20 October 2011

Oh my Barnes

 I took this sketch from Jason Barnes and made it my own, stylized and converted it to fit the theme of my short.  I am rather concerned about the challenge of Maya hair for this guy's curly locks.  I've got experience with ndynamics, but have very little power over hair and fur.  The short hairs for the legs and face were sculpted in zbrush.  Turns out however, with the use of this brush and particular alpha, I will be able to put fur on my rats without using Maya fur... this is a breakthrough for me. 

Still working on a lot of the pieces, but it's coming together.

25 August 2011

The Funky Fur

Some assets I've been working on for my short, The Squeakeasy (working title). It's a mixed media cartoon about an incident that goes down in a bar called Dirty's Funky Fur. This is Maya and After Effects, very basic light effects with some particles. I've got a lot of the set put together, going to get some characters modeled and rigged here shortly. Probably should have thrown a color correction layer on the video, it is a little darker than I thought after the upload- guess you'll have to wait to see it better in the final :).

10 August 2011

Get Your Gun

My own play on an old Broadway musical bill. Probably I should feed my horse ;)

20 July 2011

Pole Dancing Rats, y'all

More sketches to build up the bible for my short, The Squeakeasy. Some will end up as layouts. Looking for a color scheme that is very specific- so far, no luck.

17 July 2011

Squeakeasy Shots

Some pre-vis drawings for my short, in varying stages of disarray.

25 June 2011

Wardrobe Malfunction

Various passes tweaking the attributes for the uniform for my Shoeless Joe character rig. The first playblast shows the nCloth with basic attributes applied to it. The initial uniform mesh was first bound to the skeleton, just like the body skin, and the weights were copied from the original mesh onto the uniform mesh. At least then, you can pose the character however you want, and the uniform mesh moves with the rest of the rig. After binding skin, make the uniform mesh nCloth in the usual way. The belt was skinned the the main hip joint, and set as a passive collider, which in hindsight may be a mistake on my part. I'm thinking later trying skinning just the buckle to the main hip, making it a passive collider, and then making the waist portion of the belt nCloth as well.

The referenced rig in the scene. From here, I referenced a workflow borrowed from a gentleman who is absolutely brilliant, Duncan. If you frequent the Autodesk forum AREA, you can see his blog post regarding nCloth workflow for animation here: http://area.autodesk.com/blogs/duncan/basic_cloth_on_character_setup. Basically, you connect your original mesh to the posed nCloth and make a rest shape, which will pull back the stretched mesh in simulation. After that, you paint weights on the cloth mesh under a couple of different attributes, depending on how you want that part of the mesh to behave. It's trial and error as it goes.

Maybe time to cache everything out and finally inbetween and cleanup this piece- I can't believe I let it stay this way for so long. After the animation is clean, it will be easier here to diagnose problems with the cloth, and key the attributes necessary to make it look a little more natural.

24 June 2011

Pimp My Flash

Some of the newer assets for my portfolio site, www.pacificasauer.com. Still ironing it out, but I've finally figured out enough of the script to make most of it work (thanks to a lot of reading).Wanted to give an interface that incorporated the entire scope of my work- from the classical to the digital, so I included a little bit of everything.The lunchbox and monitor for "Work-in-Progress" video.Wish I had an old broadcast safe monitor like this one, though.Couldn't live without my Wacom and stylus.Haha, my drawing board is next to my bed... one of the only things I would need to take with me if I had an emergency and had to go.

19 June 2011

Risky Baseball - Joe's Rig Test

Joe's rig test. I owe the walk cycle charts and timing to Eric Larson and Milt Kahl, so I wish you'd appreciate it when it comes around. I modified it a little, but basically, it is the same strut of arrogance and overconfidence that Casey, from Casey at the Bat (1947) had walking to the plate. Joe's bat's name is Black Betsy. Video below, rig is absolutely raw at this state, with no corrective blendshapes or PSD's. In case you wonder why he is in his shorts, the uniform is nCloth, and while I have some settings arranged, the model's rig test was to be bare to see weighting problems easier. The tangents are still in linear, and I sped up the end in the interest of time, but it's looking really good for good ol' Joe that he'll get to play baseball again.
Think he's proud enough?

07 June 2011

blah blah blah

Ink and water on paper. My brother shipped me some new pens straight from Nurnberg. Germany makes the finest drawing tools in the world, fyi.

23 May 2011


Decided I'd tear up my shoulder this weekend. Thinking about gnawing it off, the pain is maddening. That's one way to get a girl to take a break...
More on Joe and his dirty feet. Decided to go with nCloth for baggy uniform and use a nurbs surface for hair instead of both. Started by just using a texture map on the scalp for hair, but he ended up looking too much like Obama, and that was not okay. Still painting it up in Mudbox, and now that I have some down time, I can experiment with cloth.

13 May 2011

Blends Need Not Apply

I guess blogger took a dive and the original post was lost. Here it is again...

After tirelessly painting weights and managing all the driven keys, Shoeless Joe, my cartoon baseball player rig, finally has expression. He's a hybrid rig- a mixture of joint systems, deformers, and technical expressions. There's squash and stretch on the arms and torso. Boolean toggle for the mitt visibility and controls. Double hierarchy for driven/manuals keys on the facial controls. There's not a single blendshape. Not to mention a little help from a Comet Script called Pose Deformer/Pose Reader... and a beta called LipService. And it's a good beta! Lip Service is a product by Joe Alter that "is a powerful multi-resolution subdivision surface sculpting, rigging and animation system built into a Maya plugin. LipService's sculpting tools are comparable to ZBrush** and Mudbox*. Its animation tools extend this multi-resultion editing philosophy through to motion and rigging." So basically, no multiples of a hi-res mesh for blendshapes, and every pose is a golden pose- it will look good, because you can sculpt all of your corrections directly into your animation. Goodbye dozens and dozens of frickin blendshapes.

This is a lipsync rig test for Joe. Phonemes test for sentences in English. Recorded by Michael Hamm on November 3, 2003, with the aid of Mitchell Sommers in the Psychology Department at Washington University

Can a cat man a catamaran?

Merry Christmas! Mary Christmas will marry Christmas day.

Come to calm.com!

It's a long time, and I mean long.

Where's Nancy?

Who's "Nancy"??

I teach Ferdinand the calm cat to fetch cold cups of coffee. Who knows more about tasting things? He's used the book.
The rig has some more work to be done, mainly refining SDK and some other features I would like to include (hair and cloth). It's exciting for me to watch a project take on the fourth dimension. Time is the true test of integrity. More so I think with the things that we relate to as human.

15 April 2011

Shoeless Joe

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Joe. Based on baseball legend Joe Jackson, and a drawing I did waiting for maya files to load about a year ago, I've made it into a personal project.

He's a about 9000 polygons. Thought about taking him into Mudbox, but the uniform (Maya cloth) will cover much of the work, and the anatomy in Maya alone looks fine. I'm a fan of Advanced Skeleton for quick rigging, but I created my own rig for this model. The blendshapes were awkward and didn't work well for the facial shape, especially around the mouth, so I did a little research, and decided to rig facial bones and animate the attributes as blended weights. So limited blendshapes.I used locators for the bones in the face to change the pivots of the facial bones for the driven keys, but still maintained manual control of each joint. The locators for the joints in the mouth in chin were in the middle of the head, and the cheeks and eye joints in the center of the corresponding eye. Other pivots were placed as I needed them.Double hierarchy for the locators of the facial bones for the set driven key. Driven keys first, then manual keys. Undergoing a few animation tests and I'll set the cloth up.

03 April 2011


Blood splatter/artery spray for a kill scene in a kitchen. Maya/After Effects. Virtual bleeding at it's finest.

21 March 2011

Ghost Rider

"I don't resent working long hours. I shouldn't - I'm the one who set my life up this way. I love to work. It's the thing that I get the most satisfaction out of- and probably what I do best. Not that I don't enjoy days off. I love vacations and loafing around. But I think much of the world has the wrong idea of working. It's one of the good things in life. The feeling of accomplishment is more real and satisfying than finishing a good meal- "
Jim Henson

Haha, but man, would it feel great to eat a good meal...

23 February 2011

Driving Ms. Audi

This is my Audi sports sedan student car rig from a few years ago. This car is rigged with basic expressions, some set driven key, and standard constraints. Put it on a motion path and key frame your heart out and you can see it animates all right, but I've decided to totally strip it down to the mesh and re-rig it in Craft Director Tools. I haven't smiled continuously for this long in months. Love CDT for Maya.

14 February 2011

Saturday Night Render

The project is fun, but waiting for it to render is not. Motion blur for the propeller was something I had to render in Maya, but I decided to use the Trapcode Particular plug in in After Effects for the airplane exhaust. The camera is a challenge, I need to learn about z-depth and lens shaders, but the pictures right out of Maya with a little color correction and post-work look promising.

A couple of still frames.

02 February 2011

The Squeakeasy

Of late, I've began using my free time on the bus playing with ideas for a short. Thinking about a something going awry in a "Squeakeasy" called "The Funky Fur."

29 January 2011

Naval Dentistry

Decided it was time to see a dentist, since it had been, ummm, since I got out of the Navy. Haha, they said my mouth was in remarkable shape, scraped some stains away and sent me home without incident. It almost never works out that way, so I don't recommend delaying your appointments. I, like many people, dread the dentist. When I was seventeen, this old Navy dentist ripped the wisdom teeth out of my skull using just local anesthetic (Novocaine shots in the roof of my mouth). Anyway, I never forgot it.

26 January 2011

Work Smart

I think this has to be the coolest Maya learning moment ever. I heard about Craft Director Tools for the first time at CTNX 2009, and I wanted to learn about it, but I got busy. The last few weeks, I've been working on an airplane stunt, and have had the opportunity to work with this plug-in, and it's incredible. This is the fastest way to produce physically correct vehicle animation- it's a combination of attribute settings and real-time input from a gamepad or joystick. It's like playing a video game, only more control, more cameras, everything. I rigged my cessna with the basic setup and flew it around Racetown freehand. Just using the basic controls, you can see real possibility here.

18 January 2011

Plane Crazy

I don't do a lot of modeling, so when the budget couldn't pay for an airplane, I had to dig deep into my bag of tricks. This is a Cessna 180. The base mesh without the smooth is 1024 polygons. It's on smooth division 1 for this render. The texture is a headache- it's an mr layered shader with stuff on alpha channels and clamps on bump maps and all kinds of things. It's got a full interior with gauges. I rigged this model to fly in an aerial sequence. Specifically, I'm using Craft Animation Director Tools for Maya to animate this plane. I'm putting the rig on Creative Crash, the textures maybe not. Gotta work for something. It needs some UV/light linking modifications. The hard part is done; we'll see how it flies.