On July 24, TurboSquid got together with CGSociety at Siggraph to present a panel called “Teaching CG and VFX Online”. Four instructors talked about the challenges they’ve overcome using online training to teach computer graphics, and then the panel opened up a discussion with the 40-odd attendees.
Michele Bousquet talked about how TurboSquid uses YouTube’s Closed Caption option when creating CheckMate training videos for artists. TurboSquid creates an accurate English language version of the audio so our many non-English speaking artists can use the auto-translate feature to read subtitles in their own language.
Presenters Michele Bousquet, David Luong, Bryan Wynia, Ara Kermanikian
Other panelists talked about the importance of frequent submission and review of students’ work, daily online contact with students to give feedback, and the ability to approximate live training with webinars.
The panel was organized by Kirsty Parkin at CGWorkshops, the CGSociety arm that offers online workshops in a variety of VFX subjects.
Presenters with Kirsty Parkin and Andrew Plumer of CGSociety
By popular demand, we’re offering a new webinar on Preparing Your Model for CheckMate Pro! In addition to learning all the ins and outs of submitting your 3D model for the highest standard, you’ll get a first look at recommendations from the recent CheckMate Advisory Board meeting. These recommendations aren’t out yet–this webinar is the only place to find out about them right now.
The webinar is being offered at two different times, so you can choose the one that fits your schedule best. Space is limited, so register now!
Do to unforeseen circumstances, the CheckMate Webinar originally scheduled on January 31 has been rescheduled to Wednesday, February 6. Those registered for the January 31st webinar have been automatically enrolled for the new date. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Time: 10AM CDT and 6PM CDT
You under According to 2.2.1 in the CheckMate Pro Specification, the topology must be quads and triangles only for CheckMate Pro Certification.
This video will show you how to find and fix Ngons in 3ds Max. Ngons are polygons with more than 4 sides. The reason Ngons are not allowed in CheckMate Pro is due to the fact that models with Ngons are hard to animate and edit.
There are several ways to eliminate Ngons. The first and most important way is fixing them by hand. We highly recommend that you go through and fix them by hand because that is the best way to keep clean/good topology- which is required for CheckMate Pro Certification.
As you can see, I already have a model open in 3ds Max 2012.
First, we want to “Unhide All” so right-click and choose “Unhide All”.
Make sure the model is ungrouped. If you are not sure, select the model and then select “Group” > “Ungroup” from the top of the program; confirm that it is not grouped or select the option to ungroup.
Next run the CheckMate Pro Script to find out which objects have Ngons.
Download the script from the link provided then go to MAXScript and choose the CheckMate Pro Script; you can also open the script from wherever you have saved it on your system.
When the Script window pops-up click “[Update]”.
When the script finishes, in the middle in the “Ngons” column you can see which objects have Ngons. If there is the #5 or higher in the brackets then there are Ngons.
Now we can go down the list and select the Ngons that we want to fix. Select one of the object with Ngons and when you do that you can see that that object shows up in the modify panel.
Minimize the script and in the modify panel extend Editable Poly by clicking the “+” and choose “Polygon”.
Now, we are going to use the Graphite Modeling Tools to find the Ngons (these are available in Max 2010 and later). To open the Graphite Modeling Tools go to “Customize” at the top, then select “Show UI” and check “Show Ribbon”.
Once the Graphite Modeling Tools Panel is up, choose “Selection” and then “By Numeric” and then choose greater than “>” and for sides we want to input “4” so that it is only showing up the Ngons and then click the arrow “õ” to select.
Now that we have identified the Ngons, we are going to manually fix them by connecting vertices. On the modify tab, choose “Vertex” and then choose two vertices that you want to connect. Select one vertex and hold down “Ctrl” and select the other one to divide off the part you want from the Ngon.
Click “Connect” on the Modify panel.
Now, when you choose “Polygon” selection again and under “By Numeric” you click the arrow again, the areas you connected will no longer highlight as Ngons.
Got 5 Minutes? Then you have time for this video outlining how to find and fix overlapping Vertices using xView in 3ds Max 2010 or later.
Find “xView” in the drop-down menu and once your mouse is over it another set of options will appear and you want to select “Overlapping Faces”.
Go to “Customize”, then “Units Setup…”, and select “Generic Units” so that it matches our CheckMate script.
Then, at the bottom click where it says “[Click Here To Configure]”.
Change the “Tolerance:” to 0.0001.
Select the model.
Some versions will automatically show you the Overlapping Vertices, if not, go to the bottom and select “[Click Here To Update]”. All Overlapping Vertices will appear in green.
Choose the Overlapping Vertices that you would like to fix, then go to the modify tab, and under “Selection” choose “Vertex”.
Click and drag to select the Overlapping Vertices that you chose to fix.
On the modify panel, click the settings button next to the “Weld” button and set your “Weld Threshold” to what you would like. I did 0.001.
Then, click the “Weld” button.
In most cases that will work. However, if that does not work then it probably means that there are unnecessary Overlapping Faces that need to be removed. The next few steps will explain how to fix this issue:
Make sure the Overlapping Vertices that you have chosen to fix are selected, then right-click and select “Convert to Face”.
Then, alt+click to deselect all the faces that you can see that have been highlighted in red.
Click delete to delete the unneeded Overlapping Faces.
Repeat steps 7-10.
That is how you find and fix overlapping vertices using xView in 3ds Max 2010 or later.
Last week we had the second meeting of the CheckMate Advisory Board, a group that meets quarterly to discuss development of the CheckMate standard. The goal of the CheckMate Advisory Board is to keep the standard relevant to the constantly evolving needs of 3D production artists, not only for TurboSquid but for the industry as a whole. In between quarterly meetings we discuss the standard online, forum-style.
In attendance were James Ogle, Viken Majoulian, Chris Bernier, Carlos Cristerna, and Rob Wright. We got several great takeaways from the meeting, many of which will eventually find their way into the CheckMate Pro standard.
Best bitmaps for textures: EXR, TIF
Worst: JPG. Most board members deemed JPGs useless for their pipelines.
All UVs should be unwrapped and non-overlapping, even simple objects.
Different objects can have different textures, and the UVs for any one texture must be non-overlapping within that texture space. In other words, the UVs for one texture can overlap the UVs from another texture, but within one texture space there should be no overlaps.
Good to show the model textured with checkers so a potential customer can see that the mapping is nice and even.
Creasing values don’t export, so they aren’t useful for keeping sharp edges for production pipelines. Sharp edges need to have a double edge built in even at the lowest levels so the model will stand up to subdivision.
For a complex model (such as a vehicle), it’s good to have three versions available:
Background/Low poly – Very rough, like a game model, for use in background. Low poly with only major forms modeled, the rest done as textures. Example: tire treads are Diffuse-mapped but not Bump-mapped.
Medium – Good for medium shots. Major details modeled, but some textured. Example: Tire treads are bump-mapped.
Hero/Hi Poly – Every detail modeled. Example: Tire treads are modeled.
TurboSquid is looking into providing some examples of these three cases, so TurboSquid artists can choose to create each one as individual products if they like.
Whenever possible, show the reference materials used. Ideally, the artist uses photos he/she owns, so they can be delivered with the model.
When this is not possible, at least state what reference was used. Example: “I used the pictures on the Peugeot website for reference.” This increases the model’s credibility.
Include a thumbnail of the wireframe over the reference photo to show how they match.
If artist owns the reference photos, include a few that can be used to generate new textures if necessary.
Show a thumbnail of the model next to a cube mapped with a 1 ft or 1m ruler. This helps confirm the scale.
In the Description, always give the unit scale used.
Naming convention is needed for files, objects and textures.
Layers are desirable in the 3D model file, especially if there are multiple objects in the scene that can be organized by textures. An example is a building where could be a layer for all glass objects, and another for brick.