Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Clay sculpts

I got two clay packs a while back and never got to working with them. Had no electricity today morning and thought I'd finally give it a try! Started with a hand to test the process. Since this is my first (real)sculpt ever, 
Im pretty happy with the result. It was hell fun and I'll be bringing more packs to work with tomorrow!





Thursday, December 6, 2012

long over due update….

I see the last post ive made is back in June.. that’s like  5 months ive been away from here.. well not away, Ive checked in, but never got around to put anything up.

whew, so the time since my last post has been quite something. Ive started my last year @ saitm, started work at a new place, worked on two awesome side projects, was part of one the worst break ups ever, joined a gym, and finally, got a new laptop!


So the work thing, I’ve been at Arimac since October 2nd as the “3D guy”. Hopefully can wrap up and show some stuff from the project next week, plus I've learnt some workflows to manage and work with multi layered cloth sims, and how to deal with accessories that have to be attached on to a cloth( buttons, belt buckles). The people have been really cool and it’s a fun place to be. Oh and yeh, we invariably get at least one cake per week!Party smile


Now for the two side projects. The first one was for ‘pulz’, an IT day organized by ACICT. My good friend Shyamal came to me and asked if we could do a small scene of two robots belting it out infront of the world trade center and also that it will have to be shown in 3d (anaglyph). It sounded cool so I got two other guys, Dinesh and Rachitha and we worked on it. Eventually we ended up not having enough time to do any proper animation, and we had to resort to some ugly ass movements to actually finish it off. Even though the end result actually sucked, I got to do some hard surface modeling again and my technical rigging chops were somewhat tested. Plus the guys meshed together and we had a pretty fun time working side by side for the last week. Here’s a shot of the two robots. We are trying to redo the shots with some proper animation, but with my studies, work and other projects its kind of hard to find some time to devote to this.

test_both

The textures were all done by Dinesh and the head was done by Rachitha.


The other project was a music video for the Satellite that was launched jointly by China and Sri Lanka. Quite frankly so far its probably my favorite project mainly because it’s got a lot of exposure, but more so because I actually feel good about what I managed to do within one day. Yes, I know you are never supposed to be satisfied with anything you do, boo hoo, but to hell with that.

This is the final video, all 3d stuff is me, and the compositing and some color grading was done by Shyamal and Sathyajee. Again it was awesome collaborating and bring out something like this in such an incredibly short deadline!


Finally, the new laptop. Im writing this out on it right now on my bed and feeling awesome about not being tethered to a desk or static work place. It’s the inspiron 5520 with an i7, 8 gigs of ram and 1T hdd. The graphics however are nothing to write home about. standard HD 4000. Not ideal for DCC work, but that’s not my main use of this laptop anyway, so im okay with that.

So finally hope you’ll are doing great and I sincerely hope Ill get to update at least twice before this year runs out.

hmm tomos Friday, that means sports day(badminton) @ work! woohooo!! Hot smile

Cheers!

-Sira-

Monday, June 25, 2012

A picture dump of some stuff I did recently..

  • The skull thing at the bottom is still wip though.













Sunday, October 30, 2011

Timocil

aah, today I'm starting a project that has been on my mind for quite a while. Creating some ed-videos on the thing i love the most. But so far i have been busy with work, studies and lot of other other stuff. But right now, all I have is VAFA and another part-time gig and figured I'm never gonna get more free than this, so here goes.
I'll be creating a creature from scratch. This is more of  demo than a tutorial though. Mainly because half the time I'll be learning these stuff myself. For example, there are a few times in this video itself, I don't know what the hell to do and have to think things through..
Back on topic though, I'll be creating a creature. I'm hoping to cover the following processes.
-concepting the creature in ZBrush.
-Building a base mesh with better topology or retopologizing the concept sculpt.
-Sculpting the fine details in ZBrush
-Taking the base mesh from ZB, laying out the UVs and inserting the UV-ed mesh back into ZB to generate displacements.
-Creating the textures
-Setting up a shader with multiple maps and Rendering
I actually might even go onto rig it. I've been wanting to test the muscle toolset for a long time but i just didn't have a good model.  Hope i can finally dig in with this one.

Disclaimer- This in no way is a video tutorial. This is merely me recording while i work. I haven't edited anything, except for speeding up the video 3x. So all the mistakes and accidents are in here for all to see( and laugh at). I'm simply hoping these videos would somewhat give you a general overview of how to go about creating a high-end character.

click here to view the video of Concepting Timocil

About the name of the character
Timocil is a nod towards my absolute favorite sitcom ever- Arrested Development. The actual spelling is 'Teamocil'. But that seems weird, so, I settled on Timocil. it seemed appropriate for the design I ended up with. lol, now he sounds like he's from Greece or something.

Well thats about it for now. I hope I can complete this on a high note.

cheers!
-Sira-

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Going to the First Grade.

well, today, I'm going to vafa for the first time. I've got a buttload of 'art stuff'. charcoal, kneaded erasers, several variants of pencils, large paper, and all that. :) I bought these last week, and I couldn't wait till today so I tried the compressed charcoal stick. MAAAN that was awesome!  hell messy though. I got it all over my arm, and then my keyboard :\ . had to clean that for about 15 mins.
Anyways, I'm utterly jelly kneed at the thought of having to go there and draw with all those artists  looking over my shoulder. No matter how much I tell myself that everyone has to start somewhere, when you actually have to do it, it's intimidating.
The scary aspect aside, I'm also really excited about today. I can't wait to get there, and just learn all the things that I can use. anatomy, tone, colours, lines and other stuff i don't even know about yet. -___- As the title suggests, this is indeed like going to school again. 

Monsters
_____________________________________________________

I got a totally kickass book named "Designing Movie creatures and Characters" at the recently held book fair. And I've got to say it's worth its' weight in gold.
here's the amazon link .
 A word of caution though, it's about practical effects. Animatronics, Makeup and stuff that isn't CG. Even though, it's fascinating. It's filled to the brim with accounts of some of the best sculptors and artist in the movie business today.

So I've been going through it today, and I realized that it would be cool to try and do some of these creatures in the computer. The following model is the first attempt. It's Drake, from Blade|Trinity. There are two full page illustrations of him in the book. First is the beautiful concept colour sketch by Steve Wang, and the other is actual Drake character on set.So far I'm neutral on this piece. It still doesn't have that 'edge' the real Drake has. you know, the creepiness, or the evilness. Still, lots more to be done. So hopefully turns out better.

As for the modeling it's all done in Zbrush. I used Zspheres to get the basic structure in, and then went to town with the clay tubes and move brush. Actually this is the first model where I actually got the hand done with Zspheres. The 'horn y' stuff were done with the Displace brush. Then gradually sculpted over the model with clay, Dam-standard and slash3.




 Well, that's it for now. I'm getting late for classes.

Cheers!
-Sira-

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

:) the scam - PART 2

Hey there,

lol! I got a reply from the 'manager'.  Here you go.























It boggles my mind that people actually fall for these kind of traps. :S

well, for this mail my first thought was  to send a mail filled with a few choice words... But Ive decided to send those two mails to yahoo along with the message source. :) That should screw him/her up.

cheers!
-Sira-

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

:) the scam - PART 1

Hiya there, well today i got an interesting mail. here you go. apparently Im going to be very rich

-__________________-

LOL!







****note****
If you've been living under a rock for the last 10-15 years,
then please click this.      SCAMS AND FRAUDS


been waiting or one of these for ages. I'll reply to the 'manager' and we'll see how this pans out.

cheers!
-Sira-

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

seduce Zephorah

phew, been a looong time since writing stuff here. so nyhoo,, thought of sharing something I did here for a friend of mine. This was for one of his CIMA presentations and he asked me to come up with picture of a perfume bottle shaped like a bust of a nude woman. :D :D :D

How could I say no to that?

Anyways, some modeling + sculpting + rendering days later here's what came out at the end. Don't have WIP pics, since I was HELL busy with my assignments as well while I was making this and couldnt stop to take screenshots or anything.  However, its' all simple poly modeling. Sent to Zbrush for the writing and the hair, decimated it and took it to keyshot for the rendering.

hope u'all like it.

cheers!
sira







Thursday, April 14, 2011

hex_grid_generator working!!!

hell yeah!!!

I finally got a primitive gui running hex grid generator. the title graphic was done in photoshop. Had to dig into the MEL reference and trawl the internet like a leech. However, all of that went away when I finally had the window running. :D :D :D


As you can see I'm going crazy creating hex grids. this is FUN!

Well, this is a huge step forward. But I want to really take this further and create a script/ plugin to generate grids based on user requested variables like Radius and thickness. And to add to that it would be hell cool if I could automatically create meshes with different columns and rows. O.O 

shoot for the stars...

And today is the Sinhala and Tamil New Year!!!

"Suba aluth auruddak weva!!!"

cheers!
-sira-

HEX grid creator for Maya

Hi,
phew, busy like hell these days. Got a lot going on my plate atm. Finally decided to do some anatomical studies. So far they have been an utter revelation to me. I cannot believe that I had even tried to model human without that knowledge. So far I've only really completed the arm. And some proportional drawings of the male form. I have to say it is absolutely awesome. And also I have decided to take the plunge and take a CG Workshop. Costs like hell, but career wise, I think this will be my best move so far.

On a different topic, I have started to work on a hexagonal grid creator for Maya. This started to take seed from some time back. I saw a certain modeller in max create some beautiful hexagonal grids. But, I had no idea how to do it in maya. Since I've been a staunch advocate of "software doesn't matter, the artist does", the fact that I was clueless on how to do that really annoyed me. However, I only had the chance to try out some techniques two three days back.

-___-

I'm glad to say I finally managed to do it. It took me some 2-3 hours. But finally I got a solid way to create hex meshes quickly. I found out three main techniques. However, only one of them really made a hit with me. ((I will explain the steps in a later blog post)).

Anyhoo, at this point I started toying with the idea of making a simple mel script to create a base hex mesh to start working with. I will try and develop it to create complete meshes at user request. But for now I have finished writing a script that generates this. The mesh on the left is the generated mesh. The one on the right is a simple extrusion of the mesh.


I'm really pleased with this result. Obviously this has a heck of a lot of errors still. For example, theres one point where the script creates a group and transforms it's pivot point to a world space coordinate. I will have to come up with some functions involving variables like the original cylinders radius and somehow connect those up.

hmmmmmm..
oh well, enough rambling. Hope this project comes out ok.

hope you have a sira day!

cheers!
-sira-

Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Adsense" and 'pot's

Well, I just removed all Adsense stuff off my blog. I'd be lying if i said I don't want to earn the quick buck. However, I had a bit of a soul searching session today by myself, and I realize, I don't want to earn money this way. I don't want to be some cheap-O guy trying to make the fast buck. It'd be great, but those kind of things just do not happen to us(sorry, me).
Sad, but true. And I guess I'm ok with it. From now on, no cheap ads or similar crap on my blog.

On a totally unrelated note, look what comes up on google when you search for sira ge pot eka!
Duh!, yeah mine comes up, but several entries below mine......



and damn, it's not even for a real. (yes I went and looked around. After all I AM a guy.)

cheers!
-sira-

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Distributed Rendering using Backburner

Hiya,
 Just did my first distributed render @  SAITM!

We have about 20 Core2Duo Dell Vostros at our Lab @ SAITM, and we have done several distributed render jobs as of today. However, none of us are networking/ programming gurus. We (me and two three guys) always had to manually setup every computer with the exact same folder structure and copy every source file to each node. Then we have to calculate the time needed to render the entire thing and set divide the frame ranges needed from each machine accordingly and manually enter them.

Needeless to say, this is BIG PAIN IN THE ASS. Therefore, these days I have been looking into softwares and implementations for managing render farms.

In my search I came across several names.

1. Dr Queue
2. Deadline
3. Smedge
4. Muster
5. Backburner
6. RenderPal
7.Qube!

Well, I think I came across a few others but this is all I can remember right now. Now when we look at each software, one of main features I was looking for was open source. So that it will be free. Only DrQueue is open source from the above list and it certainly seems very powerful. However the problem is as of yet, it doesn't offer a binary installer. We have to compile it ourselves from the source code provided. That is a leeeetle bit over my head right now. :)

Next on is Deadline. This was actually developed by Frantic Films/ Prime Focus Studios. The same studio that developed Krakatoa (particle rendering system). And this seems to be a very robust and flexible manager. It even supports tile rendering. Where one frame can actually be split up between computers. As far as I understand only Deadline has this feature. The only caveat here is, of course the price.

Smedge, Muster, Renderpal, Qube! all seem to be very stable and lots of studios appear to use them. I've gone through several threads on CGS itself where the consumer base was divided almost equally between them. However, none of them are free (and why should it be?) and as such I cannot really field test them.

Then I arrive on Backburner. It is developed by Autodesk and is distributed freely with it's "creative applications". Thats what they call their DCC apps in the user guide of Backburner. (:D lol, i know). Anyway, since it is free and also since it was installed in every machine in our lab, I decided to try it out then and there just for the heck of it.

First of all,  I misunderstood their website information and thought Maya support was only added in Backburner 2010. When i saw Bakburner 2008 installed i felt let up. But I had a lot of time to kill while some of my renders were coming so I thought what the hell and loaded up Max.
Disclaimer- I'm very very rusty on max. I haven't used it for almost 3years now. So initially I wasn't really sure about getting this to work.

A quick overview of how backburner works

You need to first start up Manager. This is the hub of the backburner network. All the jobs are sent here, and is distributed over the network through this node.

Then you need to start up Servers. These are nodes where the actual processing gets done.

Then, you can start up the Monitor. This as its name implies, provides you with a gui displaying the status of the network.It also provides you with several tools to control the Manager, like suspending jobs, reactivating them, assigning servers to specific jobs, etc.


So I roughed up a quick scene with some foliage and objects. Then I went to render settings to 'submit' the job to my render farm. When i had ticked the checkbox for net render, I pressed Render and I got the Job submission form. It was pretty self explanatory and I could easily set up the job. Then I connected to the Manager, and started the servers. And it just worked! I couldn't believe how easy it was. And kudos to backburner. I know next to nothing about max and I was able to configure and render on 3 server machines without much hassle. I also started the monitor and it gave me some pretty neat info. For example, which frame was rendering on which machine, the names of the servers and so on. Again, this is my first time doing this. So it was all pretty exciting.

But there are lot's of things to experiment with now. For example I didn't use any maps of any kind in my max file. Tomorrow I'm going to test an acutal Maya scene with textures, MR shaders and lights and animation.. u know, the works.
Also, I want to setup so that the servers will do all the processing and save the image on my computer. That would be really really cool. :D . And I'm pretty sure there must be a way to configure that.

For now, I'm really happy with the results I got today. I hope I'll have same success with Maya tomorrow.

well, be back laters with more progress.

cheers!
-sira-

heading in a new direction

My original plan for this blog was to have a place to write up about the 3D stuff i do and love. But that hasn't worked very well lately. For several months I have only 2 -3 posts. I do have about a dozen in the drafts, but i don't want to post them cz they are 'unfinished'. So from today on I'm going to change the theme of this blog from 3D, to life. Obviously, there will still be a lot of 3D related stuff. But inbetween that, I'll just post stuff about myself, what i think about stuff and well, various things.

This change came when i realized what a time waster Facebook is. And I just wanted to break away from that mindless commenting, tagging and posting and focus on myself. So here I am shouting out to the world (though nobody cares) ....
"I AM OUT OF FACEBOOK!!!" (for a little while at least!)

hahahaha
cheers!
-sira-

Monday, March 21, 2011

Facebook and me

Today 21st march 2011 is a kinda a historic day for me. I just did something I never dreamed I would.

I deactivated my Facebook Account. *big deal*

yes, deactivated, not deleted. -___- . The allure of FB is such that I couldn't bear the thought of losing forever all those photos, comments, msgs and most of all, friends. So, as a measure of insuarance, I simply 'deactivated' my account. So when I really can't bear it anymore, I can easily log in again. :P

And I'm indeed going back. It's just that right now, it's taking up too much of my time. Time I could be spending on learning, studying and practicing stuff. Today I went through the entire gallery at ZbrushCentral and I was amazed beyond words at the level of detail in some of the artworks showcased there. Those artists have so much talent it's scary. And all of them share a common sentiment. "It's not just pure talent. It's a hell of a lot of practise, study and sleepless nights."


Some day I want to be able to say "heyy my piece is up there on the TopRow" or "heyy my piece is feautured on CGS!!!"... but that day is not today. And right now i have decided to focus on modeling. I want to really dig deep into anatomical studies, hard surface stuff and all the things in between. And in order to make time for that, FB just had to go.

And also on the plus side, now i have waaay more time than before to post stuff up here. :D

cheers!
-sira-

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

the 'daagaba' project :)

Recently I got an assignment at SAITM to model a 'daagaba' in 3D and do a 24 hour timelapse on it. This seemed quite simple on the face of it and I was pretty sure I could do this inside Maya (my preferred software for 3D). The model of course went without a hitch and I finished it in one day.































 All of this is just simple poly modeling since I knew I was going to go for medium to far away shots and a high level of detail was not needed. Just basic objects so the viewer can see a silhouette or catch the specular reflection off it. Specially the 'kotha' (The tapered part on the top of the daagaba) and the 'mal asana'( the 4 structures around the daagaba). Typically these parts are heavily decorated in real life and modeling every tiny detail would have been a pain in the butt. -___-.

Then I turned into texturing. I admit I'm not really good at texturing, and I ran into some problems here. I started on the rock, Did a Spherical mapping and tweaked the UVs a teeeny bit. then I went into Ps and started putting in bits of photos and painting over them. All went well and I came back to Maya, applied it.Didn't show any seams and while it didn't look great, it did look ok. Then I again went to Ps for the bump. Made it grayscale, adjusted the curves, levels a bit and finally applied it in Maya. Rendered it, aaaaand the results were CRAP!. the bump map clearly wasn't working at all. Changing the bump depth didn't do any good. Went back and forth betwen Ps and maya trying to find a better map and nothing looked 'real' enough for me. Again, I wasn't looking for a photo-realistic finish but it did have to look OK.
I was really frustrated at this point. The 1st object I started texturing and I'm screwed ! I was starting to think I might have to go to Zbrush for the rock when I saw a Vue advert on CGSociety. I suddenly realized I had a solution to cover my texturing problem plus do a kick ass environment for my scene. :)
Since I have Vue Xstream and I thought I could do it inside Maya itself. I loaded the Vue plugin and and started to create a terrain. Immediately Maya crashed. Still I wasn't put off and I reloaded the scene and started it again. again Maya crashed. Did this a couple of times. Each time Maya crashed. I was fast beginning to lose interest at this point.
However, to step around this, I decided to import my scene to Vue and work in standalone mode, I could also texture them inside Vue. Had some small problems with the import. Some inverted normals and hidden objects, After a couple of iterations, I finally got everything inside Vue correctly. A very important thing to note here is the practice of a proper naming convention.
Specially if you have a several hundred objects like in this scene. Its a bit hard to know which object is the small flower petal on the tower when you have a list like "pPlane1, pPlane2.... up till pPlane364. :)
Anyway, initially I was going for a temple on the rock by the sea (Maya Fluids), but when I went to Vue I knew I could make a panoramic landscape full of vegetation and stuff.
A procedural terrain, water plane plus a beautiful animated atmosphere took care of the environment. I had to sculpt the terrain a bit to create the lake.  A new addition in Vue is the 3D sculpt tool. I didn't have time to experiment but  I think now it will be possible to create arches and overhangs with Vue terrains!(lol, I'm still a Vue noob. and there may have been ways to do it earlier also).The  vegetation is a tweaked eco-system material. And of course the camera animation is nothing to write home about, a simple 3 key frame animation. Things were going along pretty smooth until this point. 

Then I started to setup the render. First I started using the presets. Final seemed very acceptable to me. Going to Broadcast simply enabled the motion blur. However the render times were still high. So I decided to try and customize it. after taking down the sub ray settings and the Advanced effects Quality down I ended up with trees that looked worse than Paint-fx trees. :P So I slowly dialed them up bit by bit and in the end shaved off about 1-7 seconds in certain frames. Btw, Advanced effects means a lot of Indirect illumination and photon(GI/ Caustics) options.
Finally I started a batch render. Even though the animation was originally 30secs,before anything else I wanted a rough look on how this would actually look like in motion. (Also it was about 2-3 p.m in the morning and I was pretty bushed up.) <> So I set it up for a 240 frame render and went to sleep. 

The following morning when I woke up it was at the 216th frame. I had taken about 8+hrs. I just quit the render there and slapped the seQ to Ae and the result was, this.
video

Straight away I could see a number of issues. The water scale is all wrong and after about the 3-4 second when the sun goes up in the sky the sky turns all white. This was obviously not what I was looking for. And  I did not notice this even when I was doing sample renders earlier; simply because I had just stuck around the 2 extremes of the animation, thus missing out these parts. Also, the ground can clearly be seen around the 5-6second mark, and is obviously bare. So anyway now I have to go back and adjust all these things and add stuff again. And I think I want to put a kind of wobble into the entry camera animation to make it feel a bit more "realistic". Plus I want to get upclose to the daagaba sooner so I can show the detail in the daagaba. Specially around the upper parts.

Anyways, this has been a fantastic project for me(not because of the result, but because I got very up and close with Vue). This is actually the first time I have used Vue in a real project.to this level and I'm really pleased with what I've learnt.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ALien-bot

Here's a WIP of my latest project. 
I want to do an animation on this one (NO still images for this one!), the concept is of course an alien, who is connected to an hovercraft. he controls the craft by a controller embedded on his spine.

I started the alien with Z brush. Really easy to get the muscle flow with Zsketching. I haven't added any hands because most probably he'll have robotic appendages. 

A quick texture paint I did on the model to test the UVs.. came out pretty well. 


Did a quick sketch over a side render of the model in Ps. I also did one for the front view also. Now I can overlay these sketches as image planes over my model in Maya, so that I can have some clear guidelines. .


The imageplanes overlayed and the Alpha gain adjusted so that the white background is transparent.

Still have to adjust the image planes a bit. But overall,, now I have a pretty good idea about the where the model is going. The hard part will be the rigging, since both the craft and the alien will be a single character.. :\ well I'll have to figure that out when I get there... :)