How To Create A Dreamy Piano MV In 3ds Max
Aiming to foster the development of the industry, GoCreation Program, organized by Fox Renderfarm, is willing to provide preferential prices and subsidies for CG freelancers, empowering them to create more excellent CG artworks and realize their dreams.
As a 3D Artist and Exhibition Designer from Germany, Fabian Hofmann is one of the accredited freelancers from GoCreation Program. He gets involved in many fields, including concept design, product visualization, CG video, museum exhibition design and so on.
Recently, Fabian collaborated with Velvet Mediendesign GmbH, a German design studio, to produce a music video for an incredible pianist Meredi. As the 3D Director and Animators of this project, he created all the CGI shots and models with his team, which matches the music, showing a dreamscape where you begin to float and your mind is set free. And Fox Renderfarm is so pleased to provide cloud rendering service for the wonderful project.
Meredi - Above (Official Music Video)
Here’s the interview between Fabian Hofmann and Fox Renderfarm, where Fabian talked about how he made the heartfelt MV and his CG journey.
Fox Renderfarm：Hi, Fabian! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
Fabian: My Name is Fabian Hofmann, I live and work in Munich, Germany. I have been a freelance artist for 20 years, doing mostly 3D work for various clients and areas. I work either from my small studio or at the clients’ facility if necessary. I love switching between different kinds of jobs which leads to moments like that I am rendering cars for high-quality print ads on one day and spend the next day modeling characters and props for a real-time project.
Audi movie done for automotive show © Fabian Hofmann
This is why I am also a self-taught exhibition designer for museums - I love planning as you would do in a 3D or architectural project, but eventually everything is built for real and you can wander through the rooms you have designed yourself.
Graphic design for the Landesausstellung in Würzburg, Bavaria © Fabian Hofmann
Having a foot in every door can be demanding sometimes, but I learned that my clients profit from my varied experiences. I think this is a core competence of being a freelance artist: To know how to solve problems in various ways. To be not afraid to tackle artistic or technical challenges.
Some of my works can be viewed at www.schallplae.com.
Fox Renderfarm：Could you introduce your Ad production pipeline?
Fabian: I am changing my pipeline constantly, trying out new things. Every project has its own demands and challenges and I am trying to adapt my workflow accordingly.
But there are a few things that I rely on heavily: 3ds Max for modeling, Corona renderer for its fast and intuitive handling and Nuke for compositing.
Right now I am switching to Houdini and Redshift as a rendering platform, which boosted the output speed on the workflow and rendering side. The versatility of Houdini is amazing and Redshift allows an insane amount of output (and their support forum is excellent by the way), but sometimes I still wish there was a Corona renderer for Houdini ;).
I am using a single Redshift license on my workstation which means that I cannot work and render on my small local render farm at the same time as I could when I was using Corona or V-Ray. But then, the low GPU pricing on Fox Renderfarm allows us to render even low-budget projects or test frames externally.
Fox Renderfarm：Among the 3D projects you created, which one impressed you most, and why?
Fabian: When Covid-19 began to strike in Europe around March 2020, many companies canceled or postponed projects, leaving many freelance artists with no work and income. Many colleagues including me were faced with idle time. While talking with Matthias Zentner (www.velvet.de) I decided to start a project to fill our time and busy our minds and create a music video for the Berlin-based artist Meredi.
Other artists joined in and I cannot thank enough for their hard work and professional dedication: Matthias Zentner, Lara Frank, Felix Hörlein, Valentina Rutz, Wolfgang Haas, Fred Weinl, Andreas Rathmacher, Chris Weingart, Tom Gonsior, Torsten Lippstock, Ellen Grabandt, Laura Caufapé, Marina Hoermanseder.
Within ten weeks we created eight full CGI shots of belle epoque Paris, including character animation and the physics simulation of hundreds of thousands of cobblestones. The live-action sequences are shot during one day at Sexauer Gallery in Berlin.
Nearly all models are custom built in 3ds Max 2018 and textured in Substance Painter.
Straightforward polygon modeling in 3ds Max 2018. RizomUV was used to unwrap the models.
I created various smart material presets for different kinds of materials which allowed fast and easy texturing. Most objects contain one to five 2k udim texture maps. The movie is black and white, but all objects are textured with their natural color and later desaturated in the shader before rendering.
Scene setup and rendering were done in Houdini Indie and Redshift 3 and composited in Flame. Thankfully, Fox Renderfarm adapted to my exotic choice of the newest Houdini and a Redshift beta version. Thanks again for their outstanding and fast support even during days and nights and weekends.
You can learn more about the project by click the link:
Fox Renderfarm：What is the biggest challenge you have encountered in the process of creating 3D works and how did you deal with it?
Fabian: The tools of 3D artists are constantly changing and evolving, forcing him to learn constantly. But on the other hand, this is why we love our job so much, don’t we?
Lighting and shading for a CGI fulldome show © Fabian Hofmann
Fox Renderfarm：Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?
Fabian: I started to work as a traditional illustrator while I was in art school in the 90s when I saw what Photoshop can do. After school, I earned my living with preprint image retouching and was immediately hooked after seeing 3D generated images in FormZ.
From there on I switched to 3D, learning the necessary tools while working job after job. It is still a great joy to meet fascinating people and learn from them.
This is another side of being a freelancer: One day you are knee-deep in scripts and tools, the other day you have to learn about the building methods of medieval castles because of a modeling job. The next day you may have to read everything about Pirate ships. That’s fun!
Tinman © Fabian Hofmann
Fox Renderfarm：As an Art Director, do you have any recommendable learning methods to improve professional skills?
Fabian: In my experience, there is no better way to learn and improve than to work on a client’s project. This way, you make your own errors and it forces you to solve them. Talk to colleagues, learn from each other. Don’t be afraid to do something you have never done before. You might fail spectacularly, but failing means learning. If you run out of ideas, go for a walk and look at the world around you. It is full of ideas.
Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph © Fabian Hofmann
Fox Renderfarm：How do you feel about Fox Renderfarm’s cloud rendering services?
Fabian: Excellent performance, outstanding support, fair prices. Always a pleasure to work with.
Fox Renderfarm：Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?
Fabian: Every day I am amazed how many talented people are out there. Please keep on creating wonderful stuff, the world would be a dull place without it.
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