Exploring MASH & BOOL for Maya 2018

MASH is a plugin that has been with Maya for a while now. Developed by Mainframe - MASH adds a host of tools for speedy development of Motion Graphics similar to Cinema 4D - check out this video to get a flavour of what it can do >> link  There is plenty of useful tutorials provided by them too.

Finally had a few days free to play catch up with MASH and an additional plugin BOOL ( also developed by Mainframe ) , since they added Dynamics in the MAYA 2018 edition.
Here's a few examples of what it can do :

In the above example - this is made using the Audio and Trails Nodes to create a Plexus like network. The 360 render is achieved by using the new VR mode ( or spherical if your using 2017 ) in the Arnold options of your camera properties.

This example uses the Flight Node - which mimics swarming, flocking and schooling of a group of objects. A Signal Noise Node was added to make it look like the paperplanes were being buffeted by the wind. The background clouds was made add…

360 Animation for Vespertine #15

On October 19th 2016, 'Zoom Through' was presented at National Center of Early Music, York. This was a project commission by Vespertine, National Center of Early Music & AOC Archeology. The 360 animation was an abstract/artistic response to the historic space been scanned by LIDAR equipment. This was then released on YouTube after the event, creating an artefact that had a life after the Event day.

The LIDAR dataset produced by AOC Archeology was over 40 million point model of the Church, that is the home of the National Center of Early Music. Using MeshLab, this was reduced to around 500,000 points, so it could work efficiently in Trapcode Form without memory errors, it also created the 'x-ray' aesthetic of the animation, by having the point cloud resolution low enough to see through the walls and columns. To produce the equirectangular video output for 360, the plugin Mettle Sykbox studio was used in After Effects to render the Trapcode Form object. This plugin c…

Exploring AR with Vuforia and Unity

Playing catchup on fundamental skills in Augmented Reality. This test was done using the vuforia plugin for Unity - to export as an Android App. Using tutorials from here as a starting point - , it was quick to get up and running..  ( More time was spent trying to get the Nexus 7 to play ball with Windows 10, grrr! ) The tracking target was a postcard, which you need to upload an image of to the Vuforia database to create tracking information. Vuforia is free, if you are happy for watermarking on the app. You also have to create an app license that you copy and paste into the Unity project to register it. Having a dabble also gave an opportunity to utilise Mixamo to generate a 3D animated character to test with. Mixamo has now been added to the Adobe Cloud services - so there's pre-made animations for Adobe Fuse Characters - that can be exported as .fbx. As a conceptual idea - I added particle trails to the dancer - this is for a fu…

Playing with a new Toy - Ricoh Theta S

Finally got round to getting something affordable to do 360 video and photospheres, without the crazyness of putting multiple Go-Pros together or something similar.
Inside the Stop Frame Animation set.. @lcabaan @leedscofart #theta360uk - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
The camera is a Ricoh Theta S, it retails around £299 -  which is just in my price range for experimental play and research.  Quality wise, its never going to be great - you are getting what you are paying for, - video is 1920x960px - which is low and soft for a 360youtube - but more than adaqute for prototyping ideas for storytelling. Picture wise though - images are 5376 x 2688px, which enables 4k quality timelapse and stopmotion projects. Here's a youtube test below...

In an educational context, the Theta S is a good accessible 360 camera. Photos are exported as equirectangular projection - so easy to to import into Photosphere apps, or use as Skyboxes in Unity.

Video needs to be converted first, otherwise you g…

Exploring Kinect and Isadora

Further exploration of investigating Isadora for incorporating into visual projects, I and Devika Rao experimented at The Stage, Leeds University with the trial version. Most of this was to test the robustness of the technology, and trying out the Kinect/Isadora Tutorial -

It was fun to explore the software with some one unfamilar with the technology, so seeing the playful interaction and discovery through someone else is encouraging. Particularly mirroring effects, which was good for Devika to interact with live. Certain things flagged up quickly - skirts and dresses effect the quality of the kinect tracking - which might be an issue for costumes for Indian Classical Dance work. Also the area of the kinect's sensor pick up - reduces the space for dancing in.
For quickly prototyping and discussing ideas for future visuals, it is obvious that Isadora can be an excellent addition - previously - I would have to shoot footage -…