Saturday, August 27, 2005

Even more rendering

It's been another long (yesterday, last night) and today of rendering. In the interim I once again became so bored that it produced another creation (on one of my other computers) - a movie with one of my favorite themes, it's called "The Nurse" click here to go to the download page. This was just a two day project so it's not a technical piece, it's made with fun. Hope you like it.
I'm already at frame 4100 of my current big projects render, it won't be long now. I am able to keep my system on all night and render 500 frames without waking up to any crashes. I will follow suit tonight.

Friday, August 26, 2005

"Render, render, render, keep those movies renderin', renderhide!"

I've been spending the last few days rendering, in pieces for four or five hours at a time, turning off my computer so it cools down for an hour or so, rebooting and begining again. I got so bored last night that I made an image Xia (to your left - click it to enlarge). Visit the webpage for more information about this image. It's interesting, I feel so suppressed by long term projects that in the midst of them I have to create little projects to satisfy that creative sense of urgency.
I have finished all of the scenes of my project (as far as I know - this doesn't mean that changes won't be requested - or modifications required after viewing the completed render - I am expecting there will be). I hit the message boards upon realizing my completed scene was much too large to be able to render in its entirety (over 30 hours of rendering) and I subsequently learned that rendering as individual tga or png files is the preferred alternative. The golden rule is "never render to .mov or .avi" - unless of course it is a small sequence like the examples currently on my website. This is the first project I have completed that is several minutes long (equals 5395 frames).
Distraction notification - I just searched my email box for correspondence related to this project, trying to determine how long it took me to create these 3 minutes, it looks like I started in March. 5 months (but I'm not done yet). It looks so simple and quick when the movies are viewed...... but in the background the work is really, the polar opposite.
At any rate, rendering my scene in the tga or png format (I chose tga for the lossless quality) will save each frame individually, so that if I crash (and I often have from over working my system during renders - even for the smaller scenes), I will not lose the whole thing like I would if it was a .mov file, I will still have every frame up to the point of the crash. Indeed during my first run of rendering this scene, I did crash (around frame 7 hundred something), I spotted that good ole' "delayed write" error that I've become so familiar with. I shut down my system for a rest - rebooted and every frame previous was still in tact. I now know not to render the output size of this scene up to a length of 700 frames, but to stop at a lower number. I also did a test compilation of these files from Combustion in a 2D composition mode - the 7 hundred frames I tested rendered very quickly, so I know that when I am done rendering from Max that I have a solution for gluing these individual files together. I'm not there yet, but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Panu's Dark Gina

Yesterday I was spending time at the animation forums and there was an artist from Finland named Panu Uomala who was demonstrating his skills, (which were rather impressive) by editing a photograph of another artist. I commented that I wouldn't mind the same, when I woke up today there was this image created by Panu from a photograph of myself. Not only is it beautiful and detailed work (he even painted a hand for me that I didn't have in the original photograph) but he did this in 3 hours! Astounding. You can view more of his work online by clicking here. Thank you Panu! Click the image on the left to enlarge.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


I found this interesting website today Feedmap. It's sort of a pun on the Google Satellite real time viewing crossed with MapQuest. Instead of locating your house or movie theatre, it maps out blogs that live in your area and the rest of the world. I added my blog to the map - once you do that, Feedmap automatically generates code for you that is constantly updated which I uploaded to my website here .
- however I had to just grab the still to display here on the blog - my map looks like the image on the left.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Max Morpher Materials

While the current project I am working on, has some biped movements on a model inside of Max, I have been spending most of my time inside of Combustion animating the materials. I render out a sequence from Combustion and I then apply it to the model in Max using the morpher material. The morpher is a good way for me to be able to fade in and fade out from one animated material to the next.
Initially I detected a minor bug with the morpher material - every time I opened Max I had to re-bind the morpher mat to my model immediately. So it's forgetful, that isn't so bad. But, I have found an even stranger phenomenon with morpher. My morpher slots have been going back and forth between .jpgs and .mov. I have no problem with the animation lengths of the .jpgs, but .movs on the other hand have created substantial difficulties. Here is the run down of the problem. Let us say that I have a .mov that is 100 frames long, obviously I would animate my .mov material to also run 100 frames in length in morpher. Fine, no problems animating the length of the sequence. One would assume that under the "time" settings I would want to set my start at "1", which by default was my initial rational.
Unfortunately, the Max morpher never renders the .mov material at my 1........ it starts it at a completely different frame. The render would start at say (some hypothetical number here) 35. So max thinks that 35 is 1! In the end, I have to manually track down what frame Max is interpreting as 1 and try to figure out what number I should put in as 1 in the time start. I'm using a simple example here but it's not so simple when your .mov is 900 frames or there are similar animation features which make it difficult to distinguish from. There is also the fact that the frames in Max are not the same count as my .mov frames. For example, my 100 .mov frames might begin at frame 4781 in Max, so there is some calculating that has to be done there as well.
I had tried to get around this issue by using my original material base from one of the .jpgs and replacing the .jpg with the .mov, hoping that this would provide a clean memory for the .mov, but to no avail. Thanks to morpher, I have experienced many moments of sheer insanity during this project. But, I'm almost done.
When I'm finished I will send this information off to the Discreet (AutoDesk) support boards, they do take these issues seriously. The first morpher bug was written up - while I would rather not have a need to report any thing, there is some satisfaction in knowing that 3DS pays attention to their users.