The SA Animation Unit is one week into our first project: a CG recreation of the Lawson Site. We’ve hit a lot of bumps, but believe me that’s a good thing. Part of our mandate this summer is to develop an animation pipeline for this sort of work, figuring out how to smooth those bumps is an important part of that process.
Week one was all about modeling ‘props’ in Autodesk Maya. These are the objects and trappings you’d expect to see in a 16th Century Village site. We made the decision early on to not model and recreate the actual inhabitants of the Lawson site for a number of reasons. First, we didn’t want to risk getting it wrong, it would be disrespectful and presumptuous especially for our first time at bat, we’re not smart enough yet. Second, modeling and animating people takes a heck of a long time, and third … see number two. The trick then is to try and convey a sense of life without having anything actually living in our scene.
In a strange way, we’re mimicking what an Archaeologist does everyday in the field.
One of the ways we’re approaching the ‘sense of life’ problem is by focusing on details. If we can make everything seem as if it was either made by living people or in the case of vegetation are indeed alive, that should go a long way. I think these renders are getting very close.