Welcome to the Late Night Animator Blog and its first 4 MODO 801 Tutorials


  Are you supposed to introduce yourself on your first blog post?  I'm not sure, but I'm going to anyway.  My name is Greg Leuenberger and I'm the CEO of Sabertooth Productions.  Sabertooth is a production, post and animation company here in Sunnyvale, CA - right smack in the middle of Silicon Valley.  Also known as the best place in the world to pay over a million bucks for the lawn sheds they refer to as houses around here.  I'm a self-taught 3D animator and compositor and like many of you I suspect a lot of that 'self-teaching' took place late at night.  I've been animating since the very earliest days of 3D animation ($50K Silicon Graphics workstation days) and most of what I've ever learned took place haunched over a keyboard in the dark....late at night.  This blog is a gift to my fellow 'Late Night Animators', it will consist of (I hope) a growing body of tutorials mostly centered around The Foundry's MODO.  I also hope to have some additional tutorials for Nuke and After FX that tie in to your MODO knowledge base.  It's been a while since I've released tutorials to the public (anybody remember Stupid Modo Tricks, circa Modo 101/102?) so I hope you fellow 'Late Nighter's' find them useful.


  This first video isn't a tutorial as much as a short walkthrough of a procedural ecosystem I made in MODO 801.  The idea was to use MODO's deformers and particle systems to create a flexible river ecosystem that could be manipulated with user controls.  It was an interesting exercise for about a day and a half.  One of the biggest challenges when creating an asset like this is figuring out how to package user controls in an efficient and intuitive manner.  Right now I'm not really sure what is the best way to present user controls in MODO (channel hauls, key sets, channel handles, transforming locators..etc).  At the end of the day I kind of wished I could create a custom control window and the more I think about it the more I think MODO should offer this kind of control system.  There will be a part 2 to this video where I break down each of the elements.

Procedural River Ecosystem in MODO 801.

  MODO 801 introduced quite a few new features so the first round of tutorials here will focus mainly on 801.  Nodal shading has long been both the most (angrily) requested and most controversially absent feature of MODO since rendering was introduced in MODO 201.  There's a subtle difference between nodal shading and nodal texturing.  Nodal texturing is simply using MODO's schematic to define values for material channels instead of using the Shader Tree (for instance, piping a checkerboard into the color channels of a material piping blended noise and image values into a material's reflection channel), while nodal 'shading' will actually sample shading information from the scene (lighting information, normal information, displacement information) and use that data in conjunction with other nodes and math operations to drive material channel values.  This video takes a look at the Curve Probe node and how sampled data from a curve is used to drive material channel values.

  What is the name of that lava planet in the third movie (or sixth movie, depending on how you count them) anyway?  I don't think I got it right.

Using the curve probe on Boba Fett's personal thermostat.

 We will just kind of continue our them with Boba Fett's personal items and schematic probe nodes.  In this video we will explore using the probe falloff node to control Boba's lightswitch.  I use some logic nodes towards the end of the video to clamp some values - it's good for the tutorial but the easiest way to do this would be to simply use the 'Clamp' node (obviously).  Channel Handles also make an appearance.

Using a falloff probe to control Boba's light switch so he doesn't get scared at night.

Everybody likes to blow stuff up, it's a given.  MODO 801 has a shatter command now that can go hand in hand with it's Bullet Physics system giving us all the ability to create generic shatter videos that we've already seen a thousand times.  So....this is a long video but it goes over in mind numbing detail how to direct your shattering effect to give it some realism and cinematic style that will set it apart from the other shatter porn videos....and by 'set it apart' I mean 'look slightly less generic' : )  This is part 1 of a two part tutorial - part 2 will add particles to our poor shattered pillar.

That BLOWED UP REAL GOOD!  With compound rigid bodies.