Friday, December 20, 2013

Daryl Obert Shares some tips n tricks from AU 2013

If you weren't able to attend Daryl's master class this year at Autodesk University , he was kind enough to put up a tips n tricks video based on his presentation

 I always find I pick up a few little things here and there..  here are some of my favorites:

  • in panel view and trans manip hold shift and gesture in a direction you want to constrain movement in 
  • in the attribute editor, using cntrl + LMB will move slow, cntrl + MMB will move medium, and cntrl + RMB will move fast..  ( this is different than cntrl and shift in the channel box)
  • windows key and arrow left or right will dock your open app, up will maximize, down will minimize
  • scene annotation in bonus tools

modeling tips

shelf tips

update ( jan 8th)   Creating the BG for the demo (Daryl is the king of these types of tricks)

4 of 5

5 of 5 Dynamics..

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dec 11th meeting recap

Thanks again to our presenters Mark and Kyle, and to Kathy of CADA and Cinesys-Oceana!

 Here is a link to Mark's blog in case you didn't quite catch everything he did.

  main take away for me was:
      While the one-click buttons are great for transferring back and forth from maya to softimage, you may want to take the power back and use the cache manager from soft for porting particle info back to maya for best results..  and be sure to add rotatePP or any other special channels you might need back in maya that don't come across by default ( another good one is objectID if you are using multiple instanced objects) 

I definitely suggest taking a deeper look into zync for those of you that are interested.. I honestly do believe this is a game changer in our industry.  Every one wants it cheaper faster better.. ZYNC definitely helps in those categories.

thanks again to everyone who came out to watch and participate and look forward to more of these in 2014 ( when we'll all be using maya 2015 )


( some bad iPhone photos from the event... )

Friday, November 8, 2013

3December User's group Meeting : December 11th

Last one of the year!
 Okay So I've got one last Users group meeting for you guys, and since its in December, it counts as a 3December Event..   get it,, 3 D ...

Mark Schonnagal is coming to show how to harness the power of softimage from maya  using  the interoperability tools between maya and soft.  Mark is the lead application engineer for Autodesk softimage.

Brian Drewes of ZYNC will be on hand to give a demo of their cloud based online rendering solution.  We've talked a lot about cloud based render and storage systems and ZYNC, and I'm eager to see a little more into what zync is,  and how it can ease the pain of render farms for small studios and artists.

Brian Drewes is the CEO and co-founder of ZYNC. With nearly 20 years experience as a producer and executive producer on the west and east coast on both commercials and feature films, Brian started ZYNC as a solution to allow boutique facilities and individual artists to utilize massive and powerful computing resources in an on-demand hourly fashion without needing any of the capital start up costs that come with building and maintaining a large render farm.


Kyle Raffile of ZERO VFX will be showing off some of their latest work for RAM trucks made with Maya and Vray and rendered with the help of the ZYNC platform.

Kyle Raffile is a CG Artist at Zero VFX. After graduating in 2009 and freelancing in NYC, he joined Zero VFX as a staff artist in 2011 and has worked on both national commercial spots and feature films.

Zero VFX:
Founded in Boston in 2010 by VFX industry veterans, Zero VFX provides the care and attention to clients of a boutique environment while delivering high end visual effects on numerous national TV commercials and feature films including "Here Comes the Boom", "Zookeeper", "The Way Way Back" and the forthcoming David O. Russell project "American Hustle". Zero's entire rendering pipeline is based on cloud computing and the scalable, on-demand power that ZYNC provides.

This meeting is going to be at the Woolworth Building down by city hall as hosted by NYU CADA!

Woolworth Building
15 Barclay Street - Room 430
NY, NY 10279

6:30pm to 9:30pm
please RSVP to :

View Larger Map

Refreshments and Technical Support Graciously provided by CineSys-Oceana

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autodesk Scripting and SDK learning channel

Not sure how long this youtube channel has been up ( maybe 3 months? )  , but looks pretty great for intro to scripting in Python , MEL, for maya  and xsi and motionbuilder.

 I havn't watched any of them yet, but they look promising...

Introduction to Python Scripting in MAYA :

Part 1: Creating and Manipulating objects

Part 2: working with Selections and Constraints

part 3: Creating a scripted animation

part 4: Generating a user interface

part 5: Custom Attributes and Expressions

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Quick Tip: Hypershade Icons toggle

By now I'm sure you're all using the node editor to create and work with your shaders in maya , but for those of you who are still using that clunky old  hypershade  ESC just posted a quick tip for toggling the icons in it to help speed things up..

 This is something I've been using forever , as it can make a huge difference in speed .. It seems that anytime you can tell the ui in maya to be quite, you get a big speed burst. 

 But, of course pre- Python in maya, the code I use is MEL .   so I thought I'd share it here. its super simple, and not much to it.. and of course you can add to it develop in further if you wish.


renderThumbnailUpdate (!`renderThumbnailUpdate -q`);

Just put that on your shelf and it works as a toggle to turn the hypershade icons off if they are on, and on if they are off.

I'll let ESC share their tip with you for using Python in maya to do the exact same thing.
 ( be sure to check out their other quick tips as they are also super helpful)

Python Code from ESC :

import maya.cmds as cmds
swatchState= cmds.renderThumbnailUpdate(q=True)
if swatchState == 0:
cmds.renderThumbnailUpdate (1)
print("\nSwatches turned ON")
cmds.renderThumbnailUpdate (0)
print("\nSwatches turned OFF")

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Maya Users Group Meeting : Nathan Love & Bio Digital

Okay Summers over and its time to get back to work.   We are having our next Maya users group meeting on Thursday September 26th at the NYC Autodesk Offices.

 I have two presentations lined up for the evening,   BioDigital  and  Nathan Love.

 We'll be starting at 7:30 , with doors opening at 7:00 to allow for some pre meeting mingling.

I think this should prove to be a pretty good offering.. hope you all can make it, and be sure to tell anyone you think might be interested, and if you can.. rsvp.

see you there!


Bio Digital uses Maya to create virtual 3d apps to help everyone better understand accurate anatomy , and health conditions. Using Maya they've created over 5000 objects and animations that can be easily explored over the web.

John will be showing the process they use to create the models and animations that go into such a complex application

Nathan Love is our first repeat presenters, but they've been really busy and have a lot to show. This summer they've put out two fantastic animations to revamp the Froot Loops campaign. Joe , along with some of his crew, will be giving an inside look into the development and creation and what is next for these spots, and maybe for whats in their future.

Food and refreshments sponsored by Brad Porter of Great Eastern Technology

See you all there! please be sure to RSVP at

Thursday September 26th 2013
7:00 PM - 9:30 pm
Autodesk NYC headquarters
38W 21st Street, 9th Floor

Monday, September 9, 2013

ATDSK software rental plans

So it was inevitable , but it looks like they've learned from the Adobe back lash.. Autodesk is going to offer a rental plan along with traditional perpetual licenses.

rather than speculate too much, I'll just point you right to the source.

link here:


1: What is an Autodesk software rental plan?
Autodesk is adding software rental plans as a flexible new way to pay for Autodesk software. Now you can choose to buy a rental plan and pay as you go on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. You'll have access to a fully-featured version of Autodesk software and stay up to date with the latest tools.
2: Which Autodesk Media & Entertainment products are offered with software rental plan licensing?
Autodesk 3ds Max software
Autodesk Maya software
Autodesk Maya LT software
Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite
Standard, Premium and Ultimate editions
For a complete list of Autodesk software rental plans, please refer to the Autodesk Software Rental Plan FAQ
3: Do I have to choose a rental plan if I want to purchase Autodesk software?
With new rental plans, you have more choices on how to buy Autodesk software. You can choose to buy a rental plan or a perpetual license depending on what works best for you.
4: How much do rental plans cost?
Cost will vary by product and by the length (monthly, quarterly, or annual) of the rental plan. In all cases, you pay up front for the full duration of the rental plan. And, the longer the commitment you make, the more you can save. For more information on Autodesk rental plan pricing, visit, the Autodesk Store, or speak to an Autodesk Authorized Reseller.
5: Are there any differences in the software depending on how I license it?
Both software rental plans and perpetual licenses offer the same full, commercial version of Autodesk software that you install on your desktop. You also have similar maintenance and support options whether you buy a rental plan or a perpetual license with Autodesk® Subscription. The primary difference is that when a rental plan ends, the software stops working until you renew your plan or purchase a new rental plan. With a perpetual license if you stop renewing your Subscription you will lose the maintenance and support benefits; however, your software will continue to function. Regardless of how you buy, you will always retain ownership of your work and the files you created within the software.
6: What happens when my rental term ends?
Rental plans purchased on the Autodesk Store will automatically renew at the end of each term. Software rental plans purchased from an Autodesk Authorized Reseller allow you to choose whether or not to renew at the end of each term.
7: Are rental plans right for everybody?
Not necessarily. Autodesk is adding rental plans to give you more choices in how you pay for and access software. For freelancers or small businesses, rental plans can be a great choice that provides immediate access to Autodesk software without the full upfront cost of a perpetual license. Rental plans can also be a good way to ramp up for a short-term project. For longer projects, or for people planning to use Autodesk software on an ongoing basis, a perpetual license plan with Subscription may be your best choice.
8: Will a rental plan cost me more in the long run?
Software rental plans may end up costing you more than a perpetual license, depending on how long you use the software. For short-term use, rental plans can be a cost-effective way to access Autodesk software. If you are going to use the software on a regular and ongoing basis, you should consider the cost benefits of paying for a perpetual license with Autodesk Subscription. You can decide which option works best for you based on your project pipeline and budget.
9: When and where can I buy an Autodesk Rental Plan?
Rental plans will be available soon. You'll be able to purchase a monthly or annual rental plan directly from the Autodesk Store. You can purchase quarterly or annual plans from an Autodesk Authorized Reseller. For more information, see the 'buy' page for the Autodesk product you're interested in on
10: Where can I go to get more information on Autodesk software rental plans?
Find out more about Autodesk software rental plans at

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bonus Tools for maya 2014

Steven Roselle has blessed us again with bonus tools for maya..

you can get the latest update here:

Once you have installed,  remember to run bonusToolsMenu in your script editor.
or add it to you userSetup.mel script, so it will load everytime in Maya.

there are a number of new tools: 
  •    Display -> Toggle X-Ray per Mesh/Surface
  •    Window -> Assembly Manager
  •    Window -> Script Editor -> Print OptionVars
  •    Window -> Script Editor -> Print GlobalVars
  •    Modeling -> Collapse Edge Ring Tool
  •    Modeling -> Convert Selection to Perimeter Edges
  •    Modeling -> Delete Edge Loop Tool
  •    Modeling -> Delete Connected Edges Tool
  •    UV Editing -> Nudge UVs
  •    UV Editing -> Tile UVs
  •   Rendering -> Add Transparency Attribute
  •   Help -> Refresh BonusTools Menu
  • Modify -> Move Selected to Camera

and updated tools : 
  • Modeling -> Select Every N-th Edge Loop/Ri
  • Modeling -> DrawSplit
  • Modeling -> DrawReduce
  • Modeling -> Spin Edge Tool
  • Animation -> Setup Arm
  •  Rendering -> Assign Checker Shader
  •  General -> Python path is now setup automatically for every OS

and here Steven goes over some of whats new in a handy little video: 

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Videos from the Autodesk Anaheim Event @ Siggraph 2013

Some new video updates from the 2013 Siggraph Anaheim Users Group Event.

be sure to follow up here

Welcome to ATDSK User event 2013 Opening from Chris Bradshaw

Behind the curtain of RD:
  • xgen in maya
  • bifrost  ( previously naiad)

Open SubDiv ( from pixar)

Duncan's Corner

Xbox Game Development

Production Club  (Skrillex Cell)

  • motion capture
  • xsens 

Reality to Unity

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bullet Physics Enhancements in Maya 2014 Ext

Another video demo for the upcoming release of Maya 2014 EXT ...  ( hopefully available mid sept)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Maya2014 Extension - expected september 16th

I know you just downloaded SP2 , but wait, there's more! ( if your on subscription )

The Extension for Autodesk® Maya® 2014 software brings you the power of some of the industry’s best technology, with new tools and enhancements that help you more easily create the complex, high-quality assets required by today’s demanding productions. With the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator for creating hair, fur, feathers, grass, foliage, and other instanced data; a new retopology toolset; new robust and efficient Boolean operations; and enhancements to the Bullet physics plug-in, the Extension for Maya 2014 delivers increased productivity to modelers, animators, and effects artists.

XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator
With the extension for Maya 2014, you get access to the XGen Arbitrary Primitive Generator technology used by Walt Disney Animation Studios in the hit animated films Tangled, and Bolt, and by Pixar Animation Studios in Toy Story 3.  XGen enables you to generate curves, spheres, and custom geometry on the surface of polygon meshes in order to create and groom hair, fur, and feathers on characters, and quickly populate large landscapes with grass, foliage, trees, rocks, and debris trails. With geometry created procedurally at render time, XGen enables you to handle large amounts of instanced data that would slow down a system if loaded in memory. The rendered effect can be previewed interactively in the Maya Viewport 2.0 hardware-accelerated display; you can control the appearance and behavior of the primitives by setting attributes, painting maps, creating expressions, or using the included XGroom interactive grooming toolset; long hair can be controlled by creating guide hairs, which can be simulated using the Maya nHair toolset.

Better Booleans
Maya now employs a robust and efficient new library for faster and more reliable Boolean operations on polygon geometry. The new technology has been extensively tested and optimized on a number of complex high-resolution datasets, and delivers dependable results on open surfaces.

Bullet Physics Enhancements
The Extension for Maya 2014 delivers several enhancements to the Bullet plug-in that enables you to use the open source Bullet physics engine to create large-scale, highly realistic dynamic and kinematic simulations within Maya. Delivered in conjunction with AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), the Bullet plug-in now offers the ability to create compound collision shapes from multiple meshes; produces better collisions with concave shapes, thanks to a new Hierarchical Approximate Convex Decomposition (HACD) algorithm; integrates with Maya Forces; and support rigid sets for increased scalability.

New Retopology Toolset
The NEX modeling technology first integrated in Autodesk Maya 2014 software has been further extended to offer a streamlined workflow for retopologizing meshes; the Quad Draw tool now integrates a new Relax and Tweak feature with Soft Selection, and a new interactive Edge Extend tool. You can now optimize your meshes for cleaner deformations and better performance from a single toolset within Maya.

more info:

Maya 2014 SP2 released

Maya 2014 SP2 is now out in the wild and ready for download!

Its mostly if not totally bug fixes.. but that's cool with me.

This Service pack is a FULL release, so be sure to uninstall your previous Maya 2014 before installing this service pack!


                  Bug Number Description
    • MAYA-23241   Fixed crash undoing the merge of animLayers.
    • MAYA-25123 Fixed HIK regression causing spine joints to have unexpected transform values after characterization. 
    • MAYA-25127 Fixed hang in Graph Editor when massive numbers of keys are selected.
    • MAYA-25620   Animation not updated when setting a key with animation layers. 
    • MAYA-25717 Fixed skinCluster binding issue.  
    • MAYA-26089 Fixed issue with smooth skin clusters and popping vertices when painting weights.  
    • MAYA-26093 HIK : Baking auxiliary effector is corrupting referenced file. 
    • MAYA-26221 Global scale in HumanIK not working on Mac and Linux.  

    • MAYA-21980   Pre-selection highlighting flickers when camera-based selection is enabled.
    • MAYA-22931   Detach edge breaks locked vertex normal.
    • MAYA-23694 Fixed mismatch of vertex normal method on shape node. 
    • MAYA-22948 Selection Constraints do not work with Marquee.
    • MAYA-25787 Fixed crash when using Artisan on a mesh with no UVs.  
    • MAYA-25797 Fixed a crash when changing display mode after lattice work. 
    • MAYA-26348 Remove the In View Messaging for soft select radius for better performance of Soft Selection Tool. 
    • MAYA-26500 polyEdgeToCurve crashes when evaluating inputComponents if inputMesh is invalid. 
    • MAYA-24840 Fixed an undo crash when using the Multi-Cut tool.   
    • MAYA-25524 Polygon Constraint window "Reset and close" button randomly crashes
    • MAYA-26697 Surface Precision set to “High” causes NURBS in shaded mode to be drawn offset
    • MAYA-23938 Quad draw: construction history is always created when using quad draw and a transform constraint
    • MAYA-23070 Crash when doing a polySeparate on some meshes

    • MAYA-24829 Maya on Mac OS X hangs on exit in TCIPClient::shutdown
    • MAYA-26539 CERs on Mac OS X 10.9 cannot get assigned to buckets
    • MAYA-18962   Maya crashes when creating Lattice deformer for nParticle that has been converted to Polygon.   
    • MAYA-20555   Panel tear off causes crash when a plug-in tool is active.  
    • MAYA-24579 Fixed a problem in the .Net dagexplorer (wpfexample) sample plug-in.
    • MAYA-25019   Can't unload plug-ins that are derived from MPxDataType.  

    File Referencing - Reference Edits
    • MAYA-25752   File referencing: post-load callback massively increasing load times (complicated by nodeEditorPanel data). 
    • MAYA-26262   Fixed a crash with export as reference.  
    • MAYA-26477 Parent reference edits are not persistent. 

      mental ray  
      • MAYA-20369   Fixed a problem where Mayatomr plug-in was causing the scene to prompt to save even when it was unchanged. 
      • MAYA-25074 Fix for UV Texture Editor with legacy style plug-in shaders.
      • MAYA-25246 Fixed crash after selecting Use Selected Lights for lighting on new scene. 
      • MAYA-24958 Fixed a crash with batch playblasts on Mac OS X  if "-showOrnaments" is disabled. 
      • MAYA-24396 Camera aim and up cannot be selected in Viewport 2.0.
      • MAYA-24395 Skinning: Mesh display is incorrect when zooming out of Viewport 2.0 while in the Paint Skin Weights Tool.
      • MAYA-26489 Batch render does not render ornaments (HUD) when using the Maya Hardware 2.0 renderer.
      • MAYA-24121 "Show ornaments" toggle does not work in Viewport 2.0 playblasts
      • MAYA-17875 Apparent interaction between viewport plug-ins and mental ray IBL “Hardware Exposure”

      Scene Assembly
      • MAYA-24498 Fixed scene assembly issue where some edits would persist unexpectedly when switching representations. 
      • MAYA-25047 MPxAssembly node compute method is now invoked when necessary. 

      UI General  
      • MAYA-25920   Removed a previous windows optimization that is no longer needed, which caused a slowdown in the Graph Editor on  Mac OS X and Linux.  

      more info etc:

      Wednesday, August 7, 2013

      Maya 2014 Modeling Improvements overview..

      Steven Roselle goes over some of the modeling improvements in Maya 2014 , focusing on Modeling Took Kit but also on some of the improvements to existing tools.

      • quad draw (new , MTK ) 
      • shrink wrap ( new , MTK ) 
      • topology based symmetry (new , MTK)
      • symmeterize (new , MTK ) 

      ( update: August 22 2013)
      part 2

      • updated to bridge tool
      • marking menus for modeling tools
      • connect
      • multi-cut
      • edge flow

      Monday, August 5, 2013

      face shift marker less facial motion capture

      When I first saw this I got pretty excited.  Its markless facial capture down with a kinect or similar device.  Apparently the people who actually build the kinect sensor bar, also make higher end versions of it.

       The kinect sensor of course is really cheap, and even the higher end sensor bar shown here is around $200 from

      and the software even comes with  a free plug-in for maya.

      all very cool.

       Only catch , at least for personal use, is the face shift software itself costs. it comes in two price points.

      So $1500 a year, or $800 a year.   so for the average person, a little steep. but for a studio, not so bad.

      you just lose the realtime streaming with the freelance version.

      still, it looks pretty awesome..    and they do offer a 30 day trial, and a $150 a year for noncommercial projects. ( video after some pics)   I hope to get a trial of it soon!

      Wednesday, July 31, 2013

      HIFI3D helps playstation 4 "see the future"

      Jonathan Dorfman and Szymon Weglarski of HIFI3D just finished this awesome promo piece for Sony PlayStation 4.

      Below is a cutdown of the some of the animation they did for a live launch event that was streamed from the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC to millions of fans around the world.

      They were also kind of enough to give a little QnA on the making of! ( see below)

      SM:   awesome job.. about how long did you have to do all the shots? and how many artists ?

      JD: Thanks! Since most of the animation had to be based on the interviews, we had about a week of R+D, and only about 2-3 weeks to create 4.5 minutes of animation. It was a tough job to staff, since we didn't know exactly what we were going to be animating when we started booking people. We ended up with a team of 13 artists, pretty evenly split between 3D, motion graphics and design/illustration. My wife Lucy, who works in childrens books, even came in for a few days to knock out some character designs.

      SM: how much design did you get to do of the piece? characters? places ? etc

      JD: We worked closely with Timothy Smith, an Art Director at Sony, whose personal illustration style we used as a launch point. We then generated concepts and artwork in-house. 

      SW: We would get the interview footage and concepts from Sony, and then send them our storyboards and designs to connect all the different ideas.

      SM:  can you explain a little about the process? how much was hand drawn and then animated as flat art vs 3d that had shaders on it?

      JD: We ended up using a really wide range of approaches, depending on the needs of each shot. We were aiming for a mixed-media look. All of the characters are 2d art, but some of them were rigged and animated in maya, while others were done in After FX. The F1 car, the biplane and some other elements were animated in 3d, and rendered in a few passes that were filtered, offset and comped in After Fx.

      SM:anything special you can share about the uncrumpling of the paper? ( rigs/anm/modeling? )

      JD: We considered creating the crumple effect in 3D, but ended up going the traditional stop motion route. We actually printed out each element, and shot them crumpling in reverse with a DSLR on our coffee table.
      SW: It was one of the more fun effects in the spot.

      SM:There are a lot of cool transitions for each sequence, anything special you can tell us about they way they were done?

      JD: Since we had such a diverse team, we ended up doing some of the voxel-based transitions in ICE, and used a mix of 2D and 3D particles for the symbol-based transitions.

      SM:do you find it sad that the guy walking down the street looking at his phone, missed out on missing the girl of his dreams cause they are both looking down at their phones?

      SW: We had a lot of fun with that sequence. Aside from locking down the key elements like the hero guy, we gave the artist a lot of creative freedom to populate the background extras. There's even a cat playing with a Sony tablet on the coffee table. Who knows if he actually missed out on the girl, maybe they met up on their Sony device and played some Street Fighter against each other.

      SM:did you get a free PS4 out of the job?

      JD: Not yet, but if it proves too difficult to get our hands on a launch-day PS4, we may try to call in a favor!

      SM: thanks for the interview, you guys ROCK!


      Jonathan Dorfman and Szymon Weglarski launched their digital animation/VFX company, HiFi 3D, in 2010 to provide high-end animation production services for a variety of media, from commercials to feature films. They work in a wide range of styles from heavily stylized to realistic. Their work on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" recently won an Emmy for “Outstanding Special Visual Effects" and a VES award for "Outstanding Models in a Broadcast Program or Commercial"

      Szymon Weglarski's specialties are photo-real 3d work and live-action integration. While working at some of the top commercial effects houses, his work has appeared in a wide range of projects, from an award-winning Super Bowl spot for FedEx, another high profile Super Bowl spot for Bridgestone, the Geico Gecko ad series and long form animation spots for Coca Cola. Other notable clients include Michelin, M&M's, Dodge, and Nissan.

      Jonathan Dorfman is an Emmy award-winning vfx artist. He has worked with many of the top commercial effects houses in New York, creating a wide variety of work for clients such as Coca Cola, HBO, MTV, IBM, Rockstar Games, Microsoft, HP, Verizon and AT&T.

      to learn more about hifi and their work for playstation4 :

      Whats new in Maya 2014 - from the nvidia booth Siggraph 2013

      Daryl Obert shows off some of the new features in Maya 2014 ( with a  slant towards everything that a new nVidia gfx card and DX11 can give you )

      Video streaming by Ustream

      VES white paper on the Feasibility of VFX subsidies

      one of the things mentioned last night at the VES party, was their white paper on the "feasibility of VFX subsidies"  you can read it here..

      or you can listen to an fxGuide podcast on it here.

      Tuesday, July 30, 2013

      Maya 2014 - joint creation updates -

      Steven Roselle goes over some of the new joint creation settings in maya 2014

      Naiad / Bi-Frost rumors rumors rumors...

      So there have been tons of rumors flying around on the future of Naiad since it was acquired by autodesk, and what exactly is bi-frost

        A particular 3dsMax forum has been going crazy over what was shown at the Autodesk Users Group meeting in Anneheim at Siggraph 2013, and the lack of 3dsMax updates..  I wasn't there , but apparently there was a lot of Maya shown.   Also a sneak peak at bi-frost was shown, which is believed to be the next generation of what naiad is to become.

       I'm under NDA so I can't share anything, but I can tell you, that I also don't know anything.

      the most reliable comment found so far on the 3dsMax forum has actually come from one of the founders of naiad Marcus Nordenstam.

       For now, I think the best thing to do is give them a little air to breathe, and hopefully they will get something out soon to get everyone excited over.

       I'm excited to see what comes out.. but I'm not going to hold my breath just yet.

      ( below is the post from Marcus that was on )

      by Marcus Nordenstam - July 26, 2013 9:57 pm
      Hello everyone,
      It seems many people are arriving at incorrect conclusions in regards to Naiad and Bifrost, and how they relate to Maya and Max.
      Naiad was a standalone, node-based software that did fluid simulation (liquids in particular). You had to use a separate app (Naiad Studio) to make Naiad graphs, and then export the sim output into Max.
      “Project Bifrost” (which is a CODE-name, btw, not necessarily the actual product name) is also a standalone, more general, node-based software that will do fluid-simulation – and much more, in time.
      Bifrost does not know about Maya. There isn’t a single line of code in Bifrost that directly uses the Maya API. Maya, on the other hand, can be made to know about Bifrost. That’s how we, as a test, integrated Bifrost into Maya. It follows that Bifrost could easily be integrated into other DCCs, be made as a standalone product, ported to the iPad – you name it. One of the many strengths of the Bifrost architecture lies in the fact that it’s “product agnostic” and that it can “go anywhere”.
      What we showed at the Autodesk User Group last week was the results of our experimental Maya integration. We have to focus on one product and do it right, and the decision was to go with Maya. I understand that users of other products such as Max may feel disappointed, but before you condemn Autdoesk to the 7th circle of hell you should take note of two things:
      1. Autodesk has NOT said that Maya is the only DCC that will ever run Bifrost. Just because Maya was chosen does not mean it won’t appear elsewhere.
      2. Even if Maya, in the end, is the only DCC to allow Bifrost FX authoring, is that really all that different from Naiad Studio? Nobody was complaining that you had to use Naiad Studio to author Naiad graphs, then export the sim output into your favorite DCC, and go from there? How would this be vastly different? Maya can, in the worst case, be viewed as a “better” Naiad Studio. Use Maya for making your Bifrost FX graphs – then export the sim results into Max and go from there. This is what you did with Naiad Studio + Max, and you can do it with Maya + Max.
      I understand your frustrations, but I wanted to give you guys a bit of perspective :-)
      Best wishes,
      Marcus Nordenstam
      Any claims that “Bifrost is part of Maya” are false claims.

      Character Design With Danny Williams ( zbrush workshops - Aug3rd)

      For those of you that don't know or ( the artist formerly known as Danny Williams) , he is an amazing talent and excellent teacher .  Prior to leaving the east coast for Dream Works, he used to teach at SVA and work for BlueSky Studios.

       He has done several classes for visualarium and online and is always eager to learn more and discuss and teach as well !

       if you can, I highly recommend taking his course.

      more info on Danny and the upcoming class !

      giant overview of Danny's class from a google hang out last night!!

      VES 2nd Annual Summer Party - tonight 7 - midnight

      I'm not a member of the VES but this should prove to be interesting... 

      tonight is the NY chapter of the VES 2nd annual summer party at the delancy.

      FREE well drinks, beer and wine…and Pizza.

      FREE entry to Members and +1 Guest.

      Non-Members and Unaccompanied Guests $20 at the door. Cash only.

      The NY Section Board would like to encourage ALL Members to attend and bring a guest who might be interested in joining.

      There are important matters the board would like to discuss with members about the state of the industry. 

      We would like to thank our event Sponsors

      • The Molecule
      • Look FX
      • Mr X Gotham
      • Phosphene
      • The Mill
      • Method Studios
      • Moving Picture Company
      • Big Film Design
      • Company 3
      • PAWS & Co
      • Deluxe NY
      • Framestore
      • Brainstorm Digital
      • WorleyWorks
      • Paws & Co
      • Nice Shoes
      • Encore VFX
      • GoldCrest
      • PhaseSpace
      • Silicon Imaging

      168 Delancey Street, New York, New York 10002

      Thursday, July 25, 2013

      NYC studio Map

      Wow, I havn't updated this thing in a really long time...

      in the interim , heres from the last update

      let me know of updates and missing studios, and I'll add them... ( did nathan love move? )

      View ANIMATION STUDIOS in a larger map

      Leap Motion Plug-in for Maya

      Wondering what to do with your new Leap Motion, and how it can make your job more fun?

      its like a theremin for maya !

      ( Leon Theremin, presenting,, the theremin )

      Tuesday, July 23, 2013

      FBX review -

      Autodesk just posted this cool little FBX viewer.

      I'll let you follow the link for more information...

      Friday, July 19, 2013

      Anzovin - ART - preview update / TSM update

      Just posting some of the updates that have recently come along with ART from Anzovin

       for those of you that missed it, Raf Anzovin and his team have been developing a new paradigm in tools for rigging in maya.
        Rather than using Bones, the ART tools use a bone spline.   Not only does this help out tremendously with giving artists the ability to stretch , bend, and twist their joints nicely, it adds a host of functionality in terms of volume preservation, being able to add additional controls at any place and even slide them, and a built in Pose Space Deformer System.

       Still in pre-alpha but pushing forward, Raf put out some new videos highlighting the current development

      ART - preview

      ART - setup for non-cartoony rigging

      ART - constraint

      ART - rigging a torso

      They've also put out a new video for "The Setup Machine"

      Wednesday, July 10, 2013

      MASH 2.0 released

      I've only played a little with MASH but I liked what I could see so far.. It looks like they've added a little bit more functionality, and stability in the next release.
      and with that comes  a new price  £89.99

      if you haven't played with it, I highly recommend checking out the tutorials and downloading the trial version.   ( its not ice for maya, but it does do a lot of cool procedurally node based setups)

      mash 2.0 highlight demo reel

      some of the new Features in Mash 2.1

      • Flight node
      • math node
      • initial state node
      • multi curve node now allows for multiple curves
      • random node min max sliders added
      • offset node now features "closest point on mesh" 
      • distribute node features more options
      • mute node 
      • orient node
      • ability to delete and maintain connections on any mash node
      • faster as its not 100% C++ based
      • supports maya instancer
      • menu based setup vs shelf button for simplified use
      • extensive bug fixing

      there are also a number of updates and bug fixes all listed on the Mainframe site:

      mash: crowd tutorial

      mash Flight node:

      mash: Flight along a curve

      mash: flight and obstacles

      mash: flight Predator / prey

      Friday, June 28, 2013

      MAYA shot mask python Script from Chris Zurbrigg

      You may know Chris Zurbrigg from his script "blue pencil" , he just released a new super helpful script for making shot masks for playblast cameras inside of maya  it has a ton of options and customization..

      looks super cool  you can download it here:

      atdsk: Meet the Experts - Ptex painting in Mudbox

      From what I can tell, this is the exact same presentation from the webinar a couple days ago...

      Mostly focuses on painting and working with Ptex in maya

      What is Ptex?  ( to me ptex is how you repair a divot in your snowboard base)

      • Per Face texture assignment
      • UV free workflow
      • Uniform, balanced, smooth texture, layout
      • production proven:  Disney/Pixar open source project
      • PRman, Mental ray, vray supported.. and some other renderers

      Brief History

      Pros & Cons


      • instant setup, no need to create and layout uvs
      • zero distortion and limited seam issues ( if any) 
      • no need to iterate or make special uv setups
      • can instantly start texturing, with the ability to export to uv maps later when they are created

      • still doesn't support all texture formats
      • not supported all render engine and game engines
      •  not editable in a 2D package
      • vert changes need to update uvs  ( still not sure what the best protocol is on this one) 

      and here as promised is the webinar video from ATDSK expert :   Craig Barr

      Wednesday, June 26, 2013

      Mudbox Retopo - from 123DCatch

      nabbed this off the atdsk BLOG AMALGAMATION which focuses more on 3dSMax and Smoke, but I found it pretty interesting.. I've been using 123D catch for  a while now, and I love it.. and combined with the new retopo in 2014 it makes it super useful for building assets..

       if you are havn't been using 123DCatch, I definitely recommend checking it out.

      here is a bunny sculpture I captured and then used FBX into maya.

      in any case... here is the info from the ATDSK blog

      In this video, I show the basic concepts behind the workflow and interop of Autodesk Catch123D, 3ds Max and Mudbox.  Highlights include the FREE creation of high resolution, textured models using photogrammetry techniques in Autodesk Catch123D (3D models from real-world photography).
      The resulting, high resolution, triangulated mesh is cleaned up in 3ds Max and then, using the one-click interop between 3ds Max and Mudbox, a live link is created and the models is passed off to Mudbox.
      Using the new Retopology feature of Mudbox 2014, a cleaner, quad mesh is generated with lower levels of detail, a normal map is extracted from the original high resolution mesh, and the final result is passed back to 3ds Max for use in tasks like rigging, lighting rendering or exporting to a game engine.

      Tuesday, June 25, 2013

      Randomizing objects and verts

      Steven Roselle recently updated Maya's bonus tools for 2014, and put out a video showing the "randomizer" tool. Specifically for randomizing transforms and verts

      I've been using a script called "transform type in" for years that works similarly

      but it looks like the randomizer may have a little more to offer. I especially like that you can use the sliders interactively on the objects.

      Monday, June 24, 2013

      Painting with Ptex MudBox webinar - Tuesday June 25th

      I'm sure some of you would be interested in this upcoming webinar hosted by Autodesk on using PTEX in Mudbox and rendering with Mental Ray.

      be sure to from the link below.

      ( from the site)

      Hello everyone,
      I wanted to let everyone know that I am hosting a Webinar this Tuesday June 25th on Ptex in Mudbox!
      Europe:   Time: 13:00-14:00 GMT/14:00-15:00 CET
      Americas: Time: 1:00-2:00 PDT/4:00-5:00 EDT
      Tuesday June 25th
      Join Craig Barr and celebrate as he eliminates the need for UV’s with Ptex Painting in Autodesk®Mudbox® 2014. Ptex in Mudbox provides the freedom from UVs and allows for a clean, high-resolution texturing environment.
      Topics covered in this webinar include:
      Painting toolset,
      Ptex mesh preparation,
      Layer blending,
      Rendering in Mental Ray.
      Attend this webinar to find out how Mudbox (included in Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites) can help animators spend more time being artists.

      - Craig Barr

      and for those of you who havn't updated yet.. Mudbox SP1 is available

      Thursday, June 20, 2013

      ZYNC goes Public

      ZYNC appears to making some more headway in getting their cloud rendering solutions out to the public.

      They have now publicly launched their product and are out of beta!

      so far these are the supported softwares
      • Maya 2012 and up
      • Nuke 6 and up
      • V-Ray (including nightly builds)
      • Mental Ray
      they are also supporting the following plug-ins
      • Peregrine Labs’ Bokeh
      • Ocula by The Foundry
      • Rolling Shutter by The Foundry
      • Furnace by The Foundry
      • GenArts Sapphire
      • Mental Core for Maya
      • Frischluft Lenscare
      It should prove interesting for small houses to take advantage of large rendering firepower.

      ZYNC billing overview...