Maya Modelling
Continuing the modelling of the snowdome. I reposed the snowman to get a bit more dynamics and to better match the initial sketch I made. This added more life and conveyed the cartoony feel of the model in a good way.
I then set about creating lotsa little snowflakes which was fun. after making a single little poly square I used the ‘duplicate special’ to generate interesting spirals of them all intertwined and repositioned. then after I had a good swirly cloud I duplicated the full set 2 more timed to get some density at the bottom of the dome. I then set about inserting some human randomness to things with simple transforms and rotates and shifting lots of the polys beneath the ground to better spots.
A little set of bubbles at the top was next and this was a simple set of spheres with the transparent material applied – they needed squishing to make them look right apart from the lone one still rising to the top.
The name plate was next and I am far from mastering this little idea. I extruded a set of faces in a duplicate base and then removed all but the extruded part. Then after a new UV projection map along the axis I created a file in photoshop. Applying this to various channels on the Maya materials yielded a variety of resuts. I was hoping to get the alpha working so the letters were just applied to the same plastic – a job for another day.
Anyhow as this image shows it looks the part even if it is a little rough and ready in places:

[Snowdome in a good enough form to start using now]
With the basic modelling done – it was onto the scene that will bring them all together as well as test my capacity to match camera, lighting and wield compositing pass layers (all of which is new to me).
After some considerable playign with hosts of setting I am at this stage now. The objects are in and lit in a fashion that should take me into photoshop now. I liked using the background material for the Harry Potter book substitute – this makes it just vanish from the renderings but obscures the objects – ekelent. So I have a scene now sporting 2 pawns, a bishop, 2 knights and the snowdome.

[WIP of the compiled scene with the objects in place]
This render was one of many happy little misadventures where I rendered the masterlayer by accident 🙂 I actually quite like the lighting and other bits when it all ends up in there…

[WIP accident of the master render layer for the toyscene]

Setting up the various render passes is actually kinda fun. With the render time mounting with some of them you can really see the value in doing post render compositing as each tweak inside Maya means another long wait to see the results. If I had a complex scene like in Cars or Transformers there really isnt any other way. I am sure there are plenty of productions that just render beauty out then just try and tweak the entire frame if required.

Watching the little video tute I found back on Day212 ( is actually quite helpful here.

Once I rendered out a set of passes (havent got the hang of the Ambient Occlusion pass yet though – and it has such a cool name) I brought everything into Photoshop. The image below shows the very first import, a beauty pass with the alpha to give the shadows etc. This is pretty nifty for just one pass actually – the glass of the dome isnt the right colour yet and there is much tweaking to come to make it sit even better.

[WIP images of the Photoshop compositing phase of the toy table]