How to Emphasize the Focal Point of an Image

How to emphasize the focal point of an image

By John Petersen an hour ago Illustration

Illustrator John Petersen shares how to boost the lighting and focal point of an image.

Using elements of your pencil underdrawing is a great way to capture the viewer’s attention within a piece. Furthermore, your pencil lines can emphasize light sources in the scene. Even when I create a digital piece I usually tend to start out with traditional media such as pencils.
I like the feeling of textured paper as I make my marks, and it also means I have an original piece of process art that I’m able to sell. Simulated texture in a digital art program is all well and good, but there’s nothing quite like the feel of  << More>>

Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg

A while back, I mentioned the Sunday Morning interview with George Lucas and Spielberg regarding their Norman Rockwell Collection.  Since then I realized that this collection is on exhibition at Smithsonian Art museum  in Washington from July 2, 2010 – January 2, 2011.  I would love to go, but that is not happening these days and unfortunately it is not going on tour.

Well, I still can’t find the interview online, but I found a forty minute audio cast in conjunction with a slideshow covering the exhibition.  It might be a little long to show in class, but it is interesting to hear both Spielberg and Lucas’ perspective on Rockwell as an artist and a story teller.   And how it translate to the film industry.  

In the 3D world, rendering produces a final image or series of images and ultimately it is a way to communicate your ideas or tell a story.   Whether it is used for forensic litigation or commercial; it tells a story.  I think a lot can be learned from Rockwell’s planning process to the subtle details.  His work is just amazing.  People spend years trying to find the right word for a story or finishing that last edit on a film, Rockwell can tell it all with one painting.  

I just recently purchased “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera” and man it is a great book.  It really dives into the process behind his work.  The book features the photographs that he used in creating his artworks and you can see the story unfold with the series of images that were taken and then how he captures them in his paintings.  It is more than just seeing the images behind the work, it is the process that got them there.   It is worth adding to your classroom collection. – Cornell

Here is a quick overview . . .

Here is the full forty minute audio cast of the exhibition:

This short interview is with the senior curator of the show “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg”. The interview covers a brief overview of the show and the Lucas /Spielberg interview. The audio is poor and has a bit of an echo, but is a brief overview – 9 mintutes.


Power of Story: Visions of Independence at 2015 Sundance Film Festival



A cocktail of Lucas, Spielberg, and Henson feed my obsession for the cinema and today, I still feel that passion.  Recently at the Sundance Film Festival, critic Leonard Maltin had a conversation with George Lucas and Robert Redford about the ‘Power of Story,‘  Maltin commented that,  “one of the problems with the institutionalization of film schools is that you have now more than one generation of young people who all they know is film, they haven't had so called ‘life experience’ and  life experience is the basis for  telling stories and for inventing stories and imagining stories.”  I completely agree with Maltin.  I feel that today’s generation is so immersed in the digital world that they have become satellites to the media industry revolving around television, video games and the internet, with no down time or a chance to get bored. I laugh when I hear myself say this, I am also speaking of myself . . .  I got my first computer in 1982 and it has been at my side ever since.  I am getting old!

It is a very interesting Conversation and worth listening to.  ~Cornell

Kicking off Art of Film Weekend, a program celebrating the craft of filmmaking, join Robert Redford and George Lucas—two iconic filmmakers who epitomize the spirit of independence in American cinema—in conversation with critic Leonard Maltin.

The Sci-Fi Boys



3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbThe Sci-Fi Boys is a great an awesome documentary to show your students who and what inspired the greats . . .  I have watched it, way too many times and I am watching again as I type this post  .  .  .  I am a bit geeky.  Here is my suggestion; buy the DVD!  You can get it on Amazon really cheap, for under $2.  Now if you do not believe me, you can also watch a super low resolution full version of the film on Youtube, see link below.  It is also free right now on Comcast right now, just search for ‘Sci Fi Boys’ and it will pop right up.  Either way, just watch it.    ~Cornell


Peter Jackson, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, John Landis, Dennis Muren, Ray Bradbury, Rick Baker, Roger Corman, Ray Harryhausen, Forrest J Ackerman, Stephen Sommers, and other legendary all-stars of cinema bring to life the evolution of science-fiction and special effects films, from the wild and funny days of B-monster movies to the blockbusters of today, including KING KONG.

This is the story of the Sci-Fi Boys, who started out as kids making amateur movies inspired by FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine and grew up to take Hollywood by storm, inventing the art and technology for filming anything the mind can dream. The DVD has the 80 minute feature, plus over one hour of bonus features of rare sci-fi treasures, described below.



On Comcast



Amazon Sci-Fi Boys

The Industry: Color Grading vs Color Correction

(Color Correction vs Color Grading, by Justin Troyer)

3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbI have worked in industry for a number of years, but I have spent most of my time teaching and experimenting with my own work.    I love playing and am always experimenting with new techniques.  Sometimes I used the wrong terminology, but is it terminology that important?  Well, it will not make you a better artist, but it is always good to know.   In the past, I haven’t always used the terms Color Correction & Color Grading correctly.   Here are a few examples and explanations.  ~Cornell


Color correction vs. grading | 30 Second Film School


Color Correction vs Color Grading

August 12, 2014 at 12:35pm by Justin Troyer

Working with color is an important aspect of video production that many people grow into, at least cursorily. As part of being a novice in post-production terminology frequently gets misused or interchanged. While color correction and color grading use some of the same tools and processes they serve different purposes and are done in different parts of the workflow.

Color correction is used to alter footage across a project so that its appearance is consistent, creating an accurate portrayal as it would be viewed by the human eye, making sure whites look white and blacks look black. Typically this is compensating for inaccurate camera settings, leveling color temperature, or adjusting contrast, brightness, and saturation. The human eye will view white under varying lighting as white. However, with cameras you have to tell the sensor what white is. If done improperly your image will have a red, blue, or yellow cast. In addition, if you are shooting outside over the course of an entire day the color of the light will change as we move from sunrise to mid-day to dusk. Even passing clouds will change the color.

Color grading (color timing in reference to film) is altering the image for aesthetic or communicative purposes to enhance the story, create a visual tone, convey a mood, express emotion, or carry a theme. Typically the alterations in color grading are more extreme than with color correction. Rarely color grading can even be used to salvage problematic footage that color correction is incapable of fixing. Usually at the end of editing the editor will begin color grading, give the project to a dedicated colorist, or when quicker turnaround is required the footage will be sent off to be graded while editing is being done.  (Color Correction vs Color Grading, by Justin Troyer)


The House on Pine Street Color Correction Reel Graded and Edited by Taylre Jones

Check out the dramatic work done on this film, the changes are completely amazing. The color work was done on DaVinci Resolve.


Also Check out this ‘tutorial’ . . .

Color Correction/Grading Tutorial

By Swageberg Productions

Can youth sports foster creativity? It depends . . .

3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbMy children are both involved in organized sports, gymnastics, and I agree it is all about perfectionism with no creative outlets.  I also feel that the skills gained from being in competitive gymnastics out way the non-creative environment it promotes.  With that said, it is all about what they do the rest of their time.  I feel that both of my kids are very creative, coming from an creative person, but we fostered that environment in our house, particularly allowing independent down time.  I think the most important factor is that children need time to get BORED! 

Here is an interesting article regarding organized sports and creativity, Written by Matthew Bowers Assistant professor, University of Texas at Austin.  ~Cornell

. . . Organized sports, on the other hand, tend to replicate hierarchical and militaristic models aimed at obedience, replication, adherence to authority, and a number of other qualities that, on a theoretical level, would be unlikely to be conducive to creative development . . . 

As someone who researches youth sports, I find this distinction to be particularly encouraging. It suggests, at least to me, that parents interested in fostering more creative development for their children don’t have to necessarily forgo traditional organized sports. They simply need to be aware of the importance of a balanced distribution of their children’s time between organized and unstructured settings . . .  <<  MORE  >>

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN: I am Not a Jerk . . . I am Just Creative

3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbIs there a ‘standard’ creative process or is it different for everyone?  With that said, can anyone be creative?  Psychologists Guillaume Furst, Paolo Ghisletta and Todd Lubart define three personality  “super-factors” that can predict ones creative prowess: Plasticity, Divergence, and Convergence.   They define divergent thinkers as non-conformists, impulsive, not very agreeable, not being very thorough, and come across as jerks.

Hmmm, I have to think about that one . . .  ‘Mirror mirror on the wall . . .’

Check out the recent Scientific American article,
The Messy Minds of Creative People By Scott Barry Kaufman which discus their work.


The Messy Minds of Creative People

The creative process– from the first drop of paint on the canvas to the art exhibition– involves a mix of emotions, drives, skills, and behaviors. It’d be miraculous if these emotions, traits and behaviors didn’t often conflict with each other during the creative process, creating inner and outer tension. Indeed, creative people are often seen as weird, odd, and eccentric.

Over the years, scientists have attempted to capture the personality of creative people. But it hasn’t been easy putting them under the microscope. As psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who has interviewed creative people across various fields points out, creative people “show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an “individual,” each of them is a “multitude.”  << More >>

The Higher Purpose of Doodling


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbAs a kid I loved Sunday Morning on CBS; it was always interesting and still is.  Sunday is my running day, so I don’t get to watch it as much as I used to.  Either way, here is an episode that I missed . . . “The Higher Purpose of Doodling” and I can relate. 
I use doodling for a variety of reasons: I use it to get clarity around a concept, I use it to relax, I use it to communicate ideas with others and get their refinement of them, I use it to map complex systems for companies, I use it to run innovation games for business, I use it to get insight on something puzzling me. -Sunni Brown
I have always been that doodler in class, at work, or just waiting around, but I remember either getting dirty looks or even scolded by teachers.  Was I aware that it helped me?  Not at all, but I am now.  I doodle even more, but I am still aware of my audience who might not see it the same way.  
Under no circumstances should doodling be eradicated from a classroom or a boardroom or even the war room. On the contrary, doodling should be leveraged in precisely those situations where information density is very high and the need for processing that information is very high. -Sunni Brown
On a side note, I tell my students to draw / sketch everyday, it is a powerful tool to have no matter what industry you end up in.  Sometimes it is like pulling teeth, to get them to draw but I truly feel it is important.  Share this video with them, it might give them a little push . . .  GET DOODLING  ~Cornell  


Shea Hembrey: How I became 100 artists


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbI am currently attending a FLIBS Visual Arts training course.  The instructor shared a very cool TED talk about Shea Hembrey an artist who became 100 artists over a two year period.  Get Inspired!!!  ~Cornell

Home Depot Sells 3D Printers


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbOne of my students came up to me in in class today and told me that they were selling 3D printers at Home Depot.  VERY COOL!!  AND they have them in stock at the local store down the street.   As I always say . . . “3D IS THE FUTURE!!! and it is not going away.  ~Cornell

MakerBot 3D printers coming to some Home Depot locations

If you live in New York City, Illinois or California, 3D printing may be as close as your nearest Home Depot.

MakerBot and Home Depot announced a new partnership on Monday to bring 3D printing capabilities to the masses. Several models of 3D printers will be sold in select stores and on Home Depot's Web site, and MakerBot kiosks will be available in a dozen Home Depots in nine cities to demonstrate how the technology works . . .  << MORE >>

"Unbox Yourself" with Zihua Creative



3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbA while back I showed you a cool 3d printed stop motion bear walking, now check out “Unbox”.   A Chinese animation  took it much farther and created a full stop-motion short film.  ~Cornell

"Unbox Yourself" with Zihua Creative

This fully 3D printed commercial for Zihua Creative (, China’s first online learning platform focused on the creative industries, illustrates how creatives must break out of their boxes to innovate as well as how technology is driving change in the creative industries.

Zihua Creative worked with their creative agency Goodstein on the conceptualization and production of the film, which fuses traditional stop motion animation with cutting-edge 3D printing technology. Although the film is under one minute long, the team dedicated several months and 3D printed more than 600 “Boxman” figurines in order to complete the project – the first of its kind in the world.

This animated short highlights a number of the courses that will be offered on the Zihua platform, including character design, CG animation, stop motion animation, illustration, film scoring, sound design and 3D printing.

Behind the Scenes of "Unbox Yourself"

This video gives an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at what exactly went into the making of "Unbox Yourself", a 3D printed commercial for Zihua Creative (, with insight from some of the key people spearheading this project. Take a peak to learn more about character design, 3D printing, stop motion animation, sound design, and what "Unbox Yourself" is all about.

I've fallen, and I can't get up! Mairmy Express–Free!


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbI  came across this short little Mairmy simulation the other day and thought it was awesome.  It was created with Mairmy a crowd simulation based Maya plugin from Basefront.  One of the cool things I found out was that they offer Mairmy Express which is a full functioning version of the plugin.  It has a some limitations, mainly the number of agents you can work with and export. I have not tried it yet, but I will as soon as I have a chance and with let you know what I think.  If any of you guys get to play with it first post your creations. ~Cornell


Check out this fun simulation, it is pretty funny.



Here is an example from World War Z which another software – Alice.  Alice is an in-house software used at MPC.   


Learning Mairmy (Here)

Here we're listing some useful steps which are able to guide you from scratch start to learn Miarmy and get through all of the contents. Usually, 2~3 weeks, you can master most of stuffs of Miarmy and put it into your projects!

1. Quick Start (1 day) Quick Start Pipeline

Quick start materials contain the main concept and workflow of Miarmy, which cover from modeling to rendering the entire pipeline.

2. Detailed Video Tutorials (2 weeks) Video Tutorials

We provided very comprehensive online tutorials and videos for your learning. After you understanding the general pipeline from step 1, you can dive into this part and learn more details from our tutorials.  There are more than 120 video tutorials online for FREE learning, and each of them contain SAMPLE files.

And also some DEMO files originated from our Demo 1~8 (Watch DEMOs)

3. Ready to Run Useful Tutorials

Autodesk Meshmixer 101


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbI have been playing with Autodesk’s Meshmixer lately and it is a pretty cool tool for both 3d printing prep work and it is also  just a fun  introduction tool to the 3d world.  I tried out earlier versions, but I wasn’t impressed at the time.  The current version 2.6 (Fall 2014) is worth playing with so check it out.  ~Cornell

What is Meshmixer?

From Autodesk: Meshmixer is a prototype design tool based on high-resolution dynamic triangle meshes. We are exploring the new capabilities of this surface representation for interactive design and fabrication, in the context of a practical system we release to the public.


Why I use Meshmixer?

IT IS FREE!  It is an awesome quality FREE application for use on both Mac and Windows.

Complex Boolean Operations.  When ever I do complex Boolean Operations in Maya, it either crashes or just doesn’t work.  For example, if I were to boolean text on a ring, Maya will just explode.  So anytime you want to boolean open up Meshmixer.

Make Solid feature. THIS IS  AWESOME!!!! If you are making parts for 3d print in Maya, you do not have to combine all the object and redo you geometry, just bring them into Meshmixer and MAKE SOLID.

Analysis Features.  This menu offers a number of powerful analysis tools.  Note, I have not really taken advantage of them yet,  and was frustrated with the support feature in the previous version.  I will explore the tools and follow up. 

  • Inspector – Cleanup features with auto repair
  • Thickness
  • Strength
  • Stability
  • Orientation
  • Overhangs
  • Slicing

Converting File Types: Meshmixer can import the following  file types(.OBJ, .STL, .PLY,& .AMF) and export in the following formats (.OBJ, .STL, .DAE,  .PLY, .AMF, & .WRL)

*It is also good at cutting models apart and hollowing models out.

Download Here:



In this video, see how to use the Make Solid tool to combine 2 objects into one water tight object for 3D printing.

Sorry, I Didn’t Know . . . Free Autodesk Software for Schools


3DTeacher-Icon2_thumb_thumbFirst of all, I am sorry.  I don’t know how I missed it, but Autodesk is providing free 3 year licenses for schools.  ¿I thought it was only for the students?  I know it is only a 3 year license and then it is hard to go back to anything else, but it is still a free 3 year license to get your program off the ground.  And I am a bit biased, Maya is the only option. ~Cornell

Free Autodesk Software

Manage Software Licenses

Autodesk offers 3-year educational licenses through the Academic Resource Center. License requests are managed for one institution at a time below. To request licenses for multiple schools or institutions, add more institutions to your ARC account or click My Institutions to switch to a different institution. If you do not have administrative access to computers for installation, add a contact to manage download and installation.  << HERE >>>

The Education Master Suite 2015 educational license includes all of the software titles below:


3ds Max Design 2015

3D modeling software for architects, designers, and civil engineers.

Alias Design 2015

Industrial design tools for conceptual design and surface modeling.

Mudbox 2015

3D digital sculpting and texture painting software.

AutoCAD Architecture 2015

The version of AutoCAD for architects.

AutoCAD Civil 3D 2015

Software for civil engineering design, analysis, and simulation.

AutoCAD Electrical 2015

AutoCAD software to design and document electrical controls systems.

AutoCAD Map 3D 2015

Model-based mapping software providing access to CAD and GIS data.

AutoCAD Mechanical 2015

Design and drafting software for automating mechanical CAD tasks.

AutoCAD MEP 2015

Drafting/documenting tools for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing.

AutoCAD Plant 3D 2015

AutoCAD software to design, model, and document process plants.

AutoCAD Raster Design 2015

Raster image editing and raster-to-vector conversion tools.

InfraWorks 2015

3D conceptual design software to communicate design proposals.

Inventor Professional 2015

3D mechanical CAD, visualization, and documentation software.

Navisworks Manage 2015

Project review software for coordination, analysis, and communication.

Revit 2015

BIM tools for architectural design, MEP, and structural engineering.

Robot Structural Analysis Professional 2015

Structural analysis for large, complex structures.

Showcase 2015

Rendering software for 3D design.

Autodesk Simulation CFD 2015

Fluid flow and thermal simulation tools.

Simulation Mechanical 2015

Fast, accurate, and flexible mechanical simulation tools.

Simulation Moldflow Adviser Ultimate 2015

Plastic injection molding simulation software.

AutoCAD Utility Design 2015

Model-based electrical distribution design software.

AutoCAD 2015

CAD design, drafting, modeling, drawing, and engineering software.

Vault Basic 2015

Data management software to organize, manage, and track data.

AutoCAD Structural Detailing 2015

Structural engineering software for precise detailing and fabrication.