Staff Columnist - Ricky Grove [gtoon]

Review of Red Giant’s Shooter Suite 12.5
Review of Red Giant’s Shooter Suite 12.5
The most recent release by Red Giant is a major update to their Shooter Suite of tools. These collections of plugin suites are selected by Red Giant as a package for the very specific needs of particular users. In the case of the Shooter Suite, Red Giant is focusing on filmmakers/VFX artists who need to be sure that their onset footage will get back to their editing room exactly the way they want it to.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

SIGGRAPH 2014: Creative People and Cutting Edge Technology in a Magic City | SIGGRAPH, Conferences, CG, Animation, 3D, Maxon, Cinema 4D, AMD, Xsens, Smith Micro, Poser, Reallusion, iClone
SIGGRAPH 2014: Creative People and Cutting Edge Technology in a Magic City
SIGGRAPH, the annual computer graphics conference, is such a large and varied event that you could go through it several times and never experience the same thing twice. This year’s 41st SIGGRAPH conference, which took place in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada, was no exception...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Brian Kingery on BYU’s Award-Winning Animated Film - Owned | Xsens, Motion Capture, Mocap, 3D, Filmmaking, Animation, Film
Brian Kingery on BYU’s Award-Winning Animated Film - Owned
Brigham Young University’s Center For Animation students received two first place awards at the 2014 College Television Awards and at the 41st Student Academy Awards for their short animated film Owned, which made extensive use of Xsens MVN, a “camera-less, full-body, inertial motion-capture (MoCap) solution,” in their production pipeline.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Interview with Renderosity Artist, Philsh | Fractals, philsh, 3D, Apophysis, Xenodream
Interview with Renderosity Artist, Philsh
I had the pleasure of interviewing PHILSH for this renderosity artist profile and found him to be irrepressibly energetic. It’s easy to see how this artist's energy is transferred to his work. There is a brightness about PHILSH that you smile soon after starting to talk with him. I suspect he has this effect on people all the time.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Red Giant Universe In Review | Red Giant, Universe, Adobe, Premiere Pro, After Effects
Red Giant Universe In Review
Red Giant, a highly regarded digital video plugins developer that has created several plugin suites which are now industry standard, have a new cloud-based system called Red Giant Universe that was established only a few months ago. Red Giant Universe provides access to an ever-expanding library of new tools for filmmakers, editors, VFX artists, & motion designers.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Machinima and the New Media Film Festival (2014) | New Media Film Festival, Filmmaking, Animation, Machinima, 2D, 3D
Machinima and the New Media Film Festival (2014)
The New Media Film Festival has been gathering filmmakers, producers, actors and film students together for a live, two-day festival of film screenings, awards, panels and discussion. With the tag line, "honoring stories worth telling," the NMFF focuses on New Media. This year, machinima was represented at the NMFF in the form of two formal and informal screenings.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Review: CrazyTalk Animator 2 by Reallusion | Reallusion, 2D, 3D, CrazyTalk, Animation
Review: CrazyTalk Animator 2 by Reallusion
I’ve been reviewing Reallusion software for almost a decade now and if there is one consistent theme in all of their products it’s one of making it easier and more fun for consumers to create their own media. Reallusion’s new CrazyTalk Animator 2 takes 2D animation and reimagines it by adding the ability to animate your characters in 3D.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Anime Studio Pro 10 in Review | Smith Micro, Anime Studio, 2D, animation, Anime
Anime Studio Pro 10 in Review
With Anime Studio Pro 10, Smith Micro has created the most effective and powerful version of the application to date. Bone enhancements, preview rendering, drawing tools, multiple layer editing and a complete overhaul of the content library are just a few of the updates.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Poser Pro 2014 in Review | Poser, Poser Pro, Smith Micro, 3D
Poser Pro 2014 in Review
With Poser 10 and Poser Pro 2014, Smith Micro have created a new version of the application that will please all users in equal measure. By continuing to deepen the Poser feature set with additions like Pixar Subdivision Surfaces and by adding the brilliant new Fitting Room, Smith Micro brings Poser to an entirely new level of power and effectiveness for the casual and professional user alike.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Kobold Charakteranimation Plug-ins for Cinema 4D | KCA, Kobold Charakteranimation, 3D, Animation, Maxon, Cinema 4D, C4D
Kobold Charakteranimation Plug-ins for Cinema 4D
The Kobold Charakteranimation (KCA) is a suite of plug-ins created primarily to enhance the character creation/animation inside of Maxon’s 3D application Cinema 4D. By bringing in the Poser style of character creation/animation and using the very popular DAZ model, Victoria 3, KCA has created a new, simpler workflow within Cinema 4D Studio.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

M Dot Strange and the Rise of the Internet Filmmaker | 3D, Animation, Film, M Dot Strange, Maxon, Cinema 4D, C4D, Adobe, After Effects, Final Cut Pro
M Dot Strange and the Rise of the Internet Filmmaker
Since 2007, M dot Strange has released 3 feature films, written and published 3 books, and created two multi-episode animated series. He owns all the rights to his works, lives off of the profits he makes selling to his fans, but puts most of the money into whatever his next project is. M dot Strange just released his 3rd feature-length film, I Am Nightmare...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

MAXON Cinema 4D R15 Review | 3D, Cinema 4D, Maxon, C4D
MAXON Cinema 4D R15 Review
MAXON has recently released a new version of their popular and easy to use 3D modeling, painting, rendering and animation software: Cinema 4D. This version (C4D Release 15), is an important update to an already powerful 3D application that is widely used in television, films and by many independent 3D artists. For this review, I’ll be covering the Studio version of Cinema 4D R15.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Machinima: Real-Time Animation with an International Appeal | Machinima, 3D, 2D, Film
Machinima: Real-Time Animation with an International Appeal
Digital-born machinima is celebrating its 17th birthday this year. Machinima, real-time virtual world filmmaking, is now in the mainstream. There are communities of filmmakers all around the world who consider machinima an art form and are using it to express their ideas about politics, gender and virtual identity, just to name a few.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

NewTek’s Lightwave 11.6 in Review | NewTek, LightWave, 3D, Animation
NewTek’s Lightwave 11.6 in Review
The release of LightWave 11.6 in late 2013 brings useful and exciting functionality to an already fast developing 3D application. Under the effective leadership of Rob Powers, president of the LightWave 3D Group (a division of NewTek), the LightWave 3D application is becoming increasingly competitive with other major 3D applications.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

The New SpaceMouse Wireless from 3Dconnexion | 3Dconnexion, SpaceMouse, 3D
The New SpaceMouse Wireless from 3Dconnexion
The world's first wireless 3D mouse is now available from 3Dconnexion. SpaceMouse Wireless is the company's newest 3D mouse and it's close to a perfect piece of hardware. The new wireless 3D mouse does everything you need it to do if you are working in any field of 3D technology.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Book Review: d'artiste: Matte Painting 3 | 2D, 3D, Matte Painting, Digital Art, Ballistic Publishing
Book Review: d'artiste: Matte Painting 3
The d'artiste Matte Painting 3 book covers the subtle and increasingly important art of digital matte painting by featuring the art of three major artists in the field, along with extensive interviews and tutorials by the artists. Clearly, Ballistic is one of the finest publishers of digital art books in the world, and d'artiste: Matte Painting 3 represents Ballistic at their finest.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

The Foundry's MODO 701 in Review | 3D, MODO, Luxology, The Foundry
The Foundry's MODO 701 in Review
The release of MODO 701 in March of this year is cause for celebration. It's the first version of this most contemporary of 3D creation applications from the combined talents of Luxology and The Foundry, who merged to form one company (The Foundry) approximately a year ago.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Adobe Audition CC in Review | Adobe, Creative Cloud, Audition
Adobe Audition CC in Review
I've been using Adobe Audition for almost a decade. With Audition CC, Adobe has fine-tuned an already excellent application. It's faster, more responsive and the general workflow is much improved. A lot of thought went into this version of Audition and it shows.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Autodesk's Mudbox 2014 in Review | Autodesk, Mudbox, Maya, 3ds Max, 3D
Autodesk's Mudbox 2014 in Review
Over several iterations, Autodesk has developed Mudbox into an excellent 3D application with significant impact in the areas of visualization, concept creation and rapid 3D sketching. Moreover, with the release early this year of Mudbox 2014, Autodesk has created their finest version yet of this easy to use, unique 3D painting/sculpting application.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Report from Siggraph 2013 (Part Two) | 3D, ACM, Animation, Autodesk, Blender, CG, Cinema 4D, NVIDIA, Modo, Reallusion, SIGGRAPH, The Foundry, VFX
Report from Siggraph 2013 (Part Two)
Renderosity Reporter, Ricky Grove, reports the SIGGRAPH 2013 experience...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Report from Siggraph 2013 (Part One) | ACM, SIGGRAPH, CG, VFX, 3D, Animation, Autodesk, Modo, Lightwave, Reallusion, Blender, Wacom, Maxon, Cinema 4D, NewTek, HP, The Foundry
Report from Siggraph 2013 (Part One)
Renderosity Reporter, Ricky Grove, reports the SIGGRAPH 2013 experience...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

4th Annual New Media Film Festival, June 11-12 in Los Angeles | New Media Film Festival, Conferences, Film, 2D, 3D
4th Annual New Media Film Festival, June 11-12 in Los Angeles
The Los Angeles-based live 2-day event is unique in that it focuses on contemporary media technologies, especially when related to the wide variety of internet entertainment forms. In a sense, the New Media Film Festival is way out ahead of other indie festivals in that it's honoring and encouraging talent for an entertainment media shift that has only just begun.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

CrazyTalk 7 Review: Easy Facial Animation That's Great Fun | Reallusion, Animation, CrazyTalk
CrazyTalk 7 Review: Easy Facial Animation That's Great Fun
Reallusion has designed a great application that just gets better and better. CrazyTalk 7 is my choice for application of the year. Seriously, it's fun, but at the same time very powerful. You'll only be limited by your imagination.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Caustic's New Visualizer Plug-in and Series2 Cards Bring Real-Time Ray-Tracing to 3D Applications | Caustic, 3D, Autodesk, Maya
Caustic's New Visualizer Plug-in and Series2 Cards Bring Real-Time Ray-Tracing to 3D Applications
Traditionally, 3D artists and designers have been forced to run many test renders in order to see what their work looks like in its final rendered state. That is, until Caustic's Visualizer plug-in for Maya and their (just released) Series2 ray-tracing accelerator cards.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Three Recent Computer Graphics Books From Focal Press | Focal Press, Book Review, Adobe, Illustrator, Flash, animation, 2D
Three Recent Computer Graphics Books From Focal Press
Focal Press has always been a favorite publisher of mine. I've chosen three recent Focal Press releases to tell you about. The subjects range from starting out in Adobe Illustrator, to learning "secret weapons" to animate in Flash, to figuring out how to create original stories and characters for your animated film.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

3Dconnexion's SpaceMouse Pro Review: Outstanding 3D Mouse | 3Dconexxion, SpaceMouse Pro, 3D
3Dconnexion's SpaceMouse Pro Review: Outstanding 3D Mouse
The SpaceMouse Pro, which is the latest addition to 3Dconnexion's 3D mouse line-up is an excellent piece of hardware with more than enough features to satisfy most 3D artists and designers. It's not only elegantly designed hardware, but it's features are so well integrated and the price is so good, that it hits the sweet spot for a professional 3D mouse.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Book Review: Anomaly by Skip Brittenham & Brian Haberlin | Book reviews, Anomaly
Book Review: Anomaly by Skip Brittenham & Brian Haberlin
Anomaly is a massive graphic novel and interactive application that was released in the Fall of 2012. The interactive aspect of the book is called "augmented reality" and allows you to watch characters pop up seemingly right out of the book in full 3D with animation and sound.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Imagination Technologies Ships Caustic Series2 Ray-Tracing Acceleration Cards
Imagination Technologies Ships Caustic Series2 Ray-Tracing Acceleration Cards
Major 3D graphics companies have recently started adding a "real-time" view-port to their application updates. The problem is they aren't really real-time and they don't often have full ray-tracing. Solution? Imagination Technologies Caustic Series2 ray-tracing acceleration cards. The world's first fully interactive real-time ray tracing designed specifically for 3D application view-ports.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Imagineer System's mocha Pro V3.1 in Review | Imagineer Systems, mocha, Adobe, After Effects, Nuke
Imagineer System's mocha Pro V3.1 in Review
Imagineer Systems' software, mocha Pro and mocha AE, has made such a significant impact on the VFX industry that the company has been honored by the "Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences with a Scientific and Technical Award for mocha and its Planar Tracking technology." After nearly 18 months of development, Imagineer Systems released version 3 of mocha Pro in April of 2012. It was a huge release with major additions to an already very good VFX application.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Book Review: Massive Black Volume 2 from Ballistic Publishing | Ballistic Publishing, Massive Black
Book Review: Massive Black Volume 2 from Ballistic Publishing
As I've written several times here at Renderosity, Ballistic is an amazing publisher of high-quality graphic art. Having worked as a bookseller for many years, I've got a good eye for quality book design and construction. Ballistic consistently publishes books that are not only beautiful to look at, but are so carefully printed and bound that they stand head and shoulders above the majority of coffee table graphic arts books.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Cinema 4D R14: Another Big Step Forward for MAXON | Maxon, Cinema 4D, C4D, Adobe, Photoshop, After Effects, Sculpting, Modeling, 3D, Animation
Cinema 4D R14: Another Big Step Forward for MAXON
With the release of Cinema 4D R14, MAXON has stepped right to the front of the line as an all-around 3D program that can enhance the quality and speed of any 3D workload. Cinema 4D has increasingly become an attractive and significant alternative to some of the big gun 3D applications that have been around for decades.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Outstanding Updates to Premiere Pro CS6 and Audition CS6 | Adobe, Creative Suite 6, CS6, Premiere Pro, Audition
Outstanding Updates to Premiere Pro CS6 and Audition CS6
The new CS6 versions of Premiere Pro and Audition are the best versions of the program I've ever worked with - faster, easier, more powerful, and just more fun to use than previous versions.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Lumion 2.5: a Beautiful, Simple Architectural and Visualization Tool | Act-3D, Lumion, 3D
Lumion 2.5: a Beautiful, Simple Architectural and Visualization Tool
Act-3D is a Netherlands based company that is focused on developing real-time 3D visualization and authoring tools. Quest3D and Lumion are the two main applications created by Act-3D. We will be looking at Lumion 2.5 in this review. And, although the primary market for this application is architectural visualization, it will appeal to a broader user base because of it's beautiful real-time engine, huge model/materials library and excellent community support.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Animation Mentor to Offer Online "Lighting Your Shot" Workshop | Animation Mentor, Workshops, VFX, Lighting, 3D, CG, Animation, Filmmaking, Education
Animation Mentor to Offer Online "Lighting Your Shot" Workshop
Animation Mentor, the online animation school, has announced that they are offering a 6-week workshop on "Lighting Your Shot," which will feature hands-on instruction by industry professionals. I had a chance to interview Ben Fischler, the curriculum director for the "Lighting Your Shot" workshop, about how the workshop developed, the goals he has for it and get a few more details on what will be taught.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

iPi Soft DMC Version 2.0: Affordable Motion Capture for Everyone | iPi Soft, Motion Capture, Maxon, Cinema 4D, C4D, Autodesk, Maya, MotionBuilder, 3dS Max, Poser
iPi Soft DMC Version 2.0: Affordable Motion Capture for Everyone
iPi Soft is a Moscow-based software company that specializes in "motion capture for the masses." After spending several weeks with iPi soft applications, I can truthfully say that it is an excellent choice for setting up your own motion capture studio at home.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Ballistic's EXPOSÉ 10: Finest Achievement in Digital Art Publishing | Ballistic Publishing, Expose, Books, Book Review, art, 3D, 2D
Ballistic's EXPOSÉ 10: Finest Achievement in Digital Art Publishing
For ten years now, Ballistic Publishing has been releasing a yearly collection of the finest digital art submitted to them by artists from practically every continent on the face of the planet, and now with the publication of EXPOSÉ 10, Ballistic is celebrating a decade of sharing brilliant digital art with the public. EXPOSÉ 10 is their crowning achievement with more art, more artists and arguably the most comprehensive collection of digital art ever published.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Report From SIGGRAPH 2012, Part Three | ACM, SIGGRAPH, Maxon, Cinema 4D, Maya, Autodesk, NVIDIA, Faceware, Luxology, Modo, Unity 3D, Optitrack, Reallusion, iClone, Imagineer Systems, Mocha Pro, Focal Press
Report From SIGGRAPH 2012, Part Three
Ricky shares with us the SIGGRAPH 2012 experience...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Report From SIGGRAPH 2012, Part Two | SIGGRAPH, ACM, 3D, Animation, VFX, Conferences, iPi Soft, VRay, Maya, MAXON, CINEMA 4D, Smith Micro, Poser, Poser Pro, NewTek, Lightwave
Report From SIGGRAPH 2012, Part Two
Ricky shares with us the SIGGRAPH 2012 experience...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Report From SIGGRAPH 2012, Part One | SIGGRAPH, ACM, 3D, Animation, VFX, Conferences, Maya, Autodesk, Blender
Report From SIGGRAPH 2012, Part One
Ricky shares with us the SIGGRAPH 2012 experience...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Book Review – Machinima: The Art and Practice of Virtual Filmmaking | Machinima, Second Life, Book Review
Book Review – Machinima: The Art and Practice of Virtual Filmmaking
Machinima is now approximately 15 years old, and machinima creation in Second Life has grown rapidly over the last several years. One of the best and most interesting books on machinima currently available is a new book recently published by McFarland, titled Machinima: The Art and Practice of Virtual Filmmaking, which examines the machinima phenomenon, but with a special emphasis on Second Life.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Wacom Intuos5 touch Pen tablet Review | Wacom, intuos
Wacom Intuos5 touch Pen tablet Review
Building on the success of their innovative Inkling product in the fall of 2011, Wacom has recently released a new version of their Intuos5 touch line of mid-level pen tablets. Designed primarily for the professional artist and designer, the small, medium, large and extra-large Intuos5 touch pen tablets are so reasonably priced that enthusiasts and prosumers can also take advantage of Wacom's superb craftsmanship and innovative technology.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

New Media Film Festival 2012 | New Media Film Festival, Film, 2D, 3D, Festival
New Media Film Festival 2012
The third annual New Media Film Festival took place on the west side of Los Angeles on June 12th and 13th, 2012. Now, if you are wondering what the term "new media" means, it's essentially a broad description of types of media that have sprung up as a result of the digital/internet revolution of the last decade. I enjoyed last year's festival, but this year really seemed to shine. The New Media Film Festival fills a real gap in the festival circuit...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

LightWave 3D 11: A Most Impressive Release for NewTek | NewTek, LightWave, 3D
LightWave 3D 11: A Most Impressive Release for NewTek
After a week or so of re-acquainting myself with the program, it's clear to me that LightWave 3D 11 is a powerful end-to-end 3D application that is most likely the definitive release of the program. My industry friend who has been using LightWave 3D for over a decade told me recently that "there isn't anything you can't do in LightWave."
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff columnist

Recent Computer Graphics Books from Focal Press | Focal Press, Animation, 2D, 3D
Recent Computer Graphics Books from Focal Press
Focal Press has been publishing books on Media Technology for 70 years. Focal Press is a leading publisher of books on animation, new media, broadcasting, film and digital video production, graphics, mass communications and theatre technology. I've chosen 3 recently published titles to review today, with a brief mention of other titles which were published back in the fall of 2011.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

modo 601: A Landmark Release for Luxology | Luxology, modo, modo 601, 3D
modo 601: A Landmark Release for Luxology
Since August, 2011, when I first started learning modo, there's not a day gone by that I haven't learned or created something fun using this wonderful program. After a month or so with modo 601, I can say with confidence that this release is a landmark for Luxology. And while the big news is that this is the big "character animation" release for modo, there are other equally impressive additions and upgrades to an already excellent 3D application.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Meet Renderosity Artist "bazze" | Interview, bazze, modo
Meet Renderosity Artist "bazze"
Interview with Renderosity Artist "bazze" (Anders Lejczak)
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 13 opinions posted

Ballistic Publishing's d'artiste Fashion Design | Ballistic Publishing, Book Review
Ballistic Publishing's d'artiste Fashion Design
Costume design was always one of the most interesting subjects to me when I was in college and studying for my theater degree a thousand years ago. So, imagine my delight with Ballistic Publishing's newest book in their "Digital Artists Master Class" series with its focus on Fashion Design. The subject is a refreshing advance in the series, which had previously focused on character modeling, matte painting, concept art and digital art. d'artiste Fashion Design is the 10th in the d'artiste series.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Luxology's modo 601 is Now Available | 3D, Animation, Luxology, modo, modo 601
Luxology's modo 601 is Now Available
With one of the most exciting product release events I've ever seen, Luxology thrilled everyone this week by announcing the release of modo 601, the newest and most mind-boggling update to their stellar 3D modeling, animation and rendering program.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Luxology and modo: The Future of 3D Software | Luxology, modo, 3D, Animation, modo 501
Luxology and modo: The Future of 3D Software
2012 marks the 10th anniversary for the computer graphics company, Luxology, creators of the highly regarded 3D modeling, animation and rendering application, modo. Ten years ago, Stuart Ferguson, Allen Hastings and Brad Peebler left the development team of a highly successful 3D company and decided to create their own 3D program from the ground up.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

MAXON'S CINEMA 4D R13 In Review | 3D, Animation, C4D, MAXON, CINEMA 4D
MAXON'S CINEMA 4D R13 In Review
MAXON has recently released a major update to their cross-platform 3D modeling, animating, painting and rendering application: CINEMA 4D Release 13. MAXON is focused on bringing their company into the future intelligently, and the new update to CINEMA 4D certainly shows their commitment to that goal. Already a mature software package, this new release is a huge step forward for a company that has a place among the very best 3D applications on the market.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

MAXON Re-launches Their Popular Cineversity Website | MAXON, CINEMA 4D, C4D, Cineversity, 3D
MAXON Re-launches Their Popular Cineversity Website
MAXON has recently announced the re-launch of Cineversity, their excellent online training and educational resource for CINEMA 4D users.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Animation Mentor: A Conversation with Program Graduate Steve Orsini | Animation Mentor, Animation, 3D, Film
Animation Mentor: A Conversation with Program Graduate Steve Orsini
Animation Mentor has received awards for their learning program, for their innovative techniques in the teaching/learning methods that are part of the Animation Mentor program. Rather than writing an article on Animation Mentor itself, I thought it would be interesting to talk with one of the animation program's graduates and to understand this unique learning experience from the point of view of someone who has gone through the Animation Mentor experience.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

GenArts' Sapphire 6, Visual Effects Plug-in Suite in Review | VFX, Sapphire 6, GenArts, Plug-ins, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Shake, Combustion, Autodesk, Adobe
GenArts' Sapphire 6, Visual Effects Plug-in Suite in Review
The Sapphire 6 Plug-in suite is an "extensive portfolio of 200+ photo realistic, stylistic effects and transitions," which sit inside the effects editor of your choice.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Poser Pro 2012: A Very Impressive Upgrade | Poser, Poser Pro, SmithMicro, 3D
Poser Pro 2012: A Very Impressive Upgrade
SmithMicro has recently released an impressive upgrade to their Poser product line-up. Poser 9, Poser Pro 2012, and even the entry-level Poser Debut have received major improvements to all aspects of the popular application. Top marks for Poser Pro 2012: it's fast, easier to use, and includes powerful new additions to the application which allows the user to work more efficiently and create more complex and beautiful figures and scenes.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Luxology: Expanding the Use of 3D | 3D, modo, Luxology, Avatar, Brad Peebler, Unity, Pixar, Industrial Light and Magic, Games
Luxology: Expanding the Use of 3D
The CG industry attracts remarkable people who are often as intelligent as they are creative. Brad Peebler, president of Luxology (creators of modo), is one of those people. At a recent Press Summit in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of meeting Brad and many of his associates in a 3-day program filled with panels, conversations, presentations, lunches and impromptu meetings regarding the vision that Luxology has for the future.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

VFX Minds Event Honors Lightwave Users and Introduces LightWave 11 | 3D, Lightwave, Animation
VFX Minds Event Honors Lightwave Users and Introduces LightWave 11
At an entertaining and informative live presentation, which had lots of Hollywood pizazz, NewTek, in the person of Rob Powers, announced the upcoming release of LightWave 11, the company's powerhouse modeling, animation and rendering application. The presentation took place at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences - Leonard W. Goldenson Theater this last Thursday night.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

On Reallusion and iClone5:A Conversation with John Martin II & Gabe Achanzar | Reallusion, iClone, Machinima, 3D, mocap
On Reallusion and iClone5:
A Conversation with John Martin II & Gabe Achanzar

John Martin II is the longtime VP of Marketing for Reallusion, and Gabe is a power user of iClone, having used the program to create over a dozen machinima films. I wanted to get their impression of the newest version of iClone and perhaps get some background on its development and the growing community of users.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Reallusion's iClone5 Pro: A Breakthrough Upgrade | iClone, Reallusion, 3D, Animation, Machinima
Reallusion's iClone5 Pro: A Breakthrough Upgrade
Have you ever wanted to make your own 3D animated movie? Perhaps you were inspired by a cool 3D film, you've come up with a story and now you are trying to find the right program that will help you animate it. And, if you are like me, the program can't be expensive, can't be too complex and you don't want to spend a year working on the movie. You also want to be able to find assets for your film without having to build them all yourself. I have the perfect program for you: Reallusion's iClone5 Pro.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

LightWave 10.1 Review: Making the 3D Artist's Job Easier | 3D, Lightwave, CORE
LightWave 10.1 Review: Making the 3D Artist's Job Easier
NewTek's LightWave 3D was first released as a stand-alone 3D application 16 years ago. Since then, the program has garnered a huge following, both professionally and in the hobbyist market. It's also earned multiple Emmy awards and has grown into a solid, dependable application for every aspect of a professional 3D work-flow.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

NVIDIA Quadro 5000 Professional (Workstation) Graphics Card Review | NVIDIA, 3D, Autodesk, 3ds Max, CineBench, Quadro 5000
NVIDIA Quadro 5000 Professional (Workstation) Graphics Card Review
NVIDIA has always been my video card of choice for games, primarily because they were well-built, had regular driver updates and lasted. I was very pleased to have been recently offered the NVIDIA Quadro 5000 professional GPU to review. I've been very curious to see how NVIDIA's design and drivers would compare to their rival FirePro GPU.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 (Part 4) | ACM, SIGGRAPH, NVidia, Houdini, Blender 3D
Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 (Part 4)
Join Ricky Grove as he continues his tour of SIGGRAPH 2011 with this final piece... Highlights include: John Peddie Luncheon, sidefx software and Houdini, Autodesk, NVIDIA, Ton Roosendaal and Blender 3D...
Ricky Grove - Staff Columnist

Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 (Part 3) | ACM, SIGGRAPH, Poser, SmithMicro, Luxology, Modo, MAXON, CINEMA 4D, NewTek, LightWave
Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 (Part 3)
Join Ricky Grove as he continues his tour of SIGGRAPH 2011...meeting with Steve Cooper of SmithMicro, Carlos Baena of Animation Mentor, David Tracy of Luxology, and others. Learn about some of the best films shown at the Computer Animation Festival at SIGGRAPH, and stop by the Renderosity booth...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 (Part 2) | ACM, SIGGRAPH, 3D, The Studio, Vancouver, SIGGRAPH 2011, The Foundry, Nuke, Krakatoa, Reallusion, iClone, nVidia
Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 (Part 2)
Join Ricky Grove as he continues his tour of SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 ( Part 1) | ACM, SIGGRAPH, 3D, Computer Animation Festival, The Studio, Blender, Vancouver, SIGGRAPH 2011
Notes From SIGGRAPH 2011 ( Part 1)
Join Ricky Grove as he provides a tour of SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Getting Ready for SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver, B.C. | ACM, SIGGRAPH, 3D, Animation, Computer Animation Festival, Emerging technologies, Autodesk, MAXON
Getting Ready for SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver, B.C.
I'll be attending the 38th Annual Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techiques (SIGGRAPH 2011) next week. It's my fourth trip to SIGGRAPH, having attended the event twice in Los Angeles and once in New Orleans. This remarkable event starts on Sunday, August 7th, 2011, and runs through Thursday, August 11th. I'll be posting here at Renderosity every other day...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Autodesk's 3ds Max 2012 in Review | Autodesk, 3ds Max, 3D
Autodesk's 3ds Max 2012 in Review
There is a reason Autodesk is the most successful producer of 3D software in the world. Just look at their recent Entertainment Creation Suites 2012 release. It includes 3ds Max 2012 (or Maya 2012), Mudbox 2012, Softimage 2012 and MotionBuilder 2012, all updated with one-click interaction between programs. I'll be covering the exciting new version of 3ds Max 2012 in this review.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Adobe Audition CS5.5: A Surprising and Welcome Upgrade | Adobe, Audition, CS5.5, Premiere Pro, After Effects, sound
Adobe Audition CS5.5: A Surprising and Welcome Upgrade
I had a chance to run Audition CS5.5 through its paces for about 30 hours of sound editing and mixing. I was very pleased (with some reservations) with the new Audition, and after I go over some of what's new and different in the program, I'll tell you how the program held up.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

The Pixel Farm's PFhoe Pro 2.2:Simple, but Powerful Match-Moving Software  | 2D, 3D, The Pixel Farm, PFhoe, PFMatchit, match-moving
The Pixel Farm's PFhoe Pro 2.2:
Simple, but Powerful Match-Moving Software

Match-moving is no longer confined to Hollywood studios, it can be done at your own workstation at home. While The Pixel Farm's PFTrack 2011 is the industry standard for match-moving, and PFMatchit is designed for the small VFX company, their little brother, PFhoe, is specifically targeted to the entry-level consumer/prosumer filmmaker or VFX artist.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Ballistic Publishing's EXPOSÉ 9:The Finest Digital Art in the Known Universe | Ballistic Publishing, EXPOSE, 2D, 3D
Ballistic Publishing's EXPOSÉ 9:
The Finest Digital Art in the Known Universe

The EXPOSÉ series of books is what Ballistic Publishing built their reputation on when they first came onto the digital art publishing scene in 2003. Although they have added 8 other series of books, each with a different digital art focus, it's their yearly collection of the very best of digital art around the world that is the foundation of their commitment to publishing excellence. And the upcoming June, 2011 release of EXPOSÉ 9 promises to be their most accomplished release yet.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 4 opinions posted

Ballistic Publishing's d'artiste: Character Design | Ballistic Publishing, d'artiste, EXPOSE
Ballistic Publishing's d'artiste: Character Design
The "d'artiste" series of books are described as "Master Class Tutorials" by Ballistic. Each volume primarily focuses on the practical aspects of such subjects as matte painting, digital painting, concept art, character modeling and, for this review, character design. Three to four artists are invited to share their personal art techniques through tutorials which take the reader through their entire work process. The artists also share their ideas and philosophies of art in their particular area of expertise.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

New Media Film Festival Shows Great Promise
New Media Film Festival Shows Great Promise
The 2nd annual New Media Film Festival played out over 2 days last weekend (May 20th & 21st) at the Los Angeles Film School with film screenings, panels, interviews and an awards ceremony on Saturday night. With just over 16 hours of festival events, I was fortunate to attend and take in most everything presented at this very promising film festival devoted entirely to "New Media."
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Susan Johnston and the New Media Film Festival 2011 | 2D, 3D, Animation, Film, New Media Film Festival
Susan Johnston and the New Media Film Festival 2011
Susan Johnston is a spirited and passionate woman who has worked in Hollywood long enough to know that the only thing you can expect from the business is that it is always changing. Which is one of the reasons why she came up with the idea for a film festival in Hollywood that focuses specifically on New Media.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

An Interview with Steve Cooper, Poser Product Manager | Poser, SmithMicro, Steve Cooper
An Interview with Steve Cooper, Poser Product Manager
I met Steve Cooper, the Poser Product Manager for SmithMicro, at the 2008 SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles and immediately liked his down-to-earth manner and endless enthusiasm for all things Poser. During the course of researching my review of the new Poser Debut, I had a chance to chat with Steve about some of the challenges in developing an introductory version of such a long-established program like Poser.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Smith Micro's Poser Debut in Review | Poser, 3D, SmithMicro
Smith Micro's Poser Debut in Review
A massive cultural shift is going on right now where the tools for computer graphics and 3D are becoming cheap enough for the everyday Joe to buy. And if that person is motivated, they can learn through a starter program that not only teaches them how to create, but grounds them in the basic knowledge they need to progress to more complicated programs. Addressing the basic need of the beginner, Poser Debut is one of those programs.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator PRO in Review | Reallusion, CrazyTalk, 3D, Animation
Reallusion's CrazyTalk Animator PRO in Review
All kinds of people want to create quality animation, but don't have the time (or the money) to invest in high-end 2D/3D packages that cost thousands of dollars. One company that has consistently delivered programs that are not only easy to use, but have pro-level features, is Reallusion. Their recent December, 2010 release of CrazyTalk Animator (an update from CrazyTalk 6) is a great example of a full-featured program at a great price.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Create Realistic Digital Environments: a Vue 9 Infinite Review | E-on Software, Vue, 3D, Landscape, Terrain
Create Realistic Digital Environments: a Vue 9 Infinite Review
I'm so impressed with how much work E-on Software puts into developing their peerless digital environment creation program, Vue. While other computer graphics programs try to combine as many creation tools as they can (think animation, modeling, rendering, dynamics, etc.), E-on focuses on doing one thing: create totally realistic digital environments & eco-systems. This focus allows them to develop with single-mindedness, and with Vue 9 Infinite, they have made an already brilliant program that much better.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 4 opinions posted

Interview with Paul Babb, CEO of MAXON US | Paul Babb, MAXON, CINEMA 4D, C4D, 3D, Animation
Interview with Paul Babb, CEO of MAXON US
MAXON is a Germany-based computer graphics company known for its powerful and user-friendly CINEMA 4D, a modeling, animation, computer graphics and rendering program. I reviewed MAXON's newest release of CINEMA 4D R12 a few weeks ago and found it to be a real break-through release. During research for the review, I got a chance to interview Paul Babb, the CEO of MAXON's USA division.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

CINEMA 4D Release 12: A Milestone for MAXON | MAXON, CINEMA 4D, 3D, Motion Graphics, Animation
CINEMA 4D Release 12: A Milestone for MAXON
Ease of use, a unique tool set, a strong company philosophy geared toward the artist, and a focus on customer service and training give MAXON an edge in how they develop and support their software. Which is why I think their most recent release of CINEMA 4D (Release 12 on September, 2010) is one of the most significant releases in MAXON's history.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

A Look At Recent Animation DVDs: Sintel, Secret of Kells & The Tell-Tale Heart | Blender 3D, Maya, Autodesk, Disney, Animation
A Look At Recent Animation DVDs: Sintel, Secret of Kells & The Tell-Tale Heart
2010 has proven to be another banner year for Animation. 15 animated features have been nominated for the Oscar this year, Toy Story 3 was the year's highest grossing film, and the amateur animated film is appealing to a growing audience all over the world through the internet. But, I did want to share with you 3 recent animation DVDs that stand out for me, both for the quality of the films themselves, and also for the work put into the design and release of the DVDs themselves.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

EXOTIQUE 6: The World's Best CG Character Art | Ballistic publishing, 2D, 3D, digital art, Photoshop, 3ds Max, Zbrush
EXOTIQUE 6: The World's Best CG Character Art
The Australia-based Ballistic Publishing began publishing in 2003 with EXPOSE 1, which was their attempt to find and publish the "best digital art in the known universe." They've since expanded to other series with focuses on specific aspects of CG art, like the tutorial-based d'artiste series and the character oriented series EXOTIQUE, which we are looking at in this review.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Tangled: Disney's Return to Inspired Animation Features | Disney, Pixar, animation, 3D
Tangled: Disney's Return to Inspired Animation Features
Tangled, a reboot of the famous Rapunzel story found in Grimm's fairy tales, is the first animated feature from Disney Animation Studios under the leadership of John Lasseter from Pixar Animation. Significantly, it's also Disney's 50th animated feature film. I was fortunate to see an in-progress version of the film during a day-long "media day" at the Roy Disney Animation Building on the Disney lot. It's the first Disney film I have seen in 20 years that not only entertained me, but moved and captured my 56-year-old imagination.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 7 opinions posted

The Pixel Farm's PFMatchit: Camera Tracking for the Masses | matchmoving, PFMatchit, The Pixel Farm, After Effects, CINEMA 4D, Maya, 3ds Max
The Pixel Farm's PFMatchit: Camera Tracking for the Masses
PFTrack was the first major match moving software released by The Pixel Farm in 2003 and quickly became the "Matchmover of choice for high-end visual effects productions." PFTrack is used by major effects houses like the Mill, Sony Imageworks, Digital Domain and the Orphanage. Over the years, however, customers increasingly asked for a "lower entry point to The Pixel Farm's technology." The Pixel Farm listened to its users and created PFTrack's younger brother, PFMatchit: a 64-bit, node-based matchmoving program for Linux, Windows and OSX...

An Interview with Renderosity Artist/Vendor: Biscuits | Interview, Biscuits, Vendor, Poser, 2D, 3D
An Interview with Renderosity Artist/Vendor: Biscuits
Biscuits is not only a creative artist with a specialty in the female figure, but also a much admired vendor at Renderosity. Her penchant for bright colors that compliment/contrast each other is particularly enjoyable. This last week I contacted Biscuits and asked her some questions about herself and her work.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 6 opinions posted

Book Reviews: How To Cheat in 3ds Max 2011 & Hybrid Animation  | book review, Focal Press, 3ds Max, Autodesk, 2D, 3D
Book Reviews: How To Cheat in 3ds Max 2011 & Hybrid Animation
This last SIGGRAPH, I wandered down to the Focal Press booth, and after an hour of browsing, bought two books: one on 3ds Max and another on hybrid animation (a subject I've been intensely interested in for years). Each book presents their topic in a different style, but both of them do exactly what good books do. Let me share with you how each of these excellent authors manage to make their books so interesting and helpful.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

ACM SIGGRAPH Local Chapters: Los Angeles | ACM, SIGGRAPH, CG, 3D, animation
ACM SIGGRAPH Local Chapters: Los Angeles
Most people in the computer graphics field have heard of SIGGRAPH, the week-long computer graphics festival/conference, but not as many know that there are over 90 ACM SIGGRAPH chapters located at colleges and in cities all over the world. The ACM Los Angeles chapter invited me to attend a special screening (part of their scheduled monthly meetings/presentations) of the recent SIGGRAPH 2010 two-hour animation reel...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Adobe Soundbooth CS5 In Review | Adobe, CS5, CS4, Soundbooth, Premiere Pro, Audition
Adobe Soundbooth CS5 In Review
With the recent 2010 release of the outstanding Creative Suite 5 Production Premium (CS5), Adobe added it's third version of Soundbooth. Since the second release (CS4) was such an excellent upgrade, I came to the program with high expectations. One thing I've done since then is add Soundbooth to my animated film sound editing toolkit. A committed Audition user, I'd finally gotten over my own prejudice and found that Soundbooth allowed me to move from video editing to adjusting/tweaking in easier and faster ways than Audition.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Notes From Siggraph 2010, Part 2 | SIGGRAPH, Pixar, MAXON, CINEMA 4D, Vicon, Focal Press
Notes From Siggraph 2010, Part 2
In three years of attending the annual SIGGRAPH conference, each year has only gotten better and better. Perhaps it's a measure of better planning and familiarity, but I don't think so. SIGGRAPH is simply a "recharging" of your batteries. How could anyone come away from an event that features so many opportunities to learn and discover? I'm constantly amazed at how many smart, talented and interesting people you meet at a SIGGRAPH conference. This year was no different.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Notes From Siggraph 2010, Part 1 | SIGGRAPH, Don Marinelli, Autodesk, MAXON, CINEMA 4D, 3ds Max, Blender, 3D
Notes From Siggraph 2010, Part 1
The 37th annual Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) conference took place last week at the downtown Los Angeles convention center. Holding to a tradition established in 1994, the conference takes place in Los Angeles every other year. Last year's SIGGRAPH was held in the wonderful city of New Orleans, and while I enjoyed the conference (and the city) thoroughly, I think that it's a much different event when held in Los Angeles...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Getting Ready for SIGGRAPH 2010 | SIGGRAPH
Getting Ready for SIGGRAPH 2010
SIGGRAPH, the decades old computer graphics conference, starts up this coming Sunday, July 25th at the Los Angeles Convention Center. SIGGRAPH 2010 looks to be an exciting and interesting conference. I've always come away from the event with renewed inspiration and ideas, not to mention having made new friends and contacts. I expect this year to be even better than in years past.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

E-on's Vue xStream 8.5 In Review | e-on software, Vue, 3D, landscape, Ricky Grove
E-on's Vue xStream 8.5 In Review
I've had a chance to work with the latest high-end version of Vue xStream 8.5, which is offered to industry professionals. Essentially, the xStream version acts as a plug-in to a major package like Maya, 3ds Max, CINEMA 4D, Lightwave and Softimage. The plug-in has all of the capabilities of Vue Infinite 8.5 (the stand-alone professional program), but now you have the ability to work with Vue directly inside your CG package of choice. I'll be reviewing the Vue xStream 8.5 version that works with the most recent version of Autodesk's 3ds Max 2011.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Autodesk's 3ds Max 2011: Continuing to Build on Excellence | 3D, Autodesk, 3ds Max, product review
Autodesk's 3ds Max 2011: Continuing to Build on Excellence
Built originally as a DOS program 20 years ago, 3ds Max is now the most popular and widely used digital creation tool in the world. Simply surviving as a useful program in a now crowded marketplace is one thing, but to build their best version to date in 3ds Max 2011 is a remarkable achievement. Now, with 3ds Max 2011, Autodesk is moving into their 2nd phase of their XBR development plan by adding several exciting new features, like the Slate Materials editor, the Quicksilver Hardware renderer, a fully integrated Character Animation Tool (CAT), 2D/3D painting with the Viewport Canvas, 3ds Max Composite and a new version of Mental Ray renderer (3.8).
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Renderosity Artist Profile: Vorban | 2D, 3D, Vorban, Bryce, Ricky Grove
Renderosity Artist Profile: Vorban
Vorban is a talented, self-taught artist from Poland who has published nearly 60 images since joining Renderosity in 2005. His work with Bryce, in particular, has produced truly amazing landscapes which have earned nearly 12,000 views. Vorban's images are drawn a good deal from Science-Fiction, both cinematic and literary, and from architectural drawings like those of Antoni Gaudi. I had the pleasure of conducting a short interview with Vorban this last week.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Anime Studio Pro 6: Create Professional Animation With Ease | 2D, Anime, SmithMicro, Anime Studio Pro, Ricky Grove
Anime Studio Pro 6: Create Professional Animation With Ease
Anime Studio is a vector-based 2D animation program that allows the user to create high-quality animation in a variety of styles. Originally developed by Mike Clifton as “Moho” in 1999, it was subsequently purchased by e-frontier in 2006 where it was re-named “Anime Studio.” Smith Micro acquired Anime Studio, along with several others in 2008 and has been developing it in two different versions: the pared-down Anime Studio Debut, and the fuller, more professional Anime Studio Pro (ASP). The most recent version, Anime Studio Pro 6.0, released in June of 2009, is the version we'll be reviewing here.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

A Renaissance of Animated FilmmakingRecent Animated Films on DVD/Blu-ray | 3D, animation, Toy Story, Disney, Pixar, Miyazaki, Ricky Grove
A Renaissance of Animated Filmmaking
Recent Animated Films on DVD/Blu-ray

We are in a renaissance of animated filmmaking. With recent films like Avatar and UP packing the movie theaters, to small, beautifully crafted short 3D films like Skhizein, access to these films has never been better. Plus, with prices of Blu-ray players falling and the increased production of Blu-ray discs, you can watch these amazing films in high definition, which, for digital animation, is a near perfect transfer from the original film. Over the last several months, I've been collecting animated films on DVD/Blu-ray and I want to share some of the best ones with you in this article.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

ZBrush 3.5 R3 Review: A New Paradigm in Sculpting Digital Clay | 3D, ZBrush, Pixologic, product reviews, Ricky Grove
ZBrush 3.5 R3 Review: A New Paradigm in Sculpting Digital Clay
Why make the interface an obstacle between the imagination and the work? Instead, create a software program that helps you to be more creative. One that actually makes it easier for you to be creative. Enter Pixologic and ZBrush 3.5 R3. The new features added to 3.5 are numerous, but let me highlight some of the major ones and then talk about my experience using this outstanding program.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 9 opinions posted

Book Review - Poser 8 Revealed: The Official Guide | SmithMicro, Poser, Poser Pro, Poser 8, 3D, book reviews, Cengage
Book Review - Poser 8 Revealed: The Official Guide
Poser 8 Revealed: The Official Guide is a big book packed with information that will take the beginning Poser user and help turn them into an advanced one. Kelly Murdock, the author of other CG-related titles like Anime Studio 6 Revealed and the 3dsMax 2010 Bible, writes a very clear and uncluttered prose. It's not your typical dry, technical writing. Mr. Murdock obviously loves Poser 8 and knows it backwards and forwards. You couldn't ask for a better guide to this popular program created by SmithMicro.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 7 opinions posted

Book Review: Starting Point: 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki | book review, animation, Pixar, Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki
Book Review: Starting Point: 1979-1996 by Hayao Miyazaki
Lovers of animation will already know the films of Hayao Miyazaki, the great Japanese animation director. He is one of those artists that the word “genius” truly applies. As someone who has spent over a decade watching, re-watching and thinking about Miyazaki's incredible films, I was surprised to discover that a book had been released which combines his essays, speeches, journal sketches and interviews covering the years 1979 to 1996.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part Three | 3D, CINEMA 4D, Machinima, MachStudio Pro, Ricky Grove, workstation
Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part Three
"From selecting/researching the components, assembling them, problem-solving, installing an operating system and testing, I've got a very fast machine that's designed specifically to create machinima and computer graphics." This article follows from Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part Two. Read on as Ricky relays his experience with post-build testing of his new workstation.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 5 opinions posted

Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part Two | 3D, CINEMA 4D, MachStudio Pro, Ricky Grove, workstation, Machinima
Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part Two
The actual assembly of your computer is a slow and careful process, but not nearly as difficult as it seems. Many excellent YouTube videos show this very detailed process, so I'm not going to do a step-by-step on how to put a new computer together. But, I will cover the basics and note any problem areas you might encounter along the way.
This article follows from Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part One
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 8 opinions posted

Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part One | CINEMA 4D, 3D, workstation, MachStudio Pro, Ricky Grove
Building Your Own CG Workstation: Part One
If you've ever wanted to build your own computer, there has never been a better time than the present. After the big holiday rush, prices are lower, the availability of popular computer components is high and the internet is packed with excellent guides to take you through your first build step-by-step. Plus, the current level of technology for CPU's (computer processors) and GPU's (graphics card) is very high. Especially for those interested in creating a workstation for computer graphics.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 13 opinions posted

MachStudio Pro and the Future of Real-Time Rendering | 3D, 3ds Max, Maya, MachStudio Pro, GPU
MachStudio Pro and the Future of Real-Time Rendering
While the advances in GPU technology have created extraordinary visual quality in games like Crysis and Far Cry 2, what does it mean for traditional CG, and in particular, professional animation production? Well, several years ago two brothers, Yoni and David Koenig, asked themselves just this question, and their answer is real-time 3D rendering on the GPU with their fully code-driven finishing/shot finaling application MachStudio Pro, developed in partnership with AMD.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 5 opinions posted

Vue 8 Frontier Edition: Perfect Intro to the World of 3D | e-on software, Vue, Vue 8 Frontier, 3D, Poser
Vue 8 Frontier Edition: Perfect Intro to the World of 3D
With the recent November 2009 release of Vue 8, e-on hasn't only provided the best possible version of their program yet, but they offer several different versions of Vue which are designed specifically for: the enthusiast, the artist and the professional user groups. What's amazing is that e-on has managed to put just the right amount of development into each version so that they stand on their own. It's quite an accomplishment to satisfy three entirely different user profiles. Even the free version (Pioneer) has a lot to offer. Today, I'll be reviewing e-on's new entry level “Frontier” version of Vue 8.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 5 opinions posted

Book Review: Ballistic Publishing's Character Modeling 3 | 3D, Ballistic Publishing, Character Modeling 3, ZBrush, Pixologic, Autodesk, Mudbox, Cesar Dacol Jr., Jan-Bart Van Beek, Giovanni Nakpil
Book Review: Ballistic Publishing's Character Modeling 3
Ballistic Publishing is certainly one of the foremost publishers and proponents of digtial art/artists in the world today. Their EXPOSE and Exotique series of books which feature the best digital artists around are second to none in the quality and content. The production of the books themselves are works of art. Every book published by Ballistic is done on high quality paper with great attention to color reproduction. Character Modeling 3, part of the d'artiste series of books produced by Ballistic, is no exception
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Book Review: Mastering Unreal Technology | Renderosity, Epic Games, UDK, Unreal 3, Unreal engine, games, Unreal Tournament, Machinima, Sams publishing
Book Review: Mastering Unreal Technology
The recent announcement by Epic Games that they were releasing the free UDK (Unreal Development Kit), which essentially gives indie game creators/machinimators access to the Unreal engine toolkit, is a culmination of years of effort. Finally, you have full and free access to the tools that Epic used to make Unreal 3. And while the documentation on the UDK site is excellent, we are fortunate that Sams Publishing has re-released an amazing 2 volume set of books devoted to the Unreal 3 engine.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Blender 2.5 Alpha 0 Released: A New Beginning? | Renderosity, Blender, Blender 3D, Ton Roosendaal
Blender 2.5 Alpha 0 Released: A New Beginning?
The highly anticipated release of a major new version of the open source CG application Blender took place this last week when the Blender Foundation released Blender version 2.5 Alpha 0. The non-profit Blender Foundation has been seriously developing Blender for years with summer coding retreats and through a spectacular series of animated film productions designed to expand and improve the program to a level compared to other CG applications like Maya and 3ds Max.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 4 opinions posted

Cinema 4D R11.5: An Essential Upgrade | Renderosity, MAXON, CINEMA 4D, C4D, 3D, Thinking Particles, MoGraph, Net Render, Dynamics, Sketch & Toon
Cinema 4D R11.5: An Essential Upgrade
Several years ago when I decided I wanted to create 3D animated films, I began researching the major 3D software applications, starting with Maya and working my way through to Blender. I found a huge article that covered them all in depth, and their overall choice for the beginning filmmaker/modeler was CINEMA 4D. Now that I'm finally able to work with the new CINEMA 4D R11.5 Studio Bundle, I see what other artists are talking about: this software is not only designed for ease of use, but it's solidly developed and is as deep a program as you could possibly need both for the beginner and for the seasoned pro.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 4 opinions posted

FaceAge 1.0: Easy Way to Create Facial Morphs | Renderosity, 3D, Poser, Daz Studio, FaceAge, FaceShop Pro
FaceAge 1.0: Easy Way to Create Facial Morphs
FaceAge 1.0 is both a plug-in for Daz Studio 3 and a stand-alone program primarily for Poser. What this neat little program does is to allow you to easily create aging, weight and ethnicity for 3D face models. Part of the “Face” series of programs created by the Hungarian company, Pantomat, and distributed by Abalone, FaceAge 1.0 works to create various facial morphs using a slider based GUI which is then saved as separate morphs.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Reallusion's iClone4 Pro: Building on Quality | Renderosity, Reallusion, John Martin, Dulci, iClone, CrazyTalk, 2D, 3D, Maya, 3ds Max, Poser, animation, real-time, machinima, Half Life, Quake, Unreal
Reallusion's iClone4 Pro: Building on Quality
When Reallusion released version 1.0 of iClone in 2003, they provided a relatively cheap way to create 3D animated films that was easy to learn... That was 7 years ago, and with release of iClone3 last year, Reallusion stepped up as a serious alternative to game-based machinima along with developing an enthusiastic user base, many of whom were first time machinima filmmakers. While iC4 doesn't have the same impact as it's amazing predecessor, there are updates and new additions to the program that truly make iClone4 Pro a must have upgrade.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Markus Vogt: An Artist of Dark Reality | Renderosity, 2D, 3D, Vue, Bryce, CINEMA 4D, C4D, Poser, Photoshop, MarkusVogt, sci-fi,  Artist Interview
Markus Vogt: An Artist of Dark Reality
If you take the time to carefully examine all of the images the German artist Markus Vogt has in his Renderosity gallery, you will no doubt have a strong reaction to them. You should, because his “in your face” style is meant to create an emotional response in the viewer. I was fortunate to interview Markus by email and he is focused like a laser on what he's trying to do with his work. Our conversation which spread over two longish emails was surprising to me and very different than other interviews I've conducted.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Book Review: Timing for Animation, 2nd Edition | Renderosity, 2D, 3D, Timing for Animation, Focal Press, Harold Whitaker, John Halas, Tom Sito, Disney, animation
Book Review: Timing for Animation, 2nd Edition
The original version of Timing for Animation is arguably one of the best books on the basics of animation ever written. Along with Illusion of Life: Disney Animation and Preston Blair's animation books, you'll most likely find a dog-eared, heavily underlined copy of Timing for Animation next to the computer of practically every major animator in the business. Timing for Animation provides foundation principles of animation based on the basic idea that animation (with either an object or a character) is “movement, not animation,” and that timing is the “part of animation that gives meaning to movement.” In other words, the many practical examples of animation timing in the book are all about bringing your character to life.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Building a Blender Bookshelf | Blender, Sybex, Focal Press, book reviews, tutorials
Building a Blender Bookshelf
Although the Blender Foundation provides very complete documentation and tutorials to learn Blender, there have been, until recently, a decided lack of Blender books published by a major publisher. However, in the last year two publishers have emerged as strong supporters of this free and open source 3D software: Sybex and Focal Press. I'd like to review three of these new books for you: Blender for Dummies (2009) by Jason van Gumster and Mastering Blender (2009) by Tony Mullen, published by Sybex (Wiley Publishing), and Animating with Blender (2009) by D. Ronald Hess, published by Focal Press.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Florian Witzel: An Inspiring Contemporary Digital Artist | Renderosity, Florian Witzel, SIGGRAPH, Fall of Antioch, Ghost in the Shell, 2D, 3D, Autodesk, CAF, animation, Vestige
Florian Witzel: An Inspiring Contemporary Digital Artist
Artist Florian Witzel currently works for the effects house, Psyop, in Manhattan where he is the “Technical Director for Rendering and Lighting.” A lean, soft-spoken man in his late twenties, I had the pleasure of meeting Florian at the recent SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans. I had come across his remarkable title sequence, “Vestige,” for the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival while doing a lot of research on SIGGRAPH and I had a chance to ask him about himself and his work.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Poser 8: A Great New User Experience | SmithMicro, Poser, Poser 8, product reviews
Poser 8: A Great New User Experience
In August, 2009, SmithMicro released Poser 8, a significant revision of the application that continues the user friendly approach in design, but quietly adds some very complex improvements in almost every area of Poser functionality. I've had a chance to work with Poser 8 for the last month and found myself becoming increasingly addicted to it's easy to learn work flow. I only wish I could have worked with the program for a year or so, because Poser 8 (and I suspect most Poser versions since Poser 3) grows with you as your understanding of the program becomes more complex. And yet, the program rarely gets in your way as you try to create Poser scenes.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 6 opinions posted

Steve Cooper's SIGGRAPH 2009 Poser 8 Demo | Renderosity, SIGGRAPH, Poser, Poser 8, Steve Cooper, Poser Pro
Steve Cooper's SIGGRAPH 2009 Poser 8 Demo
SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans this last month was filled with great moments for me. Amazing animation, panels, product demos, great dinners; the list just goes on and on. But one of the real highlights for me was the private demo Steve Cooper, Senior Product Manager for Poser, presented on Tuesday, August 4th at one of the little lunch tables outside of the main exhibition hall. After I set up my digital recorder and Steve booted up his Mac Book Pro, we started in talking about Poser 8, which had just been released that day.
Read on about the new features in Poser 8, and listen in on Steve's demo of Poser 8...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Quidam Studio 3.0: New 3D Paint, Catalogue System and More Content | Renderosity, Quidam, Poser, Maya, Collada, FBX, 3ds Max, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, 3D, UV, Argile
Quidam Studio 3.0: New 3D Paint, Catalogue System and More Content
We took a close look at N-Sided's Quidam 2.0 last year and found it to be an excellent character/modeling program with an intuitive interface, very easy texture painting, quick posing and good rendering/export. There was quite a bit of debate in the comments section about N-Sided's licensing issues for game development, stability issues in Quidam 2.0 when using render settings at max, and lack of content provided with the program. I hope to address some of these issues in this review of Quidam 3.0, which I think is a better program than it's predecessor.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Stash Monthly DVD Magazine:Cutting Edge Animation, VFX and Motion Graphics | Renderosity, Stash, Stash DVD, animation, 2D, 3D, SIGGRAPH
Stash Monthly DVD Magazine:
Cutting Edge Animation, VFX and Motion Graphics

"So, in July of 2004, Stash DVD 1 was released with approximately 35 short animated films, commercials, broadcast designs, title sequences and music videos. The company hit the ground running with their idea of a monthly DVD featuring excellent editing choices, solid DVD production and, most importantly, a hip sense of who is “world making” out there in the forest of new media. At present, Stash has just published their 59th monthly Stash DVD..."
Read on as Ricky reviews what Stash has to offer, and don't miss out on an exclusive coupon available to Renderosity members!
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Crazy Talk 6.0:Multiple Talking Characters Have Arrived | Renderosity, Reallusion, CrazyTalk, iClone, John Martin, facial animation, 2D, 3D, YouTube
Crazy Talk 6.0:
Multiple Talking Characters Have Arrived

Reallusion recently released a major upgrade to their already well-received facial animation program, CrazyTalk. The new version 6.0 has one feature that makes all previous versions instantly obsolete: you can now animate multiple talking characters in a single scene, and each character has it's own timeline where you can detail each animation independently of the others. This feature alone makes CrazyTalk 6.0 a must-have upgrade if you are interested in converting 2D images into digital actors.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

SIGGRAPH 2009 Wrap-Up | SIGGRAPH, Renderosity, 3D, 2D, The Spine, CAF, Computer Animation Festival, Coraline, Autodesk, ipiSoft, Reallusion, CrazyTalk, iClone
SIGGRAPH 2009 Wrap-Up
In a press conference early in the week at SIGGRAPH 2009, Ronen Barzel, this year's conference chair, said that in spite of the world wide financial market collapse, “SIGGRAPH is not going to cut back on it's programming”. And despite snickering in the media room about the “poor attendance” at the Exhibit Hall, I think Mr. Barzel has kept his promise. In other words, SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans provided some of the most interesting and varied content of any conference in it's history. Plus, the conference was held in a beautiful city filled with music and excitement: New Orleans.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Five | Renderosity, SIGGRAPH, Pixar, 3D, real-time, machinima, New Orleans, 2D
SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Five
Read on as Ricky shares his thoughts and adventures on day five of SIGGRAPH 2009, including: a talk on "Making a Feature-Length Animated Movie With a Game Engine", Computer Animaton Festival clips and trailers presentation, Pixar's "Tokyo Mater", and musings on SIGGRAPH and real-time rendering.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Four | Renderosity, 3D, SIGGRAPH, Reallusion, Blender, 2D, stop motion, Coraline
SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Four
Read on as Ricky shares his thoughts and adventures on day four of SIGGRAPH 2009, including: a talk on visual storytelling in 3D with Bob Whitehall, Pixar's Stereoscopic Supervisor (“3D is not the enemy; 3D is not the answer”), story in games with Danny Bilson, 3D printing by Shapeways, Reallusion news, Animation Festival highlights, and more...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Three | Renderosity, SIGGRAPH, Ricky Grove, Vue, Poser, iClone, Reallusion, VFX, 3D, Split Second, XBox
SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Three
Read on as Ricky shares his thoughts and adventures on day three of SIGGRAPH 2009, including: Reallusion and their upcoming release of iClone 4, a presentation on Vue 8, a tour of the Exhibit Hall for a look at some BioLogic Art, the Animation Festival: “Reel Time in Real Time” presentation, another trip to the Renderosity booth, and a Renderosity presentation given by Jason, Jenifer, and Debbie at the Marriott.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Two | Renderosity, SIGGRAPH, 3D, Reallusion, iClone, Autodesk, Poser, Smith Micro, MAXON, C4D, CINEMA 4D, Paul Babb, Ricky Grove, Machinima, Ronen Barzel, After Effects, Groboto
SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day Two
"Despite the rough financial situation, the planning committee decided that they did not want to cut back on the content of the 2009 conference. It sure seems to me that the conference is just as full as last year. The only thing I noticed was that when the exhibitors opened early for the media, it seemed that there were a lot fewer companies present. However, it was much easier to get around and meet people at the booths, since last year in Los Angeles it was wall to wall people." Read on as Ricky shares his thoughts and adventures on day two of SIGGRAPH 2009, including the press conference with SIGGRAPH chair Ronen Barzel, the MAXON C4D luncheon, new software demos (including the new Poser 8 and Groboto), meeting with the folks at Reallusion, and a visit to the Renderosity booth!
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day One | Renderosity, SIGGRAPH, 3D, 2d, CAF, Computer Animation Festival, animation, real-time rendering, Reallusion
SIGGRAPH 2009 New Orleans – Day One
The SIGGRAPH Animation Festival is really one of the most remarkable parts of the conference. Each film is like a perfect dream; some are nightmares and others are paradise. Each filmmaker achieves complete immersion in the story they are telling, or the world they are creating. And it is incredibly inspiring to see this kind of work and to understand something about how it was made. To have all of these films in one place and to be able to meet/discuss the films with some of the directors is an invaluable experience. And that's why SIGGRAPH is such an important event for Computer Graphics: it's about coming away from it inspired and excited.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

SIGGRAPH 2009: Media Check-In/Getting Settled | Renderosity, SIGGRAPH, New Orleans, 3D, Reallusion, John Martin, Charles Chen, CrazyTalk, iClone, CAF, RiverWalk, Cafe Du Mond, Katrina
SIGGRAPH 2009: Media Check-In/Getting Settled
Check in for the media is on Sunday, the day before the convention begins. I got a chance to walk around the huge convention center (it's got to be bigger than the one in Los Angeles; sure feels that way) and it was fun to see bus-loads of geeks with their laptop bags clutched tightly, milling around. I got a chance to peek at the main convention center Exhibition Hall and it looks great. Sunday night spent getting ready and going over lists and schedules. As I mentioned in my last post on SIGGRAPH, I'm going to play more of the convention by ear. I'll be blogging each day of SIGGRAPH...stay tuned...
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Getting Ready for Siggraph 2009 in New Orleans | Renderosity, SIGGRAPH, CAF, computer animation festival, bioLogic art, blizzard, real time rendering, World of warcraft, Ronen Barzel, Pixar, Coraline
Getting Ready for Siggraph 2009 in New Orleans
SIGGRAPH 2008 was like a circus, trade show, movie festival and lecture tour all rolled into one. I would run from one panel to the next and then onto something else like a madman. Then I'd end the day blogging about it for Renderosity and fall into bed exhausted. I'm a SIGGRAPH addict now. Which means I'll be heading out to New Orleans for the 74th Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques conference being held August 3-7, 2009, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center near the Riverwalk section of New Orleans. I hope to share my discoveries with you and perhaps give you a glimpse of the magic that SIGGRAPH 2009 will offer.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Open a New Door with EXPOSÉ 7 Digital Art Book | Renderosity, 3D, 2D, digital art, Ballistic publishing, Expose 7, Photoshop, Painter
Open a New Door with EXPOSÉ 7 Digital Art Book
My first exposure to real visual art was not through a dullish art class in grammar school, but through the comic books and paperback cover art I found at the local drug store and paperback bookshop. I still remember Jack Kirby's stunning full page image of Galactus in Fantastic Four #48, or Richard Power's mind-bending paperback covers for Arthur C. Clarke and J.G. Ballards novels. I was thinking about Kirby and Powers as I was pouring over EXPOSÉ 7, the most recent book in the stellar digital art series by Ballistic Publishing. Ballistic has obviously put enormous time/care into selecting and presenting the “finest digital art in the known universe” (their stated goal).
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 4 opinions posted

Renderosity Moderator and Staff Writer Sergio Rosa Directing First Animated Film | Renderosity, CINEMA 4D, Maya, shortfilm, Tormented, atormentada, 3D
Renderosity Moderator and Staff Writer Sergio Rosa Directing First Animated Film
Anyone who has been around Renderosity for a while will recognize the name – Sergio Rosa (aka nemirc). He's been writing reviews and co-moderating the Maya Forum at Renderosity for some time now. Sergio and I also co-moderate the Reallusion iClone Forum. I had the pleasure of meeting Sergio and spending a lot of time with him at the SIGGRAPH 2008 convention in Los Angeles. His film “Atormentada” (Tormented) is something he's been working on for several years now. Modeled on Japanese horror films like “Ringu”, Sergio wanted to create something different from the normal “family friendly” animated films that dominate the genre.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 11 opinions posted

Wacom's New Bamboo Series Pen Tablets are Superb | Renderosity, Wacom, Bamboo, Bamboo Fun, tablet, 2D, painting, Corel, Paintshop, Photoshop
Wacom's New Bamboo Series Pen Tablets are Superb
Reviewers are supposed to be objective. It really isn't good for the reviewer to jump up and down screaming his head off and waving his arms about a new product he's reviewing. It takes away credibility from your review and, well, it just doesn't look good. However, that's exactly what I'm going to do; jump up and down shouting that the new Bamboo series of Wacom pen tablets are “Wonderful!” I've had so much fun working with this product that I simply can't help myself.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 8 opinions posted

A Conversation With Marc Riedinger: Composer and Animated Filmmaker | Renderosity, Marc Riedinger, royalty-free music, Poser, Vue, Google Sketch up
A Conversation With Marc Riedinger: Composer and Animated Filmmaker
Marc Riedinger makes his living as a documentary film editor for a company in Hamburg, Germany. But on his own time, he's a composer of modern electronic music with several albums and collections of royalty-free music to his credit. As an outgrowth of his music, he has begun to experiment with machinima and animation, and has just released his first music video/animation titled “Keep”, using Poser, Vue, Google Sketch-Up and After Effects as his main creation tools. I think the result is excellent and shows that Marc has a lot of talent as a director, as well as a composer.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Book Review: The Art of Pixar Short Films | Pixar, Renderosity, Toy Story, 3D, Catmull, Tin Toy, Boundin', Geri's Game
Book Review: The Art of Pixar Short Films
There is little doubt that Pixar Studios is the most influential and successful animation company in the universe. Now a part of Disney Studios, they retain an artistic autonomy that is unprecedented. From the remarkable Toy Story to the recent Wall-E, Pixar has not only entertained millions of people around the world, but the company has almost single-handedly raised the feature length animated film to a modern art form.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Encore CS4: Quick and Easy DVD Creation | Adobe, CS4, Premiere Pro, Encore, Photoshop
Encore CS4: Quick and Easy DVD Creation
This is the second in a series of reviews from me of the new Adobe Creative Suite 4. My first review covered Premiere Pro CS4 and Soundbooth CS4. Premiere Pro exceeded my expectations; Soundbooth CS4 was a good upgrade, but still had some room to grow. What was particularly impressive though, was Adobe's continued integrations of the Creative Suite programs. With this in mind, let's take a closer look at Encore CS4, Adobe's DVD creation software. One of the smartest things Adobe has done with this program is package it with Premiere Pro, their video editing software.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Interview with Dean Etheridge [deane] | Dean Etheridge, deane, Poser, photography, Exotique 4, Vue, Bryce, Photoshop,  Artist Interview
Interview with Dean Etheridge [deane]
Dean Etheride (Deane) has been a contributing artist at Renderosity since 2002. His talent in combining excellent technique with intriguing and realistic portraits/scenes, has created a strong following of fans and fellow artists. While working professionally as an engineering design professional, he's spent considerable time developing his interest in digital art and design using primarily Poser and Photoshop. And if you spend some time in his gallery you'll see that he is a superb artist, especially in his portraits of women, which are subtle and passionate.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Image Metrics: Cutting Edge Facial Animation Technology | Image Metrics, Gears of War, Epic games, VGA, Emily Project, facial animation
Image Metrics: Cutting Edge Facial Animation Technology
Image Metrics is a nearly 10 year old animation company that is arguably THE cutting edge company for facial animation in 2009. Their marker-less system of facial animation and analysis wowed the CGI world at SIGGRAPH 2008 with their presentation of “The Emily Project”. And at the Video Game Awards for 2008, Image Metrics teamed up with Epic, the game company that produced the Gears of War series. We are fortunate to have Jay Hosfelt, Lead Animator from Epic and Peter Busch, Director of Production at Image Metrics to talk about the future of facial animation in games and as special effects.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Adobe Premiere Pro & Soundbooth CS4:Upgrades with a Difference | Adobe, Premiere Pro, Soundbooth, CS4, product reviews
Adobe Premiere Pro & Soundbooth CS4:
Upgrades with a Difference

Given the opportunity to review the Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection, and specifically Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 and Soundbooth CS4, I have to say they have done an excellent job of updating both programs. Premiere Pro CS4 is a no questions asked upgrade, while Soundbooth CS4 comes pretty close. I'll be examining both programs in detail in this review. And in the future you'll be hearing from me about other programs from the Master Collection, like Encore, After Effects and OnLocation, as I add them to my animation workflow and learn more about them.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Quidam 2: The Art of Character Creation Made Simple | Quidam, Quidam 2, character modeling, 3D, N-Sided
Quidam 2: The Art of Character Creation Made Simple
One of my favorite indie companies this year came to my attention only recently: N-Sided. I am the kind of person who is constantly scouring the computer graphic forums for recommendations for new and interesting software, but I'd never heard of N-Sided and their spectacular software program “Quidam” (pronounced 'Kay-Dum'). After working with Quidam 2 (the current version of the program) for the last month, I can honestly say that not only does it deliver on it's promise, but it's one of the most fun programs I've used all year.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 11 opinions posted

Machinima Festivals in Two Different Worlds | Machinima, Expo, animation, Second Life
Machinima Festivals in Two Different Worlds
"Machinima, the art of real-time 3D animation, is now over 10 years old and slowly moving into the mainstream as both a production process and a unique animation style."
Read on as Ricky covers two recent Machinima events: The 2008 Machinima Film Festival in New York, and the 1st Annual Machinima Expo that took place in the virtual world “Second Life”.
By Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

SIGGRAPH 2008 Audio Portrait | SIGGRAPH 2008, SIGGRAPH, Audio, Newtek, PhaseSpace, Animation Mentor, Exhibition,
SIGGRAPH 2008 Audio Portrait
SIGGRAPH, the penultimate computer graphics gathering, is only a couple months old and I'm still thinking about it and listening to various interviews and recordings I made there. Some of the recordings were spur of the moment interviews, and some were selections from panels I had attended. I even spent a good deal of time simply recording interesting sounds that I heard while I was there. Since I do so much sound editing in animation and machinima, I tend to listen a lot at events and SIGGRAPH was filled with incredible sounds. What follows is a collection of some of the best audio from SIGGRAPH 2008.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Reallusion's Iclone 3: The New Standard for Machinima | Reallusion, iClone, 3D, animation, John Martin, Machinima
Reallusion's Iclone 3: The New Standard for Machinima
The DIY filmmaker has a lot to be happy for these days. Not only are major game companies like Blizzard, EA and Valve supporting machinima films made from their games with contests and increasingly impressive tool-sets, but non-game programs like Iclone, Moviestorm, Antics3d and ZenCub3d are competing with each other for a steadily growing market that includes not only machinima, but casual animation filmmakers as well. And because of the cost benefits and low overhead these programs provide, areas like accident re-creation, crime scene reproduction and educational fields like science and cinema studies are all considering these programs for professional use.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 14 opinions posted

The People of SIGGRAPH 2008: Joe Kennedy
The People of SIGGRAPH 2008: Joe Kennedy
Attending SIGGRAPH 2008 wasn't just about technology and software for me, it was about meeting people as well. I met as many people as I could and asked them all kinds of questions. I met people in the hallways, in meeting rooms, on the train, in the exhibition hall, in restaurants, theaters and on the street. And every person I met, came to SIGGRAPH for a reason. In talking to them, I wanted to know that reason, along with what interested them in computer graphics.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Ricky's SIGGRAPH 2008 Wrap-Up | SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH 2008, robotics, Ed Catmull
Ricky's SIGGRAPH 2008 Wrap-Up
Now that I've had a chance to catch up on my sleep and reflect on the SIGGRAPH 2008 conference, the main thought that keeps coming back to me is that “I have so much to learn”. But then again, I think this is one of the reactions that the founders of SIGGRAPH, way back in 1973, would have wanted. Because this convention is so huge and so complex that it becomes a kind of mirror to the person who attends it. In fact, the SIGGRAPH 2008 website offers a kind of “program” of events to consider depending upon your background (artist, teacher, student, architect, etc). So, depending upon what interests you, the SIGGRAPH conference will be truly different for each person.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog [Day 5]
SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog [Day 5]
As I was dozing off on the subway, I kept trying to figure out what was so different. Finally, it dawned on me that there were fewer people on board. And then when I arrived at the convention center for the last day of SIGGRAPH 08, it seemed that there were far fewer people there as well. And as I was walking to my first class, it really seemed like the Friday people were the hardcore computer graphics crowd.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Knoll Light Factory 2.5.2 : A Spectacular Plug-In | 3D, 3D models, plugins, plug-ins, lens flare, knoll factory
Knoll Light Factory 2.5.2 : A Spectacular Plug-In
So what's the big deal about a plug-in that only does one thing: create lens-flares? After all, a lens flare is really a mistake, right? A light source strikes the camera lens at a strange angle and leaves a “flare” effect. But John Knoll, who invented this fantastic plug-in, is a smart, imaginative guy. John, who was one of the inventors of Adobe Photoshop and is a special effects supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, has some very cool ideas about how to use lens flares creatively.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Interview with Paulo de Almada, winner of the Vicon Film Festival | Vicon Film Festival, Paulo de Almada, CGI, computer animation, 3D, gnomon school, digital kitchen, profesisonal, interview
Interview with Paulo de Almada, winner of the Vicon Film Festival
I'm always very curious before I meet someone I'm going to interview because I have an image of who they are based on their work. And, of course, it never matches the reality of the person I actually meet. After seeing “Twisted Murder”, the Vicon Film Festival winner several times, I pictured the director, Paulo de Almada, as a dark and moody person with a Kafka-like wit of the blackest kind. So, imagine my surprise (and delight) when I meet a young, passionate Brazillian man who probably laughed more during our interview than I do in an entire week.
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog [Days 3 and 4] | SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH 2008, Vicon, Renderosity, NewTek, Reallusion
SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog [Days 3 and 4]
The third and fourth days of SIGGRAPH 08... More incredible classes, conversations, interviews, and presentations... You’ll be able to follow my experiences each day via this blog. So, stay tuned!
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog
SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog
The first day of SIGGRAPH 08 was more than I expected...and then some. I've been to a lot of large scale conventions before, but I don't think I've ever attended one as well organized and as exciting as Siggraph.
You’ll be able to follow my experiences each day via this blog. So, stay tuned!
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog
SIGGRAPH 2008 - Ricky's Blog
The second day of SIGGRAPH 08...
Another incredible day of classes, conversations and presentations...
You’ll be able to follow my experiences each day via this blog. So, stay tuned!
Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 3 opinions posted

Stage Tools: MovingPicture Plug-in Review | Stage Tools, MovingPicture, Plug-ins, review
Stage Tools: MovingPicture Plug-in Review
What “MovingPicture” does once it is installed into a host program like After Effects, Final Cut or Adobe Premiere, is to rid the documentary filmmaker or the news production of the labor-intensive process of using an animation stand to create pans and zooms of still images and text. Instead, using an average home PC with an open GL graphics card, the user can key frame elaborate pans or zooms in real time, make subtle adjustments to the rates and size of the movements and export it to standard video formats.
Product Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

David Hajdu's "Ten-Cent Plague" book review | David Hadju, comic books, ten-cent plague, book review, 3D, 3D models
David Hajdu's "Ten-Cent Plague" book review
Comic books have always been a part of my creative imagination. Comics were the first things I read as a child; the first stories that made sense to me and opened up a world that was far more exciting and interesting than the hot, clamped-down world of a young boy growing up in Arizona... So it was with great pleasure that I sat down to read David Hajdu's recently published , Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America. What I discovered both upset and fascinated me.
Book Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 1 opinion posted

The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company | review, pixar, 3d, 3d animation, renderman, steve jobs, disney, book review, amazon
The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company
Pixar Studios, the Academy Award winning animation company, essentially founded the art of computer animation. In "The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company", the author, David R. Price, charts their rise from the Computer Science Department and the University of Utah to the most popular and acclaimed animation company in existence.
Book Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 6 opinions posted

An Interview with Professional Designer and Carrara Artist Mark Bremmer | Mark Bremmer, 3D, 3D models, Carrara, DAZ, interview, spotlight,  Artist Interview
An Interview with Professional Designer and Carrara Artist Mark Bremmer
As part of a continuing series of interviews with interesting and popular artists at Renderosity.com, I was fortunate to be able to speak with professional artist and designer, Mark Bremmer via Skype text chat recently. Mark Bremmer has run his own design company for the last 16 years. His beautifully designed website lists “design, edesign, illustration, animation, fonts and tutorials” as the services his company provides from his home office in Denver, Colorado. I very much enjoyed learning about Mark, his work and his ideas about art and commerce.
Interview by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 8 opinions posted

Meet Renderosity Maya Artist "withego" (Alex Sandri) | 3D, Maya, Mental Ray, Autodesk, withego, interview, professional,  Artist Interview
Meet Renderosity Maya Artist "withego" (Alex Sandri)
Alex Sandri [withego] has been an artist at Renderosity since 2004. He works exclusively with Maya, primarily creating scenes of architecture and design. His skill at creating ambient lighting and his attention to detail in his scenes are quite remarkable. It was a great pleasure to learn more about this talented man.
Interview by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 11 opinions posted

Adobe Audition 3: The Best Just Got Better
Adobe Audition 3: The Best Just Got Better
Adobe's recent upgrade to their audio editor adds excellent new features and sharpens some old ones. Audition 3 is now one of the best DAWs on the market today.
Product Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 4 opinions posted

Art of Sound
Art of Sound
Sound has always been one of my favorite aspects of film-making. And over the years as I've designed sound for a number of Machinima films, the technique of editing and mixing sound have fascinated me. So, it was with great anticipation that I attended the first annual "Art of Sound" event sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held this last Saturday, March 8th, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Los Angeles.
Article by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

Antics 3.0 – Pre-Viz to Machinima Tool | 3D, 3D models, 3D animation, Maya, 3D film
Antics 3.0 – Pre-Viz to Machinima Tool
"Antics 3.0 is the simplest and most intuitive entry level 3d movie-making software program on the market today. I created a set, decorated it, placed characters, charted their movements and animations, set up cameras and made timing adjustments on the time-line, all within an hour or so. And that's without reviewing the user's manual or watching any of the excellent video tutorials available at the Antcs3d.com site."
Product Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 5 opinions posted

The Renaissance of American Comic Art: A Review of "Best American Comics: 2007"
The Renaissance of American Comic Art: A Review of "Best American Comics: 2007"
We are currently in a renaissance of sorts with comics. Even mainstream stores like Barnes & Noble have an elaborate comics section, frequently crowded with browsers of all ages. And old-world newspapers like the New York Times regularly review comics and graphic novels (a new term for long, book-length comics). The Internet has also ushered in an explosion of comic, mini-comics and series comics...So, it was with great pleasure that I read the "Best American Comics: 2007" this week.
Book Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist

A Cut Above the Pack: Reallusion's CrazyTalk Pro 5.0
A Cut Above the Pack: Reallusion's CrazyTalk Pro 5.0
Deep into work on several machinima films, I was annoyed at how badly the lip-sync was on some of the characters I was seeing. Then my friend Tom Jantol wrote at mprem.com that he had discovered a remarkable tool that not only allows you to create near flawless lip-sync for practically any still image, but the program also allows you to key-frame facial animation and then export the entire thing as a video file. And on top of that it was cheap and very simple to learn.
Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 5 opinions posted

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
No other 20th century artist had a greater impact on American arts, culture and history than Walt Disney. Even now, 41 years after his death from lung cancer, his influence is still being felt in the corporate model he helped create, in the films that his company still creates and in some sense, the entire notion of American entertainment. But, there is a strange dualism contained in the figure of Walt Disney...
Book Review by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 6 opinions posted

12 Unusual Christmas Gifts
12 Unusual Christmas Gifts
So, for the last several months I've had my radar out for what I consider to be unique and unusual items to give as gifts for Christmas. If you are like me, you want to get the exact right gift for the personality of the person you are giving it to. Part of the present you give to someone is the time you took to find just the right gift for them. And taking the time to look is also a lot of fun.
Article by Ricky Grove [gToon] - Staff Columnist - 4 opinions posted

Degraded Reality: The Short Films of the Brothers Quay
Degraded Reality: The Short Films of the Brothers Quay
Imagine two identical twins, Stephen and Timothy Quay, born in Pennsylvania in the late forties,studying illustration at the Philadelphia College of Art and then moving to England to work at the Royal College of Art in 1969. They want to make animated films, but the school accepted them as illustrators, so they make short films (now lost) in their rooms with borrowed equipment...
Article by Ricky Grove - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

“We are the Strange” DVD: A Trip to a Game-Boy Funhouse
“We are the Strange” DVD: A Trip to a Game-Boy Funhouse
Now, it's possible to make a crazed stop-motion animated film in your bedroom entirely by yourself, post the trailer to the film on YouTube and discover that there are 700,000 people who love your strange trailer. You then submit the film to Sundance and it is accepted...This is exactly what happened to mdotstrange (aka Michael Belmont) of San Jose with his “stra8nime” film (strange + 8 bit + anime) “We are the Strange”...
Review by Ricky Grove [gtoon] - Staff Columnist - 2 opinions posted

Machinima for Dummies: The Interview
Machinima for Dummies: The Interview
We weren’t able to work out a schedule to do an audio interview, but Johnnie helped by answering questions I submitted to him via email. Since Hugh Hancock is frequently the front man for Strange Company, Johnnie is occasionally overshadowed. His intelligent and humorous answers here indicate his contribution to Machinima for Dummies was significant. No wonder Hugh chose to co-author the book with Johnnie.
Interview by Ricky Grove [gtoon] - Contributing Columnist

Machinima for Dummies
Machinima for Dummies
Similar to the advent of digital video a decade ago, Machinima, “the technique of making films inside virtual realities”, is poised to become a mainstream art form. Beginning a little over ten years ago in the game mod community as a way to record player duels, it is today a more sophisticated technique that thousands of filmmakers embrace and game companies support. Machinima for Dummies”, published in September by Wiley Publishing, is immediately the essential book for learning about this nascent art form.
Book Review by Ricky Grove [gtoon] - Contributing Columnist - 1 opinion posted

Lisa Morton: Horror Professional
Lisa Morton: Horror Professional
Los Angeles writer Lisa Morton won a Bram Stoker award from the Horror Writer's Association this year. Her story, "Tested", which was originally published in Cemetery Dance magazine in 2006, was voted the the best short story of 2007 at the annual HWA conference which took place this year in Toronto, Canada. This award, the equivalent of the Oscar for horror fiction, is a fitting acknowledgment to a career spent both writing and promoting horror fiction.
Interview by Ricky Grove [gtoon] - Contributing Columnist - 1 opinion posted

David Lynch: The "Inland Empire" & "Catching the Big Fish" Review
David Lynch: The "Inland Empire" & "Catching the Big Fish" Review
"Film poet David Lynch frequently divides audience opinion with his insistence on creating art and his fearless use of abstraction in his films."
Join Ricky Grove this week as he reviews two recent works of filmmaker and author, David Lynch.
review by Ricky Grove [gtoon] - Guest Columnist

PJ Haarsma & "The Softwire"
PJ Haarsma & "The Softwire"
Original, intelligent and immersive, "The Softwire" is a perfect example of why the young adult novel is so good. I was very fortunate to have lunch with the author of this excellent novel on a sparklingly clear Los Angeles Sunday afternoon.
Article by Guest Columnist Ricky Grove [gToon] - 4 opinions posted

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The 2006 Machinima Film Festival
"The 2006 Machinima Film Festival kicked off on the weekend of November 4th & 5th at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. A hundred or so people crowded into the first and third floors of this beautifully designed building (and inside a virtual theater in Second Life where the Festival events were simulcast) for screenings, seminars, awards, displays and discussion of this newest of hybrid digital media forms - Machinima."
Report by Guest Columnist Ricky Grove [gToon] - 2 opinions posted

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