Monday, November 1, 2010

Free modeling tool, Sculptris

Sculptris is a 3d sculpting application, sort of like a super simplified version of Zbrush. You can get a Windows Alpha version for free here:

Direct Download

Sculptris Page at Pixologic

It is easier to use than any program. Ever. You can donate directly to it's creator at his homepage here: Sculptris Page And yes, he works for Pixologic now.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A few days later...

So I've been meaning to add some posts for quite a while now, and just today I realized my last post is from August 2009... almost one year ago... just shows how you can put things off for "just one more day" and go on like that for way longer than that... Of course a lot has happened in this time, but to synthesize a bit, and here it is in list form, I can sum it up as "Tomorrow never comes" or "Seize the day", for it is only in the present that things ever really happen...

1. I got a job that should have lasted 1 month, so I kept postponing lots of projects and stuff... the job ended up going on for 9 months...
2. I became a technical expert (3D Max), only to realize that in the not too distant future most of these tasks will probably be done by the software on its own... As a consequence of that I am concentrating on creative vision, paper and pencil or 3D software... it's the ideas that I'm focusing on now, the rest can be learned along the way...
3. I finished a relationship and started a new one and find myself now going crazy trying to balance my time out with love, work and art... thankfully I don't have any kids! So yeah, if you are lonely and miserable make sure to use all that time cause at some point you might find yourself making some weird time-management decisions...

So work ran out a few weeks ago and I started working on some personal projects, currently doing a music video for my friends from Scream Club, sketching a lot and looking at cool stuff and art around me... enjoying some creative times... :-D for as long as I can make it last... hopefully for ever....

So I leave you with a sweet video for now from the guys at Guerre Naive... until sooner than my last post!

Guerre Naïve from Guerre Naïve Team on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

3ds max animation export hell

11 more days of hellish work! Yes, I am in 3D Studio Max hell right now, certainly on my way out, but not just yet..

So last month my contract was coming to an end at the game company, and I had it renewed by offering to solve the animation problems they had with their 3DS Max animation files... things got to a late start so I've only been on it for a week now, working on only ONE animation, which lasts about 30 seconds... It has about 100 objects in it, most of them animated... and half of them have one kind of problem or another... With 90% of this scene done (and I will finish it today), here is the ONE thing 3ds Max animators out there should know, specially if you are animating for a game engine or exporting your animations to another program:

NEVER EVER work in the View Coordinate System. This option should simply be destroyed and deleted from the program all together, BAD IDEA Autodesk! Why? First of all, there are about 5 other coordinate systems you can use, all of them perfectly fine, such as World, Local, Screen, Parent, etc... These other modes will leave all your objects transforms and rotations as you expect them to be. but View mode... WON'T. So when you export your objects, they will probably be facing the wrong direction, now imagine what happens to 50 animated objects when you are using the View mode constantly... A big time consuming mess to fix... How do you fix this? Briefly put, you will have to reset the pivots to correctly match your World Coordinate system, reset any transforms and or scaling, reset the Xform (collapse too) to set it all down and then check out how your animation is looking. If it is still messed up you will have to change the animation axis in the motion panel (just flip through until you find the one that looks right). I advice you to work on a duplicate of a scene if you are making repairs of this sort, so if things get ugly you can always re-merge the object you are working on. Sometimes it will be best to make a fresh dummy, copy the animated keyframes to it, delete them from your object, align it's pivot to the dummy and then link the object to the fresh dummy. Of course, if you never export from 3D max, you'll never know what is going on, everything will look ok in Max...

And guess what? view coordinate system is the default! Yikes! And since 3dMax remembers which system you are working in for EACH kind of transformation, you have to be careful about this. The best thing to do is to start up your scene and select each transformation tool one at a time and set the Coordinate system to World for each tool, then start working. Oh yeah, and this is also important to watch out when you move your textures around (UV wraps and stuff), because the texture transforms also are set to View Coor. system by default...

Thankfully I started with one of the more complex scenes... 9 more to go... and finish in 11 days...-___-

And here is another tip for any 3d animation software, which should be obvious, but yeah, easily overlooked as I have experienced:

If you will be exporting to a game engine, please find out what the limitations of the engine camera are and how to set up your animation program camera to match it.... BEFORE you start animating! This is specially vital for realtime cut-scenes! (it's not so relevant for in-game animated objects).

Your technical artists will love you for it! `__'

Saturday, August 1, 2009


At the moment I am part of a 15 person team, working like maniacs to get a video game to Alpha state. Despite all the hard work, communication issues keep slowing things down.

Enter SCRUM, a set of management techniques for complex software development, that can be applied to other kind of projects.

The idea is to gather the team together and set up short sprints of goals which will bring a set of features of the software to a finished state. One of the main tools in SCRUM is the daily 15 minute meeting, where each member of the team tells what they achieved the day before and what they will work on today, plus any obstacles that might be in their way. There is nothing like transparency to get things moving and to spot problems before they become catastrophes...

We've only started to implement this last week, but I can already say that it has affected the way people work and communicate, for the better. This works well for teams of 5 to 9 persons.

So if you have a project involving more than four people (and specially if they don't know each other well), I highly recommend you check this out. It's great for projects were different departments have to coordinate their efforts in a very specific order and time(in our case the art team and the coding team).

Some links:

what is scrum?

scrum in under 10 mins. video

the swedish version of the other video... note the difference in presentations!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Surreal Animation

Very different style of animation. A team of 6 people created this in six weeks...

Muzorama from Muzorama Team on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The force behind the will

Here: The Strangest Secret is a link to an mp3 file, some sections of which were recorded in the 50's. It's about the most useful and concise recording I've heard about why so few people achieve what they want in life.

Ignore the annoying guy trying to sell you stuff at the beginning, the middle and the end of the recording. Just forward or skip ahead, there are three sections were Earl Nightingale speaks, very simple yet dense, priceless.

Total life changing stuff.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I started capturing reference material for the animation and realized that it's going to take some intensity to get this movie to look like I want it to look... mainly however, it will take TIME. Yup, no matter how much I simplify the images, the story or the style, I will need a lot of hours to get it to the right point of expressiveness... And that is fine with me, but I admit it's kind of scary because I like to finish what I start and this will mean a commitment of over six months... perhaps up to a year or more... It all depends on whether I continue to work full time or not, but even if I can get by without working, this won't be a quick affair... no sir... And as I was reworking the storyboard I had my doubts on the order of the scenes, particularly on whether the opening scene works with the rest or not... so there is still stuff to redo for now. It looks to me like the movie will be more of a visual poem than a traditional narrative, so it's very important for me to ensure that all the parts are as cohesive as possible with each other, otherwise there is a big risk of it turning into a senseless muddle. It might already be confusing enough even if I manage to get it as clear as I envision it...

The job with the videogame continues to get interesting, I'm done with the storyboard and will get started on animating 2d bitmaps inside the game engine. It looks like soon we will also enter "crunch time" so I might also get to work on 3D stuff sooner than expected. Weeee!

It's nice to have some positive things going on at this time, cause my personal life on the other hand is kind of falling apart... Now since I'm pretty busy with work and thinking of the movie, it makes the other stuff bearable and I am sure that once all the personal stuff is lived out, I'll be putting all my waking hours into the movie and my job, so it's all good and I'm running with it.