Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Rage Scorchers

New DLC available for Rage - The Scorchers! Quite unexpected nice xmas suprise :)
Here is pretty good review by "HAL" from N4G.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

AirMech xmas update

AirMech game (see AirMech page) has recently got some stylish updates for the Christmas season by Carbon Games along with couple of changes in rules, Airmech abilities and so on. This video presents these changes ...and mentions the presents you can get as well! ;)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

ILM London

Yes, based on the changes in official Lucas Film Recruiting website it seems there will be another ILM branch open in 2013. And the place will be in London.
This is actually second time, when major VFX house founded in US created a branch in London. It was first with Digital Domain in 2011 as a bussiness partnership with Reliance Media, which after aquisition of DD stayed as Reliance MediaWorks only.
But with new film tax relief being effective from april 2013 in UK, London becomes more attractive spot for visual effects post production. And with upcoming work on more Star Wars films after Disney aquiring LucasFilm, ILM could be more busy then before.

Here is ILM`s latest demoreel from their work on Battleship:

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Čtyřlístek - trailer

Here is latest trailer for 3d animated cell shaded movie from czech production Ctyrlistek, which in english means Quarterfoil. It is about 4 classic characters from old but well known (in Czech Republic) hand drawn kid comic book. Director of this movie is Michal Zabka, who has plenty of experience with making puppet animated characters for  short movies (winning on international festivals), TV commercials including Vodafone chamelleons and TV 3d animated series Prasatka, which means Little Pigs. This is his first full CG feature and third made by czech production. Previous two were Goat Story and Goat Story with Cheese from director Jan Tomanek with AAA Studio.
Ctyrlistek production is based in animation studio ALKAY, which did Prasatka as well as many TV commercials with 3d characters. I think choosing cell shaded look helped to make the production a bit cheaper and gain from the consistent look.
There is also another 3d character animation in czech production, which is called Nejmensi Slon na Svete (The Smallest Elephant in the World) made by Eallin Animation and co-produced by Czech TV.
Interesting to mention is that all these productions are using Maya pipeline.



Friday, 23 November 2012

Doom 4 on Steam beta

Apparently Doom 4 was added to Steam beta subscription database, according to PC GamesN. The Steam database entry which is probably Doom4 is here:
http://cdr.thebronasium.com/sub/2813

This could mean that the game is being probably tested on Steam. There are speculations that game could be close to being released. But how long that means is a question. Beta testing phase has no time limits and probably there would be some trailer few months before the release, which still did not happen. Also as Id Software just finished work on additional Doom 3 BFG levels and moved over programmers from their mobile game division (and effectively closing it) it rather sounds like they could spend another 6 months or maybe more on finishing all work, optimizing, fixing bugs, adding features based on feedback from beta testers and so on.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

cleaner

great image, a bandit cleaning up. Maybe he just wanted to make a difference... :)
4th time playing Rage. Simply best looking shooter, best enemy response to being hit, gun shot fx, character movement, textures etc.

Friday, 16 November 2012

30 000

Wow, 30.000 views! I will raise a toast to this on friday. Thanks everyone for dropping by on this blog, it is really cool that so many visits have been here since I started sharing various cool stuff in 2008 (and stopped spamming my friends with emails, which I did originally).

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Fabric Engine platform

Today I was at the presentation of Fabric Engine 3d Creation Platform and I was really impressed. So here are couple of notes:

It is a development and TD environment project which has its own 3d application GUI (so you can run something that creates window with perspective view and buttons which look like Maya or XSI). That application has its node editor and it is node network architecture. Quite similar to Houdini. The main difference is that this provides access for developpers to absolute core of the system. Also it is OS independent and its purpose is to provide platform to process and visualize 3d data for visual effects productions. This is focused on those productions who have their R'n'D staff and TDs. These really can benefit from such advanced tool and they actually spend lot of time writing such custom tools. But here is a system which provides very good base and a lot of ready-to-use code dedicated to this purpose.
The platform allows for example implement custom real time rendering engine with easy to change parameters, supporting multi-threading and both CPU and GPU operations. One of its main focuses is to be competitive in scalability and performance and the architecture is built for that.
Another example is deformers, which can be implemented and then interfaced into Maya, XSI or other applications or it can be performed inside Fabric Engine 3d application. It actually can take FBX, Alembic or OBJ geometry, process it and export back to the same format.
What is also good to notice is that most of the developpers of this software are originally from Autodesk, originally developping Softimage XSI. Here is the team background.


Creation Platform CAPI Deformer in Softimage from Fabric Engine on Vimeo.

Monday, 12 November 2012

FLA Airmech album release in 4 days

So the day of release of this special instrumental piece from Front Line Assembley is coming closer. Here are some snippets from each song already on Amazon. Also some songs are available at FLA soundcloud page. I must say it already sounds great, looking forward for the full length tracks. The atmosphere is mainly ambient with some low profile beats, as these tracks were mainly created for the AirMech gameplay background. Although I suppose the mixing was different for the album version focused on a song structure.
The full version of one of the songs - Stealth Airmech, can be heard inside the game during menu choices and settings.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

AirMech launches open beta on Steam | VentureBeat

Mechs never looked so pretty as AirMech launches open beta on Steam | VentureBeat:

Here is nice article about AirMech, free to play Action Strategy game for PC and Chrome browser. Some interesting background info about how Carbon Games (makers of Airmech) were founded and their view on independent game making compared to big publishers: "We are proving that the old publisher model is broken. Six people in a room can make a game played by people all over the world" (James Green, Carbon Games co-founder). Also according to the this article, AirMech has to date 420.000 beta testers. That is pretty good for an indie strategy game!

And if you are playing AirMech, you might be interested that there will be Open Beta Tournament on 27.november!
The tourney will be live-streamed by McSploosh on twitch.tv

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Doom 3 Lost Mission update

I made some update in the Progress To Hell album... managed to take some more creature screenshots as well.
The hell has actually lot of new assets/textures made. While Mars City levels seem like extension to existing Doom 3 Mars facilities, the Hell parts are more original.
There are some locations which don`t look as good, mainly some bigger open areas have problem with texture scale, unified lighting and contrast. It feels like the level designers handled the small corridors and locations much better. Or maybe this is also limit of the idTech4 engine and how this is adjusted for this game. It was made pretty much for Doom 3 metal shaded interiors, and that`s were it was tested.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Monday, 22 October 2012

Doom 3 BFG images


So I`ve played recently through levels of The Lost Mission, from Doom 3 BFG. Some of the visuals where pretty good, still using the idTech4 engine, so I made some screengrabs. The metal surfaces are maybe not the common chat topic, but  I`m sure they stayed in minds of many players of Doom 3 walking through the Mars facilities corridos. The solid and compact look of the objects is very common in ID`s games. It`s interesting how similar style applies to the gameplay, which they alway try to keep simple and straighforward. So here are couple of screenshots at this picassa album:
Doom 3 BFG Progress To Hell


Sunday, 21 October 2012

IronMan 3 teaser

Only link at the mo... looks cool! Can`t wait for the next one.
YOUTUBE_VID_LINK

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Doom 3 BFG gameplay

!! WARNING - SPOILER VIDEO !!

This is one of the first gameplay videos from Lost Mission, brand new mission on fresh released ID software Doom 3 BFG. I was watching part of it and it looks pretty cool. Check out the video (if you can survive the commentary of that guy :-P). Classic anti-demon futuristic action, with a mix of best creatures and weapons from both Doom 3 and mission pack Resurrection of Evil.



It looks like the designers used the existing asset libraries with adding bits and pieces to built new levels with fresh look, keeping its horror elements, but more focused on action. And that reminds the good tradition of classic Doom, which suits pretty well to this All-Doom pack release. Btw. the UI changed from the original version. It seems ID really gave this game some fresh update.

I wonder how the game would look like, if they actually made one of the open-door levels with high towers and vast fields full of demons and approaching robot spiders. But using idTech4.

Maya 2013 DG profiler

I liked this video showing new feature for Autodesk Maya 2013. DG Profiler window will show easy to read information on nodes taking the most performance in scene. I think even for more experienced users, it might not be always clear, what exactly is taking down the speed. I think this is most usefull for riggers, but maybe fx TDs could find this usefull as well and of course generalists.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Doom 3 BFG Uses Rage Tech, Faster Gameplay Than Original

Link to article on Toms Hardware

Based on this article it sounds like ID Software spent quite some time on tweaking original Doom 3 game. They were even changing some original levels and made the lighting setups brighter. Generally applying their current perspective on how they think the game should look and play. Plus networks code from Rage to improve multiplayer. This is on top of new levels Lost Mission, PS3/Xbox support, 3d glasses support and higher resolution textures (and all original Dooms). The release is now in around 4 weeks - 16.10. in US and 19.10. in Europe.

Here is the full interview with Tim Willits

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Rigging DVD for Maya and XSI

If you are learning how to rig a character, in Maya or XSI, you should check out this Rigging Handbook recently made available to buy online. My ex-colleague from MPC, Simon Payne, will guide you through all steps and will also give you valuable insight into production based on his experience in London visual effects studios.
Now available is volume 1 and others are planned to be added with more advanced techniques.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Doom 4 next year?

I have read this speculation and just confirmed as looked at wikipedia. Some speculate and I am joining them, that Doom 4 release date will be December 10, 2013. As first Doom was released on the same day in 1993, it would be 20th anniversary of this ID software`s flag ship game. ...and ideal christmas present for many daddies :)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Sunday, 2 September 2012

FLA AirMech tracklist

Here is revealed tracklist and cover of new upcoming album AirMech of electro industrial legend Front Line Assembley.
The band and primarily its frontman Bill Leeb were so cool, they agreed to create background tracks for new real time strategy game AirMech when contacted by independent label Carbon Games director James Green. Youtube interview with Green below. You can play AirMech on Chrome browser for free or buy beta bundle on STEAM.
Album is to be released by Metropolis Records on November 13th 2012.

01. AirMech
02. Arise
03. Pulse Charge
04. Prep for Combat
05. System Anomaly
06. Mech Killer
07. Everything That Was Before
08. Lose
09. Burning Skyline
10. Stealth Mech
11. Death Level
12. Prime Empiricism

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Pixar open source subdivisions

Pixar studios joined ILM and Sony Imageworks (Alembic, Autodesk Alembic) in sharing some technology as open source. Pixar has already been demonstrating algorithms from some of their CGI technology (see link below),

graphics.pixar.com/

however this first time I believe when they put the code online. Below is link to offical Pixar github:

https://github.com/PixarAnimationStudios

Here is a video with Pixar developer showing what is exactly their Open Subdiv project

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

forgotten gameplay points

I just played old Quake and it made me think that there are few things I was missing in Rage and also a bit in Doom3. Which is a surprise, but let`s take it from the beginning. As Quakecon was approaching, Steam was selling id games very cheap, so I bought Quake I and Quake II (I played them long time ago, but those burnt CDs are long gone ;). It was actualy £7 for both.

So when I played few levels of Quake (GL Quake, hires, 16bit colors), apart from seeing that the game is still very fresh and fun, there were few things I would really like to see in id games again:


  • different ways to go through the level, swimming under water to get to different parts or simply jumping to neighbouring or lower floors, simply if you could jump or crawl there - you could go there
  • various traps triggered by player being in line of fire (vertical from wall, horizontal from ceiling) or stepping on certain parts of the floor - the enemies also could get hit (and die) by traps missiles!
  • enemies could start fight between themselfs if they accidentally hit each other (this was already in Doom), which considering low AI was very realistic feature and lot of fun to watch this random event
  • at the end of each level, camera would show some level area from bird`s view and give the score, which is more old Doom/Quake style, but it gave you nice break from the first person POV
  • another cool Quake idea was at the very beginning of the game - choosing difficulty and "world" you preferred to play by walking into a different teleports with different decorations, which made the whole Quake world look like layers and gave it more dimensions (also reference to various sci-fi/fantasy novels)

Especially with Rage, the game levels were very linear, restricting player to go through one pre-baked path. Then on the main "story level" there were side missions like Job Board and Racing, but this was not moving game anywhere forward and you had to go back to last story point X to continue to the next one.
Generally it feels like quite a few cool things that id themselfs invented, were forgotten or ditched maybe by influence from current trends, trying to be "more modern", who knows. It is definitely not easy if certaint product is sucessfull, to know what made it sucessfull, which things to throw away and what to add for the next title.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Total Recall talk



Czech:
V zari budu mit v Praze na Get Splashed (byvaly Maxcon) prednasku o Rigging v Total Recall. Je to jedinecna prilezitost dozvedet se neco o tom, jak se delal film se stovkami efektovych zaberu jen mesic po jeho premiere. Termin je 8.9.2012. Prednaska je s oficialni podporou Prime Focus Film London.


http://www.get-splashed.cz/program.html


English:
I will have a talk about Rigging in Total Recall at Get Splashed CG Conference in september in Prague. Important note, this conference is czech/slovak language only.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Minimo VFX

A new visual effects studio Minimo VFX was founded in Barcelona, Spain by a couple of industry veterans. Their focus is building 3d character assets up to film quality level and also external supervision, pipeline design and previz. One of the most recent projects of the founders was big budget movie John Carter, featuring numbers of full CG characters interacting with real actors.


The focus of the company is similar to recently founded California based studio Creature Art and Mechanics.  This type of bussiness model is fairly new as it only offers part of the product and it might become new trend if succesull, opposed to full service of the most studios. Afterall, cars building factories also use service of other vendors, getting front panels built in one country, while electronic board made in another and then assembling it all together ;)


Btw. did you know, if you shuffle few letters, you get "MIMINO", which in czech means little baby ;)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Quake V

This is Carmack on Quake V:

"Nothing is scheduled here, people are not building this," Carmack said. "We went from the Quake 2 and the Quake 4 Strogg universe. We are at least tossing around the possibilities of going back to the bizarre, mixed up Cthulhu-ish Quake 1 world and rebooting that direction. "We think that would be a more interesting direction than doing more Strogg stuff after Quake 4. We certainly have strong factions internally that want to go do this."

Accidentally this is what I would vote for as well. My most favourite was Quake 1, because it has this unique mix of dark fantasy cover and atmosphere of medival times with sort of cyber mutation in it. This made it stand somewhere in completely different universe. Not military future, not ancient past. Simply unique.
The only thing needed is to save up enough to pay Trent Reznor to come back with his sound design and ambient music once again. His Ghosts I-IV actually recall that Quake 1 spirit sometimes.

ID games on steam



For all fans of ID games, there is huge discount for their titles now at STEAM ending 23 july!


http://store.steampowered.com/sub/14587/

Friday, 13 July 2012

id software beginnings

This is so far the most detailed documentary about how id software started. And some pictures I haven`t seen yet. Wow, as exciting as watching inventing first aeroplanes. Plus it reminds me old times around 1995 when me and two friends from highschool were also working on our game. For PC. Programmed in assembler. I did graphics with 256 color pallete and so on...


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

new creature studio founded

A group of film industry veterans have recently founded new studio called Creature Art and Mechanics at Marin County, California. Three of the founders are creature TDs known in 3d animation community for sharing their rigging experience from production through learning DVDs, online and CG conferences like Siggraph. Andrea Maiolo and Tim Naylor have worked in ILM on such movies as Star Wars, Hulk and Pirates of Carribean and with Chad Vernon have all experience with Maya custom tools and plugin development for high-end creature production.
From their press release the facility is planning to "...offer a "Creature Shop" that will hand-off characters and creatures to a studio or its vendors, and support the production of that asset through to final compositing, if necessary."

Monday, 2 July 2012

3d film editing based on game engines

I have just watched this beta version of Source Filmmaker, 3d interactive editing and animation tool from well known game company Valve Software.




This reminds me Autodesk also added built-in 3d editor called Camera Sequencer for Maya 2011:
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=15247341&linkID=9242256
This also can import Final Cut Pro edit file to start from a reference sequence. Although I`ve never used it, it seems to offer pretty much the same basic features - 3d environment using Viewport 2.0 with directX, camera/shot sequence and character body/facial animation (using any rig and animation tools in Maya).
Although for those who are not owning Maya license, Source Filmmaker and similar tools could be a price alternative.
And this adds to general trend today where gaming software starts to offer some use in broadcast and film industry as well. Like recent release of CryEngine Cinebox environment for public use (supports alembic geometry cache, OpenEXR, FBX etc.) and cinematic quality interactive renderer Unreal Engine 4 from Epic (which is so far only as a game dedicated engine).

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Pirates! Rigger interview

Here is interesting interview with a rigger Martin Orlowski who worked on Aardman animated feature Pirates! Band of Misfits:
http://www.riggingdojo.com/2012/04/29/interview-martin-orlowski/
I have read some parts, and it seems as quite detailed production coverage. Including building UIs for animators and pipeline and scripting techniques.

Monday, 18 June 2012

More info on Doom 4 story


here is some info on what Doom 4 will probably be about (and what the leaked images would confirm) from someone who worked on mocap for Doom 4:
"...we are dealing with a post war/post apocalyptic event that civilians and military are fighting for their survival."
More in this article from end of 2009

Thursday, 14 June 2012

idTech5 editor screenshot



I found this image which seems to be authentic photo of idTech5 editor. Taken during Rage production in 2011 judging from date on the screen (bottom right).
Hires version here

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Rage nominated for technical achievement

Rage game was nominated for AIAS Outstanding Achievement in Technical Engineering. Good luck, fingers crossed, Maestro Carmack and the whole idTech5 team! ;)
http://www.bethblog.com/2012/01/12/aias-nominees-announced/

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Pixar Brave behind the scenes

This is a footage from Pixar showing animators and storyboard artists at work:


Thursday, 7 June 2012

MAXCON 2012

Czech only: Dost pravdepodobne budu zase letos v zari na Maxconu 2012 mit Rigging Workshop. Prosim hlasujte o tema, ktere by vas zajimalo na tomto foru Maxarea:


http://www.maxarea.com/forum-thread.php?id=10752


Dik! :)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

bird flight animation and rigging tutorial

This is amazing tutorial and explanation of how birds use their wings during flight for animators and riggers!
http://www.brendanbody.co.uk/flight_tutorial/index.html


Done by industry profesional Brendan Body. Thanks for sharing this Brendan!

Friday, 1 June 2012

JOB: riggers

LAIKA animation studio in U.S., Oregon is looking for riggers. Facial setup experience is plus. I can personally recommend this, as you will get to work with my ex-colleage Grant Laker. One of the most talented creature TDs I`ve met, who was part of facial setup team on John Carter. So this is great opportunity!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Doom 3 enhanced release

Announcement for all Doom fans: Zenimax (owner of id software) plans to release deluxe version of Doom 3 this fall called Doom 3 BFG Edition. It is good marketing move as this classic will be available for Xbox 360 and PS3 as well. The game will now have support for 3D monitors and enhanced graphics, which could be textures with higher resolution and basically allowing to push settings of the old idTech engine to use today`s full graphic cards power. There will be permanently attached flashlight and new checkpoint system. The release will also include Ressurection of Evil datapack and seven added levels called The Lost Mission. On top of that, there will be original Doom and Doom II completing the history of the title. More updates should appear during upcoming E3 gaming expo 5.-7. june.
more in this article at gamespot.co.uk.


Doom3 BFG edition can be pre-ordered at amazon for only £13.99 (PS3 and XBox around £20). Release date for US is 16.10.2012 and for Europe 19.10.2012. Considering how cheap it is and the enhanced graphics, it sounds like a good deal before Doom 4 comes around.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

deformerWeights command

For many years Maya could only offer UV-based image weight exporter for deformer weight maps. It never was a favourite nor robust way to store this information. Therefore scripts like cometSaveWeights were made (often very slow with thousands of points). Some pipelines even used skinCluster API to write a plugin.
Now it seems Maya finally offers a better tool out of the box. I just tested again deformerWeights command which was added to Maya 2011 and didn`t quite work at that time, but looked very promising. But now testing it in latest Maya 2012 SP2 I was able to export and import skinCluster weights and blendShape target weights as well. Also, couple of options were added like -shape, which allows you to save all weights from all deformers from given shape (I didn`t test this one yet).
This command can be very useful if you don`t have your own tools for saving skin weights and even better if you want something for saving blendShape, cluster and other deformer weights. It saves all deformers in one unified XML format. And as a command it`s very easy to add to your scripts (MEL or python). Example:


cmds.deformerWeights ("clusterWeights.xml", ex=True, deformer="testCluster")

It also supports importing the weights using different methods. Apart from classic index-based, there is nearest and barycentric and over. With all the other options, this sounds like a weights exporter swiss knife! :)

Chad Vernon`s Maya API videos online

I think for anyone doing character setups in Maya, I don`t need to introduce Chad Vernon. Character TD from Digital Domain well known in the community has completed hours of videos about Maya API and making plugins, including deformers. There is also lesson on day-to-day use of 3D Math for technical directors. They are now offered for purchase online at CGCircuit Lesson - Introduction to the Maya API.
Chad also mentions discount and getting invite for limited time:
"The site creators of CGCircuit.com are ready to let more people in and buy my videos! The videos are finally ready to be sold. However, you still need an invite to register on the site and buy the videos. I have a new set of invites to give away so use my contact form to send me your email if you want in and I’ll send you an invite. The Maya API class is still discounted at $80 until a month after the full public release. Also those that I invite will have invites of their own to give away."

Friday, 18 May 2012

Battleship visual effects at ILM

Here is some insight into Battleship visual effects production at ILM. Notice the huge number of shots and the fast pace of getting them to final. By the end of the production having around 600 shots in progress and 6 weeks to get them finished, with the high complexity and quality set to match Transformers level. This is very typical on different scale for most of film post-production today. The quality needs to be pretty good but also with quick turnaround including client changes. And apart from great artists and tools that we see in the documents, it is often a success of robust flexible pipeline.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

compiling under Windows 64bit Visual Studio C++

I just found one solution to a compiling problem, which seems to make few people stuck. I was trying to compile a Maya 2012 64bit plugin under Windows using Visual Studio C++ Express 2010. I have installed all needed libraries like .NET Framework SDK and Windows 7.1 SDK. Then in VS set the platform to x64, but I was still getting some missing libraries. Example:


fatal error LNK1104: cannot open file 'kernel32.lib'
or
fatal error LNK1104: cannot open file 'opengl32.lib'

Then from one forum I found the solution. You need to set in Configuration Properties > General > Platform Toolset "Windows7.1SDK". This made the linker work without a problem.



(click on the image to enlarge)

About the Visual Studio Express. I`m using it because it`s free to download from Microsoft and offers high comfort of developing and debugging in C++. Even compiling under 64bit, which didn`t require any purchase updgrade.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Friday, 11 May 2012

20th Wolfenstein Anniversary

very cool, John Carmack playing original Wolfenstein and going back to time of developping this classic. I`m not sure if everyone would enjoy this, but if you are into games technology this one is for you!

Also as part of celebrating 20 years from making this game classic, an online web browser version was made!
http://wolfenstein.bethsoft.com/
Just the fact that you can simply play this as an online app marks best how much computer technologies have advanced to this date, making playing games more accessible to everyone.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

ik driving fk example

I have uploaded simple setup example with IK chain driving FK controls. Usefull for toes and fingers:
http://www.jakubkrompolc.net/sublink/download.html
(ik_driving_fk_finger.ma, Maya 2012)

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Avengers VFX

Pretty good coverage of Avengers visual effects on fxguide.com. There is talk about Hulk as well, which ILM did for second time after Ang Lee`s Hulk with Eric Bana (Incredible Hulk done by Rhythm+Hues played by Edward Norton). But only this time Hulk looks like his human version. I personally think this helped a lot to keep connection with original actor and audience as well. There are also more shots with this creature in-between fights. He gets enough screen time to show off properly.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

JOB - Maya fluid simulations

Eallin Animation (Prague, Czech Republic) is looking for:

Maya 3d artist who knows particles and fluids

The job is in studio only, so you need come to Prague, if you don`t already live there. The studio could give assistance with looking for accommodation if needed. The position status is ASAP.
If interested, send email to: murphy@eallin.com

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:
http://www.jakubkrompolc.net/sublink/download.html


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:
http://www.fxguide.com/featured/a-world-away-john-carter/

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):
http://www.cinefex.com/upcomingfilms/upcoming.php?id=237

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.


http://www.cgw.com/Publications/CGW/2011/Volume-34-Issue-9-Dec-Jan-2012-/Animation-Evolution.aspx

Sunday, 25 March 2012

my website working again

My personal website www.jakubkrompolc.net was blocked due to malware thread, but is fixed now and back online!

fantasy fox anatomy



Nice rigging analysis of a fox fantasy character :))

Thursday, 22 March 2012

UK tax breaks on animation

For anyone working in UK animation industry, this is of course good news. It could be inspiration for any other government who wants to help their VFX or animation industry going. It is tough competition today with jobs being done more globally.


http://www.cgchannel.com/2012/03/uk-government-announces-animation-tax-incentives/

Monday, 19 March 2012

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Real Steel

I just watched Real Steel on DVD. Nice movie for kids about robots. I was just a bit dissapointing that in Making Of Bots, there was only mentioned creating "practical effects" animatronic robots by Legacy Effects (ex-Stan Winston studio). Fair enough, it was great work, but no word about vendor of most robot fx shots, Digital Domain. It was nice to find out that lead rigger was Peter Shipkov! He`s also main developer of SOUP Maya plugin, consisting of different useful nodes for particle dynamics and mesh deformation. Good to mention as well, that Real Steel got Oscar nomination for visual effects. It`s another movie done with hybrid visual effects on set using Simulcam system that projects 3d assets real time over live action footage. Same system was used on Avatar.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Sunday, 11 March 2012

JOB: 3d animation teacher

Teacher for 2d and 3d animation software is needed ASAP in Bratislava, Slovakia at Paneuropian University.
If you`re interested please contact Mrs doc. Jana Grecnar, ArtD via email jangrecnar@centrum.sk or call  (Slovakia extension +421) 905200097.

Gift of the Night Fury

I really liked this christmas short movie from DreamWorks (based on How to Train Your Dragon). Not sure how long it was online in full length, found it by accident on youtube.

Monday, 5 March 2012

CG Student Awards

There is a new website for a computer graphics competition, CG Student Awards. Anyone recently studying university or course with a demoreel showing his best work can enter a competition with a chance to win an internship at one of the high-end visual effects studios or a license of professional CGI software like Houdini or ZBrush. Every competitor will get 1 month subscription for Digital Tutors and Slash Media magazine.


Here is an interview with one of the Studio Internship Prize winners from 2010 who had a chance to work at Double Negative on John Carter visual effects postproduction. Read about Elliot Stammer`s unique experience which was a great way for him to enter the industry.



15000/300

To this date this blog had over 15.000 visitors checking some of its 300 posts starting from 2008. Thank you everyone for dropping by and I hope you will find it interesting as well in the future. Best,

Jakub

Pacific Rim movie

New Guillermo del Toro movie plot sounds interesting:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1663662/

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Doom 4 alleged leaks

UPDATED 12/03/07 >> GamesOnNet published an article saying ID software confirmed Doom4 leaks as authentic. As apparently many assets are taken from Rage library, I first thought it`s fake Photoshop work. Now it takes different sense - to be able to faster populate and "sketch" the look of the levels, the team is probably reusing Rage assets. I suppose these are placeholders to be changed later.
Based on the destroyed cities environments, Doom4 action would take place on our planet. I wouldn`t be against a military moon base, but the designers probably want to take different direction from Doom3, more similar to Ghost City from Rage (which looked brilliant and was the most scary from all Rage locations). Anyway it`s too early for any conclusions.


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Recently a couple of images and even soundtracks appeared online that some speculate to be leaks from Doom4 game, a franchise of a classic id software title with an amount of interest from gaming fans higher then previous waiting for Rage. The artwork is from portfolio of a former id software artist Thao Le, according to a game server gamebandits.com.






Here is page with high res destructed building models:



Here is more screenshots with game engine environments and also character assets, which some could be made for another game, soldiers could be Doom4:
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-02-29-more-leaked-doom-4-art


There are also some music tracks. This time courtesy of Mick Gordon, game score composer, again according to gamebandits.com it could be from Doom4. The tracks sound like work in progress. It`s also available on youtube:



I`m not sure what is this all about. As both leaks appeared in the same time it might be part of the marketing strategy to measure the interest of the gaming community.
Anyway, I would expect first official announcement and imagery not sooner then august this year at Quakecon, Texas.