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Messages - ENSONIQ5

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Since holograms that are animated and aren’t viewed through a photographic plate are still the stuff of science fiction there is no ‘canonical’ way they should look.  It’s pseudo-science so you are free to make it look however you like, ie. there’s no ‘wrong’ way to do it.

A hologram is an effect of light and has no solidity (OK, Star Trek ones do but whatever) so the holographic object and any projection cone you include probably shouldn’t receive or cast shadows.  Also, I’m not sure whether it’s possible in Anim8or but ideally they shouldn’t be affected by lights in the scene other than one positioned near the projector illuminating the holographic object directly.

Including a greyscale white-to-black gradient image mapped in the transparency field in the ‘projection cone’ object will make it appear to fade away at the top.

This quick test incorporates Kevin Gales’ concept and johnar’s flickering idea.  There is a green light illuminating the hologram from below, perhaps a script in the light colour/brightness channel that incorporates randomisation would look interesting, adding a bit of flicker.  I have minimised the effect of scene lights by reducing the specular amount in the textures used for the holographic elements to zero and increased the emissive value to about 0.5 with a green colour to make the holographic elements appear to glow.  I haven’t done it but including a soft green ‘bulb’ light in the centre of the holographic object that casts a bit of a green glow on surrounding objects would be a nice touch too.

Anim8or Challenges / Re: Re: Challenge suggestions.
« on: August 04, 2020, 08:23:57 am »
I guess most of the help I'd need is rigging and sequencing. Some form of particle effects (at least mimicking) would be helpful too. I am no where near being proficient with the lip synching. And any improvements or suggestions on models would be great too. I'd like it to be a collaborative project. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but that would be my ideal scenario.

I've been involved in a zero-budget collaboration for some years now, and from a CGI artist's perspective the most critical things are a story/script and a visual storyboard.  As you would be aware, developing 3D imagery is VERY time consuming, any artists wanting to get on board with a project will need to know that the work they are doing is "right" and they're not wasting time designing, building, rigging, animating and rendering assets that don't fit the story and won't ultimately be used.  In my case the writer/director provides descriptive but relatively low-detail storyboards, or searches the web for images that have the right kind of feel for what he needs.  Without these I would have left the project a long time ago.

Putting together a 'development team' to throw around ideas and build concepts into a script and storyboard would also be worthwhile.  As a real-world example, the author of The Martian book (and movie) crowd-sourced a lot of the science in the story, since he wasn't particularly science-literate.

As johnar says, and as I can attest from experience, it is a huge job driving a collaborative project of this sort.  You are likely to have artists drop in and out of the project so you will want to have a central location for assets (we use a Google drive extended to 100GB) to ensure you don't lose anything.  I have seen great projects crash and burn due to a single participant going AWOL and taking their models with them.

I am over-committed with projects at the moment and wouldn't be able to assist in any direct way, but if you are really keen to do this (and you will need to be really keen) I encourage you to do it.  It can be fun, inspiring and rewarding, however you need to remember that there is nothing in it for anybody in any real sense, other than a sense of achievement, seeing your name in the credits and, if you're lucky, maybe picking up a couple of awards here and there.  The more work you can do up-front with the story and storyboard the more likely you will be to attract and keep artists in the project.

With nothing but sincerity I wish you well and I hope it does happen, it's been a while since I've seen a collaborative project based on Anim8or and with recent developments to the platform I think it's long overdue.

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: Mission: Backup Earth!
« on: June 19, 2020, 07:30:42 am »
So, johnar reminded me that it had been a long time since I had posted anything here (almost 2.5 years!).  I know this thread is old but I figure it's acceptable, etiquette-wise, to resurrect one's own vintage threads.

The Mission Backup Earth project ( is still keeping me busy, as an ongoing web series with CGI in every scene (yes... every, single, scene!) there is an awful lot to keep me occupied.  It's interesting to look back on the early work done in this project to see how things have improved, particularly with CGI/live action integration.  It is common now for renders to align perfectly with the live action, "plug and play" as Alex often says.  Considering that there can often be a year or more between filming the live action and the background plates being modeled and rendered this is quite an achievement.

Below is a sequence I created a few weeks ago for an upcoming episode.  All modeling was done with Anim8or (including Arik's ubiquitous triangular cargo containers) but rendered in Carrara.  Anim8or's renderer is much improved speed-wise and somehow its renders are just more beautiful than Carrara's, but Carrara still has a speed advantage with network rendering (3 x i7 quaddies supplying 24 rendering threads, and this scene still took several hours to render).

Hopefully the Youtube link works, if not please bear with me while I work it out again!

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: lipsync and animation 2
« on: June 19, 2020, 06:51:31 am »
 Long time no see.
 Yes, don't know where i'd be without the good old pen and paper.
 Thanks for the post. Hope all is going well in your 'digital endeavours'
 (havn't seen anything from you in a while. )

Yes, it has been a while since I've posted anything, I'll pop something up soon for old times' sake :)
I log in regularly to check out updates, see what people are up to and generally lurk a bit.  Still working on the Mission Backup Earth project, mainly live action over CG backgrounds so no lip-sync required yet ;)

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: lipsync and animation 2
« on: June 16, 2020, 04:39:53 am »
Love your work johnar, and great to see I'm not the only one who regularly falls back on good old pen and paper!  I admit that I am yet to tackle lip syncing, it's one of those "one of these days" things, but I know who to hit up for advice when I do ;)

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: Hello everybody
« on: May 02, 2020, 09:12:46 pm »
Welcome back Tof! I'm nowhere near as active here as I used to be, real life just keeps taking over.

That's a very nice piece of organic modelling and a lovely sentiment, hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy too.

Cheers :)

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Smoother Subdivisions
« on: April 20, 2020, 02:23:38 am »
Before subdividing it is important that all faces have exactly 4 sides.  Triangular or 5+ sided faces will not subdivide cleanly.  End caps on objects extruded in Anim8or are usually comprised of triangles, spending some time removing superfluous lines to ensure all faces are 4-sided will result in smoother subdivisions.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Attaching object or a target to a bone
« on: April 07, 2020, 09:50:37 am »
The morph target should be visible in Scene mode as a channel, though if the motion is being driven by a sequence it might be necessary to convert the sequence to frames first (but I could be wrong, I wasn't paying attention when I did the test!).  From memory this can be done by adding a keyframe to any channel in the sequence, a dialog will ask if you want to convert the sequence to frames.  Then just change the morph channel's value from 0 (no morph) to 1 (morphed) to extend and retract the beam.

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Attaching object or a target to a bone
« on: April 07, 2020, 02:59:07 am »
Do you mean setting the morph target in Object mode, or accessing the morph channel in Scene mode?

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Attaching object or a target to a bone
« on: April 05, 2020, 02:33:33 am »
There are a couple of sneaky workarounds that may give the effect you're after, if I understand correctly what you are trying to do.  One way would be to use morphs to effectively hide and reveal objects in scene mode.  So, the laser beam would be assigned to a bone in the figure, such as a hand bone, with a morph target set on the beam that changes the length of the beam.  So the beam is hidden in the barrel of the gun, then extended in a single frame when needed.  This is a rough example using an old model:

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: Retro*Trek and Anim8or
« on: March 19, 2020, 02:37:49 am »
Love your work Arik, I always loved the original series designs :)

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: Plastic Pollution
« on: October 27, 2019, 06:53:40 am »
Love it Johnar! Also one of the most seamless lip-synch efforts I've seen, absolutely spot on!

Welcome to Anim8or!

There's two answers to this question, depending on what you need and how you plan to use the mesh.  The first involves ‘smoothing’ the mesh, and the second involves ‘subdividing’ the mesh.


Smoothing divides each face of a mesh into four faces (assuming your mesh’s faces are all 4-sided) by bisecting each line with a vertex point, placing a new point in the middle of each face, and joining up the new points with lines.  Importantly, this function changes the original mesh which will now have 4 times as many faces and will subsequently be bigger, from a data point of view, and potentially more difficult to animate later.  This function includes a numeric setting; if its value is 1 each face will simply be divided into 4 with each new face aligned exactly to the original face.  If its setting is 0 the new vertex points will be positioned based on (presumably) Bezier curves, resulting in an overall smoothing of the object.  Settings above 1 can give some interesting results.

Try it out:
  • Create a sphere object (under Shapes in the left side menu)
  • Convert the sphere to a mesh (Build > Convert to Mesh)
  • Smooth the sphere (Build > Smooth Object...).  Enter 0 for an overall smoothing effect.


Subdividing is similar to smoothing, at least in appearance, however there is a critical difference.  While smoothing changes the original mesh by adding points, lines and faces, subdividing doesn’t change the original mesh.  Instead, it uses the original basic mesh to mathematically define a much finer mesh.  When rendered, the original mesh is ignored, and the calculated fine mesh is rendered instead.  The advantages of subdividing over smoothing are that the overall file size is not increased and, more importantly, the mesh is far simpler to manipulate and animate.

Imagine animating a mesh of a person's face to show expressions.  If the actual mesh was very fine (eg. smoothed) you would need to individually animate a large number of vertex points which would be difficult, painstaking and may ultimately look unrealistic.  With subdivision, your mesh can remain much coarser, and therefore be far simpler to animate, while your render remains smooth and organic in appearance.

Try it out:
  • Create a sphere, the same as for smoothing
  • Convert to subdivided (Build > Convert to Subdivided)
  • Switch to point edit mode (the icon with three dots in the ‘Mode’ section of the left side menu) to see the original course mesh that is controlling the fine subdivision.  Try moving some vertex points and switching back to object mode (the arrow icon under ‘Mode’) to see how the fine mesh is affected by the original mesh.

When defining a mesh that will ultimately be subdivided it is important to ensure that all faces have 4 sides.  3-sided faces and faces with more than 4 sides will subdivide strangely and may look odd in the final render.  This is a fundamental aspect of 'organic modelling'.

Finished Works and Works in Progress / Re: spot the Anim8or bit...
« on: February 02, 2019, 11:37:08 pm »
No idea which parts are Anim8or-sourced, everything is quite seamless and integrated.  Excellent production values on this, very impressive and engaging stuff!

General Anim8or Forum / Re: Logging in...troubles..
« on: January 17, 2019, 10:30:17 pm »
Seems to be ok now, original login working as normal.

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