What I tell myself everyday.

To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien

September 27, 2010

Texture Painting Notes Level Up Part III

A callout sheet is a condept design from the concept designer or art director telling you what kind of look should your final character look like. A more detailed call out sheet can also be done by you to get a buy off from them before proceeding to start the texture painting process. This can then be used too project straight on to the 3d geometry as a base map to start painting on before proceeding to clean up the seams and the stretching from the projection.

Texture painting can be boiled down to 2 basic methodology. Creating a texture map from scratch with nothing but different brushes and then photograph manipulation. These of course are not mutually exclusive to each other.

It is more about choosing which method to use to and how much these 2 methods overlap over the creating of an issue that is the challenge. Predominately, the ability to paint is essential. I have seen many painters that are over-reliant to photo manipulation whereas a few simple brush strokes here and there might just do the job.

A color corrected photograph might be a ideal place to start. And the details can be be added on top.

There is a certain feel of liberation that a brush gives you, the confidence that if the painting is screwed up, u can just paint over it. Again, how this is applied needs to be defined on which layers are to be done.

The transition from one part of the body to another is based on what kind of character it is. Amphibian or mammals etc.. Looking at different references are important to understanding the different types of surface materials and making an informed decision on the what is a suitable and aesthetically pleasing surface material for your asset.

September 26, 2010

Do you really want to step into the animation industry? Part 2

One of my previous students told me a very valid point after reading my previous post,

What I am doing, is explaining my experience of what I have gone through these few years and putting my thoughts down. As well meaning as that may be, I may have miss a crucial detail. A student's priorities and perspective is different from mine because of precisely that. They have not experienced what it feels like. Therefore it is hard to relate to it and measure it against more pressing concerns like relationships and hormone changes. And more importantly, each individual's reaction and personality will be different in the same situation.

What I have failed to also realised is that the role of a educator is to inspire and encourage as well. The students have to walk their own path and forge their own future andI have no right to deprive them of the opportunity for them to experience for themselves. I may point out the potential pitfalls and the negatives of this industry. But I have no right to discourage them. I think I finally understood this. Everyone have their own perspective of this industry and I should allow them to form their own opinion about it. They might forge their own paths or find their own niche in the industry. Or this path might led them to something else completely different and they are better for it from this experience.

But there are a few constant in life regardless of which industry that you are in.

Kindness, humility, and self-awareness are good start. Hard work and dedication is something that is a constant regardless of what you want to achieve in life. And that is something that I hope everyone can strive for. There is a article that I posted before about the anatomy of determination which I think is most useful.

Being a blowhard, egoistical and even arrogance is successful if you can pull it off and if you can back it up. How it works in the animation industry is slightly warped in that unfortunately, you do have to sell yourself to a certain extend.

For more common sense, the list below from Bill Gate's speech is a good indication.


September 15, 2010

Texture Painting Notes Level Up Part II

Just to expend a bit more for creature texture painting Color Maps, which also expends from

Color maps - Do a quick and dirty maps and set the render up b4 tweaking. Just to see how the lights are interacting with the maps. Balance out your shaders, define you color space Then Paint. Do not go back and forth, render, re-render, paint, etc... very time consuming.

1.) Have your approved reference. Remove specular highlights either by Replace Color in photoshop or clone tool or just paint over.

2.) Pick out some color values from the images and build a rough color map. Just the very rough version. You can even just slap on the color corrected reference images. It doesn't matter. We just want the color and tonal values.

3.) Run your turntable and your subsurface scattering shader if you have one. Use the color that is around the softest part of the creature for the color.

4.) Color correct your color maps and reference images to compensate for the sub surface color.

You will be extracting stuff from the reference images, so that is why you must also color correct them.

5.) Overlay your converted 8 bit extracted displacement maps over and build your color maps with brushes and stuff. Use the extracted displacement as guides. Extract low and high freq maps and overlay them if needed.

6.) PAINT.

Next up interpreting Call out sheets.

September 13, 2010

My views on the local state of affairs

This is probably a bit of old news and I wrote this in early Sept but I let it simmer for a while and and reflect on it. Its not often for me to rant, but I do tihnk things need to be put out there for some perspective.

Cynicism. But I have been reading a lot of the negative posts online about the YOG. The empty seats, the wayang show that the gahmen is putting on, that they are more interested in promoting singapore rather then letting the games take place. And of course with it, the chest beating by the local media.

I was truely agitated for a few weeks. What a waste of tax payers money... etc.. What a wayang govt we have. How hao lian we are . And the more i read, the angrier I get. But the thing that came over me was the cynism that I had. And also the bitterness that I see in some of the local websites which aggrieved the situation. What is the point. These blogs criticising the govt... what do they hope accomplish? And how am I suppose to feel. What alternative solution is there? We voted the govt in, we are also conditioned by the environment to be what we are. So why do we complain:? I feel that we are a cowardly lot. We are. It is easy, satisfying to complain. It feels like we are deferring blame on the govt. We complain about the salary that they get. The perks that comes with the job. The grass is always greener. Time to show you the mirror and ask you to look into it.

What is the best use of my time and waking life? I think that is being happy. Do you think these nay-sayers lie a happy life ? Expending so much energy complaining takes a lot of time and effort.

The old uncles and aunties pushing the clean up cart. Collecting coke cans and selling tissue papers. I feel for them.These naysayers say the govt should do something for them. Welfare etc..... Do you think they don't know, they can't see?

It can be viewed they are warning signs for the rest of society. That if we dun work hard, we will end up like that. The thought is if they help one, they need to help the next, then where do the helping stop?

I have tremendous respect for what MM Lee have done to turn singapore into what it was.

There is a juncture that you face. What do you want singapore to be like. Do we really want foreigers workers serving us, cooking our food ? Cleaning the streets ?

What kind of society do you want to be?

I tell you if you give the locals 1 million dollars they will still find something to complain. Emotional Satisfaction. That is the 2 words that I am is looking for. And I am aiming towards that.

Do you really want to step into the animation industry? Part 1.

I am typing this isn't really as a guide for anyone. This is me thinking out loud and formulating my own thoughts or ideas.But any input is helpful. I will probably be re-structuring the paragraphs as I go along.

Students told me that after knowing me their morale become low. And that I am being cynical. But am I really? I think its more of knowing what the situation is out there so that you are prepared for it.

September 2, 2010

Texture Painting Notes Level Up.

Some texture painting notes off the top of my head.

1.) Look at natural occuring patterns. See the rhythm and shape of dirt, stains. Leaves. For a painter, you need to see a lot. This is most crucial when painting skin and organics surfaces. A lot of painters face this difficulty because they have not look and study at patterns long enough. See the recurring patterns and commit to memory. When you do that, things will fall into place when u look at shapes and patterns during painting.



When designing fantasy floral and fauna surfaces, the key is believability. Not realism.

2.) Low and high frequency levels. Near and Far. Details needs to oread both from near and far.

3.) Spot the Hardness and Softness in transaction. Both in color and in tone. And how to apply them in painting.

4.) Clearly be able to dissect from a reference image, what can be created as specular, color and displacement maps.

5.) Color maps - Do a quick and dirty maps and set the render up b4 tweaking. Just to see how the lights are interacting with the maps. Balance out your shaders, define you color space Then Paint. Do not go back and forth, render, re-render, paint, etc... very time consuming.

6.) Color grading of references. Before u do this, u need to define the color space. Is it gamma 2.2 or 1.8 or whatever. Then again u can color correct and use curves to a photo to match the lighting in the turntable or shot so this is really a moot point. Just make sure that it stays between around 15%-85% brightness.

7.) Letting Go. Dun go into a detail on a particular area and focus on it. Remember you got to do the same for the rest of the model. UNless that area is in the money shots. Get a overall look 1st. U might get away with more then you know. Different people look at Different shapes, different details. That area that u been busting ur balls over, people might not even care or notice.

8.) Layers, Keep it low, keep it simple. Easy to fix. Too many overlays/softlight confuses you. Once you like a look, flatten it. UNLESS its a decal or something that needs to fix. Dun be too depend on it. You are a texture painter. Paint.

9.) Brushes and Channels are your friend. Learn them well and you will prosper.

10.) Color Picker. USE IT.

11.) Reference. Do not just use a few. For color, preferably ones that are well lit with little or no specular. For specular reference the object in different lighting conditions and with flash/no lfash helps.

12.) Reference. There is such a thing as too much reference. Pick the good ones and stick with it.

13.) See how the light hits the object. How it breaks up the surface. And also if there is any white balance used in the photo.

14.) Specular maps are ur most important weapons.

15.) Paint the full range of values for scalar maps. i.e displacement, bump and specular. no use painting only 60%-40% gray for bump. Use the full amount and then u can adjust in shader. If the shader permits, use low and high freq maps separately for greater control. Else, have them in photoshop layers and combine them as 1 map like the old days. Of a more civilized time.

Thats it for now.