department supervisor   º   crowds   º   pipeline engineer   º   technical director
allen.stetson@gmail.com   º   19677 crystal springs ct. newhall, ca 91321 usa   º   661.857.4023
       
year: may, 2006
role: technical director, surfacing
duties: assisting our surface texture artists in the creation of shot assests for use throughout the film, reducing memory footprints to allow for faster asset turnaround, ensuring that our asset hand-offs to downstream departments were adequately vetted, communicated, and appropriate for the level of completion of the asset. assisting in the transfer of textures from asset to asset, assisting artists in manipulating the ultra-complex shader networks of our generics and other highly esoteric assets, helping artists to understand our tools and best practices, generating preview textures for downstream departments.
direct manager: gregory brentin (supervising technical director)
notes: at the time that madagascar reached completion, our next feature, over the hedge, was in a tight spot due to the adoption of the then-foreign pdi/dreamworks pipeline, the inefficient production of numerous and important shot assets, and sliding schedules with late deliveries. i was called upon to leave my familiar home in the animation department to assist surfacing who had just lost their technical director to attrition.

i spent my first few weeks noting inefficiencies and liabilities in the pipeline and spent the remaining months eliminating them one by one. among my accomplishments on over the hedge were the assistance in creating, understanding, and manipulating ultra-complex shader networks which allowed for variable-driven surfacing picks on characters and shot assets such as grocery items (a key element in this film); writing software to transfer surfacing from one asset to another while adapting to different uv layouts and projection models for an aesthetically pleasing result; identifying levels of completion for an asset and developing a pipeline around each level to ensure that the asset would be safe for use in downstream departments and would visually reflect the level of completion expected, as well as a system to inform consumers of our assets of the publishing and level of completion of these assets thus avoiding miscommunication; assisted in the actual texturing of a bag of chips, hockey helmet, coffee mug, over the hedge logo, and other assets found throughout the film; authored software which streamlined the generation of turntable renders and playlists.

i assisted in a process to streamline the rendering of countless assets via part-sharing in an effort to reduce memory load as well as a process used to apply guide curves for hair styling on our characters.

when surfacing wrapped on over the hedge, i was tasked with supporting layout in the production of paint-effects for our forested area of over the hedge. i was then tasked to the fx department where i assisted in the construction of trash piles (another important element of the film) where i wrote a tool to deconstruct a model into its components, automatically surface each component using a projection icon of the appropriate topology, and bake the surfacing out into a single map that could be applied to the original intact trash pile. i was then invited to final review prior to film-out of each reel alongside supervisors and directors so that i might use my trained eye to assist in the identification of flaws in the rendered frames.