Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Last Pixar Model

Well, after working on "The Good Dinosaur" for the better part of a year, I spent the last month or so working on a toy for "Toy Story of Terror" called "Forklift Sal".  She was a little plastic forklift that helps the toys trying to escape from the cabinet.

Last Halloween when "Toy Story of Terror" was released, I totally missed the premier on TV, thought I DVR'd it, and then realized I didn't get it.  So I didn't even get to see it.  So I never knew what became of Forklift Sal until now.  The DVD/Blu Ray is now available here.  Thar she blows in all her glory!  So I go check IMDB to see if I'm listed and.... I got left off the credits.  Seriously?  Man.  Oh well.  I'll post a wireframe of the model sometime.  Enjoy the featurette!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Real-Time Awesomeness!

So lately I have been doing a lot of exploring in Unreal 4.  I've really got the bug to get back into real-time technologies in the past year.  I miss the instant feedback and the interactive way that you can play with your ideas.  It's so freeing to see exactly what you are going to get and not have to wait for a render to kick off.  I've spent countless hours sitting at a screen waiting for something to show up, and even with modern renderers (I use Modo almost exclusively), I still want more fluid interaction.

Real-time rendering has gone through a true renaissance.  What you are able to get now in Unreal Engine 4, Crytek's CryEngine, Unity 5, Marmoset Toolbag, and others is absolutely stunning.  It's only getting better too.  That is what is so exciting.  Computing power is only getting better and faster, especially when it comes to graphics.  I still watch Epic's Unreal Engine 4 demo "Elemental" and I am blown away.

The fact that it renders in real-time (I've dissected the level for myself) is absolutely crazy.  It opens up a whole new method of storytelling - the ability to see your story evolve in front of you.  Make changes and see them immediately.  Sorry, I'm geeking out.  But in my career, I've spent so much time waiting to see what I was trying to create, it really makes me get excited.

I'm going to start sharing some tips for Unreal Engine 4 as I discover ways of creating my vision.  One way that Unreal has really changed my outlook is through "Blueprints", or Unreal's visual scripting language.  I barely started using UDK, and never really got into Kismet, but Blueprints have opened up a whole new world to me.  No matter how hard I have tried, how many hours of tutorials I have watched, I have always struggled with programming.  It's so powerful.  But I'm just too dang impatient.  Blueprints changes that for me.  I can quickly try things in a flow that (mostly) makes sense to me.

For one test I'm working on, I wanted to figure out how to use a key command to switch materials on an object.  I saw a post on a forum where that ability was scripted in C++.  I lost interest after the first couple lines.  I searched on the Unreal forums, and found a few breadcrumbs, but in the end, I discovered that a couple of breadcrumbs put together created a pretty sweet loaf.  It was fairly simple, once I knew how to create changes from multiple keystrokes...the MultiGate node!  Here's what it looks like:

After that, I can now change the material of an object with a keystroke, controller button, or any other input.  Blueprints are pretty addicting, so I'm sure that I'll be posting even more about them soon.  I'm not an expert, but if I can do it, anyone can :)  Stay tuned for screen shots and some experiments!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Previz | Pixar's Presto demonstration at Nvidia's GTC conference 2014

This is truly awesome stuff.  So much being processed in real-time.  This was just getting going when I was at Pixar.  So cool to see it really coming together in such a powerful manner.  The technology is getting faster and better.  Soon we'll have full shaders running in real-time in the 3D viewers (like they already are in most game engines.)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Modo 701 Training - Corrective Shoulder Morphs

I've been trying to nail down a good corrective morph workflow lately and here is where I am at. My previous video about corrective morphs with an elbow generated a few questions about multi-axis and multi-joint corrective morphs.

The key is this: get your weighting correct first.  If you try to sculpt on top of bad weighting, you will be fighting it constantly.  Get as far as you can with weighting, and then go on to sculpting.  Hope this helps!

Monday, January 06, 2014

MyPaint Test

So I decided to play around with MyPaint.  Doesn't look like it's in any recent development, but for an open source, it's pretty impressive...

With the right brushes, it feels a lot like Painter, with brushes that bleed and smudge.  I'm going to have to finish a painting with it to really put it through its paces.  Stay tuned.