When element can’t be handle by any department in a studio, effect department is most of the time finding a solution :-)
For Journey, we need to create milles of mine track for many shots. My mission was to find way to create this track structure quickly and very easy to do adjustment. Of cause, a library of static object was not a solution to resolve this chalenge. So I designed a procedural system in Maya base on 4000 lines MEL of code.
The user start a shot by creating a curve of the track path. The first set of my script created a wireframe version on the track. Points of control on the system can adjust the length on the support structure and the baking on the track. Light can be created and move on the side on track, switch side. A playblast on the wireframe representation on the track can be created for a fast approval.
The next step was to generate the data of the geometry for previsualization propose. This geometry was ver light only boxes for the board of wood and low version on the track. This step permet do get a better representation for outside approval. If the artist need to change the track, he can edit the wireframe structure and genera again the low resolution version.
For the final geometry, a developer design Renderman’s plugin to generate the geometry on the fly during the rendering. My script was only generated particles with orientation, size and model number.
A development no Fx very interesting to build and nice to see my element over many shoots :-)