Adobe, webGL and HTML5

I had written a blog post for my company website, please check the link:

http://www.xoriant.com/blog/javascript-2/web-graphic-library-and-html5.html

Flash ActionScript – getURL in AS3

Flash ActionScript

After a long time I am writing something…during my project I found out something interesting in Flash and JavaScript function. This will be useful for people with basic knowledge in Actionscript. So let’s discuss it here.

First we will discuss about the difference between AS2 and AS3 script on Flash button. Previously in AS2 it’s very easy to write script on Flash button.

AS2 script on Flash button:

on(release){

//Write your action

trace(“Button has been pressed”);

}

And function should be like this (this should be placed on the keyframe of timeline (make actionscript layer) :

function myFunction(){

//Write your action

trace(“Hello”); //write trace option

}

Above example was quiet easy with AS2, now let’s see same example with AS3:

Important point to remember is that in AS3 you can’t write script on button. Just write it on keyframe in timeline (make actionscript layer). And give instance name to your button e.g. HelloButton. Now write the button script on keyframe of timeline:

AS3 script for Flash button:

HelloButton.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, myFunction);

Here, we have use button name i.e. HelloButton. And a function i.e. myFunction

In AS3 function is written as:

function myFunction (event:MouseEvent):void{

                trace(“Hello”);

}

In above function, remember to add “event:MouseEvent” and “:void” as compare to AS2, which tells that on which mouse event this function should execute.

Now let’s discuss about simple script of “getURL”. Previously it was easy to open a webpage on click of a Flash button. You just need to put this script on Flash button. See example:

on(release){

                //getURL(“http://www.google.com”, _blank);

                }

After clicking this button it will open an http://www.google.com link in new window.

But now if you just put this script on Flash button and publish HTML, you will find that it’s not working….don’t worry this is just a simple glitch within your HTML…….try to find out this param tag…in HTML:

<param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always”/>

Make sure that….value=”always”….if you want to run getURL script on Flash button….Now your Flash button works perfectly in HTML.

Now learn something interesting, capture Flash button event in Javascript of HTML page. Check AS2 and AS3 versions:

AS2 version:

On Flash button write this script:

on(release){

               getURL(“javascript:myfunction()”);           

}

In above script, “myFunction()” is a javascript function which is present in HTML.

In HTML, where you are going to run this Flash button, just write javascript function “myFunction()” in <body> section. Check this:

JavaScript Function in HTML

<script language=”JavaScript”>

function myfunction(){

alert(“Hello World”);       

}

In the object tag for the SWF file in the containing HTML page, set the following parameter:

<param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” />

Now check above scenario in Actionscript 3:

AS3 version:

import flash.external.ExternalInterface;

Instead of “getURL”, in AS3 we should use “ExternalInterface” classes. For more details check link: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/FlashPlatform/reference/actionscript/3/flash/external/ExternalInterface.html

import flash.events.Event;

HelloButton.addEventListener(MouseEvent.CLICK, myFlashFunction);

Above code is for Flash button with instance name: “HelloButton”, and when someone press this button it execute “myFlashFunction”(JavaScript function).

 

function myFlashFunction (e:Event):void{

     ExternalInterface.call(“myfunction”, HelloButton.name);

};

myFlashFunction is a Flash function which runs javascript function(i.e. myfunction) in HTML file.

 

And in HTML, place this javascript function:

<script language=”JavaScript”>

function myfunction(){

alert(“Hello World”);       

}

In the object tag for the SWF file in the containing HTML page, set the following parameter:

<param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” />

 

Now run HTML file in Internet Explorer (browser). And when you press Flash button in SWF file in the containing HTML page, javascript code catch the Flash button event. This way you can catch any Flash event in javascript and use for many purposes. Hope this will be helpful for those who want to understand basic event catching with JavaScript from Flash.

3D support in new Flash Player

adobe_alternativa_racingI was reading different articles on internet about the new technologies in Multimedia field. During this I come across an interesting piece of information which I feel is interesting to you all. This is about the ‘alternativaplatform’ which is a Flash-3D-engine i.e. Alternativa3D.

‘Alternativa3D’ is developed by a Russian company which is working on this platform for more then 10 years(as they claim ), and cooperating close with Adobe and working in pre-release groups, and participate in developing of new Flash Player versions.

‘Alternativa3D’, which is intended for displaying 3D graphics in the Flash Player environment. You can use this technology in wider areas such as 3D websites to multiplayer browser games and applications for social networks in full 3D.

Alternativa3D version 7 has been widely used in the architectural and building sector, interior design and internet advertising. They are also providing servers for online gaming. AlternativaCore is a cluster of several Linux-powered Java servers. It is a ready to use core for creating real-time and turn-based multiplayer online games. This client-server solution helps in version control, high speed data transfer, load balancing  system, store unlimited amount of data, faster and easier development of games, allows expansion, decreases expenses, support payment systems, social networks support etc. For more details just visit: http://alternativaplatform.com/en/alternativa3d/

The best thing is that Alternativa3D is free of cost, so just download it and explore the possibilities. But one thing to remember, you need to have a good understanding of Actionscript 3 and Flash.

Actually Adobe Flash team is working on technologies which make possible to create and play 3D games through Adobe Flash Player. Adobe team is working on a new set of 3D GPU accelerated APIs that delivers advanced 3D rendering in Flash Player and AIR. This API codename is ‘Molehill’. For more information just visit this link: http://tv.adobe.com/watch/adc-presents/molehill-3d-apis/

Avatar: New era of virtual movie making

avatar_img_01‘Avatar’….yes a movie which is creating history right now. After ‘Lord of the Rings triology’ this is another movie which is responsible for changing the film and entertainment industries perspective, I also want to add game industry into it because game industry will get a huge benefit from technologies which ‘Avatar’ develops.
I watched this movie on first day first show and that too was morning 7.30 AM show. I want to tell that not only technology wise but philosophically also this movie is great. It shows the bonding between nature and its creatures in an emotional way, we don’t skip this aspect of the movie.

My friends were asking me to write something on ‘Avatar’ and its technology, but I need time to search and read articles before writing something. I find out some nice information, so let’s share.

James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ is continuing its domination on box office worldwide in its fourth week, film domestic total till now is $429 million. And overseas, ‘Avatar’ grossing are $902 million (Reference: http://www.animationmagazine.net/article/11030).  WOW !!! don’t you want to say. It will soon toppling down Cameron’s last box office hit ‘Titanic’, which has done business of $ 1.8 billion.

Before starting to talk on technologies I just want to describe some definitions:
CG = Computer Graphics
CGI = Computer Generated Imagery

CGI is a specific application of CG in that it refers to the use of computer graphics to create synthetic imagery. However, the two terms are sometimes used inter-changeably in the visual effects industry.
In a broad sense, computer-generated is an adjective that describes any element created by a computer– as opposed to shot live on a set or location.

Stereoscopic 3D (S3D): Stereoscopy, or stereoscopic imagery, uses the characteristics of human binocular vision to create the illusion of avatar_img_02depth, making objects appear to be in front of or behind the cinema screen. The technique relies on presenting the right and left eyes with two slightly different images which the brain automatically blends into a single view. Subtle right-left dissimilarities in the images create the perception of depth and can be manipulated to creative advantage. Therein lies the art of stereoscopic filmmaking. (Reference: www.autodesk.com)

Now comes to technologies used in ‘Avatar’. Lightstorm Entertainment, production company of James Cameron’s, developed a new motion picture production process to create the groundbreaking sci-fi epic ‘Avatar’. They combine live action 3D and computer generated, photo-real visual effects to develop a great sci-fi story.

Ubisoft, a game company, also launch ‘Avatar’ in a third-person adventure game form. It can be played with stereoscopic 3D (S3D) display.
Lightstorm Entertainment, pioneered a new method for making visual effects movie with advanced virtual cinematography techniques. They use ‘Autodesk®MotionBuilder®’ and ‘Autodesk®Maya®’ software for this film. Production team captures actor’s performances and apply them directly to computer graphics (CG) characters, while viewing the results in real-time. This movie sets a new standards in stereoscopic 3D(S3D) productions. Lightstorm refined the performance capture techniques and apply them to high resolution Maya character models to create realistic, believable, animation.

This movie starts new era of virtual moviemaking, which gives full freedom to director’s creativity. Hoping that in near future Directors try to replace actors with this CG characters….which doesn’t have any date problem and exorbitant fees….:)

 
References: http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?id=14270942&siteID=123112; http://www.animationmagazine.net/article/11030; google search

Swift 3D plug-in: Convert 3D animation to vector

Friends, thanks for your encouraging comments on my articles. Some ask that why I am not updating my blog regularly, one reason for not writing on regular basis is due to less time availability. Due to recession and heavy work pressure I do not have much time to write research articles. I don’t want to write those news items which you easily gets on every website, I try to write article after doing complete research on the subject.
Wait for my next article which will most probably on interactive 3D model. I am doing research on the same, and already made a really cool interactive 3D model. So just wait for my new article.
Here we talk about software (plug-ins) which helps to convert 3D animation into vector animation (i.e. Flash SWF). Isn’t it sound interesting?
Electricrain, a company made a software plug-ins for LightWave 3D and 3ds Max  i.e.  ‘Swift 3D LW’ ; and  ‘Swift 3D MAX’. With the help of these plug-ins, users of 3ds Max and LightWave 3D can render their 3D scenes in high-quality, low bandwidth vector or raster Flash animations.

swift3d_img_02

These plug-in are powered by industry-leading RAViX 4 vector rendering technology. Swift 3D plug-ins gives superior Flash integration and additional export formats including Adobe Illustrator, EPS, SVG and Toon Boom’s PNT format.
It is simple to use plug-in. You just need to install it (according to the installation manual), and it appears into your software as shown in below Figure.

swift3d_img_01

You just select your output format i.e. swf, eps, ai etc. in the SWIFT 3D window and render it, you will get the desire output in vector format. WOW…quite easy and very useful. I have use lots of SWF files in my project and it is quite easy to show a 3D model/animation made in LightWave3D in Flash with full control. You just need to import the SWF (3D animation) file into your Flash project and your 3D animation would work perfectly in Flash without consuming much memory. Same thing happens with 3ds Max.

Just download a trial and enjoy it!

For more information please check the link: http://www.erain.com/products/plug-ins/

Reference/Image (First Image) courtesy: http://www.erain.com

3D Arsenal™: Weapon to create your 3D visualization

3darsenal_img_01Are you worried when your client wants hi-ended 3D animation for small section of your animation/video? Don’t you think that it would be great to have some amazing templates of 3D animation effects? A 3D animator knows how painful is to make a effective 3D Logo animation which has to be shown just for a second in an animation, for this he/she needs to develop all 3D background and other models with texturing, animations, effects and rendering. And above scenario is worst nightmare for a video editor who doesn’t know 3D.

Now, here is a tool which comes to rescue you and meets your tough deadlines. So don’t worry here comes a ‘Weapon of mass creation’ ….. 3D Arsenal™, by NewTek.

You can use 3D Arsenal™ with SpeedEDIT, TriCaster, VT. These are the other products by NewTek. But here I am only talking about using 3D Arsenal™ with LightWave 3D® as I am using it for my projects.

This is a kind of plug-in, which you can use with your LightWave 3D® software. You just need to install this plug-in into your system and you will find a 3D Arsenal™ tab in your LightWave 3D®. 3D Arsenal™ is having over 750 pre-built scenes which easily meet the needs of the video editor for the creation of 3D animation. It is a great tool for video editors to add dazzling 3D imagery to a project without the hassle of learning complex 3D software because 3D Arsenal™ does the work for you.

3darsenal_img_02Once you find 3D Arsenal™ tab inside LightWave 3D®, just click that 3D Arsenal™ tab, and select a pre built 3D scene from template. Selected pre built scene loads into your LightWave 3D®. You just need to type text on Logo’s place so yours text become new logo. You can also edit textures, design of anything in the templates according to your needs. This has the facility to add videos into surfaces of 3D models such as backdrops, screen etc. You can place a dancing girl video with alpha channel in between the virtual sets. Take your video shots with blue/green screen and use pre-made customizable 3D environments provided in 3D Arsenal™. Map your video onto plasma screens, dancing TV’s, video walls and more, to give your productions a real primetime look.

3darsenal_img_03After mapping logo or video into pre-built scenes you just need to render your project and you will get final 3D animation output… Isn’t it very easy. Instead of creating each thing in 3D you just need to map the required video/logo etc. into pre built templates.

As a multimedia expert and 3D designer, sometime I didn’t like all of the templates as I want to draw my own scenes through my creativity, but yes 3D Arsenal™ is really helpful for those who don’t know how to operate complex 3D software and want 3D scenes in their projects.

3D Arsenal™ is a product from NewTek company, maker of LightWave 3D®. For more information on 3D Arsenal™ please visit www.newtek.com/3DA/

ZooZoo endorsing Vodafone

zoozoo_img01Opps! I made a mistake. Actually I think previously that this advertisement is made in 3D, just like any other person who saw it. But its not my fault, it has made so nicely that anybody thinks that this ad is made in 3D.

Ok ok, I understand that you want to know which ad? Boss, I am talking about new Vodafone advertisement which is running during IPL (Indian Premium League) cricket matches.

Now talk about the details, actually Vodafone wants to advertise its Value Added Services (VAS) i.e. SMS alerts, cricket alerts, backups service etc. So they approached their advertising agency i.e. O&M Mumbai. Vodafone brief them that they want to send VAS messages through some unique creatures. Now it’s easy for O&M to sketch out the creative plan. And it is not a big task for the agency which has Mr. Piyush Pandey as creative genius. They came out with this egg headed characters, they named it ‘ZooZoo’. These characters speak different language and not Hindi or English.
Prakash Varma an ad filmmaker from Nirvana Films has directed the commercials. Whole ad was shoot out in Cape Town, South Africa were IPL is going on. They also took help from local production house named Platypus.

Technical Aspects:

These new Vodafone characters, which are named as Zoozoos, are not animated characters. They are human beings who were made to wear body suits.

zoozoo_img02

As these characters are not animated one, so it’s going to be big challenge for them to create this kind of scenario. They use thicker fabrics to cover the actor’s body. Production team divided the outfit into two different parts: body & head. Outfit’s body part was stuffed with foam in some places, while head was attached separately. Inside head a material called Perspex was used to show head big than usual human being.

Cinematically, film was shot like that which create illusion of smaller creatures and backdrops. Nirvana production shot it in a high –speed format to make it more animated kind of illusion. Backdrops were created with spray painted with neutral grey colors, so viewer easily concentrate on the activity and message of the characters. They use girls and kids to the characters role because every character is having very thin legs & arms. It is quiet interesting that agency planned 30 such commercials, according to reports each commercial cost approx. Rs. 1 cr.

So that’s good to see this really new approach to give illusion of 3D computerized production, but on the other way you are doing it with real actors in white suites. But I feel that if they do it with 3D than that save lots of their time and cost, because if you create a single character inside 3D, than you only need to duplicate it. Even backdrops also can be created within an hour.

Oh boss if they would have contacted me na, than I will surely help with my 3D and multimedia knowledge to cut the cost and all other hectic activities. Piyush Pandey sir, next time gives me a chance? :)))

 

 

Image courtesy: http://www.funzug.com

Other details:
Client: Vodafone Essar Mobile Services Limited
Creative Agency: O&M, India
Date of Release: April 2009
Responsible creative people: Piyush Pandey(National Creative Director);
Creative Team: O&M creative team
Production House: Nirvana productions
Director: Prakash Varma
Media Agency: Maxus
Post-production Studio: Platypus Production

 Article references: www.afaqs.com and other internet resourses

Emergence of Director

Know Director? No No not a film director…I am talking about Macromedia Director (now Adobe). Yes, now that old Director which we all thought was dead, is making buzz in eLearning industries. After acquisition of Macromedia by Adobe, much software such as Director, Authorware, Fireworks etc. were not releasing their latest versions.

As a Director addict I thought that due to the power of Flash and emergence of Flex may force Adobe to dump the Director. But Adobe embed new Director version in eLearning bundle. I remember those old days during my learning time when people generally like 3D softwares i.e. 3ds Max & MAYA, but I love Director because that is quite tough to learn or you can say complicated but really good when you want to make 2D animations with cel(illustration on paper) which is bitmap base technique. I also learn Lingo language for Director. In my view Director was very nice tool in those days for interactive multimedia, you can easily make interactive multimedia applications, interactive games and touch screen kiosks. In 2004, Adobe stops it’s further up gradation. We saw newer versions of Flash, and new technologies such as Flex etc. but every one forget Director.

I remember one incident regarding to the Director, when I was with a big Learning Services company, which deals in eLearning, we got a project, which is done completely in Lingo language of Director. Now the problem is that no body knows Director, my company’s MD approached me for that project and even initially I was also hesitant to take that project because I had left Director practice long back, but due to my love towards Director I took that project and successfully completed that before the deadline which was really a great satisfying experience. Another reason for great experience for me is that Director project was completely written in Lingo script, so quite challenging for me to complete this project in very short deadline.

director_11_img_01

 

Adobe launched Adobe® Director® 11 on March 25, 2008. Latest Adobe launced Director 11.5. It is having some new features such as:

1.  Support more than 40 video, audio, and image file format, including SWF
2.  Timesaving user interface
3.  Script Browser
4.  Easy multiversion output
5.  Windows® support (now includes Windows Vista®
6.  Mac support (now includes Intel® processors)
7.  Cross-platform projector publishing
8.  JavaScript support
9.  Adobe product line compatibility
10.  XML parsing
11.  Text rendering engine

There are some bugs also, but Director fans don’t worry at least Adobe®Director® 11 is in the market. Hope we will soon get newer version of Director with fixed bugs and with more interesting and useful features.

LightWave 3D through my view

Love 3D animation, good that means you are also interested into the softwares used to make 3D stuffs. I am sure you heard about many softwares which is used to create 3D like 3ds Max, MAYA, Ligtwave 3D, etc.
Details about other softwares are easily available on Internet with good tutorials, but if we talk about LightWave 3D, we didn’t find good stuffs/tutorials on Internet. In India, LightWave 3D is not very popular and you hardly find people who worked on LightWave 3D. I got chance to work on LightWave 3D during my work assignment, still I am using the same. In starting of my project I had tried to search some good tutorials on LightWave 3D, but not succeeded. I got only Newtek company (makers of LightWave 3D) tutorial section, which was not working during that time. Luckily, I got some video tutorial on Newtek website and also with the copy of my LightWave 3D.

Approach of 3D in LightWave is little bit different as compare to 3ds Max and MAYA etc. Cost wise differences between these three softwares are:

Autodesk 3ds Max 2009: $ 3990 (with Subscription Electronic Download)
Autodesk MAYA Complete 2009: $ 2590(Windows with Subscription Electronic Download)
Autodesk MAYA Unlimited 2009: $ 6490(Windows with Subscription Electronic Download)
LightWave v9 Full with Printed Manuals: $ 995

In LightWave 3D software you will get two different section i.e. Modeler and Layout; one is for modeling and other one for Animation and texturing (advance use).

Let’s discussed about the Modeler first.

Modeler
It meant for modeling and generation of 3D models and characters. 

lightwave_img_01

This program has different sections such as ‘Create’, ‘Modify’, ‘Multiply’, and ‘Construct’, ‘Detail’, ‘Map’, ‘Setup’, ‘Utilities’ and ‘View’.
Inside theses sections you will find all options of creating a box, ball, toroid, gear etc., which will be useful for creating 3d models. Other useful actions such as Boolean, Bevel, Extrude, Lathe and others are also present.
In Modeler, you can also adds lots of Plugins, some useful plug-in such as ‘3D Arsenal’ (wait for my next article on 3D Arsenal). Inside Modeler, one can create models and apply textures of different kinds. Modeler has Surface preset, which is very useful and easy for texture mapping, you can assign textures with just a click, nice feature.

lightwave_img_03

 
 A different approach of Lightwave 3D in comparison with other 3D softwares is layer systems just like Adobe Photoshop.

Create a 3D model, name it and also name its surfaces. After completing your model, you need to go to Layout. For Layout you need to click the button on the right side corner of the screen. On this menu, you will find options such as ‘Switch to Layout’; ‘Synchronize Layout’ and ‘Send Object to Layout’. After a click you will be into Layout….

Layout

Layout is meant for animation and effects purpose only. After coming here you can’t change the model or do alteration; if you want, than you need to go back to Modeler with the help of button on the top right side of the screen.

 lightwave_img_02

In layout mode you will not find layers, the new thing here is camera, lights, animation timeline and animation panel on bottom with other useful tools. Here you can use functionality such as Bones, IK etc. And with the Render tab you can render animation with different option settings available.

Tabs under Layout modes are ‘Items’, ‘Modify’, ‘Setup’, and ‘Utilities’, ‘Render’, ‘View’ and ‘Modeler Tools’. These tools help to provide lights, camera and dynamic objects settings in a scene. IK, Bone management and Pivot point positioning is also possible in Layout mode. Lightwave script and Plug-in support is available in Utilities tab.

Here, in this mode you will find surface editor same as Modeler. So you can change the surface color/texture at any time. Important point in Lightwave 3D as compare to 3ds Max and other tools is that, when you create any object give its surfaces name. This will solve lots of complexity during texturing. And if your surfaces are having names, just select any specific surface and you can change the texture or color for that particular surface.

Finally my view is that Lightwave 3D is cost wise very cheap as compare to other 3D software and also very effective. Important thing, you can get Cloth, Hair and other effects totally free, which is very costly and comes separately in other 3D softwraes.  This is just a small description of Lightwave 3D from my view. For more and specific details about Lightwave 3D please visit Newtek website: http://www.newtek.com

Neo Sports OOGA BOOGA animation

oogabooga_img_01‘Ooga Booga’ is a 3D animation commercial series design by Vaibhav Studio in Mumbai with O&M advertising agency. You can read the complete article on http://www.animationxpress.com/oogabooga/001-ob-main.htm

Introduction:
Ooga Booga is basically a concept developed to promote the sports channel Neo Sports. Cricket is the focus for the channel, so idea and concepts also move around cricket. O&M is the ad agency for Neo Sports, they come up with a lead character who is genius amongst the brain-numb Neanderthals, who comes up with innovative ideas to play the game.

 

This project has two seasons, first with three promos:oogabooga_img_02

1. Stone Bats
2. Stumps
3. Dino Belly

Second season of the series has two promos:

1. Flying Menace
2. Samba Mamba

oogabooga_img_03Ramamoorthy from O&M Mumbai has co-scripted the film along with the studio. They have the idea to link completely unaware cavemen with cricket. The series was created to reinforce the ‘cricket fever’ on Neo Sports.

Pre Production

Script – Once the stories were finalized, after that Vaibhav Studio team co-scripted the script along with O&M with full details inputs.

Storyboard – This is a graphical representation of story with consideration of all details in the script. It makes production very clear and easy.

oogabooga_img_04oogabooga_img_05

Animatics – Studio people also try to see the flow of the film by making animatics. This is done with 2D platform

 
Character Design, Backgrounds and Props

Character Design – Since there weren’t any dialogues for any character, it is important to give each of them visually unique characteristics and styles.

 oogabooga_img_06

Backgrounds and Props

Layout of particular shots, crowd positions, creation of the 3D jungle, foliage and color references served as valuable during production process.

oogabooga_img_07

Modeling and Rigging

Modeling – Here with the help of 3D software artists create the models as decided in storyboard. All model done in low poly to keep the file size low. With the help of textures trees, caves etc. gets specific effects.

oogabooga_img_08 

Rigging – It means to provide a support to your model with IK and other means, which help the model during different movements. During rigging process previous done animatics help the rigging artist.

 oogabooga_img_09

Texturing and Lighting

It is an important part of the process. Color images in storyboards which has lights and shadows were helpful during lighting and texturing. The character Uvs were taken separately for texturing.

 oogabooga_img_10

Animation and Sound

First dialogues were recoded with the animatics, which than used by animators during lip-sync and body language of the characters.

 oogabooga_img_11

Compositing and Final Sound recording

3D sections are done in low polygonal modeling to make the rendering of the film easy. After rendering, final compositing has to be done, during which color correction and lighting of the scene were also corrected as needed.

During this period final sound effects and background music with incidental sounds and sync effects were created and placed according to the visual flow.

So in this way a complete 3D animation commercial is ready.

 

Reference: http://www.animationxpress.com/oogabooga/001-ob-main.htm
Image courtesy: http://www.animationxpress.com/oogabooga/001-ob-main.htm