Form and Space

creating CG 3D since 2001

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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:…

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.

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…

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.

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…

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…

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);…

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;…

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.

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.