Sunday, 29 April 2012

Maya 2013 rigging features

In this video, Autodesk is showing nice new features for Maya 2013 release usefull when rigging creatures: Node Editor and Heat Map skinCluster binding method.

Node Editor
is something that should have been done years ago. It`s pretty much like Houdini network. Well it`s there now, so thumbs up!

Heat Map
can save you some time skinning limbs of characters or as I personally recall, skinning tree roots (Narnia 2, Battling Oaks). Vertices which get close to each other would get their influences mixed, now it seems like surface based algorithm, similar to Soft Mod tool.

I wonder if you can use Heat Map when using Copy Skin Weights, because that would be really usefull for transfering edited weights (not just default) from body to layers of costume.

Btw. I wonder if Autodesk have fixed the non-uniform scale issue in SkinCluster DualQuaternion method.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Digital Domain interview about lighting/shading in Real Steel

Thursday, 26 April 2012

skinningTools update

I have updated old MEL script SkinningTools (by David Walden, 2005), which is still useful for basic editing of skinCluster weights and works well under Maya 2011 (and probably higher versions). You can download it from here:

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Making of vfx at BUF

I have heard about BUF long time ago (Fight Club), but never went to check out their website until now. They have pretty good project reels for each movie and here is one of my favourites, showing their extensive work on Speed Racer (shame it passed through cinemas almost unnoticed!):

Then another one, I must mention, are their visual effects for successful 2011 movie Thor, where they helped to visualize the enormous scale of galaxies and the epic Bifrost bridge sequences, generated as full CG environments using BUF proprietary software:

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

John Carter DNEG interview

Pete Chiang, Eamonn Butler, Steve Aplin - the right people to ask about how DNEG has created visual effects for John Carter. Here is interview by vfxguide:

Friday, 13 April 2012

Battleship visual effects

Today I saw this movie about an alien attack from the sea, where small group of U.S. Navy soldiers take on the challenge to fight against a very advanced enemy from space.
I didn`t expect deep filosophical thoughts, just some good scifi action and the movie matched it. ILM made a great job on this one, with amazing water simulations, destructions, digital environments and of course the amazing renders of alien battleships and aliens matchmoved into the shots, the same way as seen in Pirates of Caribean. All made up to the quality seen in Transformers or Iron Man, even with such a high number of visual effects shots. This is not only showing good tools that artists have available, but also powerfull pipeline calibrated for hundreds of shots, each one of varying complexity.
I also should add that ILM wasn`t the only studio working on this (same with Transformers where DD has taken big share), there were Double Negative, Scanline and others. Full list is provided by Cinefex online (who will have an article on this production in their summer issue in May):

Monday, 2 April 2012

Total Recall trailer

So the trailer for 2012 version of classic sci-fi thriller Total Recall is out, being released online just a while ago. Prime Focus Film has some work shown there as well, CGI work on robots in some shots and other stuff.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Weta Digital creature pipeline

Here is an interesting article on current development of creature pipeline at Weta Digital. They mention how new standalone custom software Tissue developped at Weta during production of Avatar is used for accurate deformation and simulation of character surfaces, consisting of realistic anatomical model of bones, muscles and fat. Also how in recent movies like Planet of Apes or Tin Tin dynamic simulation similar to cloth is used in facial animation post-process.