June 29, 2009

Trapcode Form Test

Trapcode Form is shaping up to be a lot of fun. For this test, I created a sine wave in "Illustrator" then animated it in a precomp in "After Effects". The animated precomp when paired with an excerpt from the song "Shave My Head" (from the album "Hello Friends" by Jack Dangers) drives several variables of Trapcode "Form". You can see the animated result here. Fun, fun, double fun.

Frames from Trapcode Form experiment

June 26, 2009

Trapcode Horizon Test

I recently purchased some new After Effects plug-ins, one of which is Trapcode Horizon. Horizon is a handy little plug-in that allows you to import spherical panoramas into AE and navigate around them. In this test I took two spherical panos (an original that I shot, and a version with a 3d villa and pool composited in (both from my time at Screampoint)), aligned them, and animated a 3d camera in after effects. The people are people that I shot on green screen for another project (hence the sweater on the girl in the middle of the desert ). The sparkles on the pool are done using Trapcode particular. The caustics on the pool and on the wall at the end of the pool are generated in AE. The animated result can be seen here. The video was made using lower res versions of the panos (3k wide vs 7K wide for the final panos that the files came from - I did this for speed as this is a test. The video would be a lot sharper had I used the 7K renders as source material. Anyway, after doing this simple test, I see a lot of possibilities....

Frames from Trapcode Horizon experiment

June 03, 2009

Timelapse rig test

Last night I conducted an hour long test using my MK panomachine MK III in timelapse mode (15 second intervals) paired with a canon 20D. The resulting animation was complied in after effects and I have posted it here (2.35:1 crop, and panning added in post). The next step is to take this thing up into the hills and catch some scenery. Two things I am going to try next time - setting the ISO lower, and shortening the interval to 4 seconds.

Frames from timelapse experiment

Painting on the iphone

After reading that the cover of the most recent cover of the "New Yorker" was painted on an iphone with an $5 application called "Brushes", I decided to purchase it and see what all of the fuss was about. After playing around a bit, I can truly say that the program is a lot of fun to use and even though the tools are simple, it is very usable. Below is my first doodle done with "Brushes" (reduced for web). Even though the image was painted on an iphone, the final resolution is actually a respectable 2880 x 1920, which works out to 9.6" x 6.4" at 300dpi. One novel inclusion is the ability to play back your brush strokes to show your painting process - I have done that for this doodle and placed the movie here. More information about "Brushes" can be found here.

Fishy iphone doodle

May 20, 2009

Fun with Solder

Last night I broke out the soldering iron (and by broke out, I mean broke it out of the packaging because I haven't used a soldering iron since 7th grade) and made a custom interface cable to connect my MK Pano Machine to my Canon DSLR.... Holy Crap! the thing actually works!! Not only does the cable work, (I'm surprised as this was my practice one - I have the parts to make another one) but it was fun to make. I'm thinking now that I should revisit some of my back issues of "Make" magazine and seriously consider making some of the projects.

Pano Machine Trigger Cable

May 15, 2009

GM was once hip

Ok, so with GM getting a lot of unfortunate press lately, I thought I'd bring to light something something stylish from their past. The house my wife and I rent has an old Frigidaire Flair Custom Deluxe - it was so dirty when we moved in that we could not tell if the console light was on or not through the caked on grease - seriously the person who lived here before us must have had bacon at every meal and had an irrational fear of cleaning products. Anyway, under all of the grime (the grime that isn't permanently baked into the glass that is) was a very stylish relic. Who can argue with an appliance that offers "infinite heat" (infinite and fairly uncontrollable). Anyway, I thought I would share, possibly some of you will find something inspiring the details I photographed - possibly a palette for a print piece or web site - who knows.

Flair Custom Deluxe Detail

Flair Custom Deluxe Detail

Luminous Surfaces

Recently I finished reading "Metal Ray for Maya, 3Ds Max, and XSI" which all things considered was a long read for me. This was part of my ongoing investigation of mental ray which can produce nice results, but is not the easiest renderer to master. The image below is a recent test I created to teach myself about using luminous surfaces with Final Gather. All the light in the image comes from the red, green, and blue stripes which (because the colored stripes are fairly evenly distributed r,g,b) produce an overall neutral light. All objects in the scene are using the mia_material type as a base.

Mental Ray luminous surfaces

April 28, 2009

Day and Night

I enjoy shooting panoramas, and I have gotten to shoot some pretty cool ones in past year. The images below are sections of two spherical panoramas that I shot from the massive penthouse high atop the St. Regis in San Francisco (The original images are 16,400 pixels wide). These images are part of an architectural rendering project that I worked on with SteelBlue | Neorama. Most of the photography I shot for the project was used to demonstrate the actual views outside the windows of the various rooms in the penthouse, since the interiors were not completed, we did those as 3d renders. The renderings from the project itself are mostly confidential due to the nature of the property, some of them however can be seen here. Around the time that I took these, I also got the opportunity to get on top of some other buildings in the area and I would love to get on top of some more to shoot - fun stuff. Anyway, since these are not anywhere else on my site, I thought I'd at least put them here.

Day view looking North from the St. Regis Penthouse

Night view looking North from the St. Regis Penthouse

April 13, 2009

Revisiting Zbrush

After a long absence (I bought an Intel based Mac a while back, and Zbrush did not run at all on Intel Mac), I am now back to running Zbrush. I'm taking some time to get up to speed on the changes that came with version 3 and for the most part liking it, although there are are few persistent bugs and omissions that I am finding (no turntable - c'mon!). One thing that is nice is the addition of subtools which allows for having several pieces of geometry linked together in a way that you can have them all in your editable ztool at once. Here you can see my in-progress greyhound character (Modeled low poly in MAYA / detailed and painted in Zbrush)

Greyhound Model in Zbrush 3.12