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Rethinking Maya’s hotkeys for animation

Posted on May 25, 2013  | 5 Comments
Filed under Animation, Education

Having studied Psychology and Ergonomy at University, it always bothers me when I have to use tools that haven’t been carefully thought out with the final user in mind.

Let me share with you the Maya hotkeys’ layout I have been using for the past few years. Just by looking at it, you will quickly understand how much more practical those hotkeys are. By having all the hotkeys on the left side of the keyboard, you don’t need to look at your hands anymore and have immediate access to the most useful scripts and tools. I wish changing hotkeys was as simple as in 3dsmax where you can save and load layouts on the fly. Imagine having Parent constraing, open graph editor or Grease pencil built-in hotkeys.

Note the position of the next/previous keys and frames, this is the most important thing when like me you work in the manner of a traditional 2d animator and constantly “flip your drawings”. Bare in mind I am right handed. Left handed people, share your layout!

Click on the picture to zoom in.

Related posts:
My Maya settings and preferences

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Pixar animation software

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

[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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Zbrush fun

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

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

[update] Found a better material or MatCap

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Meet Ze Artists 2013

Posted on April 17, 2013  | Leave a Comment
Filed under Education

Oops, I guess I should have mentionned that before…. and it was actually planned month in advance…

After the success of Meet Ze Artist 2012. The good people from TigoboAnimation are organizing a new event this week in Angouleme.

The top guests this year will be Dreamworks’ Croods Art Director Christophe Lautrette, Dreamworks’ Vis Dev artist Arthur Fong, Character designer Florian Satzinger alias Paperwalker, Character designer Sylvain Deboissy who previously worked at Sony Pictures Animation and did a great job on Surf’s Up…

Check out the full schedule for the other conferences and workshops

Meet Ze Artists

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Man with a hat

Posted on April 16, 2013  | 4 Comments
Filed under Drawings, Portfolio

I have been watching a lot of movies lately, hoping to find some great audio clips for my soon starting AnimSquad workshop.

Since I don’t like to feel I am wasting my time, I am also doodling in Paint Tool SAI, just to get better at it.

Drawing in SAI is a very relaxing activity, you should try, it will make you rediscover your Wacom tablet. In fact, I even stopped using my TabletPC and I don’t feel the need for a Cintiq.

Here is a drawing I did while watching Tombstone with my custom Tombow brushpen.

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SplineBomb and other animation news websites

Posted on March 18, 2013  | 1 Comment
Filed under Animation, Business of animation

Just to let you know, I have decided to slow down the amount of posts related to animation news in order to dedicate my rare free time to my portfolio and showreel.

I should however direct you to three great websites that should get you covered with everything that goes on in the Animation industry. Splinebomb, Cartoon Brew and for the Spanish speakers, Arte y Animación.

Ah I was forgetting Jean-Denis Haas’ Spungella.

Arte y animacion just posted a cool 12 minutes video podcast by the way. A nice interview with Carlos and Jordi Grangel, the Directors of Grangel Studio

To my RSS addicts friends. With Google killing Google Reader in few month, what are your plans for the aftermath? Feedemon relying on Google Reader, I am out of luck and will need to switch to something else (Windows user here)

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Sebastien Lasserre Defidefous 18 entry

Posted on January 28, 2013  | Leave a Comment
Filed under Friends

My friends Sebastien Lasserre and Sylvain Aubert just posted a funny video on the Vampire theme. It is mainly French play-on-words kind of humour but the facial expressions and fun acting backed by a catchy sound track and quirky sound design should make you laugh.

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Jonathan Paine Pixar modeling demo reel

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

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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Schoolism Light and colours week 01

Posted on January 24, 2013  | 2 Comments
Filed under Education, Painting

For this first week, our teacher Nathan Fowkes asked us to do 12 under one hour studies of photographs, paintings or any reference that we found interesting.

I have been collecting color scripts and movies screenshots for quite a while so finding references wasn’t difficult. Painting was an other story… I have a whole set of clean-up brushes for character designs but when it comes to painting, I realised all my brushes were of no use and had to find some new ones more appropriate for that kind of exercise. I also had no clue how to go about painting in Photoshop but my knowledge in oil painting and lighting came pretty handy.

Here is what I submitted for this week. The first one took me a very long time to do and I didn’t have time to adjust the colours but luckily I became much faster after having done several and the last ones were more enjoyable. You should try, it is a fun exercise. For each study I tried to work on something different, SSS, backlighting, color scheme…

Credits: Aurélien Prédal (1/2/5), Joaquin Sorolla , Roger Deakins (3/4)), Robert Richardson (7/9/10/11)

Related posts:
Schoolism – Designing with colours and light
Aurelien Predal Monstre à Paris
Light and colours

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Frank and Ollie Documentary

Posted on January 12, 2013  | 1 Comment
Filed under Animation, Education

If you still haven’t bought “the Illusion of Life” or the “Frank and Ollie” DVD I don’t think you can really call yourself an animator!

Frank and Ollie DVD

There is nothing I can do for you regarding the Bible of Animation but if you were put off by the “Frank and Ollie” DVD’s NTSC only format you are in luck, Youtube user Paul Stanton posted a more or less legal copy of that fantastic and hearwarming documentary on Disney’s legendary animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.

If you are too cheap to buy the DVD, I highly recommend you to watch it before Disney’s legal department finds out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m7z1XUgdQ4

I will take this opportunity to mention the AWN hosted Frank and Ollie website, a website whose content was created by Frank and Ollie themselves in (cough) glorious Comic sans. The website contains a great amount of animation notes you need to keep reminding yourselves.

Frank and Ollie on AWN

And to finish, here is a quick introduction to the work of Frank and Ollie by Disney’s animator extraordinaire Glen Keane

via Pencil Tests Tumblr

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