photoreal animation tips

okay, so here i am working on our team’s ani, and i think it would be a good idea to talk about photorealism.
these sofar are the guidelines for my team’s animation this year. we intend to win technical exicution, even though we are up against the likes of disney and others.
if you know somthing else, add it to the list.

  1. Depth of Feild, the effect in a camera where not everything is in focus.
  2. Radiosity, only in RARE cases. LW has a way to fake radiosity, and we will be using that
  3. Anti Aliasing. vital
    4.motion blur. again, almost vital.
  4. softer lights. i have seen all over in animations very hard lights, and at worse, hard lights parented to the bot so you have these moving discs of light. ugh. i was guilty of this sin as well. never again.
  5. caustics. only in very detaild areas.
  6. slow, even, camera movement. no snapping around. use of the zoom occasionally as opposed to moving the camera. also, for a more cinimatic feel, use the camera at a lower focal length, and closer to the subject.
  7. Microbevel EVERYTHING. texture the sides of a sawed aluminum panel diffrently from the front. stuff like that.
  8. use lens flares spareingly.
  9. dont use tracking lights unless you reaaaaly want that effect. lets say you are doing a nice standard match scene, just have about 6 soft spotlights hanging above the feild, with falloff and soft cone angles, lower thier intensity, and you have a light rig for the match, dont just parent lights to yer robo.
  10. framerate. we are gonna render at 24 fps(cinema) and rebuild it to 30. this will make it look much more like a movie, therefore more realistic.
  11. export: we are lucky to have an ACCOM unit for video export. i hear they are accepting cds this year. if you dont have an ACCOM or similar, i suggest that you just MPG2 compress it and zing it off on the disc.
  12. if you are doing video, CHECK YER COLORS SO YOU WONT GET SURPRISED IN THE END. you dont want yer out of gamut colors to get clamped, thus leaveing a nice big patch of UGLY on your tape.
  13. sound: if you can , dont just use windows wave recorder and the mic that came with your comp to do voiceovers. get a good sound board, and a good mic. record in a studio or a SILENT ROOM.
  14. dirty everything up. use texture layers.
  15. the most important one so far:

why? so you can edit it, also, if you render f00bars, you can just pick up where you left off.

well, thats all i have for now. if you have any other tips for a good photoreal animation, post them here. i wanna see if there is anything i missed.

you can see our old animation at

its not as good as it should have been, but we didnt have much time as our team leader made use do alot of useless work.

I think that there might be a problem with what you said in #12… The rules state that they want a 640*480 uncompressed avi file, so I don’t think they’ll accept any compressed formats, like mpeg, or mpeg2.

Even though the files will be huge, 30 seconds will be approximately 630 MB (=640 * 480(pixels) * 3 (bytes per pixel) * 24 (fps) * 30 (seconds) bytes), they want them in an uncompressed format.
The rules also say that submission should only be on cd this year, so I don’t think they’ll accept tapes.

But other than that, most of your other advice is very useful, especially to new teams.

Also I’m just wondering, have you guys started the animation yet? If so, how much are you done? Just wondering…
thats tonights work

just wait till next week, when we get the model texured right