Sunday, July 8, 2012

I hope everyone is having a great summer. I just wanted to share this animation I saw the other day! It's 2D but it's simply breathtaking. Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

It's Kind Of A Dog!

I still have to do some camera work and render, but here's the final product.

I spent so long trying to make the skeleton work (which it didn't, for some reason) that I didn't have too much time to work on the environment (I think I might be more proud of the rock than the actual dog).  But here it is, something that resembles a dog!  I'm not gonna lie, I'm not super thrilled with how it turned out.  But I guess I'll just have to practice a lot over the summer, maybe start with something easier before diving into animals, or try to tackle modeling people again.  I'm also not entirely sure why you can see little flowers through him, but I deleted those so they shouldn't be a problem.

I do wish I had fixed his eyes though, he looks crazed.  If I do go back to fix him, I'll definitely try to work more on the paws and actually try to make separate sections so they look more realistic.  I will also try to fix some of the vertices so that he looks a little more rounded around his neck (even though he's already smoothed out, I was having some problems with fixing that).

I won't be at the screening but I hope everyone's project turned out great! (See some of you in LA!)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My weekend.

So pretty much the biggest lesson that I learned in the past couple of days is LEARN PHOTOSHOP. I kinda wished I would've learn it before. I think that I wouldn't have struggle for hours trying to create the textures of my character... Anyway here is a preview of my bird:

So far I think it's looking pretty good. There's still a few glitches and I still need to do the wing and the feet but hey! it's a Saturday night. I kinda deserve a break right? 
Surprisingly, the beak was the hardest part of my model. It took my a long time to het the hang of the clone tool (and to be honest I'm still struggling with it. Right now I'm pretty competent with it, and after doing the upper part of the beak the lower one wasn't that hard to do. I think that I'm in pretty good shape, but there's still a lot of work to do before I start rigging (that should be interesting). In the mean time I'll keep struggling with photoshop.... 

Puzzle Tutorial

Now that I've somehow successfully created half of a dog in Maya, I've been looking at some simple tutorials that I can try over the summer.  I think that we've developed enough skills to apply to projects of our own, and this one that I've found takes you through the steps of creating a puzzle with your name or logo on it by duplicating the original puzzle shape.  But why just stop at doing your name?  I think that with this tutorial you could apply an actual image and make your own puzzle, possibly using keyframes to animate the pieces to put themselves together.

It's great being able to identify what goes into making a piece like this.  Such as recreating the lighting and  making the light, fading shadows that come off of the puzzle pieces.  The tutorial also discusses using planar mapping to appropriately place your image on the puzzle pieces.

At the beginning of the semester, this all seemed to daunting.  But now that we've gone through so much with maya, it's exciting how many tutorials and ideas seem doable.  (Even if some of these tutorials still seem absolutely impossible, such as the invisibility effect)

Monday, April 23, 2012 Hey everyone, this is a link to an article I wrote about the release of titanic 3D. Hope you like it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Why am I posting this if it isn't even 3D? Well, because I love Misfits and British tv (my obsession for British tv has been discussed in previous posts... I think?). I am posting this intro because it's a great animation in 2D. The effects are great, there's a lot of textures and interactions and they add to the main tone of the show. I've already talked about layers and the importance of layers in 3D, but I though it would be a cool idea share this video which is a perfect example of how layers are supposed to work. The art of this video is simple but at the same time interesting and captivating. You can tell that there are different layers and effects applied on this video. Some example is the multiple animals that running around, the clouds and thunders. Another thing that works amazingly in this intro is the color design, It looks clean and it draws you in as a viewer. I think that color design is probably one of the things that we should consider when we create a project. This along with textures and the actual animation.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

While we are all eagerly awaiting the new Spiderman and the Avengers, theres are some movies we're anticipating that have not chosen the path of cgi animation. For The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan tries to please his audience by not using CGI or 3D technology, even if thats what Warner Brothers wants. He told DGA magazine, "I feel a responsibility to the audience to be shooting with the absolutely highest quality technology that I can and make the film in a way that I want."

He has similar styles in his past movies. In the Dark Knight, the scene where the truck flips over was entirely real. In Inception, the famous scene where Joseph Gordon-Levitt is floating and flighting in the hotel was done in a recreated section of the hallway that was actually spinning while he was on wires. Nolan is staying very consistant with the first two films of the batman series, especially to keep up with audience expectations.

Nolan says that it doesn't matter how sophisticated the CGI may be, if you haven't shot anything for it, it's still going to feel like animation. He spends weeks in preparation for every stunt, working with helicopters, stuntmen (or occasionally Christian Bale), and the camera crew. The budget for TDRK is around $180 million. Nolan likes to give his movies a gritty, real feeling and leaves the audience stumped to decide whether it was real or not.

Another reason that he opts out of the animated world is because the Batman movies go up on an Imax screen. Adding visual effects to Imax footage means that you have to digitize each individual frame at up to 8k resolution. That would definitely send the budget of the movie much higher than it is already. Occasionally he has to digitize a scene when he hits an obstacle, such as the scene where Bruce Wayne visits Hong Kong and the Chinese government was worried about lots of helicopter activity over the city.

But even when he does hit a block like that, he adds a layer of human-generated camera motions to the animated shots. Overall, Nolan likes to keep the feel of human elements and uncertainties in his films.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Everyone needs to watch this right now

This is the trailer for the CryENGINE 3 SDK (Software Development Kit) used for the creation of video game graphics. This is available for free for all developers for non-commercial purposes! The fact that this is now a resource developers can use is amazing! I wish I could use it for my game development endeavors, it's just simply amazing! I can't even put it in words, just watch the video. My favorite features are the tessellation ones.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Chase

I just have to share this awesome new short film that's been making the rounds on internet. It's called The Chase by Philippe Gamer. Be sure to watch until the end or you'll miss the whole point!

The Chase from Philippe Gamer on Vimeo.

While I feel there are a few flaws in this film, I absolutely love it! Most 3D shorts intrigue me because they either have a great story or great animation, but it's not often that they have both. This short really does it for me though. It tells a great story about a not-so-popular topic, aging, in an even more uncommon way, though gaming. Complementing this story are the fantastic visuals. The 3D is gorgeous and realistic but still has that fun video game feel. The animations are smooth and perfectly executed. I love the use of the different camera angles and effects, it really make the film, namely in the part where they're going through the loop. I loved the reflective camera angle and the motion blur and I could really get that vertigo feeling with the way the camera was used when the police cars were falling. I wasn't too happy with the voice acting or the actual acting itself but it did fit the style of this short so I'm not complaining much. Overall, I think this was very well done and I highly reccmoned looking out for more of Gamer's work in the future. Check out another video he made below, it's also another great piece!

Stop Pain from Philippe Gamer on Vimeo.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Don't call it a comeback!

The "Skate" series of video games have been a wildly successful franchise for the Sony PS3. Legend has it however that before "Skate 3" came out, the designers didn't properly field test the game. As a result there were some insane and hilarious glitches in the game. This video is a compilation of one gamer's most bizarre glitches. Even if you don't like skating or video games, this video is friggan hilarious. Check it out.

With the limited amount of 3D theory that we possess, it's fun to imagine what is causing these problems. In some areas it appears that the gravity is applied differently to different surfaces. What makes this video so funny to me is that it's designed to look as real as possible and yet the physics of the world are not only extraordinary, but totally unpredictable. There's a constant shattering of the suspension of disbelief.

Avatar: The Legend of Korra

So for those of you who never saw the first series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, you need to get on it. That series is known for incredible storytelling, fantastic character development, and top-notch animation. The new series The Legend of Korra premiered today on Nickelodeon. While I've seen the episodes a few times now, I wanted to note their use of CGI in a few scenes of the episode.

Much of the landscape in the background is done through CGI, mostly to save time, but it blends so beautifully that it's tough to pick out exactly what is hand drawn and what isn't. The city, known as Republic City, also has breathtakingly rendered buildings and vehicles. There is a couple points in the trailer below that show some nicely done landscapes and objects, such as the statue of Avatar Aang.

From what I've seen of the series so far, and who the characters are, I'm incredibly excited for the rest of this series, and I hope they continue it past their planned two seasons. If you would like to watch the new series, new episodes air on Nickelodeon Saturdays at 11 AM EST.

Do and Redo

So I pretty much had to restart my 3d model because I figured its wing was to wide. It kinda sucks but i figured it'll be better if I take care about all the little details than later. One thing that's helping me built my model is a picture the skeleton of a bird.

I think modeling my character using my reference and taking into account the skeleton of an actual bird will help me when it comes to rigging. I also started thinking about a small storyline for my animation. I figured it would be cool to have my bird escape from a cage. So now, I need to start investigating which kind of cage do I want before creating my environment.
I think something simple like that would be cool.


Hey, stop what you're doing and watch this cute animation about a hamster! (make sure to watch past the first credits)

The was the first 3D animation for this studio and took over 6 months to make, it was involved in over 100 festivals. I was reading on the website about the people on the team, and it was pretty shocking what one of them had to say about making the hair for the entire movie. "All the fur got created within Maya and we used a plugin called Shave and a Haircut by Joe Alter. And to make it even a little bit more technical: We rendered the hair with the Maya Software Renderer instead of Mental Ray because it is faster and gave us at least better results. There are approximately 3.000.000 single hairs on his body. After being rendered, the single fur layer went to the compositing." For the entire project, it was this guys only job to create hair, he didn't do anything else.

Not only do I think it's a great short film that is able to covey a lot with basically no dialogue, it could also be pretty helpful since we are going to be creating our environments for the final project soon and this movie shows a bunch of different indoor and outdoor environments that were created in Maya.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Alright, so for this weeks post I have found this. James Cameron has come up with a new CGI on how the Titanic sank. You can see in the first couple seconds of this video the team manipulating the 3D model of the ship. The rest of the video is the animation. I think it's a really cool representation of what 3D can do for the industry.

Star Trek Extras

One of the things I love about movies is that they usually have the extra behind the scenes stuff. The best one I have seen is the extras on the Star Trek DVD (J.J. Abrams version). He walks you through all the trick shots they did, for example when Spock enters the elevator and then gets off on a different floor, but it's all one shot, they green screened half it so it looks like he changes floors but in reality he didn't.

Also included in the extras section is a bit about how they animated the Enterprise in the shots where the ship is in space. It's really cool to see how they turn off the lights and turn others on until they like the way the ship is lit.

Definitely watch the extras if you have time. It's really entertaining.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pixar's Brave

I was looking through the blog the other day, and I saw no one has talked about Pixar's upcoming feature Brave. Now I know it's fairly cliche to talk about Pixar when it comes to 3D animation, but their work on this looks like their best yet. It's astounding to see the leaps and bounds they've come in their time, let alone the vast increase in quality between films. Cars 2, despite being very mediocre, looked phenomenal and Brave only improves on that with leaps and bounds.

Here's the latest trailer:

I think this trailer is beautiful. With the incredible lighting, and amazing textures, it looks and feels real. I'm always left dumbstruck every time I watch a Pixar film. Their ability to map clothing textures and make them flow like actual clothes is unbelievable. I am nothing but awestruck when I watch this trailer. I can't help but gush about it. The models are high quality, even background characters are heavily detailed. They continually push the boundaries in 3D animation.

Brave hits theaters June 22, 2012!

South Park in Maya

I heard someone mention recently in class that South Park uses Maya for all of its animation. I found this really interesting so I looked into it some more. Turns out, using Maya allows them to animate faster and without the need of overseas outsourcing. I tried to see if there were any step-by-step behind the scenes videos on how the animation directors do it but this was all I could find. It's from their "Heavy Metal" spoof from a few seasons ago. The footage presented as a Maya wireframe starts up at about 1:11 seconds. At the end they have all four stages of animation playing side by side: story board, wireframe, rendered with green screen, and then the final product. Check it out. Remember it is South Park so there's some South Park esque humor. Enjoy!

3D Weather

The storms that hit Texas earlier this week were given a 3D treatment by Nasa that was shown on this weather segment.

This is definitely a new way to not only look at natural disaster, but every day weather itself. When you watch the weather, you get the top view of clouds or of storms, but by giving the clouds the actual depth they deserve (8 miles in this case), you can see how drastically they change within themselves. This gives the viewers a clearer understanding of what they can expect from clouds and if they are the warning signs to a storm.

This was done through NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and give more information about the height of thunderclouds and the rainfall rates then ever before. The data was collected by a satellite and has given scientists more information about how intense it actually was. NASA is collaborating with the Japanese Space Agency and they are working on a global precipitation measurement system which provides new data that has scientific and societal benefits. This really indicates how much 3D animation has an impact not only on the entertainment industry, but the scientific one as well.

Friday, April 6, 2012

3D and Fiction

One of the most fascinating things about 3D is that it expands your posibilites when you are working in field. You can literally create a set in 3D and save thousands of bucks building or renting a location. It also allows you to be more creative. One of the videos I saw in one of the blogs from last semester is the perfect example of a combination of field work, 3d and green screen. The movie is called "Nuit Blanche" and it's a movie that it's beautifully composed, and that was film entirely on a green scree. The 3d work for this short film is amazing and beyond words.

and here's the making of Nuit Blanche:

We can see in the making of that the background is mostly composed of layers of 3D objects and 2D objects. They are combined to create the world of the story. I think this is an amazing way in which we can create something innovative when are budget is limited, and the best part is that 3D helps us do that!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Amazing World of Gumball

So I'm back at talking about cartoons. This is another wonderful gem from Cartoon Network called The Amazing World of Gumball. This show does an awesome job of blending 2D animation with 3D animation.

The show follows the misadventures of a boy Gumball and his pet fish/brother Darwin. The show contains a multitude of characters that a created either using 2D or 3D designs.

The animation style is very unique and it's very cool seeing these two very different styles of animation interact in a photo realistic world. The world that has been created by this show keeps me constantly captivated. I think this show has a strong overall 3D team. The textures, environment, lighting, and animation are all very strong. The show has also won a multitude of awards this past year at many different animation award shows. If you've liked Cartoon Networks recent stream of shows for kids... that aren't necessarily for kids you'll enjoy this one.

Here's a quick taste of the show:

The Amazing World of Gumball reairs on Cartoon Network and a new season is currently in development!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

First 3D Rendering

At first I doubted the legitimacy of the above video, mostly because of the music and quality of the film itself, but after reading through some of the comments about it, I found out that this short was added to the National Film Registry and was also included in the film about the history of Pixar.

In 1972, Ed Catmull, the founder of Pixar, created the first rendering of a 3D model using his own hand. While we use the polygon tool in Maya and just extrude different shapes out, Catmull had to create an exact replica and physically slice it up into polygons. I'm sure if we made a hand now, our process would be incredibly similar to what they had to do in 1972. That the hand in initially created as lines, then the next step would be a creating the unsmooth surface, which eventually leads to the final version.

If you stop around 5 minutes in and see the initial version for the face, it looks just like something we would be creating in class. Its actually amazing how much has changed in the technology yet how little has changed in the design.

Mad Men and After Effects

Hey! last week I took an introduction to after effects mini course. I though it would be a great idea to post about my first perception on this platform. We learned about layers, keys, and masks.
I think it was pretty sweet to learn about this things cause it really made me comprehend the 3d world better. I also valued the importance of learning several editing softwares because all of them correlate with each other. We also reviewed the important of color theory and designing in a project.
One of the things that I liked the most about the course is that we analyzed a couple of tv shows intro credits. For example, the tv show mad men.
This intro is one of the most important intros in today's industry. The reason is because it is beautifully composed and because of the complexity of the animation. this intro had several layers and effects that made it very pleasing to watch. Here is the link:
(sorry the embed was disabled)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


So one of the really cool things I love about 3D is the face that we can create landscapes within MAYA and animate a camera around the landscape and capture it like an actual motion picture. After we did this in class the other day I remembered a video I'd seen on one of the extras disks from Harry Potter. To do the outdoor scenes of the castle, they built a sculpture of the castle in a program that I'm assuming was a more advanced version of Maya. Then they animated the camera around the 3D model of Hogwarts. I can't find the video on youtube for some reason, but I'm almost positive it's on the bonus disk for the third movie.

Otherwise, here's a photo of the 3D model of the castle.