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Kirby
Dec 2, 2005

Low Altitude Flyer


Welcome to the wonderful world of 3D Computer Graphics.

This world is occupied by a whole menagerie of nerds, geeks, neckbeards, sociopathic shut-ins and egoists, many of whom are devoid of any attractive physical or personality traits, or real artistic ability. This is precisely why there are so many of us on SA.

No, that’s not entirely fair.

***THE RULES***
  • This thread is intended for, primarily, critiques of work. Post pictures, videos, Programs used, and insights to the process. It’s all tops.

  • General discussion of schools, jobs, software/hardware, and personal experiences, are greatly welcomed.

  • Software/Hardware issues however, could probably be left out. There are plenty of other resources that you can find to help you in more definitive ways (many which can be found in this OP). I’ve solved 90% of my issues by just googling it, or going to CGTalk.

  • Anything CG related (concept artwork, compositing or cinematography for example) is good. One thing about 3D, it’s imperative to understand the other artistic disciplines that go into, or follow your 3D work. But be reasonable, and keep it valid; tie it back to your CG work.

  • Table breaking is very easy to avoid.

Now for the fun stuff!

To go to the FAQ, just CLICK HERE

To go to Resources, just CLICK HERE

To go to the Gallery, just CLICK HERE

So what the hell is ‘3DCG’?
Whatever it is, it is pretty drat huge. The easiest way to explain it, is CG is just doing all of the artistic things that have been done for the entire human existence, but with a beige-electrified-magic-machine. 3DCG is just a subset of this, meaning that we use these ‘mad skillz’ primarily in a ‘3D space’.

Along with the artistic component of 3DCG, are the technical aspects. So really, 3DCG is just for people who aren’t artistic or technical enough to be a traditional artist or computer programmer.

OK. So what exactly would I be doing if I get a job?
Lets break it down into disciplines;

Disciplines
Disciplines are pretty much the tasks you will be performing on the job. A grounding in a lot (if not all) of these disciplines is almost essential to being a good 3D artist, even if you find you are specializing in one area from a very early stage in your career. Knowing the ins and outs of what is being delivered to you in the production, and what your work is going into, can only be a bonus.

(Follow the wikipedia links kids! They’ll explain things good like.)

Modeling – You don’t need to take your clothes off for this.
This is generally the first forte into the 3D world for a production. Modeling is all about the transition from 2D images (whether it be concept artwork, floor plans, etc) into a 3D object. If you want a really bad analogy, in modeling you act as an interpreter; taking the information from one person, decoding its makeup, then expressing it to another in an eloquent way, in which it will be most understood.

Ofcourse, it’s not all as simple as that. You have different systems (Polygons, SubDs, NURBS), processes (Traditional, Digital Clay), considerations (Polycounts), and packages when it comes to modeling.

Rigging – Show me your bones.
Rigging is one of the more technical aspects of CG, and is generally reserved for a character technical director. It can require a deep understanding of the 3D program and its coding languages. When you rig, you are building the deformation systems and skeletons upon which the animation and other things are performed. Characters, props, background elements, custom interfaces, and lots more, need some sort of system in place to be controlled.

Animation – Housing hyperactive, juvenile men and women since 1928
I think we all know what animation is. Some of the words bandied about when it comes to animation are things like Character (numero uno), Acting, Squash, Stretch, Weight, Anticipation, Timing, Keyframe, Dope Sheets… and so forth. If any of that sounds interesting to you, then you will like animation. The only book you'll ever need on animation (not true) is Richard Williams' The Animator's Survival Kit. It is full of advice, anecdotes and pretty pictures vital to any aspiring animator.

Lighting and Rendering – Ooohhhhhhh… shiny.
Another discipline rooted in a rich artistic history, with a twist of technical knowledge. Actually a really fun area, and is very important to the fidelity of your final piece. It’s also an incredibly huge and complicated area to explain. Here are some tasty subheadings:
  • Texturing: Hoo boy. Textures are pretty much any 2D representation of ‘what you see’ on a surface. Think colour, luminosity, specularity and anything inbetween. They can be incredibly powerful in controlling the surface properties, when thought of in a mathematical sense (Black = 0, White = 1).
    But how does a 2D image translate onto a 3D object? The answer is the bane of any 3D Artist. Say this line with me a few times, because you will be saying it many times over in your career;

    ’I loving HATE UVS AND I WANT TO DIE’

  • Shading: Is assigning the material properties to your objects. Making metal look all shiny and metally, wood all dull and wooden, and skin all semi-light-absorbing and skinny. Also tied closely with texturing. Different shaders come with different packages, different renderers, and can be coded from scratch.

  • Lighting: is putting… lights… into your… thing. There’s no way to explain it more simply. It’s happening in photographs, paintings, and even ON YOU RIGHT NOW as we speak. Good lighting design is essential to any artistic work, and motivation is the keyword to any good lighting.

    As for lighting in a 3D package, each program will give you a set of 8 or so different ‘kinds’ of lights. You only need 3. Once you know what they are; congratulations! You’re a lighter! (not true)

  • Rendering: In a simple term, Rendering is all about how your texturing, shading and lighting is going to be computed. Each 3D package has its own basic ‘renderer’. But there are also renderers that operate independent of a 3d package (and by all accounts, are the only ones used.). The four main independent renderers are;

  • Mental Ray
  • VRay
  • Renderman
  • Brasil

    Beyond that, rendering (or ‘render wrangling’) is about getting your scene setup to render in these engines, setting render passes, fixing crashes, testing, re-rendering, and just a lot of sitting around waiting, drinking coffee.

    I've kind of skimmed lightly over L&R, but if you want to get excited about being a Lighting Technical Director, there is a bloody fantastic book by Jeremy Birn called Digital Lighting and Rendering. It is ‘the poo poo’, and will explain all of this 10*Deeper than I have, and in a very easy to understand way.
Dynamics, Particles and Effects – Making things go boom.
Tied closely with rigging, and one of the more technical aspects of 3DCG. Dynamic simulations are required for anything from fire, smoke, water, physical collisions and crowds. This area kind of comes with experience, and we can maybe elaborate on it if there is a call for it from the thread.

Kirby fucked around with this message at May 25, 2009 around 07:23

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Kirby
Dec 2, 2005

Low Altitude Flyer


***FAQ***

Q: I totally want to get into ‘3DCG’, I love Computers/Games/Movies/Puppies
It helps to like those things, but it's not essential. I can't stress enough, CG is just as much (if not more) about the art, than it is the computer. You need a grounding in artistic principles if you want to produce good work.

Please don't expect to get a job with a portfolio like this or this. Sure, your work will look like that when you first start. But give it a year. Look at your work when you first started. Give it another year. Look back at the first year. It doesn't take long for all of that artistic sensibility you have developed to blossom through.
These resources will definitely help too.


Q: What 3D programs are out there?
There are a shitton of different 3D packages out there, all with their own prerogatives, nuances and workflows. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the ‘industry standard’ ones;
CG packages
Autodesk Max
Autodesk Maya
Softimage XSI
SideFX Houdini

Sculpting
Autodesk Mudbox
Pixologic Zbrush

Dynamic Simulations
Realflow

it is handy to keep an eye on the cheaper/free alternatives to 3DCG. Their interface and workflows may suit your beginner status a little better. Here are some popular ones;
Blender
Nevercenter Silo
Google SketchUp

Beyond 3D, you may be asked at times to become familiar with compositing packages. I haven’t mentioned it much, but it is the next progression beyond your 3D work. It’s practically essential to know about compositing if you want to produce some industry level work. Keep these programs in mind;
Adobe After Effects
Apple Shake
The Foundry Nuke
Autodesk Combustion


Q: SO which program should I be using?
It depends. There isn’t a wrong answer. There most likely will be a time when you will be asked to pickup a program you have never used before in a production. Learning how to learn, and just being familiar with the kind of environment these programs have will help you a long way in being flexible. Tis will also come in handy, as many upper level Studios use proprietary software.
Learning in one of the cheaper packages can have its advantages, just as learning in one of the industry packages can. However, it is not recommended diving headfirst into a program like maya or max, it will just net you countless hours of trying to find the respective edge>splitloop tool. Fire it up, familiarize yourself with some simple navigation and common hotkeys (which should be helpfully laid out in the programs’ manual), and head on over to the resources area of the OP to get your tutorial-on.
You may also want to consider what kind of field of the industry you are interested in, to help decide what program to start in.


Q: What fields are there in 3DCG?
3D is primarily, a freelance/contract based business. You will no doubt find yourself self-employed, wherever you are in the world. Don’t get into this business if you want strong job security (that being said, you can still easily be successful if you have the talent).

Generally speaking, these are the fields of CG;
(need some thread elaboration; these are just my ballpark guesses)
  • Architecture/Visualization
    Common attributes: Architecture/Inorganic modeling, heavy lighting/rendering technical direction, FX, good place to move into other fields.
    Work environment: freelance (can be done solo), tight deadlines, small studios (5-15+ people)
    Common programs used: 3DS Max, Maya

  • Videogame Production
    Common attributes: efficient usage of computing resources, specialized pipelines.
    Work environment: large studios (50-150+ People), long hours during the ‘crunch’ period.
    Common programs used: 3DS Max, Maya, XSI, Mudbox, ZBrush

  • TV/Advert Production, ShortFilm Studio
    Common attributes: ‘3D generalist’ friendly, servicework.
    Work environment: small studio (5-20+ People), contract based, tight deadlines.
    Common programs used: Maya, 3DS Max, Houdini, Mudbox, Zbrush

  • Full CGI/Visual Effects Movie Production
    Common attributes: liberal usage of computing resources, dynamic simulations, cutting edge technology, specialized pipelines, highly experienced environment.
    Work environment: large studios (50-150+ People), professional.
    Common programs used: Maya, XSI, Houdini, Mudbox, Zbrush

Q: How do I get a job?
By sending out examples of your work on a DVD (This is called a ‘showreel’), along with any extraneous crap like a CV or portfolio.

Here are 10 tips from Jeremy Birn


Q: So what makes a good reel?
Read the huge quote below by BigKOfJustice. But if you want some quick fundamental rules;
  • QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. This is the big one. Don’t pad out your reel because you think it is too short. Don’t include unfinished work. 10 Seconds of great work is better than 10 seconds of great work, then 90 seconds of mediocre work.

  • Have a focus. Include relevant work to the position you are applying for. This means you may end up with 3-4 different reels, but it’s better to spend that extra time than sending along a model heavy reel for a Lighting TD position.

  • Clear, quick and concise titling. Nobody likes to sit through 10 seconds of your name and email, or wait for text to trawl in above a turntable of a model.

  • Start with your absolute best piece. If your first impression isn’t good, they won’t bother looking at the rest.

  • Don’t run over 2 minutes. Nobody will kill you if you do, but it’s just a nice rule.

  • Don’t waste time on elaborate packaging. All you need is a marker, and an easy to read typeface.

    This is just a pet peeve of mine but;
  • No trance/dance/death metal/hardcore. It’s nice, but not necessary, to have something to listen to when you’re watching a reel. But Mastodon doesn’t really suit when you’re watching a cute bunny slowly rotate on a turntable. If you really want something loud, fast or at all rockin’, just mix it really low so it isn’t distracting to the image.
This was posted in the last thread. It’s absolutely great advice, and comes straight from the horses mouth;

BigKOfJustice posted:


In a nut shell, to know if something is studio worthy, compare your work against the work of the studio that you are applying for. Does it compare or exceed their work in any aspect? That's how if you determine if your work is studio quality.

Now with that being said, it is very unfair to compare student/entry level work to journeymen and senior artists, since chances are they will have significant work to pull demo reel material from.

There is always a need for new meat for the grinder, since its cheap labor, so the good news is you won't have to compete against the guy who has Davy Jones or Sandman on his demo reel.

But you will have to beat the other students, and get into the top 98 percentile of student work that is out there. I think for every guy we hire at work, we reject several hundred demo reels. The vast majority of them stink to high hell, and thats the ones which actually get filtered by HR and recruiting first.

So the next question is, what do you want to focus on? Lighting? Modeling? Rigging? Animation? FX? Matte Painting? Match moving? Motion graphics? Compositing? I'd pick two semi related fields and focus your reel into showcasing your strengths.

If you want to be a filmmaker/director, don't bother with cgi, go take a real film class. If you want to be a producer, go and become a production co-coordinator for a production company.

If you want to become a matte painter or designer, go to a traditional design and art school to hone your craft.

Now from a motion picture visual effects background, heres what students should focus on:

Modeling: Most studios model all sorts of things, broken down into two categories. Hard and soft surface modeling. Hard surface includes machines, vehicles and environments, soft surface details organic models ranging from people to animals.

Most studios have to create realistic models for film work, so I'd stay away from fantasy and make believe creatures and environments unless it meet or exceeds the target studios work. Like modeling vehicles and machines? Dump the giant robot and sports car / fantasy car poo poo and model something that you actually see in a movie. How about a air liner? A Military helicopter? A police car? Be specific, pick a model / year, do research and model the object dead on. Make sure your uv's are good and have your geometry broken apart in sensible sets and groups so that other departments can use the model. Bonus points if you can show that you can make multiple resolution models. That is a Lo and a High version of your machine.

Soft modeling? Do a realistic character study and make sure its anatomically correct and accurate. No green demon alien things, the guy reviewing the demo reel will have no frame of reference and think that you are just lazy or lack the ability to do something more challenging. I won't know what an alien thing is supposed to look like but I do recognize a knight or a cowboy if I saw one.

Really want to blow peoples socks off and start getting interviews at the big studios for a creature modeling gig?

Create 2 or 3 realistic anatomically correct animals for your demo reel.

Every big studio has a talking / cgi animal movie or commercial in production at any given time. Do a elephant, a large cat and a dog, and do it well. If you can do a nice dog with good bone structure and musculature, chances are you can handle doing a alien creature that the art department will toss at you.

As for environmental models, team up with a tracking/fx friend and do some set extensions. Take a picture of a city block and add some more realistic buildings, or make a room much larger then it really is.

Speaking about lighting, talking to a few frustrated lighting supervisors at work, all you really need for a lighting reel, on a basic level, is stills. Take photographs of various environments at different times of days and insert an object/building/character and light the sucker to match. Bring it into a compositing package to match grain/noise and to do color correction if you have to, just make it match. Putting a character on a simple background with a canned lighting rig doesn't show us that you can light.

Many high end lighting pipelines tweak their lighting settings in a compositing package rather then within the animation package they are using.

As for effects, that can be a tougher nut to crack. FX work can range from water splashes, sea foam, smoke, dust and explosions to mundane stuff such as blowing grass, and holdout fx objects. Ever see a cg character charge through a grass field in battle in a movie? Yeah, guess who's doing the grass/foot interaction? The FX guy. He/she can simulate foot steps in cg grass to match the film plate. FX includes some of the most difficult work, that usually doesn't get noticed if you do your job right. Sometimes you get big money shots with a cg nuke going off, or a planet blowing up, but usually you're doing dust hits or footsteps in the snow.

As for software, that can be a huge toss up. Most of the top end studios use Houdini, Maya and a mix of proprietary software. If you are looking at going to a game studio, you may need to be able to do work in Max or Maya. If you want to work for Disney, Imageworks, Digital Domain, Rhythm and Hues, Laika, etc. Knowing houdini is a massive plus. If you can do some decent FX and Lighting demos in houdini you stand a good chance at scoring an entry level job at the above mentioned studios, since houdini people are very hard to come by. You can download the free version of houdini at http://www.sidefx.com.

Since FX folks have to light their own elements at times, lighting, shading and fx work tend to go hand in hand.

As for animation, most animators tend to do one of two things really well. Action and acting. Really good animators can do both, and the best animators can switch between cartoony and realistic motion.

For a reel, I'd have some characters go through some traditional action sequences. Breaking and merging cycles is important, have a character, walk, stop, run and jump, recover and keep on running. Have character hand off objects to one another, have them throw a pitch and swing a bat. Animate a horse trotting or some animal walking, and do it well. Don't make up stuff as you go along, do research on how these animals and creatures move, base it on some form of reality. Tape some shows on the discovery channel and watch how these animals move.

As for lipsync and acting goes, have multiple characters acting with each other. Don't take a funny sound clip from the internet and animate one character in an empty environment and animate to it. Have 2 or 3 characters play off each other, get mad at each other, laugh at each other. Have them react and interact.

You don't need to do a short film, you're not being hired to do that. So you can plan a short film, just do 3-4 shots of that film to show off your acting ability on a character.

I know schools like their students to do short films, but frankly, 90% of them stink to high hell and won't get you a job. If you are stuck in this situation, just plan a "work" reel with more relevant shots and demos that will get you hired.

Just show case your best work from a film and move on with other animation. You only get a few seconds to make an impression, if you don't catch your targets eye in 10 seconds, its off to the dumpster with your reel.

Theres one other aspect of animation that many schools ignore but is extremely important to most film production.

Technical Animation.

You may not be a good character animator, but you can do technical animation, that is animate fat jiggle, or cloth/fur simulation. Most studios seperate these tasks, you'll have one person provide the performance of the animation, and another guy to clean up deformation, and do cloth and fur simulation. You can make a complete reel targeted to cloth and fur simulation and if you do a good job, you'll be able to land work quickly at most major studios.

This post is getting a bit long winded, so I'll just leave some nuggets of do's and don'ts based on some student work I've seen recently:

-DO put your name and contact information on everything you give us. We have gotten dvd's in the past with just a name. I'm sure there was at one point a resume attached to the disc but it got separated. Guess what? That guy would have gotten a phone call for a job, but since he didn't have the time to write his phone number on his demo reel he never got that call.

-DO credit what work you did on what shot if it's a team project.

-DON'T take credit for other peoples work, this is a very small industry, and you will eventually get found out.

-DON'T waste time and money doing a big fancy demo package. I found the quality of the demo reel is inversely proportional to the amount of fancy packaging it has. Keep it simple and cheap. I've seen one girl who had a spiral bound portfolio booklet, a matching custom dvd case, business cards and a nice folding portfolio that was all color co-ordinated.

Her problem? She spent more time on her presentation then the content. Her class must have had a 60 second minimum limit for their final project. And it showed. She had 7 seconds of actual content, and 53 seconds of title cards. I poo poo you not. What a waste of her money.

A plain text resume, and cleanly marked dvd with your name and phone number is all you need. For years all my demo reels were market with sharpies, this year I got a light scribe dvd burner and I have my name and phone number burned onto my reels, but that because the lightscribe burner was dirt cheap.

-DO spend the extra few bucks on quality dvd media for your demo reel. Ensure that you dvd does play on a few different models of consumer dvd players. Keep the menus very basic, or better yet have your demo start on autoplay.

-DO target your reels to the job and company you want to work for. Sending a reel full of cg animals to a company that does exclusively sports games won't get you a job. Do some research on what the company expects to see on their reels.

Now I'll end off by addressing the cartoony and realistic vs fantasy material on demo reels. You can do anything you want provided its awesome. You want to do a big rear end space battle? And get a job with it? Look at war films and sci fi films, emulate what you see and like and do your best job trying to match it or blow it away. If you can't focus on what you can do well. Don't bite off more then what you can chew.

Create cartoony characters that are expressive and are full of life, don't use it as a excuse to create a poorly modeled creature and claim its a style. Don't focus too much on style, your client will dictate what style you use, your employer will dictate what style you use. As such its important that you show case the fundamentals that you know.

As for fantasy designs, its a fine edge between doing something awe inspiring verses something thats not. Design it well and put some serious thought into it, and give it a realistic frame of reference and you'll be fine.

And finally, if there is a weakness to your ideal or reel, don't be afraid to get some help and credit them for it.

I'm working on a current personal project where I'm doing rigging, modeling, fx and fur setups. I have another co-worker working on lighting tools, and another who is going to be providing us with custom shaders. I have 4 animator friends who are each taking a part and providing some nice animation to everything. In the end we'll have a short 30-40 second trailer done with production quality that we can all put on our reels along with our production work.

So with that in mind team up with your fellow classmates and such. They're important, the social networking aspect of the industry is just as important if not more important for your demo reel. I got my first few jobs by knowing the right people and being at the right place at the right time. Don't be the anti social prima donna that no one wants to work with, you'll never get work.

Kirby fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2008 around 09:56

Kirby
Dec 2, 2005

Low Altitude Flyer


Please email me or post more links (we need em!), this is just my personal stash at the moment.

***RESOURCES***

***GENERAL***

LINKS

REFERENCE MATERIAL
Stock
StockVault
Stock.xchng

Random
100 Years of Photos



***APPLICATION SPECIFIC***

***MODELING***

LINKS

BOOKS
REFERENCE/MATERIALS
General
CGTalk – ‘Blueprints and Other Resources’ Thread

Anatomy
deviantART - Human Body Links
Human Anatomy Online
3dsk

Buildings
New York
Stockholm

NOTES




***RIGGING/TD***

LINKS
BOOKS
REFERENCE/MATERIALS
Rigging101 - Free Character Rigs
The Andy Rig



***ANIMATION***

LINKS
BOOKS
REFERENCE/MATERIALS
Lucid Movement – High Speed Camera Footage
Principles of Animation – Toy Story Study
Body Language in Animations
ASIFA Archive – Preston Blair’s Animation (Scans)

NOTES
Requires a signup, but Shaun Kelly has released an e-book called animation tips and tricks through Animation Mentor. Worth it for Begginner/Intermediate Animators.



***LIGHTING AND RENDERING***

LINKS
BOOKS
Digital Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn

REFERENCE/MATERIALS

Kirby fucked around with this message at Jul 8, 2008 around 01:43

Kirby
Dec 2, 2005

Low Altitude Flyer


***GALLERY***
Some cool rear end goon renders from the previous thread;

Hinchu


poopinmymouth




TouchToneDialing


cubicle_gangster



concerned mom


SGT.Squeaks


Pixelherder


marshmonkey


ElecHeadMatt


Some boob lovin’ dude whose name I forgot to take down


nonentity


Heintje


therunningman


tuna (character model, rendering done by http://simonreeves.com)

Kirby fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2008 around 09:58

PowerLlama
Mar 11, 2008



Nice OP!

Has anyone heard of Gradient FX? Just sent them my reel, and they have next to nothing on their website.


Also, I wish I had something cool to put into the gallery.

Heintje
Nov 10, 2004

I sing a song for you

Presenting:
When 3d goes wrong





What the gently caress Character Studio?

Handiklap
Aug 14, 2004

"Old enough to pee is old enough for me."

Heintje posted:

Presenting:
When 3d goes wrong





What the gently caress Character Studio?

Needs more melting clocks.

mcsuede
Dec 30, 2003

Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.
-Greta Garbo

So which tutorials should an absolute beginner start with? I'm looking to add a bit of 3d to my skillset for design purposes--nothing fancy or photoreal, just the basics.

ceebee
Feb 12, 2004


mcsuede posted:

So which tutorials should an absolute beginner start with? I'm looking to add a bit of 3d to my skillset for design purposes--nothing fancy or photoreal, just the basics.

Honestly the tutorials that come with the applications are great for beginners.

Also, click on the Modeling title in the OP. Good site.

ceebee fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2008 around 17:34

ElecHeadMatt
May 27, 2003

I HATE PHANTOM SPACE MAN

Holy gently caress, been off the grid for a while now (moved out to San Francisco and started the new job ) and this thread is like the supercharged full tilt cokehead older brother of the old one and I thoroughly enjoy it.

Also, redesigned the portfolio site and am always looking for feedback (it is a continuous work in progress of course)

http://mattburdette.com

Those who have started new jobs, how are people digging it so far? I am loving loving the hell out of mine.

Martytoof
Feb 25, 2003



Awesome.

Awesome to
the MAX.




All I can say is that your demo reel is loving incredible, but that isn't very constructive criticism, so all I can offer is that most if not all of the links in your "extras" section are 404s. I'm not sure if that is what the "under construction" label is for, but if its not you may want to take a quick look at that area.

spottedfeces
Aug 7, 2004

War is Hell

Yay I can finally post again!! And a sparkling new thread to do it in, too!

http://rapidshare.com/files/123189111/Infested.avi.html

Here's a video of a scene I've been working on for too long.

marshmonkey
Dec 5, 2003

Please quit making fun of my dumb as fuck games


My game Zero Gear is in the new issue of 3dWorld, if anyone has a copy and also a scanner, could they hook me up?

SynthOrange
May 6, 2007

I feel the pressure,
under more scrutiny
And what I do,
act more stupidly


Venting time.

I'm currently doing the Advance Diploma of Screen, 3DS Max at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment here in Melbourne. Things started off okay. Then the lecturer (yes, we've only got one person teaching a class of 12, 2.5 days a week, when he's not off working on M&M commercials) decides to switch us all over to using Motionbuilder for animation.

The problem? He's never used MB before. No one in the college has. We've lost weeks and weeks just troubleshooting simple errors like 'how do we get this out of max?' 'Why's the mapping all wrong?' 'Does MB have aim constraints?' 'How do we set up props?' 'How do we get this horrifying mess back into Max to render?'. We've ended up teaching him how to use the drat thing. And because of this, we've only seen him giving animation demonstrations less than half a dozen times over the last 4 months, and we've missed all the subjects that were on the course schedule for the last two months. The rest of the time, the main projector is on the MB export menu while he asks us which export settings to use. And then there's the days where he comes in and rushes off after an hour because he's got to go render off other stuff for his real job making M&Ms dance about.

The last technician quit so we were without one for a month. Meanwhile the network's exploded several times, backburner has been a constant pain in the rear end and something's throttling the transfer speeds to 10mb/s which is fun when you're working with gigs of image files. The computers keep falling over and having to be reimaged every other month, and when I brought this up with staff, I was accused of damaging team morale by focusing on the negatives of the course. Argh!

So, can I pick good schools or what?

SynthOrange fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2008 around 06:18

concerned mom
Apr 22, 2003


ElecHeadMatt posted:

Holy gently caress, been off the grid for a while now (moved out to San Francisco and started the new job ) and this thread is like the supercharged full tilt cokehead older brother of the old one and I thoroughly enjoy it.

Also, redesigned the portfolio site and am always looking for feedback (it is a continuous work in progress of course)

http://mattburdette.com

Those who have started new jobs, how are people digging it so far? I am loving loving the hell out of mine.

That demo reel is fantastic.

Big K of Justice
Nov 27, 2005

Anyone seen my ball joints?


SynthOrange posted:

Venting time.


The last technician quit so we were without one for a month. Meanwhile the network's exploded several times, backburner has been a constant pain in the rear end and something's throttling the transfer speeds to 10mb/s which is fun when you're working with gigs of image files. The computers keep falling over and having to be reimaged every other month, and when I brought this up with staff, I was accused of damaging team morale by focusing on the negatives of the course. Argh!

So, can I pick good schools or what?

I'd complain to the program heads or school heads, I know that academia and industry people rarely work together well in a teaching environment, especially when someone else's main job is taking away from teaching.

Switching software in the middle of the semester is a big no-no.

Hell, professionally speaking you never switch software in a production, you'll get to a point where you lock down the software versions you are using because you can't risk upgrading software without getting a new bug that shuts things down.

Martytoof
Feb 25, 2003



Awesome.

Awesome to
the MAX.




Is V-ray Maya out of beta? Every reference I see to it on messageboards is "I'm in the beta", but there is a downloadable demo on Chaos' site that works pretty well (limited to 600x400-something and is watermarked).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I haven't found anyone who has actually used it yet if it is available. I ask not because I want it but because I'm genuinely curious as to its status.

PowerLlama
Mar 11, 2008



I officially hate Silhouette, and am very very happy I am back on Shake.

sigma 6
Nov 27, 2004

the mirror would do well to reflect further

Geez - already 1046 hits?!?

I was planning on posting a WIP before posting a question but oh well.

How can one get transparent shadows in Max? I am trying to make a photo-real diamond and even with raytraced shadows on, the shadow looks completely opaque.

Caustics would be nice but I can't even get the shadow to look right.

This is the closest thing I can find but even here the shadow doesn't look at all transparent.

http://www.cgarena.com/freestuff/tu...ics/index2.html

I am sure it is something easy but I can't figure out how to set this up in Max08 with Mental Ray.

Here is a render hilighting the shadow in question:



Martytoof: The last working Vray for maya was for maya 7 I believe.

PowerLlama
Mar 11, 2008



Oh man, I just realized I have this minotaur I made back in school. I'll post a screengrab of it later. Maybe I'll even do a silly render. No texture though cause my texture is terrrible.

Heintje
Nov 10, 2004

I sing a song for you

sigma 6 posted:

Geez - already 1046 hits?!?

I was planning on posting a WIP before posting a question but oh well.

How can one get transparent shadows in Max? I am trying to make a photo-real diamond and even with raytraced shadows on, the shadow looks completely opaque.

Caustics would be nice but I can't even get the shadow to look right.

This is the closest thing I can find but even here the shadow doesn't look at all transparent.

http://www.cgarena.com/freestuff/tu...ics/index2.html

I am sure it is something easy but I can't figure out how to set this up in Max08 with Mental Ray.

Here is a render hilighting the shadow in question:



Martytoof: The last working Vray for maya was for maya 7 I believe.

I'd say that the shadow is being cast uniformly like that since it's just looking up the opacity of the surface it passes through. Since the opacity of the entire surface is uniform, the shadow is also- it looks like it's not transparent but it actually is (maybe). To test this add a box in next to it with no transparency, and look at the intensity of that shadow.

The only thing left that would give you variation in the shading on the shadow is caustics, so you can give that a go next. You can also try the 'cheat' method, which is to create a camera at the exact location of the light, pointing the same way, render the specular of the diamond and then use that as a projection map on a copy of that light- but only affecting the floor behind the diamond. It goes *something* like that anyway, I've never tried it.

On another note, I'm looking at a new laptop for when I move to start at SCAD. The Dell XPS ones are pretty cheap and have the specs that I need for a 15", however I've just started looking at Macs. They are hideously expensive in comparison but the mobility and option of having the Mac OS is kinda tempting. I still need to run Max, Autocad, Combustion etc under XP, but Maya, Houdini and Macrodobe could be under the Mac partition. Plus I could do my shell scripting work with it.

Have any of you tried this at length? How would a Mac fare running XP SP2 x64 and 3ds max?

edit: apparently bootcamp doesn't work with XP x64 but that's not too bad, it's not like there will be over 4gb ram in it.

Heintje fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2008 around 06:02

oldyogurt
Aug 14, 2004

Son of a--


Wow, that's an awesome OP. I've been working on my first full fledged character model for many long and frustrating hours over the last couple of weeks. Spent a lot more time on the head than the body, but that picture in the OP helped a crap load. The second is the concept, which, as I realized once I started modelling, has a lot of accessories that don't really make sense. I think I'll just repaint it retroactively after finishing the model.






ElecHeadMatt - HOW are you still in college. That is a very professional looking site & portfolio. What's the music from?

cubicle gangster
Jun 26, 2005

magda, make the tea


Martytoof posted:

Is V-ray Maya out of beta? Every reference I see to it on messageboards is "I'm in the beta", but there is a downloadable demo on Chaos' site that works pretty well (limited to 600x400-something and is watermarked).

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I haven't found anyone who has actually used it yet if it is available. I ask not because I want it but because I'm genuinely curious as to its status.

It's an open beta, so thats what the demo is - if you want the restrictions taken off, you can email vlado/chaos and pay however much a license is and you get non restricted builds. When it's released officially you've already got your license and can just update the build of it.
I think it's being used in production by a few small VFX houses now - they've had about 6-9 months to test it so it's only just being moved in properly, the stargate films are using it I know that much.
I just realised what vray for maya is going to do for it's market share in vfx...


I have no idea why people say 'i'm in the beta', it's been open for ages now and when it was closed about 10 people had it at most. Maybe they just got a cracked version without even checking the status.

cubicle gangster fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2008 around 09:09

DefMech
Sep 16, 2002


Heintje posted:

Have any of you tried this at length? How would a Mac fare running XP SP2 x64 and 3ds max?

edit: apparently bootcamp doesn't work with XP x64 but that's not too bad, it's not like there will be over 4gb ram in it.

I tried this a year or so ago and Bootcamp would break the Max license. Long story short, the copy protection they use for the standalone license messes with the boot sector. When you boot into OSX, the boot sector is changed, Max's copy protection freaks out and you have to call Autodesk to fix it. Every. Single. Time. This apparently doesn't happen if you use a network license.

I know it's still causing people problems, but last I checked (~2 weeks ago) some people had figured out a way around it. If you never boot into OSX you should be fine, but it's something to look into if you're serious about getting a Mac.

If the program at SCAD hasn't changed too much since I was there, you won't be using Max unless you're taking classes in the interactive/game program. Everything else will be Maya or Houdini.

DefMech fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2008 around 13:12

Heintje
Nov 10, 2004

I sing a song for you

Hmmmmm I might have to find a friend who's willing to let me test that, sounds like a total pain in the rear end. And yeah I won't be using Max in class, but I will still need it for other stuff and I might occasionally want to use it as a go-between for various bits. I do however need autocad and whatnot to work, so windoze aint going anywhere yet. gently caress using vista though.

Sigma-X
Jun 17, 2005

"thats pretty much it, we all got high, it was sweet you should of been there"
"god damnt knuckles, your plan didn't do anything"


DefMech posted:

If the program at SCAD hasn't changed too much since I was there, you won't be using Max unless you're taking classes in the interactive/game program. Everything else will be Maya or Houdini.

There is no reason for 3d other than video games

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


ElecHeadMatt posted:

Holy gently caress, been off the grid for a while now (moved out to San Francisco and started the new job ) and this thread is like the supercharged full tilt cokehead older brother of the old one and I thoroughly enjoy it.

Also, redesigned the portfolio site and am always looking for feedback (it is a continuous work in progress of course)

http://mattburdette.com

Those who have started new jobs, how are people digging it so far? I am loving loving the hell out of mine.

Where'd you get a job?

Awesome reel by the way, but two small crits.

Ditch the plane shot. I know you're proud of it (as you should be) and it's a nice shot, but I feel that the quality of the end result is below everything else on the reel. And that's a compliment, because you have set a very high bar for yourself with the quality of your work!

I know it would hurt, and I know you want to show off your comp skills, but it just seems kind of off. Don't hit me!

Also that blue ball logo thingy...I'd ditch the breakdown of that because it doesn't really show anything other than "this thing had several pieces on several layers" which is kind of a given in any piece. There's no "ohhhh that's how he did it!" moment with the breakdown.

Other than that absolutely fantastic work. Extremely high quality!

sigma 6
Nov 27, 2004

the mirror would do well to reflect further

Heintje posted:

I'd say that the shadow is being cast uniformly like that since it's just looking up the opacity of the surface it passes through. Since the opacity of the entire surface is uniform, the shadow is also- it looks like it's not transparent but it actually is (maybe). To test this add a box in next to it with no transparency, and look at the intensity of that shadow.

The only thing left that would give you variation in the shading on the shadow is caustics, so you can give that a go next....

I suppose I wanted variation in the shadow since the surface is made up of so many smaller faces. This only makes sense, because some light should bounce around, and some should pass through.

Never tried caustics in Max, so I guess I will give it a shot. Your "fake caustics" didn't make that much sense to me - do you have a URL?

EDIT:

ElecHeadMatt:
I would like to echo everyone else's comments. Good stuff!

VVVV OH dammit, that looks amazing!! Can someone do the same for mental ray PUHLEEEZE!?! VVVV

sigma 6 fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2008 around 19:44

cubicle gangster
Jun 26, 2005

magda, make the tea


On the subject of caustics, this is for people who use vray which I wrote up yesterday for the office:

me posted:

Caustics are pretty well known for being uselessly slow and a pain in the arse, but mr. vray has gone and put in an experimental feature where they work like the light cache and are pretty fast...

So some tips on how to enable these in RC3:
(*) Go to the maxscript listener and type "renderers.current.caustics_showCalcPhase=true " without the quotes. This will cause the photon tracing progress to be directly mapped on the image and re-used for the final rendering; (This is the little white box in the bottom left of max itself. Just copy, paste & press enter - you're then good to go)

Notes:
(*) Only directly visible caustics can be visualized in this way. Caustics visible through reflections/refractions will appear in the normal (interpolated) way.
(*) If you are tracing lots of photons, set the Max. density parameter for the caustics to something other than 0.0 as otherwise you'll get memory overflow.
(*) There are limitations on how this works - e.g. it will not work well with DOF and/or motion blur.
(*) This option is experimental. There is no guarantee that it will be present in future versions in the same form.
(*) This option requires additional memory. It may be quite a lot, depending on the image resolution.



After this, go to your caustics rollout (under all the GI settings) and check them on. If you select a light, right click and go to vray properties you can change the number of samples each light has. 5000 tends to be pretty clean, but it also starts to get slow.

Also uses an obscene amount of memory by the time you get to print resolutions, so if you were to use them i'd suggest doing them half res, turning on dont render final image, set the path to save the image as normal and go. This will give you a completley black image apart from where the caustics lie, which you can then take into photoshop and apply over your render with a blending mode.

Might start getting impractical when you do entire scenes with it, but for certain things it'll add a lot. Going to be a godsend for swimming pool water, shiny objects in kitchens, and even the glass of a building reflecting the sun onto the road.

Here's what I got out in little over a minute with it:


By 'pretty fast' I obviously meant 'holy poo poo look at that! quick, do it again, that was awesome - move the camera a bit this time'

cubicle gangster fucked around with this message at Jun 19, 2008 around 19:11

Big K of Justice
Nov 27, 2005

Anyone seen my ball joints?


Sigma-X posted:

There is no reason for 3d other than video games

I think it's probably from the request of recruiters. If the program is geared towards VFX and film work, and feature animation work. Max usage drops off to practically zero with a few exceptions. You're better off entering the workforce knowing the software that most of the large studios use [ie. Maya, Houdini, etc].

I noticed thats what killed off softimage/xsi classes at many places.

In the mid 90's there were softimage classes everywhere at major colleges with good animation programs.

I got into things during the power animator to maya transition. Softimage dragged their feet and came too late to the party with XSI. At that point most schools were dumping softimage because the students were bitching that everyone who took the maya class got jobs and they didn't and had to wind up learning maya anyways.

I had a good laugh at the 3d crash course I took at Seneca College. The softimage program head was a raging rear end in a top hat. He felt you can't do character animation in a alias package.. which was true until Maya came out. He gave us poo poo for doing character animation in Maya 1.0 -> 1.5. Oh well, it's funny how times change.

concerned mom
Apr 22, 2003


stuckeys posted:

Wow, that's an awesome OP. I've been working on my first full fledged character model for many long and frustrating hours over the last couple of weeks. Spent a lot more time on the head than the body, but that picture in the OP helped a crap load. The second is the concept, which, as I realized once I started modelling, has a lot of accessories that don't really make sense. I think I'll just repaint it retroactively after finishing the model.






ElecHeadMatt - HOW are you still in college. That is a very professional looking site & portfolio. What's the music from?

Looks nice so far. The concept is really interesting. I'd say the head is too big, and watch those cool gaiter things, they are too narrow currently.

A Sober Irishman
Sep 13, 2007

"He killed 16 Czechoslovakians. Guy was an interior decorator."

"Really? His house looked like shit."

I'm sorry if this is sort of a stupid question, but I am pretty much a beginner in 3d and I wanted to know, how do you get normal and specular maps to work in vray? Is it just a simple matter of turning off global illumination and using vray lights and materials? Or is there a different way to do it?

I'm also interested in knowing how to achieve a wet road effect in 3ds max, either with vray or the scanline renderer. Similar to how the roads get in GTA IV after it has been raining. Any help is appreciated.

Also, ElecHeadMatt your showreel is awesome, it's probably the best one I've ever seen.

oldyogurt
Aug 14, 2004

Son of a--


Agreed. Thanks for the crit!

cubicle gangster
Jun 26, 2005

magda, make the tea


A Sober Irishman posted:

stuff about vray.

You'd probably do pretty well to watch the chris nichols gnomon dvd, about externals.
http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/dvds/cni01.html

It's pretty good, very detailed and well presented.

PowerLlama
Mar 11, 2008



I would not say learn Houdini. The knowledge you learn with it won't be really translated anywhere else, and I don't know of any other studios besides the really big ones that use it. And when they do use it, it's primarily for particle work.

Big K of Justice
Nov 27, 2005

Anyone seen my ball joints?


PowerLlama posted:

I would not say learn Houdini. The knowledge you learn with it won't be really translated anywhere else, and I don't know of any other studios besides the really big ones that use it. And when they do use it, it's primarily for particle work.

Not translated anywhere else? That's a good one

Many people think that and go other routes. Traditionally speaking at the immediate and senior levels of film/fx studios and small commercial shops, theres a shortage of good houdini talent, which reflects in the wages and demand.

Theres a old joke where there is no such thing as an unemployed Houdini TD.

Houdini has one of the strongest foundations of any 3d package on the market, you have access to more internal data then most other packages, and an incredibly flexible environment with a powerful renderer, dynamics engine for fluids and of course the strong particle system. The node based procedural system is easy to pick up, and with the digital asset system you don't need to script or write plugins 95% of the time.

With Houdini you'll learn all the underpinnings of 3d, you have easy access to every vertex, every attribute, and every simulation calculation. Nothing is hidden from the user.

Case in point, On Incredible Hulk, I came up with an entire L-system branching cardovascular system with hearts and lungs, nerve endings, etc, in 3 days for Abomination back when he was going to have translucent skin [I can mention this since Arron sims posted the early concept for him] which meant we had to do layers of 3d muscle, skin and misc stuff. All the internal guts was procedurally modeled in 3d, along with proper uv's and procedural groups and was ready to roll into production. Everything was setup to pulsate and pump as well.

Then the studio realized how expensive the translucent option was going to be and they dropped it, and went with a different concept. Thats a bunch of R+D work down the drain.

The main problem with Houdini, is the lack of a labor pool, which leaves a few shops wasting the package just to use as a particle engine. Which is fine, many studios are picking it up for use as a pipeline backbone which has already been proven in production.

That being said, any package is good to learn. I started with Sculpt Animated 3d Jr which did glorious 16 color renders, flat shaded.

The idea is to learn the concepts behind the tools, and be able to apply it in any package because its very possible for one job to be using a different software setup then your last job.

If your goal is just to mess around as a hobby, then it doesn't really matter too much. If you want gainful employment then is best to pick something that is used in your target market.

Big K of Justice fucked around with this message at Jun 20, 2008 around 07:47

PowerLlama
Mar 11, 2008



I'm not saying Houdini isn't a good package or something that wouldn't be good to learn, but as a starting package I'd have to say it's not the best. I kind of over exaggerating a teensy bit in that post. *cough*

Name another large package that's as truly node-based as houdini is.

I think there's a reason why there's a lack of talent, and that's because in my opinion it's a hard starting point. You get so much information, and a lot of it is info you won't really use until you do ridiculous things like your Hulk setup. (also, I saw some of the hulk R&D stuff at rhythm, man that stuff was in fact insane.) So people learn the easier packages that still get things done, and leave Houdini to the people that really know how to use it. Also the fact that very few smaller shops use it would put a strain on someone finding a job. I do know that pretty much every houdini desk I walked by at DD was making sparks for speed racer.

But if it's just for fun, I guess that last part doesn't really matter, and you'd have an infinite amount of time to learn new packages anyway.


I've also heard that saying about trackers, and in my experience, it's not true. drat you Boujou I hate you! Everyone should use the much cheaper and better syntheyes.

BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


Man I was so close to getting an internship with Side F/X. One of the alums of our grad program worked there and gave me an in road and I went through the interviews only to get to the final one and have the interviewer realize I still had a year of grad school left:

Him: "Ohhhhhhhhhh.....we want somebody that was just about to graduate so we can hire them after we train them."

Me: "ohhhhhh.....I still have a year of school left..."

Him: "Yeah....."

Me: "Yeah......*cough*"

Him: "Well...have a good day!"

Big K of Justice
Nov 27, 2005

Anyone seen my ball joints?


BonoMan posted:

Man I was so close to getting an internship with Side F/X. One of the alums of our grad program worked there and gave me an in road and I went through the interviews only to get to the final one and have the interviewer realize I still had a year of grad school left:

Him: "Ohhhhhhhhhh.....we want somebody that was just about to graduate so we can hire them after we train them."

Me: "ohhhhhh.....I still have a year of school left..."

Him: "Yeah....."

Me: "Yeah......*cough*"

Him: "Well...have a good day!"

Working for side FX is the fastest way to get a job at a studio. Half the houdini td's I work with worked at side fx at one point.

The best bit though, is not to mention it to SESI [aka sidefx]. They usually have interns and staff people that stick around long enough before they get some crazy offer from a studio. Funny they have high turnover like that .

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BonoMan
Feb 20, 2002


BigKOfJustice posted:

Working for side FX is the fastest way to get a job at a studio. Half the houdini td's I work with worked at side fx at one point.

The best bit though, is not to mention it to SESI [aka sidefx]. They usually have interns and staff people that stick around long enough before they get some crazy offer from a studio. Funny they have high turnover like that .

drat ...yeah I still kinda want to do it at one point. He told me to give him a call when I graduated but I never did. Kicking myself now. But I have a good job with good work so I guess it's not all bad.

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