Saturday, March 31, 2012

First 3D Rendering

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

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

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

Mad Men and After Effects

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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


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

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

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Edge Extrusion

So we talked briefly in class about edge extrusion modeling, and when I started modeling my character I wanted to try edge extrusion feeling as though it would be a better method for me to use. When I sat down to work on him I wanted to do some more research and watch a couple videos. I stumbled upon a man by the name of Andrew Klein. He has a series of videos with Maya tutorials. The edge extrusion one I found very helpful in my quest. If you're interested at all in any of his other videos check them out at .
Here is the video series I used:

The only downside is that he is using an older model of Maya, but other than that they are still very helpful. Go check 'em out if you need any help.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Steadicam Effect

So I know we haven't really got into talking about camera work yet with Maya but I thought this was tutorial really cool. It gives you a step by step on how to make the camera appear as though it is handheld or in a steadicam. Why is this relevant? He does it with dynamics instead of keying!

This approach is how they likely achieved some of these effects in those beginning scenes of "Wall-E" or the scenes with the snake in "Rango". Worth a look!

Start the video at 3:12 to get an idea of what i'm talking about.

And may the odds be EVER in your favor.

Alright, so I'm not sure who else went this weekend, but last night I saw The Hunger Games. (Which, if you didn't see yet I totally recommend it.) In the movie, the capital has this technology that allows them to play with holographic images and manipulate them as if they were real and I thought that was really awesome. They basically created 3-D images of whatever animals they wanted to appear within the game and then as soon as they were done it instantly became a part of the challenge. I just thought it was really cool.

Here's the picture of the control room where they manipulate the game space.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3D Animal Modeling

When we were messing around in Maya in class the other day and were working with all the paint effects and fur/hair, I started wondering if it would be more difficult to model an animal as opposed to a human. But I was wondering it would be much more tedious trying to cover an entire animal with fur as opposed to just focusing on the head of a character. Especially since it would have to change with every movement the animal makes and just be very fluid and light. Would there be a huge different using the fur preset and creating your own?

While I was looking for example I came across this video, which is a little ridiculous, but shows all the different textures and patterns he used to create the final fur product for a wolf.

The proportions would also be very different, dealing with a whole other bone structure and body type.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Return from Spring Break

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a relaxing spring break. I definitely did not. As Arturo suggested, I am posting about my first trip to Boston (no teasing me for taking almost 21 years to finally see the city). It was absolutely gorgeous and I'm pretty sure I'm in love. While I was there I thought a lot about how these massive skyscrapers and buildings were designed. 3D design definitely had to have been involved in some way to design the building first before it was constructed. Kind of like how we create things in Maya and then animate them or export them to a website such as Shapeways to be physically made. I think it would be really cool to see something I created in maya brought to real life.

See you all in class Monday!!

Good news Everyone!!!

If you are a fan of the show Game of Thrones you probably know that it's coming back soon in April!!! horaay!! Also, Season One came out on DVD a couple of weeks ago. Go buy it and watch it if you haven't!!!
If you don't know what's Game of thrones, it's an HBO tv series, it is an excellent production. So how does this post relate to 3D you might ask. Well, the actual intro of the show is an excellent example in ways you can take 3D as a career. This intro is amazing and beautiful. Along with the music, the graphics set the perfect mood for the show. The 3d modeling is great, and the animation is really well done. Check it Out!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ready Player One

So i just finished this book for my "Writing as a Critic" class. It's called "Ready Player One" and it takes place in a not-too-distant future where the energy crisis has really burned the planet out and everyone avoids reality by escaping into a MMORPG virtual reality world called the OASIS.

The book is a really awesome read, especially for pop culture buffs and video game geeks. The coolest part of the world? Video game programmers and designers are considered celebrities of the highest caliber. I definitely recommend it. They've already bought the movie rights!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Interaction Design: Response to Text, In Text Form.

Interaction Design: Response to Text, In Text Form.: While risking going into a polemic, there were basically two prevailing themes that I noticed in this week's readings that I would like to r...

Yes, I too have just created an Instapaper account. It is a great idea and I will be interested to see if I actually go back and read any of the pages I bookmark!

As far as Chad's insights on rapid prototyping: I think the idea of generating many ideas for an eventual design solution, especially as a team comes together and shares/cross pollinates these ideas, will 100% of the time generate a better product than would the project's first iteration. All of the interaction design development models later explored by this book (I have had the pleasure of reading it once already) rely heavily on product testing, re-testing and assessment.

It seems as though Chad's scrum development may rely more heavily than some processes do on the number of designs explored, which seems like it could lend itself to more innovative/creative solutions, as the exercise of outwitting your last design over and over again would inevitably lead to a design team with a knack for thinking outside of the box. The scrum development approach seems like it would be best suited to projects with large budgets and perhaps better suited for software-based designs, as large numbers of physical prototypes would inevitably cost the client.

As for the iCal issue so vehemently written about by Ben Brooks and Marco Arment: the changes proposed by both men would be an improvement to the design of the Mac's calendar. As for the problems with the stitched leather, linen and ripped pages: the look is a little ridiculous but not something I will probably be thinking about much more than that.

Also, on my ventures across the web several days before spring break, when I first read these polemics, I ran across the 2012 Interaction Awards sponsored by Google. One of the best in show awards went to LoopLoop, which is a music software designed for the interactive toy, Sifteo. I wanted to know more about this Sifteo! I think that the Sifteo cubes are a great example of interaction design done well. The toy is inspiring and delightful and looks very fun and easy to use:

Saturday, March 10, 2012


For break I'm visiting one of my friends in Vermont who is a game art and animation major. She showed me some of her work in maya and 3Ds Max but they seemed so much more detailed than anything I had been able to make, but this was because after she created the structure of the object, she would import it into zbrush to fine tune it. I know someone had posted about textures in zbrush, but I still didn't really know what it was. ZBrush allows you to mold your object, almost as though it was clay. Everything seemed so much more realistic when you could add features or wrinkles to a face or muscles to a body. You can also create objects from scratch, similar to how we do it in maya, except instead of extruding from your initial shape, you mold and stretch the object (or that was how she did it the one time she showed me).

This is a gallery of some of the things you can make in zbrush. Below is a short video of a sped up creation in ZBrush of a mans head.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Making Guac

I found this video in one of my friend's Facebook wall. I know this is not 3D, but I still thought that it was pretty awesome. This is a stop motion animation about guacamole. I thought it was pretty creative and visually interesting. The sound effects used here also added to the animation. I also liked that instead of preparing real guacamole, they opted to used random objects to shoot it. This detail added to the whole creativeness and awesomeness of the video. The stop motion technique is something that I really enjoy. I though it was really well done in this video. It made this video even more enjoyable. Here it is, Check it out!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

3-D Television

We've all been to at least one 3-D movie experience in our lives, (and if you haven't, well shame on you.) Anyway, 3-D generally required the use of 3-D glasses. Even the first generation 3-D televisions required expensive glasses in order to function. Now we're at the point where we don't need the glasses. Toshiba has introduced a television that doesn't require the glasses in order for things to appear 3-D. Go to the mall in Ithaca (Pyramid Mall) and near the SPCA and AT&T there is a television display where it looks 3-D without the glasses. Honestly, I think it's terrible. Within 5 minutes of standing there and trying to watch the TV I got a headache and had to walk away. It's so distracting. I personally think 3-D is cool for special effects or for things popping out at you (Like Harold and Kumar's 3-D Christmas). For regular television it's ridiculous.
If you want to read the article about Toshiba's TV I've put the link here.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Playstation Vita Augmented Reality

Sony just released their new handheld gaming device, the Playstation Vita. The big hook here is their new augmented reality gaming. The system uses a series of cards as place holders for the on-board camera and turns any area in your playground. Here's a demo below. Everything you see is seen through the screen of the Vita.

This is pretty fricken cool in my opinion. They've taken 3D models and found a way for them to interact with the world around them. I'm a little skeptical as to just how well this system works. It's possible this is it operating at it's absolute best. I remember trying the Xbox kinect and being pretty disappointed. It worked fine but you needed to clear an absurd amount of space in your playing area in order to have good results. What sort of parameters will the vita have? They claim the world is your playground. I'm interested to see if that is true.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


So unless you like the Gorillaz this video will make no sense but nonetheless for this week's blog post I decided to talk about the Gorillaz' new video for their single DoYaThing. This song is a collaboration with Outkast's Andre 3000 and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. Below is the song:

If you like the song, there is also a 13 minute uncut version. Let's just say it's 8-9 minutes more of Andre 3000 saying how awesome he is.

Personally I am floored by the quality of the CGI in this video. The level of detail that went into their characters is incredible. For a few years now they've been doing great videos like this. What I love is the overall feel and quality of them. They look unbelievably realistic. I can't pinpoint it exactly what I really love about their design, but I think my favorite part is that they are placed in a real environment in post. I always think that's an incredible technique to use. Shoot in a real location and have an actor wear a green suit to chroma out in post and place your model in his place. Just incredibly cool. If you're more interested in how this video got made, a making of video was posted a few weeks before the video dropped. Here it is:

Invention of Love

I found this movie the other day. I think it's a pretty sweet and cute story. I like the animation and the tone they used to tell this story. I think it fits perfectly. Stylistically, I enjoyed the way the played with colors. The contrast it created in some of the scenes was amazing. I also thing that the had a great use of shading to give deepness to the movie. This movie proofs that sometimes simpleness works better for some stories. I think that if the movie would've had polygon shaped characters, it would've been way different and it probably wouldn't have captured the main theme of the movie.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Alex Roman

Below is an ad for Silestone, a company that makes countertops, that was created entirely in CG using 3D models. It shows fruit falling and smashing into pieces like glass when it comes into contact with the counter. What amazes me is how realistic the fruit seems, I never would have guessed that they weren't real. I think it is also interesting that they chose to make them falling rather than just film them falling and then switch to CG when they hit the countertops. It was made by Alex Roman who used 3D Studio Max, V-Ray, After Effects and Primiere Pro.

Roman was the one who made The Third and The Seventh which is a short film made entirely in CG (I believe someone in the Motion Graphics class posted it on the blog).

On his Vimeo, he posted a video that shows how he did the modeling for some of the shots in his move (The Third and The Seventh). It just shows quick shots of each object through its phases until it becomes the final product, I thought it wa really interesting. The very first shot of most of them (even though it was probably made in 3ds max) shows a similar model to what we are using in Maya.