I finally broke down and bought Zbrush. All I can say is that it was SOOOoooo worth it! So far I love it. I’ve been geeking out on it for the last two weeks. Its great!
Having spent so much of the last year clawing my through Maya, working in Zbrush is like a great big breath of fresh air. Thank you Pixologic! It took a day or two to learn the basics but by the end of the first week I was already beginning to do some interesting work. There is a bit of a learning curve but its nothing compared to Maya. Wow, Its so nice to worry about the design and not the technical aspects of the project for a change. Â I’m glad I learned the tech stuff but too much of it will drive you mad.
I’ve already modeled and painted up a few things but they are for a feature and so I can’t put them on line. So to share I roughed out this little fly character. He’s based on a doodle I did. Like I said, i’m still learning the ropes so the pose is all stiff and there are somerendering artifacts but hey what do you expect right out of the box. Still he’s kind of fun so I thought I’s share.
To test out Zbrush’s GoZ plugin I tossed him into a rough set and did a quick render. Just one button and you can jump back and forth. Its so easy I love it. The render took longer than the whole project. Ha!
This is a time lape of me organizing some of the mess which is my home office.
I added a few bits of animation here and there just to make it interesting. The roots are a maya paint effects setup. For some reason it took way longer than I thought to render. Oh well, time flies when your having fun.
Oh, I should add that the time lapse was shot on a Nikon D700 using an AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm lens. The camera was set to shoot one frame every 20 seconds and it was all compress at 24fps. I composited the shot using TVPaint animation software.
Recently I bought a copy of TVPaint animation to help me out with my storyboard work.
It has a wonderful interface for this and is much improved compared to its predecessor, Mirage. Playing around in it I made this quick little walk cycle to combat the boredom of waiting for maya to render. Ahhhh.. good ‘ol 2d. Instant gratification. Hand rendering is so much faster.
I took a break from learning maya rigging to try and setup a Mental Ray Satellite on my Playstation 3. Let me tell you this was nothing but a very big headache. I did learn a lot though along the way and so I really don’t mind that in the end it was a failure.
Setting out the goal was to take advantage of the PS3’s graphics engine to do render tests of my maya experiments. I had heard of people doing this by installing Linux on the other OS option of the PS3 and running mental ray through it. I know nothing about Linux so after spending a day or two searching around on the web I learned that there are hundreds of open source linux operating systems out there and that they are all rather pourly documented. The rule of the linux land seams to be, “you can find anything you want as long as you know what your looking for and where to look for it.” Like I said before I had no clue what I was doing but was lucky enough to stumbled across a very helpful site called PSUBUNTU. With the help of some of their tutorials I was able to installed a Ubuntu 9.04 pS3 operating system on my Playstation and move on to the next challenge, installing Mental ray satellite.
Installing Mental Ray Satellite should be relatively painless. Essentially its just a little application that waits for commands from a master computer, renders the said jobs and sends them back to the master computer. No big deal, just like a networked printer. It should be a relatively painless install but no, this is Autodesk maya we are talking about. It has to be hard. Really, Really hard. Fist off, the install specifies that you need to be logged in as a root user to instal mental ray satellite on linux, that would be fine and dandy if logging in as a root user was possible. After a lot of searching it turns out you can’t login as a root user you can only use something called sudu commands from a terminal window. Ok so I figured that out and moved on to the next step uncompressing the file on the instal cd. Of course the linux instal file has to come in a format which is non native to linux. It can’t be opened unless you install a special uncompression program to convert it into something that linux can uncompress. All of this has to be done using sudo command lines in the terminal window which is particularly difficult for a visual person like myself. ;But I did it. I did it all the way up to the point where I got an error that said I was running a PPC kernel machine and that Maya Mental Ray Satellite was only compatible with Intel chip machines. After struggling for a few day to get to this point I was pretty mad. In none of the installation documentation does it say that mental ray requires an intel chip. It specifies a 64bit operating system yes but not the intel chip part. I FAILED!! I have to hand it to Autodesk, they really know how to write terrible instal guides. In the end my favorite instruction through out this whole ordeal was something like, “ask your system administator to do this for you”.
When my headache finally goes away I’m going to look into rendering on the Amazon cloud. I hear you can use programs like EnFusion, for a small price, to do this relatively painlessly. Until then I will just have to be patient and wait for my little imac here to slowly render my files. ;sigh…
I have been trying to learn how to rig the little monster character I started building and its clear from the start that I was never meant to be a rigger.
There are a million mistakes with his rig. Â Controls fly all over the place and the whole thing is generally a mess. Â Still I want to keep at it since its it would be fun to be able to make things that can move. Â Its going to take a lot of time. Â Until I really understand how constraints work nothing is going to moving anywhere fast. Â For now, I am going to need a lot of aspirin and a few stiff drinks.
Another maya rendering experiment, this time with caustics. I should have render the scene with more rays, as you can see the refracted points dancing on the walls behind. Still I kind of like the disco ball effect it gives off. I had fun with this one. enjoy.
Digging though some old miniDV tapes I discovered my first 2d animation, an animated logo for my little production company Ammonite Films. No surprise, but in a very classic “sterling” mistake I misspelled “Ammonite”.
I was introduced to animation while attending CSSSA- California State Summer School for the Arts by none other than Corny Cole! I was submitted as a live action film student but was unhappy with my place and after the first week desperately tried to switch over to animation. Sadly I was denied by the heads of that program on the grounds that it was simply too late to switch departments. A kind old man pulled me aside after this and told me to ignore the bureaucracy and just animate on my own. He went out of his way to show me how to sneak in to the department, and on his own time introduced me to how a peg bars worked, taught me how to punch peg holes, introduced me to the video down-shooter and set me on my way. My summer at CalArts was saved!
Years later after a figure drawing class I had also snuck into, this time at USC,I was retelling this little story to Corney Cole who after hearing it brightened up “That was you!?”. Apparently he was the kind old man! Ever more strange he went on to explain that the heads of the department that had denied me all those years ago were Christine Panushka and Vibeke Sorensen, my current professors and heads of the animation program there at USC!!
Corny said he had never forgotten that moment years ago cause, as far as he knew, no one had ever tried to switch programs like that before and he thought it was ridiculous that they wouldn’t let me into animation.
Years later he was still letting me sneak in to his classes. Thanks for fanning the flames Corny your the best!!