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The Mind of Marc Ecko


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#21 javier g

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 02:26 AM

excellent, great to know other people workflow and experience, very kind of you to take the time to share your efforts and the result is also superb, congrats

#22 palmer

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 03:31 AM

Love to see the process of others work. Would like to see more people doing it no matter how small or large the project.
Thanks for taking the time to put this thread together.

Edited by palmer, 08 June 2007 - 03:32 AM.


#23 TheDrizzle

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 04:01 AM

Hey guys... thanks for all the kind words.... and my thanks to Monkey for setting up the breakdowns. I was the Maya artist who rendered out all the watches and modeled a large amount of the objects for the scene. I'm glad this project was so well recieved... it was one of the more technically challenging projects I've worked on and i feel it was one of the most rewarding. Thanks again to everyone who posted. And i'd be happy to field any questions.... Cheers.

Edited by TheDrizzle, 08 June 2007 - 04:03 AM.


#24 drew

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 02:23 PM

this was great... we need more of this type of stuff around here.

cheers and props!

#25 SermonOfMockery

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 06:32 PM

finally got around to reading this- excellent post my friend! you deserve a medal!

also, this is a testament to the power of good animation. when i just saw the boards you posted, i thought it looked solid, but not great. once i saw it move, though, i was blown away. brilliant transitions, timing, and smooth camera movements that really take it from good to great. personally, i'm a terrible animator, so i can totally appreciate how well you pulled that off.

A+

#26 postmodern

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Posted 08 June 2007 - 09:33 PM

so dope. love the camera motions and transitions... siiicck
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#27 Guest_dumbo_*

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 10:08 AM

cheers monkey for the file and the insight. you da man.

#28 govinda

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 08:06 PM

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.

There are no bad keyframes, only misunderstood keyframes.


#29 TheDrizzle

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 07:46 PM

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

#30 govinda

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 09:57 PM

So you didn't need to use this workflow: http://www.cmivfx.co..._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.

There are no bad keyframes, only misunderstood keyframes.


#31 the_Monkey

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 02:05 AM

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, 11 June 2007 - 02:10 AM.


#32 govinda

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 05:32 AM

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.

There are no bad keyframes, only misunderstood keyframes.


#33 the_Monkey

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Posted 11 June 2007 - 07:21 AM

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

#34 mncrnich

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Posted 12 June 2007 - 09:17 PM

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

#35 TheDrizzle

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 05:27 AM

So you didn't need to use this workflow: http://www.cmivfx.co..._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.

#36 tcastudios

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Posted 13 June 2007 - 10:57 AM

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 Whlin - tcastudios
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#37 govinda

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 12:58 AM

...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

There are no bad keyframes, only misunderstood keyframes.


#38 the_Monkey

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 02:23 AM

...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

#39 Ratbaggy

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 02:08 AM

super great. just came back to visit this after not being able to read through your original post properly the other day. thanks for the insight

#40 blackandwhite

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 06:07 AM

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.paraporta...s/hourglass.jpg




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