Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Think Outside the Knot

I don't know how many people are familiar with the story of Alexander the Great and the Gordian Knot.

An oracle told the people of Phrygia that fighting would end in their region when their new king arrived, riding on an oxcart.

Well Gordius, his wife and son (Midas!) arrived in the town by, surprise surprise, oxcart! The people trusted the Oracles word and made Gordius king. In gratitude, Gordius dedicated his cart to Zeus and tied it to a pole with an intricate knot. This was the Gordian knot.

The Oracle said that who ever could untie it would rule all of Asia. Many people came, but none of them could do it. Years later, in 333 BC, Alexander the Great came to Phrygia, now named Gordium, and tried to undo the knot. However, he couldn't find the ends of the knot to untie it. He became impatient and, in a fit of boldness, he took his sword and cut the knot in half.

For all of you people who slept through history class, Alexander the Great went on to conquer most of the known world, including Asia.

What in the world does that have to do with anything? Usually when someone uses the phrase "to cut the Gordian knot" they say it to mean act decisively and with boldness.

I've always taken the phrase to mean "think outside of the box".

It's hard to do that, especially with deadlines looming and grades at stake, but sometimes that's the only way to get something to work. Sometimes, it can actually save a lot of time and work out better for everyone in the end.

There's a story floating around the production of Pixar's The Incredibles. They needed to make the giant wave near the end of the movie. Brad Bird said he didn't care how it got done. If they needed to, they could make a giant wave in a swimming pool and comp it into the movie. Obviously they didn't do that, but it proved that he was open to doing something different to achieve a result.

When presented with a problem, try to think outside of the box. Cheat! Fake it! Everything we do is fake, so a fake fake isn't going to hurt anything if it looks good in the end.

Think of how much more we could learn if we were willing to look for alternative solutions.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Pixar's Brave - Teaser Trailer

I'm ridiculously excited for Pixar's next feature length film, "Brave". Not only does it look stunning, but it's the first Pixar movie to star a lead female protagonist. It's set to come out Summer 2012 and there's already a beautiful teaser trailer for it. Watch it in full screen and full HD!


Monday, June 20, 2011

FakeDYN - amazing script

So, Remi Cauzid is my idol for the moment.  He's created a tool that 'fakes' dynamics in real time.  He's explained what it does himself, so I'll just quote him:

A script I have developed for my rig in Maya.
Super fast, the dynamic result can be seen in real time in the view port.

I am using a simple expression making a delay in position on a locator. Then I am using different locator to drive the chain of joints.

One chain of joints is used as an input animation, and the other one is the result plus dynamic on it.

There is possibility to change the damping, the springiness, add some force to simulate a gravity or wind, and add some random noise to the movement for a more organic result.

I am mainly using this in my rig for animal ears, tails, little pieces of fabric, but there is many possibilities as it is shown with the carriage.

I'm dying to figure out how he did it, but one thing at a time.  I'm still working on my hair creation tool.  Anyway, watch his video demonstration here, and be sure to comment under his video on Vimeo.

Script for maya, simulating dynamic. from Remi Cauzid on Vimeo.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Updated this theme

People who know me from school know that I change my desktop background one or two times a week.  I don't like looking at the same thing for a long period of time.  That's true of blog themes as well.  It was time for this one to change again, so I made it look like my Tumblr account (which you're free to see at

I figured out the rounded edges and the transparent post background, but now I need to make it white instead of black, and I need to add the border.  Whatever.  I'll do it later.  Maybe.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blue Sky Studio

They're hiring!

If you're into Character Simulation (like me!), then they have a position open.  They're also hiring FX TD's and animators.

I sent in my information, you should too.

Still working on that Python script, but more on that later.