Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Work Placement: Robot Pirate Hero Block out

So I carried on modelling the Hero character, and I am pretty much done with blocking out the body. it has been an interesting experience, and quite different from what I am used to.

So here is the latest progress on the character, and so far the turnarounds didnt let me down.

With the body blocked out, I just have to block out the face and then I am ready to sculpt the details in as well as adding the clothes and props.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Work Placement: The Modelling Side

Only having 2 weeks of Work Placement, I decided to do some extra work and get some experience in modelling. I am modelling the Robot Pirates Characters, because they seem really fun to do. My aim is to create a base mesh in Maya, and then sculpt any details in Zbrush, and lastly re-mesh it in Maya.
This blog is lacking in Maya work at the moment, so here it comes the update on the character, I began with the Hero. and already he is offering a different type of challenging when modelling a character. As i am modelling in parts instead of a whole mesh. Therefore I have to be thoughtful when putting everything together. it has been fun!

I dont want to rush through, the modelling, as this is a learning experience. when done i will give a try at sculpting it in Zbrush. to get the best out of the model. :)

I found that something was looking weird in the model so I retouched the mesh, by accentuating the curve on the upper leg as well as the part that it connect with the hips.


More updates will come soon!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Animation is Inspiration: A friend Like Me Genie from Alladin

With my last post, on Animation is Inspiration I mentioned 3D Animation, this time lets get back into the traditional 2D Medium, a see how an animation can be pull almost to the extreme of Imagination. The scene is Friend Like Me, from the film Aladdin by Disney.

Genie " Friend Like Me" - Aladdin- Disney

Why I chose it?

The Genie character in the film Aladdin is by itself a great sidekick character which allows a lot of animation, being a non-human character it assumes non- realistic animation, and therefore it shapes its own personality. Indeed, the animation in the genie sets a new boundary of the squash and stretch principle, as well as it not only focus on character animation but also morphing. the character itself is a crazy, happy genie who is there to serve his master however is also a funny sidekick, therefore the main character for gags. Out of curiosity, the animator responsible for the Genie, and who animated specifically this scene is the great Eric Goldberg, his experience is almost infinite, He worked for adverts in London, under the direction of Richard Williams. as well as many other animation films, Who framed Roger Rabbit?, Fantasia 2000 to name some but also directed Pocahontas. Apart from his experience, he is one of the most passionate people about animation, and seems like a great person. For insightful tips and funny stories about animation, check his podcast on Animation Podcast. You won't regret it. 

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Animation is Inspiration: Scrat Animation from Ice Age

This Animation is Inspiration post, will talk about Scrat, a cute, funny little character from the film Ice Age. focusing on its type of animation.

Why I chose it? 

The design of the character itself it's great, identifying the character as a cute neurotic small animal who is crazy about acorns. With such a convincing character, the animation had to be also evoking the same. As you can see the animation in scrat is really jumpy, fast, and snappy. when the pose to pose jumps so quickly that your not there to see the inbetweens. this is great to evoke stress. being a really quickly and small character it does not have much weight, therefore it also allows more freedom to play around in the animation. The animator for Scrat was Aaron Hartline, A great animator which is currently is animating at PIXAR, you may know its work, from Up! or the tortilla scene in Toy Story 3( another big challenge).

You can check is blog at:

Friday, 22 April 2011

Maya Tutorials: Games Modelling Character- UV layouts

Continuing to do some Maya Tutorials over these holidays. This time was laying out the Uvs. This process is crucial for the texturing stage, so you can get the most out of your model. 

UV Map 1024x1024

On a minor note, I have started to model the Robot Pirate characters, for these characters I don't want to rush anything and learn alot about modelling and sculpting in Zbrush. So those skills can be carried onto the 3rd year.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Nude Postcards for Exhibition at Horsebridge Gallery

Ivana mentioned this exhibition to me and I felt it would be interesting to participate, it is called Post Nude and consist in people create nude postcards by Post to the Horsebridge Gallery in Whitstable and then all entries will be put up. It will be good to see different ideas and styles. The emphasise is on nude postcards and and travelling nudes on the post.

So I have done my 2 entries.

For more information check the exhibitions website Here.

Maya Tutorials: Games Modelling Character

here is a tutorials that was forgotten from the last transcription project. Even though I had started back when we received the tutorial, it has been forgotten ever since. This tutorial introduced us to games modelling, where the number of polys is the most important thing of it all, The Key for this type of modelling is model efficiently and the details will be added in the texturing.

Meanwhile I have also did the missing tutorial,the last of the normal map tutorials. here the normal maps were used to create bump values on the textures, something I used on my project before.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Animation is Inspiration: Prince of Egypt, Dreamworks

Continuing the Animation is Inspiration thread, today I present a slightly recent 2D animation. Recently I have re-watched Prince of Egypt, a 1998 2D animation by Dreamworks studio. To me is one of the best animations alongside Iron Giant and Kung Fu Panda released by Dreamworks. It is the adaptation of the biblical story of two brothers, Moses and Rameses, that destiny will turn them enemies. Without further ado, here is the trailer as well as a sequence that to me standout the most.

Trailer- Prince of Egypt

All I ever wanted- Prince of Egypt- DreamWorks

Why I chose it? 
In this particular scene, Moses finds who he really is. I chose it because the different approaches to traditional and CG animation present. From cinematic viewpoints at the beginning, to a rather unusual use of 3D to convey a 2D surface. I do think the cinematic approach worked throughout the whole film, specially in Exodus scene, where a huge crowd was following Moses' path. The last scene, is something unusual seen in 2D Animation though, In my opinion it worked really well, and if the hieroglyphs tells  you a story with each image, this was a good approach to convey the same effect. Interesting enough, though the unusual approach, the story was delivered perfectly and its purpose to convey a dream was great. 

Monday, 18 April 2011

Animation is Inspiration: 3 Little Pigs / Pigs in Polka

After a last week when i was trying to get on with the tutorials as well as the essay, I'm happy to present the new feature on this blog. I will often post animation videos which inspire me and will help me understand better animation as well as acting and story-telling. 
 So the feature on this blog will be labelled as an "Animation is Inspiration" post and it will be illustrated with the picture above. 

These new feature, will have videos from all mediums of animation, 2D, 3D, Claymation, etc. As well as, good acting videos, slapstick acting or simple animations with a good story-telling. 
Alongside, the video it will be a section 'Why I chose it?', just for explanation as well as self-reference. 

So to start with this I have a double dose. Two animations adapted from the same original story, though with two completely different approaches. 

3 Little Pigs - Silly Symphonies - Walt Disney

Why I chose it? 
 3 Little Pigs is a 1933 2D animation by the Walt Disney Studios and the predecessor of the 1st feature length 2D Animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. When these short animation, Silly Symphonies, were being produced animators were always pushing animation further to achieve what it is called the Illusion of Life. This period was crucial to establish the principles of animation, which later were adapted and improved.  3 Little Pigs was itself a groundbreaking experiment because it was the first 2D animation, in which characters assumed personalities and instead of being just animated, they were acting. 

Pigs in Polka- Looney Tunes - Warner Bros.

Why I chose it? 
With only 10 years apart, Pigs in Polka a 1943 2D animation by Warner Bros. was already a big improvement in animation. As you can see the animation was looking more fluid and it was good timing, weight, etc. Which enabled the animators at the Warner Bros. studio to push their animation techniques further. Warner Bros. was always known for they snappy, violent yet funny animations. And Pigs in Polka is exactly that, an exaggeration of reality and comedy with influences on slapstick animation. One of its high points is the score played all through the animation. And where the actions of the characters are carefully synchronised with the music and its variations. Is in cases like this, that an Exposure Sheet (x-Sheet) comes in really handy.  

In my opinion, I prefer the Looney Tunes version better, because of its snappy and incredibly funny animation, I do also like how in Warner Bros. animation, the political correctness is taken to the extreme. And it also just provokes really great gags that are never dated. On the other hand, 3 Little Pigs despite having some gags throughout the animation, it assumes a moral aspect. 

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Work Placement: What is the Situation?

Last week, I received the Email from Inga Johnson , a Producer at Picasso Pictures and who will be working with me in about 2 weeks time. I promptly sent an email to her, just to ask how was the situation. So within bringing cookies and boiling kettles, I know now when to start. So my Work Placement starts at 10 am on the 3rd of May, at Picasso Pictures.
On that day, I will be introduced to the team and a tour around the place and then hopefully will be able to be slotted in according to Inga Johnson.
Meanwhile, to fulfil the brief we need to write about the history of the company we will be working with,  when I asked Inga, she said that she will introduce the executives, Richard Price and Jane Bolton, and then i can ask all the questions.
 Everything is set to start my work placement on the 3rd, one last thing I can't forget is to bring the cookies!!

A bit off topic,  I really wanted to put my work out there a bit more and although the blog is a good tool, it is difficult to harvest new followers, and special people working in the industry. So I'm proud to present that Ruben Martins is now on Polycount, a CG community forum in where students and professionals share their work, give feedback and all that useful stuff.

So follow me on Polycount, my username is eCzety ( it was a games  nickname and don't ask me why I chose it)

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A Quick Update on the Blog

I will just give a quick update on this blog. To boost the professionalism on this blog and to prepare for the industry, I decided to redo the portfolio section on my blog as well as update my CG Hub Account. With this I pretend to be at least more active in the CG Community out there.

  • The Portfolio- I have created a new portfolio where I will be holding my best 2d Work as well as any 3D renders I'm happy with. this will be updated every time it is needed. 

  • CG Hub gallery, I found that I have been not putting myself out there too much. So I have updated all my CG Hub Gallery, and pretend to be more active in the CG Community. 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Work Placement: Beyond Transcription

A few weeks back, I was happy to know that I would have work placement in a company. Picasso Pictures, is the place in which I will spend around 2 weeks absorbing what the industry is all about. Being a unit for university, apart from the work experience I will get, I was also asked to write about the company I will be working with, and if possible show any work that I am going to to there.

This unit supposed to be a 5 weeks unit, but because I am having 2 weeks of work placement, I will need to produce something more. It was said that I could either finish the my transcription animation or do the models and metaphors project ( a competition project).

After pondering about it, I decided for a third option. I spoke to Phil and he gave me green light for this choice. For the next couple of weeks I will be doing the work placement unit, as well as modelling the Characters from the Character Design Project ( if you remember the Robots shown on the blog banner).

I have also found that I have to learn a lot about animation, so I will be intensively teaching myself, the art of animate, firstly I will accurately understand the principles and then apply them to the 3D world.
This blog will be more active than ever,  From either my experiences at Picasso Pictures, any development about the characters or animation exercises. Finally, as part of my understanding for animation I will be posting excerpts of good animations and films.

Here I leave you with one of the most amazing sequences, in my opinion , done in 2D Animation. It was part of my childhood, when feeding my head in Disney Films.

Pocahontas- Colours of the Wind

Why I chose this? 
Firslty, I have to give credit to the animator, Glen Keane a master of 2d Animation, animated this sequence.  What stroke me the most is how expressive the animation is, and how every element animate the sequence works. It is visible 2 styles of animation, it is either characters moving or morphing animation.  The animation has weight and timing. All this beautiful work is aided by the expressive colours.

Hope you like it.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Maya Tutorials: Intro to Dynamic Tutorials Week*8

This is the last week of Dynamics tutorials, here we were shown more details about Goals to control the particles and introduced to Sprites.

Muddy Golf Ball- Goal

Pixie Dust- Sprites

Maya Tutorials: Rendering with Mental Ray Week*4

Here is lasts week  Mental Ray tutorials, although some are not complete I will get on with them as soon as possible. Last week, we were introduced to Caustics, in order to create more realistic renders. Also to use Mia Materials ( mental ray) specific materials and to how to use physical sun to create atmosphere and the lighting in your scene.

Default 1st render

Scene with Final Gather and Global Illumination

 Final render w/ Caustics

Mia Materials 

Here is a representation of the Mia Materials presets assembled to different spheres, the level of realism is outstanding, definitely the way forward if you need to create hyper-realistic scenarios.

Physical Sun and Sky

 Initial Render- Default

 Scene with Wrong Horizon Line

 Horizon Line Tweaked
Default Sun 
 Scaled Sun
 Haze options
Blue to Red Attribute
Saturation Option

Default Shadow                             Shadow Softness

Final Render Sample 64

To be Continued...

Maya Tutorials: Rendering with Mental Ray Week*3

This week, we explored different worlds inside mental ray. We were shown how to get bump values in another way, by using displacement maps. we were introduced to Final Gather and Global Illumination.

Displacement Maps 

Using Maya Software
Final Render


Using Mental Ray

Final Mental Ray Render


Using Non- Smooth Objects

Using SubDiv

Using Surfaces

Final Gather

Final Gather Render

Final Gather Diagnose

Global Illumination

Global Illumination Render

Global Illumination Progress