Notes from the Future Desk - February


Jerrod Long

on 3/4/2016

Pardon our mess… but, as promised, the Future is back in a new format. Instead of an assortment of information from each department, each monthly post will now be focused on one department. Up first is CG with information on tools, shading, vectors, and animation offsets.

Computer Graphics

Week 1: A Useful Tool.

Efficiency is king and sometimes little things make a big difference. Having a desktop and a laptop at the same workstation is pretty common these days, but switching from a keyboard/mouse to the touchpad is always awkward. I recently started using this software which switches dynamically from laptop to desktop simply by moving the mouse below the windows bar. No more touchpad, no more moving a mouse/keyboard receiver from USB to USB port. It works like a charm and makes me utilize both machines way more efficiently. I’d recommend you check out ShareMouse if you have a laptop and a desktop at work.

Week 2: A Note About GGX Shading.

VRay’s Microfacet GGX shading model works great for well lit objects but I have noticed it is hard to control reflective specular artifacts for things indirectly shaded. Even with GI off, you will get specular noise that only appears with GGX. Switching to Ward will help fix this, so beware. Neil Blevins has a good page describing some of the GGX parameters.

Week 3: Using Vector Textures.

3D Max has the ability to import Adobe Illustrator files nativly using the new Vector Map image loader in the hypershade…ahem, I mean Slate editor. This even works with Illustrator CC2015 native files. It gives you some amazingly clean lines and handles transparency like a boss. This can save endless hours of masking and shape building. One thing to be aware of is that, though rare, it can sometime hang up and will take longer to render than a raster map, but the cleanliness of the results is worth the wait.

Week 4: Using Point Cache for Instanced Animation Offsets.

The 3D Max Point Cache modifier is a great way to duplicate an object/animation and introduce a time offset. It allows you to update all instances of an animation without having to maintain all but a single XML file.


Your place for all the happenings in and around Jerrod Long that made it to print.

Adobe makes me feel like I’m living in communism. -Emilee

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