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Leonardo Pilat - My Portfolio

Leonardo Pilat
by LeonardoPilat on 1 Jun 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Hi everyone, I'm Leonardo Pilat, a third-year student at Side Academy. I'm really excited to share my first entry for the Rookie Award with you. Hope you enjoy it!

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This is the last project I worked on during my third year at Side Academy and it took me just over two months. I’m responsible for all aspects except water simulation and props creation.

At the beginning of the project I was given this concept by my teachers. I tried to get as close as possible to the reference and I can say that I am satisfied with the result even though, due to time constraints, I decided not to include snow in my Environment. One thing my teachers really insisted on was keeping the shapes of the roofs and houses closer to the main reference room.

This was my first time using Houdini Solaris for such a big project. Furthermore, dealing with USD was definitely a tough challenge.

After modeling in Maya, I exported everything to Houdini in a scene dedicated to preparing USD files. USD enabled me to efficiently manage multiple versions of the same asset and optimize the viewport, reducing load times and enhancing overall scene performance. To ensure full compatibility, I used MaterialX for shading and I rendered in Karma.

All USD files were then reimported into a scene dedicated entirely to Layout of my Environment and creation of the Terrains, created entirely in Houdini using Houdini HightField

The three houses closest to the camera were conceived as Hero Assets and then modeled and textured as such.

To optimize the creation of the other houses instead, I created a series of modules of walls, roofs, and gables that were then assembled using the capabilities of USD.

From the forms I created, I was able to get twelve variations of houses.

I made this procedural pier a while ago, and it ended up being really useful for this project

All assets such as plants, stones, and branches were downloaded from Megascan and converted to USD, divided into asset categories so as to add them to the Layout Asset Gallery in Solaris

The lighting drove me crazy. Interpreting the reference was a big challenge, and in the end I decided to do it partially the way I wanted. In the end I can be satisfied with the result.

Initially, the project was not intended to end with a simple still frame, but due to tight time constraints I was unable to render the entire scene. In fact, not only the ocean simulation but also Vellum simulation of the plants and simple boats animations are present in the scene.

Special thanks go to Daisy Romero for the liquid simulation, Alessandro Ulisse Caputo for the white water simulation, and Matteo Cotelli for texturing all props.

This project is inspired by the "Village of Metkayina" from "Avatar: The Way of Water." I worked on it during my second year at Side Academy and was responsible for all aspects.

In Maya, I used the "CV Curve Tool" and the sweep mesh to construct the bamboo rods forming the main structure. These curves were also essential for creating the ropes wrapped around the structure. I achieved this by using "Attach to Motion Path" followed by "Follow Motion".

For all the wicker parts, I applied micropoly in ZBrush on a basic geometry that I created in Maya. Many parts were then arranged by hand to match the rest of the tent. 

Additionally, I used Marvelous Designer for the curtains and Houdini for some of the other ropes.

I decided to procedurally shade the majority of the assets in Maya Hypershade with a combination of noises and colors mixed with the aiLayer. Where necessary, I used masks generated in Substance Painter to achieve a better result.

After rendering everything in Arnold, I used Nuke to combine all the render layers, add the mountains in the background, the sky, and final touches like volumerays defocus, camera distortion, vignetting and grain.

"Willy" is a school project I participated at Side Academy. It is an animated short that has among its main themes cyberbullying and inclusion. 

I was responsible for the texturing and look development of the bridge and the green building, as well as supervising the texturing of all the assets in the scene. Additionally, I worked on the lighting for the establishing shots and set up the base lighting for the entire project.

The Porsche was primarily a modeling exercise made during my first year at Side Academy. As a big fan of classic cars it was a lot of fun to work on this iconic car and as the first experience of modeling such a complex asset, I can be satisfied with the result.

I also wanted to showcase the car with a rolling shot, so I created a small environment and experimented with motion blur and lighting.

Thanks for taking the time to read my entry! Huge shoutout to Riccardo Meneghello for all the reviews, and to my friends  Alessandro Ulisse Caputo and Omar Frare for their patience and all the helpful advice during my last project.


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