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Houdini Button Simulation

Watch in HD!

Render time: ~ 44 hours (i7-2600k 4ghz/24gb RAM)
7168 buttons/points.

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Is Flash Dead?

Flash, which stands for Future and Splash, may not be the future but it has definitely come a long way and it still has a while to go before it is abandoned completely. A while ago, I had the chance to look over the Adobe Road Map in which they outlined it’s future and it mainly hinted at video on demand services and gaming.

YouTube, last year, allowed people to enter an HTML5 trial to viewing videos. What’s surprising is that while Flash had problems of its own, I’ve had problems viewing content in the HTML5 player as well but it might just be because it’s something that’s still in the works.

I’m sure there’s tons of website out there still running Flash but from what I’ve seen most are already switching over. There’s this Wix website which used to let you build your own Flash websites in a very simplistic interface. They too have now shifted their focus towards HTML5. To me, it is not the question of will it happen but when will it happen? It’s end seems truly inevitable and Flash might just hang on to its life with some niche market gap that still requires it near the end. An interesting article by thenextweb in 2010 indicated how the web is run by designers and not developers. To some extent, this is quite true as Flash provided an external service to build and publish your work without much hassle. With HTML5, there’s not exactly a go-to-guide on how to get things done. Thankfully, Adobe Edge might help in this matter and once again let Adobe manage a partial hold over its development procedure. Also, the dozens of libraries available for Flash will also take some to be ported over to HTML5 or re-written. In this respect, the article also talked about how there’s still things going for Flash that have not been replicated in HTML5 such as sprites, reading of raw webcam pixel data and multi-touch support.

Recently, when the Samsung SIV was announced a few people jokingly suggested that it’s Air Gesture feature be used for MouseOver events in Flash (which could actually work out) in response to Steve Jobs’ letter about how Flash’s MouseEvents would not be feasible on a mobile device. Sadly, Flash development has mostly come to an end in terms of mobile devices. I believe the only way to get Flash Player on most new Android devices is to somehow side-load it (not sure if that’s worth it in the end). Steven J on ZDNet in his article made an interesting point about how long Flash would last on desktop devices. It’s been almost over a year and a half since that post, but it makes sense somewhat to gradually halt desktop development for Flash as well since everything is going mobile. PC sales, as recently reported, are already at their lowest and the trend is quite clear: if you’re not a hardcore user, you will most likely end up using your mobile device at least 80% of the time.

To me, working with ActionScript with Flash has definitely been an overall satisfying experience and it has helped my programming skills quite a bit. Plus, the fact that Flash lets you export your output as a mov file only makes it so much better (I just wish it had more encoding options for other formats).

Metaparticles test – Cinema 4D!

3D Snowman Scene!

Created in 3ds Max 2013 using primitive shapes, a spline for the arms and text.

Snowman_3ds_01

Snowman_3ds_02

Photo Manipulation in Photoshop – Meerkat + Cheetah

My first attempt at inter-species photo manipulation, combining a meerkat’s body with a cheetah’s head! Wasn’t able to blend the colors right, but came close to it:

meerkat_cheetah_Aamir_Raza

Flash animation – Cheetah Run Cycle

Flash animations generally don’t require too much work if your assets are all setup and you have everything planned out. This was a pretty simple scene with a looping background and a run cycle.

Click to view result
Source files

Starting off, I got an image to use as the run cycle for a feline:

Once the image was traced out in Illustrator, I added a gradient and started testing out the animation in Flash since I hadn’t tried it before.

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I then came back to Illustrator to add spots to the cheetah and shadows as well. The shadows were just flipped, re-sized versions of the original with reduced opacity.

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Moving to Flash, I imported my frames and started setting up my animation. I then imported grass and ground elements from other illustrator files.

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I’d already setup one of the layers with a large width to animate so I set that up for the other grass as well, but instead I did it in Flash. This was done by duplicating and reflecting the image onto it’s right side so the part where they join matches along with the beginning and the end ensuring a smooth loop. This was then classic tweened from right to left.

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I added clouds and a simple background and was almost done with the animation. Just to test out how audio worked, I also added a song from the lion king soundtrack on a separate layer.

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And finally, it was complete! Click to view the flash animation!

♠ Leave me an email (contact page) if you need any help setting up your animation!!

Superman Painting!

A Superman painting, with a twist!

Superman_Line_Art_AamirRaza

Original art (by AJWcomix on deviantart):

Alien Project – Sculpture!

This was probably one of the most exciting parts of this project, as I’d never really worked with Super Sculpey before. Now that I had created the skate deck, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted my hand to look like in terms of shape and texture. I bought a couple meters of copper wire as a way to create a mesh for the hand.

Here’s what I started out with:

– Acrylic Paint (shades of green)
– Copper wire (2 meters)
– Super Sculpey (1 pound)
– Carving tools (or use your fingers)
– An oven (to bake the clay once you’ve made it)

Materials:

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Shaped the sculpey after kneading it for a bit…I didn’t really end up using the mesh itself but I did use it as a reference to create the shape.

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After baking, painted it with a couple shades of green and that was it!!

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Character Illustratation

Hours and hours of work on this illustration finally paid off today…I learned quite a bit about Illustrator thanks to this project, I really didn’t have any idea about using the mesh tool but now it seems like a very easy process.

Here is the original sketch by EriDaiho on Deviantart:

Altair Sketch

I started off with tracing out the sketch…at first I had a lot of trouble deciding where to cut off the strokes and which sketch details I should trace out. Also, I was worried that tracing it out wrong would also conflict in coloring it later. This caused me to close down some paths later on when I was adding gradients and coloring using the mesh tool. The part where I remained undecided on the tracing was the nose, which was drawn a bit funny in the sketch. I wasn’t sure of what the final sketched lines were for the nose, so I just went with what seemed to work for me.

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Once the tracing was done, I took off with the mesh tool on the character’s left arm left arm. As I used the mesh tool, I found it very difficult to align it properly with the arm. This is where I finally figured out the clipping mask and why people always quickly trace out the area they’re coloring with the pen.

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I wasn’t quite sure as to what the character really looked like since I never really played Assassin’s Creed, so I got an image and made a swatch with colors from that image to use as a starting point:

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Amazing detail can be created using the mesh tool, and I extensively used it for most of the character…

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By the time I was done, I would say 70% of my character was colored with the mesh tool:

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On completion, I noticed a whole range of problems:

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I realized I’d colored one of the character’s parts of the tunic wrong, and that the points where I used the gradient tool looked out of place. The problem was that the gradients were set up right, but not angled at all. I then angled each gradient in the image, as well as fixing some of the colors to make the blend in better. And finally, I had my result:

Without strokes:

Altair_sketch_final_nostokes

Final. Though it turned out nice, the boots could have still be done better, and I didn’t really get time to play with the width tool on the strokes too much. The vambrace on his Altair’s left hand also looks like it could’ve been done better.

Altair_sketch_trace_final_300dpi

Alien Project – Concept Sketches

Some concept sketches for the logo design, skate deck and style guide prior to working on this project:

Concept Sketch 1

Concept Sketch 2

Concept Sketch 3

Concept Sketch 4

Concept Sketch 5

Concept Sketch 6

Concept Sketch 7

Magazine Ad – Aldo Shoes!

hmm…magazine shoe ad for an assignment

I started off with just spending some time on the idea and what kind of shoes I’d be marketing. Browsed a bunch of websites, google search, etc. Decided to go with formal shoes and the main target would be white-collar workers, so I got a pair of them and took a bunch of pictures to get going…

First attempt

I didn’t really like the look of them as I didn’t have proper lightning at the time, plus the shadows would’ve been lost if I had cut out just the shoe. The thing is, formal shoe ads almost always go for a simple classic look and you don’t happen to see much advertising for them either. Anyhow, I took another set of pictures later on in which I used a lightning kit and a proper background so there wouldn’t be much editing required. Tried out a few different angles to picture the shoes and stuck to one of them later on:

Second wave

 A friend of mine suggested adding a tie to the ad before my second attempt (above), which I thought was an amazing idea as I needed something simple yet effective in the ad which didn’t require going over the top or drifting away from the classic feel which I was aiming for. I decided to go with this picture at the end from the 3-4 I had come down to:

original-800-72ppi

I started off with the 8.5×11 Photoshop doc, setting up 0.25 inch borders (guides) on each end and half inch borders on each end for the height.I inserted the image in, adjusted its vibrancy and saturation to tone it down and give it a retro type of feel. The image above also has the tie standing out a bit too much, it often takes the eye off the shoe so the tie needed to be toned down as well. Once that was done, I grabbed the ALDO font from a website, setup the type around the ad including a bit of info on the shoe and then started lookin for a good slogan/tagline:

Searching for a tagline/slogan

“Make your mark” and “Work with confidence” were the only two that popped out for me in relation to the tie so I went with the latter. After adding the slogan, I noticed that it felt a bit too lonely on one end so I added these horizontal bars to balance out the image.

Final Aldo Ad

Contact me if you need any of the original images I took.

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