TAR of Zandoria, Episode 1

[youtube=http://youtu.be/d18ysusFmx0]

I’ve been working on this for so many months, it feels great to finally have something to share with you! Thanks to all of my friends and family who have encouraged me to keep going, especially to my wife Sharissa for her faith and support!

I hope you will share the video with your friends and followers, so that TAR of Zandoria finds some fans 🙂

Zbrush to Animation:Master

I’ve been learning to digitally sculpt in Zbrush, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned Animation:Master. I need to be able to take the sculpture back into my animation program to rig it and animate.

I’m still learning my way around Zbrush, but thought it might be helpful to some if I documented the steps to get a model from Zbrush to A:M:

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ZB2AM-5

The Zremesher is really awesome–I went from almost 1/2 million polygons to a little over 6,000 patches! There are some retopology tools that I’m going to explore too (looks like I can manually redraw sections of the mesh if I don’t like the automatic results…)

Animation Magazine

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I was overwhelmed to open the January issue of Animation Magazine this week–this coming year is the 15 year anniversary of Zandoria Studios, and they included a half-page bio on me and my project!

It was very sweet and made my week! I had just resigned some of my responsibilities at SMP Instore Marketing (my day job), in order to work part time from home and focus on my art…I was pretty nervous about the decision. Reading this tribute brought tears to my eyes–it was a real Godsend. I felt affirmed that I was on the right path

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Victory at Ninja Pass

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Just finished this entry for the Hash Mascot contest for V18. I don’t know that a character has ever won twice–but I just think TAR is an awesome character, and deserves to be on the splash screen every time I boot up A:M!

The background is a quick digital painting in Photoshop (that is how all of the backgrounds for this series are going to be done). the textures are a mix between decals and DarkTrees.

I lit this with just klieg lights and a little global illumination, to try to get that feel that the battle happened in a narrow pass with just some narrow spots of direct light.

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18″ x 24″ Poster
$20

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Zbrush to A:M

I had an idea this evening to see whether I could combine Zbrush and Animation:Master by using the extract command in Zbrush to create equipment (in this case a helmet) and bring that geometry back into A:M as a PROP.

So I exported the Hyena as an .obj and imported it into Zbrush, painted a mask for the helmet and extracted the geometry. I then sculpted some detail–though  not too much, because I wasn’t sure it would work…

helmet

Before exporting the helmet, I ran the Decimation command on it to reduce the polygon count, then exported an .obj file. In A:M I imported the helmet and assigned a rusty steel DarkTree material to it. I dragged and dropped it into an Action and it perfectly aligned with the Hyena model! All I had to do was add a translate to and orient like constraint to the head controller and I was done:

hyena-helmet

I’m not sure if I will use this technique on some of the gear, or if I would just model from scratch in A:M. I just wanted to try it and see what happened. A:M has a reputation for not playing well with polygon-based programs, but I think you just have to understand the limits and work around them. For landscapes or hard-surface objects that don’t need to deform, use the PROP feature and you shouldn’t have any problem.

I recently experimented with modeling a simple landscape object in Sculptris, and it also worked great in A:M

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Bring Your Dreams to Life!

Bring Your Dreams to Life!

I was reading a story in the LA Times about low-budget animated movies. The writer says:

Last year’s “Puss in Boots”was made on the lush 13-acre DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale by 300 people working for four years at a cost of $130 million.

Its knockoff was made on the second floor of an office building just two miles away— by 12 people, in six months, for less than $1 million.

The tone of the article isn’t what got my attention, instead it was the difference in approach between the two types of studios, and the radical difference in thinking… I think that there is a mentality that it can’t be done except the Dreamworks/Pixar/Sony/BlueSky way: lots of people and lots of time.

One of the objectives of The Tin Woodman of Oz project was to road-test the production capabilities of A:M–and it did! I already knew that it could–I used it to create CG animation for Brian Michael Stoller’s “Miss Cast Away” a few years before. There is no reason that producers wanting to try to cash in on the animation craze shouldn’t be looking at Animation:Master and its community of animators.

I’ve been working with A:M since 1999, and I can take a character sketch and turn it into a ready-to-animate model. Or I can start with just your idea or script and help you to produce it. I’m available as a consultant if you need help setting up a studio, or with training.

For an independent animator, or a small studio, or if you are a producer looking to create an animated film, I can help you bring your dream to life.