Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stills From Studio 1

Well, I'm still fighting with Youtube to get an HD version of the video uploaded. I think I'm going to have to try uncompressed, but it will be interesting to see how it gets handled. In the mean time, here are a few stills. They are not full quality, but you can get the general idea behind it.

The first shot is an overhead shot of the city. I don't have it uploaded quite yet because I'm not happy with the quality of the still, so just pretend it's here.

This second shot (directly below) probably provided the most challenges. We had to make it a 50% mix between the city in the first shot (which looks entirely normal), and the city in the 3rd shot that is entirely overrun with toys. We kept adding and removing elements from the 1st and 3rd shots to create a balance that was more believable.

This third shot (directly below) was probably the most fun to work with. Coming up with ideas for toys and seeing what my group members came up with was a blast, and we had a great time reminiscing about toys we had years ago.

This final shot is my favorite. We decided last minute that we needed something more, and ended up adding it in the last 2 weeks. It was a bit of a rush getting it together, but I think it was rather successful. We got a lot of great feedback on this one.

Overall, this turned out to be a great experience. I'm glad I did a group project, it was a great learning experience. I was surprised about how well we all communicated. I've heard about, and experienced less professional group projects in the past that fell apart or hurt friendships because of miscommunications. But the three of us came out of it with a nice portfolio piece, and some strengthened friendships.

Hopefully more to come soon. And preparation for Studio II (YIKES!).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Update on the Studio 1 Project

We did end up successfully finishing our Studio 1 project! I am currently working on getting an HD version uploaded to the web, and then I will be adding that here. Sorry for the delay!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Match to Live With Animation

Object animation from my match to live project.

More to come later.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Exploding UVs!

Well, I had some more issues with my UVs from shot 1 of my Studio 1 project. But I DID manage to find a solution with the help of one of my friends. But still, I can't help but laugh at the ridiculous damage:

So anyway, apparently the trick is that you have to delete construction history before moving an object with it's UVs laid out. Hey, who knew? Ok, probably everyone, but now I've joined the ranks.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jinn Teaser!

Hey everyone! I thought I'd take a few minutes to update! Running around like crazy trying to get things done. Lighting Mood-Match project and also class 15 presentation for Studio 1 are in the works for tomorrow.

My mood match is coming along, I will post it later when I have the movie all put together. Studio 1 is also coming along, and we're working on a fourth shot to try and tie things together. This project has definitely presented some challenges, and I will elaborate on that when I have some visual reference to show.

On another note, the teaser trailer for Jinn, the movie I had the pleasure of working on during my internship this Summer has been released! I am so pumped to see this movie! It's crazy seeing it from it's most primitive form, and watching it transform into a real film.

Check out the teaser:

I worked on the Jinn title at the end. I created a fire simulation using Fume that was only used in the reflections. Just a small part, I know, but I'm proud of it nonetheless. :) Can't wait to see more!

On another note, there are only 3 weeks left in the quarter. WHOA. This has to have been the shortest quarter yet!

Anyway, back to work! Another late-night date with Montgomery Hall. Don't wait up.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Studio 1 Update!

Well, Jackie, Leighana and I are well on our way with the texturing! I did have some issues with my UVs when I switched from my laptop to a school computer, I almost had a heart attack. I think the UV Editor threw up. Check it out:

Also, I rendered out the city layout with an occlusion pass... which just makes everything look so pretty. :)

And here is one with what textures I've been able to get done, and rendered with some fancy final gathering. Render times are still under 1:30, which I'm thinking is excellent... we're going to need all the time we can get once we start adding lights.

We were thinking of rendering just with Maya Software, but after doing some FG tests, let's just say that everyone else on the Render Farm isn't going to be too happy with us. :)

And don't forget you can check out even MORE progress from this project by visiting our Studio 1 blog here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My First Match To Live

Here's my very first Match-To-Live! It was for project 2 for my TECH 316 (Digital Lighting and Rendering) class. We had a critique today, so there are some things that I still need to fix, so I will repost it when it's more "final."

I have to say this is probably one of the hardest projects I've ever done - but at the same time, I don't think I've ever been as proud of one. It's given me a new way to look at things, and find a huge number of details in even the simplest of objects.

Anyway, I think it's coming along, but it's still not perfect yet. I'm struggling with Nuke a bit because I don't have a lot of experience with it. The shadow isn't quite right, and I still need to work on the highlights and bounce at the bottom. Also my shader still needs some work. I think (and the class generally agreed) that they both look real, just not quite right together. It's getting there!

Also, here's a screen shot of my Nuke script. It seems really jumbled to me, but give me a break, I'm learning. :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Studio 1 Project Update

I'm almost done texturing the city!!!!! Yea, just kidding.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Dear readers (both of you!),

My good friend Courtney is in the midst of doing her senior film. A few years ago she met a little girl named Bailey. Bailey was very sick with Leukemia, so Courtney bought her a camera so that she could record her journey. What she didn't expect was what was revealed on the screen - even though Bailey was sick, her ability to overlook that fact, and still maintain a childhood as best she could was remarkable.

Please support Courtney's film by checking out the trailer on the site below. Courtney is a very talented filmmaker, and this is going to be an absolutely beautiful film.


Monday, September 27, 2010

I'm learning how to light!

Not my catchiest title, but give me a break - I'm excited.

For one, I am FINALLY taking a class with Bridget Gaynor. I've known her for some time now, occasionally conversing in the hallway and at SIGGRAPH this Summer. I've only heard great things about her teaching, and I haven't seen one person come out of her technical direction classes without at least one portfolio piece. With 2 weeks down, I've already gained a great deal from her tech lighting class. I'm finally starting to understand a lot of the different render settings and shadow types. It also helps that she's very approachable, extremely willing to help. I'm not kidding when I say I want to be her when I grow up.

Our first project was to create a composition with a simple object, and render with 4 different techniques - raycasting and raytracing with Maya Software, and photon mapping and final gather with Mental Ray. Here's my final result:

Our next project is a "match-to-live," which I am quite excited for!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A great city is not to be confounded with a populous one.

... As Aristotle once said. Very true. Especially because there are no people in this city. Here's an update on how the modeling is coming:

We've completely revamped the layout - going with more of a rooftop view, before the next shot which is much closer. There is still some modeling to finish up, and a ton of texturing to do, which we will hopefully be able to get to soon.

Suggestions and criticisms are most welcome, especially at this early stage.

I think it's really coming together and is going to look pretty AWESOME when it's done. But of course, I'm a bit bias. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Studio 1 Project Update

Jackie, Leighana and I are shoulder-deep in production of our Studio 1 project. There is an early render of the city below. We are nearing the end of modeling and will hopefully stay on schedule with the texturing - and get to that this weekend. I can't believe this is only week 2 of the quarter! It feels like we've gotten a lot of work done, but at the same time it feels like we are going to run out of time any day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Twist of Something Awesome

Let me preface this post with an apology. I've been neglecting this blog for much longer than I would have liked, and I am going to try my hardest to keep up with it! At any rate, lot has happened since my last posting, so I'll do this in sections so that it makes more sense (hopefully).

First and foremost, a majority of my summer was taken up by an amazing internship at With A Twist Studio in Rochester Hills, Michigan - That's a little over an hour commute from where I live in Ypsilanti. At the beginning of the summer, I made the decision that no matter the inconvenience, this was something I needed to do, for my career and for myself. I got tremendous support from my family and friends, and it turned out to be the best decision I could have made.

My first day was a little scary; I had no idea what to expect, but walking through the doors to With A Twist was like walking into someone's house (someone that does a majority of their shopping at IKEA). It was easy to get involved and judge the atmosphere after spending only a few minutes with these people. It's a children's clubhouse, to put it frankly (except girls are allowed and there weren't any strange initiation processes... that I knew of). The amount of geeky fun that went on made for a fun working environment, and it was no surprise that the work produced there matched the enthusiasm of the artists, so much that it would jump off the screen (No, seriously, they did 3D stuff). Beyond the hilarious memories I now have, I learned an incredible amount during my time there. Not one person there found me even the littlest bit inconvenient (or at least didn't show it), and they were all more than willing to go out of their way to teach me something or help me out. They made it a collaboration, where there are no weak links, everyone is in it together. It's exactly the kind of working "family" I'd love to join one day, and I hope my experience at With A Twist has in no way come to an end.

My summer could not have gotten much better after having an amazing internship, but I did some other awesome things too! I was a student volunteer in Los Angeles for the SIGGRAPH conference, which lasted about a week. It was a lot of work, but I got to meet a lot of amazing people and see a lot of amazing things. The lectures were great, and I came home with a ton of free stuff. I'm definitely looking in to applying again next year. I need some more free swag.

Also, this quarter marks the beginning of the end of my time here at SCAD. I am already deep into production of my Studio 1 project, where I am doing a collaborative project with two of my good friends. We are keeping a blog about the whole thing, so feel free to check it out here. There will be more updates about it posted there, rather than here.

This year is already off to a great start. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Glass Shatter: Take 1

Here's a quick look at something I'm working on in Houdini. Doing a basic wine glass shatter. Still experimenting with look development (can't WAIT for my lighting class this Fall!). I'm also working with Houdini's particle fluid system, so we can fill this baby up with some luscious red wine before we shatter her.

Sorry for the lag in posts. More to come this week.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Apologies.

Sorry for the lag in posts. THREE (possibly four) epic projects in the works. I promise.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring 2010

Classes you can expect to hear about this quarter:

ARTH 207: 20th Century Art
VSFX 428: Particles and Procedural Effects
VSFX 406: Concept Development for Visual Effects

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Creative title, I know! Here's another little animation I did, this time using CHOP (channel operator) Networks.

I won't have too much time in the next few weeks to post, because we are heading in to finals and then end of Winter quarter. I will, however be posting my Houdini, which I have started working on. I don't want to give anything away, but it's going to be pretty awesome!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rozin Mirror Animation!

My animation from the Rozin Mirror project, for VSFX 350.

I used a piece of footage from my favorite childhood movie, Homeward Bound. Basically what was created was this. First, a grid of 1x1 squares was created. A piece of footage was "placed" on top so that the rotation values of the squares would change depending on the luminance values of the footage. The look was inspired by Daniel Rozin's artwork with mechanical mirrors.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Daniel Rozin's Mechanical Mirrors!

Whoa! Have you seen Daniel Rozin's work???? This guy is insanely awesome! If you haven't checked him out, I recommend you do so immediately. For VSFX 350, We have to recreate the feel of his mechanical mirrors work using Houdini. Although ours won't be interactive, it will be based on luminance values of a piece of footage.

Here's some of his amazing work! I have no idea how this stuff works, but I hope I have an opportunity to see it some day in person. Basically he uses technology to create an interactive "wooden mirror". You've got to see it to believe it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Houdini - Cruise Control to Awesome.

Awesome title, I know. Let me first start off this blog entry as a HUGE apology to those who actually read it (hi mom!). I haven't had much time to devote to posting as I would like. Fortunately, I have been really enjoying my classes, and I've been having a lot of fun! Here are some images to prove it!

This quarter, I'm taking VSFX 350: Procedural Modeling and Animation, which really means I'm learning Houdini. I was a little hesitant, having spent the last 4 or so years of my life engulfed by the amazingness that is Maya. However, I was soon re-faced with a lesson I had learned back in elementary school: You're allowed to have TWO best friends! The first day, I was already dropping my jaw at Houdini. While I still see Maya as being exceptional (especially with things like modeling and shading/texturing), Houdini runs much smoother and more intuitively. But most of you don't care about that, so let's move on to the pretty pictures!

One of our first projects was to create a procedural staircase.

We had to create a custom interface that would allow the user to adjust the number of steps, revolutions, and several other attributes. (This would allow for easy animation... plus it's just pretty cool!)

The image to the right is a screen-capture of my created user interface. It looks pretty simple. All it took was some simple expressions, and Houdini runs it easily. That's another advantage of Houdini over Maya - you wouldn't dream of putting a large integer value, like 1000 into any attribute in Maya for fear of a "fatal error." Houdini however, takes it without question or hesitation.

Another project that I found really interesting was called, "Fizz Buzz." Basically, we were given an image that contained 4 patterns. We had to figure out the patterns, and create a network with expressions that would allow the patterned to be repeated no matter how large it got.

If you can't tell, the four patterns are as follows
1) All numbers divisible by 7 are colored red.
2) All numbers divisible by 9 are colored red.
3) Every 5th number is represented with a Buzz.
4) Every 9th number is represented with a Fizz.

The code for this project was a little more complicated, but still quite intuitive.

Our first large project was a procedural building. We had to create a building that when scaled in any direction, would "grow" more windows/doors/etc accordingly. We were then required to do a short animation of our created user interface. This was a little more challenging than our previous exercises. My animation is as follows!

I threw the animation and video together a little last minute, so I am planning on revisiting it in a few days to make it look better. Overall, I'm really enjoying getting to know Houdini. It's challenging my math and logic skills, as well as challenging me artistically. In the next few weeks, we'll be going over and learning about some procedural animation techniques. In lamen's terms: awesome stuff! Next quarter I'm taking Houdini 2, which covers particles and procedural effects. That should definitely be a fun one!

Hopefully it won't take me as long to update next. Thanks for reading, happy Wednesday!