Thursday, February 28, 2013


Unfold 2014 March 26-27 2013 - Debut of Autodesk 2014 AME Suite

It's that time of year again -- online on AREA, or live in Montreal, Autodesk is puttin on a 2-day unveiling the latest Autodesk 3D Animation releases.  It will include workflow demonstrations of the following software before they are released:
  • Autodesk® Maya® 2014
  • Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2014
  • Autodesk® Softimage® 2014
  • Autodesk® MotionBuilder® 2014
  • Autodesk® Mudbox® 2014
For more:


"Blend-If" Sliders in Photoshop - Julieanne Kost Tutorial

The "Blend If" Sliders in Photoshop can be a quick, simple way to combine multiple photos.  Julieanne Kost (Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop Evangelist) has a good illustration and tutorial here:

Sunday, February 24, 2013


State Sets in 3ds Max 2013

State Sets is a output module in 3ds Max 2013 for rendering out separate passes and organizing them for use in compositing software.  Because Adobe After Effects (AE) is the most popular compositor at the moment, 3ds Max 2013 ships with an AE plugin that translates the State Sets queue into an AE Composition where each State Set appears as its own layer.  Further, it establishes a live link with AE so changes in either application updates the other.  When you open the dialog (Render/State Sets), it contains a single State Set embodying the entire scene.  You then "record" changes into a new state set.  i.e. you might make separate State Sets for different Render Elements (each of which might use different renderers), other sets to isolate objects to their own passes, etc.  While the concept is not difficult, the interface and implementation can be confusing.  Autodesk has a series of 8 tutorials (as well as a workaround for network rendering in 3ds Max 2013), the first of which is  below:

Autodesk initially released a short but comprehensive overview for the beta in 3ds Max 2012.  Below are screen shots of what you would see in Max and in AE.

Here is the beta video:

Friday, February 15, 2013 - new site

The redesigned is live.  On it you'll find class syllabi, suggested books and materials, and some useful links.  The site is meant to be viewed along with this blog.  It's about training in 2D and 3D digital arts for animation, games, photography, imaging and fine art.  It's about interesting art and technique.  If you find compelling sources or sites in these areas, please pass them along.


Preventing Hair Loss (or how to mask hair in Photoshop CS6)

Glyn Dewis offers a few videos on making accurate masks in Photoshop CS6, in particular masking hair.  There are many techniques for this, the best of which are very detailed and laborious.  These get you awfully close, by starting with Refine Edge on a selection, duplication a layer and using blend modes.  If you're familiar with Refine Edge, you might skip the first one.


Animation Workflows for Games (Maya 2013)

Autodewsk's Steven Roselle gave this webcast entitled "Autodesk Maya 2013 and Beyond: Animation Workflows for Games" which covers workflows using this, Mudbox, 3ds Max (CAT), and Motion Builder in the Autodesk Entertainment Suite.  He also runs a blog in The Area.


Rhythm & Hues filed for Chapter 11

You may have seen that Rhythm & Hues filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this week.  If not, here's the article from Variety. (Tragic to me since they were the first, and maybe the best to bring cg animals to life.)  This follows on Digital Domain's bankruptcy last Fall, and much other news about declining profitability in the VFX industry.  They were among the best players of the last decade.  I don't know how well VFX divisions are doing at Sony, ILM, Dreamworks/PDI or Pixar.  Lucasfilm et al. and Pixar are now part of Disney.  At the same time we see a proliferation of newer smaller specialized houses making contributions to feature films. 

Is it just about cost pressures and an over-reliance on proprietary tools?  Or are we seeing a too familiar consolidation a la airlines, media, and other mega-corp ownership?  Any  thoughts?

Friday, February 01, 2013


XrayCat Survival Toolkit videos

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