need to build a steam-punk style obstacle course and make sure the whole world feels consistent. And also since we are in a very tight schedule, I start with a relatively simple design and adding on details as we progress.

modeling

Materials

Getting the right materials is the key to make sure the whole piece looks nice and pretty. Early in the semester, we decided to use Maya Mental Ray as the rendering engine since I am mostly familiar with it and it is only rendering engine that our render farm could support without any additional purchase.

The biggest challenge for materials is the character. Our character has 3 layers. There is a shell, liquid in the shell and finally the creature inside in the liquid. It creates an interesting question of having multiple layers of saturated translucent materials. While we need to keep the color vivid, the audience should be able to clearly see the creature’s emotions and movements.

So I did a lot of test renders in the early weeks using different methods in Hypershade to get a feeling what it should look like.

materialTests
Early Tests

The final look took several weeks of test and adjustment to achieve.

Scene2_render

scene9_render

 

The other interesting challenge is to use material animation to create the color dissolving effect for the character growing scene. scene_1_colordissolve

I am very satisfied with the first part of the animation where the edge changes color before the color starts to expand from the center.

 

Pipeline

pipeline

So this is the pipeline graph I made to explain how the team worked together. The red ones are the parts I worked on. Besides I also did the all the rendering work in Maya.