Thursday, March 31, 2011


So after doing further research into 3-d motion tracking and maya I found that Maya comes with it's own software for this. The software is called MatchMover and it is on all of our computers already.

I have followed some Tutorials and used my own footage and it can be used for some very powerful effects.

I recommend you all check it out!

Chapters 3+4

What really jumped out at me in Chapter 3 were the array of different file formats and their uses. X3D and VRML for use in interactive 3D environments like multi-player web games. Then there ate OBJ and DXF universal formats for transferring files between different 3D programs. Chapter 4 provides a description of the polygons, lines, and techniques we use to model. I hadn't learned about sweepin before and I'm curious to try it. Sweeping moves a 2D model along a predefined path in 3D space to generate a complex object. I found the section on using lattices for global deformations quite helpful. The emphasis from both chapters seems to be on planning your projects destination before you begin and keeping a good record of your polygon count. There were some cheats to keep polygon count down. Having models with lower polygon counts or level of detail, to replace the originals as they move away from the camera. Also using "billboards" for backgrounds with few polygons and a projected image map can save rendering time.

There are some useful things at the books website,

Inside Pixar's Offices

A Rare Look Inside Pixar Studios

Embedding is disabled for this video because it is from the New York Times. A reporter gets a tour around Pixar's offices... very cool to see the animators' daily work environment!

A Lost And Found Box Of Human Sensation Trailer

Unfortunately I could only find the trailer for this short but it's a really interesting story idea AND it's narrated by Ian McKellen. Directed by Martin Wallner and Stefan Leuchtenberg.
On an unrelated note I felt that chapters 3 and 4 of the book are descriptions of what we've been doing since day one of class. The book provides a tremendous amount of key terms that will be very useful in building a vocabulary. I also like how this isn't a Maya specific book so the terms and ideas can be applied no matter what program you're using.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tools and Modeling Techniques in Maya

From reading chapters 3 and 4 I was able to look at the tools used in Maya in new ways and understand more what they are capable of. It was interesting to learn some of the real-life tools that they were based off of, like how extrusion is similar to something like a pasta machine, or how a lathe is an actual tool to shape wood with a steel blade. It also helps to think of free form modeling like modeling something out of clay; you have to keep changing views to keep up with every alteration like a sculptor does by walking around their creation. There were a lot of different modeling techniques featured in chapter 4 that were helpful to see written out. Now that we’ve spent some time in Maya I understood the ideas a lot better because I’ve experienced them by trial and error, and feel more confident in modeling things in different ways.

Plan Ahead!

While reading I found the topic of proper planning before modeling to be very interesting. It is so important to think far in advance as to how your model will be used. This end goal can effect everything from the modeling technique to the number of polygons chosen by the modeler. As a beginner to Maya I have always just jumped straight to the modeling process and never took the time to stop and think about my end goal. After reading this section, I realize how crucial planning is in order to create a successful model for a specific application. For example, I might model my chess set differently if I knew the pieces were going to be used in a Flash video game as opposed to a photorealistic still rendering. The applications for 3d modeling are almost endless and knowing your models endpoint will make for a more functional and applicable model.

The Various Parts that Make up a Polygon and Mesh

I'm currently working on a 3-D model of a Dolorean since Back to the Future is one of my all time favorite movies. I don't have much on artistic background but more a technical background. Through my use of Maya 2011, I have been heavily developing the two different personalities.

After reading through the two chapters in "The Art of 3D Computer Animation and Effects," I definitely feel that I have enhanced my artistic knowledge about modeling. Terms such as vertices, NURBS, polygons, are now terms that use whenever I model or create.

I have become fascinated by what anyone can create, knowing that I have the same capabilities but on a lower level right now. I'm sure over time, I will be able to achieve what some of the best characters and animated movies. I look forward to building upon my artistic background with my technical skills.

Live Action Integration

So I am working on a sequence for my video workshop in which I use a background plate of a helicopter shot and insert a 3D tower into the scene.

I found this information about using the program Nuke to motion track the live action footage and create camera keyframes for maya.

Check it out:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Reading Post

The end of Chapter 4 in our book discusses real-time rendering of 3D animation for online gaming sites. I took the Qualitative Research Methods class a couple of years ago at IC, and we had to use Second Life ( for our semester-long project. I was really annoyed at how slow everything on the site loaded and it bothered me when materials or shapes seemed to be missing from the scene my avatar was in. The book's explanation of the amount of rendering needed to make these sites work explained what a great feat creating sites like Second Life really is. The site is rendering in real-time millions of simultaneous users' virtual reality experience. Thinking of how long it takes to model and animate simple things in Maya, along with the book's explanation of rendering time, levels of detail, and the amount of animation and transformations needed to have real-time rendering, I am now much more impressed by the functioning quality of Second Life.

Something to aim for

Someone showed me this website the other day and it's a fantastic resource for film festivals, especially with animation. It's called and it shows what festivals are out there, when entry deadlines are, and all sorts of recent winners.

This image is from a short 3D animated film, called The Hybrid Union, featured on the website that seems to be doing quite well at festivals. If you go to their website you can view other images, including the beautiful paintings the characters were based off of as well as a a short trailer for the film.

Ivan Brunetti, Cartooning Excercise

In promotion of Ivan Brunetti's new book, Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, he has released this video that briefly explains instruction for a short cartooning exercise. This is a really simple approach to constructing a narrative and could definitely help with other kinds of storytelling, not just comics.

The Making of Rango

This is a video showing the live acting used for the animated film "Rango." You can see the connection between the work done with the actors and how it influenced the work of the animators.


Although I thought the story was a little long, I found the animation in this short to be incredible. Many of the interior shots are very rich and photorealistic (watch in HD!). As I struggle to make my chess set appear "real," this is great inspiration!

Created by: Mesai

Monday, March 28, 2011

Maya Reel

I found this really cool video that shows examples of how maya has been used in mainstream and commercial work.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I tend to shy away from short films over 6 minutes because I end up loosing interest. However, that's not the case with Logorama created by the animation collective H5. You should definitely check it out! Also an animation collective how cool is that?

Oswald Model

Hey guys! here's a little turntable video of a side creature I've been working on in maya. Whatcha think? As someone just getting their 3D creature design feet wet I think its not too bad :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

3D Printing

I recently read an article in Wired Magazine that featured a DIY enthusiast who is also a model train hobbyist. He began to wonder if it was possible to use 3-D software to create scenery accessories for his railroad. He began to design miniature trucks, trains, bridges, etc that he could use to enhance his railroad model. Utilizing a company called Shapeways, he was able to upload his design files to their site and they would print his model and ship it back to him. He now sells his models on the site for a little extra income!

Check out Not only can you buy and sell 3d objects that people have designed, you can also upload and print objects of your own!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


JUMP! This is another great piece from the group we saw today in class. I hope you get inspired by their work (I do!), a great resource

I thought this site could be useful. There are a lot of models, textures, shaders, and scripts that you can download and play with, and a bunch of useful tutorials.


This 3rd year student graduation film from Gobelins l'école de l'image got about 13 major festival awards, such as Annecy, SIGGRAPH, Imagina and a 2009 Oscar nomination.

Most of the participating students went directly into the industry after graduation.

One of the co-directors, Julien Bocabeille, now works at Dreamworks. Olivier Delabarre later worked on Despicable Me as a color designer, Thierry Marchand worked at Framestore and Dreamworks as well. Quentin Marmier is doing commercial work and Edmund Mokhberi is a freelance filmmaker photographer.

So, you could say that the effort they put into their project really paid off for the most part.

Sweet and Sour

Sweet & Sour from PRA on Vimeo.

Cute video of a 2D doggy in a 3D world! From the Peoples Republic of Animation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

El Empleo

El empleo a short film directed and produced by Santiago "Bou" Grasso.
I always tend to gravitate towards realism in my work but I aspire to achieve this type of character stylization and color palette.

Motion Capture

Check out this website for some awesome free motion capture data.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Big Bang Big Boom

BIG BANG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

This is a really amazing stop motion piece that I thought I'd share. It's such a unique way to tell a story. I would love to find out how long it took to put this piece together because it looks like an incredible amount of work!

Created by

Saturday, March 19, 2011

1st Person Marion

Something new and exciting from a Nintendo Character's perspective.

Keeping it Simple

This is such a great short 3D student animation. It's simply designed, but a very clever and touching concept that really makes it memorable. It was created by Dony Permedi, while he was completing an MFA degree at the School of Visual Arts.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


No matter how you do it, in this case with the most essential elements, if you put your heart and sweat into it, it comes to life. Thanks to Kirsten for this beautiful piece of your life! Enjoy

Saturday, March 12, 2011

From Barcelona

There is a lot of great creative animation and film work that comes from Spain and in particular from Barcelona. Maybe it is Gaudí's influence? This is one interesting studio, Dvein and here is one example but check all their work:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hand tutorial

This is a tutorial that I found on youtube that is a nice reference since it is using the same pictures as we are. Unfortunately, it won't allow me to embed the video, but you can find it here:

I took the liberty of uploading the video (this is Arturo). This guy is amazing, it takes him like 3 minutes to build a great model. No problem, you can do it!:-) Credit goes to:
Ryan Kittleson at Erratic Imagery, great site, check it out for other good (insanely fast)3D tutorials and resources.

ALMA by Rodrigo Blaas

sooooooo creepy, watch it.

3D Creature Development: Start to Finish

This is a really neat video that shows the development of a 3d character from start to finish. It's basically a time lapse of all the work needed to make a fully animated 3d creature. It really shows how much work is involved in creating just one single creature!

Created by: Alex Alvarez

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SIGGRAPH 2007 Animation Festival Reel

Just found this as a neat little montage of the endless creations of 3D Animation in movies, television, and gaming.

Backwater Gospel

An extraordinary film is made with talent and 100% sweat and tears! Backwater Gospel is one of the best student short films I have seen in a long while. This is a kind of behind the scenes look at the process and all the elements that go into making such a high quality piece of work. I hope it is inspiring for you as it has been for me! Of course make sure you watch the whole movie after this.

The 3D software used was Maya and everything is animated on 2's/stepped keys. Compositing was done in Fusion (an alternative to After Effects) 2D light's were used doing gradients.


The Animation Workshop

Bo Mathorne, Mads Simonsen, Rye Nimand, Martin Holm-Grevy, Esben Jacob Sloth, Thomas Grønlund, Arthur Gil Larsen, Tue Toft Sørensen

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Holographic Print

This is an interesting take on 3d in other aspects of design, used for city planning and could be used for many other things. I don't know how this was made but it looks really cool!

Pixar's Great Influence

So this isn't an animation or anything, but I thought it was awesome to see just how much an animated film was able to influence real life events and get people to try some crazy things. The National Geographic Channel set a record for largest balloon cluster by attaching 300 ballons to this small house and flew it to an altitude of 10,000 feet, all because they were inspired by the house in the Pixar film UP.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Baby trashes bar in Las Palmas

I was watching TV earlier and this clip for Las Palmas on E! News caught my eye (for the record I'm not a regular E! viewer). They we presenting it as a hilarious viral video/making fun of how weird non-Americans are, but being a film nerd I was intrigued and did a little research.
Turns out the filmmaker Johannes Nyholm also made Tale of Puppetboy a claymation short which I saw at an animation festival I attended last year. Just thought it was a weird coincidence plus a really funny clip. The full film hasn't been released yet but you can check out Nyholm's website.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Find Makarov - Live Action Modern Warfare Trailer

Find Makarov - Live Action Modern Warfare Trailer (HD) from We Can Pretend on Vimeo.

I really the lighting and how realistic the animation is.

Funkphonic - Rick Tank - 3D Animation

I liked this short, it's amazing how you can convey human emotions with a blobish character and music.

Madame Tutli Putli

This is one of the many great animations that you can find at the National Film Board of Canada site This particular one was Oscar nominated in 2008.
Canada has traditionally been a very supportive environment for film, animation and even 3D software, since some of the best programs (like Softimage) have come from there. And it is of course the birthplace of legendary filmmaker Norman McLaren among many others. You can see his films by clicking on his link.