Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Not-So-Happy Accidents: Renders From my Maya "tmp" Archive

The following are a handful of animation blunders - not exactly those golden "happy accidents" we look out for - from the past year's school projects. It's amazing what kind of forgotten mutants you'll find haunting your "tmp" folder in the Maya images directory. For each image, I've tried to give something of an explanation for how those results came to be so that you don't find yourself in the same bewildering situation.

This bizarre apparition was part of a group project last semester. We were in a jam because we needed to pose this creature for a still frame but we didn't have time to do any rigging. So, using soft select on the model's geometry, I successfully fudged a decent pose, but not without learning of the bizarre horrors that arise from jacking up the soft select threshold and attempting a slight rotation.

So I'm animating on a short film directed by a TAMU VIZ grad student; we were ready to transfer the data from the proxy models' control nodes to the final (kind of) models. At least that the theory behind it. The new control nodes went a little crazy, body parts ended up flung all over the place and my character ended up looking FAAABULOOOUUUUUSSSSS in his red scarf.

It's nothing a few adjustments can't fix. In all seriousness, our riggers have done a wonderful job.

This is a test render from a shot where a character undergoes a hideous Mr. Hyde - type transformation. I had fun messing with the ever - versatile Eleven Rig and ended up with some truly terrifying results.

Corrupted links to shader files are to blame for this guy's rabid look.

 Oh yay, everyone loves blackface. Freakin Mental Ray.

A couple of keys got switched around and my char got a little pissed. "I'm going to my trailer!"

This one actually was kind of a happy accident. I was experimenting with a lattice deformer on this hallway environment and the results were pretty disturbing. Not very practical because of how twisted together everything became down the hall but it made for an alright set piece.

I always thought layout was a little creepy - black and white environments with creepy faceless proxy models just standing there.

I accidentally deleted something important while poking around this rig's node hierarchy and my char's face melted off. Enjoy the nightmares.

Friday, June 20, 2014

VIST 305 - Render Shot Progression

These renders are part of the opening sequence of GEOLUSIONS.

It's the top view of a roughly hexahedral polygon shape. I rigged the six polygon faces to open up towards the camera. They reveal a single face that is set with a glowing, incandescent Maya surface material. The faces fold back and the viewer will see the 3D set shape (codename: Crunchwrap Supreme). The Crunchwrap will slowly morph into a sphere for the next part of the animation.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

VIST 305 - Final Concept

Title: Geo-lusion

Premise: immerse the viewer in an experience with geometric optical illusions.

Illusion Ideas:

- Water fills up shape and spills out bottom/top
- Flies/floats away.
- Shape starts to shake and break apart. Falls on ground or floats away (loose gravity)
- Background extends and then the shape goes back into the background
- Something opens up on the ground and the shape falls through
- Shape flies in from the side super fast so like looks like its transporting
- Shape is illuminated and textures change. Bubbles start coming up from beneath the surface.
- The shape could be lined and then fold itself up

Sunday, June 8, 2014

VIST 305 - Final Project Brainstorming / Research

The final projection mapping project is due in four weeks; like the last project, I think I'll have the most success if I play to my strengths. I'd like to do something with 3D animation, and while I'd like to develop a narrative and animated characters, it might be more realistic to do something abstract (like last week's 'calming' art installation).

During my research for finding ideas for the final assignment, the most frustrating part was finding examples that went beyond just showing a cool projection as entertainment. I really want to find a practical use for projection mapping. The following are several ideas I brainstormed as well as YouTube videos I found inspiring:

I've always been interested in superimposed photography that you see on sports television, etc. One practical use of the final project could be an analysis of a technical motion such as a golf swing or basketball shot. The concept of making a life-sized analysis projected onto a wall for a client to watch is appealing.

The following video doesn't use projection mapping or superimposed images, but I still found it inspiring as an image.The dance incorporates intricate timing of live-action elements to create a striking illusion. I guess the main inspiration here is the concept of multiplying everyday images and synchronizing them to create a performance.

This next video features a very practical use of projection mapping; as you can see the patterns of the furniture change to show different styles of decor. This is one of the most practical use I could find.

The next two videos use projection mapping for entertainment, particularly in the haunted house industry. I've always been fascinated with the clever illusions shown off in the Disney parks, especially in the Haunted Mansion (after all, it's the only attraction with air conditioning that has a reasonable line). I'd really like to do something like the 'singing busts' video where footage of a face is projected onto a model.

Friday, June 6, 2014

VIST 305 - First Project

Check out our group's video documenting our first projection mapping project.

Team members and their roles:

  1. Chase - installation construction, projection set-up
  2. Alex - image creation / compositing
  3. Mason - color scheme, shader creation, video documentation
  4. Stephen - video compositing, projection set-up, music
  5. Justin - simulation creator, animation rendering and compositing

This installation was created over the course of two days. The end result was a very artistic endeavor that used all of our various skill sets into one final image synthesis. From the beginning, we wanted to use the imagery of running water as a relaxing agent. This goal is reflected in the music Stephen composed. We had the most fun making the concept of flowing water more and more abstract until we had the unique look and feel of Justin's fluid simulator.

Below is a paint-up of the relaxing colors I chose for the images:

Programs used:
  1. Blender
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. ArtRage Studio
  4. Adobe After Effects
  5. VPT 7

Monday, June 2, 2014

VIST 305 - Artist Presentation

VIST 305 - Artist Introduction


  • BYU Animation: April 2011 - August 2012
  • Drawing
  • Cartooning
  • Character animation
  • Maps-based texturing
  • Concept / pre-viz design
  • Game design / development
Current Activities:
  • Crew member - animated short film 'WAKE' dir. Kelly Kin
    • Proxy modeling for 3D animatic
    • Layout animation for 3D animatic
    • Modeling
  • Content writer, podcast host -
    • Animation news website moderator, writer
    • Co-host of bi-weekly animation podcast