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Disney: Quality before Quantity!

Category : Research · No Comments · by Dec 7th, 2010

I was watching this short clip regarding the making of Disney’s new movie ‘Tangled’ and one thing in particular caught my attention:

“An animator here at Disney will produce anywhere from 2 to 5 seconds of animation… per week(!)”

- Byron Howard, Walt Disney Animation Studios

It gives an interesting perspective of how much effort and energy is put into the making of one of these pieces of art :)

Just for fun… lets put some maths to this :P

If one week is 40 hours and the animator is animating 5 seconds and each second is 24 frames, then:

(24 fame per second * 5 seconds) / 40 hours = 3 frames per hour

In other words the animator is spending an average of 20 minutes on each frame to get it right! :)

Check out the clip for yourself.

Cheers mates!

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:





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


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.