Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Level of Detail

For our next Renderman project, we were required to model a 6 inch or so strand of spanish moss, which is found everywhere here in our beautiful city of Savannah. We created a high resolution model, and a fast rendering low resolution model. Using Renderman and the Renderman Shading Language (RSL), we created a script that would allow the renderer to render the high res model of the moss when the camera was close to it, and the low res model when the camera was farther away, thus saving valuable rendering time.

In the above image, I "told" the low res model to render red, and the high res model to render green. Because of the created script, a "Level of Detail" effect is created. For a more complete technical breakdown, you can check out my Renderman Portfolio here. The site is not finished yet, so check back next week for the completed page.

I really enjoyed doing this project, not only because it was fairly simple to do, but also because it's an invaluable technique.

As difficult as this class is, I am really enjoying it. Professor Malcolm Kesson is a joy to work with, and has a way of explaining the procedures that makes them not-so intimidating.

I look forward to the rest of the semester! More projects to come.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Illustration Friday Topic: Germs!

This week's Illustration Friday topic also conveniently coincides with my homework! The above image is text generated using Pixar's Renderman. This means that I was not working in a 3D interface like I am used to, but instead used the Renderman Shading Language (RSL) to generate the image. I did however use Photoshop for the background. I started with a series of cylinders and spheres, which I then positioned to generate the above shapes. If you would like to know more about how I did it, you can feel free to visit my technical breakdown page. If you would like to follow my progress in the class, you can also visit my online Renderman Portfolio, which will be ongoing for the rest of the quarter.

More from my Renderman class (as well as my other classes) coming soon!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There's an App For That - FINAL

Our final submission of the iPhone commercial for VSFX 210, which has been accepted for the Spring 2009 SCAD Visual Effects Quarterlies Showcase, held on Wednesday, May 27th at 8:00pm in Arnold Hall on Bull St. Come support us!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The SR-71 Blackbird

The SR-71 Blackbird from my VSFX 210 class.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

There's An App For That

First submission of our completed iPhone commercial. We will have the last 2 weeks of the quarter to fix and perfect it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Electromagnetic iPhone App - Update

Here is a pretty still from the animation. Looks like it's going to be awesome! Right now it's rendering on the RenderFarm at Monty, and I am monitoring it from my room. It's taking about 9 minutes to render each frame, and with about 300 frames... well, its going to take a while. Hopefully our priority on the farm goes up and it'll start rendering faster. Wish us luck!

iPhone Electromagnetic App

Here is a quick playblast to show you how the iPhone "There's an App for That" commercial spoof is going. I key framed this sequence last night because the dynamics were just not working properly. 

The timing is still off a bit, we will be fixing that today, and the entire project will be rendered and finished by Thursday at 2:00pm. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Day and a Dino Like No Other

I find myself sitting here, AC on full blast, cold compress on each shoulder, red, swollen feet suspended high enough to barely be comfortable, thinking about whether or not spending all day at the beach on Friday was worth the potential threat of terminal skin cancer. Splitting $350 of prize money with my three comrads might have improved the situation, but as my friend Sarah made blatantly clear, “We must have come in fourth.”, which clearly explains our lack of overall triumph in the competition. We assembled “Manly Stanley”, a self-assured, tango-dancing, prehistoric dinosaur. It was truly an experience. 

As you can see from our "Before" picture, we were all ready to go!

But we were a little wiped our afterwords....

Here we are with Stanley

Although we did not win the competition, we are all now the proud owners of undeniable, irreversable skin damage. Don't get me wrong, I had a spectacular time. I always have a spectacular time with Sarah, Courtney and Arielle

May our friend Stanley rest in peace. He now lives with the fishies, and lies at the bottom of the ocean. An ocean he always dreamed of returning to. See you in Heaven, little buddy. Save me a shady spot... and some SPF 45. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Always in Season" Concept

While I am temporary putting my SR-71 model in the background, I will be focusing the next few weeks on TWO major projecets. The first is a group project, and since I have a spectacular group, I have no doubt that it will turn out fabulously.

The second project is a bit more fun, and open. I am doing an iPod commercial for my color theory class. I plan on doing a sort of "always in season" type of deal with the 2nd generation iPod Shuffle. I'd like to use each color ipod to represent the 4 seasons. For instance, the orange iPod will represent Fall, etc. I'd also like to employ Maya dynamics for this project... because they are SO much fun, and awesome.

More to come.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Portfolio CD

Possible cover for a portfolio CD, done for my Color Theory class. This is not a completely original idea, so obviously I can't send it out like this, but it is a rough idea at what I am looking at. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The SR-71 High Res Model

This is a photograph of the SR-71, followed by my render. 
*Cue epic music*

My SR-71A model for VSFX 210. We'll see in a few hours what my professor thinks of it. Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Harmony and Discord

Here are the two renders from my "Harmonious and Discordant" colors project for Color Theory. I didn't get a lot of time to spend on this project, so a lot of these objects are from the animation project we started in ANI 260 at WCC.

Harmonious Colors

Same scene with Discordant Colors

My professor really liked my project, even though I know it wasn't my best work.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking Risks

I believe that one of the most important things in life is understanding the difference between taking risks, and making decisions based on fear.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

High Key/Low Key Color

Here is a quick video I did with my friend Danielle for our color theory class. The assignment was to explore the differences between high key and low key colors.

Render settings arent so great because I wasn't sure how to use the render farm. Next one will be better. Notice the explosion... my favorite part.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

VSFX 210 High-Res Project

Objective: Create a photo-realistic render of the SR-71 "Blackbird."

After much negotiation, my professor told me that he would let me do this plane for my high-res project. It was one of THREE from the "Hall of Fame" that he VERY reluctantly let a student do.

In short: This project WILL be epic, or I WILL fail.

Details to come.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Art School Credo

This one is really for Courtney. Some wise words from an illustrator friend of my by the name of John Dinser. Printed on the inside of my sketchbook.

Friday, March 27, 2009

SCAD's visit from Pixar

A few weeks ago, we here at SCAD had the wonderful opportunity of having a presentation, followed by a short Q and A with some important people from Pixar Animation Studios. The experience overall was delightful in itself. I went with my friends Alicia and Courtney , and I know they enjoyed it too! Courtney and I have decided that we WILL be working at Pixar one day, and a good 5 seconds of eye contact reassured us that they would love to have us in the near future. 

Ellen Lee (above) was one of the Pixar...ians that presented to us. She talked about the use of graphic design in their films. Since animators need to create what is essentially an alternate reality, it is important to have fake "real-world looking" logos that saturate this alternate world as equally as our world is bombarded with insane amounts of advertising.

Becki Tower (above) also gave a brief presentation. Becki is a recent SCAD graduate, and now full-time animator with Pixar. She explained her experience as an intern there. In light of Pixar's latest movie, "UP", Becki joked about how the interns were treated like scouts, and even had to earn badges! Sounds like fun!

Jason Johnston (above) is an effects artist for Pixar. He explained what it meant to be a good effects artist, and also shared his experience of working on Wall-E. Blowing things up is FUN!

We also heard from a few others, including Danielle Feinberg (Director of Photography). 

Everyone that works at Pixar appears to have an electric personality. Even during the presentation they mentioned a "Pixar Mentality" that is required for the job. They are all excited and extremely passionate about what they do, and work well with the people around them. Pixar really stands out against other similar companies. I'd really like to be apart of something like that one day.

Who knows, maybe sometime in the near future it will be me visiting SCAD, talking enthusiastically about my Pixar experiences. :-)

Happy Animating. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Practically Precarious Programming Project

Alliteration aside, I'm just glad it's finally finished.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tracking Project

Here is my cinematography project. The goal was to use "tracking" with Shake. To achieve this, a tracker must be placed on a piece of footage, which will then track individual pixels and simulate movement.  It is easiest to achieve this by determining during filming where you want to place the tracker, and place a brightly colored object of some sort in that spot. In this case, I used a red chapstick lid. 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Life in Miniature

Heading to class in the 30-40 degree weather wasn't so bad, knowing that I was going to spend the next two and a half hours inside, hunched over a computer screen trying to pay attention to Mrzowski's lecture slash random tangents. Instead, Mrzowski had different plans, and informed us last minute that we would be holding class outside. We all stocked up on hot coffee, pulled together what layers we could, and headed out to the back of Montgomery Hall to see what Mrzowski had in store. Long story short (and believe me, it was long), we learned about miniatures, and how they are still used in film today. 
It was hard to tell that the footage would look this realistic until after it was finished. I think it turned out pretty cool! At first look, it looks entirely real. It's rather interesting to think that this simple technique is still used in movies made today - Titanic, The Good Shepherd, The Aviator, and many others. It's quite flawless. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Facebook Graffiti

Inspired by Sarah Riser, a taste of my Facebook graffiti.

Inuyasha I think, for my friend Ana
Shadow Heartless from Kingdom Hearts
Some abstract stuff

Monday, March 2, 2009

Adventures in Bash Scripting

This quarter (which is thankfully two weeks away from being over) I am taking Intro to Visual Effects Programming. We spent the first half of the quarter attacking MEL Scripting, which is challenging, but somewhat understandable. The second half of the quarter we attacked Bash scripting in Linux. Bash is a lot more forgiving than MEL, but equally as hard to understand. I completed my final bash project, and I wanted to show it off a little. 

When you run the script in the command line of the terminal, a window pops up, asking the user to select a visual effects related site to launch in Firefox. The user then makes a selection of one of the radio dials, and it opens the corresponding site.

This script is rather simple, but I am proud of it anyway. Here is the actual script.

I was having a lot of trouble, and ended up hitting up the Ubuntu forums for some help. They introduced me to the zenity commands, which seem really useful for basic UI functions. I originally tried doing it with an if/then statement, since that's what I knew, but a user on the forum showed me that a case function would be much more effective.

Anyway, once I get my MEL project up and running, I will be sure to post that, since it will be much more interesting. Off to work on more finals.... woo?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hey Arnold!

Sorry for my lack of attention to this blog the last few days. My friend Emma has been visiting me until Sunday, and I feel I have a moral obligation to show her as much of Savannah as I physically can.

Right now we're watching Hey Arnold, and I'm sitting here thinking how secure of a woman Helga Pataki must be, to wear a bright pink skirt and matching bow while still managing to maintain her flawless tough-girl attitude and reputation.

I did a green screen shoot today. It went much better than the last one. I am working on a tracking project that should be pretty sweet when I finish it. If it's worth posting, I'll make sure to do so. My cinematography professor has an interesting teaching style. Or lack of. Don't get me wrong, the man's a genius, he just goes off on random tangents about dinosaurs... or tar. I think he's one awesome dude, I just haven't learned much of anything from him.

Anyway, I'll post the tracking video if it turns out half decent. Right now... It's time for more Hey Arnold.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Moulin Rouge

In the blog before last, one user asked me what my favorite movie was. I thought I would take this opportunity to write a little review of what I consider my favorite movie. I have seen a lot of movies in my day, but none that compare to the awesomeness that is Moulin Rouge. Everything about this movie amazes me. 

There were however a few slip-ups that probably wouldn't be visible to the average viewer, but once you notice them, it's hard not to think about it every time you watch the movie. I love it when you find visible crew in movies, especially GOOD movies.

The first instance in this movie is during the "Spectacular Spectacular" dance sequence. 

As you can see, there is a watch-wearing crew member in a beige hat just barely visible on the bottom right hand side of the frame. I had to watch this movie at least 5 times before I realized this.

The second instance is during the "Tango Roxanne" scene, where very briefly, a camera and kneeling crew member is visible, and the spotlight even pans over him at one point. 

It's much easier to notice when the camera is actually moving, but on the right hand side of the frame, it's easy to see.

All movies have problems like this, and I don't think it takes away from the experience at all, because rarely are these things even noticed. Everything about this movie is phenomenal, and despite these little things, it still amazes me. The passion put in to this story is what makes it so moving. This is by far Nicole Kidman's best movie.

The most memorable scene from this movie, in my opinion is the "Tango Roxanne" dance sequence. It is by far the most emotional moment of the movie, the moment at which the audience is most engaged in the story. Everything about it is intense - the music, the dancing, even the colors. 

For me, Moulin Rouge is an emotional movie experience that I have not seen in any other film. If you haven't seen this movie, you need to.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Art and Spilled Coffee

Today I had what my roommate describes as the “unfortunate experience” of retrieving my soaked clothes from the faulty dryer, only to find the elastic from a pair of underwear had detached itself from it’s proper place and crudely wrapped itself around the pull string to my favorite hoodie. After carefully considering my roommate’s suggestion to “rock that shit and own it”, I immediately jumped to action, knowing that even if I could not salvage my favorite pull string, it was not worth the potential embarrassment of running around Savannah with a pair of bright orange skivvies hanging from my neck. 

After the successfully epic battle that will from now on be called, “The Separation of Laundries”, I realized that I had spent too much time this weekend on household tasks, and not enough time on what some people like to call “homework”.  All of that aside, there are much more important things to focus on like…  art, and spilled coffee. 


A few nights ago, myself and several of my new college friends made the expedition to the movie theatre to see Coraline in  3D. Overall, I have to say I was rather impressed with this movie. 

I liked a lot that she was from Michigan, because I, myself live (when I am not at school of course) about 45 minutes from Pontiac, where Coraline and her family are from. Far too many characters are from New York. It's a city.... it's exciting... we get it. I did appreciate the attempt at making her look like a "legit" Michigander when she referred to her friends back home as "trolls" (a term used for anyone living below the Mackinaw Bridge that separates the lower peninsula from the upper peninsula). However, this term is normally used only by "Yoopers" (people living in the "UP" or Upper Peninsula), and is directed, almost, but not quite, in a derogatory manner. Anyway, like I said, I appreciated the thought, even though it was a little inaccurate. Of course, I might be reading far too in to the term used in the movie, but I still like to think they tried. 

What I also enjoyed about the movie is that it was a genuinely interesting plot. It wasn't too terribly unique - girl wants new family, decides old family is good enough.  However, it was of a quality we don't run in to too much lately. I'm starting to get tired of all of these remakes. It seems like all of the good movie ideas have already been done, so movie makers feel like they need to revive 20+ year old stories rather than make up something NEW and interesting. The revival of this Neil Gaiman story was unique in a way. Now I'm just starting to ramble.... Bottom line: Coraline was good, surprising at times, heartfelt, and beautifully created. The fact that it was 3D added to the experience, but I think it will be just as magical without the 3D effect. The last movie I saw in 3D was Beowulf, which I thought was excellent from a graphics standpoint, but was less so interesting without the 3D effect. 

Anyway, I suppose that's all from me today! I hope all you [2] readers of mine had great weekends!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This will be my first attempt at posting a blog entry. My friend Courtney has been relentless in getting me to be an active part of this community. Let me first start off by saying thank you for stopping by! I hope I can keep up with this, and live up to the "blogging potential" that Courtney thinks I have!

As far as my work, I don't have as much as I would like - just a lot of ideas that will probably never get completed.  This first one, of the clarinet is one of my very first pieces, and I think it will always be my favorite. There are still a lot of things that I would like to fix on the scene, but for history's sake, I think I will leave it as it is. It's done in Maya 2008, with a little depth-of-field that was simulated in Photoshop.
Not sure what else to say at this point. Hopefully this will be post 1 of many. I look forward to getting to know the Blogspot community, and moving forward as an artist.