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3ds max ZBrush photoshop vue Modo keyshot 5 maya unreal editor

CG Artists Pixar's
Lava erupts
Behind the scenes on
Pixar's hot new short
December 2014

world exclusive tutorial

Get started in Pixars free professional renderer with
Harsh Agrawals official step-by-step tutorial!

Guardians of render CG polish your

the galaxy
Is this the new standard
Simulate realistic fire
V-ray skills
Bring your realistic car
for CG characters? & smoke in FumeFX renders up to speed

Weather effects
Turn to page 68 to
follow Antony Wards
step-by-step process
to mastering rain
Let Pixar put a smile on your
face with our exclusive tutorial

The launch of RenderMan 19 caught our

attention this month so we asked Pixar to
write a tutorial for us! On page 54 you can
read how to render a photorealistic face
using the latest user-friendly edition of
RenderMan. Whats more, on page 42, Pixar
has shared production details on its latest
animated short, the epic musical Lava!
Our tutorials this issue cover simulating
rain in Bifrost and nParticles on page 68, as
well as creating CG explosions in FumeFX
on page 64. In this months Develop section,
starting on page 83, we also look at the rising
need to manage your render farm properly.
Dont forget, we always want to hear from
Meet the team you, if you have a project or opinion write in!
Get a free
Kulsoom Middleton
I really enjoyed reading issue today
Matthiass tutorial on Download a trial
creating a realistic favela subscription to 3D
using CityEngine in this issues tutorial World now and get
section. Follow his advice on page 60. one issue for free! Ian Dean, editor Turn to page 33 for details!
Darren Phillips
Guardians of the Galaxy
was one of my favourite Email Website
films of the summer, so
Iloved finding out how Rocket and
Groot were created, on page 48. facebook twitter @3DWorldMag

3D World December 2014 3


Meet the CG experts and artists who
have contributed to this issue

on the cover
lava director
James Murphy
RenderMan, Softimage

Head of animation at Pixar Animation Studios,

James pitched his idea for an epic love story
between two Hawaiian volcanoes and Pixar
snapped up the romantic musical, Lava. James
is a veteran of the animation studio, having
worked as an animator for A Bugs Life, Toy
Story 2, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and
countless other animations. This issue were
pleased to feature Uke, the lead character in
Lava, as our cover star, and on page 42 we
speak to James about producing the new short,
and its use of RenderMan 19. This ties in neatly
with our second Pixar exclusive: a step-by-step
tutorial to getting started in RenderMan 19. On
page 54 you can read Harsh Agrawals tutorial
to rendering photorealistic skin and learn how follow the
to create a production-quality human face.
RenderMan 19 is free and available now.
For more information visit: www.renderman. Turn to page 42 to
FYI read about Lava and
on page 54 follow
Harsh Agrawals

spotlight on our contributors tutorial.

Scott Zhao Ohto Oinaanp Matthias Buehler

Scott has been working professionally with CG Living in Kuopio, Finlands eighth biggest city, After graduating in 2007, Matthias worked in
for three years. He works at Menfond Electronic Ohto considers himself a traditional artist landscape architecture, arch-viz and was part
Art & Computer Design as a lighting and that just got fond of computers. He of the CityEngine development team for almost
texturing team leader. On page 34 the artist shares his render freelances in both 2D and 3D. Turn to page 46 for some five years. He now he works at Garsdale Design. Turn over to
process in V-Ray for creating a photoreal Porsche Carrera. inspiration as we spotlight Ohtos CG portfolio. page 60 to follow Matthiass CityEngine tutorial.

Antony Ward rs Brczy Josh Bretag

Antony has been provoking pixels since the rs has studied 3D art and animation for four Josh is a support engineer at PipelineFX, and
early 1990s. In that time he has worked for years, the past two as part of the BA Animation following the successful use of Qube! for the
some of todays leading studios and written course at Budapests BKF University of student film Stina & the Wolf, he presents ten
three technical manuals. On page 68 Antony shares his advice Applied Sciences. If you want to create a dramatic, photoreal top tips for a better render workflow. Turn to page 88 to read
for simulating realistic rain using nParticles and Bifrost. mountain range then turn to page 76 to read rs tutorial. about Stina & the Wolf and master new render farm skills.

3D World December 2014 4

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Issue 188

Contents Our complete line-up for this

digital months 3D World
Get a free issue when you
subscribe! Or download a
back issue for your
Android device today!

8 artist showcase
Discover the best digital art from
the CGcommunity

19 Community
20 the lure of the cloud
Our industry embraces the cloud
The Legend of the Flying Tomato
34 In focus
Scott Zhaos Porsche Carrera RS 1973 28 short cuts
Discover The Legend of the Flying Tomato
38 artist Q&A
All your software queries solved
by our panel of CG experts

42 head in the clouds
Take a peek at Pixars new short, Lava
46 ohto oinaanp
How the Finnish artist adds intrigue
48 cg with bark & bite
The complexity of Rocket and Groot
8 Artist showcase 34 in focus
53 Tutorials Discover the most outstanding new creative work from the CG art community Scott Zhaos sleek Porsche Carrera RS 1973
Improve your CG skills with
practical tips and tutorials

83 Develop
Theory, research and reviews, plus
industry tutorials from the experts

32 Letters
33 digital Subscriptions
74 Next Month
38 artist Q&A 42 Head in the clouds 48 CG with bark & bite
Your software queries solved by our experts Take a peek at Pixars hot new short, Lava Get up close to Marvels Rocket and Groot

3D World December 2014 6

54 render photoreal skin
Pixars Harsh Argawal shows you
what steps to take in RenderMan 19
58 video game environments
Andrew Finch shows you how
tocreate a video game scene
60 Modelling in cityEngine
Matthias Buehler creates a stunning
photorealistic favela scene
60 create a favela scene 64 Create explosive effects
Use CityEngine to build a shanty town
Vikrant J Dalals training on realistic
effects in 3ds Max and FumeFX
68 how to weather a scene
Ant Ward uses Mayas dynamics
systems to weather a scene
75 key technique: keyshot 5
Shaun Redsar reveals how to liven
up your models with the Labels tool
76 build a mountain range
rs Brczy uses Vues fractal nodes
tocreate a mountain range

54 render photorealistic skin in renderman 19 68 dynamic weathering

Harsh Agrawal uses the new RIS framework to render a production-quality human head Use Bifrost & nParticles to simulate rain FX

84 theory: normals
Denis Kozlov on the fundamentals
of a normals output variable
86 titanfall cinematic trailer
Spovs Dan Higgott describes the
challenges of creating the sequence
88 bet the farm
The making of student animation
project, Stina & The Wolf
94 cinema 4D r16
Maxon introduces a new motion tracker Reviews
94 Cinema 4D R16
Rob Redman says its the small
changes that make this update great
96 Formlabs Form1+
This stereolithography based printer
offers exceptional high quality
97 Houdini Indie
Now you can use this software
oncommercial projects
100 my inspiration
88 bet the farm: stina & the wolf 97 Houdini indie Ron Thornton, the VFX legend of
The student project with high ambitions offers 10 tips to managing a render farm Is this a low-cost route to success? Babylon 5 fame, shares his story

3D World December 2014 7



Showcase The best digital art from

the CG community

Daniel Kho
Software Maya, ZBrush, V-Ray,
Photoshop, Mudbox

Usually freelance CG artist Daniel Kho models

his characters in an A-pose, but the dynamics
of concept artist Renan Nuches sketch called
Pow forced Daniel to change tack.
The characters have a really dynamic pose,
and I thought it would be really fun to translate
that into 3D. I had most fun trying to nail the
dynamic pose of the characters, and pushing
the expressions to the limit, says Daniel who
reveals he posed and modelled his characters
inthe scene.
Part of tackling the Thanatos concept
was Daniels love [of] taking 2D concepts
and bringing them to life in 3D. In this case
the artist chose to focus on the challenge
of translating the action scene to 3D:
Get published Focusing on the posing, and the dichotomy
of the characters. I tried to find a nice form
and balance between the two interacting
Email your CG ART to characters, the rhythm of their poses, and making sure they look good from all angles.
Daniels final render is full of touches to
bring the action to life, from motion blur on
thefloating papers to a complex lighting
setupthat highlights both characters.
Visit the online Vault to download Read Daniels full tutorial for Thanatos
extra process art for these projects:

3D World December 2014 8

3d world view

I love the way

Daniel has translated
Renans 2Dcartoon
into 3D he has I tried to find a nice form and balance
caught the movement
andforceof the
punch perfectly.
between the two interacting characters,
Kulsoom Middleton
the rhythm of their poses, and making
operations editor
sure they look good from all angles

3D World December 2014 9

Robo Man X-2

Richie J Mason
Software ZBrush, Cinema 4D,
KeyShot, Photoshop

Richie J Mason, a 3D artist working in product

visualisation and animation, approached the
design of Robo Man X-2 a little differently to
his usual robot models: It wasnt my usual
style of robot, I like that it is more human than
my previous work, he says.
The model tool Richie five hours to create
using a mix of software, for example, while
the majority of the work was created in
ZBrush, I used DynaMesh to create the
head, then sliced it with polygroups and
panel loops. The standout details that
bring his robot man to life the wires and
eyes were created in Cinema 4D.
I mainly use ZBrush, either using a
DynaMesh Sphere or ZSpheres, says
Richie. If I need some fast, high-detail
assets, I quickly make them in Cinema
4D and use GoZ to bring them in.
Finishing in KeyShot with some
colour correction in Photoshop,
Richies robot man certainly
impresses its clean bold style
and enigmatic eyes bring a
new dimension to the usual
mechanical modelling.
Discover more robot models
FYI at

3d world view

The bold, clean look

Richie has gone for
really enhances the
impact of the model,
and using Cinema 4D
for the eyes brings the
robot face to life.


It wasnt my usual style of

robot, I like that it is more
human than my previous work

3D World December 2014 10


I enjoyed creating
thecharacters pose
and studying the
skin shader

3d world view

I love the passion

and depth to
the characters
expression, helped
bythe attention to
detail on the skin
and pores.

Darren Phillips
art editor

Alessandro Bandinelli
Software ZBrush, 3ds Max,
V-Ray, Photoshop

Italian 3D artist Alessandro worked on

Saxman Portrait for a month in his spare time.
The shader setup was quite challenging
as it involved using microgeometry for the
reflection and bump contribution.
Alessandro says: I enjoyed studying the
skin shader, and especially compositing the
rendered image to achieve the mood.
ZSphere and DynaMesh was used to
sculpt the character, and then Alessandro
retopologised using ZRemesh. He used 3ds
Max for modelling the base mesh for cloth and
hard surfaces. ZBrush was used for finer details.
For grooming I usually use Hair Farm
its very fast and powerful, he says. For
rendering I used one domelight for HDR
contribution and three area lights.
For more information on Alessandro visit:

3D World December 2014 12


Space Cadet
Marco Antnio Nogueira Jnior
Software ZBrush, 3ds Max,
Marvelous Designer, Photoshop

Working for one week and using Marvelous When people make comments about the
Designer for the jacket to speed up the
process, Brazilian artist Marco Antnio
Nogueira Jniors aim for Space Cadet was
niceatmosphere and about how beautiful
wider than to create a great 3D render.
As Marco explains: I love this artwork
the whole composition is, it makes
because it is not just a 3D image, this is based
on the Space Cadet artwork from Hidden
me really happy
Moves and it tells a story. I did not focus only
on the quality of the 3D, but also on how I
could reach peoples feelings. So when people
make comments about the nice atmosphere
and about how beautiful the whole
composition is, it makes me really happy.
Marcos goal is to keep improving and 3d world view
challenge himself with his art, ultimately he
wants to tell stories with his CG and land The simplicity of
arolecreating cinematics. Marcos composition
When creating his CG art Marco starts with underlines its power;
a concept, then asks questions of the image. the tones and
I try to think if the concept will be capable subtle details in the
of touching peoples feelings, and if Ican characters face and
modify something to give my style to the helmet draw you in.
composition, he says. Then I try to figure out
ways I can achieve a nice final composition. Kulsoom Middleton
For more emotive CG art visit Marcos site operations editor
FYI at:

3D World December 2014 14

Lake House
Rodrigo Mila
Software 3ds Max,
V-Ray, Photoshop

When working on personal projects, arch-viz

I made millions of tweaks artist Rodrigo Mila always sets himself goals
and tries to learn new techniques. ForLake
here and there until I finally House Rodrigos goal was to render an
overcast mood. My main focus was to work on
got something that I liked the rainy atmosphere, which I have never tried
before, explains Rodrigo.
First the artist started with research, then
moved into 3ds Max to create the rain
the initial idea was to create an animation,
however, Photoshop proved a faster tool.
The modelling took a day as detail wasnt
key. This was perfect because I wanted
to focus on the atmosphere rather than
modelling, says the artist. I made millions
of tweaks here and there until I finally got
something that I liked. The lighting was made
using an HDRI map applied into a dome light,
says Rodrigo.
With so much of the scene taken up with
wet, reflective surfaces rendering proved a
challenge, as Rodrigo explains: Knowing that I
was going to be creating a rainy, foggy, blurred
scene I didnt hesitate to lower the quality of
the render, but even so it took about ten hours
to process at 3,500px wide.
To follow Rodrigos Lake House tutorial,
FYI visit:

3d world view

The overcast mood

and wet, soaked
wood feels just right,
and even though the
model is basic, the
lighting really delivers
on the atmosphere
Rodrigo wanted.

Darren Phillips
art editor

3D World December 2014 15


My focus has always

been working with things
related to sci-fi

Rafael Amarante
Software Cinema 4D,
KeyShot, Photoshop

Freelance CG artist Rafael Amarante sketches

directly into his 3D software, and Robots was
created in this way. Its a unique skill to have
and makes work dynamic and fresh.
My inspiration comes from many things,
especially the works of other artists that reach
extraordinary results of form simply and with
little resources, using only talent, says Rafael.
Despite the fact that his last job was working 3d world view
on cinematics for Blur Studio, Rafael considers
himself a beginner in 3D art and is always Its unique to see
looking to develop his skills, I have much an imagined robot in
to learn, he says, at first I worked as a 3D assembly; the inner
generalist motions, graphics, products, and workings exposed
so on but my focus has always been working with realism helps sell
with things related to sci-fi. the design.
With pieces such as Robots, the artist is
certainly moving in the right direction. IAN DEAN
See more of Rafalels robot models at editor
FYI his site:

3D World December 2014 16


Community News and views from around the

international CG community

20 the lure of the cloud 22 RIGGING THE NEW RIPLEY

Discover why the animation and VFX industries are embracing the cloud The work behind the Alien Isolation trailer

22 Studio profile 26 A Factory Process 28 Short cuts

Milk VFX reflect on the last years work Factory Fifteen discusses indie issues Discover The Legend of the Flying Tomato

Get published
Email your CG ART to

Visit the online Vault to download

extra process art for these projects: 32 readers Letters 34 in focus
All your mails, tweets and comments Scott Zhao details how he produced the sleek render of a Porsche Carrera RS 1973

3D World December 2014 19

Communit y
The Big Issue

The big issue

The lure of the cloud

Times are changing the cloud begins its inevitable transformation
of the VFX and animation industries, reveals Mark Ramshaw

ou know the age of cloud reasons why we decided to appealing to work for us. Plus, we
computing has arrived when it invest a serious amount of can now hire freelancers in Liverpool,
becomes a pivotal plot point time in this, the first being Manchester or wherever, and they will
in a Hollywood comedy (Sex Tape), that were based in Soho and have access to all the resources weve
even if that movies lead character this area of London simply has no more built over the years. Whats more, the
does end up frantically proclaiming, room, explains company CTO Jeremy data never actually leaves our site, so
Nobody understands the cloud, its a Smith. We wanted to keep our offices its completely secure. I dont have to
mystery. That may well be true of the here, but from an infrastructure point worry about projects floating around
rendering average iUser on the street, but for the ofview we cant do any more with the the UK. All were doing is streaming the
in the cloud computer graphics industry its benefits facilities available. application interface to the thin client.
have quickly become apparent. Over at US studio Atomic Fiction,
From software designed specifically
for cloud delivery (for example,
If you can crack this co-founder and VFX supervisor
Kevin Baillie says that without
Atomic Fiction
utilised cloud
Adobes Creative Cloud suite), cloud
rendering (Octane) and for cloud- technology for the demands the use of the cloud for
rendering the company
rendering for its based creative collaboration (see wouldnt even exist. In
work on Cosmos: A Autodesks Fusion), through to the of this industry, Im confident thebeginning, we didnt have nearly
Spacetime Odyssey. use of remote data storage and enough start-up capital to buy the
Last-minute changes sharing, and on to the use of virtual it can handle any other processing power our artists would
required on three workstations and remote working, need to do the calibre of work we
1,000-frame shots andof course cloud-based rendering, Jeremy says that switching to a wanted Atomic Fiction to be known
were turned around the cloud has the potential to transform cloud-based setup frees the studio for, he admits. Luckily for us, the
the same day via the way the entire industry creates from those physical limitations, allows cloud was just becoming a feasible
10,000 instantly andoperates. for easy scaling of infrastructure and option for our industry, so we took
available processors, processing power, and crucially opens aleap of faith and bet the farm on
using the in-house Bespoke solutions up opportunities for remote working. thecloud concept back in 2010.
cloud management In the UK, Jellyfish Pictures is leading This is ultimately driven by customer Now,by using processing power
system Conductor the charge. With plans to double service, allowing Jellyfish to offer ondemand, our artists always have
plus Googles its workforce this year and launch a our clients increased flexibility, faster enough rendering power to meet
cloudinfrastruture spin-off childrens animation division, turnaround and access to the best eventhe most intense, last-minute
the studio has partnered with cloud artists. It also gives us the chance to deadlines, and we only pay for what
company Exponential-e to build an repay people who might not want to weuse just like you do at your home
infrastructure that allows its artists to commute to London every day. If we for gas or electricity.
work on motion graphics and animation can allow people to work from home Kevin says the biggest advantage
from any location. There are several then it obviously makes it a lot more that the cloud confers to artists and

3D World December 2014 20

Fox, Visual Effects: Atomic Fiction
Industry insiders
Thoughts & opinions from the experts

Jeremy Smith Kevin Baillie Brett Keyes

CTO, co-founder, CEO,
Jellyfish Pictures Atomic Fiction The VFX Cloud

This is basically Traditional VFX The VFX Cloud has

a whole new companies have to been around for
landscape. How its build their render almost five years
used is not yet set farms and network/ now, providing VFX
in stone, but the storage infrastructure work for individual
Atomic Fiction recently technology required to meet peak capacity. productions and also
rendered its 10,000th for cloud-based That means a large outsourcing work
job in the cloud, using work is finally here. CAPEX outlay, lots of from other studios.
it to create high-end Until now the major ongoing maintenance, Our contractors
VFX for projects such problem was that the and power-hungry, are located all over
as Cosmos GPUs just werent depreciating assets the globe and we
powerful enough on site taking up custom-build teams
for cloud-based expensive physical best suited for each
3D work, but the space. Since the cloud individual project.
production teams is near-limitless the goalposts significantly; not least arrival of the latest provides a way to Its not difficult for us
capacity. We can have zero render in the way it potentially eases the cards and Nvidia avoid all of that bad to pitch work against
machines one minute, and then when burdens of an industry forever chasing Grid, along with the stuff, it has allowed traditional bricks and
an artist submits a high priority render tax breaks. Here at The VFX Cloud protocols introduced us to substantially mortar studios as we
500 machines will appear as if out we have had the ability to offer clients in VMware products, streamline the way have a solid track
of thin air and deliver it back just as visual effects tax breaks in multiple has changed all that. we work and run record of delivering
quickly as the longest frame in the jurisdictions, explains Brett Keyes, What we have now is the VFX business. quality VFX on time
job took. Calling it a render queue is CEO, The VFX Cloud. It removes the incredibly scaleable, We recently opened and on budget.
almost a misnomer things just get need to move entire studios around. with the flexibility to a new, 100-person Additionally, due to
processed. They dont have to line up Changes are clearly afoot, and not carve up computing studio in Montreal, our lack of overhead,
and wait for the next available machine only for animation and visual effects power, delivering and estimate that our our clients realise a
to get started! work. As Jeremy notes, If you can more to those who start-up and ongoing massive cost saving.
In other words, render times become crack this technology for the demands need more frames expenses are 20-to-25 We use our own
a budgetary concern, with artist of this industry then Im confident it can per second and per cent of what they proprietary shot/
creativity no longer locked down by handle any other. throttle others as wouldve been using project management
processing capacity concerns. Since Kevin reckons its all-but guaranteed required. The ability a more traditional software, distributed
the cloud scales to assign a processing that the cloud will completely transform to tailor resources infrastructure. The rendering, and
resource to every request we throw at the computer graphics industry over like that is kind of cloud provides encrypted data
it, artists can get more work done faster the next five-to-seven years. Adoption mind-blowing. a way for us to storage. We also offer
as a result, says Kevin. is a little slow right now because, for How much it changes directly tie revenue our contractors the
The cloud can clearly have a huge one, many existing VFX companies are the way the industry to expenditure, ability to be paid in
impact on the way bricks-and-mortar already heavily invested in their local work will ultimately smoothing out cash digital currencies
studios operate, but thats not the infrastructure. There arent any great boil down to how flow significantly. such as Bitcoin,
end of it, as a new breed of virtual plug-and-play solutions for smaller studios choose to run When were busy, we thusremoving bank
outfits can attest. Companies like The studios either, so they have a hard their businesses, but have a big rendering fees and putting
VFX Cloud, Scarecrow VFX, Cosmic time adopting it too. But that will all there are no longer bill, but between more money into
Forces and Legion are using the cloud change soon, as large companies face any technical reasons projects is zero dollars. their pockets.
to handle visual effects and animation having to refresh ageing infrastructure, why they shouldnt In an industry that is
jobs in a completely decentralised and better commercial tools become be using the cloud. plagued by having
way. With these its not just storage available. Just imagine: five guys in to balance cash flow
or rendering thats handled out of their garage with access to the same vs. capacity, we think
house. With whole teams of freelancers scale of resources currently reserved for that the concept
signing up on a per-job basis and the largest VFX facilities in the world of on-demand
working remotely, entire projects are Find our more about Atomic Fictions computing really
put together in the cloud. This moves
FYI use of the cloud:

3D World December 2014 21

Communit y For the close-ups
Industry interview motion capture was
used to capture the
games lead actress
Kezia Burrows

3ds Max

Not impressed
by the latest Max
release? Check out
the bumper update

New OpenSubdiv
The most featured
request by Max users,
Pixars OpenSubdiv
enables you to
represent subdivision
surfaces and
industry interview visualise you model
interactively without

rigging the new ripley

the need to render.

Axis Animations Richard Scott and Graham McKenna

reveal the work behind the Alien Isolation trailer
Alembic Support

hether its the creature design, sense of and its renderer Mantra where the 3D Save memory when
atmosphere or creativity, the classic sci-fi assets were shaded, lit and rendered processing complex
shocker Alien has fans in all quarters. When Axis with the FX before all being composited animations and
Animation was hired to create a new trailer for Sega video in Digital Fusion. simulations, and
game Alien Isolation, the team jumped at the opportunity. As usual with a project based on a you can view large
That movie still feels as fresh, raw and exciting video game, the Axis team were able datasets in the
Richard Scott now as it did thirty-five years ago, says Richard touse the games main character assets Nitrous viewport
Richard has worked in Scott, producer and managing director at Axis as a basis to increase resolution and and transfer them
the creative industries Animation. The team have been charged with fidelity for the trailer. This was vital for toother programs.
for the last 18 years and making atrailer for the forthcoming Sega and Creative Ripleys face as we knew wed be doing
has a broad range of Assembly video game. The director Ben Hibon and I some extreme close-ups, says Graham,
experience in the design, were treated to a demo of the game in its early stages and
animation, advertising,
video game and
even then the mood, the atmosphere, the tension and the
nods to the film were allperfect, Richard enthuses.
The results are some truly
television worlds. Creating tension and fear terrifying expressions that
The brief was to create a trailer with believability; the
Alien needed to feel like a foreboding predator that the help sell the believability
protagonist is ill prepared to confront. Tension and fear Enhanced
were key words in the brief, says Richard. theproject demanded ShaderFX
Lighting proved a key tool in the horror arsenal, says Ehancements to
head of 3D Graham McKenna: There were a lot who explains how the team were able ShaderFX include
Graham McKenna of challenges with choreographing the multiple to work with the games lead actress new node patterns
As one of the co-founders dynamic lights in the scenes. We rendered Kezia Burrows on the mocap shoot. On wavelines, voronoi,
of Axis Animation, out each light pass, which was then used in top of this reference we were able to 3D simplex noise, and
Graham has developed compositing to animate the on/off state of each light. scan her facial expressions in a range of brick as well
his own style in the This allowed us to get quick feedback on the overall look key poses and these were used by our as a new bump
games, commercials and and balance of the lighting. This was particularly useful modelling and rigging teams to deliver utility node and a
broadcast markets. onclose-ups when we wanted to pick out key expressions the complex facial animation tools for searchable node on the character as she went through her performance. our animators. The results are some truly browser, game artists
The team adopted the Axis pipeline to create the terrifying expressions that help sell the and programmers can
trailer; a combination of Modo, ZBrush and Maya were believability the project demanded. create and exchange
used for modelling. Maya was used for camera, layout Watch the new Alien Isolation trailer advanced shaders
andanimation before caches were then passed to Houdini
FYI here: more easily.

3D World December 2014 22

Communit y
Studio profile

Studio profile

Milk VFX: cream of

the new studio crop The studio is based at the
Beren Neale discovers how the new boutique effects heart of the film and TV
industry in central London
studio is winning awards and blockbuster contracts

ts surprising how many new studios Double Negative studios, Milk may have had a nudge into
are born down the pub. Idle chat with existence, but its wealth of talent and clarity of purpose
Studio fellow work colleagues can turn to madeits debut year something of an unexpected success.
Statistics how youd all do things differently if you The business proposition is a simple one we make visual
ran the show the clients youd bring in, effects for high-end TV drama and films, says Will. That
the creative integrity youd retain, the is apure and unclouded offering compared with large
all-important studio name that would companies who offer multiple skills.
LOCATION spearhead your brand.
London Working for Londons eminent
studio The Mill, Will Cohen and the
One great thing is discovering that an artist
Capacity for Will Cohen
VFX for film and TV team
were familiar with this pub or modeller whos only been here a while
100artists Will is CEO and daydream. In reality its a
executive producer, very hard thing to bring about has amazing untapped concept talents
Known for and one of Milks six as there are all sorts of barriers to entry.
Dr Who co-founders. Will I never assumed it could be a reality. Grant Bonser, lead concept and texture artist, Milk VFX
oversees the company When they found out there were plans
Directors name with co-founder Nick to close Wills department, their hand The day of the Bafta
Will Cohen Drew, Milks MD. was forced and Milk was born. At Milks core are its six founding members, although the The Mill was taking a new direction, studio has around 100 creatives working at any one time. This
and Will and co werent part of the plan. intimacy creates trust amongst colleagues and a consistent
They decided around Easter 2013 vision for clients. Its an appealing formula that has allowed
that it wanted to focus its attention on the studio to pitch and work on films like Hercules, Alex
growth through its core advertising Garlands Ex-Machina, and TV series 24: Live Another Day.
business on a global scale, he says. Ignoring the odds that 90 per cent of new businesses
And if you want the truth, you will have dontsurvive their first year, Milk celebrated its first
to buy me a few pints. anniversary by winning a Bafta for its work on The BBC TV
Based in Londons Fitzovia area, ten series Dr Who. It was the studios first work to be seen by the
minutes from Soho and neighbouring public 80 million people around the world, to be precise.

3D World December 2014 24


24: Live Another Day

We modelled, animated and lit in Maya, using Arnold to render and
finally composited in Nuke. We used Maya to build the ships and
Mari to texture. Luckily battleships all tend to be grey, but up close
theres a whole host of furnishings and signage.

office briefing
A medium-sized VFX company, Milks aim
is to punch above its weight, producing
high-end effects for TV and feature films.
The founding members of Milk worked
at The Mill before that studio closed its
VFX department to concentrate more
on advertising. The team of award-
winning VFX supervisors and producers
has created TV effects for Doctor Who,
Ice Age Giants, Sinbad, Skins, Sherlock
and Merlin, and effects for feature films
including Snow White and the Huntsman,
Les Miserables and Dredd 3D.

Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary special

VFX supervisor and head of 3D Nicolas With 26 artists working on 129 shots, Milk created the visual effects
Nicolas Hernandezhas no illusion that Milk wouldnt have for the BBCs 75-minute Doctor Who 50th anniversary special
Hernandez been popping the champagne had they been episode, in stereoscopic 3D, for UK and international TV.
Nicolas is VFX supervisor unfamiliar with each other. I think the process
and joint head of 3D, and would take much longer. As a new studio, you need a
a co-founder of Milk. He reputation and ashowreel in order to get work.
previously worked for The team at Milk are still finding new ways to approach
Framestore on the Harry projects. We finished working on Brett Ratners Hercules
Potter films. Nicolass film recently, some amazing looking shots, says Nicolas. We
credits also include Dredd had to do some R&D in order to create an asset pipeline
3D and 28 Weeks Later. for full-CG environment work recreating ancient Athens and as a result we developed a smooth workflow to scatter
instanced buildings, props and vegetation in no time. Billions
of polygons were rendered with Arnold.
Currently working on the BBCs Jonathan Strange and Mr
Norrell, it seems Milk have kept an element of their informal
pub dreaming in their day-to-day work. In-house concept and
texture artist Grant Bonser says: For a company of
Grant Bonser our size, we are very lucky to have a full-time DMP,
Grant is Milks lead design and concept department, he says. We
concept designer and have many artists that return, giving us the ability
texture artist and works to have a Milk style, but one of the great things is discovering Hercules
closely with its 3D that a texture artist or modeller whos only been here a few We created a full-CG environment of ancient Athens and the Acropolis
creature team. He has months has amazing and untapped concept talents, or a for this film. We started by creating the terrain using Google Maps
previously worked on the junior roto artist ends up helping out with design. There is aerial view plus ancient maps as reference. We also had to create and
blockbuster 47 Ronin. a wealth of talent at Milk, which we cherish, and never try to build the terrain and tweak it on a per-shot basis. pigeonhole an artist or let them get lost in a department.
To see more work by the up-and-coming new studio, visit
FYI the site at

3D World December 2014 25

Communit y The Skyliner building,
Industry interview designed for The Mob
as part of a current
TV production pitch
by Factory Fifteen

Industry interview

A factory process
The team behind Factory Fifteens award-winning films
discuss the challenges facing independent filmmakers

actory Fifteen has achieved a lot architectural 3D awards, including fill different roles, but its also great to
in a short space of time. The UK- Best Architectural 3D Film (Golden experience different areas of a project.
collective is made up of directors Age) and Best Architectural 3D
Jonathan Gales, Paul Nicholls and Image(Megalomania). Factory Fifteen What processes help production?
Kibwe Tavares, who together have sharestheir burden of creativity and In Jonah we were invested creatively
shown their shorts around the world, latenights inthe project from the beginning so
including Sundance Film Festival where had big ambitions to push as many
Kibwe picked up the Jury prize for What are the challenges of working aspects of it as possible. I think it really
animation for Robots of Brixton. ina small team? helped that we spent a long time
The last three years have In a small team, a lot of the traditional before the shoot designing the visual
Kibwe Tavares been a bit of awhirlwind;I roles within filmmaking double or triple language and world within the film so
Award-winning director, havent had aminute to up; most members of our team work when we came to undertake the post-
Kibwe created Robots of pinch myself! says Kibwe. across multiple roles both on set and in production we could be really specific
Brixton while pursuing a We have all worked so hard,I feel very post-production. This is not uncommon about what we wanted to achieve.
degree in architecture. fortunateto be part of a group of within short form and creative projects We were also doing the animation
He then went on to direct creatives that, like me, like to aim high. when you are trying to be as efficient and poston the town so we knew
Jonah, with VFX created We all feel really luckyto have had so as possible with budget and time. exactly what assets we had and how
at Factory Fifteen. much supportsince westarted. Its all Working in a small team creates a we could use them. I think its useful on very exciting were all looking forward situation that is challenging as it puts aproduction the scale of Jonah to have
to the future! a lot of pressure on those involved to a team that can see a project through
The Sundance award was added to
more recently with Kibwe being named
vital one of the worlds top young directors.
statistics The director says: It feltgreat;its
beensuch an honour. Theotherwork
in the showcase wasincredible; just to
beincluded was awesome.
TEAM As an independent filmmaker,
Jonathan Gales Kibwe looks to the internet for the
Paul Nicholls future filmmakers: Thereare loads
Kibwe Tavares ofamazingly talented people creating
stuff andpostingit online. Id really
country likefor more people to search and
UK share amazing content it means Directors Paul Nicholls,
a lot to the creators, he says. Jonathan Gales and
Software The young director isnt doing Kibwe Tavares run
3ds Max, V-Ray, Nuke, this alone, however. As a collective, Factory Fifteen
After Effects the three directors have won two

3D World December 2014 26

In Jonah, the ex-
fishing village now
represents a glowing,
tacky, money-making
beach town

Milk VFX used the

Houdini to Arnold
plug-in in Hercules

Solid Angles plug-in lights up VFX

Houdini has become a key component of many VFX and
animation studios pipelines, large and small, and the Houdini
toArnold plug-in announced at last months Siggraph provides
away to integrate lighting workflows.
Its fully interoperable with other Arnold plug-ins via the
import and export of .ass render archive files with the Arnold
ROP and geometry procedural.
Solid Angles senior software engineer Frdric
Servant explains: A common scenario is to export
fire and smoke from Houdini, and load them as
stand-ins in Maya, where they fully interact with
therest of the lighting. No particular workflow direction is
privileged and you could just as well have Maya fluids imported
and lit in Houdini.
Frdric began developing Houdini to Arnold in 2010 as a
personal project before teaming up with Fabian Gohde, who
had started a similar project on his own. At the time Frdric
was working at The Mill, but after the project came to light the
studio allowed him to spend time in work developing his plug-
in. Frdric was soon hired by Solid Angle to work full time on
Houdini to Arnold in their newly created London office.
Building a translator is complex because you need a
deep understanding of both the package and the renderer. It
from start tofinish, though its a big as we were leaving university, so the is particularly challenging to try to match Houdinis perfect
commitment and not always possible. focus was making a project we were integration with Mantra, and in order to approach this, I had to
passionate about. venture in seldom used parts of the Houdini development kit,
What advice can you offer to explains Frdric. Having access to Side Effects world-class
independent filmmakers? Is financing getting easier? support team and feedback from some of their developers, such
I think the best advice is to just do it. I think in an industry like visual effects as Halfdan Ingvarsson, was an immense help.
You can be too complacent and worry and computer generated imagery it The plug-in supports all of Houdinis rendering contexts
about executing or whether something can be difficult to get the right funding (render region, render view, mplay, and so on,) and provides
is worth doing, but you learn so much to cover those endless days and nights adedicated shading network that comes out of the box with
from actually doing something and not creating work; weve always invested 83utility shaders, to which you can easily add custom ones.
just practicing. I think we benefited in our creative projects personally Instancing and the bulk of the Houdini primitives are
and financially. We could have set supported, including particles, curves and volumes, through
Architecture to us is about up a commercial studio or gone into
a different and more conventional
theOpenVDB format. Special attention was paid to motion
blur,including on changing topology with velocity or acceleration
narrative and space making; careerpath but we didnt. Conceiving
projects that generate critical
blur as well as on volumes.
Frdric says that even at various leading studios such as
discussion and push our skills visually Milk,Prime Focus World, Framestore NY and Psyop have bravely
we use film to design worlds, drive us as a collective. used the Houdini to Arnold plug-in in production because it filled
a gap in their pipeline.
social situations and stories Has your background in architecture To find out more information about the Houdini
FYI toArnold plug-in, visit:
helped your filmmaking?
from just trying stuff out and putting Architecture produces very versatile
our work out there so our attitude is people both in skillsets and practical
tocreate stuff and share it. approach. An architect needs to know a
bit about everything in a way to design
Are there now more opportunities a building; wed like to think we bring
tocreate your own films? this approach into the filmmaking arena.
Yes, I think generally over the past Our interests when studying were as
few years filmmaking has become much in architectural theory as they
more democratised, and in a way its were in physical architecture so a
began with the transition photography lot of our work attempts to voice or
made about ten years ago. I wouldnt explore theories we have studied in
necessarily say there are more some way. Architecture to us is about Framestore used the bridge
opportunities to create short films narrative and space making; we use to the Arnold renderer from
though as most people fund their first film to design worlds, buildings, social within the standard Houdini
few projects so you kind of make your situations and stories. interface for Edge ofTomorrow
own opportunities. We were lucky Discover more of Factory Fifteens
enough to begin making our work
FYI work at:

3D World December 2014 27

Communit y
Short Cuts

short cuts

Discover The Legend get published

of the Flying Tomato

Email your short to

Tarantino, Street Fighter and a love of wrestling blend together

as Michael Yates shares the making of his teams short

Giyu Force
Ringling College of Art and
Design students Michael 1
Michael Yates, Sharon Yates, Sharon Huang and
Huang and Aurry Tan, Aurry Tan (under the team
make up the creative name Giyu Force) have created a
team behind The Legend senior thesis film that has caused quite
of the Flying Tomato. a stir. The short, Legend of the Flying Tomato, has been selected into lots of
film festivals and is gunning for more.
We ask Michael for some inside info

What were the shorts influences?

The story came about after reading
the news about a Mexican drug lord
who was recently arrested. In our first
treatment, our main character was a
Mafia leader by day and fought crime
by night as a Lucha Libre in order to
repent for his wrong-doing. This story
never led anywhere, but the idea of
Luchadores struck a chord with us. The
story went through countless revisions
but we knew that we definitely wanted
vital to do something with the masked
statistics wrestlers. The engaging and colourful
world of Lucha Libre was fascinating
to us. Our biggest influences were
Quentin Tarantino, Scott Pilgrim,
TEAM Breaking Bad, Street Fighter and
Michael Yates, goodold Japanese Shounen anime there. Once we were satisfied with the into individual scenes to finesse the
Sharon Huang, like Naruto and Dragon Ball Z. design, we brought the characters composition and camera movement.
Aurry Tan into Maya to clean up the geometry
Can you tell us about your pipeline? and retopologise. We then used What did you use to light and texture
country Since shape language plays such a TSM (The Setup Machine) to rig the your animated short?
US big part in the film, we used ZBrush characters. TSM creates a pre-made We used a mixture of ZBrush and
to create the overall shape of the rig for the characters, giving us more Photoshop to texture. Lighting and
Software characters so that each silhouette time to focus on other aspects. With rendering were done in Maya using
Maya, ZBrush, was distinct and unique. With ZBrush, the basic rig in the character, it was RenderMan Studio 18. It was our first
Photoshop, Premiere, it was easy to play around with the easier to add additional controls. We time using the new RenderMan with
Nuke, RenderMan models to achieve results quickly. used a mixture of ZBrush and Maya RMS shaders, so it was definitely
We were constantly passing the to create blendshapes, but getting a a learning process. We frequently
production time models back and forth to each other, more organic and natural shape was rendered out our shots in different
Nine months tweaking bits and pieces here and easier to achieve in ZBrush. As we were passes to allow greater control when
making the blendshapes and rigs, we compositing. We used Nuke to

RenderMan Studio 18 was also started doing previs and layout.

We used the camera sequencer in
composite and finish the shots, and
edited it together with Adobe Premiere.
Maya to allow us to view shots from
invaluable in helping us camera to camera in a sequence easily. What was the most technical aspect?
Starting layout early made it easy for The most impressive aspects are the
achieve a decent render us to change shots and compositions
to improve the cinematography of the
hair and cloth, since they are not used
often in CG student shorts especially
without having to use any film. At this point, we were making sure
that each shot was well composed and
one with such a small team who had no
prior experience with hair or cloth.
advanced lighting tools the eye trace flowed throughout the
film. Then we broke out each camera
Watch the teams energetic video

3D World December 2014 28

1 We modelled our 2 It was hard to find 3 We used nHair, 4 We also used 5 We used the
environment and a way to tell Fridas without simulation. Mayas nCloth for the powerful retopologise
set dress the shots childhood within five Since the art direction poncho that the taco tool Nex, which was
as much as possible minutes. Her back-story called for the hair to salesman wears. We recently integrated
during our Winter is vital as it is what be in buns, we rigged knew having cloth into Maya, to retopo
break to create a makes the audience them and keyed the would bring a lot of our ZBrush model for
believable world care about her hair overlap quality to the film good edge flow

2 3

4 5

6 Key technique: Making the crowd

Since crowd simulation was out of the question for us, the only
solution was to fake it. To achieve that, we placed cards with
textures in the Maya scene file and used transparencies and
displacements to create the illusion of a crowd. Fortunately, the
story called for the viewers eyes to be focused on the arena, so
we could sink the crowd in darkness, leaving only specular and
highlights to give the feeling that the arena seats were populated.
In hindsight, we could have painted the crowds in Photoshop
and projected them onto geometry and cards in Nuke, using its
powerful 3D tools, to achieve a more realistic and cleaner look.

6 One of the 7
more technically
challenging aspects of
the film was creating
the impression of a
crowd in the arena

7 Besides using
other programs like
RenderMan and Nuke,
everything else such
as layout, rigging, UV-
ing, animation, hair
and cloth, surfacing,
lighting and rendering
were done in Maya

3D World December 2014 29

The rise in training Community
costs for students

in the CG industry
and the popularity
of Warhammer
40K fan movie, Send your mails, tweets and comments
The Lord Inquisitor
have got our
readers writing

Website Facebook Twitter @3DWorldMag

Priced out courses. And there are some Hammer part 2

Ive always wanted to enter the art exciting new schools starting, I loved the article on Erasmuss fan
and design industry and take up such as Image Ireland, made Warhammer movie, do you
CG art as a career, working in the, that aim know when it will be released?
VFX industry. Im about to start to offer good training at realistic Mark Warren, email
college but have noticed that fees prices. And dont forget to check
are rising and there are pressures out our YouTube channel too! Ian replies: Hi Lucy and Mark,
everywhere; value is being we thought Erasmuss work was
squeezed but prices are rising. Game over, man incredibly good too, and its
So this is a quick thanks for Id like to show you my work telling that Games Workshop
Did you miss issue 187? offering your monthly training and and see if its possible to get has allowed him to carry on
There are still a few copies left advice its been a massive help! published in 3D world. This is my the project, they clearly see
ofour rendering issue, but hurry! Darren Osborne, email latest creation. I have dreamed the quality. As for Cinebox, we
Get a back issue today at: about being published in 3D haveno date when it will get a Ian replies: Hi Darren, thanks for world since I got my first magazine general release, however, if you
For a digital iPad edition, visit: your email and your kind words. and finally Ive created something are interested in using it, you You raise an interesting point; Im quite pleased with. Id love to should contact Crytek.
the costs of formal training and know what you think about it. Is it
courses are rising and the industry good enough for you?
is evolving at such a pace that new Otto Lindqvist, via email And finally
skills are always in demand. We Due to a regrettable
try to offer insights and tutorials Ian replies: Thanks for emailing misunderstanding in the My
Otto sent in his latest work, what that can help all readers, and look Otto, and Im pleased to be able Inspiration article published
do you think? If youd like to be out for our annual Education issue to squeeze your work into this in issue 186, we must clarify
published in 3D World write in! early in the new year for the latest issue. What do the readers think? that i-real Studios is not
If you have any advice for Otto owned by Iaki Gonzlez.
please write in and well pass on i-real Studios is owned by
your advice. Carlos Serrano and Jos
Luis Gmez, who founded
Hammer time the company in 2000.
I just want to say a massive thank Iaki Gonzlez belongs
you for running the feature to a completely different
Hammer of the Gods in issue 187. separated company, Leonard
Im a huge Warhammer 40K fan Blum. Iaki Gonzlez does
and read with interest Erasmuss not belong to i-real Studios
work on his own fan movie. The staff, and he has not made
quality of his work is amazing and any of i-real Studios CGI 3D
has got me interested in Cinebox, VFX Post Production works
do you know when this will be that appear on i-real
released for the general public Studios website
tobuy or use?
Lucy Stephens, email

3D World December 2014 32

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3D World December 2014 33

Communit y
In Focus

I was deeply impressed by

its smooth lines and the round headlights,
which look like two big eyes


Maya, V-Ray, HDR
Light Studio, Nuke,


3D World December 2014 34

in focus

Carrera RS 1973
Scott Zhao details how he recreated the
smooth shapes of this classic sports car...

urrently working in a film post- and made the background motion
production company in China, blur inVirtual Rig Studio.
artist Scott Zhao loves industrial Scott chose to model the classic
products. Making a CG vehicle is a Porsche because of a childhood
very exciting subject matter memory. His first model car as a
Scott Zhao for me, he says. Scott says child was a Porsche, I was deeply
Scott has been working he enjoys making new impressed by its smooth lines and
professionally with CG projects as they enable him the round headlights, which look like
for three years. He works to try new techniques and ideas, and two big eyes, says the artist. So
at Menfond Electronic help him to build up his CG experience. I planned to create an image of a
Art & Design as a Scott worked on this street scene Porsche classic car, the 1973 Porsche
lighting and texturing featuring the famous Porsche Carrera Carrera RS caught my eye when I was
team leader. RS 1973 for between four and six searching some reference images on hours a day for a month. He used the internet. It made me so eager to
conventionaltechniques: VrayRT to make a dynamic image of it.
testthe shading and lighting, HDR See more of Scotts portfolio at
LightStudio and V-Ray for lighting work,

3D World December 2014 35

Communit y
In Focus
1 Setting the scene
I decide to make the model according to its
true scale because I want the materials and
lighting to look physically realistic. I use a
photograph in the background, and match the
camera angle to the background photo. I rig the
wheel in a simplistic way that makes the wheel
rotate automatically together with the vehicle.

2 UV and Texturing
The next step is painting the
model. Good UV is very helpful for
texturing. I use planar mapping to
unwrap the car UV from the top and
the side, and sew them together.
Next I use Photoshop to create the
texture of the car, and then I paint
the race stripes using the Pen tool.

3 Setting up
the Materials
When creating materials, I use studio
lighting to test the materials. Doing this
makes sure the final materials are realistic
and can be used in any environments
lighting scene. All the materials used here
are VrayMtl and VrayBlendMtl.

4 Setting up the Lighting

I use Virtual Rig Studio to make the
motion blur for the panoramic HDRI, so
we can see the motion blur in the
reflection. Then I use VraySunLight and
VrayDomeLight to light up the scene.
Finally, I use the HDR Light Studio for
Maya plug-in and VrayRT interactive
processing to add some soft fill lights.

3D World December 2014 36

6 Background
I combine the render image
into the background and
decide to make some
5 Render
adjustments to the
Setting background, to make the
I use V-Ray as my rendering image more interesting.
engine because V-Ray is a
powerful plug-in that helps
I add the clouds and
me to achieve a very nice mountain, and replace the
effect quickly and easily. stands with the trees and
I use a linear workflow;
V-Ray physical camera with
colour correct them. Finally,
motion blur and add some I add the motion blur in
V-Ray Render Elements, Virtual Rig Studio.
such as lighting, reflection,
specular and AO. Then I
render the 32-bit multi-
channel .exr images.

7 Composting
in Nuke
I use Nuke for compositing,
using the Shuffle node to
separate all the V-Ray render
passes. I then add the Grade
node to correct each pass and
merge them together. I place
the car into the scene, correct
the colour and exposure, and
add the shadow and depth

8 Final touches
The final step is to do the
post-production amends in
Photoshop. I correct the colour and
tone with the Magic Bullet
PhotoLooks filter, and add lens
effects to make the results better
and more realistic. I also add some

lens flare to the scene. Finally, I
create another two renders with
different camera angles for variety.

3D World December 2014 37


Cirstyn Bech-Yagher
Cirstyn is a freelanceCG
artist and educator,
with over a decades
experience in 3D art. Her clients
include AMD and Daz 3D.
Your software queries solved
by our CG experts
Fellipe Beckman
Fellipe specialises in
character development,
sculpting, modelling,
topology, texturing and lighting,
colourist, edit, post production and VFX.

Mike Griggs
Mike Griggs is a
freelance 3D, VFX,
mograph artist and
technical writer working across
television, exhibition and digitaldesign.

Paul Hatton
As the 3D visualisation follow
team leader at CADS
3D, Paul creates models the video
and renders, visualisations, animations
and interactive walkthroughs. If you see the Play icon, click the link!

Rohit Jagadisha Modo 801

Indian-born Rohit lives
in Dubai and is working How do I speed up my rigging process
as a 3D generalist at
Real Image Productions, heading the if I just want to add a new pose?
modelling and texturing department.
Freya Murray, UK

Mike replies Click TO PLAY Video

Rigging objects and characters
is a time-consuming process,
and when a quick animation
or a new pose is needed this
task doesnt necessarily require the
time and effort of creating a full IK rig.
That is where systems such as Modos
new deformers come in very handy. The
Wrap Effector can be especially useful
for animating complex organic models
as it uses a simple proxy mesh you create
specifically for the task of animating. To
create your mesh think about the type
of animation you will need, as this will
determine the number of edge loops to
put in your model.
The key benefit of this method of
Get in touch animation is that it is non-destructive
to the primary model as youre only
The wrap and morph
deformers can enable
animating the proxy which drastically a high-res mesh to be
Email your questions to improves response time in your viewport animated by a lower- as opposed to working with the original res proxy armature
high-resolution mesh.

3D World December 2014 38

Step-by-step morph deformers
one setting edge loops
Once you have your high-res mesh, create
aproxy mesh that overlaps the volume of
the high-res mesh. Take care to keep edge
loops at key motion points of the model,
and model out the key forms, which in
this case are the legs and jaws. I also put Remember that Expert tip
in edge loops over larger areas such as the darker your A splash of colour
the stomach and neck to minimise any background, For coloured glass, try
unnatural flexing in the hero mesh. especially with adding colour to the
moving liquid, Absorption channel.
two apply the wrap effector the more youll Youll find that a little
With the proxy mesh completed, apply it need to tweak colour goes a very
to the high-res hippo by using the Wrap your Absorptions long way.
Effector, make sure youre in the Setup depth and colour
layout and can see the Deformer tab. I select
the high-res hippo mesh and choose the
Wrap tool from the Apply Mesh Deformers
menu. This brings up a window which asks corona
what mesh I want to use as my cage mesh:
I choose proxy Hippo Base mesh. How do I create a coloured
three adjusting the proxy mesh liquid material in Corona?
With the Wrap Effector applied, I can now
pose my model by adjusting vertices and
Joe Cavendish, UK
edge selections on the proxy mesh (which
are non-destructive as I can switch off the
Wrap Effector if I need to adjust anything Cirstyn replies
on the master model). I use the visibility For anyone whos not familiar with
options to show the selected proxy mesh Corona Renderer, its a new, hugely
as a wireframe and the background hippo popular (un)biased photorealistic
object as a shaded object. renderer, available as a plug-in for 3ds
Max and Cinema 4D, in addition to a standalone
four make a morph map command-line application. Ive used the 3ds
I switch to the Lists view on the right- Max Alpha 7.1 build for this walkthrough.
hand side to make a new morph map. While we wait for the full release (hopefully
I select the Setup button and I pose with full SSS) later this year, the trick to
my proxy mesh. Once I have the pose getting richly coloured liquids is to add a little
I want, I press the Setup button again Translucency and Absorption to your shader. Ill
to take me back to the normal view use a dense, slightly viscous red, like cranberry
and add a morph deformer to my proxy juice, to create abasic shader example
mesh, which I can now animate by After creating a new CoronaMtl via Materials
percentage in the Properties palette. Standard in the Material Editor, start by setting
Diffuse Color to 1. Give it a deep red, like RGB
25, 0, 0. Set Reflection to 0.8, its colour to RGB
To create a mesh for your proxy object, 242, 242, 242. Set the Fresnel IOR to 1.7, and
start with a cube in the front or side view Glossiness to 0, 90. Then set Refraction to 1, 35
(making sure you can see your high-poly and change it to a soft pink like RGB 236, 176,
mesh in the background). Extrude out the 176 before setting Glossiness to 1.
faces to cover your object making a new If you render your liquid out now, youll see it
extrude at each point, such as a leg joint, has a nice colour, but lacks depth. Deepening
to match your high-res mesh. the Refraction colour wouldnt help: it would
Then select your high-res mesh object probably fake the thickness of a very red
and click on the Wrap Effector from the smoothie or a deep red paint.
Deformer tab. All being well, if you move Instead, add Translucency and Absorption to
vertices or edges on the proxy mesh you bring depth and tonal variety to your shader. The
should see the movement replicated on strength you give these settings will very much
your high-res mesh. depend on your scene, the movement in your
If you want to animate your model model and its lighting in particular, so you need
Expert tip you will need to store poses by creating to tweak and experiment. In this scene, I set
Share groups of layers respective morph map deformations, so Translucency to 0, 2 at RGB 241, 35, 35, and its
To create more complex you need to create a pose using a morph colour to RGB 90, 0, 0 to get subtle hue-shifts.
animations, make a map. Then with a morph deformer you I then set Absorption how much light is
series of distinct pose will be able to save a range of poses that absorbed and passed through the material
morphs and mix their can then be animated as well as mixed to 0, 0, 5m to make it look less dense. A lower
amounts to create together to create a range of new shapes. setting will pass less light through your material,
new poses and This is very useful when animating a especially with dark colours, making it denser
movements. face where morphs can store smiles and (and vice versa).
frowns,which can be blended with ease.

3D World December 2014 39

Artist Q&A
Expert tip
Ground your 3D object
When adding a 3D
object to a photographic
background its essential to
include contact shadows,
otherwise the object
is just going to float. If
you use mental ray, this
can be done through
the Matte/Shadow/

Here, the 3D model

of a car has been
matched to the
backplate using
Perspective Match

3ds Max
How can I perfectly match my camera angle to a background image?
Simon Arnold, UK

Step-by-step Matching your camera to a photo backdrop

Paul replies
In the early days of 3D visualisation, I can one Set up the scene
remember matching 3D objects like cars or Drag and drop your chosen image into
buildings to photographic backdrops on a the viewport to assign it as a background.
fairly regular basis making small adjustments Press[8] to bring up the Environment
to the position and the field of view, until finally window, and drag and drop your
everything slotted into place and it looked right. environment map into your Material
Thankfully, the days of just doing it by eye are over Editor. Select Instance when prompted to
because they often drove me crazy. Over the ensure that adjustments to the bitmap are
years, 3ds Max has included other tools such as replicated in the environment. Once in the
Camera Match, but no solution has been as simple editor, change the Mapping Type for that
orstraightforward asthe latest attempt. bitmap to Screen. Close the Material Editor.
Its called Perspective Match, and its been a part
of 3ds Max since the 2014 edition; so if youve not two Render setup
come across it, its because its not been around for Next, press F10 to bring up your Render
all that long. Perspective Match enables you to take Settings. Change your render output size
any background image and orient the camera so so that it matches the aspect ratio of the
that its position and field of view perfectly match the background image. Obviously anything you
render out of your camera needs to match
Thankfully, the days of just matching the aspect ratio of the image you are trying
to match. To apply your output aspect ratio

objects and backdrops by eye are over to the viewport, just press [Shift]+[F] with
the viewport selected, and this will bring up
your safe frames.
because they often drove me crazy three Set the perspective
perspective of the image. You do this by adjusting X, In the Utilities panel, click Perspective
Y and Z gizmos, which the camera then uses to know Match, then turn on Show Vanishing Lines
how it should position itself. to show gizmos for the X, Y and Z axes.
Perspective Match is perfect for jobs where you want Drag the lines to move them. Place them
to set something in a photographed context. If you want at right angles and line them up with your
a more scientifically accurate camera match, you will image. The blue gizmo needs to align with
need to also survey key points found on the objects in the vertical lines in your image. As you
your photo and use those to align your 3D model. adjust the gizmos, your camera will adjust
That being said, lets dive straight in to see the few to align with the image. Any objects that
simple steps that make up the Perspective Match utility. you add to the scene will fit in perfectly.

3D World December 2014 40

Using three point
Your model should lighting enables you
have character but to quickly establish
also be soft and depth in a scene

Expert tip
Adding drama
For dramatic lighting use
mib_blackbody in Portal
Light Environment and
change the key light
temperature to a light
orange and a light
blue tone for the
back light.
Expert tip
Keep it simple
To be creative, I believe that
before going after actual
facts and techniques, just a
piece of paper and a pencil
to write down your ideas
V-Ray and thoughts can get
you far enough.

How do I achieve a
toy art lighting style?
Sarah McDonald, UK
Fellipe replies
To illustrate my points Ill be using How do I create depth in my light setup?
my take on Maleficent. To make this
character look like a toy, I had to be
David Anderson, UK
extra-careful while working with the
models proportions, pose and facial expression,
because I wanted her to be charismatic, yet soft Rohit replies primary light source that provides most
and cartoonish at the same time. One of the oldest lighting of the illumination on your subject.
The lighting setup is reasonably simple. In the techniques in the book is called You place this light about 45 degrees
background, use Spline, Extrude, Bend, Turbo three point lighting. Once you to the models right or left and about
Smooth and four VRayLights, three VRayPlanes understand three point lighting 45 degrees above, aimed straight at
and one VRayDome. you are well on the way to understanding the face. Feel free to adjust it later if
I apply an HDR file. I recommend using the all lighting. The three different points in necessary. Its providing most of the light,
HDR image in the render studio it saves time. this type of lighting are the key, the fill it needs to be extremely bright. Make
For instance, use the VRayDome with the HDR and the backlight. sure that you havent burned out your
image to get more natural and softer tones in The goal of three point lighting is to whites. You should get strong shadows
your lighting. create the illusion of a three-dimensional and a good tonal range.
While using the VRayPlane, change the colour subject in a two-dimensional image. The fill light is the secondary light
to green and reposition it from the base to While you can create dimension in a source, usually the same height, and
create a spotlight: this gives a silhouette of the number of different ways, theres no it is placed on the side of the camera
character. Shading and lighting are two very doubt that using light and shadow is just opposite to the key light. Set this to
important elements: they need to be paired apowerful way to accomplish this. about half the intensity of the key light;
andbalanced. To set the scene (in 3ds Max) create an its main purpose is to soften shadows
For mapping, work with VRayFastSSS2 and area light with Use Light Shape switched created bythe key light.
only the Specular, Diffuse and Normal maps. on and in the Lights shader, under Finally, the back light illuminates the
InPhotoshop, use simple techniques like double Custom Shaders, assign Mia-portal- space above and slightly behind the
layers, the Lens Blur filter, soft lighting and light. EnableSky portal and change the model. Its purpose is to give some sense
overlays, with minimal changes to the Contrast, intensity according to the lighting. of separation between the model and
Hue and Saturation aspects. The key light, as the name suggests, the background, and provide a three-
is the most important light and is the dimensional look.

3D World December 2014 41

Lava animated short

in the

Mark Ramshaw says aloha to Pixars
latest animated short, a millennia-spanning
tale of love, lava and Hawaiian song

World September
December 2014 42
uch is the all-conquering for development, so its little wonder that
nature of Pixars feature film the few that do go into production tend to
output that its easy to forget allow the studio to flex both its creative and Pixars
the studio first gained acclaim technological muscles. Thus, while the 1997 Shorts provide
(and Oscar recognition) with short Geris Game looked like a charming a testing
aseries of groundbreaking acting masterclass, it also provided a launch ground
short films. Few also tend pad for newly developed subdivision surface
to recall that the studio modelling and cloth simulation. Fast forward
only began this journey into to 2013, and while audiences focused on Beginning with Pixars
computer animation production for marketing the pristine beauty and charm of The Blue second film A Bugs Life,
purposes back in the late 1980s it was hoped Umbrella, that short also enabled Pixar to all subsequent Pixar
that the likes of Luxo Jr and Tin Toy would put RenderMans new global illumination feature films have been
boost sales of its own core product, the Pixar technology through its paces. shown in theatres along
Image Computer. The studios latest short, Lava, is another with a Pixar-created short
While much has changed at Pixar in the inspired creation with no small level of
years since, the companys dedication to short- technical ambition. And like so many of Lava was the second
form animation has not. In fact as the company Pixars shorts, its also a perfect exercise in short film at Pixar to test
has expanded and grown more successful this minimalistic storytelling, allowing the artists Katana with RenderMan
sideline has positively flourished, providing involved to focus on performance and fine
a vital creative outlet where talent can be detail in the way that so often separates the Lava provided the studio
fostered, new ideas tried out and techniques studios work from that of its competitors. with valuable data to
toyed with all free of the commercial Lava was written and directed by James help steer the current
considerations that inevitably come into play Murphy, a Pixar veteran of some 20 years development efforts to
when developing feature-length productions. whose credits include almost every one of its use the new Katana 2.0
Pixars shorts programme famously allows feature films and a supervising animator role version and the new RIS
for anybody at the studio to pitch an idea on 2000s For The Birds. James may now head renderer in RenderMan
up the entire animation department, but he for [2016 release]
still had to pitch just like everybody else Finding Dory
At Pixar anyone can pitch short film
james murphy ideas, but there is one stipulation
Head of animation at Pixar you cant pitch just one idea, you
Animation Studios, James have to pitch three, he says. So
was an animator for A Bug's when I decided I was going to pitch three
Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters, ideas I had one goal for myself: to create
Inc., Finding Nemo and stories about things I loved, and about things
countless other animations. Icould really connect with emotionally. James says he road-tested all three pitch
ideas on friends and colleagues, with Lava
edging ahead as the clear favourite. I think a
musical love story, with Hawaii as a character
really seemed to resonate with everyone. The
scale of the characters and the scale of time
combined with the musical narrative gave this
age-old story an original take, one that my
friends and colleagues seemed to enjoy.

[ Project title ]
[ Studio ] Pixar,
[ Software ] RenderMan, Softimage, Arnold, Nuke, Vicon
Blade, Marvelous Designer, Qube, Faceware
[ Development length ] Three years

3D World December 2014 43

Lava animated short

[ Supervising TD interview ]
Pyro Techniques
Supervising technical director Bill Watral discusses
how RenderMan helped the Lava team go with the flow

What key features of RenderMan studio. Due to the creative and

were vital to the shorts creation? technical scope of Lava we were able
Monsters University was our first to explore how using Katana and
feature film to use RenderMan RenderMan together might scale up
and GI. Since then RenderMan to a feature length production.
has made many updates and the
amount of data that it can process What were the main challenges?
is impressive. Consequently, many The most notable challenge on the
of our shots were rendered in one show was creating sets of a huge
pass with RenderMans GI. Also, scale with complicated effects and
the ability to generate and inspect vegetation that had to move with
RIB (RenderMans scene description our articulation because they were
language) for any frame on the fly also our main characters.
allowed us to quickly debug artifacts
and analyse exactly what data Did you develop new workflows
was being used to render. Equally for shading or lighting?
impressive is the depth of knowledge One of the new workflows we
and level of support available with engineered on Lava is deformable
RenderMan. We have an amazing vector displacement maps. This was
Designing an island that Uniquely, Lavas main characters arent array of experts available to help us a new shading technique for the
can emote and keep people or anthropomorphic animals, but two troubleshoot and optimise. studio and it helped us achieve the
viewers immersed in an mountains Uku and Lele. And while this is detail and scale required. It involved
experience required the very much a love story, and a musical one at Pixar has a long history of using hand-crafting vector displacement
use of new workflows that with a lilting ukulele-driven soundtrack development of shorts to explore maps and deforming those maps
and creative solutions the seven-minute running time crams in new techniques and solutions. along with the articulated surfaces.
several million years worth of yearning and Was this the case with Lava? This allowed our character modellers
wooing. Its clearly a labour of love for James, Traditionally, Pixars short films are to sculpt at a very high level of detail
asafe outlet in which to explore new without making the base model
We all kept joking that the project needed more creative and technical solutions, and
yes, Lava followed this tradition.
overly dense. RenderMans shading
language (RSL), OpenSubdivs, and

research everyone was willing to go to a tropical The film was, in part, a fact-finding
mission. Our goal was to use Katana
the way RenderMan handles space
transformations made this a fairly
and RenderMan together to help quick development cycle for our
island for the sake of the film, of course explore new workflows for the technical artists.

Andrea Warren, producer, Lava

who first became fascinated with Hawaii via One challenge with
old Elvis movies, and then got the basic idea lead character Uku was
for his short when honeymooning on Hawaiis to find a way to make
Big Island some 25 years ago. a mountainous form
Ever since then, Ive loved tropical islands, carved out of lava
active volcanoes and Hawaiian music, he says. flows, look appealing
The first time I heard Israel Kamakawiwooles and still be able
version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow it tofully emote
completely floored me. I recognised this song
from The Wizard of Oz and I thought, if I could
ever write a song that makes me feel like Izs
version does and feature it in a Pixar short film,
then that would be an amazing combination.

A dream come true

So James set out to create a film about love,
where the story is told in a song that attempts
to capture the love and strong connection
thedirector feels for Hawaii.
I loved the concept because it
Andrea warren feltlike such an original take on
Andrea has previously auniversal story, says Andrea
worked on numerous Pixar Warren, producer on Lava. I knew it
projects, and serves as would be a challenge, but at Pixar, weve never
producer on Lava. let that stop us. I think that we all thrive on tackling unknowns, it gets us all dreaming,
planning, and collaborating, which is great
funand very rewarding.

World September
December 2014 44
[ Inspiration ]
Creating lava's Mood board
How the real Hawaiian landscape helped inspire Lava's lead character

rock face Ukus peakS brows and eye lids An enchanting face
This area Vertical rock effects Ukus peak, brows For Ukus face the
is softer, and upperlids. Then around the region horizontal strata,
with amore indicated by a soft blue line, it transitions and warm and cool
eroded look to the more horizontal rock type greys of the rock in
Waimea Canyon, Kauai

red rock influence

Ukus arms and hands
eroded planes have a softer red rock.
Surfaces on Uku facing Kauais Waimea Canyon
skyward, like the top and Napali coast have
cheek planes, are eroded, these red peaks
and softer; warmer in hue

Ukus coastline
On the coast line
wefind darker,
wave-beaten rock

covered in forest
spectacular gorges Ukus chest and mid-body
Kauais Napali coast up has a rock similar to
is Ukus arms, elbows what is on his face. Its
and this continues darker, becasue it is wet,
around the back, as covered in many areas
in Gregs sculpt byrain forest and ferns

On a technical level, the level of detail character storytelling. And creating a story that I dont want to give anything away, but
required to depict the two mountains threw works within the confines of a limited running I love the shot right before the end, when
up a number of challenges. Theres a serious time throws up its own challenges. Success, we see the back of our main volcano, says
amount of vegetation on show, along with the hebelieves, lies in three key ingredients Andrea. Its so moving emotionally and
depiction of a range of naturalistic effects. The first is heart and emotion, but it has stunningly beautiful too. The team made it
The required sense of scale also introduced to be genuine and earned emotion. I really look like you are just flying by, witnessing the
challenges on the animation side, not least with have to believe in what I feel, so when Im moment in person.
the need to animate such huge characters. pitching or trying to inspire people to work There was a man in one of our recent
The biggest challenge involved balancing on my short, the love and passion I have is audiences who was in tears by then end, telling
the gigantic mountain scale of a place
with the intimate charm and appeal of a
character, explains James. We needed
The fun involved trying to blend the anthropomorphic charm of classic
our characters to be believable as iconic land
formations, but have the range of motion Disney or Warner Brother cartoons from the 1940s and 1950s with the
and emotion we needed for acting without
squashing or stretching the rock surface or appeal of a National Geographic documentary on Hawaii
the vegetation on the character. The more we
moved them, the quicker we broke the scale James Murphy, director, Lava
and believability. Animating these characters
was a lesson in subtlety and in less is more, pure and genuine. The second is clear, simple us that it resembled his own story. Knowing
while turning a place into a character was and succinct storytelling. You really need that people enjoy seeing it, especially when it
an exercise in deconstructing the ingredients to utilise every second of the time you have resonates, is incredibly rewarding, she says.
that make a place like Hawaii recognisable as and waste nothing. The last thing you need Lava made its debut via the festival scene,
Hawaii, and then using those recognisable is a great, satisfying ending. Whether it is a debuting at the Hiroshima International
ingredients to inspire the design of an surprise ending, an emotional ending, or an Animation Festival on June 14, 2014. A full
animated character. ending with a punch line, its very important. airing will follow next year on 19 June 2015.
As head of animation at Pixar, its little With the limited time you have, youre setting Turn to page 54 for this issue's Pixar-created
wonder James has such a firm grasp on everything up for a great payoff.
FYI step-by-step RenderMan tutorial.

3D World December 2014 45

artist porTfolio
Meet Oinaanp
the artist

Artist portfolio

Ohto Oinaanpaa
Shunning shortcuts, revisiting old art, and trying not to make a joke of everything,
this Finnish 3D artists work is a unique blend of personal peccadilloes
3D World December 2014 46
The muted palette
in Six Stones for
the Goddess helps
create layers of
detail and intrigue

or a 3D artist with a clear talent for detail, traditional artist who picked up 3D to become
order and harmony, its a surprise that more proficient at it. He doesnt want to over
Ohto Oinaanps creative process starts egg his surroundings as an influence on his art,
in chaos. Having left pencils behind long ago, but admits, Maybe you can see some hints
he strives to be a pure 3D artist, building up of our four completely different seasons in my
blocks of small detail like a sculptor chipping work, and that innocent curiousness of a highly
away at his marble block to reveal the image observant country boy.
inhis mind. Ohto has his own metaphor: Though Ohto would congratulate you in Artist insight
I stare at a horrendous mess of seeing those seasons in his choice of colours, Getting technical
artist Profile unfinished constructions on the his palettes are more out of necessity than With a spruced up setup,
Living in Kuopio, screen with my jaw slightly hanging design. I admit that colours are sort of a Ohto breathed new life into
Finlands eighth open, heavily pondering the many strain for me, Ohto explains. Black and old work, starting with this
biggest city, Ohto possibilities. Its like a chess match between whiteseems the easiest way to attain a heart-stopping piece
considers himself two not-too-bright fellows. pleasant outcome, otherwise I pick a couple
a traditional artist Having studied engineering before throwing of colours that dont take the attention away Six Stones for the Goddess
that just got fond himself into art in 2008, Ohto realises this may from the content. You may think hes joking, is worthy to look at, since
of computers. He not be the most pleasurable creative process; but the muted metallic hues trick the eye to this piece was the first
freelances in both hes knows there are quicker approaches. suggest flat surfaces where theres detail and one I created with my new
2D and 3D. However, if he were to use shortcuts in his depth they force you to peer a little bit closer technical setup, and I kind of art the viewer might not have the teaming at every rivet and wrinkle. reference that in the art.
life in whichto immerse themselves, piecing Humour, it turns out, is this artists weakness. I bulked my PC out to
together each mangled limb, animal texture, Sometimes my humour can go too far. Ive include six core processors
and weird biomechanical oddity in an echo turned some of my more serious projects in and 12 threads, with 64
ofits creation. to clumsy farce at the very end of the process gigabytes of RAM with a
just because I can, he says. Whether you see water cooling system so I

Maybe you can see some hints these flaws or not, you can at least expect a
change in his future work. Ive just recently
could use it more than five
minutes at a time... The
of that innocent curiousness of started to practise my serious modelling face
to bring some variation to my repertory.
fish in the Goddess scene
symbolises the last addition.
What attracts Ohto to 3D is that producing The motherboard is an Asus
a highly observant country boy good work as opposed to all right work P9X79 and I use a GeForce
Job Title is simple. He says that he finds identifying a GTX 760 graphics card, but
Freelance graphic Its not easy, but its a conscious decision. good piece of 3D work pretty easy: Its quite those arent particularly
designer (2011 I remember being quite small when I decided a straightforward route; I think theres not that represented in the scene.
to present) the more the merrier, says Ohto about his much room for subjectivity when seriously I consider this piece
packed compositions, I still think that the reviewing 3D works, he says, and therefore most of all as a relieving
Software ability to manage information, especially if its quite impossible to be truly good in this step up, since the update
3ds Max, ZBrush, theres huge amounts of it, is probably the field without being both technically fluent has opened many new
Adobe products most essential skill to possess when crafting and also artistically advanced. Translating creative opportunities for
an all-around successful piece. his 2D work into 3D is not yet done, however. me. It certainly would be
Country It was managing information that led the Happily theres still a long way for me to go. a greaterachievement to
Finland Finnish artist to revisit some of his older Visit Ohtos website,, to see reach wonderful results
works recently. Having added 64 gigabytes
FYI more of the his personal 3D artwork. through even heavier
favourites of RAM to his PC, he got rid of some final optimising, however, I can
2000 AD comics, restrictions, then revisited the original notes also see utilising current
Warhammer 40K, and ambitions for earlier pieces. Of course, technology to the fullest
Eino Mikkonen, only the clearly incomplete works will get the toalso be quite appropriate.
Ilya Repin special treatment, as theres no reason to try This piece is a simple salute
and go over the shaky first steps of bad art, to my new computer,
he says. For software, 3ds Max is the one for built with allegories and
Ohto, but ZBrush is also there to spice up gratuitous respect.
ourrelationship, he says.
Currently based in Kuopio, a small city
in East Finland, Ohto considers himself a

The Intergalactic space navigator with his kittens Rise of the robots

This is a piece Creating a good-

about cross-species natured drama show
companionship aiming to bring the
to fill up the void opposing forces
in an almost together in a post-
entirely automated revolution earth

3D World December 2014 47

Marvels double act

CG with
bark Bite &
Rocket and Groot burst onto the big screen in Marvels Guardians
of the Galaxy. The movies success lies in its ability to sell
non-human heroes to an audience, reveals Renee Dunlop

3D World December 2014 48

The Guardians and
Rocket in particular gave
Framestore the perfect
opportunity to revamp
some of its technology

[ Film title ]
Guardians of the galaxy
[ Studios ] Framestore, MPC
[ Software ] Houdini, Furtility, RenderMan, Arnold
[ Development length ] 18 months
[ Websites ],

he latest blockbuster from Marvel, running on two legs, it always looks weird, so
Guardians of the Galaxy, posed the challenge was to make it look natural and
one major question: how do you portray believable without being completely human.
the personality of a bio-engineered, Rocket still had the occasional scene where
cranky raccoon who walks on two legs it made sense to have him on all fours, like
and carries substantial firepower? where he had to cover distance quickly or
Its all about attitude, according to climb whilst dodging bullets.
Framestores animation supervisor
Kevin Spruce. Director James Gunn was Handy additions
very clear on having Rocket not Once the team had a default walk they began
Kevin Spruce just be a gun-toting tough guy. experimenting with side-to-side weight
With over 20 years His multidimensional character shifting and adding expressive hand gestures.
experience in digital film develops through the film, despite That was when we began to see Rockets
and video technology, his often harsh exterior. Rocket was not just a character appear, says Kevin. The hand
Kevinis head of talking animal interacting with humans, he was gestures extended to details such as Rocket
animation atFramestore. a fully rounded character with a backstory who doesnt see himself as a raccoon. We
had to make sure the audience related to him We had to make sure the audience related
the same way as they would with the human
characters. Rocket had to have soul. to him the same way as they would with the
Solving this requirement meant asking such
questions as, what behaviours are human-like human characters. Rocket had to have soul
and what behaviours have a raccoon influence,
and how does a bio-engineered entity blend Kevin Spruce, animation supervisor, Framestore
The space the two? How did Rockets walking pose and
raccoon body attitude relate to his character?

Posturing and attitude

James Gunn decided that certain human
Rocket needed to look characteristics, such as walking upright, fitted
naturalistic, but at the Rockets personality and solved framing
same time he had to be issues with tall characters like Groot. They
able to do things raccoons gave Rocket an Italian attitude and a slightly
dont do. Like shoot hunched pose, yet not so hunched that
people with a big gun. he appeared old. It fits with a raccoons
If you exaggerate his shape, says Kevin, and also gives him a
performance and make slightly dangerous quality and fits with the
him too cartoony youve bio-engineering aspect too. To achieve a Framestores main
lost the audience, but if believable character gait Rocket was entirely creative challenge was
you go too real it wont keyframed. Mocap tests resulted in awkward, creating a believable
be entertaining, explains unconvincing movements it just looked talking, bipedal raccoon:
animation supervisor like a man dressed in a raccoon suit, Kevin one that shoots guns!
Kevin Spruce adds. If you look at a trained dog walking or

3D World December 2014 49

Marvels double act
[ VFX interview ]
Making Groot Human
Ian Dean speaks to MPCs VFX supervisor
Nicolas Aithadi about making a living tree

While Framestore began its Guardians of the Galaxy journey with Rocket,
MPC handled the task of animating a humanoid tree. The prospect had
many pitfalls, how do you avoid making a tree less wooden? As with
Rocket, the challenge laid down by director James Gunn was to make the
character as lovable as possible, help people forget he is digital so he
becomes another character in the film.
Groot only has three words so it made this difficult. Greg Fisher,
our animation supervisor played Groot as we didnt have the voice track
... When we were looking at Greg we noticed the feeling is in the eyes,
we knew we had to limit the shape of the facial features so the eyes
were very important, says Nicolas. The VFX supervisor then spent time
studying x-rays of eyes and medical files.
We discovered the key was in the iris ridges, shadows and rugged
detail exists in the sclera its subtle, but its there. So we textured and
displaced these details so we could get these nice shadows in the render.
We added tissue between the iris and the eyeball to make the transition

We discovered the key was in the iris

ridges, shadows and rugged detail exists in
the sclera its subtle, but its there
Nicolas Aithadi, VFX supervisor, MPC

smoother. It looked good, but it wasnt there; what really made it was
we off-centered the axis, we made Groot a tiny bit cross-eyed; nobody
is perfect and that kind of thing just gave him the edge and changed his
face, Nicolas explains.
It worked, I could watch that character for ages! I think thats what
makes him a really interesting character. A lot of Groots connection is
inthe eyes, the eyes are instrumental in adding depth to the character
its become astandard at MPC of how we want to do eyes now. They
are impressive.
The final character on screen, together with Rocket, proved a success
and helped ensure Guardians of the Galaxy beat expectations. One really
cool thing with this movie is that when critics discussed this movie they
didnt talk about these amazing CG characters but the characters they
are talking about Groot and Rocket in the same way as Chris Pratt, adds
Nicolas. That was a great achievement, to make people forget they are
digital and embrace them as characters.

MPC handled Groot,

whorequired a high level
of complex modelling. He
needed to look rigid like
a tree, but also flexible
enough to animate and
give emotion

3D World December 2014 50

Framestore rebuilt
its fur system to
multi-thread the way
it processed the hair
and to improve the
memory efficiency

Here every nuance, gesture and movement

meant something; too much was confusing,
not enough didnt communicate
Kevin Spruce, animation supervisor, Framestore

never really going much further, explains

Kevin. Here every nuance, gesture and
movement meant something; too much was
confusing, not enough didnt communicate.
Their relationships and synergy with the
other hero characters was paramount. Their
reactions to things the other characters were
saying and doing had to be pitched just right
intone, subtlety and delivery. This is where Framestores sim tool,
Framestores shaders retaining the dexterous characteristics of much of our energy and thought was focused. was rewritten to radically
and R&D team worked real raccoons who use touch to see objects The film utilised Framestores and MPCs full improve collisions, and
together closely on the under water. Rocket was able to use his hands arsenal of top-end talent, in-house software, to provide an array of
fur shaders to bring the without having to visually monitor what hes VFX tools and techniques, which make it shine. new ways the creature
raccoons coat to life doing, an idea that was applied in such shots Find out more about making Rocket at FX teams could direct
as re-wiring and configuring the controls in the
FYI Rockets fur motion
watchtower when they are escaping from the
Kyln Prison. James loved this idea, of Rocket
being dexterous and intelligent, and how that
could translate into some of the sequences,
says Kevin. Everyone at Marvel would pitch
in with ideas if they had a strong feeling about
something, and James had an instant gut
feeling for what worked character-wise.

The nature of the beast

The director also wanted to play down grand
or repetitive gestures in favour of more
naturalistic and casual movements. James
wanted Rocket to havean organic, natural
feel, explains Kevin. Characters with depth
are always more challenging, from a character
animation perspective: Many CG characters
in film are on a journey going from point A to
point B, saying their lines along the way, but

3D World December 2014 51


Practical tips and tutorials from pro
artists to improve your CG skills

58 video Game environment part 2: Textures

Andrew Finch shows you how totexture a video game environment

in the
All you need
for our tutorials 54 render photoreal skin 60 create a favela scene 64 create explosive FX
vault/3dw188 Get started in Pixars RenderMan 19 Procedurally model a detailed cityscape Vikrant J Dalals training on realistic effects
Visit the Vault to add this issues
video tutorials and associated
screenshots and source files
toyour personal library

Download video and resource

files by simply visiting this issues Vault
website and clicking the links

Download video from the Vault

if you see this icon 68 how to weather a scene 75 KEY TECHNIQUE: Keyshot 5 76 build a mountain scene
Master Mayas nParticles and Bifrost Shaun Redsar delves into the Labels tool rs Brczy shows you Vues fractal nodes

3D World December 2014 53

Tutorials Use RenderMan 19 to
Rendering photorealistic skin create a production-
quality renders; create
a stylised version
of the classic Steve
Martin arrow gag

3D World December 2014 54

RenderMan 19 | ZBRUSH | MAYA

create a photoreal
model in RenderMan
Harsh Agrawal uses the new RIS framework in RenderMan
to render a production-quality human head

his tutorial will show you how Well explore the workflows a detailed breakdown of
to create a photorealistic involved in manipulating the scan RenderMans advanced skin
human head using the data in ZBrush to extract texture shader, which is a fully ray-traced
advanced features of RenderMan, maps for our shaders. Then well solution, and highlight some
version 19. This version delivers a set up our scene in Maya using important techniques for getting
Artist profile new rendering mode called RIS, the physically based shading the most realistic skin possible.
Harsh Agrawal which is designed to be fast and and lighting tools in RenderMan I have included a link to a head
Harsh Agrawal is a easy to use, while generating Studio. Well use new workflows scan, with a basic skin shader
19-year-old CG artist production-quality renders. and traditional techniques to attached. Download the asset
interning at Pixar. Well start with a raw scan render out different components from
He likes to combine of a real person, and because and combine them together for and use RenderMan 19 to light and
aesthetics with his RenderMan can handle extremely our final high-quality image. shade your own head using the
technical skills to complex datasets, we can quickly This tutorial is structured techniques shown in this tutorial.
create digital content. render high-quality images using the familiar CG pipeline, The raw scan data is provided by straight from the original scan from sculpt to render. To fully Ten24 (
without bothering with topology, demonstrate how to create Download the resources from
displacement maps, and so on. photorealistic skin, Ive included

Cleaning up the data

It is good idea to delete
the eye from the scan
mesh and create a new
separate object for it,
because each surface
requires specialised shaders

1 Refining the scan data 2 Setting the stage

Topics covered First I take the scan data and clean the mesh and The concept is to create a stylised version of the
Rendering photorealistic skin add the pore details using alphas in ZBrush. Make classic Steve Martin arrow gag, so I need to simulate
with subsurface scattering sure to delete the eye from the scan mesh as each the model standing on a stage. I establish this using
Advanced workflows surface requires specalised shaders. For our look- scene layout and set dressing. I import the head
for creating hair development purposes we will simply take the high into Maya and model a suit for him. Then I add the
Managing over-modelled polygon model and export it from ZBrush as an high-poly details in ZBrush, auto unwrapping the UVs
scan data .obj file, but for a real production we could spend based on poly-paint details. I add a microphone
Physically based more time cleaning the topology for animation and and placed a drapery in the background using
lighting and shading generating displacement maps. Mayas nCloth.

3D World December 2014 55

Rendering photorealistic skin

Expert tip
Defining details
You can sculpt details
like pores and cavities
in the skin with a
higher depth because
small details like that 3 Choosing a camera lens 4 Physically based lighting
get diffused out The camera is placed looking up at the subject. I want to create modern stage lighting with saturated
with subsurface I match my Maya camera settings to a Canon EF colours, so I use RenderMans physically based spot-
scattering during 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS II USM lens. Being a zoom lens lights and set their colour temperatures to achieve
the final render. it gets rid of convex distortions in the image. After a the warm and cool contrast I desire. I place bright
few adjustments I come up with a length of 170mm warm key lights pointing down onto the head, and
in Maya, with a wide aperture to give a shallow depth add fill lights to provide cool contrast. I use a rim light
of field that pops the head out from the background. to accentuate the stubble on his face. Progressive
RenderMan provides camera controls for stylising re-rendering in RenderMan speeds up my process as
bokeh, which I use to achieve the final look. it allows me to light interactively.

the skin shader 5 Shading skin colour

RenderMans skin shader, The skin shader uses a three-layer subsurface model
PxrSkin, was is used for and gives you a lot of control over ray penetration
shading the skin. Any length and the scattering weight at each point. The
variations in skin like RenderMan skin shader uses a proprietary method
thickness, fat, veins and so to calculate an accurate approximation of physically
on can be shown through correct subsurface scattering, and because this
colour variations in the maps solution is fully ray-traced, look dev is accelerated
with interactive rendering. I start by painting
epidermal, sub-dermal and back scatter colour maps.

Radical rendering
Re-rendering using RIS
One great benefit of RenderMans
RIS mode is being able to use
re-rendering or incremental
rendering to get immediate
feedback and quick interactive
render times. You can
immediately see if you have
chosen SSS parameters that are
wrong: colour or diffusion lengths
are simple to tweak and carry out
look development.
6 Shading skin reflections
To give the skin a more realistic response, I paint
aspecular map based on the skins cavities to
remove the highlights in the cavities, giving it
more detail by modulating the specularity over
thesurface. I also paint a roughness map (left)
basedon specific grey values to control the wetness/
oil on the skin. Getting the specular response correct
is a key component in creating photorealistic skin.

3D World December 2014 56

Expert tip
Optimising options
RenderMan gives you a
stats file that contains
all the data regarding
your render, render time,
ray hits, total number of
rays and other sampling
information that can
be used to optimise
your scene.

7 setting parameters
The skin shader allows you to connect weight maps
to control the penetration of rays at each point.
I paint a far length map to control the amount of
subsurface scattering at different parts of the face.
Parts of the head like the ear and thin cartilage
showmore subsurface scattering because they
Parts of the head like
are thin, but you also have the option to control
the weight and length of penetration to increase
the ear and thin cartilage
scattering as desired.
showmore subsurface
scattering because
they are thin

renderman hair shader

The RenderMan hair shader,
RMSHair, is used to get the
hair rendered with round curve
attributes. This mode also allows
me to use the holdout shader
available in REYES (Render
Everything Youve Ever Seen)
8 Shading the tie 9 The hair setup mode to get shadows as alpha
The tie is shaded using RenderMans General RenderMan contains two different rendering to comp the hair on top of the
Purpose Shader (PxrGPSurface). A high sheen modes: a modern ray-tracing mode called RIS, and head rendered in RIS mode
value and higher specular roughness give a diffuse the traditional memory-efficient REYES algorithm.
shading model for cloth. With a repeated weave I use the REYES mode to render curves as hair, as
pattern in the float displacement channel, a cloth the REYES-based hair shader in RenderMan Studio
shader is quickly created. A RenderMan Walking quickly gives me the results I want. As you have
Teapot repeated pattern is made in Photoshop and access to both REYES and RIS modes, you can render
used as a tiled texture for Diffuse Color. different elements of the composition in different
modes and get benefits from both.

renderman for free

Use Pixars rendering tech
With the release of version
19, RenderMan is now freely
available for all non-commercial
use, without watermark or other
limitation. Its also the very same
renderer Pixar uses on its own
projects, such as its new animated
10 Rendering short, Lava. So try Pixars
The RIS mode provides different integrators to advanced rendering technology
render images. This image was rendered with the for free and follow along
Path Tracer integrator. With this integrator, there are with this tutorial using Pixars
various sampling options available to get a high- RenderMan for Maya. You can
quality render and to do render optimisations. The learn more about non-commercial
BxDF and light samples settings can be adjusted to RenderMan here:
get rid of noise. If you see noise in specific areas of
the render, switch to Manual Sampling mode and non-commercial
increase the subsurface samples on it.

3D World December 2014 57

Video game scene creation

the video
If you see the Play icon, click the link!


game environment
In part two of our six-part series, Andrew Finch takes you through the
steps to texture a professional-looking environment for a video game

art one of this series guided This can be tricky to do, but its to manipulate photographs
you through the process important to get this part of the to create diffuse and specular
of creating a professional process correct in order to get textures. I tend to create most
portfolio piece a realistic the most pixel density for your of my own textures but there are
environment in a short space of textures possible. a lot of free photo galleries on
Artist profile time, with very basic assets, using UVs are also important in the web that you can use to make
Andrew Finch the brand new Unreal Engine games engines because you your own images.
Andrew is a senior 4. We also looked at modelling can use a second UV channel for I use CrazyBump to create
environment and modular assets and exporting light baking, which Unreal uses normal maps because its a
lighting artist them into Unreal Engine, texturing when building the lighting the powerful piece of software
at Codemasters in Photoshop and setting up the more UV space used the higher and is very good at converting
Game Studio in PBS shaders in Unreal to apply resolution the shadows will be, normal maps from photo-sourced
Birmingham. He has to the assets. Finally we looked which will in turn improve the textures; via its user-friendly
been in the industry at lighting the scene and setting end result of your work. Textures interface you can create a wide
for seven years. up the assets properties, adding for games engines are always range of normal maps for hard
www.andrewfinch. that extra level of polish to your made to the power of two due to or soft edges, making it ideal for artwork to make it stand out from fundamental rules in the hardware environment artwork. This tutorial
the rest and look professional. of games consoles, so making will cover unwrapping an asset for
The next step is to create the sure your textures are sized at texturing and lighting and also the
Topics covered textures for your assets, one of my 1024x1024 pixels (for example) is process of creating the diffuse,
UV unwrapping favourite tasks in creating game very important. specular and normal maps used in
Creating diffuse maps art. In this part, we will cover I use two pieces of software for the game engine.
Creating specular maps unwrapping your assets UVs to creating my textures, Photoshop For all the assets you need go to
Creating normal maps use the most UV space possible. and CrazyBump. I use Photoshop

3D World December 2014 58

pack UV clusters
The Pack tool is a time-
saving tool that packs
your UV clusters tightly
into the UV space
Click TO PLAY Video ensuring no overlapping occurs. Its useful for
UV mapping the light
1 UV unwrapping 2 Finalising UV unwrapping baking channel
To unwrap an asset like this garage door modular To finish the UV stage, you must unwrap a second
piece, use the Flatten Mapping tool in the Edit UVs UV channel this is essential as Unreal bakes to this
window. This automatically planar-maps the polys channel and we dont want any overlapping UVs.
at certain angles to get you the flattest mapping Luckily the first set of UVs are quite clean and no
possible. Use Edge Stitch to weld the edges overlapping occurs, so we can just simply copy the
together and move the UV clusters to the correct UV channel 1 to UV channel 2. Add a second UVW Expert tip
place. Once the main chunks of the asset are welded Unwrap modifier and switch to Map Channel 2. You Using the UV layer
together, move them into a suitable place and scale will be prompted to Move or Abandon the UVs; as a guide
them to get the best pixel density for the textures. choose Move, as this will copy UV 1 to UV 2. Duplicate the UV
render, move it to the
top of the layer stack
and set it to Colour
Dodge. This provides
guidelines to work with
so you can correctly
line up textures to
the model.

Making a natural
wall surface
Click TO PLAY Video Colouring your brick work with different
shades of white, grey
3 Creating the Diffuse map 4 Finalising diffuse map and black will give your
Render out the UVs from Max using the Render Add weathering to the wall by importing greyscale normal map an uneven
UV tool in the Unwrap modifier. I rendered to grunge maps and multiply the layer in Photoshop surface, pushing and
a 1,024x1,024 texture and imported this into so they blend in with the wall texture. I like to fake pulling the individual
Photoshop. Search for suitable free textures online ambient occlusion to some areas of the walls by bricks in and out and
and import them into Photoshop. Here I used a brick painting in soft black areas and setting opacity to enhancing the natural,
wall photo. Using Clone, mask areas of the photo to low, this helps to give the asset some definition when realistic look we are
create a seamless section of brick wall. Next, move its baked in the engine. Its quick and dirty, but gives attempting to achieve
the wall section to the 1,024x1,024 texture page and the effect I am looking for. Adding details like graffiti
clone it until it fills the brick wall UV area. to the texture page gives it more realism.

Click TO PLAY Video

5 Specular map 6 Creating the Normal map stitch tools

The specular map gives lighting information for our Use a greyscale version of the diffuse (height) map Stitch edge tools are
surfaces. The whiter the texture the more specular as a base and start to paint over light and dark areas very handy. Selecting
or gloss it will have, the darker the texture the more that you want to be pushed in or pulled out in the an edge and clicking
matte it will be. In this example, you can see the normal map. Remove the grunge and graffiti layers the Stitch tool will
metallic garage door will be quite a shiny surface, so from your height map, then bring it into CrazyBump. move and weld the
it is almost completely white in our texture; the brick Once CrazyBump has finish calculating the normals, correct UV cluster
work would not be shiny so it is a dark grey. Keep turn the medium to large details right down to perfect for manually
the dirty grunge texture included as this will help to reduce lumpy, rounded edges; keep the fine detail unwrapping
show a variation of specular levels on the surface. high to pick out the rough concrete surface details. complex assets

3D World December 2014 59

Modelling with CityEngine

the video
If you see the Play icon, click the link!

CityEngine | Maya | Cinema 4D | Photoshop | Maxwell Render

Create a procedurally
Matthias Buehler takes you through his pipeline
for creating a stunning photorealistic favela scene

reating 3D cities is a But CityEngine is still unknown steps of the project. First, we
daunting task. The to many, especially in regard to will see how the city layout was
modelling and texturing what it can deliver. The reason designed. Secondly, youll learn
to achieve a believable style and why I started my Favela project how the buildings, faades and
variety of buildings is complex, was to get this information out roofs are organised in CityEngine,
Artist profile and so is handling the huge there. The setting of the project and how details are added to
Matthias Buehler amounts of data created. We is a fictional hobby room, where those. Then, we will have a look
After graduating in 2007, have all seen the many stunning a group of people are creating a at street, vegetation and cable
Matthias worked in cities created for video games miniature Favela city model. Soon creation. Next, the pipeline
landscape architecture, and movies; almost all of these after I started this project, I asked design: geometry export and
arch-viz and was part were created manually, using all my friend Cyrill Oberhaensli, if automatic material creation.
of the CityEngine sorts of tricks. However, by using he wanted to join me and help Lastly well cover how to use
development team CityEngine, this process becomes me out: I was keen to utilise his MEL to load all the created data
for almost five years. much more efficient: For the invaluable knowledge from his into the manually modelled room
He now he works at first time, there is an application own indie game Bunker 16. setting in Maya for rendering.
Garsdale Design. available that is solely dedicated In this training, I will guide you For all the assets you need go to to modelling cities. through the most important ten

Expert tip
Analyze Graph Tool
Select some street graphs
and run the Analyze Graph
Tool to automatically
calculate and then set
realistic street widths.

Click TO PLAY Video


Setting a realistic city layout is crucial to creating Next I create a procedural rule that takes a parcel as
a convincing urban context. I use CityEngines an input geometry and places individual footprints
Dynamic City Layouts toolset: it allows you to on which the building volume creation is based.
Topics covered manually draw street networks and grow streets in After studying many reference images and a bit of
City layout patterns, to fill in larger empty areas. CityEngine trial and error, I come up with a ruleset that mimicks
Building volumes and faades provides a handy tool (Graph>Analyze Graph) to the distribution of building volumes I am looking
Street details, vegetation and cables calculate and set realistic street widths, which saves a for. I add variety in the number of floors, setbacks,
Scripted pipelines lot of time. Each city block is subdivided into parcels, volume changes and shifts, and add code that makes
Loading data into Maya using the standard block subdivision functionality. the volumes adapt to the terrain.

3D World December 2014 60

To render the miniature model
as realistically as possible,
Matthias uses Maxwell Render.
Notice the simulated artificial
floodlight mimicking the sun

3D World December 2014 61

Modelling with CityEngine

Expert tip
Facade Wizard
The Facade Wizard
is an efficient tool
to create procedural
facade rules with
a series of simple
mouse clicks.
A library of 60 procedural facade rules are created, Favelas have all sorts of roof types, so I add
using the Facade Wizard, which can adapt to any some realistic randomness to the various types
facade dimension, based on 60 facade image of buildings; using certain percentages, gable,
snippets collected. After postprocessing each rule, hip and flat roofs can be created. Then I add wall
each facade produces additional polygons that serve structures that imply that the top floor is still under
as placeholder regions to scatter different assets: construction. The according roof type attribute can
pipes, ACs, cable connector points, electric boxes, be manually set to a specific type. Additionally, for
peeling off plaster, scaffolds and other things to rooftop walls, the material can be defined (metallic,
improve the facades volumetric appearance. mineral and so on).

Expert tip
Low-poly modelling
Creating assets to be
distributed throughout the
favela model is similar to
creating game assets.Visit
to play Cyrills indie game
Bunker 16 to see an
example of these
assets in use.

To distribute the many roof assets that I have
hand modelled, I create an asset distribution rule.
In functions, define the asset mix, distances and
maximum array sizes in which an asset could appear.
This means that some assets are placed only as
individual objects, while others are placed in groups.
This distribution rule can then be used on balconies,
Expert tip interiors and on rooftops.
Using recursions (rules
calling themselves
multiple times)
can offer creative
results with just a
little code. Try it!

Creating cities
Procedural modelling
uses algorithms to
produce intricate
geometry quickly from
a set of specifications 6 STREETS 7 VEGETATION
I keep the street geometries rather simple: the Just as an exercise, I write a plant creation rule to
two main features are the broken stone slabs and create my own vegetation assets. It is complex
the distribution of rocks. Procedural rules work on and features about 100 attributes of things I want
arbitrary input geometries, so you can create an to control, such as branch length, trunk diameter,
infinite variety of precise geometries. Driven by well- number of leaves per twig and branch generations,
defined randomness, some slabs are split into smaller and even gravity. My export pipeline (see step 9)
pieces, then slightly rotated and scaled or deleted. allows each leaf material to be translated into a
The rocks are not simply instances of pre-modelled sophisticated shader with translucency, normal map,
rocks: each one actually has a unique geometry. roughness map and thin-poly SSS.

3D World December 2014 62

8 Adding cABLES
To sell the realism of the favela, we need cables and
clotheslines. I use a Python script that processes the
building and power line models. Each rule reports
potential connection points and directions for both
electric cables and clotheslines. Those points are
collected, compared and filtered (distance, max
angles, max number of connections) to find valid
connections and calculate the catenary curve, which
is then used to produce the actual cable. Automation
Python scripting
If you have never done any
scripting, I highly recommend
to do so. My background is in
architecture, so I have never
properly learned how to program.
But I can assure you its time
well invested, because you can
automate all sorts of things
that would take you an endless
amount of time to do manually!
Check if your 3D application
has Python or another scripting
language embedded.

I create a one-click exporter Python script that Expert tip
directly produces exported files for final-quality Set your pipeline
geometry and material definitions, based on the .obj No matter how big or
file format and Maxwell Render. When exporting the small your CG project is,
vegetation, instead of just exporting all plants as raw define the full pipeline
geometry, I use a reporting workflow to get position before starting the work.
and type for each plant in the scene. The result is Especially with iterative
new MEL code that can directly be run in Maya to design work, you will
efficiently instantiate plant objects. save a lot of time
this way.

Render pipeline
Matthias pipeline is based
on the .obj file format and
Maxwell Render, because
.obj is an Ascii format that
can be parsed, and Maxwell
10 Finalising the scene 11 Using Maxwell Render Render has a Python API
The artistic goal of this project is the creation of a As myself and Cyrill are using Maxwell Render, I (pyMaxwell) that enables
hobby room, in which imaginary people are creating am confident that every render we start will work him to create the final
a physical miniature model of a favela. You may as intended. It is crucial that if two people create material definitions needed
notice that the model is not yet completely finished. assets independently, that the material definitions
Everything in the hobby room setting except the will just work, regardless of asset size, scene size or
actual favela model is created manually, most of test scene lighting. Maxwells unbiased nature allows
it modelled using Cinema 4D. All elements in this this to work, but due to the strong DOF, we have to
interior scene are modelled with as much detail as abandon our goal of rendering the animation that we
possible and textured as realistically as possible. have prepared, and instead create a set of stills.

3D World December 2014 63

Explosive effects

the video
If you see the Play icon, click the link!

3ds Max | FumeFX | After Effects

Create realistic
Create explosive effects in 3ds Max using
the FumeFX plug-in with Vikrant J Dalal

his tutorial will look at how would need a lot of time to go of the effect. The first step in this
you can make explosive through, so as far as this particular process is to clarify what type of
effects, like those seen in scene is concerned, we will learn explosive effect you are going to
war films, game cinematics and as much as required for this create a fire, an explosion on
sci-fi films, such as Transformers, particular tutorial. an oil rig, a bomb going off so
Artist profile Pearl Harbor, Battleship and There are different techniques do your research and gather
Vikrant J Dalal many others. you can use to make this effect in extensive reference before
Vikrant has worked in There are number of plug- FumeFx, such as Simple Source, starting work on the actual shot.
the VFX and graphic ins in 3ds Max that can create Object Source or Particle Source, Creating explosive effects
design industry for these explosive effects, such as but for this scene we are going to in FumeFx is very interesting,
eight years. He has FumeFX, Afterburn and Phoenix use Simple Source. because you cant define one
started his own VFX FD. Many big animation and VFX Before you start working on certain pipeline to create the
studio, Project01 studios use FumeFX software in this kind of effect, you should effect. Depending on your own
Design Studio, which their pipeline as it gives good have good knowledge of real- understanding of the tools and
provides VFX, graphic effects, is trustworthy and most world scale. You must know what techniques, and how you use your
design and tutorials. importantly user friendly. the height and diameter of the creativity and these tools, you
project01studio. To create this effect, we explosion will be, what type of will generate different types of are going to use 3ds Max and explosion you want to create, and effects every time. So now, lets
FumeFx. I am not going to cover what the speed of the explosion get started!
each and every parameter of this should be. A combination of all For all the assets you need go to
software, as this is very vast and these factors will decide the scale

Click TO PLAY Video

1 FumeFX Simple Source 2 Modify Simple Source

To create the explosion, we will need two things, We have to change the shape of Sources: make two
FumeFX Simple Source and FumeFX Container. With of them cylindrical and one spherical. Now select
the help of FumeFX Simple Source, we will generate FFX Src 01, go to the Modify panel and make the
Topics covered and control the fire and smoke. We will use three FFX following changes: turn off the Fuel after certain
FumeFX Simple Sources. To create FFX Simple Source, go frames, as we dont want continued emission of
Simple Sources to Create Panel>Helpers and select FumeFX. Click fire and smoke; then turn off the Smoke. Now we
Containers on the Simple Src button and Generate In Viewport. have to change the velocity we will use the same
Simulation Place these three sources in position with the correct parameters for all Simple Sources except velocity,
Rendering rotation (refer to the video in the Vault). which will be different in each case.

3D World December 2014 64

big bangs
Harness the power
of FumeFX to create
dynamic fire and
smoke simulations

3D World December 2014 65

Explosive effects

contain the fire

Creating a container in
FumeFX is the starting
point, this is your box
to hold in your effect

3 Create FumeFX Container

Lets create our FumeFX container. Go to Create
Panel>Geometry and click on FumeFx in the drop-
down menu. Now select FumeFx and generate the
container in the viewport, then modify its settings:
make the Spacing 0.7 and Size 550x550x500, then
set the output and playback range from 0 to 100. Go
to Output Path and make a new folder, saving your
cache file as explosion_test. Now go to Obj/Src and
add our FFX Simple Source to the Object tab.

Making an impact
Use particles for explosions
In this tutorial we have used
FumeFX Simple Source, which is a
good option to create explosions.
But if you are good at using the
Particle Flow System, this can 4 Simulation settings
also give you a good output. This Under Simulation, change the following settings:
is because its easy to control make the Quality 7 and Iteration 100. In System, set
particles for speed, turbulence Gravity to 0.5, Vorticity 1.0 and Turbulence should be
and so on, and then you have animated (Frame 1 to 15, Turbulence 2.0 and after
to just add these particles into that 0.1), for Turbulence Noise set Scale 1.0, Frame to
FumeFX Particle Source. Particles 5.0 and Details 5.0. X, Y and Z should be set to None
will help to create a better shape in Blocking Sides. Under Fuel Parameters, make burn
with more impact. rate 15, increase the expansion to 3.0, turn on Fire
creates Smoke and increase the amount to 10.0.

5 Start the Simulation 6 Rendering Parameters

We have already made all the necessary changes in When the simulation is finished, its time to assign
FumeFX Simple Source, so there is only one thing some colour to smoke. We will start with the Fire tab,
that remains to be done, and that is the simulation so go to Fire Color and create a gradient, such as
itself. Hit the Simulation button it will take around orange on the left and black on the right. Then go
six to seven hours to simulate 100 frames depending to Smoke Color and set to: R:0 G:0 B:0. With Smoke
on your computers configuration, the details of the Color set to Solid Color, make it R:39 G:39 B:39. The
smoke and the scale of scene. opacity should be set to 0.8, and check both the Cast
Shadows and Receive Shadows boxes.

3D World December 2014 66

Click TO PLAY Video

7 Lighting 8 FumeFX Illumination adding depth

We will have three lights, two omnis and a target After setting up the lights, select the FumeFX Using the Illumination
spot. For the first omni, set the position to X:-700, container and got to Illumination. Then add our Parameters helps to
Y:-330, Z:175. Turn on Shadows, turn on Atmosphere lights into the Lights tab by clicking Pick Lights. Then cast light from the fire
Shadows with Multiplier 0.6 and Color set to White. make the following changes in Multiple Scattering, against the smoke,
For the second omni set the position X:-530, Y:-500, because we want some Fire illumination on Smoke: adding depth to your
Z:80, and the same Shadow parameters except the turn on Multiple Scattering, then increase Maximum explosion simulation
Multiplier (0.35). For the spot, light position is X:600, Depth to 6, keep Fire and Smoke Strength as default
Y:-300, Z:980 and target X:0, Y: 0, Z:200. Set the same and increase Falloff to 10.5.
Shadow parameters except the Multiplier (0.8).

Expert tip
Use real footage
In this tutorial, we have
created our explosion on a grey
background. Another option is
to shoot any live scene using
a camcorder and try to add an
explosion into that footage this
will give you a better idea of real
lighting, compositing and also
how to create a complete visual
effects shot, from shooting,
camera tracking, FX and
9 Rendering compositing. Also remember
For the final rendering of fire and smoke, we will to add extra elements,
use the Default Scanline Renderer. To render fire such as dust, debris
and smoke elements separately, press F10 and go and objects.
to Render Element Section, then add FumeFX Fire
and FumeFX Smoke elements into this tab. Set the
Frame Range and Output Resolution as per your
requirements. Now save the Render Output Path
and hit the Render button.

10 Post with After Effects adjust elements

Now we can composite our Fire and Smoke Tweaking the various
elements. Load these layers in to the After Effects composite elements
Timeline and assign some effects. Lets start with can enhance your fire
Fire add Color Balance, some Sharpen and Glow and smoke simulation
effects. Now select the Smoke layer and add some
effects, such as Brightness and Contrast, and
some sharpen. Play with the parameters to get the
effects you want for a more realistic look, adding or
modifying tools to create your own explosions.

3D World December 2014 67

Using Bifrost & nParticles

the video
If you see the Play icon, click the link!

Maya 2015

add weather using

Bifrost & nParticles
Antony Ward shows you how to use Mayas powerful
dynamicssystems toweather a dramatic scene

hen it comes to working Event Editor, Bifrost Liquid simulations interactively in
with particles or fluids, Simulation and Particle Caching. Viewport 2.0, helping you to
the results can be as You will take a prebuilt model develop photorealistic results
unpredictable as the weather. of a girl out for an evening run quickly andeasily.
Trying to control them can often and use nParticles to add dynamic Its been designed to be
Artist profile feel like shouting aimlessly into and interactive rain. In addition accessible even to non-technical
Antony Ward astorm; your voice vanishing into to this you will also enlist the use directors, and adds a high level of
Antony has been a clap of thunder. of Bifrost to create and simulate a realism to animated scenes. What
provoking pixels In this tutorial we will be puddle erupting as she splashes you will see from this tutorial is
since the early throwing caution to the wind as through it. that creating dynamic rain and a
1990s. In that time we look at creating two, yes two nParticles have been a part detailed, animated splash doesnt
he has worked for dynamics simulations in the same of Maya for a while now, but always have to come down to
some of todays scene, (not counting the other Bifrost, a powerful yet simplistic modelling or sculpting. Not when
leadingstudios existing system, her hair, which is fluid simulation system is a you have nParticles and Bifrost to
and written three another tutorial entirely). more recent addition and well do all the hard work for you.
technical manuals. Over the next few page we will worth investigating. Essentially For all the assets you need go to cover nParticles, Particle Collision Bifrost enables you to preview

cube emitter
Once created, simply
scaleyour new cube
emitter so the character
fitsnicely inside it

Click TO PLAY Video

1 Create a Rain Cloud 2 Turn Snow into Rain

To create your rain you dont need to head outside When you play the simulation, the particles will begin
and perform a complex dance ritual, for this tutorial to form inside the cube and fall towards the ground.
all you need is an emitter. To create one simply go to The problem is they currently resemble snow rather
nParticles>Create nParticles>Create Emitter. In the than rain. To correct this, select your new Emitter
Topics covered options set Emitter Type to Volume and make sure and in the Attribute Editor go to the nParticleShape1
nParticles Volume Shape is set to Cube. This will give you a tab. Scroll down to the Shading tab and change the
Particle Collision Event Editor boxin which the rain will form and fall inside of. Particle Render Type from Points to Streak. This gives
Bifrost Liquid Simulation you more of a line, which better represents blurred,
Particle Caching streaks associated with falling rain.

3D World December 2014 68

make a splash
Use nParticles to
add dynamic and
interactive rain, and
Bifrost to simulate a
puddle splash

3D World December 2014 69

Using Bifrost & nParticles

Expert tip
Particle attributes
If you adjust your
particle attributes once 3 Create Wind 4 Rain Collisions
they have been cached Your streaks of rain are now falling towards the The rain is now falling towards your character, but its
to disk, make sure you ground, but ideally you want them to be blown not interacting with her or the ground just yet. You
recache them or disable towards the character. To add wind to the scene you next need to make the scene elements collide so the
the cache. You wont need to look at the Nucleus node, which was created rain particles will interact with them. To do this select
see your changes with the rain particles. Select the nucleus1 node and the floor mesh and go to nMesh > Create Passive
unless you do. scroll down to the Gravity and Wind tab. Set Wind Collider. Also repeat this step for the character
Direction to -1 in Z axis and then adjust Wind Speed model. Your models will now have nRigidShape
and Air Density, which activate and control the nodes connected to them meaning that the rain
power of the wind. willnow hit and interact with them as it falls.

With the Particle Collision 5 CreatE an Event 6 Droplet Explosions

Making the rain interact with the other models With the Particle Collision Event Editor you can
Event Editor you can specify incollides
thescene is a good start, but in reality as rain
with a solid surface it explodes into other
specify what the particles should do when they
collide with another element. Under Event Type
what the particles should droplets. You now want to mimic this in the scene,
and to do this you can use the Particle Collision
setType to Split, as you want your raindrop to
splitinto more droplets as it hits another model.
do when they collide Event Editor. Select the nParticle1 node and go to
nParticles>Particle Collision Event Editor to open
Now you can use the other options like Adjust
Spread and Number of Particles to edit the look
with another element thenew window. ofthe simulation.

7 Wind Influence
Now you have the rain exploding as it hits the
ground, but the wind you added earlier is effecting
the droplets, pushing them back at too fasta rate.
Select the new nParticleShape2. Now you need to
goto the Dynamic Properties tab and check the
box next to Ignore Solver Wind. The global wind
will no longer effect these particles, yet they will
stillmaintain some of the initial momentum of the
first particles descent.

3D World December 2014 70

set the attributes
Play with the Stickiness
and Friction attributes to
make the droplets slide
down the characters body

Click TO PLAY Video

8 Enhance the Explosion

Now you have the particles colliding with the floor
you can start to experiment with how they interact
with it. If you select the Floor model and go to
the nRigidShape1 node you will see the option to
adjust various properties like Bounce, Stickiness
andFriction. As the names suggest these attributes
will influence how the new droplets react to the
floor, so increasing the amount of Bounce will lift

9 Specify a lifespan 10 make the droplets fade

As you let the playback run, youll notice a lag As a final step you can also make each droplet
on your systems performance as the amount of fade away rather than simply vanishing. On the
particles in the scene begin to build up. There are nParticleShape2 node scroll down to the Opacity
a few ways you can tackle this, but one is to force Scale tab. The first step is to adjust the graph. This
the particles to vanish after a set period of time. will dictate the overall opacity value of the particles
Initially specifying a Lifespan will help. Select your over time. So if it begins at 1, which is fully visible,
nParticleShape2 node and under the Lifespan set the value at the right hand side to 0 meaning the
tab change Lifespan Mode from Live Forever to droplets will be fully transparent.

Set Opacity Scale Input

toNormalize Age, meaning
that this will effect each
particle over the duration
of its lifespan

11 Add Variety to DropletS adding variety

You now have to specify the attributes that will use The graph which controls
this graph. Set Opacity Scale Input to Normalize the droplets radius, found
Age, meaning that this will effect each particle over under the Radius Scale tab,
the duration of its lifespan. So ideally they will fade is exactly the same, so you
away before they die. Finally set Input Max to 2 and can repeat these steps to
Radius Scale Randomize to 1 to add a bit of variety vary each droplets size
toeach droplet.

3D World December 2014 71

Using Bifrost & nParticles

caChing Click TO PLAY Video

The sim

12 CreatE the Puddle 13 Form the Liquid

bifrost error Now that the rain in the scene is set, lets turn our Now you have an emitter you can use it to create a
WorkAround attention to the splash. To create this you will be
using Bifrost. Before you begin you will need an
liquid. Select the Puddle_Emitter object and go to
Bifrost>Create Liquid. By default the emitter will be
emitter, just like you had with the rain, but this time set to continuously pour out water, like a running
you will be using actual geometry. This will give you tap. If you press Play in the Time Slider you will see
a fixed volume of water to use, and also allow you this happening. However, for this simulation you
todictate the exact shape of the puddle. ideally want a set volume of water. Before you move
on, select the Puddle_Emitter object and set Bifrost
Liquid Continuous Emission to Off.

One when you see red...

While attempting to cache the
Bifrost simulation you may come
across an error just as we did in
the accompanying videos. This
will show up as red in the Time
Slider. This can be due to there
being other systems in the same
scene, like nParticle and nHair.

14 Evaluation Colours 15 Capture the Puddle

To see the Bifrost simulation in action, play the The liquid will now be forming, but as it falls it will
animation. If you select the bifrostLiquid1 node just drop endlessly off the screen. Next you need
as you do this, you can also visualise what Bifrost to specify a container which will catch and hold the
Two caching the simulation is doing as the Time Slider will begin to change puddle. This is where a second, Puddle_Container
To get around this, make sure colour. It will start out as yellow, meaning these are model is crucial. Select the bifrostLiquid1 node
you save your file and then the frames Bifrost intends to evaluate. This will be and the Puddle_Container and go to Bifrost>Add
simply delete the hair and rain, followed by green which indicates these frames have Collider. Now the liquid will gather and begin to
removing them and associated been evaluated and stored in the temporary Scratch spillout of the container.
elements from the scene. Cache. (If the evaluation isnt updated, delete the
Now when you try to cache Scratch Cache to doing Bifrost>Flush Scratch Cache.)
the Bifrost simulation again,
itshould work.

Three enable disk cache

When done, dont save the file;
instead reload the previously Click TO PLAY Video
saved scene. Now select the
Bifrost Liquid node and disable
Scratch Cache and turn on Enable 16 One Giant Step
Disk Cache. Simply point the The puddle should now be nicely formed and
cache to the newly created files contained, so the next stage is to create the splash.
and they will load into the scene. To do this you need to animate the foot landing
in the puddle and Bifrost will take care of the rest.
Using a duplicate of the existing foot modelrather
than the whole character should help to speed up
the evaluation time. With the foot model selected,
add the bifrostLiquid1 node and goto Bifrost>Add
Collider to begin simulating the splash.

3D World December 2014 72

Expert tip
Make particles vanish
One way to speed up your
rain particle simulation is
to enable Die On Emission
Volume Exit when you
create the emitter. This
will make any particle
which strays outside
the volume vanish.
Click TO PLAY Video

17 Solidify Your Splash 18 Adjust Your Droplets render quality

As Bifrost evaluates the splash the particles will With Meshing Enabled you will now see a model Meshing Smoothing
erupt from the puddle and into the air. This gives representation of the puddle. It will take a while to controls how much
you a good idea of how the puddle will look once calculate so you dont want this option enabled all the model is smoothed
rendered, but if you do render at this stage it may the time. You can now adjust the scale of any overly oncerendered
look a little odd, and almost appear to lose its large droplets, so change Meshing Surface Radius
solidity. To enhance the overall appearance of the toaround 0.9 and Meshing Droplet Radius to 0.25.
splash when you render, and help you to visualise
how it looks in the viewport, select the Bifrost1 node
and turn on Meshing Enable.

Click TO PLAY Video

19 Playing With Voxels 20 Drip, Drop set the start frame

Adjusting the meshing options is just a small part Other options help to control how droplets are You can also specify
of configuring your splash. The actual Bifrost Liquid formed. Droplet Threshold controls how many a StartFrame for the
node holds many more toys for you to play with; droplets, or how much spray will be generated. simulation so you dont
all will enhance the appearance of every drop, Avalue of 1 will give almost none, whereas smaller always have a long run
and control how the fluid animates. For example, values will produce more. Droplet Mergeback upif the splash happens
Master Voxel Size dictates the global voxel scale, a Depthdictates how close the droplets need to be later in the animation
smaller value gives more detail, but also increases before they merge back into the main body of water.
calculation time. Vorticity controls the amount of
swirl the liquid will have as it moves.

Caching the particle and

liquid animations is vital;
it speeds up workflow
and means thatif your
rendering across systems,
Click TO PLAY Video
the sims will all be identical
21 Cache the Rain 22 Cache the Splash cache options
Once you have adjusted and tweaked all your With the puddle simulation finished simply go to To display the Bifrost
valuesand are ready to render its time to think Bifrost>Compute and Cache to Disk. Once complete Compute and Cache
about saving the simulations to disk. Caching the you will be able to scrub through the animation, Options window, choose
particle and liquid animations is very important, plus you can pass the files to another member of the Bifrost>Compute and
notonly for speeding up workflow but it also team, safe in the knowledge the resulting particles Cache to Disk
means thatif your rendering across systems, the will not be different on a new system.
simulationswill all be identical. To cache the rain
drops simply select the nParticle nodes and go to
nCache>Create New Cache.

3D World December 2014 73

Issue 189

next month
Take a deep dive! Discover an ocean of new
CGskills with next issues pro tutorials!

issue 189 on sale 4 november

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KeyShot 5

key technique:
Add decals and details
Shaun Redsar reveals how to liven up your modelswith simple labels, badges
and sticker decals using KeyShot 5s Labels feature

A Applying a decal
dding logos, stickers and images onto any
3Dmodel is fast and easy with KeyShots
Labels feature. This tutorial will demonstrate
how quickly a label can be added to any surface, and ONE Adding labels
also how to manage all the labels in your scene. To add a label to your scene, find
Artist profile Located within KeyShots Material Properties the Labels tab within the Material
Shaun Redsar tab, labels in KeyShot support the most common Properties. Choose your label
Shaun has developed file formats such as .jpeg, .tiff, .tga, .png, .exr and image file by clicking either the
product and graphic .hdr. You can place an unlimited number of labels Add icon or the Folder icon, or by
visuals with Disney onto a surface, with each label containing its own double-clicking the empty image
Consumer Products set of properties and mapping types that you can swatch. KeyShot will prompt you
and Nectar Design, adjust tofit within your scene. Labels in KeyShot also to click the location on your model
and has taught at recognise embedded alpha channels, so you can surface where you would like
theOtis College of incorporate any shape into your placed images or the label to appear. Click Done
Art and Design. adjust their opacity level. to confirm. You can reassign the Tired of having to reapply labels to a surface after location of your decals at any time
changing a material on a model? In KeyShot 5 you by clicking the Position button.
can swap out different types of materials on your Manage your labels with the Add,
model while retaining label settings and placement, Delete and Reordering arrows.
by holding the [Alt] key while dragging a material
onto the surface. In this way, you can create fast and TWO Scale and Orientation
easy colour studies without having to reapply the After applying your label, adjust
labels toeach material youre using. it to suit. Normal Projection is
With these simple toolsets, KeyShot enables you the default mapping type, with
Topics covered toeasily add depth and detail to help bring your other options available from the
Labels in KeyShot scene to life. dropdown. To adjust the size of
Scale & orientation Download the high-resolution screenshots from your labels, drag Scale to the
Label properties desired size. If you would like to
fine-tune the location of your label,
use the Shift X and Y sliders to
nudge your label incrementally. To
rotate the label, use Angle. Labels
can also be flipped vertically,
horizontally or repeated by ticking
the associated options.

THREE Label Properties

KeyShot has tools to edit the visual
properties directly within the Labels
tab. To adjust the brightness, use
Model by Steve Talkowski Intensity to brighten or darken the label. Use Contrast to deepen the
blacks or even out the tones.
If your label cuts off when using
Normal Projection, increase Depth
to control how deep the projection
goes into the surface. Specular
allows independent specular values
from the material useful for glossy
decals. Refraction Index controls
reflectivity if the specular colour
isnt black.
Take a basic textured model and create several custom versions by using Labels
inKeyShot to add and edit decals. Model by Steve Talkowski

3D World December 2014 75

Using Vues fractal nodes

Artist profile
rs Brczy the video
rs has studied 3D
art and animation If you see the Play icon, click the link!
for four years, the
past two as part of
the BA Animation
course at Budapests
BKF University of
Applied Sciences.

Topics covered
Procedural terrains
Fractal settings
Atmosphere settings
Post-production work

3D World December 2014 76

Vue | Photoshop | nuke

build a mountain
range with Fractals
rs Brczy explains how to use Vues fractal nodes to create a mountain range,
then choose material and atmospheric settings to render a photorealistic image

Click TO PLAY Video ver the next four pages it has quite different tools and complete, we will adjust the Aerial I will show you how to menus,it is very logical and easy perspective setting to simulate
use Vue 2014 to render to understand. the effect of atmospheric haze,
aphotorealistic mountain range. The realism of the image set up the lighting and select
We will be using the xStream depends on creating enough suitable render settings.
edition of the software. This is fine detail and achieving a good If we do everything right, Vue
normally used from within another balance of snow and rock. I will render an almost perfect
3D application, such as 3ds Max, will show you how you can use image. A little post-production
Maya or Cinema 4D, but it can the Terrain Fractal settings to work will make it even better still.
be used on its own, which is generate the detail, and how to I will show you how to
what I decided to do here. While create a two-layer material to composite the render passes
simulate the snow-covered rock. in Nuke, and adjust the overall
Once this is done, I will show brightness and contrast. We
you how to position the cloud will make the final adjustments
layer correctly in the valleys and in Photoshop, adding a little
to generate enough detail in more grain and adjusting the
the clouds. When the scene is colour balance of the image. The
walkthrough in the magazine
shows you the process in detail, or
you can watch a breakdown video
For all the assets you need, go to

3D World December 2014 77

Using Vues fractal nodes

Expert tip
Built-in randomness
Even if you use the
same parameter values
as me, you will get
sometimes a different Click TO PLAY Video Click TO PLAY Video
result. Dont worry:
thats normal.
1 Create the base mesh 2 USe THE TERRAIN EDITOR
The base mesh for the mountain is a Procedural Left-click on the mountain to select it. It will go red.
Terrain. To create one, choose Object > Create > Right-click on it and choose Edit Object. The Terrain
Procedural Terrain or select the icon that looks like Editor window should appear. From here, you can
a mountain with the letter f beneath it from the sculpt or add details to your terrain. You can set your
left-hand toolbar. To rotate the view, hold down [Alt] brush Size and Falloff values from the Paint tab.
and the right mouse button. You can zoom in or out I turned off the Zero edges option by toggling the
by scrolling, or hold down the scroll wheel to move icon at the top of the editor and raised the resolution
the view. You can see also a rendered draft preview of my terrain to 512x512 by selecting Double terrain
in the small box on the right. resolution (the x2 icon)

Fractal settings Click TO PLAY Video
Click TO PLAY Video
Editing the Terrain Fractal
Lets look at what the parameters 3 View the fractal settings 4 Edit the FRACTAL
for the Terrain Fractal do. (Note Lets edit the fractal settings for the terrain. These I choose Terrain Fractal from the drop-down for the
that the overall Multiply setting control the overall form of the mountain and its fractal node, but the Rocky Mountains Fractal option
has an effect on Roughness, surface details. Switch to the Proc. tab on the right is also very powerful. I set the Multiply value to 3.8.
which will decrease if it is low.) of the Terrain Editor. Right-click on the sphere and The boxout on the left of this page explains what
Origin sets the point from which select Edit Function. A new window should open the different parameters for the Terrain Fractal do.
the fractal originates: change it, showing the node graph. You can add new nodes These settings are very sensitive, so my advice is to
and the hills will shift around. and modifiers for instance, texture maps but for set Smallest feature to 0, Gain to 10 and play with the
Metascale controls the global now, focus on the Multiply and fractal nodes. The Metascale, Roughness and Largest feature settings
variation in fractal noise, and is fractal node is currently set to Simple Fractal. until you get the result you want.
a kind of overall scale control.
Largest feature and Smallest
feature indicate the scale of the
largest and smallest details in the
terrain: a value of 0 for Smallest
feature is perfect. Roughness
controls the overall roughness
of the fractal pattern, and Gain
controls the amplitude: it can be
used to create very large features.
Distortion adds distortion to the
overall pattern, as if it had been
smeared around randomly.

Click TO PLAY Video
Expert tip
Setting camera views 5 Perform a test render
If you navigate the scene The real-time preview doesnt display the fine details
in Perspective view, the of the terrain, so you need to render the image to
camera wont follow. see the real result. Click the camera icon in the top
Once you find the camera toolbar. You should see that the fractal is generating
angle you want, just click a lot of fine details in the terrain, which was our
the Rotate camera button original aim. If you arent satisfied with the result,
and the camera will just go back and change the values you set in the
jump to that view. previous step. I sculpted in a higher hill using the
brush tools available from the Paint tab.

3D World December 2014 78

Click TO PLAY Video Click TO PLAY Video The layered material
6 Understanding materials 7 create ROCK and SNOW we have set up in
Vues materials setup is physically accurate, and is Create a new layer (click the Add layer button to the
quite intuitive. For instance, snow cannot appear on right of the layer hierarchy). The Material Browser Step 7 mimics the look
the mountain on the right of the terrain, since the should appear. Select Snow from the Landscapes
slope is too steep, in contrast with the gentler slopes
in the middle. Right-click on the mountain, and
collection. Click Default, then double-click on the
larger material preview. Add a second layer for Grey
of a snowy mountainside
choose Edit Material. The Material Editor window
will open. If necessary, switch from the Basic Material
Rock from the Landscapes tab in the Material menu.
Select the Snow layer. In the Environment tab, set
with snow lying on top
Editor to the Advanced Material Editor by clicking
the large button on the top left of the window.
its Slope range (the range of gradients on which it is
displayed). The Fuzziness setting controls how sharply
of exposed rock
these changes are made: choose a small falloff.

Click TO PLAY Video

8 Choose an aTMOSPHERE
Using the top toolbar, Copy and Paste the mountain
three or four times, complete with material settings.
Vary the fractal settings slightly for each copy.
Position each copy: I pushed them back, rotated
them, and sometimes moved them down below
the default plane. In the top toolbar, select Load
Atmosphere (right-click the Atmosphere Editor icon).
A new window will open. Choose the Everglades
option from the Daytime/Spectral Sunshine folder.
CLoud Parameters
What the cloud settings do
You can find the clouds settings in
the Clouds tab of the Atmosphere
Editor. Lets look at what they do.
Altitude controls the altitude at
which clouds appear in the scene.
Height controls the height of the
cloud layer. Cover controls what
percentage of the sky is covered.
Density controls how deeply
light penetrates the clouds. It
can be set higher than 100%
Click TO PLAY Video I used a value of 440% here. Opacity controls how far you can
see objects through the cloud.
9 set the clouds Sharpness controls how sharp the
The Everglades option doesnt include clouds. edges of the clouds appear. Detail
Add them from the Clouds tab of the Atmosphere amount controls the amplitude of
Editor. I used one of AsileFXs cumulus presets, but the cloud details. (Note: some of
the default cumulus will work fine, too. The most these settings are only available
important settings are Altitude and Height. Choose in when using the spectral
a low value (10 to 100m) for the Altitude at which atmosphere model.) To add a new
cloud appears: youll need to type it into the box cloud layer, click the Add button
rather than dragging the slider. Height is the height to the right of the hierarchy.
of the cloud layer: 100 to 200m worked for me here.

3D World December 2014 79

Using Vues fractal nodes

Click TO PLAY Video Click TO PLAY Video

10 Set the lighting model 11 Choose render settings
The Aerial perspective value in the Sky, Fog and Right-click on the camera icon in the top toolbar. The
Understanding Haze tab of the Atmosphere Editor controls the Render Options appear. I used the Superior quality
AERIAL PERSPECTIVE thickness of the atmosphere. I set it to 8, but the
appropriate value depends on your scene. The
preset. In the options in the top right of the window,
I selected an Aspect ratio of 70mm, and rendered
Light tab shows the five different lighting models at a resolution of 2048 x 935 pixels. Select Internal
available. I choose Global radiosity with a Quality from the Renderer options to use Vues own render
boost setting of +4. This mimics the effect of light engine and Render off-screen from the Render
bouncing around the scene, resulting in a bluer destination options to render in a new window.
overall tone, since the snow picks up the blue of sky. Turn on the Anti-alias for Z-Depth.

One no aerial perspective

The Aerial perspective setting
in the Sky, Fog and Haze tab of
the Atmosphere Editor controls
how thick the atmosphere is in
your scene. The three images in
this walkthrough should show
you how it works. In the image
above, Ive disabled Aerial
perspective entirely.
Click TO PLAY Video Click TO PLAY Video

12 Select render passes 13 COMPOSITE the EXR file

Turn on Enable G-Buffer and Enable Multi-Pass. This I composited the .exr file in Nuke 8. Vue 2014 comes
enables you to render each component of the image with a comp set-up script (VUE Compositing.nk) that
separately: for example, the snow, or the colour Nuke can use to import the most important passes
correction for the atmosphere. Click the Edit button. and connect them with Merge>Multiply nodes.
Use the tickboxes to select the render layers you You just need to just connect them to the EXR file.
Two TOO MUCH perspective want. I rendered all the available passes (nearly 25 of Add any other nodes you want: I used Exposure,
In this image, I set the Aerial them!) but that was totally unnecessary: the seven or Gamma and Grade to adjust the brightness and
perspective value too high. The eight default passes would have been fine. I chose to contrast of the image, and Flare to add a bit of lens
sky is now an unnatural blue. save the render as a single multi-layer OpenEXR file. flare. Use Flare wisely: less is sometimes more.
However, notice that contrast
decreases with distance from the
camera, separating the distant
hills into clear visual layers.
In the first image, everything
looked like one big mountain.

Click TO PLAY Video

Three Correct perspective
In this image, the Aerial
perspective is visible and 14 Add final touches 15 Some closing thoughts
believable, but not too strong. After I had finished in Nuke, I did some more colour Vue is a very powerful tool, but you need to know
The sky is still a bit blue, but we correction in Photoshop. (For example, the sky was exactly what you want to achieve with it. Dont simply
can fix that by colour correcting too blue to be realistic.) I also added some noise accept the default values it suggests: for example,
the final render. If you want to to the scene (Filter > Noise > Add Noise): its very the default sky colour or the default brightness
try this for yourself, the Aerial important to reduce the overly soft quality of the value of the clouds. You need to consider the final
perspective settings for these rendered image. Real photos contain subtle noise, result you want, and add more detail if necessary.
three images are 0, 20 and 8. lens distortion and atmospheric artefacts that Achieving an image that is 90 per cent photorealistic
we need to recreate manually to achieve a truly is not too difficult: its the final ten per cent that really
photorealistic result. takes time and effort.

3D World December 2014 80


Theory, research and reviews plus
industry insights from todays experts

84 theory: normals 86 Debrief: titanfall cinematic trailer

Denis Kozlov on normals output variable Spovs Dan Higgott talks about creating mankinds journey from Earth to the stars

88 bet the farm 94 cinema 4d r16

How good render farm management helped make Stina & The Wolf a reality Maxon adds motion tracking and more

Get published
Email your CG ART to

Visit the online Vault to download

extra process art for these projects: 96 formlabs form1+ 97 houdini indie 98 My inspiration
An afforable, high-quality output printer The tool can now be used on a range of CG VFX legend Ron Thornton shares his story

3D World December 2014 83


Author profile
Dan Higgott
Dan is the managing
director of Spov, the
London-based design
and visual effects
agency. Dan has many
years experience
working within the
creative industries.



Opening game
cinematic sequence

Electronic Arts/

Project length
Seven weeks of
production time

team size
11 people for

Software used
After Effects,
Cinema 4D, Maya,

Release Date
March 2014
The Spov team took
their inspiration
for the long vista
sequences from
Lawrence of Arabia

3D World December 2014 86


Titanfall cinematic trailer

Dan Higgott describes how Spov illustrated mankinds journey
from Earth to the stars in 90 seconds

pov has a long-standing One Acquiring assets
relationship with Titanfalls Given that the story we were telling was one based on the
developer, Respawn. We game, and reflected scenes, machinery and ships for the most
were invited to pitch a couple part seen within the game itself, our starting point for many
of alternative creative routes shots was to obtain game assets already created by Respawn.
around the concept of mans The challenge was that Respawn were so focused on finalising
journey to the stars, and out and polishing the game, that we would get the assets we
towards the planetary systems needed as and when Respawn had the opportunity to share
where Titanfalls action occurs. them with us, rather than on a perfectly smooth schedule.
Spov worked with the director We tried to avoid bugging them, but as we wanted to make
of the sequence, Gavin Rothery the best use of their fantastic designs we inevitably ended up
to develop these early concepts. having to be somewhat persistent in asking for specific ships or
The two ideas we pitched were weapons, then checking the FTP the following morning to see
contrasting one was tense and if they had arrived. For specific shots that featured close-ups of
Respawn assets we had to do additional work to the models
Sometimes the ships to up-res them. This occasionally made scheduling shots
challenging and we had to shuffle them between artists so
that we didnt lose any time when waiting for specific assets.
appear tiny, dwarfed
bythe mass of planets TWO Tracking the work
As Ive just explained above, there was a good deal of shot
they are passing re-assignment to keep all of the artists fully occupied while
we were waiting for assets, either from Respawn, or from
our 3D team to deliver final versions of our design work into
character-focused, like the three- the pipeline. Waiting whilst the clock is ticking was hard on
way shoot-out in The Good, The the animation team as everyone was focused on making the
Bad and The Ugly. job the absolute best it could be. We ended up creating a lot
The other was based on of shots using placeholders and swapping those out for final
beautiful alien vistas and views of assets at the last minute. It certainly added stress to the job,
the stars, taking the long cinematic but by that time we were all expecting it and the team took it
shots from Lawrence of Arabia on the chin, powering through the final pressured few days at
as inspiration. After discussions the end. To be honest, it could have been a lot worse.
with Respawn, we focused on the
second route,which then took
on board influences from the
footage of Nasas Cassini mission
to Saturn, and particularly an edit
ofstills from the mission created
by Chris Abbas.
To see the cinematic visit: Three Making big spaceships look big
FYI We played with scale throughout the solar system and deep-
space shots. Sometimes the ships appear tiny, dwarfed by
the mass of planets they are passing, while others appear as
huge, rumbling behemoths, passing the camera like a freight
train. It was obviously important to these close-up shots that
the ships had weight and presence, and that the camera was
appropriately set up to capture their size and scale. To help
achieve this the director, Gavin Rothery, placed the cameras
onto other ships adjacent to those in shot. This gives the
viewer the feeling of being part of a fleet, and also allows
the camera to take on some slight shake and movement that
would occur from being mounted onto the outside of another
enormous machine.

3D World December 2014 87

Project insight

Author profile
Mark Ramshaw
A freelance writer
with33 years of
publishing experience,
Mark has been the
editor of magazines,
authored books,
and has extensive
experience as a games
producer, programmer
and reviewer.

3D World December 2014 88

project insight

Bet the farm

Good render farm management helped make the ambitious student
animation project Stina & The Wolf a reality, says Mark Ramshaw

he gulf between academia Southamptons Gregg School With a full-CG, performance
and the VFX and animation effectively working at an on- capture-driven approach chosen
industries has been steadily campus cutting-edge animation, for the fantasy tale, Foam Digital
shrinking over the last few years, effects and post-production has been built drawing on Pauls
with students generally now in facility, dubbed Foam Digital. experiences at professional studios
a better position than ever to (including Weta Digital), on Alexs
deal with the demands of real- A pool of talent experiences in the industry as a 3D
world production once they leave Stina & The Wolf began life as generalist, and expertise gained
the confines of the classroom. apersonal project for director running the universitys motion
Nevertheless, the scale of ambition PaulCharisse, who joined capture studio, and with the
Portsmouth University after input of a number of key industry
We realised if we hand animated all ten years working on numerous
feature films, including the
sponsors: PipelineFX, Vicon,
SolidAngle, Faceware, IKinema,

of the animation we would never be Lord of the Rings trilogy, for

which he worked as a character
Shotgun and The Foundry.
When we finally
animator on Gollum. When the profile decided we were to take
able to complete it given our budget scale of the story blossomed, he Alex Counsell is a on a full feature CGI
and Alex Counsell (principal principal technician film project, there was
Alex Counsell, principal technician, Portsmouth Uni technician at the School of at University of such a large list of challenges that
Creative Technologies, University Portsmouth, and we had to face, we just decided to
demonstrated by Stina & The Wolf of Portsmouth) began developing heads up Foam Digital tackle them one at a time as we
is impressive. No mere final year it as a vehicle for the creation of with Paul Charisse. encountered them, admits Alex.
student project, this is instead an in-house studio where students The first real hurdle was how we
afeature-length animated movie could gain exposure to real-world would create all of our animation;
in the making, with a team of challenges, techniques and a full we soon realised if we hand
students and staff at the University production pipeline. And so Foam animated all of it we would never
of Portsmouth plus students from Digital was born. be able to complete it given our

Thomas Lee Key protagonists Stina

(left) and Gunter (right)
Thomas worked on Stina &
the Wolf as a lead animator are animated using
performance capture,
via Vicon Blade plus
Were you at all nervous about joining such a custom camera
alarge project? headset system
I was a little nervous to join Stina as I was in my first
year and didnt have much experience, but everyone
was very supportive and friendly, which helped a
lot. I dont think at the time I really thought about or
realised the scale of the project, being very new to CG,
so it was something which dawned on me much later.

Whats been the most valuable lesson?

Ive learnt so much on my time working on Stina. I
think the most important things Ive learnt have been
working to deadlines, taking criticism and working
with people.
Alex Counsell photography by Richard Perrin

Whats been the standout moment for you so

farin the project?
Id say it was the end of the eight-week production
of the first test shot, where we had just finished
rendering and editing ten minutes before we had
tobe on a train to London, where we were due to
show it at MPC.

3D World December 2014 89

Top ten: Render Management Tips
Josh Bretag, support engineer at PipelineFX, presents ten top tips for a better render workflow

one render using Two run multiple jobs Three automate the process Four invest in storage
your workstations Run more than one job per host Improve your success rate Ensure your pipeline has the
Todays desktops are powerful where possible. Learning how with automation. Automate as throughput required to handle
multicore machines with to maximise your farm through many processes as possible. the load from your render farm
enough RAM to operate as multiple jobs per host can vastly Automatically retrying failed and workstations accessing
great render nodes as well as increase productivity. Use cases frames, forcing retries to a information simultaneously to
workstations. Many jobs can
include running lightweight 2D different host and auto-wrangling prevent system overload. Look at
be running in the background
even while an artist or student jobs (requiring IO) on machines bad jobs and machines all increasing the storage I/O. A smart
is working. running heavy 3D renders improve the chances of success render manager will overwhelm
(requiring CPU). for your render queue. underspecified storage systems.

budget. We then decided to all of the performances we worked at the BlueGFX expo in London
do as much as we could with on developing our pipeline in and told him about the project, and
performance capture, handled Softimage, as our facial rigs were how we needed sponsors to give
in-house, he adds. all developed using ICE, though free software due to the limited
And so, in August 2011, they we are now we are looking at budget. He told me to email him all
shot the entire screenplay on a moving to another package since of the details, so I sent him every
custom mocap stage, with the aid Softimage has been discontinued. visual we had at the time and all the
of 180,000-worth of equipment information about the project.
loaned to them by Vicon, plus Render wrangling
VFX work on
custom-build head cameras for the
facial capture. This raised our
The next task was to find render
management software that would It has always been the goal of the
Stina has been next challenge, which was how be up to the challenge, which led
completed using to track and process all our facial Alex to the doors of PipelineFX. project to hire industry people to have
Softimage ICE, video, he continues. This led me We were looking for an industry-
but the team is to approach Faceware, and they proven render management them working alongside our students
currently shifting also agreed to sponsor the film! We system, says Alex. I approached
toanother package were on a roll. Once we had shot Richard Lewis, CEO of PipelineFX, Alex Counsell, principal technician, Portsmouth Uni

PipelineFX, well experienced

with education thanks to the use
of Qube! in around 200 schools
already, responded by giving
Foam free licences and sending
an engineer down to Portsmouth
to help set up the initial 50-node
render farm. Shortly after that,
I attended a Qube! certified
administrators course in London
and have not looked back since.
Qube! has proved to be invaluable
on the project and has allowed
me to manage our renders in an
efficient and stress-free way,
Alex enthuses.
Over at PipelineFX, Richard
Lewis says he was drawn to the
project because students would
get the chance to see from the

3D World December 2014 90

Five create subnet groups Six Make workflow notes seven set up cluster eight the right amount
Keep your network subnets small. Have a documented workflow. rendering to optimise of Licenses
This is commonly overlooked When implementing a render farm Cluster for optimum utilisation. Include software license counting.
andis something that can cause you will need a solid workflow Ensuring you have clustering Make sure you have enough
huge issues as a site grows. that both the artists and IT set up means that you can rest licenses for all your applications.
Create smaller subnet groups of departments can adhere to. A assured youre always going to Generate reports regularly to see
render nodes and workstations good example is the requirement be utilising your render farm to if you require additional licenses,
below 32 hosts, and always have of all files on central storage a themaximum. and so avoid unnecessary idle
your server infrastructure in a must as a part of a workflow for time on the farm.
separate subnet. distributed rendering.

ground up how a studio is actually product, and it also exposes

run andhow a real visual effects themto an environment that Oliver Hermann
pipeline operates. incorporates the multiple Oliver discusses the modelling,
Stina & The Wolf applications and operating texture and shading work in Stina
profile provides a very good systems they will encounter out
Richard Lewis is the example of a typical inthe real world.
CEO of PipelineFX Qube! workflow, he While the in-house studio has How did you find Qube! to work with?
and the co-founder of says. Ask many students and been built to emulate the setup It was simpler than I expected. I saw a render farm
CORESystems Hawaii. sometimes artists how their found in a real boutique facility, as this big scary thing that would be extremely render farm works, and you will Richard notes that university complicated to use. But after watching Alex use it
most likely get a blank face, but environments are inevitably a couple of times and showing me how it worked
this teaches them that there is no different in the way theyre I realised that Qube! made everything ridiculously
Students are taught magical place where their work comprised of many different simple and that queuing up a job was actually the
how a render farm goes to be rendered. That means departments, each of which can easiest thing I would do with a shot.
operates to enable they can hit the ground running operate independently of the
them to work with knowledge of what is others. A benefit of a good render What have you learned that will help you
more efficiently required to produce a finished manager in this environment is it with your career?
The main thing that Ive learnt is that most things can
be overcome if you take a step back. I was initially so
daunted by setting off renders on the farm that I didnt
even investigate how it could be done. But as soon as
I started to learn it, I realised how easy it could be and
that gave me confidence to try new things and delve
deeper into topics I would have never dreamed of
looking into before.

Which scene are you most proud of?

Its the night time crowd shot in the trailer. Its only
on screen for 88 frames but its the one I put the most
into, working on the modelling, texturing, lighting,
cloth sim and comp. We had so many people in the
scene our render farm couldnt handle it, so Alex and
I had to experiment to find a solution. In the end we
figured we should instance all the characters for every
frame and load them in as Arnold .ass files. This did the
trick and I suddenly saw months of hard work, stress
and sleepless nights come together in a final render.

3D World December 2014 91

nine expand your ten train your staff
infrastructure Training is absolutely key. Youll
When growing the render farm get more throughput and value
expand your infrastructure. from your investment in rendering
This is commonly forgotten infrastructure and management
but absolutely imperative. The software if you know how to
addition of even just ten extra enable and manage the features
hosts could be the tipping point that will continue to accelerate
for your storage or network. your render pipeline.

can be installed on all the available is obviously also relevant to their speed, he explains. It has always The approach to
machines and fine-tuned to only careers, and gives them an edge been the goal of the project to facial animation
use only certain hosts at certain ontheir CVs, says Richard. hire industry people to have them is undoubtedly
times, he says. This means Looking ahead, Alex says the working alongside our students informed by
that you could easily schedule biggest challenge they now face and sharing the knowledge. Paul Charrises
rendering in the departments that with the project is one of funding, Despite such strong industry experiences
are not in use and on machines for while valuable sponsors such support, Stina & The Wolf is animating Gollum
that have been logged out. as PipelineFX have been able clearly an incredibly challenging
to provide the necessary high- proposition. Even the most modest
The use of Arnold Real-world experience end software and hardware its
for rendering and
Qube! for render
For the students working on the
project, one of the key advantages
ultimately going to be necessary
to hire some of the development
[Working on this] teaches students
has allowed the
of Qube! is the fact it gives them
the ability to submit their own
team. Our intention is to hire the
best graduates once they finish to that there is no magical place where
students to push renders, which in turn frees up stay on the project, plus we need to
through some very time for the faculty/technicians. hire pipeline and tool developers their work goes to be rendered
ambitious shots The experience the students get so we are ready for full production
Richard Lewis, CEO, PipelineFX

CG animated films are incredibly

taxing to produce, while those Stina
relying on performance capture at Siggraph
can be counted on one hand. Alex 2014
admits there have been many
doubts to overcome along the
way: And there are many more The team headed
coming to the fore every day. But to Siggraph in
then were in education, and the Vancouver
fact that our students can work on
an industry-calibre project whilst Paul and Alex gave
they study with us is the main a presentation
benefit. So long as the students on how theyve
feel that gain and are given an been using the
all-important advantage in the job film as a method
market, then its succeeding even of teaching their
if we never manage to complete it. students
To see the trailer and find out
FYI more visit:

3D World December 2014 92

Software review

Software review

Cinema 4D R16
Price 2,600 | company Maxon | website

Author profile
Rob Redman
Rob Redman is a 3D
artist with working
in VFX and motion
graphics for print, TV
and film. He works
ascreative director
and producer and
spends way too much
time on twitter.

inema 4D has been on a 4D R16, promises to add further and world locators, makes adding Cinema 4D R16 is
bit of an upsurge recently, refinements, enhancements and 3D toyour footage a doddle. subtley different to
in terms of features and additional tools. Next up is the Polygon Pen tool. previous versions
capabilities, as well as in its user This update introduces many This takes a standard type create but existing users
base and position in the industry. new tools, some that are small polygon tool and supercharges should be right
A few releases ago, when it still workflow-oriented ones and others it. Its too versatile to cover all its athome
had a modular-based approach that are brand-new feature sets, options here, but you can draw and
to tools so you could buy along with bug fixes and UI tweaks. manipulate polygon objects with
functionality as you needed it Lets start with the big wow it, by using defined by points, edges
Maxon introduced the mograph features that people are talking or even gestures of the cursor. You
module, which brought about about now. The biggest news is
a bitof a revolution for motion
graphics artists, with its intuitive
the addition of a motion tracking
system built directly into C4D.
You can draw your geometry based on
interface belying its immense
power and versatility. New motion tracker viewport or directly on another mesh,
Successive releases have Although lacking some of the
taken this approach and added high-end tools, like rolling shutter making this the king of retopology tools
that usability to other areas of compensation, the motion tracker
the software, building it into a is a joy to use and very accurate. can draw your geometry based on
fully featured 3D package that Capable of a full 3D camera solve viewport or directly on another
covers the whole pipeline, from with just a handful of clicks, mesh, making this the king of
modelling, texturing and lighting, this alone is worth the upgrade retopology tools. It uses a simple
Although not to animation and rendering. price, especially for VFX artists. keystroke/button combination
modular these The last few releases have As with many areas of the app, it to move quickly between modes,
days, you can buy also seen the veteran texture is intuitive, well presented and allowing users to work unhindered
Prime, Broadcast, painter, BodyPaint, being bundled extremely easy to work with. It will by menu choices or settings.
Visualise or with Cinema 4D. And now set up a basic composite, camera There are really too many new
Studioversions Maxons latest release, Cinema and with user-definable up vectors tools and tweaks to mention

3D World December 2014 94

cinema 4D licensing changes
Cinema 4D used to be a little hard for studios to manage when it came to licensing, with a base license that you
had to buy functionality for as needed. This meant different licenses/serials for each new feature. Those choices are
gone and have been replaced by a simple production-style choice aimed at those who want the basics, everything, or
focused choices in between, making licensing and purchasing simple.

in practice: new material

system adds photorealism
Theres one change in R16 that
might take some getting used
to, and that is the material
system. While most channels are
much the same, the Reflectance
channel has had a complete
overhaul. The changes, while
needing some relearning, are
definitely for the best and you
can now build much more
realistic materials using this
one channel. There are new
reflection shaders (as well as
the old legacy ones) that are
stackable, for creating things like
car paint or other finishes that
have a coating. The anisotropy
settings are easy to learn with
anumber of options for pattern,
direction and there are even
All the textures
here were made
everything here, but its important
to note that it isnt necessarily the
Its important to note that it isnt options for mixed scratches. Part
of the channel is there purely
for creating textiles, and again
using only the
big new features that make this
a worthy update. After spending necessarily the big new features that the settings are easy to get to
channel, with a some time with R16, it becomes grips with, but are powerful and
little luminance harder to revert to a previous make Cinema 4D R16 a worthy update render faster than you might
on the sphere release. Small workflow updates expect. Blurry reflections are
and GUI changes are what make The tools mentioned here are The motion now possible without the hit on
this release the success it is. just the start, but all are good tracking tools render time they used to have.
examples of Maxon doing what are simple but Many have been calling for a
The simple things it does best: Taking basic tools effective and a node-based shader system, so
The new Solo button is a prime and making them fun and easy or track can be had the new Reflectance channel
example of this, allowing one-click adding new tools that are intuitive, with a few clicks will keep material artists happy.
Main soloing of any selected object, or powerful and stable. Stability is a
hierarchy. The Bevel Deformer is big part of a 3D artists work and in
a comparatively small addition, months of beta testing and using
but in workflow terms its huge. the release candidate, I only had
Motion tracker You can work with very simple one crash andthat was caused by a
geometry and only when it comes third party plug-in.
New Reflectance to render time do you need to If you are looking to upgrade, or
channel generate all the nice edges that are thinking of changing to C4D
catch highlights so perfectly. The as your main 3D app, then R16 is a
New modelling deformer is pretty adaptable too great contender. Some users may
tools and can build bevels from edge, take issue that BodyPaint is in need
point or polygon selections that of an update, but this one of the best
are flat, rounded or following a all-round 3D applications available.
user created profile. Perfect for
architectural visualisation work. Verdict

3D World December 2014 95

Hardware review

Hardware review

Formlabs Form1+
Price $3,299 | company Formlabs | website

3 D printing has been around

a long time, but its only the
last few years that the balance
between quality and cost has
This stereolithography
based printer offers
The printer uses standard .stl
files, and upon import it will scan
your model for faults and attempt
to repair them for you if they exist. Main
dropped to a level that individuals This has worked for me, but its
and small studios can afford to get
involved. While there have been exceptionally high best to prep your model yourself.
Printing an object, rather than
a number of cheap Kickstarter a photo or text is still really new Stereolithographic
or open source prospects, they quality for the price to most people and support from printer
havent had the stability or the developers is important.
Author profile resolution and build volume to and using the software to scale, Thankfully I can say that Formlabs Very well built
Rob Redman make them suitable for pro use. place and orient your model, as has the best support staff Ive ever
Rob Redman has is a This is where the Form1+ comes well as set up supports, is very encountered. Apart from replying Quiet and
3d artist with working in. This stereolithography based simple indeed. I had a few teething swiftly, they have offered extra unobtrusive
in vfx and motion printer offers exceptionally high troubles, but nothing serious and advice, sent files to diagnose where
graphics for print, TV quality for the price, enabling was up and running quickly (more Im going wrong, and looked at my
and film. He works as details as fine as 25 microns. This about this later). own files. Best of all, they dont just
creative director and means that the lines often seen on wait for a ticket to be submitted,
producer and spends other printers are invisible here. Swift support but are actively involved in their
way too much time Not only are the prints high Ive printed all manner of objects user forums and will check in
on twitter. quality, but so is the machine itself. from fantasy miniatures for by email to make sure things Its a solidly made, attractive bit of painters, to a comb and even a are going well. They walked me
gear and looks great on the desk, bespoke washer to fix my TV. All through my teething issues and
taking up a pretty small footprint worked beautifully with only one I was printing high-end prints
considering its abilities. model not completing properly, painlessly in no time.
The setup is straightforward: dueto my own lack of providing
A quick start guide is provided proper supports. Verdict
This model is just
Although Ive 1.5 inches tall and
not talked about isnt even printed
finishing and at the highest
cleaning prints, resolution, but
Formlabs provides clearly shows no
the gear you striations from
needto do so theprocess

A quick word on stereolithography

The Form1+ uses a different printing method to most other consumer printers. Rather than laying down layers of
heated material, the print platform is lowered into a tank of resin, which is cured layer at a time by a high-precision
laser, with the platform rising between each. This is called stereolithography and is the industry standard.

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Software review

Houdini Indie
Price $199 / 153 / 123 | company Side Effects Software | website

hen we reviewed Houdini Indie within the same

Houdini 13 earlier Houdini Indie offers the facility as full versions of Houdini.
in the year, we were However, this should not impact
Features delighted with the improvements
that Side Effects Software
power of Houdini FX at standalone freelancers who are the
main market for Indie, who should Author profile

Nodal 3D
had made to the application to
improve both the feature set and a fraction of the price be able to leverage Houdini Indie
and its FX workflow into their
Mike Griggs
Mike is a freelance
application accessibility, especially with the projects through various formats. concept 3D, VFX
Orbolt asset system. for commercial projects For many artists this means that and mograph artist
Full dynamics There were only two Houdini Indie could become the working across
system disadvantages to integrating With the release of Houdini default FX and fluid package for television, exhibition
Houdini for freelance artists, one Engine for Unity, alongside an most types of work. And while the and digitaldesign.
Range of fluid was the learning curve of studying impending release for Cinema 4D, learning curve can be very steep,
solvers a new application, and the other Side Effects is changing its product Houdini Indie now makes the
was the price of the full version. dynamic substantially with the training investment worthwhile as
While there was the $100-a-year announcement of Houdini Indie. it can be used for professional work.
Houdini Apprentice that you Since Houdini Indie comes with
could use on personal projects; for A wider range of projects a full license of Mantra Render, we
commercial projects, you needed to $199 a year buys you Houdini think Blender artists should have
pay the full price. Indie, a full commercial version a serious look at this software as it
This was a shame, as Houdini with nearly full feature parity to allows greater compatibility with
FX is a significant investment, and the more expensive editions, with other artists and studios.
as Side Effects was also offering only a few limiting caveats over Houdini Indie offers a stepping
Houdini Engine that allowed the much more expensive Houdini stone for CG artist to improve their
Houdini assets to integrate with FX; the main ones being how much FX output and the potential to
Maya and 3ds Max, there was the you earn as a freelancer, a 1080p work on a wider range of projects.
potential to make Houdini most maximum output for animations,
artists only other 3D tool. and the fact that you cant use Verdict

Houdini Indie
offers the full
range of excellent
FX and fluid tools
as its big brother,
Houdini FX
Houdini Indie
Engine allows
the use of Houdini
Indie assets in
packages like
3ds Max

will this be your default package for fx work?

With Houdini Indie, Side Effects is offering a chance for many more 3D artists, especially freelancers, to get to grips
with Houdini for their professional work. Already the leading FX package used extensively in feature film VFX,
Houdini with its nodal workflow offers a new and powerful way of creating CG.

3D World December 2014 97

My inspiration

My inspiration

Ron Thornton
The VFX legend of Babylon 5 fame shares his inspirational story


he early 1960s in England the science fiction book cover art, Ron was I really think the future
was a great time for me especially that of Chris Foss. influenced by (especially for TV and low-budget
as a kid. I was bombarded I started as a traditional shows like Fireball shows) is in real time. The render
with the likes of Fireball XL5, modeller well before the days of XL5, Stingray, engines for games are getting
ARTIST profile Stingray, and of course the CGI. But in the late 1980s, working and the original (rapidly) to the point where they
Ron Thornton original Thunderbirds. Those on Captain Power in Toronto, I was Thunderbirds are production ready. Real-time
VFX designer/ great Gerry Anderson shows, introduced to the Amiga computer, tracking and compositing is
supervisor with with Derek Meddings and Mike and its accessible CG applications. available now, and will improve
more than 25 years Trims fantastic designs made a in quality at an astounding rate. I
experience. Multiple
award winner and
great impression on me. Huge,
colourful, and everything seemed
I wanted to capture some of the see a time soon when there will be
massive crossover between game
pioneer of CG on
the desktop. Now
to have a propensity to explode in
a spectacular fashion! My design spectacle of the science fiction book and VFX creation pipelines.
I have been blessed with the
developing real-time sense for Babylon 5 was greatly opportunity to work with several
pipeline options with influenced by Thunderbirds. (I was cover art, especially that of Chris Foss of my heroes, John Dykstra, Grant
Red Earth VFX for TV always bummed that there wasnt McCune (Star Wars veteran), Bill
and movies. a Blue Thunderbird though.) Its amazing to think that you Pearson, Todd Rundgren, and the The world of sci-fi TV was, have more computing power late great Gerry Anderson. But
at the time, dominated by dull in your smart phone than our working with Gerry was amazing.
grey spaceships, and I wanted B5 workstations back then and when I will never forget that experience.
to break that trend. I wanted to we started B5. (Our computers had Read Rons spaceship design
capture some of the spectacle of a massive 2Mb of memory!)
FYI tips:

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