Antics3D at the Cambridge Film Festival

September 15, 2008

The 28th Cambridge Film Festival will feature a machinima track showing around 50 films, including the winner of the Antics3D Medical Shorts competition that we ran earlier this year. Tony Bannan’s short ‘Folie a Duex’ will be screened alongside movies made in a variety of Machinima tools, including Antics3D, iClone, Second Life, Moviestorm, The Sims, Half Life 2, and Second Life.

Running from September 18th to 28th the Cambridge Film Festival is one of the largest in the UK. Audiences have grown by 40% in the past 5 years, reaching 16,500 participants in 2007.

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More free content libraries

September 4, 2008

Last week I posted up a list of online libraries where you can grab free content for use in your Antics3D movies.

This inspired many of you to send in your own recommendations of sites that you use regularly, so here’s an updated list. You can never have enough mocap, audio and textures when creating a scene so keep the suggestions coming.

Free BVH Motion Capture

Carnegie Mellon University

Mocap Extras


Free BVH Editors

QAvimator

BVHacker


Free 3DS models

3delicious

Archive3D

Artist-3D

Free audio

Soundsnap

Freesound


Free textures

Textures Forrest

And finally a library of stock effects such as gun shots, blood and explosions that I found on Overman’s blog

Updated 08/09/08 – Thanks Darryl


Essential maintenance – Wednesday 3rd September

September 2, 2008

This mainetenance is now completed. If you encounter any licensing difficulty please let us know in the Installation & Getting Started section of our forum.

Our IT team will be performing some essential maintenance on our licensing server this Wednesday, 3rd September. Downtime will be minimised and we will let you know here as soon as the license server is available.

This will only affect you If you are attempting to activate Antics using a license key. Similarly, if you need to make use of the ‘unlock’ facility in Antics to move your license from one machine to another.

There will be no impact on our other services – the Antics web site, online store, community forum and blog will all be operating as usual.

If you should encounter any difficulty with the activation process outside of this time then please let us know over in the Installation & Getting Started section of our forum.


Making the fairy fly – SketchUp advanced class

August 28, 2008

An angel, a demon, a wizard and a fairy share the folder in the newest character pack released from Antics. There are some screenshots further down this blog for you to check them out. I love getting hold of these new assets, they start me thinking about new little stories that I can tell with Antics. I thought it might be fun to go through the steps needed to make the wings of the fairy move. It’s possible to use the tab key to allow selection each wing, set a pose or two and then get the fairy to blend from one pose to another, but, I thought you might want to have a little more control, plus this way you can have your fairy free to do other stuff. (Like walking.)

For this you’ll need some eggs, a little flour and an inclinometer. (just kidding you won’t need the eggs!) Actually this process works best with photoshop and sketchup and of course Antics. We’ll be plucking the wings off our fairy and then sticking a couple of new ones on. So place the fairy on a new room. To remove the original wings, right click the fairy, choose textures then right click on the wings.ksh texture in the list, to select edit. Under the colour tab you can set the transparency to 100%. So now you have a wingless fairy. Not bad looking as a female character, bar the ears and the ridges in her back!.

The next step is to set up for creating or own wings. We do this by importing a new fairy and positioning her so that all we see is the wing sticking up through the floor like a wing shaped floor mat. (Turn off the snap to position,rotation option.) Line your camera up to this wing and when it’s large in frame save out a single frame. This’ll be what we use the create and texture our new wing. Your wing should look like this…….

Using sketchup, import the wing still frame (as an image) so that we can trace the shape. I found a Bezier Curves plugin for Sketchup which made the job much easier. Once you have a completed the outline of your wing, you can import the stillframe again (as a texture) and apply it to the surface. A little scale/rotate/position fiddle and we are all set. Remember to do the other side as well. Ok now save the .skp file as wing.skp then back into Antics and jump into the file/import and select your wing.skp

All good. So now you should have a wing and a wingless fairy. At this point I saved the Antics project. When you do this you can access the texture map being applied to the new wing so that you can set the look of it to match the original wing texture map. These maps are found in a “maps” folder within the saved project. The original wing was mapped with a fairy_hair_wings.tga file. If you want the new wing to be identical to the original you’ll need to use photoshop to match the RGBA channels. Otherwise you could set the transparency value so the new wing has the look you want.

The next part of the process is to get the new wings flapping. As usual, I’ve gone for the old, “use a camera to create a motion curve” trick. If you haven’t heard of it before, it goes something like this. Put a freecam in the spot where you want an animatable axis of some sort. Link the asset/prop to this freecam. Now use the pan, tilt and dolly values to drive your prop. In this way the values are recorded via the camera’s motion curve, and therefore editable. For the wings, make sure the pivot point is in the right spot, then link each wing to it’s own freecam, which you put, right on the ridge on the back of our wingless fairy. It’s useful to have two viewports open. One is the Mastercam, framed so you can see the whole wing, (say from the top). The other viewport (which you make active) is to see what the freecam is looking at. When you pan left, the asset will swivel to the left. Make sure the freecamera animation is recorded in the timeline.

Once you’ve got your cameras doing their thing, link them to your fairy. Now she is free to be directed, and the wings will perform on cue.

Have fun.

T.

This article was posted by Antics user Tony Bannan of Ammo Previz


Free content libraries

August 20, 2008

You can never have enough content at your fingertips. More resources mean you can be more creative with your animations.

Here are some great free libraries suggested by Antics users:

Free motion capture

http://www.mocapxtras.com/

This is a massive library and I’ve imported a few of their animations with no trouble at all. If you find an animation that needs editing, why not use another suggestion – BVH Hacker

Free audio

http://www.soundsnap.com

Another large library, I’ve found many useful .wav files here, and most seem to be in the correct format to drop straight into Antics

Free textures

http://textures.forrest.cz/

The same for textures to help customise your props

Gary


Antics at the UFVA Conference – University Film and Video Association

August 16, 2008

Antics exhibited v4 at the UFVA conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado this past week from August 12-16.

The UFVA hosts an annual conference where university professors can share curriculum ideas and educate themselves on cutting-edge technologies for the film classroom, such as Antics. Next year’s UFVA conference will be hosted at the University of New Orleans.

Antics was very well-received by over 350 university professors from across the United States and the educators immediately saw a wide variety of applications for Antics within their classrooms.

Most professors were unhappy with their current storyboarding programs at their respective schools and were very enthused about Antics’ ability to add character animation and camera choreography to bring their storyboards to life.

Not only do the educators plan to implement Antics into their campus computer labs for students to use, but many saw the benefits of using Antics for visualizing the core concepts of the director in a virtual environment. The ability to view multiple camera viewports simultaneously was a major plus while also being able to watch the cameras animate from an overhead view wowed many.

The new lighting and shadows features of v4 added another jaw-dropping moment to the demonstrations, when professors began to realize that Antics is an all-encompassing virtual filmmaking tool. I could see the wheels spinning when the educators realized that Antics allowed a student filmmaker to wear many hats, including that of the set designer, director, cinematographer and editor, which gives students a well-rounded education.

One department chair at Flashpoint Academy in Chicago even saw the advantages of using Antics for pre-visualization for his animation students who are using Maya for high-end 3D animation classes. Because traditional keyframe based animation programs like Maya are much more time consuming than a real-time application like Antics, he plans to have his students do animated pre-viz in Antics before committing to the final render in Maya.

As you know, Antics offers free Professional licenses to educators, so many educators are returning home to evaluate Antics for immediate implementation this Fall.


20 new Antics characters now available

August 15, 2008

Five new content packs are now available for you to download. Containing 20 characters, these packs will bring your fantasy scenes to life.

For those who wanted to get hold of the scary Nosferatu character we used in our V4 shadows preview video, now’s your chance. He’s available in the Characters Horror 01 pack, along with Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula and a Mummy.

The characters are fully interactive and can be dropped into any Antics scene. Some come with their own special walk animations. As you can see in the V4 preview video, Nosferatu has his very own Mr Burns-esque shuffle.

The packs retail for £3.95/$7.95/€5.45 and of course are free for Antics Professional users.

Characters Horror 01 (Premium)

Characters Fantasy (Premium)

Characters Medieval 01 (Premium)

Characters Medieval 02 (Premium)

Characters Casual Female Adult 08 (Premium)

(You’ll need a fair damsel or two to rescue from Nosferatu’s clutches!)

If you’re a BasePack user and were thinking of taking the $95 upgrade offer to get V4 Professional then now’s the time to do it as you’ll get all 5 packs for free. Be quick though, the discount code is only valid till the end of August.

If there’s any content packs that you would like to see in future then please let us know over in the Content Wishlist area of the forum.

I hope you enjoy the new characters, be sure to share your horror and fantasy inspired videos on the forum.

Gary