Thursday, October 15, 2009

AMMO Previz - cg EXTRAS

Ammo Previz was engaged recently to aid in the creation of a new spot for a television campaign promoting a v8 supercar racing event. The brief called for a single shot, lasting 25seconds, of a fellow walking toward camera whilst a massive grandstand is constructed behind him. Antics was used to create nearly one hundred workers which populated the scene during the construction phase. These workers were created in various animated positions, with lighting to match the final scene. Ammo Previz also used Antics for previz stages to provide composition and shoot planning. The final previz was used on location to determine framing and timing for the key talent. Post Production was completed at Oasis Post.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Previz Society

Introducing the Previz Society! Check out this great news from my PREVIZPOST blog.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

free bvh files - 1000's

Hi guys, things are looking up on all fronts. Here's a batch of bvh files you may like to bookmark.

Here is a list of the actions.

I big shout out to the quidam guys. Must say I'm enjoying the way these guys have designed to posing feature within quidam. Just posed up a guy to dirve a forklift. Brought the forklift in as a prop, scaled it to suit the guy and then set a transperency value of 50% to the scene. This way I could see exactly where to position him. Too easy!
Looking forward to the day I can animate within quidam.!!

Oh If your'e a lightwave user, check out JimmyRig. It's a bit like a junior Motion Builder, great for building/combing bvh motions.

Also if you're looking fix a machinima fix, I strongly recommend mellowhardy on the Moviestorm channel. Judging by the results he's getting out of Moviestorm, it may just be time to take another look at this app. I hope they can get over the flicky textures and robotic (linear) movements of the characters soon. That would be a fine day.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Machinima in Brazil - FILE 2009

This year sees two ANTICS entries in FILE 10 NURBS PROTO 4KT, the title of the FILE 09 exhibition, that will be held in São Paulo, Brazil, from July 28 to August 30, 2009.

Congrats to Pineapple Pictures: Kate Fosk and Michael R. Joyce
for the machinima clip - Revenge
A short machinima work made using Antics software. A wife discovers her husband is using their caravan as a place to take other women. In a fit of jealous rage she sets fire to the van.

For my part, I was fortunate to have been invited for "Dark Previz"
If you get chance to check it out, I really had some fun with the lighting, in fact the project for me was really a test to see if some emotion could be presented from the 3d characters with set expressions. Also have a look at the artwork on the table and wall, some of my attempts at drawing.
I started this project using V2 of Antics3d. It was completed with V2.79. V3 of Antics fixed the wierd facial action that occurred when a character spoke. So if you're wondering if V3.1 of Antics is worth trying out, I'd say a big yes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quidam followup

Lately I've been pushed for time on all fronts, I did managed to get some more time on Quidam recently when a client in London was in a bit of a fix. Tony, can you create a poster for an event, I kinda need it tommorrow! Quidam turned out to be the perfect tool for creating a Dancer element. I find the program very good for customising and then posing a character. The ability to add props and paint textures is quite well implemented. For my renders I chose the cell shader look which was quite nice. The poster turned out quite well, although it wasn't used it the end!
On the Antics side of things, I'm currently in R&D on a concept requiring an animated crowd presented in a timelapse style. The tests are looking really cool and the pipeline will probably include Antics and Quidam to build elements for Maya. The job is for later in the year so I'll post some images once it's gone to air. Antics is being used for previz on this job also.
For my day job I've been fortunate to have worked on around 20 shots for a feature that's just about to be released. For our part the project was completed at 4k which was something new and way cool.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free Bvh Motions - Mr Bones New site!

Truebones is proud to present a brand new website! Key features of the new Truebones website: A HUGE Variety of high quality Motions in BVH format Free Motions in BVH and FREE animation software. Informative monthly newsletter Animation Video channel gallery. Fast motion search and ordering system. Online Store with instant downloads of products. Full discussion and customer support forum. Full previewing of for sale motions, Try before you buy! (via FREE Animeeple Software) Please feel free to Join Truebones today by registering at our brand new website. Join today and you will receive over 50 Free BVH Motions, In addition you will get a 50% discount for the New MonsterBones MegaMotions 2400 Pak just by signing up.

Friday, May 29, 2009

quidam3 25% discount offer

The Q3 demo version has just been released, check it out.
Also have a try of Animeeple for character animation!
It is new, it is very intuitive and it lets you:» Apply animations onto characters» Layer and sequence the animations» Edit animations using procedural modifiers» Render images and movies» Animate your Second Life™ avatar» Export content as FBX, Collada, BVH and XMLExporting from QUIDAM to Animeeple requires the COLLADA export plugin (included in QUIDAM Studio, this plugin can be purchased separately by QUIDAM users).

If you are interested in markless motion capture, drop by my other blog, PREVIZPOST I think it's pretty exciting technology.

Friday, May 22, 2009

FrameForge Previz Studio 3

The wait is nearly over! While the new version will be released to the public shortly, you can be among the first to preview the powerful features soon to be available in FrameForge Previz Studio 3, the software that's redefining storyboarding and previsualization.
At upcoming events in Seattle and Paris, Ken Schafer, Lead Program Architect at Innoventive Software, will present an exclusive look at the latest edition of this ground-breaking program. He'll demonstrate how every filmmaker can benefit from translating a script to an optically accurate previsualization, complete with a three-dimensional scale location stocked with actors, props, wardrobe, set dressing, basic lighting and backgrounds. Check out this page for a rundown of new features.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

History of 3d Animated Films

Thanks to ArianeB for this History of 3d Animated Films.

Have a read through, I'd like to hear which ones are your favorites and why?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Dan Tindell

Dan Tindell is my "Focus On" artist on my PrevizPost blog!
You just have to check out his reel!

Scene Systems - Brad in a suit!

ABA TECHSHOW 2009 Interviews: Brad Kolacinski of Scene Systems, Inc. from LexConference on Vimeo.

Quidam3 first look

Well I got my copy of Quidam3 along with the 3ds max plugin and some packs. I went for the studio version thinking that the low poly feature would serve my needs better in the long run.
Quidam is a very quirky app. I think I will enjoy it more when it gets to version 5. I suspect they'll have animation controls by then. In any case it is built to build characters and you certainly get that. Unlike Poser, Quidam gets you quick results that are easily modified. The use of gestural modelling techniques and "on model" painting means you don't need to venture outside of Quidam very often. You can select a base character, add some imported props and then adjust the shape of the mesh a bit like clay. (similiar to mudbox, z-brush and modo).
The base model allows for materials to be adjusted or you can paint direct onto the mesh (like bodypaint, silo & modo paint). A really nifty feature is the ability to paint an imported image onto the surface interactively. They have some tutorials on the n-sided site.

The best news for antics users is the ability to get the characters from Quidam into Antics whilst keeping the skinning and texture maps. I've worked on getting a mesh skinned and then weighted in Max before and it takes an awful lot of time. You have to line each bone up to the middle of each limb and then apply skin weights for the skin to be driven by each bone in the skeleton. Invaribly you then need to go through and tweak the weights until the mesh behaves like it should. There are two ways to skin a cat, sorry bone a mesh, hmm .... there's the skin modifier and the physique modifier. Youtube both to get familiar.

When you bring in a Quidam creation you'll see it's the skin modifier that's invoked.

What I worked out was that if you rename the bones on the newly imported Quidam skeleton so they match the naming convention of a Max Biped. Then it's possible to copy the skin weights across. (drop me a line if you want to learn how to do this). Then you can export the character out of max into Antics (yipppeee!).

So now with Quidam I can make previz with any characters necessary, and with any facial expression I want.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Character Update. - Quidam 3 - skeleton to biped.

Well I've been busy with tests and R&D for characters for Antics and I thought I'd write an update. A little while back I touched on the idea of using bones to drive facial expressions. The concept is cover in this Bones for facial expression Tut.

My experiements with Max went o.k but there was a major hiccup. Whenever the character moves the skeleton would return to a default bone setup. This means if you create a look for your face, then you would lose the look once the character moved. I have considered creating a face model which is driven by a biped skeleton, which would then attach to a host body. But this would need further investigation. The idea comes from stopframe animation, where a range of expressions are created out of clay. Then the faces are swapped out as needed. My adaptation is to have a face, with a little skeleton inside it. Antics will drive a mesh as long as it thinks it's a full character. Of course it may be possible to have a bones setup in a "prop" but I've haven't gone down that road yet.

My other news is regarding Quidam 3. I contacted them to gain permission to build an Antics library of characters which I'd market to users. Unfortunately they are only interested in the selling of characters in the .Qui format. Any other format is not allowed. I thought the indie Prime product would cover this, it does not. Still, I'll be getting Quidam 3 for my own use, and I've been wading through the issue of converting the Quidam skeleton to a biped so that Max can export it! Currently the skeleton looks a little like the skeleton structure you get when you bring poser models in (pCharacter or .DAE via Daz)
My main quest is to keep the body weights which Quidam creates. Sometimes I think it might just be easier to stay and animate in Max! I've done some tests with the Q3 characters as a prop and the models look really good, as did the textures. I did find I had to add the texture from within Antics though, but it all lined up ok.
My two sons have completed thier assignments for school using Antics. Micheal got an 'A' grade and Alex has entered his forensic clip into a comp for the museum in Sydney.
Once I crack the Quidam - Antics pipeline I'll post the solution for you guys. (happy to hear from other pioneers). Quidam looks like being a very valuable tool for us. The customisation of characters may now become a reality!.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

92 years or 3 days? MachStudio Pro

Toy Story took 800,000 render hours to complete what is still a fantastic example of 3d animation. This week
I'm very excited about Studio GPU and MachStudio Pro.
"StudioGPU's MachStudio Pro reinvents the visualization workflow by putting the power of real-time graphics processing at your fingertips and real-time rendering on your desktop.
This isn't just an incremental shift, but a bold change in the way 3D CGI is created!
MachStudio Pro lets you truly Work at the Speed of Thought!"
Judging by the look of the finished renders, a film like Toy Story could be rendered in less time than it took to render the original credits!
Running on Microsoft Windows with off-the-shelf computers and high-end graphics cards, the software features a nonlinear animation timeline providing for multiple layers of animation channels, unlimited camera setups which can be animated via splines or key frames, intuitive lighting set-up for designing both simple and complex light rigs, an interactive materials editor, and particle generator. All these features and more are available through an intuitive GUI, which allows for real-time manipulation of scenes. Check out the site.
This is great news for our Antics community. Although this product is aimed at a studio market, it shows that the future of realtime animation is alive and well.

antics v4 download

Here's thanks to Robotguy4 for this link, looks like a legal way to get hold of v4. This page asks you to submit an email address and then allows you to download the 157Mb file.
"You have successfully registered. We have sent you a reference email with your username and password." I guess once you have that info you could then get v5 via the Antics website. I suspect it's a leftover from the old site so I wouldn't expect it to exist for very long.

Here's my disclaimer. I haven't tried it out as I wouldn't want to upset my existing licences/registrations. Use your own judgement.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Using the SAY command to invoke blendshapes

Hi guys, hope you had a good Easter. Mine was pretty cool, as usual trying to do family stuff and my own Antics stuff. There's not enough hours in the day, even when you get 4 days off! Anyway, I discovered something today you might be interested in. Recently I posted about having bones drive the facial expression of characters. The theory is good and it's been used to great effect within Max by some clever fellows. In case you missed it, the expression of a character is achieved by having the mesh deformed in certain ways, just like our skin. When we smile the corners of the mouth are raised, so if you raise the mesh in that region you get a smile from your character. Now, if your'e in a 3d app that gives you control over the mesh (the vertex's) then all is as easy as pie. However within Antics we have no such tools. So the other way is to prebuild the smile and the no-smile meshs and then have the character "blend" from one to another. This is most certainly how the EMOTIONS feature is being implemented. So, today I took another look at the 3ds max example as supplied and realised that the example is showing us the way they have achieved a moving mouth effect. For those who don't have Max, the example consists of a "rest" mesh and then a bunch of identical mesh's where the mouth is slightly adjusted to look like it would if it said a range of (phoneme) sounds. When the character is commanded to "say" an audio clip, then the blend shapes are used. Sooooooooooooo I thought, rather than adjust the mouth, what if the geometry was adjusted in other ways. (like a smile). Then instead of a moving mouth we'd get some other stuff.....The result was quite good. The character would blend to the new shapes even whilst walking, looking and playing animations!. On the downside, the character will return to the rest pose once the event is complete. Still it means you can use a sound file to drive a specific set of poses, in any version. I'll keep you posted. It would be great to see if a continuous tone keeps the pose steady. So then we could run say 400hz for sad and 1khz for happy, etc.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bust out!

A nice thread in the community forum is going on about "Audience Reactions" to seeing Antics clips. Everyone has a slightly different use for Antics but ultimately the results of our efforts will be presented to an audience. Whether you are a storyteller creating Anymation clips, or an industry guy building Boards, the technology under the bonnet of Antics is going to serve you well at least for the next few years. So it's an important issue to discuss, what do people think about the look of the animation in antics?
Do they see it as a viable medium for communicating ideas or are they quite happy with pencil and paper?
Now that I've played around with the pipeline for creating characters. My question is, what style of characters will assist us in presenting ideas the best. If I was planning a Transformers or Bond fight sequence, I'd already know the look of the talent, so an avatar would work. It works because the viewer has an established point of reference for the actor/character. The ability of the viewer to fill in the missing details of the character is a given, and that sets the tone for the physical performance as well, they adjust to the production value.
The creation of avatar style characters is now possible and they will expand our choices over and above the original library.
But what of the characters for Boards. Do avatar style (real world textures), characters set up the viewers for a in-game or cut-scene style presentation. Does that work for us or against us?
Do we need simplier representations of people in our presentations to industry audiences?
Or is it that the style is fine, it is just the low poly count that people have trouble with?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Facial expression - All versions

Been working through the theory of using bones to move features on a face. The good news is it turns out a few guys have used this technique for animating facial expressions within Max and have produced some really cool (and wonderfully intricate rigs). I started with a test using the ponytail bone to drive the chin of a character. It was a good feeling being able to push that chin around within Antics. It is encouraging me to continue the tests. One problem was that the pose was lost once the character was directed to do something else, like walk. So I'll need to sort this.
At the very least facial expressions for static poses are looking good at this point.....

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Character project- Facial poses

Making good progress with the New Characters tests. There are a number of stages in the pipeline. Essentially what seems to be working is the skinning of mesh to a biped bone system within Max. The biped system is what the 3d exporter is most happiest with. It should be possible to create the mesh/bone structure in any app so long as the naming conventions and the joints, match what Max does. (very important!) BTW There is documentation from Antics on this, so if someone wants to rig up a character following those guidelines I could put it through Max for you.
So here are some images from Antics, I am learning heaps with this project, take the grey ponytail girl, when you create a biped bone system within max you can set extra bones, for example a ponytail. This is of interest to me, not only because it means one could adjust the ponytail, but I am thinking one could rig up a character so the bones affect the facial mesh. Sort of a cheat way to get some posable facial expressions. If successfull then these characters would be compatible with all versions of antics.

These other pics show a much denser poly count. Antics will allow a mesh up to 64,000 approx, which is much higher than what is in the existing characters. (except the emotive ones). I would like to develop a character whose hands and feet and face are a much higher polycount. The comic face compares low/high poly counts.
A higher poly count means more curves which makes the edges smoother.

I am yet to solve the hair, eyelash and eyeball elements. Another consideration for the facial expressions is to construct a face plate with various expressions and have the ability to swap out the entire head. (using a link to the original head joint!). It may be possible to build it just like a skull where the eyes and hair remain on the original character, so the join is disguised.
Consideration is also being given to the texture maps for these characters.
Cheers Ammo

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Crime scene update

Here's an update on the school project, Alex(14) has finished adding the furniture to the house where the crime is committed. As you can see there are two victims and they don't look healthy. (Either that or there's been a party!) The assignment is a forensic examination, I'm told shots were fired shot I expect we'll see blood splats and such. I'll let keep you in the loop.

My oldest son Michael(17) did a 30sec spot with antics this weekend for his school project for media, so we had a bit of an antics weekend!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Want to be a previz artist?

Here's a great tip list from Brian Pohl, CEO Persistence Of Vision ...
"If you want to become a previs artist focus on:
1. Camera Animation and cinematic language.
2. Camera Angles, Composition, and Continuity.
3. Low Rez Poly modeling and digital sets.
4. Low Rez Poly characters and rigging.
5. Understanding storytelling.
6. Editing and timing.
7. Non Linear Animation.
8. Tricks and cheats for improving speed and setup.
9. Animation vs VFX pipeline structures.
10. Integration for technical previs.
11. A solid understanding of various camera lens, camera backs, and aspect ratios.

A previs artist is: A Director, a Director of Photography, an Animator, a Modeler, a Rigger, an Editor, a Storyteller, an FX artist, a MoCap engineer, and so on. If anything, to become a previs artist, you must be ready to don any of these hats at anytime. However...ultimately, you'll have to decide if you wish to focus on conceptual previs or technical previs. Each focuses on different parts of the preproduction pipeline."

if you want to read more about previz, try my other previz blog Brian is also running a previz course at Gnomon

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NEW HALO character in antics3d

Master Chief anyone? I finally worked out the pipeline for new characters into Antics. I was able to sort out the mesh, skeleton and vertex linking so that the MC can walk around quite happily in the Antics world. The buggy is straight from sketchup (took 3mins to download, gotta love that!) The process is a little fiddley but worth it in the end. The biped in Max is the native skeleton structure for the 3d exporter to create an Antics file. The mesh came from linefour
Update March 10.
Current Aim: to create new female character with better poly resolution. Researching texturing and hair solutions. If you have a character you need for a project pls let me know.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Accurate scale - floorplan - CRIME SCENE

One of my kids is doing a school project, coincidently he's doing forensics this year are reconstructing a crime scene! I found it amusing when he asked if he could use our Antics 3d application, given the direction Scene Systems are heading. Anyway he's off and running and it's an excellent example of how well suited Antics is to this type of use. The first thing we covered off was how to setup the floorplan to scale. He has a blueprint of a home and is wanting to build it in Antics3d. We set the plan up as a .jpg 512x512 pixels. Texture maps for billboards will be resized if they are not a variant of this size. (ie 256x256, 1024x1024, that sort of thing.) The plan here (so to speak) is to use a billboard with the floorplan texture applied as a template for our construction. Now simply create a billboard ("house"), rotate it so it's flat on a floor plan and then you are ready to set the scale. We were lucky because we had a doorway which was labelled as 1m wide.
So in order to know what 1m was in the antics world, we built another billboard 1m by 1m. when rotated that to lay flat on the floor as well and then we could scale the "House" Billboard so that the doorway size matched the 1m Billboard. This gave us absolute confidence that the floorplan could now be traced with new rooms. A couple of good tricks, set the House billboard to FREEZE.
Set the texture of the rooms you build as transparent or 50% opacity. (that way you'll be able to see the measurements). Try to not have overlapping floorplans/rooms, they will cause problems when you want characters to navigate from room to room.
As the project moves forward I'll post the progress for you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

tutorial de storyboards

tutorial de storyboards 3D animados recorrendo à ferramenta Antics 3D

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NEW Characters for Antics

I've been chipping away at the character creation challenge. You may have seen on my blog that I found some interesting examples of assets which Antics seemed to have purchase outright, (as opposed to creating them in house). So I'm thinking that at least a portion of some of the characters probably were outsourced also. So I went in search of fully rigged 3ds Max characters and found bucket loads. Of course almost all were expensive. Some came in to max and exported quite well. Others required a bit more 3ds Max knowledge than I currently posses.
With the 3ds Max Antics exporter, it's now a given that Max is the only way to get extra character content into Antics. (with the exception of rigid body solutions. like the skeleton and Mech examples). Ultimately I'd like to learn enough to build my own character's, import them into max, skin and rig them and sort out the bodyweights (that's so the mesh doesn't get messed up when the joints move). But for the mo, I'm happy enough experimenting with importing someone elses bipeds and perhaps modding them slightly.

Make Human , Ava Pack , AXYZ , Quidam , Poser , LP3d , proviz3d 123d buy3dmodels 3drt

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Here's the sales blurb....

Quest3D is a very flexible authoring environment for real-time 3D applications. It is packed with a huge set of features, very good support and very attractive license conditions. The edit-while-executing and graphical nature of Quest3D makes it one of the most intuitive tools to work with. Quest3D is used by hobbyists, educational institutions and big name companies. Projects include anything from small freeware games to huge industrial virtual reality setups.
Sounds Good. I'd like to check out the demo and see how it goes. It is quite pricey though.