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Raincoat Girl Part 3

March 13, 2009
Raincoat Girl 2 by Neil Marshall.

There was a little delay between this post and the last, not because I was taking a long time with the animation, but while I was rendering it my computer got infected with a root kit.  The machine still won’t boot up without displaying a nice blue screen on bootup.  Always make sure that your XP is up to date because virus’ randomly finds security holes and install themselves while you’re watching tv elsewhere.  Luckily a couple days into my ordeal the UPS guy showed up with a new computer and now that everything is installed, its rendering the scene quite a bit faster then my older machine.

The new machine is an i7 Quad core hyperthreaded box, so I now see 8 buckets in Max instead of 2.  I’ve also got 6GB of RAM and I’m running 64Bit Vista so things are working quite nicely when rendering.  However, I did notice that the cloth simulator only uses one core.  I was disappointed that it didn’t speed that operation up too much.

Before the virus I had re-rigged the fingers.  The thumb issue was actually fairly easy to solve.  I removed the Finger0* bones from the skin, rotated them, and added them back into the skin modifier.

I was also having issues zooming in because the model started out as a model for a game with the units being 1 generic unit = 1 meter.  Thats VERY small for max.  I found that if I adjust the FOV instead of actually zooming in, that I could now paint the vertex weights without hitting my forehead against the monitor.

As I started animating it, I noticed a LOT of rendering errors from Mental Ray.  I thought it was my rendering settings because there are more then a few pages on the web dealing with dancing shadows due to final gathering.  It turns out that the rendering settings were not the issue. I was using a “SkyLight” light, instead of a “DayLight” light.  The Mental Ray Sub-Surface Scattering shader didn’t like the SkyLight at all.  In the switch to the DayLight I needed to change a few values in the shaders to get them to actually show up, but once I did everything rendered properly again.

Animating the character into the crouching stance revealed that the jacket was lacking in a couple areas.  I added a little bit to the neck and I split it between the legs so that it now spreads apart but stays buttoned up.  I currently hate the animation as it doesn’t look right, but it works for testing.

There is one issue that I’m not sure how to solve now.  After the crouch where the split in the jacket is, if I leave it to drape itself without the left hand there it will start battling itself because there are two separate pieces of fabric in close proximity.  Does anyone know how to make the cloth behave nicely in this case?  I would like it so that the left side of the jacket always prefers to be behind the right, but I’m not sure how I would go about doing so.


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