Color Tests

Okay, I expanded on some of the motion tests and discovered “Colorize – Set Gradient” is a more effective way to give color to my pre-comp layers than “Colorama” Why? It gives me more control over how the color will look overall, it has an eye-dropper tool that can match any color onscreen, and it doesn’t alter any opacity or masking layers.

Color Test 2 from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.



After many cups of coffee and a few days to build up my patience with MAYA, I discovered that the Normals on the cloth were being disrupted by intersecting polygon faces after having extruded it. I went into the Hypergraph: Connections and deleted the extrusion step. Now, I have a beautifully rendered still life with much more desirable shadows.

MAYA Troubles

Maya has this habit of making me feel really good and then taking a cyber dump on my self-esteem.
Here’s my pretty little still life that I modeled and created the materials for. Heck I even lit the thing.

After all the time I put into it, I was feeling really good about the whole ordeal. I was chilling in class, watching the tutorial thiking, “See what happens when you really apply yourself…” Unfortunately, the answer to that question came all too soon.
What on earth happened?! The right side of the composition looks great. The middle can be improved. The cloth decided to take all the shadows and add a dose of stupid. I checked all my light and render settings. They’re fine. I even conformed all the cloth’s Normals once I made sure they’re facing outward like they’re supposed to be.
If there’s any Maya gurus out there, I’m all ears.

Internship: Paul Mesner Puppet Studio

This internship is going great so far. It’s exactly what I was looking for. It’s laid back and teaches me valuable skills I can use. Not to mention that the scheduling is flexible.
I am learning to use a sewing machine. The stitching and pattern for the hands of cloth puppets is tricky. Plus, I was using their “training material”. It’s rougher to work with, but it’s a cheap muslin. So, I can afford to make mistakes. Pipe Cleaners are placed in the fingers after turning the hands. When turning, always turn the fingers inside out BEFORE the whole hand. This saves you the trouble of fishing them out later.
Below, are two forty year old marionettes that I’m helping repair. I whipped up a few replacement ankle joints by taking a bandsaw to a sturdy plastic bin.


This news article I came across has only heightened my sorrow that “Monster of Nix” from Studio Rosto A.D will not be released in the USA, BUT this is all very exciting just the same.

This article does a special effects breakdown of how “Willy” the lead role of Rosto’s latest production was brought onto the screen. Rosto’s style of computer animation has always baffled me. I keep asking, “Was there stop motion mixed in that shot?” or “I would swear that’s live footage”. Turns out that a few members of “U N R E A L” (the Netherlands special effects studio that is working on “The Hobbit”) participated in the process of modeling a 3D scan of a LIVE ACTION actor playing Willy, in costume. Modern motion capture software just wasn’t matching the level of detail needed for this film. So a scaled replica is scanned and rendered into the software and then motion capture is able to step in.

Oh, and just so you have an idea of the finished product…The official trailer!

Maya Interface Guide

I put together some personal reference material to help me navigate Maya. I felt I shouldn’t keep it to myself. Enjoy

A. Menu Bar
B. Module Pull-Down
C. Status Line
E. Rendering
F. Shelf (Tabs / Keys)
G. Tool Box
H. View Panels (Orthographic)
I. ChannelBox
J. View Buttons
K. Layers
L. Time Slider / Playback Controls
M. Help Line
Cartesian Coordinate Plane: how we navigate 3D Space by use of a grid and X, Y, Z axis.
The Four Functions of Maya: Animation, Modeling, Dynamics, Rendering!
Three Modes of Operation: Hierarchy, Object, Component To Access the “Outliner”, itʼs located under “Window” along the Menu Bar.

What It’s All About

Normally, I’m not one to promote student work of competing schools (especially when it’s school that deems Computer Animation to superior to all other forms of the art), but this is something I felt really sums up everything that I feel makes a powerful story. One Character and one message that’s conveyed by every aspect of the film. It’s a challenge, for me, to simplify an idea and get right to the heart of it