Insight: Brad Bird on Animation

Brad Bird, writer and director of animated films 'The Iron Giant', 'The Incredibles' and 'Ratatouille', gives an insight into his writing process, how he directs animation and why many people fundamentally misunderstand the medium. Subtitles available.

Find out which animated film that one clip was from by turning on the 'English CC' subtitle track.

This video combines excerpts from the three audio commentary tracks on home releases of 'The Iron Giant', 'The Incredibles' and 'Ratatouille', as well as fragments from the behind-the-scenes documentaries. Watching the films prior to watching this video is recommended, but not entirely necessary.

Edited by Kees van Dijkhuizen Jr., © 2016. This non-profit project was made solely for educational purposes, not aimed at breaking copyright law. All rights to all material remain courtesy of their respective owners.


Adam Demo Executable Unity Assets Released

 

More here...


Adam executable download (size: 3 GB; Windows DX11 only)

It is expected to run 30 fps v-synced @ 1440p on a GeForce GTX 980 and Intel Core i7.


Adam Character Pack: Adam, Guard, and Lu – download  (size: 876.5 MB)

This package contains re-rigged versions of Adam, Guard and Lu.

For the original film we used per-character generic rigs with a lot of prebaked animation onto bones. However, for this release we decided that the characters would be more useful to you, if we rework them with the more flexible humanoid rig – so we did. We removed the additional rigs which were functional only outside of Unity, and made a small rigging tool which tries to replicate some of Adam’s shoulders functionality.


Adam Character Pack: Sebastian – download (size: 483 MB; Windows only)

This character was not reworked: we are shipping it exactly as it was used in the Adam demo. He has a complex rig and will be more difficult to reuse without doing quite a bit of additional work on your own. However, this pack is revealing for those of you who wanted to see exactly how we set it up.


Adam Interior Environment Pack – download (640 MB, DX11 only)

The Interior Pack gives insight into how we put together this environment. You would not want to use this approach in most game dev scenarios, but it is applicable to the production of cinematics, cutscenes, trailers.


VolumetricLighting – download (DX11 only)

We are shipping this isolated version as a more practical way to help those of you who would like to use the demo’s custom lighting and volumetrics in your own projects.


Adam Exterior Environment Pack – download (size: 2.7 GB; DX11 only)

Our main focus while building this environment was on the actual camera locations shown in the main demo.


More about Adam

The Unity Demo Team built Adam with beta versions of Unity 5.4 and our upcoming cinematic sequencer tool. To learn more about how we developed this demo, check out Adam’s web page for other blog posts, articles, and videos.

You may also want to check out the releases from our 2015 demo “The Blacksmith” (exterior, interior, characters, atmospheric scattering, hair shader, unique character shadows, wrinkle maps). We are not diligent in keeping them up to date, but we see many of you still find them useful. You can find more Unity demos in the Demos page.


Inside Pete's Dragon VFX

Design FX dives into the incredible special effects of Pete's Dragon. How were the team at WETA able to make Elliot (the titular dragon) appear invisible? Mike Seymour breaks down the techniques used to accomplish this spectacular effect.


Notes on Animation: Cats Don't Dance

A look at the design and animation of forgotten 90's gem Cats Don't Dance. Thanks to Wayne Carlisi of http://1on1animation.blogspot.com
and Frans Vischer of http://fuddles.net


The Hover Camera

I have to get one of these and record myself painting in the loft.


Mater Takes Tokyo | Cars 2 | Disney Pixar

Get ready to jet set to Tokyo, Japan with Mater and the rest of the crew from Disney•Pixar's Cars 2. Learn about how kawaii design and Japanese culture played an integral role in the set design and story. No detail is too small for this pit crew!


THE EVOLUTION OF STOP-MOTION

THE EVOLUTION OF STOP-MOTION from Vugar Efendi on Vimeo.

With the release of Kubo and the Two Strings, it is a perfect moment to go back in time and see the evolution of stop-motion animation throughout the years.

The films included are:
- The Enchanted Drawing (1900)
-Fun at the Bakery Shop (1902)
-El Hotel Electrico (1905)
-Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906)
-The Cameraman's Revenge (1912)
-The Night before Christmas (1913)
-Häxan (1922)
-The Lost World (1925)
-The Tale of Fox (1930 version)
-King Kong (1933)
-The New Gulliver (1935)
-The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
-It Came Beneath The Sea (1955)
-Earth vs Flying Saucers (1956)
-The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958)
-Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
-Closed Mondays (1975)
-Star wars IV: A New Hope (1977)
-Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back (1980)
-Clash of the Titans (1981)
-The Terminator (1984)
-Robocop (1987)
-Beetlejuice (1988)
-Wallace and Gromit: A grand day out (1990)
-The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993)
-The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
-James and the Giant Peach (1996)
-Chicken Run (2000)
-Corpse Bride (2005)
-Coraline (2009)
-Mary and Max (2009)
-Fantastic Mr.Fox (2009)
-The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (2012)
-Paranorman (2012)
-Frankenweenie (2012)
-Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
-The Little Prince (2015)
-Anomalisa (2015)
-Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

Music: Mychael Danna- The Streak (Moneyball OST)


MIDDLE SCHOOL - Exploring Rafe's Mind Featurette

That's my co-author at :36 in, Jamie Oliff, at Duncan Studio!

Making of Middle School . A real image film that combines animation 2d when we get into the head of the teenager.The animation is made Duncan Studio and have participated grandísimos Spanish artists Borja Montoro, Joseph Mansuy and Juan Pablo Navas .

Rafe has an epic imagination…and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to an oppressive, rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in do’s and don’ts, Rafe and his scheming best friend Leo hatch a plan to break every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct. It’s Ferris Bueller meets Home Alone as their battle with Principal Dwight explodes into chaos both real and imagined. But Dwight displays his own fiendish creativity, striking back at the rulebreakers. Meanwhile, Rafe struggles to hide his misbehavior from Jeanne, the straight-A, overachieving girl of his dreams, and at home, his mother’s boyfriend — a moochy, jack-of-no-trades named Bear — threatens to become his stepfather.


Best Tools for Maya Animators from Lester Banks

Lester Banks has posted the Best Tools for Maya Animators on his blog.

The BH Ghost Tool was created by one of my iAnimate students Brian Horgan. I encourage you to check out his website too for more tools.

The only issue with plugins vs mel scripts is many studios will not install tools on the machine for you.  They do not want their image corrupted with plugins (especially those using java in any way). But leaning on these tools for your own films at home is perfectly acceptable.

Below, are the tools I use the most... for the complete list go to Lester Banks Blog.


14. MG Tools

mgToolsby Miguel Winfield for Maya 7.0 and up – One day, somewhere out there, Winfield decided to cull all of his Maya tools together into one massive set and release it online. The result was the famously useful MGTools, which includes timesavers for just about every part of the workflow, including animation.

Possibly most noteworthy of the features is animRescue, which is a simple, lightweight method of backing up any and all changes to your animation, to be restored at anytime should your system crash.

Touted by industry professionals around the world, this one is definitely worth a look. Free and commercial versions available from MGLand

9. Ghost Tools

Ghost Tool, by Brian Horgan A very clever onion skinning solution for those of you fed up with Maya’s wonky built in Ghost feature. Brians Ghost Tools makes use of strokes to create easy to read line drawings. The tool is fast, compact, and loaded with features. Read the full article about it here. Free Download from Brians site

8. ABX Pickerabx-picker

ABX Picker, by J Adam Burke for Maya 2011 – 2013. A junior entry to the best GUI picker list, the strong selling points of this picker are the functionality and the rapid response from the tools developer. A highly rated, well supported user favorite. $20 on CreativeCrash

7. Snap Keys

Snap Keys, (various). This function got a few votes – whether using Maya’s built in snap key function or the custom Snap Keys included with MGTools – there’s also a very useful script over on the 11secondclub forums that prevents Maya from ever creating sub-frame keys.

6. Frame Counter

Frame Counter, (various). Many options are available if you want to add a custom frame counter to your playblast. Head over to this forum post to find scripts for both Max and Maya, or take the lazy route and just download The Frame Counter from CreativeCrash

Try Blue Pencil, or GPencilTool. More reading on other options over at this forum.

4. AnimSchool Picker

AnimSchool Picker, by AnimSchool for Maya and Softimage, all versions. This free tool has a lot going for it for Maya animators. Easy to use, easy to customize and a great depth of features.

Creating pickers is very simple, even adding multiple buttons at the same time is a snap, assigning sets and adding custom backgrounds is simple. But what really adds to the functionality is the ability to assign commands to buttons.

This tool is not only useful for picking controllers in a character rig, it’s also a catch-all solution for making all sorts GUIs.

Infintely faster than building UIs with mel, this tool is a must try for animators and technical artists alike. Free with signed waiver at AnimSchool.

3. Motion Trails

Motion Trail tools, (various). You can of use the built in Maya Motion Trail option, but if you ask the friendly folks at the 11second club, Mr Motion Trail, Arc Tracker or A Piece of Acetate Paper are all excellent alternatives. All free except the acetate, but if you’re like me you can use a dry erase marker right on your screen, what could possibly go wrong?

1. Pose Library

Pose Library, (various). Far and away the most useful and requested tool is the Pose Library. Whether it’s feature work, TV series or personal projects, there’s no substitute for an easy way to save and import your poses. I can’t imagine a production running smoothly without a way to import animation cycles, hand poses or face shapes. Invaluable to Maya animators.

If I didn’t have a pose library, I’d probably punch a baby elephant in the butt.

Here are three of the best tools for saving and importing animation data. PoseLib, Studio Library and PoseMan.


Homer Simpson Maya Rig

Homer Simpson Maya Rig

This rig is really good and all of the math on it is clean.

I created a walk cycle to test, but left it at school.

Will add the walk cycle here once I have it rendered.

simpson-3d-rig-4

simpson-3d-rig-2

 


Michelle C. Smith Weapons Reel Stuntwoman

 

Michelle C. Smith - Weapons Reel from Michelle C. Smith on Vimeo.

Great reference for a body mechanics piece.

Michelle C. Smith Weapons Reel Stuntwoman


The Little Prince - Stop Motion Animation - Behind the Scenes

The Little Prince – Stop Motion Animation from A Scott on Vimeo.


Ornatrix v1.0 for Autodesk Maya

https://player.vimeo.com/video/174110713

Some feature of Ornatrix for Maya version 1.0 are:
+ Added: “Generate” button to HairClusterNode to allow caching of clusters into scene
+ Added: Allow running Ornatrix from a user-specified location on Mac/Linux
+ Added Switch EG brush strength change to Maya-standard LMB+M combination
+ Added: A ramp attribute to control the twist of the guide cluster operator
+ Added: A shelf button and command which would convert hair stack to Maya curves
+ Added: About dialog
* Fixed: Operators precompute map values to avoid threaded evaluation bug
* Fixed: GuidesFromMeshNode distributionChannel parameters does not appear in the AE template
* Fixed: MEL AE template warning when showing HairFromGuidesNode and then GuidesFromMeshNode
* Fixed: In HairFromGuides use a large button for “Remember Root Positions” function
* Changed Ox grooms to be only loadable/creatable in Maya
* Fixed: Handle Flex adapter errors more gracefully
* Fixed: Using B key to resize EG brush works only momentarily
* Fixed: Motion blur doesn’t work in Arnold when used with Hair from Mesh Strips operator

 

Ornatrix Tutorials


SIGGRAPH 2016 - Computer Animation Festival Trailer- NEW

I was on the Siggraph Computer Animation Festival Jury and here is a preview of the festival screening!


Behind the Scenes - VFX of 'Deadpool'

The text below was written by John Fusco at No Film School

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It took the collaboration of several studios to pull off this year’s best visual effects.

Too often with recent entries into the superhero canon, it feels like we’re being ruthlessly beaten over the head by CGI effects. This year, Tim Miller’s Deadpool proved the rare exception. Watching the film, the VFX blend seamlessly into the action and go virtually unnoticed. And this wasn’t any accident.

Prior to his big screen debut in February, Miller’s day job had been running the VFX company Blur Studios with his friend and visual supervisor David Stinnett. The award-winning company is responsible for effects in projects ranging from the intergalactic sequences in Avatar, to critically acclaimed game trailers, to the abstract black-on-black opening titles inThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They even worked on a Disney Marvel movie before switching over to Fox, heading up the three-minute prologue sequence that sets the stage for Thor: The Dark World.

To put it simply, Miller knew how important the quality of the VFX would be to Deadpool’s success.

Miller valued the VFX of production so much that he knew he couldn’t pull it off alone. He brought together an all-star group of visual effects vendors, including Digital Domain (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Speed Racer), Luma Pictures (Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man), Rodeo FX (Game of Thrones, Pacific Rim), Ollin VFX (Her, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Image Engine (Jurassic World, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Atomic Fiction (The Walk, Stark Trek: Beyond) and Weta Digital (Batman vs. Superman, The BFG). Each of these vendors was then assigned various responsibilities while Blur Studios acted as the managerial hub. Weta, for example, was responsible for Deadpool’s face, while Atomic Fiction took on the highway chase scene in the beginning.

The studio attributes its success with the Deadpool sequence to a cloud rendering platform they developed in-house called Conductor. In an interview with Art of VFX, they explain:

“All of Atomic Fiction’s heavy rendering is done with ConductorIO, a cloud rendering platform we developed for internal use, and have since spun off as a stand-alone company. On Deadpool, 7 million core hours were rendered in the cloud. 80% of the rendering on Deadpool occurred in just 8 weeks of the 36-week schedule, with one single week accounting for about 20%. This really demonstrates how important it is to be able to scale resources up and down. Another way to look at it is that we would have needed a local render farm of around 32,000 cores to get through that one week. That’s a lot of horsepower for any size company, let alone a mid-sized studio like Atomic Fiction.”

On their company website, Atomic Fiction offers a beta version of the software which they define as “cloud rendering.”

“It encompasses the entire rendering workflow from end to end, managing uploads and downloads, queuing, security, and cloud resources with unmatched performance and efficiency,” the description reads. Some of the features include:

  • The most widely-used 2D & 3D applications supported
  • Scales massively; stays fast as workloads grow
  • Integrates into custom pipelines
  • Enterprise-grade cloud security from end to end
  • Real-time cost tracking and management
  • Automated data de-duplication for faster file transfers
  • State-of-the-art cloud technologies built in at the core level
  • Pay one all-inclusive price for what you use, by the minute
  • Improve productivity by 20%; reduce rendering costs by 50%

If you’re an aspiring VFX designer, you may want to register and check it out. For an even more intense breakdown of the highway chase scene, be sure and check out The Art of VFX’sinterview with Ryan Tudhope, Co-Founder & VFX Supervisor of Atomic Fiction.      


Rotoscoped Horse by Carnegie Mellon University School of Art

Carnegie Mellon University professor Paolo Pedercini asked his animation students to reimagine an 1870s iconic film footage by Eadweard Muybridge of a galloping horse. Using a technique called rotoscoping which involves an animator painstakingly tracing over film footage frame by frame, the students did not disappoint. Their unique interpretations include a rainbow centaur, space aliens, Burger King, and even modern art by Piet Mondrian. Rotoscoping was used in the 1930s in films like Disney's Snow White and more recently in music videos such as Ah-Ha’s 1980s hit Take on Me.


Zootopia Drawings

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When you make an animated film, you end up making A TON of drawings.

A lot of those drawings are just to help describe how something is constructed or how it should move.  Those drawings can get boring.  So to keep it fun, the Zootopia drawings got weirder and weirder.  Here’s some mildly weird ones.

Those drawings can get boring.  So to keep it fun, the Zootopia drawings got weirder and weirder.  Here’s some mildly weird ones.

 So to keep it fun, the Zootopia drawings got weirder and weirder.  Here’s some mildly weird ones.