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...


hungry for raman!

Naruto. Possibly my favorite show of all time. I wont go into detail but its brilliant. Naruto eats at a ramen bar called "Ichiraku Ramen Bar" and the ramen is o so tasty there.

So tasty in fact, it made me want to start modeling a ramen bar. Im using this ramen bar as my first CG work that i plan on finishing (good or bad) i will model, texture, light and render. Its something i have not really done ever. Its a challenge no doubt. The key at the moment, is really to know when to stop. So i model something, and think it looks good enough. Then i start texturing, but i notice that there could be more detail, and i go back and keep modeling. It is hard to say, no i wont do any more modeling no matter what. I must! I know its good to go back and polish and tweak, an artist work is never done etc. But then i get stuck, and never finish, so i'm going to finish this even if i hate it, then at least i can say i finished it. Hopefully, i will learn from mistakes I've made and my next endeavor will be slightly better.

WIPS (of course):

So Ive decided on this angle, and no matter how bored or how much i hate it I'm going to stick with it. That was my first hurdle. I used just model something, with no camera angle in mind, it meant i wasted a lot of time on mesh i may never see, it also meant i got bored with doing all the detail on everything. It was important then, that at the start, when i was setting up my camera in front of a box, to get a interesting angle. I think i've achieved that here.

Hot Tup!
Want to create a static CG image, get a camera angle and stick with it!

Here are some more shots of the bar.

Some little detail that will hopefully bring the bar to life. Some sake sets, chops sticks, ramen bowls, all adding a little something.

A shot down the side ally, some gas cans, bins and a typical naruto type fence just to add some more life again. The background will be buildings fading out to give a good sense of scape, and again adding more life to the scene, a sense of scale as well, like there is more to this world then just this ramen bard. Though i don't know why you would want to go anywhere else, the ramen is delicious here.

Next post, i think i'm going to walk through setting up those hanging flags outside the ramen bar, and how damn easy it is using Mayas nCloth in 2009.

animtion in progress

So my brother is an animator. For his lack of good looks he makes up with gusto! and to deal with my jealousy of his talents, i make up with cheap shots and derogatory remarks about his small appendage (which is tiny). Find his site HERE, and in the 'Famous Friends' section, where they are all talented artists.

Im doing some modeling for a scene he is animating, its all top secret (not really i cant remember what the animation was about) so i can only show a couple screen shots:

All done using Maya, we are going for a typical CG, cartoon style, so flat textures and shaders. No cel shading. I'm still working on more details, the tricky part with a scene like this is, and its something Pixar do very well, is being simplistic, but still detailed. Wall-E is a perfect example of this.

The characters are neither of ours, they are a rigging system found on highend3d.com, called MooM. Highend3d is a great website, full of scripts, shaders, plug-ins and tools alike. Certainly a recommend website for any 3d artist at any level.

A couple more shots of just the interior so far.

Its all done pretty easily using poly modeling. There is nothing amazing about the modeling, its not going to be high poly or sub-dived later either. I extruded face along a curve for the seat belts and wires. There is another method where you use a circle, a curve and 'loft' them, this does give you more control on the diameter of the curve. But for this, doing a simple extrude face was sufficient.

I will have more updates on this as i go along, for now its coming along, and hopefully buy making a blog it will continue to motivate me into doing more.

little things in life...

Hot Tip # 1
This is a really simple one to start off, and more for people starting out. I still see a lot of people having the ‘Select faces with’ set to center. I think this is an awesome waste of time. When modeling things should be as smooth and painless as possible. If i have to slow down and select specific areas of a face every time i want to select, this wastes time and become much more tedious. It will also distract from your art work. See the two images below, one turned on and the other with it off. Its much easier to see the shapes, look and feel (when in poly mode) of the entire shot without dots everywhere.

How to:
Its easy. In Maya, in your menu bar, go to:

Window -> Settings/Preferences -> Preferences.

This window will pop up.

Simply find Selection -> Polygon Selection -> Change to Whole Face.

I still see people giving tutorials in Maya with this selected *cough* Digital Tutors *cough*. It may not seem like a big thing, but one thing I have learnt in 3D, it’s the little things that take up the most time. I will post many more little things like this that i learn on the way, that will hopflly help you to speed up your work.

Comparison Shots:

That's my first "Hut Tup!", all the way from New ZULAND!
(PS. Its 39 in Melbourne today i am sweltering, to get out of the head I've decided to go to Philippians for a holiday!)


Early work gets the job...

Some of my very early work, not that early! Early enough for me to hate it and think, why am i even showing this, but then i remember no one will read this for probably a billion years after the earth has turned into a gas ball and all that remains is a 3 and half inch floppy disc with a compressed copy of this blog that i sent into space. So if you are reading this billions of years in the future, either an alien race or an advanced human of some sort... i was the Rembrandt of my time, pretty much. You wont see better work then this in all of human history (Unless you click on my 'Famous Friends' links). But alas, this did help me get my first Artist job, as a famous super villain once said; "...its all... part of the plan". I don't have a plan, but if i did, this would have been part of it.

As a side note, i like how none of my work is completed, they are all 'works in progress'. One day ill finish something, and be sure my dearest blog, you will be the first to know.

Early Folio Work
Work from Concept (Not sure who the original concept artist was, don't hate me. As part of getting a job as a computer game artist i had a week to work of any concept i wanted (outside of work), no textures required in the short amount of time.)

All done using 3D Studio Max, rendered in VRay. Textures sourced from who knows where, and tweaked in Photoshop. I now using Maya, although my work makes me use Max sometimes which i hate and will one day destr- no, think positive.

If you are still actually reading, after all this hard work blogging i'm going on holidays in 3 days, so i wont be around to post for 4 weeks, oh no.