3D animation work

good animation software now free

DAZ3D has 4 major animation software programs – Daz Studio, Bryce, Hexagon, and Carrara. Carrara is the big one, like a stripped down 3ds Max, Daz Studio is on a par with Poser, Bryce is an easy entry program, good for terrains, and Hexagon is a modeler.

For a limited time Daz Studio 4 pro, Bryce 7 pro, and Hexagon 2.5 are all FREE!. This is an amazing offer. With this software, an enterprising person could literally make graphic art to support themselves. I’m hoping it will be used by God’s children to further the spread of the gospel.

If you have any questions downloading or installing or using, please leave a comment here. I’d love to see other Seventh-day Adventists using this software to hasten God’s kingdom:

There will be many files available for downloading, but you will want 5 files making up around 1.4gb. The 5 files are DazStudio, Hexagon, Bryce, Bryce Content, and Bryce Pro Content. Some of the other files are nice too, like if you have Photoshop (which i don’t), or if you have several computers in a network to cut render times (i don’t).

Please note that these programs will probably only be free a couple of weeks at the most. They would be over 800usd if purchased at full price!!

classic shell for windows7, and cinebench scores

Recently i bot a new notebook – a ASUS N61jq-x1. It is supposed to be super fast, with an i7-740qm cpu. It was on sale for 850usd on Amazon. This is my first time to have a Windows 7 computer, so it is taking me a while to get all the stuff i need over from my Acer notebook, and getting Windows 7 to act like i want. Actually, except for boot up and down times, i have absolutely no problems with XP, but hey, it is already the second decade of the 21st century, so i might as well get with it 🙂

The main irritant about Windows 7 is the lack of a way to add buttons on the Windows Explorer toolbar. I use the up arrow all the time, and now? Some silly “burn dvd” button etc. What’s with that? I’m lucky to burn 2 dvds a year, and now i have to look at the thing all the time, and not only with no easy way to get it off, but no easy way to put the stuff i want ON the toolbar.

That is, until i found a cool little program called “Classic Shell”. I highly recommend it if you wish to add buttons to your Windows Explorer toolbar. Click on the little pic below to display the large pic where i highlighted the buttons added using Classic Shell. You can download it and use freely at: classicshell.sourceforge.net

Then today i finally got around to benchmarking my super-duper computer. The old Acer has a AMD Sempron 3500+ cpu running at 1.8ghz. Its Cinebench score is 1424. To render one frame of “Majestic Mountains” in Bryce 6 took 19 minutes, so if i wish to use that scene in some animation, let’s say, 5 seconds, it would take….. 24frames-per-second*19min = 456min*5sec = 2280min/60min-hour = 38 hours. That is just processing time, not counting time it takes me to load the scene, make the camera moves etc. etc. 38hours for 5 seconds. Not really feasible.

But now, as you can see below, with the new ASUS running 7 times faster in rendering, it theoretically would take less than 6 hours to process that, making it much more within the realm of possibility – sweet 🙂

Cinebench R10 test January 16, 2011
Processor : Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU Q 740 @ 1.73GHz
Number of CPUs : 8 (really 4, but with 8 threads)
Operating System : WINDOWS 64 BIT 6.1.7600

Graphics Card : ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730

Rendering (Single CPU): 3483 CB-CPU
Rendering (Multiple CPU): 10201 CB-CPU

Multiprocessor Speedup: 2.93

Shading (OpenGL Standard) : 6626 CB-GFX

NOTE: These scores were obtained by changing the power plan to Power4Gear High Performance. This is important, as i first ran this test under the “Power Saver” plan, which gave me results of:
Rendering Single Cpu – 1385
Rendering Multiple Cpu – 5367
Shading OpenGL Standard – 2958

Whew! Am i ever relieved! When i saw the first results, it almost made me sick. Sure glad i thot of changing the power plan!!!


plan for future?

I’m in the land i’ve been aiming for since at least one year ago, yet it seems like i’m no closer to realizing my dream of making the original Great Controversy Between Christ and His Angels and Satan and His Angels into a movie than i was last year at this time. Actually, that’s not true, as i do have some 3d software now, and have learned one of them fairly well.

I’m working on The Two Crowns vision animation first before i tackle the full-length book movie. The storyboard i completed 2 days ago, and the material/prop list i completed yesterday. Now what? The audio? I’m still not sure what software i should use for the main working of the movie. The software i learned (Bryce) is mostly for terrains or space shots. I’m trying to learn Daz Studio, and hoping soon to get my book with the free Hexagon and Carrara 6 software included. Hopefully Carrara will do the job.

The reason i came here there has very little to do with hardware, and mostly to do with finding people who will work the software. India is famous in the computer world for having 3d animators, and i know that there are many SDA young people who have a hard time finding a job, so thot it would be relatively easy to find some to start a little training school, then do this project, then they could support themselves with this skill, or they could start their own training center to spread these skills, especially using this skill to spread the Three Angels’ Messages.

While a couple of people have shown a bit of interest, no one has shown a lot of interest. Two months have gone by. Just today i realized that i am past the “disappointed” stage now, and am in the “acceptance” stage. In a way that is good, and in a way bad. I’m happy in every situation, which God says to do, but then i’m losing interest in this animation too, and just living day to day. I enjoy very much homeschooling 2 children, but there must be a greater good i can do for the cause of Jesus Christ….isn’t there?

India is more difficult on the psyche than i had imagined. My memories of the horrid time i had here in 1998 have mostly faded, and i had an interesting time in 2006. I even gained weight that time! But this time the water doesn’t like my intestinal microbes, and i’ve gotten ill twice, and have churning nearly always, and the knowledge of the police killing some people just to get rewards for killing “terrorists”, and the fact that the lady in the building i’m staying in got hit by a motorbike and died just a 1/2 mile from here, and another man got hit by a motorbike and got his leg broken recently, and the open idol worshipping with the story of the angry young men among them last year who came to my friend’s apt building intending to kill someone last year and the constant noise and smell and filth, it is all enough for me to say “You win India, i lose. Let me out”. But again, not my will, but yours be done Lord.

So my thinking now is — to maybe go somewhere where i can find 2-4 young SDA people who are interested in learning 3d software to use for the glory of God, and who would be willing to work for around 200usd/month at first, until they get producing material, when i could probably pay up to 300/month. I haven’t had any income except for a few donations for 1 1/2 years now, but am very willing to use up my remaining savings to realize this movie. While i’m working to make this movie, i would be very happy to be of service to the surrounding people – by working at an English language school 3 or 4 hours a day for example, and being of help to the church. I really believe this idea could work in SE Asia, and in fact, what made me think of this, is that a friend in the country of Georgia has expressed an interest in doing this very thing.

Show me Lord, what your will is.

animated imagery

I wondered for several years after first getting the idea to make the 1858 Great Controversy into a movie if this was even God’s will. I know that we are not supposed to have “drama”, and we should shun the theater. Yet i also knew that illustrations are not all denounced in the Spirit of Prophecy, and in fact, the 1843 chart was “directed by God”.

I had read enough to be absolutely convinced that if done in a proper manner, to give glory to God, that making a movie of this book could be a great way to spread the words in it, thus giving God glory. So i had already decided to try and find friends in India, where there are many animators and who will work for less than astronomical rates, to help, and i would go physically and work on it myself.

Well, i came to India 4 weeks ago, and the main man whose family i am staying with, and who was a bit reluctant about helping very much in this project over the 3 years that i have known him, opened up Child Guidance, and read the following quote which greatly strengthened my conviction that this movie idea is definitely from God:

God commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements, and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their people. The home and the school were one. In the place of stranger lips, the loving hearts of the father and mother were to give instruction to their children. Thoughts of God were associated with all the events of daily life in the home dwelling. The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people were recounted with eloquence and reverential awe. The great truths of God’s providence and of the future life were impressed on the young mind. It became acquainted with the true, the good, the beautiful.

By the use of figures and symbols the lessons given were illustrated, and thus more firmly fixed in the memory. Through this
animated imagery
the child was, almost from infancy, initiated into the mysteries, the wisdom, and the hopes of his fathers, and guided in a way of thinking and feeling and anticipating, that reached beyond things seen and transitory, to the unseen and eternal.

May God guide and direct this project, and give me wisdom into how to get started!

robinwood tutorial almost finished

questions for bryce 6.1 users
I have gone thru 11 of the 12-lesson set of tutorials by Robinwood, and while feel that i now have an idea about how to use Bryce, i have a few questions about it and about Bryce in general.

Main pics of work i made is here: http://tinyurl.com/legvov

Here are a couple of examples:

first finished 3d artwork!!!!first artwork i ever did 🙂

first finished 3d artwork!!!!intermediate lesson #5 ship on water

First of all: I’m well-versed in computers, and absolutely zero in graphical ability. I have used Paint Shop Pro for a few years, but am not good in using it. I can follow directions very well, but am not so good at grasping things i have never thot of before.

To me, this Robinwood tutorial is very well-done, but made for someone who is already well-versed in graphical terms and concepts. For someone used to painting with some computer program, the points, especially about drawing, would probably not be a problem.


1. The hardest things i’ve found to do easily is to get the right camera scene i want, to point lights and cameras, and to select objects. These are very basic, and i wonder if anyone else has problems with these? To be more specific, often i want to have the camera a little bit above the object looking down at about a 45 angle, but often cannot get the camera to that position. Sometimes only “freehand” is available for use, and if i make a quick move, i’ve lost my scene forever. And to select objects, sometimes i find it impossible, even with using the “select all of type” controls at the bottom of the screen. Isn’t there some way to see a list of all objects available for selection, and just select what you want easily? In doing these lessons, many times i selected all, then get royally confused as the perspective camera got selected and materiallized etc. etc. – ha! Lights aren’t quite as bad as handling cameras, but how to point them exactly at what you want, like just the stern of a boat? Use nulls? And to perfectly line up something, it takes a long time of flipping thru all the camera views to get it done (if you don’t want to align).

2. The preset lighting is not very good. I want to see the colors (normally) on new objects i put into a scene, but because of poor preset lighting, sometimes the whole thing is in the shadow, and thus, black. So now i spend quite some time setting the sun’s angle just right in the SKY&FOG palette to make the colors come alive, but still it is not too good. (Note, after completing tut, i set my defaults quite differently than what the originals were. Why set the factory default so everything is mostly black?)

3. I have a terrible time getting the night sky to display showing stars. I’ve followed instructions from several tutorials, and have managed to get it once, but it should be very easy to do.
In animation:
1. In doing the butterfly animation in intermediate lesson 1, my butterfly gets attached to the path heading backwards. It seems like it should be easy to disattach him from the path, orient correctly, and then attach him again, but even in doing that, it reverts right back to starting off heading backwards.

long slog

To make an animation is extremely, extremely long work. Today i came across a thing on YouTube where the guy said to render 10 seconds of animation it took his 2 computers 12 hours. Mind you, this is AFTER all the hard work of setting up the props, lighting, moving them around etc. etc. What i have seen about rendering times, even on fast computers, it looks like it will take one computer almost 3 months of 24/7 processing just to get the final product! So yes, when the time arrives, i definitely will be looking at render farms. Of course i hope to buy 4 or 5 computers, and have a mini-network myself to cut down final render times.

Yesterday i ran across a site of a man who made a full-length CG film by himself. He has a nice diary/blog too, which is fascinating reading for someone like me who wishes to do something very similar. A link to there is Laurie Calvert’s one-man movie-making system Actually, he did have many others help with music and recording voices etc., but all the animation is done by himself. He goes at the amazing speed of 4 seconds of finished movie per day, working just 2 hours! I’m not joking, this is amazing, as professional animators only make about 4 seconds a week. OK, so his quality isn’t Pixar quality either, but his comments really strike home.

He talks about how THE STORY is the big thing, and he is not interested in technical stuff. He uses off-the-shelf characters, purchasing some from Daz3D etc., which is exactly what i’m planning to do. Why should i have to spend literally 2 years learning some software package before i can start producing my STORY? So i’m not leading-edge. I don’t care. I want something middle-of-the-road that looks decent enough to look at, without going over the top and working for days to find out how to use the sub-surface specular scattering particle generator! (ok, made that up, but you get the point)

He says: “So I am one man, one PC working for about 3 years. Stylised CGI. My first film ‘The War of the Starfighters’ will be similar in statistics to ‘Monsters of the Id’. It cost about 3000gbp, and was 1,350 shots long, 2,500 hours work, on average over 2 hours work a day saw 4 seconds of finished movie per day”. By comparison he notes: “‘Shrek’ used 500 computers, used 300 animators, took 4 years to make 1000 shots”.

He wrote the above in 2004 when planning the movie, and then when the movie was finished in 2006 he wrote this: “3rd June 2006 – Final version of film is finished pending any last minute changes. 864 days, 920 hours work so far. New music has been added and sounds mixed. 493 Gig used. The movie is looking and sounding really good. Had a Premiere to myself of the final version today. Might be a few months away from being available as it needs to get BBFC certification for release in the UK plus the DVDs need to be replicated. Next step is to talk to a Distributor. Fingers crossed. This film has cost just 700gbp to make.”

This is what i’ve felt, but is the first time i’ve seen it told anywhere: calvertfilm.fsnet.co.uk “The American CGI is what most of us are used to seeing but it doesn’t have to be this style. Remember character and stories, emotion and morals/ideas should be most important, so you can still make a great movie in a stylised way. Storytelling is the business we are in.” Yes sir! Lord, please help me. If people can spend so much time and energy on making something for this world, surely you will give me skill and wisdom to do it to lead others to your new world 🙂

150million usd 3d animation “up”

Disney is coming out with a new 3D movie called “Up”.
“Up” movie trailer

The cost to produce? – 150,000,000 usd. Do i really think i can somehow make something that people will want to watch for about 0.0005 of that amount? I know the Lord can do mighty things with small amounts, so i will still go forward in faith.

What i’m thinking of now, is getting training in India, and then developing a small Bible-centered training school for young people. Maybe we could have a program where we do say
2 hours agriculture
2 hours Bible study
2 hours medical missionary
rest of time 3D animation training and work

This would provide young people with “industrial education”, along with the fundamental courses necessary to be an effective worker for Christ in these end times. The goal would be to get young people trained to have a heart and desire to use these computer skills in the work of the Lord.

Regarding the movie making itself — I’m thinking more of doing something like the “Two Crowns” vision first, to see what can be done, and then based on reaction to that, and hopefully to a steady progression of skills, and also hopefully of attracting more talented people, we can get to work on making the 1858 Great Controversy movie. My idea for that is more of a “moving picture book”, as i want to avoid all drama.

3d software for animation

There is lots of software to make 3d animation. Some of it is free, and some of it is very expensive. It seems that 3ds Max and Maya are the two main packages used in professional 3d animation, with Cinema 4d being third, and Houdini being the last of the 4 major packages. The more i look into this, the more it seems that there most animation artists use several different application-specific tools to get the best result. I have left out the Adobe range of products.

Autodesk 3ds Max $3495
Autodesk Maya Unlimited $4995
Autodesk Maya Complete $1995

Houdini Master $7995
Houdini Escape $1995
Maxon Cinema 4D Studio Bundle $3695
Maxon Cinema 4D Core $995
LightWave 3D $795
Carrara Pro $549
Hash Animation Master $299
TrueSpace free
Blender free

3D modeling software, that perhaps can be exported to animation software when completed, and some DVD-authoring software. Note, most packages support Maya and 3ds Max formats and obj format.

Poser Pro $499
Poser $249
SketchUp Pro $495
Zbrush $595
Bryce $99
FaceGen $299
Art of Illusion free
DAZ Studio free
DX Studio Pro $530
DX Studio Standard $250
Sony Vegas Movie Studio $495
Magix Video Pro X $249

added 2009-05-24:
iclone pro $219
Vue Pro $399
Terragen $199

added 2009-12-6
I’ve learned that video editing software can have almost as large an impact on a 3D movie as the software to create the movie itself, so have researched a bit on what product is best. There are some free ones, but the only free one that looks good is Windows Movie Maker, and also one very expensive one – Avid – is left off this list. There are also a few solely for Mac, but left off this list as i use Windows.
Adobe Premiere Elements $80
Adobe Premiere Pro $700
Pinnacle Studio 14 Ultimate $120
Cyberlink Power Director 8 $100
Magix Movie Edit Pro 15 $50
Ulead Video Studio 11 $130
Corel Video Studio Pro X2 $90
Sony Vegas Pro9 $500
Sony Vegas Movie Studio9 $100

Right now i’m leaning to the very first one or very last one.