Lighting, rendering & post-production

So following the stages outlined in the past two blogs, the assets are created and animated according to the storyboard. This week I will be covering the final two stages of the Production phase: Lighting and Rendering.

  • Lighting: When the animated assets are rendered (covered later in this blog) and the shaders and textures are in place, the assets will not be visible unless a light source is set up. Lighting is the stage where the light sources are created and adjusted to add mood, colour and light specific effects (e.g. camera flash). The scene can look drastically different depending on what kind of light is used, the location of the light source, the direction of the light, the brightness of the light, how the light interacts with different types of materials and the number of light sources for building layers of light.
  • Rendering: This is an important stage in which everything in the scene is processed by the animation program and built into a final viewable format in high-resolution. Everything prior to this process are shown simplified and in low-resolution. This stage can actually be done during lighting and sometimes texturing stage to check if the desired result is achieved. Rendering can take anywhere from few seconds to several days depending on the quality of the render, complexity of the scene, and the processing power of the computer that is being rendered on.

This completes the Production phase of the animation production pipeline! Now on to the Post-Production phase…

Post-production phase

The final phase of 3D Production Pipeline, it involves finalising the animated scenes and adding the finishing touches to complete the film/advertisement/cut scene from a game etc. Note that in the image that summarises the 3D Production Pipeline (the one with the bunny) the visual effects (VFX), motion graphics and colour corrections go under video & sound editing stage.

  • Compositing: Here all the materials from various departments such as rendered computer animation, special effects, 2D animation, live action, static background plates are put together. This stage ensures that the lighting, colour levels and special effects are combined seamlessly and the theme/mood of the final product is continuous throughout. The videos below give a clear idea about how this stage affects the look of the final product! (no words can describe this).

  • Video & sound editing: This stage is where scenes are arranged and manipulated to ensure all the scenes flow from one to another seamlessly. Unwanted footage and scenes are removed in this stage. Sometimes visual effects can be added in this stage. If the final product requires background music (musical score) and sound effects they are added often at the same time as the video editing. Any dialogues are synced to the facial animations as well.



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