Saturday, January 31, 2009

Work updates.

Hey everybody. Here is some work we have done in the past few days. First is a walk cycle that Josh animated for his character animation class. I also included a few Zbrush images I made. The first is the beginnings of an anatomy study for my zbrush&anatomy class. The second is my entry for a sculpting challenge on and the last is a head study that I worked on with some guidance from Ryan Kingslien.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

James does work too!

Here is some of James' work. A few shots of a skull he had to sculpt for his Intro Zbrush class, and then a render of the shader series he worked on for Texture Mapping.
Im sure he'd appreciate feedback!

I also included a few images of some environmental sculpting Ive started to experiment in.

My Environmental Sculpts:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More Work.

Hey all,

We have been hard at work as usual. Tonight, Gnomon is hosting a game dev. presentation, featuring the team from Naughty Dog entertainment, talking about their 2008 hit game, Uncharted: Drakes fortune. Unfortunately James and Josh have class during the presentation, but I will be attending, and taking pictures of the event to show everyone what was going down.

So anyway, here is the finished container. I took Elliotts and Matts advice and worked on the color of the rust, saturating it much more, and added more contrast to the spec. map as well. I rendered these out of Mental Ray, tried to use flat shading to emulate a basic game engine lighting (as this is meant to be an asset for a next-gen game). I then composited it in Photoshop, I think it turned out pretty decent.

I am trying to get some renders from James, but so far Ive gotten nothing, haha. But Ill keep up the nagging until he caves.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some of our work.

Hey Everybody.

Here is some of the work we have done so far (I'll post some stuff from Josh and James as soon as they give me some!).

I painted this texture for a cargo container, for my Texture Painting class. I think it came out pretty well. The teacher gave us pretty high standards, something that he would consider acceptable for his own work (hes a texture artist currently working on the next Call of Duty game). I think it turned out pretty well. Took about 10 hours, hand painted in Photoshop. I painted dirt, rust, boot prints, paint splatters, salt stains, etc. I never realized how time consuming texturing can be. I would love to hear suggestions from Matt or Elliott.

(Click for Larger Version)

Some early renders (I havent had a chance to make Matts changes):

Here is a ball that Josh hand animated. No dynamics on this one. A sort of back to the basics exercise. Looks good though, much harder than it seems (take it from someone who cant animate at all.

Here are some renders from my Lighting class. Our first homework was to basically do a photoshoot with a model, practicing 3-point lighting. Here are a few of my better shots:

(Click for Larger Versions)

Josh's Nebula:


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First Experiences at Gnomon.

Sorry for the long lapse in posts, we haven't really done anything noteworthy, until now. Monday, classes began at Gnomon. To answer Elliott's and Matt's question before either of them even asks, we are taking;

-Lighting and Rendering 1
-Character Creation for Games
-Creating 2D Textures for 3D Art
-Anatomy in Zbrush (5 weeks)
-Texturing in Zbrush (5 weeks, after Anatomy)

-Texture Mapping 1
-Character Creation for Games
-Polygon Modeling 1
-Intro to Zbrush

-Dynamic Effects 1
-Character Animation 1
-Compositing with Shake
-Character Kinematics

So far Josh has had his first Dynamics class (for the Moms, dynamics in terms of 3D, is creating things like smoke, rain, water, stars, fire, explosions, etc for use in 3D scenes). Apparently he already has a great deal of work, creating a Nebula simulation or something of that sort.

James' Texture Mapping (creating the textures that are placed on models of environments, characters, objects, etc) class was unfortunately canceled on the first day, the teacher got caught up meeting a deadline at the Studio he is employed at. Par for the course I assume. If we want education from working professionals, we have to be understanding of their more important commitments.

I had my first Lighting and Rendering (In Momish: This is essentially the process of making a 3D scene look as though it is real, accomplished through adding realistic lights and shadows, fog effects, and then rendering out the scene through a render engine, which, in a sense, takes all the aspects of the scene such as environments, characters, lights, textures, and animations, into a viewable movie....more or less) class yesterday. It is taught by the lead lighter at Rhythm and Hues. He recently finished working on the film "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor". Regardless of how good the movie was, the visual effect warranted a Oscar nomination. So needless to say, this guy means business. Luckily for myself, much of the understanding of how light works is very similar to same concepts used in photography.

The campus of Gnomon is a wonderful places, with a very similar feeling to the interior of the Art Dept. at Springfield. It is an incredibly creative environment, with comfortable lounge areas, and very advanced computer labs. Many of the computes are set up with 30" monitors! Goodie.

So that's basically the gist of recent events. I will keep you posted as we complete projects and experience new classes, posting stills and videos of our work.

Thanks for reading!

For more details on our classes, see the course descriptions here:
Gnomon School of Visual Effects Course Descriptions

Ive included a few images of Gnomons "campus".

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New England Boys in Hollywood

At long, (oh so) long last, Josh, James and I moved in to our apartment Monday afternoon. Josh and I arrived around 11:30am, only to be told that we couldn't actually move into our apartment until 3:30pm. That sort of deflated our excitement a bit, but no worries, its not like there isn't anything in Hollywood for us to occupy our time with. So finally 3:30pm rolled around, and we began unpacking, rearranging. However, since this is only a one bedroom apartment, I am forced to sleep in the living room on a surprisingly comfortable cot, and I had to convert the coat closet/pantry into shelves and a clothes closet. We make do. Our kitchen is a true ode to college kids, with a heavily stocked freezer full of pizza, Hot-Pockets, sausage, etc, and a lot of beer (none for James, hes only 20, bless his little heart). The apartment is roomy, and has begun to start to look more like a home than the giant hotel room it formerly resembled. We have a nice fenced in patio, sliding glass doors with a screen, a clean, wide open bathroom area, and a rather spacious living room, with 3 seating areas. Perfect. We aren't sure what the next few days hold for us, as we do not have class until Monday. We are thinking about getting up super early for Leno tickets (they are free provided you are lucky enough to be in line in time), perhaps a much needed tour of Gnomon? Visiting a studio (what studio you say? Oh perhaps, ABC, NBC, WB, Universal, Disney Animation)? Endless possibilities, but whatever we choose, I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy a few photos of our diggs.

Los Angeles Zoo

Josh, James and I visited the Los Angeles Zoo today. It was pretty easy to find, as it is only about a 10 minute drive from our apartment! Talk about location. Because it is "winter" (it was 70 degrees and sunny all day) there were minimal crowds today, meaning easy access to the animals, and less stress for me (I hate large crowds, especially at tourist-y places). The zoo was really phenomenal, and provided many good photo and video opportunities. Here are a few photos I took today, and a video or two that Josh recorded. Thanks!

View the rest of the photos on my flickr account:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

More Joshua Tree Images (SEE BLOG POST BELOW!)

A few additional images from Joshua Tree.


Western Beauty.

We made it. 3200 miles, 5 nights, and countless gallons of gas later, we arrived in Victorville, CA, about 80 miles north of Los Angeles. Our last day of travel was our shortest distance-wise, so we planned a few scenic stops along the way. We first stopped at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It was stunning. Deep reds, washed out blues, aged pinks covered the mountainsides providing gorgeous views of the area. As an avid photographer, I was in heaven. These mountainous areas are known as the Painted Desert, and the other section of the park, from which it derives its name, was no less spectacular. The petrified forest was a huge vista of shards of petrified wood fragments and logs. Over the course of millions of years, the wood had slowly transformed into a form hard, rock-like substance rich with yellows, reds, blues and greys. It was interested to be able to see a fragment of the ancient past of Arizona, to see something that lived in the age of the dinosaurs. While we were there, we were viciously chased off of an overlook by a large, angry looking raven. Not knowing what the bird was capable of, we high-tailed it. Our next stop was the Meteor Crater, also located in Arizona. This is the crater left by the meteor that allegedly killed the dinosaurs (or at least leads all theories in probability). The crater was incredibly large, roughly 3 miles in circumference, and nearly 500 feet deep. Like the petrified wood, it was humbling to view a piece of history hundreds of millions of years old. Something that altered the state of the Earth for the rest of time. After leaving the Meteor Crater, we continued on our route down I-40. Lying in stark contrast to the shrub filled desert we had so become accustom to in Arizona, we entered a national forest, in which we were quite surprised to find....snow. In fact it started snow while drove through the forest. Shortly after exiting the woods, a tremendous mountain scape creeped into view. We have not yet determined the name of the mountains, but they were the last thing we saw as the sun went down, a fittingly beautiful end to such a scenic state. As we entered California, we were mildly shocked to be met with a border check-point, asking us if we had any fruits or plants, and where we originated from. It seemed a little extreme, given it was only a state border. Today, with our first free day in a week, we decided to travel to nearby (such a relative term now, it was in fact 2 hours away) Joshua Tree National Park, a desert area with beautiful rock formations surrounding your field of view as you journey to the heart of the area. I spent quite a bit of time bouldering and climbing around the rock faces. We came across a rather picturesque area, just as the sun was going down, so I gathered up my gear, and made a trek to the top of the rock outcrop that headed the area. As the sunset, the areas rocks were cast in a red-golden glow, and the sky glowed a light shade of purple. All the sights I have seen on this trip have awoken a new respect and admiration for our nations beauty. We are lucky to live in a country that has such varied and beautiful landscapes.
Well tomorrow our cross-country pilgrimage comes to an offical end, as we move into our apartments in LA. Look for a blog post and images of our new digs sometime soon. Thanks for reading.

Included are a few pictures of Joshua Tree National Park, and a few videos that Josh has filmed in the past few days. Enjoy.

Petrified Forest National Park

Josh and I visited the Petrified Forest National Park today, which also includes large portions of the Painted Desert. Here are some of the better photos I took today. More to come, and a blog post tomorrow.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tennesse to New Mexico, or, Why Is Everything So Flat?

In the past two days, Josh and I have driven from Nashville, TN to Gallup, NM. They have been two very long days, during which I have made a few observations. First, everything is FLAT. From western Tennessee, to Oklahoma, to the Texas panhandle. We can see just about as far as the horizon allows, our view not being obstructed by hills or trees. Just grass. Grass and cows. And more grass. It makes me miss the hills, mountains and trees of Maine. And water. One would think water to be a pretty universally present item, however the west proves otherwise. Rivers are scarce and lakes are as foreign as Democrats in this area. Yesterdays (1/1) trip was rather uneventful. We spent most of our time staring out the window, marveling at the flatness of the area. Today's (1/2) section was much more interesting. We stopped at the 19-story cross just before Amarillo, TX. It was massive. We could see it on the horizon from roughly 20 miles away. However, it is surprisingly only the 2nd largest cross in the Western Hemisphere. I believe the behemoth cross in Rio Di Janeiro is the largest. We then stopped at the Cadillac Ranch, a true American icon. Located along Rt. 66 (which we are traveling on by the way), it is a series of 10 Cadillac cars, buried upside-down in the middle of a corn field. Over the years they have been painted, graffitied and drawn upon, amounting to a coating nearly a half an inch thick of paint, a collaborative piece of roadside Americana. I found a can of bright pink spray-paint and decided to throw the old Springfield College "Spirit-Mind-Body" logo on one of the cars (I figured Ruth would like that, I know how much she loves the SC triangle). From there we then traversed the remainder of Texas, and the majority of New Mexico. Upon entering New Mexico, we were greeted with a rather surprising piece of signage; Speed Limit: 75. Oklahoma and Texas had both been 70mph. But 75mph? Yikes. This meant an actual effective speed of 85-90mph for most motorists. Needless to say, we made good time. The climate also changed dramatically, leaving the flat grasslands in Texas, and giving way to more of a chaparral environment. Thick shrub growth and wind-blown hills shaped the countryside, providing a lovely scene at sundown. That's another thing about the west. The sky. I have never seen a bigger, brighter sky in all my life. Well tomorrow we arrive in California, at long last! Our route will take us through the remainder of New Mexico, all the way across Arizona, and down to sunny Southern California, where we will stop just an hour or so outside of the city.
Thanks for reading.

Here is a video of me painting the SC logo on a Cadillac. Enjoy.