Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dutch Kart?

So I got this animation done yesterday. I seem to have a strange ability to make an animation work WITHOUT TESTING IT ONCE. Obviously I could make it much better if I tested it and reworked any issues, I don't see this as an opportunity to continue not revising my work, but rather that I have a fairly good understanding about timing/spacing etc. Again, I could improve, but at least I can do it. Yay.
So that's the animation's story, for the second part of this post I bring you more from the 3D world (or virtual 3D world to be precise). This is my first notable model in Maya, 1st and 2nd project (a bowl of fruit, and a snowman) notwithstanding. It's of my Mario Kart toy which came with an awesome Yoshi action figure, hence the kart is green, for Yoshi, who cannot hear me over his awesomeness. Here's some renders:

Really happy with how this turned out, well I mean it looks just like the intended object so that's really all there is to it. Hardest part to model? Probably the three-spoked steering wheel, figuring out how to get the spokes in with only basic polygon modelling took the most brain power, but it didn't break anything. I think.

Mr. Big Hat dissapproves of people from the Netherlands (the line is from Goldmember if you couldn't tell).

Sunday, February 14, 2010


More stuff that's not a school project! I'm working on a human voice sync+acting animation (or at least I will be once I finish this post), so that's what's up next school-wise.
So about this, one night before going to an extra life drawing session I decided to draw some spacey stuff with conte on the big newsprint pads we use for life drawing. This is one of the drawings that came from that, obviously I've done all the color in photoshop. It's blatantly Homeworld, but I didn't have any references on me so it is all original in design if not style. Oh and this is supposed to be very big, as in the largest of the smaller ships, added in for contrast, is about 2 kilometers long, so this thing is about 20km long.
And it still doesn't feel as big as what I was after, but I like it for what it is.
And now back to animatin'

Thursday, February 11, 2010

But it's such a lovely boat... ship!

Time for some stuff, from THE THIRD DIMENSION!

*sci-fi music*

So we've been starting our classes in Maya this semester, and I'll be putting up some shots of the first real project from that eventually. But before that, I'm putting up an example of some of the modelling work I did with an entirely different computer program back in high school.
Lot's of text ahead, so I'll draw you in with a single-view render!

Quick history, about middle of grade 11 I decided I REALLY wanted certain units to play with in the PC game Civilization 3 (cause I love that game). In order to do that, I needed to make a 3D model, animate it, and import those animated frames for the game to use. An advantage with Civ3, because the game uses images of models and not an actual model (unlike Civ4, where the models are 'rendered' in real time with the game's engine) you can use any 3D program you like to make the animation frames. 3D Studio Max, Maya, Blender, whatever. One guy on the largest site for the Civ series ( was using this program called POV Ray (Persistence Of Vision Raytracer, from to model and animate his own custom units. Because POV Ray was free, I decided to try making my own units with it.

A few months later I was pretty good with it. What surprised me was that even though POV Ray modelling is entirely code based (ie: sphere {<0,0,0>,1 pigment {color Red}} is the code to create a red sphere with a radius of 1 unit at the center of the scene), which one would think a barely-passed-math guy like me would be hopeless with, I actually understood how this program ticked (of course a calculator helped), at least enough to make any geometry I wished. Animating got a little tricky, but then again I hadn't taken any courses at that time to know about things like key poses, follow through, etc.

So by April of 2005 (having started about November of 2004) I decided to tackle one of my favourite subjects, the RMS Titanic. I had a plastic model and a fantastic book at my side to get as much detail in as I wanted. After a month I had the modelling done, and in a week or two I had the basic animations necessary to put it in the game. You can grab it for yourself here:

I modelled in POV Ray for about 3 years after that, right up until I got into Animation, you can find all that I made over at civfanatics (mentioned this in the blog's first post I believe). The animating ranges from kinda bad to decent. I could definitely do better now, but the render times required to fix everything, or even just the stuff I really care for, would be like, a month solid. But the modelling jobs I'm quite proud of, for example the Highwind from FF7, the Ragnarok from FF8 and The Flying Dutchman from Pirates 2. There's a LOT of boats. I like boats.

Anyways, what this all led up to is that I was very confident starting up with Maya this year. I had fiddled with 3D Studio Max as well, so I wasn't entirely clueless about Polygon modelling that most programs use. So even though the POV Ray code-made models are entirely incompatible with Maya or 3DS Max, model-making concepts like booleans, co-ordinates, hierarchy/attachment, do transfer. Getting back to model work made me all nostalgic, so I decided to 'raise the Titanic' from the depths of my computer and pump out a render of the model rotating, so here it is!

Quality doesn't quite do it justice, but you get the idea, and I can't make it better without another render, which would take about 4 hours. This doesn't have every porthole, but it does have the big windows in the top decks, propellers and rudder, lifeboats, anchors, stuff. The code to make this is extensive, basic in concept but to get some of the shapes with just cylinders, cones, boxes and spheres one has to get quite fancy with booleans (subtracting, intersecting and merging shapes).

For anyone who scrolled to the bottom right away, and those who read in full (thanks!) I'll be getting my new models up here sometime soon, and might make a few detail renders of this one. Might. Anyways, till next time!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Hounds

Before getting into the next animation assignment, here's our first assignment from this semester, the lip sync. Very straight forward but also very necessary, and I definately can't say I got it perfect, but that's what I'll work on for the next one. The next one involves a full figure with acting and lip sync, should be interesting.

Lip Sync: