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Pixar animation software part II

Posted on April 28, 2014 
Filed Under Animation | 6 Comments

lighting-demo

There has been some development in the secrecy surrounding Pixar’s animation software in the past few weeks but before we get started, you might want to refresh yourself with the previous article I wrote about Menv and Presto.

Pixar animation software part 1

Pixar officially revealed their software Presto (aka Menv 13) to the world, in a jaw-dropping tech demo illustrating the benefit of relying on GPU and Nvidia latest tech for that matter.

Maya and other 3d animation softwares look so antiquated compared to Presto. Unlike Autodesk and their mono-threaded CPU viewport, it is quite obvious that Pixar engineers are listening to the users.

In the following video you will get to see some features animators have been screaming for and no-one seems to be listening to it.

Forget about having to constantly disconnect your sight from your model and having to keep half of your screen free for a silly GUI:
– Invisible on-viewport local trigger controls!

invisible-local-trigger-controls

– Realtime animation WITH hair!

realtime-animation

– Realtime shadows

realtime-shadows

The pose library is not that different from other software but some people might be interested to see it :

pose-librairy

Here is the extract from the demo followed by the full presentation showing the realtime lighting engine for which ….. I am very partial:

http://www.ustream.tv/embed/recorded/45386636

Related posts:
Pixar animation software part 1
So you want to be a rigger (TD) huh?
Pixar Brave wireframes

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Pixar animation software

Posted on April 28, 2013 
Filed Under Animation | 8 Comments

[update]Don’t forget to check Part 2 http://www.olivier-ladeuix.com/blog/2014/04/28/pixar-animation-software-part-ii/[/update]

Wondering what animation software Pixar uses to bring us magical movies like Monsters inc 2? Wonder no more!

In a latest Open Subdiv demo, Autodesk Meet the experts presentation, Pixar’s engineer lead Dirk Van Gelder lets us have a quick peek at his computer screen so we get to see what Pixar’s Marionette looks like.

If you didn’t know, the software’s 30th iteration of Marionette or Menv (the name comes from the original name, Modeling environment), is now called Presto, as a tribute to Doug Sweetland’s 2008 short film.

Around 18 minutes into the presentation, we can have a good look at the interface and see Monsters University’s character, Dean Hardscrabble, the dean of the School of Scaring faculty, in motion. Here is a screenshot.

Pixar Marionette Menv screenshot

Pixar Marionette

Instead of being displayed in the viewport as we are accustomed to, the controls or Avars (this is how they are called at Pixar) are tucked to the bottom right of the screen and displayed as some sort of advanced channel box or spreadsheet since this is the term used in AL, the ancestor of Pixar’s Menv.

An other interesting thing we notice is that Presto runs on Linux and the Gnome environment. This could be surprising when we think that Pixar’s CEO was also Apple’s CEO.

Animator working on Brave

If you want to see Presto in action a little bit more, check out that Guardian’s interview with Toy Story 3’s Animation Supervisor Bobby Podesta : (the video seems to have been pulled out, here is an other one instead)

or that one with Sanjay Patel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiXHoKQ9d7Q&t=1m43s

Ah and to finish this post, what a better way than posting Monsters University’s third trailer!!! As a side note, Monsters Inc is still my favourite Pixar feature ;-)

Related posts:
Pixar Brave wireframes

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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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Annie Awards nominations 2012

Posted on December 4, 2012 
Filed Under Animation, Character design | Leave a Comment

The ASIFA just released the list of nominations for the 2012 Annie Awards.

I will only mention the categories I am interested in, you can find the full list on Cartoon Brew

It is really bizarre Pixar’s Brave didn’t get a nomination for Character Design. To me it was the movie that, by far, featured the strongest Character Designs in 2012. I would really like to be enlightened about that decision.

Honoring excellence in the field of animation, Annie Awards will be presented in 30 categories including best animated feature, television production(s), television commercial, short subject, video game and student film, as well as the achievement and honorary awards. The 40th Annual Annie Awards will take place on February 2, 2013 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, in Los Angeles, California.

Entries submitted for consideration must be from productions that were released in the United States between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. An exception will be made for animated short subjects, student films and television commercials that were not released in the United States. These may be considered for an Annie Award providing they were originally released during the award eligibility period.

Best Animated Feature

Brave — Disney
Frankenweenie – Disney
Hotel Transylvania — Sony Animation
ParaNorman — Laika
The Pirates: Band of Misfits — Aardman Animation/Sony Animation
The Rabbi’s Cat — Autochenille Production/GKids
Rise of The Guardians — DreamWorks Animation
Wreck-It Ralph — Disney

Best Animated Short Subject

Brad and Gary (Illumination/Universal)
Bydlo (NFB)
Eyes On The Stars (StoryCorps)
Goodnight Mr Foot (Sony Animation)
Kali The Little Vampire (NFB)
Paperman (Disney)
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare (20th Century-Fox)
The Simpsons – Bill Plympton Couch Gag (20th Century-Fox)

Best Animated Television Production For Children

Adventure Time ‘Princess Cookie’ – Cartoon Network Studios
Dragons: Riders of Berk ‘How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation
LEGO Star Wars ‘The Empire Strikes Out’ – Threshold Animation Studios
Penguins of Madagascar ‘Action Reaction’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
SpongeBob SquarePants ‘It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
The Amazing World of Gumball ‘The Job’ – Turner Broadcasting System Europe, Ltd.
The Fairly OddParents ‘Farm Pit’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios
The Legend of Korra ‘Welcome to Republic City’/’A Leaf in the Wind’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Animated Video Game

Borderlands 2 – Gearbox Software
Family Guy – Back to the Mutiverse – Heavy Iron Studios
Journey – Sony Computer Entertainment America
Skullgirls – Lab Zero Games

Best Student Film

Can We Be Happy Now – Tahnee Gehm
Defective Detective – Avner Geller & Steve Lewis
Head Over Heels – Timothy Reckart
I Am Tom Moody – Ainslie Henderson
Ladies Knight – Joseph Rothenberg
Origin – Jessica Poon
The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete – Karen Sullivan
Tule Lake – Michelle Ikemoto

Character Animation in a Feature Production

Dan Nguyen ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios
David Pate ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Jaime Landes ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios Congrat Jaime and good luck!
Phillppe LeBrun ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Pierre Perifel ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Travis Hathaway ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios
Travis Knight “ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Will Becher ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animations

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

Bill Schwab, Lorelay Bove, Cory Loftis, Minkyu Lee ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Carlos Grangel ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Carter Goodrich ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Craig Kellman ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation
Heidi Smith ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Yarrow Cheney, Eric Guillon, Colin Stimpson ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

Genndy Tartakovsky ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux ‘The Rabbi’s Cat – GKIDS
Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie ‘Zarafa’ – GKIDS
Rich Moore ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Sam Fell, Chris Butler ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation
Marcello Vignali ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Nash Dunnigan, Arden Chen, Jon Townley, Kyle McNaughton ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios
Nelson Lowry, Ross Stewart, Pete Oswald, Ean McNamara, Trevor Dalmer ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Norman Garwood, Matt Berry ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animation
Patrick Hanenberger, Max Boas, Jayee Borcar, Woonyoung Jung, Perry Maple, Peter Maynez, Stan Seo, Felix Yoon ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Rick Heintzich ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios
Steve Pilcher ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Emmanuela Cozzi ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Johanne Matte ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Leo Matsuda ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Lissa Treiman ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Rob Koo ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

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L.A. Times Roundtable Discussion: Animation

Posted on December 2, 2012 
Filed Under Education | Leave a Comment

After the Storyboard class I took with Steve McLeod and CGMA (they just made some changes to the website), I have become more and more interested in Story and screenwriting.

During the introduction class, Steve told us about the classic Robert Mc Kee and Syd Fields books, and this other book I had never heard of before, “Save the cat” by Blake Snyder.

“Save the cat” was on my to-read list for a while and I was finally able to go trough it during my recent trip to L.A. Man this book is awesome. It is so awesome that after reading a dodgy Pdf version on my Kindle, I had to run to the nearest Barnes&Nobles to buy the paper version as soon as I landed.

Agreed it seems very formulaic with the various page count, but make abstraction of this and you will definitely learn a lot. The book was an eye opener for me and thanks to Blake Snyder, I am now able to clearly understand the structure of movies and even understand some screenwriting insiders joke like the “Save the cat” sequence on Pixar’s “Incredible”. If you ever wanted to write a script and didn’t know how to start, “Save the cat” will certainly be of a great help.

Talking about “Save the cat” I have been told the book is actually being trashed on the following video! ;-)

Who are those guys anyway! Well it is non other than Brave’s, Paranorman’s, Guardians’s, Hotel T’s and my 2012 favorite Wreck it Ralph’s directors talking shop! Sounds like a great roundtable even if I already disagree with whatever they will say about “Save the cat” ;-)

Thanks Richie

via Cartoon Brew

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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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Septembre 2012 Box office grosses

Posted on September 23, 2012 
Filed Under Business of animation | Leave a Comment

Summer is gone, time for a Box office grosses update with a lot of surprises. I decided to add the domestic grosses as those numbers could be particularly useful to understand the trend.

at M $337, one of the surprises was the really low score made by Lorax despite a record opening week-end in the US that pretty much covered their budget. With a 3+ month gap between the US release and the rest of the world, I wouldn’t be surprised if piracy has had a significant impact but we should also remember that Dr Seuss’s books are completely unknown outside the USA. Some people also got put off by the fact the movie was peppered with several musical sequences.

I think Madagascar 2 is superior than Madagascar 3 but the sequel was extremely well received by the public this summer. Proof that animators are not the best judges to what will sell?

I was also surprised to see that Ice Age 4 still does very well with the public, especially on the foreign market. As a matter of fact, Ice Age 4 made more money than what Lorax and ….. Brave together.

Pixar’s Brave is still showing across the world (I saw it this afternoon one more time) but the movie is really far from the score achieved by Toy Story 3. At M $500, Brave has made slightly more than Toy Story 2 and a little bit less than Wall-E. Who would have thought?

Here is the latest chart and I am attaching a pdf file with the complete chart starting in 2008 with hyperlinks to the related Boxofficemojo pages.

Box office grosses Sept 2012

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MAndrews and the Google Doodle team

Posted on September 6, 2012 
Filed Under Education, Story | 1 Comment

Great 58 mins interview with Brave’s Director Mark Andrews at the Google campus. Not your average, “how difficult was it to make Merida’s hair?” kind of questions fortunately.

There was also a tricky question at the very end regarding the Japanese trailer and I let you find out how he got out of it.

Related posts:
Mark Andrews CalArts lecture
The 180 degrees rule

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The 180 degree rule

Posted on August 18, 2012 
Filed Under Cinematography, Education, Story | 5 Comments

Few weeks ago, Karim my younger brother from an other mum and dad, reminded me that Mark Andrews (aka Mandrews) and Ted Mathot had been interviewed by Andrew Gordon for a great Story Splinecast back in 2007.

I had completely forgotten about that one and was surprised to see that I even left a blurb in the comment section ;-)

With the release of Brave which Mandrews directed, I HAD to listen to that interview again and I certainly had forgotten all the great gems it contained and how different Mandrews profile is compared to other Pixar directors. Well we didn’t know he would go on directing a Pixar movie in 2007 and I expected him to go on directing live action instead.

The little gem I wanted to shed light on today is the one where he talks about the “180 degree rule”. Some directors Mandrews worked with would never break it but others seem to be a bit more partial. Check it out

“Mark Andrews 180 degree rule”

I would recommend you to listen to the entire Spline cast.

Story Spline Cast with Mark Andrews and Ted Mathot

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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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