LEGO – squash and stretch to the ugly…

I wrote up an article one day because I am constantly getting annoyed by the ignorance of producers and animators towards the legacy of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen the son of the founder of the LEGO Group. To me the LEGO figure is molded with rigid plastic. Bringing those figures to live by deforming them destroys the look and feel. Read it here…

Now this Intro page to the upcoming LEGO 3D Digital Universe is probably the worst I have ever seen. Watch the mini figure in red dancing and bowing, errrmm… hitting his head to the floor. And mind the broken geometry on the arm when he’s waving…

Here’s a screencapture (1.8 MB QuickTime movie) of  the LEGO Universe Intro (In case it changed…)

Here’s a more elaborate 3rd party article on the LEGO Universe followed by a very good comment written by a fellow co-worker at SPU Darwin and a dear friend of mine Christian Greuel. (NOTE: This is coming from the web archive website. Please be patient, it will load for a while.)

P.S. This text, nor any text on this web site are related, recognized or endorsed by/to the Company “LEGO® Group”. LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies.

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.

Alpenlachs Schweiz GmbH – Logo and CI

Alpenlachs Rubigen GmbH is licensee of the Alpenlachs brand form Austria. Alpenlachs Rubigen GmbH aquierd a big fish farm inbetween Berne and Thun to be used as a example facilty and Alpenlachs Rubigen GmbH also acts as licensor of the brand for the Swiss territory.

I designed the company logo, creating the the web design and CI, flyers, lables and at the moment and I am also photographing and documenting the re-construction of the facilities in Rubigen.

Otronicon 2006 – Blasteroids

I did the spaceship, the comets and the environment for this little game that was showed at Otronicon. The game was played with the head. The setup contained a stereo cam that created a zDepth image from which the face then was tracked.

Otronicon is a yearly four day event of Full Sail to “celebrate technology”, as they say. Full Sail is an university for digital media of all kinds in Orlando.

Otronicon 2006 - Blasteroids

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

3D Internet – The future?

What if a website would be completly in 3D? I made the experiment and created this test using the X3D modeling package called Vizx3D. Media Machines (Tony Parisi) acquired Vizx3D and released later an application called Studio3D based on X3D.

You will need the newest installer to play this experiment. Get it here. Vivaty has taken over from Media Machines and has finally developed a plugin that also works in FireFox.

Update January 2016: Vivaty was bought up by Microsoft and their products and gallery were discontinued. More info also here. The player is now downloadable as part of this package.

Note: If you install the “SetupFluxPlayerStudio2-1.exe” from this package it will install the Flux Studio 2.1 and the Flux Player. Flux Studio is an interactive X3D authoring tool.

Warning: Although the Flux Player install will crash and report that FireFox is open and the plugin cannot be installed, the player will be installed. You can find it in the start menu under “Media Machines, Inc”. I can confirm that it runs on Windows 7.

If you run it you can then open the URL: http://fullframestudios.ch/AREA/X3D/files/index_04.x3d to see the demo I did 8 years ago.

Be aware, this is completely experimental and I don’t take responsibility if it crashes your computer.

 

My basic idea was to transport the regular experience of browsing a website into 3D space plus add a little more excitement.

X3D_Images_01

Continue reading 3D Internet – The future?

RoninWorks – Rattle – Promotional Video

Moving an object around in 3D space can be a tedious and annoying process and is definitely not something a baby could do with todays versions of tools like Maya, 3DS or alike. But with the immersive tools from RoninWorks even a baby could animate a shaking rattle more dynamically.

Watch what happens when a baby discovers full 6D motion interaction.

RoninWorks - Rattle - Promotional

(And yeah, after hearing this over and over again for 3 full days, exhibiting at Siggraph, we had a rather ballistic attitude towards crying babies…)

Welcome to Full Frame Studios in Thun; Switzerland

Full Frame Studios: from 3D to web, allways a step ahead.

Full Frame Studios is the label of Alex Furer. Originally trained as a photographer, Alex Furer now is an internationally recognized 2D/3D modeller and animator. He was one of the co-founders of Strategic Project Unit “Darwin” for Lego, an international multimedia think tank. Alex was a core developer in production of the award winning CD-ROM title “RubberDuck”. He worked for H5B5 Media AG, Munich, Germany, as an animator on the visual content for the two TV-Shows “Welt der Wunder” and “History”, both running on ProSieben, one of the leading private TV-Stations in Germany. After nine years of developing motioncapture solutions for the desktop and contracting for the Synthetic Reality Lab at the University of Central Florida (UCF), he moved back to Switzerland in 2012 and is now working as a freelancer from Berne, Switzerland, for several companies running his own animation and graphics design studio.

Your message is most important to me – Together we can communicate it the right way.

Alex Furer / Full Frame Studios can offer digital media from concept to content. We can work on whatever can be created, manipulated or simulated with a computer. Whether it is for your next web appearance, product presentation, architectural or multimedia presentation, your next TV show, film, animated or real. I am very flexible because I collaborate with other freelancers and can tailor a team to the projects need. I have very strong connections to qualified programmers, animators, graphics artists and scientists that can be brought on board as needed.

For over seven years Alex is also committed to bring motion capture work flow to the 3D animators desktop. The home of this venture creating a desktop 3D input device, respectively software plugIns to commercial 3D applications and VR developpers was Motion4U LLC situated in Orlando Florida.

Watch videos about motioncapture at your desktop

References

Full Frame Studios has worked for international companies like: LEGO (1994 Animagica “The LEGO Movie”), Welt der Wunder GmbH (1999 Dolphin Special), gvz_rossat ag/sa, Plus Orthopedics (Plus Orthopedics – PIGalielo Navigation System), MDI-Production, Breitling (2002 Breitling – Emergency) & (2004 Breitling – Bentley), Eterna (2007 Eterna 7630 “Vaughan Big Date” & Eterna 3800 “Vision”), Porsche Design (2007 Worldtimer) or Jaeger le Coultre (2005 Master Compressor Extreme World Chronograph).

Please check my 10 years gallery, browse my recent gallery, or write me to find out how I could be an asset on your next project.

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.