Friday, September 30, 2011


So this week I watched Titanic on TV. Say what you will, it's a fantastic movie. One of the best of its time. I figured I would try to relate it to Maya for my blog post this week. Titanic, although an older movie, very likely used a program similar to Maya to create scenes of the ship sinking. Here are a few examples of people modeling the Titanic in maya, and recreating its sinking.

This one is pretty basic, but also very complex at the same time.

This one is much more realistic and is a better depiction of how the ship actually went down.

And finally, here is a pretty accurate summary of the film created in what I think is Flash.

Notice the floating "Wilson" from CastAway at the end.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

something cool

Hey so I was watching "catching hell" an espn 30 for 30. you gotta scroll to about 5 min to see what im talking about. But basically this guys reaching for a foul ball (you can get the history from the first 5min) and ruins this game supposedly. But the editors key the guy (Bartman) several different ways to show the play. They color him and leave other people black and white. then they also have Bartman by himself in the stands with Moises Alou (outfielder). Just thought it was a cool concept to show just Bartman and Alou. THE CURSE LIVES ON!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

3D Glasses

Ok so above I have posted a link to an article about "How 3-D Glasses Work." If the link doesn't work just click the title of this post. I wanted to take a step out of Maya and explore some other 3D possibilities and I came across this gem. Though we have expanded from the old school red and blue glasses I thought it would still be cool to know how they work. (For any of you that are confused by the website, you have to hit the next button on the bottom right corner to learn more). It is really cool to see how things such as these can basically trick our minds into seeing something different. Though what we are making now doesn't exactly require 3D glasses, it is always good to learn about the history/ possibilities associated with what you are doing. I hope you all check this out b/c I totally remember playing with these paper/plastic little glasses when I was kid.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bird that looks real

As we are sucessfully modeling a 3d character in Maya I thought I would inspire us and show what we are capable of! We see many 3d animated characters in videos but here are some examples.  They are 30 second videos showcasing the model.
Next I just wanted to show you this video of a modeled bird as it is used in another environment, which shows us a possibility for a final outcome of characters that are modeled in 3d programs. I really wonder how many movies I saw with animals in it that I thought were real and probably were animated. I thought to myself, "How did they stay still that long or take direction? How did they find animals to do this?" Now the answer is, "Animation."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nissan Truck Commercial

I've noticed that commercials have been getting pretty extreme lately. One example of this trend is the Old Spice ads. The latest Old Spice commercial features a sea captain with gold coins pouring out of its pockets, a squid biting his shoulder, and ridiculous abs.

But the other night on TV I saw a commercial for a Nissan truck that reminded me of Maya. The commercial takes place in an airport and switches between a television screen and a large window. A plane is landing with a broken front landing gear. When I watched it I thought it was obvious that the plane was added digitally and that the Nissan pick up truck driving on the run way was actually there. The truck catches the broken landing gear in its bed and acts as the landing gear for the passenger plane. When I watched this I thought about how easy it would be to model a plane. Its just a cylinder with some wings and glass which all could be modeled in Maya. Probably easier than sausage man too because we don't need skeletons or kinematics or anything like that.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

3D Pop Star

It looks like japan has taken the 3d revolution to a new level. I saw this over the summer and it blew me away. The artists and designers took the most "appealing" features from six other women in the group and created the face of the band "AKB48" one of the Top Japanese pop groups, manufactured its lead singer. The band was able to keep the hoax alive for several months before releasing a video boasting their creation. The amount of care and precision that must have gone into a projcet of this scale and detail is huge and really illistraes the level to which people are willing to take 3D to make money.

Creating Hair for a character in Maya

This is a good tutorial I found about creating hair for a character in Maya ( Adding hair feels like another logical step in Maya to creating a more realistic character.

The person who created the tutorial does a great job of walking you through the basics and explaining the process and background information before going through the step by step process of creating the hair effect. The tutorial is kind of long (about 50 minutes total), but it goes into a lot of detail and doesn't skip much steps. He does a great job of explaining everything as you are going through the tutorials. Another good thing about this is that they were all posted in 720p, so that it is easier to tell what he is doing.

MTV Stop-Motion through Balloons

So I know this isn't 3D, but I found it really cool and a really interesting form of animation. It's an ad for MTV where they have an animation on a series of balloons and then pop them as they follow with a camera... I'm not explaining it incredibly well, so you should just watch it. I really enjoy this clip though because it shows how you really can make animation out of anything and this form is interesting to me since it shows how you can really make animation out of anything and all the possibilities that are out there..

3D Animation Shorts

Whenever I go to Pixar films at the movies, I love watching the shorts they play in the beginning. These shorts all started with Luxo Jr, the hopping the lamp featured in Pixar's logo. He was created in order to demonstrate the animation Pixar was capable of creating.

Luxo Jr actually won an Academy Award for Best Animated Film. But Pixar isn't close to the only production company that produces these 3D animation shorts. While these independent animaters and animation production companies, such as Martel Productions, do not have the budget and superior animation technology as Pixar does, there shorts are just as entertaining and show lots of promise. Martel's short, Pigeon: Impossible, is a great example of this. While the animation is clearly not on the same level as Pixar, it's still a great story with some very impressive animation. I don't care how many semesters we take of Topics in 3D, my skills with never be on par to these guys! Even though I have to say... I feel like this could be a Maya product. Check it out...

In the world of 3D, not even a simple step is simple

Since the second day of class when we actually started using Maya I've been wishing I remembered more from my high school physics class. I've realized that the most interesting and also difficult part about 3D animating is how essential knowledge about basic physics and math can be. I'm convinced that everything I do in this class would come a lot easier for me if I could just manage to remember even the smallest detail about elasticity or angle of refractions or something ha. So, while my general lack of physics knowledge may slow me down in the modeling phases I was hoping I could at least get through the animating part.

When I found this video online that literally breaks down every element that goes into taking a step I realized I was not going to be catching a break anytime soon. This video just proves that as important as knowing Maya and how to manipulate it's interface are, no skill is more significant in this field than attention to extreme detail. To be a 3D animator you have to have patience of course but you also have to be able to break things down (whether you're modeling or animating a movement) to their simplest state. Only from there can you begin creating. Oh, and knowing a thing or two about physics and kinetics couldn't hurt either :-).

Extruding Tool

So I was looking up different tutorials on how to make a character when I came across this one involving the extruding tool. It is amazing to see how simple it could be to make a character. This entire character is made by stretching one box over and over in different directions. I practiced a little and though mine is no where near as good as the one in the video I was pretty impressed with myself that I could make a character like that so easily. Also the way you can cut down the boxiness of it and instantly turn it into a gingerbread looking character is really cool. I think I'm going to be using this tool an awful lot. It seems to just make things a little easier and I'm so glad I found it.

3D Is Everywhere

Although different from video, I felt like any 3D blog needs some 3D chalk art. It never fails to blow my mind how they do this.

While working on my character (Judy) I realize how terrible I am at visualizing 3D images and objects in my mind. For instance, it was very hard for me to picture what a profile of Judy's body should look like. While body parts are easy since you can simply look at a person, once we start making nonexistent objects I foresee this might become an issue. It amazes me that these chalk artists can visualize entire scenes and then make those come to life on the sidewalk.

For anyone who wants to see more awesome pictures, check out this link: (8, 9, 10, 14, 15 and 17 are personal favorites)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mr. Stiff

Real quick, because I am posting above the Lion King post, I wanted to say my thoughts on the matter.

One: Lion King is a classic. No doubt about it. While I agree that 3D is almost unnecessary, I am thankful that they chose to do it simply to put that film back in the theaters and remind people what a classic it is. I would have gone if it wasn't 3D, but that in itself can draw a crowd. And why not mix a little 3D with the classics. We are a progressing society, but I prefer incorporating the old into the new.

On another note, I had some questions.

So my figure is a bit silly, as I was behind most of class. Maya errors (which by the way we figured out so if anyone else has problems using the isoprams just hit the "R" in the layer you are editing in).

So this is my man, and he is missing texture I feel. My fear is that the body wont move fluidly. Is that a realistic worry? For example, if your structure is too stiff does it then move in a stiff manner?

The "3Dification" of hand drawn classics

So I recently saw Disney's The Lion King (which was previously referenced on this blog for "borrowing" certain ideas from Tezuka's Kimba the White Lion. I'll admit the resemblance is there) in theaters for the first time. It's a film I'm intensely familiar with, as I grew up with it on home video, but seeing it on the big screen for the first time was another experience entirely. Even if many elements are less than original, it's impossible to ignore the artistry that went into this film.

However, there was something different about the Lion King this time, and its something that I'm still personally divided on: the film was presented in stereoscopic 3D.

Don't get me wrong, the quality of the conversion was fantastic, everything looked great. Many of the shots in Lion King already contained a tremendous sense of depth and the 3D was able to bring that out even more. That being said, doesn't this all feel a bit revisionist?

The Lion King represents an important part of Disney's "renaissance" period and is a piece of film history. As great as the 3D looks, I feel like adding 3D in this case is pretty reminiscent of the colorization of classic Black and White films. While I was happy to see one of my favorite childhood films with such an incredible presentation, I'm inclined to say "let sleeping dogs lie" when it comes to the "3D conversion" of older films. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Realistic 3d characters

This website has 21 3d models that are very realistic. I added two to this blog which are absolutely amazing. They are so intricate. The designers must have a lot of patience and know their 3d animation programs very well. We are just getting started so Maya is still new which makes us have many more problems than they would. I am still having a lot of trouble trying to move vertexes around, even using lattice. The points never seem to go where I want them to.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

character update

check out my sausage man.

I had some issues with the lattice on cylinders but other than that I found myself using them for everything really. I used spheres for the eyes and nose. I took the pipe looking polygon (toros maybe?) and right clicked for edges so that i could delete part of it to make the smile. then i realized i had a hole in my dudes head, first i tried to play with the scale tool and the extrude but that didnt work. So then i decided he was just going to have a hat for now, i used the CP curve like we did in class for the bottles and made a hat. and when your doing that make sure its on the origin with youre drawing otherwise all the tools (move shape etc) are on the equal but opposite side of the grid and makes it pretty difficult. hope this helped

and for your hurricane update

big win

against ohio state this weekend 24-6. well call it a beatdown though


Monday, September 19, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I saw this film in theaters recently and while it had some of the most technically impressive visual effects I've seen in a while, it also made me realize that visual effects are a means and not an end. Caesar, a realistic computer generated ape played through motion capture by Andy Serkis was remarkable not only because he looked physically realistic but because he felt emotionally realistic. Largely through Andy Serkis's performance, a three dimensional computer rendering became a three dimensional character.

Ultimately, I don't think special effects change what film is about: they are just another tool to be used to tell great stories or deliver though provoking experiences. In a time when filmmakers can show literally anything happen in a film (provided you have the time and money), I think it's even more important that we think carefully about what we choose to show and why we choose to show it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

3D Animation Demo Reel

Here's the reel of Chris Drew, who used to work in my home town's television market before being hired to work for KABC-TV in Los Angeles. It shows the wide range of different 3D animations and great examples of how 3D animation can be used for creative services and branding of a station.

It shows how 3D animation programs can work well together with 2D animation programs such as After Effects, as well as the importance of an editing program in addition to animation programs for creating graphics. For example, in the CBS and NBC "legal ID" clips that air around :34 seconds, you can see a combination of 3D animation for the network logos with "Optical Flares" (likely from Video Co-Pilot) and a 2D animation of the station logos. Use of a non-linear editor is also important for combining all of the elements together to make a good final product.

In addition, I like using demo reels as a good way to try and figure out how someone animated something as they did. For example, by watching something over and over, you can get a good idea of what method they used for making a certain shape.

3D animation and making a statement?

Ok so this is just a screen shot of an animation I started working on for fun but haven't had the chance to complete yet. For another class I am taking (Visual Sociology) we had an assignment where we needed to take a census statistic and represent it in a way that doesn't involve a graph or a power point. As we were discussing how we could do this I got really excited and realized I could possibly create something with Maya for the assignment. Michelle Esbin who is in 3D and Visual Sociology with me quickly reminded me what I would be getting myself into if I tried to take this project on in time to turn it in at our next class haha. So, in the end we used Photoshop to complete our assignment but on Friday in class I was determined to try and make this work too. 

I've only got a few of the houses put on the animation so far. Duplicating each house and moving it exactly where I want it on the board is a lot harder than it sounds (well at least for me it is). While adding movement to the scene is also intimidating I'm thinking the technique we learned in class to get the balls to fall into the bowl will probably suffice.  As you can probably tell in this picture the roofs of most of the houses don't exactly fall correctly on the body so I'll have to tweak that...I should probably do that sooner than later. Also I was wondering if anyone knows how to group two polygons into one so that when I duplicate it I don't have to constantly reselect both the roof and the body? Anyway I know this piece has a lot of work to be done on it. Hopefully I'll have a chance/remember to work on it before things start getting too busy.

Oh and in case you all were wondering what the statistics were for my other classes assignment it had to do with the change in the wealth gap between black and white Americans from 1984 to 2010. In 1984 the ratio was 1:12 (black:white), in 1995 it was 1:7, 2000 1:8,  and in 2010 it jumped to 1:20. I think that we can all agree that these statistics are both shocking and depressing. However, I think it's also important to remember what kind of power we can have as visual media creators. We can bring these facts to life in an interesting and sometimes provocative way that is much more likely to resonate and relate with the average person than a few numbers. Bellow is the picture Michelle, our other group member and I created. Not as cool as 3D animation, but it still says something.

Rejected Cartoons

Following the theme of 2D drawing for this week, I chose the animated short film Rejected Cartoons by Don Hertzfeldt. It's a 9-minute film with the concept that Hertzfeldt created this series of 30-ish second shorts for The Learning Channel, but were rejected. I particularly like this short because a) while the animation itself appears very simple, with most of the characters being basic stick figures, making me feel better for my lack of drawing skills and b) it always surprises me to rediscover that it was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000 (for Best Animated Film Short)

Some Bollywood Special Effects

With Hollywood constantly churning out intense effects driven action movies, film can get kind of repetitive. But I gained new respect for movies like, Avatar, Transformers 3 or even Live Free or Die Hard when I saw a youtube video of India's most expensive film to date. The movie is called Enthiran which means robot.

File:Endhiran poster July 2010.jpg
The film's poster is very similar to the Terminator poster and the general concept is comparable as well. There is a unstoppable force of robots destroying civilization but with a bit of Frankenstein mixed in. The robot is modeled after its creator and he has lost control of his creations. The special effects are absolutely ridiculous in a way that is hard to explain without just showing them.

3d character

so i was thinking of what character would be easy enough to draw but not a cop out for this assignment, and i was having some trouble. i wanted something with an easy enough outline but some challenging details. Anyway after asking my roommates i got spongebob squarepants. yes. spongebob. For those of you like me who cannot draw. google has the answer. i googled how to draw my character and that really helped alot a lot of these characters have a "how to step by step." some of the other ideas i got if you guys are still looking, were older Nintento 64 characters like mario, starfox, and kirby. i dont have a scanner or know anyone with one so that online "how to" website is hopefully going to help me out in class monday morning.

Toy Story Animation

After watching the video about Toy Story animation posted by Abby I became very interested in it and decided to look further when I came across this video. It isn't much different from the other one but it does show some really cool things. It's amazing how what we are doing is so similar to this. I never realized when watching Toy Story as a kid, or even watching it last year when the third one came out how realistic yet fake everything happening was. It is extremely interesting in this video when they act out in person how they want the character to move b/c it will make it more realistic. Also the way they maneuver around the program and just move the characters arms or legs in the slightest bit makes all the difference. I am looking forward to working with characters in class tomorrow. Though I am a little nervous b/c I have no artistic/drawing ability at all. We'll see what happens but it's exciting to know what were doing is useful.

3D Head

I know that we are only focusing on human bodies right now but looking into videos on how to model faces scares me (but that is nothing new!) The editor is obviously very advanced to model a face in 8 minutes. I agree with Connie; I am not a physicist and I don't see how he knows how to make the points for the creases in the face. I can see how he outlines the face to the picture he has but I am not sure how he knows how points in the face connect together. I know that the face is very complicated and that tomorrow as we construct humans in Maya it will be an easier task than this.

Character Design

As I attempt to drawn a character, it is hard to envision how we will go from simple drawings to actual 3D characters! A glass, okay. Even a bowl with little spheres in it. But those are symmetrical and people are not. I decided to look up character design of one of my favorite movies, Toy Story, to see how the pros go about doing it.

It is strange watching Buzz and Woody, characters that I have grown up with and seem almost real to me, being created and transformed in computer form. Goes to show how powerful 3D animated characters can be! I love at the end of the video when the designer acts out how he wants Woody to look while trying to catch his balance. I think it will be very helpful to watch the movements and expressions of real people while designing a character on Maya.

I realized I never posted my still life from Wednesday, so here it is. I created a couple vases and then a couple glasses and a dish as well.

Graph Editor

I was trying to use the Autodesk tutorial, but (for me at least) reading about it is more challenging. For example, I was trying to understand the Graph Editor when it comes to animations. I have started to feel a lot more comfortable making shapes and such, but the thought of making those shapes move is a little intimidating. While the balls falling in the bowl we made in class seemed pretty self-explanatory (adding gravity) I am more concerned with finding a way to make an object or figure move exactly the way I want. I realize Maya is a software that uses physics and manipulations like gravity and tangents, and that in itself will be a useful tool. But I am no physicist, not at all.

Below is the Graph Editor. The tutorial suggests you can simply manipulate it based on frames and "move" points. This video shows the manipulation in action. A simple speed change.

3D Printing Bone

This is an awesome application for 3D printing and 3D CAD in the medical field. It is crazy to think that with 3D printing and some chemical magic we can create bones from almost nothing. The part of this story that intrigues me most about this is the possible applications and job opportunities that this could bring. as well as the implications to medical field. The ability to grow bones could revolutionize the hip replacement surgery or other such procedures. if 3D CAD can give us the ability to build bones why not hearts lungs and livers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Welcome to My Geeky Side

So I know this is a class about 3D animation, but this post is strictly 2D. Since we're drawing figures this week I thought it'd be appropriate to write a post on my favorite animator, Hayao Miyazaki. I bet a lot of you haven't heard of him, but he's basicaly the Japanese Walt Disney. I've known about him since I was a kid because he was the animator and master mind behind my favorite movie... My Neighbor Totoro.

It's a really sweet movie and the animation is amazing, just like in all of his movies. I'm normally not a fan of fantasy anime, but his films are beautiful to watch and many times he draws the most imaginative characters you've ever seen. This is especially true in his film, Sprited Away, which won an Oscar for best Animated Film. It's like nothing I've ever seen before.

On his more recent films he has started to combine computer generated animation with his traditional hand animation and also computer technology to boost his hand animations. His last (award-winning) film, Ponyo, went back to being completely hand animated. This just shows that no matter how advanced animation technology gets, traditional techniques still have their place in modern animation.

Friday, September 16, 2011

still life and its issue

so im a little late for the still life, but here it is. my "mental rays" vanished. Arturo showed me how to get them back. so if this happened to anyone else window>preferences>plug ins>and go to mayatmr and make sure that its on load and auto load. other than that i put the green balls into the glass vase. I didnt add the rigid body to them so they kind of blob together. something different. and i put a checkered backdrop to get some more reflections.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Yay now they have color!

Glass Objects

Here's my still life. The glass looks a little funny so I may have made a mistake. Hopefully I'll get that sorted out in class today and repost this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harder Than It Looks!

Thought we were supposed to do 5 for some reason but probably a good thing cause I can definitely use the practice! Not quite sure why my glass one looks the way it does...

Chillin on the Beach

I decided to try something a little different in my still picture. I applied the whole vase idea to a bottle of Captain Morgan. Instead of a checkered back drop I added the beach.

My glasses

Meet the family:

Here are my 4 vases. For some reason I couldn't get the colors to show in mine. I think it must have something to do with my default lighting

4 Glass Objects

Here are four random object/vase/bowl things. It was extremely difficult remembering all of these steps. I hope these came out ok.

One Big Happy Family

Below meet Mrs. Purple Vase, and to the right, Mr. Green (her husband) and their children. Happy Flowers.


Monday, September 12, 2011

"Four bottles of pop"

I had some difficulty remembering the steps but here are four weirdly shaped bottles. I am looking forward to working with them or adding on handles and other things. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

La Luna interview

Attached as an interview with the director and producer of the upcoming Pixar short La Luna which will be attached to the new film Brave upon its release in 2012. It's interesting to see the sort of unique creative environment that Pixar's shorts provide. The director is given much of Pixar's talent and resources but is also given a the freedom to do something a bit different. Particularly, something that isn't necessarily commercial enough sell tickets on it's own.

From an animation standpoint, I found interesting the idea that a realism can be easily done with a computer but it is much harder to achieve a sort of stylized surrealism. The director specifically talks about the difficulty of achieving a Hayao Miyazaki-esque wave effect which is quite stunning but not necessarily realistic, and apparently difficult to achieve with computer animation. I think a lot of time animators and cg artists can be caught up in trying to achieve perfect realism without thinking about the fact that animation allows many other types of representation.

Here's a short clip from the film:

I've been hearing a lot of info on Pixar's newest film, Brave, a fairytale. And while that sounds odd for Pixar, it's Pixar and I think by now we've learned that they can pull off anything they try. After watching the trailer, the movie looks beautiful, and after only learning a few things in Maya, I can already tell how much of a masterpiece it is technically as well. It's amazing to see how much animation has changed over the past fifteen years and I've always seen Pixar as not only the leader in animation studios technically, but also in their stories

The many levels of Maya

I continued to watch Maya videos on youtube this week, and saw all the different types of things it can do. It is very interesting to watch a video of a complete beginner's "my first Maya video" followed by an official Autodesk reel of work that uses Maya. It just shows how the program can be used for such a wide variety of skill levels and uses. From my perspective, the program is still very new and somewhat intimidating, and I will be happy if I can create something similar to one of these "my first Maya videos" by the end of the course.

Here is an example of two of these:

It seems very elementary in style and execution, but there is a lot that went into it... more than I'm probably even aware of.

Here is an example of a professional use of Maya (commercials, movies, music videos, etc...):
For some of these clips, I can't even really put my finger on how Maya was used. Watching reels like this really convinces me that having a basic understanding of Maya will be a very skill for me to have when I graduate.

Also- can someone tell me how to embed videos? It's annoying to have just links here. I'm sure it's very obvious and i'm just oblivious, but... help?

SketchUp as storyboarding tool

In class we watched the clip about the 3D work in war of the worlds and the use of the simple models to "storyboard" the scenes before they go anywhere near high end animation. SketchUp is an awesome tool for this because you can quickly build a scene. there is a tool in SketchUp Pro that gives you a camera ( see link) the ability to move the camera is huge in storyboarding and using motion to see what you can do in a scene. SketchUp Pro 8 can be downloaded as a free trial and you may be able to get a full license by contacting google and asking. you can also import SketchUp models into Maya and use them as frameworks for more polished animations with out having to start from scratch.


I can't even wrap my head around this.

So I found this experimental video tribute to Blade Runner on Vimeo. After watching the video several times AND reading the filmmakers description of how he made the animation I still can't quite grasp the concept. I'm hoping that maybe one of you can help me understand it. According to the animator, Francois Vautier, the apparent T.V. screens in this film are all part of a single square image. He then used a virtual camera to create the movement in the animation so that it feels as if the viewer is flying through the scene with the glowing white cube. Actually,  the only thing I really understand is how he animated the cube.

Not only did I find this piece extremely perplexing I also thought it was a great example of how important sound can be in any video. Especially an animation like this one where there are no actual characters or distinctive dialogue. The sound perfectly compliments the movement of the glowing white cube making it come alive. To me I almost felt like I was traveling inside of a computer or some type of machine because of the sounds of the cube's movements.

Sorry I couldn't figure out how to embed a video from Vimeo so I just included the link...

A Two Second Animation

I found another tutorial by the same person that did the first tutorial I posted. It is very good and very in depth. It takes you through the creation of a two second animation from the very beginning to the batch rendering in 13 videos. It has you create a bouncing ball that comes into frame, hits the floor, and bounces away. An easy to use feature that I enjoyed in the video was the squash and stretch feature. It was really easy to have the ball squash and snap back to shape using keyframes as it hit the ground. Now that I have finished the tutorial I feel as though I could've done it all in 5 minutes but the person explaining the process is very good. He makes sure to mention certain features you will be using often many times rather than just clicking on them. I felt as though I was a little kid again following the instructions to a set of Legos. I highly recommend this tutorial.

Maya Animation Shorts

Hello all!

So this video I found posted by Ravi Parashar I think is an excellent example of animation that can be done in Maya. He goes through a series of short and some known animations. For example he recreates the very popular "PIXAR" opener where a lamp comes and squishes the letter "i." I had no idea that something like this could be done with Maya. Also within the video he shows a couple of robots pretending to run in different directions. The lighting and motion of the legs makes it seem as if the ground is moving or the robots are moving but since all the legs are moving in different directions it is proof that it was just an illusions. If you pay close attention to all the different animations it is amazing to see how much goes in to something so simple. I am extremely eager to learn these little tricks that go along with Maya such as lighting, motion, and angle to create illusions. I am very excited to learn more then what we already have. (Also once again I'm having trouble getting the video to appear. Someone will have to teach me in class. It's linked to the title).

Rigging a Cat

Just watching tutorials for Maya, which is supposed to help ease my worry of how difficult this program will be, is making me more nervous. I was searching for videos looking to learn the next step after creating polygons, such as how to form them in exact angles I would like. I saw this video where a guy had created a cat shape so I decided to watch and realized he is teaching people how to animate the cat and he is a senior in high school! So, I am now jealous of his talents. When we get to this stage this video will be very helpful on how to make the points to animate the characters.

Even this video is too complex and he does the modeling too fast for me to understand what he is doing and what he is pressing. It doesn't help he is using an older version of Maya.

Pixar Animated Shorts

After experimenting with the very basics and creating different shapes on Maya, I thought it would be interesting to dissect a professional 3D animation. I recalled a particular Pixar animation short called Partly Cloudy that aired in theaters before the movie Up. As I was searching for the video online, I came across another equally entertaining Pixar creation called Presto (below). What really strikes me about these videos is the expressiveness of the characters. It amazes me how the animators develop such dynamic characters whose emotions flawlessly change from anger, to excitement, to curiosity, using minimal audio.

As I watched, I tried to identify simple shapes and textures in the video. When viewed in this frame of mind, the animations are much easier to comprehend; although it is still very hard for me to determine what shapes/characters are more challenging to replicate than others. In the description under this video it says, “Problems arose when trying to animate the theater's audience of 2,500 patrons—which was deemed too expensive—and was solved by showing the back of the audience.” I assume with more experience and practice it will become easier to gauge the difficulty of producing specific objects in 3D.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oscar Winning Maya Short

I am really glad we started playing around with Maya last class. I already feel a little more comfortable when it comes to the simple basics. However, the more I research, the more I realize how in depth Maya is. I mean, just pressing the space bar is absurd. Maya is its own world, but I want to know it. And what's unique about it, is that you can create your own world. There are, as we have seen many simple and creative things you can do. Now this video below is complex and has ALOT going on (and it was made in Maya). It is a clever animation using simple shapes and recognizable symbols. It gives me hope that something with so many moving objects and a world can be created with this software. I JUST WANT TO KNOW HOW!

I am really excited. If by the end of this class I can make a world full of animation that would be great.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

something cool

hey you guys so i was looking for something interesting to put onto the blog..and whether or not you liked "inception" they definitely had some cool scenes and effects. I found a mini documentary with the director and some of the head guys in special effects and production. I really like the scene in the hotel (they call it the zero gravity scene i think). I think its pretty wild how they can pull some of this stuff off, but then you watch the video and see how much science and engineering went into the set and just time and manpower.

I know! yeah they didnt even use a green screen for that hotel hallway scene

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Good Tutorial

I installed Snow Leopard and got Maya working and decided to search for a good beginner tutorial because the interface looked fairly intimidating. After searching for a bit I found a good one on YouTube. It is Maya 2009 but I was still able to finish it with no problem or real differences. It is in 5 parts but it covers a lot of basic things ending with you making a nice little ice cream cone. But it starts off by going over the basics of the interface, some hotkeys, navigating around the views, and then creating simple polygons. However I already felt the need for a mouse when the video told me to hold down option and the middle or right button on the mouse to quickly navigate around the view.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Crow TV spot

I finally got a chance to check out Maya after getting it installed and functioning on my computer. I took an animation class in high school that used 3DS Max, a very similar program also made by Autodesk, so the layout of Maya looks somewhat familiar. It seems pretty obvious that during this semester we will only scratch the surface of Maya's capabilities, but I am excited to have a basic knowledge of it once we're done.

Since our first class, I have been trying to keep an eye out for things I see on TV and in movies that could have potentially been done with Maya. We saw how Maya is used for movie pre-visualization like in War of the Worlds, but I feel like I am often oblivious to how often it is potentially used in other common things like film effects, cartoons, commercials, and TV graphics.

I discovered a new channel that I didn't know I got at my house called Palladium. They show live music almost 24/7, and have recently been showing a lot of footage from the Oxegen festival and the Glastonbury festival. Anyway, I happened to see a 30 or 60 second spot for the Palladium channel that really grabbed my attention. It involves black crows flying on a white background, with tree branches evolving, growing, and disappearing. A giant flock of crows eventually turns into one giant, greatly detailed crow, who flies away to reveal the Palladium logo. The art design and detail are very impressive. I imagine that this spot was mostly created with Maya, or a program very similar to it.

Check it out-

Avatar Animation

After watching the video about the 3D animation utilized in War of the Worlds that Professor Sinclair showed us in class, I was reminded of the extensive research I did about the animation techniques James Cameron developed for Avatar in a previous class. I'm sure most of you have seen the movie Avatar and in my opinion it is a CGI and 3D animation masterpiece.

While in War of the Worlds 3D animation showed Steven Spielberg what his shot would look like after post production, James Cameron developed what he calls a Simulcam that caputres the virtual with the actual in real time. During shooting the actors wore motion capture suits and rigs that recorded their facial expressions. Their Avatar and Na’vi selves were already created in preproduction and the Simulcam takes the virtual production and superimposes it onto the physical production.

A hand held screen allowed Cameron to see the actors as their avatar or Na’vi selves in Pandora. This means that there is no more guessing as to what a shot will look like after the completed CGI animation because he can already see it.

The video above is from Hollywood Dailies and shows pretty well how the technology works. There are lots of other great videos found on YouTube that also demonstrate Avatar's Simulcam that I recommend you check out.

This technology certainly is a game changer for the field of animation and I'm excited to see future movie projects where directors further develop this technology.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Troika Design Group

Hey Everyone,

When I was looking at places to intern in LA for last spring, I came across the Troika Design Group, which is a television design and branding agency based in Los Angeles. They are responsible for creating image and branding for many of the major broadcast and cable networks, including ESPN, ABC, Fox, TNT, and The CW, to name a few. According to a New York Times article, Troika was part of the $50 million identity campaign created for the launch of The CW back in 2006.

The reason that I chose to blog about the Troika Design group is that they are responsible for some of the most well known show branding and identity campaigns on television. 3D animation over the past decade has become a major part of branding and creative services for stations, shows, and networks.

One of their most recognizable products is that of SportsCenter -- ESPN's flagship show (here's their page on it), which is initially how I discovered them. SportsCenter's graphics package is likely the most recognized graphics package in sports, and possibly in television as a whole. The detail that the graphics package has is incredible. It isn't common to see a good rotation of graphical elements throughout a show, where it's not the same effect from segment to segment. Examining the graphics package, you find new areas of details that you had not seen previously, such as tiny rotating cylinders that are only on the screen for a tenth of a second.

Under their "About, Studio" section on their website (sorry, there's no way to directly link to it) they have a video about who they are and the process they go through to design a brand identity for a television show or network, nearly all of which incorporate 3D graphics now adays

Earlier generation of the SportsCenter graphics package from Troika, found on YouTube

The future is Now

Watching the Colbert report on 3D printing could make you think this is something that will somehow become popular in the future. Reminds me of the first appearance of the (very expensive) laser printers, where only businesses could afford them, when presently you see them discarded on trash pickup day almost everywhere. Makerbot is one of the first companies that has made 3D printing affordable. An interesting idea is that 3D printers can of course print themselves, the attack of the clones! Another interesting place is Thingiverse, a place to share your "real" 3D with the rest of us.

So to have an idea how common 3D printing is becoming, check one of the many services that have sprouted in every major city, this one in NYC: Shapeways Check their gallery to see all kinds of crazy objects people design and put up for sale right there, check their blog as well.

You can simply upload your 3D model or even a 2D design and have it printed as an object in a variety of fancy materials, including many metals. Objects previously imposible to make by hand are now relatively simple to make, assuming you have some basic 3D chops, which is what you are here to acquire.

In this Google ad about their search engine they utilize 3D printing to convey a message of reality/virtuality in a rather compelling form:

Colbert Discovers 3D Copier

Like Francine, I was also intrigued by the idea of 3D printing and it’s potential not just in the world of animation but for practical purposes. I found this Colbert Report featuring the MakerBot, one of these magical machines. Although replicating Steven Colbert’s head isn’t necessarily very useful (my roommate, a Colbert fanatic, would disagree), the thought of replicating other objects-- tools, cups, utensils, for instance-- could certainly come in handy and save a trip to the store. I assume patent laws may come into question though?

While the scanning/copying process of these high-tech printers seems pretty straightforward and similar to that of ordinary copy machines, the teleportation of 3D objects makes me wonder what is in store next.. Human teleport possibly? Although it seems unlikely, the world of 3D seems to be flourishing. With it’s help, the internet is no longer limited to file sharing but object sharing! I can only image the other uses people will dream up for this art in the future.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Visiting Weta: An Exciting Look at the Making of ‘The Adventures of Tintin’

I read this post, featured on the film blog /film, a while ago and thought it would be a great thing to share with this class. It discusses a visit to Weta Workshop, the special effects house that's worked on such films as the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Avatar". Blogger David Chen gets an early look at the development of Steven Spielberg's new film "The Adventures of Tintin".

It's really amazing how motion capture technology has created an entirely new way of making films. It's nearly been perfected in movies such as "Avatar" and the recent "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" to the point that directors can make entire movies with this method, fusing the physical and vocal performances of great actors with stylized animation. Technologies like the "virtual camera" mentioned in this article allow traditional film directors like Steven Spielberg to make films as they've always done: on a set with physical cameras, while also tapping into the essentially unlimited possibilities of full computer animation.


Hello all! So I know we haven't really started to use Maya yet (I still cannot download it either) but I found this video on youtube and thought it was really cool to see what we could potentially be doing. This video entitled Vicious posted by erictingtingting1 (additional credits available at end of video) is an awesome music video using different characters and settings, as well as combining animation with live-action. The detail in all the different characters and the timing between the real people and characters is phenomenal. I am sure this is beyond complicated to learn but I am extremely interested and hope to be able to do this some day. Also something I noticed in this video was the importance of lighting. It completely changes the viewers angle on the characters and setting and is so important when making such a creation. I am looking forward to just being able to do a fraction of what this video is. (Also I'm having some difficulty posting the video here but if you just click the title of this post "VICIOUS" it will link you right to the video on youtube).

Stock Footage In Transformers

Hey everyone, A friend of mine showed me this video not long ago. I think it really demonstrates the power of 3D animation in the fact that a scene from one movie was used for a completely different movie 6 years later. You would never be able to tell unless you watched these two scenes next to each other. I also find it interesting because this scene shows that someone on the production of Transformers 3 knew what they needed for the scene. They thought to look through previous movies for something they could use, change, and produce as a finished copy. And then filled the scene from The Island with huge fighting robots.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lip Syncing in Maya

I have always thought it very fascinating that technology had brought us so far to be able to lip sync characters. I am very interested in learning this type of thing in Maya even though I know it will be much harder than it looks. It is so complex from the colors used, the eye movements, the way the body moves just like a human would, to the intricate mouth movements. It is very motivating to watch when you are in the beginning of a class on 3D. I am interested to see what the steps are to create a final piece like this.

Lighting and Reality: The Chess Board

As we have yet to begin exploring the software Maya,(and I personally have yet to download Maya due to complications with having an older operating system) I wanted to first look at projects that have been completed using the software.

I figure what a better way to start then by taking a look at a finished chess board, as that is to be one of our first projects in the program. It is a little intimidating how clear and real this chess board looks. But as far as I can tell, the lighting is key. Without the lighting, the dimensions would be harder to create and this looks pretty good to me. Maybe because I have never done any sort of animation before, I am easily impressed, but I will start my first blog entry by saying I am nervous, overwhelmed, but really hope to be able to create something like this!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone creates,

3D Printing: Not just for animation

Hey guys,

So I know that Professor Arturo used this topic as an example in class for a post but I found this video on YouTube (uploaded by life4nothing, originally aired on the National Geographic Channel) and couldn't resist. In the video they explain a little bit of the science behind the Z Corporation's 3D printing system. I'm assuming that the system shown in this video is way more advanced than any printer Park would have let Professor Arturo purchase. Honestly, even though what this system can do is pretty amazing I'm generally impressed that any kind of 3D printing exists.

This particular printer combines a powder with a binding agent during the printing process to create a solid object. As Professor Arturo mentioned in class this machine like other 3D printers can even build objects with fully functioning moving parts. What's even crazier is that the material used, whatever it is (they don't disclose specifics in the video, probably for patent purposes), is strong enough that you can actually use the product you print. For example, in this video they print a replica of a socket wrench. At the end of the clip they test the strength of the wrench by using it to tighten a socket and it actually works! Maybe I'm just easily impressed but I have a feeling it'd be pretty hard to say you didn't think that's amazing. The guys in the video make a good point; it's almost as if 3D printing has brought science fiction to life right in front of our eyes.  Just think what else we could use this for.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

hey guys

hey whats up you guys, like probably most of you, I have never used maya before and dont have the manual yet. So i did the next logical thing and youtubed some basic tutorials for the 2011 student version. heres the video for part one but this guys got a lot more videos. just by watching the videos i know im really excited to start using the program. but im already having issues with autodesk (already contacted them), so hopefully that comes through soon. but other than that i am really excited to start using maya. i threw in a another tutorial for mudbox too.

looking forward to another year.