Thursday, November 21, 2013
This isn't brand new but Faceshift is one of those programs that I've grown to really enjoy using since I saw the initial demos at Siggraph. What I love about this system is how easy it is to use and how little you need to do to ramp up and get something going and ready for production. While you're not going to get insane MOCAP quality animation like a Vicon marker system, you get the benefit of having a realtime capture system just using a Kinect or similar camera that gets you decent results that can get to production quality with some clean up. I also love to do live demonstrations with this program when I do talks because there's a great interactive element to using this program with brand new users.
The big news these days is that on top of having Maya and Motionbuilder support, Faceshift now has a plugin to connect it to Unity. I think for games considering how much facial animation needs to be done on a regular basis with bare minimum resources, this is a great way to get a high volume of decent quality animation with quick turnaround.
Here's a link to the information of the Unity plugin:
This is huge news for Houdini/Maya users! Houdini now has their back end exposed as a stand alone engine that can be interfaced by other major CG applications like Maya and Unity. It's in its testing phase so it's free to test until it goes beta. This is really big especially for procedural nuts who love the way Houdini handles VFX and procedural modeling. Basically you can create your digital asset in Houdini and directly interface said asset in Maya or Unity directly without having to bake anything out or figure out some clever pipeline trick to see your work show up in the other applications. Now you can literally merge to power of Houdini and power of Maya seamlessly!
I'm really excited about this and I'm jumping on it immediately to see what I can come up with using this new potential workflow.
Hit the jump for resources on how to set up the engine along with demonstrations and to see a video of a digital asset working in Maya from Houdini.
Really great news coming from Maya these days. Now for indie game companies who want to make great assets for their games but can't afford Maya comes Maya 2014 LT. This is pretty much a stripped down version of Maya that left all of the new and old game related tools like the Directx11 viewport and HumanIK rig. There is one bonus however that comes with this version. The new big thing from Maya is the node based DX11 shader editor (seen above). Rather than write out your code, you can set up the logic via nodes like a polished shader editor in a top engine. The great thing is that at the end, Maya will optimize and export out your node setup as a shader file so you can apply it to your respective game engine now!
This is huge to hear from Autodesk and I'm really excited to use it. The shader editor is currently the only feature that you can only get with the LT package so it's worth a shot to give it a quick look to see how it all works. Unfortunately, you loose big stuff like Maya scripting with this version of Maya which I think is a huge loss. A big draw to this program is that to get a license, you just need to pay 50 bucks a month for it like a rental. I'm assuming this also means that when a new version of Maya comes out, you can switch over.
Hit the jump for a trailer video and the feature set comparison between Maya 2014 and Maya 2014 LT.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
(Really cool warcraft fan art by ravenslayer)
When I work on my site or my portfolio, I always want to try to figure out the best way to utilize the web browser as a platform to show off my work. I always wanted to find a great way to display my 3D work in an interactive way. I also wanted to find a way to present interactive 3D models on my mobile devices. It seemed like a big ask and I was willing to write a test bed in unity to do it but then I was recently introduced to this website called p3d.in.
I was floored by the things that could be done with this service! You can upload any obj under 100 mb and apply all sorts of built in webgl shaders with texture maps, specular maps, and normal maps! You can also use advanced shaders like reflective chrome, rubber, and plastic. The best part is that it's free and easy to use and once you publish your work, anyone can view it on their browser in their pc's, macs, linux machines, and smart devices! Awesome if you want to show off your stuff on your phone.
I wanted to make a post just dedicated to this service because it's a serious gem in the internet right now for CG artists and hobbyists. Hit the jump to see some of my work!
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
This was a fun mini project that I was involved with while we were working on Madden 25. We got some mocap together, cleaned it up, and sent off the video clip to VISA for their new commercial! I was helping with MOCAP along with Amanda Beaver and Seto Van Boxtel. I also helped clean up the animation with Tim Keon who wrapped everything up in a nice bow. We got the new animation in our game in almost no time. The turnaround from start to finish was so fast, it was almost baffling.
Hit the jump to see the commercial first hand.
I haven't had a chance to post much about my professional work so I'd love to start on this note. I'm currently working on the latest Madden NFL title that's about to release with the new consoles this year. We shipped the Gen3 version for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 and it did pretty well.
I'm in the graphics team and I was lucky enough to contribute to the look of the game as you can see from the image above. I focused more on the animation and secondary movement of the characters so you can see my work more clearly in the video demos like this E3 Trailer. I was focusing on facial animation, body animation, cloth, overall presentation, and other miscellaneous stuff. I was really proud to work done on this game and everyone who worked on it. I'm really stoked to ship the Gen4 title!
Hit the jump for more videos of Madden 25 graphics and visuals.
In Yoda news, Here's a montage of time lapse yoda prints. The first one that I found was from none other than Gizmodo!
Hit the jump to see videos AND to to interact with a 3D yoda model! (Fun fact: Interactive model is also on my portfolio site. Gotta love P3D!)
Looks like Yoda is recognized as one of 20 great examples of print in 3D by Creative Bloq. I'm not a fan of Jonathon Wong getting the credit for this one unfortunately but what can you do...
Hit the jump to interact with a 3D yoda model directly from the sculpt! (Fun fact: Interactive model is also on my portfolio site. Gotta love P3D!)
After getting a few updates from friends and colleagues about more Yoda articles, I've found a lot of really cool 3D printing progress with Yoda leading the charge! This little guy is still going strong, getting printed all over the world.
“For some reason, the Yoda head is kind of the symbol of what your 3D printer can do,” said Braydon Moreno, CEO of the crowdfunded startup RoBo 3D. “Everyone across the board is saying ‘Let me see your Yoda.’”
Hit the jump for links and an article on Yoda's influence in the country of Israel!?
Thursday, September 5, 2013
I found that when rigging characters and props, one thing that always impressed me in demo reels and in interactive scenarios is the use of real time dynamics in the Maya viewport. A lot of possibilities open up when you can grab a control rig and drive a simulation with your mouse in real time! I noticed that in Motion Builder, this kind of simulation comes with the sample rigs for free and I always wanted to try to figure out a way to get real time secondary motion in Maya for things like hair, cloth, and other loose items.
I found a way to achieve this a while back and I've always wanted to make a tutorial for everyone to follow to do the same thing. The main issue of course is that there are a good amount of steps to make one simulation driven joint chain so naturally, you would want to script this out. This tutorial will go over how to create the rig in Maya and it will also go over how to script this process out in python so that you can simply select the base of a joint chain and automatically make it dynamic.
Hit the jump for the entire tutorial:
Sunday, August 18, 2013
This is the beginning stage of a robotic arm module model in Maya. I got the blueprints from the instruction manual of the robotic arm that I bought online. One of my goals for my arduino is to control a robotic armature via python serial port. I'd like to drive the arm with a digital rig. The hardware of choice is the Robotic Arm-Edge that I bought here:
I'm really excited to have a digital controller in Maya or Houdini drive this physical asset.
Sunday, August 4, 2013
I made some great progress with my Arduino by setting up my LCD to update with programmable text! It was a little tricky but it worked out in the end. I also made use of my bread box and took a lesson on LED set up, making pretty colorful lights :o
Hit the jump for more images and code snippets
I highly recommend any tech artist to buy this book. If you want to write python tools for Maya, this goes over all of the fundamentals and advanced techniques for you to be coding at a professional level.
Here's the official website:
You can buy a copy on Amazon for 43 bucks:
It's my second year using Eclipse as a Maya Python IDE. Thanks to Tyler Good and Ryan Trowbridge for inspiring me to do it. This time around, I went ahead and grabbed Eclipse Keplar with the Dark Juno theme to better match my Autodesk products.
Saturday, August 3, 2013
You know you're do something interesting when NPR calls out your work on their show.
"Yoda is not just something we can copy and duplicate - Yoda is protected by copyright," says Michael Weinberg, a lawyer at Public Knowledge, a group that advocates for an open internet.
Hit the jump for the video episode and link to the article
It's been close to two years since I released my yoda sculpt into the wild. I've been blessed to see the huge support that it got since! I never had a chance to tell the story of how it blew up so I want to dedicate this post to its conception.
Hit the jump for the rest of the story.
Makerbot has really done a huge job advertising my sculpt all over the country and here's another installment with them featuring my sculpt on MakerbotTV.
Hit the jump for more images and the pilot episode
Etsy.com is currently selling prints of my yoda sculpt for 20 bucks for anyone interested. I really love how popular this guy got :)
You can buy a copy here:
Here's another article from Gizmodo on 3D printing. As you can see, they're using my yoda sculpt for stock photos these days. I'd love to see yoda in space!
Incidentally the same stock image is used to talk about the health risks of 3D printing as well.