Saturday, 2 May 2009

Stretchy Arm Test

One of the things that I have been meaning to get to for the Oinkfrog model were some nice stretchy arms. The tutorial by Bora Dayioglu for stretchy arms seemed pretty cool, though it was exploring concepts I didnt know. So I set about tackling the tute first, pretty much as presented and got it all going by the end.



Next step is to build a version of it for Oinkfrog's arms and possibly fingers as well. Do I need him to be able to stretch just one section of arm at a time - maybe I will add another multiplier in there and another variable that controls the two segments stretch ratios...

I am still regulating my hands mouse usage, so after this and the lip sync today I will call it quits.

Lip Sync

My animation class is looking at lip sync at the moment, using Jason Osipa's Stop Staring method as a basis, with some help from the meistro Keith Lango. I havent really played with lipsync before, so this is proving entertaining. The breaking down of speech sounds (shapes really) is interesting and I like the simplification that the references run through.

That said, in running through the various exercises I found it much easier to key the mouth and jaw at about the same time rather than coming back later and doing the jaw. This seemed to get me closer to the mark in less time than just doing mouth widths and such then doing the jaw flapping later. Though Osipa's text seems to enforce this logic of the multiple passes, his nice diagrams show nice wide mouths in the first pass...



Here is me working with Generi. I ended up having his resting mouth narrower than the default, as there wasnt much room to go with the EE and it also meant less travel to get to the nice OO sounds as well.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Luxeed Keyboard


[Images of the Luxeed keyboard via their website]

Just for fun, but I would actually quite like to have a nice keyboard that actually had this much fun beneath my fingers. The Luxeed keyboard changes colour - hell watch the vid to see what it is all about. There is an updated version (via technobob) on its way as well, which may be even more fun.

Asus W90 laptop beast

I have been re-looking at another laptop for home, tossing up between a uni priced HP workstation type config, another mac and a more game-centric one - more on this later. On the way through this little thought experiment, I came upon Asus' new W90 gaming uberlaptop - whew.


[Image of the Asus W90 via the NotebookReview article]

The ASUS W90V sports a suite of specs to make all laptops feel inadequate - and many many desktops for that matter. I keep calling it a laptop, but for your lap it isnt, the 18.5" 1080 res screen should get you thinking how big this baby is. The quad core, 6GB, HD4870 x 2 heart of this beast really shows off in the reviews about the place and the price for such grunt is inpressive.

Some reviews:
Notebookreview
Laptopmag
TomsHardware



droool.

Hellboy Trailers

One thing is for sure the Hellboy movies and their creative folk have the talent, visuals and developed world to create some awesome trailers. I do keep saying that the art of making trailers is a special one and that trailers tell their own little story outside of the main feature. These are some pretty cool examples, one from each film. They are dynamic, bring together disparate elements to weave an engaging feel for the tale, and use clever overlapping of audio, cutting of video and soundtrack elements:





awesome!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Hellboy


[Hellboy/BPRD cover art from the Dark Horse Comics Hellboy site]

Just a quick post after watching both the Hellboy films on DVD over the last few days. I recall having quite fond memories of the first one, seeing it somewhere along the line, the books are completely awesome, so I had high hopes/expectations.

Overall, it is a fun ride and for me the bad-guys are fun to see coming to life around the mythology of the series. The creatures and environments I like and the concepts of the relationships are good. Somehow though the whole doesnt shine in the way many of the parts do, it doesnt come off as the great comic realisation as it could be. We have seen some stunning renditions of the comic form to the big screen of late and the two Hellboy films fall short of the high mark. They are still fun to watch and it is just plain cool to see Mike Mignola's creations brought to life.

The films are overflowing with effects and CG work and some of them are pretty engrossing. I like the big tentacled creatures and Liz' pyrotechnics.

Links:
Official Hellboy Site
Hellboy Movies Site
Hellboy DVD Site
Hellboy Comic Site - on Dark Horse

The comic site has a nice look at the creation of a cover piece showing the integration of ink and shading. Though I enjoy the movies, the books are still standouts that are well above the bar for comics and interesting worlds created in them. Here are some desktop images from the Dark Horse site:



[Hellboy/BPRD desktop images from the Dark Horse Comics Hellboy site]

Monday, 27 April 2009

Oinkfrog Refinements WIP

With my finger only mildly annoying now, I went back into Maya to help out the Oinkfrog. I havent managed to tackle as many things over the last few days as I wanted - but things are still better. The skin weighting is now much much better, though I still need blend shapes to keep the deformations under control in places like elbows and fingers.
I have fixed up my IKs a little better now and they are working nicely. Mirroring things like weights is mighty handy. It is tricky to get the nesting of the various components and their type working as would be intuitive to an animator, but I now have most bits happy.

With the rig in a sane state here is where he is at and a simple pose using the various handles: