Sunday, 29 April 2012

Writer UVs

Going great guns on UVing now, check out my chequered man.

High Quality Rendering

Huzzah, finally found the High Quality Rendering option. I'd used it before to make sure that the textures in my viewport weren't all fuzzy but then forgot where to find it! So here's a reminder to myself for next time.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Transferring UVs after rigging

I haven't actually had to use this workflow yet - but stumbled across it whilst trying to find an answer to another rigging problem and I have the feeling that it may come in really useful one day so I'm adding it to my technical tips list!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Environments: Modelling

And here are some WIP images of the environment model inspired by Sarah's original sketch:

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Margarita: early stage modelling

Here are some images of my early modelling on Margarita: there's lots still to do (changes to her face, shrinking her enormous feet!, adding arms, hair etc.) but here's the progress so far . . .

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Maya UVing workflow

I've spent a lot of time on various forums recently looking at ways to reduce the pain of UVing.

The only thing that everyone seems to agree on is that it's a very dull job :) but I've combined the advice from a couple of blogs and forum threads to come up with a workflow that's working OK for me at the moment and seems reasonably efficient . . . .

  • run an auto-uv to get a bunch of flat uv's
  • select all uv's, split uv edges
  • select the edges where you want the seam to be, then shift-drag over the whole mesh to invert your selection
  • run 'move and sew' to re-attach all your uv's, apart from your seams
  • run unfold with the following settings:
    • Weight Solver towards: 0.45 to 0.7 
    • Optimize to Original:0.25 to 0.5 
    • Pin UV Border: Off 
    • Pin UVs: Off 
    • Unfold Constraints: None 
    • Maximum Iterations: 5000 
    • Stopping Threshold: 0.0010 
    • Rescale: Off 
    • Keep History: Off/on

Check out the following sites for the original sources for these tips:

Friday, 20 April 2012

Character Designs: Margarita

The love interest in my story is a woman called Margarita who is made from paper.

Once again Weerawat Mungkung helped me with the character designs.

Below are some of the references that I sent to him and his character sketches showing how we got to the final design. (Latest at the top.)

Friday, 6 April 2012

Story: The Writer

My story has been through many iterations, but here's the final draft:

Once upon a time there was a man made from wood, who had pencils for fingers.

He was born to write, but he was suffering from writers’ block. All day he struggled to put words down on paper but to no avail. The only thing that kept him going was the sight of the beautiful woman who lived in the apartment across the street. Although he’d never spoken to her, the writer had fallen deeply in love.

We join the writer as he sits in his garret room, flexing his pencil-fingers and preparing to write on the blank sheets in front of him. Unfortunately the words don’t come.

The writer scratches his head, furrows his brow, and drums his fingers on the table, but no inspiration strikes.

Over the course of the day the waste paper basket begins to fill with balled sheets of paper as the writer discards his failed attempts.

Then, as night falls, a figure appears in the window opposite his apartment. It is Margarita, the beautiful woman who lives next door and just happens to be made entirely from paper.

The writer sighs and rests his chin on his hand: he watches as she takes out a book and begins to read.

And, at last, inspiration strikes. The writer begins to write fluently, the words flowing from his fingers over sheets and sheets of paper until eventually he falls asleep, his head resting on the pages that he has written.

We fade through to the same scene a number of hours later as the morning light from the sun creeps across the table to fall on the writers face.

He wakes up and as he catches sight of the paper strewn around him he remembers with delight what happened the previous evening.

The Writer goes to the window to breathe in the morning air and as he does so he sees something that gives him an idea. The two apartments have a washing line strung between them and in a moment of inspiration he pegs the pages, detailing his love for Margarita, to the washing line and sends them across the gap.

Back in his room the Writer feels very pleased with his ingenuity but then he catches sight of the waste paper bin, full to brimming with his discarded attempts from the previous day, and suddenly his confidence plummets and he immediately regrets what he’s done.

He hurries to the window to retrieve the pages but it’s too late – he’s just in time to see Margarita lifting the final sheet from the washing line.

With events now beyond his control the Writer paces his apartment anxiously, torn between hope and despair. Then something outside the window catches his eye: once again there is something hanging on the washing line.

He pulls the line towards him and his face lights up as he realises what it is. Margarita has folded one of his pages into the shape of a heart and sent it back to him. She has, quite literally given him her heart. Then down below a door opens and there is Margarita herself smiling up at him.

The Writer exuberantly flings the paper heart into the air and the camera follows as it flutters into the air, tracing delicate arcs as it glides down between the buildings. And when we reach street level we realize that the Writer has got there before us and now, at last, holds Margarita in his arms.

Monday, 2 April 2012

AfterEffects: Scale Multiple Keys

I liked the relative timing of a number of actions that I'd set up in aftereffects, but I wanted to speed the whole sequence up - here's how:

Expand or contract a group of keyframes in layer bar mode

  1. Select at least three keyframes.
  2. Hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and drag the first or last selected keyframe to the desired time.

Z-Brush: Use Posable Symmetry

Sometimes the mirror x tool in z-brush seems to go off centre: I've not quite got to the bottom of why this happens but here's my work-around:

Transform->Use Posable Symmetry

Maya Tip - fixing offset centre of interest when tumbling persp camera

Just hit a frustrating problem in Maya, in persp view I hit 'f' to centre on an object but then when I rotate the camera the centre of interest is off, and I quickly lose the object that I'm trying to work on.

Fortunately the excellent polycount forum gave me a fix for this and here it is:

"I run into this occasionally if you hold ctrl and alt to marquis/box zoom then hit f to focus again the rotation point will be properly centered again.
(up and left is zoom out, down and right is zoom in)

I'm not sure exactly why this is but I think it has something to do with the camera object having a scale, as when I've looked in other views the camera object thing changes size when band zooming but not when using the scroll wheel or both mouse buttons, as these actually move the camera closer to the focus point."

And here's the link to the thread: