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For over seven years now, I have been making movies and 3D stills in 3D Studio Max. It all started out as a hobby, and I have been messing around, making little movies just for fun, just because I enjoy doing so. Some of these movies can be found on this site. I have also made movies for work, mainly for purposes of visualization. Naturally, I am not at liberty to put these movies on the internet.

Please understand that these movies get to be lots of MB when they're rendered at high resolutions. Therefore, the movies shown on this site are only the short ones, and they're at low resolutions. This is just to give you an idea of the possibilities (which are pretty much endless, limited only by my own lack of expertise...).

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The movies on this site all have the ".avi" format. You should be able to view them with a regular movie or media player, which is usually included with Windows, or obtainable on the internet for free. I used the wmv3 codec in most of the movies, for compression. If you can't see the movies, try the following:
  • Make sure you have a recent media player, that plays the .avi format
  • Download the free wmv3 (windows media video 9) decoder (this site also has the other common codecs for free)
  • Get help from an expert in media players and codecs (and that's not me, I'm afraid)

  • Eric and I visited Mexico in the fall of 2004, and one of the ruined Mayan cities we visited was Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan. Chichen Itza is largely known for its large pyramid, named El Castillo (the castle), or Kukulcan's Pyramid, after the god it was (probably) built to honor. Kukulcan is also known as the Feathered Serpent, or man-bird-snake, or Quetzalcoatl (in the Aztec language), I believe; the man had a huge impact.

    Kukulcan's Pyramid is well-known for the shadow effects along the sides of its northern staircase. These effects are only visible on certain days of the year, close to the spring and fall equinoxes, and attract crowds of visitors. For example, on September 6th (just before the fall equinox), between 5 and 5:30 PM, the setting sun projects a row of triangles of light on the northern staircase. Archeologists believe that Kukulcan's Pyramid was built to predict the solstices and equinoxes, to signal the planting and harvesting seasons.

    If you're interested, the field that deals with archeological buildings that were built with astronomical meaning is referred to as archaeoastronomy. A few examples of sites with more information on the archaeoastronomy of Chichen Itza are:
  • El Castillo site, with lots of information on the shadows, temple dimensions and technical info, and a basic animation.
  • Mesoamerican Archaeoastronomy: A Review of Contemporary Understandings of Prehispanic Astronomic Knowledge
  • Chichen Itza: A Guide to Finding Resources (lots of links)
  • The Carnegie Map (highly detailed maps of Chichen Itza)
  • Chichen Itza page
  • Mayaweb (information on the Maya)
  • Erik Dierkx' 3D animation of Kukulcan
  • Photographs of the shadow phenomenon, stuck together to form a stop motion movie

    Please note that my animation is just that: an animated movie. I drew it. I can make the shadows go wherever I want them to. However, I have tried my best to approximate the true situation as well as I could. The pyramid has the correct orientation w.r.t. due north, and I used a "sunlight system" (that's a tool used in my 3D program to simulate the position of the sun in the sky) based at the correct longitude and latitude of Chichen Itza. I set the sun at 4:30 pm (at the start of the movie) on the 21st of march, 2004. The shadows are ray-traced. The movie took 5 days to render, using a 3-PC render farm.

    The animated movie should give a pretty good impression of the real thing. If you don't believe me, check out this site, where other Chichen Itza visitors show a movie made by pasting together a series of photographs.

  • The red arrows in the image below indicate two of the triangles of light on the northern staircase.
    Click here to see the:
    short movie, wmv3 codec (140 kB)
    short movie, mpg4 codec (520 kB)
    full length movie, wmv3 codec (590 kB)
    full length movie, mpg4 codec (2.6 MB)

    This is a movie I made for a friend, for his work. However, his version has all of the molecules labelled with their chemical names, thus explaining the chemical reactions taking place. As that's confidential, this is just the "bare" movie, with all of the technical information removed. It shows some of the possibilities of 3DS Max, though.

    Click here to see the:
    Chemical movie, wmv3 codec (6 MB)

    This is the only movie I've made for a customer that's not confidential. For background information see the Eupass page. There's also a much higher quality version of the movie on that site. W.r.t. the Eupass movies on this site, the ones compressed with the mpg4 codec have a relatively poor quality, plus more MB, so if you don't have the wmv3 codec you might want to get it (free).

    Click here to see the:
    Whole movie, wmv3 codec (2.5 MB)
    Only part 1, wmv3 codec (1.9 MB)
    Only part 2, wmv3 codec (1.2 MB)

    Note: the wmv3 movies have better quality!
    Only part 1, mpg4 codec (5.8 MB)
    Only part 2, mpg4 codec (4.6 MB)

    Some people I know are working on robots that play soccer. I worked on a movie for them, a demo of how their robots work. I can't put that movie on the internet, but I was playing around one day and made another little movie for them. This movie was meant as a serious threat of what's going to happen to their precious little robots if they keep stealing stuff from us... ;-)

    Click here to see the:
    Robot movie, wmv3 codec (440 kB)

    My sister and her husband did some serious remodeling of their house a few years ago. The top movie shows the changes to their house.

    Click here to see the:
    Remodeling movie, wmv3 codec (450 kB)
    Remodeling movie, mpg4 codec (2.4 MB)

    This movie shows a proud Potato Man getting photographed on a stage. He does a little curtsey as well. I realize his movements aren't perfect, but this movie was just to get a little practice in character movement. Just in case you're wondering, what inspired me is the fact that there are companies that work out the harvest yield by taking satellite pictures of fields.

    Click here to see the:
    Mr. Potato movie (780 kB)

    We're thinking of making some changes in our bedroom, by placing a yellow board with wooden fish behind the bed. Two of these fish would hold lamps. In order to test what this might look like, before we spend a lot of time on it, I designed the room in 3D. This is a quick study into lighting, really. The idea here is that the room in the old situation, and especially the lighting, is supposed to look realistic - and in fact, it really does.
    Old situation:

    Possible new situation: