FXGuide talks to two of the guys behind some of this year’s SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival entries, including some great details with Damian Nenow on his impressive geometric clouds in 3dsMax.
Most people would do clouds now as volumetric renders, but I didn’t want to use a volumetric solution because it’s hard to control them and know the final shape. So I created them first as low-poly geometry based clouds. Then, using the Vertex Color Tool in Max, which is an almost forgotten tool, I could use the vertex color data to illuminate the clouds in the way I wanted.
The way it worked was I created these low poly elements, then covered them with thousands of sprites. They had alpha channel textures on them. You can then add photorealistic textures, like photographs of fragments of actual clouds, or you can add hand-drawn ones, which is what I did. So that’s why they look pictorial. I was able to get very fast render times – between 10 to 30 seconds just using a simple scanline renderer.
The Vertex Color tool is far from forgotten in Scientific visualization arenas, we use it regularly here. I can easily see how it’s not particularly useful amongst “normal” animation people tho.
NASA is fairly well known for the many conceptual animations they produce to showcase upcoming launches and projects, and the latest Mars Rover “Curiosity” is no exception. This time, the animation was produced by California’s Bohemian Grey, and is available on the JPL website.
Said Kevin K. Lane, President, Bohemian Grey Inc., “We are tremendously excited to be a part of this historic event. Helping NASA and the public to visualize ‘Curiosity’s’ trek was the type of animation project our company truly excels in both conceptualizing and producing.”
3dWorld has the scoop on an excellent short VFX film called ‘Bird’ made by a team of students from the Savannah University of Art and Design. A nice combination of live video and CG, all put to an eerie song by A Decent Animal.
Matching live-action characters with organic CG-effects, including head pieces attached to the human character, and the titular Bird, Balcombe explains his approach: “I have always been intrigued by films that combined live action footage of organic subject matter and then enhance it with computer generated media to create something totally new.”
Looks like we get a little sneak peak of Pixar’s newest short “La Luna”, to be premiered at the upcoming Annecy International Animation Festival this June.
“La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait,” reads the synopsis.
“A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?”
Quick reminder here, CG animated series ‘Cat Shit One’ is now available on BluRay and DVD, and (for the next 2 weeks only) available for viewing on YouTube.
My name is Junya Okabe, the producer for the film, “CAT SHIT ONE”. Please allow me to deliver this genuine message. The film has yet to surpass the production cost and we saw more potential for the content in the U.S. than in Japan. We dubbed the entire film in English by casting American voice actors. Even after all the obstacles, we have managed to finalize the English version of our investment.
We must now make this project a huge hit! We already have countless new projects in line, such as a new character merchandizing project, created by Japanese production companies, to air online for free once this project succeeds. However, we do not have budget for it.
I’m watching it now. It’s action packed, and the animation is pretty well done. The dubbing is pretty bad (not the best voice actors, and the lip-syncing is all off) but it’s a fun 22-minute watch. Even though it is bunnies, it’s not for kids as the bullets, blood, and violence is pretty serious. If you want to support a great independent project, then buy it via one of Amazon links.
A short film from Alex Weil has some great VFX and CG work done using RealFlow, Houdini, Mental Ray, and several others. They document the process (and show the great film) over at FXGuide.
For one particular shot of a hoof impacting on the ground and causing grass and plant life to start growing, artists looked to the initial design frame by Park. “It was the initial design frame of this shot that inspired the whole story for her,” recalls Weil. “It is a nod to Hayao Miyazaki’s amazing animated film Princess Mononoke, the idea of life and growth spawning and growing from the creatures and the car parts. Based on her design frame, we matched the composition and began creating various plants to grow from the ground. We modeled and rigged all of the plants as opposed to using PaintFX.”
It’s been almost 18 months, but the animated short ‘Cat Shit One’, the epic tale of two bunnies in wartime, is now coming to English audiences for free viewing on YouTube this February.
A group of desert terrorists kidnap civilians. A team of rabbit commandos, Packy and Botasky, from the Carrot Military Service, a private military company, witness a murder of an escaping hostage. Afraid that the rest of the hostages will undergo the same situation, the team demands backup. However, the backup arrival time will be too late for the hostages. ‘Their lives are in our hands!’ Without any other options, the rabbit commandos charge for the enemy line on their own.
The film hasn’t performed as well as hoped in it’s native country of Japan, but seems it could do quite well here stateside. Check out the new english trailer below, and you’ll be able to see it on Youtube and buy it on BluRay and DVD via Amazon next week. The animation is good, but the lip-syncing is a bit off (probably due to the translation). Skip to the 1:20 mark to bypass the opening promo for some action figures.
To generate some buzz for the 4th Ice Age Movie “Continental Drift”, 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios created a new short with everyone’s favorite little squirrel Scrat who remains in pursuit of that same acorn. Shown first along with Gulliver’s Travels, it’s now online for all to view.
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