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.