Klanky the Robot is a home-made robot, loyal friend of Joey Flerk, an 8-year-old boy living somewhere in the Midwest USA.
Klanky actually has a history going back years
before Joey, and his origins will be explored in a series of
Behind the scenes
Klanky is brought to life using a product called 3ds max, from Discreet, a division of Autodesk, Inc. I'm pretty familiar with this product, because I was the first programmer who ever worked on it -- In fact, the prime motivation for creating 3ds max (and its predecessors, Antic's CAD-3D and Autodesk 3D Studio) was that I wanted to create 3D cartoons. This was long before movies like Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." or "Toy Story" appeared, and honestly, long before the hardware that was capable of creating this kind of animation even existed, but such is the nature of dreams -- You do what you can do to make them happen.
For me, it's taken 18 years to get where the hardware and software have matured to the stage where I can create my cartoons. In that time, many more incredibly talented programmers joined the 3ds max team and built an awesome piece of software. I'm looking forward to actually using it to realize the dreams I had so many years ago.
If you're interested in seeing what led up to 3ds max (and a wild array of products it is), go check out the Pre-History of 3ds max, written by Martin Doudoroff!
Want to read my ramblings about the development of 3ds max and its predecessors? Read on!
For the CG tech-heads out there who want to know what software is being used to create Klanky's world, here's a short list:
Autodesk's 3ds max -- Used for main polygonal modeling, materials creation and most current rendering.
Lots Of Robots' Automatron -- A fantastic bipedal animation system by long-time animator Andy Murdock. I've spent several months beta-testing this software and now have Klanky rigged for use with it. Automatron also includes an extremely powerful and flexible crowd simulator that you have to see to believe.
The now-defunct Deep Paint 3D was used to create the various stencils, dings, dents, scuffs and scratches on Klanky. This detail is the result of over a week's worth of hand-airbrushing.
Click on the thumbnail images above to see the result!
Splutterfish's Brazil r/s renderer (no longer available) -- This incredible plug-in renderer for 3ds max brings a new level of realism. I'll be using it initially for selected scenes, but as I get more familiar with its capabilities, I may be using it much more.
Custom Software -- The real benefit of having worked on a software package is that when it's all done, you can write custom plug-ins for it to do special tasks. Some standard 3ds max components were written because I needed them for my animation projects. Network rendering, the starfield filter and the waveform controller are examples. I also have some very special plug-ins that I use to control Klanky's facial expressions and other elements in his world. More information on these as time permits.
See our "Upcoming Projects" page for information on cartoons featuring Joey and Klanky, and check back with this website often for updates!
Klanky the Robot® TM & Copyright 1975-2007 Tom Hudson