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Picking the Right 3D Animation Studio to Work With

By Aldric Chang

Picking the right animation company for your project will determine the success and failure of your marketing effort! So...how do you ensure you are picking the right one? The following is my honest advice regarding this subject matter:

1. Let me first start by saying that some companies excel at certain genres and other companies at other genres. There are some - like mine - which specializes mainly in animated commercials, broadcast animation for documentaries, medical visualization, character design and architectural visualization. There are companies who specialize solely in special effects or architectural visualization work. The very first thing you do is to ensure that you find a company that best fits what you want to do. Find a company that has an extensive portfolio or one that has done something similar to what you have in mind. The first ensures an experienced company and the second gives you the confidence that they have done something similar before and can probably deliver the same to you.

2. Make sure that the company is using more in-house staff than freelancers. Many freelancers are unreliable and may disappear when the going gets tough. Ultimately the company is responsible for their conduct, but you would have wasted your time and perhaps missed a good opportunity to impress with your presentation or marketing campaign. So you stand to lose out even if you don't have to pay for the project ultimately.

3. Ask for milestones and deliverables. Understand what the company's pipeline is like. Any animation companies worth their salt would be able to tell you a pipeline and milestone delivery that sounds logical and reasonable. Click here if you missed my section on Working with an Animation Company to find out more.

4. Find a company that responds fast to emails and phone calls. If the company takes a long time to return mails and calls, chances are they are either too busy to respond, can't be bothered to respond or too disorganized to respond. Either way you should move on and look for the next vendor.

5. Find a company that has project managers or account managers in place. You want to speak to speak to marketing people who understand your marketing needs and not animators who think about cool special effects and nice animation.

6. After giving concise background information of your company and what you want to achieve, see how fast and pro-active the company is in coming back with a proposed solution and a quotation. See if the quotation makes sense and that the company can account for each of the service listed.

7. I would not advise going around for quotations because quite honestly every animation company may charge differently according to their staff strength, reputation, portfolios, whether they are using freelancers or perm staff, standard of work, etc. There are too many variables and it is akin to comparing the prices of cars of different makes. It won't be fair in this respect. Try to go for whichever company can possibly deliver what you need within your budget.

8. Lastly, always work with a company you feel comfortable with. Go with your gut feeling. If you don't feel good about the company, it means you don't have chemistry with the people there and chances are you won't enjoy the working relationship. This will affect the end product.

Utilizing Random Access Memory Efficiently For Faster Render Times

By Daniel Nitsche

Random access memory (RAM) is the hardware component in your computer that programs use to store temporary information that they will need to refer back to throughout their regular use. It comes in different speeds, configurations and storage capacities.

Regardless of which 3D software package you use, making efficient use of random access memory could potentially increase the speed and quality of your renders, particularly if you are using all of your RAM during the use of your software. Although running out of RAM will be most noticeable during the rendering process, establishing an efficient workflow begins at the very start of the project with camera setup.

Lock in a Camera Viewpoint Before Beginning the Modeling Process

Camera setup is the first stage of any visualization. It is important to remember that there is no need to model, in any great detail, areas that cannot be seen by the camera, which is why the viewpoint must be decided upon before beginning the modeling process. If you imagine an architectural visualization as an example, the rear of the building being modeled will, in any professional studio, be modeled as quickly and with as little detail as possible in order to reduce load on resources (fewer polygons, vertices - vertex counts effect file size - and potentially texture maps). The impact on direct and indirect lighting needs to be considered.

Polygon Count

The number of polygons in your scene effect the amount of RAM being used during render time as well as throughout the modeling process. Make use of your software package's statistics function. Set it up to show the polygon count of both the entire scene as well as the current selection. This will keep polygon counts in the forefront of all decisions that you make when modeling. Consider how far an object is from the camera and optimize your objects accordingly. This is not to say that all objects should be made up of very few polygons. Objects close to the camera will need to be modeled in finer detail. It is important to keep this in mind in order to make best use of your time and your computer's RAM.

Texture Maps

Texture maps can be RAM hungry little monsters if not optimized appropriately. If your final animation is going to be rendered out at a resolution of 1024x576 pixels then you would reduce the size of all maps according to how large they appear in the animation. If, for example, a particular map covers one quarter of the frame during its largest point in the animation, then that map will not need to be any larger than 512x288 pixels. Although this sounds like half the size of the animation frame, it is actually one quarter because the image has reduced by half its height as well as half its width. Be sure to keep all of your full size maps because you are likely to need them later on down the track.


Modifiers also use up RAM so make sure that you delete any unneeded modifiers and collapse any modifiers that you will not need to adjust. It is good practice to save an iteration of your scene before collapsing modifiers so that you can always go back and make adjustments to parameters if you need to.

Restart Your Computer

Before rendering large scenes always restart your computer to refresh the RAM.

Close all Other Software

Even smaller programs use up certain amounts of RAM so make sure that all unnecessary programs are closed before hitting that render button.

The Visual Frame Buffer Window

The visual frame buffer window (VFB) is where you can see all the magic unfolding. It's the window that shows the rendering process in action. Every 3D artist will reluctantly admit that they've spent countless hours throughout their career watching buckets make pretty pictures in the visual frame buffer window. The VFB uses RAM so if you're running low on RAM and you don't need to see the VFB then disable it in the render settings.

Render Buckets

Render buckets are the brackets that you see bouncing around in the VFB. There is usually one bucket per core or thread involved in the rendering of that particular frame. For example, a quad core processor will show four buckets at render time. The size of the render buckets can be changed in most 3D software packages. If you are in dire need for a little bit of extra RAM consider reducing the size of the buckets slightly. Each bucket stores all of the information that it can 'see' at any one moment into RAM. Larger buckets can 'see' more than smaller buckets at any given moment so by reducing the size of the buckets you will reduce the amount of information that is stored in RAM. Be aware though that this will increase the render time.

64bit Operating Systems

The next time you upgrade to a new computer consider the 64bit version of your operating system. 32bit operating systems are limited to the use of approximately 2-3Gb of RAM whereas 64bit operating systems are limited only by your budget. A little bit of extra RAM goes a long way. The downside to 64bit operating systems is that although some 32bit software (check with the software manufacturer) will work with a 64bit operating system they will not be able to make use of the extra RAM. This means that in order for you to make the most of the extra RAM the software that you use will also need to be 64bit. Ensure that all software and plugins that you use come in 64bit versions or at the very least have 32bit versions that are compatible with a 64bit operating system. 64bit software is gradually becoming increasingly more available.

Incorporating these practices into your daily work flow will hopefully make the process more fruitful and enjoyable. Happy rendering.

Architectural Drawing That Plays a Key Role in Architect Industry

By Nelson Thomas

Architectural drawing is now become backbone of architect industry. It is known as representation of ideas in form of designs and it plays key role in how buildings are created. To get high success ratio for any architectural project it is the basic step. In the past time drawings were made on paper manually but it consumes more time and energy. In the present era various softwares makes the process of it very accurate. Eventually professional architectural firms are using CAD software to develop architectural models.

In the current time due to cost saving it is not possible to rebuild your building. So it is widely used in pre-visualization of any type of building before completion. It is used for both interior and exterior purposes. Architectural drawing offers different ways to apply imagination in design so one should get proper design of building.

It makes a great deal of informative concepts of architect between contractors and engineers. Various types of it like Presentation Drawings, Survey Drawings, Record Drawings and Working Drawings are available to achieve different purposes.

Particular views, sheet sizes, annotation and cross referencing and units of measurement and scales can be drawn accordingly by using architectural drawing. It provides the base of scheduling and budgeting. To make the demonstration of various important aspects like material supplies and equipment availability architectural drawing is necessary.

It is widely used in variety type building like residential, commercial, institutes and industrial. Architectural drawings offer various features like:

o Maximum Accuracy
o On time Services delivery
o Customized projects process
o High Success in Projects
o Significant cost efficiency and time saving

Mathematical calculation, rules and regulations, cross sectional views are the certain factors used in it. It is used to get standard views for Floor plan, site plan, elevation, isometric projection and detail drawings.

Using Computers to Create Fine Art

By Jon Andrson

The computer world has recently jumped into the realm of creating fine art. This goes far beyond architectural renderings for presentations and digitally enhancing photographs; this is art work worthy of displaying in galleries.

The Apple iPad is just one tool that many artists are turning to for the creation of original digital artwork. By using applications such as ArtStudio and Sketchbook Pro, paintings that look like original oil, acrylic or watercolors are being created by artists looking for just one more way to express their artistic abilities.

This is not without controversy. Many see this trend as the downfall of original art. Is it still art if the computer is involved? Some say no. They argue that trading a canvas for a computer screen is sacrilege. Others say if the image is generated by the mind of the artist, then certainly the medium by which it is produced does not matter.

This dilemma is not new. The first controversy about art versus machine generated art was with the invention of the camera. It took many years for photography to be recognized as a form of art, and in actuality it is still trying to find its place.

Computer generated art faces the same dilemmas that photography has had to deal with for decades. When is an original an original? With reproduction possible from negatives it was determined that the artist's control over reproduction determined how many originals were created. With computer generated art, now comes the new dilemma as to the digital format that can be altered by someone else. How can this be controlled, and is it still original art? There are no rules yet, so the door is wide open. When art is created by someone who is not considered a 'traditional artist', and they mass market the result making millions, what does that say about the work created in an art studio and how does it affect value?

Another interesting twist for computer generated art is the photorealism created renderings by architects to show clients how a building will appear when completed. While this is a great tool to help clients make decisions as to whether or not they like a final design, it has created a huge problem during construction. Studies show that when a client is presented with a photorealistic view, they tend to think of it as so real that it is perfect and that when change orders come up during construction they are furious and refuse to accept these changes. When shown non-photorealistic images they assume the project is not perfect, and accept change orders without complaint.

So when is art really art and when is it just an image that imitates art? The jury is still out. Certainly this will become more fine tuned as computer generated artwork becomes more popular and mainstream. Only time will tell if this will become an accepted way for artists to express themselves in a new an innovative way.


The higher the building the lower the morals.
Noel Coward

The interior of the house personifies the private world; the exterior of it is part of the outside world.
Stephen Gardiner

The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.
Thomas Kempis

The Romans were not inventors of the supporting arch, but its extended use in vaults and intersecting barrel shapes and domes is theirs.
Harry Seidler

The work of art shows people new directions and thinks of the future. The house thinks of the present.
Adolf Loos

Those who look for the laws of Nature as a support for their new works collaborate with the creator.
Antonio Gaudi

To me, a building - if it's beautiful - is the love of one man, he's made it out of his love for space, materials, things like that.
Martha Graham


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