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“it's going to be the dominant art form from here on in” – page 78

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REDShIFt Get pro results fast with the year’s must-use renderer

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CInEmatIC mODEllInG Create an atmospheric scene using ZBrush, 3ds Max and V-Ray

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• Exclusive! discover the new tools and features of houdini 16 • Pro advice! flatten the houdini learning curve with our guide • Tutorials! master the new hair and fluid tools of houdini 16

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Editor’s wElcomE What’s hot this issue

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EDITOR’s

WELCOME

This issue, we exclusively look at Houdini 16 and how to use its new features We embrace Houdini 16 (H16) this issue. Starting on page 18, SideFX reveals all of the new features coming to the leading industry software. Also, we offer exclusive training for H16’s new hair tools (page 32) and new fluid features (page 44). Plus, those new to Houdini can get ahead with our starter tips and advice on page 26.

Ian Dean, editor ian.dean@futurenet.com

spOTlIghT On OuR cOnTRIbuTORs Mark Spevick Mark is head of 3D and a course leader at Escape Studios, and a board member of VES. On page 26, he shares his tips for getting started in Houdini. www.bit.ly/mark-spevick

Varomix Varomix is a VFX magician and educator, and has been creating animation and VFX since 1999. Turn to page 38 to read his advice for better Redshift results. www.mixtrn.com

Jingtian Li Jingtian is an assistant professor at the University of the Incarnate Word. On page 48, he turns his attention to rendering arch-viz in Unreal Engine 4. www.tiansart.com

Gustavo Åhlén Gustavo is the founder of Svelthe, a creative studio working for games, films and advertising. On page 58, he shares his process for rendering a scene packed with atmosphere. www.gustavoahlen.com

Francis-Xavier Martins Francis-Xavier is a character artist with over a decade of experience in video games, media and TV. On page 73, he explains how to successfully sculpt realistic cloth in ZBrush. www.polyjunky.com

Eugene Chung Eugene is a film director and the founder of Penrose Studios, a start-up focused on augmented and virtual reality. On page 78, he shares his ideas on animation and virtual reality. www.bit.ly/Eugene-chung

EMaiL ian.dean@futurenet.com

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Contents ShowcaSe

FeatureS

ISSUE 218 MARCH 2017

Free

Follow the Pluralsight training on page 43; Authoring Destruction Simulations in Unity

Discover the best new digital art from the CG community, starting on page 8

Exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the latest CG technology, film VFX and video game art

18 Houdini 16 First look! The industry standard for VFX and animation in film and games looks set to become even more powerful and accessible with this new release 3D WorlD March 2017

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tutorialS

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

Feature 26 become a Houdini wizard Escape Studios’ Mark Spevick flattens Houdini’s learning curve

tutorialS 44 liquid effects in Houdini 16 Create cool effects using Houdini’s new tool, Suction Fluid

38 redsHift tips and tricks

58 craft a cinematic scene

Get up to speed with Redshift and create amazinglooking professional renders

Composite an eerie scene using ZBrush, 3ds Max and V-Ray

64 texturing witH quixel How to create textures for an in-game model in Quixel

artiSt Q&a 70 your cg problems solved

48 arcH viz renders using unreal 4 Build a realistic environment for architectural visualisation using Unreal Engine 4

Improving Maya set-ups, ZBrush cloth, rendering skin, and more

reviewS 90 wacom mobilestudio pro 16 Is Wacom’s mobile workstation powerful enough for CG artists?

92 realflow 10 Next Limit’s update includes a Dyverso Multiphysics solver

94 scan 3xs classic 3d

32 create Hair witH Houdini 16

54 speed up your creature modelling

Scan 3XS’s ten cores make light work of rendering

Create realistic flowing locks using Houdini 16’s new and improved Hair and Fur tools

Learn how to use Substance Painter and Modo to make your creature workflow faster

96 nitromofracture

inSight News and views from around the international CG industry

Automatically create shattering sims with this Cinema 4D plug-in

97 sini ignite The first in a series of 3ds Max plug-ins from start-up, SiNi

regularS 30 subscriptions Save up to 47% by signing up!

43 free pluralsigHt course A free video course to master Unity’s simulation workflow

78 reality cHeck

82 vfx festival 2017

84 car render cHallenge

100 free downloads

CEO of Penrose Studios, Eugene Chung, on animating for VR

Escape Studios’ Ian Palmer reveals what to expect from the festival

Winners of the Humster3D challenge reflect on taking part

Free video training, models, textures, and much more!

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Issue 219

nexT MonTH game art special! Epic Games’ artists share their tips on getting more from Unreal Engine

on sale 22 february

SubScribe today: www.bit.ly/3dworld-SubS

contact us

3D World magazine Future publishing Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA +44 (0) 1225 442244 ian.dean@3dworldmag.com 3dworld.creativebloq.com www.facebook.com/3dworldmagazine @3DWorldMag

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All contents copyright © 2017 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, stored, transmitted or used in any way without the prior written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA. All information contained in this publication is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. You are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price and other details of products or services referred to in this publication. Apps and websites mentioned in this publication are not under our control. We are not responsible for their contents or any changes or updates to them. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage.

eDiToriAl eDiTor Ian Dean ArT eDiTor Jo Gulliver operATions eDiTor Rosie Hilder conTriBUTors Gustavo Åhlén, Andrey Belichenko, Piers Coe, Pietro Chiovaro, Tanya Combrinck, Paul Hatton, Trevor Hogg, Steven Jarratt, Jason Knight, Jingtian Li, Francis-Xavier Martins, Kulsoom Middleton, James Morris, Ryan Ng, Victoria Passariello, Syawish A Rehman, Rob Redman, Julia Sagar, Mark Spevick, Alex Summersby, Varomix, Kai Wood MAnAgeMenT creATive DirecTor, MAgAzines Aaron Asadi eDiToriAl DirecTor Matthew Pierce groUp ArT DirecTor Rodney Dive MArkeTing DirecTor Sascha Kimmel ADverTising ADverTising MAnAger Mike Pyatt 01225 788204 michael.pyatt@futurenet.com AccoUnT DirecTor George Lucas 01225 687311 george.lucas@futurenet.com sAles execUTive Chris Mitchell 01225 687832 chris.mitchell@futurenet.com sAles execUTive Rebecca Nannery 01225 687359 rebecca.nannery@futurenet.com

We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

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proDUcTion & DisTriBUTion proDUcTion conTroller Nola Cokely proDUcTion MAnAger Mark Constance prinTeD in THe Uk By: William Gibbons & Sons Ltd on behalf of Future. DisTriBUTeD By: Distributed in the U.K by Marketforce, 2nd Floor, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU overseAs DisTriBUTion By: Marketforce circUlATion TrADe MArkeTing MAnAger Juliette Winyard 07551 150 984 juliette.winyard@futurenet.com licensing HeAD oF inTernATionAl licensing Matt Ellis matt.ellis@futurenet.com + 44 (0)1225 442244 Fax +44 (0)1225 732275 sUBscripTions Uk reADer orDer line & enQUiries: 0844 848 2852 overseAs reADer orDer line & enQUiries: +44 (0)1604 251045 online enQUiries: www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk 3dworld@myfavouritemagazines.co.uk


ShowcaSe

SHOWCASE CG art to inspire

The best digital art from the CG community

pro tips

Download the workflow and model from the Vault 3D WorlD March 2017

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ShowcaSe

CG art to inspire

gondola ARTIST Khaled Alkayed SOFTWARE Maya, Mudbox, V-ray, photoshop

“Ian McQue is one of the most creative concept artists I have ever seen,” says Jordanian 3D artist Khaled Alkayed, who based his personal project on Ian’s Gondola concept. Modelling was done in Maya, and textures hand-painted in Mudbox. “There were no photos used – it’s all about layering up the textures, starting with base colours and adding colour variations and rust,” says the artist. One area that proved tricky was the chain detail: “Suspending the chain in a dynamic way involved assigning active and passive rigid bodies and fields, such as gravity. Also, to create the Gondola’s umbrella I used dynamic simulation (nCloth),” reveals Khaled. Compositing the scene was enjoyable, Khaled explains: “It was amazing to see the image come to life through me retouching and adjusting the colours, and working on the balance between the 3D model and the images in Photoshop.” www.khaled-alkayed.com

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SHOWCASE CG art to inspire

The devil ARTIST Michaela Hýbelová SOFTWARE ZBrush, Keyshot, photoshop

“I think that nature is the best reference you can look at,” says student Michaela Hýbelová. “There are many beautiful creatures around us, including an unreal number of insect types, microscopic organisms and scary-looking fish in the sea.” Such reference found its way into the artist’s Devil character, where Michaela’s core workflow of blockingin, sculpting and refinement was added to by using Marvelous Designer to simulate the character’s cape. “I love compositing,” says Michaela. “Putting the render passes together and trying to get the desired look is the part I enjoy the most. It’s the process that I’m looking forward to even before I start sculpting the creature or character,” she enthuses. www.facebook.com/miselhybelova

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SHOWCASE CG art to inspire

sTill life ARTIST Arnaud Bellour SOFTWARE ZBrush, Mari, Maya, Arnold, Nuke

Taking inspiration from classic painters such as Claesz, Rembrandt and Vermeer, as well as the film Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, recent graduate Arnaud Bellour created this intricate CG still life. Arnaud explains how creating a sense of realism was key, and lighting helped: “A starting point for this project was a technique called ‘high key’ in photography [using unnaturally bright light to blow out shadows in an image]. With this in mind, I placed my light like usual, starting from my key light, fill and rim light, which is super important to bringing readability to the scene. An HDR was used to bring more indirect light, and reflection on metallic objects.” www.arnaudbellour.artstation.com

CliCk To PlaY video www.bit.ly/218-still-life


SHOWCASE CG art to inspire

s

flakPanzerWagen ARTIST rob Watkins SOFTWARE ZBrush, 3ds Max, V-ray, photoshop

The name of this project means mobile armoured flak tower, and was inspired by real designs from World War II. “The best part about the image for me is the design, I was interested in creating something that could quite possibly have existed in reality,” says video game concept artist Rob Watkins. The detail matters on a concept like this, continues Rob: “Detailed elements like rust and wear, along with finishing touches such as highlights, are my favourite parts of the actual painting in Photoshop. I often paint in Photoshop as it’s easier and quicker to do than spending all my time UV mapping. So I tend to just render out a basic diffuse and then paint in all the grime, dirt and rust in Photoshop – that way you can tailor it to the camera’s view to get the final image.” www.wokosworld.com

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SHOWCASE

CG art to inspire

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ShowcaSe CG art to inspire

makir ARTIST Brahim Azizi SOFTWARE ZBrush, Modo, photoshop

“My main focus on this project was the design and the artistic feel,” says Brahim Azizi, a character artist at Sigma Technologie, an advertising company based in Casablanca. The artist found it fun to design, block-in the shapes and find a good silhouette for his devilsh creature. Brahim combined Polypaint and Photoshop to create the textures and all other SSS maps for the shading. “The challenging part in this project, I think, was the shading, because I had to work every map of every part of the body manually using Photoshop, but this process was fun as well,” explains the artist. www.artstation.com/artist/brahimaz


showcase

CG art to inspire

pro tips

Watch the artist’s tutorial www.bit.ly/mouse-1

TimoThY The auTumn mouse ARTIST Jesus Fernandez SOFTWARE Maya (XGen), redshift

Working with fur can be tricky, especially if you think long and hard about how your character’s fur fits his personality. Jesus Fernandez, a CG arts veteran with eight years’ experience, explains: “I always try to keep the [hair] flow based on the movement that the character should make, and for this little mouse, I tried to picture it running and it didn’t feel right. This character is more peaceful, maybe he just walks slowly looking at nature, so he shouldn’t have a hard flow on the hair, but more thin clumps of fur. Trying to do that with a wool-like fur was one hell of a task.” www.jesusfc.net

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FEATURE Houdini 16

Houdini 16 The industry standard just got better. Ian Dean talks exclusively to SideFX to find out what’s new in Houdini 16 ccasionally a software release comes along that has everyone excited – a release that offers such a gear change in tools, features and improvements that it demands you pay attention. This month sees the release of Houdini 16, and it’s a release that every CG artist should pay attention to, as the industry standard for VFX and animation in film and games looks set to become even more powerful and accessible. “As one of the most fast-paced, continually innovating 3D platforms, Houdini is always in development,” says SideFX chief technology officer Cristin Barghiel. “That’s why, after 20 years, Houdini still feels young

O

and vibrant. We don’t patch things, we take the time to do it right. For example, our Boolean was fine before, but the new one sets the bar for the whole 3D industry,” explains Cristin. When it comes to this year’s improvements, Cristin is clear that SideFX didn’t want to overstretch the software, but also needed to meet the demands of users, improving ‘pressure points’ to make artists’ lives easier. Cristin explains: “Houdini can be quite technical when it comes to advanced physical simulations, and while we don’t want to take away this power, we do want to make it very user-friendly and intuitive for everyone across the CG spectrum.”

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NEW LOOK The elephant in the room is how to make this powerful software accessible, and this is something SideFX has focused on for Houdini 16. “Part of this issue is the nature of a very powerful, professional software – there’s a lot to it, and when people see the spectacular things that it’s capable of, they want to be able to accomplish the same. As with all professional 3D packages, this may take a while to master,” says Cristin, adding: “Having said that, getting started with Houdini is no harder than with any other 3D software – and it’s all the same learning paths: get familiar with the interface, start with the basics, and build from there. The good news for those


Feature

Houdini 16

learning Houdini is that it’s all one application – there’s no need to resort to plug-ins and have to learn how to use them. As you learn Houdini, your skills just keep layering and expanding – it’s one consistent system.” Houdini’s label as ‘complex’ can be seen as a legacy issue. In the early years, Houdini was harder to work with, but with each release, the workflow is streamlined and the UI improved to make the software more approachable. Cristin says: “That focus carries into Houdini 16, with lots of UI improvements, including the new radial menus in the viewport, a completely revamped network editor and a streamlined shading and rendering workflow. Every new feature or piece of architecture we put in place these days must bring a positive user experience, or else it’s back to the drawing board.” Houdini 16’s redesigned network editor – it’s 100 per cent new code – and custom node shapes make for a faster and more fluid user experience. Cristin explains: “You can now do a lot of nice alignment and laying out in your node network. The network automatically and intelligently makes room for nodes being

dropped down; you can create ‘dot’ nodes as wiring connectors; long wires dim to give prominence to the node tiles; background images are easy to place in the network and can be attached to network boxes; ‘badges’ can be displayed beside any tile to highlight one aspect or other about that node (for example, whether it’s time-dependent or contains warnings); and fast hotkeys now enable jumping back and forth through the network, and lots, lots more!” As for the node shapes, they can be dragged and dropped onto

an option, but is now with tailored bevelled corners.

BREAKING NEW GROUND Cosmetic and network revamps aside, it’s when you dig into the new additions and improvements that Houdini 16 really shines. The goal of the release, explains Cristin, was to “further solidify our well-known VFX capabilities, while developing powerful and valuable features in areas beyond VFX.” Two areas new to Houdini for this release are terrains and rigging, both aimed at securing

game developers are discovering that houdini’s procedural workflow allows them to create huge amounts of high-quality game content very quickly Cristin Barghiel, chief technology officer, SideFX node tiles from a gallery of shapes similar to the node colour chooser. Shapes are great because they give users instantly recognisable cues regarding the node type. The classic rectangular shape remains 3D WorlD March 2017

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Houdini 16 as a go-to tool for game artists and animators. “Having been so heavily focused on VFX tools before, we had to work hard to ensure that our tools were going to be relevant to artists

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FEATURE Houdini 16

Houdini 16 will aid VR content creation, Cristin says:“It allows artists to quickly sketch out the environments, and spend time focusing on developing the emotional connection of the scenes” Houdini 16’s new network editor has redesigned nodes for ease of use

ours is a different take on terrain generation. it leverages houdini’s procedural philosophy in a 3d environment comfortable in other software packages,” says Cristin. “The games industry, in particular, is a great opportunity for us. Game developers are under pressure to create increasingly huge, highquality environments – while

their budgets are not necessarily expanding to accommodate that pressure. Regardless of team size, they are discovering that Houdini’s procedural nature allows them to build quick prototypes and create impressive amounts of quality game content very quickly.” To this end, Houdini 16’s new terrain toolset enables artists to create terrains and use them in conjunction with fluid simulations, crowd agents, particles, RBD/ destruction and pyro – all from one singular environment. “Artists can iterate without having to jump between packages to make changes and reimport those

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updates,” says Cristin. “Houdini 16’s terrain system is interactive and artist-friendly, since it lets you layer and edit your terrain easily with consecrated tools such as procedural noise – or by directly painting or masking out areas where you want a certain look.” The terrain environment comes with powerful erosion tools that can be masked like everything else in the terrain toolset. “Ours is a unique take on terrain generation,” explains Cristin. “Not only does it leverage Houdini’s famed procedural philosophy, it does so directly in a 3D modelling environment [using


Feature

Houdini 16

Feature highlights… 3D scan geometry by Lee Perry Smith, courtesy of Infinite-Realities

controllable height-field volumes]. The operations are very similar to image compositing, so terrain artists will have an easy time getting the Houdini workflow.” At the end of the day, you can convert the terrain into polygons and do Boolean operations, as well as using Houdini’s extensive geometry arsenal in Surface Operators (SOPs) to further refine your landscape. Gamers can easily export the resulting terrain to game engines such as Unreal 4. “Furthermore, all our dynamic simulation elements, such as fluids, crowds, particles and rigids, natively know how to collide with

MODELLING Fast Boolean with exact predicates and arithmetic 3D and UV smoothing with advanced surface analysis kernels PolyFill with quads, fans, and more Enhanced PolySplit and PolyBevel Redesigned Copy/ Instance and Group Intersection analysis and stitching Robust 2D triangulation Selection enhancements Fast tool access via customisable, gestural radial menus Infinite reference plane with rulers Medial axis snapping Vertex normal support in the viewport for cusping Pseudo-bevelling with Normal SOP Aggressive geometry compression Extensive OpenCL support ‘Compiled SOP’ architecture: parallel cooking and memory savings 3D Mouse support

height-fields and do so extremely efficiently,” says Cristin, explaining that the terrain tools come with a couple of handy shelf presets, with much more to come as SideFX continues to work on the project.

GET ANIMATED Like terrains, non-linear skin capturing, auto-rigging and muscle simulation are new to Houdini 16, and are likely to prove features that will cement the software in the must-use category for many artists. As much as Houdini is known for its high-end VFX acumen, one of SideFX’s long-term goals has been to offer users the ability to create, 3D WorlD March 2017

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ANIMATION & RIGGING Many enhancements to the Animation Editor Flexible constraint architecture based on VOPs and CHOPs Biped and quadruped auto-rigs Biharmonic skin capturing to diminish the need for weight painting Fast bone placement with medial axis support ‘Invisible rig’ support in Pose tool Spring-based and FEM-based skin and muscle system Significantly improved FEM soft-body solver Optimised for performance

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HAIR & GROOMING Complete overhaul of hair and fur creation, grooming and rendering Unrestricted layering of grooming operations in SOPs Rich set of dedicated tools, such as clump, frizz, curl, trim, extend and part Flexible masking tools to isolate areas of interest Ability to override any attribute via texture maps or 3D paint Total freedom to mix attribute painting with 3D brushing Equal editing access to grooming guides and generated hair Full preservation of procedural graph Built-in simulation controls Easy and accurate retargeting High-quality hair visualisation in the viewport Dedicated shelf tools and desktop Very fast: uses OpenCL and the new ‘Compiled SOPs’ architecture SOP-based Mantra procedural that does not consume Engine license CROWD SIMULATION Viewport visualisation of material stylesheet overrides Animation clip layering Enhanced hip adjustment and foot locking Non-bipedal terrain adaptation Intelligent adaptation to real-time deforming terrain Advanced controls for looping, trimming and self-blending of clips Easy attachment of props such as weapons and clothing


FEATURE Houdini 16

The new Ocean tools in Houdini 16 bring a new level of realism and detail to wave instancing The buddha below shows dispersion and absorption BSDFs; the glass with liquid shows support for unified nested dielectrics

Crowd Control For Houdini 16, SideFX wanted to push forward with crowd tools for foreground work, not just mid- or background crowds. One feature will immediately stand out in Houdini 16, and that’s the ability to texture and shade crowds efficiently. Cristin Barghiel says: “We have added viewport support for shader overrides (called Material Stylesheets in Houdini). Now you can efficiently vary the texturing of crowd agents and watch your changes in real time.”

rig and animate characters while inside of the package. “Based on rigger feedback, we have designed and implemented a brand new constraint system in Houdini. Built upon on VEX Operators (VOPs) and Channel Operators (CHOPs), this new system allows endless customisability and control. With powerful procedural operators and intuitive viewport visualisation, adding constraints to your rig has never been easier,” states Cristin. Cristin also points to the new and unique biharmonic skin capturing in Houdini, saying that this feature “shaves hours of tedious weight painting work by intelligently computing capture

weights, even in difficult areas such as between fingers and joints.” There’s also a new ‘hidden rig’ manipulation system inside the Pose tool that makes character animation both fast and fun. This eliminates the need to expose and drag handles. Instead, animators can grab and move skin directly. In fact, the Muscle and Skin simulation tools offered in Houdini 16 could advance how animators work. “This is the way the industry is headed, at least for hero characters that demand potent realism,” says Cristin. “With today’s multicore CPU’s, coupled with access to GPU acceleration, muscle deformation can be very fast. One

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nice feature of the muscle system in Houdini 16 is that it allows you to use a super fast spring-based solution – or a volume-preserving, physically realistic FEM solution – interchangeably. Skin can be deformed with a fast ‘inflation’ tool in SOPs, or with a sophisticated, FEM-based solver in DOPs. You now have all the options available to you in an artist-friendly, yet procedural and infinitelycustomisable environment. It’s up to you to choose the trade-off between quality and speed.”

MODEL BEHAVIOUR Going hand in hand with the new rigging tools is a revamped modelling system. The redesigned


Feature

Houdini 16

Feature highlights Continued… Create more realistic splashes with enhancements to surface tension in Houdini 16

UI mentioned earlier also includes a new context-sensitive and fully customisable Radial Dial menu set-up, meaning that with one click you can bring up a radial menu, and from there either use a quick gesture to call up a tool, or access further sub-menus. With a couple of swift mouse movements, you can be deep into your toolset. There are also more viewport options to help evaluate the quality of meshes, as well as improvements to existing tools such as PolySplit and PolyBevel, and new tools like Smooth (applicable to geometry and UVs), PolyFill and Boolean. “Additionally, we have added support for the 3D Mouse, which gives more freedom to artists

Support for custom collision shapes Robust and significantly faster computation of automatic joint limits Improved clip selection and randomisation controls Clip renaming and unit conversion during FBX import Native support for collision with heightfield terrains

to work and interact with their model,” adds Cristin.

NEW VIEW The viewport now sports an infinite reference grid with optional ruler display to give a better sense of the size of the world being modelled in. Another handy feature – medial axis ‘snapping’ – makes positioning of points, edges, and bones inside other geometry (such as limbs or pipes) a precise and painless task. “The viewport shader capabilities are much enhanced in Houdini 16, which is something every artist will enjoy,” says Cristin. “With support for metallics, coat, occlusion, reflection and much 3D WorlD March 2017

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TERRAIN GENERATION Brand new architecture for procedural terrain generation Based on height-field volumes in SOPs Full and immediate access to Houdini’s modelling arsenal 30+ dedicated surface operators Powerful erosion models Straightforward workflow, similar to image compositing but in 3D Seamless optional leveraging of Houdini’s compositing network (COPs) Ability to mask areas of interest with freeform curves and texture maps Ability to paint and override any attribute Support for geotiff and several Lidar formats Native output to game engines Fully tileable Game-friendly terrain material and specialised shader for VFX use High-quality visualisation in the viewport Dedicated Mantra procedural for rendering Very fast: hardware accelerated via OpenCL Native collision support for Houdini’s physical sim environment (DOPs)

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OCEAN TOOLS Complete overhaul of the ocean FX architecture Unlimited layering of arbitrary wave spectra in SOPs Infinite oceans: tilefree approach that eliminates artefacts Waves can be applied artefact-free even to deformed/warped base grids Art-directable, animated hero waves can be mixed in seamlessly Masking tools to isolate areas of interest 3D particle foam system for a richer and more realistic look Guided sims: seamless blending of FLIP fluid sim with ocean surface Improved boundary layer that preserves boundary velocities Very fast: OpenCL accelerated Layerable ocean shader that lets you plug in foam particles Render-time evaluation of ocean surface via dedicated Mantra procedural FLIP FLUIDS & PYRO Physically correct simulation of surface tension Suction force: artdirectable fluids driven by animated geometry Waterline feature: wave dynamics that extend correctly beyond boundaries Enhanced viscosity solver with slip controls Fully OpenCLaccelerated pyro pipeline Native support for collision with heightfield terrains SHADING & RENDERING Architecture for singletiered shader creation in VOPs


FEATURE Houdini 16

Left: Muscle and skin simulation will bring a new realism to animations Below: Biharmonic capture means tedious weight painting is a thing of the past

Above: The new COPs preview window; the new context-sensitive radial menu dial can be accessed when modelling to dig deeper into new options/features

one of the cool things about the new hair tools is the ability to layer and blend various attributes to your guide groom more, Houdini’s 3D viewport has quickly evolved into a state-of-theart content creation environment, as well as a real-time visualiser of sophisticated 3D content.”

HAIR RAISING While there are new features, some existing tools have been completely rewritten. For example, the hair and grooming tools stand out as must-use features (turn to page 32 to read our exclusive tutorial). Cristin explains: “One of the cool things about the new hair tools and resulting workflow is the ability to layer and blend various attributes to your guide groom or final hair groom in SOPs. You can arbitrarily mix things like frizz, clumping, bending, parting, and curling; trim or extend hair using 3D brushes; employ masks to isolate areas of

interest; paint any hair attribute in an interactive yet procedurally safe manner, load texture maps created externally, or import images made in Composite Operators (COPs). There is nothing black-boxed about the new system, and the artistic freedom it affords is endless.” Like terrains and rigging, you now have the option to stay in the Houdini environment without having to jump into another software. In the case of hair, you can paint out masks for density in Houdini instead of Photoshop. “We also have some rendering magic going on, which harnesses the power of Houdini Engine to generate all the hair at render time directly from the SOP network, without having to cache out your groom or consume an Engine licence,” explains Cristin, who says feedback has been positive: “So far, beta users have been telling us that these tools offer the most fun and control out of any hair and fur tool available on the market today.”

OCEANS OF DEPTH As with Hair and Fur, Houdini’s water simulation and Ocean tools have been completely redesigned. New to Houdini 16 are physically

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accurate surface tension, suction force and guided simulations. (You can read an exclusive tutorial on harnessing suction forces to create some incredible effects on page 44.) It’s the Ocean tools, especially the new layered wavefronts, that Cristin is most proud of: “The unlimited ability to layer wave spectra using point instancing lets artists create a very complex, realistic and seamless ocean with elegance and ease. Not only that, but we have completely eliminated the need for tiling, as Houdini creates truly infinite oceans, which means goodbye to tiling artefacts. Art directability is paramount, so we made sure that individually modelled and animated hero waves would mix perfectly with the existing spectra.” Furthermore, the way ocean surfaces can now seamlessly ‘guide’ a FLIP sim is going to prove very useful. Oh, and just for fun, deform your base ocean grid and notice how it still works seamlessly with all the velocities and multi-layer ocean spectra applied to it.” There are plenty of new enhancements to FLIP too, such as physically-correct surface tension for those classic water-crowning


Feature

Houdini 16

Feature highlights Continued… Mantra has been reworked for improved render results and speed

shots: “This then inspired us to push the boundaries of physics into art-directable ‘fluid suction’, namely the ability of any object or deforming character to guide fluid into its shape in a controllable fashion and in a manner that does not violate the essential aesthetic of fluid dynamics,” says Cristin. Another aspect that Cristin points out is how the white water in Houdini 16 is all 3D particle-based now. He explains: “This gives much richer, more natural results than the 2D approach.” He then adds: “for anything viscous, the new ‘slip’ functionality will provide perfect control over how the fluid interacts with the collision geometry.”

EMBRACING OPENCL Other news in fluid sims is that Houdini 16’s pyro simulation pipeline is now fully OpenCL accelerated. Houdini 16 is peppered with OpenCL-accelerated operators for considerable performance boost – for example, the new OpenCL SOP enables you to provide your own OpenCL algorithms to run on the GPU. “We are extremely proud of Houdini 16,” reflects Cristin. “SideFX is renowned for including

lots of innovative new features into each release of Houdini, and this release is our biggest to date. I have been privileged to witness every Houdini release since the beginning, and cannot recall one as ambitious in scope and featurerich as this one,” he says. We agree. The scope of features, from Booleans to Hair and Fur, to Ocean and FLIP tools, to a whole new network editor, biharmonic capturing, auto-rigging, muscles; plus a new shader workflow, compiled SOPs, digital asset diffing, a source control-friendly file format, remote debugging, parallel execution of SOP networks and more, points to a huge development task and benchmark release. “It has been a huge undertaking by our whole team of passionate developers,” states Cristin. “We’re especially proud of R&D for working so closely with our ever growing artist community, listening to their feedback on a daily basis and incorporating that feedback into this release. We owe a lot to our users, and this is our way of giving back. We hope they enjoy it.” Learn more about Houdini 16 FYI at www.sidefx.com 3D WorlD March 2017

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Much streamlined workflow to aid both new and existing users Full support for nested, unlimited shader layering Redesigned VOP node tiles Ray-traced SSS BSDF with image-plane outputs Support for unified nested dielectrics Dispersion and absorption BSDFs Redesigned Principled ubershader with extensive features and controls Updated shader gallery with new entries such as skin, wax and mountain Easy OpenGL tagging of shader attributes for viewport visualisation Viewport support for metallics, coat, occlusion, reflection, etc Texture baking enhancements OpenColor IO support Per-pixel inspection of material stylesheet overrides in IPR Significant performance enhancements to Mantra Fine-grained, intuitive controls for the quality/ performance trade-off Direct rendering of HIP files containing curves and points with no Engine licence NETWORK EDITOR Brand new architecture for better performance, user experience and control Completely redesigned look and feel Dot connections to help route wires Customisable node shapes Resizeable colour palette Flyout ring to quickly access node flags and node info Persistent node info

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dialogue with live links and cut and paste capabilities Visual ‘badges’ to indicate certain properties of the node Multi-selectable and multi-assignable wires Ability to knife-cut wire connections Snapping guides for fast and easy node alignment Automatic shifting of nodes to accommodate new entrants Intuitive, gesture-driven network layout tools Quickmark hotkeys to jump between networks or within one network Dimming of long wires to prevent obstruction of nodes Visual indication of non-local dependencies, with handy jump-to controls Background image support for network boxes or the entire canvas Font size, colour and background controls for sticky notes Optional display of the node type Powerful search engine HOUDINI ENGINE HAPI 3.0: no longer Houdini Digital Asset (HDA) centric; packed primitive support Remote debugger: live view and manipulation of game engine scene within Houdini Many UE4 and Unity plug-in enhancements Dedicated shelf tools for games Rigid-body and breakable simulation export to FBX Blendshape export to FBX Simulation export to textures for use in realtime engines Much improved texture baking


FEATURE

Get to grips with Houdini

become a Houdini wizard Mark Spevick, head of 3D and course leader at Escape Studios, explains the key things you need to know to flatten the Houdini learning curve

oudini has traditionally been viewed as having a steep learning curve, particularly when migrating from other 3D software. Houdini requires not only good basic knowledge of 3D animation, but also a whole new and different way of thinking compared to traditional 3D software. Understanding these differences, and getting your head around a few other concepts, is key to demystifying how to work within Houdini, and will help to reduce that steep learning curve. After many years of using, learning and teaching Houdini to people of all levels, I want to share with you some key points that I believe will help you understand these key differences in order to get the most out of Houdini.

H

01 Procedures

The biggest difference between Houdini and other 3D software is proceduralism. According to Your Dictionary, the definition of a procedure is: “A series of small tasks or steps taken to accomplish an end.” In most other 3D software, scenes are handcrafted by artists by adding elements and refining things manually. It’s like working with clay – time is spent crafting a beautiful end product. The problem with this approach is when the process needs to be repeated or modifications are needed. Often the artist has to repeat the entire process again. For one-off models this approach is fine, but it’s expensive and time-consuming for many real world production demands, such as scaling up the production of assets or being able to respond quickly to creative changes. In Houdini’s procedural approach, the scene is described 3D WorlD March 2017

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in the software as a set of small steps (procedures), which will be performed in a specific order (the process) to create the final product. Making a scene is like designing a machine by describing the procedures that will be performed during the final process. Only when evaluating the whole, or part of the process is something new created. The advantage of this is that once you evaluate the process, the machine can repeat this and make lots of objects automatically. By simply varying the parameters of the procedures, variations can be made automatically. In most 3D software, scenes are designed and then crafted by hand. In Houdini, the system to describe building the scene is designed and subsequently can be run repeatedly. Understanding the procedures and designing and building the process is essential for getting the most power, the best results and the most fun out of Houdini.


Feature

Get to grips with Houdini

right: individual nodes and their parameters below: these parameters live and operate within Houdini’s contexts

02 Nodes aNd coNtexts

Inside Houdini, you will find that procedures are defined as nodes. These nodes have parameters that affect the way that the nodes behave. These nodes can be thought of as mini computer programs that simply process the data that is passed through them. Nodes are the processing power of Houdini, and understanding the features of each one is where the power lies. There are a few nodes that nearly all Houdini operators constantly use, such as the Copy, Scatter and Wrangle nodes, as well as the specialist ones, which are less frequently used. Houdini has different contexts to do different things, such as

modelling, simulations and even compositing. Each has its own set of nodes and can pass data easily between the other contexts. Houdini users have their own language which refers to these contexts. For example, it’s not unusual to hear phrases like: ‘Let’s do that in SOPS then take it to DOPS and then back to SOPS for rendering in ROPS!’ Wiring these nodes in networks and sharing data between other networks in other contexts is how an artist can build a powerful procedure to automate large amounts of work. Now that we know about the procedures, we need to find out about the data they work on.

Houdini’s contexts are: soPs: surface operators (modelling) doPs: dynamic operators (simulations) PoPs: particle operators (particles) sHoPs: shader operators (materials and shaders) roPs: render operators (output renders and geometry) voPs: vex operators (scripting – this context can be found in all others too) coPs: compositing operators (image manipulation) cHoPs: channel operators (data channels signal processing) Mat: a brand new material context

04 Network layout

aNd evaluatioN

Understanding how the node network evaluates is critical in designing efficient processes and fixing issues. The blue display flag on a node is where you start. Houdini works its way up to the top of the network following the left-hand branch only. Once at the top, this is the first node to be listed for evaluation. Houdini works its 3D WorlD March 2017

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03 all about attributes

oN PoiNts

Essentially, everything you do in Houdini boils down to manipulating and storing data on points. This data is referred to as attributes. An essential attribute is ‘P’ for position. Without this attribute, you would not know where the point sits in 3D space. Other common attributes are for things such as ‘N’ for normal. Usefully, you can make your own custom attributes, too. A node processes these attributes as the geometry and is fed through the network. The parameters or channels on a node allow you to vary its behaviour, which will ultimately change the attributes. Since all points have a ‘P’ for position attribute, the simplest thing you can do is have a node change ‘P’ and the point will move. Manipulating attributes is key to most of the work in Houdini. You can see the attributes on geometry by using the Geometry Spreadsheet panel or by choosing the Spreadsheet option when rightclicking on a node.

way down the network tree listing the nodes and dependencies as it goes. If Houdini reaches a branch on its way down, it will then go back up to the top following the next available left branch and then work its way back down the network again. Once at the bottom, Houdini evaluates the list of nodes to show you the result. Remember that Houdini always evaluates networks from left to right.


FEATURE

Get to grips with Houdini

expressions show up dark green. clicking on a parameter name will then toggle between the expression and the result

06 add quick Powerful coNtrol

witH wraNgle Nodes

05 accessiNg data

Houdini organises its data and nodes like the files and folders of a system such as Windows. To see this file system, switch to the technical desktop to see the tree view. The tree view is the best way to navigate and understand other people’s networks. The nodes can be thought of as folders and the data as their contents. You can see the paths of the nodes at the top of the network pane. In expressions, you can access the nodes data or its channels by just using the file path. For example, to access the size X parameter of the default box

07 workiNg Practice

It is good working practice to pick a consistent colour scheme for your major nodes so that you and others can easily identify them in large networks. As an example, I always colour my ‘data in’ nodes green and my ‘data out’ nodes red. Pressing [C] in the network pane will bring up the colour palette. This allows you to colour your

object for a ‘ch’ expression, you should use the path ‘/obj/box_ object1/sizex’. This is in the form of ‘/path to node/parameter’. You can find out the parameter names for an expression by holding your cursor over the parameter name in the parameter pane window and a pop-up will appear containing the expression name and its description. For other expressions, you use the file path so that the expression knows which node to operate on. Houdini will auto-complete your file paths as you write these expressions, which is the same as when working in Linux.

nodes. Select a node then pick a colour from the pallette and voila, your node is a new colour. In the latest version of Houdini, you can also now change the shape of the node. There are X shapes, circles and even a ‘bone’ shape! Whichever shapes and colours you choose, remember to be consistent, otherwise when you open your scene at a later date, nothing will make sense. Node networks can be complex and hard to understand for other people and even for you when you have not opened the scene for a while. You should always label your nodes clearly and take advantage of Houdini’s sticky notes to clearly document the different parts of your networks. 3D WorlD March 2017

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It is not just the nodes that can process data and change attributes in Houdini. VEX is a high performance expression language in Houdini and this language allows the user to write code to directly manipulate attributes. Wrangle nodes are a quick and really simple way to write small lines of VEX code to read, write and process attributes. Wrangle nodes can be found within all of Houdini’s many contexts. In a Wrangle node, there is a small down-facing triangle next to the text box. Clicking on this will reveal a menu that has some useful examples of VEX code that you can hack. More examples can be found in the docs.

get goiNg iN HoudiNi! In summary, Houdini is nothing more than a bunch of procedures defined by nodes that manipulate the attributes on points within a file system. This is essentially all Houdini does – it’s very simple, really, particularly once you grasp the concepts I have outlined. Houdini’s power and the fun of using it comes from seeing the wonderfully complex networks that people can come up with. A great source of example networks can be found in the documentation. You can access these by pressing [F1] on your keyboard and looking in the examples section. You can search for specific nodes and see various examples of their many uses. These scenes are created by the genius team at SideFX, and who better to learn good working practice from than the creators themselves! If you hold your cursor over a shelf item when pressing [F1], then you will be taken straight to the relevant page in the documentation. This also works for the parameters on some of the older nodes. The only real way to learn Houdini is to start using it, as well as looking at and learning from other people’s networks and techniques. So before you start your next project, consider using Houdini. The question is not whether Houdini can do it, but really whether you can do it in Houdini. Good luck! And more importantly, have fun! For exclusive demos of Houdini 16 visit The VFX FYI Festival: www.bit.ly/vfx-festival-2017

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

houdini 16

master realistic hair in houdini 16 Andrey Belichenko shares how to make the most of Houdini 16’s new set of tools to make fantastic-looking hair

author

a

andrey Belichenko A 3D and 2D artist, photographer and filmmaker from France, Andrey loves the traditional arts yet believes that new technologies allow artists to perform miracles. www.cgfaunstudio.wixsite. com/home

fter you have spent time creating long and carefully laid-out curly hair, imagine that the director of your project comes and says, “Good hair, but I want it less frizzy with more curls.” In this situation, using most 3D packages, you have to almost completely remake the

hair. In Houdini, if you create a well thought-out process from the start, you can make these changes with a single click later. Due to its procedural core, Houdini enables you to create a hairstyle very quickly, and you have complete control across all the stages of creation. Here is my method for creating the hairstyle used for my female character. Such techniques may vary and Houdini enables each artist to come up with their own unique workflow. Considering the large suite of tools that Houdini already has to offer (for other needs), these tools are very flexible and you can always change them as needed for each of your projects. 3D WorlD March 2017

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In Houdini 16, the Hair and Fur tools have been heavily reworked. The process of creating hairstyles is intuitive, even for a novice, and a power user can now do their work faster and concentrate on creative tasks. I find the new hair system very elegantly designed. There is no need to run across the entire network and make changes here and there. Everything you need to create fantastic hair can be done in two or three places.

DownloaD your resources For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini

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new tools • No blackboxes, unlocked pipeline • Full use of Compiled Blocks • Hair Generate SOP • Direct procedural manipulation of guides’ geometry • Easily override parameters •Interactive grooming via the Guide Groom SOPs • Plus many more!


TuTorials

Create hair with Houdini 16

gooD hair Day create flowing locks using houdini 16’s improved hair and Fur tools 3D WorlD March 2017

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TuTorials

Master hair with Houdini 16

a proceDural 01create spiral anD set Form

I create a procedural spiral. The input is a base curve, where I draw the trajectory of the curl strand: 3-5 points in this curve is usually sufficient. In the parameters of the spiral, I set up the form: the number of rotations, amplitude variation along the curl, and so on. By changing the shape of the curve, I change the trajectory of motion of the curl and still retain the spiral form settings. Image 01 shows the guides displayed after a polywire (this is for visualisation only). The Hair Tools only generate curves.

02

aDjust curve shapes

If I want to bend a strand of hair to the other side, I only need to move 1 or 2 points on the initial curve (curve 109, 110, 111). If I want to change the curl amplitude to have a little less at the start of the curve and then a bit more at the end, I just move 1 or 2 points on the amplitude ramp. Any of these parameters can be animated, thus providing unlimited possibilities in animating the hairstyle of your character. Also, my spiral asset (helix_for_hair) has a handy colour ramp, which I will talk about later. For now, it can be split by the colour of the hair strands to make it easy to identify – a really convenient feature that speeds things up.

03 organise network

I add hair to a separate geometry (scalp). This provides an additional option for control. I create the scalp using TopoBuild and apply a UV Project on it. I then create a hair guide starting from the bottom base to the top, so that it is easier to access. You can see the

01

02 guide curves Draw guide curves instead of using Add Fur. Then copy/paste that curve into your network as guide curves, and make slight changes until you’re totally satisfied.

layout of it in my network in image 03. Now, if I need to, I can control each and every guide.

04 control the hair

Use the control settings on the scalp‘s hair – play with the options for custom guides, options for width and thickness, and

03

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clumping with amount of influence. Use the ramp to set points to control the amount of tightness of clumping along the guide curve.

05 enaBle Dynamics

It is important to check the hair in simulation – so your hairstyle will change and respond to things


TuTorials

Master hair with Houdini 16

05

06

07 such as gravity. If you don’t do this, you risk having a beautiful hairstyle for static images, but poor dynamics. Your hair may either be too hard (as though you’ve used a lot of hairspray) or you outright lose the shape quickly within the first few frames. Dynamics settings for different hair length will vary. Download image 05 from the Vault for my settings.

06 aDjust rigiDity

I use the red colour channel to make the hair more rigid in some places. In image 06 you can see where there is less red the hairstyle is more mobile, and where there is more red, the hairstyle holds its shape fully. Red is easy to visually monitor and you can also transfer this atttribute into @kangular and @klinear (angular spring and linear spring, which affect the bending of wires and curves in Houdini).

seeing red If necessary, reduce the red colour on guides. You can make it red over the entire length of the guide or have it on the tips only – this depends on the task at hand! Also, don’t forget to look into Houdini help (docs), where you’ll find the answers to all your Houdini questions.

thickness to each guiDe 07 assign

The thickness is done via the hair guide, so you can assign a thickness to each guide separately and even make it cone-shaped. If you need a similar effect, for example to create blades of grass, you can modify any attribute of any hair setting this way.

08 3D WorlD March 2017

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clumping tightness 08 aDjust

In some areas, I need to change the clumping tightness. I paint a custom attribute and add or subtract it from the @tightness attribute. Overall, you can create customisable and varying clumping tightness per clump across your entire hair gen.


TuTorials

Master hair with Houdini 16

09 shaDe hair

The appearance of the hair depends largely on the shader. The default Hair Shader does the job for me, as you can see from my settings in image 09 (downloadable from the Vault). To randomise more hair colouring along the length of the hair, I add two more colour ramps. One adds colour wherever I want it, and the other subtracts. Different noises for added variety of colour are then added in from COPs (Compositing Network).

10 aDD real-liFe Details

Usually, in real life, there are hair strands that stray slightly from the bulk mass of the hair. To reproduce this effect, I add frizz to it; the trick is not to add it to all the hair, but only to a small percentage of it. This percentage is then controlled by noise from COPs (see more on this below). My settings are shown in image 10. I do the same for length randomisation.

looking results. Several guides need to be corrected like this. I add frizz and a wave at the top of the head.

11 recursive clumping

12 guiDegroom noDe

I use Recursive Clumping. I love this new workflow as it gives me a high degree of control by being able to layer and blend clumping values together to get natural-

09

For the final touch, I use a GuideGroom node to do the final styling and adjustments, such as digitally combing the hair and adjusting each guide strand.

10

12

11

13 3D WorlD March 2017

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watch out! If you change the hair length or amplitude of a curl, the settings for Dynamics will have changed. All settings for Dynamics and hairstyle are interdependent.

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13 set cops network

My COPs network looks like image 13. Now, if your director comes to ask you to change a little bit here and there, or when in the next episode of the film your character’s hairstyle has to be curlier, you can very quickly make the necessary changes. And this is only possible using Houdini!


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adeon Technology Group is looking for the best CG artists in the world to champion its Radeon ProRender plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya, and the winner will take home a new Armari workstation powered by the latest Radeon Pro WX 7100 GPU, worth $2,500. Five runners up will win a Radeon Pro WX 7100 graphics card. The winner of the Radeon ProRender Challenge will also become an ambassador for ProRender, the new physically-based rendering engine. To enter the challenge, you need to download a FREE copy of Radeon ProRender plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max www.github. com/radeon-Prorender/Max or Autodesk Maya www.github.com/radeon-prorender/ Maya/releases and start creating. Radeon ProRender plug-in is made for designers,

artists and creatives who want to make stunning renders. It’s a physically accurate raytracing plug-in that can help you create photorealistic images with ease. The entries will be judged by leading industry figures, including AMD’s virtual production director James Knight, 3D World editor Ian Dean, and CG Channel’s editor Jim Thacker. Judges will consider the technical and creative merits of entries as well as how best artists have made use of ProRender. Each judge will select six entrants to be put forward to the shortlist, and the most nominated candidate will win the first prize. All entries will need to include process breakdowns, and all themes of art will be considered. The winning entry should showcase the best of ProRender.

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Terms and conditions: By entering you agree to be bound by these terms and the Competition Rules: www.futureplc.com/competition-rules. Entries must be submitted in .jpeg or .psd format (max size 10MB) by midnight (GMT) on 28 March 2017. Go to this link to submit entries: www.creativebloq.com/news/radeon-prorender. Late or incomplete entries will be disqualified. Entries are limited to one per individual. Open to all residents of UK, US (exc Rhode Island), Canada (exc Quebec), Australia and New Zealand who are 18 years and over, except employees of Future Publishing Limited and any party involved in the competition. One winner and five runners up will be selected by a panel of judges and notified by email. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. All entries will become the property of Future upon receipt and will not be returned. By entering the Competition, you grant Future and its licensees the right free of charge to republish your entry in any medium or format. You warrant that the entry is entirely your own work.

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Follow tHe video if you see the Play icon, use the link

Side FX Houdini | RedSHiFt | BlackMagic FuSion

Redshift tips and tRicks foR amazing RendeRs Get up to speed with Redshift and create amazing-looking professional renders with these tips and tricks from Varomix 3D WorlD March 2017

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Redshift can help you create incredible, realistic-loooking results. Following these tips and tricks, you can master it in no time

R authoR Varomix Varomix is a VFX magician and educator, and has been creating animation and VFX since 1999. www.mixtrn.com

edshift is just an amazing tool for artists. Its render speed is amazing, not only for final renders, but while working on your scene, meaning that your scene looks the best it possibly can. Let me show you a few tips to make the best of it. These tips will help you get incredible-looking images out of Redshift, which is really simple to use. It is also very artist-friendly, and once you understand the basics, you are free to explore and you can start creating. Redshift is really powerful even on consumer

GPUs, and their out-of-core technology means you’re not limited by the video memory of your card. This means that even a freelancer with a good graphics card can get great-looking images without having to spend days on the final render. Redshift is also affordable, and even the licence is artist-friendly since you can move your licence as many times as you like and you don’t get charged extra for software plug-ins. I’ve been using Redshift since it was on beta for Houdini, and I really like the way these two

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applications work together. Even the beta version was so far ahead of everything I had used before; Redshift changed the way I work. I’ve collected a few tips and tricks, learned by trial and error, reporting bugs and suggesting features, and I will share these with you to help you get ahead.

DownloaD youR ResouRces For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini


TuTorials Redshift tips

some 01 gatheR ReFeRence mateRial

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-reference

I can’t stress this enough: gathering reference should always be the first thing you do. Try to gather images that have a few key features you want to have in your image or assignment. Clients usually have a vision or style that they use, so looking at previous work from your client might also help you get closer to what they are looking for. Using reference doesn’t mean copying the image – use it as a guideline to start from and add your own touches throughout the process.

the new ReDshiFt mateRial 02 use

The new Redshift material is a general purpose material that is physically plausible – it is similar to a PBR material. This is your onestop shop for most of the materials you’ll ever need to create. From glass to rubber, to metals and wax, this material can handle it all and is pretty good at it, too. Using the presets included is a great way to get started, and also to learn the different ways to use Redshift and get great results. However, remember that presets are just a starting point, and this doesn’t mean they are perfect – every scene will need a bit of tweaking to get the results you want.

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PhotogRaPhic 03 use exPosuRe Recommended video cards Redshift is really fast with consumer level video cards, but it does require an Nvidia card. I recommend the 900 and 1000 series cards, Redshift takes advantage of multiple cards really well.

You should always use Redshift’s Photographic Exposure, as it gives your image that last push toward looking amazing. This brings me to another point: try to learn to use a real world camera. Learn how lenses work, and all about shutter speed, ISO and so on. This will help you get very professional-looking images really quickly, as Redshift uses the same controls as real cameras, and understanding these controls will make your images look more real.

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-materials

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DoF anD chRomatic 04 aDD abeRRation

I love using DOF ( depth of field) and chromatic aberration, but sometimes I have to reign it in. This makes your images look more natural. Remember that we are trying to emulate real-world cameras – this will take your image from good to great. DOF used to be really expensive but Redshift renders it really quickly so there’s no reason not to use it. For chromatic aberration and bokeh, you’ll need special images to get that colour


TuTorials

Redshift tips

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-camera

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-depthoffield

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04 click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-bevels

separation. See the video tutorial for information on settings.

shaRP coRneRs – beVel eVeRything! 05 aVoiD

Nothing in the real world is actually 100 per cent sharp, there’s a bit of roundness to everything. CG makes it really easy to create unnatural 90 degree angles, and while this may be great for modelling, for final images, you should always add bevels to corners to round them off. Round corners also give you another advantage as they catch light really nicely, giving your model an extra push, and making fine details really pop. You can do a few things to create rounded edges in Redshift: bevel the actual geometry and subdivide it at render time. Alternatively, you can use the Round Corners shader, which fakes round corners really well.

05 click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-worn-surfaces

weaR anD Roughness textuRes 06 aDD

Remember that all elements should be used by someone, or have been touched by elements such as light and dust. Taking all these things into account gives character to your elements. Even the most perfectly shiny surface can have a bit of wear to give it more realism – perfect surfaces do not exist in the real world. I tend to texture a bunch of channels, but more importantly the roughness – this breaks up the surface in a very natural way, I also never leave surfaces 100 per cent

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TuTorials Redshift tips

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-multiple-hdri

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-displacement

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flat, I add small details to every surface so that it interacts with light.

Render objects as strands

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Strands are amazing. You can render particles and/or point clouds as strips, circles, cylinders instead of just plain points. My favourite is the capsule type.

DisPlacement FoR macRo anD micRo Detail

Displacement is also something that used to take forever to render, but with Redshift it is really fast. This means you can add huge detail to your geometry by just painting a texture. For example, you can make a very complex rope or a coin using just images to generate a lot of geometry. Redshift is also great for adding micro detail to any surface. If you look closely at any flat surface, you’ll find imperfections, small bumps or dents. It is simple to add these by using some procedural noise or texture.

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-IPR

09 and Redshift shows you a preview of the result really quickly. This helps you to get that light in just the right spot, that reflection looking spot on and that colour matched perfectly to the client reference. You could even make changes with the client by your side, it’s that easy.

multiPle hDRi Dome lights 08 using

This took me by surprise, as I had never thought about using more than one HDRI light in my scenes before. Since Redshift supports more than one light, this opened a huge door for me because searching for the right HDRI image for your shots is always hard and takes a lot of time, but using them gives your scene a very natural look. When you combine a few lights this creates a really cool effect. You can also take an element from one image and combine it with another. This makes your job easier and means the results are even better.

10 aDD Post-eFFects

Once everything is done in the world of 3D and we have a render of our scene, it’s really nice

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-post-effects

09 use iPR

IPR (Interactive Preview Render) is one of those things that you cannot live without. This, combined with the speed of Redshift, makes shading and tweaking images such a joy. You can tweak light, materials and geometry,

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to take it a bit further with postprocessing effects such as colour correcting, glow and blur. These effects help your scene look less CG and more realistic. They can also help you add extra details and clean up anything that looks messy. I use Blackmagic Fusion for compositing – it’s really fast and has a great set of tools for colour corrections. It also has a node to load LUT profiles, which can take your image in a million different directions.


Free pluralsight course! Real-time destRuction in unity A free video course to master Unity’s simulation workflow

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his issue, we’ve joined forces with Pluralsight to offer you a comprehensive video-training course that you can download from our online Vault – for free! Visit our online content downloads page at www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini. In this course, Authoring Real-time Destruction in Unity 5, you’ll create a destruction FX system to simulate a wooden bridge collapse using rigid bodies, physics joints and particle effects, as well as writing some C# code to provide art direction control that will allow you to perfectly choreograph the destruction sequence. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to create a wide range of destruction systems, from bridges and buildings to environments and vehicles. You’ll need Unity v5.3.5 to do this fantastic video course.

author Michael Baker michael is a game developer and graphics production expert with more than 15 years’ experience in games and VFX production. www.bit.ly/mike-baker

To find more high-quality video training,

FYi visit Pluralsight at www.pluralsight.com

Free download! Get your video course: www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini 3D WorlD March 2017

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TuTorials

Make moving liquid effects

houdini 16

make moving liquid effects with houdini 16 ryan Ng reveals how Houdini 16’s new Suction Fluid tool can be used to create stunning renders of suctioned fluid

author

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ryan ng Ryan is an FX artist from Hong Kong and a recent graduate from SCAD. He works at SideFX in Toronto, where he loves working on fluid effects in Houdini. www.ryanngfx.com

uction Fluid is a new tool within the Particle Fluids shelfset in Houdini 16. This tool allows you to suck up a fluid surface and fill a target object with that fluid. Depending on the amount of Suction Strength you use, along with Inside and

Outside Distance, you can create rather interesting results with your fluid surface taking on the shape of your target object. The fluid can retain the liquid shape of the target object and keep the volume intact, or there can be a gentle moving force that grabs and releases the fluid. Additionally, the use of static and animated objects can dramatically change the final result of moving liquid being driven together by the suction force and the motion of the target object. Suction Fluid works within the FLIP fluid confines. You can import any .obj mesh and together with a FLIP tank, you can then use the 3D WorlD March 2017

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convenient Suction Fluid shelf tool and Houdini will generate all the necessary network of nodes needed to create the suction force. After that, it is up to you to choose how coarse or fine the suction fluid is, and how accurate or subdued the look of the suctioned fluid shape will be. Follow my tutorial to see how easy it is to create this effect!

DownloaD your resources For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini

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TuTorials

Make moving liquid effects

FluiD simulation Get ahead of the pack and learn one of the key new fluid sim tools of houdini 16

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TuTorials

Make moving liquid effects

01loaDinG your mesh

In a new scene of Houdini (click Alt+N), go to the Create tab and click on the File button. When the Choose Geometry window pops up, locate the mesh you wish to use as your target mesh. It can be a .obj or .bgeo file format, for example. Select it, click on Accept and hit Enter to place the object at the origin (0,0,0). Give the file node a name (in this case, we’ll call it ‘skull’).

02 aDjustinG your mesh

Depending on the orientation of the mesh and size, you may wish to reposition, rotate and scale it to suit your needs. In my example, I have to rotate the skull. To do so, double-click on the skull file node and click the grey dot, hit the Tab key and type ‘transform’, then select when this word appears. Set the display flag on it (in blue) and adjust the translation, rotation, and scale values as required – you can always go back and change them afterwards.

03 creatinG Flip tank

Now go to the Particle Fluids shelf tab and click on FLIP Tank. Hit Enter over the 3D Viewport and you will see that a FLIP tank has been created. Scale it to be proportional to your mesh. You can do so by clicking and dragging on the red arrows of the tank. For my example, the tank size is 6x8x6 with Water Level set to 2, Center Y to 4. Hit [U] to go back up to the object level.

05 ‘suctionForce’ noDe controls

In the Particle Fluids shelf tab, click on the Suction Fluid button. Select the skull and press Enter. Then select the FLIP fluid and press Enter again. There will have been additional nodes created in your FLIP sim, most notably the Gas Field Wrangle called ‘suctionforce’. This is where you’ll be controlling the bulk of the suction force effect.

04 chanGinG the particle separation value

The FLIP tank is set to a fairly low resolution, so double-click on the AutoDopNetwork node and with the fliptank node selected, change the Particle Separation value to 0.1. If you need to have the skull closer to the FLIP fluid, hit [U] and double-click back into fluidtank_ initial, then click Enter in the 3D Viewport, re-adjust the container and increase the Water Level value.

06 testinG your eFFect

Locate the playbar at the bottom of your Houdini UI – make sure you have Real Time Toggle turned on! Play it back to see what you get. You may wish to change the number of frames to see more of the suction force effect. You can do so by clicking on the Global Animation Options.

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TuTorials

Make moving liquid effects

07 aDjustinG suction strenGth

There’s some initial suction, but I want to see the skull filled all the way with the FLIP fluid, so stop the playback and in the suctionforce node, change the Suction Strength to 10,000. Go back to frame 1 and play it again. You can see that the particles are filling up much more than previously, and at a faster rate!

08 previewinG Flip FluiDs as a mesh

To see a preview of the FLIP fluids as a mesh, select the ‘fliptank’ FLIP Object under the Guides tab, and then in the Visualization tab, uncheck Particles and click on Surface. I am going to make a few more tweaks to improve the final look of the suction fluid.

09 insiDe anD outsiDe Distance

Go back to the Gas Field Wrangle ‘suctionforce’, change the Inside Distance to 0.5 and then change the Outside Distance on frame 1 to 1 (Alt+left-click to set the keyframe). Then move to frame 158 and set the value to 0.4.

10 FinishinG touches

inside Distance Inside Distance sets the distance between fluid when it is inside the target. The smaller you make this, the more details can retain the fluid shape of your target object.

Throw down a Milk Chocolate shader from the Material Palette and then assign it to the Material slot in the ‘fluidtank_fluid’ node. Add some lights and an HDRI, set up your camera and you are ready to render!

outside Distance Outside Distance is useful for sucking the fluid towards the target object, so keep this higher at first. Once the fluid has accumulated inside the target object, move the value towards 0. 3D WorlD March 2017

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TuTorials

Real-time arch viz

Unreal engine 4 | Maya

build a realistic, real-time arch-viz environment Jingtian li explains his workflow for creating a rich environment for arch-viz using Unreal Engine 4 3D WorlD March 2017

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TuTorials

Real-time arch viz

Baked light it’s too heavy to calculate indirect light in real time, so Ue4 does this beforehand and applies this data to the texture of the mode. this way, all Ue4 has to do in real time is calculate the direct lighting

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aUthor Jingtian li Jingtian is assistant professor at the University of the Incarnate Word. He is a 3D generalist and particularly enjoys character modelling. www.tiansart.com

rchitectural visualisation has always aimed to achieve a result close to reality, to provide clients with the feeling of seeing the finished project. In the past we were limited to still images and videos of these environments, but now we have the ability to produce very realistic real-time virtual environments with ease, thanks to Unreal Engine and the performance of modern hardware. Here, I am going to walk you through my workflow for creating a super realistic real-time interior 3D WorlD March 2017

environment in Unreal Engine 4 (UE4): It is one of the most powerful game engines, and is fast becoming a standard in the arch-viz community for rendering in real time. Its predecessor Unreal Engine 3 had already been proven as one of the best game engines, with superior graphic capabilities, and UE4 brought its reputation to an even higher level. It not only produces the most wonderful graphics, but it also has a lot of really useful features such as Blueprint Visual Scripting, Persona and Open Source C++. 49

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Before you move to Unreal 4, some intense work has to be done to make sure you have a solid model, ensuring there’s no overlapping UV, and creating well painted or generated textures. I used Unreal Engine v4.12.5 here, but any version higher than that should work with this tutorial.

download yoUr resoUrces For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini


TuTorials

Real-time arch viz

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01 PrePare the Model

Although I have created my model in Maya, any modelling package should work. You have to take care of three things before exporting it: 1. Use the correct scale. So if something is 1 foot high in real life, you have to make sure it’s 1 foot high in your software. 2. Check topology: no bad topology is allowed. Things like n-gon, non-manifold geometry can really make Unreal Engine complain or produce bad shading results. 3. No overlapping or flipped UV is allowed.

02 Fix topology In Maya, you can use Mesh>Cleanup to fix your topology. Choose Select Matching Polygons, faces with more than four sides, and non-manifold geometry, and Maya will select only the wrong geometry, and then you can fix it yourself.

02 eXPorting to Ue4

Before exporting, make sure you have organised and named all of your model correctly. Combine all the pieces that belong to one object, and give them unique materials so Unreal Engine 4 will import the materials too, and then we can jump right in and start working on them. Select all objects, and export them as an .fbx file. In the Geometry tab in the Options panel, check Smoothing Groups and Triangulate, making sure everything else is unchecked.

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where did it go? Maya and other packages may support objects with the same name as long as they are not in the same hierarchy, but if UE4 finds name clashes, it will import only one of them. Make sure you give all your objects unique names.

03 MoVing to Unreal 4

First, create a new UE4 blank project with all the default settings. When the UE4 Editor starts, go to File>New Level, and then select Empty Level from the pop-up menu, this will give us a clean level to start with. Right-click in the Content Browser, choose New Folder, and name the new folder Props. Doubleclick the folder to open it.

04 iMPort the Models

viewport. Now go to the Mode panel>Lighting, and drag the Directional Light to the scene. It will still be really dark, so drag another Sky Light into the scene, to light things up. Finally, let’s also drag another BP_Sky_ Sphere from All Classes to fill the scene with a beautiful procedural sky.

and Bake lighting 06 tweak

Click the Import button in the Content browser, select our .fbx file, and click Import. Then, make sure you uncheck Combine Meshes in the pop-up FBX Import Options under the Mesh tab – if you cannot see it, click the downward arrow at the bottom of the Mesh tab to show the Advanced options. Click Import All to finish importing.

Select the Directional Light, press the [R] button, and start rotating the Directional Light around to find a suitable angle. To make the BP_ Sky_Sphere follow the Directional Light, select the BP_Sky_Sphere and in the Details panel, set the Directional Light Actor attribute to Directional Light. When you’re happy with the light direction, press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[;] to bake the light.

05 Basic lighting

07 eXtra lights

After importing the model, grab all the meshes in the Content browser and drag them to the

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After you bake for the first time, the lighting in the scene will become more realistic. The quality


TuTorials

Real-time arch viz

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might be too low, but it’s a good start. In my scene, I have three ceiling lights. Drag three spotlights into the scene to represent these, and place them right below the ceiling light geometry. You can also choose point light if you think this is better to represent your light.

08 Baking qUality

To make the baking quality higher, select the floor model. Because it has a very big area, a bigger light map is needed, so press [Ctrl]+[E] to open the Asset Editor. Go to the Details panel in the Asset Editor, and change the Light Map Resolution from 64 to 1024. Bake the light again. You’ll notice that the shadow on the floor will become clearer.

why is my bake so ugly? Light baking relies on the UV map, so if you have overlapping UV, uneven UV distribution or flipped UV, you’ll get ugly artefacts. Be sure to fix any problems and then reimport.

09 adJUsting the light

You can also change the colour and intensity of any light. To do this, select the light you want to change, and you’ll find these two settings in the Details panel under Light (along with other options, including Temperature).

10 light MaP resolUtions You need to give different models a different Light Map Resolution based on how big they are. Normally 128–512 is good enough, but after you find the proper resolution for every model, click the down arrow to the right of the Build button in the toolbar at the top of the viewport. Select Lighting Quality>Production and do another bake. You’ll notice the

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baking time is much longer, but the result is also much better.

11iMPort the teXtUres

As you assigned materials to the model before exporting, you can now just start working on them. I named the material for the floor Floor_Mtl, so I just need to find it in the Content browser and then double-click on it to open Material Editor. Let’s also find a wood floor texture, and drag it directly to the Content browser to load it into the Editor.

12 aPPly the teXtUre

Drag the floor texture from the Content Browser to the Material Graph in the Material Editor, and connect it to the Base Color of the


TuTorials

Real-time arch viz

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Material. Click Apply and Save. The colour looks off in the viewport, because we need reflection capture to make it reflect the environment. Go to the Mode Panel>Visual Effects, drag a Box Reflection Capture to the scene, scale it to make it cover all the objects, then bake the lighting again.

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tweak the teXtUre

To rotate and scale the texture, you need two nodes. Right-click in the graph, type in CustomRotator, press Enter, and a CustomRotator node will be created. Let’s also create a TextureCoordinate node, connect the TexCoord to the CustomRotator UVs(V2), and connect the Rotated

Make it brighter Scene still too dark? That’s because you don’t have enough light coming in. If you don’t want to create more lights or increase their intensity, you can try cranking up Diffuse Boost in the Lightmass Settings in the World Settings from 1 to 2 or even 4 – that will brighten up the scene.

Values to the UVs of the floor texture. Hold the [1] button and click in the editor to create a float value of 0, and connect it to the Rotation Angle of the Custom Rotator.

14 scale the teXtUre

To scale the texture, select the TexCoord, and change the UTiling and VTiling attributes in the Details panel, to rotate it 90 degrees. Select the 0 float node and change it to 0.25. Now click Apply and Save and you’ll see the texture has changed scale and rotation.

15 norMal MaP

Use Photoshop to create a very simple greyscale height map, save it as a .jpg and drag it

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to the Material Graph. Right-click on it, select Convert to Texture Object, then drag the output out and type in Normal From Height Map. Press Enter to create a NormalFromHeightMap node, then connect the result to the Normal of the Material.

16 tweak the norMal MaP You can rotate or scale the Normal Map using the same node you used on the floor texture before: the Rotate Values must be connected to the Coordinates of the NormalFromHeightmap node. To change the intensity, you can create a Float Value node and connect it to the Normal Map Intensity Attribute.


TuTorials

Real-time arch viz

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17 reFlection

Finally, you can use three float numbers to control the Metallic, Specular and Roughness of the material – use 0.1 for Metallic, 0.1 for Specular, and 0.25 for Roughness. You can use texture to control them too if you want more variations. All three values can change the material dramatically.

18 coMPlete teXtUres

For complex materials such as the sofa, the shoe and the football, you can use Substance Painter to create the textures. Again, the texture and model you create will be the foundation of a convincing result, so ensure you spend more time on them before moving to UE4.

19 what is reflection capture?

Also bear in mind that every time you change texture, you may want to bake the lighting again.

Reflection is very expensive to calculate in real time, so Unreal Engine uses Reflection Capture to capture samples from the environment as a cube map and then applies that to all the objects inside of it.

19 glass Material

To make a glass material, you need to go to the Material Editor. In the Details panel, change the Blend Mode of the Material to Translucent, and change Lighting Model under Translucency to Surface TranslucencyVolume. Create a Fresnel node and a float value, change the float value to 1 and connect it to ExponentIn of the Fresnel node. Connect the Fresnel to Opacity of the Material. Finally, use a float value of 1.3 to connect to the Refraction of the Material.

teXtUring tools 20 neXt-generation

I’ve previously mentioned Substance Painter and Quixel Suite, two of the most popular texturing tools – they help to create physically accurate materials and textures fast. How to use them is outside the scope of this tutorial: I’d advise trying both.

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21Mirror Material

To make a perfect Mirror Material, you need to create a very reflective material with 0 Roughness and 10 Specular, then you need to go to the Modes panel>Visual Effects, and drag a planar reflection to the scene. Rotate and scale it to put it in front the mirror model, then change the Distance from Plane Fade Start and End values to make the bounding box cover only a small area in front of the mirror. The Screen Percentage controls the reflection quality.

22the Final Bake

For a final bake, you need to crank up the quality even higher. Go to the World Setting panel on the right of the Details panel, open Lightmass Settings and lower Static Lighting Level Scale, increase Num Indirect Lighting Bounces, and increase Indirect Lighting Quality. Note that these settings will dramatically increase the baking time. For super-high quality, use 0.15, 100, 10, for the attributes.


Tutorials

Creature modelling

Zbrush | Substance Painter | modo

Speed up your creature modelling Piers Coe reveals how a Substance Painter and Modo pipeline can speed up your creature workflow

Author

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Piers Coe Piers has over 12 years’ experience in the games industry and is director and 3D artist at digital art studio The Digi Monsters. www.thedigimonsters.com

he idea for this project came to me after pouring over some of the amazing artwork on ArtStation. I’d seen many great creature creations, but the ones that seemed to work the best were those that took the form of some sort of chimaera, and used different parts of various existing and recognisable animals, grafting them together to create something interesting and new, but more believable than a completely fictional creation.

After going through my reference material, the idea for the Pygmy Chinchibex was finally born… It’s part ibex, part chinchilla, part creature of nightmares! This was a personal project from the outset, and I knew I would only be rendering out stills, so I could afford to streamline the production process a little. I used ZBrush, Substance Painter and then Modo workflow, with just a bit of UV mapping in Maya, and some post-production work using Photoshop. The speed and userfriendliness of both Substance Painter and Modo make for a great pipeline for these sort of visualisations. Painter’s library of procedurals, generators and particle-based effects allows for super fast iteration of ideas during texturing, and what could 3D World March 2017

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take hours of set-up and endless fiddling with render parameters in other renderers takes just minutes in Modo. Using the interactive preview render, it’s really fast and easy to place lights, experiment with materials and camera settings, and generally get the scene to a good place, fast. This wouldn’t have been possible without Escape Technology and The Foundry, so big thanks to them. I have a whole host of other critter ideas in my head so this may be the first in a series, who knows.

Download your resources For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini

www.youtube.com/3dworld


Tutorials

Creature modelling

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TuTorials

Creature modelling

01

create ZBrush ForMs

Starting with a Dynamesh sphere, I experiment with the broad forms and proportions of my creature concept. I am testing out different ideas at this stage so am happy to make mistakes and find new shapes. I collect a stack of reference of various animals that I like particular aspects of in order to inform my design. For this creature, I experiment with different horns and antlers, and the main head and nose shapes.

02 aDD ZBrush Details

Once I am happy with the basic shape of the imagined creature, it’s time to start detailing the sculpt. When sculpting concepts like this, it’s always best to work from the largest features first, and then work down to the finer details at the last pass. For this process, I make extensive use of the ClayBuildUp, Dam Standard, Inflate and Pinch brushes to create the skin folds and creases.

using Decimation Master When using Decimation Master you can affect the outcome by preparing the model beforehand, for example by selecting Symmetry on your ZTool, you can create a symmetrical decimation; define the model’s symmetry plane by using Transform>Activate Symmetry to choose the desired axis.

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04 uV MaPPing

use DeciMation Master

I use the Decimation Master plugin for ZBrush on the final sculpt to get it to a manageable polycount for the high-poly model. It’s very simple to use. For example, if you have one SubTool, click Pre-process Current to launch the optimisation process. If you want to optimise all visible SubTools at once, click Pre-process All. Then, you can choose Decimate or Decimate All, to choose the quality. I save out the sculpt as a .obj for this process, then retopologise down for the low-poly, and then save the project as another .obj file.

05 Bake MaPs

I now import the low-poly model into Substance Painter as the main mesh, and then load the high-poly model into the bake-maps dialogue. Substance Painter is very fast and easy to use for baking the maps, and will spit out the necessary normal, curvature and ambient occlusion maps. The baking options can be found in the TextureSet Settings window, where you can adjust your bake settings. Some of these settings can be shared amongst all of your bakes; it is possible to bake multiple texture sets at the same time too, by using the Bake all texture sets button. 3D WorlD March 2017

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I use ZBrush’s UV Master to do the initial unwrap of the low-poly. Using the Avoid and Attract tools, I am able to keep the UV seams away from the prominent parts of the model. Then, I transfer the model into Maya, where I sort out the simpler pieces of geometry, such as the eyes, and clean up the layout.

06 Paint textures

With the maps all baked, it’s time to paint some textures! I use a variety of generators and procedurals built up in layer stacks to create the various parts of the material. I start with the base skin, and layer on veins, dirt, colour variation, glossy and rough surfacing. I also make use of a lot of masking, of both individual layers and layer groups. Painting the masks using various brushes enables me to have really fine control over the changes in surface.

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TuTorials

Creature modelling

07 Make extra MaPs

I create extra groups in my Substance Painter file to develop the various masks I’ll be using for the fur (such as hand-painted layers) and sub-surface scattering (this is mostly generator and procedural based). I also have a couple of export presets set up in Substance Painter that I use for lots of projects. This enables me to quickly output certain types of maps in particular configurations.

08 hanDling Materials

09 Make Fur tweaks in MoDo

10 set the lighting

I export a number of masks from Substance Painter to drive various aspects of the Fur shader in Modo. The shader has plenty of easily accessible controls, so after plugging the maps in for fur length, colour and density, it is just a question of tweaking some of the parameters for kink, curl and clumping, and then deciding on a final look.

Plugging all the various maps into Modo is really quick, and the layerbased approach to shading means it’s really easy to look-dev the scene in stages, meaning you can view and edit one particular map or effect at a time. I work my way through, adjusting the particular effects as I go: these include bump, sub surface, roughness and specular, diffuse colour, and so on.

I set up a basic studio-style light rig beforehand, but with the materials all working nicely, now’s the time to refine this. The live preview viewport in Modo is invaluable for getting the position of the lights and their strengths just right, such as when backlighting the ears to light up the veins. This scene is comprised of three area lights: the main highlight, rim light, backlighting the ears and an HDR skydome.

11 renDer anD Post

With the live preview doing such a good job, rendering is just a case of upping a few sample parameters, deciding on the final camera position, setting depth of field and getting it running. A key point here is to avoid unnecessarily increasing the main anti-aliasing samples. Quicker and cleaner results can be obtained by carefully adjusting the spectral and light sampling rates. To round off the image, I take it into Photoshop and use curves and levels tweaks to bring out the contrast, as well as adding a light bleed and dust particles. Hopefully this project will encourage you to try Modo and Substance Painter in your work.

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TuTorials

Create a cinematic scene

3D WorlD March 2017

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TuTorials

Create a cinematic scene

Follow the Video if you see the Play icon, use the link

ZBrush | 3ds Max | Vray | PhotoshoP

craft an eerie cinematic scene Gustavo Åhlén shares how to composite an atmospheric scene using different CG techniques in ZBrush, 3ds Max and V-Ray

Author

t

Gustavo Åhlén Gustavo Åhlén is the founder of Svelthe, a creative studio working for games, films and advertising. He is also a concept designer, matte painter and traditional artist. www.gustavoahlen.com

his tutorial will teach you how to create a cinematic sci-fi scene packed with atmosphere. I’ll be using a variety of software and different CG techniques to create the final rendered scene. I will focus on how to sculpt the scene’s objects in ZBrush, how to create the UV mapping to export them into the final scene made in 3ds Max and V-Ray, as well as how to post-

produce the final render. During the first steps, I will look at how to sculpt the little deer that will be a part of the final composite scene and the tentacles. I will also take you through the lighting settings you need in order to produce a high quality render. Sometimes, you might have some good ideas about creating a sci-fi scene, but you may not know the different techniques you’ll need to bring those scattered ideas into reality, and may end up losing the necessary enthusiasm you need to start working. To avoid this, I recommend creating a few sketches using 3D blocks created on 3ds Max or SketchUp, or just use simple digital painting techniques, and after this process of creating concept art, you can turn simple ideas into something more consistent. 3D WorlD March 2017

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Focus on getting inspiration from everywhere too, such as films, paintings and concept artists. We live in a world that gives us great ideas all of the time, so we must take advantage of these ideas, mix them with our learned techniques as well as tools and turn them into something brand new. With my take on unique ways to look at texturing workflows, I hope you can be encouraged to try new things to achieve some unexpected results in your art. Now, turn over and let’s begin.

DownloAD your resources For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini

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Animal anatomy To prepare for sculpting animals in ZBrush, I recommend using anatomy references such as An Atlas of Animal Anatomy for Artists by H.Dittrich, W.Ellenberger and H. Baum.


TuTorials

Create a cinematic scene

click to plAy ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-atmosphere

01 creAte the concept DesiGn

In the first step, try to create a simple sketch to turn the images flitting around in your head into reference. Sometimes, you can avoid this process and work directly in 3D, but when you start without reference, the processes become more complex so to avoid this, start to paint simple strokes to place your objects in the scene.

02 mAke Deer in Zsphere

The base mesh is done in ZSphere. Go to Tool, select ZSphere and drag and drop over the viewport. Click Edit. Activate symmetry (press [X]). Go to Draw>LeftRight, click Map and import the reference image. Activate Floor to previsualise it. Draw new extensions from the original sphere, moving them to cover the reference.

03 mAke ADAptiVe skin

04 sculptinG your Deer

05 ADDinG DetAils

06 polyGroups AnD uV mAps

Once you have covered the reference image using ZSphere, convert the ZSphere to an adaptive skin to get a sculptable mesh. Get a preview of the final mesh by hitting [A] and if you like what you see, go to Adaptive Skin, and click Make Adaptive Skin. This will create a new mesh with a prefix Skin_. Go to Tool and select it.

For sculpting details, I use Dam_Standard brush for the eyelids and for muscle definitions; ClayBuildup for most of the sculpture; and Flatten and TrimDynamic to flatten multiple areas. Be careful because sometimes if you use a high intensity brush, you lose control. After using ClayBuildup, try using Flatten instead of Smooth.

Using the Move brush, you can stretch the mesh covering the reference image and add more details with the brush ClayBuildup. Don’t forget to add more subdivisions. Use the Smooth brush to smooth the mesh and once you have covered all the reference, you will get a stretched mesh, so you have to go to Geometry>ZRemesher and click on ZRemesher. Try to use different values of ZRemesher depending on the results you are looking for.

Go back to the lowest subdivision level 1, and paint the mesh using masking, keeping in mind how you will fragment your mesh in multiple polygroups. Go to Polygroup>Group Masked. Use the reference to get a better idea of how to divide the mesh. Once you’ve created all the polygroups, go to ZPlugin>UV Master>Work On Clone. Activate Polygroups, click on Unwrap, copy the UV and paste them into the original mesh.

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TuTorials

Create a cinematic scene

07 polyGroups in uV mAps

click Texture On and select the 19 UV Checker Adjustment texture. Now go into the UV Map tab and you will see an option called Adjust. If you consider that you need to adjust the UV seams, then clicking on ApplyAdj makes perfect sense.

When we work with objects that have several extremities, I recommend creating multiple polygroups to avoid distortions over the final maps as diffuse, displacement, normal, etc. If you are satisfied with your created UV Maps, go to the Texture Map tab,

Defining muscles Sometimes when you sculpt using anatomy references of écorché, you get sharp muscles. Using the Smooth or SmoothPeaks brushes, you can turn sharp muscles into more subtle shapes.

08 polypAint

09 multi mAp exporter

10 mAkinG fur

11GrowinG hAir

Next you need to create the polypaint of your model. Click on the Material Rgb level, activate Mrgb, go to Color>FillObject. Now, change to Rgb and using different colours, paint the mesh following your reference. Play with the Rgb intensity and with using Strokes in Spray to create irregular and natural polypainting.

Import the .obj model into 3ds Max. To make the fur, I created two meshes: one hidden mesh containing the fur and another visible mesh with the details using VrayDisplacementMod. Using both modifiers as VRaydisplacementmod and Hair and Fur in the same mesh won’t work well. To hide meshes, go to Object Properties.

When you’ve created the polypaint and the mesh is done, export to 3ds Max. Go to ZPlugin>Multi Map Exporter and follow the parameters of the reference image. To export the diffuse map, go to TextureMap>Create>New From Polypaint. Click Clone txtr. Select the new cloned texture and export the map.

Starting with the hair, add the modifier Hair and Fur. In the General Parameters, you can change the Hair Count. In the Display tab, you can reduce the visible hairs in the viewport. Go to Styling and using the tools Translate, Stand, Puff root, Clump, Rotate and Scale you can style the hairs according to their direction and length. Don’t forget to use a material in Root Color.

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TuTorials

Create a cinematic scene

12 sculptinG the tentAcles

Follow the same process as you used for making the deer in ZSphere, and import the car to gauge how the tentacles will interact with it. Sculpt the tentacles following octopus reference, and once you have created the UV Map, paint the mesh using Spray. Export the maps using Multi Map Exporter.

13 creAtinG the terrAin

Add a simple plane (Standard Primitives>Plane) and increase the subvision level to 100 x 100. Right-click over the plane Convert to Editable Poly. Select the polygon, go to the tab Soft Selection, select Use Soft Selection and click on Paint. Now using Paint, Blur and Revert, you can paint the areas to move up and to create an irregular terrain. Don’t forget to unselect all before adding the UV Map and Mesh Smooth modifiers.

Attach multiple items In the Geometry tab, you can control how different items will be scattered over the surface. In Distribution Map you can control the distribution of these items.

14 mAkinG the roAD

15 VertexpAint moDifier

16 creAtinG the foliAGe

17 forest pAck tips

Create a simple curved spline and go to the Modify tab, and then the Rendering tab, activate Enable In Renderer, Enable In Viewport, Generate Mapping Coords, and change from Radial to Rectangular, trying to get the shape of a road using small values in the Length field. Now, add a UVW Map modifier, change Mapping to Face and assign a new material to the road.

For the scene foliage, I used Forest Pack. Go to Create>Geometry>Itoo Software. Click on Forest Pro Library>Select and choose the object you want to add. Click the surface where you want the objects to be scattered. Using reference, look at the different parameters. Add the default scene camera to Camera.

VertexPaint modifier is useful for controlling where the displacement will be applied over the mesh and to avoid overlapping mesh surfaces. Create a new map for the terrain (using reference) and once you have painted the area where the displacement won’t be applied, the map will work as an alpha channel.

Tick Camera>Limit to visibility to limit the scattered objects only to the areas covered by the camera’s field of view, avoiding an excess of unnecessary objects. The Material>Color Tint modes are great for changing the default colours of the library objects. There are two possible modes – Generate or Custom Edit – to add scatter items. Activating Enable Items Sub-Object Level enables you to paint individual items over the surface.

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TuTorials

Create a cinematic scene

18 compositinG the finAl scene

19 scene liGhtinG

20 V-rAy renDer settinGs

21V-rAy mAteriAls noDes

In this step, position each object in the scene, trying to get a cinematic look. To position each object, use the four views so you can see the different angles and adjust accordingly. By setting the view to Perspective and clicking on Zoom Extents, you will be better able to control each object.

Above are the render settings used for this tutorial. Otherwise, you can play with different parameters before rendering your scene. I recommend testing the V-Ray settings by rendering a section to get a preview of how these parameters work. If your final render is large in size, keep in mind that the maps used for the materials should be up to 4096x4096.

For this scene, I have only used two V-Ray IES lights (HFM_175M_RG_ (PROBE)). You can search on the internet for this pack of IES lights and with the help of Photometric Viewer you can see how these lights work and interact with the surfaces. After a lot of tries with different types of lighting – and keeping in mind that this scene is set in the middle of the night – I realise I need to create subtle lighting, and I like how these IES lights work.

To create the V-Ray materials I use VrayHDRI to keep all the original data from the texture. Go to the Coordinates tab and change the Blur from 1 to 0.1 or 0.5. This simple change will increase the image details in the final render. To get a preview of these changes, you can go to the Slate Material Editor, and hover over the Output material, right-click over the Preview sphere, and select Open Preview Windows. Now, you can modify any parameter from the previous nodes and you will get a preview of those changes.

22 renDer AnD post proDuction

Render your scene and save it in the format .EXR 32 bits. Drag and drop the file in After Effects – this will set the project size automatically, so add the effect Look from Magic Bullet and select the preset Impulsive 4 way, changing the curve values and reducing the contrast. Using Light Factory, add lens flares for the car lights and create a new layer Adjustment Layer to add more noise. 3D WorlD March 2017

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TuTorials Texture a model

Follow the video if you see the Play icon, use the link

PhotoshoP | Quixel suite

TexTuring A MODeL wiTh QuixeL SuiTe In the second of a two-part tutorial, Victoria Passariello shows how to create textures for an in-game model in Quixel

author

A

Victoria Passariello Victoria is an industrial designer and self-taught 3D artist who specialises in hard surface modelling. She loves creating robots, mechs, vehicles, ships and weapons for video games and films. www.victoriapassariello.com

ll of us have probably heard about Quixel Suite, the new generation of texture software. The Suite contains a huge variety of physically-based rendering (PBR) materials including metals, cloth, dirt, wood and so on, which you can modify entirely as you wish.

You can create your own materials from scratch too, plus the Suite offers a very helpful and easy tool to create Normal maps. Quixel is a very intuitive and easy to learn software if you know the basics of PBR, editing masks, and working with multiple layers. The best thing is that you can see your model in real time while working in your textures and paint directly on it, which is really a very handy feature. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a new project in Quixel. You will need at least three initial maps (Cavity-AO, Normal, ID). I’m going to take you through the process of creating materials, modifying materials, working with masks, painting in

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3DO, making some details on the Normal map using NDO… in essence, all the basics you need to know to start using Quixel. To get started, I took the highresolution Space Patrol model I created in part one of this tutorial (in issue 217). I made a low poly version of it and made the UVs in a single 4k Sheet. I hope you find all these methods useful to use in your pipeline. Let’s get started!

DownloaD your resources For all the assets you need go to www.bit.ly/vault-218-houdini

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Part one In part one of this tutorial, in issue 217, Victoria shared the techniques and methods she uses to create hard-surface models in Max, creating a sci-fi drop-ship concept. For back issues, visit www.bit.ly/ singleissues


TuTorials

Texture a model

u.s. sPace Patrol having created a model using 3ds Max, V-ray and Photoshop last issue, you can now texture it

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TuTorials Texture a model

01Bake out initial MaPs

To start working with Quixel, you need the baked Normal map from your high-res model, the Cavity map with a soft and clean Ambient Occlusion on it (used for creating and editing masks for weathering effects) and an ID map (shows all the different materials of the model with different plain colours). I use XNormal to bake out the normals and cavity. For baking the AO shading of the low poly, I use Faogen. For painting the ID map, I use Photoshop.

02

creating the Project

Start by opening the DDO tool. A new panel will appear. Here, we will set all the parameters for our project. Let’s start by adding the low-res mesh. Continue by adding the ID, Normal and AO maps. Also make sure to check Bake in 3DO in the curvature slot, so that Quixel creates a curvature map for us. Proceed by establishing the Resolution, setting up the Export Target, and finally hit Create.

Definition 03 Base Material

Head to the bottom of the panel and click the Add Smart Material button. This will open the material library, where you can choose from a lot of different materials. Let’s start by searching Base Definition and hitting Create. Now Quixel will carry out a small process to create the material and will show the maps with their respective labels (Albedo, Gloss, Metal). The next step is to

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-uvs

01

03 Project model Download my model from this issue’s online Vault.

Dirt layer This material also has a dirt layer masked into the cavities of the model.

open the 3DO tool to view the maps on the model in real time.

the Base Metal Material 04 creating

Now let’s create the base metal for the Space Patrol. Go again to the material library, choose one painted metal material, and hit Create. Access the new Material group by clicking the little folder in the layer. Once inside, you can see all the layers that make up that material;

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-projection

02

you can also change the colours and modify the mask of each layer. The Scuffs layer is a secondary tone for the metal that gives a nice weathering look.

the Materials to iD 05 Masking

When you create one material it will cover the whole model. To mask any material to specific areas, simply right-click on the material layer and click on Mask Layer to ID. This

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-base-painting

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TuTorials

Texture a model

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-create-materials

05 click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-editing

06

07

option will open the Mask ID Editor, in which you can choose from the ID map the colour you want to use as the mask for that material. Select multiple colours by pressing the Ctrl key. Hit Done and the new mask is created for that material.

colour iD Once you have selected a specific colour ID for any material it will be shown in the little square at the right side of the layer

06 Quick eDit DynaMask

Most of the layers of the different materials have masks applied to them. You can quickly and easily edit these masks the way you want by manipulating some parameters. Enter the group of the painted material and select the Paint layer. Click on its mask and enter the Quick edit Dynamask. A new panel will open showing a great variety of masks to choose from. Once you’ve selected one of the masks, go down and expand the post-process options. There you can play with b/w Balance, Tightness, Contrast and Brightness. When you’re done, click on Accept Mask.

07

Paint on the MoDel

Add a General Dirt Material. Enter the group and click on the dirt mask. This time, enter the Full Shaded Mode and once the mask editor appears, open the 3DO

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-using-ndo

08

new map Play a bit with the parameters until you get the desired normal information and once you’re done, save the new map. You can also save the entire NDO project for later modifications.

view. Here you can switch between mask/shading modes by pressing [M]. Choose a dirt brush and start adding or removing dirt in some areas. You can control the opacity and the colour of the brush. Once you’re done, click on Accept Mask in the mask editor.

a triangle with the pen tool on an empty layer, then click the big button in NDO. It will take that layer and convert it into normal information. A new panel will appear with lots of parameters to manipulate, such as shape, bevel, depth, size, and so on.

norMal Details with nDo 08 aDD

09 reloaD MaPs

Open the normal map in PS and then open the NDO Tool. Now you can use the brush or pen tool to create details on different layers in PS and turn them into Normal using NDO. Go ahead and create

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If you make any changes in the ID map or normal map like in the previous step, to reload the maps simply click on the Reimporter icon on the top left and it will bring up the same import panel you had at the beginning. Import the Normal


TuTorials Texture a model

09

10

map, and you can also import the mesh again if you make any changes. Don’t forget to check the Bake in 3DO Curvature and then hit Rerender.

10

saVe/loaD sMart Materials

Once you have made modifications to any material, adjusting masks, painting on the model, and adding more dirt or rust layers, you may want to save the material to use it in the future. First select the material, then go to the top bar and click on the Save Smart Material icon and save it. To load it, go to the Material Library, select Custom Materials and here you can find all the materials you have saved. Select one of them and hit Create.

11 exPort the MaPs

To export the maps and use them outside the Suite (for instance, to try them in Marmoset or Unity),

toggle the cross-app mode icon on the top bar, select the desired Export Target (it will export the corresponding maps according to the selection) and deselect any of the options below that are checked (hide PS, fuse apps, etc). Hit Link Apps. A new folder will be created inside your main project folder, named ‘flats’, containing all the exported maps.

add decals in Quixel

some areas of the borders with a noisy brush.

Put all your decals in a folder. Enter edit mask in full shading mode and open 3DO. In the brush panel, click Import category and select the folder with the decals.

the eMissiVe MaPs 13 create

Decals 12 aDDing in PhotoshoP

Open the Albedo map you just exported and start creating some decals on top of it. Either load some symbol images or create your own using the pen tool. Once the decal is done and in place, rightclick its layer and select Blending Options. Here, move the black and/ or white arrows of the underlying layer until you get a nice blending effect with the layer underneath. You can also add a mask and paint out

11

click to Play ViDeo www.bit.ly/218-decals

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Using the Albedo map as reference, create a black solid colour on top of it and then add another bright solid colour. Paint in the mask the areas you want to be emissive. Once you are done, turn on the back layer and save it out, and there you have your finished, textured spaceship!

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ARTIST Q&A Artist q&A

Your CG problems solved

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

Syawish A Rehman A motion graphics and VFX artist from Pakistan with nine years’ experience, Syawish loves motion graphics and making video tutorials. www.facebook.com/theredpineapplearts

Pietro Chiovaro Pietro is an Italian 3D artist who creates 3D assets and environments, and is currently working on an open-source game. www.bit.ly/PietroChiovaro

Francis-Xavier Martins Francis-Xavier is a character artist and CG generalist based in Brighton, with over a decade of experience in video games, media and TV. www.polyjunky.com

Jason Knight Jason is a freelance digital artist with over 30 years’ experience. His digital journey began in 1983 on a computer with 2K of memory. www.knightgraphics.daportfolio.com

Paul Hatton Paul leads a studio of visualisers based in the UK. He delivers a host of projects including video and interactive environments. www.cadesignservices.co.uk

GET In TOUCH EMAIl yOUR qUESTIOnS TO ian.dean@futurenet.com

SOFTWARE: MAyA | ARnOld

HoW can I renDer skIn anD flesH realIstIcally? Peter Bauer, UAE Syawish A Rehman replies Rendering skin is an essential part of most visual effects work since most visual effects shots contain creatures of some kind, be they human beings, leopards or aliens from Mars. The first movie with a digitally created character was Young Sherlock Holmes back in 1985, where they created a knight made up of stained glass by creating the character, compositing it using a projector and recording that video with a camera. It must have been a really tedious affair. In the 1990s, they created characters using CG, famously in Terminator 2, but never really natural-looking skin… until the 2000s. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events back in 2004 was not 3D WorlD March 2017

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really unusual or special in an obvious way, but it was actually the first movie in which they had to render human skin. The process was done for a fairly simple scene, replacing a baby with a CG one. That’s how complex rendering skin really is. It was done by pioneering FX vendor Industrial Light and Magic, and it’s not a surprise that they were the ones who did it. What happens with skin in real life is that light penetrates the skin and either reflects back or passes through, depending on the depth of the part that it enters. Usually, through thin areas such as the ears, the light takes on a tint and comes out the other side to reach the eyes of potential observers. This is why

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Artist q&A

Your CG problems solved

The secret to realistic skin is capturing the way light actually passes through it, producing a translucent appearance

eXPeRt tiP

PlAn wHeRe you wAnt SSS SSS is sort of heavy on the rendering side, so try to plan where and whether light will pass through the character’s body. If you don’t absolutely need light to shine through an ear, you shouldn’t use SSS. Even if you do, try to create maps to limit the SSS parts. Maybe use a blend material.

SteP by SteP TeCHnIqUeS For renDerInG FleSH AnD SKIn

CliCK to PlAy Video www.bit.ly/218-skin

01ReAdying tHe Model

02 ARnold SKin MAteRiAl

03 Adding teXtuReS

04 CoMPoSiting

The model is absolutely the most important part of the whole thing. You need to take a close look and visualise exactly how various parts of it would react with light. In this case we’re using a model of a foetus, which is a blob of flesh and blood, so I visualised it being dense yet light and having a sort of silicone type feel under the lighting.

Arnold’s got a very simple SSS rig setup. All you have to do is go to the Hypershade window and just create a new Arnold Skin Shader. Initially I did some tests, which is something you should do if you aren’t using textures. I basically made the colours more saturated in the midtone and deeper parts of the skin to give the idea of a mass underneath the skin.

FOllOW THE vIdEO If you see the Play icon, use the link

we perceive some ears as translucent. In earlier days, FX technicians would use glow to mimic this translucency effect, but this process has come on a long way, especially with the development of SSS or subsurface shaders. In these short steps, to the right, I’ll show you how to set up an SSS in Arnold. I’ll be using Maya, but you can use any 3D application you want – there are no features involved in this that are exclusive to Maya. I’m using a foetus model I bought online from the Turbosquid website (www.turbosquid.com) – it’s a great asset site for anyone looking to get up and running quickly, especially if you’re looking to try out new techniques.

Adding textures to something like a foetus is not really important but I still did it because, let’s be honest, textures make everything better. The Turbosquid site I downloaded the model from also gave me some textures. I applied a skin texture to the surface of the Arnold Skin Shader. The texture for veins was applied to the deeper part of the material. You can also create these textures yourself fairly easily.

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One thing in particular that was really weird was that light was passing through the mouth and the nostrils and coming out the other side, giving the illusion that lights were installed inside the foetus. This can be fixed with compositing by simply using an Ambient Occlusion Pass and Multiply on the beauty pass. There are other ways – for example, you can use textures to increase the depth of these parts and stop light from passing.

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Artist q&A

Your CG problems solved CliCK to PlAy Video www.bit.ly/218-velvet

Every fabric has its own characteristics, but velvet has a particularly tricky combination of matt and reflective surfaces

You can change the weave of the velvet by using different values in the Magic Texture

eXPeRt tiP

uSing ColouRS Generally for a velvet material I select a colour for Diffuse BSDF and a similar colour for Velvet BSDF. It depends on the effect you want to achieve, but this makes the material look more realistic.

SOFTWARE: BlEndER

HoW can I create a velvet materIal? Darryl Godron, UK Pietro Chiovaro replies When I start work on a new project, the first thing to which I devote myself is modelling. After this stage, I begin to study the elements that constitute the model, in order to recreate the materials. In this part of the work I start to observe real objects with the same characteristics, in order to understand how to recreate the material in a way that is faithful to the real thing. Here I will explain how you can create a velvet material in Blender using few nodes, without textures or any other external elements. First of all, you have to select the object in which you want to assign the material – in this case I selected the dress. Once you have done this, you can go in the Node Editor panel and add these elements: the input Texture Coordinate; the input

Fresnel; the shader Diffuse BSDF; the shader Velvet BSDF; a Mix Shader; the Magic Texture (which I use to recreate the weave of the velvet); a Gamma; and of course the Material Output. After you’ve unwrapped the object, you have to connect the Texture Coordinate to the Magic Texture that you added before. Now you have to connect the Magic Texture with the Gamma, and this in turn to the Material Output in Displacement. At this point you have to connect the Diffuse BSDF with the Velvet BSDF using the Mix Shader, and after this you can connect the Fresnel to this one. Now you can connect the Mix Shader to the Material Output. Once you have finished connecting all the elements, you can fix all the different values of the material.

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The first element you need to fix is the Fresnel IOR and set a value of 18.000. After this, you can set a value of 0.010 in Gamma – indeed in the Velvet BSDF shader you can fix a value of 0.250 in Sigma, while in the Magic Texture you have to fix a value of 250.000 in Scale, a value of 1.000 in Distortion and 2 in Depth. Feel free to change these values as you prefer or need to in order to achieve the right look for your project.

FOllOW THE vIdEO If you see the Play icon, use the link

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Artist q&A

Your CG problems solved

eXPeRt tiP

uSe bACKFACe MASK When it comes to sculpting thin areas like collars or sleeves, make sure Backface Mask is turned on for all your sculpting brushes to avoid pulling the faces on the other side of the sculpt through. It’s found under Brush>Auto Masking. Make it easy to get to on your UI – you’ll be using it often!

My workflow for sculpting cloth does require some patience, but the result is worth it

SOFTWARE: ZBRUSH

HoW Do I sculpt clotH In ZBrusH? Kyle Rainer, US Francis-Xavier Martins replies I just recently finished sculpting a character that was pretty cloth heavy, so I’ll be using her to talk about my process for sculpting cloth. Not everyone has a copy of Marvelous Designer, so it helps to be able to sculpt cloth, especially as not every character you create will be super realistic. First of all, I spent a lot of time making sure my reference was relevant and showed me the detail I needed. People think they know how cloth falls and this leads to bad habits when sculpting. Getting reference of both the clothes you’re sculpting and the type of cloth will help avoid this. Wool reacts differently to cotton and silk, so the folds will be affected differently by external forces. It’s important not to rush straight to the highest subdivision levels. I built up

the forms on my base mesh in the low to mid-levels first. I tend to rough out some shapes with the ClayBuildup brush, using Lazy Mouse with a high radius on the Standard brush for smooth sweeping stokes. It’s usually a case of being patient – if you rush, you end up with lumpy strokes, which is evident in a lot of cloth work. So the trick here really is to take your time and make sure those strokes are smooth. I use the gravity setting on my brush quite a bit. Going to Brush>Depth and turning up Gravity will add gravity to your stroke based on your camera. I find using this with the Inflate brush on a stroke already defined will add some weight and make it look natural. Masking is also very useful to get overlapping folds. I mask the part I want to remain unaffected, I then use the Move

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brush and shift the unmasked part over. I then use the Dam_Standard and Pinch brushes to get a sharp crease, then lightly smooth out any areas I want to transition better. When using the Standard brush, I always make sure to get rid of the ‘hump’ that the stroke leaves behind. First, I lightly smooth one side of the stroke and then the other until I’m left with a transition the looks natural. Stroke direction is very important – I use the reference I collected to make sure my strokes look natural, and if I want to deviate from any concept I have, I have the option to change the style without it looking weird.

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Artist q&A

Your CG problems solved

eXPeRt tiP

USe TAckS And pInS To keep the fabric from falling to the floor when you click Simulate in Marvelous Designer, use tacks and pins. First, loosely position the garment where you need it in the 3D pane, then tack it to your avatar. To use floating pins, hold down the [W] key while left-clicking to add each pin. Click and drag them to position parts of the garment. 3D WorlD March 2017

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Artist q&A

Your CG problems solved

SOFTWARE: MARvElOUS dESIGnER

HoW Do I tIe a knot In marvelous DesIgner?

FOllOW THE vIdEO If you see the Play icon, use the link

Mariam O’Donnell, US Jason Knight replies Sometimes creating even simple things in 3D can be quite complicated. Since my first experience in 3D rendering with Bryce many years ago, I have been on a neverending quest to find easier ways to model and render out all the ideas in my head. Modelling clothing has always been a particular challenge for me, and this is one of the reasons I never shared any of my character renders until recently. So, what changed? Well… In addition to completing a character modelling class, about a year ago I discovered a handy program called Marvelous Designer. Since my discovery, I have become more content with the clothing I have been able to create. I sometimes find it helpful to import my posed character into Marvelous Designer and work on single clothing elements one at a time before exporting the individual garments and elements to be combined in other 3D software, in my case Cinema 4D. As I said in a previous issue (3D World 207, www.bit.ly/3dworld-app), I am neither a seamstress nor a tailor. I know nothing about how clothing is actually created. Because of this, I try to keep things as simple as possible. I always start by laying out a simple pattern in Marvelous Designer using basic shapes. I find the Marvelous Designer interface surprisingly easy to use considering how powerful it is. I often find myself inspired by the artwork of Lois van Baarle – her exceptional character designs truly are inspiring. She recently released her first artbook, The Art of Loish. If you have not picked up a copy, I recommend grabbing one immediately. Whenever I need inspiration, I pop open her artbook. One of her fantastic concepts inspired my image, titled Huntress. In this quick step-by-step, I want to focus on how I tied the knot in the scarf around the waist of my 3D Huntress. Tying a realistic looking knot with 3D fabric in other 3D software is something that is virtually impossible, so it’s lucky for us that Marvelous Designer makes this normally tedious task fairly simple.

SteP-by-SteP STePS To TIe THe KnoT

CliCK to PlAy Video www.bit.ly/218-knot

01wRAP tHe SCARF

02 Add AdditionAl PinS

oVeR, undeR, ARound tHRougH 03And

tigHten tHe Knot And ViSuAl inteReSt 04Add

I start by making sure I have the scarf tacked at the back of my avatar – this keeps it from falling when I start the simulation. I add a pin or two by pressing and holding the [W] key while clicking the left mouse button where I want the pin to be placed on the scarf in the 3D window. I turn on the simulation and drag each of the pins until the scarf is nicely wrapped around my avatar.

Tying the knot is a slow and deliberate process. Starting with the pin closest to one end of the scarf, I lift the end up and around and drop it down through. I do the same thing with the other end. I rotate the viewport frequently during this process to make sure I have a good perspective on the position of the scarf and the pin I am moving. Make sure to leave the knot fairly loose at this point.

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With the simulation running, I add additional pins and begin to position the scarf, preparing the ends to be ready to twist into a knot. When adding pins, make sure that you are holding down the [W] key as you left-click. Doing one and then the other will accomplish nothing. As I add pins and click and drag to move them, I think about how I would tie an actual scarf around my own waist and try to duplicate these movements.

I slowly pull each end of the scarf to tighten the knot, all the while trying not to pull any pin too far because the fabric and knot can break free. If this does happen, you may have to start the process again. With the knot complete, I add some elastic to some of the scarf edges and pop in a few extra seams with elastic to help pull the scarf around the waist. This also helps crinkle the fabric to add some visual interest.

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Artist q&A

Your CG problems solved

now that Arnold is the default renderer in Maya, start with the aiStandard preset to create strikingly realistic materials

SOFTWARE: MAyA

HoW can I set up my materIals more quIckly In maya? Paul Worsley, UK Paul Hatton replies As of Maya 2017, Autodesk has dropped Mental Ray as its preferred renderer and instead has adopted Arnold, which it recently purchased. This change in strategy will be annoying for a lot of users (particularly those who’ve got their own production pipeline working just as they want it), but does have a lot of benefits. One of those benefits is with regard to material creation and getting your materials set up as quickly and efficiently as possible. The first thing that comes to mind is that Arnold provides a set of preset shaders which are great starting points for creating customised shaders for your scenes. Mental Ray provided similar presets, so if you’re using older versions of Maya then you can make use of those. One of the presets is called aiStandard, and this will be the material that you’ll go to most of the time. If you’ve used any other rendering engine then you’ll recognise a lot of the settings. There are properties for diffuse, reflection, refraction and so on, all broken down into different rollouts for easy access. Other presets include aiSkin and aiHair, which are perfect for character development. Getting your head around the presets available will definitely speed up your material creation. These presets can be found in the Create section of the Hypershade window. There is a separate rollout for Arnold materials. Another way to speed up your material creation is to use the Material Viewer that

is built into Hypershade. Just above the viewer there are several dropdown boxes that allow you to customise the viewer. One of those specifies how Maya should create the rendering of the texture. You want to switch this over to Arnold and you’ll notice a vast improvement in realism. This uses Arnold’s interactive rendering technology to render a high-quality representation of the material you’re creating. Interactive rendering technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, so it makes sense to take advantage. Before finishing, I would also recommend making use of Arnold’s interactive renderer, which is accessible through the Arnold menu at the top of the interface. This will let you see how your materials are affected by the lights in your scene and give you a better representation of what is going on.

eXPeRt tiP

ARnold PReSetS Making use of the preset materials inside Arnold will give you a great starting point for creating your materials quickly. They contain material-specific properties, enabling you to focus on what’s important.

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The future of VR

News and views from around the international CG community

induSTRy inTeRView

REALITY ChECk: LOOkInG TO A VIRTuAL FuTuRE Trevor Hogg meets the founder and CEO of Penrose Studios, Eugene Chung, to discuss the challenges of animating for VR ith an accountant for a mother and an opera singer for a father, Penrose Studios founder and CEO Eugene Chung has always had what he describes as a “duality of left and right brain,” something which has influenced his career path. “I’ve been a software developer, but also a filmmaker who has made some independent movies that were done for animated film companies,” he explains. At an early age, the native of Virginia learned that public consumption changes over time. “There is a German phrase that describes the ideal work of art [Gesamtkunstwerk], and the followers of Richard Wanger said it had to be opera, which was the culmination of the best characters, stories and music. A few decades later, people with movie cameras came around and that laid the foundation for modern day cinema, TV and YouTube. It transformed the entire industry so much that if I were to ask you to name a major movie company, you’d be able to say, ‘Fox, Disney, and Warner Bros.’ But if I were to ask you to name a major stage play or opera company from the 1880s, that’d be a tough question. “I never thought I would see the emergence of a new medium in my lifetime because it’s rare for it to happen,” admits Eugene, who is convinced that virtual and

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augmented reality are not a fad but the basis of a technological and creative revolution.

ShAPing SToRieS “It’s going to become a new language and be the dominant art form from here on in,” Eugene explains, adding that the tools we have today aren’t able to deal with this new medium. “Imagine you’ve built a lot of bicycles and someone asks you to build an automobile. You can use a wrench and screwdriver, but you also have to invent entirely new tools. That’s how I feel about VR today. Every aspect of the production process has to be rethought because the existing processes and tools don’t necessarily mesh in a way that works in VR – we have found that storyboarding and things like that are much more valuable when done in VR.” The 360-degree nature of VR harks back to theatre when conceptualising and constructing environments. “Often our production designer Shannon Jeffries says the set becomes a character because it can be seen from so many different angles,” says Eugene. Another important similarity exists between the two mediums. “Like with theatre, VR uses sound, movement, and lighting cues to tell the viewer where to look.” Several elements need to come together. “If you just have a world and it’s devoid of characters, you’ll get bored

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The main character in Penrose Studios’ animated VR film Allumette


industry

The future of VR

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The future of VR

quickly, or if it’s devoid of story you’re like: ‘Why am I here?’ You have to design it all at once.” A unique attribute of VR is both a blessing and curse as it can immerse as well as distract the viewer. “One of VR’s advantages is that you can interact with it. however, if you have too strong an interactive element, it’s harder to tell a story. It’s by no means impossible, and we’re going to find new innovative ways to do that.”

ShifTing PARAdigmS A different philosophy is required for VR, something which Eugene discovered while serving as the head of film and media for Oculus VR. “The CEO invited me to come in and gave me a demo,” recalls Eugene, who was a big fan of the Oculus Rift Dk1. “I was floored. he said, ‘Eugene, we’re a bunch of video game guys. Come join us!’ I was tasked with figuring out how to do a film. A lot of people thought it won’t go far because we didn’t have positional tracking.

Real-time CG is more exciting than real-time cinema, so that’s why I shifted gears and ended up creating something called Story Studio, bringing on board people from the CG industry instead. We built some of the first films, got acquired eventually by a little company called Facebook, and changed the whole nature of the industry.”

unlike traditional CG animation, where it might take hundred of hours to render a frame, VR requires imagery to be produced in 1/90 of a second. “We’re using a realtime engine, so there are no render times,” Eugene says, adding that “there are a lot of little tricks that the VR headsets do to account for this. There’s even something

oNe of VR’s adVaNTaGes is iTs iNTeRaCTiVe elemeNT, buT if This is Too sTRoNG, iT’s haRdeR To Tell a sToRy

Eugene Chung, founder and CEO of Penrose Studios

Eugene notes that the concept of presence is the holy Grail of virtual reality. “In VR, you unmistakably feel that you’re someplace else. That presence is enhanced when you have positional tracking, where you can go in and out of objects. Also, there are no seams [live-action plates being stitched together] or broken stereoscopy with animation.”

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called Asynchronous Timewarp that Oculus uses. It’s about interpolating between frames. During the launch of Oculus 3, they announced something called Asynchronous Spacewarp – that means doing reprojection with positional tracking, which is exciting.” Over the last 60 years, there have been five major computing platforms: mainframe,

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The future of VR The details in Allumette, such as the intricate interior of the floating boat where the mother and daughter live and the details of the bridge and houses, make this VR animation film even more immersive

Viewers are able to ‘go inside’ the boat as part of the film. Below shows the detailed plans for material and lighting for the interior

minicomputer, personal computer, desktop and mobile. “AR and VR will become the same device about the size of your glasses, and that’s going to be the killer app because you can have a computer screen the size of an IMAX theatre and a virtual keyboard. Everything is moving in that direction. “Once everyone in the world has these devices, they’re going to want richer experiences that don’t just exist on a flat surface,” Eugene notes. “Whenever there’s a platform shift, there’s an opportunity to build gigantic companies. The other key thing is that it’s easy and tempting to fall into legacy business models. The next 18 to 24 months are going to be about innovating and figuring out new models. In the same way that we have to be creative in the manner in which we’re doing the art and story, we also have to be creative and innovative in terms of how the company is structured.” To find out more about Eugene, visit FYI www.eugenechung.co

Lighting the way eugene chung on the making of vr animation allumette Unlike The Little Prince, which was turned into a five-minute VR experience, Penrose Studios has upped the creative and technical ante by producing a 20-minute adaptation of The Little Match Girl, titled Allumette, about an adolescent street vendor who lights her remaining three matches in an effort to hold off the bitter cold of winter. “Like the movie Rope, we tried to tell the whole story in one take but then realised that we were going to have to show it with cuts,” remarks Eugene Chung, who decided to utilise the lighting of each match to transport the viewer to a flashback sequence. “Conventional wisdom is that cuts won’t work in VR. They can be disorienting but can work. You just have to use them differently than you would in a film.” The viewer experiences the environment from the third-person perspective. “That’s a purposeful choice because the state of AI is not good enough right now. If you try to cut or punch a stylised box and it doesn’t react the way that you think it should than there’s this weird uncanny valley element called ‘The Swayze Effect’. In Ghost, Patrick Swayze is trying to get the attention of his girlfriend and is saying, ‘I’m here!’ She ignores him. That’s what it feels like if you’re in VR and no one reacts to you in the way you think they should. That weird uncomfortableness is a bigger part of the identity question. ‘Who are you

supposed to be?’ With Allumette, because of the way we play with scale, you feel like an outside entity to the world, which makes it feel better. “We have a lot of little details,” states Eugene. “There’s this great floating boat called the Mary Celeste, where the mum and daughter live. You can stick your head inside of that boat... When viewers do so it’s magical because they’re like, ‘I’m actually stuck inside an object. I had no idea I could do that!’… Until we can physically replicate running into a wall, you’ll see inside things. It may seem like a deficiency, but we used it as an advantage,” he adds. “For us, it’s all about making authentic stories,” says Eugene. “It doesn’t have to fit a particular time period, though 90 minutes is hard right now. Who even knows if 90 minutes is the right time period? You might need something different for this medium... To tell this story the way we wanted to, Allumette had to be around 20 mins.” Allumette furthered the learning curve for Penrose Studios. “The biggest emotional reaction I’ve seen is fear, which is easier to do in VR. You put someone in a dark room and make some scary thing flash in their face. But to make someone feel emotionally sad and take their headsets off because they have tears is incredible to see.” Eugene doesn’t take sole credit for the success of the VR experience. “Nothing could be done without the amazing team that we put together: both of veterans and passionate people who are just getting into their careers. It’s great to come here every day and charge forward.”

“our engineer devon Penney was at dreamworks for nearly a decade. he actually put out a paper on the clouds in Allumette. A lot of the people who see the clouds come from traditional animation or visual effects and they ask, ‘how did you get that to run in real time?’ devon came up with some brilliant algorithms and a proprietary renderer to create them”

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Industry

VFX Festival 2017

SideFX will launch the new Houdini 16 at this year’s VFX Festival

InduStry eVent

CREATIVE CRoSSoVER

The VFX Festival 2017 will demonstrate how the CG world is drawing ever closer together. Escape Studios’ director, Ian Palmer, reveals what to expect at the show his year’s VFX Festival, held in London’s Rich Mix venue and presented by Escape Studios, part of Pearson College London, promises to be the biggest show yet. Not shying away from the big questions being asked in the industry right now, the festival will explore how many strands of the creative industries – VFX, animation, games and motion graphics – are crossing over and merging, and how new techniques, tools and technology are bring the industry closer. “As the gap closes between new and old technologies, the 2017 festival will focus on how the elements intersect, while remaining on top of new and existing trends,” says Ian Palmer, director at Escape Studios. At the heart of the festival will be a series of discussions and demonstrations from the leading VFX, video game and animation companies, as particular attention is paid to VR, AR and other media-sharing tech. There will also be in-depth analysis of how

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this informs the skillset required for the next generation of VFX artists. Ian explains: “At Escape Studios, we have seen how the industry has changed over the past 10 years. The bar has been raised, and with this, the needs of the industry. There is a real sense that the disciplines are converging and so more and more, we are seeing the need for people who can shift

hand-in-hand with filmmakers to create 360 virtual storytelling. The festival will explore these immersive technologies, not only within the specially curated technology zone, but also with a presentation from award-winning company REWIND, whose team will be discussing their VR production pipeline. The leading game developers at Climax Studios will also be discussing the

the festival will see a range of top vfx companies offer their insight on recent changes to the industry

Ian Palmer, director, Escape Studios

between executional formats. There is also a change in how the job is done: the need for not just creators, but thinkers who can work and grow with the new technologies we are seeing being used on a daily basis now.” A prominent recent example is the boom in virtual and augmented reality technology, which has seen game designers work

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challenges they experience with virtual reality development for video games. This year also sees key tech leaders HP attending. The team will be providing insight into how the latest hardware is being used, and looking at how this impacts the industry. From the world of software, SideFX will be running exclusive Houdini workshops

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Industry

VFX Festival 2017 these waves were created in Houdini 16 – more will be revealed at the event

Framestore will be sharing the secrets of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them

across the festival, offering demonstrations of its latest software, Houdini 16. The VFX industry is also seeing changes, with crossover between VR technology and the creation of VFX shots taking place. The larger compositing files required to produce top-quality 360 VR shots have been transitioning into the 2D film arena in order to improve quality. This also means that the skills needed in this area need to be adapted. “The festival will see a range of top visual effects companies – who have worked on some the latest and biggest films in 2016 – attend and offer their insights on these changes,” says Ian, before adding: “The likes of Cinesite and MPC will be offering insight on their innovative and ground-breaking approaches to some of their latest projects, including filmmaking on The Jungle Book. Framestore will be giving an extensive presentation on the VFX for Fantastic Beasts

and Where to Find Them, alongside the likes of ILM, who will be presenting on a ‘top secret’ project. Jellyfish will be discussing the creation of the captivating universe of Black Mirror, and multi-BAFTA awardwinning animation studio Blue Zoo will be talking about its top-notch CG character animation, alongside animation studios Seed Animation and Glassworks.” Finally, the festival will give time and space to those artists who create title sequences for TV and film. Team members from EMMY and BAFTA winning studio MoMoCo will be discussing the process of making titles on key projects, including Doctor Who spin-off Class. With additional talks from Man vs Machine and Escape Studio’s own Head of Motion Graphics, JM Blay, there really is something for everyone. Visit www.creativebloq.com for news FYI and insight from the show.

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Jellyfish will be explaining the creation of the VFX for tV show Black Mirror at the festival

Book your ticket The VFX Festival, created by Escape Studios, which is part of Pearson College London, will run from 7-9 February 2017 at Rich Mix, Shoreditch. It brings the best in VFX, animation, games and motion graphics to industry professionals, as well as anyone considering a career in visual effects. Tickets are available to buy now from www.thevfxfestival.com.

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InsIght

Humster3D Challenge

competition winners

THe CHALLeNGe of wINNING

The votes for the latest Humster3D Car Render Challenge are in. The winners reveal what it means to come out on top, and why it’s the taking part that matters

he latest Humster3D challenge tasked artists with creating detailed car render scenes that told a story. In total, 156 artists took part in the challenge, and the overall winner was Piotr Tatar with his entry Nööburgring. Coming in second was Lukasz Hoffmann with Inside the Inventor’s Barn, and in third place was Aldison Ymeraj with his render of Toyota GT86. “Long story short, it feels awesome!” exclaims Piotr when asked how it feels to win. “You’ve got that little feeling for a moment that you are special, everyone is sharing your work and talking about it – it’s nice. But the more I think about it, I realise it’s not about winning, but about the effort you put in to win and what you have learnt doing it. It feels awesome.”

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Piotr’s winning entry depicts a scene from inside the car looking out, the famous Nürburgring passing by at speed. To create the sense of speed, Piotr chose to create the entry as an animated scene. His main modelling software was 3ds Max, but the

scene on a decent GPU,” explains Piotr. “I chose it because it meant I could animate the sequence at home without a render farm. But it has some downsides, mainly the lack of its own render view, though I know they are working on that. If you’re planning any

it’s not about winning, but about the effort that you put in to win and what you have learnt doing the challenge

Piotr Tatar, first place winner of the Humster3D Car Render Challenge 2016 cloth was prepared in Marvelous Designer, the driver was based on scan data and edited in ZBrush, and everything was rendered in Redshift and composited in Nuke. “Redshift is a really fast, biased engine and has the capability to render a heavy

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animation without the use of a render farm, I would definitely recommend it.”

AnimAting the chAse when it came to animating the cars, Piotr turned to Craft Animation Tools. “They have

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Industry

Humster3D Challenge

many test renders, concepts and drafts were needed to create piotr’s winning entry

some nice free plug-ins to simulate vehicles. In this case, a simple spline as a route did the job. I also prepared animations for some additional small parts, such as cables, sport seats and belts. Those elements behave quite well just with an animated noise modifier.” Choosing to animate the scene became the biggest challenge for Piotr, as he says he has little experience in rigging. “I have never done any character animation, so it was a new field of experience for me. But quick internet research helped me understand the general idea. I knew that if I rendered animation, I couldn’t use any Photoshop tricks, and everything that was done on my final entry had to be able to be recreated in animation to maintain the quality.” So the challenge was on, which meant many test renders, concepts and drafts to

the main modelling for piotr’s car render was done in 3ds max

establish the camera angles and views, and debugging the scene to ensure that the final animated pass was faultless. The effort paid off, but Piotr reiterates that taking part was more important than winning: “I like challenges because they have a solid deadline and that gives me more chance to finish a private project – that is more important to me than winning some nice prizes. Also, seeing other participants’

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work can push you to do it better and set the bar higher for future projects.”

coming second This is a mindset shared by first runnerup Lukasz Hoffmann, whose entry Inside the Inventor’s Barn – inspired by the artist Alejandro Burdisio – impressed the jury. “Challenges like this that demand a certain theme and high quality in a limited time

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InsIght

Humster3D Challenge

are a good exercise for any artist who want to become professional,” he says. “Moreover, they are a great opportunity to get familiar with another piece of software.” for Lukasz that meant turning to Blender for modelling and rendering, and Substance Painter for texturing: “Cycles is a powerful rendering engine, which – together with the flexibility offered by Blender’s node-system – allows for the creation of various types of scenes. Substance Painter is great tool for texturing. Combining generated weather effects with the possibility of hand-painting directly on the model is one of the most important advantages of this software.” The challenge for Lukasz was twofold. first was layering in elements to tell a story, with the artist hoping that the

image, and they can feel the motion and the dynamics of the car when they notice the position of the car on the road.” Aldison used 3ds Max to model the car and scene, and Substance Painter for texturing the tyres and tarmac. ZBrush handled the car scratches, Adobe fuse and Mixamo positioned the characters, and everything was rendered in KeyShot. Aldison explains why KeyShot was important: “I wanted my scene to have a sense of movement without losing any detail from the car. So I chose to render with KeyShot using three different depth of field layers: the background, the pillars’ protection with a part of the road and lastly the car [the render format was .png transparency]. This render also gave me the

i wanted my scene to have a sense of movement without losing any detail from the car so i rendered with keyshot

Aldison Ymeraj, third-place winner in the Humster3D Car Render Challenge 2016 viewer would look at the coffee mug and think about the story behind the image. The second challenge was the lighting: “The light set-up of this scene was very tricky,” explains Lukasz. “I had to balance between overexposure and underexposure of the scene. It also took me a long time to find the appropriate place for every item in the scene in order to produce the proper composition.”

All A blur for Aldison Ymeraj, whose photoreal entry Toyota GT86 won him third place, composition was vital for different reasons. “The hardest part was to find the right position of the car in the road,” says Aldison. “I wanted the car to look cool and I aimed to give a sense of racing momentum to the scene. I hope viewers see a photorealistic

mask that I needed in Photoshop for the motion blur. each layer has the same motion blur angle but a different pixel distance.” The renderer’s Labels feature was also a lifesaver for Aldison: “A racing car should have many stickers, and because I didn’t have much time to unwrap, I decided to add the stickers with Normal Projection – KeyShot’s Labels can do this very easily; I definitely recommend using this feature.” Like the other two winning artists, Aldison raves about the benefits and opportunities of entering an online art challenge, saying: “They are important for new artists like me. I think online challenges are a way for artists to show their skills and learn from others.” See all the Car Render Challenge entries FYI at www.bit.ly/car-challenge

Making inside the inventor’s Barn Lukasz Hoffmann sHares His creative process 1. Modelling breakdown I like to think of a complex mesh such as this one as created from very simple shapes (for example, cones, cylinders and spheres). Once I understand how these shapes are connected and how I should lead the curve lines, I create a base mesh representing only the general shape of the model. At this stage, I hardly think about details like doors or windows. 2. CoMposition breakdown Before I started building my composition, I had to set a clear idea of what I wanted to show the viewer and the story I want to tell. In order to achieve this, I focused on particular areas of the composition. Points of interest are the areas within the image that are crucial for selling it to the viewer. In my case, besides presenting the car, I wanted to add the human touch and give the feel that there is someone working on the car. Placing the orange mug near the point of the golden ratio was intended to catch the viewer’s eye. Cropping is also important. I surrounded the view with the elements of the foreground to keep the viewer’s eye inside the image. I used guidelines in order to bring the viewer’s eye in to the points of interest and placed the featured tools at deliberate angles. The proper placement of repetitive elements makes the image more pleasing to the eye. In my scene, I used similar socket holders in the foreground and cables hanging from the ceiling. For colouring my image, I deliberately used the blue and orange palette. This is one of the basic complementary colour sets. 3. texturing breakdown For this project, I used XNormal to bake AO and Curvature maps. These maps are required for Substance Painter generators, such as dirt or metal edge wear. I kept the textures simple in Substance Painter, and focused on highlighting areas of edge wear and dirt in

the three depth of field layers add to the feeling of motion in Aldison’s render

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humster3d challenge

1. As the shape was determined while doing retopology, lukasz focused on proper topology and cutting details such as the car’s hood, windows and doors

2a. lukasz used various aspects of composition to capture and guide the viewer

2b. the blue and orange complementary colour palette was used

4. detailed aspects of the render, such as some tools and socket holders, were made using a node prepared from procedural textures, which was used to search for convex areas. masking was then done to complete the look

6. After compositing in blender, lukasz used photoshop to add more effects such as flare and dust particles, and did a little repaint, correcting the exposure of some areas

crevices. Overall diffuse, glossiness and roughness were tweaked after the export, inside the Blender material nodes. This approach gave me flexibility in adjusting materials later in the project, without having to return to Substance Painter. 4. Material nodes For some tools and socket holders, I prepared a node using procedural textures. The main parameter is a geometry input and a Pointiness property. I used this to find convex areas. Next I used it to mask between the materials of rust and metal. For materials using textures exported from Substance Painter, I added several filters and RGB curves for flexibility.

lukasz hoffmann’s render has two main light sources and various additional lights

Having the material properly matched with the scene’s composition was my priority, so I wanted to have the ability to easily tweak the values of diffuse and roughness textures of my materials. 5. light set-up I started my light set-up with two key light sources – the light from the lamps above the car, and the light from behind the door. In both cases, I used a mesh light. After establishing my main sources, I added the following additional lights to further enhance the mood of the scene: • Lights from engines and lower car lights • Four area lights producing rim-lights on the car for a better look and better separation from the background

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• Two area lights in order to cause reflections on the car body • One area light to act as a fill light and brighten the exposure of the foreground 6. post-proCessing I did the first part of the post-production in Blender using Compositing Nodes. In this step, I added basic colour correction, a vignette, lens distortion and a glare effect. To achieve better separation between the main subject, foreground and background, I extracted Z-depth information, and after normalising and tweaking with RGB curves, I blended this with the rest of the image using Lighten blending mode. I used Photoshop to add the final details.

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CONTENTS

REVIEWS

We test the latest new software and hardware for CG artists

90 Wacom mobileStudio Pro 16

92 realfloW 10

Is Wacom’s new mobile workstation powerful enough to handle the needs of professional CG artists?

Next Limit’s big update to the fluid simulator includes a Dyverso Multiphysics solver, new daemons, falloff options, and more

94 Scan 3XS claSSic 3d

96 nitromofracture

97 Sini ignite

This workstation comes with a new AMD pro graphics card, plus ten cores that make light work of rendering

Create shattering simulations automatically using this neat plug-in for Cinema 4D

The first in a series of 3ds Max plug-ins that are going to make your life easier, SiNi IgNite offers a mix of useful tools

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Reviews

Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

hardware reVIew

AUtHoR PRofIlE Ian Dean Ian is editor of the magazine you’re holding and has over 20 years experience editing and writing for film, games, art and technology magazines in the UK. www.bit.ly/iandean

Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 PRICE £1,600 (13-inch) to £2,000 (16-inch)

| CoMPANy Wacom | WEBSItE www.wacom.com

features 15.6inch, 16:9 ratio screen size 16.7 million displayable colours

the Pro Pen 2 offers a staggering 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels, compared to other art-pitched tablets like the surface Book’s Pen, which has 1,024 pressure levels

Up to six hours battery life Intel Core i7 Nvidia Quadro M1000M, 4GB GDDR5 512 GB SSD / 16GB DDR 5MP HD camera on the front, 8MP HD camera and 3D Intel RealSense camera with Artec 3D on the rear 3 USB-C ports 6 customisable ExpressKeys

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The 15.6-inch model tested here comes in two flavours: either the Intel Core i5 256GB, Nvidia Quadro M600M with 2GB of VRAM; or the Intel Core i7 512GB version with the Nvidia Quadro M1000M and 4GB VRAM. Either way, it means you’ll be running ZBrush, Cinema 4D and Maya with ease, and rendering in KeyShot with no problems. The MobileStudio Pro 13 comes with a 2.5K (WQHD) screen, and four options of an SSD at either 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

acom tried and stumbled when it released the Wacom Companion two years ago. With a short battery life and the need to connect to a workstation to really use any 3D software, that release always felt like a small toe-dip into the bigger pond of mobile tablet computing. But the release of the Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 for Windows 10 does everything right that the Companion got wrong, plus much more. 3D WorlD March 2017

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and 512GB – editions vary between Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro, and while the 13 is the clear entry level machine, 3D artists shouldn’t look past the MobileStudio Pro 16 editions. Simple Set-up The tablet works out of the box, there’s little fuss and it comes pre-loaded with a full version of ZBrush (no ZBrushCore here). Using ZBrush is a breeze on the system. The 4K screen of the


Reviews

Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16

wacom Mobilestudio Pro 16 is powerful enough to run full desktop versions of 3d and 2d software, though there may be some issues with legibility of text the wacom Pro Pen 2 has natural tilt support and virtually no lag

USING tHE 3D SCANNER

MobileSudio Pro 16 is beautiful to work with – its etched glass display offers a unique feel that’s closer to drawing across canvas than the smoothness of glass. With Ctrl, Shift, Spacebar and common functions like Brush Select assigned to the ExpressKeys down the side of the tablet, you have all the control of your ZBrush sculpt you could wish for. If you want to connect a keyboard to the tablet for more familiarity, you will need to rely on Wacom’s own array of accessories as the device features three USB-C ports, meaning you may struggle, for now, to find devices that connect (though handily Wacom offers a linking cable). USB-C is clearly where the future is heading – Apple’s new MacBook has the same tech – but one USB 3.0 port would have been welcome. The new pen technology really comes into its own. The Pro Pen 2 offers four times greater accuracy and pressure

Intel’s 3D RealSense camera and a free one-year licence of Artec Studio 11 Ultimate. This means you can scan directly to the device and, using the bundled Artec software, edit and clean up the scan before taking your work into ZBrush to finalise. Whether you’re a concept artist or CAD engineer, the inclusion of a professional grade 3D scanner and software is likely to become a lifesaver. Where the old Companion promised a lot, MobileStudio Pro delivers. Wacom’s new tablet offers an end-to-end toolset for 3D artists like no other tablet on the market. Battery life is around four hours when used intensively, so there’s still a slight issue with how far you can push its uses when away from your desk, but for a mobile 3D workstation powerful enough to handle the needs of 3D artists, there’s nothing better on the market.

sensitivity over previous Pro pens, meaning you can really feel in control of your sculpts. What’s more, when navigating menus using the pen, you merely need to hover over the icons to tag and activate them – very useful for using the small menus of desktop-developed software running on a tablet. As Wacom MobileStudio Pro is powerful enough to run full desktop versions of 3D and 2D software, the downside is that some software menus are hard to read – ZBrush works well, but testing the tablet with Houdini 15.5 threw up some eyescrunching issues. However, this is a minor problem, and is often solved by the fantastic pen sensitivity. mobile poWerhouSe The real joy of the MobileStudio Pro is the mobility and power of the tablet. Wacom has embraced 3D artists completely with this release, and this is no more evident than in the inclusion of 3D WorlD March 2017

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While some may overlook the inclusion of the 3D RealSense camera as a novelty, the benefits of having a professional grade 3D scanner and software on a tablet shouldn’t be underestimated, especially as you have ZBrush in the palm of your hand too. Using the Artec scanner is incredibly simple, particularly if you choose the Autopilot function. Scanning to the tablet was as easy as pointing and recording; a graphics bar flickers to let you know if you’re too close or moving too fast. Once your subject is circled and recording is stopped, all you need to do is convert the file and clean up. It’s worth noting the scanner also saves texture and colour data too, which is very useful. The Artec Studio 11 software will take care of the basics for you, including creating a watertight model, and will even stitch multiple scans together automatically to create a whole. It’s a powerful tool, and if or when you do need to go further, simply export the model as an .obj file, import to ZBrush on the same device and continue working. The only real downsides to the camera are the hindrances of scanning itself: you won’t get a good mesh from scanning white, black or overly shiny objects, and you need to stand around a metre from the object to get a good recording. Also, weighing in at 2.2kg, the MobileStudio Pro 16 isn’t the lightest of tablets.


Reviews RealFlow 10

soFtware reVIew

aUthoR PRoFIlE Rob Redman Rob is a 3D artist and creative director, working across TV, film and print. When not in the studio he is often found presenting at various events, from FMX to Siggraph. www.pariahstudios.co.uk

RealFlow 10 PRICE €995-€3,695 (depending on license package)

Granular particles are excellent for everything from sand to snow

R Features Multiple particle types Dynamic physics engine New daemons and falloff options New visual project manager Updated Export manager Dyverso Multiphysics Improved performance CPU and GPU support

| CoMPaNy Next Limit | wEbsItE www.nextlimit.com

ealFlow has a reputation as a capable VFX tool with lots of power on tap, although at the cost of a steeper-than-normal learning curve. Version 10 looks set to ease people into its workflow more quickly, while at the same time adding to its toolset. RealFlow’s user interface was updated a few versions ago now, and this release follows in its predecessor’s footsteps with regard to its visual style, which still feels fresh and welcoming. However, the startup screen has changed massively, mostly to aid newcomers who are looking to get started or perhaps expand existing knowledge. Rather than the old project loading screen, there is now a larger, brighter one, which not only shows existing projects, but has tabs for opening preset starter scenes, as well as a large collection of learning scenes. Each has 3D WorlD March 2017

a visual preview and a text description outlining the key principles to learn, with notes on set-up. This new entry into the software may seem small, but to many users will be a huge benefit, and there is nothing quite so useful as ripping apart a scene to see how it was built, especially in software like this, where relationships between elements are so vital. There are a number of new tools to get excited about, but it’s worth noting that a large portion of what is new in v10 is under the hood. The software is now optimised for modern systems, with CPU and GPU support where it counts, like its Dyverso solvers. Simulations are now around twice as fast and take less system resources to run. The export panel has had a facelift and is easier to use and more efficient. I like the new incremental save option, 92

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making versioning much easier than ever before. On to some of the flashy new toys then: first up is the Dyverso Multiphysics solver. This not only adds things like granular particles to the mix, but allows different physics types to interact in the same simulation, so you can have a viscous fluid pouring on to sand, if you need to. There is also a new daemon, which means you can take these viscous particles and apply their motion to a mesh, which inherits said motion. This is a great way to speed up your workflow, while keeping it simple to use and adding a decent dollop of capability to it. Perhaps the biggest new tool for daily use is the new falloff for daemons. Previously, you could set areas of influence for daemons but in a limited way. Now you can use geometry to add complex falloffs, which may sound like a


Reviews RealFlow 10

the new scene manager window gives access to your own projects, as well as scenes for learning

small addition but in reality is hugely powerful and will make the lives of a lot of artists much easier. The granular settings of Dyverso particles also make light work of effects that were previously complex to achieve, such as snow, mud and sand. There are not only these new options but also new elastic dynamics, driven by Dyverso, and an update patch has already been announced, bringing even more to the table by way of viscoelastic tools. RealFlow 10 has taken a good look at itself and improved areas to aid usability, especially for newcomers, while not neglecting to add new capabilities where possible and, at the same time, increasing overall performance. Whether you’re a new user or looking to upgrade, RealFlow 10 is definitely worth a look.

the interface is intuitive, clean and easy on the eye. perfect for long animation sessions

Dyverso simulations allow for easy mixing of particle types

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REalFlow DIRECtly INsIDE CINEMa 4D Also released to celebrate RealFlow’s 10th anniversary, RealFlow | Cinema 4D has direct RealFlow integration inside of Cinema 4D, meaning you get stunning high‑end fluid simulations from a very easy workflow. RealFlow | Cinema 4D is built on RealFlow’s Dyverso solver, so it’s easy to use with little set‑up – there’s no need to dip in and out of 3D packages or click permissions; it’s all in one. For Cinema 4D users this means the ability to use native Cinema 4D modifiers and tools in combination with those of RealFlow. For example, you can create splines in Cinema 4D and use them as fluid paths in RealFlow, or use Cinema 4D materials and textures for emitting fluid particles. Crown splashes have never been easier to create!


Reviews

Scan 3XS Classic 3D workstation

HarDWare reVIeW

AuTHoR PRoFIle James Morris James has been writing about technology for two decades, focusing on content creation hardware and software. He was editor of PC Pro magazine for five years. www.tzero.co.uk

Scan 3XS Classic 3D PRICe From £1,849.08; as tested £2,933.33 plus VAT

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orkstations using Nvidia graphics are almost as universal as the Intel processors they are based on. But AMD has finally released a new range of professional graphics cards, and our first taster comes installed in Scan’s 3XS Classic 3D workstation. The Classic 3D is another Scan system built around the Intel Core i7-6950X processor – top of the Broadwell-E range. This ventures heavily into Xeon territory, with ten cores and Hyper-Threading, which means 20 virtual cores can be used for rendering. Nominally this is a 3GHz processor with a 3.5GHz Turbo mode, but Scan has permanently set the clock to 4GHz, backed by the three-year warranty. There is a healthy 64GB of 2,666MHz DDR4

| CoMPAny Scan | WeBSITe www.scan.co.uk/3xs

SDRAM, and whilst this fills all slots, it should be enough for the lifetime of the machine. The most notable feature of the system is its AMD Radeon Pro WX7100, the current top of the new Radeon Pro WX range, launched in November 2016. This uses AMD’s latest Polaris architecture, and sports 2,304 stream processors running at 900MHz paired with 8GB of GDDR5 memory. This should make it around a third faster than the FirePro W7100 it replaces, although it is still likely to lag behind the W8100 and W9100. However, at around £550 plus VAT, it’s cheaper than any high-end Nvidia Quadro, but with potentially comparable performance. Storage is the now-standard configuration of a solid state

Features 3GHz Intel Core i7-6950X running at 4GHz 64GB 2,666MHz DDR4 SDRAM AMD FirePro WX7100 graphics with 8GB GDDR5 memory 256GB Intel 600p Series M.2 solid state disk, 2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 SATA 7,200rpm hard disk, Asus DRW-24D5MT DVD rewriter Warranty: 3 years – first year onsite, second and third years RTB (parts and labour)

disk and hard disk, with the former for OS and software and the latter for general data. The SSD is a 256GB M.2 NVMe-based Intel 600p Series, which is the first TLC-based device in this class. It’s not as fast as some NVMe drives, but still pretty quick, delivering 1,570MB/sec reads and 540MB/ sec writes. The hard drive is a more mundane SATAconnected 7,200rpm Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 with 2TB capacity. There is also an Asus DRW-24D5MT 24x DVD rewriter for removable storage needs. The 20 virtual cores running at 4.2GHz perform well when rendering 3D. In the Maxon Cinebench R15 CPU test, the GW-HT20 achieves 2,080, one of the best scores we’ve seen for a single-socket system. Modelling is also excellent. In the OpenGL portion of Maxon Cinebench R15, it manages a commendable 209.93, one of the highest scores in this test. In SPECviewperf 12.1, the Classic 3D achieves an incredible 100.55 in 3dsmax-04, and a very commendable 76.37 in maya04, all of which would beat the more expensive Nvidia Quadro M4000. The results of 115.19 in sw-03, 105.3 in catia-04, and 84.24 in creo-01 are similarly very competitive considering the price of the graphics. At £2,933.33 plus VAT, the Classic 3D is quite reasonably priced for the power on offer. Its modelling abilities are excellent and the ten cores make light work of rendering. Thanks to the value offered by AMD’s rejuvenated graphics offering, you get a lot of workstation for your money.

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Reviews

NitroMoFracture

sOFtWare reVIeW

auThor ProFile steve Jarratt Steve is a freelance tech journalist and CG artist, with an unhealthy addiction to 3D apps and plug-ins.

NitroMoFracture PriCe £42 | CoMPaNy Nitro4d | websiTe nitro4d.com

Have a smashing good time with this highly customisable destruction plug-in for C4D

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Steve_Jarratt

P Features Creates shattering simulations automatically Manually paint Voronoi fracture patterns Tags for adding fragments, dust, and retiming dynamics modes Connect function keeps fractured objects intact Provides extra control over destruction of multiple objects

rolific developer Lazaros Paschos – aka Nitroman – has spent the best part of the last decade making plugins to shatter, break and smash objects in Cinema 4D. But with R18’s new Voronoi Fracture tool, he’s gone to the next level. NitroMoFracture uses a similar auto-fracture approach to NitroBlast, enabling you to easily set up collisions and have objects knock chunks off one another, but now you can use parametric objects that can be edited between simulations. You also gain greater control over the way objects interact, the ability to increase or decrease the area of damage, and even have several objects all break on impact to varying degrees. It still feels similar to NitroBlast, but is much easier to set up, with finer control and fewer errors during simulation. Included is FracturePaint, which lets you interactively brush a fracturing pattern on to an object, plus a tag for controlling which segments are 3D WorlD March 2017

dynamic, dependent on their size. Other tags generate tiny segments as well as dust, to make destructions look even more realistic. All this combines to provide lots of control over simulations, whether they’re manual or automatic. One of the key innovations is the Connect function, which keeps separate pieces together until certain forces are applied. This solves the issue in C4D’s dynamics where an object simply falls apart at the slightest touch – objects will retain their shape after a collision, but are still able to break again on further contact, like chunks of masonry being broken off and then smashing on the floor. It makes destruction effects look all the more convincing, with minimal effort. However, the system isn’t perfect: it uses C4D’s Dynamics Connectors to ‘glue’ pieces together and so it takes some tweaking to stop segmented objects looking ‘bendy’ or as if the separated pieces are strung 96

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together on invisible wires. This involves fiddling with Force and Torque values, and if we’re honest, this part of the plug-in could use some polish to make it more user-friendly. However, when you get it right the results are effective – and practically impossible to replicate using the standard Simulation tools. If you like smashing stuff up and are frustrated by the limitations of C4D’s native dynamics, NitroMoFracture is ideal. It’s simple to set up and can produce really nice results. It’s not suited to complex destruction simulations – you need an app like Houdini for that – but for basic object demolition, it’s quick and fun. Note that none of C4D’s caching systems work with NitroMoFracture’s particular magic, so we recommend making use of the bundle deal to get NitroBake 2.0, which bakes everything down to separate keyframable objects.

VerdiCT


Reviews

SiNi IgNite

soFtWArE rEViEW

AuTHor profile paul Hatton Paul leads a UK-based studio of visualisers. He delivers a whole host of projects including video and interactive environments. www.cadesignservices. co.uk/services/3d-studio

FEAturEs scene set-up tools export to nuke and After effects up to 4K network play blasts custom Maxscript launcher object and animation tools

sini ignite price £150 (Annually) | coMpAnY SiNi Software | websiTe www.sinisoftware.com

o

ver the years, there have been a variety of utility plug-ins for 3ds Max that have attempted to make our lives easier. That is exactly what SiNi (the name comes from the founding directors’ names – Simon and Nigel) is trying to do with its IgNite plug-in. Before looking at the software, it’s worth talking about the pricing structure. Subscription services have created fierce divisions in the software community, as many developers have forced users in the direction of having to pay for software on an ongoing basis. SiNi’s subscription model is therefore more likely to appeal to larger studios that are less concerned with ongoing outgoings, but may potentially put off freelancers who will see it as an unnecessary ongoing cost. Every artist is different though, so it’s up to you. But what is the software actually offering? The utility plug-in is split into multiple different rollouts, which keeps things organised and enables

you to find exactly what you need quickly and easily. The interface offers access to a lot of tools, but the SiNi team have done a good job of keeping it organised and relatively clutter free. The plug-in is broken down into a mix of tools/utilities, some of which are 3ds Max’s very own tools, and others that have been developed by SiNi. To be fair to the developers, even though many of the tools are repackaged versions of existing tools, they have done a good job of improving on them and making them more useful. A good example is the animation tools, some of which are extremely helpful. The Shift Keys tool enables users to shift key frames around their timeline with optimal ease. It also lets you shift specific key types, such as only the rotation keys. This is super helpful and will be a joy to work with if you’re an animator. One of IgNite’s unique tools is its Measure Object tool, which is brilliant. It visually

gives you the length, width and height of any selected object on screen. And if you’ve only selected two or three objects, then a bonus is that it’ll also tell you the distance between those objects. Probably the most extensive rollout is the Utility Tools rollout that gives you access to a large range of utilities developed by SiNi. The company is releasing these utilities as they are developed and tested, so I wasn’t able to use many of them, unfortunately. However, I did have a quick look at the Jumble utility, and concluded that it works really well at enabling artists to randomly transform objects. In summary, I think it is well worth checking out IgNite, and all SiNi’s other plug-ins for that matter. These plug-ins will definitely make your life easier, so if you’re prepared for the ongoing cost of using them, then I definitely recommend making the investment.

VerdicT

siNi igNite is the first in a series of new plug-ins from siNi, we’ll be reviewing more in the coming issues

history plug-in progress sini software is a relatively new start-up from two people called si and nigel, hence the name of the company. They are attempting to draw on their experience of using other plug-ins within the industry to try and release “world class plug-ins.”

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Back issues

Missing an issue of 3D World? Fill the gaps in your collection today! Issue 217 February 2017 start in Vr today! ● Discover why your next art job will be in VR ● Meet the developers and artists behind Oculus Medium ● Learn to animate a scene for 360 video ● Animators discuss how VR will impact the CG industry ● Downloads Free video training, models, files and morel

Issue 216 jaNuary 2017 recreate the star wars look

Issue 215 chrIstmas 2016 make a splash with your renders

Issue 214 December 2016 the Blizzard VFX pipeline

Issue 213 November 2016 real-time cinematics

● Discover the secrets behind the new Star Wars film ● We reveal how to model a Star Destroyer in 3ds Max ● Learn how to texture a weathered droid in Substance Painter ● Model photoreal foliage for video games using Unreal Engine ● Downloads Free video training,

● Disney’s animation team reveal how they created Moana ● Ubisoft’s Pascal Blanché explains his character design process ● Improve your creature concepts with Quixel and Substance ● Master Clarisse 3.0 to create a rocky, watery environment ● Downloads Free video training

● Unity share the making of their animated short, Adam ●Ninja Theory and Epic Games reveal real-time cinematography ● Finesse your ZBrush modelling workflow ● Render a windy beach house in 3ds Max and V-Ray ● Downloads Free videos and

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● Blizzard shares its Houdini pipeline for making CG foliage ● Master the ultimate ZBrush character sculpting workflow ● Learn to use photogrammetry techniques in your projects ● Discover the VFX behind Marvel’s Doctor Strange ● Downloads Free videos and resource files

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Issue 212 october 2016 game art skills

Issue 211 sePtember 2016 animation special

Issue 210 auGust 2016 the Future oF hyperreal cg

Issue 209 july 2016 get started in Filmmaking

● Eidos Montreal’s modeller shares her 3ds Max knowledge ● Learn the pro tips to master Substance Designer ● Follow Naughty Dog’s VFX workflow for Unreal Engine ● Get started in Amazon’s new game engine, Lumberyard ● Downloads Free videos and setup files

● Discover Laika’s innovative stop motion and CG hybrid technique ● Learn animator Keith Lango’s secrets for a better, faster workflow ● Master the art of facial rigging in Maya ● Set up perfect displacement maps in Modo and ZBrush ● Downloads Free models, videos,

● Discover the cutting-edge tech behind ILM’s Warcraft characters ● Create a VR environment in Maya and test it in the free app ● Master skin texturing in Maya and V-Ray ● Learn the techniques needed to model for game design ● Downloads Free models, videos, textures, setup files and VR app!

● Artists turned film directors’ top tips for breaking into the industry ● Sculpt a fantasy creature in ZBrush with legendary artist Steve Lord ● Create more expressive character rigs with Maya 2016 ● Meet the creative teams behind Captain America: Civil War ● Downloads Free models, videos, material textures and setup files

Issue 208 juNe 2016 master creature modelling

Issue 207 may 2016 the art oF Film VFX

Issue 206 aPrIl 2016 Become a pro games artist

Issue 205 march 2016 master mech modelling

● Jurassic World’s Ian Joyner shares his creature design techniques ● Create an anatomically accurate fantasy creature for 3D printing ● Master ribbon rigging in Maya with Reel FX’s Josh Carey ● Discover the 25 best new CG art and animation courses ● Downloads Free models, videos, material textures and setup files

● How the VFX of Batman v Superman was created ● Model and render a still life scene in Maya and XGen ● Simulate the destruction of a building in Realflow ● Create a paper folding animation in Cinema 4D ● Downloads Free models, videos, material textures and setup files

● Gain expert advice on how to break into the games industry ● Model and rig a game character using ZBrush, Modo and Maya ● Render photoreal hair with Unreal Engine ● Master 3D concept art with Maya and KeyShot ● Downloads Free models, videos, material textures and setup files

● Improve your modelling skills and create a tank-inspired mech ● Rise of the Robots: experts share their advice for mechanical projects ● Get started in texture app Quixel Suite 2 ● Learn how to sculpt a Norman Rockwell character with ZBrush ● Downloads Free models, videos, material textures and project files!

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