DMA Central

THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY FOR DIGITAL MEDIA ACADEMY

Creating Asymmetry with 3D Models and Animation

When you create a 3D animated character there are several things to keep in mind. 3D modeling and animation is a process that requires you to constantly evaluate what you’re creating. That’s why it’s helpful to group the thousands of visual choices you have available to you according to basic, fundamental principles. One of the most important of these principles is the idea of asymmetry.


In the context of design (particularly in 3D modeling and animation), asymmetry is vitally important in establishing both believability and interest.

Finding Balance
Why is asymmetry so important in 3D creation? Asymmetry helps establish believability. Just take a look at the world around you. For the most part, unless it’s a car, machine or other man-made device, it’s naturally asymmetrical. Asymmetry also helps establish interest because of variations in the object. Take a look at the example below…


The image on the left side is asymmetric, while the image on the right side is symmetric. As you can see, my face isn’t as interesting to look at when it’s the same on both sides.

How does this translate into 3D modeling and animation?  How do we achieve asymmetry in 3D creation program like Maya? Actually, there are some easy ways to accomplish this:

Mirror Model
One common approach to modeling characters is to work on one half and then mirror the geometry to the other side.  This is a smart way to work, as it resembles the rough symmetry of most characters and simultaneously cuts the work in half.  However, this leaves us with a completely symmetrical model when we want something more believable.  It looks manufactured. Avoid this by simply altering certain elements of the object on one side of the model. Do this by scaling or sculpting or using lattice deformers.


Altering little details (like eyebrows or the corner of a mouth) can help make a character asymmetrical.

Animation Asymmetry
Modifying a 3D model can easily add asymmetry, but how do we incorporate asymmetry into animation? One is posing your model with asymmetry. Take a look at the two poses below:


Of these two poses, the model on the right is more dynamic and more believable.

Finally, during the animation process, motion curves representing opposite sides of the body can be offset to provide a sort of temporal asymmetry. This creates a pleasant overlap and flexibility to a character action, and it’s an important step in creating a believable sense of weight.

In summary, asymmetry is a vital step in creating believable characters. When you use asymmetry, you demonstrate to the viewer your thoughtfulness as a animator, modeler and designer.

Geoff Beatty teaches 3D modeling and animation using Maya for Digital Media Academy. He was previously profiled on DMAC. Geoff is one of only a handful of Autodesk-Certified Instructors in Maya, the leading 3D animation software program.

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posted by Geoff Beatty in Maya,News Blog and have No Comments

Walt Disney’s 3D Film Invention & The Future of Filmmaking

Walt Disney was someone way ahead of his time. He defied critics and conventional wisdom by making a cartoon over an hour in length into a feature film (“Snow White”). In 1937, he was again ahead of the curve by making 3D cartoons.


Walt explaining the Multiplane Camera. The original Multiplane Camera used to shoot such classics as “Bambi,” “Snow White” and “Pinocchio” is now on display at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA.

The Most Advanced Animation Tool Before The Computer
Using a technology that wasn’t surpassed in animation until the introduction and use of computers, the Multiplane Camera was the most advanced piece of technology of its day for making animated movies. We found this great piece of video of Walt introducing audiences to the new technology through his weekly television show, “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”

Animators today use Maya to create jaw-dropping 3D landscapes and make 3D characters come to life on movie screens. In fact, Maya is the entertainment industry standard in computer animation – used to render everything from Woody in “Toy Story” to that little dancing bar of soap on television. Video-game developers also use Maya to create landscapes and characters, just like their counterparts do in the movies. Do you want to know how to become a Maya expert? Becoming an animation wiz using Maya could put you on a path to becoming the next Walt Disney.

Digital Media Academy offers courses in Maya taught by industry professionals. DMA’s Maya 2012 Pro Series Courses like Maya 2012: Introduction, Maya 2012: Character Modeling & Rigging, Maya 2012: Animation & Visual Effects, or Maya 2012: Texture & Lighting are all great ways to create, build on or enhance your animation skills. DMA’s one-week- and two-week-long computer and digital arts summer camps will inspire you to create the future of animation.

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posted by Vince Matthews in Art & Animation,Featured,News Blog and have No Comments

DMA's Maya Certification Program – An Accelerated, Immersive Experience

DMA’s Maya Certification program centers on its series of 3d modeling and animation courses. These courses are broad and deep and tackle some of the most complex problems and powerful tools in Maya, Autodesk’s industry standard software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and visual effects. From a beginning of how to create basic shapes in Maya I, to a finalized piece with finished facial animations, body rigging, and narrative based story  – the Digital Media Academy series of courses provides an intense submersion into the Maya toolkit and workflow.

Paul Randall and Karen Laszkiewicz – who attended DMA at Stanford University as part of a partnership with NOVA this past summer – in collaboration with other students at animation summer camp created the sample project displayed below.  Both Paul and Karen were among the Digital Media Academy attendees who tackled all four courses back to back.  The amount of technical information was huge.  The requirements to process and apply the information were quick.  And the necessity to work as a team came as an extra spice to the mix.  Paul and Karen were integral parts of a diverse team that included participants of varying ages, abilities, gender, and nationality.  They both kept learning, kept producing and working with the team through the deadline to create the final piece seen here.

This project is based on a story from a children’s book and due to time constraints does not have voice over or final render.  That said, in this format you can see the scripted words (for voice over) and the skeleton (rigged, model) and other directional tools.  The important thing to remember is that Paul and Karen started with no experience in 3d or Maya and after 20 days of class were able to produce this.  Digital Media Academy will get you started on your new career path!  The skills they departed with will enable them to pursue the field of 3d art, modeling and animation as a viable career path.  What are you interested in learning with Maya?  Is it time to learn new skills to be competitive in today’s employment marketplace?  Why not learn new skills and have fun too at Digital Media Academy’s Maya summer camp?  Please join the conversation, and leave a comment below! 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy_0KU6mUj0

Looking for more information on Maya Certification?  Please click here:  Maya Certification   Which Digital Media Academy location will work best for you?  Take a look!  Please click here:  Digital Media Academy Adult Training Locations.

 

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posted by David in News Blog and have Comment (1)

Learning Maya made simple

By Dave Bittorf, Lead 3d Modeling and Animation Instructor, DMA @ UC San Diego

Learning Maya can really open some doors for you in the world of 3D, animation, and special effects.  This will be my 3rd summer with DMA and I love how streamline the curriculum is.  Here is a quick overview of the Maya I and II courses.

maya8-5_flexshot_3d_3in_web-copy

MAYA I : Introduction to 3D Modeling
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Maya has become one of the foremost 3D packages in the film industry. Participants in this Maya I training course will explore the Maya interface, workflow and production pipeline. The course includes an in-depth analysis of the modeling and texturing process. The class will also introduce students to basic rigging, blendshapes and other character animation functions.

During the course, you’ll use many of Maya’s high-end modeling tools to create a fully modeled, textured, lit and rendered interior set design. You’ll also construct a game character and a higher-poly organic head. And you’ll do basic rigging for a pre-built character including blendshape (for facial animation) setup and use these rigs for basic character animation

MAYA II : 3D Character Animation
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In this Maya training course, you’ll learn the advanced features of Maya’s animation package. We’ll explore the dope sheet and graph editor in depth, and learn about keyframes and how to manipulate them to create believable motion. Many of the basic tenets of good animation will be covered to help you understand the difference between motion and believable physics and weight-based animation.

During the course, you’ll create multiple animation projects, including custom rigs utilizing techniques like IK, spline IK, custom skinweights and custom character control systems. These projects (including illustrations of stretch & squash, the whip principle, secondary motion and anticipation/action/follow-through) will be output both as playblasts and portfolio-ready rendered clip.

I hope you can join DMA for an amazing Maya learning experience this summer.

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posted by Instructor in News Blog and have No Comments