By George Maestri | Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Today is a sad day in the 3D community—Autodesk has stopped development on Softimage. They’ll continue to support the software for two years as the Softimage community transitions to Maya or 3ds Max.
The history of Softimage is interwoven with the history of 3D animation. The program goes back to the 1980s, when it became the first go-to software tool for character animation. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park? Animated in Softimage 3D. In fact, many early CG milestones used Softimage. In the mid-1990s, Microsoft purchased Softimage Co. and ported Softimage 3D to Windows. The software was then purchased by Avid Technology a few years later, where it became Softimage XSI, then sold again to Autodesk. And with every one of those changes, the software lost momentum; it never fully recovered.
By Ryan Kittleson | Thursday, January 16, 2014
3D printing is a lot like bacon: Everyone’s talking about it these days—and it’s popping up in places you wouldn’t expect. The latest news is that Adobe Photoshop CC’s new release includes 3D printing tools.
I’m creating an upcoming course on these new features for lynda.com. As I started researching them, I was admittedly skeptical. Having worked with more advanced 3D software like Maya (check out my lynda.com course on modeling for 3D printing with Maya), I thought Photoshop’s previous 3D tools felt rather bolted-on. So it was with cautious optimism that I looked into Adobe’s plans. What I found was pleasantly surprising—including some features that have been lacking in more specialized 3D printing software.
By Chris Meyer | Friday, November 15, 2013
Explore this course at lynda.com.
Adobe recently released a nice update to After Effects for Creative Cloud subscribers. Todd Kopriva of Adobe has provided an exhaustive list of what’s new in his blog. I’ve also added to my After Effects: Creative Cloud Updates course on lynda.com to demonstrate my favorites among the new features, including:
By George Maestri | Monday, September 16, 2013
Explore 3D printing at lynda.com.
We’re proud to announce our very first 3D printing course: Ryan Kittleson’s 3D Printing on Shapeways Using Maya. 3D printing allows you to take almost any 3D object file and print it out in materials such as plastic, ceramic, and metal for use as prototypes, products, jewelry, or works of art. This technology has really caught on in the past few years, thanks to inexpensive 3D printers and online printing services.
Author Ryan Kittleson is an expert in 3D printing and his work has been featured in publications such as Boing Boing, Time, and others. His course covers the basic workflow needed to print 3D objects using the Shapeways online printing service, which can print objects in a variety of materials and colors. Using a 3D printing service is a great way to get your feet wet by creating a few models without the cost of buying a 3D printer.
By Chris Meyer | Tuesday, July 16, 2013
One of our priorities in the creation of the After Effects Apprentice video series is that it be relevant for a large number of users. So last fall we gave it a major update for CS6 users, and the day after After Effects Creative Cloud was released we updated it again for CC users. This now makes the After Effects Apprentice series compatible with all After Effects versions since CS5. Premium subscribers using After Effects CC should download and use the CS6 version of the exercise files.
By Chris Meyer | Friday, April 26, 2013
Better blurring, snapping, scaling, and more
In this final blog about some of the new features Adobe has revealed for an upcoming version of After Effects, I turn my attention to some small enhancements that fans have long been waiting for and that promise to save users a lot of time.
Some of the best new features in After Effects don’t necessarily affect the images you see on screen, but make life easier while you’re working with those images. One such feature is the new snapping behavior in After Effects. It lets you easily align an edge, corner, center point, or even mask vertex of one layer with a similar (or dissimilar) feature of another layer. It even works in 3D, including finding the center of an extruded 3D shape, and snapping to individual letters in a per-character 3D text animation. This will make building virtual worlds and objects much easier in After Effects.
Muybridge sequence courtesy Dover
By Chris Meyer | Friday, April 19, 2013
Warp Stabilizer VFX and 3D Camera Tracker enhancements
Next in my review of significant new features that Adobe has revealed for an upcoming version of After Effects, let’s look at enhancements to the Warp Stabilizer and 3D Camera Tracker tools already available in After Effects.
Warp Stabilizer VFX
Many treat Warp Stabilizer as an apply-it-and-done stabilization effect. Now it looks poised to become a serious visual effects tool in its own right with the ability to take on many of the tasks you might have previously reserved for a motion tracker.
For example, in addition to stabilizing footage, you will now be able to reverse a stabilization. That means you can stabilize a shot for the sake of applying effects to it (including the After Effects Paint tool, which is rendered as an effect), and then reverse the stabilization to restore the original camera movement to the affected painted shot. The camera motion calculated in the original, unstabilized shot can also be applied to another layer to composite it onto the original.
By Chris Meyer | Thursday, April 11, 2013
Refine Edge: A new way to deal with hair
As you no doubt know by now, Adobe has started to reveal some plans for its next generation of pro video tools. I’ve had the privilege of working with a pre-release version of Adobe After Effects, and recorded two hours of lynda.com training about it. In this blog, I’ll give you an overview of the Refine Edge tool, an important addition to the Roto Brush technology that will make rotoscoping hair and other soft, detailed areas much easier than ever before.
Roto Brush and Refine Edge
The Roto Brush tool in After Effects has been significantly upgraded with the addition of a companion Refine Edge tool. To review, Roto Brush allows you to make a series of general paint strokes defining the foreground and background areas of an image (such as an actor over a complex background—in other words, not green screen). With this information, as well as judicious tweaking of its propagation parameters, Roto Brush then detects the edge between the foreground and background, and creates a matte. When used properly (as demonstrated in my course After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet), it can greatly reduce the labor involved in cutting elements out of video.
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