In this video, like I said, it’s more just a quick demonstration of something pretty simple at first glance. But, it’s more to gauge your interest and see if you are interested in this sort of thing. And, if you are, I will make a lot of how to videos demonstrating how to write your own tools and custom scripts to apply to your FX heavy film productions.
The idea here is simple. I’m in Boston, working on a movie, all of my render farm and file servers are back in LA. I wanted to use my render nodes, to simulate my FumeFX simulations, as well as render them out. However, I DON’T want to have to
* Manually email a file to myself, remote desktop into my LA workstation
* Download the file
* Make a shot directory, save file there, make a Render directory, FumeFX directories, path everything there.
* Submit each simulation manually to back burner, and my render image sequence too
* Go into Nuke and build a quicktime video of my FX renders, and send it back to myself for review
* Make a folder back on the PC I am sitting at remotely, and transfer the files over manually once I have viewed the quicktime and like the frames
If I have to do this every time I want to render something out, it’s going to eat up all of my time and bring production to a halt. However, I do need to do this, because I do not have access to any render nodes in this city. So, didn’t take that long to do but I built a couple of small tools that would automate the process. Now, keep in mind that I could have automated this process further and tried to be all fancy about it but just like Kung Fu in movies, and “procedural automated FX driven pipelines” and trade shows and such, fancy is cool to show off, but you really want to do the most affective approach that will give you the most control and the best results, the fastest way possible.
So, things like transferring the files back to me, I had it write me a .bat file, or batch file. So that when I am ready, I can double click it and it manually starts copying each file over for me through that batch script. The reason, so that it’s ready to go if I decide to transfer the files, but I won’t transfer them until I watch the quicktime video and make sure I like what I see. A QT is 5mb, an image sequence is 1.2gb.
This is just a fun demonstration, but I thought it would be cool and best off the whole thing is short. However, all of the things it’s doing under the hood, are actually very useful tools So, off the top of my head I can think of a dozen cool scripts I can show you how to write yourself.
* How to automatically make a directory and repath your scene file’s render output to that directory and naming for you automatically. So each time you change the version of your file to v05, v06, it’ll repath your render images output directory to a new directory named ‘My FX Pass_v06′.
* Same for all your FumeFX containers, as well as each folder is named individually for your container and then furthermore for each version. This is useful because most of us will have a specific FumeFX simulation folder on the network where we save our stuff out, usually outside of everything else so its easy to blast FXD data when necessary. But it’s also good to have it all organized, so it’s easy to delete that data when IT starts nagging that the server is running out of space.
* Backburner job submissions, both simulation jobs as well as render jobs, plus additional render passes built at render time, such as RGB lighting passes and other things. You can have so much control when you control how your jobs are submitted! I have had productions this year that had 20+ FumeFX containers in them, and submitting them to sim has been painful Worse, what if I have back burner mode accidentally on on a container I didn’t want it on and I overwrite the old data. you can write tools that protect you from yourself!
I could go on and on, but the point is, there’s lots of cool shit to do and the more technical you get the more you want to do this. And the thing is, there’s not really any tutorials out there on this sort of stuff. I’m far from a programmer, in the sense that I don’t live and breathe math. I’m no Bobo, and hell I didn’t even finish Jr. High. BUT I’ve yet to run into a problem I task I haven’t been able to do, and it’s just a matter of looking at it all from the right angle, and I’d have KILLED to have had a helping hand in my early days of learning all of this stuff, but I had to do it all on my own. You don’t need to do that. I’m here to help, and I’d love to help you!
Watch the video and then tell me if you want to see this kind of stuff. If you do. I already have a few things ready to go and I will put out more video content on this subject over the xmas holiday period. If you are like “Nah, Allan, I just want to blow things up, more FumeFX and Krakatoa tutorials please” Then that’s cool too. I’ll stick to what you know me for!