It took some digging to find this info so I wanted to repeat it here so I’d have access to it as well as anyone else.

The problem is that in Flash it won’t export png sequences images of movie clips dropped in the main timeline. It is obvious it won’t work since when you slide from frame to frame the movie clips don’t change. Here are the step to get the movie clips to change as well as help export the png sequence.

 

1) Create your animations however you like (nested symbols etc)
2) Drop them on to the stage
3) Select all instances on the stage and change their type to “Graphic” from the property windows
4) Make sure that your main timeline has as much frames as your longest nested animation, that is, just add a key frame on your main timeline at that point. The number of frames that the png exporter exports is equal the number of frames on your main timeline and blatantly ignores the frames of the nested movie-clips. So you have to manually specify that number.

 

 

Posted in Art.

Something I wasn’t aware of was that I can basically apply a mask in Illustrator just like you can in Photoshop.

Simply select the mask and all the paths that are being masked.

Then go to the Pathfinder Tool Palette and click on Trim.

That’s pretty much it. I’d been wanting something like that in Illustrator for a long while but didn’t know how to do it. Figured I’d share this to help out.

apply mask, cut mask, crop mask, mask apply, flatten mask

Posted in Art.

Advanced Doc For Experienced Maya users.

Working with HumanIK in Maya and came across a problem with adding bones and controls to the character rig. Also ran into issues with making animation clips in the trax editor once the new bones were added the the HumanIK character set.

The main problem was that my new bones and controls added by hand to the HumanIK would become corrupt. I spent a week trying various ways to set this up an not have issues. I couldn’t find this specific problem on the internet so I wanted to offer my solution.

(used Maya 2013)

Build the HumanIk skeleton
Move/reposition all the joins as needed and add remove any feature joints such as fingers, toe and extra arm twists.
One you are certain this it what you want you can lock the skeleton.
Create the HumainIK control rigs
I noticed some slight unstable issues when I rescaled the controls or set the controls to be in different shapes. So at this point I left this alone.
Select the HumanIK Ctrl_Reference node in the outliner and create a character set.
You are doing this to store all animation data that the Ctrl_Refernce uses to animate the skeleton. This new character set is what is loaded/saved in the Trax Editor.

At this point the setup you have for the HumanIK should be final. Run test with it, bind it to a skin and test that. Do everything you can think of to make sure the rig design meets all your requirements. The reason for this is that at this point is it easy to go back and alter/tweak the skeleton without corrupting any new bone you may add later.

Once the rig is judged complete hand created bones can be added.
I found that creating the bones where I needed them and then attaching them using Skeleton/Connect Joint (parent joint) worked best at preventing them from being corrupt when animating later on.
But before I connected then bones I made all the controls I would need as well.
This is where things were tricky. I had a misconception that since my controls were like the HumanIK that they could be placed into the Ctrl_Reference node. This was not correct as all and caused me lots of problems trying to figure out why my controls were acting so bizarre.
After I made all the new bones and controls, I set up the child parent constraints for the bones and controls as needed. Next I clicked and dragged in the outliner the controls to be under the original HumanIK skeleton name_Reference as needed (ponytail, under head joint, hand prop under hand joint.
After that I selected the new hand prop joint and then the RightHand joint and used Skeleton/Connect Joint.

Now we have the joints connected to the HumanIK but we don’t have them connected to the character set. Well, we don’t want that. I tried many,many ways to do this but connecting the new controls with the original HumanIK controls always caused corruption when animating from a file referencing this rig.

Create a new character set for the new controls that has no connection to the HumanIK controls at all.

Next I’d save obviously and open the skin file, reference the rig, bind the skin. I save this file and lock it since I really shouldn’t be adding any changes to it except for tweaks the the weights. I do however work in the file to make new animation clips and export them to be loaded and edited later as needed.

I know I left out the detail on each step, if I have time, I’ll add them, but I know there is already plenty of info available on each part of the process, just not info on the work flow. Good Luck. :)

Posted in Art.

I make textures for 3D  simulation models and have done the same for video games. In a way I’m manipulating photos to create those texture for models.

Here is an example of photo manipulation I did for a friend. The bottom image is the original and the top it the edited image. He ask me to tweak the colors so the sky was more saturated and also to removed the boat on the lower right. It was a fun challenge.

Posted in Art.

Here are a few sketches of heads. While I had some fun with the facial expression I also spent time adding some faint reds and blues for the skin tone. I have done this before with great success when using pastels. However I have to be more subtle with watercolor or the colors will over power the person’s face.

If you have kids from the age of 13- 18 and you would like to give them a chance to learn culture then come out October 11th (Thursday). I’ll be there giving kids a chance to animate. There is going to be a stage set up for kids to read poems and many other artist to share their craft.

Khalid Robertson-Illustrator
Trayce Cochran-Mixed Media
Desmond Blair-Painter
Jeremy Biggers-Custom Baseball Caps
Raymond Casidy-Digital
Cosmo Art-Fire/Aerosols
JC Barba-Digital
Karl Lake-Custom Toys

DaVerse Lounge Season 8 | Spoken Word Open Mic | Interactive Live Art | Live Band | Free
Thursday, October 11 at 7:00pm in CDT at Life In Deep Ellum

Posted in Art.

One choice was already made for me, Unity is the program that is used to made Fury. So I’d being using Unity documents to learn about what the iPad can and can not do. This would also help me keep the challenging project less complex.

My original choice was Maya since I’ve used it for a long time but my friends suggested I take a look at 3D Max and the CAT tool.

I did a few tutorials and then did several experiments trying to find the ideal bone setup for the characters I would design. I ran into a few issues that slowed me down but it was a great tool that out weighed the issues.

Here are somethings I ran into that slowed me down.
The CAT tool works best with centimeter than it does with meters. This had to do with the grid size. The CAT bones work better if they are significantly larger than a single grid unit.
The weight tool replaced removed weigh automatically which can be difficult when it makes the weight on a left foot for example end up linked to the right leg.
I have not been able to figure out a way to make an IK for the head. I’d like to be able to have the head not react so much to the torso and spine.

However, the bonus is the layers. It took me a few days of playing around with this before I got the hang of it and found ways to make it work to my advantage.

During all these experiments I was also exporting my primitive model and animations to view them in Unity. I wanted to learn the work flow as well as see if any issues come up and how to resolve them.

A few things to be aware of. Unity uses meters so while it was fine to work on the characters in centimeters I’d need to export them to meter scale. This can be done easily in the FBX export options.
Unity also prefers that the origin axis be with the Y axis up and 3D Max only works with Z axis up. There is also a setting for this in the FBX exporter.
I had trouble getting my textures to work correctly and after a lot of research and experiments found that TGA textures with or without alpha seem to be the better option for working in 3D Max and Unity.

I want to challenge myself but I also need a project that is reasonable in scope.

I’m a 2D and 3D artist so I needed to decide on the best medium. With 2D I could create and animate the book with vector or raster images. Doing it this way would mean making sprites and with sprites means lower quality resolution. Doing it this way also requires two databases of art one for print (high resolution) and video display (low resolution). Also worth mentioning is that it would limit the number of frames in animation that could be used.

Another option is to use 2D art on 3D planes and animate it with bones. This is done exceptionally well by Mike Mobile. http://www.mikamobile.com/game3_1.html They use more than just one image for the legs and arm movements. Using a switch to change from a bended knee to a straight or kicking position. Do a search on them to learn more if you are interested. This option would free up more space for animation and make it possible to do more than a simple looping animation movement.

Also possible, would be to model and animate the characters and some of the sets in 3D. This would mean the animations could be more elaborate. The sets could also be more immersive and I could play around more with camera angles and find interesting views. After talking with my friends this seemed like the more interesting choice.

Most of this and last year I have been working on an indy game with David Ayers and Nik Billings with the spare time I have available. You can see more about this project here http://wwflgames.com/

After working on Fury I had a good idea of how much of my spare time I could reasonably offer to make a quality children’s book. So at the beginning of April I had completed the art for the Fury game and began the pre-production on a personal project. I spoke with some talented and intelligent friends and with some good advise decided to make an interactive book for the iPad that could also be made for print.

I will be posting some of my experiences here and I hope that despite my poor typing skills I can explain what I have learned and help anyone who may run into the same issues.

 

-Raymond Casady