Xaelander – Previz in Maya

I just completed recording a small animation in Maya using the new Xaelander X2R2 hardware testing the upcoming Xaelander software release.

I think it documents nicely what the Xaelander software suite is capable off. It demonstrates animating a walk cycle on the primary character and animating the secondary character. The powerful two point 3D camera tracking and animating a special effect by capturing motion onto a locator.

I look at the short video and think “Even if I captured every part ten times, I created that animation in about 20 minutes. An experienced storyboard artist could probably come close nailing that shot in 20 minutes. But a previz animator should never ever have to just float his characters around anymore – they should make them walk around.”

Xaelander - Maya Previz

Porsche Design – Worldtimer

Two of the biggest challenges in creating watch animations are that most likely if you get to animate a watch it means it doesn’t exist yet. So you got to cobble together the look of the real material in that particular shape and finish. The other challenge is the that most watches are only visible because they reflect their environment. Now to do that for still shots is somewhat easier than animations because, even in real life, reflections on such a small object can become erratic and you end up animating the environment which can make the 3D scene somewhat complex.

Here’s the three 3D animation we made as freelancers for MDI Production in Neuchatel/Switzerland in collaboration with two freelancer animators from France, Geoffrey Dupuy (Storyboards, 3D animation) and Nicolas Parreira (3D animation, Expression setup, materials, rendering). The AfterEffects work was done by Mathias Schmid who was in his last weeks of his apprenticeship as a media designer at MDI.

I was supervised the project for Franco. COnverted and prepared all the models from CAD to Maya. My main focus was on animating, texturing, lighting the Porsche Design Worldtimer and i was responsible for rendering all the animations on the 30 CPU render farm. I basically slept next to 8 PC’s setting the alarm clock every 2 hours. Yes, it was hot and noisy.

Watch Animation – 2007 – Porsche Design "WorldTimer" from Alex Furer on Vimeo.

Watch Animation – 2007 – Eterna "Vaughan Big Date" from Alex Furer on Vimeo.

Watch Animation – 2007 – Eterna "Vision" from Alex Furer on Vimeo.

Lightwave Test

After doing the last watch animation in Lightwave I did a small test in Lightwave at home. I think Lightwave is a very good software. The main reson for me to get into Lightwave tho is that it has this very impressive plugin renderer that really blew my mind.

I tempted to underestimate anything else than Maya but I had to learn a lesson. Once you overcome the horrible interface you will meet a lot of stability, expandability and ease of use.

This is just a stupid test but the main thing for me was to do an outdoor scene using fPrime.

Cart Racer - Lightwave test
Lightwave Test

LEGO – RubberDuck (8299) CD-ROM

In 1995 we started drafting a production plan for the first LEGO box that would come out with a CD-ROM. The main concept was to do 3D animated building instructions of the two main models. There were many more 3D animated building instructions and a lot of basic to advanced explanatory LEGO Technic concepts and much more In the final product. I would like to mention Claude Aebersold, Bjarne Tveskov and Christopher Yavelow, Michael Lawson and Juray Highdway, without them the 3D content would still be rendering 🙂 .

The production was finished right before Siggraph that year. The CD-ROM won the “Danish Design Centre “ID98″ Prize” and the “Best Scandinavian CD-ROM” Awards.

Here’s a very small excerpt of the building instructions for the Main model: The “Little Sub”.

LEGO – Little Sub Buildinginstructions from Alex Furer on Vimeo.

Animagica – The LEGO Movie

The Lego movie is the result of the hard work of 4 – 5 partially Swiss individuals that was sold to LEGO for an undisclosed amount of money and started a $6 million feasibility phase made out of six people at the LEGO corporation which later enabled a department of 168 employees from 11 nations with nearly $50 million of budget to create the first generation of digital LEGO toys…

Logbook, The captain, “Monday, 4am, finally the last frame of the 41 layer composit rendered to QuickTime no compression on our 64 MB ram, 33 Mhz Macintosh Quadrd 950 PowerHorse. We never thought it would take an end AND we didn’t miss Frodo’s birthday either.”

LEGO – The Movie from Alex Furer on Vimeo.