Project 2 progress/research

I’ve made a master to-do list, which I put into Evernote (best note app ever). From that list, I’ve:
collected references for

  • the toy texture
  • the pipes/industrial parts of the base
  • the big windows
  • the airlock door (note: I may not need to do this feature. I’m not sure it adds to the implied narrative. It would be fun, but that’s probably not a good enough reason to include it.)

I also finished the UV map for the toy and started sculpting a normal map and painting it. I found a neat stitch stencil for Mudbox that I think will work well on the normal map, and I started painting the diffuse map in Mudbox. I suspect the toy will end up being a mixture of Mudbox and Photoshop work, since lining up and distorting the bump map correctly for the cloth seems easier for me to do in Photoshop. Or possibly I’ll use a procedural, but since I have multiple materials in this mesh, that may not be the best approach.

I’ve also started some lighting experiments using an unexposed Mental Ray feature called Environment Lighting Mode that I found at Elemental Ray (here). Very cool – in my tests, it’s really fast for IBL, and if there’s sufficient complexity of surface textures, the noise fades very nicely. That means that I can use FG like it’s supposed to be used, just to smooth out the render and add that little bit of extra realism, and hopefully this will keep my render times in the not-ridiculous range. (Note: see also djx at for great Mental Ray content.)

I’m using some HDRI images from for testing. My lighting test renders are really basic and not that interesting, so I’m not posting any of those. The blog post I linked to above is a great resource, though.

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