The Mad Lab Evaluation

This project was a complete dive in at the deep end for me, having only touched on 3D modeling in simple game/level editors such as Unreal Ed, Hammer, and a couple of others. Realising how different and much more in-depth Maya was, was daunting, but also inspiring to see that the possibility of creative freedom was virtually limitless. From poylgon and NURBS construction and modeling, to texturing and using lamberts/phongs/blinns/other materials, and then lighting a scene, working the camera(s) and lighting, you are in control of everything, and it enables you to become the sole producer of the piece.

My final animation achieved exactly what I wanted too, although wasn't perfect. This to me was a good opportunity to try a few different aspects of Maya and just get the general workings of it into my head. I wanted to keep it relatively simple throughout, and after learning the lesson that everything you make might not actually be in shot, decided to tone back some of the detail for things just out of shot, or only on camera briefly. A more comprehensive storyboard may have helped solve this from the beginning.

Learning to use certain properties of the types of modeling to your advantage was one of the main learning points in this module. Choosing between NURBS and polygons for different objects was sometimes obvious and sometimes not so much, and the same goes for which shaders to use to get the right sort of material you are looking for.

There is so much to learn in Maya, I think this kind of approach of producing small projects with challenges is the best way to go about getting it all to sink in. If you tried to tackle it all at once it'd just be too much. I am going to keep plugging away at Maya as it's interesting and, as I said before, full of creative potential once you have the basic skills under your belt.

Changes I would make:
  • introduce some dynamics in the physics of the objects falling, to make it look more natural. i.e the fall and bounce of the glass jar onto the plank.
  • add more detail onto objects such as the books/tomato
  • remove some of the clipping issues such as the needle and tomato point.
  • learn bump mapping and use it correctly.
  • storyboard more thoroughly next time.
  • render time planning will be easier next time now I have done it once and can see averages. It was hard going into it with no idea.

I was particularly happy with:
  • certain objects I created, such as the fan.
  • certain aspects of the scene lighting to change atmospheres midway through the animation.
  • keeping a set theme and feel to the piece.

What never made the Cut:
Here are a few of the items that got cut from the animation, usually for rendering time constraints. So I thought I'd share them with you here:

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