Monday, March 10, 2014

My article on CG cameras in 3D World magazine

It should be out and on the shelves by now. Unfortunately, few errors sneaked into the printed version of the article. However, the editorial promised me to fix those in digital edition and to put the edited pdf into the online 'Vault', which all print readers have access to when they buy the issue. 

3D World Website

A little preview of the article below.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

CTU's Faculty of Mechanical Engineering video

Double no: No, I didn't forget about the next part of a typography article and No, I didn't lie claiming it will take a while... And while a while continues, here is a piece of recent work I accomplished with the guys at DPOST Prague.

Czech Technical University 150th Anniversary from DPOST Prague on Vimeo.

Aside from wearing both Director's and Art-Director's hats, I've spent quite some time with hands on material here, taking the 3D work into Houdini to design the cubes effects, animate and render. Probably the only 3D parts of the spot, which are not mine are the inner models like engines and stuff, modeled by Victor Tretyakov or provided by the client and generous Public Domain. We share compositing credits with Denis Kosar, who has been producing the job and multitasking as well. And by no means I am forgetting Marek Duda, who helped with fitting the edit together. Music by Lukas Turza.

We took a good portion of look development into compositing which can be clearly seen from this little making-of-quad:

Czech Technical University - making of from DPOST Prague on Vimeo.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Two Killer Tips for Mastering Any Software

RTFM and Ctrl-Alt-RESET
RTFM. Please.

At different stages in the career I've been paid for working in Houdini, Nuke, 3DSMax, XSI, Fusion, Maya, Shake, Blender and After Effects among the other applications. I've been using Lightwave, 3D-Coat, Combustion, Rayz and so many other things. Not even mentioning programs like Photoshop, Corel Draw or Inkscape here. Of course I'm not the master in most of them, but I think I'm OK with learning new software, and here are the two tricks I know.

As obvious as they are, it is quite amazing how often even quite experienced artists manage to ignore them.

First one: RTFM. Read That Freaking The Following Manual. Seriously. You get your new toy, you play around, things go less or more easy, you either abandon or start thinking you already know it inside out... Well, if you're planning on using that toy in future – start reading the documentation asap, and try doing it top to bottom.

Every piece of software comes with a manual. Some are good, some are less, but all of them contain much wider perspective on the tools that you would get elsewhere (or at least from a lone journey). They also often describe the intended use of not always obvious features and address the particular working techniques – personally I've learned a good deal of software-independent tricks and methods from manuals alone.

It takes less time than it seems to go through the whole book. And although you probably won't memorize or even completely understand all of it in the first reading, the further you would get – the better idea of what your toy is capable of you will have – the less time you'll spend figuring out the answer when confronting new tasks during the real production.

Because you don't abandon the documentation after the first reading – you just start using it as a reference from now on, since from now on you have a good idea where to find what. And (might sound a bit shocking) there is a search function to it! Again, strictly personally, but the first thing I do whenever get stuck with a software – press F1 and type the issue into the search field. Google helps as well of course.

The second tip is as groundbreaking as the first one: use hotkeys. Same way as putting hands at 10 and 2 for driving; while holding a mouse or a stylus in one hand, it is a good practice to keep another one on the keyboard when operating the graphics software. It is just plain faster. Times faster. And it is quite addictive after you start, so it only takes to overcome a little laziness once. Unless you're already doing so (and you probably are, but just in case) – look up the keyboard shortcuts for the 5-10 functions you use most often (they are usually listed in the menus, when hovering the tool button and/or in the manual (see above)) – and start accessing those functions with a keyboard rather than a mouse. Give it an hour, and if your life quality will not improve – do not listen to me anymore.

Thank you. Hope it helps.

Might return to the typography article next time, but that would mean a longer pause as well – will see...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Animusic - Part 2

After sharing few introductory words in Part 1 at - here are the wireframes we all love so much.

It was incredible ten years ago, it is incredible now. Procedural animation - the concept that keeps fascinating my bent mind, and the concept that wouldn't be possible in any previous era. The idea that instead of telling a computer what to draw, you rather teach it how to draw things changes the whole landscape to me.

The Animusic project was started by two artists Wayne Lytle and Dave Crognale. Their proprietary software uses MIDI input to drive the animation in a commercial programs like 3DSMax or XSI, producing the result of often mind-bending complexity. They get into more details at their website. I would also recommend watching behind the scenes stuff at their YouTube channel.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Understanding Images

Form-color correspondence  according to Bauhaus
Form-color correspondence
according to Bauhaus
I once heard they study Totoro at the aesthetics classes in Japanese schools. Aesthetics classes… Wouldn’t this freaking world be better if we had some?

At least we can be learning things on our own. And one thing I stumbled upon only few months ago, but which I believe must be obligatory for anyone dealing with images in one way or another is Language of Design course by Charlotte Jirousek of Cornell University. Abstract, objective, well-rounded, on the topic so vital and so overlooked.

Wish I knew of it years back - would’ve saved certain amount of time. But even now I find it an incredibly useful read. And the practice of authors/universities keeping such courses in public access admirable at least.


Something abstract and procedural next time.