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