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EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION INSPIRING CG ARTISTS

3dworld.creativebloq.com April 2014 Issue 180

THE NO.1 MAGAZINE FOR CG ARTISTS Inspirational art and unrivalled industry opinion Easy-to-follow tutorials for creating amazing 3D art, animation and VFX The latest research and practices


EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION INSPIRING CG ARTIS TS Communit y

shortcuts

irish myths flood our thoughts in tríd an stoirm

get in touch email your short to ian.dean@futurenet.com

Discover how Fred Burdy used some unique workarounds and scripts to bring Celtic folklore to life in his new short artist profile Fred Burdy wrote and directed Tríd an Stoirm and was lead 3D artist. He also turned his hand to compositing in Nuke under the lead of John Kennedy and worked on the pipeline and fixes. www.tridanstoirm.com

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Welcome to an exclusive preview of the all-new 3D World! We’ve been at the heart of the CG industry for 13 years, and as the industry changes so do we. So welcome to the latest incarnation of your favourite CG magazine. Our new design promises to make tutorials more accessible to help develop your knowledge of new and familiar software and skills. We’ll be putting your work first too, with our artists’ Showcase section and new social pages, bringing you the latest events, projects and opinions from the industry and CG art community. Our new Develop section will bring you the latest CG research from world-leading studios and universities, plus insights from directors and VFX pros working today. Welcome to the new magazine!

team Fred Burdy director & writer Lee Hickey editor Sean McGrath producer John Kennedy compositor Yanak Thakker lead animator Steve Lynch music Katie McGrath performance country Ireland software Softimage ZBrush Nuke mental ray production time 15 months

Fred Burdy’s short Tríd an Stoirm (Through the Storm) is a seven-minute short created in Windmill Lane, Dublin. It’s heavily influenced by Irish myths – the Banshee and the Otherworld. Fred aimed to do justice to the legendary creatures by opting for a half-realistic style and his graphic style gives a great quality to the short. We caught up with him to find out about the project.

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What software did you choose? I use Softimage as my main package at my work at Windmill Lane. It is great because it’s easy to use, but incredibly powerful. Also, ICE is a great tool for generating particles and geometry procedurally. I used it for the sea, which was a customised ICE compound creating a Tessendorf deformation and generating particles from the crests of the waves. How did Softimage help the production of Tríd an Stoirm? This project was huge (140 shots), so I built tools inside Softimage for importing characters, creating and naming scene and render layers, and so on. When you have a big project you need consistency. I built a little toolbar for that purpose with buttons to import characters, handle the renders, but also apply the dynamics and cache them. It was a lot of little scripts that really helped to keep the process smooth. Referencing characters was really helpful, but we had a few issues that made some scenes unstable – animation being lost on some controls – so I wrote a script that fixed that: It was importing a rig with the characters’

"This project was huge, so I built tools inside Softimage for importing characters, creating and naming scene and render layers, and so on”

controls only, copying the animation to it, deleting the messy referenced character, imported a blank clean one, and reapplying the animation to it. Would you say Softimage was vital? Softimage has great animation tools, built-in IK/FK for every bone you create, and that made rigging the characters easier. One vital feature was the nondestructive aspect of the workflow: you can keep on tweaking the model even after it’s rigged and it handles it perfectly. The shapes adjust all by themselves, and any tweaks you have on top of that keep working nicely as long as the topology doesn’t change. How did you create the stormy sea? I used ICE inside Softimage to deform a simple grid to create the waves animation. There is a plug-in that does that very well for Softimage, called aa_Ocean, but I wanted a bit more control. I found a simple version of the deformer on SI-Community.com and

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used it as a base. After the geometry had been deformed, I used ICE to analyse the polygon density to create a weightmap of the crests, which I used both for shading it in a foamy texture, but also to emit foam particles. I added a bit of a procedural bump to give some nice detail. Any other touches you can reveal? I generated particles on contacts between objects (rocks, boat) and the sea itself that created nice splashes. Since I rendered a bunch of passes, I was able to do a bit of relighting in Nuke to fine-tune the look of the sea. But the thing that made it work was definitely the ICE deformation! Did you learn anything from creating this short? There was a lot of trial and error – different techniques for rigging the characters, different types of controls, several revisions of the master shader... You learn so much on a project like this!

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COMMUNIT Y Infocus

I love sculpting the high-resolution details and the compositing work to bring the picture to life

Ian Dean, editor ian.dean@futurenet.com 3D WORLD April 2014

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ON SALE 25 FEBRUARY 2014 1 The team were able to save time by importing a 3D Camera in Nuke and setting up and rendering the sets directly in Nuke

2 The fearsome Banshee character’s ‘clothes’ were created using a hair system with instanced stripes of cloth on the render

3 ICE was used to generate particles and geometry procedurally. It was used to create the sea and the crests of the waves

4In order to avoid any kind of expensive global illunimation, the team opted to use blurred environment reflections on shots

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HADES, GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD

5Fred didn’t want the sea to be a big water simulation like in VFX movies, instead he deformed a simple grid to create the waves animation

SHOWCASE

ARTIST Elena Bespalova SOFTWARE USED Maya, ZBrush, Keyshot

Key scene: creating the banshee

While I working on this piece concept artist Elena Bespalova concentrated on the design and clarity of forms. “You can say I did all the parts almost in an old-school way; from baseshapes in Maya to sculpting volumes and details in ZBrush,” shares Elena. Once the sketching process was done, Elena began first by modelling the head, “I usually like to have a face of the character to be done first,” says the artist. The next step was to make the base shapes and place them into the same scene. “I had to pose the Cerberus base in the right place around the Hades, before I could start sculpting the dog and the drapery. Since the man’s hand should be lying on Cerberus’ crest, it was a necessary task,” shares Elena. “I found the work on creating Hades refreshing. It gave me a huge boost because of the opportunity to practice techniques and media that I have not gotten used to,” reveals Elena. You can see more of Elena’s portfolio work FYI at www.hellstern.cghub.com

“One of the hardest scenes was when the Banshee and the woman are on the boat approaching the gigantic stone pillars. There was everything in that scene: Rain, sea, foam, two characters with their simulated clothes, hair, and the pillars with displacement on them. That was a lot to handle for mental ray. In order to make it work in terms of animation I cheated a bit: the sea was flattened with a lattice around the boat. The feeling I wanted to convey was that the boat was magically driven, not affected by the storm. Then I brought the characters and cached the simulation of their clothes bit by bit.”

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WORKING WITH SYMMETRY

“Work on Cerberus took the most time. To sculpt it without symmetry was a bit of a challenge, but in the end it turned out nice. I used a 3d coat several times to re-mesh the body for a more comfortable work,” says Elena.

6 3D WORLD VIEW “THE STILLNESS OF THE FIGURE MIXED WITH THE MOVEMENT OF THE CREATURE’S TAIL BRINGS THIS TO LIFE”

6For the second half of the short, Fred wanted to create calm scenes, almost like longexposure shots

KULSOOM MIDDLETON

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operations editor

7The animation is 100 per cent keyframed, but the characters are not fully detailed. For example, Fred painted the Banshee in a very graphic way

It gave me a huge boost because of the opportunity to practice techniques and media that I have not gotten used toCOMMUNIT Y 3D WorlD April 2014

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“It was something we really wanted to do and ended as one of the most complex bodies we’ve managed to make,” says Nicolas

INFOCUS

BRINGING HEAVY KNIGHT TO LIFE Artist Jose Rodriguez channels his influences and experience to create an incredible character

T ARTIST PROFILE Jose Rodriguez is a senior character artist for Gameloft Madrid. He has also worked on the feature films and various video games. Jose is also a modelling tutor for Animum3D Online School. www.jrs3d.com

his project, called Heavy Knight, was based on a character design concept of an elite heavy knight for the universe of Twilight Monk by Trent Kaniuga. Senior character artist Jose Rodriguez spent six months on and off working on the render between freelance projects. The base was created in 3ds Max with V-Ray and then ZBrush was used to create all details for the displacement maps. While Jose says he works in a very traditional way, he does often mix techniques in 3ds Max and ZBrush to create hard surfaces for his props. Overall the artist says there are two areas to his work he particularly enjoys: “I love sculpting the high-resolution details and the compositing work to bring the picture to life.”

When it comes to his influences for Heavy Knight and work in general, Jose says: “The awesome work of different 2D and 3D artist is a great influence, but the best inspiration comes from the cinematic work done by some game companies, specially cinematics by Blur and Blizzard, their technical level, aesthetic and atmosphere is unique in every movie from them.” See more of Jose’s character models FYI and sculpts at www.jrs3d.com

VFX INTERVIEW

MAKING THE MUSCLES OF A MONSTER FOR 47 RONIN 2

MPC created hundreds of muscle animations to ensure its CG demon had the power to impress on the big screen

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THE BASE 1 CREATING This characters design is a high

detailed one so to be able to model every part I needs to support it over the character’s body and for that I had to discover the body beneath the armour. A fast drawing and a basic model helps me to understand the anatomy. NICOLAS AITHADI

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VFX supervisor Nicolas oversaw production of over 250 shots for 47 Ronin, with Bronwyn Edwards (comp), Dan Zelks (rigging lead), Julio del rio Fernandez (animation), Mathew Ovens (lighting) www.bit.ly/nic-imdb

WITH 2 WORKING MULTIPLE OBJECTS

By design there are several overlapped objects in the character’s waist. To work on this I created different primitives simulating the basic shape, size and position of the props, then I did a basic model for each piece and finally I added the detail in ZBrush.

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midst the epic sweeps across grand fantasy landscapes, MPC’s cherished achievement in samurai epic 47 Ronin was the twitching muscle animation of its Oni, a demonic character of giant proportions. The initial concept had been modelled, but the MPC team felt the Oni needed a new direction. “The Oni was supposed to be an enslaved creature who was forced to fight – so we designed a character who was powerful and could cause damage – but at the same time look like he had been abused for a number of years, so people felt bad about killing him,” says MPC’s Nicolas Aithadi. The challenge was to create an interesting animated character that viewers could believe in, and that meant a character who’s carrying a bit of weight, “he’s strong but he’s not going to the gym,” explains Nicolas. “This was more interesting in terms of body motion,” he adds: “We

found a muscular character wasn’t too interesting, but a bit of fat, with hanging skin, would be more sexy – in a graphical sense.” The animators wanted to make the skin and muscle movement as accurate as possible, this meant adapting existing tools MPC use but also

He’s strong but he’s not going to the gym… This was more interesting creating new workflows to ensure the muscle has weight when it moves, that the pectorals are affected by gravity. “We had to write a muscle system in the rig which enabled several muscles to be modelled as a simple shape; added to the rig and animated dynamically – these reacted to the motion of the actor,” explains Nicolas, adding: “The muscle could be

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deformed too, when his thigh moves up it would automatically move his belly up or to the right – it created some very interesting movement”. As the character took shape Nicolas’s team wanted to recreate the affects of moving tendons around the muscle to create an more believable animation. “We looked at body builders and realised there’s more muscle twitching,” says Nicolas. “To all that we added extra details by modelling blend shapes added to the animation – we ended up with hundreds of extra little models fired by the rig.” After hiring a model to act out the role, the team would add more detail on top of the animation as they spotted quirks in the performer’s muscles. The end result was a “combination of automatic simulation in the rig and hands on modelling, stop motion style, to get as much detail as we could,” shares Nicolas. Discover more of MPC’s work on 47 FYI Ronin at: www.bit.ly/mpc-47ronin


EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION DESIGNED FOR PRINT… We know you value good design. That’s why we’ve produced a magazine that’s easier to read and full of texture and great content. The deluxe print edition uses a combination of high-grade paper stocks, makes use of gorgeous full-bleed images and continues to inspire you with special print finishes and inks. Our new Develop section is printed on unique paper to offer a tactile experience as you read. We’re confident you’ll find your new 3D World a joy!

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION INSPIRING CG ARTISTS

3dworld.creativebloq.com April 2014 #180

THE NO.1 MAGAZINE FOR CG ARTISTS

SHOWCASE

ARTISTS

Inspirational art and unrivalled industry opinion

SHOWCASE

Easy-to-follow tutorials for creating amazing 3D art, animation and VFX

The best digital art from the cg community

The latest research and practices THE BINDING ARTIST James Suret SOFTWARE USED ZBrush, Photoshop

As soon as I put the eyes and teeth in, it really came to life

“I enjoyed sculpting the face and skin of the demon the most,” says web designer James Suret. “As soon as I put the eyes and teeth in it really came to life. Looking at the finished image I think I managed to make the demon look quite imposing and fierce.” While his CG art is purely a hobby for now, James is eager to keep learning and make it as a CG artist. While he has picked up freelance work on small indie game projects, creating low-poly models, James is now focused on improving his sculpting. “This image turned out very different from my initial concept,” says James. “Originally I wanted to create a necromancer-style character with a large demonic pet. However, after sculpting the demon I decided he was too interesting to be the secondary character in the image. So I remove the necromancer character and created a mountain environment for the demon.” You can see more of James’s work online FYI at www.zerojs.cgsociety.org

GET IN TOUCH

3D WORLD VIEW “The scale and atmosphere here is immense, but it’s really held together by James’s engaging demon design.”

EMAIL YOUR CG ART TO ian.dean@futurenet.com

Download video from the Vault if you see this icon

IAN DEAN

editor

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ON SALE 25 FEBRUARY 2014 TO WORK ON TABLET The iPad edition of 3D World has been designed to deliver extra content and an interactive experience. Throughout the edition look for buttons and markers to indicate extra gallery images, streaming video and interactive art. For Android tablet users, we’ve included video links and access to the online Vault to download extra images. Whatever your digital edition, don’t miss it!

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION INSPIRING CG ARTISTS

3dworld.creativebloq.com April 2014 #180

THE NO.1 MAGAZINE FOR CG ARTISTS Inspirational art and unrivalled industry opinion Easy-to-follow tutorials for creating amazing 3D art, animation and VFX

POSE 6 THE DEFINITION

7 BACKGROUND

I want a simple background to give the leading role to the character. The set creation was really fast, I made a couple of bricks, frontally UV mapped, instanced them to create a straight wall and finally applied a Bend modifier to give it the curved aspect, something fast and simple.

The character’s pose is a very rigid one, the weights are very centred due to armour’s bulk, ZBrush is an option, but I go traditional and select different pieces, apply an EditPoly modifier in 3ds Max, and using Soft Selection I play with the rotation and move each piece until it reaches a convincing pose.

The latest research and practices

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9 COMPOSITING

THE 8 WORKING RENDER PASSES

For the render stage I extracted just a few passes: Shaded Diffuse for Colour and shadows; Ambient Occlusion for visual detail; Zbuffer for a depth of field effect; Shaded Subsurface Scattering for the skin effect and shadow tinting; and finally Reflections, for this I like to extract full passes for those details to be able to mask them in compositing.

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The final challenge was to drive the attention to a small head between all the metallic reflections of the armour. To achieve this I decide to separate the background from the character, I darken it, and I force the whitish reflection below the face so I can drive the eyes to it.

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EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION THE VOICE OF CG INDUSTRY DEVELOP Subsection

REALISM R&D

Critical reality Realism has been a major pursuit of CG research since its inception. Renee Dunlop talks to the researchers turning science into art

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AUTHOR PROFILE Renee Dunlop Having written many ‘making of’ features for FX-heavy movies, Renee is a 3D World stalwart. She has also written a book, Production Pipeline Fundamentals for Film and Games. www.linkedin.

PROFILE Dr. James O’Brien is professor of computer science at the University of California at Berkeley www.cs.berkeley.edu

eality is open to interpretation, in most cases. Accurately simulating how much weight a bridge can safely support during an earthquake could mean the difference between life or death. A military training simulation might involve a fake car explosion with a hired cast of screaming blooddrenched amputees and fake limbs scattered, or forcing troops through a mock city filled with the synthesised stench of rotting corpses. In reality, a car falling from that bridge would rarely blow up; in fact they have been carefully designed to avoid such reactions. Dr. James O’Brien, professor of computer science at UC Berkeley says, “They might be crumpled, might be munched up into an unrecognisable pile of junk, but they almost never blow up.” The same is true with an exploding hand grenade. “When you throw a grenade in a film it makes this fantastic eruption of fire. In the real world, it’s actually

scary how little it seems to do. There is a little puff of smoke that looks very unimpressive, but ten feet away, someone will just fall down dead.” But from the audience’s point of view, that doesn’t make a very exciting movie. Entertainment tends to push reality, not recreate it. And ironically, after a century of film, humans are conditioned to expect the spectacle, often to the point where this false information is perceived as true and real-world spectacle as seen as inaccurate and boring. Yet regardless of how reality is tweaked, if a film is live-action, each effect has to be believable, and doing so means

There are areas of simulation where real-world dynamics are imperative to apply, such as in engineering Dr. James O’Brien, Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley

understanding the physics of the real-world, controlling simulations that attempt to mimic proper physics, and then altering those simulations to get the proper dramatic results.

The beauty and the geek

Imagine this scenario: the simulation is flawless, behaving precisely as it should in the real world. The fabric flutters and stretches as the cape whips in the wind. Superman rockets over the ground, pulling up at the last second, slams to the ground and skids to a stop on both feet. It’s a dramatic moment, a pivotal scene that has the audience clutching the theatre armrests. And as Superman menacingly places a fist on each hip and stares down his enemies the cape continues its movement, flipping over his head. Obviously this is not the desired effect, but what alterations are needed to maintain the sense of realism while faking the cape’s response? Superman flies forward in high velocity and comes to an

abrupt stop. The cape’s momentum would keep it moving forward, as it has not experienced the same deceleration forces as the body; it is connected at the shoulders, so only this point of connection has been slowed down and the rest of the cape is free to keep going. To resolve this, the TD working on the simulation would need to apply artificial forces, such as wind or pins or simply counter-animate the forward motion. A building collapsing might be obscured in the dust, requiring a simulation that manipulated the debris coming towards camera, keeping the building in view. A continuity cut that requires an object to land in a specific location where it would not land if left to physics alone. The camera and gravity make objects look like they are falling too fast or too slowly. All of these scenarios require some sort of cheat. While the physically based simulation might be scientifically accurate, sometimes the physical models work against the process.

PROFILE Ben Cole is MPC’s Vancouver head of software and the lead developer of Kali, MPC’s simulation software www.moving-

Destruction development

Q&A WITH STAN SZYMANSKI Digital media recruiter and consultant

What do you look for in a reel for live action? The hardest thing in realism is matching the live-action photography. Anything that dwells in the world effects animation – water, explosions, smoke, dust, rain, fire – all that stuff is exceedingly difficult to pull off. Do you look for science or art, or both? I’m looking at photorealism from an artistic point of view. Is it realistic enough that it integrates with live-action photography or is it stylised; so better for CG features or gaming? I don’t really care about the physicality of refraction of water, I just care whether my clients, often the producer or VFX supervisor, will think that person’s look suits the project.

Rather than using a cloth simulation, Superman’s cape was rigged to have a bone and deformation in it so the team could move and pose it for the right position for comic book poses

Can you explain why? A lot of the physical scientific research goes into the creation of VFX. That is true, but often it is dialed out because it’s a creative medium and even though a director might think they want a replication of reality, what they really want is to create a pretty picture.

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Ben Cole is the lead developer of Kali, MPC’s simulation software (http://www. moving-picture.com/documents/ KalieHighQualityFEM.pdf ). Kali was built on the back of Pixelux’s software, DMM (Digital Molecular Matter). Kali uses a Finite Element-based approach, and is a very physically accurate simulation system. “The Pixelux solver is definitely designed to work with quantities that correspond to real-world values and give a highly realistic result,” says Cole, “but the work we did integrating their API wasn’t just about the numbers. It was about creating a tool that was usable and controllable by technical directors in a VFX context, while giving them access to all this rich and powerful physics.” There are two kinds of physics simulation used for destruction effects in film: rigid body and Finite Element. Rigid body destruction is not physically accurate; the simulations can’t handle flexing, bending or realistic fracture of materials. Rigid body constraint links can be broken based on forces or scripted connectivity. With only six degrees of freedom – three dimensions of movement, three degrees of rotation. Rigid bodies do not allow for deforming or bending. For rigid objects such as stone the behaviour is acceptable, but when the material is expected to deform the results are less appealing. By comparison, Finite Element destruction has a variable number of degrees of freedom. A FEM system (Finite Element Method: https://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Finite_element_ method) with a particular set of material parameters may be able to capture a wider range of phenomena, but depending on the assumptions behind it there will still be other things it can’t easily model. “Having

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simulation tools with more degrees of freedom and larger parameter spaces is inevitable in my opinion,” says Cole, “as they enable the production of a much broader range of effects. However, gathering the information needed and tuning the parameters of these simulations becomes an increasingly complicated process. Also, we often need to make things behave in ways that they might not in reality because reality might not deliver the director’s vision. At the end of the day it’s the eyes of supervisors and TDs which guide us the most.” Consider the cape example: at this time, it is often easier for TDs to add artificial constraints to their

The DMM playback system was used for high quality in-game destruction in the Xbox One title Quantum Break

Universities are working with even more complex models than visual effects studios are Ben Cole, head of software, MPC Film, Vancouver simulations, such as unmotivated forces or other keyframed or procedural modifications, rather than try to work with increasingly accurate representations of nature. Many studios still do much of their simulations with rigid bodies, for instance, and choose to cheat or approximate the properties not represented, rather than working with a strictly physical model. Even with an FEM simulation, the additional degrees of freedom and more accurate physics might not be doing what the TD wants and so will need to be constrained or otherwise adjusted.

Converging technologies

It started with a 1999 PhD thesis published in Siggraph written by Dr. James O’Brien and his graduation student advisor Jessica Hodgins. That paper, Graphical Modeling and Animation of Brittle Fracture (http://graphics.berkeley. edu/papers/Obrien-GMA-1999-08) developed the original fracture

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The ability to compact material outputs into a single output per material is a huge boon to productivity The Multi-Material Blend filter enables you to easily control which material goes where on the model

We pride ourselves on having unique, unrivalled access to the industry’s experts. Not only do we interview leading CG artists and VFX studios, we invite them to share their thoughts and knowledge through opinion pieces, essays and practical tutorials. Every issue of 3D World will feature insights into the latest technology and research that’s shaping the CG industry, delivered by those artists, filmmakers and professors who are putting theories into practice.

IN PRACTICE: USING THE MULTI-MATERIAL BLEND FILTER

Substance Designer 4 includes a new Multi-Material Blend filter to control which parts of a mesh individual materials are applied to. Here the inbuilt baking tools can be used to generate normal and vertex maps amongst others as the basis for texture mattes to define which material goes where on a model. These maps as they are being specified within Substance Designer are live, (and also use the same normal tangent basis as Unity) so if their geometric input is changed to a new geometry, the texture updates on the fly to match the contours of the new model. An example of this would be if an artist had created a look for a soldier model for a game, and this look needed to be propagated throughout the rest of the platoon. Normally this would mean the creation of a bespoke texture set for each member of the platoon, but with Substance Designer, any member of the 3D team can open the substance file created by the original artist and just apply it to the new model’s UV and have the texture instantly re-conform itself to the new asset. This allows more time for the design team to really work on the subtle nuances of each character in the platoon, and therefore create more convincing assets.

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THE NO.1 MAGAZINE FOR CG ARTISTS

DEATHSTROKE’S REVENGE ARTIST Alessandro Baldasseroni SOFTWARE USED 3ds Max, ZBrush, Mudbox, V-Ray, Photoshop

Inspirational art and unrivalled industry opinion

Alessandro Baldasseroni is a lead character artist at Blur Studios, where he has worked for seven years. His latest project was influenced by work done for Batman Arkham Origins cinematics. Deathstroke’s revenge is based on the model used for the cinematic, but influenced by the artist’s own ‘Revenge’ series of illustrations. “I tend to privilege form, mood and colours over details,” says Alessandro as he reflects on his influences. This filters into his CG illustration, that focuses on gesture and narrative elements when posing the early model. “My favourite tool is the transpose master in ZBrush for posing the main character,” says the artist. When work begins on lighting Alessandro looks for references, “of specific moods and colour schemes and my sources are mostly digital paintings, traditional artworks and photographs. Based on the mood and environment I choose I paint or do a photo collage of the background elements,” adds Alessandro. See more of Alessandro’s personal work FYI at his website, www.eklettica.com

Easy-to-follow tutorials for creating amazing 3D art, animation and VFX The latest research and practices

3D WORLD VIEW “The lighting and texture ensures this take on Deathstroke feels unlike any other, I can’t wait to see more in the series.” ROB REDMAN

technical editor

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EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION ALL-NEW TUTORIALS

tutorials Annotation

ZBrush | Marvelous Designer | Keyshot

Reimagine a cla game chaRacte Gerard Dunleavy shows how he uses a link to his past to reinvigorate his creative process

F ArTisT profile

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www.youtube.com/user/3dworld

Gerard Dunleavy Gerard is a concept designer, matte painter and CG artist working primarily in the advertising and film industries. His most recent work can be seen in Thor: The Dark World and the upcoming Godzilla. www.gerarddunleavy.me

Topics covered Sketching Modelling Simulated cloth

ilm and video games are a major inspiration for me, even when I’m very busy on a project I will try and find the time to energise my imagination by watching a film or play a game for a few minutes. This character started out life as a little drawing in my sketchbook. I was inspired by The Legend of Zelda video game, which had a major impact on my childhood and an idea about a world where Link didn’t do much adventuring and got a little out of shape, to become Chubby Link. I then used the sketch as an image plane in ZBrush to be a template as I blocked out the proportions using ZSpheres. With the basic shapes created I then converted the model to a Dynamesh object and continued to detail and refine. I used ZBrush for the majority of the modelling, as well as Marvelous Designer, to quickly build his garments as a base mesh for me to sculpt on top of. I used Keyshot to render and Photoshop for the final composite with the 3D WorlD April 2014

background and colou It’s at this point that sculpt in to Marvelous create some simulated I had never used the p before but it is very qu up and produce cloth a complex layered loo I was happy with the c imported it into ZBrus sculpting and refinem the modelling was com used ZRemesher on a 70

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ON SALE 25 FEBRUARY 2014 tutorials Step-by-step

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zbrush 4 r6

Sculpt a model for a Still life Scene Learn how to master hard surface sculpting with Tituouan Olive’s step-by-step guide

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n this training, I’d like to show you how to master hard surface sculpting techniques. Sculpting hard surfaces is much faster than modelling polygon by polygon. It saves also an incredible amount of time when you’re asked by a client or by your boss to create several quick 3D concepts for robotic characters or mechanical elements. It was almost impossible to do that in 3D before using the old box or edge modelling method because it took much too long, as well as

ArTisT profile Titouan Olive Titouan is a freelance 3D artist working as lead character artist on animated films and video games. He’s also worked on various product design and architecture projects. digitalia3d.teria.fr

1 STep 1_VIDeo 01

Topics covered Add bevels using Panel Loops Detailing using masks Using hard surfaces brushes Inserting mechanical elements

Since I can’t imagine sculpting something from scratch without using references, I start by searching for some good images. You’ll find tons of different pictures featuring headphones without any pain on the web. once you’ve found some good references, start by loading a sphere, hit [Shift]+[F] on your keyboard to display the wireframe and in the Tool menu click on Initialize to expand the options. At this stage you could add more or less edge loops 3D WorlD April 2014

exTrA cloTh deTAils I sculpted further cloth details after importing the base mesh from Marvelous Designer.

to get some nice topology. For rendering I decided to use Keyshot because it produces a nice photo real quality to renders that I thought would contrast the simple design of the character nicely. Once I was happy with the render in Keyshot I composited it all together and added the final touches and colour grade. For all the assets you need go to www.3dworldmag.com/vault

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a very detailed and accurate model since it will be featured up close in the final scene. The headphones are a good subject to study hard surface techniques. We’ll start from scratch to build the headphones blocking out the main shapes. We’ll then make use of some specific tools to sharpen the surface when needed. At the end we’ll use some advanced functions and will refine the model, pushing the sculpt higher. For all the assets you need go to www.3dworldmag.com/vault

2 STep 2_VIDeo 01

Now click on Make polymesh3D to make this sphere fully editable. Click and drag holding [Ctrl]+[Shift] to hide part of the sphere. Now under Geometry, expand the edgeLoop section and click on panel Loops to make a test. As you can see, it creates a bevel with several edge loops around your visible polygons. Undo your work (press [Ctrl]+[Z] and tweak the settings to create a nice bevel. I choose 0,0486 for Thickness 0,00 for elevation and I also

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creATe The Accessories Dynamesh and Insert Mesh brushes were used to create the accessories for Chubby Link.

assic eR

ur grade. t I export my s Designer to d garments. program uick to pick hing with ok. Once clothing I sh for more ment. After mpleted I all the objects

being really unproductive. Since the introduction of new tools to ZBrush exclusively dedicated to the task of hard surface modelling, the tool has become revolutionary. We now have the ability to use brushes and functions to enable us to create clean hard surfaces very quickly and easily. The goal in this training is to sculpt a pair of headphones. This object is supposed to be the main element of a still life scene so, with that in mind, we have to create

sword And shield Zbrush’s Clip Curve brush and Polish Crisp Edges were used to create the sword and shield.

creATe cosTumes in mArvelous designer one exporT The model

Once I was happy with the character’s shape and proportion I then exported the body to Marvelous Designer to simulate the cloth.

Two begin To creATe pATTerns

I began by creating patterns for the base layers of clothing such as the under vest and trousers. I then layered more clothing on top to add interest

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Three TAke iT bAck inTo Zbrush

When I was happy with the result from the simulation I then exported the clothing to ZBrush and continued sculpting on top. This was

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We want to help you become a better artist. Every issue we’ll deliver a mix of in-depth, easy-to-follow tutorials for a variety of software packages. Plus we’ll explain the how and why behind the theory and process. Every tutorial is backed by assets that can be stored and downloaded in the online Vault. Whether this is exclusive video tuition, scene files, textures or ZTools or high-res screens and progress art, you can access these files where-ever and whenever you need them.


EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION IRRESISTIBLE INSPIRATION

COMMUNIT Y Studio profile

STUDIO PROFILE

GLOWFROG: WORKING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE POND

Every month, 3D World carefully sources and curates the best new work from the global CG art community. Our Showcase gallery mixes interviews with insights and the art is presented to best express the artist’s projects. For iPad and tablet readers, we will present interactive galleries to explore each artist’s workflow and process art.

Beren Neale reports on the boutique studio that can turn its hand from architectural visualisation to VFX with ease

F NIGEL HUNT Nigel is the owner and creative director of Glowfrog Studios, a UKbased production outfit. www.glowfrog.com

rom the interior design of Madonna’s flat to effects for disaster shows, Glowfrog is a studio that can leap from architectural visualisation to VFX with ease. Back in the 1990s, Nigel Hunt was a jobbing 3D freelance artist plying his trade in London. Working alongside interior designers, Nigel soon found himself drafting 3D visualisations and then animations for design proposals for Madonna’s New York apartment. The Queen of Pop was a close friend of one of the interior designers, and Nigel and his newly founded studio Glowfrog went on to create set designs for music videos from the Ray of Light album. It’s a star-studded entry on an impressive CV that includes work for the London 2012 Olympics, the reimagining of the Millennium Dome, and a growing body of VFX production and post-production work that’s directing Glowfrog into the worlds of television and film. The origins of Glowfrog are far more humble and more personal. “Glowfrog

started out as a visualisation company, but prior to it starting I worked in architecture for five years following in my father’s footsteps,” says Nigel. He came to London in 1992 and worked for Sega before getting a job as an architectural illustrator using 3DS (DOS version) creating 3D models of buildings. As Nigel’s ambition grew so did the workload. Freelancers were hired, then joined permanently, and Glowfrog was born.

STUDIO STATISTICS

DIRECTOR Nigel Hunt

Making a mark

COUNTRY UK SPECIALTIES CGI environments, matte painting, archviz, motion graphics, CGI renderings, VFX, photography & film production COMPANY SIZE 11-50

3D WORLD April 2014

Glowfrog’s business is divided into two strands; complex VFX work for the TV and film industries and arch-viz projects for its growing list of global clients

It was Glowfrog’s work on The O2 Arena and the Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration that helped put it on the map. “We’ve been involved since 2001 and helped The O2 with marketing CGIs during the construction.” The defunct Millennium Dome may have had a universal panning, but after one year of opening The O2 became one of the most successful concert venues in the world. Then came work on the London 2012 Athletes’ Village, a five-year project where Glowfrog worked with a design team, including 15 architectural firms.

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Communit y Communit y Infocus

Pose 6 tHe deFInItIon

3 addIng detaIls

3

4 FunCtIonal geometrY

7

6

4 Bearing in mind that the original idea was to create a still image I always try to achieve an organized geometry that can be rigged and animated, this is a personal preference, but having that kind of geometry helps a lot in other parts of the process.

7 BaCKground

I want a simple background to give the leading role to the character. The set creation was really fast, I made a couple of bricks, frontally UV mapped, instanced them to create a straight wall and finally applied a Bend modifier to give it the curved aspect, something fast and simple.

The character’s pose is a very rigid one, the weights are very centred due to armour’s bulk, ZBrush is an option, but I go traditional and select different pieces, apply an EditPoly modifier in 3ds Max, and using Soft Selection I play with the rotation and move each piece until it reaches a convincing pose.

Once I have the shape and position of the shoulder pad I add the skulls, these are zero modelled in ZBrush with Dynamesh and I use Zremesher to get a basic geometry, then I used Topogun to make a better adjustment, once I have the correct geometry it was time to add details like the cracks.

8 5

5 Colour studY

This is a great challenge, the character is a full armour figure with a lot of different armour pieces, and giving colour to a monochrome design is the real deal, in this case two colours and different shadings are the key, a fast overpaint helps to know how to separate them.

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9 ComPosItIng

tHe 8 WorKIng render Passes

For the render stage I extracted just a few passes: Shaded Diffuse for Colour and shadows; Ambient Occlusion for visual detail; Zbuffer for a depth of field effect; Shaded Subsurface Scattering for the skin effect and shadow tinting; and finally Reflections, for this I like to extract full passes for those details to be able to mask them in compositing.

9

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The final challenge was to drive the attention to a small head between all the metallic reflections of the armour. To achieve this I decide to separate the background from the character, I darken it, and I force the whitish reflection below the face so I can drive the eyes to it.

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ON SALE 25 FEBRUARY 2014 COMMUNITY MATTERS 1 The team were able to save time by importing a 3D Camera in Nuke and setting up and rendering the sets directly in Nuke

2 The fearsome Banshee character’s ‘clothes’ were created using a hair system with instanced stripes of cloth on the render

3 ICE was used to generate particles and geometry procedurally. It was used to create the sea and the crests of the waves

4 In order to avoid any kind of expensive global illunimation, the team opted to use blurred environment reflections on shots

2

5 Fred didn’t want the sea to be a big water simulation like in VFX movies, instead he deformed a simple grid to create the waves animation

Key scene: creating the banshee

“One of the hardest scenes was when the Banshee and the woman are on the boat approaching the gigantic stone pillars. There was everything in that scene: Rain, sea, foam, two characters with their simulated clothes, hair, and the pillars with displacement on them. That was a lot to handle for mental ray. In order to make it work in terms of animation I cheated a bit: the sea was flattened with a lattice around the boat. The feeling I wanted to convey was that the boat was magically driven, not affected by the storm. Then I brought the characters and cached the simulation of their clothes bit by bit.”

3

4

Our new 20-page community section aims to shine a light on the most exciting projects, events and artist news in the industry. Whether it’s MPC’s latest VFX shot, new award-winning shorts or reader techniques that need sharing, we’ll be bringing you a must-read slice of the CG community every issue.

WEBSITE www.3dworldmag.com FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine TWITTER @3DWorldMag

5

6 For the second half of the short, Fred wanted to create calm scenes, almost like longexposure shots

6

COMMUNIT Y Artist’s Workstation

7

7 The animation is 100 per cent keyframed, but the characters are not fully detailed. For example, Fred painted the Banshee in a very graphic way

3D CONNEXION SPACEEXPLORER I’m always disappointed when a 3D app is not 3D-connexion enabled; it makes switching between 3D apps (which I do a lot) much more straightforward, and the nine hotkeys are easily remappable

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ARTIST WORKSTATION

MIKE GRIGGS’S CONNECTED WORKSPACE

WACOM CINTIQ I have been using tablets for years, however, using a Cintiq changes everything for the better – the 22inch device is a good size and portable(ish) for my specific twocentre home setup

We drop in on CreativeBloke’s HQ to see how Mike Griggs has created an environment to manage his busy workload ARTIST PROFILE Mike Griggs is a concept 3D, VFX and mograph artist working across television, exhibition and digital design. www.creativebloke.com

I work for a range of clients from my two-centre home setup which comprises The Shed and the Night Desk. I move between these setups as the day progresses, or sometimes I work on site where I use my laptop, or a supplied Mac or PC. My recent work is primarily corporate mograph and VFX for a range of creative agencies. I also create concept visualisations for heritage clients such as the National Trust as well a range of international museum design agencies, and I also do a lot of writing for magazines, websites and application documentation, so usually no two days are the same, which I love and is which is why I went freelance in the first place. While it’s important to invest in hardware and software (my current core applications are Cinema 4D, Modo and the Adobe Creative Suite), flexibility and productivity are as important as creativity to be a successful freelancer. 3D WORLD April 2014

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One of the key advantages that a freelancer can offer over a larger agency is the ability to change workflows, which can benefit both the freelancer and the client. For example, recently I was commissioned to do an architectural walkthrough which was specified to be rendered in VRayforC4D, but it ended up being rendered in Octane; this was due to my curiosity to challenge the brief, which would not always be possible in a studio environment where workflows are more fixed.

Power to the freelancer

To ensure this flexibility I have fibre access at CreativeBloke HQ, which along with a Dropbox Pro account with Packrat (which keeps a copy of deleted Dropbox files indefinitely), are the backbone of my workflow and also enable me to sleep at night. This is because Dropbox syncs across my Mac Pro, my laptop and my backup Mac, which means I have a

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EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION INSPIRING CG ARTISTS

3 ISSUES FOR ÂŁ5/$10! SPECIAL PRINT OFFER 3dworld.creativebloq.com April 2014 #180

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW EDITION INSPIRING CG ARTISTS

THE NO.1 MAGAZINE FOR CG ARTISTS

Inspirational art and unrivalled industry opinion

Easy-to-follow tutorials for creating amazing 3D art, animation and VFX

3dworld.creativebloq.com April 2014 #180

The latest research and practices

THE NO.1 MAGAZINE FOR CG ARTISTS Inspirational art and unrivalled industry opinion Easy-to-follow tutorials for creating amazing 3D art, animation and VFX The latest research and practices

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ON SALE 25 FEBRUARY 2014 SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Special Offers for the new-look 3D World Magazine – Print & Digital!

If you’re an artist, animator or filmmaker, then you need a subscription to the no.1 magazine for CG artists. Enjoy the new magazine in either print or digital – you won’t be disappointed. To celebrate we’ve got some fantastic offers for you!

GET THE INTERACTIVE IPAD EDITION Your FIRST ISSUE FREE from 25 February 2014 www.goo.gl/AQw3ft

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ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD? Get 13 issues for £76.49 www.goo.gl/MKIFY4 *UK readers: You will be charged just £5 for your first 3 issues. After your first 3 issues you will be charged £27.49 every 6 months. US and Canadian readers: You will be charged $10 USD for your first 3 issues. After your first 3 issues you will be charged $62.49 USD every 6 months. EU and ROW have no set newsstand price and therefore we cannot advertise the specific savings you will make. You will be charged in GBP. Print offers are for new subscribers only. You will receive 13 issues in a year. Prices correct at point of print and subject to change. For full terms and conditions visit www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/termsandconditions. Offer ends 31st March 2014.

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