Thursday, 18 August 2011


James Grey, a musician, has written a piano piece specially for my project. Garry and myself have been communicating back and forward to James about what we are looking for. The final result is a beautiful melody that also helps to tell the story of this abandoned building. I feel that James Grey's music has taken a student project and brought it to a more professional level. I cant find an easy way to embed the MP3 to the blog but will have the rendered animation with music on the blog tomorrow.

Movie poster!!!

Used depth pass in Photoshop to blur out the background.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Render passes

Depth pass
Rendertime is finally here and i plan to use the render farm to output 5 different passes for each scene. Diffuse, specular, shadow, depth and beauty pass. There is no need for an ambient occlusion pass as it is already built into the shaders. The plan is to use all 5 passes in After effects to create the best image. Im looking forward to working in 2D for a change.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hypershade - ambient occlusion

Above is a screen shot showing how i plug different ambient occlusion textures into the different shaders in my scene.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Window glass problem

I experimented alot with shaders to create a realistic broken glass effect. The glass was modeled into broken shards. Garry created a dirt map with transparency. I know the best effect would be to use a mental ray material x shader but became very complex, fast. After a few hours i decided learning how to use mental ray materials would take too long. I settled with a blinn shader and dirt maps. I used the raytracing refraction setting in the shader to create the shine on the broken glass shard edges.

Garry's dirt map

Monday, 1 August 2011

Hospital bed

Hospital bed

Red room with bed
I felt the red carpet room was too empty. Also having the bed lets the viewer know this abandoned building was once a hospital. Even though time is running out myself and Garry decided to throw together a model and texture of the bed over night.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

lighting - progress report

Hallway - Daytime
Im starting to develop the technique i mentioned in my previous lighting post. I am finding reference images to be essential at this stage and a knowledge of how light reacts in the world.

Gobo used to create light on wall seen in top image.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Potato beetle

Rudy Boyang Zhao is animating the beetle for the cinematic now. I really wanted to have a go at animating but it was too much to take on at this stage and im best spending more time on lighting. I finished modeling and texturing the beetle. Im finding the beetle a real challenge as most of its texture is in the shader settings.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Lighting technique

After spending a week experimenting/pulling my hair out with point lights and mental-ray options like final gather and global illumination i found out about jeremy vickery's workshop he did with Gnomon. Not to be mixed up with his practical light and colour dvd. I took parts from his teachings and came up with a technique that can be applied to most scenes. I add a spot or directional light with raytracing for outdoor sunlight. Plug the mib_amb_occlusion1 into all my shaders. I can then control the colour and level from either the dark or bright of the occlusion. I set this down low as a base colour/light and then use area lights to paint in the rest. I re-did the final room with this approach as well as the hallway at night and got some pretty nice and quick results. Both were done day after watching the tutorial.

The textures are looking alot better and i dont have any nasty shadows. Also theres a decent gradient from light to dark. Check out the blue colour near to the window areas. Adam recommended this to me a couple of weeks ago. I also added some spec to some of the frame parts and the skirting. Im looking forward to seeing this room once i get the broken glass dirt textures done this week.

You cant see the window walls but theres some nice bounce light. In general i place a area light coming from where ever light is cast, one facing up and one down. One facing down replicates the light and the one facing up is bonce light.

Im finding this the best technique. I want to learn more about how light reacts in the real work rather than how to switch on a button in mental ray settings. Bounce light been key to both a believable and/or cinematic scene. As i found out with textures, build a base and work from there.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lighting experiments

Last render
Ive been experimenting with lighting the final room last week. I changed the directional to a spot light for the light cast on the floor. I didnt have the as much control with the directional to soften the ray-tracing. Theres also some colour been added with spot lights positioned to also create the darker edges. Blue spot lights have to be added to create the colour of the sky on the carpet but i am moving on for the moment to finish lighting the rest of the hospital. The glow on the floor and the flare of the light through the windows will have to be done in post. Below are some renders building up to the one above.

I also have broken glass modeled in the windows that i plan to experiment plugging a transparent dirt map into.

Same lights for floor and walls
Separate lights for floor
Orange colour added to spot lights
Mix of colours

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Garry's carpet texture
Garry Whitton has joined the project as lead texture artist. A major part of this project is the learning process. Garry has been teaching me his technique which is a more random but also well though out style...faking randomness found in nature.

My texture...Garry's technique

To the left is a texture of the blue carpet i made following Garry's technique. Below is a texture of the door boarders. This was created a bit different, following patterns in the wood rather than random patterns.
Following wood patterns

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Peer review - modeling and textures

Renders and screenshots of modeling and texturing on the project from last week's peer review. Garry Whitton is now working on the project as lead texture artist. He is working on walls and floors while im working on all the extras like skirting boards and door boarders etc.  Peer review was not as heavy as last time, at this stage in the year its just about getting on with our porjects.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Final project schedule

Weeks starting on:

June 20th - Modelling rooms and texture

June 27th - Texture rooms and model beetle

July 4th - Texture and lighting

July 11th - Lighting and model hospital bed

July 18th - Camera and rig beetle

July 25th - Animation

August 1st - Render and composite set-up

August 8th - Composite

August 15-17th - Final composite and render

Lighting and rendering tutorial

I finished working on the DT lighting and rendering tutorial for low resolution environments using the cryolab from a previous tutorial. This was completed after the maya lighting basics and practical light and colour theory with Jeremy Vickery. Many of the techniques in this tutorial will be handy for my final project.

  • Ambient occlusion
  • Render time practices
  • Setting up lights in a scene from a source
  • Lens shader node and gamma correcting textures
  • Specular highlights
  • Incandescence textures
  • Volumetic steam and smoke

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Animatic v.1

This is just a rough block-out draft of the animatic. I will be replacing scenes as they are improved over time. Next version will have all of the lighting effects to some degree, improved camera animation and final room will have test textures on floor and walls. Rendering this animatic was the first time rendering out per frame animation from Maya. Rendering took longer than i thought it would, learning from this ive scheduled a full week for rendering my final project.

N.B. In the first scene there will be a bright light followed by foot steps coming from door in focus. In the close up of the flower there will an animated shallow depth of field from the flower to the beetle (which will also be animated moving). These effects will be added to Animatic v.2.

Feedback welcome!

Animatic V.1 from Mark Mulligan on Vimeo.

Calystegia sepium and Colorado potato beetle

I decided on this particular to symbolise the growth within the building for a few different reasons. This is a common flower found growing from ivy all around the UK. It is important that this flower could actually be found inside the Strathmartine Hospital. That is also the reason i went for ivy in the first would have no problem laying roots in an abandoned building. The other reason was for the colour of the flower. It is the colour of white because none of the colours from the light have been absorbed and so will reflect around the room.

This little fella is the Colorado potato beetle. Dont let the name fool you, they can be found in the UK but they are a regulated beetle in Europe due to havoc caused to potato farmers. Large part of my reasoning for choosing this guy is an esthetic one, i just had to make sure it was possible for him to be found in the UK.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Today's lighting experiments!

Focus is on the door to right. Dark corridor. I brightened up the floor closest with a area light so light under windows further up would be darker in contrast to the strong light hitting the wall. This is all happening in the section further up.

This is the same corridor but further up. Heavy sun light coming from windows.

The test room from my last post but colour of area lights changed to a light blue, colour usually used with daylight. Also lightened gobo.

Ambient light and a spot light in this scene. Used barn doors to create window shape and raytrace shadows. I plan to also use light fog to create that effect of morning light pouring in. Light fog didnt reach far enough but will find a solution.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Gobo and light linking test

Early test - Scene has 3 area lights, volume light and spotlight for the gobo. There is an area light outside each window (originally put them there to achieve a window frame burn out effect) and they're connection to roof and floor have been broken. The two window area lights also have a tinted of blue colour. The further back area light is down really low acting more as filler. Im starting to look at lighting in 3D as a puzzle. The light linking gives me alot of control.

Gobo is made of black and white information. I took a snapshot of the window in Maya using an orthographic view. Brought it into photoshop to create the gobo.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Peer Review - April 21st

I definitely had one of the longest peer reviews and i got a tone of feedback. Alot of the feedback was focused more on a direction people through i should be going in rather than the cinematic narrative itself. The important thing is i have begun implementing alot of the suggestions and have found myself in a more positive place for it. Probably the most important thing i took from it was to start straight into lighting. I have covered all the basics in Maya lighting through digital tutors and am in the middle of tests invloving a gobo image animating across the main room's floor.

I agree with what was said about the piece been very long and i should concentrate on the one room. However, as an artist i still want to create a cinematic playing with the original night vs day narrative. So as a compromise im going to just work on the main room for now and see how things go over the next week or two and evaluate the situation again.

Peer review notes:
Glass shaders - Caustics
Moss(green) on windows- Subsurface-scattering
Gobo - completed tutorial (render tests coming soon)
Light linking - completed tutorial
Night lighting - blue gels
HDRI - worked on during 'going live' project

Im going to spend most of the next week testing most of these out as well as general atmospheric lighting within the main room. Anymore feedback on recommended lighting for my scene would be much appreciated.

Block-out progress


Monday, 28 March 2011

Light, growth, life 

Death and Rebirth is split into two very different moods constructed through the use of light and camera movement. The first creating the feeling of a dark and foreboding presence in the building and the other is as the daylight floods in showing the transformation of the building, growth has begun to take over as seen in the flower, grass and small creatures. Growth will also be on the windows bouncing different shades of green all around the room.

Two important additions to the cinematic piece is the animated beetle and the butterflies. Animation is something i really want to do but knew i didnt have the skill (not having a animation background) to do a fully animated piece. This allows me to try some animation without getting over my head. I modeled a beetle from NURBS before, this time ill will be sticking to polygons and probably choosing one of the beetles from living jewels website. The butterflies idea i got from a trailer for a computer game i'm looking forward to been released...called The Last Guardian. The visuals in this trailer just blew me away. If i could get my lighting anywhere near as good as this game i would be ecstatic, my goal is high so thats what im aiming for!

The Last Guardian Official TGS 2010 Trailer from Josip Kostic on Vimeo.


Secondary sourced photographs are used in this storyboard. Credit goes to the user 'Dassababes' on Flickr. Link found here

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Abandoned jute mills

I decided to work with primary and secondary images of the strathmartine hospital to storyboard my cinematic together, however, i think it is still important to visit other abandoned buildings during the course of this project. I can gather important visual information on how the light reacts around these buildings at different times and can collect images that can be used for texturing. One of the obvious areas in dundee to explore is the jute mills. I found most of these buildings to be fenced off from the public. There is one building however im talking to Tayscreen about getting access to.