Room for Improvement

StormyKnight
StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
edited April 2013 in Practical Filmmaking
Here's a test I did in preparation of a story I hope to start filming in the next couple months. I know there's room for improvement but was wondering what other HF2U users think I could do, if anything, to make this look more realistic. I'm happy with the ship design as the concept is, it's a large dual mobile centrifuge so I don't want or need windows and a camera system throughout the exterior of the ship can replace windows. So it's also kind of like a submarine in that respect.
Overall- where do you think improvements could be made? Constructive criticism welcome.
http://youtu.be/1MNFkpeq6D4
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Comments

  • Wow, That's some very interesting camera movement. I like the overall feel of it but its needs some improvement in the following areas, not that I know what I'm talking about ;)
     
    1. More stars with more variation.
     
    2. While the camera movement was interesting, it was also occasionally confusing. Try more stable shots and possibly pay a little more attention to framing.
     
    3. Assuming this is supposed to be a sequence of shots developing into a very simple story. You should probably consider giving us a clear direction to the ultimate goal. Instead of the sweeping orbiting camera, which never seems to stop.
     
    4. The 3D model is very interesting, but very low resolution. So it would probably be best to stay as far away from it as you can.
     
    I hope that gives you some ideas on how to improve this sequence! You should try to grab some pictures of stars off of Google images and see if you can incorporate them in somehow. Strive for realism and you'll probably get a pretty good looking space shot.
     
    Good luck!   Kahveh
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    Thanks for the feedback, Kahveh Robinett. I'll do some more experimenting with the 3D model. It's not exactly how I had envisioned it as I'm still learning Blender as well as HF2U. Maybe I should try applying a submarine texture.
    A bit lost on the texturing thing. Time to watch some tutorials.
    I will try the ideas you listed above. I had three different star backgrounds but forgot to put the other two in. Oops. The real space pic is a good idea. I'll see how it looks once I incorporate a few selections.
    Once put into the story this won't be one long sequence. It's actually three different sections put together for this vid. I wanted to gauge how it's looking though and I'm glad I did.
    Well, back to the drawing board. :) 
  • Virchow
    Virchow Posts: 13
    edited April 2013
    I really like your model and system!
    The only things I might throw out there if you're inclined to try are:
    1) A harsh single point of light from the sun of the system on the model if not behind a planet (shadows in space can be extremely harsh depending on nearby reflectors (planets/moons)
    2) This will sound counterintuitive, but maybe throw on a very very subtle particle system. In some sci-fi shots it works, in others not so much.
    Just a couple thoughts that you might find useful or not depending on your vision.
  • ESPictures
    ESPictures Posts: 533 Just Starting Out
    edited April 2013
    Thanks for the feedback, Kahveh Robinett. I'll do some more experimenting with the 3D model. It's not exactly how I had envisioned it as I'm still learning Blender as well as HF2U. Maybe I should try applying a submarine texture.
    A bit lost on the texturing thing. Time to watch some tutorials.
    I will try the ideas you listed above. I had three different star backgrounds but forgot to put the other two in. Oops. The real space pic is a good idea. I'll see how it looks once I incorporate a few selections.
    Once put into the story this won't be one long sequence. It's actually three different sections put together for this vid. I wanted to gauge how it's looking though and I'm glad I did.
    Well, back to the drawing board. :)


    UV mapping under Blender is pretty awesome once you get used to the system.  I just made that last space ship model as a commission for another HitFilm user and did 38 different textures for it, so I feel pretty comfortable using it now.
    What I did was instead of marking seams to unfold, I just laid out material zones in Hexagon (I used that for the actual modeling since I'm faster in that because I don't have to keep trying to remember keystroke commands).
    I try to lay it out so that parts of the ship that are exactly the same all use the same material.  And then lay stuff out such as the top part of the ship's hull being one material and the bottom piece another material.
    That way when you go to UV map, it's easy for Blender to unfold it correctly without needing to mark seams.
    When I imported the models from Hexagon into Blender, I took each material and used the smart UV unwrap tool to unwrap each material on the size space I wanted, 1024, 2048, 4096.  I then exported the unwrapped blank template to a .png file.  At this point, it's just a semi-transparent template that outlines where the texture needs to go.  I load that template up in Photoshop, paint a texture in a separate photoshop window, and then cookie-cutter cut it out so that it fits the blank template.  And then save that file as a .jpg and load that .jpg into Blender.  Just set the texture for the material, making sure that you have UV map set as the coordinate system and BAM! Only 37 more textures to go at about 20 minutes each.  hahah  So keep that in mind when you're setting materials for the model - you probably will get serious hand cramps if you make too many.  :))
     

  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited April 2013
    Thanks, guys! This community is THE BEST! You all have certainly given me some great suggestions. The toughest will be revamping the model.
    ES Pictures- I ordered Hexagon 2.5 today but have not found a link from which to download it. I think part of DAZ3D's site may be under construction. I submitted a support ticket and once that problem is cleared up I look forward to trying out the program. I hope I have better success with texturing in Hexagon then I have in Blender. I like Blender but there is kind of a steep learning curve i.e. UV Unwrapping/mapping gets pretty intricate. Once I get Hexagon uploaded I'll understand better the process you used to create a great looking model.
    I got Bryce 7 when they were giving it away free last year and managed to finally get around to playing with that too. I successfully exported a tree and imported it to HF2U. Yay! Does that deserve a yay or a slap to the forehead? :)
    Virchow- I did use a point light for the sun but found it left the model way too dark. I added a second light the color of the big planet to illuminate the area a little more. I like the idea of the sun 'peaking' out from behind a planet. I'll play around with that idea. Maybe add some space dust for perspective/depth(?).
  • ESPictures
    ESPictures Posts: 533 Just Starting Out
    Hmmm I like Hexagon for modeling, but their texturing system isn't that great which is why I switched to Blender for that.  Maybe, I'll make a quick tutorial on my process.  I got Bryce and Hexagon while they were free too.  Bryce had a pretty labyrinthine system for making stuff, although I did make a few landscapes with it.  But then I got frustrated and just bought a copy of Vue.
  • ESPictures
    ESPictures Posts: 533 Just Starting Out
    Bam!
    Texturing using Blender, my way.  Sorry about my crappy vocals, but I don't have a melodious voice.  Which is why this is my first and perhaps last tutorial.  :blush:
    http://youtu.be/Orvwnth8zes
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    Bam!
    Texturing using Blender, my way. Sorry about my crappy vocals, but I don't have a melodious voice. Which is why this is my first and perhaps last tutorial. :blush:
    You are awesome! Can't wait to watch this. I have to work both my jobs today so tomorrow I'll be checkin' it out first thing. Thank you!
    I tried liking the post 20 times but it only let me cast one vote.
    Weird- why is my reply being put into the quote section?!?!?!?! (Fixed that for you - Ady)
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited April 2013
    ES Pictures- Awesome tutorial! I see I was missing a few steps not covered in other tuts and my texture definitely could use mucho improvement. Out of all the tutorials about texturing in Blender that I've watched, yours was the easiest to understand and follow and more comprehensive than most. As luck would have it I have PS CS5 too.  I'm going to start right away on improvements (hopefully improvements).
    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
    btw- Nothing wrong with your voice.
    :) 
  • ESPictures
    ESPictures Posts: 533 Just Starting Out
    Thanks.  Hope everything goes smoothly for you.
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    Thanks.  Hope everything goes smoothly for you.

     

    Well, so far I seem to be making some progress but I'll need to look up some tuts about exporting the model from Blender with all the info needed to bring it into HF2U successfully. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but it has something to do with the textures. I'm probably doing something out of order but I can't get them to look the same in HF2U. So the learning continues. I might actually get this stuff down in, oh, I don't know, a decade or two? @-)
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    I am still having trouble getting some textures I created in Photoshop to appear correctly when I export the model from Blender and import it to HitFilm 2 Ultimate. The model itself transfers fine but the textures don't come out looking like the rendered picture in Blender. So I'm not sure if it's something I'm doing wrong in Blender i.e. not including something or doing things out of order or if I've set something up wrong where it won't export everything.(?)
    Also, three of the textures are working fine so I'm lost as to how to correct the problem. Anyone have an idea or two?
    The first screen shot below is from the Blender user perspective view. I don't know what the black space is on the sphere part of the ship- it appears in HitFilm's import window but not when the model is created in the program- see third screen shot.
    The second is the model rendered (in Blender) which is how I would like it to appear in HitFilm or anywhere else.
    The third is a screen shot of the model after importing it and applying the textures in HitFilm.
    Here's a link to the Blender file which I uploaded to FileSwap.com. You'll have to use the slower download option for the free download.
    http://www.fileswap.com/dl/zadBesvg5/
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    Downloading it now.
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    Thanks, spydurhank. Skin as tough as a Sherman tank. ;) 
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    Hey... wow, Here's a few things, some of your normals "on the sphere" are facing in the wrong direction,
    33120092.jpg

     

    that's not an easy fix. You'll need to fix the normals manually and it could take a while.
    The model doesn't have any seams so it can't be properly UV unwrapped for texturing.
    Also, you need to set the texture mapping to UV.
    86260193.jpg

     

    Honestly... I would delete that sphere and model a new one. Remodelling something like a sphere is way easier than going in there and having to fix those normals by hand.  
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    Thank you, spydurhank! I appreciate the perspective of the seasoned eye. @-)
    I will remodel the sphere as you recommend and I think I may have been confused by too many unclear videos until ES Pictures tutorial clarified a few things.
    If I could rifle a couple questions at you, provided you have the time....and/or know the answers....
    I didn't think about this until a few minutes ago- when I was following ES Pictures' tutorial I set the image size for the texture to the same he set his. My original texture is 512 x 512. Should I set the Image size to that in the UV editor?
    Does the Image need to be "packed" in order to be exported in an OBJ file and/or read in HF?
    When the model is exported to an OBJ file does it carry the UV mapping and textures with it and is the .mtl file where textures & UV mapping are stored? Does the .mtl file get used by HF?
    Also, I've been exporting/saving the UV Layout, is that neccessary or does that end up in the .mtl file?
    Last question....well, maybe ;) ..... I'll look up a tutorial for creating seams if I can't figure it out on my own but the question is- how did you find the normals that were askew? You got magic vision?
    Thanks again. I really appreciate the help. I posted the same question on Blender Artists and no one has answered there yet proving this is the best online community in the universe! er, uh, um......world. Nah, universe.
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    Stormy... I'm gonna screencapture a few things in hopes of answering your questions. Cool?
    It'll be easier for me to show you than to try and explain it in text form.
    I'll post a link here when the video is done.
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    Well thank you again! If you're ever near Racine, WI hit me up, we'll do lunch or coffee- on me. Hopefully it'll be summer here, the winters can be very bitter. Pun intended- winter is a bitter clinger this year! (sorry- political reference).
    I can see the screen shots here at home now. I see what you're talking about. No idea how that happened. Ah, give a rookie a piece of software and he'll mess it up right.
    I've been watching your ship renders and my favorite is the scary looking one- New Test Render Ship_1. Reminds me of something the Shadows in B5 would have designed. Only instead of a spider reaching out at you it's like a four fingered hand.   Very cool. Ship WIP 4 is awesome. I love the detail. Did you create your own textures?
    I could have sworn I sent you a friend request when I posted the 'spydurhank' theme. That was months ago-wasn't it? Forgive my oversight. :blush: 
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    Thanks Stormy, the video is uploading now.  :) 
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    Good morning, Frank.
    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
    I can not thank you enough!!!!! Holy cows!
    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
    I can't believe you spent, what, over an an hour (?maybe longer?) on this but I have to say (thank you) it really is going to go a very long way in my understanding of Blender and it's tools; not to mention my approach to modeling. I'm sure others will find this vid (thank you) helpful as well. You covered things I haven't seen in the Blender tuts I've watched and seeing it applied to my own model (thank you- I wasn't expecting that!) makes all kinds of things fall into place.
    When you first mentioned the problems with the sphere, I suspected it was linked to how I constructed the model, and not realizing that while making the little bumpy things on the torus, when I adjusted the height and relocated them it made an edge I thought was being corrected but was actually making another edge. Did that make sense? I've only had one cup of coffee so far this morning.  :wacko: Referencing the 18 minute mark in the vid.
    Knowing what I know now (thank you) thanks to your help, I may as well just start from scratch and check things as I go. With the tips you've given it should be a lot smoother designing it again, making corrections and getting it to come out right.
    BTW- loved the ring tone! Did I hear doggy nails on the floor in the background?
    Thank you again. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into the vid. Between you and ES Pictures I have a much clearer understanding of how Blender works. You will both get a special thanks in the credits of the short movie I'm working on as will those who helped me on this project. I just hope the movie will be worthy enough to live up to your reputations.
    First, I will write down all the great keyboard shortcuts you provided 'til I get to memorizing them and proceed from there.
    Second, if you ever need custom music for a vid I'd be happy to help- no charge. (thank you) I clearly can't offer any video assistance as music is my forte. That offer is extended to ES Pictures (Doug) as well.
    Third, I StormyKnight, being of relatively sound mind and keeper of the realm, hereby dub thee, SIR spydurhank, Knight of the "Magic Vision". :D 

    Have a great weekend!
    Preston
    SK
    AND thanks to FXhome/HitFilm for shaping such a wonderfully helpful and tolerant community where no problem is too big or too small to address.
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    Well, I give up. I can't get the texture to look like it does in Blender when I export it and import it to HF. I rebuilt the ship from scratch- had no duplicate vertices- created seams- the whole shebang and still no success. No matter what I change or retexture it always comes out looking the same in HF (ref. pic on page 1 of this post).
    If I want to move forward from here I guess I'll go with something simple like a solid color texture with the appearance of being dirty until I can figure out what's going wrong. Two weeks on this one ship is enough for now. :( 
    Thanks for all the help guys but I'm at a loss.
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    edited May 2013
    Can you upload a .blend of your new model so I can take a look at it?
    I think that I have an idea of why the textures might be looking weird when you import the model into HF2U. 
    Oh, and I'm really glad the video helped.  :D 
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    Sir spydurhank,
    I will upload the .blend file tonight when I get home from work. It sure is puzzling me.
    Thanks for taking another look.
    :) 
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    No worries Stormy. I'm pretty sure that it's something really simple that we're not noticing yet and we'll be able to figure it out.  :) 
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    Something simple overlooked- yup. I've had many experiences like that recently. Very humbling. :-? 
    Here's the new ship .blend file. Thanks again, Sir spydurhank.

    http://www.fileswap.com/dl/loySN3Umao/Final_Ship_777.blend.html

    btw- love your signature. I couldn't agree more. I can't shake this feeling that we may see some serious crap go down sooner than we think. I pray I'm wrong......I'd be delighted if I were wrong.
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    Kinda late but i'm downloading it now. Will check it out in the morning.  :) 
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    Stormy, the textures aren't packed into the .blend file... can you upload the textures?
  • StormyKnight
    StormyKnight Posts: 2,722 Ambassador
    edited May 2013
    *slaps forehead* Darn it. I couldn't remember if I had packed the textures or not. I'm at work 'til 4:30 ET. I will get them uploaded ASAP after that. how embarrassing  Mucho apologies. Just to let you know- I'm in no rush. I'm sure you have more important things to do.
  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Posts: 3,193 Expert
    No worries.  :)