Rolling Cloth (maya, mentalRay, Photoshop, mudbox, After Effects)

The goal of this piece was to create a dreamy atmospheric opening for my senior film. If you havent seen it in motion, please head over to my demo reel page and check it out. Before the cloth was a beautiful whispy wave it was a boring T shirt (fig. 01)

(fig. 01)

Since this scene was possibly going to be seen from wider shots I built a little clothes line for the clothes pins to attach to. (fig. 02, 03)

(fig. 02)

(fig. 03)

I wanted the cloth to feel more like a rolling ocean than a flapping T-shirt. To acheive this I spent a lot of time developing an expression to vary the wind speed (fig. 04). It utilizes sine and cosine waves with overal scaling values to get things just right.

(fig. 04)

The textures on this piece relied on a lot of layering. Shown here are only a few of the most important layers (fig. 05). The color map was overlayed with a smaller tileable map to get those super fine details. The same technique was done with the bump map. Landmark features (like the seams and hems) had their own painted map, while the rest of the shirt was tiled with a separate high frequency map. The opacity consisted of lots of tileable opacity maps to get the light to beam through the gaps between the threads, while also having painted maps to control the seams and hems. All these maps were combined into a single shading network (fig. 06)

(fig. 05)

(fig. 06)

I used a Mental Ray physical sun to simulate the sun light beaming through the shirt (fig. 07)

(fig. 07)

And dont forget those fuzzies! I used several layers of maya fur to simulate those fine threads, as long as the larger clumps (fig. 08)

(fig. 08)

One thing I really wanted to acheive was a lens flare. I know, I know, I know. But lens flares, when done right (not just throwing a Photoshop filter over cheap graphics), actually add a lot of believability because they help simulate a real photographic lens. For the lens flare in this piece I used Knoll Light Factory which allows the artist to make their own custom lens flares, but more importantly allows for an "obscurtion layer." This feature allows the lens flare to go in and out of visibiltiy based on a provided alpha channel. I made a special pass in maya that gave me whiter colors where the sun was hitting the cloth (fig. 08). I then plugged this into my lens flare to get it to flicker in and out between the threads.

(fig. 09)

Back to CG Art