Jan Zamecnik   0   jabba@void.cz

Lead designer, artist, web & relation databases programmer at Void s.r.o

1995 2001 (6 years)

Project design and delivery. Production of the first PC/CD-ROM multimedia magazine in central Europe.

We started publishing the first multimedia PC/CD-ROM magazine in Central Europe. I was responsible for UI graphics and main screens for every part of the magazine (movies, music, literature...) and for all multimedia. All main pages were done in Photoshop as layer-effects heavy compositions and main screen was animated (in TV Paint and then Aura) based on the theme of the current issue.

It also includes digitizing video and audio materials and often editing of supplied raw video for travel writing section in Adobe Premiere. Few of the Travel videos was even two hours long. I wrote my first tools to automate my work like automatics slicers of the system graphics and active buttons etc. And remember - Adobre ImageReady and slices in Photoshop doesn't exist yet these days ;)

We started to do cover CDs for Premiere magazine and Quo magazine. We also did cover CDs for various game magazines (Score, PC Gamer, Secret Service). I was still responsible for design and graphics. We also did interactive multimedia CDs for Czech Telecom for their hockey Extra Liga, Coca-Cola Sprite CD, Toyota Yaris promo, multimedia drink database for Allied Domeq, Multimadia internet promo for MarkBBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, interactive database for travel agencies Cedok and Sara etc. On all projects I was responsible for all production aspects except programming and music.

When Void moved to the Internet I also became the Flash-action script and PHP programmer. I learned relation database design and programming. During the last year at Void. I was designing up to 3 websites a week. I designed and developed (together with a team of programmers) a robust system for our project escort.cz, which became the biggest database system (just like seznam.cz is for firms) for escort services and clubs in Central Europe and Banner online, which became one of the top systems for banner advertising.

Lead Artist, Senior Animator, Technical Director at
Black Element Software

2001 2008 (7 years)

3D content, Animations, Tools design, scripting, Motion Capture operator and production of MC data driven cinematics.

I was a co-founder of Black Element software as the lead 3D artist and designer. Because of my technical knowledge, I soon became the technical director as well.

Below is my logo animation for the first official teaser of our game Shade: Wrath of Angels. Because of my previous experience, I was responsible for all the video and postproduction work at Black Element Software.

Shade was an action platformer (similar to Tomb-raider) with close combat weapons. Despite the fact that we had a skeletal system with intelligent blending, the main FSM tree in the animation system was very intensive and include nearly 700 animations for the main character

I did most of the character modeling, rigging and animation. Main game hero alter-ego character, the Demon, was built as a 1m clay statue by a Czech painter Adolf Lachman, scanned by Minolta laser 3D scanner and then I recreated it as low poly model from the scans. I also modeled most of the weapons and some of the ingame objects. I had access to Vicon optical motion capture setup at Bohemia Interactive, so I recorded nearly 8 hours of raw data and managed to do 95% of in-game animation mocap driven (in Kaydara's Film Box).

I was also responsible for the technical aspects of our engine and worked closely with programmers to alter the system to meet our needs. I also scripted all the cut-scenes (with system based on my own design) and I was responsible for programming the Install Shield installer for both our games and all language versions.

I co-operated with our programmers on the design workflow for our in-game and scene editors. I also wrote many plugins for our main 3D application Lightwave3D to work with MC data, to clean models and UV, to repair common errors and fine-tune and streamline the data for our programmers (see link at the end). A lot of tools were also for our modelers. Some of them automatically generated details on the models, some of them created UV maps according to geometry etc.

Our next game was a first person shooter called Alpha Prime, based freely on a story by czech writer Ondrej Neff. We upgraded our technology with normal maps and specular maps. We created all our models in two versions and then baked the hires models to the low-res one to obtain correct normal maps. We continued to improve our tools. I designed and helped implement our rich particle system engine. I focused more on technology and developed workflows that allowed us to create Alpha Prime as fast as possible with a relatively small team.

Because I was more focused on technology, I worked on particle system and effects, cooperate on AI, designed a unique flash-like system for displays (it's layer based, animated and completely programmable), designed special effects on the UI (like camera hud views, special view by our ingame hacking device etc).

I still had time to work on some 3D models and characters.

In Shade, I didn't have much time to focus on the in-game cinematics. It's nearly 2 hours of in-game cinematics in Shade: WoA, but most of the time with just animated camera and scripted characters with in-game animations). We decided that in Alpha Prime we want to tell the story by full motion capture driven in-game cinematics There's about 78 minutes of in-game cinematics in Alpha Prime and most of them include multiple characters. It took about 3 hours of raw MC data only for the cutscenes.

This is just a simple setup in Motion Builder's story window without animated hands and other channels. I create an extensive database of ready to use moves. I used them in in-game animations and in cutscenes to fine-tune the movement.

Very often it was faster to "sketch" my game design ideas in 3D and render it for our level designers to share my ideas...

Sometimes I still had some time to actually model something ;). This is our heavy trooper in a body armor. Animation shows an early high-poly model and on the stills is what it looked like in the game. Both images show actual in-game model and textures.

[Head and gloves modelled by Jiri Bartonek, Guns was made based on my design by Milos Zajic].

Art Director, Senior 3D Artist, Technical Director at
Centauri Production

2007 2008 (1 year)

Rapid prototyping of game concepts, 3D content for projects, redesign of inhouse technology (new editor, new particle system, skeletal based animation system etc).

After Alpha Prime I left Black Element software and joined Centauri Production. I was looking for a small, more casual game company. Majority of the Art department left Black Element Software with me. I started in Centauri production as a rapid prototyper on their own technology and I was also asked to completely redesign their technology.

I used my knowledge to overhaul their editor (my third editor), design and co-operate on production of their own robust particle engine (my second one), I work on implementation of a skeletal based animation system with blendings etc.

I was then asked to create a WORKING prototype for one of our ideas in 3 working days for some exhibition. I actually create a low-poly game arena and put in some creatures from our Shade game against of the Heavy Trooper characters. Most of the level props were taken from Alpha Prime game. All that you see is IN-GAME FOOTAGE and IN-GAME screenshots. I made the deadline and even have time to put together some test animation out of my (I was a MC actor) bank of Alpha Prime movements.

It was impossible to make our prototype to be fully playable for this deadline, but it was all functional and it was a great success.

Among other things, I worked on Pat&Mat game prototype. It uses same engine as our alien prototype above but in this one I decided to extensively use ambient occlusion maps, which we used in Alpha Prime to give our models more contrast; in this case I tried to use it on the entire scene. Prototype itself was quite big, including an almost finished one big level of the game.

This video shows only the inside of the kitchen and some FSM and scripting testing. I was responsible for workflow design, main room except small props, rigging, animation, sound and other effects.

In the meantime I also became a registered Nintendo developer and we started to port those prototypes (and few others) to Nintendo DS.

After all prototyping was done, I was asked to help with finishing one of their unfinished project. Pound of Ground. I primarily worked on technical problems and created a few "cheap" effects, such as new skybox system, some particle effects, etc. I also created several variations of in-game enemies.

Senior Animator, Motion Capture Specialist, Camera Tracking specialist, Technical Director at
Pragofilm a.s.

2008 January 2009 (1 year)

I was hired as a Motion Capture specialist and animator. I soon became also responsible for film scans and camera tracking. I wrote tools that automate a lots of tasks, such as automatic processing of arrived new scan batches or converting data between camera tracking software. I also wrote a complete intranet database solution for the project, which worked as semi-inteligent ticket-like job system, providing status for all operation and crucial information for all shots, props and characters on one place. Thanks to all those tools, I still have a time to help with compositions (mainly in Adobe Aftereffects) and also do my everyday job as an animator (in Motion Builder).

We managed to put together 80 minutes of motion captured shots and matchmove camera movement by hand in two weeks using just 2 people. Then I started to deal with proper camera tracking. Below is the compilation of tracked bluescreen studio shots (blue background was replaced with reference grid rendered in 3D based on the tracked movement). Most of the shots had badly placed markers (if any) and use dificult to track camera movement which pan, doly and zoom in the same time.

[Shots with blue checkerboard were matchmooved by hand. Shots with contrast bright checkerboard tracked by Kamila Clarova]

I even did some concept art. The top picture shows what I've got from our composition staff. It's a bluescreen shot of bookshelfs and doors. Background is CG and there's an animated character in this shot. I did some quick sketches of the possible light solutions in the Photoshop. I even create a composition in Adobe Aftereffects, where I relight the scene and actually animate all shadows by animated masks and gradients.

I also did a few projects for DVD and FILM. This example is new Hollywood classic logo in cinemascope extra wide format rendered and composited in 4k resolution and burned on film material.

Some of my Photoshop retouch and masking skills:

And some of my logotypes and webpages design.

Some of my LW plugins for Black Element crew

I'm sorry, but it seems that this old page works only on IE. In Opera, you'll see just
headers of all plugins but you'll not be able to click on it to show the additional info.

Thank you for your time. This page doesn't contain all my work neither covers all my skills.

[Those animations were painted on my WM smartphone - I obviously don't need magazines on .. toilet ;)].

Jan Zamecnik