New Gnomon Workshops DVD's

Mon 2nd Dec 2002 | News

The Gnomon Workshop has released five new training DVDs on texturing and kinematics in Alias|Wavefront's Maya. This series includes three DVDs on Texture Mapping and two more titles on Maya's Kinematics engine. Each title has 110 minutes of instruction, lecture notes, scene files, resource spotlights and bonus materials. DVDs are priced at $79 each and may be purchased at

These DVDs were produced by Alex Alvarez, Director of the Gnomon Workshop and Gnomon School of Visual Effects; and Darrin Krumweide, Associate Director of Gnomon. As always, the objective of the DVDs is to explain the tools, with a focus on workflow, using a wide range of examples.

The five new releases are as follows:

* Texture Mapping, I: Texture Mapping is the process of designing the surface appearance and qualities of a rendered object. It is through this process that objects are brought to life and made to appear natural. For film and video applications, good texturing is crucial for the integration of CG elements within a live-action background. For game development, textures allow artists to fool the audience into believing that objects are far more complex than the geometry actually is. This lecture is designed as an introduction to the Hypershade window, shader construction and material attributes. Shown are examples of how to build shader networks that mimic the real surface qualities for materials such as wax, chrome, cloth and nebulae.

* Texture Mapping, II: Maya's engine for shader development allows one to design sophisticated networks, which is necessary in order to mimic real-world surfaces. Each attribute of any material can be textured in order to add the subtle variations of detail which nature exhibits. This lecture demonstrates attribute-mapping techniques that produce effective layered-texture results. Additional topics include texture placement on NURBS surfaces and related issues of texture distribution.

* Texture Mapping, III: This lecture explores methods of applying Projection textures to surfaces and backdrops. Examples include the texturing of NURBS multi-patch models, moving between 2D paint programs and Maya, and creating 3D matte paintings from 2D photos. Also covered is how to apply Environment textures, in order to realistically and efficiently blend specular objects with live-action or CG backgrounds.

* Kinematics, III: Before one can effectively rig a character's skeleton to behave intuitively, the basics of Inverse Kinematics in Maya must be understood. This lecture explains all of the IK Handle Tool's settings from a real-world workflow point of view. The four IK Handle Tool types are demonstrated and their settings explained.

* Kinematics, IV: This lecture discusses techniques that can be effectively used to rig a character's arms and legs. While one can animate a character by setting keys directly on IK Handles, this can yield very cumbersome and non-intuitive results. By using a range of techniques involving groups, pivots, effectors, expressions and custom attributes, character controls can become quick and flexible.

Gnomon Workshop is an outgrowth of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, a professional institute specializing in training for the high-end visual effects community. This on-line resource for the Maya community produces training DVDs, videos and tutorials which are available exclusively on-line at The website also features written tutorials by Alvarez.

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