Archive for the “Riff-Raff” Category

Whoopsie daisy. It has been like…a year and a half since I’ve written on this blog. So much has changed. So let’s fill in the gaps and then maybe I will be able to update this more regularly…

Where I last left off, in terms of life on this blog, not just scripting, I had just come down from a really rocking August 2012, where I got married, and got kept at Disney. So that was pretty rad. It lead me to my first project at the studio which was the short “Get a Horse”.  I was one of the Character TD’s on it and my job was rigging. I wound up rigging about 6 of the 15 or so characters including Clarabelle Cow, Jazkat, Old Goat, Piggle, Slowjoe, and Oswald. That was a lot of fun. Shorts at Disney are fun because it’s a smaller tight knit group operating while a bigger production operates. You feel like a indie studio or something like that. It was fun. And for a first project, working on an Academy Award Nominated project is pretty damn good. It’s hard to beat….but then I got my second project…

I worked on this small unknown entity called “FROZEN”. You probably haven’t heard of it. Around December of 2012, I was working on both Frozen and finishing up some rigs on Get a Horse. Unlike Get a Horse I was assigned to be doing “Technical Animation” or “Tech anim”. I had only done a few tech anim publicity shots at the end of Wreck-it Ralph, so this was an interesting and fun challenge that is quite different from Rigging.

Our department, the Character TD department has 3 main disciplines, which I think is really cool because it allows you to grow and expand in different areas. The first is rigging which a lot of people know about. Then there is simulation setup or sim rigging. This means building cloth rigs that can be simulated later on. These rigs pertain to the clothing and hair of characters. Both the rigging and sim setup is considered to be “front end” in terms of production pipeline. These are assets, that then get consumed in the “back end” of production which is usually working on the actual shots in the film. The 3rd discipline is a back end side of things, and that’s Tech Anim. Tech Anim takes the animation given to us from the animation department, and then we apply the simulation rigs to the animation, run simulations, clean up the simulations/animations, and animate if necessary. It’s a cool job, really.

So yeah, FROZEN was my first real dive into tech anim, and what a trial by fire. Not only did FROZEN have the most simulation of any show(every character, crowds included) had at least clothing, and some both clothing and hair. In addition to the sheer amount of clothing, the TYPE of clothing and hair was quite complicated. Lots of layers(Vest over shirt and over dress which is over petticoat which is over pants). Long ponytails that had to blow in the wind. Gloves. MY GOD THE GLOVES! NOT THE GLOVES! It seemed like every other shot someone was putting on or taking of their damn gloves. While it might not seem like much, it’s a major pain to simulate that.

The schedule was pretty tough towards the end, I worked on it from like December until late August. I think we did about…I dunno, 14 weeks of OT? Not really that bad, thankfully. Sadly there was like an 8 week stretch, and that starts to wear on you. But overall I think they handled it pretty well. So how do you surpass your first project getting nominated for an Oscar? Well, by having your second one actually win one. It’s pretty amazing to think about how I worked on the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film to win an Oscar(and how crazy is it that there werent any already? Aladdin, Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast? LION KING!? COME ON!). I’m so proud of that. I’m proud of the success of it. I’m proud of it all.

I’m also proud of my perfomance. For very little experience in tech anim, working alongside people with years of experience, I was able to complete 80 shots in the film. I think it was the most in the department which feels nice. But that doesn’t take into account complexity of shots or anything like that. The whole team busted their asses, and we all helped each other out which is a great part of the job, the team.

 

After FROZEN, I was on down time for a while. Just worked on some scripts and training and stuff before being assigned to my next position which is another rigging position. Turns out I may in fact miss out entirely on the next film, Big Hero 6(which looks great. I’m trying not to hear much about it because I’d like to see it fresh just like everyone else does). I’ve instead moved to rigging on the film after Big Hero 6, which is called Zootopia. It’s a lot of fun. I can’t wait for people to see it.

Outside of work, in the near 18 months since I last wrote, I have had a child. A little guy named Bennett Butler Bays(3 B’s just like me). He was born to us January 31st, and he is awesome. Babies are amazing things to watch and behold. Seeing how he grows, and comprehends more and more each day is wild to me.  It definitely changes your life, but it is for a good way. Suddenly it’s pretty clear to me what’s really important.

I think that’s about it. Now maybe I will update the website and post more frequently.

~Bret

 

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It’s been a while since ive posted anything on here. Its been very busy as of late. Got some duties at work that have occupied a lot of my time. Im trying really hard to animate everyday…i made it like one week before some stuff at work and freelance on the side took priority. Bills to pay and such. I hope to find more time to regularly animate. Besides that i have just been doing some python scripting too got some rigging related scripts to go on cineversity in the near future.

Anyway heres the shot. Many thanks to charles wardlaw, patrick goski, malcon pierce, joe bowers, and dimos varysellas and some others for their feedback thus far.

http://db.tt/vIgNSlG

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I’ve been so busy at work, with Kai and Amanda leaving, and other projects that I never got to post any Pics from my trip to New York City. I had a blast. I loved it there. CCW was pretty good too. Anyway, here’s some choice pics from the trip.

Me and Libby in Times Square

Me and Libby in Times Square

No Mugs for us

No Mugs for us

Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall

Playing the Big Piano

Playing the Big Piano

Grimaldi's

Grimaldi's

Hey! BB, that's me!

Hey! BB, that's me!

In addition to CCW, I also had a blast at SpiNYC or the MAXON Mixer. Totally cool place. I also got to meet Mike Stamm, head of The Ottoman Project(www.the-ottoman.com/blog) face to face which was nice. Wish I had more time to hang out and chat with Mike who’s a great guy.

Speaking of the Ottoman, I’ve gotten in an insane rigging mode for the Ottoman the last 2 weeks. When Mike mentioned it took almost half a year to Rig The Ottoman Character, I was baffled, because I know it doesn’t take me that long to rig. But you know what? The Ottoman rig was a serious learning project that took a lot of time to solve particular problems.

Now that those problems have been solved, I pretty much said I could rig the remaining 3 main characters in 1-2 days each. I’m happy to report that The Rider was done over the course of 2 days, the Wife in one, and I’ve spent about 5 hours on The Son rigs. The Wife and Rider will need more weighting focus, but the rigs are ready. The Son needs a few things in the Arms, then Hand Rigs, Mirror, and auto-weighting. Then all primary character rigging is essentially done. Exciting!

I plan on finishing the Son tomorrow, but I might have a Rugby Tournament in Santa Barbara so it could put a hinder on that…

OK, it’s about 2:50 AM I should go to bed. Be on the look out for some interesting Python experiments. I’ve been learning Python in CINEMA 4D like a madman and coming up with some cool stuff.

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I’ve been puttering around with Python as of late and I wanted to try to make a little script of something I find useful, which is to split joints evenly by a certain number. So I set out to make that script, and it’s turned into 4 scripts now.

The way it works is you select the two joints you’d like to insert the joints between(check the demo movie). Then you click on any of the scripts to execute.

SplitJoints3.py-This will take the selected joints and divide it into 3 joints(although it’s really just inserting 2 more joints, but now it’s visually 3 joints where it was one before)

SplitJoints4.py-This will take the selected joints and divide it into 4 joints

SplitJoints5.py-This will take the selected joints and divide it into 5 joints

SplitJointsCustom.py-Opens a little window for you to specify how many joints you want, up to 100.

Below is a Demo Video and the scripts for you to enjoy. Unzip them into your User Preferences Folder under Library>Scripts.

Easiest way to install, open R12, Choose Edit>Preferences. Click the button that says Open Preferences Folder. This should open your Preferencs folder. Go into Library>Scripts. That’s where these need to go.

Thanks to Rick Barrett, Charles Wardlaw, Sebastien Rath, and Per for their help along the way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Nznw_UE3Kc

You can download the script from the CGTalk Thread:

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=47&t=928108

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I ate too many chicken tenders. Blah.

It’s been a while. Class has been going pretty well. We’ve moved onto our 2 person dialog shot and I have a pretty solid bit of dialog from It’s Always Sunny and a good setting. We’re in the blocking stages right now. The weather here has been rainy. Rugby is still cruising along. We are now 5-0 sitting on a bye week, then we travel to San Diego and then 2 more weeks off. I dig it. I could use the cardio but my shins could use the break.

I’ve been working on a couple of rigs, and I think one of these days I am going to have to create a rigging demo reel. I get some offers thrown my way because I get some referrals from people, but I think no one believes me because I don’t have any sort of reel. Maybe after the Ottoman is done I will have something.

Speaking of that, I’ve been working on the final, production rig for the short, and I am pleased to say I am almost finished with it. I have been working with Charles Wardlaw implementing what he wants and once I get some mockups from him, I should be finished…except for weighting the stupid thing….have I ever mentioned I hate weighting? Anyway, I am going to dive into some python probably to help simplify the rigging process as I have to create rigs for 4 main characters and then all of the extras too.

Anyway, that is all. Not a whole lot to report. I’ve been sick for a week now. It sucks. I’m not prone to headaches normally and I’ve been getting them repeatedly. Lame. Ok adios.

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Man, it’s hard to find time to update this with Work, School, Rugby, and a girlfriend haha. School has been ok so far. I got a pretty good critique last week, but it required a lot of re-work. I think I’ve managed to get it close but I had a short week and so I had limited time to work on it, but I think given the ammount of time I had I did pretty good I think. Awaiting this weeks critique hoping it’s good eek!

Work has been ok. It’s been a little busy. I just recorded a tutorial about a clavicle/Scapula setup that Kai taught me before R11 came out. I’ve got a few more tutorials in the que to do.

Rugby season has started! Whoo! Because we are a new club we are are in Division IV which is the lowest Division. There are 5 other teams in the division. We started last weekend in Long Beach against a newly formed Team called the Long Beach Waves which I believe formed from the San Pedro Rhinos. They are a big tough team of big islanders. In our first match of the Season we managed to pull off a 10-5 win. This weekend we traveled to Vegas to play the Maoris. So some of us came up early on Friday and others came on Saturday. Libby and I went up on Friday and stayed at the Rio. It’s a nice place to stay really. We went to Stack(Best Burger ever), then played some Blackjack at the Mirage before Meeting up with some of the guys on the Team where we went to Oshea’s for some beers which was a lot of fun. Then Saturday we played the Maoris, another set of big Islanders, but we played well and won handily. Our pack is pretty solid, I think we won all but 2 scrums. That means Offense and Defense, and we didn’t lose any of our own scrums.  At half-time it was 29-0 With trys by Cox, Koto, Marcus, Myself,  and Hector.

We started the second half and Rubin scored a try. Then, we brought in some subs, and unfortunately, one of our subs Jeff got tackled oddly by a much larger guy and It looks like he broke his fibula. It was truly a shocking and sad moment. The Maori’s thought it best to just call the game over at that point since it was so one sided, they did not want to see anyone else get injured. EMT’s were called and Jeff was taken to the hospital. I have not heard much else from him or the extent of his injury, but I want to wish him a speedy recovery. It was a jolting moment to hear someone screaming in pain. It reminds you this is a tough, dangerous sport.

After the Match the Maoris had us over at a nice little joint called PT’s for the social. Bunch of nice guys they were. I always enjoy playing with fun nice guys. It was suggested by Marcus that we all must shoot the boot since this is a new club. So at PT’s, Cox, Ruben, Myself, and Nick all shot the Boot(Nick had scored against long beach), leaving Hector, Koto, and Marcus to shoot the boot next week at home.

shoottheboot

Me shooting the boot. Paulie Cheering them on. Rugby is a blast. We got a home game this coming weekend.

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…That’s what I would have said had I posted this 7 days ago. So a quick update on life in the 9 minutes I have waiting for a download before going to Rugby Practice.

Started Class 5 at AM, which means A year ago at this time(I believe it was the 4th…) I just started AM. It’s hard to realize that I’ve been at AM for a whole year, with 6 months still to go.

My mentor this class is Randy Haycock who if you grew up in the 90′s you probably loved every film he worked on. Aladdin, Lion King, Tarzan, total Animation Badass. I hope to learn a lot from him. He seems like he will be a tough grader, but hopefully it just drives me to do better.

Rugby has restarted and we have our first match This saturday in San Pedro. Then, my birthday is Sunday, as well as my niece Alice. That should lead to a fun weekend.

The connection in here is not the best, otherwise I would show you where I’m at so far with my shot, which is a continuation of last class’ final shot, but focusing a bit more on the lipsync and facial animation for the acting bits. I showed Kai today and he thought it was looking pretty good(and we’re only supposed to be blocking). So hopefully, I will show you tomorrow or something.

Stay Frosty,
-Bret

PS-I have still been looking into the Rigging DVD, but school comes first for now, but It’s definitely been on my mind. Still looking for ideas on what to cover.

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With free time now, I aim to do some painting. Here’s what I plan on painting:

beachfinal2

It’s a picture I took when my girlfriend and I went camping at the beach a bit ago. I just really liked the shot and so with some slight Photoshop work for some color correction and cropping, this is what I plan to paint. I think I should give a step by step of how I paint. So here we go(I make no promises I am any good).

So first I find an image, which I have done. Next, I will convert the image to Black and White. I bought a transparency projector last year, so what I do is I print the black and white image onto a transparency and then I use the projector to project it onto the canvas, because I was taught to paint big and quick, this is a great way to do it.

I like painting on wood panels because they are super easy to handle. I just run to Home Depot, OSH, or wherever and get a 2×4 foot piece of birch plywood. It’s thin, and pretty smooth so it makes for a good painting surface. I bring it home and I lay 3-5 coats of Gesso on it. SAND BETWEEN THE COATS! I used to be lazy and not sand, but you can see the brush strokes and it’s basically ruined a painting(to me at least) that I did of my friend’s at their wedding and I have no desire to re-do it now because I was so far along. So do sand, you want a nice smooth surface to paint.

Now, when you project onto your panel you need to make a conscious decision, amd I going to paint it like the old masters with a Grisailles layer, or am I going to wing it? If this were more figurative related, I would go the Old Masters route as I was taught, but I’m looking at trying out some new things, so I won’t be doing that. So when I project the Black and White image, I’m mainly using it to find the landmarks of the painting, and sometimes, if I don’t think they will be clear enough, I will just add some solid black lines in photoshop to make sure they exist on the transparency. When I’m winging it like this, I will trace the image with a pencil. If I was doing a Grisailles, I would use paint with some Paynes Gray(Grey?) and Titanium White.

Another hand trick for those artists who are not afraid of Photoshop is to make some Swatches so it’s easier to match colors, see the image below:

beachswtch

I’ll print this out and have it beside me to easily try to match the colors. It helps me get some of the main areas I need but I don’t follow it strictly.

That’s it for now. Hopefully, I will begin this painting today which will probably consist of tinting the panel to something other than the white Gesso, or I might just dig in. Who knows. But I’ll try to document what goes on and write about it. I was thrown a curveball when my Power cord on my laptop started sparking, so I was out of luck, but thankfully I made the images here at work, and will print them at home.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

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That’s how long it has been since I posted on here again. Bah! Sorry about that. I have just had nothing to really comment on I guess. I lead a dull life. But I will still tell you all about it now…

I bought Assassins Creed 2 and it was pretty good. I won’t spoil it for anyone. I would recommend it. It’s great improvement since the first one.

I also bought Modern Warfare 2 which is alright. Cool story so far. The split screen Multiplayer(offline) is fun. The new Special ops mode is cool. I dig it.

My girlfriend turned me on to P&L Burger in Thousand Oaks. It’s got an excellent club sandwhich, which is my fav.

I have finished my 4th class at Animation Mentor. It was tough, and I’m very very happy to have about 3 weeks off from class. Here is my final assignment.

MAXON had it’s annual Christmas Gathering/Gift Exchange. This year we went to MB2 racing which was fun. We also played the largest game of Single Touch which I may or may not have explained on the blog, but it’s a simple principle with a balloon but a complex rule, that is known as the level or reasonablity. More on that some other time. I managed to walk out of the Gift Exchange with a bottle of E&J Brandy with a Flask…I do not like Brandy, but the flask is sweet :) .

Progress on the Rigging DVD has been slow. Many other things have been occupying my time. Plus, now with the break from Animation Mentor, I would like to do some Artsy things like Painting or Sculpture.

I made a pretty cool rig which I hope to be able to share with people in the near future. It’s a pretty good rig so far. Needs some Facial rigging which Orestis Konstantinides(possible spelling error) is handling, be on the look out for it.

Oh dang, it’s also almost Christmas. I’m sad to say, I don’t look forward to Christmas anymore. It’s kind of nice because of my niece and nephew get to enjoy it, but I don’t. Christmas Morning is just like an hour and a half upstairs where we make a mess and I go back into my room(lately, 2 gifts, and some chocolate later). It’s lost all of it’s shimmer. there’s nothing to anticipate it would seem, so I am just kind of just like…I dunno. I dont like how it’s become.

Hopefully I can get a painting prepped and ready to go this week. that would be awesome. Cheers!

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Howdy everyone,

So, work has been work, and school has been school. I went to Vegas for Halloween. That was interesting. I never felt so sleezy than I did on Halloween in my PE Coach uniform. It was fun though. Good times, and I didnt lose too much money!

Rugby has been going alright. Unfortunately due to class schedules I can’t go as much as I would like to. I can only go to one practice a week. It’s a bit of a drag as I want to keep getting better and hopefully earn a starters spot, but we shall see. We had a friendly match against some of the Boys of Asuza Pacific University. Good, odd, match. Questionable officiating(especially on the definition of a straight throw on the line outs) made for hot temperatures amongst the players, but in the end we managed to win 15-10, or 21-14. I’m not sure if we were playing with conversions or not. I did ok, nothing special. I think I got some good rucking and tackles but my endurance is not where it should be. gotta fix that.

Lately, I have been checking out Digital Tutors tutorials, and wondering why there’s no CINEMA 4D tutorials there. I’ve been watching some of the rigging tutorials in Maya and XSI. Most of it seems easily transferable to CINEMA which has lately gotten me to thinking about creating a DVD on Character Rigging in CINEMA 4D. I know we kind of have two already with the WiPix DVD, and the R10 disc, but hey why not another one? If you’re interested let me know and maybe it will happen. Anything you want it to cover let me know.

It got me to thinking about how I got to where I am with rigging. I think I’m getting to the point of actually knowing what I’m doing and being able to explain what is going on as well, which is good because it helps me figure out what I need to do. So how did I get started in Rigging in CINEMA 4D?

Well, I started using CINEMA 4D with Version 8.1. It wasn’t prime for Character Rigging or anything, although Captain3D did Pump Action with less I think. So my school had CINEMA and eventually I got an internship with MAXON. While I was there I saw a DVD about Rigging that I don’t think ever got released. It was for R9, and I believe it was from 3D Guru. It was pretty informative, and it’s what really got me started.

While I worked at MAXON(the first time) there was a guy named Scott who had worked at some Game Houses so he was a jack of all trades including some rigging. He helped get me into the Alpha Team when MAXON was developing it’s Character Rigging tools for R10. So I worked with that and all was well. I learned some of the tools but still didn’t really know any rigging.

So that was all up until about…January of 2007 I think. During that time we were developing an idea for a Short Film I had at CLU. It was pretty daunting and it never got done(…yet…) but It required me to learn some Character Rigging. MAXON decided to have a 2-day Rigging Master Class at SIGGRAPH in San Diego(which would mean it was 2007 I think.) I believe I had just gotten back from Europe(I could be mixing up my years as it’s common for me to do), and Paul was awfully nice to let me join it for free. Paul Babb is an awesome guy and has treated me very well through the years, and I can’t thank him enough for it.

So I went to the class and it was taught by Kai, who I think knew I was kind of getting into the Rigging field. Unfortunitely for his class, most people there were not interested in Rigging or were not up to speed with CINEMA so it kind of just became a mixture class of rigging and beginning CINEMA 4D. Sadly, no other master classes have been done since, but I hope that can change.

So that’s how I got started. Kai then gave me some suggestions like checking out Jason Schliefer’s Animator Friendly Rigging Series. However since I was a poor college student I could only get some, and they were quite good actually, I would still recommend them. His hand Rig is quite good. So Kai and I sort of kept in touch and I kept at rigging. The rigs were attrocious. They probably arn’t all that bad, but the whole Short process was a nightmare and it never got done.

Then after school I went back to work at MAXON. Kai was working there at that point, and so when I got there we kind of went over a lot of rigging stuff back and forth. We went through the process of creating the Taquito Rig for R11 and NLA demos, and it was a pretty good rig. Since then we’ve checked out a lot of other things, like the Farenheit Digital DVD’s and more. The Taquito rig we did for R11, was a bit more complex than the CINEVERSITY tutorial, but still not all that basic.

Since then, though, I’ve been more familiar with rigging, analyzing rigs, and explaining what’s going on. I’ve also gotten pretty damn fast at building rigs(and making tutorials about them which is why I’ve been doing so many tutorials on CINEVERSITY). I’ve had to build No-Flip Knees all the time, I mastered what was going on, and did a tutorial about it. Mastered? How arrogant sounding haha.

I’ve also began to pick up on some of the REALLY hard things like Priorities and such. Helping users with their Rigging problems has been good too, and doing Animation Mentor, it’s shown me what I want/need in a Rig to animate as far as features and appearance. So it’s helped me understand so much more.

So that’s why I kind of want to get a DVD together. It worked pretty well for 3D Kiwi and it was very useful for lots of people. The other DVD’s have all been very helpful to people. We will see how things pan out. I doubt I’ll make one but who knows. I have been working on some characters and just building some rigs. There’s some new features Kai has been making for a rig for Animation Mentor, that I will have to sit down and look at how it’s been done.

Rigging and Animation is fun and I like doing it and I like teaching it. Now I’m tired. So I am going to bed.

If you want to learn rigging, I’d suggest finding Cactus Dan’s tutorials and the Intermediate Biped Rigging on CINEVERSITY. Then I’d suggest checking out videos on Constraints and other things on CINEVERSITY, then ask to see any cool rig that you can and begin disecting it. Eventually you can begin looking at other rigs from other programs and understand what they’re doing and apply it elsewhere and in most cases I find it much easier in CINEMA, but I am pretty damn quick in the program nowadays. Imagine if I actually didn’t work in the Default CINEMA layout/shortcuts. I would probably be flying, but since I have to support people I find it easiest to just work in all the defaults. But I do pretty well especially when you consider I work on a Macbook Pro with no mouse and while lounging on the couch most of the time :) .

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