Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gnomon School Master Classes

Hi everyone!  While we are all getting into a full Holiday swing, I have been busy with tutorials and projects, working from building ice and tree shaders to Maya dynamics and Sub Surface Scattering.  I am really hoping to get as much out of this break as I can, and one of the things that has come to my attention are the Gnomon Master Classes for 2013.
These 14 classes are taught by leading professionals in the industry in Visual Effects.  They've done everything from commercials to video games like Star Craft II and films like Gravity.  These classes last for 2 weeks, and cover a wide range of topics, with private forums and 2 hour long HD tutorials with over 28 hours of instructions.  I know this is a little last minute, but I figured it would be better to post this now rather than later.

The best part is, if you can't make it every day for the instructions, you can come back later and watch all the videos as many times as you want!  So you won't miss out on much if you have family obligations.

But in case you need more convincing, check out this video:

Remember students get discounts as well!  So consider this a great opportunity to get some master classes from veteran Visual Effects masters!

I will post more of my own stuff soon as well.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Maya Dynamics

Well this last quarter, I managed to finish strong, with an A in all my classes!  As for my overall grade, let's just say I'm doing very well, but for me it's more about learning the material, gaining new skills, and networking.  I love helping other people with their work, so during this break, I am collaborating with other students to work on different films.  I will have to take a week long break later on for Christmas, but I hope by then to have made a lot of progress of these films.  I don't want to stop there either when the projects are done and the break is over... I want to continue to collaborate on my own projects (or other people's projects) throughout the year and even after I graduate in the spring.  Wow, spring is just around the corner and with it comes my graduation!  I can't wait, but I am eager to learn more.  I guess it's time to get that internship/apprenticeship and find a job!
Besides working on projects this break, I am also learning a few new techniques with different software like Maya and Houdini.  Because my film is going to involve particles, I am trying to learn some particle engines and dynamics in both Houdini and Maya.  While I have done some basics particles and dynamics in Houdini before, I want to see if I can do it in Maya, to keep everything in one package and allow for better integration of the elements of my scene.  If in the end it proves to be too difficult, I will move back to Houdini and find a way of composting the effects together.
So for now, I have a Maya dynamics (not nDynamics) with gravity and rigid bodies that allow me to crash a brick wall with a wrecking ball.  This is only a test, so it is not fine-tuned with any amount of mass controls or whatnot.  Many of the bricks slide unrealistically across the plane because of this, and the weight isn't dialed in so they move a lot, but this is only a test.  I do find it funny that one of the bricks hits the screen; it was completely unintentional.  I'll post more of these as I work on them, and in the meantime I am also working on some new shaders and techniques for a different film.  I am trying to make an ice shader and add subsurface scattering to a character, as well as a rocky texture and a birch tree.

Check it out here.