Music Videos

I have been wanting to do a post on this for a while, so since my computer is stuck rendering and I am not in the mood to sleep, I may as well write it. I apologize if it takes a while to load for some of you, and I'm sure that most of you won't watch all the videos. (Props to you if you do, though. Mad props.)

Anyway, I don't listen much to any new music, so my favorites are kind of caught in my younger years. That having been said, I do have a number of music videos that I still think are great. Most of them appeal to my weirdness, but some of them are interesting artistically. Now, in no particular order, on to the freak show:

This song alone made me fall in love with the Foo Fighters. When I was a teenager, I was mesmerized by the weird harmonies created by the rock guitars. Anyway, I think that this video is still hilarious and a good example that there is life after Nirvana.

The Foo Fighters made a number of videos from their earlier albums that I really enjoyed. This was one of them, mainly again because it is so quirky and strange. They don't take themselves that seriously, I guess... especially if they are willing to dress up as girls in their own music videos.

Oddly enough, however, they did manage to stun me with this music video. Very odd concept in the fact that you never see the protagonist's face. Also, I find it compelling that the whole thing was shot in a single take (or two or so with some fancy editing).

You can't go wrong with the Muppets and Weezer together. What two cooler people are there in the world than Rivers Cuomo and Kermit the Frog. (Consequently, Weezer also did a video at the Playboy Mansion for their song "Beverly Hills." I didn't really feel like posting that one here.)

Another great music video by Weezer is this one. The melody of the song is haunting and I really like how time tends to speed up and slow down in varying succession. Plus, tons of stray dogs are, like, rad.

Build a little bird house in your soul

Kriss Miss | MySpace Video

Yes, I can't let this post go by without some They Might Be Giants music videos. This one is for their hit song from back in 1990. Yes, it's as eccentric as them.

Another one from TMBG. Quirky. Odd. Refreshing. I have to explain that they decided to do a lot of synchronized dancing in their videos mainly to poke fun at the contemporary MTV music videos of the time.

This video was actually done by the guys from the web site Homestarrunner.com. I had been a fan of their work as well, then suddenly they teamed up with my favorite band. It's odd how that happens some times.

I'll admit, I was a fan of Blink 182 when I was in high school, even though they were very immature. Once I got a little older, I became disinterested in them. I wouldn't post any of their videos on this blog... except for this one, which I think is well done, artistically speaking. Even though the song is mostly about suicide and overcoming suicidal tendencies, the visuals are very compelling.

I enjoyed the Wallflowers when I was younger, especially this music video. I just like the lighting and narrow focus they did in it.

Okay, so this isn't a real video, but it deserves to be here. The ending credits are the best part about the movie.

I stumbled upon Blick Van Glory as a result of my love of the movie Hoodwinked. The lead singer, Todd Edwards, did a lot of music for that film (being the director's brother and all). This is one of their interesting musical arrangements from their only album, Search for Quest.

This totally makes me want to sneak into a high school when I am old and balding. You can buy the album on iTunes.

What better way to sign off than with the Muppets singing their version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody? My favorite parts are Animal's solo and the Swedish Chef. Classic.


ANIM 619: A look back

Hang on there, folks! Sorry to disappoint, but this post is not, unfortunately, related to the Street Runner. I was planning on putting this short video somewhere along the way in my Demo Reel DVD, but we'll see. Just wanted to show the compilation of all the important projects I worked on last semester. We'll see how this next semester goes.

P.S. After only 27 hours of rendering, the second half of the Street Runner animation is only 33% done... Oy veh!


Street Runner: Test Animation 2

Well, after about four straight days of rendering using all 8 processing cores in my computer, the final result is here... and it's only 12 seconds long.

Make your own car noises. Remember that it is electric.

The next step is to do a short turntable animation where the cockpit lifts off to show the interior.


TMBG: According to Time

Street Runner: Test Animation

Last night I set the computer to render out some test footage of the Street Runner in action. There are some weird things going on with the motion blur, but I think I can fix them for a final test shot. Also, the animation is a bit jerky, but you should at least get the idea of how this thing is supposed to move.

I recommend viewing it in full screen. After all, I did render it in 720p resolution.


Street Runner: Beauty Shots

It has been an intensive couple of weeks, but here she is, in all her pixelated glory:

For now I just wanted to get some high resolution renderings of it in a studio setting. The next step will be to do some animations showing how it moves.

These shots were rendered at full HD resolution and took anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours to fully render. I put a lot of different settings on high and just let it cook. It's almost as fun as watching paint dry.

Each of these shots has a few extra settings that I probably won't do in the animation demo, mainly because they take up a lot of computing time. First, the scene has an area light with area shadows. That means that there is a big square plane up above the car emitting light. The computer then traces the path of each light ray and can calculate just how fuzzy or clear the shadow will be at different parts. You can experiment yourself with that at home. The next setting that I have on is called Global Illumination. Basically, that makes the computer calculate how reflected light will bounce off of surfaces onto others. If the light was really bright, you would see some orange showing up on the ground, but I kept it fairly diffuse for now. The last setting I used is called Ambient Occlusion. That basically adds small shadows to the cracks, seams, and basically anywhere else two surfaces get close to each other. It simulates reality where light doesn't fully reach down into a crack or crevice.

The model is now fully rigged with just a few sliders to adjust to animate it fully. It even will calculate how fast the wheels will turn just by dragging a slider up to how many miles per hour the car is traveling. Next up I need to make a small animation and see how the rig holds up.


Street Runner: Shaders

Today I spent some time working on the initial shaders for the model. What's a shader, you ask? A shader is a mathematical algorithm that tells the computer how a 3D surface should reflect light, essentially. There are lots of different little things you can throw into the calculations to get the type of look you are going for: color, patterns, reflectivity, specularity (or a way to cheat at reflecting light sources), bump mapping (or making the surface look like it has a texture to it, even though the geometry doesn't change in 3D space at all), anisotropy (or simulating microscopic scratches like on brushed metal), or displacement mapping (or using a 2D image to determine how much the geometry deforms in 3D space). Is your brain bleeding yet? Because mine is. I won't mention that the above rendering uses area shadow mapping, global illumination, and ambient occlusion... then things would just get confusing.

Next I will be working on doing some bitmap textures for things like the tire tread. That involves creating a 2D image in such a way that it repeats and then can be wrapped around the tire to simulate the depth of the tread without having to model it all in. After the textures are created, it's time for rigging.


Progress: Street Runner

I don't mean to hold you captive as an audience, but things haven't gone quite as I expected with the Great Balzini. I ran into some technical problems that I haven't quite figured out the solution to yet. But rest assured, that is still on my list of things to do. In the mean time, I've been spending my break from school working on a project that I have been working on for the past year....

Well, at least for the past year in my head. While I was still working for Pride Mobility, I came up with the idea of a computerized three-wheeled electric vehicle. I have struggled to get a design out and on to paper, but I finally figured it out. I have started many times on the modeling, but never got much farther than a very blobular exterior form. However, I've been working for the past week on the following model. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my latest creation: The Street Runner.

This rendering right here is what we call the "clay model," even though it really is made of pixels, not clay. It is the modeling to the point right before it goes in for materials. There is one uniform shader on it to show general surface structure.

Here is a shot without the canopy. Yes, I did put all the details down in the interior. There are even gas and brake pedals.

Here is a shot of the wireframe model. When I get a chance, maybe I'll explain how I model things using this method. It's much too complicated to explain in a few words. Let me just say that there has been a lot of cleanup work on this model in order for all of the surfaces to look good and get the highlight just right.

It is my hope to finish this before the next semester starts up. I need to assign materials to the surfaces and then I am on to rigging. There is a certain mechanical system I have dreamed up (don't worry, it's totally impractical and not cost effective) for the suspension and steering and I have to program that into the model to make it a cinch to animate. We'll see how it all turns out in the end.


I Resolve

I'll freely admit that I don't like the concept New Years resolutions. I think it is slightly irresponsible to wait until a new calendar year to resolve to take your life in a different direction. It just fuels procrastination if you do that and doesn't really encourage setting firm goals. In my humble opinion, if you haven't decided to do it when you thought of it, you won't do it once you put out your new Page-A-Day Calendar.

Having said that, I think I'll share with you what I am calling my Continuing Resolutions. Some of these I have been working on for quite some time and probably won't complete by 2011, but they are still something that is worth working on. Here are a few of them:

  • Complete my animation, The Magnificent Balzini.
  • Revamp my demo reel to reflect my new skill set.
  • Become an intermediate genius at Maya.
  • Complete the design and CAD modeling of my three wheeled vehicle, the Street Runner.
  • Become better at using a Wacom graphics tablet.
  • Date more.
  • Eat less.
  • Exercise more in a way that doesn't further injure me.
  • Eat less.
  • Figure out if I need more or less sleep because I'm tired either way.
  • Successfully break in my new Danner hiking boots.
  • See Iron Man 2.
  • Be a better home teacher that people can actually trust.
  • Complete a full reading of the Old Testament using my iPod Touch.
  • Start an electronic study journal of my scriptures.
  • Create a cross reference scripture list to accompany my patriarchal blessing.
  • Go to the temple more frequently.
  • Figure out why I'm really here in Utah and not in California at the school I am attending.

I'm sure I have more that aren't appropriate to post here, but you get the idea. Ask me in a year how I am doing on them... or a couple months because, honestly, I won't wait until next year to make some more resolutions.