Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Luxo Lamp Tutorial at Vimeo

Pixo Jr
Character animation at Escape Studios starts with a lamp - a version of the angle lamp made famous by Pixar in their 1986 short "Luxo Jr".  

As with much of our animation classroom content, we now have a series of tutorial videos hosted at our Vimeo Channel for any students who missed the class, or need to go over the tutorial a second time.

Why a lamp?
Pixar's "Luxo Jr".
The lamp is a great place to start with character animation, because the rig is simple and easy to learn, and you can also get a surprising amount of creativity out of the lamp exercise. It's where our animators begin to dig into personality, acting, and performance. After all, animators are actors.

Vimeo Tutorial
To find the lamp hop tutorial, which is recorded in Maya 2018, visit our Vimeo Channel. Like all our Vimeo content, it is password-protected for our students and Escapees, so if you'd like access to it, send me a mail at alex.williams1@pearson.com.

Maya Rig
The rig we recommend is Pixo Jr, an excellent rig, free for student download at highend3d.com, created back in 2006 by animators Amrit Derhgawen and Alex Crouch.

Rig Notes
Like any Maya rig, Pixo Jr has a few quirky features that might fox you when you first give him a test drive. Below are some commonly encountered problems to help you on your way.

How do I turn the light on? 
To turn on the light bulb inside Pixo Jr.'s "head", first select the yellow star-shaped icon next to the lamp head, which controls the light bulb settings.  In the channel box you can control the intensity of the lamp, the cone angle and also colours. To turn the lamp off completely, set Intensity to 0.  In order to see the effects of these changes, go to the lighting tab in the top left hand corner of your viewport, and click on "use all lights".  Also, you can render the current frame to see the rendered effects of the light bulb. To turn the bulb itself on, go to Incandescence Red, Green and Blue and set the values to 1. Now the bulb itself will light up. To further adjust the bulb, go to Outputs in your Channel Box and click on Bulb_Phong. Here you can adjust the settings for the bulb.

Pixo in Maya 2018
You will encounter a bug if you are using Maya 2018, or any version of Maya since 2016. This is because of Maya's implementation of Parallel Evaluation in 2016, designed to make rigs perform faster in the Viewport. Pixo Jr does not behave correctly in Parallel Evaluation. To fix this in Maya 2018, go to Windows > Settings and Preferences and then in the Settings > Animation category, change the drop down menu for Evaluation Mode from "Parallel" to the older mode "DG".

Most of all, have fun with Pixo! And be inventive!

Is there another free lamp rig available online?
Try this one at Turbosquid. This excellent free lamp rig was created by Mangesh Kondalkar.


The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our BA/MArt, follow this link.  To apply, visit the offical page here

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