Category Archives: 3D Animation
It’s been awhile since I posted anything but I have a good excuse – I’ve been learning Maya the last two semesters at Middlesex County College in their new Gaming and Animation program which was started by Richard Thompson.
In the past, I’ve taken single classes in Maya at the School of Visual Arts and Mercer County Community College but I wasn’t able to continue any further for various reasons and as a result the knowledge that I acquired didn’t “stick” with me after the classes were over because I wasn’t using the program day-to-day. Over a year ago, I found out that there was an affordable 3D Animation program near where I lived so I decided that this was a good opportunity for me expand my skill sets by learning Maya again from the beginning and then sticking with the program so that I could continue beyond the simple 3D modeling and animation that I had learned in the two prior Maya classes I had taken. Now that I’m on summer break, I plan on updating and tweaking some of the class projects that I’ve worked and posting them for all to see.
The first project that I worked on was a 3D model based on a logo for our 3D Design class created by one of the students in the class (the class voted on their favorite after seeing all the students’ sketches). It was fun getting familiar with the interface again and then walking through the initial steps of working on the 3D model in class with the teacher. The interesting thing was later working at home along with the prepared Vimeo tutorials created specifically for the class. This was a new teaching approach for me and quite helpful since I could play the video over and over again until I got the model the way I wanted it.
In the end, the most interesting thing for me was taking the 3D model that I had created in Maya, converting it to a file format that that the 3D printer could read, and then printing the model. I’ve never had anything 3D printed before and I would be really interested in doing it again.
Wow! It’s been more than a month since I last updated my blog. I’ve been pretty busy freelancing at Fox Business Network creating on air graphics and teaching myself Cinema 4D. Now back to Cinema 4D! In the process of learning about extruding, lighting, texturing, and animating I figured that I was far enough along where I could actually apply what I’ve learned so far. So I decided to “update” the Brooklyn Nets Promo that I created in After Effects awhile ago. In the original version of the video the Brooklyn Nets logo is flat and there’s no real movement to it. In the new version, I replaced the flat Brooklyn Nets logo with a 3D version and there’s a lot of movement to it (basketball spinning and shield swinging from left to right).
The whole process was a very good learning experience, especially when it came to the integration of Cinema 4D with After Effects CC. I’m a big fan of how you can make changes in Cinema 4D, save the changes, and once you move over to After Effects the changes from C4D are almost instantly reflected. The only issue that I ended up having though was with the “in-box” shaders (textures) that came with C4D showing up in AE. For some reason AE doesn’t recognize the shaders and as a result you get a flat, dark C4D object in AE. I did a little research on the interwebs and this issue appears to be a bug between the 2 programs. The work around was outputting an animation sequence from C4D and importing the sequence into AE for final output. Below is a screen shot from the original video showing the flat 2D Brooklyn Nets logo. Hope you like the update. Let me know.
Here’s the next step in the evolution of my Cinema 4D office. A simple light over the desk has been added as well as floor trim and crown molding which is conveniently not pictured (the profiles were created in Adobe Illustrator, imported into C4D, and extruded using the Extrude NURB). The windows were created using two Boole objects. I still need to add materials to the vase, desk, and the office chair. I’m kind of curious to see how the desk will appear when I assign a texture to it. I think that the texture on the desk will probably need to be mapped so that the texture is going in the right direction when applied to the desk.
In the next post I should be adding more textures, more lights, and shadows. This is getting a lot more fun the deeper I get into the tutorial.
It’s been awhile since I last worked with Cinema 4D so I figured I start with something simple so I could get used to the program again and continue with my Cinema 4D self-education. I decided to use a book called Cinema 4D Beginner’s Guide by Jen Rizzo for my reintroduction. Going through the book I found that some of the text was written in a confusing manner but having some prior knowledge of Cinema 4D helped me get through those issues. Despite a few glitches in the text, I would say that this book is a pretty good guide for a beginner so far. The initial exercise has been to create an office with furniture in it and in the process learn about the different kinds of modeling techniques that can be used with Cinema 4D. The book teaches you how to model using the building blocks of modeling – Edges, Faces, and Points. Once you’re done with that you move on to the “cool” modeling tools like Splines, NURBS, HyperNURBS, and Deformers. I’ve become a big fan of Deformer tools, one of which I used to bend a skinny flat box into the curved seat of the desk chair. Pictured above is the initial part of the exercise. I’ll be posting my progress every few days and hopefully ending up with a pretty cool short animation. After I’m done with this book I think that I’ll try Greyscale Gorilla’s Introduction to Cinema 4D which should take my C4D schoolin’ up a notch.
This is the continuation of a project that I’ve talked about in a previous post. This odd machine is based on a Jean Tinguely kinetic sculpture that I saw in Basel, Switzerland.
The animation was created in Maya and composed & outputted from After Effects.
This is my first attempt at creating a 3D character in Maya and then making a simple animation from it. The figure is based on a character that I created in the 90s, Spaulding Zagmuire. My Jean Tinguely kinetic sculpture 3D model is still a work in progress. I hope to have a video of the final product up in a week or two for your viewing pleasure.
The animation was created in Maya and composed & outputted from After Effects.
My Maya project, recreating a Jean Tinguely kinetic sculpture, is coming along. Modeling in 3D space is just a different kind of thinking for me, though it’s very similar to sketching in a way. With a sketch, you rough out the drawing and build the drawing up until it has the detail that you want. When you’re working with Maya, or any 3D program I would assume, it seems like you have to take a similar approach. You start off with a simple object (a cube, sphere, or cylinder to name a few of objects) and then add detail by pushing and pulling vertices, edges, and faces until you get the detail you want. The thing that I’m still getting used to is how many different ways to push and pull vertices, edges, and faces there are. To think that I thought Photoshop and After Effects were complex programs. Maya might be edging them out.
I think my 3D object has come pretty far compared to my first posting, now I just have to add the “arms” and make sure that I can animate it. I think that once I apply a texture to it and put it in an environment with good lighting, it’s going to be a nice portfolio piece.
Most recently I enrolled in the Mercer County Community College 3D Animation Certificate Program. My first class in the program is 3D Modeling 1 with Autodesk’s Maya. Wow! Maya is powerful and there’s just so much to know. Our first big assignment is to create a machine which later in the semester we’ll be animating. I was going to do Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots but the instructor said that a lot of students create robots, cars, or guns and that I should create something “different”. After seeing some examples of projects done by the instructor’s prior students I was inspired to create a 3D model of a Jean Tinguely kinetic sculpture that I saw while visiting my friend, Joel Radvanyi, in Basel, Switzerland. I’ll be showing from time-to-time the steps taken in creating the model. So far I’m at the stage of creating the basic shapes that make up the sculpture and once I get everything laid out, I’ll be getting more intricate with the shapes. One thing I can say is that I’m not a big fan of Maya’s drawing tools so I’ve been drawing some of the shapes in Adobe Illustrator and bringing them into Maya to be extruded and revolved. Anyway, here’s where I’m at today…
I just went to my first After Effects New York meeting on February 28th and it was a blast. There’s something about getting a whole bunch of like-minded people in the same room that can be really energizing. The guest speaker was Andrew Kramer of Video Copilot, the king of motion graphics tutorials and he was there to show off his baby, Element 3D, a plug-in for After Effects. In the simplest sense, this is a plug-in that let’s you import 3D OBJ and Cinema 4D files into After Effects. From there you can do things like use 3D objects as particles or animate the deconstruction of a 3D object. The 3D text with all the different bevel presets seem to look pretty amazing too. Some of the reviews have brought up that objects in Element 3D don’t cast shadows but Andrew Kramer showed a demo of a newer working version of Element 3D that did cast shadows. Did I mention that you can buy 3D object bundles? If you don’t know how to create 3D models, Video Copilot provides different “packs” for you. You can buy 3D models of food, buildings, guns, and materials just to name a few things. I’ve barely touched on what this plug-in can do and I can’t wait to get my hands on it (I would love to be able to play around with a demo version if it were available). My only regret is that it’s yet another program that I have to learn after Maya and Cinema 4D. When are they going to add more hours to the day?
AENY logo and crowd image ©2013 AENY
Social media. That’s what we hear it’s all about in this day and age. Well, we here at Meat + Potato Brand Graphics HQ are going to give it a go. We’ve all ready established a Facebook page and a Twitter account and now we’re going to have a blog. We’re definitely going to talk about the projects that we’re working on and in addition to that we’ll probably be talking about motion graphics, 3D animation, movies, music, comics, and soccer – pretty much anything that comes to mind. Hope it’s a good ride.