21 November 2005

Art tutorial by Niklas Jansen

It's very very very useful!


Started to play around with Vray rendering, seems promising in the 1.5 preview. here are some links related:
chaos group forum

Reflective Values
posted by Jon Reynolds
archived on 11.3.2003

pure aluminum /polished/ 80 - 87 %
polished aluminum 65 - 75 %
matte aluminum 55 - 75 %
aluminum painting 55 - 65 %
steel 25 - 30 %
INOX 80-90%
polished chrome 60 - 70 %
high polished copper 60 - 70 %
high polished brass 70 - 75 %

light oak /polished/ 25 - 35 %
dark oak /polished/ 10 - 15 %
wood chipboard 25 - 40%
white paper 70 - 80 %

granite 20 - 25 %
lime stone 35 - 55 %
polished marble 30 - 70 % (depending on color)
light stucco 40 - 45 %
dark stucco (rough) 15 - 25 %
concrete /rough/ 20 - 30 %
bricks red/new 10 - 15 %

glass 5 - 10 %
silver mirror 80 - 88 %
high polished mirror 92 - 95 %
white tiles 75 - 80 %
white enamel 65 - 75 %
white lacquer 80 - 85 %

Reflections/refractions 101
posted by Flipside
archived on 17.1.2004

Ok, some clarification about reflections/refractions:

Reflection color: it replaces a number for the amount of reflection. White is fully reflective, black is non reflective at all. By using color instead of greyscale you get colored reflections (of course).

Fresnel: polygons facing the viewpoint will reflect less than polygons facing more away from the viewpoint. For example on a sphere, the edges will reflect more than the middle part. All materials actually have this property, so in theory you should always check this option. The ratio of amount reflection between the polygons facing away and polygons facing towards you, is controlled by the IOR. The lower you go, the less reflection there will be on the polygons facing towards you. So for glass, you should use 1.3-1.5 for IOR, but of course this also affects the look of the refractions! Metals for example are not transparant, so you can play with the ior as much as you like. They are however very reflective also on the polygons facing towards you, so you need to use high IOR values (15 for example), or you could just leave the fresnell unchecked, so that all polygons will reflect an equal amount.

Glossiness: the blurryness of the reflections. 1 is not blurry at all, 0 is very blurry.

The look (or the accuracy) of the blur is controlled by the subdivs. The higher the subdivs, the smoother the blur will be, but the longer the rendertimes! Usually you can use 3-8 subdivs (if you don't use the interpolation, see further down). An important factor here is also the AA settings. if you use good settings, the look of the blurred reflections will be better of course. So it's difficult to predict how your blur will look like if you test render with AA turned off. If you adjust the subdivs value while AA is turned off, you will most likely end up using way too high values in your final rendering when AA is turned on.

Interpolation is a way to speed up the calculation of glossies. It uses prepasses like with the irradiance map settings to calculate the glossies for a low resolution image first and then figueres out where it needs more 'attention' to further calculate more detail in the glossies. When using interpolation, you need to increase the subdivs drastically! Also the interpolation settings are very important here. The parameters are the same as for the irradiance map. Refer to vray.info or this forum for more info on these parameters.
Imo, the interpolation method isn't usefull in many cases, but sometimes you can benefit a lot from it. It depends on many factors like the shape of the surface, the amount of detail that is required etc... Sometimes you need to increase the interpolation settings so much, that you better don't use it and simply use low subdivs value. Especially for reflection glossies, I rarely use it.

Max depth is the number of times a ray bounces before reflection calculation stops. The old example is when you stand between two mirrors and you can see yourself an infinitive amount of times. You can limit this amount in vray by using the max depth value and this can speed up rendering.

The exit color is the color vray assigns to the ray when it reaches the max depth value.

All the same can be transposed to the refraction settings. The IOR of course controls the amount a ray is bent after it goes through a transparant surface.

The fog color is used to make thicker parts of a transparant object darker then thinner parts. The fog multiplier controls the amount of the effect, just play around with this, you'll notice the effect immediately. This usually requires low values (0.05 for example) otherwise your object will turn black.

Affect shadows will make your shadows colored, depending on your fog color and multiplier. Actually, these are fake caustics!!! This is very important to realize, because for this reason, when you turn on caustics for any object in your scene, the affect shadows option is neglected!!! Otherwise you would render double caustics (the real ones and the fake fog ones). Altough an option to not neglect the 'affect shadows' while using caustics would be great...

For more info about refraction glossies, refer to richard rosenmans excellent tutorial yo ucan find here:

Mmmm that's kinda it I think. Also remember that glossy reflection replace the highlight setting you're used to in max materials. These are fake highlights. Also here, I would appreciate a fake highlight option for vray materials!

Vray Frame Stamp Variables:

%computername (host computer name)
%date (current date)
%time (current time)
%camera (name of camera, if camera view, empty otherwise)
%w (image width)
%h (image height)
%ram (total physical memory present)
%vmem (total virtual memory present)
%mhz (cpu speed)
%cpu (cpu id)
%os (operating system)

Newcomers Basic Setup

posted by Michael Watkins
archived on 18.6.2004

For those of you who are new and just want a starting point here is a basic setup I might use for an external scene.

AA to adaptive and leave it at its default settings (not saying it the best. just giving you a starting point)

you then want to turn on your indirect illumination.

Use irradiance map for now and set min max to something like -3 -1

nrm thresh clr thres and dist i usually set to 0.3 for all. (these things are explained in the help file as to what they actually do)

secondary bounce put the multiplier to 0.75 and maybe something like 8 bounces would do nicely. maybe 10

Environment rollout
turn on the override max and set the multiplier to 0.5 and not so blue. a very very very very light blue might look a little better.

Add a direct light to your scene and put its multiplier to 0.6 and turn on shadows and choose vray shadow.

These are the basic starting point settings i use then i start to customise. I will usually start ballancing light in the scene by changing the multipliers of the direct light and the vray environment light. when ive gone as far as that takes me i can then further ballance light and dark in the color mapping section.

Keep in mind its a basic setup. Before exploring other settings, 1st explore the ones I gave above. I would suggest exploring your Irradiance map settings 1st. raising and lowering the values to see the outcome. Then move onto your AA settings. And finally fool around with the color mapping. Once you have mastered these to be able to setup your scenes relitivly by instinct you can then move on to the other finer detailed settings.

18 November 2005

17 November 2005

Lor's Farewell...

Last day Ah Lor working here in Twisted. We will miss him for sure...the craziest, most cheerful guys that bring us joy and fun. All the best bud.
Ahlor's site: www.ahlor.com

14 November 2005


heavy workload and bad weather finally got me flu this entire weekend..sucks!

updated links in local artists and added great sites link.

12 November 2005

VFXAsia exhibition + Zbrush XSI Maya Pipeline

from Pixologic

"The ZPipeline guides written by industry artists guide the novice to advanced user in getting all their ZBrush-rich detail into their 3D animation package of choice."

Pixologic has released the first two in a series of pipeline guides detailing workflows between ZBrush and major 3D applications. The first two in this series are ZBrush to XSI by Greg Punchatz and ZBrush to Maya by Scott Spencer. The guides come in a over 30 pages a piece and cover in detail techniques and common pitfalls associated with moving meshes and maps between applications. The Maya guide covers the new 32bit floating point displacement option as well as using ZBrush to generate bump and diffuse maps based on your sculpted geometry. The XSI guide covers displacement workflow, shader setup, UV regions, render troubleshooting and more! Hopefully these will be a help to anyone integrating ZBrush into their exsisting workflow.

Download at



Still long day to go, but here it is, got forwarded from friends ;) Thanks Terry.

11 November 2005

here it is...

Hi guys,

How are you two keeping up? Are y'all back from Penang?
Anyways, reason i'm writing is to see if you guys have leads for me.

Red Comm is embarking on a digital movie to be released in GSC's
digital cinemas and we are looking for helpers to help us on during
shoot. Its a small budget production (and hence, small small team from
red com!)with ming jin as director (he directed Salon, currently in
cinemas). Its a coming of age story....with abt 10-12 day shoot in mid
december. Anyways...was wondering if you have any students or friends
who just graduated or wants to get into the industry..Its a good time
for them to meet ppl and learn abt movie making..and get hands
experience on the job. We will need them to be more of a Production
Asst to run and jump for my poor Prod Manager, handle talents, help
set-up set, etc. We wont be paying much...but food & drinks will be
covered la. Its more of a learning experience...

Anyways...if you know of anyone that is keen...give me their numbers k?

Joanna Lee
Red Communications Sdn Bhd
525, Jalan 17/13,
46400 Petaling Jaya.
Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel: +603 -7955 3345
Fax: +603 -7958 6678

Production Assistant wanted ASAP

Our company needed a production assistant for a shooting which will be started next month. Anybody interested please email me at veltigo@gmail.com :)
Details will be posted later...
Please inform all your friends who are desperately looking for job. This might be a good chance to start :)

10 November 2005

Maya render batch tips

what I learnt today:
Batch Render, go to maya help and type batch render flags;
useful for production, because you can render more than 1 scene while you're having coffee or in your dream.
basically the syntax is : render [option] [filename]
refer to the help, this is the common flags used:
-n -s -e -proj -rd
-n = number of processors used, 0 for automatic/all processors available
-s = start frame
-e = end frame
-proj = name of the project.
-rd = render directory (where images should be put)
Here's funny thing, try it : type 'failure' in google search.
*found by my french colleague, Matthew :)

09 November 2005

VFX workshop + wullik worm

upcoming VFX workshop from Dreamworks in Singapore. (I'm registering :) )

Had a worm attacked on my PC last nite. Panic like hell..
it's wullik worm, luckily it's not harming, just annoying..
installed Norton, update the virus definition files..
deleted, hopefully it's fine now..
Please, back up your files..serious!
you don't know how precious your datas are till you're in this position :)
Takin a lot of coffee now in the office :P

08 November 2005

FlipBook + StrutYourReel interview

cool flipbook to do simple animation.

Doug Bennett interview:

How to critique other people works in constructive way:

Who likes critiques? Critiques are part and parcel of our business. Without them we won’t get better in our craft, we don’t know how close we are to the director’s vision, we could be deceiving ourselves and thinking that we are hot when we’re not, and without the positive ones we could deceive ourselves into thinking we are no good. So critiques are obviously important, but why don’t we usually like them? Most likely because we feel a close affinity to our creation and when someone gives us a negative critique we feel they are actually critiquing us… ouch. In a way this is true… after all it was you who created that animation - so it is your fault (for better or worse)! Sigh…

So here are some of my thoughts about critiques:

Subjectivity/Objectivity - Well, you know, different people have different tastes. But trust me, there are basic underlying principles that we need to nail in order to pull off good character animation. Even though there is a subjective aspect to our craft there is still an objective basis to it. Is it believable motion? Acting is a bit more subjective, but we still know when someone is ‘faking’ it (bad acting) and we empathise with someone even if they are faking it (good acting). So we can’t just say that critiques are subjective and pick and choose the ones we like.

Now, some people are more adept at critiquing animation than others and it is those people that you need to seek out in order for them to give you feedback on your work. It doesn’t help you any if you ask your Mom to give you feedback on your animation when you know that all she will do is butter you up and tell you that you are the best (even if you are!), no matter how bad the animation.

Of course if you are working for a director and it’s his vision you have to capture - well who cares about anyone else’s subjective thoughts on the matter - just make sure you nail it for the director. That’s what you are getting paid for! ;o)

So first of all, make sure you find someone who will give you honest and good feedback. An ‘oh… that sucks’ won’t help you very much. A more detailed analysis as to why someone thinks it’s not up to snuff will be much more useful to you. Ideally it will be someone in the industry with more experience than you… a peer is good, but a peer that is better than you is even better. Especially if they know how to isolate the problem areas.

Ask them to make you cry - This is a tricky one. Some people are more sensitive than others when it comes to receiving feedback. The gotcha is that in this industry you can’t go around crying because someone didn’t like your choice of poses. At times you will get both barrels and you will be asked if you have ever animated before (after having animated for 5 years)… You need to grow a thick skin because in this industry it’s all about being critiqued. The reason you want them to make you cry, isn’t because you are a masochist, but because you want an honest critique (and often they can make you feel like crying). Trust me, you and I both NEED an honest critique. It will not improve your skills if you get false platitudes. Just take it like it is… it really is good for you (you know, like medicine).

Be Gentle - The flip side of the previous coin. If you are giving a critique - make it honest, but do it gently. How you say something is just as important as the content of what you say. So make sure you give them the truth, but don’t call ‘em an idiot for missing that anticipation or overlap… (even if it was totally stoopid, unless you know each other really well and you can both take it). Often when the one giving the critique uses a sharp tongue it often ‘brings down’ the one being critiqued in order to lift up the one giving the critique. Not good. That’s just arrogance.

Positive/Negative - If you are giving a critique, be sure to point out the good with the bad. Encouragement is a good thing. False platitiudes are bad.
Whether a seasoned character animator or just starting out in the field we all need feedback on our work. Sometimes it will be hard to take, but just think of it as another one of those stepping stones to getting better.

taken from Lost pencil. (used for educational purpose only)