Chapter: Paint, Draw and Design
Topic: Design Techniques
In the two previous articles in this series on texturing skin for 3D models, we’ve created the basics of a skin texture using paint brushes in Adobe Photoshop . These basics include the base skin, as well as some other surface characteristics, such as translucence and veins. Now we’ll move on and take a look at the creation of additional surface details, including skin blemishes, sun damage and freckles.
Not yet 4 months after we first reported on Director’s NoteBook back in early December and now version 2 is available. Director’s NoteBook 2 is a FileMaker Pro based template that organizes all the information a director needs access to from pre-production to post. It is intended to be a "project notebook" where all the information and organization happens.
Version 2’s new features include:
- allowing a NoteBook file to grow to 2 GB;
- "Store for Archive" includes copies of up to 20 digital files of any format – Final Draft, Call Sheets, budgets, bids, Word files and any multimedia file format.
- file format has been optimized for speed;
- iPod export of a shot list to appear in the iPod’s "Notes" director;
- pulldown menus for field labels on the Job info screen with language customization;
- Stand alone applications for both Windows and Mac (Filemaker not required) for both Pro and SA versions (previously only available for pro.
These new features join the capabilities afforded by the original version as an all-round organizer for all the information a director or other production department heads need access to during preproduction, production, and post-production.
- Import and manage images
- storyboard images, effects plate images, location and set photos
- search and sort shots
- import whole folders of images
- Track casting details
- Record shot-specific details
- action, camera directions, lenses, frame rates, screen time, blocking, script, etc.
- enter sun positions for individual shots and shot times
- record voice memos
- Create slideshows and presentations for pre-production meetings or via video conferencing
- Display and email telecine instructions from digital captures
- compare images corrected in Adobe Photoshop and write notes for the colorist
- Agency and client contact information
- Create shot lists and other reports
- use any of the 20 different printouts, boards and reports supported, including storyboards, shot lists, efx plate lists, shooting schedules, location diagrams, camera notes, etc to paper or 3×5 cards.
- Print to PDF and email
- use build in NTSC Color Bars and Gray Scales as reference items
- Export data to word processing or spreadsheet programs
- Enter data with productivity assistants like using text already entered in another shot
- Sync data to your Palm OS or Pocket PC PDA
- and much more…
Director’s NoteBook 2 comes in five versions: from the US $29.95 Director’s NotePad through to NoteBook Pro with a single user license at US $250 or a 10 seat multi-user version for $1000. The Pro version is customizable if you have a full version of FileMaker Pro. Some versions of the Director’s NoteBook require FileMaker, some are compiled applications.
For a limited time you can download Directors Boards 2 for free. Directors Boards is a free Storyboarding application based on Filemaker Pro (FileMaker not required).
Illustrator Lab Volume 2 has more than six hours of video instruction from Eric Carter, who hosted Volume 1. This disk explores new topics like:
- creating photorealistic images;
- using Illustrator’s 3D feature;
- the advanced gradient mesh tool;
- typography; and much more.
This training is suitable for anyone doing brochures, print ads, or texture maps that require line art, logos or general print design. Regular price is only US$69 but dvGarage members get a discount up until April 4th.
Following up from last year’s interactive lecture Pollinate 2004 at the Promax/BDA conference Belief are exploring some experimental projects and making those available to the public for this year’s conference. Pollinate 2004 examined the connectivity of ideas and posed possible exercises in creative thinking. A video archive of the 45 minute Pollinate 2004 is available online.
For this year’s conference, Belief have created a series of 11 creative challenges designed to spark creative inspiration. Some projects specify required downloadable elements, and others are open for broader interpretation.
Even if you have no intention of submitting the works, which may become part of the Pollinate 2005 interactive session they are a great creative challenge and an antidote for creative burnout.
Topic: Career Development
As Congress and the Bush Administration duke it out over Social Security’s future, don’t sit idly by and wait to control your retirement destiny. There are proactive alternatives to just collecting government checks in your golden years.
Although from March 24th, 2005 Discreet will officially become Autodesk Media and Entertainment there will be little change, as the Discreet name will be added to individual product names.
- flame becomes Discreet flame
- inferno becomes Discreet inferno
- lustr becomes Discreet lustre
- smoke becomes Discreet smoke
- fire becomes Discreet fire.
A name change that has no real change of name!
Their leading products, 3ds Max and Combustion will be identified as Autodesk products.
Discreet will be showcasing "exciting new additions to our existing products and solutions resulting from this change" in the South Hall Lower Floor at booth SL1920.
The first OS X offerings from DiscreetFX (no relation to Discreet) is the medieval-themed FantasyFX. These are a collection of uncompressed, full quality QuickTime fantasy and medieval transitions featuring animated dragons, sword swipes, moving battleaxes, joust wipes, warrior woman and Excalibur! In all there are over 50 fantasy QuickTime DVEs.
Not enough for you yet? There are Tomahawk, Execution Axes, flying and animated dragons, sword swipes, knight and warrior effects, burning animated torch wipes, Pegasus and riding knight effects, animated fish and horse effects.
All that’s lacking is an appropriate use! To use them you’ll need Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express or iMovie, although they will import and convert to Avid. Cost is US$99.95 for the full package.
Sign up for Pixel Corps Spring Training and you’ll be seeded with about $20,000 of software during the session covering 3D, Compositing, Photogrammetry, HD, Matchmoving and more in the basics of visual effects work. The training sessions are based on practical creative work and attract a wide cross section of people who want to get good at digital media creation.
This session Pixel Corps are adding media veterans from across the industry to work with members and join in open discussions. Already enrolled are:
- Steve Wright, Author of "Digital Compositing for TV and Film" who will be working through his award-winning book with members.
- Tim Dobbert, author of "Matchmoving: The Invisible Art of Camera Tracking" who will also be working through his book with members.
- Iain McCaig, Character Designer for Star Wars: Episode 1,2 and 3. Iain will be challenging members’ drawing skills.
- Marc Zicree, who has written episodes of Star Trek – TNG, Sliders, Babylon 5 as well as the top selling "Magic Time", will be providing members feedback and guidance on Storytelling and Screenwriting.
The Spring session promises to be intense and, if past experience is anything to go on, a lot of fun. The three month session is only US$150.
Chapter: Paint, Draw and Design
Topic: Design Techniques
We’ve discussed Opacity Masks in Adobe Illustrator CS before. But what we haven’t discussed is Illustrator’s ability to use opacity masks to create gradients with transparency. This technique allows you not only to create gradients that transition from a solid to transparent color, but to generate complex gradients as well in which the transparency gradient can cut across the color gradient.
Topic: Encoding for portable devices
So you’ve got a PSP now. And you’ve got video files on your PC in .avi, .wm, or some other format that won’t run on your PSP. How do you convert your existing movie files into a format that will work on your PSP?