Saturday, April 30, 2005

Particles on Parade

It's Saturday, it's rainy and I just got back from work. This would have been a perfect day to start animating my robot battle but I am getting bogged down at work again. My latest project calls for the use of particles in motion. Frequent readers may recall that I spent some time investigating the use of particles to simulate fluids for an earlier project. I never really found a satifactory way to produce the effect with particles and instead used an animated paint effect to get my desired results. This time I think particles may do the trick. As usual I looked at few different sites to find info on animating particles. This tutorial on filling volumes with particles was helpful and this more advanced particle tutorial seem full of good stuff that may be over my head for now. I also noticed RISD is offering a class on using particles in Maya. I am also learning quite a bit about fields.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lazy Jay

Nice updates on the site Pat!

So I have in fact been lazy, but I feel like I have excuses. First off, I have been spending a lot of time outside because it has been nice out. Second, I am a huge Basketball fan and I have been watching as many of the playoff games as I can. After all it is a well documented fact that CG Geeks can spend too much time at the computer leading to the detriment of all else life has to offer (beer/basketball).

But don't worry, despite the distractions I have been keeping up with my studies and I am just as geeky as ever. Over the last week I have been exploring the difference between solid modelers (Auto-CAD, Solid Works, Pro-E) and surface modelers (Maya, 3D Studio Max) and methods of passing files between them. I have a trial version of Rhino that I find intriguing because it functions both as a solid and surface modler. More on this later.

I have not done much with my animation because I still need to convert R2 into a file format I can use at home. I don't think it will be that difficult but it will be hard to explain to my co-workers why I am playing around with an R2 D2 model. I am hoping to get in early or come in over the weekend to set up the file with out pulling time away from work projects.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Preparing for war

Haven't seen Jay post in a while. He's either busy, bored, or deeply concentrating on the impending battle.

I've begun work on my battle movie. My computer's lack of RAM is making itself clear, as I'm confined to working in wireframe mode if I want to get anything done.

Jay's robot file was about 50x the height of my bot, so I had to spend some time making them similarly sized. No doubt an intimidation tactic by Jay.

Re-did the logo here, nothing like a little Photoshop to calm the nerves before battle.

Saturday, April 23, 2005 lives!

Thursday, April 21, 2005


You know, I was all set to have a relaxing afternoon, but then I see Jay talking smack about my robot. Of course I don't have Maya at work, so I speed home, crack open Maya...

Stick this in your bot and smoke it

... and decapitate Scrap-Bot's head, stuff it's rusty-ass skull with weed, and smoke that shit up through it's eyes. See what you made me do Jay!

Set my robot on fire, will you?

p.s. Jay, what do you think about

R2 D2 you're on fire!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Scrap Bot Reporting for Duty

This Zip file should have everything you need for scrap bot. If you have trouble with the textures or questions about animating the joints let me know.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sick Cycles Server Down

So I post all my images and video clips on my brothers server and it appears to be down. I can't complain because I get the space for free and it usually works fine (thanks dude). There is a link to his site, Sick Cycles, on my side bar. If you visit his site be sure to check out the Ninja Cart. I think I may need to investigate a back-up plan for times like this when his server is down. Hopefully my bot will be posted in the next 24 hrs. I know there are places to post for free but I am not familiar with any of them at this moment.

With the Robot Battle taking center stage the last few weeks and the nice weather drawing me outside, I have failed to keep up to date with industry news and generally interesting Maya stuff. For example I just found out today that Adobe is in the process of buying Macromedia. I will be interested to see what comes of that, as I am sure all CG types will be.

Are, Too

Don't Smoke

My entry, submitted for battle. Right-click and save-as!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Tron Guy's on Board!

Thats right, Tron Guy has agreed to judge our Robot Battle. This may be Mayaloge's finest hour. The battle is that much more legit. Thanks Tron Guy, we will let you know when the bot battle animations are ready for judging.

R2, the first animation


Click for animation. My first attempt, after finally figuring out the whole Maya keyframe scheme.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Tron Guy is Famous

I did not realize that Tron Guy was a celebrity when I asked him to judge our contest. I thought he was just a guy with a cool Tron suit. He will probably be too busy appearing on shows like Jimmy Kimmel live to judge our Battle. Oh well.

Better Animation

Here is a more interesting animation showing scrap bot's locomotion.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


I am in the process of finding impartial judges for the Battle, so far this is the only guy who has the necessary qualifications.

Scrap Bot Animation Test

So it took me a while to remember even the basics of rigging but I think my bot is almost ready for animation. Here is a test sequence. The file is just over 1 Meg so give it 3 or 4 minutes to download. I will try an optimize future video postings for the net.

In other news, upon further investigation, I have decided to let Matt back into Robot Battle 2005. Matt's fans have started a letter writing campaign by which they are accusing me and the Mayaloge federation of racial discrimination. Apparently the ratio of silver bots to fleshy toned bots is out of balance so we are forced to reconcile by admitting the Rambis Toast-Head into the competition. The federation will ask that a mustache and black glasses be applied to the toast head so as to increase the likeness to Kurt Rambis. There will be no penalty for failure to meet this request.

Matt's Late Entry (Disqaulified)

It has come to my attention that Matt Bailey (my own brother) has broken several rules of the Robot Battle 2005 Competition. First off, he did not submit his Robot within a timely manner, secondly he utilized off the shelf parts (Capsela) to leverage a clear advantage for his bot. These minor infractions could be over looked but the fact that he tried to submit what is clearly a cyborg and not a robot into the competion knocks him out of this and all future robot battles. Clearly the use of Kurt Rambis's legs is a give away that this robot is half man and half machine and therefore a cyborg. I can only hope that Matt was fooled into believing that Rambis was infact a robot based on his jerky-robotic-style of playing basketball. It is a sad day for the sport.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

My Robot brings all the Droids to the yard...

Mad respect to Jay's robot, and his mini-tutorial there. Robot Challenge 2005 will truely be a battle for the ages.

With that said, I submit my contender. His name is R2, and he's here to bust yo ass up:

R2, spinnin on 22

R2 is composed of the finest polygons, and is a true playah. I was tempted to make an original robot, like Jay's, but I had already been working on him before the contest started and felt that I'd be good with that... plus there are tons of pictures of Mr D2 online, so modeling was a little easier. I'll put together an original robot during Robot Challenge 2006

Skeleton R2

Time to start moving my Center Points around.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Simple Bot Motion

Here is a quick tutorial on simple animation for non-deforming characters (such as robots). First create 3 poly cubes and 2 poly spheres spacing them roughly as shown in the picture below. Open the outliner found by going Window/Outliner. Your outliner should look like the image below. If it is a little different that is OK. Next, change the center point on the two right most cubes so that they are centered on the spheres to their left. To change a center point, select an object, choose the move (translate tool) and press the insert key (the home key on a Mac). The curser will change and you can now move the center point freely. Now go into your outliner and select "Sphere1", after you have it highlighted middle mouse drag Sphere1 on top of pCube1 (do this inside the outliner not with the actual objects). This establishes a parent child relationship between pCube1 and Sphere1. Do the same for the other objects until your hierarchy looks the same as the image below. Once you have your Parent relationships set up, select Sphere1 and notice that it selects all of the objects beneath it. Those objects are considered children to sphere1 and will rotate or translate based on the motions of their parent. This parenting of objects combined with keyframing is the basis for simple animation of non-deformable objects. Deformable characters utilize rigs made from joints and splines. The concept is not all that different from the methods used in this tutorial, just a lot more options to choose from.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Presenting Scrap-Bot 2005

Here are several views of my scrap-bot. He is the product of what little free time I have had over the last couple weeks (OK, so I had this past weekend off but it was way too nice outside for building robots). I think he came out all right. I created him mostly out of Nurbs and tried to compensate for a lack of modeling detail through excessive use of texture mapping. He may look wimpy but don't let his office chair legs fool you. This guy is ready to kick some Ass, well he's almost ready. I am going to suggest that we take an additional week to set up the rigging of our characters. I know you don't have a ton of animation experience Pat but I figured if we set up simple rigs of our own characters it will make animating a little easier. Doesn't need to be complicated at all and I suspect it will be a learning experience for both of us.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords...

Mr Jay has been one busy mofo, with his "job" and whanot. Surely he is assembling a team of animators to fight my robot in heated battle. All I can say is bring it

Here's part of the robot I'm modeling these days. I'm still adding ultra weapons, and super-mint armour. Perhaps it will have a bow-staff.


Sunday, April 03, 2005



I've been working pretty hard on my robot, and hope it will be ready for combat. My animations skills are non-existant, so this should be a good exercise for me.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Oh shit it just got personal!

Friday, April 01, 2005

No light at the end of the tunnel

So I was too quick to think my schedule was slowing down. I do have tomorrow off though which is nice. I am not shure when the robot battle should start or end. I guess if we say robot exchange is a week from this monday and robot battle shots/animations are tentatively scheduled a week after that then we should have enough time to make some cool stuff. Let me know what you think Pat.

Twice this week I have come across satelite photography in conversation or on the web. Death fall has a link to free software from Nasa called World Wind that I am dowloading to check out. Earlier this week my Dad suggested that I check out a couple other sites that have aerial photographs for refference material on the accident scenes I do at work. I think this may have been one of them Terra Server. It is a pay site but you can look at any image you want with the watermark inplace. I will be adding these resources to the side bar when I get a chance.