Posts Tagged ‘3D + Animation’

Share and share alike with AutoCAD WS

Published by | Monday, January 21st, 2013

Historically, exchanging Autodesk AutoCAD drawings with non-CAD-using clients was a challenge. That’s because viewing DWG files outside of AutoCAD required downloading and installing special software. For this reason, many clients preferred using PDF files to review design changes.

Nowadays, AutoCAD WS makes it easier for all stakeholders to participate in project collaboration, whether they have CAD software or not. AutoCAD WS is a free application offering virtually unlimited online storage for your project drawings.

Select File in AutoCAD WS

Visit www.autocadws.com to create an account and get started. After creating an account, uploading and managing files within AutoCAD WS is as simple as using a USB flash drive. To share a file, simply select it and press the Share button.

You can then enter the recipient’s email address, assign file permissions, and jot down a quick message related to the file. When finished, click the Share button.

Share DWG Files in AutoCAD WS

Another great part is your client doesn’t need an AutoCAD WS account to view the drawing. Within the email they receive will be a View Online link. Clicking this link will automatically launch AutoCAD WS allowing them to pan and zoom around the file.

Your client doesn’t have to stop there. Using AutoCAD WS they can work with the drawing by measuring, editing, adding comments, downloading, or printing it. And if your client is running the AutoCAD WS app on their smartphone or tablet, they can do any of these things on the go.

Editing AutoCAD DWG Drawings

If you and your client are both viewing the same drawing, you can engage in a “live collaboration” where you can chat, and edit the file simultaneously. During the meeting, AutoCAD WS will automatically archive the entire revision history, which allows you to restore the drawing to any prior version.

Using AutoCAD WS helps make your designs accessible to every stakeholder.

Interested in more?

• All courses by Jeff Bartels on lynda.com
• All 3D + Animation courses on lynda.com
• All AutoCAD courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:

• AutoCAD WS Essential Training
• AutoCAD Essentials 1: Interface and Drawing Management

Character rigging in Maya

Published by | Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Animating characters in Maya can be a lot of fun. Fighting with a difficult character rig, however, can sap the joy out of animating. Character Rigging in Maya is a course designed to help you create character rigs that are both robust and easy to animate.

A deeper, more technical update to the Maya 8.5 Character Rigging course, Character Rigging in Maya covers the basics of Maya’s rigging tools, then goes deep into how these tools are used to create a complete character rig, including skeletons, forward and inverse kinematics switches, and the skinning of characters to skeletons.

Some of the more technical topics covered include expressions and scripts that help automate the rig and make it easier to animate, and the process of creating an advanced facial rig that shows a variety of ways to create sophisticated controls to manage complex facial expressions (which I find particularly useful.)

If you’ve seen the Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya course on lynda.com, you may notice Character Rigging in Maya creates its rig with the same character used in the animation course. It’s not the same old character, though—we’ve have thrown in a few updates to the rig to make the character rigging techniques even more interesting.

We’re very committed to character animation here at lynda.com, so if you’re into animation, stay tuned for more character courses in the coming months.

 

Interested in more?
• All Maya courses on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All by George-Maestri on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
Maya 2011 Essential Training
Maya 2011: Modeling a Character
Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
Game Character Creation in Maya

Shading type with gradients in CINEMA 4D

Published by | Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Often times creating type is the bread and butter for motion graphics artists. But like plain old bread and butter, it can get a bit stale. When that happens, gradients are a great way to freshen up your stale type.

A gradient is simply a transition from one value to another. This can be from one color to another, or from light to dark. When used properly, gradients can be used to pump up the legibility of your type, and to make the text really leap off the screen.

Using gradients on text in CINEMA 4D boils down to understanding how textures are applied to objects. This can be a difficult concept to understand, but it’s crucial to getting control of the look and feel of your objects in 3-D. There are three main tools that help you manage the projection of textures on to the surfaces of 3-D objects: The Texture Tag, the Texture Tool, and an often overlooked command in the object manager called Fit To Object. These three elements will give you tremendous control over how your objects appear to the viewer.

For more on this, check out CINEMA 4D R12 Essential training. Chapter six has some great movies on creating and manipulating textures.

 

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion series on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

Using dynamic simulations to create animated type in CINEMA 4D

Published by | Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

The idea of dynamic simulations has gotten a lot of attention lately. Dynamics allow an animator to create very realistic motion and collisions with objects without using key frames. Nearly every 3-D software package has some kind of module dedicated to this. That being said, dynamics can be somewhat unpredictable by nature, so they’re not entirely flawless. Similar to setting up a stack of dominoes or a Rube Goldberg machine, dynamic simulations just don’t always give you what you expected. This can make them very challenging to use in production, and it often has designers and animators asking themselves what exactly it is they can do with dynamics. With so much unpredictability, what problems can they solve?

The answer is, really, quite a lot! Dynamics can be great addition to your tool kit if you’re willing to accept a bit of unpredictability in your animations. In this short project I’ll show you how to use dynamics to animate some text being knocked over. Using key frames, this kind of animation would be very time consuming, and it would be even harder to make it look convincing. Luckily, CINEMA 4D’s dynamics engine is really easy to use, and allows you to apply these techniques to a variety of different projects.

For more on the important basics of using the CINEMA 4D dynamics engine, check out chapter 14 of my CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training course.

 

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion series on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

CINEMA 4D logo lighting and texturing basics

Published by | Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

A lot of folks get started in motion graphics creating 3D logos and logo animations. It’s how I got started all those years ago. When I look back on that animation now, I cringe. The clients loved it, but the lighting was terrible. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot since then, and in this week’s Design in Motion, I’ll share some key logo-lighting tips with you.

First and foremost is the idea of lighting through the camera. The 3D world is based entirely on the idea of perspective, and the only valid perspective is the angle that your artwork will be viewed from. That view is your render camera. Positioning your lights from the angle of the render camera ensures that you are only adding information that your viewers will actually see. This will take all the guesswork out of the process, and make it faster and more efficient.

The second step is to create an environment for your reflective logos to help give them a textured, dynamic look that can make them feel like they’re moving even when they’re not. Remember, the standard 3D space that surrounds your logo is just black, so even if you turn the reflection up past 100 percent, if there isn’t anything there to reflect, your logos will look dull and lifeless. Use the Material Manager and the Luminance channel to start creating an environment sphere for your logo, then you can apply and edit gradients to tweak your environment to your liking. Once you have your environment surrounding your object and texturing your logo just how you want it, it’s important to remember to apply a Compositing tag, which allows you to show only the transparency, reflection, and refraction of your environment sphere to the render camera—not the environment sphere itself.

Lastly, the color of your reflections has a big impact on the look and feel of your surfaces. The default color values for reflections in CINEMA 4D are white, and that’s just fine if you’re creating something like white enamel or tiles. But, if you’re making a gold surface, then a white reflection will make your logo feel washed out. By coloring your reflections to match your surface color, your logos will have a richness and saturation that really makes them pop off the screen.

For more on how CINEMA 4D works with lights and textures, I recommend checking out chapters six and seven of my CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training course next.

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion series on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

Polygon modeling a simple object in CINEMA 4D

Published by | Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

It’s easy for motion graphics artists to neglect their modeling skills. Websites like Turbosquid, and the wide availability of amazing model libraries mean that a lot of artists can go for a long time without ever modeling anything from scratch. But what happens when a job or client comes along that requires a specific model that you can’t find? Don’t panic! The polygon modeling tools in CINEMA 4D are helpful and easy to use.

Points, Edges, and Polygons are the basic building blocks of all objects in the 3D world. Everything from a simple sphere to a photo-realistic model of a T-Rex are made of these elemental parts. This week on Design in Motion, I’ll show you how to build and animate a simple model of a paper airplane to use as a prop in a logo animation.

For those more advanced modelers who have mastered the CINEMA 4D Essential Training course, I recommend taking your animation skills to the next level with CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo to learn how to take a 15-second promotional video from concept to on-screen animation, and into final rendering and compositing.

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion series on lynda.com
• The full CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo course on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

Using After Effects’ render queue to be more efficient

Published by | Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

At the end of a long day of bending pixels, it is a really satisfying feeling to hit the start button on a long stack of renders in After Effects. As an example, this link shows a screen grab of a render queue I set up on a project. Long render queues like this are not at all uncommon. In my example there are 48 separate render queue entries, but I’m actually rendering out something like 100 different elements. That’s because each render queue item can generate many different outputs. This is a really efficient way to do things, and anyone who’s taken one of my classes will tell you that I’m all about being efficient.

In this edition of Design In Motion, we’re going to explore some ways to be more efficient and do more with less in the After Effects render queue. When we’re done, take a look at the After Effects CS5 Essential Training series by Chad Perkins for more great ways to work with this powerful animation tool.

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion series on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All After Effects courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5.5 New Features
After Effects CS4: Apprentice’s Guide to Key Features
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects
After Effects CS4 Beyond the Basics

Motion tracking and color keying with After Effects

Published by | Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Motion tracking (the ability to follow the location of an object in a piece of footage, and use this information to stabilize that shot or animate other layers) and color keying (the ability to make a green- or blue-screen background transparent so that you can replace it with a new image) are two essential visual-effects tasks you need to learn if you want to take your After Effects skills to the next level.

In After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying, Chris Meyer covers tracking and keying basic and essential skills including a quick tour of mocha, the third-party tracking software that is bundled with After Effects, and an introduction to The Foundry’s KEYLIGHT, an Academy Award-winning keying effect that is also built into After Effects.

Throughout the course, Chris shows you how to use the motion tracker and stabilizer built into After Effects, and offers advice on how to handle a variety of shot scenarios. He also discusses how to use tracking and keying to track a greenscreen shot with a handheld camera and replace its background.

While practice is the secret to mastering your tracking and keying skills, getting to look over someone else’s shoulder as they perform these tasks is a great way to jump-start your learning curve.

Interested in more?
• The full After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying series on lynda.com
• All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com
• All 56 lynda.com courses on After Effects
• Courses by Chris Meyer on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
After Effects CS5.5 New Features
After Effects Apprentice 04: Layer Control
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects