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Friday, April 30, 2010

New Rendering DVD for 3ds Max and mental ray

Rendering DVD for 3ds Max and mental ray
+ The Gnomon Workshop releases a new rendering DVD for 3ds Max and mental ray. Titled Look Development with mental ray, this new tutorial introduces instructor Alessandro Cangelosi, who has extensive teaching experience and technical expertise for achieving a photorealistic look with mental ray. Using Autodesk 3ds Max, Combustion and Composite (aka Toxik), he covers lighting strategies for a cinematic architectural interior, efficient scene management, procedural natural environments, shading pipeline and mental ray features, live integration, production shaders, scripting and much more. Alessandro is currently working as Technical Director and VFX Artist at Renkewitz Studios and as a freelancer. He has worked on videogame cinematics such as Ghostbusters and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, in commercial advertising for 3DEutig, and in music videos for international Italian artists such as Eros Ramazzotti.
In this DVD, Alessandro Cangelosi will lead you through various rendering techniques necessary to accomplish different tasks such as architectural realistic rendering, creating procedural natural environments, live integration, scripting, and secondary effects such as depth of field and volume lighting. He talks about procedural modeling, shading, lighting, and scene management using mental ray, then composites the rendered passes using Autodesk Combustion and Composite, (aka Toxik), to achieve a film or photorealistic look. Alessandro also takes a look at how to control rendering features using MAXScript to add some custom tools to the pipeline.

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PolyTrans For 3ds Max and Maya 2011

+ Okino Computer Graphics, a leading provider and pioneer of data translation solutions to the DCC/Animation and professional production markets, announced today that its long standing 3D DCC/Animation/Skinning and CAD/MCAD/Architectural conversion software PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max (for 3ds Max 2011 & 3ds Max Design 2011), and PolyTrans-for-Maya (for Maya 2011), are now fully qualified and shipping to customers. PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max and PolyTrans-for-Maya have provided the defacto conversion systems for 3ds Max and Maya, since their original software releases, that allows these programs to freely exchange 3D scene data with all key 3D software packages or file formats, such as; Autodesk Softimage and dotXSI, ACIS SAT, Autodesk Inventor, BVH/Acclaim, CATIA v4 & v5, Cinema 4D, Collada, DirectX, DXF/DWG, DWF-3D (Revit), ESRI, FACT, FBX, HOOPS, IGES, JT, Lightwave, NGRAIN 3KO, OpenFlight, OpenGL C code, Parasolid, PDB, PLY, Pro/Engineer (using an embedded copy of PTC’s Pro/Engineer), Rhino, RIB, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, SketchUp, STEP, STL, SW3D, U3D, Wavefront OBJ, VET, VRML, XAML, X3D, XGL and others. Third party plug-ins and integrations are also available from companies/products such as Act-3D/Quest-3D, CATS/Pytha, Maxon/Cinema-4D, Realicon/VirTools-Exporter and Visual Components/3Dcreate.
Each file format has been developed over years to decades, and are full reference implementations. We are well known for providing exacting, professional-level conversions and very good, hands-on support for the software. While there are many formats listed above, and all are supported equally well, our software has been particular popular: for Pro/Engineer (using an embedded copy of PTC Pro/E), SolidWorks and CATIA v4/v5 since 1997; as the only dedicated and bidirectional professional 3ds Max <-> Maya conversion system on the market; for guaranteed animation & skinning conversions between 3ds Max, Maya, Lightwave, Softimage, DirectX, FBX, Collada and U3D; and our long term staple conversions of: Autodesk Inventor, DirectX, IGES/Parasolid/STEP, Lightwave, OpenFlight and Softimage dotXSI. Newly popular conversion pipelines over the last few years have been: SketchUp, DWF-3D (Revit/AutoCAD), Collada, U3D and XAML-3D all of which Okino has spent several years on each converter’s development. All Okino file formats are fully documented online with hours of reading material. Click on a link in this press release to read the converter’s online docs. PolyTrans-for-3ds-Max and PolyTrans-for-Maya are two of the most complex technologies developed and deeply integrated into 3ds Max and Maya, having been developed daily by Okino for well over 15 years under the constant use and testing from tens of thousands of the world’s best known companies, from ILM to Disney to Boeing to BMW and almost every top named company

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CGschool - New Visualization School

+ Just got a word from Jeff Mottel, that; CGArchitect in association with 3DATS and Spine3D has announce the formation of a world-class training center in Miami, FL dedicated to architectural visualization and beyond - CGschool. The CGschool is the only company in the world that provides Autodesk Authorized books and training dedicated to architectural visualization while simultaneously working full-time in visualization production.
"The launch of the CGschool marks a turning point in our industry", said Jeff Mottle, founder of CGarchitect, "Specialized visualization training in our field has long been underserviced and never before offered by professionals of this caliber. We are all very excited to launch this school for our industry and look forward to sharing the immense pool of knowledge that we have assembled here." Located at the Spine3D headquarters in Miami, this school aims to provide the best quality training for 3D Architectural Visualization and beyond. Courses include Beginner through Advanced training in 3ds Max, V-Ray, Fusion, Photoshop, Internet Marketing, and much more. For more information, visit www.thecgschool.com.


Shapeways full color 3D print student contest

+ Call for Entries has been announced for Shapeways full color 3D print student contest. Want to test your 3D modeling skills, have your object 3D printed in full color by Shapeways and win $100 worth of 3D printing? The 2010 Shapeways Full Color 3D Print Student Contest is looking for the most creative and innovative model that can be 3D printed in full color. If you are an animation student you could 3D print your lead character, if you are an industrial design student you could 3D print your next prototype, if you are a medical student you could 3D print a dissected toe, the possibilities are open to you.
Simply upload your full color model to Shapeways by the 31st of May with the tag “Student Contest” and you will be in the running to win. The five best models will be printed for free by Shapeways and sent to your door. The winning design will also receive $100 worth of Shapeways 3D printing services. The entry must be public and be in Full Color Sandstone. Entry must have a cost of between $25-50 to print excluding mark-up and VAT. Shapeways will announce the winners by the 7th of June after having studied the entries.
Contest Page


Success story - Animating The Garfield Show

+ The Garfield Show, a TV series made using Autodesk Softimage and Voice-O-Matic that was just published on Di-O-Matic website. Ellipsanime/Dargaud Media a Paris-based animation and publishing company started production in 2008 to coincide with the strip's 30th anniversary, the show features the corpulent kitty and the world he lives in. With more than 150 shots per episode requiring lipsync, Voice-O-Matic and VOM Batch was the fastest and most effective solution to integrate in the existing pipeline. Find out more in the full success story on Di-O-Matic website - Click Here


Rebecca Barbour joins Nexus as Director of Artist and Studio Development

+ Nexus is pleased to announce that Rebecca Barbour is joining as Director of Artist and Studio Development. Rebecca joins from Framestore where she was Senior Producer and 3D Manager, having recently worked on James Cameron's ground breaking 3D film Avatar. Rebecca has worked in Animation and VFX for over 10 years, gathering a wealth of experience and diversity across commercials and feature films. It was with Framestore's venture into the animated feature film The Tale Of Despereaux that managed to tempt her away from commercials VFX. Rebecca was a lynchpin on that project, fulfilling two vital production roles in different stages of the project, and it was on Despereaux that Rebecca really caught the animation bug!
Rebecca said, "I am genuinely thrilled to be joining Nexus. The quality of their output is extremely high, and I'm excited to be working for a company with such a strong reputation for both animation and storytelling." Executive Producer Julia Parfitt adds, "Rebecca joining us with such a strong background across commercials and film at Framestore is excellent news for our studio and for Nexus more widely - it adds to a excitement about the development of the studio here and the long term commitment we have to all our artists, whether staff or freelance."


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Introducing ZooKeeper for 3ds MAX **

+ Zookeeper is a 3d Studio Max plugin used for organizing, managing, and visualizing complex scenes. Written completely in .NET Zookeeper provides a fresh, novel, and intuitive interface into your scenes. A complete solution for simplifying your scenes, increasing productivity, and speeding up workflow - The node way! 3ds Max plugin ZooKeeper, offers schematic node-based manipulation of the whole scene. 3d Studio Max has always had internals that were capable of being represented schematically. However, before Zookeeper no system existed of implementing a view mechanism for displaying these internal features. Some of Zookeeper features includes; #"Schematic everything" workflow provides a modifiable scene representation with nodes, #Tree views of the whole scene done with speed and managability in mind, #Easy and intuitive drag'n'drop interface for all objects inside and between all views and Many more.
ZooKeeper Latest version is 1.4 which has improved Zookeeper's layout, speed, and ease of use significantly since 1.3. However, the major improvement in 1.4 is the addition of State Sets- a new way of working with your 3ds max scenes. Besides providing a robust and easy to use render pass management system state sets go a long way toward generally improving your workflow- from viewport and node layout to rendering and animation setup. Zookeeper now officially supports 3ds max versions 2009through 2011. This update is free to all Zookeeper current users and is available immediatealy among our semi-weekly updates. Zookeeper is available at a price of USD$249.

>> Download Demo

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"Creatures" Unleashed - Kickstand Reveals New Animated Short Film

+ Kickstand, an innovator of advanced character animation and custom pipeline technology, today reveals “Kickstand Creatures: Volume One,” a new animated short film highlighting the company’s expertise in 3D modeling, character development, and animation technology. Founded by former technical directors for Dreamworks and Charlex, Kickstand offers 3D-character animation and custom software solutions to streamline production pipelines for myriad clients. In the making of “Creatures,” Kickstand artists relied on Autodesk® Maya® software paired with Kickstand StretchMesh 1.5 software to model and animate the film’s lead creature. In addition to showcasing its character animation capabilities, Kickstand created the “Creatures” animated short as a proof of concept for its creature pipeline—a fast, efficient and flexible character pipeline comprised of both off-the-shelf and custom software programs. “Animated shorts are infiltrating the mainstream as companies look for fresh ways to build buzz and excitement around their brands and products,” said Rob O’Neill, cofounder of Kickstand. "'Creatures' highlights our strengths as character animators and storytellers, and demonstrates the capabilities of our StretchMesh software for character rigging and deformation. As a result, several clients have commissioned us to use this powerful medium to tell their story, too.”
Rigged using Kickstand StretchMesh 1.5 software for Autodesk® Maya®, “Creatures” highlights the software’s powerful surface deformation capabilities. By applying a stretchy quality to polygonal geometry, StretchMesh gives artists better quality and control over the movement and skin elasticity of an object or character. Implemented as a standard deformer in Maya software, StretchMesh 1.5 features advanced relational vertex and shape preservation technology, offering animators and technical directors working in feature film, broadcast and game development the ability to create smooth character deformations.

>> Watch da short video

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Abode Introduces Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended **

Photoshop CS5
+ Adobe Systems Incorporated has officially released the Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS5 Extended, which are sold both individually as well as a part of the Adobe Creative Suite 5. Packing in more technological advancements from Adobe Labs than any other release and incorporating enhancements to everyday tasks requested by the Photoshop community, the software has greater intelligence and awareness of the content within images, allowing for complex and magical manipulation in just a few clicks. Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended delivers everything in Photoshop CS5, as well as advanced tools for 3D which address the unique needs of the video, Web, medical, manufacturing and engineering industries.
Photoshop CS5 Redefining the Image-Editing Experience now as native 64-bit application on both Mac and Windows®, delivers superior tools and creative control so users can perform advanced image manipulations and compositing with ease. For photographers, Photoshop CS5 now offers next-generation high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities. When combining multiple exposures into a single HDR image, Photoshop CS5 preserves the full tonal range of a scene with unprecedented speed and accuracy. With Photoshop CS5 Extended, Adobe gives filmmakers new painting, HDR and 3-D tools that will help them push the limits of creativity. Faster performance with cross-platform 64-bit support and tight integration with other Adobe Creative Suite 5 software makes Photoshop CS5 an even more powerful tool in a filmmaker’s arsenal. In addition, more than 30 features and enhancements requested directly by the Photoshop community have been added to this release, including automatic image straightening, rule-of-thirds crop tool, color picker and the ability to save 16-bit images as JPEGs. Photoshop CS5 Extended includes everything in Photoshop CS5 plus tools for editing 3D and motion-based content. With new Adobe Repoussé technology, users can easily create 3D logos and artwork from any text layer, shape or mask, as well as twist, rotate and extrude designs for different looks. To mirror the realism and appearance of 3D objects, a new materials library offers a breadth of rich options, including chrome, glass and cork. Users can also enhance the appearance of 3D objects by quickly creating shadows with the new shadow catcher. Adobe Photoshop CS5 and CS5 Extended are scheduled to ship within 30 days with availability through Adobe Authorized Resellers, the Adobe Store and Adobe Direct Sales. Estimated street price for Adobe Photoshop CS5 is US$699 and US$999 for Photoshop CS5 Extended.


Outliner 2.0 for 3ds Max

+ The Outliner 2.0 is a fast and easy to use free scene management tool for 3ds Max, developed by Pier Janssen. It has a wide range of features, including selecting, hiding, freezing, linking and grouping objects in the "Hierarchy Mode". In the "Layer Mode" you can organize your scene by dragging & dropping objects from one layer to the other. What's more, the Outliner offers support for nested layers, to manage scenes more efficiently. The interface is nimble enough to keep it open constantly. Outliner 2.0 has Hugely increased performance, improved stability, a more compact UI, nested layer support and many tweaks to improve the ease of use, over the previous version of the Outliner. To install, simply drag the .mzp file into 3ds Max and follow the instructions.
>> Download Outliner 2.0 for 3dsMax

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Autodesk Homestyler - Free 2D and 3D Online Home Design Software

+ Autodesk Inc. has announced the launch of Autodesk Homestyler – free** online software for 2D and 3D home design and remodeling projects. Autodesk Homestyler is an easy to use web service that helps home owners and design professionals create room layouts and floor plans with generic and branded content including appliances, fixtures, furnishings, and other building products from Dacor, DuPont, FLOR, Inc., Kohler, Merillat, Sherwin-Williams and other leading manufacturers. Interior design and home remodeling projects involve a lot of details and expensive choices. Autodesk Homestyler helps you jumpstart your home improvement project by making 2D and 3D home design easy enough for anyone. It's free, completely web-based, and instantly accessible online.
One of the biggest challenges in home remodeling is envisioning the finished project. Making the wrong design and product selection decisions can lead to project delays, expensive changes and overall dissatisfaction with the process and end result. With Autodesk Homestyler, homeowners can easily explore and experiment with different brands, styles, colors and layouts before they start a project, thereby increasing confidence in their decisions and ultimately their satisfaction with the end result. With no training required, users can create floor plans with drag-and-drop rooms, doors and furnishings; easily experiment with finishes and visualize design ideas in 3D with a single click; and easily share designs with friends, family and professionals to get their feedback. The Autodesk Homestyler service is free and accessible from most standard Web browsers with no download or installation necessary. Get started now at www.homestyler.com


Autodesk Integrates Craft Director Studio into 3ds Max 2011 and Softimage 2011

+ Craft Animations™ and Autodesk, Inc. today announced the integration of certain Craft Director Studio™ plug-ins within the 2011 versions of Autodesk® 3ds Max® , Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design and Autodesk® Softimage® software. Based on cutting-edge research in autonomous control systems, Craft Director Studio provides interactive control and simulation of cameras and vehicles, which helps greatly reduce animation production times. "Craft Director Studio provides artists with advanced, in-the-box, rigging and physics simulation capabilities, which helps them to animate cameras and vehicles more quickly and realistically," said Stig Gruman, Autodesk vice president of digital entertainment. "It also allows artists to use a variety of input devices to create on-the-fly animation, helping make 3D animation as easy as playing a game."
Craft Director Studio is designed to help simplify the production challenges of 3D artists, industrial designers and architects working in the following areas:
Video Game Development - Artists can enhance in-game cinematics through a modular, configurable system that replicates a specific rig's animation within the game itself. Artists can then "drive" a vehicle within the creative environment, helping achieve a more realistic effect in less time.
Film and Broadcast Production - Animators can leverage more realistic and accurate vehicle behavior and traffic animation to more quickly complete visual effects shots.
Architectural Visualization - Architects can more easily create walkthroughs of architectural designs using unique camera angles and views.

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Legend 3D Speeds its 2D to 3D Workflow with TACTIC

+ Southpaw Technology, a leading developer of production digital asset management (DAM) technology for digital entertainment and enterprise companies, announced today that it has rolled out its flexible DAM solution, TACTIC, to digital intermediary Legend 3D, to speed its 2D to 3D conversion workflow. Digital media systems integrator, Integrated Media Technologies Inc., assisted Southpaw with the studio-wide roll out. Legend 3D is the creator of a patented 2D to 3D conversion technology that seamlessly enhances filmmakers’ storytelling through pixel perfect™ 3D. Merging his expertise in graphic arts and neuroscience, Legend 3D’s founder, Dr. Barry Sandrew, developed the process that integrates sophisticated technology with skilled artistry, offering filmmakers incredible flexibility and customizable conversion of film, television, advertising, online and mobile content from 2D to 3D. The company is now deploying TACTIC across its San Diego studio to manage all of the digital assets in its conversion projects.
Designed by veterans of film, visual effects and video game productions, TACTIC gives studios an open, flexible solution that speeds the creation of digital assets across highly complex digital productions. Combining asset management, workflow management, project management and communication tools with a dynamic Web-based interface, cross-platform support and robust API, Southpaw enables vast teams of artists and animators to work with terabytes of digital assets the way they want to, rather than forcing them into a specific workflow. This significantly speeds and secures the creation process, while minimizing the costs of training large teams on completely new and closed systems.
More info about Tactic


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Character Design Techniques DVD - by Neville Page

creature design
+ The Gnomon Workshop announces the release of a new creature design DVD by concept artist Neville Page. Through his experience on such films as Avatar, Star Trek and Cloverfield, to name a few, Neville has developed a variety of approaches for creature and character development. In this lecture, initially created for a Master Class series at Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Neville explains and demonstrates an approach for developing character concepts through a process of fostering "happy accidents". He shows how to apply his technique for working loosely and "finding an image within", using Photoshop and ZBrush and resulting in a sculpted ZBrush sketch.
In this DVD, Neville offers alternative approaches to developing ideas, specifically for character concept development. There are times you want to approach a project with great specificity and then other times you want to put aside presumption and allow for “it” to happen to you. This DVD explores a few approaches to fostering “happy accidents” and ways to efficiently “see” quickly. Neville begins in Photoshop®, very quickly sketching random shapes and areas of value to "find" an image within. After discovering an intriguing image, he takes it to near completion, revealing the importance of staying open to new ideas as he develops a creature. From there he explores the same ideas for head and creature development using ZBrush's mirroring tool. Finally, he finishes with a sculpted ZBrush "sketch" showing ways to keep creativity alive while working in 3D.
Buy Character Design DVD

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Autodesk Releases the SketchBook Pro for iPad

Painting and Drawing Software Lets Consumers and Professional Illustrators Alike Transform iPad into a Digital Sketchbook
+ Autodesk, Inc. has announced the availability of the Autodesk SketchBook Pro App for iPad, a new professional-grade paint and drawing application designed exclusively for the iPad. The Autodesk SketchBook Pro App for iPad combines high-quality digital pencils, pens, markers and airbrushes with a Multi-Touch gesture-based user interface, enabling users to create everything from quick sketches to high-quality artwork. Geared for both occasional doodlers and professional illustrators, SketchBook Pro transforms the iPad into the ultimate digital sketchbook. Using the same paint engine as its desktop and mobile counterparts, the new SketchBook Pro App for iPad delivers a complete set of sketching and painting tools through a streamlined and intuitive user interface.
Key new features in the Autodesk SketchBook Pro App for iPad include:
- Full-screen 1024 x 768 work space with support for any device orientation
- An innovative Multi-Touch interface that delivers an immersive and streamlined experience
- 75 brushes with customizable settings, including synthetic pressure sensitivity and brush modes for free sketching and creating straight lines, ellipses and rectangles
- Six full-resolution layers per sketch with complete control over layer order, visibility and opacity
- A built-in, live news page that alerts artists to upcoming events and highlights featured artists and their SketchBook creations

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Loyalkaspar Teams With Agency Brooklyn Brothers For Insight Communication’s Ten-Spot Branding Campaign

+ When ad agency The Brooklyn Brothers approached New York-based design and story-driven creative engagement studio, Loyalkaspar, about collaborating on a campaign for Insight Communication, the U.S’s ninth largest cable operator (serving the Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana areas), they knew it would be a test on a number of levels. Not only was the idea creatively challenging, but given the project’s budget restrictions it would also force them to rethink how to achieve the spectacular results the concept demanded. Because the spots demanded a volume of high-end 3D, Loyalkaspar partnered up with two of the best 3D boutiques out there -- Magoo Studios, Soderhamnm, Sweden, and Galaxy 61, Brooklyn, NY. Set to a beautifully hypnotic score by music house Nylon Studios, New York, all 10 of the spots use the Insight logo, which features a bundle of wires, as the catalyst to describe the different benefits their homegrown and customer-first philosophy. In each spot, wires stretch around the screen forming the visual accompaniment to the folksy voiceover -- from rural farmlands to facilitating human connections at a cosmopolitan small business firm, the animation reinforces the brand’s core values of customer service, innovation and any appearance of corporate pretensions.
Watch the Spot video


Interview with Jeff Campbell - VFX Supervisor Legion

Interview with Jeff Campbell
+ Cgheute has published an interview with Jeff Campbell, VFX Supervisor of "Legion". I started as an animator in 1992 at Stargate Studios in Toronto. Working in Strata Studio Pro, I was intrigued by the creativity and control of bringing emotion to a character but frustrated by the slow productivity of the hardware at that time. Especially, the time it took to do a Radiosity lighting render. I soon discovered high-speed compositing when introduced to the Quantel Harry. A strictly 2d finishing system that could play standard definition in real-time. It’s not much compared to today’s standards but being able to finish shots fast impressed me. I really missed the 3rd dimension. Soon enough, the answer came. Discreet Logic came out with the Flame. A 2d/3d multi-resolution high speed finishing system. I had to get on......
Read on!!


Genetica 3.5

+ Spiral Graphics Inc. has released Genetica 3.5, a giant leap forward for its flagship seamless texture, animated texture, and HDRI environment map package. The new version adds a suite of tools for the creation of seamless textures directly from photographs, allowing photorealistic results to be achieved in seconds. Genetica's versatile approach yields impressive results whether working with photos of organic materials like drying mud, or repeating patterns such as brick walls. Individual objects can even be isolated from source photographs and randomly bombed throughout a texture.
In addition to working with their own texture photos, artists can take advantage of over a thousand royalty-free texture photos that come included with Genetica. This time-saving collection includes photos taken from throughout the world, with subject matter as varied as tile floors, corroded metal, flower gardens, industrial materials, ancient mosaics, and desert sand. Genetica has been used on countless projects including games, animation, television programs, mobile applications, virtual words, and architectural visualization. Spiral Graphics Inc. is a software development firm focused on creating innovative software tools for the computer graphics community.
Download Trial


MEET MELINE : The 3D Animated Short Film

+ "Meet Meline", a 3D animated short film from independent filmmakers Virginie Goyons and Sebastien Laban.