Here are the minutes from last night's meeting:
We started with tech questions from attendees:
Is there an ASE importer for Max? -try scriptspot.com or polytrans
How can you import CAD files into Max? ASE (I think) files?
-Jamie will look into 3DSMax 7.5 new features: new file link with Autodesk Revit, Viz tools
ADDED NOTE: 3/21/05 Adam Duran, the Application Engineer at Right Hemisphere, sent us this helpful suggestion:
Our company makes some software that converts
CAD directly to Max, Maya, LW, OBJ, etc.
Here is the list of all supported formats.
It can be done using a program called Deep Exploration (DE) or its big brother called Deep Server (DS).
These packages specialize in reducing huge CAD to usable 3d poly files for CGI or real-time.
DE is pretty inexpensive (starts at $149)
*Austin Business Computers is a reseller for Right Hemisphere products.
Johnny Luce: Any other people having trouble with DirectX lighting in
viewports? (seems to be a common question)
-sometimes Max is picky with smoothing groups. If you oversmooth something, it might be showing up dark. Not sure if this resolved the issue
ACC FT faculty member in Producer/Designer category. Must have shipped a game. See ACC jobs page
PT teacher for Animation II course in Bob McGoldrick's program. Call Bob at 512-223-7662
SHOW AND TELL:
Isaac Gallegos: Showed what he had despite losing much of his project to a system failure. Included: megatank, marshmallows, fish rendered with Final Render, sketches and sculptures. Emphatically recommended Jonathan Vought and Randy Polk's class environments. Declined to explain the state of his hair. : )
Erick Schaefer: Robotic battlefield created in 3DSMax/Premiere with terrain created in Photoshop. Showed off his camera shake created with a modifier.
Esteban Tamez /Bright Moon Animation: 3 short films and a commercial
created in Maya /Final Cut/ After Effects/ Photoshop / Pro Tools (audio)
"Getting Ice Cream" "In the Park" "David" and "Harry 'n' Slim" Esteban
and his friends have just relocated to Austin to start an Animation studio,
and are off to a very nice start.
Evan Gill and Dennis Thompson from TSTC: Doom3 Level
Finally, as we were running out of time, we crowded around as they shared some of their work in progress on the Doom3 engine. This level included robotic arms which moved objects/equipment and various rooms including an expanse of sewer lines. The level was nicely textured with Normal Maps and they talked about some of the similarities and differences between the Unreal Engine and the Doom Engine.
Thanks guys! We can't wait to see the final results!
Render to Texture can blend 10 bitmaps into one channel, or 10 channels
into one bitmap.
It has the ability to take one channel, smear it into another, and bake it into the final texture map.
You can take multiple rendered textures into Photshop, Open them into separate layers, then use blending options, painting, filters, and other nifty tricks to create very sophisticated results.
This is a good way to achieve surprising detail on your models, even if your game engine doesn't support normal mapping.
Render to Texture can also be used to create animated textures by rendering
to frames in an AVI. (don't render directly to an AVI because you will
lose all your hard work if it crashes)
Best of all: Render to Texture is FAST!
Note for users: 3DSMax version 7 includes improvements to Render to Texture, including the integration of the Projection Modifier to allow you to create normal maps, a render element for creating height maps, better management options for existing UV mapping, support for sub-objects, and an easier interface. To find out more about the newest features in Max, contact us!
Thanks to Johnathan for this useful demonstration! Students who wish to learn this subject in greater detail may wish to check out his classes. contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Denis Loubet: Thoughts on startups, and creating an animation beginning with concept art.
Denis shared his experiences with many projects. First, he shared a series of storyboards, concept art, and animation that he and Michael Morlan created at Origin for the Ultima series. He showed how the projects progressed from sketches to the final in-game cinematic results. He talked a bit about his background in illustration and how the SCA and paper games introduced him to a series of well documented game development opportunities.
Next, he described the trials and tribulations of his startup project. From the hard work, the revolving door of investors, the finances, the challenges, failures, and eventual fruition of the project, we gained a solid understanding of how the company came to be called Iron Will Games. He talked about the construction of the game, called Ashen Empires: a 2D sprite-based massively multiplayer online game. In the age of faster and faster technology, one unique quality of Ashen Empires is that it is built to run on low-end systems. This makes the game very accessible to a wide range of players.
His wry satirical rendition of his career path was very illuminating
and entertaining, and our eyes were wide with attention!
What a treat! Thanks Denis!
Johnny Luce: Unreal Tournament "B" Movie mod / Masters' Thesis
Johnny graduated with an MA in computer art form the well-known Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). For his thesis, he created an game design based on narratives focusing on pop culture in the 40's and 50's. Johnny loves cinematography, so he focused on the "B movie" theme using the Unreal Engine. He shared the development of his project in great detail, from his research into the architecture, leisure, and common fears of the era represented by the project.
Johnny's diligence won him (and his cohort Stacy Dopson) an honorable mention in Nvidia's "Make Something Unreal" contest.
He also shared with us some of his environments, starting with aerial views, then the wireframe, textured, and ominously lit in-game results. His main focus is design, gameplay, environments and lighting. At the end he shared a few animations as well.
Johnny is looking for work and his web address is: www.johndluce.com
If anyone want to learn more about Johnny or his projects, contact him at email@example.com
As Denis put it: Very thorough. Thanks Johnny!
Note for users: 3DSMax version 7.5 includes Hair and Fur, Mental Ray 3.4, and Autodesk VIZ tools. 7.5 is ONLY AVAILABLE to those customers who are on subscription. Contact us to find out more about the Subscription Program.
I hope that we didn't leave anyone out or grossly misspell any names.
If so, please let us know!
Also, please drop us a line with job announcements, questions, comments, or suggestions regarding our group. Special thanks to the folks who filled out the questionnaire.
See you next month,
Austin Business Computers
Austin Business Computers
Austin 3DS Max Users' Group
Index of Previous Austin 3d Users Group Meetings