Friday, December 9, 2011

Some rendered screenshots from the final animation:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This is the Chromakinetic Animated Sequence. Combining it with the set will be next.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

nDynamics are a Good Thing.

Obligatory “finals week has arrived” opener.

Here is the result of several determined hours of nested goal weights, deformers, and particle caching:
As I should’ve guessed, getting telekinetic paint to fly around turned out to be more complicated than it seemed.

Yesterday, while brushing my teeth, I had a massive epiphany to goal the particles to an invisible sphere rigged with various deformers, and then either keyframe the sphere’s motion of put it on a motion curve. When it hit me, I actually yelled out loud and scared my roommate a little bit.

Anyways, here are some test renders of the paint with physical lighting:
“Go now, blob of paint, be free! Join the other blob of paints, it is your destiny.”

I am shooting for having the sequence and set rendered out for class next Wednesday. The camerawork will be simpler than the final animation, which will be completed over the holidays.

I will be giving the camerawork (DoF, lens shaders, etc) and editing (with audio!?!) tons of planning and attention of their own. It will be like another project ENTIRELY.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Performance Capture Sequence

I spent the last couple of days piping the mocap data into Maya. The character isn’t finished yet, but he’s getting there.

I’m still learning MotionBuilder (doubt I will ever stop “learning”) so he took a while to rig and skin. I won’t be capturing face and hands until next semester either.

To animate the fingers, I set driven keys to animate the hands by hand (no pun intended). You have 30 joints in your fingers. My brain went numb during the process.

The rest of the week will be spent on fluid dynamics. I’ve been researching different methods of making flying globs of paint and will probably use particle goals.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Texturing with Fractal Maps

I am excited to be visiting House of Moves tomorrow! Anyways, on to the Chromakinetics update:

As you can see, the film’s set dressing is almost done. Once I choose an HDRI to work with, I will add some details (Graffiti, telephone poles, pipes, grating, and maybe a…pile of trash or a cat or something?)

However, that’s not what this post is about. No. This post is about something very special to me.



How I Learned to Stop Single Image Mapping and Love Procedurally Generated Blending.

Here is a render from this morning. As you can see, the canal’s concrete looks brand-spanking new. I had to come up with a solution to “grunge” it up a bit. After doing some research, I decided that the best way to do that would be through stuffing the corners with moss and adding streaks of grime along the sides of the walls.

The first thing I did was visit CG Textures and I found a good, mossy canal texture. The only problem is that it turned out looking like this:

The texture repeats itself over and over and over again. It looks jarring, as the human eye can pick up unnatural patterns pretty easily. No bueno.

So to fix this I gathered a bunch of other mossy canal textures and built a layered texture out of them. Then, I attached fractal maps to their transparency so that their appearance would be driven procedurally. Check out my shader network:

Note: All the nodes feed into the layeredTexture node. I just arranged this way to save space.

Note #2: This is a very, very simple shader network. Some shaders done professionally are hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of nodes long.

Phew! I am happy this method worked! As you can see, I added some subtle streaks of grime to the sides as well. Another layer or two of detail and these walls are ready for some graffiti.

Two more shots of the how the city looks so far below:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This is an animated short I am working on about a graffiti artist who can telekinetically control and throw globs of paint. It will have a techno-urban feel to it inspired by, (to name a few) Sticker Bomb and Jet Set Radio.

Here’s the main character. He’s wearing a face mask (with oni decal) and goggles.

Character Concept Art
I modeled him in Maya (about 2.5 hours). Some liberties were taken with his stylized look.

I think I will make his mask more “pop cartoon” because its detail is a bit uncanny at the moment.

Chromanaut Character Render

His animation will be powered via motion capture (Vicon Blade and Motionbuilder). The paint itself will be animated using fluid dynamics, fields, and sticky maps.

My goal is to get the effects animation looking similar to the beautifully animated waterbending from Avatar, except with more viscosity (because paint is, you know, thicker).


The animation takes place in a drained flood control channel in the middle of an overdeveloped city. I spent one afternoon extruding buildings and trying to breathe life into the world.

I really love doing this stuff. Yes, I almost became an architect once.

The set is basically a big, graffiti filled t-junction with ends that curve off to the sides.

A big inspiration for the look of the city is illustrator Matt Laskowski. I absolutely admire Matt’s work!

Anyways, I will be texturing the entire city using tri-planar projection mapping this weekend. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Corsair Art/Animation Update!

The Xbox game that has been keeping me away from this blog is coming along nicely! Here are some art assets from the game I’ve been working on:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Giant Paper Crane

The only rule to our final project was that it had to be taller than us.

I decided to make a giant paper crane, something I sort of dove into without much planning. It ended up being pretty fun.

However, folding normal-sized origami cranes is complicated enough; Try folding a piece of paper the size of the entire studio floor.

I mean, I would have to run from end to end to fold the thing in half. It took all my spatial ability to discern whether things inside the crane were correctly aligned. And I took off my shoes so I wouldn’t track dirt on the paper.

As epic as I felt, I’m sure the rest of the class thought I looked like an idiot. I’m kicking myself right now for not videotaping the whole ordeal. It woud’ve made a fun time-lapse film to see me running around like that. I was a lot more sore from lifting and folding than I thought I’d be (that much paper can get pretty heavy). Towards the end, Erika and Amber helped by holding down corners and stuff.

A little bit of wooden scaffolding one weekend (with the help of Zack and my String Cheese Incident playlist) and the sculpture managed to stand up on its own! Holy crap! So many things could’ve gone wrong but didn’t. The glue dried correctly, none of the sides ripped apart, I didn’t dismember myself on the chop saw, etc.

Here’s the final product! Not sure what to do with it, now that critiques are over. Oh well, mission accomplished!

This is my final project for an ITP animation class I took this semester. The focus of the class was on tools, not narrative. It’s a full game of chess though! On the last day of lab practically no one really showed up, so I used every computer to render out all 800+frames in under ninety minutes. Personal record. Also check out Love is Lunacy from last February if you’re more of a story person!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Kawasaki Taxi from Hell

This happened in Japan last summer.

I arrived at Hiyoshi train station after hanging out with a some friends in the city (Read: awkwardly wandering around Shibuya eating ramen and singing terrible Karaoke). At this point, everyone else had gone home, so I decided to take a cab back to Grandpa’s.

I didn’t realize it until we reached my drop-off: The driver mumbles the price is ¥540. I pull out my wallet and, being a gaijin, only have a crisp ¥10,000 bill.

Something I didn’t know about Japanese culture: You always carry small change on you. At all times. Breaking large bills in taxi cabs is apparently a big no-no in Japan. Like streaking in public here in the States, (and Japan, I guess).

As I pull the bill out and hand it to him, he looks at me as if I’m a mentally challenged kid. “No,” he says. “It is 540 yen, please.” I apologize and said that this is all I have. He stares into my eyes (deep into my soul) and gets really angry, saying, “Do you not understand!? It is 560 yen. Why the hell are you handing me 10,000 yen? Why the hell don’t you have change? Idiot!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Café 84 and World Hunger

Though it’s built under my apartment, I rarely go to Cafe 84 anymore. Discovering the glorious Armando’s Lunch Truck basically means that there’s no point to going to that overpriced, brand-named, mediocre-quality, pile of food court crap.

But today we were filming, so I only had a couple minutes to eat. I got some generic scary-yaki fried rice and proceeded to the checkout line, whereupon I beheld this sight:

Miss Gorgeous McTrojan, getting angry over her misorder of “large” nachos instead of “medium” ones. And by ‘misorder’ I mean she ordered the wrong size by accident and by god, it was the cafeteria’s fault.

I knew where this was going. She would refuse to pay for the extra nachos and would send it back to the kitchen. To be thrown away. To fester in the hot Los Angeles sun. What a waste of a perfectly good plate of some perfectly unappetizing nachos.

But as I sat and ate my food, she walked over to the other end of my empty table, and began to furiously devour the huge plate of said nachos.

…So she didn’t send the food back! I felt so proud of her! I really just wanted to tell her, “Thank you. Thank you for taking the high road. Thank you for not needlessly throwing away food in this world where thousands of people starve to death every day. Thank you.

Of course, I didn’t say any of this. I just sat there munching on my rice and thinking about what a great blog post this would make. But when she got about a third of the way in, she stood up, stormed across the room, and dumped the rest in the trash can.

So glad I didn’t say anything.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Some people just shouldn't be architects.

I don’t care which of my hipster friends complains, I like USC’s fine arts and architecture building. Perhaps this is because I spend most of my time on the other side of campus, working/taking classes at the World’s Biggest Cheese Cake Factory (I love it to death George, but come on man).

So yes, I’m fond of Watt Hall. I love its gritty, concrete, almost brutalist design, and the sleek white minimalism of its upstairs and gallery space. And as you can tell by my tumblr theme (and website), that’s my damn cup of tea.

What I don’t love, is whoever’s bright idea it was to put the male and female bathrooms on opposite ends of the U-shaped building. I hate it when buildings do that. You get your hopes up that you finally reached the promised land and then it’s like, “Denied. Wrong moving parts, bro.”

You trudged all the way over there for nothing.

I mean seriously. We finally get a 5 minute break from proposals, and I have to piss like a race horse. I desperately run to where I vaguely remember there being a sink (and by the laws of plumbing, a toilet perhaps). It says, “women.” I wheel about. Where’s the men’s???

Monday, April 11, 2011

Summer of Steak

tl;dr David masters the art of the grill.

“Pass the barbecue sauce,” said my brother. “The flavor is a little bland.”

I cut out a meaty cube my steak knife and surveyed its consistency.

“It’s the cut––it’s too thin. The grill dries it up too quickly. Last time I’m buying carne asada.” Jonathan nodded in agreement, carefully shaking the sauce bottle. Unfortunately, it was a failed effort; the entire contents of the bottle emptied itself onto his plate in a big, gloopy puddle.

“Well,” he grinned. “Still an improvement.”

It was summer vacation and in preparation for apartment living, I had spent every weekend perfecting my steak-grilling technique. Beginning with a couple trips to the local grocer to select a cut––rib-eye one week and tri-tip the next––I then experimented with marinades and temperatures on our backyard grill. I was the cook and my brother was the taster and critic.

Took me long enough.

Finally got to around to deleting my hideous wordpress of an excuse for a blog. I don’t know why I just linked to a…deleted blog.

Anyways, whereas most blog are where people rant about their feelings, I want mine to be different: I am going to rant about my feelings with pictures!

And most importantly:

Stories. Everyone loves stories.

PostScript: Due to good blogging practice, I won’t be making this blog public until I have at least five entries. Which means that if you’re reading this, you’ve been reading long enough to have found me interesting, and we can be friends. High-five to that, friend-o!