Digital Sculpting

The first posts out my new series of Notes, to help you understand computer graphics better.

Digital Sculpting is one of the most artist ways of mesh manipulation and most preferred way of creating organic forms example character, environment props, rocks, stones, trees to name a few. It has given artists the freedom to interact with the mesh like traditional clay.

In programs like ZBrush, you get brushes which are similar to traditional tools like clay, rake, and move.

Before the advancement of dynamic mesh generation and equalizing mesh based on active form.

I don’t think anyone who has done digital sculpting would want to go back. Back then you had to draw a cage with NURBS (Non-uniform rational basis spline) curves which are filled with loft or birail functions, this process was known as patch modeling, which would take hours, not getting the desired shape meant redoing it. I have never done it, knowing it was earlier ways of the creative process, make me think the development of the new age tools and advancement in computer graphics.

Today software like Blender come with Sculpt mode, Modo and Maya come with sculpting tool set.

Like such content, I try publishing every Sunday.

Content browser in Maya 2017

Autodesk recently announced Maya 2017 that has a lot of new features and large numbers of improvements and several bug fixes and the biggest changes is also switching to Arnold renderer which is set to be the default render.

It is also set to be faster and more efficient than Mental ray

Mental ray can still be installed as a 3d party plugin, if not may cause issues with files saved in older builds of Maya and may even crash it.

While some may like the new renderer for others it is an extra plugin they need to install to get their favorite render back.

An article will be published sooner that will reveal more details of the change in Maya so stay tuned.

Keep rendering awesome stuff,

Thank you for reading.

Arnold renderer in Maya 2017

Autodesk recently announced Maya 2017 that has a lot of new features and large numbers of improvements and several bug fixes and the biggest changes is also switching to Arnold renderer which is set to be the default render.

It is also set to be faster and more efficient than Mental ray

Mental ray can still be installed as a 3d party plugin, if not may cause issues with files saved in older builds of Maya and may even crash it.

While some may like the new renderer for others it is an extra plugin they need to install to get their favorite render back.

An article will be published sooner that will reveal more details of the change in Maya so stay tuned.

Keep rendering awesome stuff,

Thank you for reading.

Difference between .ma and .mb file type in Maya

In Maya, there are two types of file format you can choose when saving a file .ma and .mb these file types are very different from each other and store content very differently and have different file sizes. But there is a bigger difference than the ones listed above and you might have questions that you want an answer for What is the difference? and Which is a better file format?

Maya Binary

Maya Binary

Maya Binary stores all the content in numerical data and stores exactly as it was represented internally. This means it has a smaller file size and faster to read for Maya in terms of performance. However, the disadvantages are if the file has been damaged it cannot be recovered quite often times and has a higher chance of data corruption.

MayaASCII

Maya ASCII the ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange this stores all the content in characters that is encoded in UTF-8. This means the file is plain text and contains characters which when opened in a source editor can be seen as string data. The file size is also larger and can take a while to open in Maya. The file can be edited to remove the string that is no longer in use or was causing conflict while opening the file in a different Maya environment/setup. There is an example of files with the same content stored in the two different formats. Maya Binary file is not readable.

Maya ASCII

Maya ASCII is readable and displays information like which version of Maya the file was last saved in and which OS was used to create the file. I would recommend Maya ASCII because the files don’t get damaged very often and lets you have access to the content stored in the file. It can also be version controlled which is a good practice if the file needs to have multiple versions or has a big team working on it. Thank you for reading.

How to render wireframe in Maya

Rendering wireframes can be a great way to showcase your model or modeling skills, especially when you have to display renders of your work in a showreel or your portfolio.

Maya ships with Maya Vector renderer, which lets you render vector and also offers option to render the wireframe, which means you can render wireframe of your model without having to use a third party plugin or external renderer.

How to do it.

Go to the render settings window, by clicking the last icon.

Switch to Maya Vector from the renderer drop down menu.

Now the render settings window should look like this.

Go to the Edge Options.

Enable Include edges.

Now click on render, now you will get a similar to the image below.

The final output should look like this.

Thank you for reading.

Difference between 2D and 3D Animation

The animation is divided into two major types, 2D and 3D, these types can also be called styles.

Appearance

You can know the difference between a 2D and a 3D Animation just by the appearance, here is an image of the same character in 2D(Left) and 3D(Right).

2D/ 3D Animation reference

The image is by a 3rd party I don’t hold any rights for it

How it’s made

2D {#2d}

In 2D Animation the animator needs to have strong drawing skills because 2D Animation requires you to draw every frame which makes it really on drawing, these drawings have minor changes which, when arranged in sequence creates a motion picture due to (perception of vision). You only need to draw what is seen by the viewer (example: You don’t need to draw the eyeball if the eyes are closed) These days 2D Animation is created in software (Flash, After Effect, Toonboom Harmony), with the help of digital tablets (pen and tablet), some software these days don’t require you to draw every frame, you only need to draw the keyframes and the software creates in-between by itself, the Animation is tweaked with the help of a graph editor.

3D {#3d}

In 3D Animation the animator works in a 3D workspace know as the viewport, where he controls the environment, component, and objects with 3 axes, X, Y, Z, these axes position property vary depending on the software preference and default settings. You can move your animated subject by using the controls provided after rigging, but things that are not in the view (captured by the camera) still exist, because of the 3D properties (example: The eyes are still present but not directly visible due to overlapping of a mesh structure). The Animation is tweaked with the help of the graph editor, which is available in every 3D Animation software.

If you plan to learn Animation as a course and choose to make it your life, I would suggest you learn both, learning both will help you in understanding the two in a relative manner, if you are planning to learn it has a hobby you can do the same or try out 2D and 3D and choose which you are comfortable with it. Stay tuned to read more about Animation related stuff, you can subscribe via email to receive emails over new articles every week. Thank you for reading.