July 2008

Fluorescent Afterburner

Particles offer a great deal of the features and parameters to suit just about all your needs. However, as a beginner you’ll most likely end up fiddling with pretty much all of them before getting the result your after (or simlpy giving up because you’re no where near it). Just because you have a parameter at your disposal doesn’t mean it will add anything to your current setup or that you should use it. On the contrary, keeping it simple will drastically increase your chances of succeeding.

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Sound Vibration

Step 1
Install the addon
Start by installing the Sound2Curve addon by Guy Rabiller, which can be found at http://grabiller.3dvf.net/site/content/addons_s2c_eng.html. This script creates an fcurve based on an audio file (.wav) In case you don’t have any audio file to actually sync with or just want the random motion, you can use the random fcurve script instead, which can be found in the netview

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Bowling Alley Timewarp

The basic idea of bowling is rather simple; throw a big heavy ball down a rigorous polished wooden floor and keep your fingers crossed that you’ll knock over at least one of the oddly shaped thingies at the end of the lane. Obviously there’s a lot more to the game that the above and the bizarre shoes, so in order for us to setup our alley truthfully we might as well have a crash course in the art of bowling as we go trough the various steps on the following pages.

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Modeling a Phone Cord

While the phone cord itself isn’t necessarily that complicated, it does show the importance of thinking through the modeling phase before pulling and pushing points around in 3D space. If the deformations are applied in an incorrect order, we stand the risk of getting unwanted distortions in our geometry or in worst case not even achieving the desired result at all.

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Box Unfolding

The most straightforward (and powerful) way to set-up the animation is by using bones. For the modelling I would recommend starting out with a simple cube, extruding the sides to match the reference box in its unwrapped state. As there’s a clear distinction between each side of the box as well as the flaps, the placement of the bones should be rather evident. Use a one-bone chain, starting and ending aligned to the corresponding flap, to control each of them. While you’ll envelope each side to a single bone as well, you can use two separate two-bone chains to control all sides. Once all of your bones are in place (should count thirteen), make the flaps a child of the corresponding side bone. Depending on the type of material your virtual box is made of and your desired style on the animation you might want to use a two-bone chain per side of the box as well as for the flaps. While a single bone is sufficient to control the folding, the extra bone will enable you to create a softer deformation, avoiding the otherwise slightly stiff look.

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DNA Shader

Regardless of the object or environment you’re constructing, you’ll most likely need some sort plan to ensure that all bits and pieces ends up at their right location. So does nature. DNA constitutes the gene pool of all known living organisms, and serves as a blueprint to life itself. While today’s biology lesson could easily turn into a fascinating discussion about Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the theories of evolution and why not the essence of our existence, I’m afraid it will probably be the shortest class you have ever attended. As the word itself is almost to complicated to even pronounce, I want even attempt to provide you with any deeper explanation on the subject.

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2.5D Shading

It’s kind of funny to see that the world of 3D hasn’t been spared from trends and the desire to dress in whatever that happens to be the latest fashion at the time. Though we might not have an official spring collection coming out each year nor the fancy vernissage held by the design houses from the cloth industry, we still have vogue in some manner. As they should, the trends do have shifted quite a bit during the past decade. Though I still have occasional nightmares every now and then from the time when people for absolutely no obvious reason persisted on putting lens flares on every single image they created, I must say that today’s obligatory flock of birds aren’t by far that painful as they still leave room for some peace of mind (and the ability to actually se other parts of the image).

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Lattice Rigging

I guess most of us just think about paper bags as a very practical way to carry our merchandises home from the supermarket, or to stockpile all kind of weird bits and pieces in the closet, though you know you have absolutely no intention of ever using them again so you really ought to toss it right away; but as one of our readers found out, there obviously are other fields of application for them as well.

The paper bag is in fact a relatively old innovation and was mentioned in Europe as early as during the seventeenth century. Tough they where folded and glued by hand during that time they still have the same characteristics – a void, surrounded on five sides by a thin piece of paper.

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