Friday, November 30, 2007


Home sweet home. Now to get the smoke smell out of my clothes! Yuck. Well, another AU has come and gone - till next year, lets see what we get into between then and now...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ACA/AMEP Community meet and Flying during lunch

So our meeting with some of the members from the ACA/AMEP Community on AUGI went well. There were about 6 of us all together which I thought was a good start. After lunch I took off for the exhibit floor and talked with the folks from Boxx systems which was nice. I got a shirt from them in my last class of the day yesterday and that gave a good opening to talk with them. Let's see if we can organize a better planned lunch next year! I also spoke with Shaan Hurley for a bit which was great too. He had some good insight into where to find some info on Newport...

After that I stopped by the flight deck. If you watched the general session video I posted it showed what looked like Google Earth and the guy flying into it and around a city. Well guess what. That was an Autodesk piece of software built using Autodesk apps. The controls were a joystick that works with any flight simulator and showed your speed from 0 to Mach 1. This model was much more detailed than Google earth which simply drapes satellite imagery over terrain. This was an actual model built of Washington D.C. and this thing ran smooth as butter. What a trip that was to use the same thing they were running in that demo! Stay tuned to Autodesk labs for more developing info on this promising tool!

Spline modeling in VIZ/MAX

Got some great tips and mystery's explained in this class. The single biggest thing I can share right now is that spline modelling gives you far greater control over future mods you might make to geometry and allows you to control that in a much more predictable way. So, I guess I will be doing more spline modelling from now on!

Animation Beyond Keyframes

Another class by the legend Ted Boardman. Probably the BEST tip I got out of this class is a workaround to the issue of scaling/mirroring objects in MAX. If you've ever heard anyone that knows what they are doing in MAX will always tell you not to scale/mirror things since it will cause modifiers and animations of those objects to go haywire or just not work. The work around if you have to scale something is to make the scale and then apply an Xform modifier to the object (found on the helper command panel. This applies to objects that are scaled or mirrored in AutoCAD and imported into MAX as well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Bone

So I ate at the Delmonico Steakhouse last night - owned by Emeril. What a great dinner that was! From atmosphere to wine to appetizers, it was fantastic. Then came the steak - a bone in Rib eye. Mmmm Mm! I was already filling up from the appetizers and salad and stuff so I wasn't quite able to finish the whole thing and found myself staring regretfully at the remaining meat still on the bone. It was calling to me to finish it and my stomach was yelling at me to stop. Then came the waitress asking if I was done and I really couldn't make up my mind so she said she would come back in a little and see how I was doing. 5 minutes later and I was day dreaming fantasy's of doing things with that bone that just aren't acceptable to do in a fine dinning restaurant. The waitress comes back by and takes one look and asks are you done now? I was like, yeah, I'm DONE. Then they go and ask if we would like to see the dessert menu. I'm a sucker for dessert and everyone else wanted to see the menu too. I looked it over and asked if she recommended anything and she said yeah, the pecan pie is really good - something which I was eyeing anyways. That pie had the best crust I've ever had - I never eat the crust either. After that pie and trying a little of the banana cream pie another had and some of the double chocolate fudge pie, I had a slight problem with me belly... but boy oh boy that was super good stuff. That meal rendered me useless the rest of the evening so I retired early for once - an unusual thing for me to do at AU. :-)

Global Illumination for All

Man this guy was good! Great tips and some excellent explanations and insights into how mental ray works. I'll have to disseminate some of the things I picked up later.


I have seen so many people I know - its incredible! I can't seem to go 10' without having someone stop me and say, hey I know you or something like that. Some shout outs go to - in no particular order, Ben, Craig, Rebecca, Mike, Melanie, Blads, CAD Mama, CAD Kitty, Cosmo, Mark, Chris, Phil, Shane, Bob, David, Scott, Scott, Steve, Mark (I sure do know a lot of people with the same name), Sylvi, JF, Louis, Eddie, Joe, etc., etc...

Sorry if I missed your name but my memory hasn't been the same during AU - I've been drinking the forgetful juice... :-)

Exterior Lighting in VIZ

Pretty much stuff I already knew, but since it was a lab I got to play around with some of the settings for cameras such as depth of field, fish eye lens effect, etc.

A Closer look at the Camera in 3ds MAX

Another stellar class on MAX and looking closer at cameras. Got some great tips again. For example, depth of field can be done in post if you render your Z-Depth channel at the same time as the base image and then can combine in post using Combustion or Photoshop. Another was creating a spline and then a helper object and adding a path constraint to the helper object for the spline. The helper will follow the spline and then you can link a camera to the helper and adjust the movement of the camera in addition to the path of the spline. Add to camera an additional position controler of noise (as secondary) and it gives you that handy cam feeling instead of a boom crane cam setup.

Exhibit hall craziness

Some people have the ability to drink too much bud light ~shrugs~

The second half of the video showcases a scion concept car which is really just a heavily modified Scion xA.


Oh yeah! I finally got to use one of these! Here's a link to my video I uploaded to YouTube.

Simulating Reality

Wow - extremely detailed class which included lots of the math going on behind the scenes when you are running lighting simulations in VIZ or MAX. The problem is that its difficult to make a subject such as this interesting. I did get some very interesting insights into the world of light simulation though. Time for lunch now!

Get published!

The first class this morning entailed things to keep in mind if you want to get published for writing articles. Some great info and great places to start were shared. Blogs and forums were 2 places to start so it looks like I'm already on my way!

Major Geek Moment

I got to use a Multi-Touch system last night at the AUGI Beer bust in the exhibit hall!!! Not to mention I got to meet the creator Jeff Han!!! Here is a quick video link about it I found but will post my own video later.

General Session video

As promised (later than I wanted) here is a link to view the general session video that was the best in my opinion.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

AUGI Annual Meeting 2007

So I’m sitting here being a bad boy and typing during the AUGI Annual Meeting, but real quite like… The last 4 posts I’ve made were typed during this meeting in addition to converting my recording of the general session made earlier this morning. It’s all ready for posting to YouTube which I will link to later tonight. AUGI has a new president, has almost 130k members, country chapters everywhere and many people at the meeting are here in person representing those countries. Brings new meaning to the I in AUGI. Up next is the AUGI Beer Bust – OH YEAH!!! Free beer – yum. Anyways, enough blabbing for now. More to come tomorrow.

Knowledge Base Interview

I was really excited to be invited with an interview with Rebecca Drummond who heads up the Knowledge Base & Web Content Editor Product Support team. If you have ever gone to the knowledge base search site and tried to find something you probably had a 50% chance of finding what you wanted. Currently there is a beta preview of what this site holds in the future. Currently I can search all blogs, forums, knowledge base articles and other related documents for a specific piece of software all on one page. Previously I would have needed to hit about 5 different sites to look for an answer but now I can find it all on one page. I have found an answer every time I’ve used the site now. To say I’m ecstatic would be an understatement. I made sure Rebecca understood how important this tool would be for everyone looking for answers – a one stop spot for all your answers. Phenomenal!

Mapping in 3ds MAX

Another class by the legend Ted Boardman. This class focused on a number of things to watch for when building materials and maps in MAX – which really are far too complex to go into in detail here. Look for future postings on this in the future here on my blog.

Landscaping in a 3D World

Wow – simply great tips in this class for using 3ds MAX and doing landscaping. Some highlights that were discussed are when it comes to dealing with large scenes with vegetation that fades into the distance and randomizing placement of vegetation within the scene.

When it comes to dealing with grass, recommendations included using the hair and fur modifier in extremely close up shots involving grass. Then for medium range shots try using displacement maps to generate geometry at the time of render without adding additional polys to your scene.

For dealing with placing vegetation in the scene try using a P-Flow system for randomizing the placement of objects in the scene over a plane object – esp. if you can convert it to an editable poly and activate the face sub-object mode to use the paint deformation tool to shape your landscape and make it feel more lifelike.

Also check out these pictures taken during the session – one about Advanced Painter which can be found on a place called script spot and the other listing some references for great resources for landscaping with MAX.

Start using AutoCAD Architecture now!

Well, I thought it went well. I was a lab assistant in Beth Powell's class Start using AutoCAD Architecture now! Lots of good questions were asked by the those that attended the class and it was a pleasure to help answer some of them. Thanks for asking me to be there Beth!


Holy crap - Autodesk is screwing with my brain BIG time now. I sat through the general session this morning at Autodesk University. It focused on where they see design technology heading and potential uses for it. One thing they showed cased was prototyping a new hybrid sports car. Everything was done completely digital - from design to engineering to production - all without the cost of building a single physical prototype. The next one showcased design firm that is designing the next telescope that is to be the world's largest at 30 meters! They are building the entire design in Autodesk Inventor which will allow them to coordinate how many materials they will need for building the project to showing the astronomers how their equipment will interface with the structure holding the mirror and lens.

However, the creme de la creme happened last. They highlighted how an Architect might utilize Autodesk applications in designing a new library for a civic center in a metropolitan setting. They started using Maya to design a funky looking sculpture which invoked a sense of fabric flowing in the breeze. They took that and other designs into Revit and built a model of the building. Then they shared the building model with the structural engineer that designed the structure of the building and analyzed the structural members of it using Robot Millennium to check for the capacity of the members being used to support based on the stresses generated. They also shared the model with the MEP consultants for them to design the support systems for the building. hey also coordinated with the Civil engineering team to see their design in the context in which it would be built. Then they proceeded to dump all this data into Navisworks to run collision detection to ensure that the Architecture, Structural and MEP data did not hit any road blocks and helped coordinate a list of everything that needed to be addressed. They also used Navisworks to help the construction team see the different phases of the project and how the building would come together.

To put the icing on the cake, they followed it with a design visualization of the building in context using a new program called Newport. This is the first I've heard of it and I will have to add that they closed the general session saying that some technology is not ready for public release - meaning Newport is either in Alpha or Beta testing right now - hmmm.... Anyways, they were able to coordinate the Revit model much better in a 3D Realistic rendering than can currently be done - and much smoother. Autodesk said they have really been stressing having all their products work seamlessly together.

For the cherry on top, they put all this data into something that looked like Google Earth and did a realtime fly by simulation from outer space down to the project site with the building and all its related data in place. They showed different pieces of the data live on the set - something which is much better demonstrated live as opposed to writing it out. I recorded the demo and will post live to youtube later tonight somehow and link to my blog. You're gonna love this!

*edit* Here is the link to the video I took and posted to you tube.
Click me!

Autodesk University

Alright, following will be a ton of posts about AU 2007 and my little adventure. It’s a week long extravaganza of food, training, food, training, food/drinks and party every day. Rinse, lather, repeat all week long!