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By Nick Brazzi | Thursday, August 14, 2014

Notes from the SIGGRAPH Floor: 3D Printing & Motion Capture

2014_08_14_siggraphClock

Here at SIGGRAPH, the international conference for computer graphics, animation, and interactive design, it’s really fun to walk the show floor and experience the new technology on display—especially 3D printing and motion capture.

By Nick Brazzi | Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Notes from the SIGGRAPH Floor: Oculus Rift Virtual Reality

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I’m on the show floor this week at SIGGRAPH, and I’m seeing some really exciting technology.

SIGGRAPH is the annual computer graphics and animation conference, taking place this year in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s really a playground for animators, digital artists, interactive experience designers, motion graphics designers, and video producers—and I want to share with you what I’m seeing here.

By Aaron F. Ross | Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Coolest New Features of Maya 2015

Maya 2015 Texture Deformer

Maya 2015 Texture Deformer

With the release of Maya 2015, Autodesk demonstrates a strong commitment to developing the gold standard in 3D animation and visual effects software. From polygon modeling to liquid simulations, Maya 2015 offers many exciting new features.

Here’s a rundown of the most significant improvements to this powerful software.

By Jeff Bartels | Monday, January 21, 2013

Share and Share Alike with AutoCAD WS

Historically, exchanging Autodesk AutoCAD drawings with non-CAD-using clients was a challenge. That’s because viewing DWG files outside of AutoCAD required downloading and installing special software. For this reason, many clients preferred using PDF files to review design changes.

Nowadays, AutoCAD WS makes it easier for all stakeholders to participate in project collaboration, whether they have CAD software or not. AutoCAD WS is a free application offering virtually unlimited online storage for your project drawings.

Select File in AutoCAD WS

By George Maestri | Friday, March 02, 2012

Character rigging in Maya

Animating characters in Maya can be a lot of fun. Fighting with a difficult character rig, however, can sap the joy out of animating. Character Rigging in Maya is a course designed to help you create character rigs that are both robust and easy to animate.

A deeper, more technical update to the Maya 8.5 Character Rigging course, Character Rigging in Maya covers the basics of Maya’s rigging tools, then goes deep into how these tools are used to create a complete character rig, including skeletons, forward and inverse kinematics switches, and the skinning of characters to skeletons.

Some of the more technical topics covered include expressions and scripts that help automate the rig and make it easier to animate, and the process of creating an advanced facial rig that shows a variety of ways to create sophisticated controls to manage complex facial expressions (which I find particularly useful.)

If you’ve seen the Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya course on lynda.com, you may notice Character Rigging in Maya creates its rig with the same character used in the animation course. It’s not the same old character, though—we’ve have thrown in a few updates to the rig to make the character rigging techniques even more interesting.

We’re very committed to character animation here at lynda.com, so if you’re into animation, stay tuned for more character courses in the coming months.

Interested in more? • All Maya courses on lynda.com • All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com • All by George-Maestri on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Maya 2011 Essential TrainingMaya 2011: Modeling a CharacterCharacter Animation Fundamentals with MayaGame Character Creation in Maya

By Rob Garrott | Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shading type with gradients in CINEMA 4D

Often times creating type is the bread and butter for motion graphics artists. But like plain old bread and butter, it can get a bit stale. When that happens, gradients are a great way to freshen up your stale type.

A gradient is simply a transition from one value to another. This can be from one color to another, or from light to dark. When used properly, gradients can be used to pump up the legibility of your type, and to make the text really leap off the screen.

Using gradients on text in CINEMA 4D boils down to understanding how textures are applied to objects. This can be a difficult concept to understand, but it’s crucial to getting control of the look and feel of your objects in 3-D. There are three main tools that help you manage the projection of textures on to the surfaces of 3-D objects: The Texture Tag, the Texture Tool, and an often overlooked command in the object manager called Fit To Object. These three elements will give you tremendous control over how your objects appear to the viewer.

For more on this, check out CINEMA 4D R12 Essential training. Chapter six has some great movies on creating and manipulating textures.

Interested in more? • The fullDesign in Motion series on lynda.com • All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com • All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:CINEMA 4D R12 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After EffectsAfter Effects CS5 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

By Rob Garrott | Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Using dynamic simulations to create animated type in CINEMA 4D

The idea of dynamic simulations has gotten a lot of attention lately. Dynamics allow an animator to create very realistic motion and collisions with objects without using key frames. Nearly every 3-D software package has some kind of module dedicated to this. That being said, dynamics can be somewhat unpredictable by nature, so they’re not entirely flawless. Similar to setting up a stack of dominoes or a Rube Goldberg machine, dynamic simulations just don’t always give you what you expected. This can make them very challenging to use in production, and it often has designers and animators asking themselves what exactly it is they can do with dynamics. With so much unpredictability, what problems can they solve?

The answer is, really, quite a lot! Dynamics can be great addition to your tool kit if you’re willing to accept a bit of unpredictability in your animations. In this short project I’ll show you how to use dynamics to animate some text being knocked over. Using key frames, this kind of animation would be very time consuming, and it would be even harder to make it look convincing. Luckily, CINEMA 4D’s dynamics engine is really easy to use, and allows you to apply these techniques to a variety of different projects.

For more on the important basics of using the CINEMA 4D dynamics engine, check out chapter 14 of my CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training course.

Interested in more? • The fullDesign in Motion series on lynda.com • All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com • All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:CINEMA 4D R12 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After EffectsAfter Effects CS5 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

By Rob Garrott | Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CINEMA 4D logo lighting and texturing basics

A lot of folks get started in motion graphics creating 3D logos and logo animations. It’s how I got started all those years ago. When I look back on that animation now, I cringe. The clients loved it, but the lighting was terrible. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot since then, and in this week’s Design in Motion, I’ll share some key logo-lighting tips with you.

First and foremost is the idea of lighting through the camera. The 3D world is based entirely on the idea of perspective, and the only valid perspective is the angle that your artwork will be viewed from. That view is your render camera. Positioning your lights from the angle of the render camera ensures that you are only adding information that your viewers will actually see. This will take all the guesswork out of the process, and make it faster and more efficient.

The second step is to create an environment for your reflective logos to help give them a textured, dynamic look that can make them feel like they’re moving even when they’re not. Remember, the standard 3D space that surrounds your logo is just black, so even if you turn the reflection up past 100 percent, if there isn’t anything there to reflect, your logos will look dull and lifeless. Use the Material Manager and the Luminance channel to start creating an environment sphere for your logo, then you can apply and edit gradients to tweak your environment to your liking. Once you have your environment surrounding your object and texturing your logo just how you want it, it’s important to remember to apply a Compositing tag, which allows you to show only the transparency, reflection, and refraction of your environment sphere to the render camera—not the environment sphere itself.

Lastly, the color of your reflections has a big impact on the look and feel of your surfaces. The default color values for reflections in CINEMA 4D are white, and that’s just fine if you’re creating something like white enamel or tiles. But, if you’re making a gold surface, then a white reflection will make your logo feel washed out. By coloring your reflections to match your surface color, your logos will have a richness and saturation that really makes them pop off the screen.

For more on how CINEMA 4D works with lights and textures, I recommend checking out chapters six and seven of myCINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training course next.

Interested in more? • The fullDesign in Motion series on lynda.com • All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com • All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:CINEMA 4D R12 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After EffectsAfter Effects CS5 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

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