View Full Version : Alias Releases SuperToon DVD Series

11 November 2005, 08:46 AM
SuperToon DVD Series (

Super-Toon Series | modeling and rigging toony characters
presented by: Jeff Bernstein of Walt Disney Feature Animation

Cartoon characters can be fun to animate, but quite a challenge to develop, model, and rig. This course will begin by discussing the differences in character development between animated features and visual effects, and move on to effectively modeling cartoon characters, as well as creating stable setups for stretchy limbs, squashing bellies, character silhouettes, and adjustable line of action. Topics include; building good "toony" models, constructing cartoon rigs, broken hierarchy, and cleanup.

Super-Toon Series | Toony Facial Rigging
presented by: Joe Harkins of Sony Pictures Imageworks

Building on the setup from "Modeling and Rigging Toony Characters", the course will continue with advanced cartoon facial setup. Squishy faces, rolling tongues, bulging eyes, and outlandish expressions are all part of the cartoon facial landscape. Students will also learn how these techniques are applicable during animation and will learn solutions to common problems that arise in 3D. The course will begin by examining the anatomy of the cartoon face, and will discuss topology, designing a facial system, translating emotion into setup, high level controls, and squash and stretch, as well as integrating the facial setup into the master rig.

Super-Toon Series | Animating 2d characters in 3d
Presented by: Chris Cordingley and Randy Haycock of Walt Disney Feature Animation

Using the rigged character from "Toony Facial Rigging", this class will expose students to real world techniques for achieving true cartoon style animation as practiced in the major studios today as well as professional tips and tricks that provide a better understanding of cartoon characters in general and how to best animate them. The following topics will be covered: 2d vs 3d planning, applying the principles such as real squash and stretch, cartoon timing and snappy animation, cool cheats, emotion, silhouette and line of action.

Free Previews from Alias:

SuperToon Animation DVD Sample (

SuperToon Modeling and Body Rigging DVD Sample (

SuperToon Facuial Rigging DVD Sample (

DVD's are on sale at Alias! If you didn't make the MasterClasses at SIGGRAPH this year, we hope you get a chance to check these out! And if you did, here's your chance to own the presentations on DVD. :D

About the Presenters:
Christopher Cordingley is a character animator at Disney Feature Animation. Previously, he worked at Rhythm and Hues Studios and graduated from Ringling School of Art and Design in 2003 where he received his BFA in computer animation. His animated short, "After You," was showcased at SIGGRAPH's Electronic Theatre in 2003. Chris is currently working as an animator on A Day with Wilbur Robinson.

Randy Haycock has worked in the animation industry for 15 years and at Disney Feature Animation for the last 13. He worked on Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, and Treasure Planet as an animator and supervised the characters of Baby and Young Hercules ( Hercules), Clayton ( Tarzan), and Princess Kida ( Atlantis). He turned to CG animation for Chicken Little and is currently the supervising animator on several characters for the upcoming feature A Day With Wilbur Robinson. He has lectured on animation at California Institute of the Arts and Brigham Young University and is a Mentor for the online animation school (
Jeff Bernstein is currently a Character TD at Disney Feature Animation. In the past, he's worked at companies such ILM, the Orphanage, and Electronic Arts focusing on character setup. In addition to production work, Jeff has taught classes at the Art Institute of San Francisco, the Academy of Art, CCA, and Expressions Center for New Media. Jeff holds a B.A in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.F.A in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute.

Joe Harkins is a Senior Character TD at Sony Pictures Imageworks, currently working on the animated feature film, Beowulf. He most recently wrapped up work on the feature film GhostRider. Joe has worked on nine feature films including Constantine, Hellboy and The
Matrix:Revolutions as well as several commercial campaigns during his career as an Animator, FX Artist, and Character TD. He recently co-authored the book "Inspired 3D Advanced Rigging and Deformations", has published articles in 3D World and Computer Graphics World, and has taught Maya MasterClasses at SIGGRAPH.

My Fault
11 November 2005, 09:37 AM
Looks great. Got to play around a bit with the cat rig and it is amazing the poses you can create with it. Am surprised there isn't a Supertoon Bundle though.

Definitely looks like a must have!

11 November 2005, 12:19 PM
These look SWEEEEET!! Gotta get my hands on 'em. :)

11 November 2005, 02:07 PM
Holy Crap! I learnt a hell of ALOT just from the free 6 minute animation sample. The DVD's look very impressive.

11 November 2005, 05:30 PM
does this series require Maya 7 and its toon shader tool?

11 November 2005, 09:14 PM
does this series require Maya 7 and its toon shader tool?
The system requirements do list Maya 7, but you could always use Maya PLE 7 ( if your license is not up-to-date.

Good luck!

11 November 2005, 09:48 PM
Are the completed rigs/models on the animation dvd (#3)? Only interested in animation, not the modeling part.


11 November 2005, 09:53 PM
these are free for download if you have a "silver membership" $20/month -- too bad I had to cancel mine due to student budget, or lack there of

If anyone gets either of these DVDs, please post what you think of it. (they may just make it to my xmas list)

11 November 2005, 10:06 PM
congrats joe and the other dvd guys! the previews look awesome!

11 November 2005, 10:24 PM
Thanks Everyone! :D

To answer some questions:

Q. Do you need Maya 7 and the Toon Shaders?
A. You will need Maya 7 or Maya 7 PLE. We toon shaded the cat for the DVD covers using Maya 7's new built-in toon shading. If you have Maya 7, you automatically get it! We don't talk about how to do toon shading on the DVD though.

Q. Are the completed rigs/models on the animation DVD?
A. Yes! The final model and rig is on the animation DVD by Chris Cordingley and Randy Haycock. You will get all of the finished animation scene files, the rigs, the models, everything! If you want to learn how to make the model and the rigs, you'll have to get the other two DVD's.

Q. Are these DVD's available for free download if I am an Alias Silver Member?
A. A preview including 30 minutes of the body rigging and 30 minutes of the facial rigging DVD have been put online for the Alias Silver and Platinum Community in the Downloadable DVD Section ( of their website. This preview includes neccessary scene files and MEL Scripts. Silver Membership is $20/month and the SuperToon Download will be online through the month of November.

Q. Will Alias be releasing a "SuperToon Bundle"?
A. Yes! Most likely sometime next month Alias will offer the series as a bundle package, much like the HyperReal Series. They are also offering free shipping on all their learning tools right now! :)

11 November 2005, 01:17 AM
For those of you interested, here's one of the final animation pieces from the class by Chris Cordingley and Randy Haycock:

SuperToon Cat Animation ( (AVI 1.5MB)

Check out all that squashing and stretching!!! :D

11 November 2005, 01:59 AM
Hi I was just wondering how long does the Supertoon DVD actualy go for as I have Silver Membership and I was under the impression that I was paying to see complete DVD's not previews. I havn't watched all of the downloadable one yet but so far I have been impressed. This isn't your fault but Alias really should state if the downloadable DVD's arn't the full versions as I know alot of people have only got the silver membership because of the DVD's.

Has this also occured with some of the other months DVD's as some of them have seemed a bit short. If this is the case perhaps an email to Alias from everyone with silver membership should be in order.

Again this isn't your fault I'm just a little miffed at Alias as this is the second time I've felt been short changed with their learning tools and I'm just getting a bit tired of their business practices.

Thankyou for your help



11 November 2005, 02:17 AM
Cem, each DVD is 90 minutes long, about the amount of time we were given to present at the MasterClasses. The downloadable DVD is 30 minutes of the Body Modeling and Rigging, and 30 minutes of the Facial Rigging. They show you entire sections, from the beginning, but it's only a portion of each DVD. Still, it is an entire hour of content...

While Alias previously has made available entire DVD's for Download, this month was more of a promotion to get people interested in the series. You do get scene files and MEL Scripts, but they're not giving away two whole DVD's for $20, that just wouldn't make any sense. :)

I see what you mean though, they do use the word "complete" where they should be saying "partial". I will let them know so they can change it. The DVD Download is a small portion of what's available to you as a Silver Member, and actually they've got quite a bit of content online you can either download, watch, or participate in and learn from. It's not a bad deal at all.

So, my apologies if anyone thinks they are going to get the full DVD by signing up for Silver Membership, that is NOT the case. If you have any issues with your membership benefits, definitely contact Alias to let them know your concerns.

As presenters, our concerns with allowing Alias to give the whole thing away as a download is the higher likelyhood of piracy and filesharing, which unfortunately will happen anyways...

11 November 2005, 03:01 AM
No problems Joe thankyou for getting back to me that would be great if you could let Alias know about confusion surrounding the DVD's at the moment. I do think Silver Membership is a great deal and I bought the year option so I could take full advantage of everything. It's just they do need to be more upfront about the DVD's and an upcoming list of what is coming up in the months ahead wouldn't hurt either.

Thanks again



My Fault
11 November 2005, 09:19 AM
Yeah, I was burned by this as well. Had I known it was only partial I wouldn't have bothered and just waited for the DVD's to be released.

Congrats on the release, it looks like a heckuva series of DVD's! Now the only question is do I buy the 3 now or wait for the bundle. Shame Alias didn't just offer the bundle upfront. Wish Alias marketers were as bright as thier tech people! :p

11 November 2005, 05:43 PM
I am totally going to get this if/when it is in a bundle. looks great

11 November 2005, 02:21 AM
I talked to Alias and they told me that the bundle is supposed to already be available for pre-order, they just didn't have it on the internet yet. It's there now, check their site (, you can get the whole series for $150! :D

11 November 2005, 03:53 AM
I've Ordered it. It shows as pre-ordered, Joe any Ideas when itll start to ship?

11 November 2005, 05:49 AM
Awesome! :D Alias says the DVD's should start shipping within a couple weeks at most.

My Fault
11 November 2005, 06:18 AM
Woooo, what a great deal! Ordering now.

11 November 2005, 07:17 AM
goddang my student loans, lack of work, and spendy holliday season... this looks great! i missed the master classes out at siggraph, but this is sweet!

My Fault
12 December 2005, 11:32 PM
It appears that Alias still has an imbecilic install for the DVD's that gives you few options to unpack to another drive so you will need a very large amount of space on the C drive. So those of us without the space are basically screwed. Idiots!

12 December 2005, 10:22 AM
List of Great Things About this DVD:

1. Jeff Bernstein is funny, charismatic and a good presenter. The toon methodology is fantastic! Using follicles=brilliant. I wonder if the Rivet script could replace the follicle so people with Maya Complete can do it. I'm going to rewrite this script trying it.

2. The modeling part is very useful to know. Don't skip it.

List of issues:

1. The script for "ST Modeling and Body Rigging", buildDefRig, needs to be rewritten. Sorry Jeff if you wrote the script, but:

It doesn't work very well if your joints are aimed down the Z-axis.
It doesn't work if your joints are labelled with the default "joint1", "joint2", etc. Not a big deal to change the names of the joints, but after looking into the script I discovered whomever wrote that script doesn't know how to capture the name of nodes dynamically using the string variable. If they did, this script would have been written so your joint can be named anything and work.
The MEL needs some clean up. For example This script isn't going to work if there's a "curve1","locator1","joint1", or "follicle1" already existing in the file somewhere in the file. For example:

A part of the Alias Script:

curve -d 1 -p $locdrTrans1[0] $locdrTrans1[1] $locdrTrans1[2] -p $locdrTrans2[0] $locdrTrans2[1] $locdrTrans2[2];
rebuildCurve -ch 1 -rpo 1 -rt 0 -end 1 -kr 0 -kcp 0 -kep 1 -kt 0 -s 3 -d 3 -tol 0.01 "curve1";
select -r curve1;
duplicate -rr;
select -r curve1;

It should be:

string $cur1 = `curve -d 1 -p $locdrTrans1[0] $locdrTrans1[1] $locdrTrans1[2] -p $locdrTrans2[0] $locdrTrans2[1] $locdrTrans2[2]`;
rebuildCurve -ch 1 -rpo 1 -rt 0 -end 1 -kr 0 -kcp 0 -kep 1 -kt 0 -s 3 -d 3 -tol 0.01 $cur1;

string $cur2 = `duplicate -rr $cur1`;

select -r $cur1;

select -r $cur2;

2. The DVD is a recording of the Maya Masters Class at Siggraph. Which sucks because Jeff runs out of time -- AS ALWAYS IN THOSE CLASSES. Jeff spends too much time in the first part of the DVD discussing "Good Character Design" and it's about 20 minutes before we get into "rigging" and then he's in rush mode and he's forced to say, "Look at the course notes for more detail." Once again I feel Alias is really crappy at training videos. They should have re-recorded this thing after Siggraph. Putting a supplemental video at the end is B.S. For the price they're charging (same as Gnomon), take the time and do it right.

12 December 2005, 01:51 PM
Thank you for an honest review.

12 December 2005, 07:40 PM
I etirely rewrote the "buildDefRig.mel" script to use the "rivet" script found on instead of follicles. Works in Maya 6 as well.

It works in any plane as well now. And you can control the number of intermediate joints. I will post it on my site ( ( and maybe when I'm done testing it.

01 January 2006, 07:06 AM
I just got this bundle for Christmas. I like them very much but Im extremely disappointed that the Supertoon Modeling and Rigging tutorials require Maya Unlimited. They say that all you need is Complete, which I have, but about 2 thirds of the way through rigging, Jeff starts using folicles to drive joints. Folicles are a feature of the Hair plugin which is only found in Unlimited.

Now its one thing not to be able to follow along with the tutorial, but because of the degree to which he uses them, you cannot successfully open the rig and included scenes in Complete without major scripting errors and rig problems.

Its fine for this to be done if it works, but it should be mentioned on Requirements that Maya Unlimited is required for certain tutorials and to open the final rig.

DangerAhead, Im very interested in your BuildDefRig script, but I couldn't find it on your site or on Highend. Is it still around?

01 January 2006, 07:14 PM
I posted a version 1.0 rewrite of Jeff Bernstein's stretchy joints on my website: (

P.S. The website is a little out of date. I've got a job and no time to update it anymore.

01 January 2006, 08:26 PM
Thank you Danger, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

take care

01 January 2006, 03:29 PM
Ill post it in here too, cause it seems a few of you actually have this DVD

I cant run it. I put it in, install everything and get a script error that says

Handlers not found in object


Script error.


any idea what this is? or how to fix it

01 January 2006, 05:11 PM
Sounds like it didn't install properly or something. I would e-mail Alias to let them know, or give them a call. I haven't heard of anyone else having problems installing/watching the DVD's.

01 January 2006, 07:11 PM
I just picked this up, It looks pretty cool and should be a nice compliment to my new semester.

01 January 2006, 12:33 AM
So I'm left wondering where we turn to for making the best use of Maya 7's Toon Shader? The info they include in the manual is fairly pathetic and I'm left blindly playing with the variables in the shaders, which while fun, doesn't always get the results I'm looking for.

01 January 2006, 09:22 PM
I did a toon shade test of the "silly cat" character for the dvd cover and found it very challenging to get a clean line when I deviated from the standard default line, that is when I added modulation to the line the quality broke down. I've noticed that the toon shader is quite sensitive to the geometry, and any problems with the topology dramatically effect the line rendering. I've had better results pulling a line pass in the composite with edge detection, which I think can be done directly in Mental Ray.

One of the things I've been thinking about is added a toon shading class to the existing super-toon line-up, although this would really depend on the level of interest.

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 09:22 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.