Third Year : Rendering through issues.

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted.  I have been bumping into some real issues when it comes to my thesis film and now that all seems sorted, I’m ready to update my blog on the progress so far regarding the Thesis film for my final year in my animation course.

With the deadline coming closer, my original plan was to have my film finished by april.  It’s still my personal deadline as I want to use the last couple of months to adjust where needed, update the animatic, clean up the storyboard, refine the character sheets and work on my book.

This following posts will be about my progress on Sun, the 3D world that I’ve created for him and the techniques I’ve used and the issues that I’ve managed to solve. But this post will start at the beginning of it all, the rendering issue.


In my last post I said that I was working with a new renderer and how much I loved it.  However, my university doesn’t have this render active and most knowledge is based around Arnold.  I had to weight the pros and cons for the renderer and see what would be best.

I was using the Renderman renderer, a render which is created and used by Pixar and used industry wide. I am glad I dipped into it, gained experience with it and seen how great of a render it actually is. My Kon picture was created with the Renderman textures and rendered out in it, so was the basic setup for the remodeling of Sun’s house.

It’s a very user friendly render, easy to use and pretty straight on with the sort of textures you would want. Be it a normal map, creating glass, texturing cloth or even setting up lights.  It all looks really natural and didn’t take too long to render out simple scenes.  (The house scene took around 15 min. to render out, whilst the Kon one wasn’t fully rendered out due to the high settings I’ve used in order to blow it up to poster format if I would want to in the future.  That took many hours to render out!)

For my scenes in the 3d world I wanted to use X-gen, the plug-in which you use to create hair, fur, grass etc.  It’s possible to use in both Arnold and Renderman, however.. X-gen needs to know the exact paths in order to use correctly.  With Arnold the plug in works perfectly, but for some reason I wasn’t able to have it work with Renderman.  I’ve scouted many forums to hopefully find the solution that would work for me, but I’ve been unsuccesful.  Another issue was that Paint Textures did not want to work for Renderman either. This is an option in Maya where you can ‘paint’ pre-made textures into your scene, this goes from trees to grass to clouds.. you name it!  The great thing about painting textures is also that they can be animated, not only by yourself, but some have an animation already set into the mesh, which pretty much means you can create grass with one click and it moves as if the wind is gently blowing it into whichever direction. But again, I couldn’t get it to work with Renderman.

Thankfully, two of my lecturers were able to provide me with some super useful links for Renderman and were super supportive of my at least trying out the new renderer. One of the staff even started looking into renderman for me so if I would bump into any issues along the way, she would be able to hopefully help or get into the struggle with me.

So now I had to make the decision; Am I going to go full into Renderman, a render which I don’t know much about, without the help of my 3d lecturers and get into 3d which I am not that familiar with? Or am I going to stick to the plan and do everything in Arnold, learn more about xgen and paintable textures, be able to get the help I need if I fall for any issues?

With my personal deadline coming closer, the pressure of needing to create something I decided to let Renderman go for now and create everything I need, all 4 of the scenes including Sun and continue with Arnold.

And oh boy, am I glad I did..


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