Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fume FX released for MAYA !

Even though you can move back and forth from Maya to 3dsMax, its really awesome to see that fume Fx has found its way into Maya so you don't have to!

( from the site)


Welcome to the FumeFX - a groundbreaking solution designed for realistic and breathtaking fire, smoke and explosion effects.  This unique plug-in is a powerful gaseous fluid dynamics simulator created by Sitni Sati for seamless integration with Autodesk Media & Entertainment’s Maya™ modeling and animation software.  Designed for use by visual effects artists, game developers, and visualization professionals who demand the utmost in realism, FumeFX is unrivalled in its ability to capture the nuance and complexity of fluid gas behavior.

FumeFX for 3ds max has been already production proven in feature film titles such as Oblivion, Hugo, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,Thor, Red Tails, Priest, 2012, Skyline, Suckerpunch, Spiderman 3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Superman Returns, Iron Man, The Host (Gwoemul) and various games cinematics such as Warhammer Online, Classic Transformers and Dante's Inferno while FumeFX for Maya has been used on The Avengers, Oz the Great and Powerful and Thor.

Key Features

- Production proven results demonstrate this technology's ability to achieve realistic smoke and fire effects for cutting-edge industry applications.
- FumeFX supplements the user's artistic vision with the power of real-world physics for the ultimate in both style and realism.
- GPU accelerated Preview Windows with self-shadows, multiple scattering and geometry.
- A multitude of parameters and FumeFX helpers give users maximum control of the fluid's behavior and appearance.
- Easy to use, basic effects can be created with just a few clicks.
- Dynamic simulations allow for bi-directional influence between FumeFX and particle systems.
- FumeFX is capable of dynamic interaction with other scene objects.


- Simulation of nested grids in one go (N-Sim).
- Powerfull Effectors that can contol almost every parameter on a per-voxel basis.
- Application of various Deformers on caches.
- FumeFX can use Variable Density solver that uses smoke density and temperature as variables.
- Start simulations from scratch or by using other simulation results as a starting point.
- Stop, pause and continue simulations at any point.
- Simulation is multithreaded - users can select how many CPU's to dedicate to their simulation.
- Users can watch the simulation progress in the interactive GPU accelerated Preview Window.
- Interactive simulation allows user to change almost every parameter during the simulation and see it's influence on the simulation result.
- Draft simulations can be created in mere minutes for fast previewing.
- Multiple advection schemes that can minimize numerical dissipation.
- User has control of which data is written to output files for rendering and further processing.
- Wavelet Turbulence algorithm quickly adds extra detail to low resolution simulation caches while preserving the existing overall motion.
- Retimer is a very efficient and fast method to slow down or speed up caches without the need to re-run simulation.
- Post Processing module can significantly reduce cache size by optimizing grid size around smoke/fire. It also allows users to decide which channels will be excluded from the final caches.


- mental ray renderer support - available for both Windows and Linux.
- The GPU accelerated Preview Window gives users almost instant feedback on render settings.
- Fast self-shadowing is produced through an Illumination Map which is integrated inside of the FumeFX object.
- A highly efficient Multiple Scattering model enhances light dispersion throughout fluid .
- Fluid Mapping integrates procedural map details with fluid motion.

Everything I Can See From Here -- an animated short by The Line

The area just posted a really nice making of for this short "Everything I can see from here"

The team from "the line" used Maya for the animation of the main character.

check out the full story here:

making of "Lie & Holst"

Great little break down of the making of for this short "Lie & Holst"
Can't wait to see the actual film.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Upcoming Maya Webinar + Area Tuesday May 28th

I just saw this on Steven Roselle's blog. Looks like it could be pretty interesting..

Hey Maya people!  I just wanted to let everyone know that I'll be hosting an upcoming Maya centric webcast next week on Tuesday May 28th at 1pm PDT / 4pm EST
  • What is the Maya Open Data initiative?
  • What is Scene Assembly?
  • Triggering Scene Assemblies: Manual, Event, Render
  • Custom Tools for Managing Scene Assembly
  • Characters  Assemblies
Details below…
Date: Tuesday May 28
Time: 1pm PDT/ 4pm EST
Join Autodesk Technical Specialist, Steven Roselle as he discusses the Maya Open Data initiative and demonstrates a variety of Scene Assembly workflows.
The Maya Open Data initiative is about providing tools, functionality and workflows that facilitate the management of complex scenes, parallel pipelines and custom data.  As part of this initiative, Scene Assembly was designed and implemented in Maya 2013 Extension Release, and expanded in May 2014.   Scene Assembly is a new scalable referencing system for Maya 2014. Steven will demonstrate how Scene Assembly makes managing and manipulating complex scenes more intuitive and efficient.

click here for more info:

also, check out this  video over view of Scene Assembly tools to get more familiar

Thursday, May 23, 2013

SIGGRAPH 2013 : Technical Papers Preview Trailer

Some really amazing technical achievements in this Siggraph Tech Papers Preview Trailer!

I especially like the paper, make it stand, and snow simulation stuff.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Judd Simantov on character rigging and modeling in Naughty Dog's The Last of Us

I thought this was pretty cool and wanted to share.

 Its from GDC , and its Judd Simantov , 3D artist and co-founder of Game Character Academy.

 He's showing some of the techniques they used for their upcoming game "The Last of Us"

The cinamtics are really well done, and I really like the look and the animation of the characters.

I especially like the facial setup they used, which is all joints, with a lot of attention to detail, especially in the eye movments.  Something that the recent nVidia / face works  demo, was lacking.( but don't get me wrong, that demo is amazing!!)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

QnA with David Chontos about Psyop's "EARTH DAY “RETHINK BUTTS” ad.

A little while ago Psyop finished this excellent PSA entitled "Earth day Rethink butts" with Butler Bros.   for "Legacy For Health".

 The ad challenges our ideas of scale taking us from a micro to macro world all within a single shot. As  usual the psyop team put out a beautiful spot, even if the subject matter is anything but.

 I got the chance to talk a little bit with David Chontos, who not only directed the piece, but was also responsible for much of the work on the spot.

First off, amazing work, and thank you so much for taking the time out to chat.

About how long did the project run, about how many people ,  and what was your roll ?

 We finished the pitch at the beginning of February, and delivered the job on March 8. For this type of job, it was a pretty fast turn around, given both the amount of FX and the fact that it's one seamless 30-second shot. The whole team was 11 people. I am the Director, but I also am very involved in the CG, working on textures, lighting and some of the FX.

 How much Directorial Control did psyop have over the project. You guys tend to lend such amazing Creative to projects. I can only imagine "Legacy for Health" let you take full creative control .

 We were provided with the script and a full explanation of the concept, and worked alongside the agency (Butler Bros) to arrive at the final product. The script and the concept were both so fantastic and straightforward that we were free to concentrate on the design and production.

 Can you talk a little bit about the modeling and design of the "factory" ... was that mostly inhouse design and worked up as 3d? Did you do any zbrush/mudbox sculpting for the design. or was it more of a 2D process and then realized in 3D?

 The original styleframe was created by myself and one of our fantastic Designers, Lilit Hayrapetyan. We worked together to build and texture a 3d model, then do some paint and comp work on top of the rendered image. We worked entirely from reference and made interchangeable pieces that we could move around interactively.

There are lot of gloopy liquids in the beginning. How were those achieved ( real flow?softimage ice trees ? ) Were you able to do any "reusing" of pre existing sims and rework them from tube to tube?
 There Is also an excellent button , right before the reveal where a bit of structure/ash that drops, was that simmed or hand animated? ( looks like some nice cloth animation in there as well )

 All the liquids were simulated using RealFlow by Jason Mortimer, our FX Artist on the job. There were also a variety of 2D Fluid effects projected on the surface of the water to help give it more motion and detail. Each sim was unique due to the interaction between the pipes. The falling ash was made using NCloth to create a rigid 'tearable' surface that shattered on impact.

 Throughout the whole piece there are really nice atmospheric effects. How much of that was 3D and how much 2D?

 The atmosphere was a mix of volumetric lights, environment fog, 3d fluids, 2D lens effects and comp tricks.

I'm still assuming none of this was shot elements,, so I have to ask about the grass at the end and how that was achieved. As well as the really nice shader work on the pool of water, and how its reflection fades out in a nice realistic manner, was that something you got for free in the render? or did you have to do some comp trickery for that?

 There were no shot elements, besides photographic reference for the textures. The grass is just hand-styled paint effects converted to geometry. The reflection at the end, however, was just faded by hand to match the camera move.

 What was your primary 3d packages ? rendered in ... arnold ? from soft ? comped in nuke?

 We did the modeling in Maya and 3D Max. It was animated, lit, and rendered in Maya using Arnold. It was precomped in Nuke, then assembled and finished in Flame.

since you guys use a variety of software, how do you decided on which to use for each project?

The choice of software used is always based on a variety of factors.  Mainly it's derived from the availability of artists, or specific technical advantages.  In this case, as I was going to be helping in the cg production, we chose Maya because it's what I'm most familiar and proficient in.

Were there any major challenges or hurdles specific to this job vs the normal stuff you might do?

 The biggest challenge was the uninterrupted length of the spot; coordinating all the fluid FX, assembling the comp, and animating the camera are all made infinitely harder. Also, the scale of the factory was increased by a factor of 5 after the initial design process, which made us use larger, more detailed texture maps and models, increasing the overall complexity of the spot by the same amount. 

There is one thing that I would love to add. This was, by far, the best working experience I've ever had with an agency in my career of almost 10 years. Not only did they provide us with excellent creative to start with, they consistently gave us the most logical, well-considered and relevant feedback I've ever received from a client. We truly collaborated on everything from scene layout to sound design, and it was an absolute pleasure to have such capable and respectful partners, which, arguably, made the end result as powerful as it is.

Thanks so much to David, and for everyone at Psyop for sharing there time and info for this look into behind the scenes.

for more info on Psyop and to see more of their amazing work head to:



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

FrameStore : making of "snap dragon coming soon"

Frame store recently posted some really nice behind the scenes footage and making of for their awesome commercial "Snap Dragon : Coming soon"

development, to shooting, to some CGs  and comp !

and see the full up here: