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Interview: Page (1) of 3 - 11/20/05 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at MyDmn.com).print page
Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest Illustrations with DAZ|Studio By Ko Maruyama Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest Illustrations with DAZ|Studio DAZ|Studio's top guys create illustrations to populate their latest creation, a book called "Mr. Finnegans' Giving Chest". The book is a holiday story about sharing and love which comes to life through a series of 3D rendered illustrations featuring DAZ|Studio's multifaceted talents.



[Ko]:
Thanks Dan, Chris and Chad for sharing your story of Mr. Finnegan's Giving Chest with us. It presents a timeless tale of sharing, with unique 3D illustrations of the story's characters.

The obvious caricature of Mr. Dick Van Dyke is fantastic. In the introduction, Mr. Van Dyke recalls the animation work done for Mary Poppins. Of course, we can't forget his work with the flying car, our fine four fendered friend, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. His kind and friendly face is easily one of the most important 3D illustrations in the book. What was the most difficult part about modeling Mr. Finnegan?


[Chris]:
Im not sure I can narrow that question down to one area. The whole head was a challenge, and thats what made it so fun to tackle. We wanted to obviously exaggerate Mr. Van Dykes features enough to let people know that we werent trying to achieve realism, yet not over embellish the look so that people could easily make the connection with Mr. Van Dyke when ever they saw Mr. Finnegan. That part was a real challenge. I remember that we went back and forth on the size and shape of Mr. Finnegans nose and chin, also the width of his face. Our end goal was to find a certain stylization with Mr. Finnegan and the other main characters that would be playful and engaging, and by early feedback of the book it would seem that our characters and final illustrations achieved that.




[Ko]:
Did you use an armature to scan the clay model of Mr. Van Dyke directly into DAZ|Studio?

[Chris]:
We used a MicroScribe digitizing arm to collect the data from the clay sculpture that we created. Its always rewarding to see the polygon mesh take shape on the monitor when youre digitizing the piece. Its a bit of a process, but for us we decided early on to go this route instead of building the mesh from scratch on screen. We wanted several of us that were involved with the project to see the clay built up and give feedback on the clay model. Then when we felt we had it right, we turned it into digitized data. The 3D mesh went through several modeling packages before it ended up in DAZ|Studio. We took it into Mirai (which is still a good modeling package, though no longer commercially available) and worked it over quite a bit, trying to refine the digitized output, adding necessary detail and such, then into LightWave for yet more massaging of the mesh. After adding morph targets and phoneme shapes, U.V.s and texture maps, the 3D mesh finally ended up in DAZ|Studio.



[Ko]:
The characters are obviously repurposed to appear in different scenes throughout the book. Did it take a long time to pose the characters into the different scenes? If changes to actors in the composition were required, did it require a long time to rework the characters? Did you use PowerPose for any of this work (could you explain how it works).

[Chad]:
Fortunately, it didnt take much time at all to pose the characters for these illustrations. Posing is the part of the process where our big investment in developing both the 3D characters and the character animation tools really pays off. With ready-to-animate figures and DAZ|Studio tools like PowerPose at our disposal, we could rough in a pose almost as quickly as we could think it out. This lead to a sort of visual brainstorming; we could begin posing and simply make spontaneous changes as we went along.

Even without PowerPose, I really enjoy the way DAZ|Studio allows easy posing directly in the 3D viewport, without having to open any additional windows. I love working with the 3D manipulator for any given bone and seeing the results in real-time. The PowerPose plug-in makes this process even faster. Instead of needing to position each bone in a figure, this customizable full-body IK system lets me move the body as a whole. I can lock any parts I dont want to affect, and I can push and pull the rest. And just like youd expect, the motion falls-off naturally from the point of selection and the body doesnt move beyond its limits. As a result, I can quickly drag the overall figure into a natural-looking position without worrying about each individual body part.

And whenever I wanted to rework a pose (or any other part of a composition for that matter) at any point during this project, I easily could?even while someone was looking over my shoulder. Of course most artists like to keep working a project right down to the subtle details, and were no exception. With our demanding deadline, DAZ|Studio was the ideal tool for these illustrations, making it quick and easy to lay out the broad strokes and then progressively refine as time permitted.


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