Production FAQ page.

Below you will find a selection of frequently asked questions and corresponding answers relating to various aspects of a CGI, animation and website design productions.

In many cases this should be possible, but it might also require changes to textures (colours, materials) and illumination to achieve the new objective.

For this purpose you will require high quality/poly models.

This will vary depending on the following factors:
  • The level of required detail / if the model is high or low poly.
  • The quality and quantity of supplied reference materials.
  • The number of individual components being modelled.

You can supply CAD files, drawings, simple sketches or links to relevant imagery on the web. Please just ensure that you obtain the appropriate permissions to use any materials saved from the web prior to supplying them to us.

There are many different types of material that can be used, but they can be broken down into two distinct categories:
  • Photorealistic/Physically Accurate: This type of material will be created based on measured,  real-world material properties that require high quality illumination and rendering. This will typically require and be applied to high quality/poly models.
  • Non-Photorealistic (NPR): NPR materials include an almost unlimited variety of different artistic styles that range from simple cartoon to complex technical outlines and sketch. Typically, this type of material will be more suited to low detail/poly models that will be used as simple, but effective graphical representations of your product.
This will depend on the following factors:
  • How complex the properties of the required material are and if it needs to be photorealistic or non-photorealistic.
  • If the material requires additional surface detail such as scratches, decals, imagery, dirt, rust. This type of detail will typically be digitally painted by hand and will require additional time to produce, illuminate and render.
  • If a suitable material already exists or has to be created from scratch. Photorealistic materials typically need to use measured data (specular, reflection, diffuse, refraction values) to ensure that they respond accordingly to illumination. If an existing virtual material isn’t available then it might be necessary to do a little research and testing before one can be created.
This refers to the “quality” of the model and the number of polygons used to create it.
  • High Poly = High quality models that are suitable for closeup shots and realistic renders.
  • Low Poly = Generally, low quality models that might not not be suitable for closeups and realistic imagery. In some cases, it may be possible to significantly improve the perceived appearance of low poly models by using high quality texturing solutions.
 
There are many different types of lights that can be used to illuminate a 3D scene. Here are some of the most common.
  • Image-Based Lighting (IBL) & High Dynamic Range Imagery (HDRI).
  • Illuminating Engineering Society Files.
  • Studio Illumination: Virtual representations of real-world studio lights including: Area lights, spotlights and a wide range of reflectors.
  • Sunlight: a virtual representation of sunlight with settings that include: date, time of day, intensity, shadow type, longitude and latitude. 
 
IES stands for Illuminating Engineering Society. IES standard file format was created for the electronic transfer of photometric data over the web. It has been widely used by many lighting manufacturers and is one of the industry standards in photometric data distribution. An IES file is basically the measurement of distribution of light (intensity) stored in ASCII format. You can think of it as a digital profile of a real world light. It can be used for creating lights with shapes and physically accurate form inside 3D software packages. IES light files are created by many major lighting manufacturers and can be downloaded freely from their sites. One of such lighting manufacturer is Lithonia Lighting (www.lithonia.com) which has an extensive library of IES files in different categories. You can use an IES Viewer to view these files in a diagrammatic representation for easy understanding. Source: www.cgarena.com
Image-based lighting involves mapping an image to a dome that surrounds all the items in a 3D scene. Typically, a HDR image will be used for this purposes as this includes a wide range of different exposure values captured from a real-world location. A vast range of HDR imagery is available for this purpose and many also include standard photographs (LDR) of the exact location where the corresponding HDR image was captured. By using the standard photograph as a backdrop and the accompanying HDR image as a source of illumination in the 3D environment you can realistically composite 3D content into real-world locations.
HDRI imagery consists of a range of different, wide exposure values all captured in a single location using a photographic technique known as “bracketing”. The resulting image has a much larger dynamic-range of luminosity than would be possible using standard low-dynamic range imagery or LDR. Nvidia summarises the advantages of HDRI’s in three points: bright things can be really bright, dark things can be really dark, and details can be seen in both. One of the primary advantages of HDR rendering is that details in a scene with a large contrast ratio are preserved. Without HDR, areas that are too dark are clipped to black and areas that are too bright are clipped to white. – Wikipedia
This is the golden question as rendering is one of the most in-depth and complex phases of any CGI production pipeline. As with the other phases of the project, rendering time can be influenced by a great many different factors that vary from project to project as listed below.
  • How many computer processors (CPUs) or graphics cards (GPUs) are available to render the scene. More cores = faster renders. Luckily, we have our own in-house renderfarm for this purpose.
  • Quantity of models being rendered (A single product will require far less rendering time than an entire scene consisting of trees, buildings, cars etc.)
  • Complexity of the materials that have been applied to models.
  • If the project involves rendering imagery, animation or both. Animations typically consist of thousands of separate images (many animations last for 30 seconds or more and each second of content includes 24-30 separate images) that are combined to form the final animation in a similar manner to that of a “flipbook”. Because it’s necessary to render each and every frame of an animation it’s important to find a good balance between render quality and the time taken to complete it. Rendering software will provide an estimated time for completion once a render has begun, but this can and does change depending on the content being rendered.
  • Resolution & number of frames per second.
You can put the sun cream away as this process has nothing to do with catching rays! UV mapping refers to the process of taking a 3D mesh (produced during the modelling phase of the production) and unwrapping it to form a flat, 2D equivalent that allows for the precise placement of textures and decals. This process will typically only be required on models that require decals and digitally painted effects such as rust, dirt, grime and scratches. In many cases, UV mapping won’t be required for product visualisations where everything typically needs to look shiny and new.
  • Make Contact
  • Discuss / Provide Brief
  • Return Signed Contract
  • Pre-Production – Creation of storyboards (if required) and initial concepts
  • Production – Modelling, texturing, illumination, rendering, video production, video enhancements, VFX
  • Feedback – Various stages as required or as agreed
  • Post-Production – Final tweaks and enhancements
  • Additional Feedback & Final Sign Off
  • Launch
Keep briefs short and to the point. They don’t have to be many pages long or professionally written by J.J.Abrams as we’ll do our best to fill in any blanks and ask all the right questions. Just keep things well organised and ensure that notes are legible and easily understood by the layman. Providing dozens of individual documents, brochures and web links might sound like a great idea but it’s rarely an efficient method. Less time spent deciphering and organising assets = more time spent on the good stuff! Think quality over quantity here.
  • Use bullet points
  • Provide a brief glossary of industry-specific jargon at the beginning of a project to ensure that nothing is lost in translation. 
  • Make sure supplied assets are well organised. 
  • Supply and annotate reference materials (and provide feedback) via Dropbox instead of using email wherever possible. This “is” far more efficient and “will” save you valuable time too.
  • Try to condense and organise everything into single documents such as PDF’s or Word files that can be easily referenced and understood.
The following information explains how to clear your browser cache on the most recent versions of the most common browsers. Please visit the support page for each browser to find out more and view information relating to specific versions of each browser. Google Chrome (v61)
  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. On your browser toolbar, click More More and then More Tools and then Clear Browsing Data.
  3. In the “Clear browsing data” box, click the checkboxes for Cookies and other site data and Cached images and files.
  4. Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Choose beginning of time to delete everything. Note: This option does not appear on all devices.
  5. Click Clear browsing data.
Additional Info: Visit Google Support Page Quick Chrome TIP You can also clear the cache for a specific page which can be especially useful when attempting to view recent updates to a web page.
  1. Right click anywhere on the webpage you are viewing.
  2. Select inspect – A panel will now open, typically in the bottom of your browser window. This might looks scary, but you can ignore it. You just need to have this open to complete the following steps.
  3. Now move your cursor over the page refresh icon in the top of your browser and right click on it.
  4. You should see a number of new options that won’t have been available prior to completing the steps above. These should include normal reload, hard reload and empty cache and reload page.
  Mozilla Firefox (v57)
  1. Click the menu button (burger icon) and choose Options.
  2. Select the Advanced panel.
  3. Click on the Network tab.
  4. In the Cached Web Content section, click Clear Now.
Additional Info: Visit Firefox Support Page   Internet Explorer (v11)
  1. In Internet Explorer, select the Tools button, point to Safety, and then select Delete browsing history.
  2. Choose the types of data or files you want to remove from your PC, and then select Delete.
Additional Info: Visit Microsoft Support Page   Microsoft Edge (Build:15063)
  1. To view your browsing history, select Hub > History .
  2. Select Clear all history.
  3. Choose the types of data you want to remove from your PC, then select Clear.
  4. If you use Cortana and want to clear browsing history that’s stored in the cloud, select Change what Microsoft Edge knows about me in the cloud, then select Clear browsing history.
Additional Info: Visit Microsoft Edge Support Page TIP: Cookies You can block cookies from being stored on your computer. However, it’s important to note that doing so might prevent some pages from displaying correctly, or you might get a message from a site letting you know that you need to allow cookies to view that site.