Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some Old Midway stuff...

Here's some old work from Midway. I'm assuming they don't care as Mortal Kombat has shipped and the other project is canceled. Most of my fam wasn't really sure did what I did at work all day - this is a good taste of it. If anyone at Midway does care, lemme know and I'll yank em.

  • Canceled project - This is a facial animation test from a canceled Midway project. They wanted a couple of quick dialogue tests, so I did em. The animation isn't the best, I didn't get to spend a lot of time on them. Just putting the rig through it's paces. I also did the facial rigging and weighting.
  • Mortal Kombat Facial Rig - This is a range of motion video from the prototype facial rig for Mortal Kombat vs. DC. I created the poses for the rig to drive and did the facial weighting pass. It's a joint based rig whose architecture was set in place by my coworker and friend Scott Englert. Subsequent rigging work on characters was done by Tony Lewellen and his team.

Site updates...

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. I sure did though my belly is full of chex mix and chocolate covered pecans... Oh, and I'm a big fan of what may or may not be a trend. I got a couple of Blue Ray DVDs for presents but don't have a Blue Ray player yet. However, they both came with digital copies downloadable via iTunes with an unlock code. I'm wondering if this is the standard or just an anomaly shared by the Dark Knight and a little robot that could named Wall-E. Hoping it's a trend:) Projects pages updated:

Progress on Garden City is coming along just dandy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Been a while...

It's been way too long since I've made a concerted effort to draw more and actually followed through on it. Plan on changing that. This is a 20 minute photoshop pastel of our cat. Man, I need to practice. There's only so much time in life and lately I don't feel like I've been the best steward of mine. That's something else I plan on changing. That'll be my present to myself. Also, this is absolutely amazing...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For my friends...

Almost all of my friends at Midway today were let go. I'm still shell shocked about it. They are all talented animators and artists and would be asset at any studio. Any one hiring folks should look em up on Linked in or the link if I have it here:

This is the list as I know it so far, if I find out more were let go, I'll add em. My thoughts are with you guys.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Finally wrapped my first sequence on Garden City. Don't know when I'll be able to show it but it was a lot of fun to do. Also the first bit of full body animation I've done in some time so it took a bit to get back into the swing of things. When I went to start my next shot on Garden City only to find the updated set made my layout pass of Henry dance his way into the shower. Understandably, gonna have to fix that. However, while I was waiting for the updated set, I stumbled across some great info and inspirational work via the ole' Google Reader:

  • Visual Comedy 101 - Carlos Baena had some edutainment gold on his blog in the form of a series of vids staring the ever humorous "Bean" on what constitutes visual comedy. Check it out here.
  • More Gobelins awesome-ness - Here's my visual fav and the making off is embedded below. All of them can be seen here.
  • From the Maker of "Simon's Cat" - More hillarity...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On an Animbatical...

Last Thursday was my last day at Midway Games. I had a great run there over the past 3 and a half years and have made many what I expect to be lifelong friends. Looking back, I consider myself fortunate to have worked on so many shipped titles - Ballers 2, Stranglehold, Blacksite, Ballers 3, Blitz, and most recently Wheelman and MKvsDC which will be shipping before too long. I also was able to work on some other projects in a protoype/helping role. My time at the company was mainly spent working on pushing the facial animation pipeline with my friend Scott Englert and overseeing production in that facet of those projects and doing some motion capture cleanup, vehicle rigging/animation, dynamics and even some cloth in the down times. It was a difficult decision to leave as the company treated me very well and I had been able to work remotely for the past 8 months or so from Houston. However, my passion for animation lies in full body keyframe work rather than just focusing on the face and my opportunities to do that were limited. It was time for a break. A chance to seek out opportunities that would afford the exercising of those passions. What might you ask is an "Animbatical"? Well, I think I made it up to be honest but the intention was a sabatical of sorts for an animator. Over the next several months, I'm going to be working on "Garden City" - a film being directed by a very good friend David Bokser. We've been plugging along on it for a while now and it's time to get 'er done. I'm also going to be doing some animation exercises, working on some short film ideas and hopefully finishing Squirrely and Olaf and looking for some freelance or short term on site work if opportunities come along. If you hear of anything, lemme know:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Chestnut Tree...

I've been wanting to see this film for a while having heard about it a year ago or so. It's no wonder it's gotten so much acclaim. Take a look at a delightful little film:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"Get over here!"

No I had nothing to do with this screenshot. Yes, I'd like to be Batman.
Scorpion kept using his signature move to keep me in the brutal crucible that was the Mortal Kombat production pipeline. Weeks of very long hours and plenty of weekends work makes for crispy cogs in the game-making machine. However, it is done (at least my portion) and though I learned lots of good lessons during production I can't really talk about them yet, so.... Thankfully, I'm off on a little comp time and I plan on enjoying it and pursuing normalcy again. That begins with:
  • Fitness - It's amazing how fast this remarkable thing we call the human body can go from being in shape to "yea-I-know-we-ran-4-miles-no-sweat-two-months-ago-but-I-don't-wanna-do-that-anymore". It gets worse the older you get. Yay. However, like the apostle Paul declared I shall "beat my body and make it my own" once more.
  • Back to the basics - The joy of just animating faces has run it's course and I need some more exercise for those animation muscles. I'm working on my first shot for Bokser's Garden City (all done with layout!)
  • Politics - This election cycle and the insipid stupidity of this whole two-faced financial crisis blame game has burned me out. The press for the most part has not been doing it's job and I'd rather animate or read a book than try to do their jobs for them. The debate last night was just painful. I've cleared out my Google reader of political readings - Animation, friends, tech and some theology is good enough for now.
  • Christmas Card - I gotta get started on it. Asap. :)
Oh a very, VERY cool little tool that Bokser came across is a service called Dropbox. We're using it to keep assets up to date on Garden City and I'm using it to send files between my PC and mac easy peasy. Watch the little video. It's free and very cool.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


This is a fantastic short. AND. They have a great making of vid here. Check out the rest of the site for some more great artwork. I'm continually impressed by the work coming out of the Gobelin's school.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Last "Squirrely" update for a bit...

Gonna wait till after I've got his face rigged for any more postings. I used The Setup Machine 2 to rig him up and it worked great. Painting weighting has gone pretty quick and it's a nice way to quickly test the posing and make modeling changes accordingly. There have been several since the rotation render. He's already a lot of fun to pose around. I'm thinkin hard about picking up The Face Machine and giving it a go, the sample rig has a lot of flexibilty though I'm not sure how it will fare with a snout. I finally got some notes from Bokser on my shot shot so I'll get started on that when I can. Work has been some long hours trying to finish up a project for shipping this fall so progress on Mr. Blue might be spotty. I'm taking name suggestions for "Squirrely" if anyone has any idears.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Squirrely has a Tail and Other Things...

My buddy Dave (who has a new website by the way) introduced me to a fellow worker of his who has had some great traditional and cg animation experience. He gave me some good suggestions for tweaking "Squirrely's" design. The most important being the transformation of the slightly-inflated-balloon-beaver-tail to something more of squirrelish semblance. Crazy thing is the guy went to a high school in the same town and same district I did - just a few years earlier. It's a small world sometimes... Some neato stuff hit the net this week:

  • Pixar's "Up" Character designs - Couple of characters are up. The attention to detail on the scouts gear is specially great. Even from the little bits I've seen about the film, it has great story potential.
  • Great little read on Facial Animation - Check it out. Written by Shawn Kelly from Animation Mentor. Being that facial animation is pretty much the vast majority of what I do at work, I particularly found it insightful. Facial animation is gravy, not the meat of a good performance.
  • Princess and the Frog trailer - As excited as I am about Keane's maiden voyage into CG via Rapunzel, it's about time Disney got back to traditional animation. Can't wait to see more.
  • Very creative little flash game - This is a fun little diversion from a talented flash animator named Nacho Rodriguez. I ran across another of his surreal shorts this week as well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Squirrel Skins for All!

Well, for one squirrel at least....

I got Mr. Squirrely's texture done and started needlessly playing with some mental ray subsurface scattering and ambient occlusion. I gave fur an attempt but it just takes too long and I don't wanna mess with it. So there.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Little more progress on the little Squirrel that could...

Pretty much all that's left is giving him a tongue and figuring how I'm gonna do a bushy tail. I'd prefer not to go the fur route...we'll see....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chip off the old block...of polys...

Started blocking out Squirrely a couple of days ago and put some more time into him tonight in ole' Silo. That's not his real name, but it works for now. My modeling skills needed some exercise anyway while I wait on some crits from Bokser for my latest blocking on a shot.

I'm sleepy and it's midnight. That is all.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Something neat from an old teacher...

Larry Lauria was my first traditional animation teacher at SCAD and grounded me in the basics. He's just releasing a new set of classes partnering with Digicel Flipbook (which still finds a place on my desktop). It looks like the basis of the Introduction to Animation I had with him back in the day and it was a great class then. Check it out if it floats your boat (not too pricey either).


....I like them. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Flash drawing with substance...

Dan Paladin (what a sweet name, eh?) is an amazing illustrator and animator for that matter and I can't wait for Castle Crasher's to release. In the meantime here's some great workflow vid from him. Comic-Con 2008 Flag Design from The Behemoth on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Scripts, Podcasts and MacGuffins!

Been working some on Bokser's film and enjoying that. I can't wait to get past blocking and into animating after the assets are finaled. In the meantime, I think it's time to get some back to the basics exercises going.

  • Updated jbExportQss - Got some insight from a poster on Cgtalk and adds some new abilities and squashed some bugs. Still available here. After this one, I think I'm done mel scripting for a brain hurts.
  • Andrew Stanton Podcast - A nice long interview with the director of Wall-E and Finding Nemo.
  • Big MacGuffins - I had never heard this term but this was a great introduction to it and an insightful pose. My meager education in storytelling continues.
  • Another Episode of Simon's Cat - I love these.
  • Some amazing concepts - Check out the work of Harald Siepermann.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Quick selection sets are something I use a lot. And I got tired of setting the same ones up repeatedly for work and home projects. There's lots of scripts out there to make working with selection sets easier but I couldn't find one that exported them to use in other scenes, so I rolled up my sleeves...

TITLE: jbExportQSS
AUTHOR:Josh Burton

Script to aid in the redundancy of setting up quick selection sets all the time
for the same assets but in different files. Exports a mel script that will set up
the identical quick selection set in another scene.

1) Select a quick selection sets in the outliner to be exported
2) Run script - it will export a mel file to recreate the sets

1) Run the mel in your new file you want to set up the quick selection sets in
2) It will ask you want to add a prefix. If you're using a referenced asset
put in the prefix. If not, leave it blank:)

1) Checks for referencing data and removes it in the exported selection set
2) Can do multiple selection sets at once
3) Will account for prefixes on import if desired
4) Reports if set members aren't found in imported sets

To David Bokser for answering my many questions and Scott Englert for my picking apart some of his scripts

v1.5 - July 14, 2008 - Added the ability to export multiple sets at once into a single mel file, making importing easier. Also,
little quick selection window doesnt' pop up any more due to a flag on the "sets" command I hadn't known about. Several bug fixes
as well
v1.0 - July 3, 2008 - Initial realease

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bolt Trailer!

Not sure what to think yet, but it's looking promising. Some of the animation looks great and I dig the little hamster (giving me some inspiration for a character I've been thinking about). Part of my still prefers the old character design (aka American Dog) by Chris Sanders, but it looks like the story has gone through several re-evolutions since then... New link, embed link was removed. Thanks Ale!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Keane, Koch and... K..adobe?

  • Glen Keane is my hero - The title has little to do with this vid, but just thought you should know. Watch it anyway - great stuff. A buddy at work pointed it out. It's Glen talking about Ollie -
  • Another great animation blog - Kevin Koch has some great experience working in both traditional and cg animation. He also has a great animation blog. Thanks to Kyle for my finding it.
  • More flash goodness - Here's a great little piece done for some sort of Adobe competition. The animation in particular is a good example of seemingly simple design handled exceptionally well. Oh, and here's some behind the scenes stuff on it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Out of this world pictures...

...get it? :)

Here are some absolutely amazing pictures of and from our little sister planet- Check em out!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pixar and Snipers!

  • Not sure how long this one will last on the net, so enjoy it while you can. Fantastic animation there - the texture of the swift against the still is magical. Can't wait to see the whole thing!
  • Here comes the sniper - yet another fantastic little shot into the life of a character of the insanely popular Team Fortress by Valve.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

He can write too!?

"Oh, yes, the people of Skree were quite free, as long as they were in their homes by midnight. And as long as they bore no weapons, and they didn't complain when their fellow Skreeans were occasionally taken away across the sea, never to be seen again. But other than the cruel Fangs and the constant threat of death and torture, there wasn't much to fear in Skree." -excerpt from above book:)
So Andrew Peterson is one of my favorite musicians mainly cause I think his lyrics are fantastic. So much so that I've quoted them more than once in my blog here. Couple of weeks ago I was looking to see if his new album was out yet and it was not, but my search uncovered a book he'd written. So, I went on Amazon and took a look and it got some pretty good reviews so I ordered it.

And consumed it.

It was a fantastic tale for the young and young at heart. Witty, humorous and with more than a twist or two along they road- A wacky ex-pirate grandfather, dangerous Toothy Cows, the Fangs of Dang, Peet the Sock Man and three kids bound for mischief. I was impressed on all fronts and can't wait for the next installment.

My nephews will be getting a copy.

And, my friends over at Portland Studios did the art and cover design for it. Nice job, guys:)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Some Great Video Game Cinemas...

One of my favorite series of games is the Oddworld series. Fantastic art, comedic, good gameplay. The last outing in the series, Stranger's Wrath, had some particularly beautiful cinemas. I wouldn't mind playing through it again but I don't have my original Xbox anymore and its sadly not on the backwards compatibility list for the 360. You lose a little context just watching them back to back but you can surely appreciate the cinematography and design seeing them. Don't watch them if you might get a chance to play through it as you don't wanna ruin the surprise.

I hear they're working on a game again and I can't wait to see what they brew up. The First 10 Years Art of book has a special place in my collection.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Grats Scott!

A buddy of mine from college, Scott Spencer, apparently wrote a book on Zbrush. He's a gifted sculptor and instructor and I imagine it's a good book so give it a look:)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Master Classes and 2d Animation...

  • Richard Williams Master Class - This is the guy that wrote the animation textbook that most animators, that I know of at least, cut their teeth on. Turns out he's releasing a DVD masterclass that looks to be pretty amazing. When I first saw the price, I gasped a little. Then I thought about how I'd thought about Animation Mentor and how little traditional animation training I actually got at college (2 classes). Thinking about what those cost put the price into perspective. Listening to The Animation Podcast and hearing how all of these animation greats trained under greats of their own days makes one yearn for those days. I do believe that Animation Mentor is trying to capture some of that magic again but I'm thinking a seminar that I can watch repeatedly might be a better investment. That's not to knock Animation Mentor - I think it's a great program and I wish it had been around when I was starting out. However trying to work it in with a full time job, home life and working on short films in the spare time doesn't leave a whole lot of extra.
  • Kung - Fu Panda - Here's a sweet traditional animation credits sequence for it. Ben's name is in there too! No I haven't seen the movie yet. I was in Arkansas last weekend hanging with my wife's fam. However, we're gonna catch it this weekend and I'm super excited. Gonna push Wall-E till next week or so for the crowds to thin a bit.
  • Art of Books - Picked up The Art of Kung Fu Panda and Wall-E. Can't wait to dig into them but holding off until I see the movies...alas....
  • Irma's Car - Nice bit of work combining 2d and 3d by Crew 972 out of Tel Aviv.
  • Great bit of 2d animation - A great take on the 11 second club by Ivan Oviedo. He's got great other stuff too, check him out. CATS FINISH from ivan oviedo on Vimeo.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Cool little short made with open source cg software...

Not bad at all. Nice lighting, impressive fur (especially for free stuff). Take a look at what some folks did with Blender. Big Buck Bunny from Blender Foundation on Vimeo.

Friday, May 2, 2008

This one's for Matt...

Man, I keep getting called out by my friends. Gotta work on being more on top of things. And speaking of things... Things are going well, been adjusting to working from home which can be a challenge. I have to say I miss working with folk face to face. For now, this will be just fine. Mainly working on The Wheelman now for work which is coming along well and the short film project is a lot of fun in what spare time I can carve out. Need to shoot some video reference of a "flowery dance" as Dave called it. Worked on a little number this weekend and need to get his approval before spending time in the computer. Been trying to plan shots better to work most efficiently with the little animating time I have. Houston is warming up as is the box office - ton of promising movies coming out. The soonest being Iron Man which I'm hoping to catch in the next week. What else...

  • Orphaned Works Act - I've been reading about this bill for awhile on different sites with differing opinions. If you're an artist and don't know about it. Educate yourself.
  • Mac jump - I'm pretty sure now that I'm gonna make the shift to macs for my personal work. I just can't seem to decide whether a desktop or a laptop. It doesn't help that I'm such a scrooge that the idea of spending that amount of money causes me to hide my wallet from myself - quite a feat mind you - made possible by my horrible memory.
  • Work flow- Yet another informative animation work flow article.
  • Animation notes - From a seminal with John Lasseter. Where have I heard that name's on the tip of my renderman rendered mind...
  • Wall-e Stuff! - Four minute featurette! Wow...
  • Avatar is back - Again...they really need to be able to schedule their shows so they can show more than a couple of new episodes every few months...
Don't forget Mother's day, peeps!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

For Ben and other Bits...

What's good from the net this week...

  • Karate - Having been called to the carpet by my buddy Ben....YES, I am excited about Kung Fu Panda. The art looks awesome and from what I've seen and read, it's shaping up quite nicely. I know I'm buying the artbook at least. :)
  • Animation Workflow - Seeing how other animators work is a great way to keep growing as an animator. Here are some fantastic insightful reads:
  • Castle Crashers is still very much going to be Awesome - There's a blog to chronicle its awesomeness and the art is beautiful. And speaking of workflow... Marsh Land Construction from The Behemoth on Vimeo.
  • The Batman Animation Law - Dictates that Batman in pretty much any animated form will rock. I'm definitely looking forward to this incarnation. I will say the original animated series from the mid 90's is still my favorite and I think the Justice League version lost some cool factor (way too big of ears...)
  • Some GREAT Disney Art - LINK

Friday, March 14, 2008

Major Changes and TOONs!

Lots of stuff been going on. Got married to an amazing woman, a bit of snowboarding and snow shoeing in Vail, getting set up to work from home via VPN AND I ate a huge turkey leg at a rodeo last night! Oh, and chuck wagon races rock. Lots of great animations burning up the internets lately:

  • New Wall-E trailer. This film looks better every time I see a trailer. I cannot wait for it to come out. Watch it!
  • Horton Hears a Who is coming out to play this weekend and I'm going! Hope the who is fun. Thanks to Ray for the link to this vid.
  • Cat Shorts - Simple design, brilliantly executed, especially humorous for anyone who's ever had a cat. And there's another!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Gallerific Update

Found a cool little flash content management system for images and vids. So I updated the Gallerific section of my site. Added a bunch of Potter concept images and all the boards as well which I don't know if if I've put up before come to think of it. It's HIGHLY customizable. Neato.

Can't wait to play with the vid feature once I have some time to export some movies to put in there. It'll have to wait till after the wedding/move/vacation.

Gotta run and get an oil change before work. Lata!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Testing a new Autorigging system...

A classical pose...for a troll...?

Note - This'll prolly be the last update on Olaf for a bit. Some major forks in the road are quickly approaching - 1) I'm getting married in a couple of weeks , 2) Moving to Houston, 3) Transitioning to a freelance/contractor from being an employee so it's gonna be a "wee" crazy. Crazy good that is!

I've been playing with John Doublestein's autorigging system the last two nights and I have to say it's pretty awesome. John works with my buddy Dave and we're using his rig for Dave's film. I hadn't realized a bunch of the neat little features workin so far on the film. He's got some great little right click menus that get built when you rig a character that snap between fk and ik.

You can play with the rig on a character by downloading the Andy Rig on that same page. Some neat stuff I noticed on that version that aren't in the autorigger that I'm planning on implementing to Olaf:
  • Squash and stretch through the spine using scale. Prolly will do that in other places too
  • An extra curl on the hand that allows that pinky and ring finger base bones in the hand bend for a proper fist.
Couple of things I noticed with the rig:
  • Some of the systems don't work properly in Maya 2008 - namely the right click menu
    • Speaking of Maya 2008, the new smooth skin weights feature is awesome. I saw it in a Austin 3d user group meeting a couple months back and had been dying to play with it.
  • Joint placement and orientation is critical but this matters regardless of what rig you're using. Having the ability to quickly try out joint placement by quickly adding an arm rig and a default skinning is a great boon to the work flow.
    • That workflow allowed me to identify problem areas - I updated Olaf's tail and made major adjustments to the hands
What's next for Olaf?
  • Facial Rig - This is where I wanna spend some time over the next...well a bunch of things I wanna try. I'm planning on blogging that process pretty well so tune back in if you're interested.
  • Tail Rig - at some point I'll have to rig his tail, but it'll be a bit
  • Animation - That's really the whole point....:)

Fingers are a pain in the rear to model well so that the proportions work to "roll the finger" on itself. If anyone knows a good tutorial or book on the subject, by all means let me know.

Monday, February 4, 2008

This week in fantastic animationy goodness...

  • Wall-E Spot - much of it animated by the ever talented Victor Navone.
  • George Grows - A fantastic walking cycle short. Watch it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pivot points...

  • "Locating Your Center" - No this isn't a philosophical rant. Having such a hard time keeping my own in check hardly would afford me a seat of authority on that matter. Pivot points matter in more than life changes; they have a good deal to do with proper rigging. Some examples might be wheels, orbs and the like. If you start spinning one in 3d and it's pivot point isn't dead center you're gonna get wobble. Like a flat tire.....more on that in my next post.

    Today I was rigging a car and for reasons unbenonced to me, the joint for the steering wheel had a pivot that didn't align with the tilt of the wheel. For various reasons I create a separate skeletal hierarchy for the rig and bake the animation down to the skinned hierarchy. Not having the luxury to fix the underlying issue I was looking for a good method to find the exact orientation of a pivot that would allow that wheel to spin properly on the steering column.

    To do so, I wanted a script that would find a center pivot based on a selection of verts and place a locator there so that I might snap things to it. I don't like reinventing the wheel, so my first stop was highend3d where a quick search revealed a handy script that did just what I was looking for.

    With that in hand, it was as easy as finding the center of two edge loops worth of verts snapping a couple of joints and reorienting the joint to the correct orientation.

Quick example with some dummy geometry....

Good edge loops and this little script have aiding the placing of Olaf's finger bones quite nicely.

If you know a faster way of accomplishing the same, by all means let me know.

  • Rig for Olaf - I think I'm gonna give John's tools a try for the body. He works with my buddy Dave (speaking of, looks like he has a new site in progress) and we're using the rig on Dave's film. It's pretty darn good.

A Deflated Day...

In the grand tradition of lessons at my expense, yesterday was an interesting day to say the least. It started as a beautiful Austin day - slightly overcast and mid 60's. Great day for a bike ride. So I went out to grab my bike from the patio to find the back tire was empty. I rode about a month ago and found this puzzling. However not enough so to not air up my tire and call it good to go. I headed out into the glorious day. After a bit, the riding got tougher than normal. I hadn't ridden in a while so chalked it up to my wussyness. When I was about 8 or 9 miles out and was going down this hill on some trails at a park and something just really felt wrong. So, I hopped off my bike and took a look. My back tire was 3/4 flat. I had forgotten an extra tube. My bike pump. Or my phone to call a friend. Needless to say, I was quite pleased with myself. Jolly even. I asked around the parking lot for a few to see if anyone had a pump to no avail. There was a gas station a 1/4 mile away, but their air pump was out of service. Bracing myself for an afternoon of walking I set out. A couple miles down the road a kind employee of Apple was kind enough to stop and give me a lift. Apparently they have a call center here in town and it's literally across the road from my apartments. Thanks Don for the saved time. That's one more notch on my list of why I am probably gonna make the switch. Oh, I washed my wallet too. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Olaf is approved for Rigging...

Can you believe how different this looks from the last?

Heard back from Cory this morning and Olaf has been approved for a dose of skelegro. The main difference from the last one is a head shrinkage surgery that Olaf came marching through like a champ. I actually did a first pass on modeling his teeth last night. Don't they look great!?

Hey, if you don't have X-ray vision don't blame me.

Been working some renders for a side project at night which detracted me from much Olaf progress. It's been a fun little project. Hope to wrap that up tonight.

Waiting on a rig from Dave to get started on my next shot for his film. Can't wait till he announces it and I can stop referring to it as "Dave's film" or "Dave's Project." Get on it, Dave!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"1.#QO" - the value of DOOM!

Working in games and getting things to play nice in a game engine can be "fun." By fun I mean hey-kid's-let's-play-rake-the-leaves-on-a-windy-day kinda fun. This week's mind bender had to do with a crash every time I tried to do a pretty basic function of bringing in animation. What's especially endearing is not having error messages to have any idea what happened. So you start trying things. Fast forward multiple hours later and it turns out my Maya sim mentioned several previous posts past had sent an object into a quantum singularity known with translation and rotation values of "1.#QO." Now, I can't really fault Unreal for not knowing what to do with that. I didn't have a clue what to make of it either. Frankly I'm impressed Maya can still chug along will no mention of an apparent black hole in a scene. A couple of curves deleted later and things went swimmingly. Weird. Note - A quick google search informed me that this is the default value Visual C++ uses when a division by zero occurs.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Olaf, Come FORTH!

So, I finally got off my keyster, put down the video games and books and am working on Olaf again.

One of the things that has frustrated me personally so much in CG is that it takes sooooooooo long to get a fully realized character ready to animate on. Lately I've been looking at quite a few available rigs on which to animate on. There's some great ones out there, but I've been wanting to animate Olaf for quite some time AND I need to get some reel stuff ready. As animation is what I wanna work on right now and not cloth dynamics nor the fat jiggle settings for the rear end of a troll, I came up with a temp idea on Olaf - throw a low res animation body on him, rig up his face, and voila!

I really don't know why I didn't think of this before. It makes a lot of sense, especially in cg where proportion of the arms, fingers and all are so vital. Dumb it way down on a simple structure to see if it's working.

When I started this time, I made some mods to the proportions to make him a little closer to the young and spry versions of the character my buddy drew. I'll see what he says and go from there.

Side note - it's amazing how good one feels when doing those things which one is passionate about...almost like putting high octane in a sports car. Like we're doing something we're made for. Not that I consider myself a sports car...more like a Civic. LX, not EX - I'm not that flashy.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Last fall I wrote this script cause I was sick and tired of having to manually filter the graph editor with the curves I wanted to edit when tweaking set driven keys on a facial rig. It was useful for me, maybe it will be for you. Eventually I'll add a section of the site for the few scripts I write. And cause I love icons....

TITLE: jbGraphSetDrivenAttribute
AUTHOR:Josh Burton
DATE: October 26, 2007

Script for use with setting up set driven key poses. Sometimes you wanna see all the curves
of one attribute in the graph editor and not manually select them.

1. Select an attribute
2. Run script

- Select an attribute with set driven keys connected

10.26.07 - BIRTH!

global proc jbGraphSetDrivenAttribute() {
global string $gChannelBoxName;
string $selected[] = `ls -sl`;
string $selAttr[] = `channelBox -q -sma $gChannelBoxName`;
string $fullAttr = $selected[0] + "." + $selAttr[0];
select `listConnections -p true $fullAttr`;

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's a new year and I accomplished about 2 of my resolutions from last year. Let's see, what did I do this year? Hmm...

  • Got engaged to my amazing fiance
  • Taught a semester of college
  • Finished working on 3 games at work (Stranglehold, Blacksite, and the next Ballers)
  • Learned to write some mel scripts
  • Grew my beard back
  • Read a copious amount of books
  • Visited Yosemite
  • Moved to Austin
I guess that's not too shabby. I've got some resolutions for this year, but I'm not writing them on my blog so I can't see them a year from now glaring at me having not accomplished them.

What else is going on...
  • Glumpers - Amazing sound, beautiful animation. Just watch it.

  • Project No Name. Still chugging along on my buddy Dave's film. I'm really excited to be working on full body stuff again. I've blocked a couple of scenes and am looking forward to digging in. I think it's gonna be a great piece.
  • Share the Potion! - Check out an Animated short/commercial by my buddy Cory.
  • Dynamics - I hate thee. I've been working on some dynamics at work and it's about to eat my lunch. I hear Maya's rigid bodies aren't well suited for what I'm making them do, but I don't have any other options at present. A work flow of move this, run 5 minute simulation, move that, 5 minute simulation isn't the most efficient. I'm sure there's better ways of working, but I did find this heartening read that let me know even the big budget movie guys have the same frustrations.

All the stuff on this site is 2000 - by Josh Burton...unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.