Friday, January 31, 2014


Normal Map Generators

I've been looking around for utilities for generating normal and height maps.  Here are a few I tried out this week:

  1. nDo
  2. Crazy Bump
  3. SSBump Generator
  4. xnormal
  5. ShaderMap
nDo nad Crazy Bump do the job, but are more expensive than Shader Map.  SSBump is open source, but eccentric and more limited.  NVidia makes one for Photoshop, but it consistently gets a low rating.


Nice Short! Love in the Time of Advertising

Love in the Time of Advertising from Love in the Time of Advertising on Vimeo.


Populating a hillside with trees and plants using Particle Flow


Explosions with Particle Flow -- Louis Marcoux

One of the strengths of Particle Flow is how to handle explosions --


Casual Games Workflow; MassFx-PF Integration -- from last January


Particle Flow Presets from Allan McKay

These were done awhile ago, but they're a good way to get started:

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Grass Generator Maxscript - Free

There are several tools out there for generating grass, and techniques using Particle Flow.  This new script looks interesting in its ability to populate grass, cut grass and clumps with a simple interface:  see it at

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Flexible Muscle-Based Locomotion for Bipedal Creatures - SIGGRAPH Asia


We present a muscle-based control method for simulated bipeds in which both the muscle routing and control parameters are optimized. This yields a generic locomotion control method that supports a variety of bipedal creatures. All actuation forces are the result of 3D simulated muscles, and a model of neural delay is included for all feedback paths. As a result, our controllers generate torque patterns that incorporate biomechanical constraints. The synthesized controllers find different gaits based on target speed, can cope with uneven terrain and external perturbations, and can steer to target directions. See:


Process -

A short about what's inside a man's head while going through the "process" of ideation and creation. Combining a range of elements including RED footage, CG, Motion Graphics, and Sound Design.

"Process" from hellopluto on Vimeo.


British RAF Fighter Jets Fly With 3D Printed Parts for the First Time

3D printing has taken to the skies again! British Royal Air Force fighter jets have flown with 3D printed parts for the first time.
The parts were created by defense company BAE systems, at a Royal Air Force base in Norfolk. According to BAE Systems, the 3D printed metal components were used on board Tornado fighter jets that made their successful test flights out of the defense firm’s airfield at Warton, Lancashire last month.


AGF Pro Environment Creation Toolkit for Unity 4.0.

Unity 4.x already includes a nice set of terrain modeling, texturing and mesh-population tools and assets to generate environments within Unity itself.  You can sculpt terrain, as in Max, Maya or Mudbox, or achieve displacement with height maps.  You can paint textures such as grass, sand, and cliff materials.  You can also paint in trees, flowers and foliage.  This tool looks to enhance this last part.  Take a look:


Get Even 'What Is Real' Teaser -- another step to photoreal gameplay

Get Even subtlety removes the classic division between single-player and multiplayer experiences to unfold two linked stories. The game's plot revolves around the memories of its central heroes which have a dramatic effect on how the game progresses.

To create the photo-realistic visuals that bring the gritty universe to life, Get Even is the first game to use large-scale, real-world scanning to create expansive and lifelike environments. This 3D scanning technology combines with advanced lighting effects to create a stunning and believable world that pushes the boundaries of the genre.

This teaser contains few live-action shots. It was meant to show how reality can mix with in-game elements. All locations are actual part of the game in the exact form shown in teaser.


MassFx Toolkit

MassFx, the physics system in 3ds max 2014, has been integrated into the Particle Flow particle system, enabling physically-based particle simulations.  That is, you can apply MassFx to water, debris, and other effects.  This scripted toolkit is intended to extend and make things a little easier.

Massfx Toolkit Teaser from A&G Tool Company on Vimeo.


Material Switcher to for enhanced realism in 3ds max renders

For many years Neil Blevins has generously contributed to the 3ds max community, all the while working in film at major studios.  Here is a production technique tutorial showing how to quickly switch materials across a number of assets (or their subparts).  Imagine a project where you have many objects using variations on a single material -- how would you mix them up without re-applying over and over?  Check out:


Mechanical Beasts of Burden - Paul Neale

Rigging mechanical models presents a special set of problems -- unlike character joints that rotate on many axis, often several mechanical joints are constrained to a single axis and strung  together to facilitate the same movement.  This can present problems for max's IK solvers.  There's no one better than Paul Neale.  This presentation from AU 2014 last month gives great guidance.


Creature Modeling Tutorial - Maya & Mudbox 2014

From Autodesk, another useful tutorial showcasing the Mudbox toolset.


Exspert Challence - Mudbox 2014

Autodesk put on several Expert Challenge webinars at the end of last year.  This one on Mudbox is particularly interesting for the re-topology workflow.


850 Meters (short film)

This one has been making the rounds at various film festivals -- fun and nice technique.

850 meters (HD English version) from THURISTAR on Vimeo.


State Sets in 3ds Max 2014 - Extended View

State sets is a 3ds max tool for organizing animation elements for composting.  It can organize render passes and output by direct link to an After Effects composition, or otherwise output layers to other compositors.  In this video Michael McCarthy shows how you might take advantage of the Extended View workspaces in 3ds max 2014 for this purpose.


Helpful Tutorials on -- check out advanced facial rigging

There are many helpful tutorials on -- I particularly like the 2 part set Advanced Face Rig in 3D Studio Max.  It demonstrates how to design and wire an intuitive spline-drawn control panel to drive facial expressions.  This makes facial animation much easier than using the morpher modifier interface.

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