Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I spotted this cute robot short animation online today (you know I can't resist a good robot). The creator of "Defective", Rani Naamani was one of two winners awarded Vancouver Film School's first "Great Canadian Arts Competition" for this piece of work. Click here to download the movie, just click the link - you don't have to save target.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Paying my dues

It's official, I'm a CG society member. It is worth paying such a small fee for the continuous support and networking of.........well, of ourselves - as animators. I'm proud to be a part of such a wonderful group of supportive innovators.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I just received two copies of the July 2005 issue of Signal the International Journal of AFCEA. This month they featured an article focusing on nanotechnology called "Small Matters" by Maryann Lawlor. They had previously inquired as to the use of my image Nanoworms as a companion to the article, to which I granted my permission. You can't see my image at their online website but it's on page 45 of the Magazine paper print edition. I was pleased to be in such good company, as Christine Peterson was interviewed for this piece. Signal Magazine is distributed by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Hummer Technique

You may recall my post regarding the Hummer commercial? It turns out that it is not so complicated. Although they did not use Combustion, I found that using the mirror filter achieves the same effect. See my version of the technique by clicking here.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Hard drive night

Last night - I'm mid render and all of the sudden I hear unsettling quiet, the fan stopped - my screen is black. I think, "well that's inconvenient - but I can start the render over". So I boot up, or at least try to. I get past bios and I see the Windows splash screen, for a second. It's back to quiet, it's back to the black screen. I try again, and this time it is even less rewarding, I don't even make it through the Bios screen. This continues, my machine is revving each time like an over heated car, "I'm done for." You know the feeling, it wells up from your middle until you feel it's weight in your head, pulling your face down into your hands. Keep trying. I can't get into safe mode. Keep trying, perhaps I can try my fingers quick keyboard stroke and manage to get into Bios, but it probably wont help me. Earlier in the day I had been burning duel layer DVD's, not your normal average DVD's no, because the renders for my current project couldn't possibly fit on a normal average DVD. I've been creating materials (2500X2500) and rendering them from Combustion and then applying them to my model in Max, and then rendering my animation from there. Some of these materials have been snowballing themselves into 8 Gig, yes Gig, sized files. The project folder where I have been storing these materials had risen to an uncomprehendable 30 gigs, half of my hard drive. I knew that my hard drive space was getting lower and lower as each render passed, so after I saved my data to DVD, I was forced to remove them, even the ones that I would rather not remove. But, you hold your breathe, squint a little, close your eyes and hit delete, because you know it's worth the energy of pulling it off of the disk rather than the potential alternative. So, my hard drive had been vacillating between 11 something gigs up to 13 gigs, depending on where I was in this shedding process. So, here I am hours later, after I minded my p's and q's, trying to be quick on the draw and get into BIOS because well I had no where else to go. Resetting my Bios crossed my mind, but then I thought if this is a RAm problem it might only complicate things - so I opted to exit without saving and wouldn't you know I crept back into Windows through the back door straight from my Bios screen. Whew. My render icon was corrupt (named an unknown file tag of REF - reference perhaps? Never herard of it) and my hard drive was at 5 gigs remaining. This is my last shot, I needed to do something drastic and this might be my only window (no pun intended) of opportunity. I hooked up a 300Gig hard drive that had been sitting back in the office unused for quite some time via usb to my computer. It came stock formatted as FAT32, which means you can't move anything more than 4Gigs over, well this would defeat the purpose, so I had to reformat it. Done. So the external drive is now F, my main operating drive is of course C and I also have a secondary drive that I use to back up my data - E. I moved all of my data from my back up hard drive E, over to the new F drive, as well as my 30 gig project file from my main C drive and then deleted it (38 gigs free now!). Once I had E completely emptied I changed my virtual memory from my C drive to my E drive. My finger hovered over the power button, "I'm not nervous, did I do everything that I wanted to do, the moment of truth, don't think about it, just hit it." Boot up success, render success, I've been alive ever since. Now if I could only get my morpher material to start at the right place.........

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Physics Illustrator

Tablet PC talk- There are free programs available at the Microsoft website that are specifically developed for the Windows XP Tablet Edition operating system. Under the Power Toys section you can locate and download a program called Physics Illustrator which allows you the user to draw objects, designate what material they are comprised of and modify their physics in various fields of friction and bounce etc. When you are done establishing the coordinates, drawing arrows for their direction, and connecting pieces together, you can then click the animate button to see the calculated end result. This program will entertain those of you with an interest in well, physics and you will lose track of time trying to get the objects to do exactly what you want. I would however like to see this program worked on a little more as it has the potential to be a fully functional program, but not as it is. My biggest complaint is that I would like to be able to export the .physi files as .mov's or .avi's for website viewing or merging with animations created by other programs. There are not a whole lot of resources online for Physics Illustrator but where they are - I have been.......... unfortunately without finding a solution. In spite of missing a few fundamental physics forces and the file saving issue Physics Illustrator is worth the free download and is a lot of fun to play with.

The Physics Illustrator source code is available here.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Love Letters

I'm going to hold back on discussing the status of my current project because it is driving me certifiably insane. Instead I'd like to share with you a very charming animation "Love Letters" created by Jeffrey Paul. The character animation is very well executed, the biped movements are natural and the facial expressions are perfectly suited for the voice over narration. We're talking epic movie soundtrack with a bittersweet conclusion (it's the best part). What makes this animation so interesting is the background story, which can be found here.