Painted Effects Combined to a Surface

As the semester is quickly approaching its end I have been focusing on three elements of the project to complete.  The element to complete was figuring out how to get my painted grass to bind to an object in the environment.  This took some thinking, but eventually I discovered that doing a simple mesh combine works fine.  First, you will need to create an polygon (I choose a surface) then paint your grass.  You can do this by going into window, then general editors, and visor.  Then scroll through to find the type of grass you want to use and begin painting.  To cut down on the polygon count I made my brush larger.  I then selected both objects and went into the mesh menu and then clicked on combine.  Now to be sure that it works do a quick render.

Next I will try and find a way to create a movie material for the environment.

Pinterest Weather Cycle Inspiration

The following link has some images that helped me to develop an ideas for the environment in my project.  I also included images of some of the seasons to help me better understand how weather appears in reality.  I will frequently looked back to these images while creating the particle effects to help create a sense of realism in the project.

Particle Effects

My weather cycle project is centered around the concept of the four seasons.  I wanted to bring reality into a digital platform and to do so I needed to learn particle effects.  I found a great tutorial on, which will be listed below.  The tutorial that I found was not specifically about creating weather scenes, but gave enough information that you could work with the skills taught.  The tutorials were very easy to follow, the only set back is that it was made in 2011.  This means that when watching the tutorial you will need to look for things that are mentioned because they may not be in the same area he is discussing.

Each season in my short has a corresponding particle effect.  For the summer scene I will create particle effects for floating pollen.  The spring scene will showcase wind blowing leaves on the trees.  The fall scene will consist of rain.  The winter scene will display snow falling from the sky.  Each scene displaying the seasons will only consist of a few seconds in length.

12 Principles of Animation

Every animation project must follow the 12 principles of animation in order for the action taking place to look believable to the viewer.  Below I have listed the 12 principles of animation and how they correlate to my current project.

  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation- this will be evident with the camera movement within my short.
  3. Staging- My environment shows the viewer a believable scene which adds to the realism of particle effects.
  4. Straight ahead and Pose to pose
  5. Follow through and Overlapping- The particle effects will use this principle when the effects are falling from the sky.
  6. Slow in and Slow out
  7. Arcs
  8. Secondary Action- This will mainly consist of the grass and trees blowing in the wind while the particles effects are the main action taking place in the scene.
  9. Timing- All of my particle effects must use timing effectively in order to make the viewer feel as if the weather effects are true to reality.
  10. Exaggeration
  11. Solid Drawing
  12. Appeal- I want my environment and particle effects to look realistic while holding the viewers attention by the overall look of the objects.

A great article to look at for the 12 principles of animation is .  The video has a great walkthrough with examples of each principle.

Mental Ray Proxies

While creating the environment for the weather cycle project, I realized that the painted trees would probably cause an excessive amount of render time.  To remedy this I found the solution to make mental ray proxies.  A mental ray proxy is basically like an object that maya doesn’t recognize as existing in your scene.  What you do with a proxy is load it onto an object so when it renders you see the proxy.  Making proxies is an easy way to cut down on render time in the future.  This is especially true when creating a large environment like I have done for my project.  One blog in particular was a great help in creating these proxies, which was  I only encountered one problem with the tutorial. This problem happened when I tried to import the mental ray proxy into my main scene.  Maya gave an error message explaining that it could not read the bounding box information.  A quick fix to this is to go back into your mental ray proxy creation scene and convert the paint effects into polygons.  The reason for this is that maya doesn’t understand what to make a proxy of, either the leaves or the tree.  The way to fix this is to do the following:

  • First go to the top menu and click on modify, then convert, and click on paint effects to polygons.
  • This has now separated the leaves from the trees so now you want to select the both the trees and leaves and click on mesh in the top menu and then click on combine.
  • After this is finished you will be able to export your proxy and import it into your scene with no issue.