2010 Reel

Here's a sticky post of my reel - look in the previous posts for the full posting: Rigging Reel

Judd Simantov 2010 Reel from Judd Simantov on Vimeo.

Animation Work

Animation Reel - Judd Simantov from Judd Simantov on Vimeo.

Personal XNA game project

Isis Personal Game Project from Judd Simantov on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009



I went to watch Invictus with my wife and man did that movie move me....obviously being South African and growing up during the height of all those events made the film that much more relevant... I was so inspired I decided to go home and do a caricature of Mandela...I kept it quite loose and small, cause I'm just trying to get the feel and not detail for days on end.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

another mood painting test

Here's another one... very much in the same vein. I tried to keep things a little more cohesive in this one...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

quick sketch painting

Here's a little something I just did as a quick study on getting some more dramatic lighting in my designs... I'm trying to change up my approach a little where instead of first painting value and then going into color, I just decide on a color palette and jump straight into color.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lighting Piece

Here's a lighting piece I did as part of a workshop... it's all hand placed lights. No Global Illumination or Final Gather, just a bunch of lights based on the direct lighting, areas of bounce and fill.

Friday, November 13, 2009

african baller

So I had this idea for a basketball player in africa and did a bunch of sketches... these are the ones I liked the most.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Up - Karl Sculpt


I've been working on this for a while now... just been jumping back and forth between a few things and I was waiting to really refine this before posting it. The only problem is I might not ever get around to actually finishing it, so I decided to just put it up! His fingers, feet and the base still need a bunch of work and there are a bunch of textural details that I haven't gotten in yet. The face is the most refined part...

As many people know, I'm a huge fan of Pixar and an even bigger fan of Up... so this was a really cool little project for me to do! He still needs his glasses, so I'll probably do that as a seperate piece out of plastic.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

messing around

hey... here's a little something I sketched as a character I've wanted to create for a while...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New IK Posing Tool


So I haven't posted much since we've been pretty crazy at working trying to wrap up on Uncharted 2...I just finished up this tool recently that I thought I'd share.

It might be a little confusing from the video, but basically you always have the FK controls selected and you're always keying them. So in essence you're never actually in IK. This just lets you pose and FK arm with an IK tool/context.

Let me know if you got any questions....


Monday, June 29, 2009

color script 01


So after being super-inspired by some of the lighting in UP and the simplicity of their color scripts, I embarked on creating the first color script for my short. It was fun playing around with light in such a simplistic manner and it really helped set the tone for what I want to achieve in CG. I'm really learning that its the idea that matters in concept, not the details. It can be super simple, but if it conveys all the appropriate information it serves its purpose.

I know this is not much, but thought I'd post it anyway.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

younger kid model from short

Hey... here is a quick snippet of the CG model for the younger kid. It's pretty crazy to see it go from drawing, to clay sculpt, to CG model.... it'll be even cooler once I actually get him rigged and moving around.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

another rig test

So after making some adjustments based on the walk cycle, I did this little test.... The rig is really starting to come together and I'm feeling confident that it will hold up well in most cases. I've just got a few more adjustments to make to it and it should be good to go.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

short film character walk cycle


So I've been pretty quiet about my short film... primarily because I've been juggling a few hundred things, but I decided this weekend to take a little break from camels and programming and did a quick rig test in the hope to final the rig for this character. I found a few things that need some fixing and skinning still needs lots of work... I also made some basic changes to his design that you probably wont really notice but it makes the model a little easier to animate.

The next thing with him will probably be more elaborate than a walk cycle... just gotta make sure I iron out all the rig issues first.


Friday, May 22, 2009

camel design

Hey! Never drawn a camel before, so it took ALOT of drawings until I got to this. It's funny looking back on the first few that I thought were cool and realizing how bad they were :) I'm contemplating turning this into a sculpt, but I first want to draw the body and maybe do some expression poses.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

latest sculpt...


Here is the latest sculpt I've been working on... I was thinking of maybe smoothing this one out more and maybe casting it so I can duplicate it. Hopefully he'll make his way into one of the personal projects I'm working on...If you look closely, he's loosely based on one of the sketches I posted earlier.... Next up... a camel! :)

Monday, April 27, 2009

free stretchy IK plugin

Hey! So here is a python plugin that just simplifies creating a stretchy IK arm/leg setup.

You can download it HERE

This video is a basic demo of how it works... I know the text is ridiculously small and it was stupid that I even recorded it... sorry :) I've attached an image so you can see the attributes that I'm talking about. There is also a readme.txt file in the zip.

Also, on a side note, I've named things elbow and upper_arm, but you can just rename that to upper_leg and knee for a leg setup.

It's not super tight in terms of being packaged as an easy to use tool, so hit me up if you have any problems.

On one more side note... my voice really cant be that nasally... that has to be compression!!! :)


Face Rig Video


Here's a sneak peak at the facial rig... I havent had much time to take it further, but I think its heading in the right direction. As some of my colleagues (Rich in particular!) have pointed out there are some volume issues that I still need to sort out.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

new style test


I was playing around with a new style where I do a drawing and keep the note pad as the background... seems to create quite a cool feel.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

some bad guy designs

Here are some more designs... I just started out with some heads to get a feel for the character. We are picking which one of these we like the most, so if you want, comment on which one(s) you like.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

new character design

Here's the latest design I just finished up for one of the projects I'm working on... I'm having fun with these big muscle-head type of dudes.... I might or might not do a sculpt of this guy, just depends on how much time I get.


Friday, April 17, 2009

some storyboards

Here are some boards I did for a little story idea... you'll notice the security guard from the design below. They're not in any sort of narrative order, its just some of the boards that I liked randomly stuck together.

Friday, April 3, 2009

security guard

Here's a little security guard design I was playing around with...I've been pretty busy at work lately, so I havent had time to work on as much personal stuff, but I should have some new stuff coming soon.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Uh... another side project....?!

So myself and a buddy of mine (Rich Diamant) are working on a little something that I cant say much about and will only come together at a much later stage (after I get my short done), but we decided to play around with some sketches... here is a design I came up for one of the characters... I cant say much about the story, but its going to be a lot of fun!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Uncharted 2

Here's some info on Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. This is the project I've been working on at ND... this game is really shaping up to be something amazing!!

Uncharted 2 Blog Entry


Thursday, February 5, 2009


I'm about to head off and read a bit before sleeping... I just finished animating and sculpting a little and something quite profound hit me. Its the idea of arbitrary decisions. In any medium, be it sculpting, drawing, animation or cinematography, arbitrary decisions can be your worst enemy or best friend. To explain this, let me give you an example... when you pick up a book and start reading, if you encounter a word that is not in your vocab, most people just skip over it and ignore the sentence... these people were just given the perfect opportunity to learn a new word and they completely ignored it. With reading there is no resulting tangible piece that we call our art...art that is defined by a series of arbitrary decisions. However, when you sculpt, the minute you place a piece of clay down, or scrape a piece off, it should be with purpose... if you find yourself defining a form arbitrarily because you are unsure about what that form really looks like, that's your word that isn't in your vocab and you can either look up the word in the dictionary (reference some anatomy) or just make some random decision. Obviously there is a certain level of discovery and exploration depending on the medium, but even exploration can have purpose and intent. If I feel like placing a camera in a few different spots to see which works, I should still have a good idea of what I'm trying to say in this scene and then explore some different options.

Obviously if you have to look things up every time you're unsure about something, you'll probably never get anything finished, but I think its a good place to strive to get to and it will encourage a certain hunger for knowledge and growth.

I'm sure nobody is going to read this, but if you do.... hope it was somewhat interesting! :)


Saturday, January 31, 2009


I gotta admit, I feel kinda dumb for never discovering this before, but I figured maybe I'm only somewhat dumb and that other people might have encountered this before, so I decided to post it anyway.... plus I haven't updated my blog in a while :(

Alright, so I'm animating some stuff and playblasting to fcheck... the image sequence loads really quickly and plays back at 24fps. Now, a few days later I decide to do some test renders... I change my image format to tga, tiff or jpg (depending on what I wanna do). I render out a sequence, save my scene and enjoy how awesome renders look. A day later I reopen my scene, make some animation changes and playblast... The image sequence takes FOREVER to cache in fcheck. Obviously once it caches it plays back at 24fps, but I gotta wait again for it to cache. I dont get it.... this stuff loaded fine a few days ago.... okay, so what changed?!! I set my render globals to tga's! Yes, render globals... not playblast globals :) I had no idea this affected your playblast format. Anyway... I thought okay, I'll change it to jpgs... they have to be quick... but nope, no luck. So obviously I went back to default which is .iff's. That was it!

So after all of that, the bottom line is.... set your image format in your render globals to .IFF when playblasting!

If this is common knowledge, please let me know so I can delete this post before someone from Naughty Dog reads this and decides maybe I shouldn't be solving technical problems :) ..hehehe

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

sneak peak of a work in progress

Hey! I was watching the golden globes the other night with my cute couch potato wife and after watching Spielberg give a really great speech, I figured he'd be a great person to do a caricature of... especially with me working on a short film and all :) I've kept this small cause its still a work in progress and certain parts are still very loose... all comments are welcome!

On a side note, I've been a little distracted from the short the last few days, but I should be jumping back into it in full force pretty soon and will have some stuff posted...


Friday, January 9, 2009

Maya API ... Python .vs C

So I ran into a nice little problem today... I've tried to write all the tools thus far using python API, for the reason that it makes distribution of the tools easier with no recompiling required as newer versions of Maya come out. I started writing a deformer and quickly realised that vertex iteration in python API is slow!!! Probably about 10 times slower than in C++... so I rewrote the plugin in C and it worked like a charm... kinda sucks that this is the case, but I guess I'll just need distribute some tools in a compiled .mll format.

I'll try and get some stuff up on the blog, just got back into work this week, so things are a bit slow... Also, I'm working on more rig stuff, so its not as pretty to put up on the blog :(


Friday, January 2, 2009

Arm Rig Video Example


Disclaimer: None of the weighting/deformations are final. I'm just showing functionality, so the geometry will probably look weird in certain places/poses.

Here's a vid of the arm rig at work ( I know its kinda long, but I havent figured out how to speed things up in iMovie yet)... just to explain it all a little: There are 2 main things going on. One is the stretchy IK arm and the other is a bezier spline based node I wrote that allows you to have bezier curves (just like the graph editor) in the viewport. So for the stretchy IK stuff, its basically taking all the functionality that would be setup with a lot of nodes and transforms and basically turned into one custom API node. The great thing about this, is its really easy to update and not worry about all these connections and nodes, its really fast and its very managable. So some of the things it does is, toggle automatically calculate volume, stretch multiplier, volume multiplier, locking the elbow or knees down, plus a few other custom controls that are more fine level stuff...

The bezier spline node is pretty cool in that you can add more key points to it (I wouldnt do this in the arm and its not demonstrated here), but it functions exactly like a curve would in the graph editor, so for a tail rig that stuff would work great. It basically has a main "key" point and then "tangent" points that come off of that. It then generates a curve that you can attach anything to. This is also a node that computes all this stuff really quickly and keeps things pretty clean.

I had a bunch of this stuff working as C++ plugins and decided to re-write them as python API plugins so that I can distribute this stuff without worrying about OS and version dependencies. I do intend on giving all of this stuff out for free once I'm done with my film.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year! I started on another character... I try to switch it up between tech and art stuff and I was doing a little too much tech stuff, so I decided to get a head start on this guy and just rough out a sculpt in clay. I kept it pretty loose and sketchy, cause I really only need this sculpt as a reference point for how the 2d design will translate into 3d and the finessing will get done on the CG model. Also, I opted to just do the head cause I felt like his body was pretty straight forward... I'll probably do a full body one at a later stage, but for now this will suffice for me to get it started in 3d.