Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Legacy Department

Digital Production Arts

Committee Member

Dr. Jerry Tessendorf, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Timothy Davis

Committee Member

Professor Tony Penna

Abstract

The following thesis details the creation of a shot for an animated production titled Gear Up. The process for creating this shot was patterned after professional animated productions and included the following steps: pre-visualization, story boarding, modeling and asset creation, UV layouts, texturing and surfacing, scene assembly and camera layout, character and prop rigging, character animation, lighting, rendering, and compositing. The motivation for this project was to create a product that artistically has a darker aesthetic than many previous Clemson DPA animations, but still enjoyed high quality visuals. One of the goals was to create a large-scale scene centered in a post apocalyptic robot war. This project also served as the first opportunity for incorporating the rendering engine called Arnold into the Clemson DPA animation pipeline and artist workflow. In order to accomplish the goals set above, a series of technical and artistic problems needed to be solved. With the use of 3D preproduction prototyping, modular and procedural asset gen-eration, new content generation tools, and optimized workflows, the team was able to tackle all production challenges and create high quality content efficiently and with minimal stress to the artists. This thesis also delves into the elaborate process of scene lighting; detailing the artistic decisions and motivations that lead to the final product. The lighting is created by examining references from film and real life, lighting designs, and advanced lighting techniques. The results of the project was a 400 frame animation of a post apocalyptic city block featuring a detailed robot, armed for war, standing guard by his tank amidst piles of debris, barbed wire, and rubble. The shot was rendered entirely in Arnold apart from the FX elements, which was rendered using Houdini Mantra. It also represents a successful collaboration between several volunteer artists with various skills and time commitments.

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