I went into this project with prior knowledge of 3D software (unity & 3DS Max) but had never used Maya. Luckily, the basics are very similar to 3DS Max and the only issues I had were when adjusting to the UI although this was only for the first few days.
I attended our first tutorial where we learned about, navigation, polygons, lighting, and rendering.
After the tutorial, I worked through a couple of hours of the Maya 2018 Essentials course on Lynda.
I used my day to play around on Maya and completed another few hours on Lynda. The tutorials went into modelling tools such as edge loops, merge, etc.
I attended the tutorial where we learned about animation and camera paths. I had very little experience with animation and found keyframing to be slightly tedious however I seemed to get to grips with it fairly quickly.
I began to brainstorm ideas and felt particularly interested in creating a surreal scene. I began working on an idea to have giant hand-puppets performing on a stage.
In the next tutorial, I learned how to render and export animations. I had previous experience of rendering as the method is much the same as 3DS Max. We then imported the PNG sequence into After Effects where we could edit the animation.
I spent the evening in my sketchbook where I considered other ideas. I researched several surrealists and began to use the method of automatic writing to see if I could pull any ideas from it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t decipher any possible scenes from the writing but it was interesting to find repeated phrases/ words in my mind.
I began to become interested in the idea of creating a creepy scene. Not explicitly horror but slightly eerie.
I was drawn to “The Shining”, where Stanley Kubrick used repeating patterns, long halls with impossible paths that intersect with themselves. This idea worked on a practical level too, as the scene wouldn’t be difficult to model or animate.
Below are scenes from films that I researched in an attempt to find inspiration:
I spent a few days writing my FoCI essay. This took much longer than I had expected and set me back a couple of days.
I created a quick scene to get a feel for how the animation would play out. I turned up the field of view on the camera and put it close to the ground to make the surroundings appear more intimidating.
The render was set to a very low quality to save time hence the grainy appearance.
The lighting created the creepy vibe, I intended to create. I was unsure of the shape of the ceiling lights, however, and thought of changing them.
I returned to my sketchbook to try and plot out the layout of the scene. I did like the idea of very long corridors, however, I also wanted to make the scene more interesting with some turns in the floorplan.
I debated whether to add windows as it may make the audience feel relief from the claustrophobic sensations I intended for them. I did think it could add some interest to the scene and I could do something interesting with outdoor lighting.
I also drew inspiration from the horror game (demo) P.T. The player gets caught in an endless loop where the repeatedly walk through an apartment, each time they reach the end of the apartment, they go through a door which takes them back to the beginning. The interesting mechanic begins when enemies may appear when they didn’t before. This nauseated the player, making them feel trapped within a loop to which there was no escape.
I decided I would send the camera back to the beginning after it made two turns through the scene. Hopefully, this created an uneasy experience as it was impossible to reach the beginning via the path the camera takes.
Each time the camera returns, the scene will become slightly distorted.
To save time, I decided to cut together the scenes in After Effects.
I updated the scene in Maya according to the ideas I recorded in my sketchbook the day before and rendered a short video demonstrating the changes I had made.
A watermark appeared on the render but a according to autodesk, the watermark can only be removed on machines at an educational institution and not on personal devices.
I added some extra details to the scene, such as pipes and materials.
The Shining features plenty of patterns, such as native American patterns on rugs and walls, or even the hedge maze.
I began to study Native American patterns to find the essence of the style.
I noticed that the patterns consist of bands containing different patterns. Also they rarely use vertical lines, instead they are diagonal, making the designs very triangular.
I made my own pattern on illustrator then added it to the walls in my scene.
I improved the render quality, but it took 15 minutes to render one frame, therefore it would take 7.5 days to render the whole animation. I’ll need to find a compromise for render quality to reduce the render time.
After rendering the first scene, I decided I was happy with the appearance.
I modelled the second scene. In this scene, I deliberately skewed the doors and pipes and removed some panels in the window. Although it is hard to see, I even made the roof uneven and lower. Some doors are missing and lights are slightly off-white.
I then rendered this scene, and used After Effects to blend the transistion between to two scenes. This required me to add a second path to the camera that had the exact same animation of the camera at the end of the previous scene.
I modelled the final scene, this scene is particularly dark and features more animation. Lamps roll across the floor, things fall of walls and a door opens.
Once I was happy, I rendered out all the scenes in the highest possible quality that I could do in under 12 hours. I had a very low number of samples as moving it up by 1, seemed to triple the render time.
I was satisfied with the outcome, however, if I had more time, I would have like to have included sound effects.