Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A guide to Cloth Simulation - by me!

I've always grumbled about the lack of documentation on cloth simulation.  Why won't people take the time to write things out?!  Well, it's time for me to put up or shut up.  I'm in the process of making a novice friendly guide to cloth simulation using Maya nCloth.  Since it's aimed at complete novices, it won't be full of technical mumbo-jumbo.  It's just as well.  I hate that (see one of my earlier entries).  If you write something, everyone should be able to understand it, that's what I think.  Anyway, someone asked me if I was going to put it online.  I hadn't thought about it until he asked me.

I think I will.

When it's done, I hope people benefit from it, and understand my insane ramblings.  I'm always up for critiques.  For the one random person who wanders into this blog: if you see my "tutorial", check it out and give me some tips on how to improve it.

In the meantime... feel free to stare at this page and, I dunno, wait for it?


Friday, June 11, 2010


Today started off horribly.

Already laden with shots to work on, two of the shots I'd finished a couple of weeks ago were sent back to me.  In and of itself, that's not a problem.  Some times the bigwigs catch something everyone else missed.  The thing that made it awful were WHAT shots came back.  Two beastly, pain in the butt, God-why-was-I-born shots that REFUSE TO STAY FINISHED where thrown into my lap... again.  I just had to stare at the screen for ten minutes and cry internally.  I had to mentally prepare myself the hell I'd have to go through to fix the problem.

During these ten minutes of praying for an easy button, I couldn't help but think about my job.  Is this all really worth it?  Do I like what I do?  Do I really want to put up with this for the next 45 years of my life?  I surprised myself when I answered all of those questions with one word:


When the animators break the rig, when heads make 360 degree turns on all three axis' within .3 seconds of each other, when elbows go through the torso and stay there for 300 frames, when Maya crashes when I try to save after 10 minutes of back breaking work, when someone deletes all of my cloth caches on the worst cloth shot in the animated short, when someone doesn't cache at all, when the hair explodes on the last frame, I still thank God that I have the best dern job in the world.  I look forward to coming in every day and figuring out my shots.

I love my ghetto fixes.

I love hand animating random verticies.

I love that feeling when devil shots are finished and they look awesome.

I love knowing that everything I do will go completely unnoticed by everyone who doesn't do cloth/hair work.  That just means I did my job well.

The 18 ulcers that are developing in my stomach as I type will kill me by age 29, and still, I love my job.  How awesome is that?