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Archive for March, 2010


Creating 3D Content: Production Diary – 2

Production Diary – 2

Spent a lot of time tonight working out scaling issues between modo, Blender and Unity. I’ve developed a workflow for setting the scale or units within Blender and modo so that they match Unity. Since Unity is the goal or final destination for content, it’s best to build everything to Unity’s scale. Now, I can’t give the details on this workflow of course as I got to save it for the book : ) Now that all scaling issues have been squared away, I will begin building the main character of the book. I’ve been working with Warner McGee to develop the main character and it’s going to be awesome! I’ll be showing some examples here on the blog soon as well as the book cover concept art.

I’ve got a big weekend planned as my iPad will arrive this saturday! I was sure to pre-order an iPad so that I could have it for the book’s writing and developing of the 3D content. My plan of the book is to cover iPhone and iPad in this book. This weekend, I’ll be running code on the iPad and registering it as a development device.

more to come…


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Creating 3D Content: Production Diary – 1

Production Diary – 1

I’ve been working on the design of the book’s cover. One thing that needs to get squared away very early in a book’s process is the cover imagery. I will need to have a final cover image by 4/19/2010. I have a design layout, but I’m not ready to show the concept just yet. I’m currently working on models that will be used in the cover imagery and in the post you can see the iPhone model that I created this weekend. The deadlines I’m up against are tough and the only way to meet them is to work as streamlined as possible. For instance, with the iPhone model, I only create detail where it will be shown on the book’s cover. If it’s not seen, I don’t model it. All time must be utilized to be as efficient as possible.


Writing will begin next week and I will continue to refine the cover design. I need to get the design to a point that I can show the editor, from there, the cover design will go to the design department for approval and feedback. I’ll post my cover design concept once I have the version I’ll be sending the the editor.

Well, I’m off now to watch some new iPhone Advanced Tech videos on OpenGL ES that were released on iTunes U for developers. I’ve got lots of research to do!

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Autodesk Composite Tutorial Available on cmiVFX!


The video tutorial I created for cmiVFX on Autodesk Composite 2011 is now available! This was another big project I worked on over the last week and half and I’m very happy to see it released! If you’re wanting to get into Autodesk Composite, be sure to check it out.

View Product on cmiVFX.

Here’s some of the highlights.

Autodesk Composite, formerly known as Toxik, is now available as a packaged application with Maya and soon to be 3D Max. This long format, detailed explanation of the ins and outs of this robust application come to fruition as several projects take your through the standard operation procedure of this node based compositor.

Learn how to navigate through the various components of the Composite UI such as navigating views and adding tools via the Gate UI. Discuss User and Project Preferences and begin to lay down a basic foundation to working with Composite, which the rest of lessons will build upon.

Creating Compositions and Working with Footage
Create your first composition file and learn important composition settings. Discuss using multiple compositions and versions as well as importing and working with footage and playing footage in Composite’s Player View.

Creating the Alien Visitors Composite
Continue exploring Player Outputs, Context Points and using the Comparison Tool. Then shift gears and begin work on the Alien Visitors composite, which covers connecting nodes and creating a comp over operation via the Blend & Comp Tool. Through the alien composite, you will learn several tools and important workflows in Autodesk Composite.

Creating Masks and Color Correction
Continuing through the Alien Visitors composite, discussing the aspects of using the Garbage Mask tool to masks the alien ships. Take a look at color correction using the CC basics tool and discuss methods of color correction through CC Basics Color Match and by matching color through channels.

Alien Visitors Composite Wrap Up
Complete the Alien Visitors composite by using a Depth Pass to mask color correction. Learn to create lighting effects via the Blur and Color Source Tools. Also take a look at utilizing the Luma Keyer Tool to aid in mask creation.

Creating the Assault Composite
Begin creating the Assault composite and continue to build on important lessons covered in the Alien Visitors composite. Learn to the process of keying green screen footage using Composite’s Super Keyer Tool. Learn to create a light wrap effect to realistically blend the foreground and background elements.
Wrapping Up the Assault Composite
Discuss Composite’s animation tools to create muzzle fire. Learn to use Composite’s Tracker Tool to apply tracker data to masks. Explore Composite’s animation graph editor to create and manipulate key frames as well as using basic expressions to link attributes in Composite.

Introducing Vector Paint
Explore the new Vector Paint Tool found in Composite 2011. Take a look at using Vector Paint’s Paint, Clone and Reveal modes as well as discuss options for modifying brushes and strokes and utilizing the Transform functions of Vector Paint to finesse clone operations. Discuss the usage of Clone and Reveal to remove or replace portions of an image, as needed in everyday Rotoscoping tasks.

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Project X Revealed! New Book – Creating Game Content

Well, it’s official, I can now announce that I have been contracted to begin my second book! The new book is called “Creating 3D Game Content for the iPhone with Unity: Featuring modo and Blender Pipelines.”

The book will be about creating game content specifically for the iPhone utilizing Unity iPhone. I will be using Luxolgy’s modo as the main 3D used to create game content and Blender will be used for rigging and exporting a skinned model into Unity iPhone. However, the book will state that even though these apps are used to illustrate techniques, any 3D app can be used to follow along. It’s the principles that matter, not the tools!

The book’s focus will be on creating game content. There are plenty of books on creating iPhone apps and games, all of which focus on the SDK and are not very artist friendly. However, Creating 3D Game Content for the iPhone with Unity: Featuring modo and Blender Pipelines will be much different than the average game content book in that it will cover the much needed information on the game engine, which in this case will be Unity iPhone.

Most every game content books contain tutorials on creating a character or a prop, but they leave out all of the information on the game engine. In my opinion, you can’t create game models without an understanding to the specifications your building them to. Independent game developers need to not only understand modeling and texturing, but the ins and outs to the game engine they’re building for and that’s where my new book will shine. The book will cover the aspects to creating optimized game models specifically for Unity iPhone. Although, the book won’t cover game programming in regards to creating an entire game, it will cover all of the technical aspects to Unity iPhone that are needed to create proper, optimized game content to run on iPhone OS hardware while walking readers through practical examples.

The new book will be available sometime this fall. I don’t have the specific publish date as of yet, but the book will be completed at the end of July. Creating 3D Game Content for the iPhone with Unity: Featuring modo and Blender Pipelines will have it’s own resource website with extra video tutorials and walkthroughs for download. I will be taking everything I learned from Real World modo’s resource site and will be improving the user interaction and experience. Also, there will be an iPhone App available for FREE on the App Store that readers or anyone can download to see the content covered in the book running in Unity and serving as a demo of the content.

Now that the 3D Ninja Blog is up and running, I will be using it as a production blog to the book as I write it, so be sure to subscribe and continue following the 3D Ninja Blog! A new category, called Project: 3D Game Book, has been added for quick access to production notes.

Additional Details:

• The book will cover Unity iPhone Basic, which is much more affordable than Unity iPhone Advanced. This will give all readers the ability to get started with with Unity. You can also use the FREE version of Unity to follow along as even though the book’s focus is on the iPhone OS, it will pertain to Unity Desktop as well. Unity Desktop is available on both Mac and PC.

• So what’s the content? The content will focus on a character named “Tater”, I created, with the help of an incredible character designer named Warner McGee, for an iPhone game I’ve been planning on deploying. The book’s content won’t be generic models, but actual content I plan on using in my own game! Readers will see the process I go through to create my own game content.

Tater, more to come on the blog, is humanity’s last stand in an apocalyptic zombie invasion. The book will cover the making of Tater in modo with modeling, UV Mapping and texturing. He will then be exported to Blender for rigging and skinning. Blender is used as it’s a free alternative for rigging and a good solution to be used with modo.

I’ll also show the creation of an environment, Tater’s gun as well as exporting animation from modo to Unity iPhone. As mentioned above, all of the content created in the book can be seen in the book’s FREE iPhone App which will be available on the Apple’s App Store. So, I said that there won’t be much game programming in the book other than it pertaining to the game engine, but I plan on creating a video walkthrough on how the demo app was created and uploaded to the App Store!

So, that’s it for now. I’m working on Tater this week and will have more information, a bio and screen shots coming soon! Stay Tuned!


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Project X: Revealed Soon

Project X is going to be revealed very soon. I had hoped to be able to talk about it today, but I have one last thing I’m sorting out. There will be a new category in the blog header for this project as I’ll be regularly updating it’s production status here on the blog. The project begins next week.

All I can say at this time is that it has something to do with modo, Blender and Unity iPhone. More to come as soon as I’m given the thumbs up!

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Added Rating Feature to Adv. Texture Tutorial

I just added a rating feature and comments to the Advanced Character Texturing Tutorial. If you’ve purchased the tutorial, please consider giving it a rating and a comment. I’d love to know what you thought of the tutorial!

Visit Adv. Character Texturing Page

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Mudbox 2011 Adds Posing Toolset

Mudbox 2011 has a new Posing toolset! It works great and is well implemented. You have options to create joints as well as paint weights! Here’s a quick video I did showcasing the Pose Toolset

[hana-flv-player video=""
autoload="true" autoplay="false"
loop="false" autorewind="true"

Click To Enlarge
Click To Enlarge

You can also import full skeleton rigs via FBX into Mudbox 2011. For example, in this image, I rigged the default lizard model in Maya 2011 and imported the FBX into Mudbox which brings along the joints and weights painted in Maya!

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3D Ninja Blog Store ONLINE!

The 3D Ninja Blog Store is now online and the Advanced Character Texturing tutorial is available for purchase!
You can visit the store by clicking the Online Store button to the right on the widgets column.

I hope you enjoy the new tutorial! You can see the details and purchase options here.

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Maya 2011 Announced

Autodesk has recently announced Maya 2011. This new release is a major upgrade for Maya users especially on OS X. Here’s a small rundown of some of the new features. I’ll be covering Maya 2011 new features here on the blog in the forum of video updates!

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

64-bit Support for Mac OS X
Mac OS X users can access considerably more memory to handle larger and more complex scenes with the new 64-bit executable.

Enhanced User Interface
Enjoy a consistent, enhanced user experience on all supported platforms with an updated user interface that offers a fresh new look, dockable UI elements, more flexible editors, and a new color chooser and file browser.

Accelerated Skinning Workflow
Create better skinned characters with more realistic deformations in less time, with new skinning tools and workflows: a dual quaternion option for smooth skinning, interactive volume binding, multiple enhancements to the Paint Skin Weights tool, deformer weight mirroring, and a surface falloff mode for the Wrap deformer.

Color Management
Make better decisions and preserve creative intent throughout the rendering pipeline by working within the context of the final color space in which images can be viewed. A working color profile can be set globally and overridden on individual textures and render passes. With new 32-bit support in the Render View, display images through LUTs, and control Contrast, Exposure, Tone Mapping, and Gamma. Initial support is through mental ray® for Maya renderer, with a robust API to enable other renderers to take advantage of the system.

Vector Paint in Maya Composite
Perform complex rotoscoping operations such as removing or replacing elements from live action plates using the new vector paint option in Maya Composite.

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New Key to Project X Revealed

A new key image has been added…What is it? The answer is coming.

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