Long time no post – must be the number one starting sentence in blogs :)

Small animation test I did:

So here I will share my techniques and mistakes – what i would do differently next time.


So I decided to try if it is possible to draw animation for VR. That means in equirectangular projection. Probably that’s incorrect statement – one could draw images on cube faces or other projections…

Still we are most familiar with equirectangular projection and cube faces would require to mach images in 6 separate pictures. Though this could be an approach if there are small objects to be drawn and they would remain quite stationary in frame. In this case we would get less distortion and it would be probably easier to draw.


First its always nice to have at least some sort of scenario, something for audience to care about. And that’s a first thing i will make sure i have for my next “film”. There was a plan in a beginning to add forth scene – the abstract one… but that was before i learned about problems of camera movement and other things about confusing people and making them vomit…

So the plan was, after our “viewer” drops “dead” in water he starts “hallucinating” and animation is shown in this manner:


deleted scene…

This gif file turned out not very representative of idea and of how i did it,… oh well .. still want to experiment with more “hardcore” / abstract imagery but .. well.. might be some other time. Mind you I have never seen my work on dk2 or even cardboard….


So I made most of my animation in 3D and rendered sort of a flat looking image that i afterwards processed a bit to make it look less “3D” like. Also I used cell shader to render outlines of my animated models and printed these that they would be hardly visible. That was for rotoscoping.

hardly visible for print

hardly visible for print

flat shading

flat shading


So in planing stage i have counted that i ll need to draw close to 1000 frames. And then there was a question how to scan it all? So i asked around in print shops and it was around 100 EU just for scanning. So i decided to try and buy a scanner for myself. There where not many options that i found in close by shops. Ebay was out of question cos sending costs would be prohibiting to me. So i found this weird brand i have never heard of – BROTHER. There was also a cheep RICO option and i don’t remember why i went for brother instead… might be cos it was A3 instead of A4.. BROTHER MFC – j6520DW has a automatic page feeder (around 30 pg) and can scan or print A3 pages. The scanner / printer is definitely a “budget” thing but it did the job. If you google this model you will find quite mixed comments about it. One has to be careful loading pages they turn out not as straight as i would like them to be, some seem to rotate couple of degrees and basically its impossible to use scanned images unless you stabilize the motion..


Ok so i am using automatic feeder which means each page is positioned not perfectly while scanning and i do get quite a bit of wobbling. First images I printed for drawing where a4 and covered most of pages width like this:

placement for print

placement for print

So not only that each frame was in slightly different position of previous page but in some cases i would lose parts of scanned image. So next time I will not print so close to borders. Even if pages will be rotating and moving I will not lose image. The green lines show point placement for image stabilization in After Effects.

Parts of image gone...

Parts of image gone…


For all or most of background images I drew around 7 frames only. Then I used script or expression in After Effects that would randomly load these 7 frames for required duration.

fr = 12; // frame rate;

numFrames = 8;


seg = Math.floor(time*fr);

f = Math.floor(random(numFrames));

for (i = 0; i < seg; i++)

f = (f + Math.floor(random(1,numFrames)))%numFrames;



The sound was another problem. I wanted to experiment with binaural sound… but i got so fed up with this animation that in the end i just added some sound effects from free sound library.. just not to be a silent film. So again sound changes your experience so much.. if there is a chance ill get a professional sound person next time…

What did I miss?



So as usual it was quite a long time sins I posted something here. Unfortunately, even though I have some drafts, I just cant sit down and finish them. Therefore I decided to go for an easy post. Well its like writing an software review or movie review. (meaning a reflection of something rather then a creation, and here I am simplifying things a bit, there is surely complicated and “heavy”movie reviews as well as shallow “creation” stories.) Anyways this is gonna be a rather shallow story. But oh well..

So as all of us, weak human beings, from time too time we do stuff which we are not supposed to be doing. Sometimes its something very wrong, but more then often its just something that we are not suppose to be doing cos we are suppose to be doing something else. And most of the time we are watching movies, TV reading a stupid book, or don’t know.. Hundreds of things to do, in order to avoid something you actually must do. It could be anything. So as a member of this human race, I am too doing stupid things. But lucky us (humans) from time to time, on rear occasions, these stupid things lead to something. And be it not something great, or of huge value, its still sort of positive. Well the judgment here can be varying. Still.  As it happens, one of these times I was procrastinating I happen to be inspired by my own drawing in ink, and tried to do something of that sort in 3d. Ah finally you will say, he talks about 3d, its about time. So here it is a small rather dumb project. Who knows, when ‘the stars are right’ :) , one day I might actually do something good out of this. But for now we have:

A. A hand drawing of a… don’t know plankton, bug, molecule, microscopical being, alien, virus of a sorts?

ink version of a bug

ink version of a bug

B. We have a wireframe of recreation of itt in 3d. And then, we use some materials with falloff in opacity Chanel, we add some depth of field in our mental ray rendering engine, we invert an image, and here is what we have:

wireframe of a bug

wireframe of a bug

C. a final output:

final render of a bugg

final render of a bugg

So i had this idea about how to make clouds in 3d.

I think it works quite well, but as all things in life have draw backs. First – the image:



And here is how i did this.

The foreground clouds are done using a blob mesh rendered in mental ray using a depth of field. The background clouds are simple 3d Max volume fogs.

My goal  here was to create clouds that could be quickly rendered and quite easy to do. I used a standard volume fog in the background which was computationally effective, and in the foreground ablob mesh (also known as implicit surfaces) was used to create foreground clouds. The foreground clouds were rendered in mental ray, with a depth of field.

Depth of field adds this cloud like apearence.  Softness, which is quite tricky to do with simplle material, and fallofs in opacity chanal.

So even though i like results of this experiment, unfortunately its not the fastest, i meen rendering time. but oh well :)

and a screenshot:

clouds1one other good thing .  your mech topology can be as ugly as it gets, depth of field hids it :)

so its one way of using inplicit surfaces practicaly.


further readings at veterrain.org

(look at section research)

So I was rendering other day and a strange thing happened.

Suddenly mental ray decided thats its not enough to calculate 100 % of photon emission before starting rendering.  And it reads “rendering” instead of “photon emission”…

oh well, must be one of these Christmas miracles i guess.


So and then I remembered once I had my video card setup wrong in max, and it produced very nice results.  I would like to investigate visual qualities of this error. Not sure though what to do with them exactly.

You can still somehow see the 3d scene (with assistance of strong imagination).
So here are fiew screan grabs I did:


Ok so I was looking around in flickr for some examples of a situations where automatrick tree generator is not suficient, and i fund lots of good pictures. Some depict tree holes, while others depict tree roots or other parts. The funny thing is that I contacted flicker users who uploaded pictures, and asked theyr permision to use images in this blog,. … guess what 100% of people who replyed to me sead ok… that was a nice surprice actualy. So here we go: flickr-trees

please click on it to enelarge… (i increased contrast in moust of images, i hope authors will not get too angry, its all about showing tree details, not art… well who knows about that :) and if there are any erors wiyh titles names or links, write me, it will be corrected.)


1. Tree with hole through it, Martin LaBar / Martin LaBar, http://www.flickr.com/people/martinlabar/

2. Tree Hole, Cryodigital, http://www.flickr.com/people/cryodigital/

3. Tree Hole Entry, Minnie Wong, http://www.flickr.com/people/26133907@N00/

4. Tree and hole ,Adventurer Dustin Holmes / Dustin Holmes, http://www.flickr.com/people/dustinholmes/

5. Tree holes, Opa Schoch / Shok the German, http://www.flickr.com/people/opaschoch/

6. Hole in the Tree, Kent Sandvik, http://www.flickr.com/people/kentsandvik/

7. Tree with Hole, brents pix’s, http://www.flickr.com/people/brentspix/

8. Baobab tree with a hole through its trunk, tommyimages_com’s, http://www.flickr.com/people/cuba_photos/

9. Hole-y Tree, Kuzeyli48’s, http://www.flickr.com/people/21915247@N07/

and, not saying that its best or anything like that, my manualy hand modeled tree…

medis / tree

and a wiki entry on a matter here :


and some copy paste from this article: (aka interesting fackts (if we trust wiki :) ) )

A tree hollow or tree hole is a semi-enclosed cavity which has naturally formed in the trunk or branch of a tree.

Hollows may form as the result of physiological stress from natural forces causing the excavating and exposure of the heartwood. Forces including wind, fire, heat, lightning, rain, attack from insects (such as termites or beetles), bacteria, or fungi. Also, trees may self-prune, dropping lower branches as they reach maturity, exposing the area where the branch was attached. Many animals further develop the hollows using using instruments such as their beak, teeth or claws.

In Australia, 304 vertebrate species are known to use tree hollows in Australia: 29 amphibians, 78 reptiles, 111 birds, 86 mammals.[2] Approximately 100 of these are now rare, threatened or near-threatened on Australian State or Commonwealth legislation, in part because of the removal of hollow-bearing trees[8][1].


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