Vivek Ram recently finished reading the Valmiki Ramayan myth and found himself unable to accept the peaceful images usually associated with it, and decided to instead create an image of the battle-honed warrior with only his rudraksha beads for armor and a layer of grime as a badge.
I wanted to show Ram in a really dynamic pose in the midst of Battle, with a War cry and ready to unleash his anger. I also wanted his pose to be in complete balance like that of a dancer with every gesture to be more deliberate than random. I also paid attention to how he would hold his arrow to show a sense of ease and experience in battle.
He build the fantastic image using Maya.
via CGTantra.com – Making of ‘The Legend of Ram’ – Vivek Ram.
Over on CGArena, Hamed Sabri has a great tutorial on modeling what seems like a trivial shape: A Soda Bottle. It’s actually far more complex than you would think, and it’s a great tutorial on using quad-modeling in Maya with NURBS and smooths.
Modeling of Coca-Cola Bottle – CGArena.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince opens with a stunning VFX sequence of the destruction of London’s famour Millennium Bridge. The sequence was done by London-based VFX house Double Negative, and talks about it to Popular Mechanics.
In addition to taking high-dynamic-range-image (HDRI) photography of the bridge and the area along the Thames River, Double Negative worked with the architects of the bridge. “They were given plans and CAD files that were used to recreate it as accurately as possible, down to every nut and bolt,” Burke says. A team of five to 20 people spent several months building, texturing and rigging the bridge in 3D animating program Maya, using the HDRI photography to create the right texture and detail.
via Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Movie Special Effects – F/X For New Harry Potter Film – Popular Mechanics.
Kickstand, makers of StretchMesh, have just announced v1.5. Working with Autodesk Maya, it’s a completely new character deformation pipeline. Director of Character Technology Daniel Dawson had this to say:
“Character skin is very elastic and difficult to animate. By giving polygonal meshes an inherent ‘stretchy’ characteristic, StretchMesh removes the time-intensive process of manually tweaking skin weights to streamline rigging of complex body and facial movements.”
Priced at $249 per set, the full 1.5 release is expected later this summer for Windows, Linux, and Mac. Read the full press release after the break.
Update: Image & Youtube Video from Kickstand added.
Pixelux’s Digital Molecular Matter system, which got alot of press for it’s use in the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game for Xbox360 & PS3, is now available as a Maya Plugin. The DMM system is far more advanced that basic rigid body physics systems.
Unlike rigid body physics systems where everything looks like its made of styrofoam and things break as though they are very brittle, DMM accurately models the stress within objects, allowing deformation and fracture to occur naturally with all the subtle details the eye expects in physically simulated scenes. If you do want rigid fracture, simply change material properties of your objects to reflect harder and tougher materials. The plug-in comes with a sophisticated set of tools as well as a library of materials ranging from jelly to diamond, making material adjustment a snap.
The plugin also comes with their Pixelux Splintering Technology that can automatically retesselate geometry in fractured areas, to give an extra degree of realism with no impact to simulation time. A 30-day trial is available for free from their website, and the full plugin is available for $399.
Pixelux via Movie Quality Simulation–Pixelux Ships DMM Maya Plugin – Software News.
G-Force, the story of a secret paramilitary group of guinea pigs and other animals, hits theaters soon and ImageWorks sits down with Resource411 to talk about the work.
While the animators developed the skeletal rigging and basic geometry of the movement and background, the visual effects team was building additional layers upon the animation. Using programs like Maya, Arnold, Houdini and Renderman, the textural reality of the movement and lighting of the many layers of fur on the guinea pigs was developed.
The movie is technically interesting on several levels because often times it’s a completely CG-generated foreground on top of a live-action background, reverse of most films. Also, it’s in “Digital 3D”, which adds alot of extra work to any film.
via G-Force: The Men Behind The Guinea Pigs.
One interesting new transformer revealed as a Decepticon in the new Transformers 2 movie is the “MicroCon”, thousands of plague-infected ball bearings that reassemble into a new transformer. The work was done by Digital Domain
, and they discuss it over at millimeter.
“Our 3D background was created in Nuke,” says DD CG Supervisor Paul Palop (referring to the software developed at Digital Domain and now sold by The Foundry). Because thousands of ball bearings were so close to the floor in this shot, Palop’s team had to pay additional attention to the way the 3D CG floor was constructed and rendered. For that, DD used Autodesk Maya and Pixar RenderMan.
via Step By Step: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
MPC helped Evian make their latest commercial where a group of choreographed roller-skating babies dance to The Sugar Hill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight. They filmed 134 different babies and then matched live-action heads with CG bodies over motion tracked data.
MPC’s team of animators used Autodesk Maya to create the baby skaters’ bodies. To ensure the babies appear fully realistic, it was important to carefully match movements, paying special attention to interaction between the shoulders, neck and head. To help achieve this, full CG babies were created and their heads were replaced later by the live action versions from the shoot by MPC’s compositing team led by Ludo Fealy.
via Evian, Skating Babies.
The Molecule has a new blog post up talking about the problems they experienced doing the 3D Modeling and simulation work for “The Detonators” on Discovery Channel. Each of the 20 simulations took multiple layers (5 to 8) plus 2D overlays, and they found alot of interesting tricks along the way.
Additionally, it is important to note that the layers were not all rendered at the same resolution–occlusion and shadow passes were amongst the slowest, and rendering them at half- or quarter-resolution would allow us to decrease the render time by a factor of 4 or 16, with no noticeable difference in final image quality.
Most of the modeling was done with Maya and the nCloth solver.
via Everything looks better after The Molecule.
nShatter has released a new version of their RUINS surface shattering plugin for Maya, and the new version 1.5 support CUDA acceleration. Re commend a GeForce 8800 or Quadro FX4600 or better, with 512M onboard memory. The plugin sells for only $99.