CG animation workflow/pipeline

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by andrei.barbuta, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. andrei.barbuta macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Location:
    Romania
    #1
    In the hardware mac pro forum i started a thread relating to hardware for a start-up cg studio and then we started discussing about production pipelines.

    Anyway, I was interesting how you guys have set up your production pipelines for cg animation. Also feel free for giving any advice or correcting anything below. I am a newbie with a passion! :) Constructive criticism is very much expected and wanted.

    Me for example plan to have a little something like this:
    Mac Pro Nehalem 2 x 2.66, 12GB RAM, 4 x 1TB RAID 10 HDD's and Geforce 285.
    I will be using software like Maya (Modeling), Motion Builder (Animation), Shake (Compositing) and Final Cut Studio (Post Production and delivery/authoring). Also exploring Modo (Modeling) and Nuke (Compositing).

    The workflow will be:
    1. Maya and Motion Builder > Rendering a sequence of frames (multiple passes per frame) in TIFF 32bit. The quality will be at the least 1080p.
    2. Compositing the sequence in Shake > Exporting as a HQ QuickTime file encoded in ProRes
    3. Editing in Final Cut Studio and saving in ProRes encoded files for multiple authoring methods when needed.

    Start your posts!
     
  2. faustfire macrumors 6502a

    faustfire

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    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    California
  3. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    #3
    Okay: keep it short.
     
  4. andrei.barbuta thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Location:
    Romania
    #4
    Thought about Nuke. I was going to test it out.
     
  5. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #5
    Shake is a no go as it been discontinued.

    Consider chucking smoke and flame into the equation?
     
  6. faustfire macrumors 6502a

    faustfire

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    California
    #6
    If you have a $100,000 laying around. ;)
     
  7. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #7
    Yes, Shake is done until it's replaced, if and when that ever happens. You can't even buy it anymore.
     
  8. knello macrumors member

    knello

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2004
    #8
    C'mon guys, if you've bought it, know how to use it, and you do great work with it, do you really have to stop using it immediately? I mean, I have some kitchen appliances from companies that aren't around anymore, but that didn't stop me from making a good meal tonight.

    (back on topic)

    My workflow is pretty similar, except my 3-D program has a built-in compositor, so I don't need Shake. My employer bought Shake for me, but I only play with it for fun. And I export to OpenEXR, not TIFF.
     
  9. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #9
    I'm not at all indicating that Shake is an outdated application and that nobody should use it anymore. I know a lot of FX guys that still use it. But the OP should also be aware that it can no longer be purchased from Apple and they no longer provide technical support for it, either.
     
  10. tonyGriggs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    #10
    A couple of notes...

    Modeling: Depending on what sort of modeling you will be doing (hard edge/industrial design vs. organic/character), you may want to look at another package such as Mudbox to support Maya. Maya's modeling tools have gotten better over the years, but modeling is still not a strength of the program. Modo is a good choice, but if you want good organic sculpting tools you still want to look at Mudbox along with Maya or Modo (or even both). I don't reccomend ZBrush to a new user given the interface barrier; Mudbox has a much faster learning curve.

    Animation: Do you have a specific need for Motion Builder, such as working with moCap data? There are a lot of great features in it, but you're likely to find most of what you need already in Maya's base animation toolset. And take a look at some of the third-party plugins available such as The Setup Machine for rigging.

    Rendering: You don't mention rendering in your list. Are you planning to render using Maya's renderer? I would strongly--did I mention strongly?--advise against it. The native Maya renderer is crap. Maya comes with Mental Ray licenses, so that's an option even though Mental Ray isn't the fastest renderer out there. There are also other 3rd-party options such as Renderman for Maya and V-Ray (I think this is out of beta).

    Compositing: Shake is still a viable tool as long as you realize that what you get with 4.1 is all you'll ever get. That said, it's still a phenomenal compositor and a steal if you can still get it for $500 or less. Nuke is an option as well, but you're looking at $3500 for it plus a mandatory $1000 for the first year of support. Almost feels like traveling back to the good ol' SGI days. Gotta love niche markets.

    You've also got the option now of getting Toxik, which is apparently shipping free with Maya 2010. Keep in mind, though, that this bundling almost certainly signals the end of Toxik as an in-development package.

    System: The system you've described sounds impressive, but you might want to start with something a little more reserved until you have a clear picture of what you need. Get something that can be easily upgraded but don't go nuts out of the gate...especially if you don't have any clients yet.

    Hope this helps.
     

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