Friday, November 16, 2007

Up to Speed (pt. 2)

So in my very first post I talked about how I got into 3d animation and how I got into Ringling. Due to a lack of new and concrete artistic developments, I thought I'd take this time to share a few of the projects I completed in the time between submitting my art school applications and the next fall.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Futurama. However I rarely have a chance to make my love of photography public (go on, check out my facebook albums, indulge me, I spend a lot of time on that stuff). That and my love for technical experimentation lead me to this toy around with HDRI's (High Dynamic Range Imaging) and capturing an environment.

In this experiment I photographed a table in my room, then took a picture of a reflective sphere at 3 different exposures. This allowed me to create a panoramic HDRI. I then dusted off my bender model, redid his materials and threw him in a scene with the hdri panorama. Thus the lighting and reflections were practically identical. This was also the first time I really toyed with compositing on my own.

I can accept that I didn't make sophomore status, my tradition work needs a lot of work and even now I'm too embarrassed to share my more recent pieces. Still I must admit it's frustrating when I hear about some of the sophomore assignments and it dawns on me that they're doing things I'd done months, in some cases, years before and just for fun.

This piece was a promo I did for work one weekend. It was one of the only animations I've done for Stage 3 and (outside of the modeling the exterior of the tire) I'm lucky enough to say I handle all aspects of this piece. Taking a different approach to setting it up, I was also extremely happy with how fast it came together, this turned out to be a weekend job.

The next piece, a more obvious bouncing ball-type project, was an experiment I did with multi pass rendering while on the clock at Stage 3 (hence the stage 3 branding). The idea is to be more efficient by rendering out different layers such as the color , reflectivity, shadow and so on. The layers could then be comped in Combustion to make a lot of imediate tweaks(as you would in photoshop) as opposed to rendering, adjusting, re-rendering, re-adjusting, etc... Additionally the background is only rendered once and the motion blur can be added in post, instead of boosting render time.

Again a weekend project that came together surprisingly quick. I've got a few new comparable projects on my scope. Hopefully I can get them to come together as painless as those.

Finally, I'd aways been a goal of mine to create Hobbes in 3d. After toying around with fur for a potential tiger bid, I decided to modify it to fulfill that goal. Additionally, I took screen shots during the process, so I leave you with the modeling of Hobbes in 3ds max:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Toy Project

So here's the final model and animation I created of our toy cat for 3d design. My partner handled making the physical model and it's box... I'll see about getting a picture of that...

I rendered it out a a resolution the mac book would enjoy...

As you can see (assuming you saw earlier posts), I ended up remodeling the whole body to closer resemble the model my partner made. The texture was also made to mimic the way the physical model was painted.

Since I've been poly modeling for awhile I spent a good amount of time giving some sophomores advice on their penguins. I noticed pretty much all of the models (including the one in the example they had) had more geometry than what was needed. It's tough to really modify and improve a model, your own or another's, when it's so dense.

I thought I'd use this model as a way to provide some advice.

If it's a simple model, Keep it simple. Extra edges turns models blocky; when you want to move a feature or a side you'll have to move 40 verts at once and try to smooth them out afterwards when it's a feature that could have been created and controlled by 4 verts. The more verts, the less influence each one has. Of course it takes a lot of practice to start developing tricks and techniques but so much of it comes from the initial approach.
I stumbled across some thumbnails I did that got me started on this model. I just tried to create lines that flowed with the features and try to stitch it together with 4 sided polys. Of course, I changed things as I was working but generally I tried to keep it just as simple. You'll notice in this model there's a lot of areas where 3 or 5 quads meet at a point (so the edges form a 3 or 5 lined asterisk), I should mention, if you're making blend shapes and animating a face, avoid those unless it you know it's necessary. Generally, if those verts are moved in animation they don't provide natural looking deformations.

Just keep it simple.

...and with time you'll begin to love poly modeling. Then you can take it in mudbox and make it complicated.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

3D Design - Catch Up

My partner and I presented our toy cat this morning for 3D Design. It turned out very well, I didn't do much outside of pitching the idea and modeling/animating the cat in 3d (my partner was really proactive). I'll see about getting my portion of the project online to share. Until then I thought I might share some of the earlier projects I completed for that class.

This is one of three designs I did for our line project. It's suppose to represent a word that describes ourselves. Can you guess this one? Disregard the phallic semblance (unfortunately my camera angle doesn't do much to diminish the initial impression)

The next project was our modular unit, just a compilation of simple shapes to create a visually appealing structure. I decided it'd be a good opportunity for me to toy around with Maya, primitive shapes and basic poly editing. I also learned to do basic uv unwrapping so I could determine a good was to layout the figure. You better believe it became quite meticulous when I started plotting the cut marks on the poster board I was using. Next time I'll scale them appropriately in photoshop and print up some stencils.

More recently we had a self-portrait due. It had to have something to do with our majors so I decided to simply paper mache a figure with some of the most influential movies, TV shows and comic strips that inspired me to become a Computer Animator.

The gesture itself was very important so I spent a lot of time on the general shape of the wire frame. I think it was my first time paper macheing since about second grade. To be honest I like the wire version better but the images had to be added to personalize it.

During the same 3 week time frame we also had to complete a life size gesture composed only of planes and edges. I'd thought about taking the Maya approach but fear of using the computer as an unnecessary crutch caused me to stray from the digital. It was still quite tedious and again, I think it would have been wise if I'd done it in Maya and printed up the scaled UVs. Oh well, I'm satisfied with the result.

It really doesn't seem like much work but man, were these projects time consuming. This class has definitely requested a majority of my attention this semester. Now we've got the infamous boat project to start thinking about...