Thursday, September 15, 2011

Toph Sculpt

So I've been really getting into Avatar: The Last Airbender lately; I missed the show during its original run, but thank goodness Netflix carries it! It's definitely one of my favorite cartoon shows of all time, and one of the only cartoon shows that I feel is genuinely entertaining for me as an adult viewer - completely independent from the nostalgia of childhood memories. But anyway, Toph is my favorite character and I thought it would be fun to do a 3d sculpted interpretation of her. My main goals for this sculpt were three: 1) Get it done fast (i.e. before the end of the week [09/16/2011]), 2) Capture her personality via facial expression and 3) Figure out a way to make sculpted hair look good. It was fun, looking forward to coming up with a new sculpting idea :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Newt Speed Sculpt

It's a shame this movie will never see the light of day. It sounded really cool, but Blue Sky beat Pixar to the punch, in terms of concept at least, with their similar film Rio. But at least we got to see some of Pixar's always excellent concept art, and stuff like this is gold to modelers for practice material. This took about 3 hours from start to finish.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Optimus Prime

Hard surface modeling in Blender - it's taking FOREVER, both because there are so many separate parts and because I'm still learning how to use Blender efficiently. But it's fun and I'm happy with how it's coming along.

Speed Concept Sculpt

So, I just recently discovered Sculptris and I took the opportunity to throw together a quick speed sculpt. I wasn't going for refined precision - more just going for something that looks interesting and gets done quickly. No reference, but I have been playing a lot of Deus Ex lately, so there's a bit of the man mixed with machine design philosophy going on here. I'm feeling a little bit of Darth Vader as well; chalk it up to all the talk of the new Blu Ray release coming out soon :/ This represents about 5 hours of sculpting

Saturday, April 2, 2011

You're Hired!

I recently landed my first full time job in the film industry - a maya generalist/2D to 3D conversion artist position at the new studio Stereoscopic FX in Westlake Village, CA. Our first project as a team is 2D to 3D conversion for Green Lantern, coming out June 17, 2011. There's another, much larger studio handling the bulk of the movie, but thanks to our boss's connections at WB and partner company Amalgamated Pixels we were able to get our hands on about 5-6 minutes of footage total. I also recently completed a freelance job for Liquid Development on an upcoming Valve game, which I don't know the name of because it hasn't been announced yet. Overall I'm very happy with my new job(s) and I'm looking forward to what the future holds!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CMPD Baseball team logo

My cousin works for the police department in Charlotte and he asked me if I would be interested in doing the logo for their baseball team this spring; so as a favor to him I cooked this up, with some inspiration from various other team logos. The thing in the middle is a hornet's nest, which is the police department's logo (that I did not design).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brown Edwards Logo Designs

Here's some logo designs I did for Brown Edwards CPA a few months back.

The final design:

Various previous designs:

Yes, this is graphic design work. BUT (and I cannot emphasize this point enough)...GRAPHIC DESIGN IS NOT THE SAME THING AS COMPUTER ANIMATION.

Designing logos/fonts/page layouts/color schemes = graphic design

Modeling/texturing/rigging/animation/lighting/rendering/compositing = computer animation

But most people are completely befuddled at words like "rigging, rendering, compositing, texturing", so they just default to the closest thing they know, which is graphic design. But just know, computer animation and graphic design are as different as baseball and football. Both sports, yes indeed, but not at all the same thing.

Nova WIP Update

I've been working on this model off and on for the past 2 months or so; The original artwork was done by outstanding concept artist Paul Kwon ( while he was working an internship at Blizzard. I'd like to send out a huge thank you to him for letting me bring his excellent artwork into the 3D realm.

I feel like every time I work on a new model, I discover a whole new list of ways NOT to do things in the future and this one is no exception. But overall I'm pleased with how she's coming along, and I'm happy that this project is helping me understand some things that I didn't before. I've learned a lot more about shading and creating maps for nearly every aspect of the texturing (as in more than just a diffuse map, spec map and normal map). I'm talking about glossiness maps, reflectivity maps, transparency maps, illumination maps...a whole bunch of neat stuff. I've also kind of decided to make the move over to the mia material x shader exclusively...there's just much more control over things with that shader. One thing that used to frustrate me about the mia shader is that you can't see it's effects in the viewport. You must render an image to see what the shader is doing, which can be time consuming and frustrating. With Maya shaders (Blinn, Lambert, Phong, etc), you can see the textures update in real time, but, if you make decisions about the shader based on the information that the real-time renderer is telling you, it can lead to more frustration when your mental ray renders don't match what maya's real-time hardware renderer is telling you in the viewport. The mia shader forces you to render, which is good, since renders is what you're eventually going to end up with anyway. Plus it's a mental ray shader, so there's no need for MR to do a behind the scenes conversion.

But most of the modeling was done in Zbrush, which was by far the most ambitious sculpt I've undertaken thus far. The retopology for her was sickeningly complex and time consuming. Yuck I hate just thinking about it!

Original concept:

Most current render 1/20/11:

Model with normal maps from Zbrush, wireframe: