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,-73.9779&spn=0.064456,0.132093

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