Level One Magic
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

World of Cars Rendering Pipeline

World of Cars was designed to have 3D avatar cars driving around in a flash world made of pre-rendered sprites. We needed a pipeline that would allow us to render every sprite individually, but also ensure that they were the same scale as every other sprite. I wrote this batch render tool that allowed for batch rendering multiple files, either from an artist's local machine or by sending it to a render queue on a network machine.

The Maya part of the tool was written in MEL and allowed for rendering any number of turntable images, which allowed artists to create their assets so that they looked good from any angle and then render out whichever angle(s) they wanted.

The tool renders several passes that are then composited together; a beauty pass, a shadow pass, a transparency pass, and an origin pass. The four images are then sent to an external compositing script written in Python that will convert the uncompressed TIF files into three compressed files: a color JPG, an alpha PNG and an optional shadow PNG. It will also analyze the image from the origin pass to export an XML file that contains final image sizes and the X, Y location of the origin in the image so that the game engine knows how to correctly place the image.

The tool is heavily integrated into Alienbrain so that any new renders or changes are all version controlled, but checks are in place so that it will not crash if Alienbrain is not installed.

Cars Render Pipeline (video) - I paused the recording while waiting for the turntable images to render in order to save you from having to sit and wait through all 16 renders.

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© 2003-2013 Andrew Kelts