Previz Lighting for VFX/Animation as a way to make production efficient
Animation Premium session
Date : Tuesday, June 4th - 13.30 - 14.30 > Room 2
The sooner lighting is in production the better. What tends to happen is the creatives make cheats in Rough Layout and Previz, Final Layout and then Animation and by the time Lighting steps in the lighting rigs need to be cheated per shot, since the cheats weren't done with lighting in consideration, which is a lot more expensive to correct by the final stages. When Lighting is included in the Previz, the direction of the sun, the casted shadows of set objects, and perhaps the positions of characters are suddenly relevant to how they look. Are they standing in a shadow when cheated? In a character to character conversation is one character front lit, and the other back-lit, causing a good deal of visual jolt when cutting between them?. So they work within the lighting to make the position of the characters and set objects to be consistent, and it drives away the kinds of cheats that always take place in a vacuum without the lighting being accurate.
If Lighting goes in with Previz and the creatives see beautifully lit images early on, they are also generally more excited about the layout, and the animation as it looks much better, not only that but they get to work out the lighting they expect to see sooner than later, and by the time Animation is finishing up, the look of the film is mostly already nailed down, just needs to be polished instead of started at that point and then rushed into fixing the cheated positioning of the set and characters. By showing examples of my work and the final product of the films it's clearly evident that the looks is very close to finished early on, and that not much was changed or cheated from Previz to Final Render.
With the new tools like Maya's Viewport 2 and Octane, there's really no reason not to expect final quality looking and well lit images in Previz, and a studio that uses the same renderer from Previz to finish, and universal scene structures like USD, lighting can be polished and effective from the very beginning.