Category Archives: News

Up next 2016

At the end of 2015 I pondered my 10 year career in 3D and realised not only was I content with everything I’ve done; it was time to move on and push for something new.

After 5 years both student and teacher at AIE plus another 5 years doing 3D architectural visualization I was ready for something new.

Throughout my 3D career I had always coded, whether it was learning web languages to complement the jobs I could take on as a 3D freelancer or out of personal interest in how to script within Maya using Python it’s always been a thing I would dabble in. During my time at AIE I also unofficially  completed the Advanced Diploma in programming, my fellow staff members often going out of their way to guide me through it.

This pushed me into a world of programming I was a newcomer to and gave me an appreciation for low level languages such as c++.

You learn to appreciate what something like a game engine does for you when you try and draw a line in c++…

You can see the projects on git hub here and here

With a the new goal in mind and plenty of experience to work from I left AIE to pursue a new career in programming and development.

That was in Feb 2016, since then things have progressed nicely with interesting projects coming along that have required new languages and frameworks to be used.

To write a diary every day is like returning to one’s own vomit. – Enoch Powell

So another year has gone between articles.

Let’s avoid a wall of text, last year the following went down.

I moved from developing and training for AIE’s Vocational Education and Training program to teaching the Advanced Diploma of Game Art and Animation alongside the Advanced Diploma of 3D Animation & VFX

I had such a great time teaching this class, taking them from intro to 3D through to creating short films and games as a team. That was only the first year of the course!

They made some amazing stuff. Check out the short film below.

 


I’d love to say i’m well read enough to pull quotes out of the air, but credit for the title goes to david who I shamelessly stole it from. My own are hardly so eloquent.

I’m a gamer, are you?

Let’s throw it out there Are you a gamer?

I have seen confusion and way to much anger over this issue lately and like plenty of other people I will weigh in briefly.

I want the focus of this to simply be – “what is a gamer”, in the context of computer games.

Lets make this as simple as possible, a gamer is any one who plays games.

A gamer is not limited to:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Location
  • Age
  • Anything else you can come up with, don’t do it

Sure, some people love first person shooters, others love angry birds. Yes they are both “gamers”.

This is like people watching comedies or action movies, we are all watching films the only thing that is changing is the genre

There really isn’t any more to this, children, men and women all play games. The real issue is that we can’t seem to play them together.

When good gamers go bad

From where I stand (and it’s lonely up here) the issue can start when a group identifies with being a gamer.

They play a certain genre of game and they play it a lot. So do their friends and they create and join the same social groups, so if I’m a gamer and I put all this time and effort into this single genre that must make me a real gamer. If i’m a real gamer that must mean that you aren’t.

And if my immediate circle is male, then that must mean that females aren’t gamers. If they aren’t gamers that must mean they can’t play games.

Not only is all of this wrong, it’s a damaging mindset to be in.

At least 40% of all gamers are female, you can check the stats here (US) or here (AUS). This doesn’t mean 40% in a given genre though.

image from: http://www.esrb.org/about/video-game-industry-statistics.jsp

So where do we land on “are you a gamer”?

If you want to be sure, join us! games are a unique medium and should be shared and celebrated.

 

Talks given – Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria

This past weekend I had the pleasure of giving three talks at the Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria (DLTV) conference on behalf of The Academy of Interactive Entertainment.

Conference Program Overview _ Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria

The conference theme was”Creating new connections”.

The talks were fun. Both to put together and take part in.

I prepared three distinct talks, below is a brief overview.

A fresh look at VCE VET IDM

This was an in depth look at a curriculum currently in the works for the Victorian scored assessed VCE VET IDM course.

With a focus on:

  • My process for developing a course
  • Meeting the goals of both secondary schools, students and AIE
  • How the coursework is designed to engage students in new ways
  • Christina covered UOC integration

Fresh look at vce vet idm

Interactive presentation for students:

Shawn Marinakis, Christina Lee and myself gave two interactive game presentations to high school and primary school aged students.

I put together the interactive tower defense game using the Unreal Engine 4. Assets/level’s are from Epic Games combined with my Blueprint Scripting assets to create the interactive portion of the presentation.

This was fun to create, we had the goal in mind that students could come up and play with the settings, which worked out well.

Starting with an imbalanced tower clearly shows game imbalance

Starting with an imbalanced tower clearly shows game imbalance

Custom Tower defense interactive game

This level from the UE4 market place was a fantastic example of a finished level

UE4 tower settings

Example of settings students could change

 

DLTV Conference - crowd snapshot

Creating 3D content is for everyone!

 Interactive presentation for teachers:

Stepping away from the fun side of tweaking pre-made settings Christina and I were able to dig a little deeper into how the unreal engine and other industry standard technology can engage students to excel in so much more than just making games.

Exploring this technology with a range of secondary teachers was a fantastic chance to see how other people perceive technology how may not be aware or used to it. This is a topic i’d like to explore at a later time.

Students that have a chance to work with this technology are exposed to the requirement to develop key skills such as:

  • Problem solving
  • Design
  • Critical thinking
  • Planning

By implementing these skills students get to create a fully playable game, it’s pretty cool and beneficial to the students in all walks of life.

Class blueprints for the tower defense game

Class blueprints for the tower defense game

Thank you to all the organisers of the event and I look forward to the next one!

Shawn Marinakis the Communications Coordinator for AIE Melbourne.

Christina Lee is the VETiS coordinator for AIE Melbourne.

Mind the gap Feb 2013 – June 2014

Image by Robert Shea

Art by Robert Shea

Oh no… I last posted in Feb 2013. What happened?

In short:

  • Full time work, what a time sink. I’m currently at The Academy of Interactive Entertainment. Developing, Teaching and various in house projects.
  • Creating Nuke tutorials (I’d love to do more, time willing), often based on Andrew Kramers amazing After Effects work, for example:

Zombie supermarket on xbox controllers, hell yes.

Zombie supermarket on xbox controllers, hell yes.

You can only imagine the sounds Dylan created for this

You can only imagine the sounds Dylan created for this

Pyrrha goes hi poly bananas - do not ask her why.

Pyrrha goes hi poly bananas – do not ask her why.

  • One of my development websites became helpfully corrupted taking down my own with it, rebuilding was always a problem for future me.
  • I coordinated a team along side the esteemed Hamish Curry comprised of several high school students to build the Victorian state library in Minecraft, this was an official event.
State library made in Minecraft

So many blocks

  • CG society masterclass by the esteemed Malcolm Thomas-Gustave covering PyQt for Maya – this was extremely informative, Malcolm knows his business and I look forward to basking in his knowledge again.
  • I took part in a MOOC focusing on the interesting subject of Gamification, MOOC’s are pretty cool.
  • Training and Assessment cert IV (TAE), you can now officially listen to me, whether you do or not is up to you.
  • Cert II in programming (IDMT) using c# and XnA.
  • Accepted that I need more sleep than i’d like.
  • Everyone needs a social life, don’t pretend otherwise.
  • That’s the last year and a half…

So whats next?

i-have-no-idea-what-im-doing-dog-300x190

Always true to an extent

I will definitely post more, promise. I’ll even try to make it interesting.

At the beginning of last year I had different goals in mind for my website, With new goals comes changed content and overall feel.

Less formal and selling stuff, more bloggy and focused on “development”.

To me this term is something everybody should strive for. You don’t need to be the best, you just need to be better tomorrow than you are today.

I’ll post “posts” in the vein of:

  • Interesting and relevant articles.
  • Ongoing Development in 3D related areas, Unreal engine 4, what an engine.
  • I’m starting down the path of learning C++, I’ll document this process.
  • Hell I might even try and do some interviews.
  • Anything I feel like, it’s my blog!

Does anybody read these? well that’s not really the point is it…

Out of the shell – Begin 2013

Ok… time to start posting again.

 

I had an amazing break over the xmas period, I got away from the computer and I swam/slept/read/traveled a very small bit

 

Chocolate! hand made perfection.

 

The last week or two was job hunting season. I’m very pleased to say I have started work at the Academy of Interactive entertainment!

This fills my year with much excitement, I will also be working on my own material along side my teaching. I am pretty excited by Nuke 7 – the new point cloud features look amazing.

 

So, out of the shell I come – bring on the year!

 

-Callan

Graduation Academy of Interactive Entertainment 2012

This week I graduated, I’ve had a blast these last two years at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment.

I would like to thank everybody at AIE you’ll all fantastic people not just to learn from but to be around.

I’ve also had a blast writing and delivering some of the AIE’s holiday courses, I’m happy to say feedback from these classes has been very positive and I had a great time with them.

 

I did start to write quite a long list of thank you’s to all the AIE staff. I think I will leave it with just saying,

Thank you!

What’s next? I’m very excited about 2013 both for myself and for my peers. I’ve got some things in the works for myself but for now, I’m just happy to have had such a good experience these last two years.

 

A few pictures from graduation.

 

 

 

2 turtle doves, I mean films

After recovering from a minor wrist injury I’m happy to release these two finished projects before I go off on a lovely 5 day break.

 

Presenting the final cut of: ESCORT: Epsilon Guardian Cinematic

Truong Nguyen and Vitali Sergueev where providing the bad ass animation for this one. With assets from the games Escort team (check the game info out here it looks amazing) Vitali and Truong have done a solid job.

I did the final post work to add some razzle to the already impressive dazzle!

Steph thanks again for acting in this one!

Here is the standard before and after for your enjoyment:

 

composite example

don’t be afraid

ESCORT: Epsilon Guardian Cinematic

 

It really feels good to get this one out, here is the short film I worked on earlier this year. group projects always present there own inherent hurdles, one thing is for sure though…. This could not have been completed without our stellar team. Great working with you guys!

One Tomb Many

Brought to you by team Mythology

Truong Nguyen
Nathan Duckett
Callan Winfield
Thomas Sinclair
Simon De Costa

Nuke 7 arrives

Nuke 7 is here, It looks amazing. If I drop everything I could play with it right now….

It’s pretty tempting.

 

  • Unlimited trackers
  • Auto updating while correcting tracks
  • Enhanced 2d – 3d point cloud
  • Oh My, A 3D modelling toolkit! it looks very nice indeed.

Much more, just check out more intro videos here

 

The re-lighting intro looks fantastic.

 

 

 

Project wrap up and Showreel launch

Wrapped up 3 projects this week which you can see below.

The big one being my showreel is up! This is comprised of work done over 2012, nothing from 2011 made the cut unfortuantly. As fond as I am of the final project from last year.

School isn’t out for me just yet but i’m definetly not stressed about project deadlines!

My Resume has also been updated to reflect recent work at ACMI and other minor additions, you can view it on the about page here

I’ve got alot of plans for small projects in the up coming months, and I may even brush the dust of unity, I’m eager to have a play with the playmaker plugin.

Show reel is live.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=595ETrkGAZc

 

Escort Cinematic (my parts) are live

 

Acmi advert is live

Weekly update

Busy week.

 

Nuke Masterclass with Dave King at the academy of interactive entertainment, it was a blast.

I’ve been using Nuke for my latest projects and after this I feel I have a much more solid understanding of what’s happening under the hood my two favourites including:

  • Data flow down the B-pipe
  • channel manipulation

Mainly it’s how to handle data through out the node graph, it’s always good to see other people workflows – look at your own and realise not all node layouts are created equal.

Cheers Dave I enjoyed the class!

 

The escort Cinematic is pretty much finished on my part, just waiting for material from my counter parts before the final cut is done.

 

I wanted to do an advert based around the ACMI Centre  in federation square (I miss working there and any excuse to drop in is welcome)  the advert will let me try out some techniques with 3D between Nuke and Maya

  • Nuke 3d space
  • Cameras between applications
  • animations between applications
  • other fun things

I’m fairly well through this as well, i’ll be uploading both this and the escort video next week!

Paused Follow up

I attended two events at this years paused festival. Wow, some of the content out there that students are producing both blows my away and humbles me… examples of both crazy complex works and the haunting beauty of a minimalist styled short film.

 

While so many of the short films where a pleasure to view A Fox Tale really blew me away I loved everything about it.

Check it out!

 

Official website

 

I won’t go into much detail about it, more can be found in this article by 3D world magazine

 

Moving onto today in addition to seeing some amazing things studios around the world are working on, I got a chance to chat to Chris Betteridge and Hamish Macdonald from Iloura’s advertising branch. Great bunch of guys and I found another who shares my enthusiasm for nuke scripting and doesn’t glaze up when python scripting is mentioned.

The guys went through two case studies they worked on, including the Birds Eye advert check it out here

While I’m pretty solid with pipelines it’s always interesting to see how individual studios approach a project and handle it from start to finish.

 

Thanks for coming to paused fest it was really enlightening.

Check out Illoura advertising 

Paused Fest

Busy this weekend? I’ll be heading to a few events at Pause Fest.

 

The chance to talk to industry folk is always good, getting away from the computer once in awhile is also a plus.

While the benefits of networking should be apparent to all I’m often surprised at the lack of enthusiasm shown by some of my peers. Come on guys let’s get out there and meet some fun new people in the industry… these are people with similar interests who would love to talk polygons with you!

 

pausefestImage

Star Citizen – pledge time

I used to play EVE, I didn’t leave because I didn’t like the game, much more because I loved it way to much.

If EVE lacked one thing for me it was using tactical skill (reflexes and actually manoeuvring my ship) I’ve had this brough to my attention and I’ve got to say it looks fantastic.

I won’t say to much about this one, there are plenty of articles on this already, i’ll just say that for me this will easily be worth backing.

kickstarter here finishing November 19th

main website here

 

Animation progress

Animation – I cold say a lot about it. I enjoy animating, I’m not the best by far but I can happily say I am improving.

I would like to share my improvements with you!

 

Check out the difference between these three clips

 

11 sec club entry (we all start some place) – April 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmpbebuAVXI

 

Final AIE project 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-qsKIOChCw

 

AIE character animation early 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3_g07U3nB0&feature

Escort cinematic – start project

I am pretty excited about this project not only because it stars my close friend Steph K (get excited for her upcoming website)  but because I get to combine 3d and live footage, something I’m really enjoying the process of.

 

This project consists of

  • Live action elements – nuke
  • 3D elements – maya
  • 2D elements – controlled in nuke
Software being used (so far)
  • Maya
  • Nuke
  • adobe photoshop
  • 3D coat
  • adobe premiere
  • Mudbox

 

Shooting was done at the AIE Melbourne campus and Steph looked amazing as she always does.

 

Steph K – looking great

 

The cool thing about using Steph as my “Lux” character is that Steph is working on the escort game where she designed and modelled the main character “Lux”.

And now she can really personify that character!

 

 

I am hopeless at putting together costumes, thankfully Steph and Jonathan are brilliant at it

 

And a taster of the 3D that’s going in, game asset and current version of high poly version.

High poly versions done by me, based from game mesh – attributed to the Escort game team.

Epsilon rig done by Vitali

 

Meet epsilon, he fixes generators

This is the generator that epsilon fixes.

Game Masters – Game Over

Game over :

It’s been four months of fun, I’ve met so many new people.

Laughed, played and learnt a lot… I also know that being in a full on customer service role and being on the floor almost daily has helped me understand people and myself. Which might sound an odd thing to say after enjoying the odd round of Dance Central (it’s really great)

So Long ACMI, for now.

 

Picture Copyright Robert Shea

 

Vshorts – It was an amazing event and I’m so glad I took part in it. Now I know I have been saying I’d put my V-Short up on the net… But in taking to colleagues and having experienced the night I’ve come to realise something. These “V shorts” are made by the staff Community of ACMI and as such it is a private affair, so while I’m proud of my cheesy little film, private it stays. (and I’m pretty glad the v-short I was featured in is staying private as well, no-one wants to see those dance moves)

 

But I did get a wicked “cut price VFX” award – cheers guys

Whats news – 31st Oct

Busy week, I’ll be posting proper project updates later this week with lovely pictures and such

  • Game masters finished
  • Escort Cinematic is well under way
  • I found out about an amazing looking game really, check it out.
  • Disney bought Lucas Arts – I’m excited and scared about this but we all love Disney right?

 

What is escort and why am I doing a cinematic? Well it’s not just me, like all great things it takes a great team to make most cool things.

Introducing “Lux”

Jonathan and “Lux”