Thursday, January 31, 2013

I've been animating characters in AE lately and thought I would share this awesome tool that has made animating a breeze!  It's called DuIK, a plugin for AE that allows for creation and animating using Inverse Kinematics.  It's a great tool that also has useful scripts like renaming and a zero-ing utilities (if that's even a word).

Check out this video to see it in action:

DuIK Tools - Inverse Kinematics for After Effects! from FAMOS on Vimeo.

To download the tool and for more tutorials, click here:

This tool has made animating fun and easy!   Hope others can benefit from it as well.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Updated Demo Reel

So it's been a while since my last post and thought I would post an update.  I've been pretty busy lately working on a 2D character animation which is about to wrap up in a couple weeks, but in my spare time I've also been developing my rigging & animation demo reel.

View my demo here:

Stephen Miranda - Animation and Rigging Demo Reel 2012 from Stephen Miranda on Vimeo.

There are just a few additions to the demo.  One, is Rosco fully-rendered (yay!).  I also took the liberty of adding an nCloth animation onto the mocap footage of him fighting.  It's a very subtle animation; since he is a big guy the shirt is taught on his body so I figured not much would move except the straps on his shoulders.  I added a slow-mo shot just to illustrate the movement.

Otherwise I'm still cranking out animation and living the dream!  I'll be sure to post screenshots as soon as they becomes available. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Apocalypse Day!

Happy end of the world to you all!!

As I'm sure we all know, today is the day when the Mayan calendar is set to end, or rather restart it's cycle.  Since the Mayan's system for time was based on cyclical time (time never ending or beginning) this day marks not so much an end but rather a beginning.

For more information on the Mayan calendar check out NASA's website:

As for me, I am spurring forward as though today is just another day.  Work on Rosco has been put on hold as I am working on a 2D animation project which will take me into Jan. 2013.

I won't release too many details about the project other than it's a 2D puppet-style animation which I am constructing in AE.  As soon as the client releases the animation I will be sure to post screenshots here.

Have a great apocalypse day everyone and happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cervecera De Puerto Rico - Oktoberfest 2012 Animations

Still working out the bugs in my Maya Muscle rig.  I've made some progress, but have run into other errors which I'm still discovering solutions to.

In the meanwhile, I've uploaded some new motion graphics samples onto my website.  If you haven't already checked out my website, take a look:

 Here's a sample of one of the animations I did recently for Anaitte Vaccaro, digital scenographer:

Cervecera de Puerto Rico's Oktoberfest Event - (1 of 5) Animations from Stephen Miranda on Vimeo.

This is one of five animations created for Cervecera de Puerto Rico's Oktoberfest event in Puerto Rico. These animations were projected onto several buildings for the company's event.  Actual footage of the event is still pending.

These animations were made using a combination of 3D & 2D, composited in After Effects.  If your interested in seeing the other animations, please visit my website at

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30, 2012

Maya Muscle Problems

Ran into some issues with my skin mesh while trying to paint muscle weights.  Not exactly sure what the issue is but it almost seems as though the muscle is trying to paint itself to the original bind pose.

Since the original model was not in perfect T-pose, I bound the skin to the rig and re-positioned the joints to an accurate T-pose so that it would be recognizable by Motion Builder and HumanIK.  It looks like, while my solution was time-efficient, this may not have been a good workaround in the long run.  I'll be sure to use Zbrush to re-pose the mesh into T-pose in the future.

This is just a theory though, still have yet to confirm the problem.  At first I thought it might be a sticky bind distance issue, but the errors did not show any problems. 

If anyone has any insight on this please let me know.  Still learning the process for muscle.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

InfoActive - Demo Day Motion Graphics

Outside of 3D animation, I also work as a freelance motion graphics artist & animator.  It's something I've been doing more and more lately since there is a high demand for this type of work.

Recently I did some animations for InfoActive, a company who developed an app for interactive infographics.  Here is a clip from their presentation at Founder Fuel's Demo Day in Montreal.

InfoActive - Demo Day at Founder Fuel, November 8 2012. from Stephen Miranda on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 21, 2012

So I was recently asked if I had experience with Maya Muscle and thought, "No but I can certainly gain experience!"

Using 'Rosco' as my guinea pig, I've begun the process of learning Maya Muscle through Digitutes.

For those of you not familiar with Rosco, he's a character I rigged for Phathom Studios in Chicago a while back. Here's a link to my demo reel where you can see him in action:

Many thanks to Phathom for allowing me to use Rosco as a guinea pig!