contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music. is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com  contains articles and product reviews related to making music using computers and creating 3D computer animation in sync with music. is also the home page of  Donald S. Griffin, an experienced professional composer, sound effects designer and audio consultant with an emphasis on computer games,  video games and internet music and sound effects. For pricing and contract availability send email to: DGriffin (@) Computer-Music (.) com


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Radiosity Tests ]


trueSpace images:
All of the images below were created in Caligari trueSpace 4.3

Test images: At this point most of my work with trueSpace involves getting to know how the program works and what kinds of modeling and rendering take longer than others. Since I expect to be producing animation in a tiny window A lot of my ideas are geared towards looking good in that environment.

Wider New Logo tests:
Thanks to some of the feedback I got from TSML I was able to reinforce some of my own misgivings about some aspects of first tests (in the paragraph after this one.) These new ones are only 120 pixels tall 50k each so I decided not to use thumbnails but the actual images so you could compare them more easily. The first is using rounded shading to give the letters a 3D shape. The second is the same but with a slight WFMM bloom. I am interested in whether you think the first or second look better i.e. with or without the bloom effect. The 3rd flattens the text only. This causes the letters to appear larger but not 3D. I am not sure which effect has more impact. What do you think? The 4th and last image carries the flattening over to the treble clef and notes. In all cases I had to adjust the shaders shine down to or near zero to avoid a white having broad white faces devoid of color. Though it may not make much difference I used Darktree shaders on all but the slabs and frame. On something this small it may not matter but I may want to do some sort of animations, close-ups or do things with individual elements in the future so I wanted to have everything set up in advance. Just in case. I don't know if it is my imagination but the treble clef in the last one looks kind of like velvet. If I use the last version I will probably apply this to the notes too.

Added #5,6 & 7:
I just added numbers 5, 6, and 7 below. They all use flat letters and symbols and add the velvet black look of the treble clef to the notes as well. Their frames also are all using a Darktree, thanks to Jane Lin, so I was able to cycle the hues and rotate them until they started and ended where I prefer. #5 uses is a straight forward version of this. #6 uses a "painterly" mottling effect to mess with the borders between the hues in the frame. #7 is the same as #6 but the mottling is at a smaller scale.

I would REALLY like to know which of these seven you prefer. I would also like to know which of the last three (5,6, and 7) you prefer. If you prefer one of them but with an element from another please let me know that too. Thanks. 








New Logo tests: (These are thumbnails, click them.)
I am working on a new logo for my company using my newer graphics abilities and, hopefully not as tall. This is my first possibility. The first two thumbnails are for the same image. The first at approximately the size I would use on the web page. The second twice as large so you can see more detail. The third image is the previous one done several years ago in Raydream. The first two need to have the white area trimmed away. I am also not yet happy with how the upper left edge of the frame does not show a groove because of the light angle. I may do a new frame that is deeper so it will still have a shadow in spite of the nearly straight-on lighting. I used WFMM Bloom. I am not sure if I like it. I used flat faced letters then applied their textures rounded so I have some weird uneven surfaces on the letters. I was hoping the  bloom would soften the problem. I am still deciding if I like the results. I tried to keep the height down with a narrower frame but I think the older frame is more striking so I may make the new one a little larger.
TSdon187-25 LogoTexRev 06 (440x160) 4Xaa bloom.jpg (38662 bytes)    TSdon187-26 LogoTexRev 06 (880x320) 4Xaa bloom.jpg (94254 bytes)    CMCwww01_web.jpg (56228 bytes)

Etched Glass Test:
I think this could look more like etched glass if I had used a larger map than 512x512 and possibly a different fill algorithm in the letters. This one was done using a texture map bump at a very low setting like 0.01. The same image was used with layered colors. I could have used a single texture map for color but wanted to be sure this would work in other, more complex situations. The first layer was plain color white and the second was off-white using the texture map at 20 percent transparent. No filtering if the image since it made the glass look less rough, more like it melted. I know I could have used a black and white image to mask the etching area then use white noise image or a noise filter to have more immediate control over the etching surface texture. I tried it but got quicker results by just filling the letters with a colored noise pattern in Picture Publisher.
TSdon185-03 Etched Glass 01(640x_4xaa).jpg (83185 bytes)

Xylo-Bot story animation:
A xylophone playing robot. Design improved for low poly and range of motion. Story animated. Motion to be fine tuned. Sound will be added soon.
381k 128x96 Indeo 5.11 AVI 270 frames (9 seconds). Recommend NON-looping. Final pose is supposed to stay on screen.

The story: The robot is playing the xylophone. A very fast 1 octave chromatic scale then a 1, 5, 8 to finish the concert. The final notes are hit stronger and stronger. Then he bows to the cheering audience. To the left, to the middle, then as he is about to bow to the right he passes out from exhaustion. The audio will include the xylophone notes, crowd noises and cheering, and a nice thump as his head hits the ground, possibly accompanied by a little microphone feedback for comedic effect. This version has the default textures from Rhino for fast test animation. The final version will probably have to be in this small a window or smaller to make room for the audio. But it will probably include a moving camera perspective or cuts from one angle to another.

Xylo-Bot rough animation:
A xylophone playing robot. Design and animation changes planned. Sound will be added eventually.
211k 160x120 Indeo 5.11 AVI  101 frames LOOPING.

I plan on adjusting the motion curves for the down-swing to be faster than the up-swing. I also designed the robot with too little range of motion (again) so I am deciding whether to make a newer one on the same skeleton or start over with the robot and skeleton and  the puppeteer key frames. I am deciding if the whole idea is worth the trouble. In theory he could play almost anything and multiple copies could be produced to play different parts of the tune. But showing both of them would make them each smaller in the view so you would see less. The more elaborate the show the less there would be to appreciate in terms of detail and accuracy. I also am thinking a simpler animation may be more educational for examples on my web site. At least one of you will suggest having the bars move as they are struck. It may be cartooney but in real life you are rarely close enough and at the right angle to see the bars move and even then the player has to be striking the bars pretty hard. I used Puppeteer to key frame several positions and it allows me to create almost any tune by loading key frames. That is how I did this example. I had two problems while setting things up. First The joints would show themselves to be set at 0 degrees and puppeteer would show them to be set to -1 AND the Min and/or Max would be off by 1 or 2. Eventually I hammered one joint into submission. I am not sure how. The other one never capitulated. The other problem is that I included target cubes, nulls, that, when the spherical hammer centered on them, would cause it to be in the exact right spot to strike the relevant bar. But I could find no way to align the hammer with the location once it was boned. I even lengthened the head bone so its center coincided with the center of the hammer sphere but since I could not individually tell that bone to go to that point while in IK mode (requiring me to select the full skeleton instead) I had no way to use the targets. Does anybody know how to do this? The best I could do was use them as visual cues. And since I had to set each target's axes to center they were visible which produced a nice axis in the center of each target I could use to visually align the center of my hammer sphere. So, while I was hoping for an easy way to exactly strike the bars I had to settle for a visual cue and manual adjustment.

Spinning Spheres & Lights animation
(no thumbnail) 108k 80x60 Indeo 5.11 AVI 1.33 seconds LOOPING.

IK Robot animation
This is my first IK bones animation. Without anything but the sky for motion reference it may not be obvious. Your perspective is that of a camera person, maybe in a jeep, panning up at this towering robot only to see that it is about to step on you so you start to drive out of danger. You avoid being stepped on but see that the robot has turned its attention to you as you drive away. I made the sky as my first custom sky using Michael Gallo's Infinity 1.2. I found using the fog foreground shader (this one is ground fog) softens the seam at the horizon where the plane and environment sphere meet. The other textures are tweaked darktrees except for the shiny part of the cockpit which is my own. I envisioned it being blacked out so you could not see in but a pilot could see out. But I also wanted it shiny enough to be reflective. I erred on the side of reflective but it creates some neat reflections in the first few frames. I made the model in Rhino so I could export at any resolution I wanted but chose a low one for easier animation. This one started at 13,570 polygons and I reduced it to 3,408 by boolean subtracting a cube from each part. This project really taught me the dire need for at least two nails in trueSpace. I would have also liked a constraint system so the turret would always stay level unless I wanted otherwise.

Click here to see the movie.
Indeo 5.11 AVI 318k.
240x180 2.33 seconds.

It may be more interesting to step through the frames or grab the frame slider and drag back and forth. I tried to keep it short so things happen fast.
TSdon172-08 RobotJ Animd 02 fr29.jpg (30083 bytes)    TSdon172-08 RobotJ Animd 02 fr60.jpg (30792 bytes)
Click here for stills from the movie.
640x480 JPEG about 30k each.

Test pose image
This is my first ever attempt at a robot or even a vehicle of any kind. I imported a lower resolution than I would have liked for ease of animation later. The top section is meant to be improved either by trying different pods or adding weapons stations or even turrets. It has been successfully boned for IK and that is how I posed it this way. I made a few mistakes in the design. The knee joints can not flex more than 90 degrees because of their geometry. So he can not squat down very far. One future idea is for two joints close together so the legs could fold all the way against each other. I also did not allow a plausible way for him to turn. I am cheating with the assumption that the feet rotate around their center. A bad design but its just for fun anyway. I thought it would be fun to build a pod that looks overly large for the feet. It should make the statement that the technology is so good that it is very strong and can keep balance very well. A longer pod would allow turrets on the underside front and back so it could "scratch its legs."
TSdon171-22 RobotJ (pose-run) 01.jpg (35500 bytes)


Why is the top arch of ribbon dark? (radiosity) Because I told it to render double sided?
I made the ribbon in Rhino by extruding a curve. So tS does not see it as solid. I set it to render double sided so both surfaces would be visible. So I wonder if this has something to do with why the top curves of the top ribbon are dark as though they are in shadow. Rendered using radiosity, a shadow casting distant light and a non-shadow casting sky light.
TSdon160-01 RibbonBow r1 TopClose.jpg (13963 bytes)    TSdon160-01 RibbonBow r1 UpRight.jpg (31218 bytes)
I fixed the problem with an altered object and a fresh import but I am not sure how. Strangely this one dies not need double sided but I could have sworn the other one did so I am baffled. Anyway the bumpy gold in one of the pics below uses a bump texture map of nylon cloth and a very low bump amplitude.
TSdon163-01 RibbonBow Ray.jpg (35320 bytes)    TSdon163-05 RibbonBowGold Ray.jpg (31457 bytes)    TSdon163-06 RibbonBowGold Ray.jpg (33645 bytes)

This was created using Finn's BAM tsx. I forgot all about it until browsing today. Basically it is red glass. I used bam to crack an object then selected the big pieces and kept cracking them until I got the effect I wanted.
TSdon128-03 bam glass.jpg (62106 bytes)

As stated in the Carrara versions these were meant to be very large so this is a good perspective. The shadows were good but the lighting underneath is dark so the second one uses Radiosity but there is not shadow now so I suspect I may have changed a light setting or something. But you CAN see more detail there now.
TSdon135-02 R3D-047 Awning 02.jpg (48212 bytes)
    TSdon135-02 R3D-047 Awning 03.jpg (47088 bytes)

1/4 Rings (trueSpace, AVI, 167 kb, Indeo 5.11 CODEC)
I used TrueObject Plus 1.5 to create a 1/4 torus then moved the center to 0 on the X and Y axes so I could just rotate it around the center of an imaginary complete torus. If I had made four in the right locations within TOP the UV mapping might have caused the patterns to match across the borders. I am not sure. I used the eroded shader, animated two of them and copied their animations to the others. My original plan was to make them colored glass so the colors would combine as they passed through each other.

Towers (trueSpace)
I decided to combine experimentation with a few plugins and this was the odd result. I used Animator's Toolbox's Array to have 37 cubes translate 1 and rotate 10 degrees on the Z axis. Then I booleaned them together one at a time. I wish there was an easier way. I applied the chessboard Darktree shader via the tS plugin. The result is the one on the right. Then I used Thermoclay 3 to melt 0 smooth in 3 passes with the surprising result on the left. It looks kind of like birds wings with layered feathers. I framed them to the right to use as a wallpaper.
TSdon103-3 37 THC3 Booleaned Faceted.jpg (182483 bytes)



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