Dusty Ink Particle Render (those aren't just random words)

Well I was going to post a tutorial on Mudbox texturing but I'll 'irrupt' all over the flow of mud from mudbox with an eruption from KRAKATOA!
... the volumetric particle renderererer...errr.

Not that I need to defend my use of lens flares... but... everyone else is doing it!

3DS Max; PFlow to FumeFx to Krakatoa.
Lat time you saw any of those on this blog I was filling a head with multicoloured particles, I've moved on a bit since then, I have a lot more control and feel comfortable executing my aims rather than just hoping for the best when I press one of the many Krakatoa UI buttons...which can sometimes go wrong...

Yep! They're full of circuit-boards, who knew!? 

4 Hours simulation
3 hours render
Soooo many particles that I couldn't show more than %20 of them in the viewport at any one time.
I liked the 'flow' of PFlow so I'm going to be exploring it's usefulness - going to be trying something with a higher viscosity for 'PAINT' the Film... probably something like... paint.

POSTED BY Matthew Wood

Getting My Hands Dirty with Mudbox

Taking full advantage of Autodesk's wonderful free student licences, I've decided to familiarise myself with Mudbox.

3D digital sculpting and digital painting software gives you the freedom to create production-ready 3D digital artwork without worrying about the technical details.
So I’m going to be updating this post with periodic images of my first sculpt, a T-Rex.

First image:
Getting to grips with the 'Push' and 'Sculpt' brushes.
My graphics tablet won't work so this is all going to be mouse work.

I'm using this as an anatomy guide:
Q. doyouthinkhesaurus?
A. doyouthinkthat'sfunny?

Update 01: Found the 'Knife' and 'Pinch' tool; good for finer detail and sketching in shapes.
Shift-D to move up a subdivision level to add greater detail.

Not looking very T-Rex - will have to check some reference

Update 02: Decided to dial it back and get all the general shapes tied down using a whole host of references. I realised my initial enthusiasm for smaller details would produce a very messy, uneducated model. The main progression is in the legs where I've added much more definition. I have also reshaped the head, specifically he eye socket which was previously lost in the skull.

Update 03: Moving up a sub-div level I started laying in detail using the 'Spray' tool and continued carving using the 'Knife' adding wrinkles in the flesh at joints

More importantly...
I discovered the viewport filter!
'Matthew' learnt the 'apply filter' technique, it's super effective (...or super lazy)

Designed to give you a better feel for the sculpt as if in situ.. I'm using it to make these crude renders more palatable.
I think I'm calling him Rendersaurus-Rex

POSTED BY Matthew Wood

HD Energy Clip

Lets pump some energy back into this blog:

The above video is a short motion test for a divine/otherworldly 'presence' to be featured in a short film produced in Bristol. I say 'motion test' because I am still working on look development, expect lots of lovely minutely differing concept images to follow.

This presence represents the agnosticism of the director in that it is never revealed to be either spiritual or extraterestrial.

Conceptually: an excerpt from e-mail to the director:
I think the overall shape is very important – we should be able to denote an intelligent design while keeping it ambiguous – I think this would apply nicely:
 On top of that I think the energy emitted (be that light or some space bending element (distortion (similar to a heat wave))) could conform to patterns found in nature.
When you say ‘religious’ do you think of Christian iconography? I like the idea of something kaleidoscopic which could infer a more Buddist or Hindu origin i.e. Maṇḍalas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala
Personally I think my ‘big ball of energy’ was a bit of a copout –  it was mostly just me playing around without much forethought – I think the ‘perfect sphere’ is overdone in terms of representations of religious/alien presences.

Conceptual questions:
  • Has this Presence (I’m just going to call it that) travelled to Earth or is it appearing in the sky as if from nothing?
  • Are we implying that this Presence is responsible for the disappearances?
  • If Devine, could the light appear differently to each individual – i.e. is there a personal element – is the viewer (Rockford) seeing something personal to him? 
  • It is entirely missing the point but if you had to decided what is the light?
The pulse or beat of the energy – if it is massive then a slow, churning heart would likely sell it the scale. I think if the Presence has a definable structure then energy flowing at different speeds would denote a craft where as a consistent speed would be more suited to the pulse of a being or a cohesive ‘will’.
Less conceptual questions:
How big is it? Big enough to be seen from two very different locations.
How high in the sky?
Much less conceptual quesions:
Any and all camera/lens specs you can give me help me pre-empt any problems we might face further down the line. 

This video marks my first HD post to youtube... not the best user experience. After waiting 9 hours for upload (twice returning an error) the video then disappeared into the aether - so this happened:

Very difficult to write with ''privacy boxes" (...when you're trembling with rage!)

Nuclear, Solar, Zero Point, Geothermal, Kinetic, Electromagnetic!
That's every type of energy I can list in 22 seconds. See if you can beat me, it's such jolly good fun.

Shine on you crazy Blogosphere,

POSTED BY Matthew Wood

Site of Natural Beauty - Conservation Project

It’s really only fair to future generations that I preserve my exquisite head in all its three dimensional glory. So I am.
...or maybe I’m just the nearest model to hand.
Either way, here’s a cropped screen shot (of a screen shot) showing a wee bit of my process.
That's a torboSmoothed version - so don't judge the topology (you're doing it! I can feel your judgment!)
I paint over (usually in a contrasting colour, I changed the hue for you, to show what I intend to hew....Hew) the model to give me a list of changes rather than pushing and pulling vertexes for hours - I’m modelling freehand (which I’m beginning to regret, my eyes are starting to strain due to my try to see half way around my own head) so lack of direction can be a bit of a time sink [insert awesome image of time travelling kitchen sink].
My aim it to use this delightful digital doppelganger for 3D tracking, mapping it over my own head and doing all kinds of crazy (or realistic) visual effects. Mostly just gonna melt my face off...or maybe I'll explode it.
Time for a face off, blogosphere. 
What has one face and two thousand faces, Blogosphere?

POSTED BY Matthew Wood

Ye Olde Mental Ray Render

Where we’re going...

Almost finished one of two train models I’ll be producing for an interactive video online adventure extravaganza, or, as I’ve catchly abbreviated it to: IVOAE.
Look at that lack of saturation, it’s gotta be from the past!
 The other will either be from the present or the future, I’ve got to do a bit of writing rather than just basing everything off the initial, vague concept. I've been working on this for about 3 months very casually. 3DS Max is great for casual mechanical modelling. I've mostly been twiddling sliders and tweaking modifiers.
Ferroequinologists among you will be able to tell me if I’m right in thinking that I’ve wrongly modelled an American train, I was going by multiple schematics and flickr photos as reference, I feel a fool since it'll be riding on British Rails...but then it will also be time travelling/flying so maybe I'll get away with a little historical/geographical discrepancy.  
Oh no! You've fallen behind the scenes, how ever will you get out?
 Going to texture the heck outta this...as soon as I stop humming the Thomas The Tank Engine tune (sans Mr Fiddy Cent).

...we don’t need roads, blogosphere.

POSTED BY Matthew Wood

Babies First Particle Based Abstract 3D Render

For once in my short(ish) foray into 3D I’ve manage to create pretty much exactly the image I set out to make.

In case you want to have a go yourself:

The image I made (photoshop)

Just use that to generate the emission map for a PRT Volume based on geometry from a human head.

Lets get Animated blogosphere!

p.s -  I use to draw emission maps as a child...I called them stink lines.

POSTED BY Matthew Wood

Imagination Station

Unfortunately the train has already left that particular station, I only got in it with 34 minutes to spare (and there’s no seats)… “What the hell are you talking about” you might well ask. I entered Adobe’s ‘Imagination Challenge’, I found out about the competition 34 minutes before the 23:59 deadline (fans of maths/time will be able to tell you the time I found out about it). You can vote come the 8th of October 2011 so follow this link to the Imagination Challenge Gallery and sit there for four days until they put mine up. In the mean time register to vote (I recommend using at least 4 different e-mail addresses to boost my votes).
I will be pushing this (even though my entry isn’t even that good) so expect lots of promotion and pestering. I’ll be throwing a massive party if I win and everyone who votes is invited (£10,000 buys a lot of party hats!)

Party Hats —powered by eHow.com
Why does she hate us? We just want to party. "I hate parties and I hate hats... and I hate people. I know! I'll work in a party hat shop and grind out all the fun of the place with my vaguely confrontation style. Also lets video tape it." Hardy ha ha at the 22 second mark.

I was not chosen as a finalist so disregard everything you just read (maybe could just have put the update above the post to save you the time...or deleted the post entirely...too late now!) but I have just been shortlisted in another competition (one I actually put some effort into) so I'm not snapping pencils in frustration...yet (just gripping my wacom pen a little too tightly (the passive aggressive digital artist's choice for grinding out disappointment)). Post detailing the current competition to coming soon to a blog near you.

POSTED BY Matthew Wood