Sunday, January 29, 2012

Her Morning Elegance

This video is a bit old but it's always been one of my favorites. Easily one of the cleverest uses of stop motion that I've seen in recent years, and the song ain't bad too. "But Danny," you may be but probably aren't asking, "what does this have to do with 3D?" I'm glad you maybe or probably didn't ask. Think of the perspective of this piece. We're looking down on a woman lying flat on a bed. This allows her to appear as though she is falling through the air, walking, or even swimming. Freeing our minds and embracing all three dimensions Maya affords us will be crucial in the coming months.

Ryan vs Dorkman

Hey everyone!
I'm posting here one of the coolest light saber battle videos I've ever seen. Ryan vs. Dorkman. I know it's long but if you have the time I definitely recommend checking it out. The guy who did the special effects for this ended up being one of those guys who gets his talent discovered via youtube and eventually went on to actually work for George Lucas. (Pretty cool right?!)
It's a really high quality video when it comes to cinemaphotography and especially in the special effects department. I've attempted to do a light saber battle before and it's so meticulous and time consuming for just a thirty second video. It's crazy to think this is about ten straight minutes of fighting. I can imagine the amount of time and preparation that went into the making of this. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dony Permedi's Animations

I really wanted to use my first post as an opportunity to share two of my favorite student 3D animation short films. Both are created by Dony Permedi, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I've long admired his two shorts, Kiwi! and Pony. I feel Kiwi! is particularly relevant to our course because it was created with Maya and After Effects. Check it out below:

What I really enjoy about this short is how Permedi focuses most of his efforts on the animation aspect of the it. Because the short is lacking in certain areas, such as texture art, and because the kiwi is a silent character, the film relies heavily on the use of animation to convey certain points. Permedi did a great job of conveying emotions in particular. I always liked the part where he twirls down the rope because he looks so enthusiastic. The last shot of the kiwi's face is a very meaningful scene as well.

In an interview with the blog ISFAT, Permedi brings up a few points that I considered valuable advice for anyone starting out with 3D animation. He mentions how the animation took up his second year in graduate school and that taking the time to create storyboards and an animatic really helped the process of creating the short. He also brings up that he fouced on his strength in animation because he wasn't the best texture or lighting artist. He noted that had he focused too much on perfecting every aspect, he would have wasted too much time. Permedi also took the time to state that the CGTalk forums are a vauable source of advice and information for both fledgling and professional animators.

To learn more about Dony Permedi, check out his website! As for the Pony video I mentioned earlier, check it out below!

Green Lantern: The Animated Series

I said in class that I want to work on animated programs, specifically for DC Comics, so I felt like my first blog post should pertain to my interest. Recently DC has released their first complete CG program; Green Lantern: The Animated Series. DC has done many 2D animated programs, such as Batman: The Animated Series and (more recently) Young Justice, but for them to jump on the bandwagon of many other production houses and dive into the 3D animation is very interesting. As a fan I was very tentative about this idea. I've seen many 3D TV series, and many have a great deal of fundamental problems; many dealing in the characters movements. I was afraid that DC's streak of well produced animated programs might be broken if they couldn't pull off the 3D very well. Bruce Timm; who is the artist behind Batman: The Animated Series; Justice League; as well as many others; mentioned his trepidations about this endeavor. "For a while, I was actually really resistant of CG because everyone was like ‘Oh, this is so much better and blah blah blah!’ So, I probably had a chip on my shoulder about CG, but then certain movies came out and it’s just like, wow, The Incredibles is amazing! To me, that’s like CG done perfect. And I really enjoyed Tangled. I thought Tangled was really awesome…. But it’s the difference between comic book line art and a painting. It’s not like one is better than the other just because ‘It’s a painting, therefore it’s better!’ Not necessarily. There’s a certain power in the black and white line art that you can’t get in the painting and vice versa." I think this was a very interesting analysis, especially coming from a man who made his name in 2D. What I think is remarkable about the show is that it retains his art style; the powerful jaw lines, the hour-glass bodies. It was iconic for my childhood and the idea that they are able to recreate that in a program like Maya is incredibly exciting for me. Everyone always says the possibilities are endless for these kinds of programs, and this just reaffirms that for me. The pilot episode has already aired and it was well received by fans and critics alike. Right now it has nominations pending for the 39th Annie Awards. Here's a 6 minute preview from the pilot:
The series returns Saturday March 17th at 10 AM on Cartoon Network.

Friday, January 27, 2012

One Two Three Four!

I would like my first post to be about one of my favorite movies of 2010. I'm talking about Scott Pilgrim vs the World, A movie that my not be in 3d but which graphics are definitely going to change the way movies of this genre are made in the future. What I like about Scott Pilgrim is that the graphics used not only look "cool" but also help tell the story. I think that the fact that this movie combines reality with animation to communicate with the audience is what makes this movie so different and original. I like also that the style of the graphics bring you into this videogamish world. Some of them even suit each of the characters by the style of the font or even the color of the graphics. This movie made me think that we need to plan ahead before we begin our projects. We might need to ask ourselves, which style am i going for and which elements am I going to use in my design to create it in order to achieve the look we are going fore. Here is the trailer for Scott Pilgrim.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Maya featured in Academy Award Nominees

There are many very impressive special effects being featured in this years Academy Awards. While look at Oscar nominees, I found a slide show that explains which software the movies used to create their special effects. Maya was featured in movies such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter and even Transformers. The companies use Maya and other Autodesk softwares as the basis and core of their creative ventures. The programs ability to capture the lifelike characteristics such as hair, eyes, and muscles make for very realistic CGI. The story mentions that Harry Potter used MudBox as well for their digital modeling. The lavish art design of Huge and the CGI effects of Maya created an detailed set of 1930's Paris, taking of a year of work to complete and done by Pixonmondo. You really see the variety of how Maya can be used in films. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it is being used to create hundreds of animals that need to pass as realistic and in movies like Real Steel it is used to create two robots battling. There is the complete difference in textures, from fur to metal, and the movements which each character makes. Maya is the connecting factor between Transformers and Huge, two movies with very different art styles and audiences.

I definitely wasn't aware that Maya had such a prominent role in the art direction and animation of movies. The fact that it is featured in the best movies of the year makes learning the program that much more exciting.