Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Borderlands 2 gameplay

This is leaked video from Borderlands 2, low quality but it still looks very cool. Mainly the variety of the whole world, stretching from mountains with falling snow to dusty desert. Everywhere you look, you can go there and play. Procedural generation of gun types, as creators say, promises millions of variations. The robot battle was looking pretty good and intense. It ironically reminded me of Doom ;) I like many ideas they throw in.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Doom 3 source code free to download

As is id software John Carmack`s good tradition, he made the engine available for public to download and use. If you are into game engines programming and want some reference for your code, go here for the source link:

All id software open source is now here:

Also, old id games are still available for few £ to download here from Steam.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Rage similarities to Borderlands

I just played Borderlands today for the first time and I was amazed. There were so many elements the same as what I saw in Rage. Here`s few I`ve noticed:

  • being set in future with post-apocalyptic look and american "wild west" feel
  • bandits terrorizing people around their settlements and player getting missions to help them and fight for more safety
  • getting paid for those missions and travelling around the land
  • choosing what guns I carry and what I can use (not anymore in Borderlands2)
  • gaining trust with locals by completing missions
  • driving cars with boost speed-up
  • slow recharge of shield (Nanotrites in Rage) and coming back to life after being killed
  • weapon upgrades
  • buy/sell credit system
  • Job Board in town

What`s really nice is more information and control in this game and it feels like a more proper Role Playing Game. I liked how you easily set your character`s name and even colors. Also very detailed game engine settings compared to Rage. Being able to change detail of vegetation or having 3 levels of texture quality (Borderlands is using modified Unreal Engine 3). But what really got me was walking out from Dr.Ned`s shed and seeing a night sky! There is day and night here, something that is oddly missing in Rage (probably due to its baked textures, which was maybe to keep FPS high). There is also actual map! Something missing quite a lot in Rage, also horizonal compass with mission direction (genius idea). The whole game feels also more like a real world with more freedom and randomness. The comic book style look of the game is also something cool and unique.

Considering Borderlands was released around october 2009 I guess this is one of the sources where id software took inspiration. It feels like in Rage, they wanted to take similar approach, but simplify it. I need to say, the shooting in Rage is done the best from any games out there. I just get the feeling by going to open-world and RPG type of game, they split their efforts and abandoned the pure genre of first person shooter.
Let`s imagine they wouldn`t build all this Wasteland world with its bit confusing Authority and Mutants story plot... They could make just great action packed levels (maybe in Wasteland environment, why not), but also making the game bigger and longer to play. Hopefully there is Doom 4 soon with less RPG and more levels with great action. The release could also come sooner then in another 5 years or so. It`s about more focusing on the gameplay, but graphics could still use idTech5 - not trying to push the engine again with some idTech6. I mean more people could have the hardware to play it smooth in high detail.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

NextGen Skills Welcome |

NextGen Skills Welcome |:

A website for the UK campaign supporting IT education. One of the focuses is growing talent pool for the visual effects industry.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

ILM Creating the Impossible

This is 6 youtube videos of a document about Industrial Light & Magic. It`s very cool (and that`s why it goes on my blog of course!) as it goes from 70`s Star Wars movies, there is Denis Murren and John Dykstra, the veterans of film visual effects that are still active until today, which is amazing, and it goes until today with last 6th part to ILM`s involvement on Iron Man with Jon Favreau or J.J.Abrams on Star Trek.
(you will see the rest of 2-6 parts when this video finishes or in the youtube sidebar)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

maya hair jiggle setup

I wanted to show to students an example of using Maya hair dynamics for jiggle, when they are rigging cars, but couldn`t find something on youtube, so I made Maya scene. This is also useful for anything that needs to be attached and bounce around. Maya 2011 scene is for download here:

Friday, 25 November 2011

Making of music for Rage

Read about making music score for Rage game by Rod Abernethy.

"...a mix of orchestra and hybrid techno, both elements that I used for RAGE..."

Monday, 21 November 2011

AI computer chip

"Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a computer chip that mimics how the brain's neurons adapt in response to new information"

AI moves closer with brain chip

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Mirror Mirror trailer

So here is the "other Snowhite", now named Mirror Mirror. Sometimes also dubbed "the one with Julia Roberts" :) In the trailer is also our CG animated wooden mannequin (2 shots by the end), coming from our new growing creature department at Prime Focus Film in London.

Brave Trailer - YouTube

Disney/Pixar has published trailer for their highly watched upcoming movie Brave.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

UK extends film tax breaks

Good news for UK film and visual effects as well! Film tax breaks have been extended until 2015. Read more at Reuters news.

And as addition related to this subject, here is annual 200th podcast from Vfx Guide being made recently. Managers of London top film post-production houses are being interviewed about recent state of the industry, with some looking back in its history. It`s aptly called "London Calling" :)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

making of 3d animated cats

MPC podcast shows behinds the scenes of Cat`s Pride commercial postproduction. This project involved 2 full cg cats (4 with variations) and the video shows the process of modelling, rigging and grooming and discusses some compositing challenges as well.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Rage review

So, I have finished the long expected id`s game Rage. Here are some final screenshots and my review below.

(you can see all other screenshots if you filter only "id" labelled posts)

Id legacy

First let`s say what has been stated before, this is great looking first person shooter. Id software has a good looking game engine and game art as one of their top priorities. This, combined with fluent performance (apart from texture up-resing), great animation and perfected shooting response of weapons and enemies is amazing experience. This is what they are famous for and always delivered in Doom 3, Quake 3 Arena, Quake series etc. I think they took Doom3 critique about its linear nature and repetitive gameplay maybe too seriously and started working on very ambitious story-driven game, adding elements never done by id before. It was interesting to see one of the Rage demos in september, where they remind you that it is still mainly an FP shooter and that id has invented this. Which did sound like going back in history and retreat from their ambitions, giving a bit ambiguous message about what to expect.


Now let`s look at the story and I`ll start at the end. It was a bit unexpected. I was like: that`s it?? This pretty much topped the whole unsatisfied feeling about the story, which I had later during the game. I was somehow recruited by Resistance, without being really motivated to join them and explained who is Authority which they fight against. This is the main line of the story, but it doesn`t work somehow. I`m told Authority is looking for me, because I am Ark survivor, but I`m not sure, what they want. Also "someone said" they also do modifications on mutants and control them, no proof. There is no clear reason to fight them. And there is no plan as well about what will happen if we defeat them. There is some desire to activate all other Arks and start a revolution, which I manage in the last mission. Arks emerge on surface and that is The End. Player doesn`t see anything positive happening after this. The game just ends. Also it raises doubts, as Authority knows I breached their system and Arks will emerge on surface, first thing they would do is get there and arrest/kill those guys who have no weapons just woken up from hybernation. And what happens to me, the player? I`m sure I would still have to fight my way back to Subway Town.

So as I progressed, I didn`t have much motivation to fight Authority. There were exceptions, like killing bandits or mutants to help defend the settlements, protect delivery of goods, make roads safer or find someone`s lost wife. Express package delivery was fun too. But these were only side missions. The main target of the game remained unclear.
As an example, here is a goal from previous id game Doom3: Close the gate to Hell on Mars as demons could get to Earth. It was simple, but it worked.

Non-player Characters

During game you meet different "guide" NPCs who send you on the missions. First one is Dan Hagart voiced by John Goodman (Big Lebowski) and from all other that follow, this one was the best. He is the one who saves you from the Ark and gives you the first gun and later his crossbow as a personal gift. It`s a shame he doesn`t appear later in the story as your guide or maybe a member of the Resistance, as his performance was best. Only one thing was strange, as he almost makes it your fault, that his settlement is under attention and getting trouble "since you are here". But it was him, who saved you from the Ark on the first place and asked to do "dirty work" for them.
Later you have to move to Wellspring and after that to Subway Town, but you`re missing this Dan Hagart-type person who is on your side. Others seem to clearly care about their business and you do jobs for them. The player to NPCs relationships is where the game story starts to crack as well. Making a game like this is the same as making a movie. Audience needs to find some lead character, which they like and find realistic as a human being with their joys and problems. The side characters in Wellspring and Subway were pretty good in their small roles, giving you tips and comments. With leading NPCs, with first half of the game there was Dan Hagart, and quite good Wellspring Mayor and Sheriff. With Resistance people it gets worse and hits peak with Subway Town mayor Redstone. His peformance was a parody of small-town mafia boss. I mean, even bad character can be interesting and fun. Not in this case. Also I guess his original design remains on the Subway Town loading image, but I`m not sure what happened during his convertion to a game asset... :)
Just to add, you cannot skip the character speaking and have to listen to all the stuff.

Environment Interaction

As much as canyons and messy indoors look realistic, they feel frozen. Compared to Doom3, you cannot even push a chair in empty office. There are many cases where invisible wall stops you going further on a concrete block to look around. You cannot even die falling from a cliff, because it`s simply blocked. You are simply forced to follow prepared path, like in a castle tour. A bit more freedom is outside when you are driving.
I guess this is the cost of pre-rendered megatexture world of idTech5. Rage team`s shedule couldn`t probably allow to build free-movement environment, while maintaining the same quality level. The missing rigid dynamics are probably to keep FPS high, although nvidia PhysX could provide enough power, but this is only PC option.


Rage is top quality game, a lot of fun and great atmosphere. Id software worked with RPG elements for the first time and made a big step into more complex world then a plain shooter. There are times when it really works and it`s nice experience. They should now assess their priorities for next game, learn from this project, but also cut down the development time for the release of the next title.
As an id fan I`m giving 9/10

Here is my Rage review "number 2", which I did after playing Rage for second time.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Blizzard - making of Diablo 3 cinematic

This is pretty cool Making Of by Blizzard, known for their great work on cinematics. For anyone interested in how this was made, watch this video.
Animation/Rigging starts at miute 33.

Skinny Puppy HandOver listen free

For any Skinny Puppy fans out there, here`s full album "listen free" in case you want more then short previews.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

100+ Maya 3D Tutorials

Found these nice tutorials by accident. It starts from begginers to medium and more advanced. Nicely put from top the easiest, down to more difficult:

Sunday, 23 October 2011

More environments from Rage

As I`m getting through the Rage missions, here is another round of screenshots. Again, it`s great work on environments. They add a lot to the atmosphere.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Polycount | The Art of Rage

Here are some very cool images of Rage 3d models!

- vehicles/guns/machines (Joey Struve)
- environments (Phillip Bailey)
- characters (Vitaliy Naymushin)
Rage character designer`s website (Ben Olson)

While playing Rage I could see how final in-game models, textures and shaders are getting closer to their hires sources. I have upgraded recently so even the Megatexture is running fine in most locations. I wonder if ID keeps working on this texturing system for future games. It seems Megatexture in scale as it was used in Rage came too early for current PC hardware and consoles.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Rage - more screenshots

here is more great looking locations and screenshots from Rage. This world is stunningly well detailed and rendered true to id`s half-horror half-futuristic style. I was especially impressed by the Dead City and the Hospital location. The way how their engine works dynamicly with light contrast makes environments much more real. See images below or more in this picassa album...

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Rage, Wellspring

Here are some screenshots from Wellspring mission (first is from Wasteland, getting the shotgun), again, great graphics. The game runs pretty smooth with occasional loading of hires textures. First it displays lowres, then goes higher, but the performance doesn`t lag. 

I`m running Nvidia GeForce 560 GTX 1GB with drivers 285.38 (beta with Rage patch) and these settings seem the best so far:

res 1280 x 960
antialiasing 2x
texture cache - large
vsync - off
anisotropic filtering - low
GPU transcode - enabled (means it is using CUDA and streams textures faster)

More screenshots:

Rage first play

As I started playing RAGE today and I`m adding some screenshots here and my first impressions. Graphics are a master piece. Every texture, every piece of the world in Rage is unique, which feels very real. Compared to previous Doom 3, there is now also dust in the air and the environment feels less sterile and more dirty. Although price for the rich environments is graphics memory issues. Playing on 1 GB ram gxf card, you can see textures being upressed from low to higher detail when you turn around, which was quite annoying but I got used to it. As long as frames-per-second hold up and game is smooth. Also this happens rather in complex environments. I like the little storyline in the game and getting the weapons and items on missions.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

blog ui

As a matter of fact, summer is over... And so is the sunshine green meadow blog design. Now it`s a bit heavier theme with actual photo of Triton moon on a background. It needs to settle down a bit, maybe do few tweaks.
The longest time though it took to find a new cool photo of a digger with pistons and hydraulics exposed.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Alois Nebel - new czech animated film

A new czech animated feature film Alois Nebel had a world premiere on festivals and is coming to czech cinemas. The technique used is very similar to Waltz with Bashir (movie about Israel war conflict in 80`s), where hand drawn look and different 2d techniques are applied on top of real footage and mixed with 2d environments or cel shaded 3d objects. As well as the israel film, Alois Nebel is connected with war history and includes some imaginations of the main hero.
Check it out here:

New Skinny Puppy album out soon

Nivek Ohgre and his allies (Cevin Key, Mark Walk etc.) seem to be very productive recently with Ohgr`s "Undevelopped" and now with new Skinny Puppy album "Handover" to be available on 28th october as mp3 at
Together with id software`s Rage game release on 7th, october looks to be very exciting month!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Tim Willits on Rage at nvidia UK

Here`s pretty recent (friday 23rd September) Tim Willits interview by GeForceUK moderator. I found this on as I`m buying new card for Rage and I`m going for geforce GTX 550 or spend a little more and get 560.
Btw. Tim mentions that average playing time on Rage would be 15 hours and if you do all side missions and just do it "properly", then 20 hours. That`s non-stop of course, I estimate to play that for few months on and off :)) Plus maybe multiplayer if it`s fun.

Btw. I fixed the Rage Character Animation post, now video is embedded

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Jim Henson puppets in 3d as google logo

It`s really cool how Google has celebrated Jim Henson`s 75`th birthday today. They made an effort to make 6 pre-animated characters in 3d (using Maya) each  forming a shape of one of the "Google" letters. The creatures react on mouse movement, can open mouth and there is a one special action.
Here`s some youtube making of and comments from Henson company and Google:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Maya 2011 to 2009

I found interesting tip how to open Maya 2011 files in 2009 (and generally pre-2011). I have removed the header lines with "requires 2011" etc. but my skinned mesh still wasn`t displayed. Then I found from this webpage that you also need to remove or comment out lines with calls to command "relationship" which causes older Maya versions to stop there (I guess). The scene opened with skinCluster working. Big thanks for this tip go to author of that page.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

More Pixar Brave stuff!

- unfortunately removed after Disney asked them

At least here are 2 images! Also, here is link to my first post on Pixar`s next movie Brave.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tippet pipeline link

I accidentally found new link to an article about old Tippet Studio pipeline. Until some point it was available and then moved it under paid articles. So here is my old post edited with new link where you can see how they did it. It`s quite rare material, bit older today as it was used on Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) but it can be an inspiration for some pipeline TDs who yet didn`t have a chance to work for a bigger facility.


nice Brad Pitt caricature taken from this website which is some kind of compilation of various caricature artists work.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Rigging class/workshop

I will be at Maxcon 3d conference in Prague on 18. and 19. september having talk about Rigging in film on saturday and making workshop on Deformation setup and simple deformer development in Maya on sunday. All talks are in czech/slovak language only.
For more details and registration go to Maxcon website:

Link to workshop information:

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

demo skinToolsEdit - YouTube

This looks like a nice set of tools for dealing with skinCluster weighting. For tools like this I would say, the more the better!

This tool is licensed, so it needs to be bought. But there are few free scripts

...including simple python wrap deformer plugin (good if you search for some reference on Maya plugin dev).

More Jason Osipa tools are here (from Stop Staring book):

R.U.R., Prague

Prague post production field has new member. R.U.R. (named after czech writer Karel Čapek`s novel) is a post production studio assembled from experienced czech artists, some being ex-members of U.P.P.
As with another fresh Prague facility Cubone, let`s hope they will survive on the market (knock on wood! :)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Czech Koruna given AA- rating

I rarely post news on economy (this is maybe first one), but these news are connected with reliability of investments and thus media post production companies and their well-being. Standard & Poor`s company raised the rating of Czech Koruna (Czech Republic currency, as we don`t use Euro) from A to AA-. This is quite rare today when many western governments have to deal with high debt.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Advanced Character Pipeline and Tools

This is a bit old Maya tutorial on character pipeline (2003), but still quite unique and there are few of them on this topic. Originally sold as DVD by Autodesk (with video presentation at Siggraph Maya Master Class), but for long time it`s not available.

Advanced Character Pipeline and Tools

I happened to find this online. So if you want to learn about this and setting up your first animation pipeline, it`s worth having a look at this.

Thursday, 18 August 2011 Transformers 3 review

Those guys have hit it, exactly! "Some `ol bullshit" :)) Loved their ideas of chinese take-away stand transformer, mexican mowing machine and cashier box transformer!! You have to see it. Plus Michael Bay behind camera turned on shooting Rosie H-Whiteley (only caricature!)

btw. THOR got Full Price, which I think it really deserves. Quite underestimated movie which surprised by how well the comic book was converted into film (trailer).

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Maya 2011 bug fixes

Disney elastic collision skin deformer

This is simply awesome. Volume preservation and collisions, even with built in dynamics. And I guess not too difficult to setup. An algorithm developped by Disney in collaboration with two universities.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Which editor for Python programming?

Here is quite exhaustive discussion about best editors for makig python scripts:

My favourite is Eclipse Juno with PyDev extension. It makes programming in python really fast and also has either SVN or GIT versioning support if you have a repository.

Monday, 8 August 2011

more online math learning

Here`s what seems to be good online learning website on math. It`s sharing some videos with which I posted before.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Angry Birds on Chrome

Angry Birds is a game primarily made for mobile phones. But you can give it a try on Chrome browser too, which is good if you`re not the smart phone owner or just thinking about buying one (Angry Birds are both on iPhone/iPad and Android phones).

I think if this mania won`t stop, someone will buy the rights to produce a CG animated feature for this. Pixar could work on it under name "For the Angry birds" ;) Here is a little reminder of their short.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

RAGE character animation

ID has recently released new video on Rage game showing some Maya scenes with facial and body rigs. It`s only quick views, but gives some idea.
(I recently added this embedded video and took out old link to list of videos on website as "The enemy" seems to be removed)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

ImageMovers Digital back in the game?

According to Hollywood Reporter, Universal Studios might go for a new deal to put Robert Zemeckis` studio ImageMovers Digital back in the business.
In the meantime after finishing Mars Needs Moms and some tests for a cg feature (Yellow Submarine?) Zemeckis is a producer on Real Steel (DreamWorks), a robot arena fighting movie with Hugh Jackman.