Thursday, November 14, 2013


Facial Animation with Project Princchio, Faceshift (Maya) and Kinect

Faceshift is a free plugin for Maya for facial animation which uses image capture from Microsoft's Kinect 360.  In this demo video, a Project Pinocchio character is published for Maya compatability (including facial bone rigging).  The Faceshift plubin (free from the Autodesk Exchange) is loaded into to Maya, and the plugin is "trained, i.e. reference poses are captured.  Once in place, it can map and record a real-time facial animation on the character.


Project Pinocchio Updated -- More Choices, Children, Better Response

Project Pinocchio is a free* technology preview that leverages Autodesk's 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.  Using a web browser and Project Pinocchio, you can create, customize, and download your very own rigged 3D characters from a catalog of over 100 body types, outfits, hairstyles, and physical attributes in a few simple steps. Once you create a character, you can use it in a variety of Autodesk modeling tools to create imagery and movies.

The new updates support a wider choice of humanoid designs and clothing and the ability to create children from the adults.  Most important, the models are fully rigged (including facial blend shapes) and quickly animatable in 3ds Max, Maya, Motion Builder and others.

This technology preview is available until December 31, 2013 after which the web portal may come down.


Submissions Open for VES Student Award

The Visual Effects Society is now accepting submissions for the 12th annual VES Student award sponsored by Autodesk! Find out how you can get exposure to the top artists in the industry, win the Autodesk® Ultimate Entertainment Creation Suite® and a trip to Hollywood for the awards ceremony by visiting the VES Website for entry details and rules.

Daniel Brkovic
David Kirchner
Jan-Marcel Kühn
Sascha Geddert
Johannes Peter
Patrick Schuler
Philipp Wolf
Kyra Buschor
Anna Habermehl
Constantin Päplow
Michael Balthazart
Raphaël Gaudin
Clément Granjon De Lepinay
Quentin Sauvinet


Alan McKay - Going After the Unattainable

Alan McKay is among the best working VFX artists today.  He's just published a short article about his journey, and some of the decisions made along the way.  In his words, "My intent for this article is not to make a “my life” story, but more to point out certain pivotal moments that changed my life, and trickle in key bits of advice that can be applied to anyone’s career. Also. to demonstrate times of failure, self doubt, and pushing through it to success."  Yes, this is an industry driven by the winds of fashion and non-stop change, and starting out today is different from beginning 25 years ago.....but the feelings, preparation, and excitement are not so different. 

He's given us a good read:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


M and E Cave Event December 1, 2013 in Las Vegas

Autodesk will assemble a bevy of industry gurus across its media and entertainment products at its CAVE event  December 1 - 4 (as part of Autodesk University) at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.  We've learned from many of these folks before, not to mention it promises to be a good party.  Hopefully they will post the Master Class sessions from the conference if you can't attend. For details, pricing and schedule, see


Meet the Experts -- Autodesk Archived Webinars

Autodesk offers webinars that demonstrate techniques and offer opportunity to submit questions to the presenters during the resentations.  Recently they have posted the recordings of most of these sessions -- they're long, but often worth your time.  See


Digital Tutors Offering Demo Tutorials through Free Account

Digital Tutors is offering several course videos for free this month.  Take a look:

Friday, November 08, 2013


Tutorial: Getting Started with Softimage 2014 CrowdFX

3ds Max 2014 introduced Populate, a parametric crowd generating tool for creating animated crowds.  Its best used for showing traffic patterns and creating human props in the background.  But what if you want the crowd to be the actor?  i.e. flocking, armies on the move, sports teams?  These few Crowd Fx videos from Autodesk  demonstrate the great control afforded by this tool.  Here's the first of three.  You can pick up the rest on YouTube.


Research - 3D Printed Joint Replacement

Dr. Rita Kandel is Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and along with a staff of over 200 medical professionals, Kandel and her team are attempting to use 3D printing technology to build new tissues to replace human joints damaged by injury or disease.  An interesting read at:


Banksy Street Art (NY)

Banksy is a world-renowned graffiti street artist, most recently notable in New York City where his installations - and he - always bring controversey.  Below is a gallery shot from the Washington Post -- good art is just that.  For the full gallery, see

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