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Friday, September 26, 2008


+ This week The Gnomon Workshop adds to its library of professional production technique dvds with a new title by instructor Tim Jones of Digital Domain. Focusing on the essentials of compositing render passes from a 3D scene, "Multi-Pass Compositing" is a valuable demonstration for 3ds Max users looking to understand and maximize the benefits of this time saving technique. Tim shows how to efficiently control lighting, color, ambient occlusion and more. Compositing passes is a technique that has been used in visual effects long before the advent of 3ds Max and Fusion - the software used in the tutorial. Photographing passes allowed visual effects artists to isolate elements of a shot, like physical models and sets, and affect their look before combining them together in the final print of the shot.
Multi-Pass Compositing
3ds Max Rendering Techniques with Tim Jones
- In this lecture, Tim breaks down the process of rendering passes out of 3ds Max and demonstrates how to composite them together in Digital Fusion. Learn how to generate many different types of passes and how they are used in production. Identify and correct commonly occurring issues, from incorrect matte edges to bit depth and color correction. Acquire an understanding of what happens under the hood inside your 3D software and how to mimic that behavior while compositing to produce the highest quality renders. Tim demonstrates his techniques using Scanline, V-Ray and Brazil.

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Dassault Systemes Makes 3D Content Creation on Virtual Earth Even Easier

+ Dassault Systèmes (DS) (NASDAQ: DASTY, Euronext Paris: #13065. DSY. PA), a world leader in 3D and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, today announced the latest version of Microsoft Virtual Earth-3DVIA. Combining Microsoft’s integrated mapping, imaging, search and data visualization platform with 3DVIA’s powerful 3D modeling and realistic visualization technology, the new Virtual Earth-3DVIA now allows anyone to easily and intuitively create their own 3D world on Virtual Earth in a few clicks. This latest version will enable users to create and remix complete 3D scenes or “mashups” using content posted to the 3DVIA.com 3D content library. 3DVIA.com is a free content creation community with a growing list of registered users sharing their 3D models online.
Virtual Earth-3DVIA is designed for both professionals and consumers to create realistic 3D scenes, such as houses, buildings or even city locations, and then share them online through Microsoft Virtual Earth. With the addition of the new 3D remix functionality (Editors: please see 3DVIA Shape 2.0 release issued over BusinessWire on September 15, 2008), users do not have to be experienced 3D modelers in order to build their own homes or towns on Microsoft’s online geographic location mapping technology. Instead, users can quickly and easily search the 3DVIA.com library and import quality 3D models directly into their Virtual Earth projects.


Softimage|XSI 7 ICE Video Tutorial

ICE Demo: Building a Force from a Curve from Bradley Gabe on Vimeo.
+ Bradley Gabe shows in his XSI 7 Video Tutorial how you can creates a static particle emission, then drives point animation using vectors pulled from curve tangency.

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DX Studio Version 3

+ Pinewood Studios based software developers Worldweaver Ltd have announced a major new release of their games and simulation platform “DX Studio”. Version 3 brings a new “live” display system for the 2D and 3d editor. This means users can see exactly how their applications will look as they build them, complete with per-pixel lighting and shadows.A large batch of new features and capabilities have also been added, including Firefox and Google Chrome players, Ogg Theora support with HTTP streaming, the latest nVidia PhysX engine and a 3D gizmo for faster object manipulation.
Also included, which is perhaps unusual for a 3D engine, is the ability to create reusable 2D and 3D controls. These are similar to User Controls in .Net but with DirectX display. Full details of all the new features in v3.0 can be found at


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

aniBoom Awards 2008

+ The 3rd annual aniBoom Awards Animation Competition is here again. This year we’re giving away $50,000 worth of cash & prizes with two ways to win, Community and Judges Selections. The animation ranked highest by the community in collaboration with the highest score from the judges will be declared the Grand Prize Winner and will receive a development deal with aniBoom. First, Second and Third Place winners in both the Community and Judges categories will receive a combination of cash and prizes. The top 50 animations will receive a variety of prizes from sponsors ballistic publishing books and Toon Boom (animation software).The Community prizes will be awarded based on ranking. Ranking is purely based on Community participation and is decided using three factors: Virality, Votes and Views. You can increase your ranking by following our tips provided on the “Promote Yourself” page.

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Animation Short - Seeking You

+ New Animation short by Jean-Julien Pous. "Seeking You" is a story about a man lost his love. He decides to go out and find her in the night of Hong Kong, only to realise that it's not with her he's in love, but with the city itself. The film Mindgame, it is to me the best feature animation I've ever seen, along with Tokyo Godfathers. I mixed different medias to achieve it, such as photos, 2d rotoscoping, painted and 3d backgrounds. Softwares are the usual ones, Photoshop / Maya / After Effects, Sonar / Reason for the sound.
>> Watch Short film video


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Maya Plugin NEX 1.5

+ digital Raster Inc. has released new version of its Maya plugin "NEX".....NEX is a unique plugin for Maya that includes a set of tools designed to increase the speed, accurracy, and efficiency of your workflow. Frequent actions like of manipulating components within Maya become more natural thanks to the unique integration of all NEX selection and transformation tools. Arduous jobs like resurfacing meshes can actually be fun using the NEX Quad Draw tool. Common polygon modeling tasks like Splitting faces, Connecting edges, or beveling have been reworked with maximum efficiency and interactivity in mind. Best of all, NEX does all this without leaving any custom nodes in your scene, or introducing any scene plugin depdendencies. Some of new features of NEX 1.5 Includes ; Connect tool, Multi-Cut tool: which integrates three similar tools into one powerful tool and NEX Symmetry: which unleashes the power of the NEX toolset onto both sides of your mesh.

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ANIMFXNZ Registration Now Open

+ AnimfxNZ, the world’s leading conference for digital animation, effects, animation and games today announced that registration has opened for this year’s conference. Early bird pricing is NZ $675 until October 14th, after which the price goes to NZ $790. Under the theme, “Where Creative Convergence Begins,” the conference is bringing together leaders from the four major creative digital mediums to share ideas and further the creation of digital entertainment. AnimfxNZ will take place November 14-16th, in Wellington New Zealand and present a line-up of keynotes and panels that feature the brightest minds in digital media today.
AnimfxNZ was founded in 2006, to provide a global platform for the creative content community to exchange ideas across the various disciplines of digital media. Since its inception, the conference has presented leading speakers on the topics of animation, digital entertainment, digital effects and games, and has served as the crossroads of collaboration for creative media convergence. The 2008 conference is organized under the theme, “Where Creative Convergence Begins,” and is focused on the current and future states of creative digital content creation, worldwide.


Tricky Women 09 - Animation FEST.

+ Tricky Women is the first and only festival of animated film that is dedicated exclusively to animation by women. Since 2007 it has been held annually in Vienna each March. The festival offers an international competition of animated short films realised by female artists and produced in 2007 or 2008. Each filmmaker, producer or distributor may submit as many films as they like. Each film submitted must be accompanied by an entry form and sent on a separate tape or reel. No films entered in prior Tricky Women Festivals shall be admitted. The deadline for applications for the preliminary selection is 14 November 2008. Applicants grant the festival the right to show on television and/or internet broadcaster parts of their production to a maximum of 3 minutes.

>> More Information


ShaderMap 1.1

+ New Version of ShaderMap (ver. 1.1) has been released. It now supports conversion of height and normal maps to ambient occlusion maps. Other improvements include modification of existing tangent space normal maps, a streamlined user interface, and online documentation. ShaderMap Command Line (CL) is free for non-commercial use. ShaderMap some what similar to CrazyBump, is a tool for generating various texture maps from photographs including spec, normal, DUDV and displacement. Its about $280 cheaper than CrazyBump for commercial use at price tag of just $19.95 . Convert photographic textures to height maps, normal maps, dudv maps, and specular maps. It's easy with ShaderMap Pro! Download the free command-line CL tool and start creating high quality rendering maps now!

Atchoo! - Animation Short

+ A New Funny short film Atchoo! by the Fire Brigade.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Download Genetica 3.0 Beta

+ Spiral Graphics Inc. has released Genetica 3.0 Beta, an upcoming new editor for seamless textures, animations, and HDRI environment maps. The powerfull Seamless Texture Editor Genetica 3.0 is expected to be released in early October for Windows 2000 and above. Genetica has the extreme flexibility of its node-based system and a set of powerful Lab Nodes that do the tricky stuff for you.
Some of the features of Genetica 3.0 Includes:
- Create awesome designs with a new suite of drawing tools. Results are automatically seamless.
- Studio Edition: Create animated textures, transitions, and special effects.
- Simulates environmental reflections, global illumination, shadows, ambient occlusion, caustics, and more.
- Create custom HDRI environments for use both within Genetica and your external 3D app.
- Genetica 3.0 presets are the best royalty-free textures and environments ever. Use them as they are or edit as needed.

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Houdini Technical Rigging Series now Available

+ 3D Buzz, Inc. is proud to announce the launch of the new Technical Rigging video series for Houdini, for the award-winning visual effects software package from Side Effects Studios, Inc.! This new series includes specialized rigging topics, emphasizing essential skills and custom tool creation with Python! The set includes five separate volumes:
* Technical Rigging I: Intro to Skeletal Systems and FK Rigging

* Technical Rigging II: Introduction to Capturing Geometry to Bones
* Technical Rigging III: Introduction to Inverse Kinematics and FK/IK Blending
* Technical Rigging IV: Stretchy IK Systems and Dynamic Curves
* Technical Rigging V: Advanced Vehicle Rigging and Automation Systems
These videos will become an invaluable reference for anyone aspiring to become a rig developer or technical director with Houdini! Lessons will take you from the basics of using bones all the way through creating a wide variety of custom tools with the Python programming language. Other topics in the series include capturing (known as “skinning” in other 3D applications), creation of stretchy IK systems, and rigging complex vehicles that have automatic simulated animation of steering, suspension and more! Also, starting with the Houdini Technical Rigging series, you will be able to not only receive the DVD of each volume you order, but we will also give you on-demand access to a streaming version of the videos! Now you can view the training anywhere you have an internet connection, and leave your discs at home! Please note that access is subject to an order verification process. For pricing, and to find out how you can get one of these products for FREE ->
Click here

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Softimage|XSI 7 Review

XSI 7 Review
+ XSI expert Ed Harriss chips away at ICE to tell us the scoop on the latest edition of
SoftimageXSI. A new version of SoftimageXSI has arrived and from the looks of this release; the crew working on it appear to have been very, very busy. Updates and new features have been added to just about every major aspect of the software. However the one that seems to stand out the most is called ICE. What is ICE? It's an "Interactive Creative Environment" that can be used to create effects and tools. If you are familiar with XSI, then you've most likely used the render tree. (A node based material creation tool.) Formerly named Moondust, ICE is similar in that it is also a node based tool that...................Read Full XSI Review!!

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FREE Maya 2009 Tutorials*

+ Last month Autodesk has launched Maya 2009 and now they are offering series of Free video tutorials for Maya users to explore and learn new features of latest version, Maya 2009.
Accelerated Modeling and Mapping
Autodesk® Maya® 2009 software delivers a significantly streamlined poly modeling workflow. This video will introduce you to the key tools you need to familiarize yourself with in order to take advantage of this workflow, beginning with the software’s powerful, new selection features,
which now includes true soft select, drag-selection, camera-based selection culling and more.
Maya Assets video

With Maya Assets, complex data can be effectively organized, shared, referenced, and presented. In this video you’ll learn how to encapsulate a set of nodes into a container so that they can be treated from a user’s perspective as if they were a single node. We’ll then demonstrate the feature’s flexible referencing options, and show you how to create customized
Maya Assets libraries.
Animation Layers video

A powerful new animation layering paradigm in Maya 2009 built on technology from Autodesk® MotionBuilder® software, gives you more flexibility as you non-destructively create and edit animation. In this movie we’ll show you how to take advantage of this time-saving featureset: focusing particularly on blending, merging, grouping and re-ordering of animation layers; plus
we’ll show you how to override or add to preceding layers.
Maya nParticles video

Maya 2009 introduces the second module built on the highly acclaimed Maya Nucleus unified simulation framework: nParticles. This new Maya Unlimited toolset gives you a precise, efficient workflow for simulating a wide range of complex effects including liquids, clouds, smoke, spray and dust. In this video we’ll specifically look at the stickiness functionality for nParticles and nCloth, nDynamic presets, the fill volume for nParticles feature, nParticle to nCloth interaction,
nParticle to nParticle collisions, liquid simulation, as well as blobby and cloud hardware display.
Rendering and Stereoscopic Content Creation video

Maya 2009 includes tools developed specifically for the creation of stereoscopic content. In this video we’ll introduce you to the in-viewport stereoscopic viewer and the default stereo camera rig. We’ll also discuss the new streamlined workflow for getting that rig information into Autodesk® Toxik™ software and how to get the best results from your multi-camera renders in the mental ray® rendering software.

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Friday, September 05, 2008


+ This week, The Gnomon Workshop is pleased to announce the release of two new titles in their wildly popular “Behind The Scenes” series which gives an in-depth look at the creation of a game cinematic sequence. Produced with the cooperation of Producer Emmanuel Fragelus, Art Director Mark Goerner and Director Louis Bolivar, this series follows a team of artists as they demonstrate their production techniques from concept phase to final rendered animation. Each DVD includes actual production meetings with Art Director Mark Goerner as he goes over the existing designs and lends direction to the project. These two new additions to the series take the character and helicopter models created in earlier DVDs to the next stage: UV layout and texturing. Both Ted Davis and Ben Neall demonstrate their approaches to texturing using a combination of different software, reflective of their daily production practices.
Character Texturing for Production
Texturing Techniques with Ben Neall -
In this chapter of the BTS series Ben Neall explores the many aspects of texture creation for the main character Geo. Some of these aspects include techniques such as UVing, Projecting, Texture Painting using 2D and 3D softwares, as well as overviews of shader and render setup. Ben also shows techniques to help the artist in the visual development stage, using compositing software to make real-time decisions. The viewer will also see actual production meetings in which the design and creation of the textures are discussed.
Hard Surface Texture Painting
Vehicle Texture Painting with Ted Davis -
This chapter in the series focuses on hard surface texture painting for 3D models, in this case a military styled helicopter. Ted begins by organizing the vehicle into discreet layer groups reflective of their final material assignments. He then shows various texture painting techniques and methodologies using Maya, Photoshop®, BodyPaint and ZBrush. The DVD includes production meetings with art director Mark Goerner and culminates with a spectacular rendering of what all the various maps look like when placed on the model. For more information on The Gnomon Workshop and our library of over 190 training DVDs, please visit www.thegnomonworkshop.com

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Sapphire Plug-ins OFX

+ GenArts, Inc., a leading provider of visual effects plug-ins for the film, broadcast and video industries, today announced the immediate availability of Sapphire Plug-ins for OFX products. A collaborative effort by visual effects developers, OFX is an open standard for plug-ins, enabling developers to support a broad range of platforms with a common interface. Sapphire Plug-ins for OFX makes its full range of features and functionality, including more than 200 Sapphire effects, available to users of a growing list of popular post-production platforms from industry leaders including Autodesk, The Foundry, Eyeon, FilmLight, Digital Vision and Assimilate. Demonstrations of the new release will be given at IBC 2008 on GenArts stand 7.K41.
As the industry standard for high-end, professional 2D visual effects, Sapphire Plug-ins provides sophisticated, organic visual effects which integrate natively with leading editing, compositing and finishing systems. The entire collection of more than 200 Sapphire effects includes everyday tools such as Glows, LensFlares, Glint, FilmDamage, and ZDefocus, to more exotic effects such as Lightning, FlysEye, and JpegDamage. With Sapphire Plug-ins for OFX, these effects can be applied easily by users of The Foundry’s Nuke, Autodesk Toxik, Eyeon Fusion, FilmLight Baselight, Digital Vision Film Master and Assimilate Scratch. Future support is expected for other OFX host platforms. Sapphire Plug-ins v1 for OFX products includes the full range of effects, features and functionality already standard for other supported hosts including v2 for After Effects and Compatible products, v2 for Apple FxPlug and v4 for Autodesk systems. Support for floating licenses and background render nodes is also included. Sapphire Plug-ins for OFX Products can be purchased directly from GenArts or through their worldwide channel of authorized resellers. Prices for Nuke, Toxik, and Fusion are $1995, $2495, or $295 for node-locked, floating, or render licenses respectively, and prices for Baselight, Film Master, and Scratch are $3995, $4995, or $595 for the same license options. A free trial of the software is available online at

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