Week 1: Hello Rainvive

Right after most of us came back from the west coast trip, we are diving into our project semester. This group is made by 6 students from Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center. We are making a short animation film within this 14-week semester. We received pre-packaged design documents from our faculty before the new semester started, it’s a story about Native American rain dance in a desert.

When forming a new group, the most important actions will probably be setting up the group name and establishing the roles according to everybody’s strengths. We decided to call ourselves “Rainvive” as rain will bring lives back.

Rosy will be our character designer and modeler. She is also interested in creating the storyboard so she started right away; Cara has a background in Architecture and would like to work on environment arts; the tech-related fields will be created by our programmers, Zoltan and JD. They decided to divide the works into simulation and rendering. JD will be working on all simulations such as raindrops, cloth, and hair. Zoltan will be working on camera-works, lighting, and renderings. To shorten the rendering time and accommodate our strengths, we decided to use unreal as our render engine; Weidi has experience working on VFX before and would like to create the artistic VFX, for example, magic effects; Keran is having problems with her passport so she will join us later as an animator. Cara and Weidi will work together to manage the design and development process.

After dividing the roles, we all dug into details about the story and Rosy starts to create some character sketches.

Having dozens of questions about the pre-designed story we finally had our first faculty meeting on Thursday. Ruth Comley and John Dessler, our faculty advisors, answered most of our concerns but raised up a lot of new challenges for us as well, including but not limited to:

  1. The dancer represents the spirit of nature
  2. Make a gold spike to secure the pipeline
  3. Have a common vision within the group as soon as possible

So, we started to make a gold spike with everybody’s input. It has a character that is animated interacts with the environment, a landform that is textured, a cape with cloth simulation, a particle system, camera movement, lighting and it’s rendered by Unreal.

That’s, the first week of our new semester!