During the summer of 2019, I was able to intern at Falcon's Treehouse Creative Group in Orlando, Florida in the Digital Media Division. Their work is in the Theme Park industry. I worked there as a 3D Generalist Intern expanding my knowledge of the entire pipeline. I had the opportunity to work alongside every artist on the team, learning their trade and adding to my skills. I participated in animation daillies and critiques with the leads and supervisors. Not only did I get to work on producing turntables for characters and working on a shot for their attraction reel, I got to help with various contracted works as well. Here is the Falcon's Treehouse website.
Maya | Nuke | Houdini | Redshift
About the Project:
I was given the creative freedom, under the mentorship of my CG supervisor and artistic leads, to produce a full shot for the company's Avengers: Battle of Ultron Attraction Reel. I love Marvel and I was so excited to work with some of my favorite charaters such as Thor, Iron Man, Ultron, Hulk, and Captain America!
My work is featured here on their project reel and their company's character reel.
I was responsible for the set layout, adjusting textures to fit within the same world, camera animation, lighting, rendering, and compositing. The shot was rendered with Redshift in both Maya and Houdini.
The models, character animation, character textures, and Houdini FX were done by the artists at Falcon's.
This project challenged me in more ways than one. Going in as a 3D Generalist was harder than expected because I was put in a place where I had to touch every part of the pipeline. We worked in Shotgun so moving my shot from one part of the pipeline to the other was organized but still a little difficult to get used to. I found myself troubleshooting and problem solving every issue that I came across such as exporting and importing animation, texture map issues, matching lighting in both Maya and Houdini, and compositing FX. Learning to use the correct vocabulary and explaining clearly what I needed from an artist earlier in the pipeline was crucial for communication to successfully finish my shot.
One of the things that my CG Supervisor taught me during my internship was using the 3D world of Nuke. I learned how to use cards to project FX like the dust and lightning in my shot, rotopaint to paint out/in something and make it follow in 3D space, matte paint, and use a warp to manipulate the movement of the sky rather than rendering it in Maya.
Another challenge I faced was learning to light and render in Redshift. Prior to my internship, I have only used Redshift once, but after working with it for 3 months, I grew to like it. I learned how to use the render layers and also how to render in Redshift Houdini as well.
This was probably the largest project I have ever had to composite in Nuke. My Nuke script was very extensive because of the many layers needed in this shot. I also had the opportunity to use Cryptomatte to composite individual parts of the scene, especially if they felt imbalanced.
Everything I learned in this shot really helped me understand the process of how a shot travels down the pipeline and what kind of organization it takes to make it happen smoothly. I was also glad to be exposed to different techniques and methods of doing things like lighting and compositing.
The breakdown can be seen here.
Maya | Nuke | Houdini | Redshift
About the Project:
A bit later in my internship, I got to choose which part of the pipeline I wanted to specialize in and focus on for the remainder of my time there. I grew to love Lighting and Compositing, so I worked there. The company was in the process of rendering out turntables of all their characters used since the beginning of the company's creation. They gave the the responsibility to light, render and composite multiple turntables.
The first shot is a mythical fairy named Slaugh from their project Battle for Eire. Aside from lighting and compositing, I was given the task to pose the character as well. They gave me reference from the actual project to copy its pose. This gave me experience to use the rig to set the mood of the character.
The second shot is of Marvel's Ultron from their project Avengers: Battle of Ultron 4D Dark Ride. I used inspiration from reference to create the lighting set up.
The third shot is of Marvel's Iron Man from their project Avengers: Battle of Ultron 4D Dark Ride. The lighting for this shot was heavily referenced from Marvel movies as well.
I was responsible for lighting, rendering, and compositing aspects.
The most challenging part of these turntables was getting the reflections on Iron Man. I was having a hard time making his suit look like its reflecting his thrusters. My mentor suggested that we use the AOV passes in a seperate lighting layer to eventually composite the reflections onto his suit.
My work can be seen featured in their company's character reel below.
Working at Falcon's Treehouse was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I learned what it was like to work in a professional studio environment and produce work at an elevated quality. All the artists at Falcon's were some of the most talented individuals I have ever met and I am blessed that they were willing to share their knowledge with me. My experience makes me very hopeful for the future.