A day at the Studio
Hey Guys and Gals
I thought I'd do an insight of a day or my day as a Senior Modeler at the Studio just so you get an idea of the sort of thing that goes on on a daily basis in a typical studio environment.
So to begin with its the usual early morning at the coffee machine to get the 'engine' started as sometimes we do have to work late depending on the schedule.
Once the modelling and texturing team arrives or some days finding myself arriving after them, I usually greet them as a whole and then go around and speak to them individually about the work they are doing and discuss problems they may have with their models and help improve them. I also make sure that the guys doing the texturing are kept uptodate and also discuss how they may want model uvs to spread out across the board before they get their hands on it. Texture artists I have found also like to have a fiddle with UVs even after a modeller has done a good job on them. I have also found on previous jobs that you get the odd one or two modellers that are very reliant on auto uv scripts or plugins and are very lazy or reluctant to even attempt doing them properly, it is actually bad practice in my opinion for a modeller not to know good UV mapping. So if you ever work with me as your senior, beware! LOL I will make you redo them!
I then discuss any ideas and probs that may arise with the CG supervisor and also apply a little pressure at production to get as much reference and info for modelling and texturing to enable us to do our jobs properly without to much hassle.
Throughout the duration of the day, we are usually in the 'zone' modelling and texturing with our headphones on and itunes constantly pumping!! With of course refuelling with caffeine in the interim. Fuel stops usually follow with another discussion with the team on how they are doing. I also run a checklist of what people are doing thats updated throughout the day, so once a model is done then it gets crossed of the list and a new one is assigned. I'll then make sure that production is made aware of any changes before they badger me as to whats going on. This I have found keeps everyone very happy. I always try to be a step ahead. The new models then get a thorough going over by myself, before they are actually handed to texturing. Im looking for strange edge flow, unmerged geo, and all that type of stuff. We have implemented better versions of Maya cleanup tools into a GUI for the modellers to use, but they sometimes dont use them in their eagerness to get stuff out and onto the next thing, so I have to check this stuff over, and of course if Im not happy I will give it back to the modeller with specific instructions to sort the model out. If Im still not happy then I'll deal with the model myself.
Once a version of any model is complete it is then rendered as a 360 degree turntable (usually in Occlusion) and this is then sent off for review to the director and VFX Supers and producers to see if its looking like it needs to. Changes are usually quite minimal, though can be time consuming depending on the actual change required, as things can have a knock on effect on other model parts.
I am also in constant check with the TDs who are running the pipeline and any problems or ideas to help things along are discussed and things are put into motion pretty much straight away. Myself or the texture lead are given stuff to test as well just before scripts are rolled out to the whole team to iron out any bugs before hand, again we also discuss and throw ideas back to help make the scripts better.
The day also consists of looking at concept art for the film so it helps keep a mindset as to what we need to aim at style wise. I find it very useful too to pull the guys away from the screen and get fresh eyes too, as we all know how working on the pc can get.
Pretty much everyday is like this as a routine but the great thing about it is that although we are modelling, each different model does present its own problems, from the early concept right thru to the final object. I use the term 'final' very loosely as its only finished once its on the screen.
anyway I hope this gives a fairly good insight to what I face on a daily basis....