This week 3D wheelchair models Michael and Kay get wet in pool fun. Water is a difficult medium to animate. Plugins can achieve a realistic effect but out of the box Daz3D is hopeless at animating water. Adjusting opacity works fine for still images. However, creating an animated splash effect as Michael plunges into the pool in Daz3D is a big fail.
Three solutions; purchase a plugin, create splashes in another 3D modeling tool to import and animate, or place the camera at water level and move the water surface. For the simple purpose of bringing you original wheelchair related content we did the latter for this short video clip.
Good lighting is essential to realistic effects. Get the movements right before adding lights as they slow render speeds dramatically. We import the pool scene and fill it with water. Animate disability models sexy paraplegic Michael in his briefs and Kay in a pink bikini jumping into the swimming pool. Then add eleven slightly yellow distant lights to replicate sunlight; a ring of five pointing down at -33 degrees, five up at 44 degrees, and one down at -59 degrees. We set raytracing on the last light with an intensity of 73 and a shadow softness of 2 for a realistic sun shadow.
Adjusting Lighting for Wheelchair Renders
The Pool Fun Part
We understand most don’t care how we create content, you just want to see the end results, and that’s ok. We have no purpose without an audience. If our audience does create and share stories, photos, video, comments, etc we will grow faster and serve you better. We built this website so you can express yourself. These anatomically correct models can be made do much more than we have shown here. We are also interested in using real-life models, disabled or not.
Ok rock stars, here is our Flex design wheelchair animation in Daz3D. With a few quick steps you can have fun creating your own wheelchair animation in Daz3D at home for free. Download a free version of Daz 3D from their website. Previously I showed how to import 3D models and figures, set colors, textures, clothing, pose the figures and so on. Now let’s have some 3D anim movie fun.
Wheelchair Wheel Rotation
To setup your wheelchair wheel rotation open Daz3D and click the Pose & Animate tab. 1) Import your wheels to the zero point. 2) Set X Rotate to 720. 3) Set Y Translate to 31. 4) On the timeline set 91 frames, a range of 0 to 90, and drop the frames per second (FPS) to 20. 5) On frame 90 set Z Translate to -389.36. Render to see if your wheelchair wheel rotation is correct and matches the distance.
It might be worth explaining how I calculated wheel rotation and distance. 2 PI R equals the circumference of a circle. Imagine wrapping a string around the tyre then laying it out flat, we want to know that measurement to sync the wheel rotation to distance. PI is 3.14 and R (radius) is 31. So 3.14 x 31 x 2 = 194.68 for one full wheel rotation. Times 2 again for two wheel rotations and we get 389.36.
Posing Disabled Wheelchair Model
Now the wheelchair animation is looking good we start posing disabled wheelchair model Michael. Sit him in our flex wheelchair at frame zero and on frame 90 set Z Translate to -389.36. Then add key-frames and adjust his chest, arms, hands etc to give the illusion he’s pushing the wheelchair. Take a few renders going back and tweaking to achieve a realistic motion. Here’s our paraplegic hunk Michael in motion.
Sweet, all we do now is set a scene add a few lights and drop in a background. Indoor lighting can be a bit tricky in Daz3D so I won’t bore you with all that here. Just know in Daz3D you need raytracing on at least one light to get a realistic shadow effect. Here we have the sunlight (distant light) coming through the window and four down lights (spotlights) all set with raytracing on.
CGI in movies; Finding Nemo, Avatar, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Movie studios employ dozens of CGI (Computer Generated Image) artists who toil for years just to produce a two hour movie. Most of us take months to learn how to use complex NURBS 3D modeling programs. Webmasters will be familiar with 3D modeling tools. I have experience with Lightwave, Maya, Max, Poser, Rhino, Cybermotion, Blender, Daz 3D and others. I thought you might like to see a few of my 3D disability modeling creations.
This 11 second video clip is so old I forget the name of the program it was made with. I do remember it allowed a photo of someones face to ba applied to the model. This is my friend Kylie. We then select clothes, soundtrack, and coreograph her dance moves. Set a camera angle and render (produce) the scene. Note* the full length video clip is much higher quality.
That was easy and fun, lets’ jump from this simple 3D modeling tool to a full on sophisticated CGI industry heavy weight, Rhinoceros 3D.
A 3D model in Rhino is a series of connected shapes that form a mesh. For example, a triangle is three connected lines making three points. It’s only a frame until you color it in. Then it takes on the appearence of a flat surface (with three points). By adding more points along any side of the triangle, we can manipulate them to form complex shapes (polygons), which eventually become our 3D model. Here are some screen shots of building a Rhino 3D light bulb mesh.
Now with a few additions our 3D light bulb can be used in a real world marketing applications like this ‘Self Illumination’ example by Andre Kutscherauer.
Color gloss and transparency bring to life a model in true Disney Pixar movie style. Things have come a long way since the early days of my 3D modeling Kylie. For a long time the complexity of the human face resembled mannequins but not any more. In the current CGI world, mathematical CAD (Computer Aided Design) and RPG (Role Playing Game) designers have blended, producing very realistic life like 3D models. It’s old world meets new school to stunning visual effect.
I have used Rhinocerous 3D for many years. Rhino 3D can create, edit, analyze, document, render, animate, and translate NURBS curves. Surfaces and solids have no limit on complexity, degree, or size. Rhino supports polygon meshes and point clouds. Rhino also has a very user friendly interface. I find the animation side over complicated however, so generally create .3ds or .obj models in Rhino then import them into another program like Blender or Daz 3D to animate and render.
The really cool thing with Blender is it’s free. Yes completely free, and just as powerful as the 3D modeling big boys. Blenders downfall is an overly complicated interface. Simply importing a 3D model will have most new users scratching their head. Blender uses python scripting to animate which is great, but again difficult for beginners. If you start with a free .3ds model you’ll be off to a flying start.
Here’s a sneak peak at a wheelchair 3D disability modeling project I’m currently working on. I call her Ioke.
Latin meaning “this for that” an equal exchange, Quid Pro Quo is the first feature film by Carlos Brooks released by Magnolia Pictures in 2008. Actor Nick Stahl who played John Connor in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, as well as roles in Spin City, The Thin Red Line, Bully, Safe Passage, and Sleepwalking, plays the central character Isaac Knott, a semi-paraplegic wheelchair reporter in Quid Pro Quo.
As a New York public radio reporter Isaac Knott begins to recount a story about himself live on-air. Telling when he was eight, his mother and father died in an automobile accident that left him in a wheelchair. Almost forcing us to feel the dark curiosity that turns heads when passing an accident scene Isaac lays his trauma out welcoming.
Continuing his story, Isaac reports that he recently received an anonymous tip from someone identified only as “Ancient Chinese Girl.” She tells him a perfectly able-bodied man walked into an emergency ward downtown, and attempted to bribe a doctor into amputating his leg.
In the course of his investigation, he meets Fiona played by Vera Farmiga, the aforementioned Ancient Chinese Girl. Though she is neither ancient nor Chinese, she is nevertheless supremely attractive, highly intelligent and therefore very secretive keeping to herself. Fiona guides Isaac to a netherworld of people afflicted with a seemingly perverse desire to be disabled.
Seduced by her beauty and intelligence Isaac is quick to suspect that Fiona herself may be a “wannabe.” When he confronts her she protests, “I don’t want to be paralyzed, I already am paralyzed.“ Isaac realizes he must decipher the puzzle of her fantasy motivations before they manifest into an all-too-real, if not fatal, reality.
Along the way, he navigates a semi-surreal world of talismanic items like an antique Milwaukee Brace, a pair of shoes called “spectators,” and a paralyzing chemical called “Ginger Jake.” Events become increasingly extraordinary as Isaac discovers that Fiona does indeed have a terrible agenda, one that resonates in long buried memories of his own past.
Many of the best detective stories evolve in such a way that the story ends up that the detective has actually been investigating himself. Quid Pro Quo’s modern day detective is a public radio investigative reporter Isaac Knott (Nick Stahl) who just happens to be confined to a wheel chair. In the course of doing a story about disability wanna-be’s, Isaac traverses a surreal world of fetishism and transgressive eroticism that recalls the unique perspectives of Luis Bunuel and Alfred Hitchcock.
In many ways, Isaac’s “story” is really a journey into his psyche and personal fears. And the totemic clues he discovers during his investigation: a wheelchair, a Milwaukee brace, a pair of shoes are always more than their literal reality. In the context of the film, these items are objects of fetishistic worship. And as such, they become transcendental. A wheelchair is a wheelchair, until it is viewed as a device that possesses the power to delineate someone as “special,” in other words, “handicapped.” It then becomes not so much a conventional transport as a machine that creates pity and empathy.
Granted, all this presupposes a perverse perspective into the way we look at things. But in the course of Isaac’s investigation, he finds Fiona (Vera Farmiga) — or she finds him — and she offers him a window into a dark place that exists somewhere between reality and dreams. Her life’s aspiration is to be crippled, or at least perceived as such. She’s beautiful and successful, yet she longs to be physically destroyed to regain some spiritual transcendence in her life. Her complexity, along with her erotic compulsions, prove irresistible to Isaac.
This quixotic entanglement between reality and its reinterpretation through desire is the heart and soul of Quid Pro Quo. Isaac is drawn to Fiona’s dark side because somewhere in the strata of her perversion lies an underlying truth about himself. He is confined to a wheelchair because of an accident. What can he possibly learn about himself from Fiona’s desire to be like him? In Quid Pro Quo the answer of course is everything.
Carlos Brooks Director
Commenting on the tone of his first feature film, director Carlos Brooks noted:
I told the actors in rehearsal to think of the story as unfolding entirely within that moment that transpires between deep sleep and wakefulness. So from the earliest rehearsals and creative discussions, all the way through scoring and final sound design, we approached the film within that framework, that the film itself should be experienced as a kind of dream. Even to the extent that we avoided the usual overtly “dreamy” film making and editing tricks, in favor of a straightforward style that would, like an actual dream, invite you to perceive it as real.” — Carlos Brooks
This article images and content has been produced here with permission of Magnolia Productions to streetsie.com and may not be reproduced elsewhere without express written permission from the respective works and copyright holders.
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) one of the most influential Mexican spinal injury artists of the middle twentieth century. Frida Kahlo painted images of the disabled female body. Striking self portrait’s of her own spinal cord injury and trauma. As a teenager in 1925 a tram car accident left Frida Kahlo with multiple injuries. She would endure a long and painful recovery.
Broken spinal column vertebrae, collarbone, ribs and pelvis, eleven fractures in right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and dislocated shoulder. An iron handrail from the tram also pierced her abdomen and uterus. In Frida Kahlo’s paintings these injuries and her now seriously impaired reproductive ability transcend from the canvas.
Born in Coyoacán, Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón. Frida Kahlo’s artwork interweaves traditional Mexican votive painting and technical images of the body. Modern medical science (x-rays, surgical implements, hospital experience) fused with Christian icons of redemption through physical pain and suffering. In this way, Frida Kahlo painted an entirely new depiction of the female experience and form.
The Broken Column by Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo Artwork
Frida Kahlo’s ground breaking artwork is among the first, and perhaps the most daring, to render a portrait of transparent, explicit, bodily trauma. Prior to her artwork pain was shown through gestures of agony. Scenes of crucifixion or martyrdom, as in the work of Kathe Kollwitz, Picasso’s Guernica. Or explicit gore in battle scenes and beheadings the likes of Salome, Jose Posada’s dancing skeletons, or any number of other mythological illustrations.
“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.” – Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo’s artwork is particularly of interest to disability studies. Not only for the auto-biographical renditions of her spinal and other injuries, illnesses, and surgeries, but also because of the nature of the body she invents. Often the interior of the body is visible and continuous with the exterior. In a kind of psychic Mobius strip they become one.
Frida Kahlo Greatest Artworks
In her greatest artworks The Broken Column, The Two Fridas, Roots, The Tree of Hope, and Without Hopes, there is no clear division between inner reality and outer appearance. Thus the un-shareable nature of individual pain becomes explicit and felt. To look at one of Frida Kahlo’s greatest artworks is to punch yourself in the face. Her paintings scream a raging agony. A visible pain taken and shared in empathy.
Frida Kahlo the Movie
My jaw dropped when I saw the movie Frida. Played by Salma Hayek, the only woman who could make a mono-brow sexy. In the opening scene of the movie Frida suffers a chilling spinal cord injury, in a tram car accident. The movie clip below follows with her drug induced hazy dreams of dancing x-ray skeletons. Dreams that are very familiar to me.
Nightmarish visions dancing skeletons plagued my spinal cord injury recovery. All my life I’ve also seen dark shadowy figures like those in the movie Ghost. None bother me though. I get the feeling they are not out to hurt me. This video clip from the movie Frida is a little graphic. Any realistic life-like portrayal of a spinal cord injury accident will make you wince. And so I warn you this video clip from the movie Frida featuring Salma Hayek is very realistic.
By the 1930s, x-ray technology had been in public use for some time. X-rays ended the concept of the opaque body. Public hospitals had also been established as places of collective community experience. Frida Kahlo demolishes the idea of a disabled body in pain being a shameful and hidden thing after her arduous spinal cord injury treatment.
Frida Kahlo bravely offers her body up in many taboo contexts. Her spinal cord injury and images of pain are never separate from her life at large. Never represented as a different sphere of experience in kind or degree. Her illnesses are fully in context with the rest of her life.
The examinations of marriage, sexuality, cultural patrimony, and family are the same visual icons as those in mainstream disability. Her paintings in the context of traditional images display the female body as a mysterious, irrational, and secretive vessel. It’s when Frida Kahlo’s spinal cord injury comes in fusion with her life on canvas she parts from, and directly opposes, mainstream disability paintings.
The baring of her body inside and out is more than a simple nude self-portrait. Her body is small and doll-like. It appears as a toy in the grip of immense forces. Not as a mythical goddess-like being. Embedding the matter-of-fact details of her medical experiences within a highly emotional language. Frida Kahlo demystifies disability and presents it both inside and out of mainstream. To open oneself to a Frida Kahlo painting is to feel the vulnerability of one’s own body. To immediately experience its transcendence through art.
Frida Kahlo Paintings Gallery
Frida Kahalo Fire in the Machine
Another aspect of Frida’s disability paintings is the mutability of her body (a factor of chronic but unpredictable illness). Symbolized in her portrayals of her body in partial trans-mutation with animals, partners, or the natural world in general. One can align her pairing with monkeys, Diego, and the Little Deer, with the way disabled people must render control or custody over their bodies. This is also evident in paintings of her doubled self as a reflection.
A kind of permeability arises, a thinning of boundaries that enables her to see herself as an amalgam of parts. History, love, and culture build her self-portraits. She depicts herself or others in isolation only when in a state of deep emotional pain and despair. Disability is often imagined as a state of weakness and withdrawal. Frida Kahlo gives us a world in which pain becomes a fire in the machine. A state of wild ferocity. A disrobing to reveal a body in full communion.
“I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.” – Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo Final Days
Frida Kahlo died on July 13, 1954. The official cause of death was given as PE (Pulmonary Embolism, a blood clot in the lungs). Some suspect Frida Kahlo died from an overdose that may or may not have been accidental. An autopsy was never performed. Frida Kahlo had been very ill throughout the previous year. Her right leg had been amputated at the knee owing to gangrene. Frida Kahlo also had a bout of bronchopneumonia near that time. In her final days Frida Kahlo was said to be ill and frail. Barely a shell of the once vivacious artist. With such a strong embodiment in her paintings Frida Kahlo will always be loved by her fans.
Agence France Presse, Yahoo News (2007). Largest-ever exhibit of Frida Kahlo work to open in Mexico.
Cruz, Barbara (1996). Frida Kahlo: Portrait of a Mexican Painter. Berkeley Heights: Enslow.
Gonzalez, M. (2005). Kahlo – A Life. Socialist Review, June 2005.
errera, Hayden. (1983). Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo.