Monday, November 16, 2015

Final Project 3: Make a Place

So, now we're going to build on what's been going on so far. You now have a solid overview of the 3D modeling process:
  1. Modeling
  2. UV Mapping
  3. Materials/Textures
  4. Lighting
  5. Rendering
As importantly, you have developed an overview of creating an effective image:
  1. Establish a camera to create your shot.
  2. Think foreground, mid-ground, background
  3. Contrast in scale.
  4. Use light and shadow to break up your scene and create points of interest.
  5. Tell a story. How is the viewer meant to "move" through the space.
  6. Use compositing/post-production to "cheat" and create the best image you can.
  7. Interior/exterior and visual hierarchy. How can you move our eye through the scene?
Our final is Monday, December 7 at 8:00!!

What's due?
You will present a .pdf of your project. It should include
  1. Reference material you used to develop your place.
  2. A one paragraph written narrative of your scene. What is it? Where is it? Why is it? What's the story?
  3. In-progress shots and narrative of your process - can include screen caps, test renders, etc.
  4. Final shots of your place - at least 5. These should be final quality renders, that is, they should be finished off in photoshop (color-corrected, composited) and include shadows and ambient occlusion passes.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Project 2A: Interior with Texture & Lighting

I. Project Overview

Using your newfound skills, model an interior scene. This time, we'll be adding the power of textures, lighting, and compositing to create a complete render. Note: Project 1 & 2 are both due on Monday, November 9. See revised due dates for details.

Here's the basic construction order:
1. Model - get the geometry set before you UV map. Changes in geometry will affect the UVs.
2. UV Map - prepare a UV map for each object so you can apply textures.
3. Surfacing - create Materials for your objects with 2D texture maps and material attributes.
4. Lighting - use a combination of lighting types and techniques to flesh out the scene.
5. Render - set resolution and use render layers to generate a bitmap(s) of your shot.
6. Post-Production - Composite, color-correct, and cheat to create your final shot.

Here're a few texture maps to get you started - click 'em to enlarge and download the high res versions. Put 'em in your project folder in the sourceimages folder.

II. Technique: Materials, UV Mapping, Texture Maps

1. Intro to Maya Materials

2. Intro to Maya UV Mapping and Texture Making

3. UV Editing Techniques: Split, Move, Sew, UV Shells

III. Example 1: UV Mapping and Texturing a Model

1. Concept and template drawn in PhotoShoppe (note proportions are different in final model):

2. Modeling in progress:
3. Wireframe finished:
4. UV mapping and textures:
5. Grind Date:

IV Example 2: Model, Texture, and Composite

 Reference Shot



3D shot with alpha channel
2D image in PhotoShoppe
Final composite image

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Project 1B: BlockVille Buildup

Okay, we're getting into component modeling now. Verts, edges, and faces are your new companions. Your project for Wednesday, October 14  is to build out some of your scene objects in Blockville using component modeling to create some more detailed, cool elements to give your scene 6000% more bad-assery. Demonstrate this increase with three more scene renders posted to the blog. Remember, be deliberate in your choice of what to model so you get maximum visual impact out of your efforts. Do appropriate VISUAL RESEARCH and post it. I don't know much, but I do know that  you (yes, you) do not yet have a fully detailed architecture library floating about in your head.

Responsive essay. This essay should have a bit of before and after reflection. Before you get too involved in your modeling, write a bit on what emotional impact you are trying to convey in your scene and how you might achieve that effect. After your shots are getting done, reflect a bit on your use of modeling, architectural repetition, research, shot composition, and the like and how it contributed to the success/failure of your work.

1. Right-click, hold, and drag on an object to set the component level you want to work on. This is also where you get back to object mode.

You can also use f8, f9, f10, f11 to access the different component levels. If you do this, you'll need to set up your mac hotkeys: Apple Menu>System Preferences>Keyboard> use f1 etc as standard function keys checkbox.

2. Avoid the following like the plague (because we all very consciously try to avoid the plague).
a. Non-planar faces:
The top face of this block is f***ed (i.e. non-planar)

The top face of this block is fine--it's planar.

b. Do not pull verts through faces! Ugh. Don't make me look at it:

c. N-gons. These are polygons that have more than 3 or 4 verts. 
This is one polygon, but it has 8 vertices.

Here's the same model, properly "quad-ed out".

d. Unnecessarily complex geometry. Hello, olde-fashioned booleans.
Clean-up on isle 5!

To avoid these unfortunate types of things, we've got to learn how to add geometry to our models carefully and deliberately. The Heads Up Display (HUD) will help you keep tabs on your "poly-count" as well as give you a constant read-out on health, ammo, and special ability cooldowns. Access the hud through the menu: Display--Heads Up Display--Poly Count

Here are some videos on the basics of component modeling:

1. Extruding Faces

2. Building an Arch: How to delete, create, and mirror faces

3. How to combine separate objects and merge vertices

4. How to import an image as an Image Plane

5. Sample image for use as an Image Plane
DemoTemplate. Click to enlarge, then download.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Project 1A - Blockville

Rock out with your blocks out!

1. Find 10 images that use scale contrast and composition to help create a sense of size and distance.  Post them to your blog with the title, "Project 1: Reference Material." Make sure you credit the artist for his/her work and provide a title, date, and a link back to the site that provided the work.

Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927).  

How's about some Piranesi? From the Carceri (Prisons) c. 1745-50. 
These have been a big influence on just about everybody designing big, fantastical scenes with gigantic architectural scale.

2. Choose 3 of the images and recreate them using only blocks and basic geometric primitives. Make sure you create a separate camera to maintain your shot composition. Render them out as 1000 pixel wide jpgs. Post them to your blog by Monday, October 5.

You are required to keep a blog for this course and post all of your lab projects there. If you're new to bloggin', I recommend as it's free and easy to use. If you find a service that works better for you, however, by all means, go for it. Yes, you may use a blog you have started before this class, just make sure you label your posts clearly so I don't get cranky. Once you have your blog set up, post your name and your blog's URL as a comment to this post. You must do this today, Monday, September 28. Check the comments section of this post for an example of how to do this.

Take a photo of your self and post it in the "about me" section of your blog by today, Monday, September 28.

Each week, you'll have a reading or two and will write a reflective essay related to your project. You'll post your writing assignment to your blog along with your studio work. Your written reflection is 25% of your project grade and must be posted before class on Monday, October 5.
Here are your readings for the first week:
Reflective Essay Writing Tips For College Students
Interview with Joe Sanabria, Lead Artist, Fallout: New Vegas

Additional resources you may wish to consult:

Reflect on the process of doing your research and creating your scene. In two or three clear, precise paragraphs, try to answer at least three of the following questions: Did the interview give you any ideas on how to approach your project? Did you start with a plan and stick to it, or were there some unexpected discoveries along the way? Which do you think is your best final image? How did you decide a scene was 'finished'? Did you return to your work to edit it?  Did you have some ideas of images you wanted to work with or did you just dive into the internet and start looking? Did you learn anything from this project that will become a part of your regular creative process? What kind of emotional responses were you trying to evoke in your imagery?

Here is a 10 minute video to get you started with Blockville!

 How To Render:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Finale Projet

Okay, you've got your secret agent teams... Git after at. Collect ideas. Combine them. Get strange. Draw. Sketch. Enter the Dream Space...

David O'Reilly Rigs....

Creative Crash

Make sure to keep track of the rigs you are using and credit them appropriately.

Animatic First Draft Due: Wednesday, May 6.

Final Screening: Monday, June 8.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lt. Dan walks among us

Behold, your next rig-- Lt. Dan! This time we've got legs and feet. . . and an optional tail. This time, we're doing walk and run cycles. Oh yes. Click here to download the Lieutenant Dan rig.

Lt. Dan and the bouncing ball rig were designed and built by Matt Ornstein! Props to him, I say!
We'll take a look at your first efforts on Monday, April 20.

Here's a 5 minute Miles video introducing the Lt. Dan rig:

Here's the link to the youtube page, if the embed video is lame.

For Monday, see if you can get Lt. Dan to take two steps forward...

Plodding along...

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ball Actin'

SOU alum Steve Hammond shows how to get it done!

2 Ballz
Beginning, middle, end.
Character, deliberate action.

Rough Cut crit... Wednesday, April 9
Final Cut... Monday, April 14

Monday, April 6, 2015


Okay, here's PROJECT ONE: Create two loops of a bouncing ball.
  • Create Loop One using a basic Maya primitive sphere.
  • Create Loop Two using the Ball Rig
  • Make a blog for your work if you don't already have one. Gimme the link...
  • Render both animations (Playblast is fine) and post them to a web video service (vimeo, youtube, etc) and then yer blog. Make sure they loop at least 5 times!
  • Due by Monday, April 5.
  • To learn: Timeline, Graph Editor, Playblast, Timing, Spacing/Easing, Squash and Stretch, loop/cycles. See the previous two posts for the basics.
Here are the infamous Miles Maya intro videos that show you how to do the do. Work through these before Tuesday, and we'll pack our rags and go from there...

Loop One videos:

Loop Two videos:

And finally! Don't forget to get set up with yer free Maya download on your home computer. Make sure the version you download matches the lab version! And better yet, don't forget to send me an email about being a volunteer lab aid, because you know you want to do it. And it will be awesome. Cheerio...

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Maya Animation Interface

1. Interface. Here's the basic Maya interface. Click on the images below to enlarge 'em.

2. Timeline. You'll be rooting around quite a bit in the Timeline. Learn this inside n' out:

3. Preferences. Before you start animating, click the animation preferences button at the far right of the Timeline (see above) to set the Playback speed to Real-Time. If you don't do this, your animation will play back insanely fast. Yikes!

While, we're in Preferences, let's set our Frame Rate (Frames Per Second a.k.a. FPS) to 30 NTSC.

4. Keyframing. Here's how to manipulate keyframes in the timeline.

Turn Auto Keying on and off. Click the little key icon to the right of the timeline (see 2. Timeline, above). Red is on, black is off.

Move a Single Key. Shift + Left Click on a key. Let go. Click and drag on the inner set of arrows to move it to its new location. When you're done, click somewhere else in the timeline to cancel out of the move/scale mode.

Move a Range of Keys. Shift + Left-click-drag a range of frames. They will turn red! Move the inner arrows to move that entire range of keys in the timeline.

Scale a Range of Keys. Shift + Left-click-drag a range of frames, as above. Yes, they will turn red! Move the outer arrows to the left to make the animation faster and move them to the right to make the animation slower. This is a very nifty way to quickly modify the timing of your animation. If you don't see the outer arrows, use the Range Slider to increase your playback range until you do! After you've adjusted your timing, if you're working on a cycle, use the handy Range Slider to adjust your playback range to fit your new timing.

Copy a Key. Right Click on a key and choose Copy from the fly-out menu.

Paste a Key. After copying a key, right click the frame into which you'd like to paste your copied keyframe, then choose Paste > Paste from the fly-out menu. Beware not to just click paste and let go. There are two pastes you have to choose. It's Maya, remember.

Change Playback Range. Enter new numbers in the inner set of boxes 'neath the timeline.

Change overall animation length. Enter new numbers in the outer set of boxes 'neath the timeline.

Delete a Key. Right-click on a key and choose Delete from the fly-out menu.

Set a Key for All Keyable Attributes.  Hit "S".

Key a Particular Attribute. Shift + W (move), Shift + E (rotate), Shift + R (scale).

To do more advanced animation editing, we'll be using The Graph Editor...
Windows > Animation Editors > Graph Editor 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Final Fun-tasy

Final Critique: Thursday, March 19, 3:30 p.m. in the Undercity (MA 003)

So, what do we show at our final critique? Three rendered images of your final character/environment composite. Like we've been saying, don't be afraid of Photoshopin' the livin' daylights out of it. Composite, paint, the works. Don't be shy. Make it utterly irresistible...

and head off into the sunset...

or Markarth...

or a land of Nightmare!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Project 5: Character Makin'

Time for some Mudboxin'.

Make a character--or six. We'll talk basic modeling this week, then get into texture in the next. Your finished character will be due on Thursday, February 26.

Start low poly and work on the big detail and silhouettes FIRST. Don't get into fine detail until you've established the silhouette and big forms. Here's a video on how to use the pose tools in Mudbox.
In Mudbox or Zbrush, start off with a low-poly base mesh. Here's the base mesh ol' Miles done made. With the basic grab, smooth, and bulge tools you should be able to get the big forms in pretty quickly. I used the base mesh above to hammer out roughs of two very different characters. You should have a distinctive low-poly sculpt within the first 30-60 minutes.

After getting the big forms established, you can gradually work up the detail levels to work out your model.