Take your 3D projects to the next level and transform the way you work
3D art & design Annual
Celebrating 30 years of the renderer, Pixar’s talented artists and engineers, including Incredibles 2’s director of photography, teach us new ways of working with RenderMan 22
or 30 years, RenderMan has shaped the CGI revolution in animation and visual effects. RenderMan is continuously evolving, shaped year after year by the artistic and technical requirements of Pixar’s films and the groundbreaking work by studios around the world. Always focused on production rendering, RenderMan continues to deliver state-of-the-art technology to artists and studios, producing award-winning imagery of ever-increasing quality and sophistication. RenderMan 22 has been thoroughly modernised, with a focus on delivering highperformance interactive rendering, for both Maya and Katana. You get immediate visual feedback as you adjust lights, shaders, geometry, hair grooms, the timeline and more during interactive rendering sessions. And of course, because it’s RenderMan, you always have the option to dive in as deeply as you want. The new interactivity and performance coupled with support for USD allows you to rethink how you work. For example, as RenderMan can be always active, you can do sequence lighting as
you build sets or test animation live in the viewport – so you can work faster and achieve better results than ever before. With new artistic features from Pixar productions, live rendering, new research, new capacity for scale and complexity, and a versatile new platform for the next generation of challenges – RenderMan is more versatile than ever!
Pixar’s Walking Teapot from 2004
30 things you didn’t know about RenderMan
Contributors Harsh Agrawal Character shading TD harsh2art.com Christophe Hery Rendering researcher graphics.pixar.com Philippe Leprince RenderMan software engineer renderman.pixar.com Andrew Kensler Sr. software engineer eastfarthing.com/blog/ Mark Manca RenderMan product manager renderman.pixar.com Christos Obretenov Shading architect lollipopshaders.com Leif Pedersen RenderMan specialist & 3D generalist leif3d.com Eugene Riecansky Creative director rock-star.co.uk Dylan Sisson Digital artist dylansisson.com Erik Smitt Director of photography for Incredibles 2 pixar.com Wayne Wooten RenderMan Software development manager renderman.pixar.com
‘Mike’ scan rendered by Pixar Animation Studios
3D art & design Annual
Mark Masters Steampunk Weapon, 2017 Software Blender, Substance Painter
Learn how to • Model a weapon • Texture with Substance Painter • Light and render with Cycles
Concept I wanted to create a steampunk-style weapon that felt unique, but also felt like it fit within that world and aesthetic.
Build a steampunk weapon in Blender Learn the process for creating a steampunk-style weapon from start to finish with Blender and Substance Painter
he vast world of steampunk is a fun and exciting style to explore, full of gears, pipes and of course, steam. In this tutorial, we will be creating a steampunk-style gun in Blender and Substance Painter. There is a sense of freedom and challenge that comes with creating a weapon in this style. You have the freedom to either create a truly out-of-this-world weapon, or maybe one that is a little more grounded, with a steampunk flare. The choice is entirely up to you. Throughout this tutorial, we will be going through the process of modelling the steampunk weapon in Blender, from the blocking stage to the final model. After that, we’ll bring it into Substance Painter and discuss the process of adding textures and materials to our gun. We’ll bring everything back into Blender and do a quick render, using various techniques for effects, and discuss how to bring in textures from Substance Painter to Blender.
Add the barrel details With the basic shape of the barrel and muzzle modelled out, the next step is to begin adding further steampunk-style details. We’ve created the basic barrel details at the top and bottom of the barrel, almost like a cage. This could be pieces of metal, but instead we are going to model pieces of wood that are bolted together. This is a stylistic choice and fits within that steampunk style. You can see that we’ve added a few other details to the barrel, including three cylinders at the middle and base of the barrel. Right now they don’t look like much, but once we get into texturing we will be applying a mesh-like texture to them, so that these portions of the barrel appear to be ventilated in case of overheating. Just like with the muzzle, many of these pieces have a simple bevel applied to ensure that there aren’t any harsh 90-degree angles on any part of the mesh. 02
Block in the model The first step of the process is to begin blocking in the model. The goal here is to stay rough and work loose. You’re not trying to create beautifully crafted meshes, but rather figure out the overall shapes and silhouettes for the weapon. This is really the time when you can experiment, play around and find something that speaks to you. Working with simple cubes and cylinders inside of Blender is really all you need to establish a strong base and silhouette.
Model the barrel Once we’re happy, the next step is to begin creating the final model. Start with the barrel end of the gun and work back to the stock. One of the great things about the steampunk style is that it can be really exaggerated or cartoony. So, for this, we’ve sized it up and created a blunderbuss-style muzzle, which really fits with the steampunk aesthetic. We also want to bevel prominent edges on the barrel so there aren’t any harsh 90-degree angles, which can look ugly at render time. You can bevel the edges by first selecting them, and then applying the Bevel modifier. 01
from filesilo.co.uk/bks-2063 • Blender model files • HDR • Substance Painter file • Tutorial screenshots
Build a steampunk weapon in Blender
3D art & design Annual
Poly modelling Now we have the clean topology to work with, we can start looking at references for ideas on how to treat areas such as the holes on the suit, the panels on the spine, details on her neck piece and the energy source in her chest. Refer to industrial design for ideas and break down the details to different levels. Start big and finish small. Try to change the shading of your geometry to check for pinching in your model. You can use a very shiny shader or just the standard 3ds Max material. We advise you to use a blue colour with a high specular intensity that will bring out any modelling artifact. To add thickness to the pieces, since the back face won’t be visible, instead of using the Shell modifier, click on all the borders and extrude twice. That way we’ll have thickness without extra polygons on the back.
Cable modelling The first thing to keep in mind when modelling a sci-fi-looking cable is that you have to think about using a modular workflow in games. That means you model just a small part of the cable so that when you duplicate it to make a longer version, you won’t see the repetition, almost like texture tiling. Usually when modelling cylindrical objects you start with a cylinder. Well we’re not going to do that, so take a flat plane and gradually add details to it, add a Bend modifier with an angle of 360 to see how it looks and keep turning it on and off. After you finish with the modelling, draw a shape that will be the path of the cable and how it would look when connected to the character. After that, duplicate the part to your desired length and attach everything, add a Path Deformer modifier, click on Pick Shape and choose the spline you made. Now you have total control on the form of the cables.
Detail the suit Now add folds on the suit to make it look like leather. Folds will give a natural feel even if it’s a robot. Export the mesh to ZBrush and since it’s leather wrapped around metal, it will not have that many folds, only around the connection between the shoulder and biceps. We’ll use the Dam_Standard brush with one simple stroke and then use Opt/Alt to invert the brush effect and do another stroke flowing. You can get references on Pinterest, just type ‘folds study’ and you’ll find a bunch of examples showing how clothes behave. Now we’ll focus on the parts that connect with other objects like the spine, so it feels like the leather is affected by those pieces, which is important for realism. Use the same brush along with the Smooth brush, but don’t oversmooth the mesh as we want the details to be sharp for a better bake in the texturing phase.
Low poly vs high poly When making a character for games or cinematic purposes, before you start the modelling process you have to think about the topology for both high and low poly. This prevents you from doing it a second time as all you have to do is model the low poly with good topology and edge flow, and use the 3ds Max modifier stack to work on each phase in a separate editable poly that enables you to have control on the level of detail in your models. Then, all you have to do is add turbosmooth and you’ll get the high poly, or deactivate the modifiers to get the low-poly character ready, without redoing all the work.
Model a real-time character
Realism in textures This PBR workflow made everything more simple but it’s hard to be original because lots of new artists are using the same downloaded materials. You can create your own and even use your phone to scan some material from real life and process those textures in Substance Designer, for example, and use the final output in Substance Painter to add some details. It’s really awesome and you can do this in any software. Just remember to be original so your work will stand out from the rest.
Emphasise the mechanical parts When it comes to creating the mechanical objects, you always have to spend a bit of time thinking about what details you want in the actual geometry and also what details you want to add later using alphas. At this stage we’ll use the Masking tool along with Inflate to make those details. All you have to do is mask some panels and screw details. After you finish with masking, go to the Deformation settings and scroll down until you find Inflate Parameters. Once here, put in a value of 1 or 2. You can always use some custom alphas without manually masking the details, it’s just that in our model we don’t need to bother with that many details because it’s already detailed enough. If you wanted to add more, you can download or buy a mech brush and go crazy. However, before you do this, you need to understand that the more details you add the noisier your model will get, and that’s not ideal visually.
Unwrap your model It’s time for laying out UVs. When you get to the unwrapping stage, the most important part is putting the seams in the right place. If you don’t take care with this, you risk having visible seam lines in your textures. But that’s not all – you also have to consider pixel density. This simply means that the biggest object needs the largest UV space. We’ll use the ZBrush plugin for most of our UVs since it’s awesome and very easy to use; it’s just a matter of clicking on Unwrap. What’s cool about this is that when you unwrap the mesh, you click on the Flatten button and you can use the Move brush to adjust the form and smooth it all inside the UV space. When you are finished, click on Unflatten to go back to your 3D view and then use the same technique for all the parts, including the head and the cables. Now export everything to 3ds Max to adjust the pixel density. All you have to do is add the UVunwrap modifier and use the Move and Scale gizmo to fix the scaling and the bad rotation of your UVs.
Prepare the character for texturing As soon as you get to the stage where you have the UVs properly laid out with no visible seams and a good pixel density, it’s time to create the base colours of the model. When doing this, follow the reference in addition to adding your own personal touch. Because this model is not for games but real-time and we’re creating it for a still images, it means that we have a bit of freedom when it comes to texture resolution. We’ll separate the model to five UDIMS, which means that each of the five parts will have its own UV space. The benefit of this is that it gives us a good pixel density to work with.
3D art & design Annual
Rig faces like a pro with 3ds Max
Rig faces like a pro with 3ds Max Boost your 3ds Max skills by learning how to create bones for a base, connect morphers and use stretch chains for eyebrows
he face is very important in character animation because it is always in focus, showing the character´s expressions. Depending on the expressions needed, facial rigging can take a lot of time, often requiring more than one rigging artist and many systems to create. There are many techniques for making a facial rig in Max; we can use bones, morphers, skinwraps, skinmorphers and so on. In this tutorial, we will show you some of the techniques for using bones and morphers to create expressions for a 3D character in 3ds Max. It is important to note that we only have to make the systems that the character needs for the animation, which saves a lot of time in a real production pipeline. You can even make a checklist to remember what the character needs, to ensure you only make what’s necessary.
Bones or morphers? The classic question: what is better for a facial rigging, bones or morphers? The best result is a combination of both. So let’s start with bones for the base. In the left view, create a bone chain for the neck and head, and another bone for the jaw. Delete the end bones because we do not need them.
Control bones Now create three circles to help you control these bones. Align them to each bone in position and orientation. Convert the circles to splines, go to the third sub object and edit to look like the screenshot. 01
3D art & design Annual
Lighting & Rendering
Set the diffuse For our diffuse, we will add a
curvature node. The negative curvature should be a dark colour close to black to make the cavities that colour. Zero curvature is the base colour and for this I used a dark colour. For the positive curvature I used a brighter version of the base colour. To add this node, right-click Textures > Curvature and assign a colour to each of the curvatures. Hit C while the curvature node is selected and play with the Cutoff and Radius to make your desired effect. Finally, add a Color Composite node by right-clicking Utilities > Color Composite and connecting the Curvature to Source and the C.Composite to the Diffuse of the main material.
Set the Bump Now we will add the bump to make the Curvature node looks less intense. Right-click Textures>TextureMap>BlackFinger. Connect the node to the Bump slot. Selecting the final node and going to Textures>Bump will allow us to change the intensity of it â€“ I usually use low values unless I want it to be more present on the final render. Sometimes the size of the texture will be off, especially if the model doesnâ€™t have UVs. To fix this, go to the Texture Map node and view the Size and Mapping options. I recommend that the bump and the specular be different sizes. If you want to make the curvature a little more dominant, you can always go to its node and modify it 07
render clay materials in KeyShot
Importance of UVs Although having UVs is not a requirement for this tutorial, it definitely helps to improve the look of your model – especially when using surface noise and while adding the different textures in KeyShot. You won’t have to tweak the parameters of the bump and the specular as much. If this is the case and you have the UVs, go to the Texture Map node and view the Mapping Type. For models, the Without UVs box usually works fine but in case your mesh has them, change it to UV.
Set the SSS The next step is to make the material a little more translucent. Go to the final node and under Material Type, select Translucent Advanced. The material will change and we can now modify the colour of the Subsurface. Under Translucency, the bigger the number the more translucent the material and the stronger the subsurface colour. Instead of having a diffuse, we have a Surface map that is connected to our curvature. We need to go back to the Color Composite and select a similar colour to the main one in the Background slot. This node will allow us to have control over how much Curvature versus Subsurface we want in the material – the lower the Source Alpha number is, the less the curvature will appear in the diffuse and the more translucent it’s going to be.
Save the material Once we have the material,
we will need to save it in our library. Press the Space Bar to show the project window and then go to the Material tab. On the top is the name of the current material, which we can overwrite. Next to it is the save button – once pressed, it will show us a window asking where we want to save it. I chose Miscellaneous. Now each time that we create a new scene, we just need to go to the material library by pressing the M key and drag and drop the new material over the model.
All tutorial files can be downloaded from: filesilo.co.uk/bks-2063 107
3D art & design Annual
effects and simulations
Enhance backplates with Clarisse Rainer Duda rd-innovations.de
Rainer is a VFX industry professional as well as university lecturer. He also owns a VFX company based in South Germany.
Completion time 2.5 hours
from filesilo.co.uk/bks-2063 • Backplate • Clarisse project files • Tutorial screenshots
Learn how to distribute balls using a point cloud and scatterer, as well as create a sea
his tutorial covers the creation of a backplate enhancement scene in Clarisse version 3.6 for short pre-visualisation in professional production environments. Digital artists will learn how to properly set up a modular project structure, which is based on decentralised production environments including a proper naming convention for easy-to-spot assets. The modular project structure will allow digital artists to make the best out of Clarisse by using a dynamic file referencing system for a non-destructive workflow. This means the project will be divided into a main scene next to a scene dedicated to hold assets with their own lighting setup for proper visualisation and adjustments before it lands in the main project. That will give artists freedom to test assets under various lighting conditions. The backplate will be enhanced with a large number of water-balls. This water-ball will be created entirely in Clarisse by using a polysphere, and this will include a tailor-made building block material system. The shading of the water-ball will be realised with a material layering of essential surface descriptions to combine with a couple of procedural textures like procedural gradient nodes, which will be modified and used as control masks to place colours on the polysphere. It is important to understand
how objects can be shaded by using and following a procedural texture workflow. Artists will also learn how to distribute the water-ball via a point cloud and a scatterer over the virtual sea and additionally how to control the distribution in terms of scale, positioning and collision detection to create an interesting-looking scene. The sea will be created as well completely in Clarisse by using a polygrid in combination with a displacement shader including water ripples that match the sea surface on the backplate. Besides the material creation, the lighting scenery around the water-balls plays a major role for integrating water-balls onto the backplate. It’s important to understand what kind of light sources will be necessary to model proper lighting conditions to match the lighting from the backplate and have artistic freedom to enhance the look and feel of the image. Another key area of this tutorial is the understanding of post-processing effects in Clarisse. With simple tricks an image can be enhanced. This tutorials cover the creation of effects such as simple lens diffusion. The same procedure can then be used to create a bit of glow. Another procedure based on cellular noises will help to create in a procedural way a vignette effect on the image.
Enhance backplates with Clarisse
Prepare the main scene The main scene will get
a context, which will be named main_scene. That context will need three objects. An image object named IMG_FinalFrame, a perspective advanced camera named CAM_Main and a path tracer object named PT_HD. It is important to add a 3D layer to the image called LYR_Base. On this layer it is a must-have to assign the camera CAM_ Main and the path tracer PT_HD. As a next step a new context must be created in main_scene with the name Image_Support including a texture map named TEX_ Backplate_VP with a white arrow in its symbol to assign the image from the silo to it.
Integrate the backplates For our next step it is necessary to bring the backplates into place. First, go into the perspective viewport by jumping into the viewport options. In there is a line called background texture under the field which is called background plate. That is the field to assign the imported image frame. Itâ€™s now time to add the image frame as a background layer for the image view. To do that a file layer must be created and moved below the 3D layer. Afterwards this will get the name LYR_ Background_Plate and in the attributes the image file must be assigned to that file.
Re-create the sea surface Before geometry can be placed onto the backplate it is necessary for you to match the targeted surface and to also set up the camera. First off, it is important that the image object matches the same resolution as the image file itself â€“ so that is 3840 x 2160 px. For speed and interactivity reasons the resolution multiplier can be set down to around 25%. A fresh context must be created in the main context called Geometry_ Support including a geometry grid with the size 50 by 50 metres, along with a resolution of 150 by 150 spans. The viewport is now ready for you to align the camera view with the grid and backplate.
Add in some ripples to the grid To add ripples
you must now create a new context called Displacement_Support in Geometry_Support. In there, you should also create a displacement object. The bounds for the displacement will be one metre for XYZ with a front value of two decimetres. The displacement object will be assigned to the grid by drag and drop. The grid will also now get a subdivision surface with two levels. Now you must create a perlin noise node with a UV scale factor of 0.01 for UVW. The perlin noise node must be connected to the front value texture slot of the displacement object in order for it to work properly.
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