3ds Max 2010, Advanced to Expert book

loocas | 3ds Max,miscellaneous,opinions | Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

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I was lucky enough to have been picked as one of the authors for 3dats’s new book, titled: 3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualisation, Advanced to Expert.

3ds Max 2010 Architectural Visualisation, Advanced to ExpertMy chapter was on advanced techniques of UV mapping and unwrapping. I covered stuff that I haven’t seen anywhere in a book or a tutorial, so it should be pretty exciting for those, and especially for those, who do not like UV mapping (I guess, 99% of all artists? :D )! Yes, you should go buy the book and read the chapter (of course there are tons of quality information from other authors), since you’ll get to know how UVs work, what are the common mistakes and pitfalls when UV mapping and mainly, how to spend as little time and effort UVing your complex meshes.

The book is chock-full of very high quality stuff, from what I’ve been able to see so far, which also makes it one of the most advanced topic book on the market I know of. It has been put together by 20 expert authors, writhing each individual chapter, to ensure you’re getting the best info from some of the best artists in the industry!

The book is up for a preorder now, for about $99 USD + Shipping and I think this is a bargain, considering some training DVDs from one author on one topic cost about as much. This is a great deal and if you ask me ;) do yourself a favour and preorder the book today!

Go see Transformers 2! NOW!

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Monday, June 29th, 2009

Transformers 2 Revenge Of The Fallen

If you haven’t seen this orgasmic ILM showreel, GO SEE IT NOW!

It’s simple, if you ever want to even think about calling yourself a VFX artist, forget about it! unless, of course, you work at ILM, in that case I bow down and disappear silently…

I’ve seen it twice already and once I get to the US (for this year’s Siggraph), I’ll go see it at a local IMAX as I feel it’s my duty as a VFX artist wannabe to honor this work of pure CG awesomeness in 4K!

Hats off to all those involved in making this VFX masterpiece… :bowdown:

I hate modern art

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Yes, I do! Why? Well, first of all, this sort of art has nothing to do with craft or creativity, in my opinion. In the end, anyone can randomly sketch a few geometrical elements scattered around the canvas, right? Secondly, modern art is way too arrogant for my tastes. I wouldn’t dare to call any of my creations art, as it is not! So when I see or hear a hot discussion whether some painting is or is not art, my blood starts to boil…

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I’ll never buy another Western-Digital MyBook HDD

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Friday, June 26th, 2009

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Let me get this straight: I love WD HDDs, all eight of those in my workstation are from WD. They’re super-reliable, fast, affordable and quiet. On the other hand, the MyBook external drives are really shitty!

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HTC Touch Diamond 2

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Friday, June 19th, 2009

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The best mobile phone you can get! Sure I’m a bit biased :D as I really dig HTC’s phones, but this one is truly remarkable!

I used to own TyTN II, then I bought a lower-end S730 smart-phone, but now I went back to touch enabled pohnes with this one. Not only does it have a huge screen with absolutely awesome resolution (800×480), which is even suitable for more demanding tasks, such as remote desktop administration (checking on your render machines while on the go is just the thing that gets you the chills, if you’re geeky like me ;) ). Also, since it’s a WinMo device, there are tons of apps. you can use for your daily work! I couldn’t live without Total Commander for example or XnView! Also, other apps that take advantage of the G-Sensor, like a compass, level or a protractor, very handy!

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The best keyboard I could have bought

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions | Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Logitech Illuminated Keyboard

I like Logitech products, I love my MX1000 mouse and I love the keys layout my keyboard had. Which actually turned out to be a problem when I started looking around for a keyboard to replace my current, classical old, keyboard. The thing is, Logitech made some keyboards with a specific layout I grew used to for the past years I’ve been typing on it. Especially when scripting, you get used to the Tab placement, the strangely sized Enter as well as the size and placement of Shift and other keys. This was a bit of a problem as most keyboards out there, including those from Logitech, didn’t have this same layout, which bothered me. Even more so when I wanted an illuminated keyboard.

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3ds Max fur is really badly implemented

loocas | 3ds Max,opinions,technical | Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Have you ever experienced, all of a sudden, Max to stop rendering furry objects? No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, no nothing, it just won’t! Also, another great thing is the shading of the fur. You can setup fancy lights, fancy shadows, nice speculars etc… and then you realise your fur is totally overbrightened from… hell I know?!

I really envy the 3Delight implementation of Shave and a Haircut’s hair/fur geometry and the shaders, they work beautifully and exactly you want (obviously, you wrote the shader so if it wasn’t working the way you wanted, it’d be a huge bug).

Anyways, 3ds Max’s hair and fur is really, really, bad. It’s not even good for low-budget, low-end productions, it’s completely useless. The only thing that might have a chance of pushing it a bit farther was mrPrim rendering. But then again, mental ray is also such a terrible renderer (at least in 3ds Max) and then again, hair and fur is so buggy in Max it isn’t even worth mentioning.

Man I hope Autodesk does something about this issue soon, or everyone will have to move to proprietary solutions for hair and fur stuff. As they’ve been doing forever anyways… *sigh*

System units setup in 3ds Max

loocas | 3ds Max,technical | Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I can’t believe how many artists are actually confused and misuse the Units Setup dialog.

I hope to provide a definitive answer to using this dialog and properly setting up your system units in 3ds Max in this article, for good!

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Master Zap to the rescue!

loocas | 3ds Max,technical | Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

I knew I’d not only get an answer but a complete solution to my black lines problem with mental ray, when I ask no other than the big Mr. Zap himself!

He pointed me to a discussion of this issue in mental ray, which turned out to be a NaN issue in floating point value pixels. Thankfully, there also was a solution to this problem, which was to use, one of mr’s great features and advantages (custom shaders), a Lens shader written by David Landier.

This, D3DBlackSpotsRemover lens shader does a simple math to check for a value of each pixel and fixes it if it finds a deviation.

D3DBlackSpotsRemover

Thankfully, this bug has been fixed in 3ds Max 2010, but I’m yet to test it out to see for myself and seems to be working just fine, which is awesome news! Anyways, big, big thank you to Master Zap and David Landier of course, they’re the men when it comes to mental ray!

Edit: Sorry for not posting the direct link to the shader, here it is over at David’s site.
The site is a bit confusing, so I took the liberty and mirrored the shader on my server, without permission however, so if you read this, David, and don’t want me to mirror your shader, let me know and I’ll take it down immediately.
Here’s the mirror: DL3D_BlackSpotsRemover

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