Hovering Lights

Asset: Trash Bin

November 24, 2014

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been working slowly on this trash bin model for the final shot of the reel. I probably could go with a camera projection, but I had nothing to do during a weekend and decided to start. Oh, yeah, it was the location scout weekend. As reference for such enterprise I took our cardboard bin down in the garage. Spent about twenty minutes measuring every little piece of it, as well as pieces of other bins I wanted to bring onto my model.

Since I was already walking around with the camera during that morning, I shot plenty of references to keep checking how things were connected, melted or bent together. The pictures were pretty useful and covered a wide array of bin variations. I think the whole model was done in a Sunday, then, during the following week I worked on the UVs and stalled a bit before got into texturing.

Then, last weekend I was really inspired by the latest rigging class and decided to create some controllers for this bin, so I would avoid messing up the geometry while animating. Added a controller for each lid, which only goes up so much, before the lock hits the handle on the main body. At first I tried working with utility condition nodes, ended up with too many of them for what should be a simple “if, if else, else” statement, so decided to look up some MEL and write an expression linked to the lock’s rotation. Then, I added a (useful) condition node, to evaluate its behavior before and after a certain point, paired with a couple of driven keys to avoid crashing the lock through the handle as the lid opens and closes. It’s working pretty nice. The first one took me about two hours to get working. Repeating the process was less than twenty minutes for the other side.

Now I’m struggling to make the wheels work on their own. For this task I’ve had a lot of help from Nicko, with how the code should be written and smart solutions for what should be simple. The idea is to only place translation keyframes on the main body controller and the wheels determine their direction and spinning based on that information, being physically accurate and spinning like it would in the real world. I also plan on getting a “noise” slider in there, because these things NEVER work as they should and constantly the wheel sockets start spinning like crazy. As soon as it starts working, there will be a post here, with the code too.

Yesterday I decided to start texturing it, on a first experience with Foundry’s Mari. Paul provided me with awesome tips and simple tutorials so I started early morning and was able to reach the textured result below in about five or six hours, already including bump and spec maps (which I forgot to enable on this render). The key was, before going in and painting all the details in, I went back to the garage and surrounding blocks, taking pictures of all interesting stuff and details I could find on trash bins. This helped a lot with the textures themselves, as well as the general feeling for the asset. Mari is very easy to use and I’m pretty sure I could’ve been way more efficient with more experience.

Since I’m putting this much time into a beaten up trash bin, I decided to make it my standard object to integrate in every single assignment I can.

Sorry for the heavy GIF. I’ll figure out a way to make them lighter!