Weekends are traps. You're powering along one second kicking keys and taking frames, then its friday evening and you go to bed. Now its Saturday morning, late morning, now its the afternoon, your heads so fuzzy you can't get out of bed. Its more like a weakend its so hard to do anything, I swear if you just looped back to Monday on Friday evening this would not be a problem. But I feel better now, and know Monday will be easier for it.

It was a big week with the presentation of the Edit In Progress that Charlie did a majestic job with. SO MUCH ANIMATION got done for it there's only a couple of blocks of scenes left to start, the rest is in hand or finished. We blew ourselves away, which was great for morale.

What I've been up to is scrambling to keep up with the rendering to be done as a consequence of this, its been great to have new environments to light as I am thoroughly sick of the greenhouse, its heavy, and slow, and gorgeous. But there are still some key shots left to do there as the dynamics are now ready for them.

These are two frames from shots Hugh has been working on.

I had a lot of fun lighting the airlock, its a small space with clearly defined sources of light in the two windows and HAL light. Its quick to render and gives a lot of control and definition to the lighting artist. I started by creating the base lights to work from and got some pleasing looks but were too hot looking, almost furnace like.

I experimented a lot with area lights for the windows as they fit the shape well and had a more realistic falloff in terms of shape. But they also had a tricky intensity different to the spotlights I used in the shed which made it had to get everything lit, hence the blow out furnace look. It wasn't until the second airlock shot I lit that I tried the CPU meltingly expensive area light with raytraced shadows. The area light with raytraced shadows is the most realistic lighting tool bar image based methods, and it is slow and stunning. I applied one to the outside of the door and it evenly lit Leonard's face, beard, and mask so realistically it made the old light look retarded. Its something mental ray is moving more and more towards as they refine and speed up their raytracing stuff.

While I love this shot, perhaps my favourite so far, the way the depth map area light illuminates the face, beard, and fur is very uneven and oddly exposed compared to the one below where, his beard in the correct shade of grey, looks soft and realistically lit, his skin shader is scattering correctly, and his mask has a nice rim lighting to it. Its hard to see the direct improvement when I don't have the render of how bad this second shot looked before, the mask was just a white blob.

So now I'm on the last frontier of lighting. The exterior. I already have the city lights to work from but they are by far the weakest in my eyes and aren't much of a starting point. It also doesn't help that the top of Leonard's skyscraper is very barren looking, even the texture is low-res, so we've drafted in Sebastian again to pretty it up after the great stuff he did in the city.

Pixel Propaganda

Our own Tom wrote a good post about what he wants out of our final major projects. He even commends Jake on answering the call of the keyframes and stepping up to a task that he wasn't necessarily prepared for, like many of the Kernel team have had to.

And interesting announcement came from a studio formed by one of the writers at Rock Paper Shotgun about an open world game they are making about AI, autonomy, terrain generation, and not making the player the centre of the gameplay systems. Also it has an English aristocracy themed character aesthetic. Awesome.

Someone wrote a profile on Jonathan Blow, who I love, and there's a bit in the article where he's hanging out playing Littlebigplanet, which I love, with Tom Bissell, an author who I love. Never wanted to be somewhere so much in my life. Though on the whole the article takes a very negative stance on games in general which is a shame.

There's been some controversy due to the amount of bigotry towards EA due to the same sex relationships in their games. As a proud lesbian in Mass Effect 3 I think everyone should read Charlie Brooker's excellent response to these people, even Stephen Fry got involved. Says something about the cultural awareness games now have.

There's a lot of stuff I have to share thats piled up between posts, and this is an amazing interview from the creator of Journey.

Then there's some stuff on Peter Molyneux leaving Lionhead to make 'great' things. I love that attitude at this point in his career.