More lighting/rendering learning
Working on so much lighting and rendering for Rocket Dog has massively boosted my knowledge of working with lights and keeping things optimised when it comes to render time. This past week I began learning about AOVs and how they are used during both the rendering and the compositing stage. As I'm trying to keep things simpler for Rocket Dog, I don't think I'll need to use them too much for the Going Live module. But I think they will be very useful when it comes to Advanced Production where work will spend a bit longer in the compositing stage.
I can also now constrain lights to objects so that something moving will carry the light with it. I can see this being useful for lots of work with lighting in general. I have explored lights working with materials that are transmissive and have some subsurface scattering (like the dog's helmet, and his ears) that will be useful to know when looking at water and cloud materials for the bog. I have realised I may be able to try a simple displaced plane with some subsurface scattering as a method for the clouds rolling over/overcast moments in the film - I will need to test this.
Something I realised when working on this shot is that light doesn't always have to be fixed - you can have lights get brighter and key different things as needed throughout the shot. I've read online that Maya lights can be termperamental with Arnold, and I've definitely found this to be the case with the point light in this shot - when I started keying visibility, the light frequently refused to work at all. I will look into ways that lights can be cached as I work on a shot.