Video: Jigsaw24 takes the Wacom Inkling for a test run

Video: Jigsaw24 takes the Wacom Inkling for a test run

When Wacom sent one of the UK’s only Inkling prototypes to Jigsaw24’s HQ for a week, we couldn’t resist putting it through its paces. Here, our multimedia designer, Tom Cottle, responds to a Facebook poll and uses the Wacom Inkling to create a heli-giraffe. Can it really replace the scanner?

To find out more about the Inkling, give us a call on 03332 400 100, email us at or visit our Wacom Inkling page. You can also find us on Facebook and @WeAreJigsaw24.

This video was created using Sony EX1 and EX3 cameras, and edited in Adobe Premiere CS5.5.

A video guide to rendering CINEMA 4D scenes with Qube!

A video guide to rendering CINEMA 4D scenes with Qube!

Want to speed up your rendering in Maxon CINEMA 4D? Here at Jigsaw we like to share our tips and tricks and, as we know 3D modelling and animation professionals like to learn visually, we put together this video guiding you through the process of setting up CINEMA 4D with a third-party render manager.

The latest R13 release of CINEMA 4D has been a big hit with major FX companies and individual designers alike – although the former might be keen to increase their rendering capabilities beyond what the built in NetRender offers. We used Qube! as an example but the process is effectively the same if you wanted to use another such as Royal Render or Deadline. Watch the video at the top or visit our YouTube channel for more tips, tutorials and product reviews.

For more information on CINEMA 4D and external rendering software, call us on 03332 409 306 or email You can also visit to see our full 3D modelling and animation range, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page.

Licensing issues? Visit ‘Up and Ready’

Licensing issues? Visit ‘Up and Ready’

If you’ve ever had problems with Autodesk licensing issues, you’ll be well aware of the difficulty in finding someone to help you through the process. And if you were hoping for someone knowledgeable yet able to speak in straightforward language then you’d be fighting a losing battle. Now, however, things have changed.

Autodesk’s US website is a source of so many technical blogs that the prospect of even a casual flick through can feel quite daunting. When it comes to licensing queries though, there’s only one place to look: Up and Ready. The five authors of this blog offer assistance with installation and configuration of all Autodesk’s software. To give you an idea we’ve included one of their recent posts on borrowing licences. Have a gander:

”I would like to make you aware of the fact that there is no way to restore a borrowed licence in your licence server if the borrowed client machine has crashed. For the majority of Autodesk’s products, the maximum borrow period is 180 days (6 months).

“We can see the maximum borrow period for each feature in the licence file. For example, the value BORROW=4320, means 4320 hours (i.e. 180 days). Please don’t try to change this value in the licence file as this would make the licence file invalid.

“It is important that your use of the borrow feature reflects the period you really need to use your licence disconnected from the server. In an environment where people are supposed to borrow the licences frequently, it is advisable that the licence administrator sets a maximum borrow period in line with this.

“To set a borrow period that is lower than the default one, you’ll need to enter the statement MAX_BORROW_HOURS in the option file of the licensing file. Please don’t use the Borrowing tab in the LMTOOLS utility – it doesn’t work with the Autodesk products -Autodesk product licences must be borrowed from the product interface.

“Remember you’ll have to enter the number of hours here, rather than the number of days. The sample line below would set the maximum borrow period for AutoCAD 2011 to three days for instance: MAX_BORROW_HOURS 85536ACD_2011_0F 72

“To set your options file up please refer to the technical solution How to control network license access using an options file.”

You can read the original article here.

If you need any more help with installation or licensing queries (including a wide range of non-Autodesk product licences), speak to our Professional Services team by calling 03332 400 100 or emailing

For 3D modelling and animation enquiries, call the usual 03332 409 306 number, email or view our entire range at Jigsaw24.

Musings on sustainable building design

Musings on sustainable building design

Shaan Hurley, Autodesk blogger extraordinaire, has been pondering the energy use of buildings and the possible impact on the future of humanity. Philosophical stuff. How can sustainable building design contribute towards the solution?

“As the world struggles to find ways to deal with its energy demands, it’s also becoming increasingly urban. Which is only a problem when you consider there will be more than 7 billion inhabitants on Earth by the end of this year, and somewhere near 9 billion around 2050.

“The fact remains that energy use is often the largest source of a building’s environmental impact. Buildings account for more than 40% of worldwide energy use – far more than cars and aeroplanes combined. As cities continue to grow with the influx of new people seeking employment and opportunity, the need for sustainable building design is more relevant than ever, especially in the developing countries where urban migrations are occurring on an even more rapid scale.

“To improve a building’s energy efficiency, you need to understand its energy loads. Energy loads help describe the flow of energy on the site and in the building. By understanding a building’s thermal loads and its intended use, you can more effectively use the energy in natural systems to passively heat, cool and ventilate your building and design efficient HVAC systems.

“Going forward, reducing energy use in buildings will be one of the most important challenges to reducing our overall environmental impact. Understanding the flow of energy on the site and in the building will be essential in capturing energy in natural systems to passively heat, cool and ventilate your building and design more efficient HVAC systems.”

To expand on the issue, Autodesk has produced a sustainability workshop video looking at how you could design net zero energy buildings. Shaan’s original post is part of his Between the Lines blog, which is hosted on the Autodesk community (where you can also find a dedicated sustainability blog).

Sustainability is a big part of the BIM ethos: through closer collaboration, a building’s energy load can be reduced throughout the construction and lifespan of the building. To learn more about BIM-friendly software and switching to a BIM workflow, call us on 03332 409 306 or email

CINEMA 4D compatibility with After Effects

CINEMA 4D compatibility with After Effects

Thanks to a plug-in featuring 64-bit native compatibility for Windows and Mac OS X, CINEMA 4D users can take full advantage of their operating system performance to improve rendering and workflow efficiency, directly inside After Effects.

CINEMA 4D – MAXON’s leading 3D motion graphics powerhouse –  is highly praised for its ease of use, quick workflow, fast rendering, rock-solid architecture and seamless export of composition files. Its unmatched integration to leading compositing tools like Adobe After Effects supports not only 2D compositions, but also 3D camera, light and object data.

The After Effects CS5 plug-in is available free of charge from the download section of MAXON’s website.

MAXON worked hard with Adobe to create this interoperability and, to make sure users get the most from it, we’ve created a video tutorial to walk you through integrating the two applications. In the three-part tutorial, our 3D consultant, Elliott Smith explains how to light and animate objects in CINEMA 4D ready to export to After Effects. You can find the video (along with many others) on our YouTube channel.

For more information on the capabilities of CINEMA 4D and After Effects, call us on 03332 409 306 or email To receive the latest 3D news,follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page

Get set up for BIM: Hardware

Get set up for BIM: Hardware

BIM is not just about investing in the latest products, it’s about adapting to a new way of thinking. However, it does require a certain setup to cope with the changes it’ll bring to your workflow.

We’ve taken a look at the hardware that can help get you set up to run an efficient BIM workflow in which your hardware assists you, rather than holds you back. We’re not saying you’ll need to shell out on a high-spec system that would have NASA going green with envy, but make sure you meet the minimum recommended system requirements.

What hardware do I need?

When it comes to BIM, many people have been put off after experiencing slow speeds when running a test project. However, this is less the fault of BIM and more to do with sticking with outdated hardware that barely scrapes by when running the simplest CAD workflow (BIM or otherwise). If you’re running a large operation, you really should look at improving your server storage space and adopting quad-core processors, 64-bit operating systems and robust wide-area network (WAN) speeds. If you’re running a smaller operation, at the very least, you’ll want to get hold of a quad-core processor and as much storage as you can manage.

Something to consider…

An architect persevering with the same outdated machine could easily be losing two hours of work a week due to a slow machine that’s susceptible to poorly-timed crashes. And if that architect earns £30 an hour (in wages, benefits and overhead) and is losing two hours per week that could feasibly add up to £2880 per year. Whether you’re an architect yourself or employ architects, it all accounts for lost revenue – and all because upgrading sounded too expensive.

What are the options?

An HP Z600 dual quad-core Xeon 64-bit workstation costs £1955 and with that you get 8GB of RAM, a terabyte of hard drive space and (for a limited time) a free 21.5″ LCD monitor.


If you prefer Apple, you could get a quad-core Mac Pro and install some additional RAM. This model comes with 3GB of RAM (that can be expanded up to 16GB), a 1TB hard drive and a mid-level graphics card for £1675.
Or, if you’re in need of a mobile solution, a 15″ MacBook Pro with an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive will more than suffice and yet will only cost you £1249.

Our CAD team can build a custom solution to power your BIM workflow. Give them a call to discuss hardware (or any other aspect of BIM) on 03332 409 306 or email them at

Give Your Animated Camera Angles a Handheld Effect

Give Your Animated Camera Angles a Handheld Effect

Even while he’s been away for a while, 3ds Max expert Ramy Hanna never seems to stop thinking about new tips, tricks and shortcuts. Following a hike up Texan mountain Guadalupe Peak, our favourite 3ds Max blogger has come back with an enlightening tip on giving your animated camera movement a more authentic, handheld feel. You can read his step-by-step guide below.

“If you’re tired of your camera movement animations looking too CG-ish, this tip could help you. If you want to go for that handheld camera feel, there is a very easy way to apply this effect to your already animated cameras. I’ve found using this trick in some of my camera shots brings an extra dimension of reality to my animations. It’s a very subtle effect, but can make the difference. This is achieved using the Noise Float Controller.

Hand Held Camera Effect

When you create your camera in 3ds Max it comes with default controllers assigned to it. To see those controllers, go to the Motion Tab (1.) in your control panel, and open the Assign Controller (2.) rollout. The controller that we are going to select is in the Roll Angle (3.) The default controller for the Roll Angle is set to “Bezier Float”. You will want to change the controller from Bezier Float to Noise Float. To do that: select the Assign Controller button (4.).

You’ll see a list of different controller types. The one we’re interested in for this effect is the Noise Float controller. When you select it and hit “OK”, a new dialogue will pop up: these are the settings for the Noise Controller. You will find that playing with these settings will adjust the way your camera rolls as it moves during animations – this is what gives it the hand-held shake effect.

Hand Held Camera Effect 2

After playing with the Noise settings, here are the settings used for this example’s animation. Every animation will be different based on speed, camera movement, timing; so you will just have to play with the settings through trial and error until you get your desired result. If you’d like to open the Noise Controller window again after you’ve already closed it, simply double click the Roll Angle.

Hand Held Camera Effect 3

If you want to remove the Noise Controller, select the Roll Angle and hit the Assign Controller button (4.), then just go back to the Bezier Float controller.”

You can read Ramy’s blog at

If you’d like to find out more about the potential of 3ds Max and the new feature of 3ds Max 2012, give our 3D team a call on 03332 409 306 or email In the meantime you can view our entire 3D modelling and animation range at

FCPX: Is this the end of broadcast television?

FCPX: Is this the end of broadcast television?

Oh my. What a day! Let nobody be in any doubt that Final Cut Pro X has arrived. And I’m not sure that anything will ever be quite the same again.

Even at this early stage, I think that it’s safe to say that FCPX is a phenomenon (my apologies to those still grieving the loss of Shake, I didn’t mean to stir bad memories). I certainly haven’t experienced anything quite like it before – perhaps the opening weekend of a big event movie, or ticket sales for a large stadium tour, or dare I say it, those lines we join around Apple Stores whenever a new iOS device is released. It might be difficult to gain proper perspective from inside the bubble, because I don’t actually believe FCP has the same mass appeal as the iPhone, but I do think something pretty significant happened today.

Alongside the initial rush to the Mac App Store to get the software, there’s been a flurry of “first look” reviews and Tweets galore. The thirst for information seems unprecedented, the Ripple Training servers appear to be groaning heavily under the volume of downloads and poor Larry Jordan had his server fall over completely at one point. Apparently he received 1.2 million requests in the first 3 hours following the release. Given that Apple were talking about an install base of 2 million in April, that’s really something else!

Now, I haven’t yet used Final Cut Pro X enough to pass judgement and I promised myself that I would take my time. However, as I sit here musing about the events of the day and reading the ongoing discourse around what might be right or wrong with the software, I can’t help wondering if we might be missing something of the larger picture. For example, a lot of the commentary has referred to the paucity of tape options in FCPX and how this confirms every suspicion we ever had about the lack of “pro” features. Well we’ve all read Philip Hodgetts on the death of tape (if you haven’t, you should), but even as we discuss how Final Cut Pro X could be the NLE for the next 10 years, it strikes me that what we’re really witnessing could be the end of broadcast television…

Earlier this week I had the good fortune of chatting with an editor who’s just wrapping up a video project to launch a new high performance car. This advertisement had a budget of £1.5 million, but will never show on television, it’s been made specifically for the web. The thing is, this isn’t unusual, it’s rapidly becoming the norm. That conversation has helped put today’s events in some kind of perspective. Will we look back at this day as the moment a really big company made a clear signal of intent regarding the future of video content?

I may live to regret such grandiose thoughts, but as we move into the Morning After, I half expect to see a counter stamped at the bottom of the screen: Day Two.

Read the original article at

Want to know more about tapeless workflows and the future of your NLE? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you shortly. In the meantime, head over to to take a look at our full broadcast range.

New Perspectives On FCP X

New Perspectives On FCP X

Since the Sneak Peek, I’ve read and watched all sorts of commentary and speculation about the newly designed FCPX interface. I’ve also indulged in both the Larry Jordan and Philip Hodgetts’ webinars to hear their ideas about what we’re looking forward to because, as the saying goes, God is in the details (or the devil if you prefer the dark side).

As I’ve traversed these discussions, one of the features that appears to have polarised opinion is Filmstrip View in the Event Library. I understand Larry, for one, is reserving judgement because he doesn’t think it is an effective way to display a large amount of clips. My immediate thought about that is, no matter how large the project becomes, I don’t actually want to see all of my footage at once when I’m editing. That can quickly become overwhelming. What I need is a way to narrow down the content, to sift through my footage, so that I only see whatever’s appropriate for the section I’m working on and the handful of clips I can choose from now. That’s how I’ve been working with Final Cut Server, and the new tools in Final Cut Pro X seem to extend this concept further.

iMovie X?

Of course for a lot of people the immediate point of reference for the Event Library is iMovie, which includes dynamic filmstrips and skimming processes similar to those demonstrated in FCPX. I think that can nudge people towards feeling it lacks the gravitas required of a serious NLE. While I see that connection too, there’s something else or, more specifically, someone else that comes to mind.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Walter Murch speak on a few occasions and the honour of attending a special Master Class he taught a few years ago in Vancouver. You might argue that his approach is particularly idiosyncratic (whose methods aren’t when judged from the outside?), but I think we must all agree that his contributions to contemporary cinema are profound and there’s no-one more insightful, illuminating or provocative on the subject of editing films today.

Picture boards

You’ve probably already seen documentation of the ‘picture boards’ Walter has mounted around his cutting room. Essentially they consist of vast collections of frames from the film he’s working on. Each image on the boards is intended to represent a significant aspect of the shot it’s taken from. The idea is that the boards facilitate a change in the editor’s viewpoint. From the vantage point afforded by this shift in perspective, the editor has the chance to make different casual connections or observe unexpected patterns in the footage.

In his 2004 book ‘Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain with Final Cut Pro and What This Means for Cinema’, Charles Koppelman describes the philosophy behind the picture boards in some detail:

“Ironically, the more techno-centric film editing gets, the more powerful Murch’s custom-made innovations become. The organic qualities of the scene cards and photo boards compensate for perspectives that are hidden in the digital world. The efficiency, speed and increased choices of non-linear editing all have their benefits. But systems like Avid or Final Cut Pro obliterate some film editing tasks that contribute to the editor’s creative process. As Murch often points out, the simple act of having to rewind film on a flatbed editing machine gave him the chance to see footage in another context (high-speed, reverse) that could reveal a look, a gesture, or a completely forgotten shot. Likewise, the few moments he had to spend waiting for a reel to rewind injected a blank space into the process during which he could simply let his mind wander into subconscious areas. With random-access, computer-based editing, a mouse click instantly takes the editor right to a desired frame; there is no waiting, no downtime and fewer happy accidents. The photo boards are one way to compensate for this.”

The Verdict

The serious editors among you might baulk at an idea as fluffy or new-age-sounding as “happy accidents” but, when I’m feeling stuck, anything that will help me break through the block is a godsend. What I like about the picture boards – and I like them very much – is that they’re about changing how we view and understand the material we work with. They’re designed to spark our imagination, shift our perspective and, in doing so, inspire new ideas.

As demonstrated at the SuperMeet, the Event Library, through a multitude of features is intended to accelerate the editing process and provide that instant access to which Murch and Koppelman refer. While Filmstrips are clearly part of that re-imagined workflow, I also think that we’ll be able to use them to stimulate our creative process.

Read Jonathan’s original article at

Want more FCP advice? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email or leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you. In the meantime, head over to to see our full video range.

Velocity Pass: Fake Motion Blur at compositing stage in 3ds Max

Velocity Pass: Fake Motion Blur at compositing stage in 3ds Max

Ramy Hanna, author of the Ramy’s Renderings blog on is a superb source of 3ds Max tips and Passes. He’s recently come up with the Velocity Pass, designed to let you use Motion Blur at the compositing stage. We don’t think anyone could explain it as well as Remy himself, so below is his guide to how to create and use the Velocity Pass.

“Animations with Motion Blur (MB) look so much better than without them. Sometimes just adding the MB can be the difference in making an animation go from good to great. But rendering with MB turned on can become very expensive and slow on your renders. So here is yet one more pass to add to your arsenal of compositing passes: the Velocity Pass. The velocity pass will allow you to fake MB in compositing. I’m sure the velocity pass can be used in Photoshop, but it is really geared for using in packages such as After Effects and Composite (which comes with 3dsmax for free now).

Without Blur

3ds Max tips Motion Blur - no blur

With Blur using velocity map (exaggerated for effect)

3ds max tip motion blur - with motion blur

So here is how to create the Velocity map: just go to your render settings window, select the Render Elements tab, and click Add. Choose the element Velocity. That’s pretty much it. Under the Velocity Element Parameters be sure to tweak your Maximum Velocity, otherwise you may never see any results. Often I will check Update, render, then un-check Update. Having Update turned on will change the Maximum Velocity based on your scene at render time. So if you have an object moving crazy fast, it will know what to set that value to. For this post’s example, I found that a setting of 150 worked well for my spinning torus-knot. Also be sure that Filtering is not checked. Much like the Z-pass, the stepping on the pixels must not be aliased or you will get strange results. So now when you render your image sequence, a velocity map sequence will render as well.

Velocity Pass

3ds max tip motion blur - velocity pass

So you know how to make a velocity pass; now how to use it. For this example, I will show you how to do this in After Effects, but it can also be achieved with other compositing programs. Drop your beauty pass (regular render) sequence and your velocity pass sequence into the timeline. Be sure your beauty pass is the top layer so that you can see it in the preview window. I like to use the CC Vector Blur effect. With your main layer selected, right click and choose Effect->Blur & Sharpen-> CC Vector Blur. In the Effects Window you can now see all the settings for the CC Vector Blur effect. Under Vector Map choose your vector layer. You can now see the blurring effect on your render. You can adjust the Type, Amount, Angle, Smoothness, and Softness to control the look of your motion blur.

With lengthy animations with a lot of motion, this method will be far faster than blurring straight into your render. I’m always a proponent of post work, because you can adjust your settings and see the results in real time without having to re-render.”

So there you have it. If you’d like more information on any features of 3ds Max, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email Visit us at for more products.