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  4. The season's best shots for Fox's Nascar coverage in 2012. Weekly summaries designed and delivered at a break-neck pace. All shots rigged and animated in Maya, with lighting and final rendering at light speed in MachStudio Pro using only a 3 blade render farm and only 2 CG artists.

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NASCAR on FOX 2012

Zeth

Synopsis:
All shots designed and rendered in 4-5 days with a crew of two CGI artists using MachStudio Pro, Maya 2011, After Affects CS5, using only 3 dedicated render nodes.

Detail:
I was hired by Engine Room, a Hollywood visual effects company,…


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Synopsis:
All shots designed and rendered in 4-5 days with a crew of two CGI artists using MachStudio Pro, Maya 2011, After Affects CS5, using only 3 dedicated render nodes.

Detail:
I was hired by Engine Room, a Hollywood visual effects company, to work with them on their second seasonal contract with FOX sports network to provide content for NASCAR programming. For race-day every week, we at Engine Room created several full CGI shots of race action from previous races, highlighting drivers or sensational events as specified by the FOX producers. Sometimes the scripts called for closeup action of the drivers, and for this we integrated practical footage shot with a Red Epic digital camera on a motion control table before the season began.

With a race every Sunday, script notes come from the FOX producers on Monday or Tuesday every week, allowing only 4 or 5 days to approve and render all the shots. For this, Engine Room wanted to maximize render and pre-vis development time, so chose to work with MachStudio Pro for it's revolutionary GPU lighting, shading, and rendering capabilities.

My primary task as the TD was to provide the integration of MachStudio Pro with the 3d Maya assets and to design the custom render pipeline. Secondly, I worked as an artist as well by providing camera and car animations, 3d effects, lighting, shading and effects compositing.

In Maya, I designed and built the rig for the race cars, with improvements each week for new features and optimization. All assets were prepared for quick integration into MachStudio Pro.

With the fast turnaround times, the style of the look development, and our small crew, you may notice small render artifacts in the final product. One of the pleasures of working with broadcast media, especially the graphic inserts for sports television, is the tortuous frame-by-frame, pixel-by-pixel demand for perfection we find in CGI for feature film development is simply not necessary. This enabled us to make great content, quickly, and inexpensively.

Once we developed the rig, and integration process, it was possible for only one full time artist, and one part time TD, to provide the varied and creative content every week.

All 3d rendering performed by 3 dedicated render nodes and 2 authoring workstations.

A successful project! Thanks to Engine Room and FOX for the great working experience.

Credit to the Engine Room team:
Dave Piedra - Lead artist
Ian Shulman - Editorial
Michael Caplan - Executive Producer
Dan Schmidt - Creative Director

Mary Dowd - driver rotoscope
Eric Heavens - motion graphics and compositing

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