I had originally planned on having a fully rendered, stereoscopic turntable ready for this week’s check-in, but I grossly underestimated how long it would take to render one. I left it running overnight, but I’m still on frame 81 out of 300 — technically double that, considering I’m rendering from two cameras at once.
I was able to get Mental Ray working, but VRay for Maya still isn’t cooperating with the DomeMaster plug-in. According to the plug-in’s Github repository, It should work if I run it through VRay’s Standalone / command line renderer. I’ll aim to have a test of that done for next week, in addition to getting my mental ray renders polished and working.
This week’s renders will be viewable on the GearVR by formatting them in a top-down configuration and putting the finished .MP4 files in the root/Oculus/360Videos folder of my Galaxy Note 4. The built-in Oculus 360Video viewer plays videos as Monoscopic by default, so I need to rename the video files as “namingConventions_TB.mp4” to tell the viewer to split the files horizontally and playback as stereo. The aspect ratio of each eye will be compressed to 4:1 (so, 1920 x 216). When I test VRay next week I’ll try to render in at least 2K, to test the limits of my phone’s playback.
The creator of the DomeMaster plugin also has a ton of really interesting dome/vr production tools on his downloads page. Some are free and some are paid, but they might be worthwhile purchases for the department if Drexel goes forward with creating a VR animation class, like Nick has mentioned.
A few noteworthy examples:
Playblast VR for Maya: Playblast in a dome / stereo VR format. Different from the Domemaster in that it renders nurbs, scene elements, etc — just like a playblast. Immersive animation breakdowns sound neat!
Dome2rect: Advertised as a turnkey way to make rectangular trailers from VR/Dome dome imagery.
Domemaster Photoshop Actions: Solves the problem of quickly converting between Dome and VR formats.
Fusion VR Macros: VR Compositing presets for Blackmagic Fusion. Might be worth looking at for workflow logic when moving to Nuke.
Powerpoint Dome: Even slideshows are getting on on VR!
So, to conclude…
Goals for Next Week:
- Mental Ray VR Turntable
- VRay VR Turntable
- Stitch & stereo convert background plates
- Research for the following week: compositing stereo-spherical video in Nuke