Posted: Dec 04, 2009
Published by: the area
Homepage: Visit the page
Software: Autodesk Softimage
Category: Animation, Dynamics, General, Modeling, Rendering, Shaders
Rigging and Lighting Growing Grapes Veins and Bottles
The following is an outlining of how to rig and animate growing objects in a codeless and simple fashion. All the tools in Softimage you'll need for the rig are curve deformations, lattices, smooth operators and cluster constraints.
The growing effect is mainly achieved by deforming the object with a lattice. If you scale the bottom 2 rows to 0 and then move the lattice up and down, you'll see how the object is disappearing once it goes beyond the pinch point. By pulling the points of the lattice around a bit more, you'll get some movement in the object as a side effect as well, which could look nice in the overall effect. If you deform your object additionally onto a curve and animate the translation along it (in the curve deform property page), your object will follow a path on which it is growing on. By applying a smooth operator and really overdriving those values, the growing object can be animated to slowly form from a very smooth and soft stage to its final edgy shape.
To attach the grapes on the twig, it is best to cluster constraint them to the vertexes on the twig. You possibly might want to add a 3-point constraint inbetween so that the grape is always aligning and rotating correctly on the twig.
In the video, I've set up this procedure for grapes, branches and glass-blown bottles but it will also look good on many different objects.
For the shading and lighting of the grapes, the main passes I've set up are Sub Surface Scatter, Reflection, Specular, Ambient Occlusion, Final Gather on Lambert, a grained/powdery Surface Texture and a couple of different mattes like Depth, Color Variation, Front Back Sides(good for the leaves). The whole scene is illuminated by an HDR Image and a single spotlight. The HDR image is very important for good reflections and overall lighting. The spotlight is necessary for both the Sub Surface Scatter pass and the Specular. I've captured the different rendertrees of the materials for you to look at.
Once you've rendered all those raw passes, you'll have to cook them in comp. My workflow is mostly to render a couple of rough passes and then see how useable they are in compositing. That's also where the fun begins because it is a very artistic process in which you tweak your setup until your good eye is satisfied with the result. Good luck and have fun!
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