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    Creating Memorable Animations:Introducing Kukari Animation Studio

    2021-04-13

    Fox Talk

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Kukari Animation Studio is a studio from Mexico, specialized in Commercial & MKT digital, Cinematic video game, Movies, Series and Music Video. The team boasts of great artists with a mix of talent and experience in the 3D animation film industry, who work passionately on each project to give you a unique and distinctive approach that will be remembered forever.

    Fox Renderfarm is dedicated to providing fast and secure cloud rendering service for our clients around the world. We have over 200,000 happy customers from 50+ countries and regions. And Kukari Animation Studio is one of them! We are glad and thankful that Kukari has chosen Fox Renderfarm.

    Here‘s our exclusive interview with Javier Mendez Lafon, one of the founders of Kukari Animation Studio, in which he talks about his CG journey as a Supervisor Lighting/ Comp & CG Director and his belief & vision as an entrepreneur in Mexico.

    Javier Mendez Lafon

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Javier, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Would you please introduce yourself?

    Javier: Hello, first of all, thanks for the opportunity of letting us know each other. My name is Javier Méndez. I'm 31 years old from Ciudad Juárez. I studied Digital Animation and since I was a little kid my dream was to become a movie Director.

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you encounter CG and get started in the CG industry?

    Javier: My first approach was seeing an ad in the local newspaper about a 3D animation course that was completely new to me and as it caught my attention, I decided to enroll. I remembered we used an old software that doesn't even exist anymore.

    My first experience in the industry was at the age of 18 when I was starting my career. It was then that I had the opportunity to collaborate as a volunteer in the first full CG film made in Mexico.

    Fox Renderfarm: What movies/tv shows/ games are your favourites respectively?

    Javier: My favorite movies are Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Back to the future. My favorite TV shows are Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. And games Zelda, Mario Kart and Halo.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

    Javier: Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg are two of my favorites directors. And something that inspires me a lot is to look at my friend's artworks.

    Guillermo del Toro © Danielle Levitt for Variety

    Steven Spielberg © The Sun

    Fox Renderfarm: The Indie 3D animation short, HOME of my MEMORIES, received many awards and honors, how do you feel about it?

    Javier: I feel very satisfied because after 7 years of work I see now the results of so much effort by so many people and I am very pleased that so many people in different parts of the world recognize the great work and story that was carried out.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration of the HOME of my MEMORIES? How do you come up with the idea and style?

    Javier: My inspiration comes from personal experiences from my childhood. When I was a child I liked spending time with my grandfather, who had a hobby of making models of miniature houses. It was fascinating to see how we can make so many beautiful things with our hands. Years later when my grandfather passed away, I went to visit his house and there was still a shelf with some of the little houses that my grandfather had made. While remembering those beautiful moments, I imagined myself making me small as the same scale of the little house to enter through that small door that was half open. And in my imagination I saw how when I opened that door I found my grandfather living inside that model house. It is curious to see how people who are no longer around are still alive through memories and in the things they did in life.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the pipeline of the HOME of my MEMORIES?

    Javier: In 2012 we started doing a lot of the pipeline in Softimage, but the software was discontinued, forcing us to move to Maya in the Lighting and Lookdev processes. For textures we used Mari, for all the Fur we used Yeti, for render Arnold and for comp we used Nuke.

    The software was loaned by the animation studio I was working for at that time, which was very supportive.

    Character design "The grandfather"

    Sets and Props Lookdev

    Fox Renderfarm: What is the most enjoyable part and the most difficult part while creating the Home Of My Memories. And how did your team solve it?

    Javier: I really enjoyed the last processes (lighting & comp, Sound Mix), when you can already see your idea materialized. But the hardest part is getting resources to be able to cover some expenses, and to achieve this, we did a crowdfunding campaign.

    Fox Renderfarm: What projects have you worked on in Huevocartoon? Is there any unforgettable experience to share?

    Javier: In Huevocartoon, I worked on three different films, in two of them I had the opportunity to supervise the Lighting & comp area. The experience is always unforgettable because of the people you meet along the way. You will hardly remember how you solved your assignments, however the moments lived with the team are always unforgettable. And making projects in Mexico is so fun due to the warmth of the people who feel very close.

    Fox Renderfarm: Would you tell us the pipeline and production about the 85 mins animated feature film, UN RESCATE DE HUEVITOS?

    Javier: It is one of the largest projects that have been done in Mexico, however the budget is a bit limited, which makes us be very careful when working and planning the pipeline.The movie has a lot of characters with fur and that was a big challenge in all departments.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the motivation of founding the Kukari Animation Studio?

    Javier: Our main motivation is to have fun while we enjoy doing what we like the most. We want to bring all of the ideas from anywhere in the world to life, creating memorable stories that make us proud. Kukari's philosophy is to be a home and family for everyone who wants to work with us, human relationships are very important to us, both with the client and with the artists.

    There are a lot of talented people in Mexico and we would love to be able to do projects from anywhere in the world.

    Fox Renderfarm: Would you please introduce your team?

    Javier: The key of the team is the experience of the people and their human quality.

    The studio has been founded between Andy Rodriguez and me. To strengthen the visual and technical part, Chuy de Leon joined the team as Art Director. And for the Technical part, Alberto Juarez and Sergio Diaz joined.

    We are currently a team of more than 15 artists, all with experience in the film industry.

    Fox Renderfarm: Being an entrepreneur, what’s your belief?

    Javier: Being an artist, my belief is largely oriented to the people and their talent. I have witnessed how projects work so much better when the artist is trusted. As a studio we want to keep communication channels opened and equal treatment of anyone within the company. We want to be a big family.

    Fox Renderfarm: Would you share with us your next step?

    Javier: Mexico is a great option to produce 3D animation because we have a lot of talented people and we are extremely competitive in prices.

    As a studio we want to grow these next two years and show what we are capable of doing, to receive projects from other parts of the world.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you share with us the CG industry in Mexico?

    Javier: The CG industry in Mexico is growing a lot, however much of the talent emigrates abroad, now that we have realized that we can work from anywhere in the world I believe that the industry in Mexico is going to take a big leap.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you like Fox Renderfarm’s rendering services?

    Javier: Alberto Juarez, our technical consultant, recommended your rendering services to us due to a great experience he had, achieving the best results in a very short time and with a low budget.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?

    Javier: Whatever you are doing today, do your best work, make it with passion and joy, because what we do today, is for what we will be remembered for tomorrow.

    Click here to know more about KUKARI ANIMATION STUDIO.


    Discovering New Things With Innocence and Euphoria in 3D World

    2021-04-09

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    The explorer © Yisus Castellon

    Clay render © Yisus Castellonv

    What’s the shape of Explorer in your mind?

    Made with ZBrush, Photoshop and Keyshot, “The explorer”, created by Yisus Castellon, conveys the message of innocence and euphoria to discover new things. Let’s find out how he made the beautiful 3D artwork in the exclusive interview with the best cloud rendering service provider, Fox Renderfarm.

    • Yisus Castellon
    • Freelance Artist in 3D creatures and characters
    • From: Mexico
    • Artstation:

      Fox Renderfarm: Hi Yisus, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Yisus: Well I'm a happy husband and father, and freelance in 3D creatures and characters. I have worked for some indie titles as a conceptual artist and sculptor, I live in the beautiful city of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this amazing work “The explorer”?

    Yisus: For this art in particular my inspiration was my daughters, they are just 4 and 2 years old. Even the simplest things surprise them and their taste for knowing the world around them.

    Fox Renderfarm: The character is realistic, could you introduce how you make the modeling and texturing?

    Yisus: First I do a quick sketch in photoshop to define some character traits. When the sketch is finished, I continue with the blocking in ZBrush, I will define the main parts and from there I will increase the details in subdivisions. For this project I did the texturing from the ZBrush polypaint.

    Fox Renderfarm: The coloring and lighting are perfect. How did you make them?

    Yisus: I already had an idea of how I wanted the final art, so I took many references of night lighting, the whole environment is made from photos and overpainted, in the render of the character simulate the lighting that had already worked in the environment, to make a little easier the final composition.

    Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties when creating this work? And how did you solve it?

    Yisus: I had them mainly in how I wanted to convey this message of innocence and euphoria to discover new things, it caused a bit of conflict in what pose the character had to do. Something that helped me a lot was seeing my oldest daughter surprised when she saw a butterfly. And that's where it all came from.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your pipeline of 3D art?

    Yisus: It depends a lot on the project, but something that I always use as a base is to make a sketch either in photoshop or in ZBrush. At first I was only dedicated to concept art, but some projects have required me to learn new things such as retopology (this is something that I keep learning) if it is the case of video games, or sculpture for collectibles.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Yisus: Taking it more seriously, I've been around for two years now, a big part of my education has been watching tutorials and practicing. And I've been professionally for just under a year. I've been working for some indie titles as a freelancer, and the latest project I'm working on is a board game that will include collectibles.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

    Yisus: There are many artists around the world who inspire me. But the ones that I think have given me an example to follow and be the artist I want to be are:

    1.- Soren Zaragoza

    Cinematic_1 mood © Soren Zaragoza

    2.- Limkuk

    Muse of tragedy © Limkuk

    3.- Edgar Gómez

    Skeletor © Edgar Gómez

    4.- Ancelmo Toledo

    Croconel © Ancelmo Toledo

    5.- Marco Lorenzana

    Arte en Cuarentena...2 © Marco Lorenzana

    6.- Daniel Bel

    The Flash_Sideshow Collectibles Premium Format © Daniel Bel

    Fox Renderfarm: The composition, lighting and coloring of your works are fantastic, how do you enhance your good sense?

    Yisus: I see many references from other artists, lighting schemes, color palettes, textures, composition, all these help me to lay out the final image in my head and bring it to reality.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    Yisus: Practice daily and always put quality before quantity.


    How to Make a Planet Explorer With ZBrush

    2021-04-09

    Fox Talk

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    A planet explorer that wears an exoskeleton on top of his spacesuit that helps him in planets with high gravitational force. The exosuit automatically fits the astronaut's body thanks to his electronic joints.

    The excellent artwork, Exsolar, is created by Alberto Nicolini, a freelance concept artist and 3D modeler from Italy. In this interview, Alberto told us how he made the artwork and his experience of being an outstanding artist.

    Exsolar © Alberto Nicolini

    • Alberto Nicolini
    • Freelance concept artist & 3D modeler
    • From: Gallarate, Italy
    • Artstation:

      Fox Renderfarm: Hi Alberto, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Alberto: Hello everyone, it's a pleasure for me to be part of this event, and I hope my Exsolar work can be useful to someone during this contest. There's not much to say about me, I'm an Italian concept artist and 3D modeler, at the moment I'm working as a freelancer from home.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a freelance concept artist and 3D modeler, do you think 2D art skills help you a lot in 3D art developing?

    Alberto: I think they can surely help you out to quickly solve problems at early stages or maybe to finalize the final image, but I think you can achieve great results without them as well.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work, Exsolar?

    Alberto: It's really hard to tell, because I worked on it during my spare time, but for sure it took me more than two weeks.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce how you make the modeling and realistic texturing?

    Alberto: I have used ZBrush as the main program for the modeling, starting from a rough block-out of the shapes and then a quick render and paint over to define better the overall design.

    After this I made the clothing in Marvelous Designer.

    And back again to ZBrush to define and detail all the exosuit parts and the pose of the character.

    The texturing I made it's procedural so I didn't use any UV maps, but everything was obtained thanks to the material editor in Keyshot.

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you make the perfect coloring and lighting?

    Alberto: In Keyshot, I've tried to set up my ideal lighting and coloring, adding some light sources and modifying the hue of a basic HDRI. I prefer to make most of the work about the light and color inside the rendering program, so I don't have to adjust it that much in Photoshop and make just a slight color correction.

    Render

    Final Image

    Fox Renderfarm: Among all the projects you’ve done, which project do you feel proudest and would you share with us how you make it?

    Alberto: I don't have a favourite project, but I'd like to share with you the "Lake Nymph" because it came from a sketch I drew after a nightmare. My process it's almost the same for every project, but I can share with you some images taken in different parts of it.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your pipeline of 3D art?

    Alberto: It depends from time to time, but I always start from quick sketches on paper or in Photoshop. After that I collect all the references that can be needed throughout the project, they can be images from other artists, photos of real life details, movie shots or just whatever gives me inspiration or ideas for the project. Then there is the modeling process, it starts from the block-out of the main shapes until the detailing phase. As I mentioned before I use ZBrush as the modeling tool, but it happens that sometimes I use different programs, depending on my needs. During the modeling phase I always like to do fast overpaints that help me to solve problems or just to check if I'm going in the right direction. When I'm happy with the modeling I pass to the rendering phase where I set up lights, textures, materials and composition. Finally I make the last touches in Photoshop, with color correction and overpaint if needed.

    Fox Renderfarm: The composition, lighting and coloring of your works are fantastic, how do you enhance your good sense?

    Alberto: I think that developing a good eye it's probably an endless process for an artist, of course looking to other artists’ works help out, as it is watching movie and video games, but I think the most important thing is to go outside and take a deeper look to what is around us in the real an daily life.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Alberto: I have studied New Technologies of Art at the Academy of Fine Arts of Milano, where I've discovered for the first time ZBrush during an academic course, it was suddenly love. Thanks to that I discovered digital art, so I signed up for a two years master in advanced digital arts. I started to work just after my degree but in a different field and doing concept art just in my spare time. After quitting my job , two years ago, I became a full time freelance artist.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    Alberto: I think the most important thing above all the others is having fun and enjoying your projects. I take this opportunity to thanks again Fox Renderfarm and to wish everyone good luck for this amazing contest!

    "As 2020 is a difficult year, we will all be explorers to seek hope in 2021. The explorer can be a traveler looking for a mysterious place, a spacecraft roaming through the Milky Way, or a doctor researching the vaccine. Please create your 3D render, show the explorer in your mind and explore your possibilities."

    More info:


    13-Year of Exciting CG Journey: Introducing FGT Art February Winner, Rahul Venugopal

    2021-04-06

    CG Challenges

    Art Competitions

    FGT Art, initiated and organized by Fox Renderfarm, is a program that encourages all Fox Renderfarm users to share their talents and get awarded monthly. We are very pleased to announce that the FGT Art February winner is Rahul Venugopal, who is the creator of the award-winning work Cyberpunk Neo Dharavi, and also an outstanding Matte Painter / Environment TD from Framestore.

    Cyberpunk Neo Dharavi © Rahul Venugopal

    Rahul is a digital matte painter and compositor, who has worked for many fantastic projects including feature films, high-end TV series, TV commercials, and corporate videos. As a well-travelled artist, Rahul has worked in many countries such as Singapore, India, Bulgaria, Turkey, China, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates.

    In his 13-year CG journey, he has participated in the production of many famous movies, including Interstellar, The Expendables 2, Olympus Has Fallen, Eega, ect.

    From the exclusive interview, you can learn about how Rahul created his Cyberpunk artwork and share with us his CG journey.

    Rahul Venugopal

    · Environment TD / Matte Painter at Framestore · Specialize in Matte Painting, Environments & Compositing

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Rahul, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Rahul: I am originally from Kochi, India and I have been in the motion pictures and television industry for the past 13 years. I started my career in Singapore and then went on to work as a freelance VFX artist in 8 countries around the world. At the moment, I am working as an Environment TD / Matte Painter at Framestore, Montreal.

    Stormy Outpost © Rahul Venugopal

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations! How do you feel about being the February winner of FGT Art?

    Rahul: I feel really honoured and excited, this project was really a fun one and I feel great to be honoured by the Fox Renderfarm community.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this Cyberpunk artwork “Cyberpunk Neo Dharavi”?

    Rahul: This started off as a pitch for a client work but later I developed it into my own personal project. My main obvious inspiration for this project was Blade Runner but I wanted to put this scene in a not so distant future and put more relatable elements from the present day. The main idea was to show the division of wealth between state / mega corporations vs the poor section of the society. Also, at the same time show that there is thriving street life culture within slums, possibly infected with crimes, gambling and adult entertainment.

    Blade Runner

    Fox Renderfarm: We can see that there are some Indian elements in the scene, could you introduce these details and how you design them?

    Rahul: I wanted to base this city in India and I took modern-day metropolises like Mumbai as an inspiration where rich and poor districts are almost side by side. I took a lot of elements from Mumbai Dharavi Slums and bashed it with Hong Kong-style neon lights but with flavours of Indian brands and local shops signages. Also, I kept a neon signage of Hindu God Ganesha to give this city a distinctive Asian taste.

    Fox Renderfarm: The composition, modeling and lighting of the work are pretty great, which part satisfied you most? And could you tell us how you make this part?

    Rahul: Majority of the models are kitbashed from various commercial and non-commercial 3D kitbash sets so I spend the majority of the time developing the look and feel of the city. I am really satisfied by the overall mood. I think I could have made it more hazy to make it more photorealistic but since this was a personal project, I took the freedom to reveal most of the details that I had put into this work.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the work? Have you met any difficulties?

    Rahul: From start to finish, this took about 3 weeks, getting the layout right was obviously a huge task for such a scale and getting the right blend of 3D and 2.5D for the comp was another challenging task towards the end.

    Fox Renderfarm: Which cyberpunk artwork is your favorite (including movies, games, etc.)?

    Rahul: The movie ‘The Matrix’ came out when I was in High School and it just blew my mind and there was no looking back. I knew what I wanted to do for a living and I've been pretty much after VFX ever since. My other influences included Blade Runner, Alien, Terminator 2, Minority Report and Ghost in the Shell.

    Fox Renderfarm: As an outstanding digital matte painter and compositor, you participated in the production of many movies and TV projects, could you share with us your work experience along your CG journey, any project impressed you most?

    Rahul: I have enjoyed working each and every project that I have got the opportunity to work on. However, I especially cherish working on Interstellar as a Digital Compositor back in 2014 at DNEG, London. I really enjoyed watching the film and it is one of my all-time favorite movies.

    Interstellar

    I also enjoyed a lot working Ad Astra as Lead Digital Matte Painter at Mr.X Montreal. I particularly feel proud about my work in Ad Astra since I was able to contribute to the look and feel of the entire opening sequence where we see Earth from eighty thousand feet above the atmosphere.

    Ad Astra Earth Opening Environment Sequence

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering services?

    Rahul: I was amazed how easy and efficient Fox Renderfarm was even for first-time users and the support I received from your customer care team was top-notch. I think moving forward, I have more confidence to use more 3D and less of 2.5D with the help of Fox Renderfarm :)

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    Rahul: It is really exciting times for CG development now, especially with services like Fox Renderfarm which is easily accessible for any artists around the globe. There is no limitation to what you can achieve and I am really excited about what you guys will create since as artists we feed off from each other when it comes to inspiration.

    Abandoned © Rahul Venugopal

    Artstation:


    Shifting the Boundary of Physical and Virtual Worlds in 3D Art: Introducing Designer & Director, LIU Xin(2)

    2021-03-23

    Fox Talk

    CGarchitect Architectural 3Dawards

    Painted Room

    © LIU Xin, Yuting Zhu

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Xin, thank you so much for accepting our interview! How do you feel about being the winner of CGarchitect 3D Awards-Student(Film) 2020?

    LIU: I am very happy and honored. When I heard the news, I was surprised! I have been following this competition since undergrad. I saw a lot of excellent works and knew some like-minded creators from there. I used to wonder if my work will be nominated, and it turned out to be a winner. For me, this is a great affirmation and encouragement.

    Fox Renderfarm: Phygital Shopping Cart is the second episode of the Phygital Supermarket Trilogy, so what inspired you to create this project?

    LIU: The "Phygital Supermarket" series is a one-year project, including three experimental animated short films and a 130-page research book. This series mainly explores the combination of multiple technologies and mediums, novel representations of everyday objects, and interactive architectural forms. One of the inspirations for "Phygital Shopping Cart" came from a movie I watched when I was a child, that is "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids".

    screenshots of Phygital Supermarket Trilogy

    Fox Renderfarm: Why did you choose C4D as the main 3D software for this project? Could you tell us about what 3D technology or effects are used for the project?

    LIU: Because we are familiar with the C4D production pipeline including scene management, lighting, animation, and rendering. In addition, many ready-made Mograph tools in C4D can be used to create procedural effects, which meets the overall technical requirements of the project. These tools are enough for us to make playful effects. As each small scene expresses, the main techniques used in this project are Boolean, displacement, brush texture, cloner, Voronoi fracture, and multi-pass rendering. When we used these techniques, we ignored their initial purpose and tried to “misuse” in order to achieve novel representation.

    1. Farm / Boolean

    In a farm covered with LEGO blocks, apples are bitten off by blueberries.

    1. 3D Cinema / Displacement

    The iPhone becomes a theater in a small world. Video and flying texts on the screen are extruded out based on moving displacement maps to play “Real”3D movies to the audience which are mini shopping carts.

    1. Playground / Painting Brush Strokes

    Floating painting brush strokes are smeared into various slope ramps to create a playground for small shopping carts. Those brush strokes also smeared on gloves, and the bumpy surface becomes a rock wall for climbing. These paint materials are materials that we first test the shape and pattern in reality with real acrylic paint, and then scan, import, and manipulate in the digital world.

    1. Disorder / Mograph Cloner

    The shelves in the miniature supermarket are disrupted by a mini shopping cart!

    1. Restaurant / Voronoi Fracturing

    Lay's potato chips bag becomes a building, where the inside is a cafe, and the big potato chips become a table for mini shopping carts.

    1. Viewpoint / Anamorphic Optical Illusion

    When the twisted patterns on the bottles are viewed at a specific point of view, they can be recognized as a meaningful texture or a perfect pattern.

    Fox Renderfarm: Why did you choose the shopping cart as the protagonist? All the stories of the small shopping carts are finally gathered in one big shopping cart, any meaning for the design?

    LIU: The "shopping cart" in the title refers not only to the main character of each miniature scene but also to the fact that the entire scene is on a real-scale shopping cart. The daily objects in a real shopping cart have become various scenes where the “adventure” of a mini shopping cart happens. This design not only embodies the concept of nested worlds but also uses the scale comparison of the shopping cart to defamiliarize familiar objects and express architectural potentials.

    Fox Renderfarm: In the video, the title texts become an original part of each scene. Could you tell us why you choose this unique way of displaying and how did you do that?

    LIU: We studied a lot of movie titles design in the early stages. In many cases, the text was not overlapped on the two-dimensional video, but integrated into the set design and became a part of the scene props. We like this idea very much. Also, because the supermarket-themed objects contain a large number of packaging designs and involve graphic designs that include text, we decided to incorporate text about each small scene into the packaging design of daily objects.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work? Did you meet any difficulties?

    LIU: It took three and a half weeks from the conception to the final film. The design ideas in the early stage have been discussed very clearly. It took some time to think about how the film will be presented, such as the camera language. There is a difficulty in lighting during the production stage, which is how to ensure the lighting of both small scenes and the overall shopping cart scene creates a sense of visual hierarchy.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a Designer and Director who was originally trained as an architect, do you plan to have any new explorations in the integration of architecture and digital technology?

    LIU: Currently, I am interested in the combination of architecture and motion design. It can be mainly divided into two aspects: 1. Dynamically-changing space, that is, with the help of emerging technologies, such as mixed reality, projection mapping, hologram, etc., by combining motion design methods and introducing timeline into architecture, we are able to create spatial experiences that are no longer static, but are dynamically changing influenced by human activities, or vice versa;

    video clips from Augmented Library Aggregation

    1. Use motion design to articulate the concept of design, that is, with the help of procedural animation tools, we can use motion visuals to efficiently convey the designer’s idea behind the work, which is more efficient than traditional drawings and models.

    Fox Renderfarm: Phygital (Physical × Digital), the theme of Phygital Supermarket Trilogy, also means the combination of reality and artistic creation, could you talk about your views on this combination and future outlook?

    LIU: The unprecedented global pandemic and quarantine in 2020 transformed the mode of life and work from the physical world to the digital screen. However, since the physical body ultimately lives in the physical world, the challenge that the screen space takes over physical space and the desire which brings digital back to the physical exist at the same time. Therefore, I believe that the future of digitalization is not pure digital, but an organic combination of digital and the physical realities. From a functional perspective, designers can use digital technology to change human perception to create alternative realities; from an aesthetic perspective, design languages originally belonging to the digital world, such as glitch, can be applied to the design of physical spaces.

    the offline and online exhibitions of All At Onceness

    © LIU Xin, Jessie Pan, Leo Wan

    the physical models of Augmented Library Aggregation under normal and UV lighting

    Fox Renderfarm: What made you start learning CG? Could you briefly share with us your education and work experience along your CG journey?

    LIU: When I was young, I liked watching movies. My first vision of my profession was to make special visual effects for movies, although I didn't know CG at that time. Later, when I was about 13 years old, I was exposed to some CG software through magazines, so I started to understand, and gradually learned Video Studio, AE, and Nuke, and tried to make some short videos. I studied CG systematically when I was studying architecture in Liverpool, England. Because architectural design needs renderings for presentation, in order to do it better and faster, I self-taught non-photorealistic rendering workflow with Cinema 4D to quickly produce architectural illustrations. After working at the British architectural firm Sheppard Robson for a year, I went to the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) to study for a master’s degree. Since the school curriculum is known for its pioneering and experimental thinking, I deliberately chose courses related to CG during the two years of study, and I have made a lot of advancement in both design thinking and technical skills. With the help of CG tools, I feel the freedom of creation, as if I can "create" anything imaginable.

    Fox Renderfarm: Which CG artist or CG work has the most influence on you?

    LIU: ZEITGUISED, whose works are weird, playful, sometimes ridiculous, and thought-provoking.

    Berlin Magazine “032c”, where I learned a lot of fresh and novel ideas.

    © ZEITGUISED

    032c

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering services?

    LIU: I really enjoyed rendering with Fox Renderfarm. It has good quality and low price and helps us to meet a lot of deadlines. I also want to mention the 24-hour technical support, which is super helpful.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    LIU: Believe in your instincts, improve design thinking, and do not be limited to techniques.

    It is true that compared with many other arts, CG creation has higher requirements for "techniques". If one’s technical skill is not enough, how can we talk about creating "arts" that have aesthetic value? If the creator does not have basic skills, the images in his mind cannot be effectively presented. However, I also see that more CG creators are obsessed with the learning of "techniques" and ignore the improvement of "thinking". They spend a lot of time studying tutorials, but they rarely think about the originality and concept of the works, and make a bunch of "software function test images." Of course, this learning method can quickly improve software operating skills, but with the iteration of software and tools, the technical threshold will only be lowered. Therefore, creators should spend more time improving their knowledge on design and artistic thinking, and think more about how to create their own original work. I believe this is the key to distinguishing excellent and mediocre works.

    For previews introduction to LIU and his delicate artworks: Shifting the Boundary of Physical and Virtual Worlds in 3D Art: Introducing Designer & Director, LIU Xin(1)")


    Shifting the Boundary of Physical and Virtual Worlds in 3D Art: Introducing Designer & Director, LIU Xin(1)

    2021-03-23

    Fox Talk

    CGarchitect Architectural 3Dawards

    Speaking of creation in 3D art, there are always tutorials about Step 1, 2, 3… and a set of rules telling you what is right and what is wrong. However, LIU Xin, Designer and Director, always thinks out of the box, experimenting with creative approaches, no matter the physical or the digital ones. The distinctiveness and uniqueness in his artworks help him win praise and awards in the industry. Phytial Shopping Cart is one of them, and got the 2020 CGarchitect Awards in the Student (Film) category sponsored by Fox Renderfarm, your TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider.

    • LIU Xin
    • Designer/Director

    LIU Xin is a Designer and Director who works between architecture and time-based media. His practice centers around the influence of digital and physical on shifting the boundaries of the design of spaces and objects.

    He is currently freelancing. And in the beginning of March, 2021, he received admission to Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Master in Design Studies degree program. His collaborators include Burberry, Wallpaper*, NYLON, and Microsoft. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) where he also worked as the teaching assistant for graduate and undergraduate courses, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture with Honors from the University of Liverpool where his graduation project was awarded the Sheppard Robson Jicwood Prize. Previously, he has worked at Testa & Weiser in the U.S., Sheppard Robson in the U.K., and Tianhua in China.

    Burberry x Victor Ma x Microsoft AI - Runway 2.0 (Music Video)

    He is traveling around the world examining the notion of both natural and built environments, individual experiences, and emerging techniques.

    Phygital Shopping Cart

    © LIU Xin & Yuting Zhu

    Won the 2021 CGarchitect Awards

    Caption:

    Phygital = Physical × Digital

    Phygital Shopping Cart is the second episode of the Phygital Supermarket Trilogy.

    Shopping Cart Miniature Scenarios

    The main character of the story is a shopping cart (or a trolley). In a shopping cart in a supermarket, we designed six miniature model scenarios, which can be organically combined in a shopping cart. Each miniature scene contains a miniature version shopping cart to tell a short story, and each scene embodies a technology or design method which we explored with Cinema 4D and Redshift Renderer. We selected the most familiar, unremarkable, and most overlooked object in life (that is, common daily necessities in supermarkets), and explored these familiar objects through a unique workflow we developed with Cinema 4D and Redshift rendering technology. Things were explored on the playful side, either enlarge the size or manipulate it with Effectors in order to take a look at what magical effects will burst out. Therefore, in each mini-model scene, in addition to the narrative of the story, a technique is also expressed. As we used the title sequence design as a format of the film, so we can use the text on the screen to introduce the story and design techniques of each scene.

    Phygital Shopping Cart is the second episode of the Phygital Supermarket Trilogy, the other 2 episodes are Three Supermarkets and Phygital Supermarket Worlds. Phygital Supermarket Trilogy explores multiple techniques and mediums, discovering the possibility of shopping space forms in urban life.

    Three Supermarkets

    © LIU Xin, Yuting Zhu, Jui-Cheng Hung, Fateme Jalali

    Phygital Supermarket Worlds

    © LIU Xin, Yuting Zhu

    LIU established his connection with CGarchitect Awards in 2019 for his nomination in the Student (Film) category. In the nominated artwork Augmented Library Aggregation, he selected objects like flowers and showerheads, and volume bashed them to depict a futuristic library space in the video.

    Augmented Library Aggregation

    Augmented Library Aggregation

    © Xin Liu, Nero He

    volume bashing

    After experiencing all these fusions of physical and virtual space, you may wonder how LIU made his artworks, what’s more pivotal, how he has formed his design methodology and design language. In our interview with LIU, he reveals his workflow, techniques and design mindset, and explains his playful experiments in the creation process. Last but not least, his suggestion to CG enthusiasts that -- we should not only upgrade our technical skills with 3D software, and also improve our sense of art and aesthetic value -- resonates with what Fox Renderfarm has always insisted on -- Art Challenges Technology, whereas Technology Inspires Art.

    For detailed interview: Shifting the Boundary of Physical and Virtual Worlds in 3D Art: Introducing Designer & Director, LIU Xin(2)


    How to Make an Appealing Snow Fairy in Blender

    2021-03-22

    Trending

    Art Competitions

    Besides Olaf, Yeti and Sid, what can you think of when it comes to snow creatures? Jesse Amiel Gayanilo, an engineering student from Philippines, amazed the judges and won 1st place in the Snow Creature Challenge, which was sponsored by the TPN-Accredited cloud render farm, Fox Renderfarm.

    The snow fairy he created demonstrates the anatomy beauty of muscle and bones. Along with its color use and composition, the consistency makes his artwork stand out in this challenge. However, the creation process is not an easy one. We are glad to have an interview with him where we could hear about how he made it from sketching in Blender with a limited amount of time.

    • Jesse Amiel Gayanilo
    • Engineering student
    • From: Philippines

    Snow Creature © Jesse Amiel Gayanilo

    Artwork Caption: Just a simple scene of a snow fairy chilling.

    Jesse Amiel Gayanilo, “At first, my idea was to create some sort of winter wolf in a forest, but after a while, I have a difficulty in making it before the time, then I decided to make a way smaller scene, a snow fairy on a frosty leaf, which is around 4 days before the deadline, so I have to make the scene simple, stylized, and keep only the essential stuff like gesture, form, value, and composition.

    I also didn’t have time to create the fairy in the usual way we create characters, so I sculpted the fairy already posed, retopo it in Instant Meshes, and then adding more stuff (the muscles, bony landmarks, etc) and tweaking back in Blender.

    I learned a lot in this challenge. It gave me the opportunity to apply my recently acquired anatomy knowledge into 3D sculpting.“

    Snow Creature was created using Blender 2.91 (EEVEE) and Instant Meshes.

    Clay render © Jesse Amiel Gayanilo

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Jesse, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Jesse: Hello, I am Jesse Amiel D. Gayanilo, currently an Engineering student, living here in the Philippines.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the CG Boost Snow Creature Challenge?

    Jesse: I feel very accomplished, having to finally win first place after many years of joining CG Boost challenges.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this amazing work?

    Jesse: My entry was inspired by Nikita Veprikov’s artworks. I like his designs because it looks very clean, and gives importance to the basic forms and plane changes. Her pose was inspired by one of Follygon’s artworks while searching for tutorials on YouTube on sculpting stylized humans. I like the pose in his artwork because it looks so chill, and relaxed.

    © Nikita Veprikov

    © Follygon

    Fox Renderfarm: The snow fairy is terrific. Could you tell us how you designed and modeled it?

    Jesse: For the design of the fairy, I basically took the design of a human, and then emphasized its muscle borders, and bony landmarks, to make it look kind of like the exoskeleton of an insect. Also I placed the wings on her waist because putting it on the usual place, which is around the scapular, will cover the muscles on her back and the spine, which I think are interesting details of the human anatomy, and is one of the main focus of the artwork. It is also inspired by some designs of Angels, Demons, and some fictional characters, like Morrigan from the video game series Darkstalkers, or Morgana from the video game League of Legends, where their wings are placed on their waist instead of on their backs.

    First, I sketched the pose for the fairy in Krita.

    Next, in Blender, I modeled the basic forms of the fairy, but it’s already posing, so that I don’t have to rig it.

    Next, I sculpted the secondary details. I used a small resolution to sculpt big forms to avoid unnecessary details. I mostly use the grab, smooth, and inflate/deflate brush. Sometimes crease or pinch brush to sculpt plane changes. Then I retopologized it in Instant Meshes.

    Next, I added the muscles and bony landmarks. The muscles and bony landmarks are all separated objects. They are all just basic objects (round cubes, long and slender round cubes, planes with solidify and shrinkwrap modifiers, the ribs and spine are vertices applied with skin modifiers, etc.) sculpted into the shape of that individual muscle/bony landmark, no dyntopo, only grab and inflate/deflate sculpt brush. I only added these details to parts only seen by the viewer.

    Her dreadlocks are a single hair particle system, combed, and then converted to curves so that I can twist each strand, and also add a custom bevel to it.

    Fox Renderfarm: The jury appreciated the lighting and color use, and could you introduce how you made it?

    Jesse: In this artwork, I am trying to achieve a simplistic, non-photorealistic art style. The lighting is a single area lamp on top of her, and the world lighting is a simple gradient texture. The materials are all principled shaders. The fairy only has one image texture for the subtle colors on her.

    The leaf is a bit more complex, it has a vertex color as a frost map, or a map to separate the most frozen part of the leaf around its edges, and the least frozen part, around the center. This map is then overlaid with a procedural voronoi texture to try to create that crystal like appearance. The leaf and the twig are principled shaders mixed with a glossy shader with very high roughness, to try to create the frosty/cold/kind of velvet appearance.

    The rest of the objects are simpler shaders with a principled shader and a procedural texture, some don’t even have textures at all, like the frosts crystals, only a white principled shader with random alpha.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take you to finish the work? Did you meet any difficulties?

    Jesse: At first, I wanted to create some sort of Eldritch hound in a dead winter setting. I really liked the idea, but after sculpting it, I find it difficult to create a natural pose for the hound, and build the image composition from it. Plus I still have to build a large environment. I already have put a considerable amount of time and effort into it, but I don’t feel like it’s going to go well. Should I continue? Or start again from scratch? This was the difficulty I met.

    But when I looked at the net for some inspiration, I found Nikita Veprikov and Follygon’s artworks, which inspired me to create a new artwork. With less than 5 days, I decided to create a new artwork, but only keep it simple, and not too photorealistic. I try to emphasize my artwork with its basic, organic forms.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long have you been learning Blender? For you, what advantages does Blender have in CG creation?

    Jesse: I started learning Blender when it was still version 2.74, so it was around 2015. Between those years and now, I join online competitions, and learn Blender at the same time.

    For me, the advantages of Blender are it is Free and open source. It may not have the best features, but it has most features that I will need, which means it is the best CG software for beginners. Since it is free, a lot of people can use it. I see that it also has a very large community, where people can teach each other. Since it is open source, a lot of people can improve Blender on their own. I also see that it has lots of addons created by the community, and some of the best ones are officially applied to Blender, further improving Blender. Plus, a number of companies started supporting Blender. All the support pushes Blender to keep improving.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a student, how do you do to improve your CG skills in your spare time?

    Jesse: For me, drawing is very useful in creating CG art, especially for creating characters. I improve my skills by studying the fundamental drawing skills, like drawing basic shapes, perspective, 3D forms, gesture drawing, etc. Quality of life is also very important. I try to improve it by getting proper sleep, food, and fluids, and exercise. Aim to be healthy. This way, my mind can be in a good state, which will help me in managing my time.

    Giant Samurai Rampages © Jesse Amiel Gayanilo

    • Artstation:

    We Love ‘imperfections’: Introducing Award-winning Archviz Studio, Imperfct*

    2021-03-18

    Fox Talk

    Architectural Visualization

    Walk&Talk temporary pavilion, designed by SCORE Architecture, is located in Largo de São João in Ponta Delgada, Azores (Portugal). With the excellent depiction of this building, Massimiliano Marzoli’s ArchViz work won the Best commissioned image in 2020 CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards.

    With the strong contrast and excellent composition, the artwork shows the building as a warm and cozy retreat to spend the night. The artist played a bit with the atmosphere in order to enhance the contrast between the cold exterior and the warm interior.

    The outstanding winner, Massimiliano Marzoli, is an Architect and Digital Artist from Rome, and in 2019, he founded a studio Imperfct, which focus on architectural & product visualization. With this special name, Imperfct wants to celebrate the love for imperfection, because both in CGI and in real life, what makes something true to our eyes are the small imperfections.

    You can learn more stories about his award-winning artwork and the studio in our interview below.

    • Massimiliano Marzoli
    • Digital Artist
    • CEO & Founder of Imperfct*

      Fox Renderfarm: Hi Massimiliano, could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Massimiliano: Hey there, thanks to you for giving me this opportunity!

    I'm a 33 years old graduate architect from Rome, Italy. After University I decided to combine my passion for photography with Architecture and I moved to Venice to study how to become an architectural illustrator. After that, in the past years, I had the great opportunity to work in some architectural and visualization companies in Italy and abroad, before deciding to come back to Rome to found my own company, Imperfct*.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning the 2020 CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards, Best commissioned image category, how do you feel about it?

    Massimiliano: Still can't believe it, it's an amazing feeling, really!

    I recently received the prize via mail (since this year it wasn't possible to meet in Vienna) and I'm starting to realize now.

    I want once again to thank everyone who made this possible. it's a great honor and privilege.

    Fox Renderfarm: The award-winning work Walk&Talk Pavilion is so impressive, and what inspired you to create the work?

    Massimiliano: Thank you :)

    Several things, hard to mention all of them. This is the kind of work where you have to experiment a bit otherwise you'll end up doing something already seen a thousand times.

    One of the sources of inspiration I can mention comes for sure from Simon Stålenhag's works. There was an amazing shot in a parking, in The Electric State that probably came across my mind while creating this image. I remember I thought it was a brilliant idea playing with contrasts and temperatures in the scene. Same thing more or less happening in the Café Terrace at Night by Vincent Van Gogh. Two great references I think.

    The Electric State Parking © Simon Stålenhag

    Café Terrace at Night © Vincent Van Gogh

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the work? Could you introduce the CG pipeline of this project?

    Massimiliano: 4-5 working days, feedback rounds included.

    This project was quite simple, at least on the geometry side of things. A very small building with few furniture inside/outside and big empty public space just in front. So it didn't take too much to build the scene in 3D. The base of the image was rendered (building, furniture, base atmosphere, etc) and then I started the post production process which took more than the 3D phase in this case.

    Drawings © SCORE Architecture

    Fox Renderfarm: The work’s atmosphere is so amazing, could you tell us how you set up the composition and any idea behind the contrast?

    Massimiliano: The idea came after studying a bit the location, which I didn't know at all before this project.

    I discovered that sometimes in the Azores the weather can vary very quickly so I thought it could have been a nice idea to show the building not as expected, with people sitting enjoying the sun, but instead as a cozy and warm shelter while outside is very cold and wet. Two different worlds meet in the middle of this depiction.

    The composition is very simple and clean, which is something I always love to go for.

    Everything in the image creates a sort of tension with its specular element. The warmth of the inside against the cold of the outside, the barman with the guys walking in, the cold street lights with the warm light bulbs, etc.

    Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any challenges when creating the work? And how did the team solve it?

    Massimiliano: The main challenge was achieving the right atmosphere I had in mind and creating the right tension between all the elements in the image.

    It required some research and tests but I'm happy with the final outcome.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you give us a brief introduction about your studio Imperfct* and team members?

    Massimiliano: Imperfct* is born at the end of 2019 and since then we're now two people working full time and one freelance collaborator working remotely.

    We eagerly await the moment to come back to a normal life to start working all together!

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the development vision of Imperfct*? Any new projects or plans can share with us?

    Massimiliano: The idea is to slowly grow, I want to make sure that all the elements of the orchestra are playing in time. This is not easy but we work very hard on it.

    About projects, we recently had the opportunity to work on really nice projects, including an animation, that we're going to share very soon. Stay tuned!

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    Massimiliano: Yes, I really want to thank all of those who spent a minute of their time to congratulate us for the 3D Awards result and for what we're trying to do with Imperfct*.

    Thank you so much, we're totally overwhelmed by the enthusiastic reactions.


    How To Interpret The ‘Underwater’ New Home Of The Blue Whale Skeleton In 3D: Introducing ArchViz Artist, Sonny Holmberg

    2021-03-15

    Top News

    Architectural Visualization

    As the largest and most prestigious awards event for the architectural visualization industry, 2020 CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards has been held for 17 years and attracts more and more top studios, freelancers and students from around the world to show their talents.

    Sonny Holmberg is one of the excellent architects, whose work was nominated in the 2020 CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards of image (commissioned) category.

    The artwork is the interpretation of the blue whale skeleton’s new home in Tromsø Museum in Norway, designed by Henning Larsen. Sonny built a romantic stage for the whale with lighting that creates the feeling of "being underwater".

    In this interview, you can know how Sonny created the beautiful artwork and his experience of being an outstanding artist and the founder of an architect studio.

    • Sonny Holmberg
    • Architectural Visualisation Artist
    • Founder & Art Director of Depth Per Image

      Fox Renderfarm: Hi Sonny, could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Sonny: Thanks for inviting me for the interview! I’m an architect from Denmark, who early in my career decided to specialise within architectural visualisation. I’ve lived and worked in Munich and London and now I’m based in Copenhagen, where I’m from. I’ve previously focused on building up strong in-house visualisation units in architectural practises, but one year ago I started up my own visualisation studio, Depth Per Image.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on being nominated in the 2020 CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards, how do you feel about it?

    Sonny: The nomination in the 2020 CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards, really means a lot to me. I’ve been following the awards for many years, and it’s a great honour to have my work recognised in such a prestigious award within our industry.

    Fox Renderfarm: In this project, you created a new home for the blue whale skeleton, any idea behind the amazing design? And what's your inspiration?

    Sonny: The brief from the architects stated that they wanted to create a feeling of being under water in the circulation space where the blue whale skeleton should be hanging. There weren’t any specific directions for what this might be. I did some studies and iterations and came up with the simple idea of using light projections of water caustics to create this feeling. In the end the composition and concept with the light projections turned out very successful and the architects were very pleased with the image.

    Fox Renderfarm: The lighting in the image is so romantic, could you introduce how you created the lighting?

    Sonny: The lighting is basically created in a similar manner to how you could do it in real life. I’ve used a photo of water caustics as a light projection in my 3D scene. The volumetric light is created by rendering an additional pass with V-Ray environment fog in the scene. In this way I had full control over the light in post-production. I’ve made a little video of the main steps of the post-production process.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take you to finish the project? What’s the most unforgettable and interesting part of the creation process?

    Sonny: The time spent to create this image was around 5 working days. Any image creation process is interesting, but for this image I think the fact that it was a very open brief and I had many talks with the architects to convince them to go with my direction. Lucky, I did manage to convince them and it turned out as a big success in the end.

    Fox Renderfarm: As the founder of Depth Per Image, could you briefly introduce your studio, and what’s the development vision and ambition of your company?

    Sonny: Depth Per Image is my studio, but also a philosophy. Nowadays a lot of architectural visualisation is simply showcasing a building or space in a generic setting without any thoughts put into it. Depth Per Image seeks the uniqueness in every project we work on and always strives to bring that forward and communicate it in the clearest way possible. What we do is what I refer to as handcrafted images.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a top architectural visualisation artist with international experience, do you have any advice for young artists in the industry?

    Sonny: My best advice for young artists would be to not focus on the technicalities of software, but instead to train their eyes and imagination. Mastering 3D software is getting easier and easier all the time, but the top artists are the ones not relying on what output the software offers, but purely focuses on being creative as artists.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    Sonny: To all CG and arch-viz enthusiasts I would encourage you to follow me on social media for more insight and engaging with me on CG-related topics.

    • Instagram:
    • Facebook:
    • Behance:
    • LinkedIn:

    How to Create 3D Stylized Characters: Introducing Freelance Artist, Jorge Yepez

    2021-03-11

    Fox Talk

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Aiming to empower CG freelancers to create more excellent CG artworks and realize their dreams, GoCreation Program, organized and sponsored by Fox Renderfarm, is willing to provide preferential prices and subsidies for freelancers, helping them to focus more on creation.

    Jorge Yepez, one of our accredited freelancers of GoCreation Program, is an outstanding digital artist from Ecuador, who enjoys digital sculpting, modeling, lightning, texturing and animation. From his artworks, which are full of delicate details, we can see his romantic and mysterious style and excellent CG skills.

    Kulta © Jorge Yepez

    Gold © Jorge Yepez

    Freddie© Jorge Yepez

    As a freelance artist, he also started up his own animation studio TITA STUDIO, focused on storytelling by creating animated and static compositions. MAYO is one of the artworks from TITA STUDIO, which is made for learning purposes and the beginning of exploration and studies about Real-Time Rendering used on films.

    MAYO © Jorge Yepez / Tita Studio

    Here’s the exclusive interview between Jorge and Fox Renderfarm, in which he talked about how to create these amazing works and his CG journey.

    • Jorge Yepez
    • 3D Modeler
    • Look Dev Artist

      Fox Renderfarm: Hi Jorge, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Jorge: Hi everyone! First of all, I would like to thank all the members of Fox Renderfarm for the opportunity and space for showing up my work.

    I’m a 3D artist based in Quito - Ecuador, I think I can’t say I’m a generalist, but I have always loved to learn more about every step of a production process, from the sketch to the final result and especially the study of the light which help me to generate stories on each character.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your artworks’ styles are very mysterious, such as MAYO, Kulta and Gold, could you tell us what inspired you to create these works?

    Jorge: I would say, all these characters started as an exploration. I didn't have anything planned or sketched before starting the creation process, I really liked that, because I didn't expect anything and the ideas just came through.

    I’ve always felt really inspired by the culture of Ecuador and South America. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and get to know some countries and their cultures, so I try to implement each color, texture or feature that identifies me into my projects.

    I always look for my characters to be extremely expressive through their gaze and body expression, that’s why the eyes are usually their only and most important feature, so I leave an open possibility to the viewers to create their own stories and feelings identified with them.

    Many times I’ve tried to find the perfect meaning and story behind my characters, but I think it's like an explosion of energy related to how I'm feeling or the situation I’m going through at the moment I am creating them. Also, I like to have a very strong contrast between colors and materials, especially with metallic ones and dark tones, they help me to create an atmosphere of mystery, giving prominence to the character's body expression and silhouette.

    MAYO © Jorge Yepez / Tita Studio

    Fox Renderfarm: We know that Kulta is a project you started as an anatomy study, which is excellent, could you introduce the CG pipeline?

    Jorge: When I released this project, I was really happy with the huge reception it had. As I said, this was my very first project trying a new visual style and I felt really proud of the audience it got.

    Kulta © Jorge Yepez

    I started making the base sculpt on ZBrush, studying many books and references I found on the internet about human face anatomy. I always use a software called PureRef, it's an incredible tool that helps to keep your references organized and has the option to be always on the top of any window, making it easier for the artist to look at, especially when you have only one monitor.

    When I feel blocked and don’t know how to start, I usually use a clay buildup brush, it helps a lot to create primary and secondary forms while giving you a more organic look.

    At the beginning I was a little bit scared about sculpting opened eyes, because I hadn't had good results in my previous attempts, so I decided to sculpt them closed, it helped me to add some mysterious look to the character. Once I was happy with the base form, I used ZRemesher for a quick retopology because it wasn’t planned for animation.

    I created the UVs on Maya, this time I wanted to have more resolutions in areas like the face or the neck, so I divided them into 2 UDIMS. It’s very important to have them organized to make the texturing process easier.

    I decided to make some variations on his anatomy and that’s when I decided to have a specific feature that will represent the style for my future characters.

    After creating the base of the head, I like to stylize most of my characters with a kind of crown or metal halo, I want it to be seen as a sign of royalty and power, a kind of symbol of their divine nature outside of the ordinary. I also think it helps to transmit the energy that it has and from that point, I begin the creation of the character.

    Following the idea of focusing on the general style, I made a simple cloth; a kind of a poncho (it's a traditional cloth, commonly used by many cultures in Ecuador and some countries from South America).

    I felt ambitious with the texture for this project, and due to the simple shapes it has, I tried to put most of the details over the textures, so I started adding wrinkles and pores on ZBrush, using standard brushes with some alphas.

    After that, I sent the model to Substance Painter where I added some contrast like gold lines and dots. Its texture was inspired by patterns and symbols found in the clothing and crafts from Ecuadorian indigenous cultures.

    The lightning was very important too, I put two main lights, a keylight on the right, a Rim light on the left and three lights to enhance the gold parts.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your personal project Gold shows a noble queen, and the texture is so great, could you tell us how you created the character?

    Jorge: For this project, I focused on the study of female human anatomy and its attributes and proportions, which allowed me to delve into the analysis of distinctive parts such as the eye socket, the shape of the jaw and its entire bone structure, and so on, to be able to create a much feminine character with a rigid and formal appearance thanks to the modification of her long neck, this would set a new style into the anatomy of my characters.

    Gold © Jorge Yepez

    Like other projects, I started by making the base sculpture in ZBrush, using Dynamesh and not worrying about topology in its first stage of creation.

    After that, I used the clay build up brush, it makes the process much simpler for sketching and helps to visualize the main shapes easily.

    I used to sculpt the clothes in ZBrush for my previous characters, but this time I wanted to experiment with Marvelous Designer and I really recommend it, it’s a very useful software, the only thing you have to do is to create pieces of fabric and sew them, as you would in the real life, so I made a square path and a hole inside for the neck, this made the dynamic wrapping easier.

    For texturing, I used Substance Painter. First, I baked the textures and then I used some of the generators for creating dust and metal wear look. For other props, and parts of the face, I use some Redshift procedural nodes to have more control in Maya while making the look dev process.

    For lightning, I used a basic set of 3 lights and 2 extra ones that helped me to enhance specific parts, such as the top of the head and the eyes. For rendering, I used Redshift, which despite using 4k textures and 5k final render, it did it really fast, taking into consideration that I was using an NVIDIA 980 graphic card.

    Fox Renderfarm: BTW, we want to know that when will you release the short film Gold?

    Jorge: It was planned to be released last year, but due to the pandemic and work, I wasn't able to finish it. The good part of it is that I can give myself more time to write a script that can make the story more attractive to the viewers and not captivate an audience just because of the characters' looks.

    My goal is to create a universe for all of them, and for the new ones that are gonna be created during the process.

    Gold Teaser © Jorge Yepez

    Fox Renderfarm: Among your works, which one impresses you most? Did you meet any challenges, and how did you solve them?

    Jorge: I think MAYO was the most challenging one because it was made during the first two months of the lock down, so I didn't have much time to focus on my own projects.

    I took a few hours every week to start studying human anatomy and I was very curious to know how the cloth reacts over the body.

    My main goal was to create a cinematic short film using real-time rendering and learning more about video games workflows.

    At the beginning, I had some problems with the textures and my frame rate dropped down around 10fps, that happened because the whole scene had 4k textures, so after some research, I optimized the scene, having less resolution on the textures that are far from the camera and keeping the 4k textures for the character.

    Fox Renderfarm: What 3D software and plugins do you use most often and why?

    Jorge: I usually use Maya for most of the tasks, like modeling, UV layout, animation and rendering. This is the software I learned in college and I feel really comfortable with the UI and the tools it has.

    I also have been using Redshift for 3 years now and for me is the best GPU renderer out there, it’s easy to use, it has simple settings and obviously it's the fastest one.

    I generally sculpt the base mesh in ZBrush and after bringing the mesh with UVs and a good topology from Maya, I start making the details there. The textures are mostly done inside Substance Painter, lately, I’ve done more procedural look dev with Maya and Redshift though.

    I’m also starting to learn Houdini. At first I was a little bit scared about nodes, but then I realized it's extremely powerful and it’s getting easier when you study the logic behind it. I have also been really interested in real-time rendering, that's why I started experimenting with Unreal Engine, mainly because I want to learn more about video games workflows and how it's commonly used in cinematics and creative fields.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly share with us your education and work experience along your CG journey?

    Jorge: This passion started when I was a kid, I really enjoyed playing video games with my cousins and I remember three titles that made me feel a deep interest in the VFX world: Resident Evil 4, God of War, and Guitar Hero. I feel really happy to be able to create something similar to that nowadays.

    I started learning a software called Rhino almost every evening after school. I remember I was trying to model my home with basic shapes, but then I stopped studying it for a few years, until I decided to study something related at college. I have a degree in Multimedia and interactive animation, the career took me around 4 - 5 years, including the final project. But almost everything I’ve learned has been by myself through internet tutorials and personal exploration, this has given me the opportunity to grow as an artist and the knowledge to solve any problems or challenges within a project.

    I have been working as a freelancer since I got my degree, I’ve worked with many clients here in Ecuador and also from all around the world, I am currently working with a producer company from Germany, and also focusing on creating my own creative space called TITA STUDIO, where I’m open to show any exploration or study related to my characters.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering services?

    Jorge: Sincerely, is the best render farm I’ve ever used. I discovered it two years ago, they have a great user interface, it’s intuitive and easy to use. They have incredible customer support, which is 24/7 up to help you with any problems or questions. They also have great competitive prices and the speed of their machines is amazing.

    Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any suggestions for CG freelancers to improve their CG skills?

    Jorge: Practice, perseverance and patience. I heard once from a very talented artist that one hour of study or practicing every day can improve your skills incredibly. This is not a one-day journey, it's a process of personal and professional growth, be focused on that and you’ll see that the road is gonna get easier. Try to not compare yourself with any other artists, everyone has their own paces of learning, the key is to try to overcome ourselves first and if you ever feel tired, learn to rest, not to quit.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with the CG enthusiasts?

    Jorge: I think the best way to stay motivated is to focus on more than one project, sometimes we spend a lot of hours a week on a specific one, that can make us feel stressed and we could get stuck creatively. A good start is to have a schedule, try to organize your time between professional and personal work but also don’t forget to get some time for yourself, it’s good to have a distraction from the 3D world, otherwise you could get exhausted. I'm starting to study pastry and it has helped me a lot.

    As a final point, I would like to recommend trying to work on your own ideas, I mean, fanart it's great! But if people get to know you by your own masterpieces and you let your ideas grow, you will feel more satisfied, and don’t be scared to share them!


    Creating A Simple But Powerful Santa in 3ds Max

    2021-03-05

    Top News

    Art Competitions

    FGT3D Santa’s New Ride Challenge organized by the TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider, Fox Renderfarm, was started in November, 2020 and sponsored by our amazing sponsors, including XP-Pen, Corona Renderer, Redshift, TopoGun, Friendly Shade, Graswald, Raysync, Textures.com, Texturebox and iCube R&D Group. In early January, 2021, twelve finalists were received votes by our jury and three winners and three honorable mentions were picked! Congratulations to all the winners! And thanks to everyone for participating!

    The first place winner is Shiju NK! Congratulations! Shiju took roughly 20 days to finish the award-winning work, The Paramount Ride, made with Autodesk 3ds Max, Corona Renderer, Substance Painter, Marvelous Designer, Mixamo, Adobe Photoshop.

    “This rendering utilizes melancholic cinstrongatography to put us in deep contstrongplation of the challenges we went through in 2020. Black humor accompanies the sadness in the composition. The creator wittily transformed Santa’s vehicle into a Vespa scooter and the gifts into a package of the very much needed Vaccine. Details such as Santa’s gesture of looking at his watch shows that time is a pressing matter in this holiday season. With an intersection to the world’s current context, The Paramount Ride is not only exquisite in its technique but also profound in its content. It makes me wonder: is this beard biker in red our savior, or is he an incarnation of our lives’ disorder? ” One of our judges, Frank WANG Yefeng said, who is the Assistant Professor in the Art Department from Rhode Island College.

    Let's find out how Shiju made the amazing artwork through the exclusive interview with Fox Renderfarm.

    The Paramount Ride © Shiju NK

    • Shiju NK
    • Senior Manager in the Design & Engineering Dept
    • Form: Kerala, India

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Shiju! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Shiju: My name is Shiju and I hail from Kerala, India. It was by coincidence that I got introduced to the amazing world of 3D visualisation almost 18 years ago. But I knew from day one that this was going to be my field. I find it very interesting to imagine and create new concepts for every project of mine, a way to challenge myself to be better at my work. Currently I'm working with a highly reputed real estate company, Sobha Ltd. as a Senior Manager in the Design & Engineering Dept in Bangalore, India.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 1st place in the FGT3D Santa’s New Ride Challenge, how do you feel about that?

    Shiju: Thank you so much to the Fox Renderfarm Team! I would also like to thank you for giving us 3D enthusiasts such an amazing opportunity to showcase our works. It was overwhelming when I got to know that I was chosen as the winner. It was amazing to be judged by the Fox Renderfarm Team and other reputed judges.

    Fox Renderfarm: This strong and funny concept really speaks to all of us after 2020. What’s the inspiration behind your artwork?

    Shiju: The topic that Fox Renderfarm chose this time really clicked with me, in the sense that it was straight forward and at the same time gave numerous ideas. My first thought was to create a very simple concept yet a powerful one that anyone could relate to- showing Santa like one of us on a scooter, waiting to refill at an isolated gas station. Also, the world is reeling under the attack of the virus and we are all waiting for that one miracle to eradicate it. Who better than Santa to do that for us?

    Fox Renderfarm: Composition and lighting both show loneliness, as Santa carrying vaccines reflects the current COVID-19 situation and gives the world some hope even if it's in the dark. How did you make them? Any references?

    Shiju: Of course, I did use some reference images for the lighting. Right from the concept stage, I wanted to give an isolated feel to the scene but with a hope that things will change for the better. The initial idea was to add a mask for Santa but that gave a negative vibe. After discussing with my friend, it was he who gave me the idea of mentioning vaccines on the gift bag to reflect the current situation. To depict the isolation, I used very minimal HDRI lighting for the environment. Since it is a night view, I set the intensity of the HDRI light to minimum. The light fixtures that are visible in the view are the only ones that have been used, no other extra lighting.

    Fox Renderfarm: Textures and colors are in all the right places and never distracting, reminding of lovable Norman Rockwell style. How did you make them?

    Shiju: To get a scene right, it is very important to get the textures and colors right. I believe it's necessary to understand the color combinations and composition in depth. Since Santa is the main subject, the key colors had to be red and white. I wanted to keep the rest to bare minimum and give importance to the scene as a whole. For texturing, I used Substance Painter though I would like to point out that I'm not a pro at it. While doing any renders, it's absolutely important to get every texture in detail to make it look realistic,at the same time artistic.

    Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties when creating this work? And how did you solve them?

    Shiju: Definitely, I faced a lot of challenges while creating this work. Like I said earlier, it took a lot of effort and time to get the textures and colors right in Substance Painter. Also it was challenging to get the character and its pose right. I used Mixamo software for the character rig and brought it to 3ds Max for the pose. Even though it was difficult, the time and effort spent on it was worth it because I got the result that I wanted. Creating the beard and snow was equally fun. For the beard I used Hair and Fur Modifier in 3ds Max. It was challenging to create the natural movement of the beard caused by the breeze. The snow material was created in 3ds Max and spent a lot of time on it for its detailing.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

    Shiju: There are many artists and artworks that have inspired me. It's difficult to name because every work is truly an inspiration to me.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Shiju: CG was never a part of my educational background. It happened by chance when I saw my friend working on 3D visualization and I have never looked back since then. I worked briefly with Architectural firms in Saudi Arabia and UAE as a Visualiser and then moved back to India.

    Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any recommendable learning methods to improve professional skills?

    Shiju: A visualizer should learn to observe. Observe everything in its minute detail, and keep taking inspiration from photography, artworks and professional 3D artists. Update yourself with new softwares.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you ever tried Fox Renderfarm’s cloud rendering services? If yes, how do you like it?

    Shiju: I have not yet used the service. Currently I'm working on an animation project for which I will be using Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering services.

    Fox Renderfarm: Anything else you would like to share with CG enthusiasts?

    Shiju: Be passionate towards your work. Stay focused on your end result and you will definitely achieve it!


    Making a Cartoon-style Heavy Metal Santa with ZBrush and Maya

    2021-03-04

    Fox Talk

    Art Competitions

    FGT3D Santa’s New Ride Challenge organized by the TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider, Fox Renderfarm, was started in November, 2020 and sponsored by our amazing sponsors, including XP-Pen, Corona Renderer, Redshift, TopoGun, Friendly Shade, Graswald, Raysync, Textures.com, Texturebox and iCube R&D Group. In early January, 2021, twelve finalists were received votes by our jury and three winners and three honorable mentions were picked! Congratulations to all the winners! And thanks to everyone for participating!

    The second place winner is Vinicius Villela! Congratulations! His artwork, Heavy Metal Santa, stands out for its appealing design and modeling, which received appreciation from our jury.

    “This one has a brilliantly funny general concept. The character design and modelling is very well executed and appealing. Excellent composition and very nice overall shading and coloring. Very well done! I wonder what kind of presents he actually delivers.” One of our judges, Kariem Saleh said, who is an award winning film director and animator based in Berlin, Germany.

    Here’s the interview between Vinicius and Fox Renderfarm, in which we can find out how he created this wonderful 3D render.

    Heavy Metal Santa © Vinicius Villela

    • Vinicius Villela
    • Character Artist
    • From: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Vinicius, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Vinicius: My name is Vinicius Villela, I have been a 3D Generalist since I was very young, I was fascinated by inventions and technology, the universe of games fascinated me as if it was something magical. Since I was a child I had an artistic impulse. I liked to draw, disassemble toys, create new ones. So when I was 14, I started to study computer graphics. where it was for me the opportunity to delve into an unlimited field of creation in terms of image, it was where I met several tools and possibilities, my curiosity was the main fuel when I first heard about it in 3D in the mid-2006 and that there were programs capable of creating and rendering three-dimensional images like the ones I used to see in the great cinema films at the time and like everyone born in the 90s, I was fascinated by the increasingly innovative effects and it couldn't be different to see those images left me even more motivated and ambitious with my studies to try to understand that science and since then it has been a long process of studies, research, trials and errors to improve myself more and more in this journey of learning that continues today.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning second place in FGT3D Santa's New Ride?

    Vinicius: It was an immense pleasure to have participated and reached the second prize. I was very committed and confident that I could reach the finalists, this was my fuel to complete the project. I do hope to participate more and more in contests like this so that I continue to challenge myself and evolve as an artist and as a person improving my criteria and my concepts because we always learn from each other.

    Fox Renderfarm: What inspired you to create the work Heavy Metal Santa?

    Vinicius: For a long time I already wanted to produce some image with the Christmas theme over time as the years passed and I never stopped to enjoy the occasion. The contest was an extra reason for me to dedicate myself this time. What inspired me the most were animations by Sony Imageworks like it's raining hamburger, hotel transylvania

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work? Did you face any difficulties?

    Vinicius: It took me about 1 month to complete the whole project. My biggest difficulty in the conceptual part was to find harmony and composition between the character and the environment in the technical part, it was the hardware limitation to render the final image. Testing site until I could be sure that I would be putting Fox Renderfarm on my last rendering set.

    Fox Renderfarm: The cartoon look of Santa is so great, could you tell us how you make the character design and modeling so appealing?

    Vinicius: As for the design, I wanted to attribute more rustic features to the personality and the traditional figure of Santa Claus, so I chose to work with the concept of a metalhead as something more radical and cool, breaking a stereotyped view that we have culturally about Noel.

    Fox Renderfarm: We’re all impressed by the materials of the work, which are so realistic, could you introduce how you make them?

    Vinicius: In the lookdev part I worked all the texture part in Substance painter using part of your Source library. As for the render engine I opted for Arnold, as I was more familiar with my professional work.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long have you been into the CG industry as a Character Artist? Could you tell us about your CG education and career experience?

    Vinicius: I have been a character artist since 2014 but I started my studies at a young age when I was 14 years old I was researching everything on the internet looking for breakdowns, articles or anything that could add to the understanding of this universe of computer graphics over time I was conquering some opportunities and being able to invest in my training with mentors attending online workshops in the vast majority and so I specialized.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you ever used Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering services previously? If yes, how do you feel about it?

    Vinicius: I used it for the first time for the contest itself. I found the service very friendly for a new user, sure about the error checking procedures before starting the render.

    Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any advice for future participants in the competition?

    Vinicius: I think it is a tip even for me to think about the storytelling of the image before any other aspect over time. I realize more and more the value of the image's message, because it is she who will connect with the viewer, this was a great lesson for me in this contest and I would like to mention how Shiju NK was fantastic in his perception and managed to transmit with mastery in his concept.

    The Paramount Ride © Shiju NK

    Stay tuned for our upcoming interview with Mr. Shiju NK, our 1st place winner of FGT3D Santa’s New Ride!


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