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Animation Backgrounds

Category : Inspiration · No Comments · by Aug 31st, 2009

As you probably noticed by now you can find all kinds of thing on the internet and I’ve recently found a blog that I found to be really inspiring. The old Disney films are truly works of art and they are beautifully animated. But other then that I’m also very fond of the backgrounds. The backgrounds are really beautiful pieces of art by them self, unfortunately you perhaps don’t think about them too much because you are focusing on all the animated action. However, believe it or not, I found a blog that is entirely devoted to animation backgrounds! It is really, really nice to just sit and watch these pictures and take in all the details. You should take a look at;  http://animationbackgrounds.blogspot.com/

Here are some of my favourite highlights, from the film Pinocchio.

Check out the rest at: http://animationbackgrounds.blogspot.com/search/label/PINOCCHIO

Enjoy!

Self-unwrapping polygons; Ptex from Walt Disney Animation Studios

Category : News · No Comments · by Aug 25th, 2009

Walt Disney Animation Studios are working on a new method for unwrapping polygon meshes, and the idea is to not unwrap them at all! They call it Ptex (Per-Face Texture Mapping) and it automatically unwraps all the quad faces of a subdivided mesh. This saves artist a lot of time when they don’t need to spend time with unwrapping, eliminating texture stretching and texture seams; it is all done automatically.

This technique has already been used Walt Disney Animation Studios in their production of Bolt (2008) and is supported in Pixar’s RenderMan renderer.

Here is a short abstract regarding this technique and you can read the entire paper here (.pdf). And here are some slides (.pdf) from EGSR. And here is a video demonstration form YouTube:

Cebas ThinkingParticles

Category : Presentations, Research · No Comments · by Aug 5th, 2009

I’ve been wondering for a long time what is the deal with ThinkingParticles and in what way(s) it is “better” then Particle Flow or other standard particle systems.

Well, the deal is that it is rule-based and not time- or event-driven. So the particles isn’t just controlled by their age or whether they collided with an object or not. You can design your own “rules” for how the particles should behave. Here is an explanation and a simple example for how ThinkingParticles can be used (quoted from the developers website):

Here’s an example why ThinkingParticles is superior to other particle solutions. Imagine that you have to create a 3d space scene and you need to animate a space ship flying through an asteroid field. This field is full of everything from the most enormous rocks to the most intricate pieces of debris, all of it hovering around. Now imagine that your boss says, “The spaceship should avoid the big rocks but the smaller ones are allowed to collide and bounce off the hull of the spaceship.” This would be an animator’s nightmare. An event-driven particle system would fail to handle this kind of task because you would need to define a path through the asteroid field and then look for the exact key frames where things should happen. But what happens when you need to change the path of the ship or the amount of rocks or the balance between the big and small rocks?

ThinkingParticles makes it easy to solve such a situation with ease. Two rules will solve the rock collision and avoid problems. Conceptually, the rules would look something like this:

If SPACE SHIP GETS NEAR (VALUE) A ROCK

CHECK IF

BIG (VALUE) ROCK THEN AVOID IT (move around)
SMALL (VALUE) ROCK IGNORE AND DO COLLISION

END

Of course, the above is not the real code fragment. In ThinkingParticles, you do not need to type any code at all. This is only the logic flow diagram of the ThinkingParticles operators and conditions. As you can see, there is no TIME related variable in it so this will always work. Regardless of any path or amount of frames. Whenever the space ship gets near a rock the rules control its behavior.

But I also found this video presentation that gives a very good idea of what it can be used for—and it is mighty impressive I’m telling you! 8)

Here is the link, enjoy!

For more information check out Cebas.com

Ta-ta!

Cebas VolumeBreaker

Category : News · No Comments · by Aug 5th, 2009

Cebas has developed a new fracture plug-in for 3ds max, called VolumeBreaker. It looks impressive.

Check it out here!

Autodesk Masterclasses from SIGGRAPH 2009 – For Free!

Category : Presentations · No Comments · by Aug 4th, 2009

Autodesk has posted their Masterclasses from 2009 for free over at The Area. Just sign up (it’s free) and enjoy some tips and tricks from real masters of Autodesk softwares; including 3ds max, Maya, Mudbox, Softimage (nope, it is not called XSI any more), Motion Builder and mental ray. Here is the link; http://area.autodesk.com/masterclasses.

I personally find these two classes to be very interesting, in 3ds max:
Non-Photorealistic Rendering Techniques in Autodesk® 3ds Max®
with Gary M. Davis
Giant Robots: Using mental ray shaders to integrate CG elements into real shots
with Håkan “Master Zap” Andersson (Swedish guy! :) )

And I think I have a look at this one as well, its in Maya:
Fracture: procedural, collision event-driven destruction
with
Kevin Mannens (I do like destruction ;) )

I’ll have a look at the Mudbox class as well if I got the time.

Cheerio!

FX Experiment #002: glu3D Basics

Category : FX Experiments · No Comments · by Aug 4th, 2009

After trying out FumeFX in my previous experiment, I got really curious about liquid simulation as well. So I had a go with glu3D by 3Daliens. glu3D is a fluid system but it is primarily used for simulating liquid substances; such as  water, oil, honey, cement and more.

Rather then using voxels, such is the case with FumeFX, glu3D uses particles to simulate the flow of the substance and then uses a special surface generating algorithm for generating a mesh surface around the particles. Kind of like Meta balls, or BlobMesh as it is called in 3ds max, but from what I’ve seen glu3D is more stable and less memory intensive. Now without further ado, here is my first glu3D result:

I think it looks really good considering how easy it was to set up. Maybe the liquid’s viscosity is a little to high, it looks somewhat like some sort of liquid rubber, especially towards the end of the simulation. Probably should dial down the thickness.

WIP: The Back Alley – Part 1

Category : Work In Progress · No Comments · by Aug 2nd, 2009

I’ve been doing some 3d work during summer holidays. But laziness got the better of me and my productivity hasn’t exactly been through the roof. However here is a piece I’ve been working on from time to time.

I felt an urge to create a back alley in a Mediterranean like environment. So I spent some time on google and searched for reference images and when I found my inspiration I got to work. This is what I’ve achieved so far:

The Back Alley

I spent a lot of time trying different light rigs, materials and render setting to optimize my render time and final resault. The Images above is 600×800 pixles (click on it to enlarge) and the render time was 5 minutes and 52 seconds. I’m pretty satisfied with the lighting by now so from here on I will focus on texturing the rest of the buildings and modelling more destruction to get a more gritty, dirty, “wear-and-tear” kind of look. Old stuffs makes really nice art :)

Mediterranean

FX Experiment #001: FumeFX Basics

Category : FX Experiments · No Comments · by Aug 1st, 2009

I finally, finally, got around to try out FumeFX—and it was a lot of fun! :)

FumeFX is a third party plug-in for 3ds max that is a Fluid Simulation System. It allows you to create realistic fire, smoke and explosions. It is developed by Sitni Sati. Here is some information about the plug-in from the developers website:

FumeFX is a fluid dynamics engine designed for simulation and rendering of realistic fire, smoke, explosion and other gaseous phenomena.
It’s versatility, robustness and intuitive workflow makes it a perfect solution for the most demanding tasks in the computer graphics industry. Almost every aspect of simulation can be customized through 3ds max scripting, allowing user to interfere with simulation computation at the lowest level.

So I started out very simple and just got some fire and smoke working and then to interact with some objects. I also made a lot of notes about different variables and settings so that I don’t forget it. This is what I came up with:

It also gave me the opportunity to try out Fusion from eyeon for compositing. But I get back to that another time when I spent some more time with it.

Cheers! :)

3D Particles vs. Post Production Particles

Category : Research · No Comments · by Aug 1st, 2009

I’ve been very curious about the use of post production particles verses 3d-particles (particles created in 3d application).

We have had the privilege of having Daniel Tegeland from HaymakerFX as a guest lecturer at school. He’s an expert of After Effects and has done some really amazing things and taught us all a lot. He uses a plug-in called Particular from Trapcode which is a really powerful 3d-particle system (Z-depth and self-shadowing particles, as far as I know) within After Effects. So I got curies about other’s choice of particle systems.

I was watching The Making of Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Trailer from Blur Studio and Brandon Riza talked about his work on it with Particle Flow, FumeFX and Thinking Particles in 3ds max. So I got in touch with him and asked him what his opinion on the matter was.