Wednesday, March 27, 2013


3ds Max 2014: Perspective Match


Maya 2014: Paint Effects Enhancements


Mudbox 2014: New Re-Topology Tools


Gnomon Workshop Live April 27-28

The Gnomon Workshop is holding a live event in Hollywood the weekend of April 27-28, to demo techniques used in many games and feature films.  Here's the schedule.  Student Tickets are $100.00.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Course on Rapid Character Development for Online Game

CGWorkshop posted this promo for an upcoming course on Rapid Character Development with John Deriggi.  This short video provides a 1.5 minute  overview of the workflow from sketch to final model. 


3ds Max - XForm vs. Scale

Several of you have asked why one would use an XForm modifier on an object instead of simply doing a Scale.  Scale changes the object's characteristics in World Space, while the XForm modifier does this calculation at the local geometry level.  Many times you won't notice.  But scaling can create havoc if you scale an object which is part of a hierarchy, and might not work if your pipeline involves exporting to a game engine.  Chris Murray does a nice job with this tip:


nvidia DTC 2013: Face Works and Ocean Simulator Demos

At their GTC  conference March 19, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed a demo of Face Works technology running real-time on the GeForce GTX TITAN GPUa new benchmark for realistic simulations of a face.

Here they showed off an ocean simulator -- his description gives you an idea of what's involved, and what we have to look forward to.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Sneak Peak Videos - AME 2014 Suite Improvements

CGMETUP has been posting the Sneak Peak videos from Autodesk about the next generation of their Entertainment Creation Suite.  Here are a few you might be interested in:

3ds Max 2014 shows improvements in Mental Ray, in particular adding image-based lighting to the render.  This permits lower Final Gather settings, better bounce effects, and quicker renders.  This will be a big help to those lighting with Photometric lights and using the Arch & Design or the Autodesk Material Library for Mental Ray.  They've also increased speeds in calculating Depth of Field, which also is visible in viewports using the Nitrous driver.

"Populate" will be a big crowd pleaser - literally because it lets you drop in a crowd simulation to show traffic patterns, etc. in environments and buildings.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Creature Bust Creation - Mudbox & 3ds Max

Jesse Sandifer is a freelance character artist who presented this AU Master Class around December, 2012.  He creates in Mudbox and then sends to 3ds Max. It goes for about 1.5 hours.  The first 2/3 involves sculpting the head, then sending to Max to correct any topology issues (refine edge loops, scaling or subdividing large faces, etc.), APPLY unwrap UVW (adjust and relax, weld and remove overlaps from existing UWW's from Mudbox, creating clusters for front and back). He sends the model with adjusted model back to Mudbox (which updates the changes) and extracts Displacement and Ambient Occlusion comparing the lowest and highest poly details in mudbox i.e. compare level 0 (7k polys) to level 4 (512K polys).  He combines the maps in Photoshop, then returns to 3ds Max where he applies the maps to what we see below.  The tutorial is available at:


Rigging a Character for Games (from the 3ds Max How Tos Channel)

Autodesk released a large series of How To videos, notably this group on  Rigging a Character for Games (from the 3ds Max How Tos Channel).  These are free tutorials covering setup, creating the skeleton, skinning, setting up IK/FK controls, and linking all this to helper objects to enable intuitive animation, and include exercise files.   While we will use of the pre-rigged skeletons from the Biped and CAT systems (allowing you to spend more time this semester animating), you should know that custom rigs can offer more flexibility when you need it. 

Here is the introductory video:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


RAIC and Facial Control system - Pen Productions

Paul Neale is one of the master riggers to pay attention to.  His company, PEN Productions, has introduced the RAIC and Facial control system.  Check out the interface in action.

Thanks to Pasozebra for the work and fabulous model to work with. Also thanks to Mathieson Facer as this was done with his help when working at PEN.


Autodesk at GDC March 27-29

Autodesk will unveil the 2014 line of its Entertainment Suite at GDC in two weeks.  Also they will host their Unfold online event demoing the products at that time.


Head Modeling Tutorial

Speed Video -- creating a girl's head.  This is a re-post of this video from September, 2011.


Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling

Disney has its 12 Principles of Animation.  Pixar offers 22 Rules of Storytelling at:


Mental Ray Proxies

Mental Ray can be extremely slow at producing high quality renders when you have multiple instanced objects.  Mental Ray Proxies can reduce render times by instancing repeating geometry in the scene.  In these videos, Autodesk shows how to instance multiple trees created using Foliage objects.  Each one has a very large face count. 


RealFlow Webinar

Many of you want to add realistic water behaviors to your scenes.  A lot of this can be done in 3ds Max or other 3D applications natively for specific views, i.e. a calm ocean, light wind on water, thick fluids, etc.  Maya's nParticles and other systems produce some great results.  But for many years, RealFlow has been a leader.  Here's an introductory webinar;

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Graffiti Artist INSA (from the Adobe Blog)

This artist paints walls, buildings, etc., but makes a time-lapse video of a series of "re-paints" which translate into animation frames.  The result is what appears to be an animated GIF, only it's in real life, or what is being called "GIF-iti".  Here's the blog post:

Here's a time lapse:


Autodesk Project Pinocchio - Free 3D Charactger Creation

Project Pinocchio allows you to customize a humanoid model and then render it with animation and rigging. Characters can be rendered in multiple formats and can be downloaded and used in Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, and other modeling and animation tools.  Here's an example I made from the site and imported to 3ds Max.

Autodesk Project Pinocchio a powerful 3D design and animation tools to provide you with a web-based laboratory where you can create fully-rigged custom 3D characters. Design a creation of your own or modify existing stock characters using a variety of pre-defined body types, facial features, and clothing styles for inclusion in 3D games, animations, and scenes.
Download here -
Once you've made your character, you can bring it into 3ds Max via FBX, or follow the video below to design and import the character into Maya.


Weta Tissue Software Fundamentals

In Avatar, The Hobbit, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Weta developed and implemented their next-level rigging, a tissue system (i.e. muscle rigging).

Friday, March 01, 2013


Paperman: 2013 Oscar winner for Animated Short Film.

Here is Paperman from Disney Studios.  I'm struck by the natural looking of blend of 2D and 3D, and notable sound, yet no dialog.  The film is here, but there are also "making of" YouTube videos showing how vector drawings can be pulled from the 3D animation to aid in the ink & paint process. 


Life in the Movie Business: An Inside Look at the VFX Crisis

Elly Hart wrote this article for Gizmodo Australia discussing  recent VFX studio failures,  issues and complaints among professionals working in this areas.  Bottom line, there is something very wrong when artists at Rhythm & Hues need to initiate a class action for wages for work on Life of Pi when that movie wins an oscar for visual effects and grosses upwards of half a billion dollars.  Take a read:

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