Monday, November 28, 2011

2D movies to 3D

I stumbled across this blog about making movies from 2D to 3D. They made Titanic into 3D and the author is wondering if people will enjoy it. If the 3D quality is poor it might be too much for the audience. He says watching Avatar is different in 3D than watching Titanic. If the statement was solely based on the quality because Titanic was converted into 3D, then he has a point. If not, I don't see the difference.

He also talked about how 2D trailers are made for 3D movies. If they have 3D footage, why use 2D? That is puzzling. More and more people have capabilities on their television and computer to watch 3D so people expect it.

We do see more and more films in 3D these days but I wonder if it will last. Do you think that 3D films will be common in technology's future? It if is bad on our eyes, I hope not.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Puss in Boots

I figured I would save you all a few bucks in case you are Shrek spin off lovers (which you probably aren't). But if you get talked into going to see this film, just watch this trailer instead because this is all you need to know about the whole film. Really. Cute and simple.

The animation itself was pretty good. The 3d was nice, but like many animations, I am not sure if it is necessary. The fur was done reallllly well, and I would love to learn how. Happy back to school day!

Radio City Christmas Spectacular is actually spectacular

Over break I went to NYC with my family and on Friday we went to see the annual Rockettes Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall.  I knew going into it that there would be a couple of scenes that required 3D glasses but I was in no way expecting to be as impressed as I was. Not only where there two scenes with actual "3D" components, the entire backdrop for most scenes was done in 3D animation and projected on a screen behind the stage. The realistic aesthetics that this added to the show were absolutely incredible. After taking this class and trying my own luck with 3D animation I have an even greater appreciation for the work that was done for this show.  Yes, the Christmas Spectacular was a little over the top...but isn't that the point?


So I know this isn't 100% relevant to 3D Graphics (although this film does employ them quite a bit) but I recently saw the film Hugo and felt the need to share it with everyone. Hugo, a new family film by Martin Scorsese, and an amazing love letter to early cinema. I don't want to give too much away, but suffice to say, anyone who has a love of early cinema, especially the power of early visual effects, is in for a treat.

Call of Duty

I'm sure some the guys in the class are video game fans... and what better place to see great 3D animation than in video games... at least I think that's one of the places where it is appreciated most. Well Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 was released a few weeks ago and it basically outsold any video game to date. I think part of that has to do with the awesome trailer they made for the campaign starring Jonah Hill (Superbad), Sam Worthington (Avatar), and Dwight Howard (NBA player, Orlando Magic). Great marketing strategy with some great stars, and the animation didn't stink either. Jonah Hill absolutely kills it and he certainly isn't someone you would picture in combat. Check it out...

So Many Movies!!

I know we all know there are a large number of 3D films but I found this pretty cool list of Illustrated 3D movies. According to the author of the list, the list includes those 3D movies (or shorts) that have been screened theatrically - or at least to a reasonably large audience. A thumbnail of the poster or an image from the movie is included where available. The list only includes those 3D movies that were shot on film or at HDTV resolution or above. The list is big - you might be surprised. This list also identifies those 3D movies that are available on the new Blu-ray 3D format as well as other 3D legacy formats (on Blu-ray, DVD and VHS).

Here is the link. Check it out!!!

Motion Tracking

Over break I spent some time doing some research on 3D animation. My goal with all of this 3D stuff is to one day bring the animations to life by combining it with footage. I know how to motion track and match move 2d footage using after effects but I did not know exactly how this would be done with a model made in Maya. After reading articles and watching YouTube videos I saw some very impressive things.

This video interested me because these days in movies more of the scene is digitally created than is real. I searched the internet for 3D match moving software and came across two different pieces of software. Boujou, a 10,000 dollar 36 megabyte program and PFtrack, a little less expensive but equally ridiculous. After seeing these prices and not wanting to be a pirate I got scared that it wasn't possible to take my 3D creations and apply them to footage. But then after looking at the Autodesk folder one more time I realized that Maya comes with a match mover. Here is an example of something fairly simple that could be achieved using this software.

3-D Laser Scanning

So I was actually about to goole search a 3-D movie that I was recently told I had to see, when I opened my internet homepage to this 3-D related video from TEDTalks. Essentially, it is about 3-D laser scanning system used to "digitally preserve world heritage sites". The project is called CyArk (standing for Cyber Archive) and uses a laser that records X, Y, and Z coordinates to document data on historical sites and recreate them virtually incase that they are ever destroyed. So far the archive includes projects such as Rosslyn Chapel, Pompeii, Mount Rushmore, Chichen Itza, and Rapa Nui. The information is then distributed to the public through videos and virtual tours in order to tell the story of the different sites. Pretty cool 3-D idea! Check it out! No computer animation is actually involved.

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!
I had to explain this 3D class so many times to family over break because they didn't understand exactly what I was doing in the class. That is when I brought out my laptop and showed them my chess pieces. I ran across a lot of problems adding to my video though so I am ready to be back in class to get assistance. During break I was at my cousins house and my little cousin was playing chess! I hadn't seen someone play chess in so long and I looked at the pieces so differently than I did last time!
Here is a Thanksgiving Day wallpaper. At first glance I thought it would be hard to make in Maya but then I heard Arturo's voice saying, "You guys can do that now!"

the things a hand can do

heres a clip from super smash brothers for the n64 (early 90s) and i was looking for things for a hand. and in my house we still have this game i realized how easy something like this would be with the hand. if you watch the video theres very little movement of the fingers, which i think makes it much easier. all the hand does is get into a position then moved from there as a whole, the only thing im still trying to figure out in maya for this is how to do the flames and explosions (as well as water but thats something else). the hand is a little boxy but its still better than the one i made and this one was done not long after i was born so good job nintendo.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shape of things coming up

Autodesk is moving up to the cloud to utilize the power of distributed computing and enable users to process highly complex models which would be impossibly slow in their laptops. They recently went beta with 123D (formerly known as Photofly), an application that allows you to build 3D objects based on a series of photographs. You can see some examples in the video below.

Unfortunately the application only runs on Windows, at least for now.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Damn this is cool

Somehow I stumbled upon this tutorial for how to edit an image in photoshop and make it 3d. Here are the basics: Pick an image with action and depth. Create a depth map layer (the closest objects need to be white, the farthest need to be black, and everything in between will be shades of gray).

From there there are a few more steps and tiny things to adjust (steps that mean nothing to you unless you have Photoshop open and are trying it). When you are done, the image will be three dimensional under traditional red and blue 3D glasses.

I want to try it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Here's the synopsis as taken from /film:

Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts.

A new trailer has been released for Pixar's upcoming film Brave.

From an animation standpoint, the thing that particularly stood out to me is Merida's hair. Disney's Tangled has done straight hair really well in 3D but never have we seen curly hair done this well. The hair to me seems like a mix of complex physics based stuff and some careful manipulation to give it an exaggerated "larger than life"quality.

As for the film itself, it hard to tell what to think from this trailer. A lot of it looks really promising but the humor looks pretty goofy. However, Pixar trailers usually aren't a good representation of the actual films, as they tend to cater to young children. That said, I'm excited to see Pixar tackle a medieval setting, and links to Scottish folklore set it apart from other "sword and sorcery" family films like How to Train your Dragon.

Progress or Procrastination?

 Since I didn't have any great ideas about what to post this week I thought I'd just put up a picture of the scene I've created for my animation. I can't decide if me spending the past two classes working entirely on building the set, rather than animating my hand is a good thing or not. At the very least maybe it will give all of you some ideas for what to do with yours. In case you do see something you like and want to replicate it I'll give you a brief description of what I did to build each piece.

The chair and the couch are both just cubes. I changed the number of subdivisions (like we did for the chess board) in the attribute editor.  This allowed me to be able to extrude the four corner faces on the bottom of the cube to make legs. I then extruded the faces around the edge of the top of the cube to create the arms and the back of the chair. I then extruded the faces on the back of the chair a little more so that it was higher than the arms. Finally I smoothed the polygon once to make it look more "comfy." To make the couch I just used the scale tool to make a duplicate of the chair a little longer.

To make the table I also created a cube (given it was much flatter) with subdivisions and created the legs of the table the same way as the chair/couch. To make the shelf underneath the table top I created a separate cube, lined it up with the legs of the table so that they intersected just a little. Then I used the booleens "Union" to make them into one piece.

The wall lights are just pyramids flipped upside down with the bottom faces removed. I places a spot light shining directly upwards inside them to make it look like a light. The material is a phong with the transparency turned relatively low. However, I'd be careful with adding too many decorative lights like this. They aren't really doing that much to light my scene but definitely effect the render speed.

To make the windows I selected 6 faces on either side of the wall and changed their material to a phong with the transparency all the way down. The sky and grass behind them are just planes with a picture placed in as the material. 

I hope that this will maybe help some of you or even inspire you to do something cooler. Alex, I'm assuming you've already made something way cooler than this.

Oh and I am going to see the Rockets perform this Friday in NYC. I heard on the Today show last week that they will be incorporating 3D into the show this year. Don't worry I'll be sure to tell you all about it in my next post!

Happy Thanksgiving

In honor of Thanksgiving here is a link to "3D" Thanksgiving screensavers. Put one on your computer while you eat lots of food and have fun and be happy and give thanks of course.

3D enters the world of fashion

A came across a Time magazine with the "50 Best Inventions of the Year" and one of them is the "3-D Printed Dress" (That's right DRess, not PRess) Apparently a Dutch fashion designer named Iris Van Herpen has been making dresses that are initially planned in Photoshop then worked on with an architect to develop a 3-D model and finally printed over the course of a week. The printed replica of the design is ready-to-wear straight off the press! I looked them up on google and here are a couple of Van Herpeb's dresses that I came across.

Not exactly my idea of fashion but hey, if you're not into the 3-D video animation, 3-D clothing design is another viable option!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tips for Animation

I don't know if any of you are hoping to do animation beyond Maya but I ran across a website that gives tips and they are really useful.
I like #9: Bookend trouble spots. I just encountered some problems on the Maya timeline and used the editor to delete certain key frames. It fixed everything! But the information is actually a good tip so that if we do have an issue we can make key frames a frame over on each end to get rid of the problematic key frame. 
We have almost worked a whole semester on this project and we are making a 5 second video. Tip #10 talks about doing short animations because that is how long of a segment you would be working on in a job and I thought that was interesting. It does take a long time to do even 5 seconds so someone working on a 10 second video must be pretty dedicated or be a film major.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rendering Tips

The title is a link to a possible tutorial. For those of you that are having difficulties rendering (and I have been one of them), try and give this tutorial a shot?

I know rendering has made all of the difference for me, and I know once we all get to the animating stages, rendering is going to be that much more difficult. But gooooood luck to you all over break on your animations :)

Also here is a nice picture to start your holiday's off right.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

pretty cool

another week..another post. this is the trailor for the move "Coraline," little background, its a tim burton movie.

a friend told me that they really liked this movie and i saw the trailor and honestly wasnt impressed and left feeling that tim burton beat me again. but the characters in the movie are actually puppets in real life and were manipulated and there were MILLIONS of still photos taken and then patched together to make the illusion of movement. in my opinion its a lot of work for something not that aesthetically pleasing, but as an editing technique i find it incredible and meticulous. for that tim burton ill let you take this one.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chess Set

I'm looking forward to having the chess set animation completed because once we've mastered the movement of the hand, I think it will be easier to mess with it and create other kinds of animations. Here is an example of an interesting way to animate a chess set, other than just having a hand move pieces or simply having the pieces play out a game.

This dude created a full on battle between his chess pieces. The way they fight and move has nothing to do with the real game of chess, but it is very cool and creative. At one point a piece's head explodes and its brains fly everywhere. I also think it is interesting that the majority of his video is on the chess board, and then at the very end it zooms out to show a very elaborate, fully animated living room. I can imagine that the room took a very long time to model, and it is only in the video for a few seconds...

Sunday, November 13, 2011


ROSA is 3d animated a short film by Jesús Orellana that has recently been receiving some attention at festivals. The film is notable for its lavish visuals and "zero" budget. Personally, while I agree the film is definitely a technical accomplishment, I find the story to be lacking. The world seems to be a mish-mosh of post apocalyptic sci-fi cliches and plot and characterization are nonexistent. We have no reason to care about the fighting between these characters because we have no idea who they are or why they are fighting. Ultimately, I have to say that even with its slick action and polished visuals, I didn't find the film particularly engaging. Your mileage may vary.

Too Many Good Games

There are so many games coming out right now and I don't have the time or money to enjoy them right now. Even if I did have those resources I am currently without a system to play them on. My younger sister who is a gamer, has commandeered my Xbox 360 and destroyed the honor my gamer tag AlexandaDaGreat once had.

I really enjoy first person shooter games. Going on Xbox live and destroying strangers in virtual worlds is a lot of fun but I haven't done much of that this year. I already missed out on Gears of War 3. Two games on my Christmas list are Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. My relationship with these games goes back to before high school. I'm not a bandwagon fan like all the people who have jumped on the Call of Duty franchise when it moved to consoles. The original Call of Duty for PC was great. So was the second one, Call of Duty 2, the two best World War 2 games I have ever played. Then Call of Duty tried to move to consoles on the Gamecube PS2 and original Xbox. They released Finest Hour and The Big Red One. I thought these games were way under par for the franchise. Then they struck gold with Modern Warfare and have made billions of dollars and sell millions of copies in days.

Battlefield is a similar story. Dice originally launched Battlefield 1942 a revolutionary game pitting teams of 32 against each other as Germany, Japan, Italy, England, America, or Russia. In this game you could fly planes, bombers, drive boats, submarines, tanks, jeeps, you name it. They continued the Franchise with Battlefield Vietnam, Battlefield 2124 (an under appreciated future based shooter) and Battlefield 2. Like Call of Duty Dice tried to move the franchise to consoles but it just didn't work out until Battlefield Bad Company. Bad Company utilized the newly developed Frost engine to create fully destructible environments. This immediately gained the game attention. They released a more refined sequel with Bad Company 2, then after building console confidence launched Battlefield 3 2 weeks ago. Myself and many others believe that Battlefield 3 is a better game than Modern Warfare 3. Infinity Ward now has some FPS competition which means they will try even harder with this next Call of Duty they release. Gotta love capitalism.

Oh and I made a graphic for a friend using create text. Pretty cool how you can set up text and two lights in less time than it takes to render.

Character Animation

I know eventually we'll be making our own characters in Maya... and while browsing the internet I came across an interview on with David Couchariere. He's a 3D animator from Belgium who nows works for Dreamworks. His animation can be seen in the Ice Age movies, Madagascar 2, Kung Fu Panda, and How to Train Your Dragon.

He gives good advice... like how when considering an animated character's facial expression you should try it out yourself in the mirror first. In the article there are also some examples of his work and work profess. You guys should defnitely check out the aricle and the site... it has some really good resources like interviews with other professionals, inside looks at technology behind movies and games, and some tutorials.

Multicamera 3D TV Production

This blog post isn't directly about 3D graphics, but rather multicamera 3D video production, which is an area of technology that is developing rather quickly. NEP Broadcasting, who provides the production trucks for most of the major networks remote products, rolled out the nation's first two mobile production trucks designed specifically for 3D last year (here's the news release).

The most use of the two 3D trucks has been ESPN, who's been expanding their coverage of 3D sporting events. So far, most of the events covered in 3D have also been covered by conventional 2D trucks at the same time. For some events, the 2D trucks and the 3D trucks share some of the same cameras, where the 2D trucks receives the "left eye" signal from some of the 3D camera rigs. For some coverage, such as golf, the 3D production trucks will also receive some of the 2D cameras, which are used for when depth of field is a minimal, such as when the ball is in flight against a blue sky. Because the technology is still fairly new and viewership and revenue from the 2D production well exceeds that of the 3D production, the 2D director is given control of the 3D cameras that are shared.

Chyron, in their newest character generator system, the HyperX3.1, natively supports stereoscopic 3D graphics for broadcast use. The system allows you to design, edit, and update the stereoscopic 3D graphics in real time.


While stumbling, I came across this website,, that contains a ton of independent short films, and they have a whole animation channel! Going through them, I found a bunch of videos, including the two below (there were a lot of stop-animation films but these are the two nicest 3-d animation films I came across). The first is about a wasp dealing with addiction while the second is based on the first pages of the bible about the creation of the world. And as different as they are in theme, both are really nicely done and very... succint as well. I enjoyed both of them quite a bit (and in all honesty, the second one is quite trippy, the texture they use is really beautiful and reminds me of that effect in photoshop that you can use to neon-ize your photo)



3D at the box office, new and old

So this first bit of information is probably old news for many of you but bare with me I'm a little slow sometimes. Haha. Anyway, I was searching online for something to post about this week and I came across a story on the entertainment website The Wrap about how Disney is re-releasing more of their movies in 3D. For Disney, this strategy means expanding on profits made when "The Lon King" was re-released this fall.  For me, it means getting to see some of my favorite Disney movies of all time in theaters. While "Finding Nemo"  (Sept. 14th 2012) and "Monsters Inc." (January 18th, 2013) are the only two I think will really be worth seeing in 3D, I'm equally psyched for "The Little Mermaid" (Sept. 13th, 2013) and "Beauty and the Beast" (January 13th, 2012).

On another note, I've been hearing the movie "The Adventures of Tin Tin" come up a lot in conversation lately but hadn't checked out the trailer until today. In case you haven't alread you should definitely take a look at it too. The films looks like it will feature some of the most realistic animation for a fully animated film we have ever seen. In fact, parts of the scenery in the trailer looks pretty close to reality. While the human faces are pretty remarkable they are definitely one of the first things to give away that this is an animated film. I wonder what it is that makes it so difficult for us to recreate human flesh to the tea in animation?

Street Art

I was using the fantastic procrastination tool that is stumbling when I came across this website that I was amazed with. I know we looked at the amazing 3D chalk earlier in the semester but this is just 3D mind game playing art all over the place. Definitelly check it out!

Pixar Parody

I saw this website with images for a the real "Up". It is pretty neat. And this inspired me to take a look at the many great Pixar animations. Where I finally stumbled upon this parody of Pixar. If any of you are Pixar fans you will appreciate this to some extent. It also looks pretty simple. I think we could do this one. The shapes are generic and it appears the letters could also be made in Maya. I wouldn't be surprised if they used this software. Check it out.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I don't really see this character as a kiwi and I don't really understand the plot but it is a cute little animation. There is one part where he is flying and the camera zooms in, but not that smoothly. I am interested to see how zooming in with a camera in Maya looks. How does the animator get motion blur in the accompanying animated video of the land and trees? I do know how to get the goggle straps to fly because we talked about looping key frames for them. Animation is so complicated. So much goes into it. The background track pushes the video along but then other audio needs to be added like sounds where he interacts with objects. Very time consuming. Very complex.


..has some cool stuff. I was browsing youtube for animation videos that i liked and this video had a couple different things to it that i liked. one is the animation motion. its very fluid and goes well with the music which is the second aspect i like. well all know how hard it is to not only model something but then go by key frames. the creators here made a music video through animation basically. my favorite part of the animation techniques used is in the facial expression of both the birds and the people. pixars got some good stuff if you have the time to look around, i really like their short films. most of which dont have sound or people speaking but i think they do a good job of story telling and used this technique.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Animated Films eligible for "Best Animated Feature" Oscar

This year, 18 films are eligible for the "Best Animated Feature" Oscar, and the vast majority of these films employ 3D as their primary animation technique. This means that there could potentially be five nominees this year rather than three. I have to say that I've only seen one of these films so far (Rango) but the list looks like a mix of good and bad (I don't see Mars needs Moms or Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked! coming home with any awards) and includes some interesting foreign films that I hadn't heard of. I've a linked a few trailers of some of those as well as some of the more critically acclaimed hollywood films.


The Adventures of Tintin

Puss in Boots

Winnie the Pooh

Alois Nebel

A Cat in Paris

Chico & Rita


Has anyone else seen any of these films? I'd be interested in thoughts on possible nominees as well as personal recommendations. It's a shame that Pixar's film this year is fairly lackluster but it's good to see that other films might be getting a chance when they would have been otherwise overlooked.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

We Could Do Better

Okay well not me... but maybe Alex.... haha

Have you guys ever seen these commercials? The animation seems like this company is just some local car insurance business who saved up enough money to get an amateur animated commercial made for them... but no.

The General Car Insurance runs adds all along the East Coast... I see them back where I live in Massachusetts too! Not to mention there are what seems like HUNDREDS of them. The General goes skydiving, goes to the beach, picks up girls... he does it all!

Let's all master Maya and make a way better General commercial and submit it to the company. I bet we'd get that commission, fast! (maybe...)

I feel like this guy probably is even better...

But let's see him animate it! Look at Raoni Nery's other stuff here!

NFL on Fox Open

Here's the open for the NFL on Fox. It reminds me a lot of the Sportscenter open because of the incredible number of layers that it has, along with the futuristic design, especially with the establishing shot. Unlike the open for Sunday Night Elements, which contains both animated and non-animated elements this open appears to be completely animated. The movement of the robots are very realistic to humans. This makes me think that they were using motion capture to either control or use as a reference for their movements.

The physics engine in the animation is also designed extremely well. An example of this is when the robots impact the turf causing blades of grass and dirt to fly up. Additionally, this piece also has great "cinematography". The 3D cameras get great coverage from a huge number of angles. The lighting in the piece also creates a dramatic yet realistic stadium environment.
After reading the article about Javier Solsona who works at Dreamworks, I remembered that they just released Puss in Boots a few weekends ago and decided to check it out a little more on Youtube, which is when I came across a teaser that's a parody of the Old Spice commercial... I was fairly amused

As for the movie itself, I doubt it's anything great, but I did enjoy hearing Antonio Banderas do the Old Spice voice, and I thought it was funny to watch because it's animation, and while I'm not saying it's easy, it does seem easier than the original commercial (and it seems a little like cheating), which is somehow all one shot. In case you haven't seen it, here it is:

Jobs in 3D

After reading Arturo's post rigging experts and the interview with Javier Solsona, I was curious as to what other job opportunities are out there in the world of animation... I came across this website (as well as many others) which is essentially a job forum for 3D artists.

Jobs range from robot creators, video-game designers, social documentary animators, modeling directors, They include rigging, skinning, lighting, storyboarding, prop design and character design specialists, as well as my favorite a "fur specialist". Interestingly, most of the jobs are in Asia including Biejing, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore and India. For anyone considering in continuing on in the field of animation it appears that there are tons of options out there—animating for a variety mediums, working on different parts of the animation process, all around the world.

3D Magazine

So I came across this website called "" and was amazed by some of things I found. First off there is a 3D magazine. They basically tell you how to do anything everything. From a 3d game to a pixar style 3D car. The magazine also comes with software and tutorials. On the website people from all over post different 3D art that they make. There are tons of different galleries, tutorials, photoshop help and so much more. This website is so cool! I highly suggest taking a look at it. The link is in the title of this blog post but here it is again.

Finished Lighting?

Hey guys,

So like Connie I definitely suggest you try lighting your scene because it does make a huge difference. I started using the lighting dome tutorial, created the sphere and placed the spot light above my scene. Then I got frustrated with my shadows and decided to try something a little different than what the tutorial is suggesting. I think that the dome and the spot light are a good way to get your lighting started because it creates a lot of light from above. However, if you are looking for an effect with shadows that are a little less harsh maybe you can try what I did. After adding the spot light I decided to add two directional lights on either side of the camera, I guess they serve as my key and fill lights. I messed around with the angle/position and intensity of each light until I was satisfied with the size of my shadows. It's not perfect but it is a good start to relatively flat lighting. I guess I should mess around with the shadows of each light in the attribute editor a little. Fun story, that's exactly where I stopped paying attention to the tutorial. Even though this chess set doesn't look as cool as Connie's does, I'm hoping it will work well with the addition of a hand into the scene.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Starting to Animate - FIRST LIGHT!

Now that we are about to move into the actual animation of the hand. WHICH IS GOING TO BE CRAZY, I figured I'd give one last pitch about lighting your chess board. I personally think it is a great addition, and if for some reason you have decided you like the generic lighting, maybe think again. My board looks ten times better, and I didn't change anything at all but the lighting. I just followed the lighting tutorial that Arturo gave us and voila. It is simply a dome, (that you then put the alpha rays down so it can't be seen) and a plane. I added a material to the plane surface to add to the texture of the scene. And then it is a spot light over the chess board to create the shadows you want. This is trickier, so play around with which kind of shadow looks best for your material. Because my color scheme is dark already and reflective itself it was easier to work with light, so other materials may find it to be more challenging. BUT again it is totally worth it. Good luck!

Happy Animating.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Featured artist Javier Solsona

Javier was born in Argentina (grew up in Patagonia) and is currently the character TD (technical director) at DreamWorks Animation. The Character TD department is in charge of setting up the motion system (the puppets) and deformation for all characters as well as props. The also work closely with the character fx team to do a lot of the hair and clothing.

He was featured in the CGBrains site where the previous post came from, and where you can read a very interesting and inspiring interview HERE. But more importantly at this point I think is his own site, appropriately called Rigging101.

Here you can find fascinating discussions in the forums, free tutorials and ready made rigs like the one featured in the video below. This was posed as a challenge by him and different people responded with different solutions (including Javier). You can download the rig file from the site and play with it, but definitely watch the video first.


We all know or understand by now why rigging is itself a career choice, like being a proctologist or a fungus specialist!
Here is a video by someone who obviously is a specialist. I love how his soothing voice makes you think it is sooo easy. Enjoy:-D

Make sure to check other videos at this great site CG Brains and don't get depressed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


i was checking out the simply maya website the other day and i found all of their free tutorials..half of them just cut out half way before the project is finished but whatever. so i basically just picked one up and went for it. modeling rooms and buildings are really easy compared to what weve been doing in class (yes arturo you were right) and you can really make anything you can think of. while doing this i realized how much the extrude and edge loop tools help. another thing is that i just play around with the extrude settings (the thickness, offset and divisions ) and even though i dont usually get what i was looking for i either like what came out, delete it or learned something new. so theres my preaching to the blog hope i didnt bore anyone reading. heres the link to the free maya tutorials. you need a user name and password but its free.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Avatar Hand

Can we get one of these?! I started to get discouraged because I don't know much about key framing yet and if I could just get my hands on one of those machines life would be much easier! All jokes aside, it looks very interesting and it is amazing a machine can animate a hand on a computer as easily as it does. I was hoping in class tomorrow Arturo would show us more about key framing and maybe he can on Monday instead. I am stuck on moving the hand at this point as it seems like there are many steps and if you key frame it wrong it might be hard to correct later on.

Sorry to be a Blog Overachiever

But I have some questions about the paint tool. I recently discovered the Paint Effects tab and I don't fully understand it, but it does really cool things. If you go to "getbrush" in this tab you can select from 100s of brushes that create geometry and textures on a NURBs surface.

This is a poor screenshot of a poorly lit birch tree sitting on some nice green grass. All it took was some quick strokes with the brush tool. But my question is what are these objects that have been painted on? They appear to have geometry but I don't know exactly when they would be used. Is all the heavy duty modeling done on the characters and then the backdrops are just piecing together pre-made things?