An Eye for a Guy

I’m finishing up a fun tutorial for creating some missing eyeballs. I’m sure you could also make the eyes black with this technique or even change the eye color. With a little work an empty eye socket might be possible as well.

Please don’t beg or ask when it will be ready, that just slows down the process. If you are really desperate for this effect, get some sand paper and a mirror.

Back on Track

Time to get back to work.

Happy Holidays from the Kramers

Just wishing everyone happy holidays. My friend Cheryl Bennett took these great shots for our holiday cards and I wanted to share them with you too. Obviously you can see little Katie Kramer likes her mom a bit more but I’m not giving up :)

It has been a fun and exciting year, so thanks for making this site what it is today. For now, I’ve got to carefully unwrap some presents to make sure everything is on schedule.

*Where is my hat with the flashlight on it?*

New Tutorial: Advanced Camera Tips

In this tutorial we are going to take a look at advanced animation techniques for with precise camera control.. I also use Particular to create a cool scene object.

Watch Tutorial
See Sample Video

Last chance before holiday!
It’s getting closer to the holidays so don’t forget to buy yourself something from our Online Store :) You deserve it!

More 3D Stuff

I’ve been playing in 3D a bit more… This time using particles to control the destruction. It is a bit less precise, notice the overlapping of the first 2 letters, but it is much more robust when using hundreds of pieces.

Basically the text is broken into chunks. They are then turned into particles which “fall apart”. As they fall apart they emit more pieces or chunks so that it looks like pieces are flying everywhere.

In another test, I used reactor to build the base simulation and then had those pieces emit debris. Essentially making half of the composite reflecting real physics and the other half using particles to cheat physics.

Bridge is Ready

So I’ve modeled the bridge and have the particle dynamics ready as well. Figuring out the dust was tricky though… Here is how it works: particles need to be activated along with the animation. In other words when the bridge falls the dirt and dust needs to dissipate into the air.

Particles can be placed on any 3d surface but to get them to turn into dust as the bridge falls, I’ve set up an operator that checks the speed of the particle. So when the particles are on the bridge they are still, but when the bridge falls the particles fall and begin to pick up speed! Then any particle that is moving will then turn into dust. More testing underway. This is a procedural way to animate effects, instead of keyframing all of these operations they are dynamic instead.
I’ve also got a few holiday tutorials coming, so stay tuned.

3D Simulations

The past week I have been experimenting heavily with dynamic simulations inside of 3D studio Max using Reactor (which is the engine that processes object interactions). The image above is a test for an FX shot I’m working on where a freeway over pass collapses. By using the fracture node, you can group objects together and have them break apart when they collide. What is great about this is this is the object will only break when an impact affects that area.

The truth is I’m somewhat overwhelmed. I have a fair amount of experience with these type of simulations but now that I’m looking at it from a teaching perspective, I have to dig deeper and really understand what is going on so that I can explain it better. By doing this , I’m learning a great deal more than I ever thought I knew. Every time I feel good about teaching one aspect, I come across more new features…

I’ll get my head together and share some more tests. In the meantime do a youtube search for “reactor simulation”. Inspiring stuff.

DV Expo… How was it?

Well I ended up going for a day and it was fine. Not too much traffic on the way and I didn’t get mugged either, which was good. When I got to the show I registered and hit the floor.

I’m in the market for a high-end Tripod and some other production gear. I saw some nice products such as this sweet LED camera light, but they weren’t selling it at the show. In fact it is not available until January. By then, I will have forgotten how excited I was.

Then I was looking at some nice tripods, the system was rock-solid, the price was right, but they were not selling them at the show. By this time the cash in my shoe was burning a hole in my sock.

The other thing that was annoying was Sony… they only had the medium range cameras on display.

I was happy to check out the RedRockMicro booth where they demonstrated the M2 adapter which is a very impressive box that allows you to use cinema lenses on your digital camera. In fact I ended up buying one the next day.

I did get a chance to stop by In-n-out on the way home so I was happy.

As for NAB, I’ve almost decided to do it. I think it will be great to meet many of you and it will be an exciting deadline for a brand new product we’re working on.

Going to DVexpo Wednesday

I’m going to the DV expo show Wednesday to look at some new gear. I have my eye on a few things and maybe I can sneak some stuff out the back door.

While on the subject, Video Copilot is thinking about putting on a booth at NAB next year. What do you guys think about that? Anyone here planning on going?

Glowing Book with Practical Effects


Here is an example of using practical effects with post production to achieve realistic lighting.

In the second slide you can see the before image of Shannah opening the book and you’ll notice the on-set light that seems to emit from the book. In the bottom image you’ll notice the light is off at this point. Then by using a piece of cardboard, we covered up the secondary light and slowing uncovered it as the book opened for a more realistic effect.

To be more specific, a piece of reflective cloth was laid on the talent’s lap and the light from above was reflected off it.

You’ll also notice her hair is slightly displaced from a perfectly timed industrial fan. How perfectly timed? Think about this; light travels faster than air so we had start the fan before the book was even opened so that it would all happen at the right time, then as the book opened the light was revealed with a touch of magical air. Sure it took more than one take but man… I”m glad I don’t pay by the hour.

Thanks Shannah for helping out!