howl's moving castle... video!

It really annoys me how much blogger compresses videos and images when i upload them. So instead, here is a link to a quick fly through of the Howl's Moving Castle, i cant wait to work on this some more...
It's 15mg;


howl's moving castle...

want to put a lot more into this guy when i get the time... been lots of fun making so far. Small fly around render coming.



a video! amazement...

A very low quality and small video break down shot of an older environment i was working on. Mostly done to figure out how to do it all in Sony Vegas.

There were some cars that are apart of this environment, but it sent the render times crazy, so they will have there own little scene.

If you really want, I've uploaded a higher res version here, its 27meg though.


station at sunset....

My man Myke, did a lovely concept of a station at sunset, as a modeling exercise i did a version of it. I changed it a rather lot in the end, but the basic idea is there, it was a great concept, lots of fun to build... Glow-tastic.


texture setup...

It took all day, but i unwrapped and baked out my AOs ready for texture city. Maya doesnt render with PSDs so i only have a shitty viewport screen shot. The best part about doing this, is moving the viewport around your mesh with the AO bake, looks perrrdy...

is that chair on the right way too super small?



... and here is a tease of what I've been working on today...

update: added more detail... playing around with shadows a lot today, finding it great when there is something that's a bit flat and you're not sure what to add, shadow land!

update: Last update i swear! this one is for shawn... also trying to get the atmosphere nicer with some fog. (cant wait to do alphas and fog again O_0-!)

slight update...

Just a little update on the house, made the brick normal map a bit stronger. i would like to have done a shadow pass as well to tweak that, but i feel like i need to focus my attention at the moment, and not get stuck tweaking renders, as that's not my specialty anyway.

I also put a signature down the bottom, amazing.


In the winter of 1936...

...i was given the opportunity to work on my own aspirations, for an undetermined period of time. I took up that offer up as best i could...

Here is the first of what i hope becomes many small Environment scenes...

I created the scene in Maya, textured in Photoshop, rendered in Mental Ray, and wires rendered in vRay 3dsMax. Help from uvLayout and CrazyBump.

CGTalk Link

... next.


...new website!

So sometimes i need / want to link people to both my blog and my flickr, i have a website, but nothing every really happened with it.... until now! This morning i had an idea to do a quick clean up of it, so after work i came home and started on it. Once i started i couldn't stop. When i put my proper working folio together i think ill go back over it again, jazz it up abit, espically with mouse roller over changes, but for now it will work nicely i think.

There are a couple issues with it, like... you can only really view it nicely on a big 1920x monitor. Clean up the AA as well eventually, was making crazy render times, perhaps bigger res and shrinking down will fix.

So check it out: one22andan8th.com
*EDIT: I made the pics smaller, works much better me thinks (also, ive been capped, yet blogger works fast and smooth still, kudos)

Here are some AO bakes and wires of the shots. The Folio shot was done using nCloth, very simple and default settings, so easy to use.

Now all i need to do is put a folio together... tomorrow night maybe O_o

*another EDIT: I have a headache from putering all day, and the web site looks nice long way down, so don't have to worry about people viewing it on a smaller screen


victorian style render...

I had made an old style car for my old style scene, placed them in the scene and did a render, which took forever, and it has a rather low AA setting, so its not as crisp.

Wonder about the scale of the cars, they look alright, maybe a bit big? Need to add more detail to the left side now, and the background. Getting there.

Just saw Up, and they stole my car in one of the shots at the start... i should probably be in the credits.

^Click Me Click Me^



2 quick renders of the lego medieval village i've been building. ill build the main structures then later 'prop'-ulate it.. ah.. see what i did there... some of the textures screwed up when using FBX, but doesn't matter right now.


lego lego

Have been doing a lot of Flickring, so started modeling a lego environment... based on this Medieval Market

Also, "Hot Tup":
Blogger seems to compress the images really badly and degrade the quality so I've stopped uploading images through blooger, using the URL method instead. Bam.


broooom brooooom neeeeiil neeeilll errrrrrrkkk!

Added a higher resolution render, there are some strange white dots going on though, not sure whats up with that yet.

Still working on the shaders and render, have to go out for lunch.. nooo friends! The car will be used in my Victorian scene eventually. Was fun to model, Maya then rendered using vRay in max. The vRay camera is awesome, like setting up a real camera with exposure and iso even a bokeh setting, shawn wouldn't understand.

Wires, just for stefan. This is with the turbo smooth turned on so its crazy wire mayhem.

Added an ass shot for the ladies


tentacle toilet...

tentacle toilet, tentacle toilet. My weekends worth of work. Really just wanted to see something through till the end, even it wasn't that good. This came from an idea i had once while i was sitting on the toilet and a massive red tentacle came out of the bowl and oozed out goo everywhere. Also, from Ghostbusters movie, with the slime comes out of the toilet in Ripley's bathroom, that scared the crap out of me.

I modeled it in Maya, then the tentacle in zBrush to get the high poly mesh, textures in Photoshop, rendered in Max using vRay and some post work in Photoshop again. I also used uvLayout and crazyBumb, which are awesome. i was going to to use Fusion to composite the shot, but didnt really feel the need in the end. Program central.

Here are some more shots, WIRES!!! and some test renders. Still not super happy with the goo, hmm...

Some goo tests...

Wires, and zBrush sculpting, High poly mesh came out at around 3million...

After making the mesh in zbrush, used the 'transfer maps' in Maya to apply the normal maps, very easy and fairly quick.

Whats that, a 'Hot Tup'? I got nothing, didnt do anything speical here, just managed to be motivated enough to finish it. The only 'tup' i can think of is an obvious one, use google if you dont know how to do something 99% of the time the answer is there.

The End.


Larger order of AO Ramen please

Another AO pass! that's all I'm doing, I'm AO crazy. I need to really move on to the next part of this Ramen Bar. I do want to make some mesh changes though that's for sure. To me it looks like there are too many hard lines, i did model a lot of it with sub-div in mind, that don't show through in the render yet. Once there is grass, some water there should be enough going on the shot to keep it interesting. Ive also come to the realization that i talk to much on this blog, i only know of 1 person that has actually read some and he sits next to me at work so he kind of has to otherwise i might get upset, i don't read through his blog though, i don't read through anyone's, I'm lazy. i want pictures. (p.s. update your blog Stefan)

Higher Res

No 'Hot Tups' today


Victorian AO, Yerba Mate!

Generally between projects there is down time. During this time i generally like to enhance my skills, become a better person etc. Between unleashed and scene it i learned Fujitsu and Spanish. Between scene it and transformers i started working on a Victorian period building. As it normally happens these breaks don't go forever, so a project started generally doesn't get finished, or at least finished quickly. I liked working on this scene and i thought it deserved an Ambient Occlusion pass at least. I set the samples high and maxed out the AA, rendered it out at a lovely 1080p for fun. Went for a long walk, meet up with the folks and came home a few hours later. Here are the results. Which, for an AO pass im happy with.

Full 1080p Render

I found it good to do this AO pass, i can now get a better idea of how my scene is going to turn out, and start thinking about Composition and things like DOF. Also if anything stands out i dont want to, i have a better sense of the scene then just within the viewport normally. Thats abit of a 'Hot Tup'. So now i can look at the images, make any changes in the composition or placement, and continue working on it, rather then getting to deep into it to make any changes. The AO pass is nice for making your modelling look pretty as well. The viewport mesh is generally pretty ugly and boring, which can cause you (ie me) lose interest in a scene. Even at work now me and my fellow 3D artist Stefan ikallA, have been doing quick AO texture bakes onto our mesh, doll them up a bit. Plus it looks like you have done more work if you have a nice AO pass.

At the moment, the things i like about the scene are all the small details in the windows and the bridge. But im affriad the right hand side of the image is to detailed, detracting from the bridge and the rest of the image. I think this maybe due the lack of detail on the left, something i will look at again if i ever get back into it. But its all steam ahead on the Raman bar, hopfully more updates on that soon. (Notice how i have so many unfinished projects... -sigh-)


Maya Paint Effects - Grass

Stefan, who is my good friend and long term partner, not partner like lovers, but like New York city cop type partner, solving mystery's and busting crime, was asking about using the maya paint effects. We wanted to know how to randomly scatter grass on a mesh, rather then painting it individually with brush strokes. So here we go, weee!

1: Assuming you have a mesh setup and ready to go, make sure you are in 'rendering' sets or hit 'F6'. Then goto 'Paint Effects' in the menu bar, and with your mesh selected hit 'Make Paintable'.

This will allow you to paint on your mesh now with paint effects, constraining your brush to that mesh so you don't go randomly all over the place like some kind of clown.

2: Select 'Get brush' in the 'Paint Effects' menu, this will allow you to choose from many different types of brushes, i suggest the brick one because it looks like err... lets go with the grass, found under grasses.

3: Once you have selected your brush, select your mesh. In the paint effects menu go to 'Auto Paint' -> 'Paint Random' and hit the option box. This will pop up an option box like this:

The main options you will need to look at are 'Spans U:' and 'Spans V'. This is how many strokes you along U and V. The more you have the more grass you will have. I hit it up to 100 and it crashed Maya. 30 seems to work well, for a nice lush grass.

4: Hit 'Apply'. Maya will think for a bit, then your grass will be applied. You may find your grass coming out looking like this:

The grass is just to small to notice at the moment. To fix this, we just need to up the 'Global Scale' in the 'Attributes editor'. You should just be able to go straight to your attributes editor now and change the global scale, should be under 'GrassClump100' (will be the tap next to 'strokeShape'. The number will depend on how many U and V spans you set, as it creates a random brush across your mesh to these spans. If you dont have any grass selected you can first open up your outliner and select 'Stroke 1', then open your Attributes editor, select 'GrassClump100' and find 'Global Scale'

Now you have some nice looking grass, randomly scattered across your mesh. saves time, and money, and time.

Also note, that where you change your 'Global Scale' options in your Attributes Editor, there are many other options you can play with to make your paint effects look the way you want them. For more info on this, check out the Maya help files, or Google search.

Hot Tup: I got none, eat it.


ramen update!

A ramen update. Started making a few more tweaks and adding details to my ramen bar. Added some pipes and vent, slowly adding more detail to the mesh, it seems very weighted to the right hand side at the moment, i think with proper textures on the hanging signs will bring the viewpoint back to the middle. Im still keeping the camera angle, i dare not change it!

Hot Tup!
A was having a couple issues in maya 2009: Gradient background not saving, and also reload texture hotkey stopped working. so i found a fix for both online, from forums etc. Here are the fixes, very simple stuff.

Gradient Background not saving.

1. Find My Documents\maya\2009\prefs\
2. Open userPrefs.mel
3. Search (ctrl + f) "-iv "displayDivisionLines" 1"
4. Create another line under this one
5. add the line "-iv "displayGradient" 1"

... and you are done.

Reload Texture.

Instead of having to take ages going into the texture node and hitting reload texutre, this handy mel script (that i didnt write) will allow you to hotkey it, much quicker and easier. Hot keys win again.

In your hotkey editor create a new hotkey, and add the follow script:

//global proc CRupdateTexAll(){
waitCursor -state on;
string $fileTextures[] = `ls -tex`;
int $count=0;
source AEfileTemplate.mel;
for ($node in $fileTextures)
if (`attributeQuery -node $node -ex fileTextureName`)
AEfileTextureReloadCmd ($node+".fileTextureName");
$count = ++$count;
waitCursor -state off;
print ("Reloaded "+$count+" textures"+"\n");

done! thats it... amazing stuff as always. Coming soon, i will walk through nCloth, so easy i dont really need to do it, but i will.


Quick 3D scene for paint over...

EDIT!: This has been moved, it was annoying me on the front page, being so big and ugly...

This ones for Myke, but its good for concept artists who are du- err i mean don't know how to use Maya and don't care about it, its a simple way to setup a shot quickly to paint over.

This is what i will show you:
- Setup scene
- Setup camera
- Setup lighting
- Setup Render

So im going to assume you know how to move around the viewpoint in maya. So we want to setup a realy quick and simple shot that we can then paint over in photoshop, basically to get the perspective right and some nice shadows to work with as well.

Create a plane for the ground.

In the top right corner drop down, make sure you have 'Polygons' selected. Then in the shelf (that's called the shelf btw... not that one stefan) Click 'Polygons' again.

Here you have all the mesh you will need. Create a plane for the ground. Its the one that looks like... a plane.

So to simply move and distort this plane into a shape you may want, on the Left is Move, Scale and rotate (you can figure out how to use those i hope).

If you want to see top down or side views, simply press 'Spacebar' and it will change to a 4 view orthographic view, as well as the perspective in the top right hand corner. With the mouse in any of the viewports you can make them full screen, and back again with space.

Next step is to create a box and put it where you want, using move, and scale it to the size you want. I made this quickly by adding a few boxes and movie, rotating and scaling them into place.

Setup a camera

In the top menu go to

Create - Cameras - Camera

select that, and a Camera will be placed in your scene. It may be really small, you can scale this up just like you would an object (doing this doesn't effect anything to do with the camera, just what it looks like in the viewport)

Now like the boxes you can move it around and put it where you want it. To see what the camera sees, simply go to your 4 view mode (pressing space if your not already in it) and in one of the windows (any, i always use bottom Right for some reason) go to

Panels - Perspective - Camera

(mines called pers1 one because don't worry about it alright). Now you should view through that camera. You can affect that camera like you would the normal viewport, move and pan etc, so setup ur composition. Reason i create a camera is so i can still move my viewport around and not worry about messing up my composition.

You can easily edit the camera FOV buy going:

View - Select Camera' then press 'ctrl + A'

This will bring up the 'attribute editor' for that camera. (what ever you select its attributes will come up in this screen, in this case the camera) See Focal Length and Angle of View, you can change these by moving the slider and you will see the camera change, i didn't change mine because I'm cool.

Thats it for setting up the shot.

Render Setup

Now for some nice shadows and a quick render. Maya has a nice quick sun sky setup which is perfect for paint over stuff.

Hit the 'Render Settings' button.

(NOW! Coz maya is AWESOME (NAHHT) you may need to turn mental ray on. To do this,in the top menu of maya goto

'Windows -> Settings and Preferences -> Plug-in Manager'

Look for 'mayatomr' and check 'Load' and 'Auto Load') You don't need to restart or anything after doing this.

Back in the Render settings In the drop down 'Render Using' Menu make sure 'mental ray' is selected.

Here you can change the image size your going to render out. I have mine as 640x640, again because I'm cool. (This is the resolution your render will come out as)

To see what this will look like in your viewport, and give you a better idea of what the final shot will look like go to.

'View - Camera Settings - Resolution Gate'.

Back in the Render settings again, goto
- 'Indirect Lighting Tab'. The top options under
- 'Envornment' Click
- 'Create'
next to
- 'Physical Sun and Sky' (mine says delete coz i already created it and cant be bothered deleting it and starting again)

This will popup another screen, but you don't need to worry to much about this since you can change the color hue and everything else in photoshop later.

By pressing 'Create' Maya has setup a sky dome and a light for you. The Light is now in your scene.

What you want to do is change the sun direction (so you can have better looking shadows, by default the light is pointing directly down, like a perfect midday sun). So minimize any windows and in your viewport you should see a directional light. (Ive made mine massive, again like the camera you can scale this up to see it better if its too small)

Now the great thing about setting it up this way is that when you rotate this light it will act like a real sun. (Note: If you render it wont look like this yet because we need to setup a couple more things, this is to give you an idea of the lighting)

Here the Light is pointing directly down, if that's what you want then good on ya.

Here by simply rotating the light i can create more interesting shadows. You can tell the way the light is pointing because the light is made up off 3 arrows which point in the direction the light will be cast.

Final Render

Bring up Render settings again, we will just change some things to make it look nicer.

Indirect Lighting Tab.
- Final Gather, make sure it looks like this (this will make it render slower but look nicer) Including some nice light bounce. Set 'Secondary Diffuse Bounces' to 2. (Secondary Diffuse Bounces will give you nice bounce light, Final Gather is a quick way to fake GI, most the time you cant tell the difference)

- In the 'Quality' Tab, under 'Raytrace/Scaline Quality' you can up the 'Max Sample Level' Which is just your AntiAlasing, you want this on 'Adaptive Sampling' and
'Max Sample Level 2'. Basically, the lower you got he quicker it will render but the shitter it will look, the higher it is, the longer it takes but the better it looks. 2 is a good number.

OR! Just copy what i did below because that's a lot of big words...

Render your secen now! Press this button.. (Make sure you have the viewport selected that you want to render, ie. your camrea)

...and it should hopefully look all good.

To save this, in the 'Render View' goto 'File - Save Image'
save it as a PSD, i find JPGs get compressed badly. PSDs seem to be all good.

Start painting. I cant paint so dont look at me...