Friday, 18 November 2011

Long time no post

Lots to do this term! My Simulated Client project.

I'm currently enjoying reading books about composition.

I'm also happy to report things appear to be developing with my client.

The context assignment is on the backburner at the moment, but that's not to say I haven't thought about it. I saw a shot I drew in my uni notebook that would be perfect!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Twisting wrist rig

This is my solution of how to create a lifelike twisting motion on a wrist.

It means the wrist shouldn't collapse when twisting. The down side is it uses an attribute holder instead of the old orientation constraint, so wrist rotation is controlled by spinners.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Design Practice 3 Complete!

To celebrate finishing this project, I'm actually embedding it into my blog page.

This project was interesting, it was quite fun.

It was good to work with something that was quite specific. Having a massive blank canvas can be tricky. The idea changed slightly since its conception. Originally set in a cave, I was persuaded to have it set outside because caves are dark and lame, and the characters are insects that typically spend a great deal of time outside in the grass.

The project didn't start moving properly until I had knuckled down and figured out what to do for the music. I genuinely tried to record my own stuff but I'm good at making song-type stuff, not solo type stuff, and I'm not really a very clean guitarist so it was taking a long time to get a clear recording. In the end I went for a modified dragonforce song, I heard it and realised it was about the right length, with a break in the middle I could split it at.

Figuring out how to do the background was good, I wanted to use ink and paint which gave me the advantage of being able to use a layered background. The question was, how to produce this in 3d?

I was originally going to make a background in after effects. I tested this out but I found it didn't produce the result I want, and it was more difficult than using 3DSMax, and it would've made the process lengthier.

I settled with creating a series of rings meaning I had 360 degrees of potential camera direction to operate within - a flat one would give me only a very small amount.

I chose this idea because it fit the brief - I interpreted it as a scene that needed some conflict between a student and a teacher. The idea of using insects was the whole kung-fu student grasshopper thing. Praying mantis are also associated with kung-fu, hence the choice to use those two insects.

The idea of an air guitar battle, ha, that was simply deciding what kind of funny thing I could have the characters do that could still be an obvious battle. My brother suggested tiddlywinks. This would be funny, but it would be difficult to make it funny for a longer amount of time. Air guitar lends itself to humour!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Three trees!

I'm a busy gardener today, I've already planted a hedge and three trees.

Background test ver. 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 3.0

Remodelled hills and now featuring distant bushes!

Further improvements include near trees and grass.

Updated bushes.

Bushes are tiled, making them appear less stretched.

Now featuring cardboard cutout trees!

Slight grain on the tree makes it look paper textured.

Here is a better pose.

Background test

Depth of Field Enabled

Depth of Field Disabled

I've ditched the super-compositing technique I was thinking of before. After playing with it it seems like I'd end up using more time than if I relied more on 3DS max.

This is only a draft copy of my environment! There's more to come.

After seeing it without DOF, I think I'll stick to that. That's a relief! It saves time AND looks better. Now that's the kind of thing we're looking for.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Sneaky Peek

I haven't posted anything for ages because I've been cracking on with the project.

Jonny posted a test render so of course that means I have to too.

Vimeo link right here.

I thought of a tricksy way to do the background and environment, and I have to say... thanks to Simon for the idea.

One more thing. After completing the enveloping stage in max, I feel like I've walked through hell and come out only fainly smelling of smoke.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Morpheus Morphing Morpher Expressions.

Angry face

Happy face

What face

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Neo is complete!

That's an in-joke right there on the T-shirt.
The question now is, does the mohawk look too detailed to suit the ink 'n' paint texturing? This was a live-trace of a picture I took myself, but I might make it from scratch yet.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Morpheus - UVW mapping complete!

This is how Morpheus will look.

Morpheus in clothes.

I am very pleased to present to you my UVW mapped and coloured in Morpheus!

I think I'll tone down the colours a bit, add some shadows inside the shirt and so on.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

The Art of Seeing


I have to post this link up to all the pictures I took!

I've not been back from work long...

I took some pictures of some cool buildings. The advantage of
putting cycling and photographing together!

Whew, it's due in on the 24th.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Website screen captures

This is the prototype for my personal website.

I don't like the way it works, so I'll try and change it before.
I might even change it altogether.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Displacement maps - making creases on clothes

So I was telling Jonny how to make a displacement map for creases in jeans, but it works for anything with creases, such as terrain.

  • So, I found a texture of denim, and I picked one with creases already in it. That way, you can use them for a reference to draw on.

  • Open your denim texture photoshop, then create a layer above that.

  • Now get the brush tool, select a soft edged tip shape, and half the opacity or so. The colour will be black but we want it to darken as you layer it on.

  • Now set the brush size to the size of your crease. If you're copying creases you have a guideline, but if not, you will have to make it up. Try to be as realistic as possible, and remember it will be layered.

  • Draw over the crease in one click of the mouse.

  • Next, shrink your tip size and then draw down the middle of the lines you drew, and repeat this step maybe once or twice more.

  • When you are done, delete your denim texture layer and it will leave you with a greyscale image.

  • This method produces an inverted map, at this stage you might want to invert the colours, but you can also set the displacement value in max to a negative number for the same effect.

  • Save the image, transparency isn't necessary so JPG will do fine.

  • All there is left to do is to apply the textures to something in 3DS max. Your displacement map is entered as a bitmap to the displacement map slot in a standard material. The default displacement setting is 100. You will need to make it a negative value if your creases are done in white. You might also want to lower the value to make the creases more subtle.

Below is the texture I used and displacement map I produced.

I tried to make an even better one, so you can see what happens if you put more effort in.

Here I used the smudge tool in PS to create even softer edges to the creases, but you can see it doesn't necessarily make it look better!

Finished room render

The beauty pass took 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Now I can work on turning it into a website!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

My room even sneakier peek

Shadows are off, they drastically increase render time.

Textures are go! The window frame needs colouring in, and sensible stuff needs putting on the screens, and then we're done! Maybe an occlusion pass and a bump map for the carpet.

Monday, 14 March 2011

My room sneak peek

This will be the basis for my website design.
Texturing and lighting comes next!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A friend of mine informed me of

You might be looking at it and thinking, 'But I already have a facebook, a blog, a youtube account, I don't need another networking account.' appears to be the solution to that! It promises to work as a hub, a central point that you can keep all your existing accounts under.

This way, when you meet someone, perhaps a potential client, rather than handing out a list of addresses, you can give them this single one that connects them to everything!

At the moment you can only reserve a username.
Get in there early! Reserve your username now!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Morpheus ver.2

Here is my turbosmoothed version of morpheus. Completely modelled from scratch!

And he's done in ink 'n' paint, and as you can see, despite being turbosmoothed ink 'n' paint still puts the outline in ridiculous places. Yes indeed, and for those in the know thinking 'why don't you turn off those weird MatID and SmGroup settings on the outline?', well, I did, and this is how it turns out.

There has to be another solution!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Morpheus's modelling is complete!

Here is my Morpheus.

Rendered with falloff, although only trying it will tell if it works with a map.

He's also been tesselated and smoothed, which I think does look better than without. I shall be sticking with it.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Brief Interruption

Well, my computer wasn't doing very well so I gave it a fresh install of windows.

This means I have to get 3ds max again, which is taking a long time...

Friday, 18 February 2011

Falloff Cel-shading

This is the result of using falloff to get a cel-shading effect.

The problem with this method is it's difficult to get the cel-shading's typical outline. However, you can get a bit of outline, which with this method doesn't appear on a highlight, but appears in the shadow.

You can add levels using the falloff tool. If you keep the darker colour as black, and set it so the black level is very small, as in the picture above, it creates a black line in the shadow area. If you make the level bigger, it makes the line thicker in places.

The problem is the background. This method uses self illumination, and self illumination doesn't lend itself to shadows. To cover this, you need to put a falloff shader on the floor too, which will work with shadows.

Pro tip: Why can't I delete anything on 3ds max 2011?

According to Autodesk, there is a bug in the slate material editor that prevents any kind of delete command from workin whilst it is open. So you must maximise it and close it, or open it again and close it, and then it work!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Cel shading shortcut

Second picture Cel-shading

A tutorial on how to create a cel shading effect which promises to be faster rendering than the ink n paint shader.

According to the tries in uni, this technique works, but the technique for creating the outline doesn't. It does produce a cleaner and faster rendering painted look, but getting the outline to work might need a bit more playing with.

Morpheus with hand

I made a hand! Which means thanks to symmetry I made two!


Wednesday, 16 February 2011


Where can I get that delicious meal?

That's Chilli Chicken Ramen, adapted from Chilli Beef Ramen in the Wagamama cookbook.
Seeing as it's theirs, with little input from myself, I can only recommend you buy the book. This meal alone makes it worth it.

What's that video in the background?

That would be the Inspired Brakeless 2010 roadtrip video.
Get yourself over to Cleanzine to watch it for yourself. I couldn't do half that stuff, and I have brakes on my bike!

Morpheus sneak preview

Here's Morpheus, pre-hands and head.

I'm using an ink n paint shader. The ink is weird though, you can see it's inked all over the feet, but not in the folds on the clothes. It doesn't change when you move the view around either.

If I can't fix this with modelling, I shall have to draw my own ink in on a map.

Terrain render mk. II

Ok, I had a little look for what to do for outside lighting, and found the answer in the form of a direct light. It worked!
Now with a light positioned correctly I can slap some lens flare on there, and complete the effect. I'm pleased with that, for a quick mess-around.

Terrain render

Here is a quick render of a piece of terrain.
I've applied DoF using a camera. I know I could make it look even better if I could get it lit nicely with some lens flare in the background, but what can I say... lighting is a nuisance.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


Uni work -

I want to use the ink and paint shader for my animation.
I know that a low poly model will look better cel-shaded than a high poly one.
I know that a high poly model, or at least a turbosmoothed model will bend and animate better than a low poly one.

Jonny mentioned a modifier called tesselate, which he said puts more polys in without also smoothing the model. This could be the answer I'm looking for!

Also, as for soundtrack, I realised I could make a reasonably convincing guitar using Reason 4.
Now, this could save me the effort of recording countless unsuitable clips, but it would also take away from the magic of a completely home-made piece of animation. Decisions...


I finally got round to giving Unholy Confessions by Avenged Sevenfold a proper go. A friend suggested I learn this back when I had been playing for 6 months, and I never really tried.


I am really enjoying riding my Ciguena. It's like meeting an old friend, only you sold your first one and bought someone else's later.
I worry that I might not like the feel of my Because. I might even be tempted to get rid of it!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011