Week 04 Progress: Rough CG Environment Layout, Tracking & FX Update
Mentors Feedback Summary
- The depth and camera are too close to the ground
- Add motion blur to test the level of details still visible when the camera is in motion. Maybe pull out the camera more or slow it down. 
- Shot 02 camera is jerky.
- The bunny is framed too frontal, it was better framed in profile view.
- If the camera doesn’t rotate around so much, then it will help bring the other details in the background into focus more.
- Adjust the overall framing of shots 01 and 02
- Flower blooming could be a beautiful detail and could be a nice way to break up the shot. Would be interesting to set the focus on that at the beginning.
- Be careful with the shader details looking muddy or dull. 
- Slowing down the camera and making sure to adjust the quality of the shaders will help pick up details on the bunny. 
- Give a few more seconds for the reveal of the product. 
- The secondary details on the trail are cool. 
- The final composition of the shot is not quite there yet so work on that more.
- Adding a comedic moment with the ear or eye of the bunny moving might be interesting.
- The details and the way the feet of the bunny interact with the ground and shadows would help ground it better in the scene.
- Adjust camera motion to follow the FX trail till it reaches the scene with the bunny and then slowly shift focus to the bunny. Center the focus on FX while it travels, making the focus shift to the bunny seem more intentional. Create anticipation in the establishing shot of the bunny and then bring the bunny in as the focal point. 
- Add more time to the product resolution (shot 03) 
- FX particles could initially revolve around the blooming flower at the start of the journey and then disperse.
- The secondary trail details are a good addition or details. A little hint of them could carry into shot 03. 
- The turbulence at the end of the trail is nice.
- Depending on the distance of the bunny from the camera, the details could get lost. 
- There wasn’t enough time to see the product. 
- At the point where the camera swings around the bunny, the FX trail is lost and doesn’t feel intentional. 
- Secondary trail details could follow into the final shot as well to connect the shots better. 
Week 05 Milestone
- Shot design and composition.
- Overall look development and lighting of all assets.
- Refine FX.
Week 05 Tasks
- Refine FX movement, details, and look dev. (Yanni)
- Render shots with motion blur. (Yanni)
- Clean up of live-action plate. (Shashank)
- Slap comp for shot 03. (Shashank)
- Camera, layout, composition, and rough flower animation. (Dee)
- Resolve issues with shaders and texture maps. (Dee)
My Task Breakdown:
- Make corrections to the camera movements.
- Work on improving the shot design and overall composition.
- Refine flower model and apply initial textures.
- Fix shader colorspace issues and improve look development.
- Apply initial base material to all assets in CG environment and adjust color to check contrast.
Camera, Composition & Workflow Tests
After discussing with the team, I prioritized work on the camera and adjusted the pacing and composition. Then, I handed the file over to Yanni so that she could adjust the trail effects according to the camera. While talking to the professors, they explained the importance of putting together edits more often to check the pacing. Therefore, I put together a rough edit after adjusting the camera and extended shot 03 with the product resolve by a few seconds. 
I have made further adjustments to the camera, aiming for smoother movement, but it hasn't reached the desired level of smoothness yet. However, I have addressed the main issues from last week and extended the timeline for the blooming flower sequence. The plan is to delve deeper into refining the camera next week. Due to time constraints, I've temporarily halted my progress, allowing Yanni sufficient time to sync and refine the FX trail curve with the camera modifications. My team and I decided to render the environment and FX trail separately, aiming for increased flexibility in compositing and assessing our workflow. Yanni and I incorporated motion blur into the renders, and Shashank composited everything, assembling a preliminary edit. This method enabled us to not only evaluate render times but also gain valuable insights into each team member's workflow, aiding in determining the optimal time needed to assemble the sequence. Throughout this process, we encountered and effectively addressed various challenges.
Look Development & Lighting
I had to rebuild the lighting entirely due to odd artifacts in the shaders during render tests. The initial lighting setup proved challenging during the troubleshooting process. Additionally, I revised the chocolate bunny shader by eliminating the gold details from the previous iteration. To address potential shader and color space issues while transitioning between Substance Painter and Redshift in Houdini, I experimented with painting larger patches of gold to test and rectify any related issues. Moreover, I took extra care to ensure that the shiny gold material reads correctly without any issues when the camera is in motion.  Additionally, a gold shader was added to the leaves flying in to test how they look with other elements in the shot. Below is a side-by-side comparison of my setup from last week and the current one, accompanied by the corresponding results.
Shot 03 Updates
I painted more details onto the chocolate box shader, fine-tuned the base colors, and then passed the texture maps to Yanni for integration while she worked on any adjustments to the FX. Additionally, I scanned a cloth set up and cleaned up the mesh to serve as proxies for FX shadow mattes, and I passed this on to Shashank and Yanni. 
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