In the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get as much done as I can before getting back to Tokyo and dealing with the real-life side of producing this movie. People to see, locations to scout, stuff to arrange and build and buy…
So in the meantime I’m doing what I can to prepare the CG side of things. The main CG element is the clunky old mind-controlled robot dog you see at left. The modeling is essentially finished and I’ve been working on finishing up the texturing, starting a bit of animation, getting a sense of how the movements work when rendered, and even some basic compositing tests. It all needs a lot of work but the tests seem promising. I also designed and modeled the second robot dog, a much smaller role but important.
To make these renders I’ve been using HDR image-based lighting from light probes I took myself in my apartment and at the Blender Institute. I’m beginning to get the hang of doing that, and to understand where the tricky parts are. I’ve been rendering with Cycles, which is improving almost every day. I haven’t yet done any really serious object or motion tracking tests, but I’ve done some fooling around with it, and it seems to work great.
All in all, I’m starting to feel that the special-effects side of this movie is going to be very manageable. The real challenge is going to be to schedule and shoot the live action footage. That adventure will begin in a couple of weeks, once I’ve settled in back in Japan.