NAB 2013 (the National Association of Broadcasters tradeshow) is just around the corner and we (Autodesk) are currently looking for submissions from you, of recent projects you’ve created using our visual effects and animation software. This includes Maya, Softimage and 3ds Max, as well as our Entertainment Creation Suites.
As always, we are looking for video content for inclusion in the Autodesk Best of the Best Reel 2013, as well as high resolution images for inclusion in our marketing material throughout the year.
Deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15, 2013.
On Friday, 7th Dec 2012, we were lucky to be joined by some of the team from CrystalCG. During this free web seminar we had a unique chance to look at the recent Olympics in which CrystalCG’s London team of highly-skilled artists were involved. The great news is this session was recorded, allowing anyone who missed the original session to explore the breadth of exciting and vibrant work the team at CrystalCG produced.
Whilst there, you have the chance to explore the additional recordings, which add up to over 24 hours of free Media & Entertainment content waiting for you….
Register today to attend this free evening event and you'll get to meet Frank and his team, catch up with everyone after the Christmas break and enjoy a drink in the company of other like-minded 3ds Max users. Frank and his team will be talking about the development and direction of 3ds Max and they'd love your input. As such, there'll be plenty of opportunity to put your questions to Frank and his team and engage him in conversation about the product.
Click here to register now, please- it's going to busy! Priority will be given to existing London User Group members, but of course, everyone is welcome to come along. Note the different venue, map here. Finally, due to the confidential nature of the information being shared, a signed Autodesk Non-Disclosure Agreement will be required by all attendees. You can download a copy of the NDA here. You will need to print and sign two copies.
Full details posted at www.3dslondon.co.uk and on Twitter, follow @3dslondon.
Anselm von Seherr-Thoss’s first reel in over 2 years, is one that was worth the wait showcasing a broad range of work: from new Commercials for Coors Light, HTC/Droid, Qualcomm "SnapDragon", British Gas and others as well as some short Movie work and movie R&D, TV shows like HOUSE MD and The Asset, music videos for David Guetta, Black Eyed Peas and Willow Smith and portions of RnD and viral YouTube videos.
This reel features the following tools and plugins: 3ds Max, Particle Flow Box 2/3, Fume Fx, Vray, Krakatoa, GhostTrails, Afterburn and a huge amount of natural talent.
A full shot break down, detailing the tools and relevant shots can be found here.
He mentions that a new film reel is coming at some point “as well but it takes its time to gather over 3 minutes of brand new film material ;) . Most of the movies and game cinematics I worked on recently are not even out yet. I sneaked in 3 smaller movie gigs however.”
As always I would strongly recommend exploring his vimeo channel for “wireframes, viewport previews and all things "Making Of"”.
This channel has a healthy selection of 175 impressive videos: Click here to visit Vimeo for more inspiration on this grey Tuesday morning.
Zynga recently invited Autodesk to visit their San Francisco HQ to interview the development team behind FarmVille 2, the sequel to the popular casual 2D game FarmVille. The creative team discussed the studio’s new 3D pipeline, which it credits for the new look of the game. Take a look behind-the-scenes at how the Zynga team easily modelled, animated and rigged 3D characters and environments to build an engrossing and beautiful universe for gamers.
Below you can find a video link that provides us with this unique sneek-peek.
“When creating a game, Zynga considers the vastness and diversity of its global player base. Their goal is to create a game that draws players into a vibrant, responsive world that reacts to a player’s touch and provides a million delightful, little experiences. To achieve this, the team moved FarmVille 2 into an all-new 3D world with the help of Autodesk 3ds Max. Creating FarmVille 2 in 3D not only helped the Zynga team create a livelier game world, but also achieve much higher efficiencies in asset creation, enabling the rapid addition of new content and behaviors into the game based on player feedback.”
We start the year with an interview around a 3ds Max 2011 project, that caught my interest last year (It was even awarded “Vimeo Staff Pick”).
So lets not waste any time, and dive straight into the impressive clip. We then hear from the talented artist on the challenges and techniques he faced.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
My name is Pavel. I live and in Moscow. Work in 2D-3D industry since 2002. Was a freelance artist from the beginning. Later in 2005 worked in Sweden in postproduction studio EditHouse. Last few years worked with Moscow studios on various projects from commercial to feature films. For now work with German postproduction studio BrightParameters as a 3D artist.
Do you have a showreel?
Yes, I do. You can find it below and on my vimeo channel.
Before we discuss the “Aircraft Carrier,” Which other projects are you proud of?
Well, there were not many projects behind, but one of the few is my short movie "Mars Rover", I did it from scratch. Started from writing a small story, did some concepts and storyboard. My very good friend helped me with Rover modelling and texturing based on my concept drawings, other than that was done by me.
What made you choose the Aircraft Carrier as the subject of your animation?
I always had passion to military aircrafts, NAVY and aircraft carriers. Those "floating towns" are amazing. In movies like Top Gun they used those sequences of fighters launched from deck and it looks so fascinating! I really enjoyed it and tried to make something like that. But as usual in my work i made a small story, this is not just "scenes of launch", you know. There is a second part of this movie, where fighters face some unexpected enemy in the sky. But this second part is in progress yet, I don`t know for sure when it will be finished.
What was your inspiration for the project?
Main inspiration sequence was the opening shots in Top Gun movie. Those shots were so great, so i decided to make something alike at home.
The opening shot is superb, how did you decide which shot to start with?
I have some small story as i mentioned above. The story starts from the inner hangar where all the aircrafts are held, so the opening shot was meant to be somewhere inside on the elevator, where it all begin. I got a lot of great photo reference materials. It really helped me to choose great camera position for opening shot.
The lighting is incredibly realistic. What process did you use to create this believability?
As I said before I have great references, so I just tried to be as close to photos and "real light" as possible. From my experience I learned very well - when you try to make something from your "mind", picture end up very artificial. Maybe it looks epic, colourful and beautiful (like in many movies) but not realistic! My goal was not to make picture with some "dramatic" but artificial looking light. I tried to make it as believable as i can. So i stick to photos. The story starts in the morning and ands at night. I did only first half of the story, so night part is in progress at the moment. In most of the cases I used Vray in 3ds Max.
Did you use any other third party plugins?
Yes, for smoke effects i used Phoenix FD from Chaos Group. For the ocean surface I use "Houdini ocean toolkit" for 3ds max. Great tool to create deep ocean waves and foam effects. Other than that there were no extra stuff.
Naiad Waterfall tests
How did you plan this project and the shots?
I wrote a small story and made storyboard on paper. During the production process some shots which I did not like (or they did not work) I cut away, move them back and forth to get more consistent result. Instead of shots that were cut I put some other shots that were not in first variant of my storyboard. So during the process I changed it 2 or 3 times, actually. I`m not a professional editor, so I always were unhappy with the result, you know. Actually I was trying to find a right way based only on my feelings.
The camera movement adds to the impact. How did you achieve the motion?
I tried to avoid 100% static cameras. I wanted to give a filling of a movie made by handy camera. Even when camera is not moving i add some "floating" and instability to it. This method helps to add some "life" to your shots. If we speak about other shots where camera have movement, in shots like those i follow one main rule - use positions and movements that 100% possible in real life. Many shots were made from height of an average human, cranes or helicopters - everything you can believe in. When you use for your cameras some "impossible" positions and movements, you lose in believability much.
There are a lot of subtle, secondary motions. For example the cloth sims, how did you create these?
Well, i must say many of those effects are simple, no cloth simulations or stuff like that. To add some wind distortions to cloth i just put a simple noise modifier over cloth =) That`s it.
Did you have any help from others?
Yes, a good friend of mine Max Sapsay provided me with all those great models of Aircraft Carrier and fighters. Carrier equipment technics are from here. Other than that is all done by me plus I did some retexturing for fighters, characters and aircraft carrier deck.
How did you render all this content?
I did it all on my home computer. The final size is pretty small, just 1280x720 so it`s not that long to render shots at that resolution. Plus i did not use GI which is not fast to compute and not free from flickering (weak part of Vray i must say). So average frame was about 10-15 min to render. Pretty fast to render on single machine at home.
You say it took 2 months to create, how much of this was creating the geometry?
I must clear things up here. 2 months is the pure time of work. Total time is about 5-6 months of even more. I do not have plenty of time to do such personal stuff so I worked only on weekends or spare time. Not much, that`s why it took me about 6 months to finish it. I was provided with all models. Didn't spend a day on it, only some retexturing work.
Did you use a model library for the people, or model them?
Characters are the models from Rocketbox libraries, I found them in the internet. In addition I used Motion Capture data also found in the internet.
Where did you find the references?
During the production process I made a huge collection of photographs found in Google, military forums and data banks plus some video references from Youtube.
The jet haze effects are impressive. How did you achieve this result?
Those effects were created in post in a simple way - I created Noise field and just distorted the image with IDistort using this animated noise as a mask.
Can you explain to us more about the animation challenges?
Biggest animation challenge for me was the characters animation. I never worked in this area before and didn`t have a clue how to deal with characters. First variant of the movie had to be without people. But after some tests i realized that i loose in realism a lot. I found some motion capture data in the web of some basic common movements like simple "walk" and "run". You can see in the movie all the characters are pretty similar, there is no variety in motion. Hate to confess but I’m not a character animator at all. I wish i had some good animator to give me a hand with this part, or if I had some real footage of people would be even better.
What was the biggest challenge on this project?
Biggest challenge was to make this look like short consistent movie and not just a bunch of some disconnected shots. It took me a lot of time to make story board. When i did first animatic i didn`t like it, so had to remove some shots that didn`t help to tell the story. The challenge to me was the lack of professional knowledge of editing and storytelling. Had to rely on my feelings and guessing all the time =)
What would you change, if you were to do this again, and what did you learn on this project??
Well, I’m pretty happy with the result. What I’d change are only people. But there is no chance to do them better, so I’d leave everything as it is now. I learnt some basics of a character animation. Not much, but it was enough for me at this stage.
Your work has been inspirational for a lot of people, so what artists do you follow?
If we talk about 2D area, i really enjoy of works of artists like Dylan Cole, Christopher Stoski and so on. But if we speak about 3D I don`t have any particular 3d artists which work i really enjoy, moreover to my shame i don`t even know famous guys in this area. In 3D i follow real references like photos and video.
3d scene created in 3ds Max with GrowFx
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a project like this?
I`d advise to find friends who can help you, for make such projects all by yourself it is hard. And when i say "hard" it does not mean hard technically. For me it was really hard not to leave it unfinished at the half of the way. You got to have a lot of passion to finish projects like this, because it takes a lot of time and you are in real danger simply to lose interest to your project soon. If it is a team work it goes much faster and you will have a great chance to finish it.
My story has second part. It has some twist and got to be more interesting than first one. I hope I will find time and courage to finish it!
Thank you very much!
Thanks to Pavel for taking the time to share some insights into his work. Make sure to follow his Vimeo channel to stay up to date with all his latest 3ds Max work.
If you have a project you want to share, then you can contact me at this email address.
….I would like to thank all of you for making 2012 a very enjoyable year. I wish you and your families a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
It is only right that I thank all of you for your continued support of this blog. In the past 12 months you have helped contribute to over 153 posts, and over 223,000 views. You have attended one of the many free Autodesk “Ask the Experts” webinars and as a result watched over 24 hours of free online training. You have helped grow the 3ds Max, Maya, and Softimage user communities by attending events, and have retweeted my Twitter ramblings to others, helping me double ‘followers’. All of this is greatly appreciated, and undoubtedly helps to strengthen the great community spirit we all continue to enjoy and nurture. For this, I am truly grateful.
I hope this blog and my twitter feed continues to allow you to gain a better understanding of how other users take advantage of Autodesk Media & Entertainment tools, whilst examining future trends and best practices. Next Year is already proving to have some great guest blog posts lined up, but I am always looking for more. Please feel free to email me and share some of your workflows or Tips ‘n’ Tricks with others. (The next one will be sat there waiting for you on Jan 3rd.)
Finally, I would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, a relaxing vacation, a happy 2013. Hopefully, as you’ve been especially good, Santa will bring you everything you asked for……
It’s certainly getting tougher to tell if work is CG or real. A point definitely proven by Spanish artist, Diego Querol’s latest piece entitled “Creative Coffee.”
Thankfully, Diego has taken the time to write a fantastic making of, which features a wealth of screen grabs and settings. This external weblink can be found below.
In this handy tutorial, Diego uses 3ds Max 2011, Vray and, of course, Photoshop.
The full article is an excellent read, and can be found here.
Be sure to share some comments with Diego if you find his article useful on CGRecord.
I missed this news when it was first announced, so its great to see this clip uploaded. If like me you missed the webinar, then I would recommend viewing the 37 minute video to see what our friends at Chaosgroup have for all you 3ds Max users.
The recording is “An introduction to V-Ray RT for 3dsMax major features by Vassil Pepelyankov, V-Ray Master Trainer.” This was a webinar at the Norwegian School of IT.
Whilst we are mentioning Vray, then you should also know about a second video of theirs, which I found useful. This 20minute video is from Raphael Boyon “…a Senior 3D artist at UBISOFT, specialized in character creation and also with extensive experience in environments and visual effects. In this tutorial he talks about the workflow of his personal project "Old Man in the Dark", with emphasis on the skin shading part - the settings of V-RayFastSSS2. He goes through sculpturing, baking, setting up a LWF, skin shading settings of V-RayFastSSS2, lighting, render settings of major V-Ray features used in the project, such as V-Ray Frame Buffer, Color Mapping, Global Illumination, DMC Sampler etc”
Also, you should ensure you visit his website, and examine the amazing portfolio he has on show there.