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the_Monkey

The Mind of Marc Ecko

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I'm with Sermon in coming late to this thread. Wow! I'm going to have to read this again in more detail and watch it. This is the monkey we know, the ideosyncratic monkey who creates things in his own style with unique tricks but backs them up with solid fundamentals and a huge capacity for work and a never-exhausted creativity. It's a blessing to have this kind of thread.

 

I knew you'd love SteadyCam. Even the simplest settings make possible things that you wouldn't try otherwise. I wonder if Lennart knows about this bit of work. The current SCP is almost too much when combined with the way the c4d v10 timeline got revised and abused. I love that you can animate with a SteadyGlide as a master, which means you only have that one thing to bake rather than a bunch of cameras, which used to be a shitty waste of hours that could be spent doing more creative things.

 

Did you use the C4D>Motionbuilder>FBX trick to get the C4D cameras into Maya? I just started trying this workflow, and there's slippage even though the camera is baked. Did you find a solution?

 

But enough geekery. The thing that I love is the hourglass coming out of the negative space. For me that's pure 2002 Brand New School, the kind of smart design thinking that made me want to get into this business in the first place. Plus it's a good smile to have an hourglass be the transition element from 'woman shape' to 'watch.' I mean, you couldn't sit down and think of a better word-game connection between the idea of 'female body' and 'time.' Oh yeah, the hourglass shape of her body, or in this case, the negative space between them. Actually, in my experience, when two beatiful women touch asses, time stands still. But maybe that's just me.

 

Off to look more.

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Hey... i can't speak for monkey as to how he exported the cameras, but i am relatively sure he just did a normal fbx export. When i took his cameras into my maya scene file, the camera data had become baked out. The only real problem with the data from then on was that the stepped keyframes were facing the wrong way. So for instance, rather than holding position from frame 1 to frame 10 and then changing position, the stepped frame would go the other way. So the value would change on frame 2 rather than waiting until frame 10. I don't know if that made sense to anyone, but it was a very easy fix to reverse the steppes. There was one instance with one of the cameras that we had some trouble trading off the information. But it was at a point were monkey had used a lot of tricky camera work... and a work around was shortly after achieved. All in all, trading information back and for was a huge success. -D

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So you didn't need to use this workflow: http://www.cmivfx.com/m/c4d_to_maya3dt.mov

 

I couldn't do without it. Maya read the cam all wrong, but then our guy was working in Maya 7. The important things were to have the newest fbx plugin for maya and while importing use the middle check box on the left side middle for Euler coordinates. This was to have a c4d-animated baked steadycam match its corresponding c4d-built geometry in maya, so that the maya guy could throw in animated geometry in a few places.

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Govinda (you make me blush), but you'll be happier to know that the two watches in the hourglass are there because they're the two women's watches (visual communi...cay?...shun?). I was terribly frightened that we were going to have to use "big-booty-hoes" to sell that section (*shakes head*). This was being shown to some pretty fancy watch people so we knew we had to strike a balance between sexy and classy.

 

As for motionbuilder... nope, no motionbuilder.

 

Say who!?

 

That's right! That's why I think this is so cool... I think the FBX between Maya and C4D is now usable! When we started the project we budgeted a little extra time to figure out any scripting necessary to translate the data, but as I remember, it worked on the first try. I want to say it even worked on standard cameras that were not baked.

 

As much of a pain in the ass baking is, I did start to prefer it towards the end. Once I baked a camera I would archive the original and both Drizzle and I would use the baked camera. After we got 2 or 3 sections in it started rolling pretty well. The one thing I didn't really understand was what Drizzle mentioned above... the step direction. I *never* use stepped keyframes; I almost always make soft curves with zeroed angles. I didn't really understand why they showed as stepped keyframes in maya, but he figured out the reversal that he mentioned above... and everything matched perfectly.

 

There was one section that had massive rotational math problems. It was one of those cameras that somehow got nested deeply in a complex hierarchy. It couldn't tell the difference between +/- 360 and flipped around a lot (but consistently). That was when I could tell it was a C4D problem because C4D wouldn't import it's own export properly. You know what ended up being a fantastic workaround? I simply added a PSR constraint to a dummy object in the root hierarchy. The constraint "solved" all the math to work in global coordinates and that's what I baked and exported to FBX. Worked great.

 

Every time I use SteadyCamPro I learn something new about it. I know you've been using it for quite awhile, govinda. Do you have a method for baking FOV? I can't remember, but I think I did the following:

 

1) wrote some xpresso that fed the FOV data to a null object's position track

2) baked the null

3) copied the baked data back into a standard camera's FOV track

 

Effective... but tedious. Is there a good reason why C4D can't bake any track capable of animation? Are track baking capabilities something he could add or is that a MAXON thing?

 

-m

Edited by the_Monkey

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I think the FOV bake you hit on is the one Lennart recommends. I just work without zooms. I've been using SC for a year, but I use the same features most of the time, like spline-self-targeting, swapping targets and paths, jogging off the path left/right/up/down, free targeting as a last resort, and using Glide. I tried playing with 'orbit' for awhile but it created one of those dreaded unfixable situations, as in, it looked great but only worked that one way, and if it needed changing it was hell.

 

The one thing I discovered is that Glide is better than using a second spline path (what Lennart calls Rig Point 2) when you have to detour to another camera. I also keep his 'soft' and 'naturals' as low as I can get them because they create slowdowns when you least want them. I think a time track over the top is still useful.

 

I never considered constraints. They're useful for so many things, like ground collisions.

 

Too funny that I read more into the hourglass than you put into it. I'm forever doing that because most of the time in undergrad poetry classes that knid of speculation paid off. But it's still there, that hourglass/woman comparison, and really sometimes these things hit you on some level even if you're the creator and don't overtly try to make the comparison.

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Too funny that I read more into the hourglass than you put into it. I'm forever doing that because most of the time in undergrad poetry classes that knid of speculation paid off. But it's still there, that hourglass/woman comparison, and really sometimes these things hit you on some level even if you're the creator and don't overtly try to make the comparison.

Trust your poetry gut man!

You were right about the female imagery (perhaps my words devolved the clarity of the image). We were very much trying to glue the iconography of time and the female form... but specifically to the two female watches (which may not have been obvious).

 

-m

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Thanks for the detailed posting, i have an extremely short attention span and i read it all the way through. I really appreciate the c4d scene file as well. Great stuff.

 

-Matt

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So you didn't need to use this workflow: http://www.cmivfx.com/m/c4d_to_maya3dt.mov

 

I couldn't do without it. Maya read the cam all wrong, but then our guy was working in Maya 7. The important things were to have the newest fbx plugin for maya and while importing use the middle check box on the left side middle for Euler coordinates. This was to have a c4d-animated baked steadycam match its corresponding c4d-built geometry in maya, so that the maya guy could throw in animated geometry in a few places.

 

 

I definetly did NOT use motion builder when importing the C4D FBX file into maya. The problem that was demonstrated in that movie you linked to used to occur when monky and i tried to trade cameras in the past, however that isn't the case anymore. I'm not sure whether it was that i was using the latest FBX plugin, or that i was using the latest version of maya (8.5), but the cameras imported correctly ( for the most part) right off the bat. The only exception being that the baked keys were stepped in the wrong direction.

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Hi. Again, congrats on the very cool work and of coarse thanks for trusting SteadyCAMPRO as your camera tool!

 

It is interesting that Cinema<-FBX->Maya "all of a sudden" works! I have more or less no Cinema/Maya experience

but there is also a Camera to Maya exporter plugin included in the latest PhotoMatch by Arndt von Koenigsmarck as well as

a new separate Maya export/import plugin called CaMaya. Maybe something to check for future work. And maybe see if

it doesn't make "backwards" key steps. I did dload the Maya8.5 PLE just now to check myself but haven't had time to look into it yet.

AvK's plugins at:

 

http://www.vreel-3d.de

 

Regarding baking FOV, TargetLength etc, Cinema only bakes position,Scale and Rotation and not anything else.

(With the exception of "Capuccino" PLA baking )

As SteadyCAMPRO is a coffee plugin, creating keyframes is not possible.

As you did -m, baking a Null and moving its keys to the camera is the way.

 

Cheers

Lennart Wåhlin - tcastudios

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...and then Lennart went and fixed the problem by creating a new expression called MaBaker. Released today (or tomorrow if you're in Sweden). :D

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...and then Lennart went and fixed the problem by creating a new expression called MaBaker. Released today (or tomorrow if you're in Sweden). :D

WHAT!?!

Jeez, talk about some "squeaky wheel" action! Thanks Lennart!

I want members of US Congress to respond to problems as quickly as my 3D developers!

 

:)

 

-m

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nice review thanks for the insight. I think the material you may be looking for in mental ray for maya to make the hourglass more clear and bright is the dielectric. i nearly got the results of the c4d render right out of the can without too much adjusting. I did bump the ambient to super white, but other than that its fairly close. however i always think its cleaver when you can use more than one 3D app to really exploit the strengths of each package. nice work!

 

i posted the picture of the maya hourglass i worked up here.

 

http://www.paraportable.net/images/hourglass.jpg

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It's a damn good thread

 

:H

 

I think it's what many people are craving for. Instead of regular tutorials that may teach you one gag, this shows many aspects of a real project with creative solutions. If more people would post a few of their inner workings of projects, we would all be in heaven (if I believed in such a place). It's like the mograph equivelent to director's commentaries on DVDs.

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I've just recently been thumbing through the posts here. Thank you for this post, I found the information quite useful and your work is outstanding. I agree with C. Smith and I think this is what more people are craving. Thanks again.

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nice review thanks for the insight. I think the material you may be looking for in mental ray for maya to make the hourglass more clear and bright is the dielectric. i nearly got the results of the c4d render right out of the can without too much adjusting. I did bump the ambient to super white, but other than that its fairly close. however i always think its cleaver when you can use more than one 3D app to really exploit the strengths of each package. nice work!

 

i posted the picture of the maya hourglass i worked up here.

 

http://www.paraportable.net/images/hourglass.jpg

 

 

Thanks for the input.... but the problem wasn't actually getting the glass to look pretty, the problem was getting the watch to look pretty BEHIND the glass. The dialectric material is a wonderful tool i agree, but lighting the watch through the glass was a real pain. Nothing i did to counteract the problem looked as good as the watch did without the glass. So, as time constraints grew near, i just rendered the watches without the glass and then camera mapped the renders back onto the model. A simple but effective trick that ended up saving a lot of time.

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First off, incredible piece. The transitions and blending of 2d and 3d is unbelievably smooth. So this is going to sound like a very amateur question but, as an amateur, I have no shame! What is the distinction in the workflow between Maya and C4D? Why use both programs instead of one or the other? And what is done with each program? Thanks!

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The shifting wallpaper textures are damn sexy, but I have to say I'm surprised the city/gears part is most people's favorites though, I found the city to be kind of out of place compared to how tight everything else was.

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What is the distinction in the workflow between Maya and C4D? Why use both programs instead of one or the other? And what is done with each program?

You will find many threads on mograph describing people's preferences regarding Maya/C4D. Most of those arguments come down to Maya looking a little bit better and C4D being a bit faster and more flexible. It's an empty argument that is largely dependent on the experience of the user. There is little to no advantage of using two different programs... this piece could have been done in either. I mentioned earlier that Drizzle only knows Maya and I only know C4D. We've been working with each other for a few years, but this is the first time we "successfully" blended the two programs.

 

The shifting wallpaper textures are damn sexy, but I have to say I'm surprised the city/gears part is most people's favorites though, I found the city to be kind of out of place compared to how tight everything else was.

The piece definately has it's weak spots. I did mention earlier (I think) that the city scene was slated to get more detail and resolution, but time didn't permit. I felt the camera was pretty good and transition was smooth, which I think is what most people were responding to. I would always pick that combo over a really sweet render that lacked action (and in the non-real world I'd prefer plenty of time and money to make it all happen).

 

The illustrator who developed the wallpaper stills is Dan Funderburgh and he is a cream o' the crop wallpaper designer (among many things he earns a living designing real & virtual wallpapers). Dan's been a very close friend for over 10 years, but this was the first time we actually worked together. It was a real treat.

 

-m

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The illustrator who developed the wallpaper stills is Dan Funderburgh and he is a cream o' the crop wallpaper designer (among many things he earns a living designing real & virtual wallpapers). Dan's been a very close friend for over 10 years, but this was the first time we actually worked together. It was a real treat.

 

-m

 

Sorry to hijack another thread, but those wallpapers are gorgeous, I'm going to have to pick one of those up in hopes that some day I'll have my own place to put them up in :P

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