A Missile Hits a Building

http://www.vimeo.com/10420944  

This was my final project for a compositing class. The building was shot locally by me and I used a mixture of elements from Video Copilot’s Action Essentials 2 and Digital Juice’s Compositor’s Toolkit to make the comp in After Effects. Tracking and roto was handled with Imagineer’s Mocha. I am happy with the way this turned out. This was my first major compositing project and while there are some things I could have done better, I am happy overall. My next goal is to add some sound effects.

Fun with Particles Part 2

http://www.vimeo.com/5469238 Here is another particle test I did. This time I created it entirely in Cinema 4D. I followed a tutorial by 3D Kiwi over at C4DCafe.com. This was created in version 10.5 using the MoGraph and Thinking Particles modules. I am just trying to come up with a couple proofs of concepts and hope to make a longer, more detailed animation soon. This was really fun.

Fun with Particles Part 1

http://www.vimeo.com/5465681  

This is a logo for a consortium I am a member of. This is a particle test using the Trapcode Form plugin for After Effects. The logo was created and rendered in Cinema 4D. I used object buffers for the floor and the logo to isolate the different elements. This was just a fun little project to pass the time, but I intend to expand upon it and try to work on particles a little more.

 

My 3D Journey Part II

Silo Logo

The first program I tried is strictly a modeling program. I do not use NURBS when I model so I didn’t need to find a program that handled those. I am mainly a Sub-D modeler and the first program I found for that is Silo. Silo has grown to be quite a good modeling program. They are now in to version 2 and Nevercenter keeps innovating and adding new features to this relatively inexpensive program. The modeling tools are easy to grasp and the interface is excellent.

One of the things I like most about Silo, besides the price, is the way you can customize the interface to suit your working style. You can do this with a lot of other programs, but I think the folks at Nevercenter really got this right. I also like the way that you can change subdivision levels by hitting ‘C’ or ‘V’ on the keyboard. This makes it extremely easy to model and check your progress.

Airplane

This is a plane that I was making while playing around with Silo. This is about 20 - 30 minutes of work and I started with a simple cube or box. This technique is called box modeling and works well for a lot of things. This is the un-subdivided model. As you can see, it is quite squarish and angular. This is the way I work with the model most of the time. I can then change subdivision levels on the fly to see what my smoothed model will look like.

It’s not too bad for about 30 mins of work, but the wings are too thin and the engines are too small. This was modeled in Silo 1, and now that I have some time I am going to be playing with Silo 2 to see how I like it and whether it will fill all my needs. If you want more information on Silo, just go to http://www.nevercenter.com. Like I said, Silo is extremely affordable. Right now the Core version is on sale for $79. It is normally $99 and still a great deal at that price. The Pro version is on sale for $129 which is an absolute steal. Even its normal cost of $159 is a bargain. If you are looking into getting into 3D modeling you really cannot go wrong with Silo.

modo Logo

The other program I am really thinking about adding to my pipeline is modo. I have been playing with modo on and for a few versions. The modeling tools are top notch. I really learned a lot of my modeling techniques from my Lightwave classes and had to overcome the obstacle of translating the Lightwave tools and workflow into Cinema 4D. The cool thing about modo is that a lot of the people in the company are former Lightwave developers. It was a lot easier for me to model in modo than it was in C4D. What is really great is that the models I make in modo can be imported without any problems into C4D. This makes it an ideal program to add into my pipeline. In fact, I know a lot of C4D users are doing this exact thing. Since I haven’t played with modo for quite some time, I do have to get back up to speed. Luckily the team at Luxology have put together some great videos for everyone. They also have a terrific forum for people to talk about all things modo. If you do go to Luxology’s website, you will see a lot of work by Andy Brown. Unfortunately, this is not me. The other Andy is absolutely amazing and I am hoping I can some day get to that level.

Camera

This is a camera I started working on a few years ago. It was from a tutorial on Luxology’s website, and I think it was by Andy Brown. This whole model took maybe an hour or two. I found it quite easy to use modo’s modeling tools. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adapt, but it was not hard at all. Luxology has really implemented some nice things in modo such as the workplanes and the tool pipe. I won’t go in to detail here, but these two innovations really make working in modo a great experience.

Enterprise

I think most, if not all, 3D artists at one time or another decide to model something from Star Wars or Star Trek. Well, being a huge fan of both, I decided to start modeling the original USS Enterprise. This is a work in progress (WIP) of the saucer section. Once again, this is not a lot of modeling time, but I am happy with it.

In order to help me learn modo once again and to learn some of the new tools I am turning to Dan Ablan. He is a great instructor and has training DVDs and books. I have his modo courseware and his Lightwave 9 Courseware. I don’t have a whole lot of time to watch the sheer volume of video in the courseware so I decided to buy one of his books instead. I bought The Official Luxology modo Guide Version 301 a few days ago. I got it in the mail, and as soon as I sat down at my computer with it I got an email saying modo 401 would be released in 2 days. Just wonderful. I just spent money on a modo book and a new version was coming out. Well the cool thing is that everything in the 301 book will work in 401. See, when I started with modo it was just a modeler. Now, in 401, they have texturing, rendering, sculpting, and animation. There is a lot of stuff that I missed out on while trying to find myself. I downloaded modo 401 the other day and I cannot wait to start working with it.

I think that as of right now, my main 3D applications will be Cinema 4D and modo. Between the two of them I have a complete modeling, animation, and rendering solution that works for me. Maya is crap. Lightwave is better. Cinema 4D is great. modo with Cinema 4D is unbelievable. I am looking forward to 3D once again.

My 3D Journey

I’ve been doing 3D computer animation in one form or another since 1996, and have used most 3D programs out there. I started out on 3D Studio 4. This is not 3D Studio Max, but this was back in the DOS days. Ahh DOS. What a simpler time. Anyway, those who know me know that I like to jump around from thing to thing whether it is majors in college: Communication Design, BCIS, Communication Design, Photography, BCIS, General Business, and Management or in 3D applications. Yes, I did change my major that many times. I graduated with 167 hours in 4 years. Go Figure. I like to try the latest and greatest, if I can, whenever a new application comes out, but there is really only one 3D application that I keep coming back to when I need to work.

Cinema 4D Logo

Yes, I use Cinema 4D for my 3D modeling and animation needs. I have tried to move on to other applications, but I just can’t seem to leave this one behind. Like I said, I started doing this in 1996 when I build a house in AutoCAD, exported it to 3D Studio, textured it, and animated a walkthrough. I wanted to study special effects in college, but could not afford to go out of state. I played with 3D Studio Max when it came out, but could not afford it, so my 3D days were limited in college. After graduating and getting a job, I decided to revisit 3D.

I looked around for something somewhat powerful and affordable and came across Plasma by Discreet. Since Discreet also made 3D Studio Max, I gave it a shot and really liked it, but I was not totally satisfied with the experience so I decided to find something better. It just so happens that I saw this relatively inexpensive program called Cinema 4D 7 made by a company named Maxon. They are a German company, but there was this deal where if I ordered version 7, they would send me a free upgrade to version 8. Well, that was just too good of a deal to pass up, so I ordered it. The problem was, Cinema 4D wasn’t really used much over here at that time so tutorials and information was hard to find. Even when version 8 came out, I had such a hard time finding my way, I got discouraged and started looking for another program.

The next stop was Lightwave. Oh Lightwave. Well, I did some looking and really liked the amount of commercial work that was produced with it. I don’t exactly remember what really stood out, but I remember seeing Jimmy Neutron on the example page, and I believe there was a Star Trek reference or two. Well, that was it. Andy was going to learn Lightwave. And I did. I went out and purchased a copy along with the $100 printed manual that came in a 3 ring binder. I was set. Man was Lightwave hard. There are 2 parts, Modeler and Layout. I couldn’t render in modeler to see what I was doing. The interface was ugly. But, I was determined to learn it because it was used on Star Trek. So, I decided to enroll in my local community college.

I ended up taking a total of 3 courses in Lightwave and really improved myself. I finally got over the hurdles of the interface and began making some nice artwork.

Ipod XM and Tape

While I was coming along quite nicely in Lightwave, I still had this copy of Cinema 4D (C4D) that kept gnawing away at me. I decided to look to see if there were any new resources out there before throwing away the program and totally committing to Lightwave.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were some new resources for C4D that I did not even know about. The first place I found is really one of the premiere sites for C4D tutorials and discussion. The C4D Cafe, run by 3D Kiwi, is an excellent site for all things Cinema 4D. I spent a lot of time learning from all the fine people on the forums and watching Kiwi’s tutorials. I also found my way to the 3D Attack website. This website is run by a group of people that produce a monthly magazine on Cinema 4D. Well, I started buying those and have every issue. But, perhaps the thing that really got me going in Cinema 4D was a book by Anne Powers, Cinema 4D: The Artist’s Power Sourcebook. This book is now in its second edition, and it, along with the two sites mentioned above really got me started in Cinema 4D.

So it has been a few years now that I have been pretty content with C4D, but the world cannot leave me alone. While I am committed to C4D, I have brought on another program or two to help me out. More on that later…