Maya Align Tool with Flat Objects


I wanted to share this quick tip video for Maya’s Align Tool. There are many alignment options available in Maya so there are many different ways to achieve a similar outcome. When using the Align Tool with flat objects you may “lose” manipulators along particular axes such as the Y axis when you have a flat plane in the selection. I think most people would simply switch to one of the other alignment options in order to achieve the result they are looking for.

The Align Tool is actually functioning correctly, albeit not very user-friendly. Because the flat plane is so small the manipulator icons have “disappeared” into the corner. These manipulators are actually still available. You need to “zoom” into the corner of the selection to access them!

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Daddy Lollipopland


I modeled out the daddy sketch. I want to create a couple background characters and to begin creating a style, theme and a treatment outlining a first pass narrative. After creating a couple more characters I will try out some rigs that cater to the look and feel that I want to approach.

Right now, my inspiration are some of the new 3D animated series that one can see on YouTube and Netflix. Num Noms, Tsum Tsum, True and the Rainbow Kingdom, Super Monsters, BabyBus are a handful of current 3D animations which I admire.

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Kitbashed Mech Robot


I took a break from making food based character designs and kitbashed a model for a Gundam inspired mech robot using Andrew Averkin’s Hard Surface Kitbash Pack.

It took a couple hours of bashing the model together but creating what I thought would be a rudimentary rigid bind skeleton turned out to be a time consuming project. In this case, I found that since the rigid binding tools are no longer available, I needed to create a smooth bind instead, and then modify memberships and weights in order to mimic a rigid binding set up.

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Ice Cream

Created another character for the animated series. This will be the main character who is an anthropomorphized soft serve ice cream cone. Below is the sketch and the first pass on the 3D model. I’m wanting to keep textures as simplistic as possible but there are some cases where you need more detail to convey the character. Like in this case, the waffle pattern around the face needs to stand out just enough otherwise you lose the ice cream cone quality but too much and you lose the human quality.

Since my son is a big fan of rainbows, as of course most five years old are, I was originally thinking of using a rainbow colored soft serve ice cream but on second thought decided that vanilla ice cream with sprinkles made more sense.

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Character Sketches

Some first pass concepts and sketches for characters in my animated series. Just so you know, I am getting the bulk of my art direction from a 5-year-old and he is a tough boss! The characters will be food-based, anthropomorphized and cartoonish or at least as far as it is currently envisioned. Some of it or all of this may change of course. For now, I created some quick character sketches and modeled out some of the characters.



Our main protagonist is a school kid envisioned as a humanized rainbow ice cream. Of course all of this is preliminary and I will be completing multiple iterations before I even get into production.

I also took the cake character and created a 3D model of her. Once I have a handful of characters to populate the world with, I’ll start some rigging and animated tests.


mama model

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Lollipopland Intro

Lollipopland Intro from Michael Gochoco on Vimeo.

This is a snippet for the intro shot of an animated serial currently called Lollipopland, a character-based children’s cartoon. It’s more inspirational as a way to get myself motivated.

Right now, the project is in the preproduction treatment phase, going through style and inspiration boards, concept, character sketches and narrative design. When production begins, I’ll keep this blog updated with my progress.

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Linearized Alpha Channels

This is a project I am working on which will be a character based animated series for small children. This is a beginning render of an intro/establishing shot for the fantastical world which the series is based in. While working on the file, I noticed a strange effect when you import 32-bit EXRs into Adobe After Effects when the color space is set to “Linearized.”

Apparently when you set color management to a 32-bpc linearized working color space, adjustments do not get applied to the alpha channel of the EXR. The RGB channels do seem to output correctly but this is not the case for the alpha channel and it does cause a “halo” effect around the edges of an image with transparency. Look at the following examples. On the left is the non-linearized version and the alpha is seen correctly. The image on the right is the “linearized” version.

As you can see, the alpha on the right has a brighter gamma than the image on the left. This is probably a good thing since single channels are often used as “data” rather than as an image. But in this case, it does require that we add some adjustment. In order to return the alpha channel back to expected you need to add a levels effect (individual controls) to the layer and then adjust the Alpha Gamma correction to 0.45. Leave the RGB channels alone and it should return to an image matching the non-linearized version. So keep this in mind when using in a linearized color space in After Effects.

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BMW Intro

BMW Non-work Intro from Michael Gochoco on Vimeo.

Utilizing Redshift car shaders and global illumination to create this non-work demo of what a BMW intro splash could look like. The car is a model of a BMW from Arte-3D. I re-shaded the car with Redshift materials, animated and rendered. Using a LUT created with Photoshop, I graded the render and composited the final end card in After Effects. Total project time: 3 hours including render time.

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