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Discover the secrets of real-time rendering in Maya

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 | Posted by Jim Thacker

The teaser for Starfish Ninja. Creator Joe Daniels cut render times to 2-4 frames per second on a standard workstation through a real-time workflow that makes use of Maya’s new Viewport 2.0 display.

Animator Joe Daniels has posted an interesting blog entry on the real-time rendering workflow he used on Starfish Ninja, his work-in-progress animated short.

The Starfish Ninja team used the Viewport 2.0 display introduced in Maya 2012 to generate a series of render passes that could be composited in Nuke or After Effects to create the final frame, in near-real time.

A few hacks were required. According to Daniels: “To get passes such as depth and automated rim lighting, we made use of a few CgFX shaders developed for game purposes.”

Antialiasing and motion blur are limited, and you’re restricted to 1,920 x 1,080 HD resolution, but the resulting render speed is pretty impressive: Daniels says that he could render the Starfish Ninja trailer at 2-4 frames per second on a ‘modest’ workstation, as opposed to 2-4 minutes per frame in mental ray.

Interesting stuff, particularly for anyone producing animations for the web or TV.

Read full details of Joe Daniels’ workflow on the Starfish Ninja blog.

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