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Monday, February 24, 2014

Van Gogh's Bedroom in 3D

Every semester I teach an Intro to Modeling and Rendering (in Maya) course.  I always give the students an assignment to create a room based upon the style of a traditional or classical artist (sometimes there might be more contemporary ones on the list). To keep it fun, I make the students draw the names out of a bag. I do this because most of them have never heard of the artists, and it forces them into exploring something they didn't know before.

Anyway, I had the idea that I wanted to do a room based on Vincent Van Gogh's piece Bedroom, so I did. It only took me a few hours to model and a few hours to paint it all, but it took me even more hours to get the rendering correct (lighting is the bane of my existence lol).

A 3d version of Vincent Van Gogh's Bedroom

I think it turned out nicely. All of the textures were done with the 3d Paint Tool and an 'oil' brush, which is really useful. The scene occasionally chugged a bit when I was using it, since my computer is a little older, but not badly. I'd like to do more work with painting directly on the objects. It makes for interesting textures. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fire Power

Did I mention that I'm terrible at blogging regularly? That's because I'm actually working all the time at something, either art or writing, but not blogging. Here's the latest thing I've modeled, a .38 Special revolver, and it's for sale at Turbosquid. I also have other firearms for sale there, including a .380 semi-auto, a .243 deer rifle and a .32 Iver Johnson:

.38 Special Revolver, rendered in MentalRay
I'll try to post updates more regularly, but don't hold your breath.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Busy Beetles

I finished the Mercedes, it turned out very nice.  I really ought to try to update this blog more often.  I've been busy with freelance, but I decided that I can't just take the weekend off, so I started modeling a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, after being inspired by an article about the first real-world object to be 3D scanned, all the way back in 1972! It was "scanned" by hand, with students at the University of Utah taking measurements and manually entering them into a computer.*  You can read about it here.  My, how far we've come. Now students of computer art everywhere get to complain that modeling cars is hard, without even having to do any of the mathematical calculations to accomplish building a car in the computer.  The most amusing bit about the whole thing is, the original computer scan of that Volkswagen cost more than the car itself.  

1962 Mercedes Benz 190SL :: I even rigged the roof to retract
I think I'd like to take up painting in my non-existent spare time.  Or sculpture. 

*A computer in 1972 was probably about the size of your house.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Time goes faster than a 1962 Mercedes Benz

Wow! Time flies. I haven't updated this blog in a while. I've been working on lots of things, teaching, doing freelance animation, technical editing my former professor's book (which you should totally pre-order!), and also modeling random things and writing in my spare time. I'm currently working on modeling a 1962 Mercedes Benz (in Maya using NURBS only), so I'll try to post that when it's finished. I'd really like to have one come to think of it, and I do, as one of my students said, in the 'imagination land' that is Maya. LOL

What the hey, I'll share with you the work-in-progress: here's a test render I did earlier today. It's not finished and I see things that need to be fixed, and I haven't done all of the interior yet. As you can see I've been playing with HDRI maps (the lighting still needs more work) ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I went to the GDC Online in Austin, TX a couple of weeks ago, and I won an iPad2 in a drawing from one of the exhibitors. I didn't even have a laptop (lets just say that because of a lack of funds, I rarely buy any tech stuff), and I never expected I'd ever win anything so cool. It's a great device. The first thing I did with it was download Angry Birds and play it. Then when hubby said (rather derisively) that I had what amounted to a $600 game machine, I wondered if there was something else I could do with it. A few days later I was dreaming of having a Cintiq, and then I wondered if I could draw on the iPad. It turns out you can! And I did.

This is the first drawing I did with Adobe Sketchbook Express. I did this with my finger LOL I have ordered a Wacom Bamboo stylus and am going to download the Pro version of Sketchbook. I have never been very good at drawing on a regular wacom tablet, I'm much better on paper. I suppose it's because it's hard with a tablet to see what you're doing (hence wanting a cintiq). I think that winning the iPad2 might be the best thing that's ever happened for my traditional drawing skills :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A new character...

...that I haven't come up with a name for yet. It just sorta popped into my head the other day, and so I started working on sketching and fleshing it out. I did a rotation today and wanted to post it. The character's clothing is based loosely on what early 20th century pilots would have worn. I'm thinking the character needs a zepplin as a prop.

Next step, I'll be modeling and texturing it in Maya. And hopefully come up with a name...

Rough Sketch

Cleaned-up Rotation

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spider Web Animation

This is my first attempt at animating in Flash (version CS3). It's a simple and cartoony spider building a web. I would like to do a more detailed version now that I understand how flash works. I would also like to do a different aspect ratio next time. I accidentally went with the default size and would prefer to work at 720x480.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Human Model - Female

If you know me, you know I'm primarily an animator and rigger, but I decided that I like modeling too and would like to improve. That is why I started modeling things for TurboSquid. I think my modeling has improved immensely since I began doing that and so the other day I decided to model a human. I've started it and when I have the preliminary geometry done, which I'm hoping will be later today or tomorrow, I'll post a render.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mechanical Rigging: A Patio Umbrella

I decided that rigging an umbrella would be interesting, and so I've done a patio umbrella, it's available at turbosquid.

The hardest part was figuring out how to make the umbrella's arms work. I tried various constraints without hitting on anything that worked the way I wanted it to, so I put the model aside for a day and then it hit me at some point that using IK would work. So that's what I did. It works like a charm too.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Knight T-Shirt Design

I went looking for some t-shirts with medieval themes, but found few that were any good. Here's one I started last night and finished today. It's for sale on children's and adult's t-shirts at cafepress.com.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oriental Fan 3D Model

I modeled something pretty cool today, an oriental fan! It's available for sale at turbosquid.com. I'm very happy with how it turned out. It took me a while to work out how I was going to get the paper part of the fan to deform and I tried two methods before finally figuring out what worked. Check it out, there are .mov files over at TurboSquid that show it deforming.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brand New Facial Rig

After posting the instructions on how I made the old facial rig I designed, I decided that I would re-design it. I had already taken some of the 11 Second Club's models for my students to rig, since they're such nice models and work so well for animation and facial animation. The geometry is also clean and simple enough that they're easy for my students to work with. I like the model that they designed for the club, and after stripping the rig out of the model in Maya, I exported the model as an .obj to 3ds Max.

I started it by adding some shapes where I wanted deformation, I added some helpers and constrained them using position constraints and look-at constraints. I liked how it was moving, and then I walked away and slept on how I was going to hook all that up to some kind of interface that would make it easier for an animator to work with. The next day, yesterday, I got back to work on it, and had the brilliant idea of using a Position List with multiple XYZ Positions instead of using a ton of helper nodes. That in and of itself made the rig much smaller, with much fewer nodes.

If you're interested in more details about how I did this, some of it is similar to the tutorial I posted earlier, or just drop me a line.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Facial Rig for 3ds Max

Inspired by Jason Osipa

I thought I would put this tutorial that I did for a facial rig online. It's a little old, and probably could be improved upon, but it worked well, including working for export to the Gamebryo Game Engine.

The tutorial can be found here (.pdf format)