Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 83

I made a mistake this week.
I was doing so well too! It's been months since my last slip up.

I was playing a Russian dude chess online,
when I moved my knight into direct fire from his queen.
(For apparently no reason!)
I realized the mistake immediately and said out loud "Wow I'm an idiot."

And though no one was around to hear it, it still counts!
Ugh! I still feel dirty inside.

The List:

is there a way to work in ortho views
in mudbox?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 82

More nerdy CG gibber jabber.

The List:

so right now i'm tracing the eyes and whatnot
on the facade, and i'm noticing that they are
really wonky, i don't know if you want me to
commit to this distortion for the color

i'm concerned that things are turning out too wonky
it seems like the more circular repeated patterns seem askew

well i have no problem painting a wonky image
i'm not concerned about that
i'm more worried that the final product
will be not as majestic because
of all these age related distortions


The new uv's and ambient occlusion look quite good!
i feel so clean inside now!

you think that may be from weather damage, but you went
on to say it was etc.

well if your insides don't feel dirty
then it's all good in the hood

so should i paint it to match the 3d info
and then later we can make choices
about what to make more regular?

I have no problem with that
as long as your cool with loosing a day

the only parts that would be made more
difficult with planer projection would be
the parts that push back and in and i'm
not worried about that at all since there
is no detail info on them

no masks in body paint = fail

layer masks from ps aren't preserved

that's all good in the hood i can paint over
that in body paint

i know how to planar project, maybe still
in maya, but certainly in xsi, if you want
me to try my hands at it

realistically probably considerably longer

and your clear about how to re uv it?


we may have a mis understanding

the point isn't to have the uv lines straight
its to have the texture painting have a direct
relationship to the model

so instead of straightening out the existing
uv's it would probably be better to do

planer projections from the camera at ortho

those parts can be completely separate

is the pivot off or the object not centered?

i need to render a new ao map
so i can see what to paint to

would there be any problem in loading
the scan mesh with this 05 version

in terms of positioning etc.



because the parts i specifically am
concerned with are the parts that were
stretched in the previous version

plus we need a new normal map anyway

sounds like it could be problematic
but godspeed

i've not had good experience transferring
uv's on high rez stuff

oh i see

lets try

i probably saved the obj in the bodypaint folder

what about the obj folder?

so we or i need to set up normal
and ao renders right?

so should i do it on the big screen?

no xsi

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cross Country Road Trip - New York

I recently returned from a cross country road trip with my German friend Ingmar.
It was an incredible experience, and provided no shortage of photo taking opportunities.
As usual if you prefer to bypass all the gibber jabber and get right to the good stuff:

Road Trip Photos

Ingmar and I have worked and traveled together throughout the Yucatan and Mexico, and between San Francisco and Los Angeles numerous times. We know how to get along for long stretches of time, often food and shower deprived, in dingy hotel rooms, long stretches of road, left stranded on a blistering freeway next to a blown engine etc. and are pretty good at making the best of a situation. We both believe in getting a honest feel for a place, warts and all, we try to spend our time as locals would. Consequently, we loath exploring a new place through the colored lens of gimmicky tourist nonsense and the easy comfort it provides. We also fill down time by catching each other up on the our most recent and always tragically ridiculous romantic excursions. And as we both seem to have a penchant for crazy women, the drought never runs dry.

So when Ingmar called me up this time and asked if I wanted to accompany him on a cross country road trip to return his fathers car to Florida, expenses paid including my flight back, the only question I asked myself was how much film to pack. We were both ashamed to admit we had never been to New York and thought this a perfect opportunity. We were also ignorant of the aesthetic splendors of the southwest, especially the grand canyon, and so decided to weight the trip at those areas.

We filled the car with groceries from Trader Joes and set off.
(I would like to point out for the record that Ingmar throughout the trip repeatedly bought way too much dry goods like cookies and crackers which we never ate and just as repeatedly inhaled the fruits, breads, nuts and vegetables I bought.)

The Grand Canyon

This is where you're probably expecting me to cynically downplay the very cliche sentiment that the grand canyon is awe inspiring and overwhelmingly beautiful, but I won't! It completely lived up to the hype.

I assumed I still had the healthy fear of heights that tamed my wilder impulses playing near sea side cliffs growing up. But I must have lost them, or they were over ridden by my photographic impulses, as I thought little of jumping between rock ledges jetting out thousands of feet in the air. Here are some of the things people screamed while watching me from behind the railing:

"Oh God! He's making my stomach sick."
"He's going to fall!"
"Jesus how did he get out there?"
"That's just stupid."

We left before sunset which made me feel dirty inside, but I still got some really fantastic shots while there, and know I will return in the future to explore it more fully.


Next to the majesty of the grand canyon, the most aesthetically inspiring part of the trip was driving through the southwest. Specifically where Arizona transitions to Colorado and the red earth gives way to green. The sunset was incredible.

and I remember reflecting that the experience so early in the trip was already so valuable, and wondered why I don't regularly pile into a car with friends or alone and just drive and explore this rather stunningly beautiful country, that just lies in wait for us just outside our familiar cities.

We crossed the rocky mountains which provided a really satisfying contrast with it's dark stones and white snow from the dusty reds we had been driving through.

Middle America

We stayed in a dilapidated hotel in south Chicago, then pretty much tore through the rest of middle America. And as Ingmar and I can't seem to stay on the correct freeway to save our lives, we found ourselves way off course traveling through Pennsylvania. After consulting the map and seeing a jaggedly running hairline road promising to connect us back to the correct highway, we took it, and rather serendipitously found ourselves navigating lush country roads twisting through rolling hills of small Pennsylvania towns, which Ingmar astutely remarked looked freshly torn from the pages of a mystery novel. It also happened to be sunset so I pulled over behind some nondescript market/bunker to capture the beautiful light that poured from the sky into a picturesque valley below.

New York

We arrived in New York city at three in the morning and decided to take a quick car tour of downtown Manhattan before retiring to our hotel near times square. I was amazed to see the streets completely packed with cars so late at night, and that almost every single one was a taxi cab. I've lived in San Francisco long enough to be accustomed to lots of taxi's, but nothing prepared me for the ludicrous concentration I saw in Manhattan.

Another thing that continually surprised me throughout the weekend was how consistently dense New York is. Any big city I've been in is similarly dense in the downtown area, for maybe a radius of a couple miles, then quickly falls off to more sensibly concentrated suburbs and apartment complexes, or in the case of Los Angeles, depressingly ugly strip malls. But New York seems like it had been continually packed to the point of implosion for so long that even the outlining areas are equally dense. It's really psychologically striking to be driving for miles and miles and never see any signs that the concentration of people or buildings or traffic letting up in any direction as far as you can see. Despite the denseness, or perhaps because of the style of it, the city is able to maintain a certain warmth and humanity, despite its towering chaos. It's a far cry from the futuristic sterile dentist office that is downtown Los Angeles, or the Victorian placidity of San Francisco.

Sassy and Brassy

The single most important feature of New York for me quickly became the sass. I had heard throughout my life that New Yorkers are rough necked callous tongued jerks who will walk all over you if you drop your guard. What I found instead were people seemed incredibly warm, human, kind, and most importantly sassy and competent. Sure they have attitude, the same as you would expect from your siblings or friends. A certain style of sarcasm and teasing you reserve for those close to you. And New Yorkers are able to create this all penetrating sense of family through this ever present style of communication. I say competent as well, because I found that everyone I dealt with in New York, from the woman working behind the hotel counter, to the guy serving up my falafel, were all incredibly competent at what they do. Definitely not like L.A. where everyone is wearing a fake smile and barely managed to tie there shoes that morning let alone get your food order correct. I feel like with so many people and such constant human interaction, that everyone in New York who deals with customers of any kind has already experienced every permutation of how the conversation will go and knows what your going to say even before you do. As a result they have a blasé highly competent response and most importantly sassy reply to anything you have to say. Blasé, competent, and sassy? In other words I felt like I found a giant city full of people like me, which gave my whole stay a sense of returning home. I decided while there, to consider moving there for a year or two after my travels subside towards the end of this year.

The highlight of the sass came the first day where a couple cops checking us as we were about to drive across a toll bridge were sassing me pretty hard. I was loading film into my Mamiya on my lap when one cop asked if we had been taking pictures in the tunnel, (apparently your not allowed) Ingmar assured them we hadn't been. As they asked a couple more times, I assumed Ingmar would handle it and kept loading the film. Finally one of them looked at me and asked Ingmar "Does he speak English? Were you taking photos in there?" I sighed and without looking up said "No." at the same time as Ingmar. The cop must have miss heard and started teasing Ingmar with exaggerated gestures in a comic tone saying "One of you says yes, one of you says no, so which is it?" Then I leaned forward across Ingmar and looking the cop square in the face, said "We both said no, so take your pick." Both cops laughed and motioned us on our way. Now I would never have sassed a cop in L.A. like that, and I'm not sure what got into me then, but as we drove away I remember thinking "Man I think I love New York." I also thought it funny when I told the story later at dinner to my New York friends, they just sat confused at the end, having expected a sassy ending, and made fun of me for thinking I had sassed the cop where by there standards I had just spoken to him normally.

Most of the friends I've made in Los Angeles coincidentally (or maybe not so coincidentally) are from New York, and I asked them to help get me into trouble in New York the weekend I was there. My friend Colin gave me the number of his good friend Jae, and consequently Ingmar and I spent most of the weekend in Brooklyn hanging out with Jae and his friends.

I should have guessed that any friend of Colin's would also be awesome and incredibly nice, but I wasn't prepared for how completely and wholeheartedly Jae and his friends opened themselves to Ingmar and I. They gave us such an amazingly warm and authentic introduction to New York, it felt like we had been friends our whole lives, and I really can't communicate how included and satisfying it was to spend the weekend with them.

We started with some nice Japanese food and free sake, and climbed the stairs to a huge industrial Brooklyn loft party with live music and rooftop grilling. We then went to a local bar where I warned everyone that I was feeling a strong craving to shake my groove thing, and that if the bar is playing even half decent music, that they should shield their eyes from my erratic flailing, and rest assured I'm not having a seizure. A rotund scraggly haired polish women in her sixties was dancing up a storm in what can best be described as traditional folk dance done a little to earnestly and accented with stoic fiercely cutting hand gestures. She didn't look to be completely within her senses and tried to include me in her mysterious dances. I thought to gain points with the young ladies on the floor by being sweet to her and playing along, but that soon backfired as she arranged herself in this odd half squatting position I didn't understand the purpose of, until she began fiercely grinding her pelvis into me. Oddly I suddenly felt I had enough of dancing and we all called it a night.

The next day we all met up for "brunch". Which I put in quotes because my previous understanding of brunch was that it was optional meal between breakfast and lunch. But apparently in New York brunch isn't viewed with such narrow constraints, and no one thinks it at all strange to have an astoundingly giant meal liberally served up with alcohol at three in the afternoon. We then worked off the biscuits and bloody Mary's with a few rounds of bocce-ball in the park.

And then proceeded to the Mac-n-cheese pub crawl. Where all the local bars were preparing large batches of their signature mac-n-cheese recipes to give out for free to the throngs of awaiting customers/judges. While I'm not big on bars, there was something nice about being squeezed into a bar bathed in afternoon light, eating mac-n-cheese out of little paper cups, trying to fit more into our already brunch filled bellies.

Ingmar and I made sure to reserve an afternoon for wandering central park. And promptly lost each other and any sense of orientation in the vast threaded paths of vegetation. I thought it beautiful not the least of which because it exists in the center of this incredibly dense urban landscape.

And not a hour would pass where I didn't find myself quite naturally talking at length with someone in the park. It just seemed like the most normal thing in the world to speak with an older gentleman about birds for twenty minutes, or a middle aged jogger about vintage cameras etc. I really loved how not unusual it seemed to everyone to stop and have a rather meaningful conversation with a stranger without even trying.

No visit to New York would have been complete without a ride on the subway which I have to say wasn't quite the harrowing adventure I had been hoping for. It was in fact really intuitive, safe, affordable and efficient. Though a scraggly guy my age was playing up the banjo something fierce at the station I was in. And good live banjo music is always welcomed in my world.


We left New York and drove to Maryland where we stayed with Ingmar's aunt and her family. It was so heartwarming to see a family especially one with a teenager girl and early-twenties son that worked so well together, with no strain. They even had a piano which I spied from the window first thing when walking up the drive, which caused my heart to leap. I wasted no time playing it every chance I got over the next day and a half, and was glad to be able to cook lunch for everyone the following day to show my thanks. The quite domestic comfort was such a soothing juxtaposition to the constant frenzy that was new York that when the time came, Ingmar and I were sorry to leave.


We arrived at Ingmar's dad's swanky Florida digs on a pretty little island. And yes it was beautiful and yes it was like paradise, but having grown up in Santa Barbara, and already having been to Florida, and traveled through the Caribbean, I'm bit jaded to the whole beautiful beaches thing. Though spending a couple days in the warm ocean and lounging around eating seafood is always a nice way to cap a long trip.

It was also made worthwhile by my having a chance to visit Ingmar's dad's company. I had always known that Ingamar's dad owned a scanning software company but never really thought much about it. But when Ingmar showed me the software and how it integrates into a film scanning work flow I realized that it would be the perfect solution to the final unresolved component of my photography pipeline. The very thing I needed was a better driver for my scanner to give me extra control and higher quality scans and that's exactly what I got. I couldn't wait to get back to L.A. and scan the film taken on the trip with the new software. And having since done that I only wish I had known about it earlier as it has proven indispensable.

On that note click the below photo to see all my photos from the trip:

No Talking Tuesday # 81

Prepare yourself,
you are about to get a glimpse of the incoherent pedantic chaos
that is the art process on a cg production.
The following won't make sense to anyone outside of that world.
Though in reviewing the list I wonder if we even know what we're saying half the time.

The List:

so it's ok that the u'vs extend beyond the "o" one space?

i don't want it to repeat
that's crazy talk

i don't mean repeat as in the other o one spaces,
i mean extending beyond one square
does this make sense?

I'm going to pull you back from the brink of madness

prepare yourself

we need the texture to exist as a square aspect ratio
and fit in a single o one space

why do you want to make everyone cry later?

it will be a 4k square texture, and if need be
we can just split the u'vs for the wall to run lengthwise
twice on the top and bottom of the texture space

you're sure we wont need to use the maya file for smoothing
or something?

are you suuuure?

save this scene right now!

so it's saved now?


Fresh coconut juice?

What were you describing
earlier that is made with honey?

Am I covered then?

Can you give me a u.v. snapshot
of the ball court and the normal map

AND the ambient occlusion

but doesn't it require you base it off the current uv's?

well then why not the ambient occlusion?


i can do it in xsi in under ten minutes enough to work on

because the normal map wont help much for color map creation

which i'm doing now

this is true

but even more true with ambient occlusion

but so what i suggest is you put the

and ill put it in xsi and render out a ao map

i can't get the normal to show up in bodypaint
sup with that?

do you have some kind of I.M thing
so you can send me links etc.?

i slut it up on all of them

so whatever you have

isn't the whole point for me to have you gmail contact?

so as a test i took the blue channel from the normal
map and am using is as an ambient occlusion
and using the texture i made before for the caracol
and using the darker parts of the texture to reveal
the fou ambient occlusion

what are you flappin your jaws about?

the blue channel

well its a 32 bit image

but yes i'm doing really aggressive curves on it
ideally i want a ambient occlusion render and to use
that instead

i don't have xsi on this machine otherwise i would
have rendered one when we went to lunch

also for whatever reason we can't get the normal
map to show up in body paint

i think that will help to give definition as well

but i'm thinking the best thing to do would be to
make it all work well on the screen as we normally
would, then do whatever aggressive darkening treatment
to make it dome ready, as opposed to building it
dome ready from the get go

oh my god

are you saying this whole time that your concerned
that the normal is too subtle to be used as a normal map?

i see


it's unfailed now



then later jun was showing me the layout video
and was all like "duh I'm jun and 4k is good"

but whatever it's all good my work is in the curves
adjustments anyway, so i can just plop in higher source
from the carocal anyway

BEFORE you leave

can you point me to or even better yet import the
high and low rez mesh into xsi on your computer
and i'll set up the ambient occlusion render overnight
how about i finish this and then just copy the center part
make it a separate geometry, but feed it much higher
rez generated maps (ao and normal map) and fade off the
opacity of the center object as we pull out for the shot

this way we can keep the rgb part the same
but the center part would have higher rez normal
and ao

not fade that way

fade as in the object is right on top of the lower rez
wall and its existence fads out

but the whole point of what i'm suggesting is that the
only new parts that are in the hero piece are normal
and ambient occlusion maps which we can generate at
whatever rez we want

well that's super high rez though right?

oh and for the hoop, the reference images are fine to
adjust and project, but they show at least two different
designs, how do i know which designs to go with and on
what sides of the hoop etc.

same on both sides?


Monday, April 13, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 80

The List:

Is there sugar in
the guava juice?

Can I get it with no sugar?

Hot black tea please

Machiato with water please
called italiano?


It's always like that the first
day or two

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 79

No list. Nothing special to report.

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