Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Design Section

I've added a new design section to my portfolio. As time goes on I find myself spending more and more time on design so and I hope to include these works in my portfolio now.
I've started off by featuring our game Kleek. We are getting very close to it's public beta release which we plan on doing early January 08'. The project has officially been under development for over a year now and each day it gets more and more exciting.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Portfolio Re-Design

I've updated my portfolio....not all the links are working yet but I just felt like releasing because I'll be updating it for many days to come.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday and Amazing

It's Saturday morning and amazing. After a grueling 3 month project the clouds have seemed to have lifted and I'm sitting at home drinking my coffee and listening to the birds chirp without a worry of failed renders...paradise..mostly. The project that we have finished is still secret but hopefully it will soon be released to the public.
Last night I got a chance to meet up with my old bosses from Iceland, Mark and Claudia. They've pretty much been globe trotting working on VFX for various upcoming films and now working on the VFX for another Clint Eastwood film. Sounds like fun. We ate at this place in the Hollywood Hills called Yamashiro which has great food and a view unlike any other of Hollywood/LA Basin. So on the docket this weekend...tonight and engagement party and tomorrow a bowling party... hooray for work free weekends!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Master Zaps Hair tips

Master Zap explains how to render fur related scenes well here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I'm an Uncle

Yesterday my wife's sister gave birth to a baby boy Maxwell!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shave and Haircut: Shadows (Mental Ray Hair Primitives)

Wow Mental Ray Hair Primitives. What a change of pace. Wish I would have learned this 3 months ago. My new friend Doug (who is a master cg artist) spent a few days testing shave and haircut and has completely changed my outlook on how fur needs to be's with hair primitives! Here are the major technical points are your shave globals, your light's shadow settings, and your mental ray globals:

Render Globals:
Change renderer to mental ray. Use Rapid Hair adjust the anti alasing settings down to get faster render time

Shave Globals:
Once you've switched to the mental ray renderer in the shave globals you will now have the option to change to "hair primitives" this essentially switches your hair to geometry at render time. I assumed this would make for really high render times but has massivly improved render times, though you have to pay closer attention to your light's shadow settings.

Light Attributes:

I only light hair primitives with spot lights. Once you've made your light, go to your attributes -> Shadows, check use depth map shadows. Scroll down down and expand the area that says "mental ray" here you will see attributes that deal with shadow maps. Enable shadow maps. I believe this overides your depth map shadow settings so you have to set a new shadow resolution (256 or 512 will give you soft shadows, 2048 4096 will give you sharp shadows). I've worked with shadows samples between 1 and 4 (I up the samples if I am getting bands), and I work with softness levels between .001 and .01 (this seems very sensitive).

This is a quick rundown, I'll flesh this out further once I have more accurate results. Though using primitives has taken what was once a 3 + hour render down to about 23 minutes with very similar (even better) results.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Shave and Haircut: Shadows (Mental Ray Buffer)

Ok probably the most important thing I've learned over time is about Shave shadows. Much of this is probably really obvious...but here's a quick rundown for Shave and Haircut Shadows using the buffer:

Geo Shadow - The geometry that the hair is attached to is casting shadows on the hair if this feature is turned all the way up. For some reason for quite some time I always thought this attribute affected how the hair casted shadow on to the geo under it...I was very wrong. So if you want to create a rim light pass for the fur, you would want to put a light behind your geo and hair and turn geo shadow all the way up.

Self Shadow - Hairs casting shadows upon themselves, that one is pretty straight forward.

How to avoid a major flickering problem when rendering with the buffer - If your throw a light into the scene (without properly setting up the shave shadow attributes) and animate the hair moving around you are most likely going to get a flicker/jitter/shimmer render. I've typically been working with a spot light as my key light. After creating my light with a scene that already has hair, I select the light then go to the shave menu ->Shadow -> Add selected lights. This will create a new attribute in your spot light. If you enter 1500 into the resolution and 30 into fuzz this will give you a good starting point to avoid those flickers. Joe Alter suggested those numbers himself and they've been working great for me.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Getting Hitched!

Tonight Laurie and I are heading out to the East Coast to get ready for our big day on August 18th. Looking forward to taking some time off and seeing old family and friends. There won't be too many graphics updates in the near future but there will be a monster on the not too distant stay tuned and stay in touch.

All the best -


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BUCK: Beast

Chris Lee in action here designed this fun piece for a fuel spot at Buck. Not too much 3D in this piece but I did get to help transform Chris' designs over to the 3D character. Toon shading again in maya with thin clean outlines. Enjoy

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Buck: Gravity

We recently finished this piece Damn Gravity for fuel tv. I personally really liked it because of it's unique graphic style and character animation. The character, skate ramp and props were done with maya's toon shader and outlines, all rendered on separate passes. I rendered out the outline pass when the character was un-smoothed to give it a rigid offset feel....the toon shading was rendered with the characters smoothed.
Actually not too much 3D rendering work here, a lot of great design, and hand drawn stuff.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Shave and Haircut- Part 4 (Mental Ray or Maya)

Shave and Haircut for Mental Ray...coming soon.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Shave and Hair Cut - Part 3 (Procedure?)

Working with hair I have found that I can spend hours and hours adjusting maps and test rendering. I have found that it is extremely important to have some sort of procedure when attacking a project or else you can get lost for hours if not days fine tuning maps trying to get your look only to come to a dead end and start from scratch. Here is a work in progress of the steps I have begun to take when first starting:
1. Roughing out scale and root width is probably the best way to start. Keep the hair count down for quick renders until you start getting a good sense
2. Determining UV Sets or apply an additional fur set to faces can help you allocate denser hair where needed. See the UV section.
3. Determine how close you are actually going to get to your character. If your getting close to the face it's important that you allocate a lot of time to render. The closer you get....the longer the render. As you pull back you'll find that your root width doesn't need to be as fine thus by using thicker hair you can use less....decreasing that render time.

(more detail to come)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Shave and Hair Cut - Part 2 (Uv Maps - UV Sets)

UVs are really important even though shave does a nice job of distributing hairs no matter what they may be, so if your uv's aren't equally distributed the hairs won't group in unwanted places which is great. I have found recently that it is really important to create more than one shave hair set on a surface. By selecting faces on the geometry and creating new hair this can really pack hair in places and put less hair in others.

For example the hair on a animals face is typically very fine and short. This requires one to up the hair count to fill in places that require fine fibers of hair. If you Create a UV set for the head and one for the body, you can pack more hair into the head shave node and avoid this unnecessary hair count for the body.

If you are using UV sets you can assign them to these faces which is nice. I did think this was a good option for a while but then I had to start paint too many mattes and it was difficult to keep a handle on everything. (I have found that it is best to work with one nicely laid out uv set...anything more than that is too stressful :)

Note: Try not to include uv's into a uv set that don't contain any fur (like the inside of an animals mouth). If this fur has zero density you might as well not include it so what would be essentially invisible fur is now allocated somewhere more useful.

Note (2): If you are using two uv sets I have found that sometimes it is hard to match the look of to two hair sets at it's seams. Make one of your two uv sets include both of your areas, then use the density map for each hair system to "blend" at the seam. I am still working at this technique but it seems to be a good solution for now.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Shave and Haircut - Part 1 (Scale)

I am deep in the throws of a project requiring Shave and Haircut for Maya. I have been using this software on and off for the past year or so. Slowly and progressively learning how to manage time and get good results. I have posted many questions on the forums hoping to get a response, but there don't seem to be too many folks forging the threads for shave and haircut topics.

Anyway the first thing that I want to talk about is:

Geo Scale:
First things first, the scale of your object and the scale of your hair is very important. If the scale of your object changes, (for example your animal gets referenced into a scene and the animator scales him up) this will mess up how you originally intended the hair to look. So make sure your model's scale is fixed and that in no way in the future will his scale change before starting to work with Shave.

Hair Scale:
By scaling up and down or using mattes to scale your hair, this can affect the integrity of your clumping down the road. I have found that it is best to create your hair, and then use the scale brush tool (make the brush big, zoom out and scale all the hair down to the approximate length). I hear this is much better than attenuate because attenuation can cut your hairs too short and you'll be popping and fixing hairs rather than having control right off the bat (A great tip by Chris Chrisman). From there, I will minimally affect the hair using black and white maps until I have it right, or I will cut the hair, (this is an assumption but this seems to reinitialize the hair's scale to a default setting rather than globally affecting all of it attributes).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Eli Wins Portugal

One of my good friend's Eli Rarey just won the Portugal Film Festival. Word on the street he is opening a production company so he can create more films and win more awards. Watch out for Eli Rarey and his films!

More details later.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My old roomies are rock stars!!

There's no shame in acknowledging that the devil wants you on his team. Check out their write up in Denver's westwared. Second from the LEFT is my sister's fiance'!
List to their music HERE.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Check out our latest spot at Buck....Contractopia.
This was a really fun piece that we did about four weeks.

Friday, June 01, 2007

George Fuentes

As you can see George Fuentes is pretty awesome. I just met him the other day and got to watch him paint. He's fast! Check out his site here!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

vcdave and okdork

Two blogs I've recently found very interesting: vcdave and okdork are two websites dedicated to ecommerce. I particularly found this jackpot tool really cool.

Also while on this tangent check out this traffic estimate site.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Friend Scruggs Is Famous

Patrick Scruggs is viewed on motionographer again. He's awesome and deserves the recognition. Check out his work here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Chris Lee's New Toy & Event

Check out the release of Chris Lee's new toy!

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Friend Ken

Ken and I became friends though intense conversations about television shows. He has some awesome work here. Also check out his mad remixing skills.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


i am a terrible blogger. this whole business makes me feel bad because I usually only blog when I acomplish something and lately there haven't been many blogs at all which I suppose means I haven't been acomplishing much. I actually have been acomplishing a lot just haven't found my blogging groove. Happy May, may it be a good one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

We are interviewed by MyMentalRay

Check us out.
My Mental Ray is a community site for mental ray users run by a great 3D artist Julian Sarmiento. Julian was gracious enough to give us an interview!
Check out his site here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Yay for us!

We are in Stash 31. Check it!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April no fool me day.

It's April 1st. and I haven't been fooled ha HA. Man this LA weather is nice. Today we walked to the tar pits...that joint is hurt up! then to the farmers market where I have a mint chocolate chip ice cream. I need to treat myself to icecream more often. I also watched the movie Rize, by David LaChapelle, that was great. If I had to choose between krumping and clowning I think I'd be a Krumper. Only because I can't deal with facial paint.
Anyway, happy April, spring is abound for those of you who aren't in sunny California...hang in there.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Flickr Tag Search Thingie

Check it!

Monday, March 19, 2007

HDR Photography

Tokyo Nightscape
Originally uploaded by /\ltus.

HDR Photography this technique is awesome. I would love to learn how this is done. Check out more of this guys work.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Buck Spring Reel

Buck's new spring reel...really goes.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Tower of Grantville takes top 3

Tower of Grantville takes top 3 at adcritic.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tower of Grantville Stills

Here are some stills from the tower of Grantville created at Buck. Please view the quicktime here.

Monday, March 05, 2007

three months in

Ok, it's now March...already into the third month of this year. My life is busy and great, I've been working on a lot of projects and the quality of work on all fronts is continuously improving. I'm getting married in almost five months, this is amazing. Time is just blowing by with tremendous speed. All is well I will post some still of our latest piece soon.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Interview: Buck

Check out the interview I helped with with between MYMR and Buck here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tower of Grantville Completed

Today marks the day that Tower of Grantville has completed. It's defiantly the most creative project that I've worked on and I'm really glad to have been a part of it. The animation will premiere on big screens before movies so keep a look out for a tattered bunny rabbit, a man with a cardboard head, and screaming furry animals you won't be disappointed.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Already this far into February, wow.
Our first week of production has finished with Clique Online, it looks as though the graphics are coming along and they are working on the chat mechanics of the game. We seem to be narrowing down a "look" for the characters, it's exciting to see the thing come into existance. Other things to note, I'm watch the first season of Battle Star Galactica on my Ipod while on the bus to and from work, I must look a bit crazy not taking my eyes off the screen for the entire ride...though I'm beginning to realize crazy is nothing new to the LA metro system.
Both Lazytown and It's a Big Big world were nominated for Emmy's feels good to be a small part of that, cross your fingers for a win.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Normality & Reality

"Normality and Reality are a set of powerful plug-ins that allow CG Artists to light their 3D objects and scenes directly within the familiar Adobe After Effects environment.

The software is production proven and has been used on several high-end projects, including the Paraworld and Frontlines..."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Buck:Comcast: Mech

Here's a piece that I helped with the lighting/shading/comping. Mental Ray's car paint shader, and L_glass are the special shaders here.
Everything was broken out into separate passes at render time. Turned out pretty nice.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

adventures in january

if adventures could happen digitally my life this year would be a wild ride.
so pretty much after returning from Christmas break I have been working non-stop, thus the lack of posts. Right now it's day 17 in a row. I'm actually feeling pretty good because we are working on a really challenging piece that is going to turn heads, probably one of the strangest yet one of the most exciting projects I've been on to date, I'll actually be sad to see it finish because I've grown to really like the characters.
Also happening in tandem (after work hours) is the production of our game Clique which is beginning full production Feb. 5th. We've got some great programmers involved at a company called Metaversal Studios in Boston. We are so excited to see our 8+months of dreaming and brainstorming become a reality. I have a lot of faith in the project and I think that a lot of people who see our prototype in a few months will also.
Other than that I haven't really seen any spots online that have knocked my socks off. There is a lot of good stuff out there but my mind is so saturated with media I have a hard time appreciating anything anymore. Hopefully Buck's latest release will swim to the surface and spark some inspiration into the field.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

CG Art

I recently found a new cg resource, CG Art. The scrolling windows are kind of annoying but I've found some nice things here that I haven't seen elsewhere.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Beast is Back

I recently met the talented illustrator/designer extraordinaire Chris Lee, if you haven't already seen his work check it out here. He has also done a great tutorial about adding dimension to your characters.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Public Transportation Patterns

Bakerloo Line train. London Underground
Originally uploaded by ludd.

Textures on flickr. They look unique! Nice patterns from different public transportation systems. View Ludwig's Flickr Set here! I found another public contriubtion flickr set here that also has patterns of this nature.

Friday, January 05, 2007

and we're back

Christmas vacation was a blast. We're back in LA, ready to take 2007 by the horns. Lots of big things happening this year!