The fifth week of the Maya Core evening course is equivalent to day five of the intensive day time class, so we have now covered one week of the comparable daytime course. The advantage of the evening course is you have more time to soak in the deluge of information showered onto you, but the daytime class are constantly thinking in Maya so perhaps absorb it more thoroughly.
After last week’s fruity frolics and forays into furniture, we began week four of our Maya Course finishing the seat cover of our poly modelled chair. The back row gang was complete again as our comrade James returned as he was unable to attend last week’s lessons. He was gutted to miss the chair making exercise, because he’s a budding furniture designer now hoping to get an internship at a London studio, and believes learning Maya will boost his creative potential.
I was sitting in the front row, next to Rodrigo from Brazil, on Monday night, as our class made an effort to complete the exercise of modelling fruit in NURBS, before we moved on to making a chair in Polygons. I felt a little more confident, after practicing my Primitive Man Online tutorial last weekend, and I looked forward to shading and texturing my wonky apple. But before I got to that moment there was a NURB banana skin, waiting for me to slip on.
The guys at IKinema have an awesome idea in development that is making their award winning animation technology more available to the masses. For those of you who don’t know IKinema, it is a plug-in for Maya that lets you create full-body animations quickly and easily with brilliant realistic results. It is a time saving tool that eliminates the need for characterisation or special rigs as it does the hard work for you, letting you work directly onto a rig. You can combine multiple models into a single animation, retarget from any source to any target, customise or tweak motion capture and animation as well as retarget data inside Maya in real-time.
If you share my fascination with 3D and have always wanted to learn how to do it yourself, make 2012 the year your Maya calendar begins.
For those of you who logged into my November Free Tutorial entitled Animate a Bird and Make it Fly, you'll remember that I promised to deliver a second part to it. This tutorial uses a pre-created rig, which you can buy here and explores the mechanics of bird locomotion. It costs just $5 and trust me, it’s worth it. If you'd like a re-cap of what was in part 1, you can find all the details here.
I created this month’s free tutorial with one thing in mind: How can I help improve artists’ workflow’s? This tutorial explores Maya’s ‘Transfer maps’ tool and is designed to do just that. I’ve made sure that we cover this tool in great detail, providing valuable insight into how it works, and how you can avoid common problems. It’s a very practical, hands-on demonstration of the ‘Transfer maps’ tool and with it, you will learn how to bake a diffuse texture from multiple pieces of geometry to one individual model.
As a creative professional, we hope you’re going to find the information below as exciting as we do. Last week, 14th November 2011, NVIDIA announced the arrival of NVIDIA Maximus, a technology that is set to revolutionise the way we all work. Delivering significantly increased speed and productivity to any pipeline with a single system that allows you to achieve a range of compute-intensive and graphics-intensive tasks simultaneously, you may start to wonder how you ever managed without it.
SIGGRAPH is the worlds leading conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Each year they welcome thousands of artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students and academics to Vancouver from 74 countries around the world.
On September 7th, 2011 we held a webinar for Autodesk’s 2012 version of the Entertainment Creative Suites. As ever, registrations for this Autodesk webinar were plentiful, and we're delighted so many of you were able to join us on the day.
Creative Futures is a study we recently commissioned to uncover what people in the creative industries really think about training. One of the key factors emerging from the report was that many professionals currently in full time employment, were actively seeking new skills to further their career. In these cases online or evening study are the only option.
Pixar, renowned for their cutting edge animation, know better than anyone the advantages of saving time where possible. The technical directors and supervisors on Cars 2 were faced with the challenge of building locations for this feature length animation. Those of you who have seen the sequel will remember that the lead character, Lightning McQueen, is being sent around the globe to race in the world Grand Prix. The challenge for the Pixar creative team was to build recognizable cities, on a very broad scale.
Our friends at Autodesk have just announced that from 27 September 2011, selected 2012 versions of Autodesk software will be available for download for subscription customers. Autodesk Subscription Advantage Packs offer early access to new product enhancements, giving you the very latest in Autodesk software. Subscriptions are available to contract managers, software coordinators or anyone who has been granted access to Autodesk product extensions.
In honour of the recently released Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite, Escape Studios are hosting a webinar to highlight some of the nifty tools in this 2012 version. Maya guru Lee Danskin will be walking through how these artist driven tools can assist with multiple pipelines without compromising on creativity. With one click solutions that give faster results, this new edition promises to increase creativity, flexibility and productivity, and won’t burn a hole in your wallet.
My walk down memory lane continues...
I went on a simulator ride called 'Slot Car Boogie' at the weekend. it was actually made by some old friends at Rocket Films in Bournemouth quite some years ago. 1996 I believe! Rocket Films are sadly no longer trading but it lead me to wonder who makes these kind of films today? It's hard to find any reference of it in the UK, which is a shame as we were obviously quite good at it.
This work would have been done on a Silicon Graphics machine running PowerAnimator. To put this into perspective, this would have cost around £60-80K for the SGI hardware and the software for just one artist... Oh, how lucky we all are now!
If you know of any companies that do this type of work in the UK, do let me know.
As with most of my memory lane trips, the memories were normally pre Internet revolution. I have however found this on YouTube, Slot Car Boogie by the originator Ian Williams.
I’ve been looking at the latest version of IKinema, and I reckon those of you out there who work on game animation might want to take a look at it. If you don’t know what IKinema is, the official marketing description is “A full-body animation technology that allows effortless run-time control of characters during game play to achieve full adaptation to a scene giving users a new game animation experience”.
If you want to replicate the complexity of real world objects, you need to create materials that mimic them and this month's free tutorial will show you exactly how to do that. A car body is made up of lots of materials or layers, like metal and paint. If you want to create a rusty car you'll need more materials to create the common signs of deterioration. Many Maya users will be familiar with the 'layered shader' and 'layered texture' nodes. This tutorial asks what happens if you are using the MIA material and rendering in Mental Ray.