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Gnomon Workshop Announces 14 New DVDs for the Holidays

Just in time for the holidays, The Gnomon Workshop has produced 14 more instructive DVDs for release on Dec. 15. These new Digital Library titles, from artists Kevin Hudson, Matt Hartle, Ethan Summers and Sean Mills, give you a multi-layered look at modeling, Paint Effects and mental ray.

In addition, The Gnomon Workshop introduces the industry's first ZBrush titles. Artists Meats Meier and Zack Petroc take you from the fundamentals of this powerful application, through pipeline, sculpting and workflow Maya.

* INTRODUCTION TO ZBRUSH: TOOLS AND WORKFLOW WITH MEATS MEIERDesigned for the artist new to Zbrush, this two-disc set features a full six hours of lecture, which will teach you everything from the interface to all available tools. Meier teaches you about Pixologics 2.5D pixol technology and the interface that controls a unique hybrid of painting and 3D, blurring the line between pixels and polygons. Meier goes into detail explaining tools to create, manipulate and sculpt multiple-resolution 3D objects. Youll also learn various methods of creating and applying textures and materials to your geometry as well as Zbrushs efficient, integrated multi-limbed polygon modeler, Zspheres. Meier will then show you how to use the ultra-fast renderer to create final images and scenes.

* ZBRUSH PRODUCTION PIPELINE: ZBRUSH AND EXTERNAL 3D PROGRAMS WITH MEATS MEIERThis DVD focuses on the relationship between Maya (or any 3D package) and the wonderful sculpting, texturing and displacement creation tool that is Zbrush. We discuss the basics of ZBrush, focusing on working efficiently, moving your work between applications and rendering the results within your favorite renderer.

* DIGITAL SCULPTING: HUMAN ANATOMY ZBRUSH-TO-MAYA WORKFLOW WITH ZACK PETROCIn this DVD Petroc presents a modern approach to digital sculpting that includes technical discussions, and features in-depth techniques for adding life and realism to your characters. Using a Maya-to-ZBrush workflow, the viewer takes a step-by-step look at how underlying muscles and bone structure affect the true form of the human body. The Maya content highlights creating and preparing a low-resolution base mesh, and includes techniques that apply to other Poly modeling packages. The central part of this demonstration takes place in ZBrush, with a comprehensive description of how to develop anatomy while adding weight, balance and realism to your character. Finally, Petroc showcases techniques for using the detailed ZBrush mesh to create an organized animatable mesh in Maya. This lecture is intended for all students and professionals who wish to strengthen their character work through furthering their knowledge of human anatomy.

* POLYGON MODELING 101 SURFACE MODELING FUNDAMENTALS WITH SEAN MILLSUsing Mayas suite of polygonal modeling tools, Mills starts by creating hard surface forms, before moving to more complex and detail-oriented shapes. The way you build your model, whether you make it accurate and detailed, or rely on informed cheats, depends on its function in the shot. The ability to have complete freedom with the model depends entirely on its level of realism: The more accurate your model, the closer your camera can come to its surface. In this lesson, we build a visually functional electric guitar, teaching you the basics of polygonal modeling and leaving you with the tools you need to build a variety of hard-surface objects.

* CREATURE HEAD MODELING POLYGON MODELING TECHNIQUES WITH SEAN MILLSIn the second DVD of this Polygonal Modeling series, Mills moves from relatively simple hard-surface forms to the creation of more complex and detail-oriented shapes. In this lesson, Mills models the head of an intricately detailed, four-eyed creature. Using a series of photographs of a maquette (hand sculpted by Neville Page), Mills introduces you to the principles of using high-resolution polygonal models. Utilizing Sub division surfaces, he shows you how to sculpt your model with realtime feedback of the high-resolution surface. Youll learn to create an intelligent edgeflow around your models primary forms, one of the more complicated tasks associated with polygonal modeling. Finishing the process, Mills shows you how to return those changes to a low-resolution cage where you can further modify your polygonal model.

* HUMANOID MODELING POLYGON MODELING TECHNIQUES WITH SEAN MILLSIn the third DVD of this Polygonal Modeling series, Mills shows you how to create a bipedal humanoid model. He begins with a set of primitives of different body parts - arms, legs, torso and face - and refines them into muscle masses. He then shows you how to refine those masses, establishing edgeloops around musculature and areas of major deformation.

* UV MAPPING 101 FUNDAMENTAL LAYOUT TECHNIQUES WITH SEAN MILLSIn this DVD, Mills covers the fundamentals of creating the UV space to prepare your model for texturing. Using several modified primitives as examples, he takes you through the necessary steps to map UVs and prepare your newly completed polygonal model for texturing. By creating a 2D version of the mesh, you give your 2D textures the instructions they need to land accurately on your model. By the end of this lecture, youll be familiar with the basics of UV layout and its relationship to modified primitives.

* CHARACTER UV MAPPING ADVANCED LAYOUT TECHNIQUES WITH SEAN MILLSStarting with a complicated humanoid character in an animation pose, Mills takes you through the process of deforming the model to a projection-friendly pose. You then reduce the models structure detail to create a 2D mesh suitable for texturing via a proxy model. Mills then shows you how to transform those UVs to a master object that can be textured and animated. By the time you complete this DVD, youll be able to take a complete 3D character and create the desired texture space without stretching or overlapping, where every pixel on the model is unique and can be either painted in a 3D package, or as flat art in Photoshop.

* MODELING THE HUMAN HEAD: POLYGON MODELING TECHNIQUES WITH KEVIN HUDSONThis DVD takes you through the artistic and technical process of sculpting a human head from a polygonal cube. In Organic Modeling: Building a Human Head, Hudson shows why character modelers are moving away from Nurbs modeling toward Polygon/Sub division surface modeling, which allows more freedom to localize detail and work with texture. Follow along as Hudson considers and sculpts the various features of the face - nose, mouth, eyelids and ears - as he transforms this simple structure into something as complex as the human head.

* PAINT EFFECTS: POLYGONS AND DYNAMICS ADVANCED TECHNIQUES WITH ETHAN SUMMERSThis DVD dives into the particulars of getting the most out of Paint Effects. Summers deals with how to work with large Paint Effects scenes and Methods for optimizing Polygon Paint Effects while keeping inherent connections for growth and wind. He also investigates how to tame blown out lighting and bad shadows that often plague Paint Effects scenes. Also in this DVD is a method for combining Pixologic's ZBrush with Paint Effects and a way to tie together Paint Effects with Maya's Particle system.

* PAINT EFFECTS 101: FUNDAMENTAL TECHNIQUES WITH ETHAN SUMMERSThis DVD plunges into the basics of Mayas Paint Effects. Summers gives you a comprehensive look at this powerful package, teaching you to control the density of your polygon mesh, to manage your pressure and control curves and to establish an effective workflow process. Summers explains various types of animation and illustrate basic ways Paint Effects can connect to dynamics within Maya.

* MENTAL RAY: FUNDAMENTALS. RENDERING TECHNIQUES WITH MATT HARTLEIn this DVD, Hartle focuses on teaching the fundamental aspects of the mental ray render, including memory and performance, sampling, image output, motion blur, displacement and depth of field. By understanding the technical implementation of these different aspects of the mental ray renderer, you will be able to dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of your renders to produce production level results.

* MENTAL RAY: LIGHTING AND SHADERS RENDERING TECHNIQUES WITH MATT HARTLEIn the second DVD of this series, Hartle focuses on lighting, shaders and High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDRI) within mental ray for Maya. mental ray supports most of Maya's features, in addition to many others. This DVD shows you how to optimize your use of mental ray to render fluids, particles, fur, geometry based paint effects, blurry reflections and refractions, area lights, contour rendering, and High Dynamic Range images.

* MENTAL RAY: GLOBAL ILLUMINATION RENDERING TECHNIQUES WITH MATT HARTLEIn the third disc of this series, Hartle focuses on mental rays special rendering features, including global illumination, caustics, final gathering, and image-based lighting. Using multiple examples for each topic, the DVD teaches you efficient ways of using tools, examining numerous ways to recognize and eliminate artifacts.

Founded in 2000, The Gnomon Workshop ( produces art-training DVDs for the visual industries. Created by professional artists who work in all areas of the visual effects industry, including many of our favorite films, games, product design and fine art, these DVDs give artists the real information they need to succeed in the visual arts industry. With titles in both digital and traditional disciplines, the Gnomon Workshop catalogue covers everything from robots to cars, to creatures and environments.

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Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.