Published: 27/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Lighting, Compositing
This video from Chaos Group looks at setting up and rendering a scene with the new V-Ray for NUKE plugin, which lets you have real reflections, refractions, subsurface scattering and image-based HDR lighting directly within NUKE. By integrating production quality raytraced rendering into NUKE, the plugin brings a new approach to lighting and compositing...
Published: 26/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation
This nice video essay looks at the work of legendary Japanese animator and co-founder of Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki, known for films like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Unlike many animated features that have stereotypical cartoon characters and simplistic plots, Miyazaki's films deal with the same difficult themes as...
Published: 24/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation
Three students from the Computer Animation Program at Ringling College of Art and Design have won an Animago Award for Best Short Film with "None of That". Just a few months ago another senior thesis film from Ringling won the Best Computer Animated short award at SIGGRAPH...
Published: 22/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya, Rendering
Watch a short video tutorial that looks at the new system for Render Passes in Maya 2016 with the MILA material. This workflow is different than in previous versions of Maya and represents the move to modern rendering...
Published: 21/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya, Animation
BhGhost, the free animation plugin for onion-skinning your animations in Maya, has been updated with a new feature that lets you ghost only selected parts of a character, thus keeping your scenes from slowing down when animating the hands or head....
Published: 15/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation
Joshua Meador (1911-1965) was an Effects Animator for Disney during the Golden Age of Animation, who created many effects for film classics like Fantasia, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Take a look at the animation reel showcasing some of his best work, with the water effects in Bambi and the mud scenes in Fantasia...
Published: 09/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Illustration, Color Scripting
Noah Klocek spends his days working as an art director at Pixar Animation Studios, but at night he makes picture books. In these inspirational videos he goes through the story making process behind his new book Cloud Country, starting with the early sketches through to color scripts and final illustrations...
Published: 07/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya, Lighting
Get lighting tips for viewport 2.0 in Maya 2016 with this tutorial that looks at some things you should always have turned on, such as screen-based ambient occlusion, hardware anti-aliasing and float rendering. It also covers how to work with depth map shadows in Maya, and using image-based lighting probes with hardware fog...
Published: 06/10/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation, Film
Pixar has put out a new trailer for upcoming feature The Good Dinosaur, which will hit theaters on November 25th this year. It follows Apatosaurus Arlo and his unlikely human friend as they travel through a photorealistic landscape. For the short playing in front of the film, Sanjay's Super Team, there's a new interview with the director about the backstory...
Published: 30/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: nParticles, simulations
Bryan Woodard has created a useful Python script, which works by querying the positions of emitted particles in Maya and replacing them with geometry based on a dynamic nCloth solution. This allows bubbles to interact with each other in the scene, as well as bounce of other surfaces such as the beaker glass....
Published: 29/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya, Models
The second Animator Starter Pack from Shaun Keenan consists of multiple cartoon sets, both interiors and exteriors, that you can use as backdrops for your animated shots. Intended as a resource to help you quickly build complete scenes without having to do lots of modeling, you can use it to practice texturing and lighting in Maya, or to make a nicer looking demoreel...
Steven Roselle, Senior Maya Specialist at Autodesk, has made a new video tutorial that shows you how to UV map an object in Maya 2016. This half an hour long video takes a look at the improvements to Maya UV tools and new techniques for UV mapping objects in Maya...
Published: 23/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: VFX
Learn more about what it is like to work in the VFX industry with this video tour of the facilities of Academy Award nominated Image Engine in Vancouver. The city is the third largest film production center in North America, and has become a VFX hub with many postproduction studios...
Published: 22/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Film, Animation
A new trailer for "The Peanuts Movie", which is coming to theaters on November 6th, is out. The animated feature is based on the comic strips created by Charles M. Schultz, who is considered one of the most influential cartoonists of all time. Several animated films and TV specials have been made over the years, but this is the first CG version done in 3D...
This new animation kit is a nice Maya resource, and can be used for anything non-commercial you want. It's designed to help animators quickly set up a cartoon backdrop and finish their scenes, and contains all the things that you need to create a city street such as buildings, cars, benches, cafes, trash cans, an ice cream van and...
Published: 16/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation
The Traditional Animation Show has posted a nice video interview with former Disney Director Aaron Blaise. He studied to become an illustrator at Ringling College of Art, and got recruited by Disney while still in school as part of an experimental program to train illustrators as animators on the job. He received his animation training under Glen Keane, working on films like "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin" and "Pocahontas". In 2003 he co-directed the feature "Brother Bear",...
Published: 13/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Games, Animation
Today is a very special day in video game history, as Super Mario Bros celebrates its 30th birthday. When the game was first released in 1985 it revolutionized the industry, which was in shambles at the time. Watch the creators talk about game level design and how the first world was made in this video short...
Published: 11/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation
Watch this amazing clip where animation veteran Glen Keane draws Disney characters with new technology in Virtual Reality. During his career he's worked on some of the best hand-drawn animated features ever made, such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast...
Published: 10/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya, Animation
The animation tool bhGhost for Maya provides a different approach to ghosting in 3D, by letting you see key poses and breakdowns live on the screen. Ghosting, or onion-skinning, is a 2D technique that was used in traditional cartoon animation to see several frames at once. The new features include a color mode, which lets you separate keys and breakdowns with two different colors when animating..
Published: 03/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Short Film, Animation
Oscar-winning Moonbot Studios have announced a new five-minute short, "Taking Flight", which tells the story of how a small boy's boring day with Grandpa turns into a larger-than-life journey. It uses hybrid animation, and and the animators studied the classic work from legendary artists like Chuck Jones to drive the imaginative moments of the film...
Published: 02/09/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Short Film, Animation
"Wire Cutters" tells the story of two mining robots that are working off-planet and meet by chance. Although the sad robot invokes memories of the Wall-E classic at first, he has both a unique look and personality, and the story takes a very different turn as it unfolds. The film was made in Maya by Jack Anderson at Chapman University, and was one of the seven finalists in the animation category of the Student Academy Awards 2015...
Published: 31/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Rendering
The latest showreel for Maxwell Render from Next Limit Technologies has a lot of nice work in it. In addition to the core areas of architecture and product viz that the renderer is best known for, there's some great VFX work with advertisements for Cartier and Peugeot from French Fix Studio, and stylized cartoon animation...
Published: 28/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Short Film, Animation
This week fifteen students have been voted as winners of the Student Academy Awards, which provides a platform for global emerging talent to showcase their work within the industry. Take a look at the three short films that won the animation category this year, created by students at CalArts, SVA and Academy of Art...
Published: 28/08/2015 | Type: Tutorial | Main Focus: Maya, Rendering, mental ray
This short video tutorial in Maya 2016 takes a look at the new color management system. We show you how to avoid some of the pitfalls, and compare the old linear workflow to the new one, that's been made easier in Maya 2016...
Published: 27/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Short Film, Arch Viz
This beautiful Arch Viz short aims to use Visual Effects to create new versions of contemporary artwork. It's made by Ziye Liu as the thesis project for his MFA in Visual Effects at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and uses a lot of interesting tools and techniques such as texture bombing, procedural modeling and animation in Houdini, and bullet physics in Maya....
Published: 26/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya
This free Python Plugin lets you instance various objects along a curve in Maya. It has a user-friendly interface with a node creation command and an Attribute Editor template, and can be used to easily instance, edit and animate objects along a curve. Also it's handy for things like quick object placement, or modeling chain links in Maya.....
Published: 24/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya
Get this high-quality Maya head model of a fat man for free. The mesh is fully quaded, comes with 4K handpainted textures of human skin, and is yours to do use for anything educational you like. Many thanks to Jay Edwards, Senior Modeler at VFX house Framestore, for making it in his spare time...
Published: 20/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya
With BonusTools 2016 it's easier to find what you're looking for. Many things that were already in Maya but buried somewhere in the documentation have now been made accessible through the new UI in Maya 2016. Here's an overview of what's new in BonusTools 2016, covering some of the most useful everyday tools for Maya artists...
Published: 17/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Modeling
In the "Future of Modeling" Andrew Caminish from Autodesk talks about where the industry is going in the area of modeling for film, TV and games. With a background as lead modeler at Weta Digital and one of the co-creators of Mudbox he knows his stuff. Here he looks at the three overlapping stages in the evolution of modeling, as well as new research being done in Maya with adaptive topology...
Published: 16/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation
Aardman Animations, the creators of Morph, have launched a fun looking competition this week. The brief is simple, keep it short and sweet. To join you need to create your own Morph animation at around the one minute mark, upload it to YouTube and send in the link...
Published: 16/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya
Alexandre Jum has put out two very useful scripts for Maya users this week. Spiral lets you create looping spirals following a path along any NURBS shape, and Braid lets you make braided structures along curves. This will work for both NURBS and polygons. Here's some quick examples of how they can be used and the links to download the scripts...
Published: 15/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Rendering
Has the uncanny valley been breached for digital humans? Perhaps not quite, but it's definitely going in that direction. The researchers at University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (USC-ICT) have come up with some very realistic CG skin that deforms on a microstructure level the way real human skin does when being subjected to squash and stretch...
Published: 14/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Animation
Disney and Pixar are famous for secret Easter eggs, and with a long history of heroes too beloved to be forgotten there are plenty of cameos and inside jokes to be found in their films. This video looks at ten hidden things, such as the multiple appearances of Hans from Frozen in Big Hero 6, and the recurring Pizza Planet delivery truck and the "A113" label that can be seen in all of the Pixar films...
Published: 13/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: VFX & Games Pipelines
Creators want to make more art faster and clients want to make last minute changes. Can procedural content creation help with this? The brains behind the Max Creation Graph, a node-based scripting environment introduced to 3DS Max 2016, think that it can, by offering an artist-friendly procedural workflow and portable procedural assets...
Published: 12/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Rendering
Chaos Group has put out a new showreel for V-Ray 2015, which showcases some of the best work done in the rendering engine. Another new thing is the release of V-Ray for NUKE, which introduces a new approach to lighting and compositing by using V-Ray tools inside NUKE's node-based workflow...
Published: 10/08/2015 | Type: VFX Breakdown | Main Focus: VFX
The Mill has put out a Behind the Scenes video of the Angry Birds 2 Launch Film, which was created to promote the new game. The action short features CG pigs in a surreal island paradise, which comes under a vicious attack by Angry Birds. For this the VFX team created pigs, palm trees, ocean, clouds and explosions using Maya, ZBrush...
Published: 07/08/2015 | Type: News | Main Focus: Maya
Autodesk has put out an interesting webinar this week which looks at how the improvements made to Maya 2016 allows for better workflows, as well as makes it easier for beginners to learn the software...
Published: 15/05/2014 | Type: News | Main Focus: Sculpting
There's a lot of money in cartoons these days. Yesterday a sculpture of Popeye The Sailorman made by Jeff Koons, sold for $28.2 million at Sotheby's. The buyer was Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino magnate who famously put his elbow through the canvas of an original Picasso a few years back...
Published: 04/05/2014 | Type: Article | Main Focus: VFX
Industrial Light and Magic was first set up to provide the effects when Lucasfilm started to work on the original Star Wars trilogy in 1975, and has since provided the VFX for more than 300 films. With today being the International Star Wars Day we take a look at some of the VFX pioneered by the films such as the first motion control digital camera system and CG film star Jar Jar Binks...
Published: 30/04/2014 | Type: Article | Main Focus: 3D Animation
With the final version of Softimage released this month, Autodesk closes the door on one of the oldest 3D applications on the market. Softimage changed hands many times, the company was first founded by filmmaker Daniel Langlois in 1986 in Montreal and then sold to Microsoft in the 1990's before it was passed on to Avid Technologies - its' final owner until Autodesk announced the aquisition in late 2008 in a deal worth $35 million. This leaves the company with Maya and 3DS Max...
Published: 30/04/2014 | Type: News | Main Focus: 3D Animation
Disney is bringing Audio-Animatronics to a new level with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opening soon at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This is partly due to a collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Animation Studios, with the two working closely together as Disney's doing a full 3D design and delivery process on their Audio-Animatronic Figures for the first time. Based on the original 2D drawings from the 1937 film...
Published: 26/04/2014 | Type: News | Main Focus: 3D Animation
Remember Fraggle Rock - the iconic 1980's live action puppet show? If so, you might also recall the little green creatures known as Doozers who were constantly engaged in constuction using a candy-like substance much enjoyed as food by the Fraggles, thus creating a never ending stream of work for themselves in rebuilding. Premiering on Hulu this weekend, The Doozers is the site's first original kids show, which is aimed at children of preschool age...
Published: 19/11/2013 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: 3D Printing
As a technology which is rapidly expanding at the moment 3D printing is creating new job opportunities for CG artists around the world. One of them is George Waldron, who a couple of years ago started up his own company with Catalyst Creations providing a prototyping service where he uses Maya to build the 3D models that are then converted into various 3D printed products. He gets a lot of work creating patterns that are used to cast science-fiction themed resin model kits for companies like Federation Models....
Published: 6/11/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Comics
Thor: The Dark World, the latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is now in the cinemas. It's the 8th such film from Marvel in just five years, which kicked off with Iron Man in 2008. Superheroes are everywhere you look these days, we just can't seem to get enough of them. So, where did they come from? Starting with Superman giving rise to the genre 75 years ago at the advent of the Second World War, superheroes have been subjected to critique for encouraging violence since their very infancy and evolved through censorship....
Published: 4/11/2013 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Education
The Biomedical Communications program at University of Toronto in Canada is a two-year graduate program preparing students for a career in medical and scientific visualization. Combining animation and science as well as being one out of just five accredited programs of its kind, it offers something unique in a field that's growing at the moment and can offer better job security than similar positions in the film and game industry. Stuart Jantzen recently graduated from the program so we asked him a few questions about his time there, as well as how he created his first large scientific visualization in Maya...
Published: 31/10/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Animation
Last week Marcia Wallace, the voice of Bart's fourth-grade schoolteacher Edna Krabappel on "The Simpsons", died which led to the retirement of her character. This follows a tradition on the longest running animated show in American history to remove characters when the actors voicing them dies, rather than replace the voice with another one.Though the practice of retiring cartoon characters when a voice actor dies is rare...
Published: 24/10/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Animation
Transforming is a unique exhibition that's on this month at the Fine Art Society in London, where MPC has worked together with the artists Rob and Nick Carter to make audiences re-engage with the old masters. On display are six pieces, four animated digital paintings that come to life before the viewers eyes, and two bronze sculptures created through a complex 3D modeling and printing process. The exhibition is branching into a new genre in the world of art with the focus around the piece "Transforming Still Life Painting"...
Published: 22/10/2013 | Type: News | Main Focus: Film
The Lion King has become the first Broadway musical to pass the landmark $1 billion in ticket revenues. Based on the film with the same name from 1994, it was the first Disney animated feature to be created from an original story rather than already existing work. Although this came under controversy when the film much resembled the Japanese 1960's anime TV-show "Kimba the White Lion" which had been translated into many languages and some people familiar with the Japanese original believed they were watching a remake...
Published: 03/10/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: 3D Modeling
Many people have opened 3DS Max over the years and wondered why along with the common primitives like the cube, sphere and cone that can be used as starting shapes for modeling you find a teapot. The "Utah Teapot" is an icon of computer graphics being one of the first 3D models modeled using mathematical curves rather than polygons, and in early computer graphics labs it was used as a test model for many algorithms...
Published: 19/09/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Motion Capture
The film industry first became aware of the uncanny valley 25 years ago in 1988. This was the year Pixar 's short film "Tin Toy" presented the world's first computer animated baby, named Billy. Pixar at the time was still a hardware company which was working on the Pixar Image Computer intended for high-end scientific visualization and the animated shorts were simply produced as a way to show off its capabilities...
Published: 29/08/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Film
As new technologies emerged during the second half of 19th century such as electricity and powered transportation science fiction as a genre became widely popular, this is when H. G. Wells and Jules Verne became the world's first full-time science fiction novelists. The genre of science fiction in film came at the same time as the motion picture itself at the turn of the century. In Europe French illusionist Georges Méliès , known as the first "Cinemagician"...
Published: 22/08/2013 | Type: Article | Main Focus: Comics
One of the most important contributions to popular culture from the tiny nation of Belgium is the Franco-Belgian comics, known under the name of bandes dessinées - which in English translates to "drawn strips", where the Smurfs as well as the characters from recent feature films Tintin and Asterix originated. The man who introduced the Smurfs was Charles Depuis, a pioneering Belgian publisher of French-language comics...
Published: 17/02/2012 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Medical Animation
Medical animation and illustration has been a large field of computer graphics for many years in the US and in recent years has gone through a boom period the UK with new studios starting up. With a wide variety of clients and an increased interest in health amongst the public this field is expanding at the moment and offers a broad range of work for CG artists with an interest in science. Medi-Mation is a London-based studio started in 2006...
Published: 20/10/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Comics
Crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular way for creative people to ask the community for financial backing to get their ideas off the ground. Cartoonist Caanan Grall is currently running a campaign on IndieGoGo for the printing of his webcomic Max Overacts - nominated for the 2011 Eisner Awards. [Continue Reading]
Published: 24/09/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Educational
This week we speak to Sergej Zlahtic who is currently a student at New Zealand's Media Design School in Auckland. Sergej is originally from Slovenia, a small country in the heart of Europe, and he's enrolled at the Advanced 3D Productions course that the school offers. [Continue Reading]
Published: 31/08/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Freelance Work
Meet Josh Burton, animator and storyteller, who's been creating things for as long as he can remember. After graduating from SCAD with a BFA in animation in 2005, he started at Midway Games in Chicago and Austin, where he would work on games during the day and personal projects at night. Since fall of 2008 he's been working as a freelance animator... [Continue Reading]
Published: 24/08/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Animation
Gabriele Ranfagni is an Italian animator who started out in Florence in the early days as an illustrator before he turned to animation. He's worked on more than 40 productions and held multiple roles doing storyboarding, stop motion, character design, concept art, 2D and 3D animation. For several years he also worked as a teacher at both the Florence International School of Comics and NEMO Academy.... [Continue Reading]
Published: 15/08/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Games
This week we talk to Mike McKinley, who's been in the game industry for the past eight years and on SimplyMaya even longer than that. Mike has worked as an Environment Artist on a number of different game productions and is currently a Content Creator at InfiniteZ in Seattle. He's written several books about using Maya for games and in this interview he talks about some of the projects he's worked on... [Continue Reading]
Published: 15/05/2011 | Type: Interview | Main Focus: Film
In this interview Jason Edwards who's currently a Senior Modeler at Windmill Lane VFX in Dublin, shares some of his experiences from his time in the industry.
He's worked on a wide range of projects in both television and film a lot of the things he talks about in this interview as well as some tips and tricks on how to land a job can be very helpful for those of you who are looking to get that first foot in the door at the moment... [Continue Reading]
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