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Overwatch – Animated Shorts Explained

Posted on December 14, 2016 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, Education, Modeling, Painting, Rigging | Leave a Comment

I don’t play games much those days but it is the second time I am posting about Overwatch as they are doing all the right things to me at the moment!

Great animation, great behind the scenes, sharing knowledge and upping the game! Thanks Blizzard!

Today is an exceptional free 1 hour behind the scenes about Overwatch’s animated shorts. Look at those rigs, definitely on par with the ones from animated features or even the Kayla rig since I am studying that one at the moment.

YouTube Preview Image

And few stills from the talk followed by one of the animated shorts “the Last Bastion” (gorgeous):

overwatch_facial_rig

Concepts

overwatch_storyboard

overwatch_video_reference

overwatch_animation_pose_library

Related posts
So you want to be a rigger huh v02
Make it organic
Impressive fan made Elsa rig

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Impressive fan made Elsa rig

Posted on July 14, 2016 
Filed Under Animation, Education, Modeling, Rigging | Leave a Comment

Youtube user Spiel Kind is sharing a walkthrough of his impressive fan made Frozen’s Elsa rig.
YouTube Preview Image

It is so impressive that even Disney temp worker Josh Sobel thought it could have been “borrowed” from Disney animation but luckily Spiel Kind documented the entire process from modeling to rigging on a CG talk thread .

He breaks down the rig by explaining how many blend shapes went into the making of that rig:

“27 blendshapes, which I divided up and/or mirrored into 90 total shapes. On top of that I also have a joint-rig though, which is responsible for the jaw/lips- and eyelid-setup.”

The explanation on CGTalk is a bit more detailed:

“It’s made up of four rigs in total. The first is a joint-rig, which drives the eyelids, eyelashes and the jaw/lip setup. Marco Giordano’s eyelid setup has been a big help for this one. The zipper setup is built after Stefan Ehrenhaus’ instructions a few pages earlier in this thread.
The second one is a blendshape setup, which drives pretty much all expressive shapes. Been using some techniques from Jason Osipa’s book Stop Staring for this one.
Both of these feed into the third setup, which is another joint-rig with just a few joints with very broad weighting … basically a poor man’s lattice.
The fourth is the eyeball setup, which works independently from the rest and only drives two joints to which the eyeballs are skinned.”

and page 5 of the CGTalk’ thread he explains what his original idea was:

“The mouth is going to be driven by a joint-rig and a blendshape-rig. The joint-rig will open the jaw and provide freeform controls for lips, nose and cheeks. The blendshape-rig will contain wide, narrow, smile, frown, lip-roll out/in/tighten, mouth up/down/left/right, upper/lower lip-puff, cheek-puff and whatever cheek-puff’s opposite is called. Each shape will be broken down into at least lefts and rights. The lip-shapes will be broken down even more and divided among the joint-rig controls with some global ones above.”

Well I guess this will tie nicely with my previous article about mouth shapes!

Related posts:
You want to be a rigger huh (v2)
Mouth shapes Chester V

Elsa rig

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Mouth shapes – Chester V

Posted on July 11, 2016 
Filed Under Animation, Education, Modeling, Rigging | 3 Comments

Don’t you find it frustrating every time you join a new project to find out you have only been provided with a pose library or worse, blend shapes that only contain random mouth shapes? Haven’t people ever seen the Preston Blair book?

Preston Blair

Let’s make poorly thought out mouth shapes history!

Today I was doing a bit of cartoony animation research and came across that very enjoyable “Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2″ behind the scene video featuring Chester V.

YouTube Preview Image

The camera panned very quickly through Chester V’s mouth shape library but it gave me enough frames to reverse engineer it and make a nice pose library you should share with your modeler and rigger next time you get involved in pre-production. Sorry we couldn’t see the last mouth shapes but you get the idea.

On a side note, ideally those shouldn’t be blend shapes but shapes the mouth rig and controls allow you to create and smoothly transition from and out of to the next shapes. Simple per phonem blend shapes don’t allow for smooth transition and should be reserved for low cost animated tv series.

As you can see, the mouth shapes are divided in 3 emotions or groups: Happy, Neutral and Sad where the corners move vertically in conjunction with the teeth corners and for each emotion the animators are provided with 16 shapes derived from the Preston Blair simplified phonems: M(BP), S(DTNXK), E, I, L, A, O, TH, U(Q), and F(V).

Enjoy and feel free to share and print, the file is huge enough to please everyone! ;-)

Chester-V-Mouth-shapes

Related pots:
So you want to be a rigger huh?

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Zbrush fun

Posted on April 21, 2013 
Filed Under Modeling, Portfolio | Leave a Comment

testing some asymetry and a facial expression in Zbrush. Fun stuff.

[update] Found a better material or MatCap

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Jonathan Paine Pixar modeling demo reel

Posted on January 27, 2013 
Filed Under Education, Modeling | 2 Comments

Have you ever seen wireframes of a Pixar character model or even a Pixar modeler’s demo reel ? Me neither, but that was until today!

Thanks to the recent adoption of Pinterest by animation enthusiasts, I just found the modeling showreel of Jonathan Paine, a fine modeler/sculptor who has worked on some of our beloved Pixar animated short films and features like Boundin’, One man band, Ratatouille, Cars, Up and also Blue Sky’s greatest IP : Ice Age.

If like me you have an obsession for polygon wireframes and naked meshes, head over to Vimeo to enjoy a great display of skills.

Related Posts:
Lord Macintosh update
Pixar Brave Wireframes
Madagascar Gloria WIP

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Zbrush sketch

Posted on January 8, 2013 
Filed Under Modeling, Portfolio | Leave a Comment

Zbrush 4.4 and dynamesh are awesome. Mudbox’s interface makes way more sense but for some reason I prefer sculpting in Zbrush.

Here is a quick straight-ahead sketch I did yesterday as a way of procrastinating using mainly the clay tube brush.

If I was always that productive when procrastinating…..

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Lord Macintosh (update)

Posted on September 26, 2012 
Filed Under Education, Modeling | 4 Comments

I had already modeled Brave’s Lord Macintosh last year but working from a single concept art proved to be really tricky and I completely missed his nose and chin. Now that the movie is out and many trailers are available, I felt it was time to correct few things.

As you can see, I still wasn’t able to tackle the hair and didn’t want to use the old school textured cards. Most Maya based Animated Feature studios probably use Joe Alter’s Shave and Haircut plugin nowadays and I ordered a trial license to give it a go but I still haven’t received it so … proxy hair will do for now.

Here are some screenshots and wireframes for you.

If you know a ‘Shave and haircut’ expert willing to help me learn the software, please let me know. Cheers!


Related posts:

Brave concept art and teaser
Pixar Brave wireframe
3d modeling portfolio
Low polygon modeling

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Madagascar “Gloria” wip

Posted on June 28, 2012 
Filed Under Education, Modeling, Portfolio | 2 Comments

Here is where I am. I haven’t worked on the feet yet. Two days into it, I just need to adjust some edge loops, get rid of triangles then it will be done. Next is Vitaly then some Brave characters, just because modeling characters is fun!

Ah and some wireframes. The arms are still pretty low polygon.

Related post:
37 degrees celcius

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37 degrees Celsius

Posted on June 27, 2012 
Filed Under Drawings, Modeling | 5 Comments

Today was a really hot day. 37C or 100 Farenheit… HOT!

Nothing like going to the café down the road and sketch some of the patrons by such temperature! I have also started using a new 0.1 Uni Pen. I was recommended a similar Staedler felt pen but they don’t do that brand at my local art store.

There is no messing around with such tool, you got to be have a clear idea where you are going as each line counts.

If you are wondering, we are in delayed pre-production at work which means no work … or income. It sucks so I’d better make the most of it and keep myself busy.

[update] Well well well… I was reading James Robertson’s blog this evening and said to myself. What about if I added some colours in Photoshop?! Learning watercolours is a big struggle for me and once you put the paints on the paper, it is too late for corrections.

Crazy I never thought about using digital paints! I was probably in the mindset that retouching sketches afterwards is cheating. At the end of the day, it is only about the final product isn’t it? And the learning obviously ;-)

And here is something I am working on if you are not following me on Vimeo

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Pixar Brave Wireframes

Posted on June 26, 2012 
Filed Under Education, Modeling | 3 Comments

Ever wondered how dense those Pixar meshes are? I have!

You are in luck, Pixar just released some video footage where we can see the wireframe mesh of both Queen Elinor and King Fergus!

Except the helmet, hair and moustache the mesh is pretty dense. I wonder whether they add one more pass of smoothing at render time though.

Those are probably not the low poly meshes anyway but we can already notice an E pole on the cheeks. This could possibly means Pixar doesn’t use Nurbs surfaces anymore.

Click to zoom in.

And here is the Behind the Scenes video with, 2 minutes into it, Animation Collaborative‘s Michal Makarewicz. (a great school to attend if you are in the San Francisco area or crazy enough to relocate for three month ;-) )
YouTube Preview Image

via Keith Ribbons

Related posts:
3d modeling portfolio
Low polygon modeling
Brave concept art and teaser

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3d Modeling portfolio

Posted on January 14, 2012 
Filed Under Education, Modeling, Portfolio | 3 Comments

Since animation work is pretty scarce at the moment I have decided to put all my modeling work together just so I can apply to 3d modeling positions.

Those are props for a long overdue short film, personal work, professional work and character design studies. The work was done in Maya 2009 for the most recent pieces, 3ds Max 5 for the rest.

The Pixar related models are obviously fan art as I have never worked on Ratatouille or Brave. I only did those to get a better understanding of Pixar’s character designs, wireframe edge flow and rigging (articulations).

During a recent visit to French sculptor Bourdelle’s museum in Paris, I was reminded it is how the best artists learnt their art, by copying the masters. Michaelangelo was a great source of inspiration for Bourdelle, Daniel Lopez Munoz is mine.

Download the PDF version if you prefer Olivier_Ladeuix_modeling_2011.pdf or click the pictures below to zoom in.

You will probably find a timelapse video for most pieces in the “Related Posts” section at the end of the post and I would suggest their viewing to anyone wanting to learn about CG modeling and clean edge flow or just to see wireframes.

MacIntosh_v02

Related posts:
Low polygon modeling
Fredericksen house part 02
Long chair modeling timelapse

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Low polygon modeling

Posted on October 28, 2011 
Filed Under Education, Modeling | 6 Comments

Low polygon modelling, opposed to “high frequency modeling” (the stuff done in Zbrush or Mudbox), is the basics of modelling. Any software can handle that type of work nowadays, from the free Blender to the extremely expensive Maya, 3dsmax or XSI packages.

There are two approaches to low polygon modeling:

1. A top-down approach where you start directly with a square plane whose edges you extrude following the final edge loops.

2. A bottom-up approach where you start modeling from a cube that you gradually subdivide by adding edges or extruding faces.

Both techniques are so simple that they only require a subdivide toggling hotkey (3 in Maya) and a handful of tools which I featured in my ‘Low Polygon modeling tools’ post.

The Edge extrusion method was extensively demonstrated by Kolby Jukes back in the days he used XSI as his primary modeling software. All his videos are offline as he only does Mudbox “High frequency sculpting” nowadays but the Edge extrusion technique is the technique I featured in my latest modeling timelaps video based on Brave’s Lord Macintosh character so have a look at this:

If you are not familiar with modeling, what I did here was to put the original concept art on a plane in the background then create a second smaller plane whose edges I extruded following an edge flow mental picture I had. The edge flow being the minimum amount of flowing edges necessary to describe the muscles, skeletal structure or deformation of the surface. Whaooo that was complicated! Well instead of just projecting a grid of edges on the surface of the head, I am creating a minimal amount of edge loops and rings that follow the creases facial expressions will produce. Makes sense?

Bay Raitt was probably the first one to fully demonstrate the Cube approach in that ground breaking 1999 “One afternoon with Bay Raitt” Mirai timelapse video.

This is the one I used in my Rickshaw modeling timelapse video:

I think the video is self explanatory, if not, post a comment and I will add more explanation in my post

Related posts:
Pixar “Brave” concept art and teaser
Jason Schleifer interview – Speaking of animation
Posts in the Modeling category

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Brave concept art and teaser

Posted on June 29, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, Modeling | 9 Comments

YouTube Preview Image

Pixar just released a teaser for next years feature Brave (previously titled The Bear and the Bow) along with some character designs.

Those designs have definitely a Pixar feel to them as they immediately remind us of The Incredibles or Up. Some commentators compared Lord Macintosh to Muntz and the Wise Woman to a Carl Fredericksen in drag :-)

My favourite are actually Lord Macintosh and the Wise Woman as they are much more graphic than the other character. As a matter of fact I have decided to model those two in order to better understand the Pixar style and improve my modeling skills.

Updated version after the release of the movie

I modelled Lord Macintosh in Maya starting from a plane and using the edge extrusion technique in order to quickly create some edge loops then refined the base shape by cutting faces, merging and moving vertices around. Nothing too fancy. I have some experience with that type of modelling but I think I will try the Zbrush approach for the Wise Woman. My friend Richie just showed me the work of Tom Parker, an incredible Zbrush modeler that can knock out a piece in less than two hours.

Here is the timelapse, I only recorded the first few hours as the final “vertex cleaning/edge rerouting” pass is too tedious to watch. I hope you will find this interesting, the video is a sequence of automated screenshots hence the choppiness.

via http://www.cartoonbrew.com/pixar/brave-characters.html

Related posts:
Lord Macintosh update
Modeling blog category

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Kung Fu Panda 2, trailer 2

Posted on March 5, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, Modeling | 3 Comments

I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!

YouTube Preview Image

and something I just found. A top french modeler took one of Nico Marlet undone designs and modeled a nasty croco. Actually, judging by the colour scheme, it could be a good guy.

I have a fascination for cartoony crocos I have to say. We have a pretty cool one in the show I am working on (sorry can’t show) but his facial rig doesn’t allow for broad expressions. I will have to investigate how to rig cartoony beaks and long jaw one of those days. Ah for the story, Michel Guillemain is now at Dreamworks LA on … Kung Fu Panda 2 ;-)

ah some interesting links. Yes I have the bad feeling they only took the first story and put a 2 at the end, in the line of the Die Hard series, hopefully it is not just the overcoming of a new enemy.
on writing for Kung Fu Panda
Nicolas Marlet interview

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Fredricksen house part 02

Posted on May 23, 2010 
Filed Under Education, Modeling, Portfolio | 4 Comments

Here is where I am today. Only spent one hour on this. The weather was way too nice to stay home today.

I mainly worked on the windows and some detailing work. I added some basic colours and did a quick mental ray rendering just for giggles, nothing too elaborate.

The shingles will be modelled at the latest stage, I still have a major issue with the roof proportions to solve. Don Shank blueprints are very useful but the final model seems a bit different.

Click on the pic for bigger version

and here is the timelapse, 6 hours of work in 12 minutes.

Related post:
Fredricksen house part 01

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Fredricksen house

Posted on May 22, 2010 
Filed Under Education, Modeling, Portfolio | 1 Comment

I saw this yesterday and thought it would be fun to model it over the week end….

I didn’t think it would take so long but this is where I am 5 hours later. Click on the picture for a bigger version.

If you are interested, I have also recorded a timelapse video as usual and will post it when done with the modeling tomorrow.

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Long chair modeling timelapse

Posted on April 3, 2010 
Filed Under Education, Modeling, Portfolio, Short film | 1 Comment

What are you supposed to do on Easter bank holiday, work on your short film right?

Here is a series of timelapse video where you can follow me modeling one of the main props for my short film.



Today I am gonna tackle the cartoony rigging of this guy so it ties a bit better with shot 12. I am keeping in mind to make the props looks a bit more wonkey but the rig could help for that.

Related post:
Short film blog category

Shot 12 final
Props done

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Autorig tutorial prep work 04

Posted on March 4, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Modeling, Portfolio | 3 Comments

This time I am modeling the hands. I am not looking at references yet, just blocking out the shapes.

You will see me starting from a cube, which I subdivide manually to extrude faces and create the fingers.

I push the details on one fingers then duplicate it to create the other ones. Very often you will see me going from low poly to high poly using the 1 and 3 keys in maya 2009.

and here is the second pass

Third pass, refining the shape, cleaning up some edges, adding more detail
YouTube Preview Image

Related posts:
Autorig tutorial prep work 03
Autorig tutorial prep work 02
Autorig tutorial prep work 01
Low polygon modeling tools

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Autorig tutorial prep work 03

Posted on February 28, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Modeling, Portfolio | 3 Comments

CharlesF.  Muntz

Here is the nearly final model. Click on the picture for full screen version.

I will work on the hands tomorrow.I am still not entirely happy about the junction between the chin and the cheek bone, the eye/nose area also need a bit more work but that should be enough for the Autorig tutorial.

Related posts:
Autorig tutorial prep work 02
Autorig tutorial prep work 01
Low polygon modeling tools

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Autorig tutorial prep work 02

Posted on February 27, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Modeling, Portfolio | 4 Comments

Here is a video showing the modeling process for my tribute to Pixar’s “Up”.

You can double click to see the video in Full screen but if you first click on the Vimeo logo you will be able to see it in full 1600×1200. You might also be able to download the video from Vimeo, it is in Xvid/Divx, sorry I don’t have Quicktime pro but Virtual Dub or KMplayer allow you to go frame by frame if needed.

[...] Read more

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