Monday, February 28, 2005

Maya Malfunction

So when I came into work this morning I realized non of the files I had saved on Friday would open correctly. I was really bummed out and confused as to what happened. I am still not sure what went wrong but I think it either had something to do with the 6.5 upgrade I installed on Friday or the mjpolytool's plug-in I use. I think complex models built with mjpolytools slow down maya because you may not be able to delete the history. For this and other reasons I would suggest anyone on a PC purchase Byron's Polytools for fast polygon modeling. It does the same job as mjpolytools only it is more stable. Unfortunately, Byron's Polytools is not compatible with Macs. In more positive news, lastnight, Chris Landreth won an Oscar for his short "Ryan". I have not seen it yet but if shows locally I would like to check it out. Also winning awards were Spiderman 2 and the Incredibles.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


All my good buddies came over last night to celebrate my oldness. It was a great time (at least I thought so), and there is still a ton of beer left in the fridge. I got a lot of consumable presents which I made a big dent in last night. I also got some super cool Maya books. Pat and Kate got me "Maya 6 Killer Tips", it looks really useful so far. I have the Maya 5 Killer tips and use it frequently. It is written by Eric Hanson, Kenneth Ibrahim, and Alex Nijmeh. There is a lot of good stuff on particles that I want to read about. Dennis got me "CGI: The Art of the 3D Computer-Generated Image". As Dennis said, it is less of a how-to book and more of a coffee table book. It has really slick full-page images and there are some neat artists in there I had never heard of before. If you read one of my last posts, I complained about the plethora of worn-out sci-fi-themed 3D images. The book I got from Dennis has a bunch of people who managed to avoid that trap. Eric Heller, Masa Inakage, and Kenneth Huff are some of the more original-looking work. So I will probably be making references to these presents in future posts as they are full of cool new stuff. I would recommend you buy these books or make friends with Pat, Kate, and Dennis and maybe they will buy them for you. I made the image above at five in the morning when I woke up with a stomachache from too many birthday drinks. It kind of looks like how my stomach felt.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Power of 6.5

So I recieved the Maya 6.5 upgrade yesterday at work. From what I read it is supposed to increase the speed with wich large data sets are handled. Basically this means everythings moves faster. I have to say it definitely feels faster/more stable when handleing larger files. It is almost like the kind of boost I got when I switched from my stock graphics card to my Nvidia Quadro FX 500. I will review the other new features as I use them. The image above is from a an automobile design contest sponsored by Alias.

Friday, February 25, 2005


I found this new training package on MPR or multi pass renders. I really don't know much about using MPR but it seems like it would be really usefull for a lot of the things I work on at my job. It essentially allows you to render out shadows, specularity and other components of an image seprate from one another. This allows for a lot more freedom in the compositing stage. It is listed for like $150.00 bucks but it is half off for students. I will have to give my brother (a student) a call and buy it threw his name. Maybe that will be my birthday present to myself. Originally I wanted to get a drumset but I don't think we have the cash for that right now. Instead I will get this MPR thing for $60.00 and model a drum set in Maya.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Fred Bastide

It felt wrong not to post an image on the blog today so here is one from Fred Bastide. I am adding him to the kick ass 3d artists links. I was trying to figure out what attracted me to certain 3d artists as compared to those I find less interesting. Having been an art history minor in college I have seen a lot of art from a lot of people. I think 3D computer graphics is really different from any other media I have studied. For one thing 3D artists are responsible for a ton of cheesy fantasy art. I find a lot of busty women and cyborbs and busty cyborg women. Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy kitsch as much or more than the next guy but a lot of the 3D stuff out there is just boring. What they lack in creativity they tend to make up for in technical knowledge so they are able to flood the internet with stuff like this. Pretty much all of the guys I have linked to are pretty big into that sci-fi esthetic but their work seems more complex and informed. Aside from being technicaly increadible these guys bring a individual sense of style. They capitilize on the things that make 3D a unique form of art but they don't rely on that as the sole point of interest. For me, really inspiring work would be interesting regardless of the fact that it was create with 3d software. Most importantly it would be void of all the recycled sci-fi themes that pop-up all the time.

Happy Birthday to me

I turned 27 today and I never said this before, but I feel old. I bought a house last year and I am engaged and my older brother just had his third child. This site is really reserved for Maya stuff but hey its my birthday so I will digress (a little, then back to Maya). I have been meaning to add links to my buddies sites (both Maya and non-Maya) and if I get time I will do that tonight. Specificaly I want to add a link to Rich Fournier's site group six design. I met Rich in my Maya 2 class and found him to be a great all around guy. His work is really cool and he was always helping people in the class including me. So his site has some Maya stuff but it is about graphic design in general and I suggest you visit. Also, I am going to add links to Kate and Pat's and Dennis's sites which I visit daily. There will be others that I haven't mentioned but you can look fer yourselves. I hope to add those links later tonight/tomorrow morning. So I am going to wrap up this post as Erin is making me my birthday lasagna.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


I am adding a new references section to the links section. In a addition to putting the Lemog texture link, I am adding 2 car blueprint sites. Hope others find these sites as usefull as I do. Also putting a link here to a tutorial on rounding nurbs corners that should prove helpfull for my G4 model.

Interesting Article

I am trying to distribute some objects along a line. This article may not solve my problem but it is interesting non the less.


I found this French site Lemog with all kinds of free quality textures. I think I heard someone mention this site before but I never checked it out. I wish I had because it would have saved me some money and time for sure. how's that for a ringing endorsement? Only drawback is it shoots French popups at you (Silly French).

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


I worked on some more abstractions yesterday. I was excited to render out this one but it was so large it crashed my computer at home. My G5 at work had no problems with it though. I am going to mess around a little more with this one. I think it may look nice printed in a large format as there is a lot of detail lost on the screen.

Monday, February 21, 2005


I found a link to some kind of a contest put on by POV. They posted the top 25 entries and there is some really good CG here. There are even some renders of kitchens that you might dig Pat. Not that I want to pigeon hole you as exclusively a kitchen guy. I am also adding Deathbrain to my links to artists I am inspired by. His architectural work is phenominal and he has some excellent tutorials on building cars with nurbs and nurbs in general. So I am starting to notice that all the best 3D artists have ridiculous names like "Meats", "Buzz" and "Death Brain". Maybe I need a good nickname to improve my work?

Sunday, February 20, 2005


I was making this fairly lame model of a kings head based on a much cooler sculpture that a close friend of mine gave me and I decided to save it and go watch the slam dunk contest. When I came back and opened it up again it was completly screwed up. I don't really know what happened to it but it was a thousand times cooler than when I saved it last. It was this really cool organic shape, it kind of looked like the skull of an animal that never existed. I started messing around with lights and shaders and every render gave me something new and more interesting than the last.

Friday, February 18, 2005

3 Day Weekend!

So I didn't get a chance to post a shader of the day today, I was pretty busy at work. Since my last post I have investigated some alternatives to using Real Flow for my water simulation and Investigated HDRI rendering. For my water I am just using regular old Maya particles with collision settings and gravity effects. I think it will do the trick if I can't get Real Flow working. I will try to post a clip of the water Tuesday when I go back to work. In terms of HDRI, I just checked out a couple of websites that explain what it is and how it works. Basically it uses an ultra high definition, panaramic photograph to light a 3D scene or model. The results are stunning and require zero virtual lights in maya. It seems pretty complicated but it is on my list of things to figure out. I also took the survey that I mentioned and recieved my free HDRI images. If I get a chance I am going to take another survey to get the free textures. The image above this post is just a newer render of my old skull. I wanted to try some Mental Ray stuff out on it.

Return of the IMAC's


A few more renders from last night's class.




My dad said the same thing about the doorknob as you did, Jay. I fixed it, but you can't really see it in the renders here. I'm definatly going to keep plugging away at this model. I started playing with nurbs a bit to get the sink right, but it needs much more work.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


The other day Pat was talking about building a 3d transformer out of his Toyota Celica. Just today I stumbled upon this guy Jose Perez who did just that only with a BMW Mini. I also found an interesting interview with him at the Newtek site. You may have noticed the Blog has been renamed to Mayablogue, it sounds a little less egocentric/exclusive. Maybe I should have changed it to Jay and Pat's blog since I think we are probably the only people who visit the blog. No matter, I have found it very theraputic and conveniant to have a single place to dump all my Maya thoughts. If others visit it is just a bonus.

IMAC Attack

Pat's Kitchen

First, I must compliment Pat on his posted project. It looks way cool (I would eat in there). The SOD is a stone tile shader inspired by Pat's kitchen, although his tiles are not blue or stone. So I decided to step away from the realflow stuff and let my head clear. I think I will work a little more on the IMac this morning. Not sure how much Time I will get.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Kitchin Bitchin'

Hey it's midnight! What better time to lay a post down on Jay's new site then right now. Here's a so-freshly-rendered-its-still-warm image of my final project in the Maya 1 class. It needs much work, but will have to do for the time being.

Cook me some pie!

Real Flow a Real Bust

So I spent whatever free time I had today trying to install the trial version of real flow unsucessfully. The software (it's not really a plugin), is very difficult to install and the manual was writen by someone who does not have English as there first language. Apparently I am not the only one having trouble with it because everyone in the user forum seems to be experiencing trouble with it as well. That said, I think I am going to try and figure out how to use it any way because it is the only solution I have found for my project. So I didn't really look around the web much today but I did see this 3D survey site that offers some usefull 3D stuff in exchange for filling out a survey. I have not filled it out but I will if I get a chance. I also noticed that Jason Busby of 3D Buzz is offering online courses this semester for much cheaper ($140.00) than the folks at Animation Mentor. Busby is like the patron saint of 3D, he has been providing free quality tutorials for years and is loved within the community. I am going to take a serious look at his course. I am also adding a list of free 3D software to my links for anyone interested.

Fleshy Donut

So having this Blog makes me realize how crazy my brain is. The reason I can't start a project is because I get distracted by other cool things and move on before I get anywhere. Like this Mac model, I want to make it, but now there is a new project at work that requires that I learn how to simulate water! I am really excited about it. So instead of working on my Mac I spent my free time researching fluid dynamics simulator plugins for Maya. RealFlow looks awsome and I am hopig to get the guys in charge of the project to buy me a license. I did however find time to post the SOD. It is a fleschy type shader that I used for a medical animation. The lights are kind of screwy in the preview image and it looks like there might be some seams but I promise this shader actually looks cool in the right circumstances. Speaking of medical animations, I went to the Biodigital site by accident yesterday and found this cool sample explaining how they accurately model internal organs using cut away views (it's pretty brilliant).

Hey Pat, when do I get to see your final project posted? I will post the wireframe of the IMac later today. Right now the model is pretty simple. It is a NURBS sphere trimed in half by a nurbs plane. Then I projected the circles on the top and used the trim tool again to make them holes. I am hoping to build some tutorials for the site in the future. I'm also planning on adding links to some free 3D software incase any non-3D folks want to get in on the fun!

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

IMac G4

I didn't want anyone to think I was not a Mac fan just because the shaders aren't supported for the Mac, so I decided to model my G4 IMac as tribute to the great and many Mac users. Actually, I just needed something to model and the G4 was on my desk. I have been thinking about creating a model using only NURBS. This is a big departure for me as I have in the past modeled exclusively in poygons. Hope to learn a lot from this exercise.


The SOD is a rusted metal. It probably still needs a little tweaking but I think this one will be usefull. A lot of times at work I need to texture something metal painted with a safety yellow or orange. If I get a chance I may develop it further. I also figured out what I was doing wrong with the exporting of shaders. I was creating Maya Bianary or .mb files instead of Maya Aschii .ma files. Pretty sure they still won't download correctly on a Mac.

Monday, February 14, 2005


I had a chance to fool around with Mental Ray today. Here is a version of the earlier render with the light source shooting tons of yellow photons. I used to have a toy called Photon, it was like the welfare version of Lazer Tag. Almost like Gobots were to Transformers. So I decided today I want to get Z-Brush. It seems like every time I see something really cool it turns out it was modled in Maya first and finished in Z-Brush. For now I wil have settle on downloading the trial version.


Happy Valentines day. Todays shader is an attempt to make a vascular, heart-like tissue to celebrate V-day. I tried downloading the shaders on my Mac at work today and it did not work at all. It has to be a Mac compatability thing because I was able to get it from a PC at work and then open it on the Mac. I will have to figure out a way around that. But there is some good news for Mac users, the font on the blog should no longer be white.
Heart Attack

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Maya 6.5 upgrades and other news

I found an explanation of some of the mental ray upgrades for Maya 6.5. It looks like there might be some pretty usefull features. The subsurface scatter feature looks especially fun. I was also glad to see that Animation Mentor has finally launched there first semester. When I first read about AM I totally wanted to join. I don't think I have the money or time to enroll this semester but I hope to some time in the future. AM is an online animation school comprised of the absolute best animators in the business (think Pixar, Dream Works, Weta ... you get the idea). To use the shader I posted you should be able to just import it into whatever file you are working on. A small sphere should import along with the shader. I hope to get rid of the sphere in the future but for now it is the only way I can get it to work. I will try to download the shader at work to make sure it does not require a specific file path. I don't think it should.

(SOD) Galactic Orange

I think I have this shader sharing figured out. I am exporting the shader on a sphere because when I export just the shader and no geometry it doesn't carry over the whole shader. The file is still tiny and that's all that really matters for now. I made this first shader Galactic Orange pretty quickly just to use as a trial for the sharing. I am not sure how usefull it will be (or any of the shaders I post for that matter). I remember a famous photographer saying something about taking thousands of photos just to get one good one. So I figure if I keep pumping out shaders one of them is bound to be cool. Besides, they are really fun to make.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Uploading Shaders?

Welcome Pat. So I was trying to think of usefull things to post on the blog and I thought it would be cool to be able to upload/download shaders from the Blog. I will investigate but if anyone else knows and could fill me in, that would be cool. I have been messing around with creating my own shaders and it is pretty addictive. The pic above was from my first Maya class. I wish I could show some of the stuff I have been working on at work but it is all top secret. Maybe they will let me show it when the cases settle. Any help on the upload/download shaders thing would be cool.

Much to learn

Hey Jay, thanks for invite. I too am taking the Maya class at RISD. The professor's name is Chuddy, and he's pretty good. He appears to know his shtuff. The class ends next week, and of course I'm completely behind in my final project. It's been great to learn it, it just takes soooo long to do just about anything, and there's so much to learn! I remember when I use to think Photoshop had a complex interface.

As soon as I have anything good to show, I'll post them on the site.

Friday, February 11, 2005

First Post

So I thought a Blog might give me a place to post the little experiments I want to try in Maya 3D. Also, I surf the web for Maya crap all the time so I figure I could post just the coolest stuff I find for my Maya compadres (can I get a hell ya?).

A little more than a year ago I started taking classes in Maya 3D at RISD. The classes were great and I learned a ton but I have not had the time to do any personal projects since then. The time involved with creating a completed model or animation is intimidating and with everything else I have going on, (wedding preparation, buying a house, late hours at work) I have not done much. My only saving grace is that I use it all the time in my job at Exponent. The work projects are great but there are a lot of things I want to try out that the work stuff does not require. Oh ya, the photo is actually a 3D model created by Heidi Cregge, a student at SCAD. I don't know her, but her models are really cool.