Archive for July, 2009

Trapcode Particular 2

I’ve been messing around with trapcode particular 2, amazing plugin in for after effects. I’m sure most of you have used the previous version of the product. The latest version is a true 3D plugin and allows the particles to respond to lights and casts shadows on each other, which is a huge plus for me. It also has a light streak feature which I’m sure people will be throwing into their promos anytime now. I was messing around yesterday and rendered out 2 tests with particles with multiple lights and shadows. (check it out below) There is also a new tutorial on red giant tv here you can watch that explains the plug in with various quick projects

Particular 2 Tests


Architecture Modeling 3DS Max

Really falling in love with the modeling tools in Max. Everything is really to use and the arch materials are a dream as well. Still nothing like Hypershade, but its fine for now as I have yet to do any complex texturing in Max.

Ive been going slowly through a Digital Tutors DVD that I highly recommend called Modeling Interiors in 3DS Max.

The guy goes through step by step how he models everything in the room. There is nothing on texturing or lighting. Just modeling.

One thing I have noticed is that the difference between a very CG looking object and a more photo-realistic one, is that the CG looking object lacks the imperfections real objects have. Pillows aren’t square they have a bit of a sag to one side or the other. The push/pull painting option (see soft mod in Maya) is great for creating these necessary imperfections.

After I rendered the still out of a simple couch and coffee table scene, I took it into photoshop and added some chromatic aberration, blurring, and dodge and burn. Its not too bad looking but I’m very happy with it because its my first real model with some decent detail. I am not a huge fan of modeling, but it is VERY gratifying to finish something like that. I look forward to doing more.


Web 2.0 Watercolor Icons

One of my classmates Morgan Finley designed some pretty cool watercolor icons for RSS feeds, facebook, and twitter etc.

check em out here

his website is also here:

Morgan Finley is a web designer and printmaker who is looking for more and more freelance web design work. Hes a big wordpress guy and understand typography really well. Check him out.

Badass Reel


Now thats a badass reel.
It was definitely under 2 minutes but it was powerful. Great editing, amazing sound design, and more importantly great work. He does motion design and VFX for websites. His website is pretty sick as well.

I’m emailing this guy as you read this because I have to know how he did some of the shots. His web stuff is killer.

Robert Kaniszewski is the designer’s name

Recent Work

Been helping out a freelance motion graphics guy at work for the last little bit. Its a 4 minute spot for Future Shop that will be played on the inside of all of their stores on display tv sets. No one ever watches those things unless they are in line waiting for hours to return something (western digital external hard drive, ) but they do pay the bills I guess.

4 minutes is a huge amount of time and one thing I have realized is that staying organized is paramount. Sometimes you can get away with being slightly organized just enough so you can get the project out the door. But when you are working with a spot of that length (we are using 38 compositions in total) and you are swapping after effect project files between each other it can be quite maddening.

We are keeping a regular solid in the background with a simple light, soft shadows, and all of the elements fly into the center of the screen animate and fly off so every ‘comp’ is a clean plate and has the same start and finish frame.

We are also using 3D elements as well such as DVDs and a scratch lottery ticket. I made the lottery ticket in 3D, took the photoshop file made the center section ‘scratch off’ revealing text made some simple particles as it came off, rendered this out as a jpeg sequence and mapped that to the material of the simple plane i made in 3D so we could get a camera move with 3d shadows. rendered the shadows in mental ray with a ambient occlusion pass, and then a simple scanline render for the ticket itself. Took all this back into after effects added more particles to the ticket as it is scratched off and the section is done.

I also did the end tag for future shop which was a lot of fun to do as well. A note: I finished this end tag, I was working in quarter res the entire time, but when I switched it back to full quality just before rendering, I was getting a crazy amount of noise where the absence of light was. I fixed this after changing the aperture of the camera. This was very simple, but I sat that for an hour before figuring that out. Just a tip.

SyFy House of Imagination

watch it here:

Wow. I really don’t know what to say about this. I really do not understand what I just watched. Was that a commercial promo spot or a movie? Very amazing stuff from Moving Picture Company who has dabbled in pretty much everything:

their vfx reel is here

But we watched the SyFy spot and one thing is very clear that everyone here at work agreed on. That spot is going to be referenced to over and over again for years to come. Ad Agencies are going to be going from studio to studio pitching ideas from the spot in the future. Lord knows that it will be a month before we see the spray can idea.

The SyFy trailer itself was a bit odd in that it seemed like way too many ideas smashed together that seemed to show off ‘hey, look what I can do!’ rather than sticking to any theme, and this began to throw me off a little bit. I started to lose focus on what I was watching as I began just wondering what crazy vfx shot I was going to see next. I am still a firm believer that the new SyFy rebrand is something I like for the both the channel and the vfx industry.

80 Must Read Design Blogs

80+ Must-Read Design Blogs to Enhance your Creativity and your Career

Another great resource of gathered information.