Form and Space

creating CG 3D since 2001

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Training the Brain

Ian Waters on Mash Networks Website Raffaele Fragapane on Rigging Youtube Patreon Jesus FC on XGen Patreon

Rigging – 0001

This is from my recent teachings of 3D Rigging and Rig Building. What is rigging and rig building? Rigging is the process of articulating movement for a 3D asset, creating controls and tools to be used by the animator for any asset, creating user interfaces within the software environment, and designing the deformation of the character to meet the aesthetic or believability of the project. Rig building is the process of creating tools to support the development of new rigs and rig concepts, such as a tool to create viewport controllers usable by the animator.  Due to the frequency of…

2016 3D Character Modeling

I’m so pumped! I made the showreel the same night my students presented their work. Here it is! 2016 3D Character Modeling from Matthew L. Stoehr on Vimeo. One student, Charles Kinter, took it upon himself to 3D print the characters. I’m really excited to hold their work in my hand.

Work Experience Op. from Design Technology

Students,   This is a letter to me, Matthew L. Stoehr, and other faculty and deans on campus from Design Technology.  A great opportunity to finish certificates in 3D.  This is essentially a Maker Space on campus!  Where engineers, 3D modelers, animators, programmers, scientists, and more come together to make really cool and weird stuff.  I’ve already worked with Randy on several projects, and many of our students are involved.  Here’s a great way to get connected!   Sent:  11/11/2016 Hi Folks, I would like you to know about a new work experience opportunity that is now available to your…

Chapter 9 – Intro 3D Modeling in Maya 2nd Ed

Chapter 9, the final chapter for Intro 3D Modeling in Maya 2nd Ed, is complete! Chapter 9 covers layout, lighting, and rendering for Introduction to 3D Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. Free to anyone who has already bought the Intro to Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. I’ve already sent email links to download Chapter 9. For anyone looking to purchase 2nd Edition, it’s now included in the purchase, and brings the total number of hours in this training series to nearly 33 hours. If you are interested in only buying Chapter 9, then go here.

Maya 2016 Preferences Post-recording

This version of my Maya 2016 Preferences were created after the completed recording of Introduction to 3D Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. The file paths, recent files, recent projects, should all default to your own directories. Please talk to me,, if you have ANY problems with the preferences. The keyboard shortcut changes are the following: Ctrl + d uses my Universal Duplicate, read more about that here. 8 opens the Outliner. [ uses the Modeling Toolkit – Connect. shift + [ uses the Cut Faces Tool. ] uses the Modeling Toolkit – Quad Draw. Shift + ] uses the…

Student Success List

If you or someone you know has a success story, and they were in my classroom at some point in the past, please let me know so I can add them to this list of successes. It’s time to start a log of student success. I’ve been teaching at American River College since 2002. Since then, my methods for teaching have evolved. When I try new techniques in the classroom, or introduce new projects, I try to predict the long term impact it may have. That said, after looking at student success over the last ten years, I can confidently…

Subdivision Surface Management

Mar. 30, 2016 ver. 0.1 This is useful when importing or referencing a lot of content into a single file, like what I teach in Chapter 9 of Intrduction to 3D Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. This will change the subdivision surface attributes for all selected objects. The Attribute Editor doesn’t allow attribute changes for all objects selected, and the Spreadsheet Editor doesn’t list the Smooth Mesh and OpenSubdiv attributes. The solution is a tool that can simply walk though each item in the selection. I’ll refine this more, and add a UI in due time. Edit: The UI is…

Enroll with ARC for 3D Modeling and Animation

Hey Readers and Prospective Students, I want you to know 3D Modeling and Animation at ARC is really REALLY different than it was even 5 years ago, and I want you back in my classroom.     I want you to be successful, because your success is my success.  And I want that.  So, the more I help you be successful, then the more likely I am successful, too.   If you’re struggling with getting a job or creating a job, then I think it’s time you joined me in the classroom again.   Technology has greatly shifted in our favor,…

2014-15 3D Modeling Showreel

This is student work from the course Introduction to 3D Modeling, Art New Media 420 at American River College. This showreel has student work from Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Fall 2015. 2014-15 3D Modeling Showreel from Matthew L. Stoehr on Vimeo.

Lonan by Piper Thibodeau

Lonan by Piper Thibodeau is a character designed for a 3D animated short film called Sidhe. Piper and I met on the twitterverse. I noticed one day she was struggling to sculpt her cute character in Zbrush. After mentioning I would enjoy creating this character, Piper promptly offered me money to created Lonan. I was happy with her offer, but in exchange I asked to use her character in my up-and-coming Character Modeling training. She gladly gave me permission to use her character in exchange for creating it. In good form, I decided to make the character first, deliver a…

Chapter 8 – Intro 3D Modeling in Maya 2nd Ed

It took a long time, but it’s here. Chapter 8, Solving Modeling Problems with Rigging and Dynamics for Introduction to 3D Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. Free to anyone who has already bought the Intro to Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. I’ll email links to download Chapter 8.

MEL: Branch and Branch Clusters

They are yours to use as you wish. The first tool creates a branch-like object based on the length of the curve. Simply draw curves and run the mls_branch MELscript. The second tool is to help speed up the modeling process of the lattice created by the mls_branch script. The instructions are at the top of each bit of code, and are very simple to use.

Video: Instances and Instantiation

This is 26 minutes from Chapter 7 of Introduction to 3D Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition where instances are explored and explained in detail. Instances and Instantiation from Matthew L. Stoehr on Vimeo.

UV Guides

UV Guides for the process of unwrapping 3D models.

Sherman Tank Earns Checkmate Pro!

The Sherman Tank model is recognized and received Checkmate Pro from! Checkmate Pro isn’t easy to get, and this guarantees our models are well made and ready to go. This model took a year to develop, and is modeled and textured by Brian Jacome. Materials, lighting, and rendering are by me, Matthew. I’ve learned more and more about lighting and color management, and the next one should be even better. The next step is to deliver the rigged and animated version of this tank. Congratulations to Brian Jacome, Jordan Kohler (setting up the tread, teeth, and gears), and my…

Combining Meshes Using Linear Bridge

A couple samples from Introduction to 3D Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. Combining Meshes Using Linear Bridge from Matthew L. Stoehr on Vimeo. This is my introduction to combining meshes in Autodesk Maya. From this lesson we explore many variations on combining various polygon primitives and polygon scenarios. Cutting and Combining Meshes at Arbitrary Angles from Matthew L. Stoehr on Vimeo. This is another example of combing meshes in Maya. This scenario is based on the first video, but adds a few variable changes and tools to solve the problem.

How to Identify Problems with a Polygon Mesh Using Subdivision Surfaces

This video is from Chapter 4 of Introduction to 3D Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. This video training is in production, and is expected to release this August 2015. This video covers basic techniques for identifying errors with polygon meshes using subdivision surfaces. How to Identify Problems with a Polygon Mesh Using Subdivision Surfaces from Matthew L. Stoehr on Vimeo. How to Identify Problems with a Polygon Mesh Using Subdivision Surfaces

Maya 2016 Preferences Pre-recording

This version of Maya 2016 Preferences was created prior to the recording of Introduction to Modeling in Maya, 2nd Edition. These preferences are used just after migrating from Maya 2015. They are nearly identical to my Maya 2015 prefs, but with a few small tweaks. Also, file paths, recent files, recent projects, should all default to your own directories. Please talk to me,, if you have ANY problems with the preferences. The keyboard shortcut changes are the following: Ctrl + d uses my Universal Duplicate, read more about that here. 8 opens the Outliner. [ uses the Modeling Toolkit…

Sherman Tank on Turbosquid!

Sherman M4A3E2 “Jumbo” Tank is delivered! Two members of my team, Brian Jacome and Jordan Kohler, have been working on this Sherman tank for the last year. Brain Jacome was responsible for the modeling and texturing, while Jordan Kohler lead the rigging and UI development. These last several days I’ve been lighting, organizing, making mistakes, and rendering, and rendering some more. Well, it’s finally out the door. At least, the static model is delivered to Turbosquid. Next I’ll work on delivering the rigged version, maybe with a bit of animation. That’s where Jordan’s work will shine. It’s been a pleasure…

Cherrington Construction Co. – Brochure Illustrations

Ian Berget and I delivered another couple illustrations to the Cherrington Construction Company. This time they are used in a brochure to help sell patents for his Horizontal Direction Boring, or HDB, technology for both the large transitional pipeline and the utility pipelines. Essentially, the client wanted me to re-render the previous image with some upgrades, and create another image for the utility pipes. Ian Berget will be taking point on the next big client projects. This image, below, is all Ian Berget’s work. He did a fabulous job. I highly recommend Ian for this kind of work. The black…

Spade Shovel – Checkmate Pro!

Another model earns checkmate pro status on Turbosquid! Modeled by Jonathan Camacho. Rendered by Matthew L. Stoehr.

Cherrington Construction Company

A couple weeks back I finished a product visualization of a Horizontal Directional Boring device for the Cherrington Construction company. This was a tough assignment, and I was given 10 days to finish the project. The owner wanted the renderings fast, and produce a brochure to take to a conference in Denver. I managed to finish the project in 5 days. I really had to reprioritize my work and family time. The sacrifice made by my family and my own free time was worth it. Martin was very happy with my work, and said all the brochures were taken by…

Human Brain Earns Check Mate Pro!

A second model made by Form and Space earns Check Mate Pro status at Turbosquid! Congratulations to Ian Berget, the modeler for the Human Brain. A job well done! A potential buyer asked me if all the parts of the brain are separate, yes! they are all separate. Our next task is to animate the Brain to expose all the individual parts. If you’re interested in buying this fantastic model please go here.

Human Brain on Turbosquid!

Hi readers, I’m catchin up n news tonight, but thought you’d like to know I published one more fantastic model on Turbosquid. It’s modeled by Ian Berget, and he has created this brain with incredible detail. If your end product is medical design or education or zombie movies, please click the image below, and get some brains! We really appreciate the support!

Alligator Earns Checkmate Pro!

I’m super proud to announce our alligator delivered successfully AND it received Checkmate Pro status from the staff. This is a big boost for us. Special kudos to Jonathan Camacho for such an amazing job modeling this very detailed alligator.

Coming Soon – An Alligator

This alligator will be sold on Turbosquid, and has taken Jonathan Camacho over a month to model and texture. I’ve spent all day rendering, and going back and forth communicating with Jon on rendering accurate displacement maps. It’s coming together. I’ve trying different lighting scenarios. This rendering took about 5 minutes. High resolution image – 1920 x 1080 – test render

Maya 2015 Preferences Updated

If you are currently in one of my courses at American River College, or you have bought “3D Character Modeling Volume 1”, then this message is very important. I’ve made a major update to my Maya 2015 preferences to reflect the various tweaks that have been made throughout this semester’s courses. Most of the changes are related to how custom scripts are called into Maya. Each script can now be used an a global script, and you are welcome to continue developing the scripts. You can find the scripts in the /2015-x64/scripts folder. I’ve also included the symmetry and live…

A Tool to Assist With Relaxing A Mesh

This is an excellent addition to my modeling tools. Written by student Chris Talbott. Enjoy! Use this when your modeling organic characters, and you don’t already have a high-res mesh to live model against. I used this technique in class, and Chris compressed the steps into a single click! /********************** Duplicate and make Live Version .03 Author: Chris W.A. Talbott Instructions: Select a object you wish to make duplicate and make live run the script. Process: Object will duplicate and rename. New mesh will be made live and hidden in the outliner, Reselects the original mesh you chose to…

A Smarter Symmetrize Mesh Tool

This tool is a “must have” addition to your tools. It’s written by one of my students, Chris Talbott. Enjoy. /*************************************************** Cut a Mesh in half Version .01 Author: Chris W.A. Talbott Designed with character and creature modeling as the target use in symmetry. Instructions: Define a target edge loop to define as center and run script. Process: Center will be set on absolute X-value of pivot. The mesh will be cut into 2 pieces along the edge loop chosen. The more -X half will be deleted while +X half will be kept. The remaining half will be mirrored…

Create Named Layers

I needed this today to make a lot of layers from a selection. Select objects and run this global script, and get layers for each selection. If the selection has children, they are added to the parents layer. See the comments for more info. global proc mls_makeNamedLayer() { string $sel[] = `ls -sl`; int $cnt = size($sel); if($cnt < 1) { error "Select object(s) first."; } for($i=0; $i

Modeling Script

This script combines objects into one mesh, merges all vertices within 0.001 tolerance, and softens the vertex normals. It’s useful when cutting apart objects often, like when symmetry modeling. /********************** Symmetrize Mesh Version .01 Author: Matthew L. Stoehr Symmetrizes a mesh that has already been cut in half on the X axis. Designed with character modeling as the target use. ***********************/ global proc mls_symmetrizeMesh() { string $object[] = `ls -sl`; int $cnt = size($object); if($cnt > 1) { error “Select only one polymesh objects.”; } string $inst[] = `instance -n $object`; xform -ws -scale -1 1 1 $inst[0]; polyUnite…

Siamese Cat on Turbosquid

Siamese Cat Model For Sale On Turbosquid Modeled and textured by Jonathan Camacho Lighting and rendering by Matthew L. Stoehr

Screenshots this Summer

Screenshots of my work this summer. More to come. Cat model is modeled and textured by Jonathan Camacho.

HUGE Summer Sale 50%!

This is a HUGE summer sale! Beginning today, from July 11 – August 9, the next four weeks, you can get any training at Form and Space for 50% off! That’s crazy!! Half off?!? Introduction to 3D Modeling in Maya 3D Texturing Volume I 3D Texturing Volume II 3D Rigging and Rig Building Volume I

Unfinished Character

I started this character March 2013, and come back to it once and a while. I thought you’d enjoy seeing it. This work is from the 3D Character Modeling course at American River College called, Art New Media 421, and the designed are by Lauren Bennett. This course has a prerequisite of Art New Media 420, Introduction to 3D Modeling. Both courses are nearly 100% Autodesk Maya-based, yet this year, Fall 2014, 3D Character Modeling will be 50/50 Zbrush and Maya.

Pivot to Point and Object to Point

Here’s a couple of small scripts created for a student interested in moving the pivot point to a selected vertex. global proc mls_pivotToVertex() { string $object[] = `ls -hl`; string $component[] = `ls -sl`; int $amount = size($component); if($amount != 1) { error “Select only one vertex.”; } vector $v = `xform -q -ws -t $component[0]`; xform -ws -piv ($v.x) ($v.y) ($v.z) $object[0]; } The second script is a variation of the former script. It allows you to created an object at selected vertices. I recommend using the Replace Add Randomize tool to swap out the cubes with the object…

Houdini Training

I know more than a few of you are looking for Houdini training. This one looks good, though I haven’t purchased it myself, yet.

Form and Space Scripts Help Architectural Visualization

I’m always happy to report when I’m able to help someone in one of the many 3D industries. At this company, they utilized the Replace/Add Randomized script to add cars to the parking garage visuals. I spotted this script on your site and I must thank you for sharing such a wonderful script! It’s been very useful to randomly add cars to a carpark in a recent project. I have used it to add cars into a carpark so far (to get an idea of how screens react in terms of opacity). I hope to use your script on…

Maya 2015 Preferences

You are getting the most recent working version of my Maya 2015 preferences. These Maya 2015 preferences have the same changes as my past preferences with a couple of new tools on the shelf. In particular is the Replace/Add Randomized script, with a UI. These prefs also have my standard color changes (small changes to script editor colors) and a few key tool shortcut changes. I have made many changes to the preferences over the years, and I continue to edit it as I use Maya. This release has a few new shelves with a few of my most commonly used…

Mender, Maya UI Style for Blender

I just poking around Deviant Art today, looking for Maya content, and came across Mender. It’s a user interface for Blender that is styled after Maya. It seems to be a pretty good rendition of Maya for the Blender artist. I thought this might be nice for the artists at ARC who are using both Maya and trying to get started in Blender. Here’s the link:

3D Rigging and Rig Building Volume I Complete

I’m proud to announce 3D Rigging and Rig Building – Volume 1 is complete. It’s here. 3D Rigging and Rig Building will guide you through the process of articulating movement for characters in Autodesk Maya. In this volume, Matthew places much emphasis on the creation of rigs for any digital asset, not just bi-pedals. He begins this process by explaining all the nuances of parenting in Maya. He then takes you through a long process of analysis, synthesis, and automation of a camera rig using MEL script. If this is your first time writing in MEL or writing code ever,…

2013 Showreel

This 2013 Showreel is just a fraction of the best work produced by the students in my classroom. However, these individuals strongly represent the caliber of craftsmanship in the classroom. This year’s highlights included major changes in the way I teach modeling and texturing, and the results are awesome. The shaders are better, the textures are better, and the modeling still continues to impress me. New tools in randomization and distribution of scene made some spectacular results. I’d like to single out a few people who have shown incredible improvement, and deserve far more than an excellent letter grade for…

MEL: Replace Add Randomize

Honorable Mention: Updated May 1, 2014 This script now matches pivot location. In other words, if you move the pivot point of the source object and/or the pivot point of the target, this script will match source pivot point to target pivot point. This should make it even easier for the artist to craft complex scenes with the pivot points as their constant value. This is included with my Maya 2015 preferences. Updated March 24, 2014. Now you can download them as global mel scripts, and add them to your scripts folder in your preferences. Also, add it as…

MEL: Replace Add Objects

This script compliments the path constraint very nicely. Use this tool to replace objects for another object in a single click. You can choose to instantiate or duplicate the new object. This is ideal for replacing instances with duplicates and the antithesis. You also have the option to delete, hide, or do nothing to the objects being “replaced”. If there is a parent to the object being replaced, the new duplicate will parent itself to it. This is ideal for maintaining existing hierarchies, while able to swap out proxy objects or placeholders. How to use: 1. Select all objects to…

Model a Day

I’m on a mission to strengthen my skills in CG 3D. I want to be faster and smarter with all aspects of 3D modeling, texturing, rigging, and rendering. “Speed is the key” has been my motto for years, and now I’m really applying it to myself. I’ll be publishing models everyday in Softimage or Zbrush or both. I also want to meet the demands of high end modeling standards set by websites like Turbosquid. I’ll post all my work for sale on Turbosquid for nominal prices. Some of the greater challenges of the day was finding a good workflow to…

Maya 2014 Preferences

My Maya 2014 Preferences have the standard color changes, and a few key tool changes. I have made many changes to the preferences over the years, and I continue to edit it as I use Maya. You are getting the most recent working version of my Maya preferences. This release has a few new shelves with a few of my most commonly used tools, such as Path Constraint. If you’re using any of my old preferences, then please download this most recent prefs and install them. I do have the Hero Engines “Hero Tools” installed on my end, you can…

Released 3D Texturing – Volumes I and II

I just released the video training, 3D Texturing – Volumes I and II, here at! There is over 16 hours of video training. It’s a high quality video, with plenty of markers to navigate your way through the information. Click the images below to find much more information and sample videos. Check it out! Volume I Volume 2 The summary: 3D Texturing will give you the essential skills you need to take your modeling to the next level. From film to games to medical visualization to any other CG 3D industry, this training will guide you from simple primitive…

3D Texturing Training Near Completion

Since I last posted I’ve recorded training on the production of seamless tilable textures, the proper way to build a height map from a photo, explained displacements in Maya (Mental Ray and Maya Software rendering), exhibit the creation of alphas for ZBrush, and the entire process for proper displacements from Maya to ZBrush to Maya. This is approximately seven more hours of training in the last two chapters. I should only be about one more work day to finish editing, publish, and upload. I’m making my last renders right now. The displaced landscape is the final object. update: New renders…

Preview of 3D Texturing Training Chapter 5

Here’s yet another preview of my upcoming 3D Texturing training, and this chapter has a TON (2K lbs.) of content. I first take you through Photoshop to create good reference images to use in ZBrush. We make an apple. It’s simple, and perfect for learning a complex process and looks nice in the end. For all the first-timers in ZBrush, I take you through an introduction on how to use ZB. We go on to sculpt the apple in ZB. I spend some time explaining the pipeline of retopologizing objects between Maya, ZBrush, and xNormal. I do the retopo in…

Preview of 3D Texturing Training Chapter 4

Here’s a peak at the final result of Chapter 4 of Introduction to 3D Texturing in Maya. This has been much more difficult than I imagined it would be, but the results are pleasing. It has taken me about 24 hours to create, problem solve, then create again in recording, about two hours of recorded training: and the editing phase with closed captions hasn’t even begun yet. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating the training. In this chapter I show two unique ways to unwrap the wine bottle (film style and game style), and…

Preview of 3D Texturing Training

I’ve been having my fun, playing, taking time away, but I’m back at it. Here’s a glimpse of what’s coming, Introduction to 3D Texturing. Just in time for 3D Texturing this semester. This image is from the end of Chapter 3, where I teach the creation of a color map by moving between Photoshop and Maya. Chapter 1 discusses general texture issues, and chapter 2 investigates UVs and how to control the unwrapping process. Many more chapters to come…

5th Planet Games is Hiring

Here’s more great news for 3D/game/animator/illustrator/programmer people in our local Sacramento region. This is a very rare job in our area offered by 5th Planet Games, Flash Animator! And people keep telling me Flash is dead, yeah, sure. Oh, here’s the kicker, you need Actionscript 3.0 experience. Awesome. If I wasn’t already employed… The job post on here. Here’s an article highlighting their growth and expansion. The company started the year with 40 employees. It had 50 employees in March and it now has 60 employees in Roseville and 12 others who work remotely, said Brittany Lease, director of…

LaFlam Games

The independent game developer and Intel programmer, Jeff LaFlam of LaFlam Games, is looking for illustrators for his next game. I had an opportunity to play the game with Jeff, and it is very cool! I can’t say much about the game, but I can say this is a great opportunity for talented illustrators. Learn more about Jeff’s games at and at kickstarter.

3D Character Animation Fall 2012

I’m proud to showcase the student work of the 3D Character Animation. This course is the core course the 3D Animation certificate. It is only offered once every two years due to the budget cuts to California community college education. Regardless of the cuts, the classroom is full, and each student has their own unique goal in mind, as you can see in the video. For most of these students it is their very first animation course in 3D, and was a long but fruitful sixteen weeks. I hope you enjoy! 3D Character Animation, Fall 2012 from Matthew L. Stoehr…

Mirror Instance On X

Here’s a very simple yet handy tool. I was tired of digging in the menus to simply mirror an object as an instance, so I wrote this little thing. I’ll share more of what I’m making as I get closer to completion. For now you can enjoy the back side of the character. I have hair guides, clothing, jewelery, and other bits and pieces to create that requires mirror each time. This tool speeds up the process, and took a mere two minutes to write. /********************** Mirror Instance On X Version .01 Author: Matthew L. Stoehr Mirrors an object…

Mobile Games

Here’s fabulous article highlighting some of the success of my program at ARC, and our connection to the mobile games industry. Here’s a snippet. Video Games Sales Fuel California Community College 3-D Animation Programs to Provide Workforce Pipeline Many students hired by companies right after graduating with certificate or associate degrees Sales of video games and consoles each year continue to eclipse the market for movies, both in ticket sales and purchase of DVDs. The video games industry has become big business and now encompasses not only the Playstations and XBOXes in living rooms, but smartphones and tablets where…

Finding Delta

Special Thanks to Jordan Kohler. Thank you for helping me to solve the expressions and ultimately solving the trigonometry. I look forward to your future work. This post discusses issues with a set driven key, finding the change in value of where an object was and where it is (called delta, so we’re finding delta), up vectors, expressions, and other issues. Also, this post shows the differences between a direct and indirect expression in Maya, and how to “trick” the expression. The good news is the tank tread video demo has taken off a little bit, and I’m getting a…

MEL: Path Constraint v.0.7 with Looping

Path Constraint version 0.7 is here already! This version came a little early, but it’s too good not to share. It was only a few days ago, March 7th, when I released the version 0.6 of the Path Constraint tool. I shared it on the Maya forums at when a user named Farcue asked me to add looping functions for complex curves. Farcue asks:If I had a complex path ––say, a helical path bent in a circle and made periodic–– how would I go about animating objects attached to it via your script so that they moved around the…

MEL: Path Constraint ver.0.6

This is my third public release of the Path Constraint tool I’ve been developing for a little over a year. It has gone through a number of revisions, and is now at ver. 0.6. The former tool can be found here, and you can see significant changes have been made to the path constraint. The biggest change is the use of more expressions to drive the offset, start, end, scale, taper, and twist of the objects along the path. Also, there is an up axis for all objects and uniform rotation for all objects. When you run the tool you’ll…

Maya 2013 Preferences

My Maya 2013 Preferences have the standard color changes, and a few key tool changes. If you’re using any of my old preferences, then please download this most recent prefs and install them. I discovered a problem attempting to install the Hero Engine shelf with my Maya 2011 or 2012 preferences. The keyboard shortcut changes are the following: Ctrl + d now uses my Universal Duplicate, read more about that here. 8 now opens the Outliner. [ now uses the Cut Faces Tool. ] now uses the Insert Edge Loop Tool. \ now uses the Split Polygon Tool. SplitPolygonTool is…

MEL: Booleans

Like I’ve said in class, booleans are rarely taught for a few reasons, and there’s even a piece of literature in my library about digital modeling with a chapter titled, “Booleans Are Evil”. Well, for a long time, I thought that too, but not because I couldn’t use them, or that other artists shouldn’t use them, but because it’s difficult to explain there use. There are problems that arise when using booleans, but with a little foresight, edge loop planning, the boolean can be very powerful and assist with very complex geometric problems. Traditionally a boolean modeling operation is between…

3D Character Modeling

I’m very proud to exhibit student work from Spring 2012 course, 3D Character Modeling. In this course the emphasis is on a strict adherence to the references designed by some other artist. Most of the character designs were produced in the course Art New Media 372 Character Design, offered every Fall semester at American River Collage and taught by Betty Nelsen. Ideally, theses characters would then be taken into a rigging course, and then an animation course. Unfortunately, a rigging course has not been offered at ARC since before the budget cuts began in California’s community colleges. There were over…

Dawnshine Development

This is really good news, and I’m honored to be the recipient of such kind words. Thank you, Brian! Here’s the full article – As for Dawnshine, I’m very glad that I reached out to Professor Matthew Stoehr, chair of the Art New Media Department of the second largest college in Sacramento–American River College. He’s been sending me his students. I’ve been really impressed with the quality of work they’re doing. I actually went to ARC myself starting in the 1990s back when I was determined to major in every single subject ever created before I finally settled transferring…

Fall 2012 3D Modeling Showreel

3D Modeling produced by the students in Fall 2012 of the Art New Media course titled, 420 Introduction to 3D Modeling. This is the prerequisite course to all other tier two courses in 3D Animation at American River College. All of this work was produced in Autodesk Maya 2013. Course Description: This course introduces computer 3D modeling, lighting, and rendering, using industry standard software. The primary focus of this course is modeling using polygons, surfaces, and curves. Other areas of focus include studio lighting and simulated lighting, such as global illumination and color bleeding, to produce quality demo reel renders…

Meetings with Brian Linville

I’m excited to report I’ve now had two meetings with the owner of Stigma Games, Brian Linville. We have primarily discussed how the 3D programs at American River College, and I can support the development of Dawnshine. Brian is a multifaceted individual with many interesting stories and skill sets. He has the leadership qualities required to accomplish such a large task, and I’m happy to be 100% behind him. This is a great opportunity for any student of mine, as he has made clear in his list of requirements, here. Modelers should be in a or have completed a 4…

Maya MEL: Find Surface Point

This covers how to collect the UV data in MELscript by selecting a surface point of a NURBS surface. Monday night I was inspired to add a feature to the way I create “hair” or hair guides; widely known as strands. After demonstrating the most recent version of my strand tool, Jeremiah asked me if it’s possible to find a point on a surface, and generate a strand from that point. He explained it would give a more sculptural, artists, approach to designing hair or other complex organic structures. Basically, where I click is where my strand appears. My approach…

Maya: Neutral Pose Revisited

I’ve been working on improvements of this. Previously, I attempted to make a tool that would create a neutral pose. It wasn’t very good. What I want to do is set the current selections transformations to 0,0,0 0,0,0 1,1,1 for translation, rotation, and scale. Why do this? Well, it makes it easier to reset an object to it’s default pose when animating. All I need to do is enter zeros and ones into the transformations, respectively. Of course, the motivation behind this tool comes from my experience in rigging characters in XSI. There’s a very nice, easy to use, Save…


Here are the certificates. They went live today! ARC students, go see a counselor and apply for one right now. The catalog page: The official catalog addendum: 3D Modeling and Texturing Certificate This certificate combines a foundation of traditional sculpture and painting with computer generated three dimensional digital modeling and painting. High polygon modeling techniques are used to create assets for any industry in need of 3D modeling and texturing. Texturing will focus primarily on the use of manipulated and painted imagery to create complex surfaces. Student Learning Outcomes Upon completion of this program, the student will be…

MEL: Duplicating and Transforming Revisited

This tool will duplicate a single object and move it to multiple locations of a multi-selection. It could easily be modified to do other jobs, like replace all selected objects with instances. I’ve been researching Maya MEL script more and more. I’ve been inspired lately, by a few projects and art going on around me, to tighten up my MEL. I’ve revisited the duplicate and transform tool. It’s now more efficient, does not use “select”, and uses the -matrix flag of the xform command. This makes a very succinct script and it is much faster. Lately, I’ve been reading the…

New Certificates Coming Soon

Three new certificates go live November 1st, 2012, and a fourth to go live June 1, 2013. ARTNM: 3D Modeling and Texturing – 18 units ARTNM: 3D Rigging Technical Director – 19 units ARTNM: 3D Technical Director – 30 units ARTNM: 3D Animation – 18 units (available June 1st, 2013) After four years of development, research, and red tape I’m proud to announce the release of these certificates. The smaller 18 units certificates can be achieved in three semesters, and the larger 30 units can be completed in 4 semesters (assuming 15 units per semester for the Associates in Arts…

Stigma Games

Check out Dawnshine Online a MMORPG started by creative owner Brian Linville. They are currently an unfunded project with the hopes to be picked up by a larger developer or find financial backing. The best part is they are Sacramento locals. All the artists are locals, and they could use a few more talented high poly to low poly modelers. It sounds like they have a lot of good ideas and a lot of people with ideas, but now they need builders (character modelers, environment artists, and asset artists). Check out Stigma Games!

Khan Academy

A few weeks ago, my neighbor and friend, whose a truck driver by trade, introduced me to the Khan Academy. Then my own dean introduces Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) to me, and Khan Academy was one of them. Now my school is considering creating or aligning ourselves with one of these MOOC websites. If you don’t know about Khan Academy, then get to know it! It’s amazing. It’s really putting everything I do on a daily basis, in 3D work, into perspective. My career started off with fine arts, but I was always strong in math. I suspect others…

SI: Wobbly Textures

Here’s my video response answering a question from CGTalk on how to prevent wobbly textures, or stretching, in Softimage. Basically, the solution is to add edge loops, evenly distributed, across the mesh, and they should be as “square-like” as possible. Wobbly texture occur when one attempts to model as low as possible, then enable subdivision surfaces. The result is a pulling and stretching effect of the texture. This is most obvious on the 90 degree changes of polygons, and is broadly spaced, miss-shaped polygons. Forums – Wobbly Textures in Softimage from Matthew L. Stoehr on Vimeo. Here’s my forum response:…

Adobe Lightroom Course

Check out this course offering for $15!! The course is taught and designed by David Ottman (a former student of mine, and an incredible environment/landscape photographer). He’s got 9 spots left, so go get it while it’s available! Sun, Sep 30th, 2012 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm PDT

Maya: Duplicate and Match Transforms

Here’s a duplicate and match transforms script. Right at the end of class today someone was asking for a way to replace their stack of cups with a newly textured cup. I came up with this. He’ll still need to delete or hide the old cups, but this will match the cups transforms and preserve the inputs for each cup. Note: there are far better methods I’ve created since this was posted. Search for Matching and Neutral pose scripts for more information. /* Duplicate and Match Transforms version .01 Sept. 7, 2012 Author: Matthew L. Stoehr Source: Objective: Duplicate…

Maya: Universal Duplicate

The duplicate tool in Softimage is brilliant. No matter what you select, it will be duplicated relative to the object type. I want that in Maya, or at least some of it. So I wrote this tonight. It’s a start. It will work well in modeling processes. I remapped this script to the ctrl+d, replacing the default tool in Maya. More at /************************************************ Universal Duplicate version 0.2 Author: Matthew L. Stoehr Source: Objective: Create a duplicate tool that can be universally used for all objects and components. Currently this tool can: if the selection is a polygon, point,…

Maya: Locators to CVs Script

Here’s a very useful tool for animating or sculpting a curve(s) shape. I’m in the middle of finishing my training recording on making grapes, and I was in need of a tool like this. It’s all yours. /************** Locators to CVs version 0.4 Author: Matthew L. Stoehr updated Feb. 04, 2013 Creates a locator at each CV to animate or sculpt the curve shape. Select curve(s), then run. ****************************/ mls_nullsToCVs(); proc string[] mls_nullsToCVs() { string $sel[] = `ls -selection`; string $nulls[]; for($node in $sel) { select ($node + “.cv[*]”); string $cvs[] = `filterExpand -sm 28 -fullPath true`; int…

Pearls, Top of Google Image Search…

It’s my image, but it’s not my website.  Huh.  Looks like this website thinks my rendering of pearls are, in fact, real pearls. Should I tell them, or just be honored by their mistake?  

New System Build

I’ve completed my new system build. It’s been a long time since I’ve put one of these together. I think since 2003. There were a few new things to learn, but overall my experience in building the computer was great. I’m so impressed with the information available. I purchased everything through, and I have nothing but praise. For a few months I struggled with researching various companies that build computers, and they seemed to have very nice builds, but the price… ack! I’m on a reasonably tight budget, and was able to build a computer of similar or better…

Maya: Simple 3D Array

For those of you starting out, here’s a simple array script to create instances of a primitive. You should be able to build onto this script very easily. Play with the numbers, and see how far you can push it. Soon, I’ll modify it so it arrays your selection. I’m working on a ring mail script, and this is a fundamental part of making ring mail. mls_f3DArray(3, 1.0); proc mls_f3DArray(int $objCount, float $oSp) { int $n = 0; string $cube[] = `polyCube -ax 0 1 0`; BevelPolygon; //1D, X for($i = 0; $i < $objCount; $i++) { //2D, Y for($j...

Maya: Neutral Pose

Use this script to create a neutral pose, sort of. For example, say you had a model robot, and you have already set the pivot point for each part. This will take the pivot, and create a group at the pivot location. The group is translation 0,0,0 rotation 0,0,0 and scale 1,1,1. Effectively, a neutral pose. mls_neutralPose(); proc mls_neutralPose() { string $oSelection[] = `ls -sl`; int $oCount = size($oSelection); for ($i = 0; $i < $oCount; $i++){ select -r $oSelection[$i]; //get the pivot location of the selection vector $v1 = `xform -q -t`; vector $v2 = `xform -q -sp`; vector...

Maya: Path Constraint v0.2

This path constraint script is developed from my former multi-motion path script. It’s more developed, and is simpler for the user. To use it, select all the objects you’d like to path constrain, and then select the curve last. Run the tool. The order of your selection is the order along the path. Each object will be grouped, and the group will be path constrained using a standard motion path. The user’s objects can be transformed, while maintaining it’s connection to the path via the parent group. It’s simple rigging principles. 🙂 You can then edit the curve, and each…

ARC 3D Animation Show Reel 2012

Please welcome the all new American River College, Art New Media, 3D Animation show reel of 2012.  In here you’ll find some of the best student work in Art New Media. A very special THANK YOU to all the students who have stepped up their production and commitment to their work.   I’m very proud of your efforts.

Rigging Fundamentals

A student of mine, making a light saber animation, asks how can he gain more control over an object that is constrained to a parent that is key-framed, and would like to edit it further. He cannot figure out how to override the constraint. I didn’t want to talk about constraint blending, as there are complications with that and are difficult to explain. Instead, I wrote a diagram on the white board describing what all rigs should be, at a fundamental level. The theory is simple, all manual animation, meaning the transforms are keyable by the animator, are the last…

Softimage Sightings 2

There are several ICE problems I’m trying to work on, and this video has moved me forward a step. Thank you, Eric, for your help. Here’s a plug. ICE Kine – Drive From Particles from Eric T on Vimeo.

Particles Again

I’ve created several variations of the particle system, and here’s one of them. I’d like to expose a bunch of the variables to the user. Then you’d have interactive control over the creation of the particles. Maybe as an app for mobile devices… Here it is. Hover your mouse over the circle in the center to get the “feel” for the particles. Holding shift while clicking on the particles will spawn more, and click + dragging will allow you to move them around. Update April 18, 2012

Particle System

Inspired by the work I’m doing at Elara Systems Inc., learning and training ICE in Softimage, I’ve reopened some files from 2008. This is created in Flash AS3. It has three classes, a particle systems, emitter, and particle. Click once to start, then click any particle to spawn more.

Inherited Transformation

Here’s a simple script for creating a long chain of parented objects. Create a bunch of cubes in one place, select then all in the viewport, and run this script. Marquee select them all again, and transform the objects to see the effect. This takes advantage of inherited transformation. mls_inheretTransform(); proc mls_inheretTransform() { string $null[] = `ls -tr -sl`; int $n = size($null); for($i = 0; $i < $n; $i++){ if($i != $n-1){ parent $null[$i] $null[$i+1]; } } } /************** end *********************/


Yesterday I was asked by one of my students, Andrew, where I learned scripting and what sources I’d recommend for learning scripting. To the first question, I learned on my own, with no formal training. I bought books, I read websites on the topic, and I read the SDKs of the software, over and over again. I gradually became more familiar with the syntax, the logic, and my own patience. In 2002, I started with Actionscript, AS, for Flash, which is based on a type of J-script, and from there I graduated to Softimage XSI. XSI had large libriaries of…

Multiple Motion Paths

Here’s a tool for Maya that is similar to a multi-path constraint in Softimage, multi motion paths. Make a new scene, create a curve, create a few objects to attach to the curve, select the objects, and run the script below. string $selection[] = `ls -selection`; int $size = size($selection); //change this to your curve name string $path = “curve1”; for($i=0; $i

Iterated Space Transformation

One of my classroom assignments is to model a spiraling staircase, or iterated transform of objects. I find this assignment to be very exciting, as it introduces my students to modeling with multi-dimensional arrays. Then my one of my students, Casey, found a reference on Google images that I hadn’t seen before. A sculpture by Peter Coffin at the Saatchi Gallery. Untitled (Spiral Staircase) 2007 Aluminum and steel 670.6 x 670.6 x 213.4 cm Peter Coffin Now, this is interesting, and it peaked my curiosity to try and recreate it in Maya. Start with a radial array.  A radial array…

Softimage Sightings

I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Schoennagel yesterday. Mark is THE Softimage demo artist and representative of Autodesk Softimage. He keeps the legacy of the former XSI alive. He really loves Softimage, so naturally we got along very well. Check out his work at Autodesk. Not only did Mark share some great insights to Softimage ICE, but also show off some art that we don’t get to see here in America. Click this link to see pure awesomeness. Some other Softimage sightings:

Softimage Love

Some of you know I’m in love with Autodesk Softimage, previously known as Softimage XSI. I can’t help it. I’ll make statements about how wonderful it is to teach with Softimage… while in the middle of teaching Maya. Why did I switch to Maya? Survival. Economics. Being Realistic are my answers, and it has worked out very well for my classroom, student retention, and completion is higher than ever before. Maya’s name precedes itself. Do I love Maya like I love Softimage? Well… I’ve identified a problem. I want more, or all, of my students to know how easily they…

Maya: Wireframe Rendering

Courtesy of a former student’s guidelines, Scott Grasso, here’s a video demonstrating how to set up a mesh for wireframe rendering for a sub-division surface mesh. It’s quite simple, and I like that. This is perfect for setting up your demonstration reel. With a little more planning, the wireframe can be rendered on a white constant shader, and then multiply that render with the beauty pass to showcase the wireframe over the final render.

Intro to Modeling, Booleans

In this video I cover intersecting polygon meshes at arbitrary angles using booleans. I place strong emphasis on good planning of the geometry prior to the execution of the boolean. In particular, we’re looking for a clean four point polygon and edge loop flow. The boolean itself will not generate the necessary edge flow, so I’ll show you the interactive split tool, duplicating faces (to create the new mesh from an existing mesh), and merging of vertices, using Merge Vertex tool and Merge, to finish the boolean cleanly. I don’t think a person will need the model created, but I…

Intro to Modeling, Combining Meshes

In this video I cover a variety of methods for combining meshes together.  I start with a very simple one-to-one point count using a bridge.  I move on through a few more variations on the same topic, gradually building the difficulty of each combination.  I’ve published the most critical pieces of my lecture, and the parts that students tend to ask me to repeat most often.  This isn’t intended for the advanced modeler, but if you are, you may find this video has a couple of gems in it for you, too.

Maya 2012 Preferences for Windows

The usual color and view port changes, plus a few changes to keyboard shortcuts for modeling. Keyboard shortcut changes: Extrude:    = Append to Polygon Tool:    n Cut Faces Tool:   control +  \ Split Polygon Tool:   control + [ Insert Edge Loop Tool:    control + ] Open the Outliner:   8 Open the UV Texture Editor:   9 My custom view port settings are bound to a shortcut: SetViewPortDefaults:    shift + n  (set line width to 2.0 – 3.0 for an easier selection of edges) Download my Maya 2012 preferences for Windows   —————————————————————— Installation path is in…

Introduction to Modeling – Mug

I’ve completed the next video on modeling the mug.  The emphasis here is introducing the CV curve tool, extruding polygons along the curve, the output/input operator location, and how to manipulate the curve and extrusion operator.  Also, the radial menu is not showing in my screen capture, however, I’ve compensated by using the Status Line for object and component selections.  It should be easier to follow.  Again, this video is not for advanced users of Maya. Note: This video is a summary of key points from the lecture. It’s not nearly as thorough, and isn’t a substitute for the lecture.

Mental Ray

Here’s is my reading for this evening on Mental Ray. It’s a serious tome of knowledge.  I’ve been using mental ray since my first days with XSI 3.0.  I knew this book would help me transition to Maya, and further master my skills in mental ray for photo-realism.  Out of curiosity, and to save me time on my footnotes, I searched on to see if there is a second edition.  There isn’t.  I did discover that people are selling this book for near 300$! I knew this book was a good source of information, but I understand now how…

Introduction to Modeling – Week 01

I’ve published a short training video focused on the novice modeler in Maya.  This video is not for advanced users.  In this video I demonstrate modeling a cup using move, scale, and extrude as my primary tool set.  I go on to describe the different subdivision levels in preview and render versions of the cup.  This is the same demonstration I do for Introduction to 3D Modeling, Art New Media 420, at American River College. This video is available to registered users.  Please use your actual name when registering.

Contemporary Sculpture 101

After organizing my lecture notes for class, I came across this short document I wrote on the fundamentals of sculpture, I called it Defining Strong Sculpture.  It was written after I had a lengthy conversation with one of my students on what it takes to create appealing sculpted forms, and how this applies to digital 3D modeling of characters, landscapes, and other objects.  I’d like to share these notes with you.  I outlined four fundamentals to consider when sculpting either physically or digitally; material selection or choice, interlocation, tension of space, and the texture or the language of the surface….

Added Drawings, Charcoals from 1995-96

These three drawings were commissioned by the musician Matthew Stratton during my freshmen or sophomore year in undergraduate school.  He paid 20$ per drawing.  I thought I would never see these drawings again, but there is some good to being a member of Facebook.   I can’t believe I said that.  I asked Matthew Stratton if he still had the drawings, and if he would document them, as I was too stupid back then to do it myself.  A few months later he replied, “They hang prominently in my studio. Notice signatures from Harvey and Walter. Both were complimentary of your…

Nine Years at ARC

Please raise your glass to the end of my ninth year at American River College! I’m looking forward to year ten.

Maya: Render Scene ver. 2

After some more time in the hypershade, I made an occlusion shader that has better results (for showcasing models in demo reels) and is about 200% faster in render time.

Maya: Render Scene

A render scene, provided for my students, where you can import the models, parent them to the turntable, and have an animation ready for the demo reel. Here’s a look at the quality, so far.    

Maya: Teapot

A teapot I modeled for a class demonstration a couple weeks ago.

3D Model: Self Portrait

From 2008, this self portrait modeled as an in-class example for an experimental course called, 3d Human Head.  Sometime in the future this course will be redesigned and renamed 3D Facial Expression and Animation to accompany the course Facial Expression and Anatomy at ARC.

3D Model: Stylus and Holder

Here’s a stylus and holder I modeled a few years ago.  As a member of Turbosquid, this is my first model to be posted for sale.  It’s yours for a nominal price.

Eldorado Hills Teen Center

In 2004, this pre-visualization was completed for a teen center in the city of Eldorado Hills.  I modeled and textured about half the furniture on the interior.  The structure itself was modeled by Dave Spamer.  Lighting and rendering was also completed by Dave Spamer.  This was my first time modeling and texturing in XSI, and it was a challenge.  At the time, that was XSI version 3.5.

Galleries: 3D Models

There’s a new gallery page!  In there you can find tons of images of models in progress or that were in progress, but I no longer work on.  The work goes back the last ten years!  The galleries are roughly in chronological order; to the best of my memory.

SI: Decay From Camera

In this six minute video tutorial you’ll learn how to create a custom render tree that will control the value of parameter (decay) based on the distance from the camera. This is essential to controlling displacement maps for deep landscapes, or for special effects, like changing the color of the ground in front of the camera.  Your imagination should go wild with ideas on how to apply this technique once you have a functioning render tree.  In fact, with Autodesk Softimage 2011 you can create a compound of this render tree, and use it as a render tree node.  You…

Added 3D Illustrations

Here are a few illustrations from my early years of modeling, lighting, texturing, and rendering in 3D software, from 2001. The forest was generated from the technique of instancing using hair as the guide.  So, for each strand of hair in the scene, it was replaced with an instance, or copy, of a tree.  The tree was generated using an old Lightwave tool called Treecage.  The instancing software was called Shave and a Haircut.  Shave is now an integrated part of all major off-the-shelf software, such as Maya, SI, Max, and C4D.

Added More Drawings

I found a couple more scattered on my hard drive from my Lady and the Lion days, from 2004 – 05.   Maybe I’ll return to it someday.

Added Drawings

Added more drawings from my graduate school days, in 2001.

SI: Bouncing Ball Rigging

From September 2008. The Bouncing Ball Rig – Inspired by and specials thanks to Jason Schleifer. I was one of the lucky few to hear Jason Schleifer teach his Animator Friendly Rigging in person, before he had released the videos. There was special weekend event held at DeNanza Community College in Spring 2006, and Jason had a chance to teach his video content in person, essentially using the invited teachers as beta testers for his teaching. It was quite good, and to this day, still apply in my own teaching what I learned from Jason in a few hours. These…

SI: Eye Lid Rigging

From 2008, experimental course in Art new Media I titled 3D Human Head. In this course we made realistic self-portrait from photographic references. Later in the semester we began the rigging and shape animation process. We ran out of time, but here’s a small video series on eye lid rigging for a realistic character. For the Maya users, find this technique, on pgs 251-253 in Stop Staring 1st Ed., By Jason Oispa. I don’t know if Osipa continues to teach this technique in later editions.

SI: Modeling Tool Set

Here’s the modeling tool set toolbar from my Intro to 3d Modeling course when we used Softimage XSI.  It’s an xsiaddon, so just drag and drop into an empty view port.  Once installed, you can find the toolbar under the menu, View > Toolbars > formandspace_modeling.  Let me know if there are any problems installing or running them. The coolest tool in there is the quickLevel. I like to map it to the tilde key. It’s a simple toggle between sud-division surface set to level 3 and sub-ds set to level 1 with discontinuity angle set to 0 degrees. Zero…

Maya: 2011 Preferences, Win and OSX

I’ve modified Maya’s preferences to find a more attractive and efficient use of Maya.  There are several changes made to the interface, interfacing colors, component and object colors,  and there are keyboard shortcuts reassigned to make modeling much faster.  I enjoy Softimage’s look and feel, so I attempted to make something akin to SI.  Enjoy!  Mac and Windows version below. The keyboard shortcuts are: Extrude = d Bridge = alt + b Bridge Options = shift + alt + b Append to Polygon Tool = n Cut Faces Tool = \ Cut Faces Tool Options = shift + \ Split…

Sophi Stoehr

My wife and I are proud to announce our daughter has entered the world.  She was born July 9th at 5:25pm, 6 lbs. 15 oz., and 20 inches long.  Please welcome Sophi Stoehr!

Medical Animation – Stent

Back in June 2010, while helping Dave Spamer with the Tron remake, he asked for some help creating a medical animation of a stent.  Now that all the secret parts have been removed from the animation, here’s the part that I worked on.  My contribution was rigging and shaders for the vessel animation. This is animated, modeled, and rendered in Softimage. Here’s a thread on cgtalk describing some of the curve constraint issues, and the solution I had for Dave’s stent animation. If you’re using Softimage, my advice still applies to all curve rigging or modeling with curves. I stated: For…


The CGTalk FX Wars are held about every two months, and this time they held a competition in honor of the new Tron 2.0. Dave Spamer invited me to help him participate in the challenge. We have created the Tron style light cycle battle (part of it). Dave has been interested in Tron for years, and saw the CGTalk FX Wars as an opportunity to finish what he started years ago. I was responsible for the light trails effect and the setup of multi-pass rendering. I designed a tool that would allow Dave to draw the curves that he needs,…

Segment Curve

This script will segment an entire curve from knot to knot. I needed something like this tool for my current project. I found this most useful for linear curves, but I added the code to segment a CV curve, as well. /************************** Segment Curve Knot to Knot Format: Jscript Author: Matthew L. Stoehr Source: SEGMENTS A CURVE FROM KNOT TO KNOT **********************************/ var oSel = Application.Selection(0); if(oSel.Type != “crvlist”) { fTrace(“Select a curve”); } else { if(Application.Selection.Count > 1) { fTrace(“Select only one curve.”); } else { fSegmentCurve(oSel); } } /*————————- FUNCTIONS —————————*/ function fTrace(m){ Application.LogMessage(m); } function fSegmentCurve(oSel){…

Two Rigging Tools

I wish I made these tools a long time ago.     Script #1 is “Create Null as Parent”.  I especially like this one.  You can make fast hierarchies with this. Script #1 /****************************** Create Null Parent version 0.1 Format: Jscript Author: Matthew L. Stoehr Source: SELECT THE OBJECTS YOU WANT PARENTED TO A NULL, THEN RUN. MATCHES THE NULL TO THE FIRST CHILD’S POSITION AND ROTATION. **************************************************************/ /*——————– User Input ——————–*/ //start of timer var oStartTime = new Date(); //For dynamic creation of primitives and curves var oRoot = Application.ActiveProject.ActiveScene.Root; //Selection Collection var oSel = Application.Selection; /*——————– FUNCTIONS ——————–*/ fRun(oSel);…

Home Studio Complete

Several months after moving into our new home, my wife and I are very proud to finish one of our rooms.  It’s the room where we spend most of our time.  We installed the blinds, the floating shelves, and the little wooden drawers on the left and right.  We have matching desks for a large drawing space and general work table.   The keyboard shelf can be pushed underneath, and I expanded them further to get a little more keyboard space.  The monitors are on the bottom shelf and the extra monitor is wall mounted.  The only things that are years…

Illustrator File to 3D – Extract All Subcurves

I’m working on a logo for a local singing group (which I’ll talk about more in the future), and I was frustrated with extracting one curve at a time from the .EPS import from Adobe Illustrator.  So, I made a small tool to extract all the subcurves from a curve.  Again, this is really handy if you’re importing designs from AI for use in Softimage. To use this, copy and paste the code below into the Script Editor, select your curve, and run. var oSel = Application.Selection(0); var oSelName = oSel.FullName; var oAP = oSel.ActivePrimitive.Geometry; var oCrvCount = oAP.Curves.Count; for(i=0;…

Real-time 3D in Flash

Courtesy of the David Laser Scanner project there’s a way to do real-time 3d in Flash.  It’s called Mesh2Flash.  This tool was originally designed to showcase polygon meshes generated using the David Laser Scanner software, but I think this is great way to show off models made in any software.  All you need is the .obj or .dae format, and the Mesh2Flash.swf takes care of the rest.  You can find more information about Mesh2Flash here. My biggest problem with this is that the .obj file must sit on the server with the Mesh2Flash.swf.  I’ve very little means to protect these…

Fountains, Fireflies, and Bucket of Balls

More AS3 fun. Inpired by Actionscript 3.0 Making Things Move by Kieth Peters. Fireflies.  Ok.  Not fireflies, but it reminds me of them. Fountain. Notice the scale change from birth to death.  It adds a nice dimension. Dump Bucket.  I imagined a bucket of bouncing balls dumped onto the floor.  Classic bouncing ball from traditional animation ramped up.

Asteroids Ship

Lately, I’ve been doing A LOT of administrative work, and I’m tired of it.  Even though I have a shit ton of work to do for ARC, I decided to have some fun and chill out this Sunday.  I loaded up some old flash files of mine.  After having a conversation with an artist in town, it looks like I’ll be doing more AS3 work this summer, so I thought I’d warm up.  This one uses OOP!  The asteroids ship drawing, the asteroids ship animation, and the asteroids ship’s bullets are all independent.  This work is a rebuild of the…

Bag Rig

Ulysses Unzueta is a student at Animation Mentor, and was a student of mine.  He needed the bag rigged for his scene, so I helped him out.  After studying his blocked shot I decided it was best to treat the bag as though it were a spine rig.  Only thing missing is FK joint chain for the spine.  I’ll add it later.  Here is Uly’s work in the refining stage. In this shot, the bag and the rig for the bag is my contribution.  The character, Stewie, is a character from the Animation Mentor online school. You can have the…

Adaptive Rigging

After a conversation with my student, Jake, I was reminded of some old research and experiments I did between April and July 2007 with adaptive rigging.  I spent my summer off from teaching trying to recreate Bernard Haux’s excellent rigging work.  I don’t think my work was nearly as clean as Mr. Haux’s, but I was tapping into some good ideas for character freedom.  The traditional animators of Disney were free to draw and not be limited by the technology’s or the technical director’s limitations.  They could make marks on paper, over and over again.  Their two primary tools are…

Red, the Ball with a Tail

After reading the request of a starving animator on, I present to you, free of charge: Red, the Ball with a Tail! (XSI) When you load the scene you can see the default controls; translation and rotation controls for the ball and rotation controls for the tail.  From here, you should have everything you need to make a traditional bouncing ball with a tail.  No need to do anything else!  Start animating.   However, the tail is more than meets the eye! If you haven’t already, load the xsiaddon I included in the zip file.  In there you have…

Sketching Waves and Dynamics

In August 2008, I was experimenting with building sine waves into my rigs, and I used this weird cactus object for the testing grounds.  Click the image to see the results and the control panel.  I was able to offset each wave to a unique object along the branch.  In case you’re wondering what the weird surface is, it’s a cube instanced onto the surface using a hair object.  It’s all very simple and fun to play with. Later, around April 2009, I created dynamic tree branches that had secondary animation.  As the root was oscillated with a sine wave…

Thera-P-Fin, by Maria Sclafani

Here’s work completed for my client, Maria Sclafani, in 2006.  Maria asked me to create a visualization of her invention.  She came to me with a homemade modified swimming fin.  It had cloth super clued to a cut rubber fin to demonstrate to me what it should look like.  In addition she had a few crude drawings I then interpreted to create the visual below.  It’s fun and challenging to create something from another person’s mind’s eye.  Maria is seeking a manufacturer to build her product, and uses this visual to promote her ideas.  She now owns the patent to…

ARC 3D Animation 2005-08

This is a show reel of my student’s work from the years 2005 – 2008.  It includes work from the following courses; Introduction to 3D Modeling, 3D Texturing and Special Effects, 3D Character Modeling and Rigging, 3D Character Animation, 3D Short Film, and the experimental course 3D Human Head.  I’m very proud of my student’s accomplishments.  ARC 3D Animation Show Reel for 2008 – 2010 is coming very soon.

Website Interfacing Prototype

I think this is pretty cool stuff, and I’m proud of my work on this project.  In October of 2008, I was invited to collaborate with Steve Mehallo, Jim Cassio, and Michael Scott to animate a prototype of a new website standard.  I was responsible for creating and programming the animation.  I was also responsible for following Steve Mehallo’s design of the interface to the pixel. I hadn’t used Flash since AS 1.0 days, so I had to learn Action Script 3.0 programming very fast.  I used research material published by Keith Peters to achieve my goal in one month…

Dragon on the Shore

This is exciting!  An old friend of mine, Brian, found me on recently.  He happens to be the person that built my first computer back in 1998.  But not for free.  I promised to complete this six foot by three foot charcoal drawing of a dragon in a landscape.  The drawing was so heavy I used grommets on the top and bottom border to ensure he could mount and remount the drawing without damaging the paper.  Then we did a swap.  Well, that was it.   I’ve been working with and playing games on computers ever since.  I hope to…

Our Baby Girl

My wife and I are very excited to announce we will have a girl!  She is due mid July, and she has all ten toes.  The ultrasound is very cool to watch live.  We could see her heart beat and could even see her face for a few seconds.

Pearls, Pearl Shader

These pearls are from an old project, but stands well on it’s own as an illustration.  Perhaps I could sell digital jewelry. Software:  Softimage XSI 5.0 (could have been 4.2) Date: 2005 I’ve included the render tree for those curious how it was made.  The secret to this render is not only in the render tree but is in the lighting.  I used photography of pearls for my reference.  I replicated the lighting and the format to the best of my ability.  The pearls are set against a white backdrop to flood your eyes with light.  A neat trick.

Galleries, Drawings

I added a gallery section and have started my drawing gallery.  These first two are from July 2007.  They are based on photographs of my father’s 50th birthday party.  I’ll add more drawings this weekend.  It’s near 4am, and I need to be at a 9am meeting. Date:  July 2007 Medium:  Graphite and Ink Dimensions:  11 x 14 in.

Troll and the Decaying Woods

I’m going to start this website with an old image. Lot’s of friends and students have asked me, “Where did your troll go? Did you produce anything with it?”  Well, no. It collected dusk in the hard drive. It was a pain to rig and animate. I didn’t know what was the best for character animation in those days, so I eventually left this piece behind and moved forward. However, seeing it does inspire me to make monsters again! This time, monsters that move! Date: 2002-03 Software:  Newtek Lightwave 6.5,  Bauhaus Software, Mirage 1.0 (formerly Newtek Aura) Process:  The Troll…


Welcome to the new Form and Space website! I’m very excited with this new format. WordPress has come a long way in five years, and this version is easier than ever before. No more website maintenance and fixing code. It just works. Now I get to focus on what’s really important. Creating art and helping you to create art. Please take a small amount of time to register. I look forward to your participation! Matthew.