Autodesk is making headlines with the release of free a 3D game cinematic project associated with their internally developed game, Hyperspace Madness. Autodesk is releasing assets from the cinematic to the community under a permissive Creative Commons license. I got an exclusive interview with Kamal Mistry, senior Maya product manager at Autodesk to answer a few questions about the project, the assets released, and why Autodesk would release high quality free Maya assets to the community.
Renderosity Magazine: Briefly tell us about the Hyperspace Madness production.
Kamal Mistry: We created "Hyperspace Madness" to overcome a number of challenges we wanted to tackle. It's always been difficult to work on the same types of projects as our customers, because their projects are often top secret. We thought it would be great to make a short film of our own to learn how we might improve our product for customers.
Why is Autodesk making Hyperspace Madness assets available under a Creative Common license?
Kamal Mistry: We arrived at a point in production where it just made sense. This film is a labor of love that a lot of great talent touched, and we want the community to be able to use these assets for their own projects.
We have been collaborating with Creative Commons since 2013, so users can share knowledge with the rest of the world, inspiring others to learn, achieve goals and ignite creativity. We think it's important to offer the rig of the main character Sven, for instance, because it's very high quality.
Which assets from the production will be available, when and where?
Kamal Mistry: Right off the bat Sven, Satellite, Spaceship and Trilobot will be available to download from AREA.
The protagonist, Sven is part of the free release.
Who can download the assets and how will they be able to use them?
Kamal Mistry: We are expecting a diverse group of people to download the assets, from students/our next generation of users and teachers/instructors to experienced artists who love to get their hands on high quality rigs and assets for testing purposes.
Do you plan to continue releasing assets from the production? What can we expect to see next?
Kamal Mistry: We're excited about this first big step and definitely look forward to sharing more assets in the future.
The protagonist, Sven is part of the free release.
Why did Autodesk originally decide to develop Hyperspace Madness, and how did you set out to produce it?
Kamal Mistry: Autodesk initially decided to create "Hyperspace Madness" as a way to learn game tools and demonstrate some of our gameware products. We then realized we didn't have a pre-game cinematic. So, we created a film to introduce the game.
When we took the project in a film production direction, it truly gave us great insight as to what our Maya customers experience in a production environment. Doing this has led to bug fixes, performance improvements and feature enhancements for the product.
A few examples of features created as a result of the Hyperspace Madness production are rig performance improvements, scene assembly and Bifrost components.
What tools did your team use to create Hyperspace Madness and why?
Kamal Mistry: Our team used many Autodesk tools to create Hyperspace Madness such as Maya and Flame. Because we have customers that use other tools as well, we decided to incorporate Nuke and Photoshop in the workflow as well.
Tell us about your development experience - including the good and the bad.
Kamal Mistry: The development process has been quite long, and the production has been a great learning tool as well as a way for us to experiment. We've been able to work through issues like rig performance, scene assembly and Bifrost components.
What proved to be your biggest challenge on the project, and how did you overcome it?
Kamal Mistry: There were a few challenges including rig performance, understanding heavy/large scenes better, rendering imagery and pipeline challenges. We edited our tools to manage these challenges better. One example of this is when Sven is running through a forest. Because of all the trees, the scene was heavy and large, so we spent a good amount of time experimenting on that portion.
Sven in Autodesk Maya.
How did your development experiences impact the evolution of Maya and other Autodesk tools?
Kamal Mistry: Our development experience really impacted the changes we've made in Maya. For example, in Maya 2016, we were able to incorporate rig work.
Drawing on your experiences, what advice might you offer to aspiring filmmakers?
Kamal Mistry: Make sure you have a great story. What's really cool these days, with virtual production and other techniques, is that there is more technology to help you make your vision come true. Technology is great because it lets you make changes. It's also at a place where it doesn't cost you as much as it used to, so there's less of a barrier. The story is always going to be tweaked, and that's a good thing.
Where can readers find the assets and where can VFX artists find useful tips and tricks for working with Autodesk software?
Autodesk Hyperspace Madness Assets: http://area.autodesk.com/hsm
Autodesk AREA knowledge network: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/maya.
Renderosity Maya forum: https://www.renderosity.com/mod/forumpro/?forum_id=12409