Ces Choses qui parlent – Final Report

If we refer to my pre-production document, a lot of things have changed since the beginning of the project. The set up of the scene remains the same: the protagonist is in a small room where there is only a shelf in it with random objects that tells in some way a story. However, the nature of the protagonist, the role of the shelf and the rest of the plot has changed.

The first thing that changed is the composition of the shelf, and at the same time, the story that was told by it. During the pre-produciton critic, it was address to me that the shelf felt empty and the objects themselves were too generic. I decided to fill the shelf with bottles because bottles can mean different things and be used in different circumstances in life. Then, the nature of the main character changes. It was supposed to be an old person that was facing his/her own story in the shelf. The unknown characteristic of the character remains there (sex, exact age, physical appearance, name, etc) but he/she is not an elderly person anymore and the personal connection to the shelf is let to interpretation. Since the composition of the shelf and the character have changed, the story in itself have changed too. Up until the mid-production critic, I was not sure at all what to do on the last shelf, and at the same time, how to end the film. I went with a supernatural ending, leaving the fate of the character unknown.

The modelling in itself went well. Since I removed the teddy bear and the doll, none of the objects that remains were really difficult to model. However, I had some difficulties with the shaders and textures, especially the one for the shelf. Surprisingly, the glass shader was the easiest one to do, I simply used the mia_material_X’s thick glass preset and I think it did a pretty good job. What causes me a lot of difficulties was the lighting. Even now, the ray of light that comes from the left window still look odd. I had a lot of difficulties having a realistic basement lighting. I am still not convince about the effect it gives to the ambiance, but I would not say that the lighting is bad, just no as “basement light style” I wanted to do. Lighting gave me another problem with the render time. I was experiencing with the global illumination and final gathering because I wanted to do caustics. However, I ended up with a 30 minutes render time. I was able to cut it to 12 minutes, but it was still way too long for the time left for rendering. So I decided to remove that and only keep the direct illumination, decision that cut my render time from 12 minute to 53 seconds (up to 4 minutes for close up of the glass). For 45 seconds of animation, it took me a little more than 24 hours to render with two computers. Finally, the animation went correct, but my lack of experience in the domain  made me struggle with some of the camera movements and the hypergraph. The video editing and the sound editing went well even though I am not very experienced with sound. The sound samples come from freesound.org.

I definitely plan to continue this project for my portfolio. I would like to add some animations such having a bottle of glass falling on the floor and break. I would also like to add details to the room such as electrical outlets, air vent, pipes, etc. The ambiance now is too clean, I would try to make it look more dusty. I would also add more types of bottles to add variety to the scene. Finally, I need to add something outside to see trough the windows, to fake an outside.

In the end, I am happy with the end results. I totally see things I can improve, but for the moment, I am satisfied enough to hand in my film as it is for this class (Car434).

Here you can see the evolution of the project, testing the lights and the textures.

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And the final video (just in case you missed my last post 😉 )

Ces Choses qui Parlent | A short film from Kim Sicotte on Vimeo.

Hope you enjoyed my project/short film!


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