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  • NEWS CENTER

    FGT3D Santa's New Ride Winners Announced!

    2021-01-11

    CG Challenges

    Art Competitions

    We are very excited to announce the winners of the FGT3D Challenge themed on Santa’s New Ride! In this challenge, the works submitted by participants must be a 3D rendered image. And Jury paid attention to the visual appeal, storytelling, and technique. Thanks to all our beloved participants, jury and sponsors.

    Theme

    Christmas is coming soon! Santa Claus is on the way to deliver gifts again. But Santa is coming a different way this year, he may ride a motorcycle, may drive a Lamborghini, or even get on a rocket! Please create your 3D render and show Santa’s new ride in your mind.

    1st place: The Paramount Ride - Shiju NK

    What our jury says

    Fox Renderfarm Team: Scene and lighting both show loneliness feel, as Santa carrying vaccines reflects the current covid19 situation and gives the world some hope even it's in the dark. Almost painting like texture and color further reminding of lovable Norman Rockwell style. Great work!

    Miho Aoki: I'm based in Alaska, and I see snow every day. This image does look like a small old gas station in winter here, though we don't have these old pumps anymore. There are very fine details on Santa and also on other places. I see the snow on the yellow metal numbers by the pump is half melted: it shows that the artist cared about the details. The lighting is excellent too. The thstronge of delivering vaccines is very timely and also resonates with the story of Alaskan dog sled teams delivering serum to a town to stop the diphtheria outbreak in the winter of 1925. This image makes me ask a lot of questions, like why is it a moppet? Can it fly? What has happened to reindeers? It'd be nice there are hints for these questions' answers in the image.

    Frank WANG Yefeng: My top choice for the competition goes to “The Paramount Ride.” 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?

    Kariem Saleh: This strong and funny concept really speaks to all of us after 2020. The image has a nice choice of colors, lighting and composition. Texture details are in all the right places and never distracting. This is a timeless snapshot of what we are all going through right now and might be a good rstronginder on anyones wall of the great efforts that we all made together to get through this difficult time.

    XP-Pen Team: Visual Appeal——It is very detailed. The light, the snow and car marks in the snow all are dedicated!Storytelling——Feels a bit lonely and sad story, touch our hearts.Technical——Pertect!

    Graswald Team: Lovely idea with a great reference to our current situation. The snow looks wonderful, I like the composition, the pose of Santa and the use of Red and White. Great job!

    Textures.com Team: Excellent work overall, tells a story, beautiful lighting and use of color.

    Texturebox Team: Modelling and lighting good , idea santa lost his deers and using a Vespa for disturbing gifts but it sestrongs he will be late.

    2nd place: Heavy Metal Santa - Vinicius Villela

    Heavy Metal Santa
Created by Vinicius Villela

    What our jury says

    Cenay Oekmen: The Character is very interesting. I do like the Cartoon look. The Skin shader works nice. I do also like all the small details like the Fur part. Very good Framing.

    Kariem Saleh: 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 ;)

    Corona Renderer Team: This one nailed the cartoon look with just enough detail but not too much, so that it didn't fall into the uncanny valley of realistic yet cartoon, but went fully cartoon. I also love this Santa full of attitude! The good use of depth of field then rounds it out nicely.

    Graswald Team: Love the idea and the execution. The different materials look spot on (the hair, the belly, the fabric) and makes you wanna watch a Pixar movie about this character. Great storytelling and impressive implementation!

    Textures.com Team: Great concept, fantastic modelling, and the materials and shading are top notch!

    Texturebox Team: Santa's workshop looks like cyberpunk , texturing is good, I feel inside a game in this render.

    3rd place: Santa Is Crashing To Town - Hoang Nguyen

    What our jury says

    Fox Renderfarm Team: Sci-Fi setting makes one wonder why Santa is from space? Does he live on the moon? Very attention to details, the smoke, the lens flare, gives more mysteries for the story.

    Miho Aoki: This image presents a lot of anticipation. Is Santa OK? Did he try a new way of coming to the earth this year? Is he going to come out now? What will the police do? The image is very detailed and coherent and allows us to explore the details to look for clues. The lighting effect and smoky/dusty feeling are very well done too.

    Frank WANG Yefeng: SANTA IS CRASHING TO TOWN” challenges our conventional impression of Santa’s pleasant arrival at Christmas times. The focal point of the composition shows a disastrous crashing site with gifts scattered all over the ground. The police cars put Santa (who is already in deep trouble) under siege, making the viewers question what could happen to him next. The protagonist here is ironically being depicted as an accidental “intruder.” The post-apocalyptic atmosphere of the image resonates with all the unprecedented events we encountered in 2020. This wrecked flying craft might serve as a metaphor for our time filled up with turmoils and unpredictabilities.

    Kariem Saleh: That piece is based on a really cool and original idea. The atmosphere is sucking you in. All color and lighting choices in here are stellar and spot on! Now we finally know how Santa travels around the globe so quickly.

    Cenay Oekmen: I love the Idea of a Santa using a spaceship capsule. Overall composition is lovely. Nice and Gritty.

    XP-Pen Team: Visual Appeal—— The whole layout of dense and strongpty place distribution is very reasonable, the atmosphere is also very clever, the details are full, is the kind of common at the first sight, but the more you see the more taste of the map, the new mount is the space cabin this idea is very good.Storytelling—— The cabin that landed on alert is actually Santa's new car! It is so imaginative!Technical——Perfect!

    Texturebox Team: I think the idea is unique than others. Modelling and texturing is very good. Santa is not from the earth and is really good.

    Honorable Mentions:

    Santa's New Ride A Phoenix Hope - Kay John Yim

    Santa's New Ride A Phoenix Hope
Created by Kay John Yim

    What our jury says

    Miho Aoki: I was immediately drawn to this image. This work took the idea of a "new ride" to a very different level. If Santa Claus, who brings wonderful joy to all children, wishes a new ride, it might be a supernatural one like this. It looks as it can go anywhere beyond the speed of light. The sense of the three-dimensional space, scale, lighting, and details of the image are excellent, and they all contribute to the happy feeling of the scene.

    XP-Pen Team: Visual Appeal—Both the light shadow and the final effect are fantastic, and the idea of the phoenix as the new vehicle of Santa Claus is really interesting. A little perspective+symmetrical composition+the red decorated by Santa Claus and the brightest yellow of Phoenix make the whole painting fall on the main body, which is very nice. Storytelling—The birds flying up, the movstrongents of the crowd, the deer on the moon, the Christmas tree in the street, the snowflakes like feathers, the snowman in the corner, this painting is full of stories.Technical—Perfect!

    Corona Renderer Team: Lots of love in this image! To begin, I love that it looks like a conventional Christmas card in its colors and format, yet the subject matter is very surprising. I love the level of detail in this, with all those twinkling lights, the snowflakes, the reindeer taking it easy on the moon now that the new ride has taken over (nice touch of humour there!). Above all I love the "glass Phoenix" which makes a dramatic and powerful centerpoint to the image, and is very different from anything else we saw.

    Textures.com Team: I love the dynamic and magical feel in this image.

    Santa's on the future ride - Hieu Trinh

    Santa's on the future ride
Created by Hieu Trinh

    What our jury says

    Graswald Team: I am a big fan of CG Lego (and real Lego) and really loved this idea and its technical execution. I only wish you could see Santa more clearly or any other character that could have told a more interesting story.

    Santa's New Ride - Maynard Ellis

    SantasNewRide
Created by Maynard Ellis

    What our jury says

    Cenay Oekmen: Really nice work, I do like the Lighting and Material settings. The overall composition is spot on.

    Congrats to the winners, and thanks to everyone for participating. Fox Renderfarm Team will contact the winners for prize distribution in the next few days.

    For more info https://www.foxrenderfarm.com/fgt3d-santa-new-ride-challenge.html

    Hope to see you soon on our next FGT3D Challenge! Stay tuned!


    A Happy Hobbyist Shows the Beauty of CG

    2020-12-21

    CG Challenges

    Renderosity

    Sponsored by the cloud render farm Fox Renderfarm, Renderosity 2020 Halloween Contest with 3D theme, Costumes, Cauldrons & Concoctions, was successfully held. Congratulations to all winners and thanks to everyone who participated in this event. Each entry tells us a magical story.

    We are very honored to have the opportunity to interview the third-place winner, Morrigan Flebotte, who is a CG enthusiast from Canada. She used her spare time to create the work Ya Want Two Scoops, Sweetheart?, which was rendered in Daz 4.10, using 3Delight with a dab of PS postwork.

    Ya Want Two Scoops, Sweetheart? © Morrigan Flebotte

    This is how Morrigan described her work: “There aren't many places to eat out in the Unseen World, but hit the Woods and eventually you'll find Louwheeze's Malt Shoppe. No denizen of dark places can resist the luscious flavour of cauldron-fresh cockroach-cream and worm Eye-Scream! Treat yourself, you won't regret it... just don't forget to leave her a tip.”

    Here’s the interview between Morrigan and Fox Renderfarm.

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

    Morrigan: I am a happy hobbyist in digital art from Alberta, Canada. I live in a small town, where usually there really isn’t much to do – even before COVID-19! I actually have more work, now, since all my children are now at home for school which means I am a teacher by day as well as working part-time as a librarian. Computer art gets what’s left of me.

    Fox Renderfarm: Though it’s not the first time you win the contest on Renderosity, how do you feel about being the 3rd place winner of the Renderosity 2020 3D Halloween Contest this year?

    Morrigan: I am very pleased to have won third place; Halloween pictures aren’t something I am very good at. It was an exciting contest because there were so many interesting entries!

    Fox Renderfarm: What is the inspiration for your work Ya Want Two Scoops, Sweetheart?

    Morrigan: I think my inspiration was the waitress from The Emperor’s New Groove, which I had just re-watched recently with my son. It was her voice that kept whispering in my ear!

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the work?

    Morrigan: The piece took about three days – I was quite enthusiastic about it, so I kept sneaking away to work on it. The children are very supportive of my hobby, and would bring their work into my room so they could talk to me about school while I fiddled with the picture.

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

    Morrigan: Difficulties... well, for whatever reason, I was having a problem with the material for her eyes, and no matter what I did they would only render white. In the end, I just accepted it and moved on, using hand-painting to bring them to life in postwork.

    Fox Renderfarm: Since you often share your CG works in the community, and also participate in CG contests, what is the biggest gain in your CG art journey?

    Morrigan: I think my biggest gain is the feedback I get from the community. I find that if I look at my pieces too long I only see the flaws, or the things I wish I was able to do differently. My style is not photo-realistic as so many other people’s are, and I wonder often if anyone else out there will like the results from my choices. Overall just a few kind words (or 3rd place!) is enough to make me continue to share what I do.

    Good Horse Goes to War © Morrigan Flebotte

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you tell us how you improve your CG skills?

    Morrigan: My learning style is quite random! I start with an idea, then enter negotiations with my software and my knowledge to see how far I can get before I either have to compromise or manage to discover something new or approach my problem a different way. Occasionally I will find a Youtube video that helps or win a new piece of software that opens up new possibilities.

    Hatchling © Morrigan Flebotte

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

    Morrigan: The beauty of computer graphics is that with work anyone can bring an idea to life and share a vision with hundreds of other people. It’s amazing and fun!


    Enjoy Creating 'Art for Your Walls' and Keep Creating

    2021-01-04

    Fox Talk

    Renderosity

    With the theme of Costumes, Cauldrons & Concoctions, Renderosity 2020 Animation Halloween Contest received many great animation artworks. Congratulations to all the winners and everyone participated in the event. As the sponsor of the contest, Fox Renderfarm, the best render farm, is pleased to interview the second-place winner of the Animation Halloween Contest,Maynard Ellis, who is a long-time digital graphic artist and also an aspiring animator and game developer. Maynard’s award-winning work, Trick Or Treat, was animated with iClone 7, and the characters and environments were converted from Daz using CC3.

    “I had a great time making this and I am looking forward to doing more now I have worked out a good method for getting DAZ characters and environments into iClone,” said Maynard.

    Here’s the interview between Maynard Ellis and Fox Renderfarm, in which you can find out how he made the animation.

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

    Maynard: I have been involved with CG art for over 20 years, primarily as a hobby although I have been involved professionally as a graphic designer on many occasions. I first joined Renderosity in 2004 and always aspired to be a vendor on their store which never quite happened, but this strange year of lockdown has seen me renewing that interest and I have several products that I am working on that should be ready soon.

    I have a broad range of skills that I have developed over the years and a real love for digital art and I am now spending time encouraging my teenage son to embrace some of this passion.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about being the 2nd place winner of Renderosity 2020 Animation Halloween Contest?

    Maynard: There were unfortunately technical issues with this animation contest which I hope the team at Renderosity gets on top of in the future as I don't think everyone's entry was portrayed in the best light which may have affected the outcome. Having said that I was pleased to feature among the winners. A lot of work goes into animation and I am pleased to have received some recognition for the effort. The encouragement you get from doing well in contests like this definitely helps you to keep pushing yourself to create more and to learn more about your craft.

    Fox Renderfarm: What is the inspiration for your work Trick Or Treat?

    Maynard: I was inspired by the Halloween theme and the desire to tell a story with my entry. You should always be wary of knocking on the door to a witch’s house and always expect some form of trickery and the simple idea of a witch poisoning a child with her brew seemed to be something that I could achieve within the limited time I had available to put this entry together.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the pipeline for the work?

    Maynard: I created characters in Daz Studio. I focussed on a stylized look instead of going for realism.

    I selected a pretty standard cottage environment in DS that suited the exterior of the witches house along with a bedroom interior scene.

    I converted the characters and environments for use in iClone using Character Creator 3. CC3 does a great job bringing DS characters into iClone and preparing them for use as iAvatars.

    I found that 3DXchange did not handle DS environments well enough and that the resulting iProps it created were not very usable for animations. After some online searching and trial and error I worked out a good way to bring environments into iClone via CC3 which kept every individual element separate and animatable which allowed me to easily animate both the door and the gate opening.

    For the most part I used standard animation clips that came with iClone and some downloaded for free from Mixamo, however this was not enough for the full range of animation the story required and I had to hand animate a number of sequences using iClone animation tools.

    The required sequences were crudely story boarded in a textual narrative leaving me to create a suitable animation for each clip listed in the storyboard.

    My teenage son who has been using Premier for some of his high school projects cut the animated sequences together and created the sound FX, voices and background music. We did not fully agree on the soundtrack but I put him in charge of that and due to time constraints I was not able to make some changes that I would have made in a perfect world, however having said that some of the SFX he created were excellent and really helped make the whole project work.

    Fox Renderfarm: Which part of this work are you most satisfied with and why?

    Maynard: I think I am most happy with how both the characters and the environment transferred from DAZ to iClone. They looked good and animated well which was great. I was also very satisfied with the fact that I collaborated on this with my son who helped me plan the animation scenes required and he cut it all together for me in Premier and he provided the sounds.

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

    Maynard: There were many areas of difficulty that had to be overcome for this to work. I had to learn more about iClone than I knew and I had to get the characters and environments into iClone. The characters came in pretty easily with the tools iClone provided but the environment was more challenging and to get into iClone from DAZ keeping it looking great and also having the ability to animate things such as doors and gates etc. The traditional approach of using 3DXchange does not work as well as it should and I ended up taking a different approach using CC3 for both the characters and the environment.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long have you studied CG production, can you introduce your learning method?

    Maynard: I was a digital video editor back in the mid 1990's using sVHS and Hi8 tapes and digitising this footage to my PC. I also learnt a lot about digital design in the 90's which has held me in good stead as I moved into working with 3D to create art. I have not done a lot with animation, however I have created video and film based stop motion animations and in 2011 I did a few animations within DAZ Studio and one in particular one a contest held by DAZ. I have been self taught as an artist and love all aspects of digital art, film and photography and animation.

    Blue - Young red haired farm boy © Maynard Ellis

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

    Maynard: I used to be very focussed on trying to produce photo real 3D art images and later I switched my focus to creating 'art for your walls' which is much more satisfying for me. Regardless of what you create and how you create it, just focus on creating art you enjoy looking at and that is all that matters. Be kind to your fellow artists and understand that art is very subjective and the important thing is to never stop creating and to always enjoy what you create.

    Morgan © Maynard Ellis


    Interview with Mike Seymour, an Outstanding Digital Humans Researcher

    2019-12-20

    Fox Talk

    SIGGRAPH Asia

    What happens when technology has a human face? How digital humans will affect our lives? These are the questions that Mike Seymour is exploring. Mike is a Digital Humans researcher who researches on new forms of effective communication and education using photoreal, realtime computer generated faces.

    Mike Seymour @ SIGGRAPH Asia 2019

    Mike was Chair of Real-Time Live! in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019, organizing the program showcased the cutting-edge real-time technologies, from mobile games to console games to virtual and augmented reality from around the world. He is also the co-founder of MOTUS Lab at The University of Sydney.

    Mike Seymour at TEDxSydney 2019

    As the lead researcher in the MOTUS Lab, Mike is exploring using interactive photoreal faces in new forms of Human Computer Interfaces (HCI) and looking at deploying realistic digital companions and embodied conversational agents. This work has special relevance for aged care and related medical applications such as stroke victims, and those with memory issues.

    He suggests that we need to find new ways to provide interaction for people, beyond typing or simply talking to our devices, and that face-to-face communication is central to the human experience. At the same time, he examined some of the many ethical implications these new forms of HCI present.

    He is well known for his work as a writer, consultant and educator with the websites fxguide.com and fxphd.com which explore technologies in the film industry. These websites now have huge followings, as they provide an important link between the film and VFX community and the researchers and innovators who constantly push the limits of technology.

    Some films and TV series Mike has worked on

    In addition to fxguide.com and fxphd.com, Mike has worked as VFX supervisor, Second Unit Director or Producer on some TV series and films, winning AFI Awards Best Visual Effects for the movie Hunt Angels in 2007 and being nominated for Primetime Emmy Awards for the TV mini-series Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars in 2005.

    Fox Renderfarm was honored to have an interview with Mike Seymour in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019. Here’s the interview between Mike Seymour and Fox Renderfarm.

    Fox Renderfarm: Would you give a brief introduction to Human Computer Interfaces (HCI)?

    Mike: So I research Human Computer Interfaces or HCI, which is the idea of how we deal with computers. And if you think about it, most computers are just getting input from a mouse or a keyboard, but what if we could talk to our computers, what if the computers could respond to us emotionally. So the work that I do with digital humans or virtual humans is putting a face on technology, we’re putting a face there so that we can interact with that. Because after all, we work really well with faces, we respond to faces, we travel great distances to see someone face to face. So we think it'd be really interesting if we could take that idea of having a face, and put it on a computer, and allow us to work with that in a much more natural and human way.

    Fox Renderfarm: What are your biggest achievements of HCI so far?

    Mike: So one of the interesting things that's happened just in the last couple of years has been this amazing nexus of technology and approaches. We got this combination of things that are really blowing the doors of what's possible. Because we can start to produce very photorealistic digital humans, in other words, people that really look like us. Now, this is super important because if we produce something that looks not very good, we actually have a negative reaction to it. It's not like audio, whether you have sort of good quality, better quality, and then great quality. With people, we have either cartoons, or we need very very high quality. But if we have something that's not so good, people actually reject it out of hand. So we call it a non-linear response, in other words, as it gets better in quality, your reaction varies up and down a lot. So only recently, we've been able to produce this incredibly realistic faces. And most importantly for HCI, those faces can run in real time, so they can smile at you in real-time, talk to you in real-time, nod and gesture, just very different from a video or something you might see in a feature film, where they might have hours and hours to produce a clip. We need to produce these things in sometimes as short as about 9 to 12 milliseconds.

    MEET MIKE @ SIGGRAPH 2017

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any challenges in the HCI development process?

    Mike: One of the big challenges we have is actually we've done a lot of really great work on faces and on being out to produce digital humans. That work’s not done, but it's certainly advanced tremendously in the last sort of three or four years. We're now having the grapple with how do we solve some of the issues over voices. If I'm actually talking to someone in China and I'm in Sydney, and like my colleague is from China, and of course he speaks the language that I don’t. So if we're on a conference call, and somebody at the other end doesn't speak Chinese, like I don't speak Chinese. We have this problem that I have to solve the language. Now, if I've got an avatar, something that I'm puppeting, then I would be able to speak in English, and have a version of me speak in Mandarin, and be able to understand across barriers. That’s good, and that's great. But what if I'm not puppeteering it, what if I actually want the computer to talk to me. I now need to make a synthetic voice. And the challenge right now is to see if we can do what we’ve done for faces to audio, to voices. It’s kind of a thing you may not expect. But of course, what we want is the computer to speak in a really natural way, to have the right cadence, the right kind of tone, the right kind of attitude. So getting that natural sounding and audio, it's not that it's harder than it is to do the vision. But we actually are a lot less tolerant of problems with audio. If you're watching a movie and the vision isn't quite right, then you can hear everything, you’ll be really happy. But if you were in a situation that the vision looks great, but you couldn't hear what the actors were saying, you'd switch the channel or go do something else. So what we're trying to do now is get the audio to be impeccably good so that it can go along with what we've been doing in vision.

    MEET MIKE @ SIGGRAPH 2017

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you think our life will be changed by HCI, with deep learning algorithms, GPU graphics cards rendering, and 5G?

    Mike: The astounding thing is that now, we actually have more compute power than we need to do some of the functions we want to do with the computer. We can afford to spend some of the compute power, producing these amazingly interactive user interfaces. That's part one, and that's obviously been influenced enormously by GPU, and the much faster graphics. And on top of that, we've had a new approach to how to use the graphics which is AI or deep learning. So now we have the second part of the jigsaw puzzle which allows us to do incredibly clever things by letting the machine learn my face, and then synthesize a plausible version of my face, again, in real-time, because of that GPU. And then the third part of that jigsaw puzzle is that we're able to do that now increasingly with 5G. Now, 5G is obviously very new, but what it offers us is not just bandwidth, which we imagined it would be able to sort of transfer more data, that's part of it. But one of the real secrets for 5G is low latency. So, in fact, we can have interactivity, so things come to live when they are realistic, and rendered quickly. Because we've used actual faces to construct them, and then we have this very low latency, so we can interact. All of that is just going to change how we do communication education, even in areas you might not imagine, such as health.

    Fox Renderfarm: Fox Renderfarm is going to provide online real-time rendering services, is that possible to cooperate with you on the HCI research?

    Mike: We are really keen to work with people all over the world, and it's the mantra of our lab that the research that we do, we actually don't own the IP, so we give away all the data. We work with companies around the world so that we can give back to the community. Our interest is seeing that this moves forward. And one of the great things about rendering on the cloud, and the idea of being able to have a really good infrastructure that's on a global basis is that, with high-speed communications, and with 5G, we are increasingly seeing this being something that we can adopt into things that general people can use. So, at the moment we’ve got a history where I might be using a render farm if I'm a really big company. But what we're seeing now is this move to the importance of being able to do things that can be democratized, and I think we're gonna see this vast explosion where we want to have quite a lot of power on our personal device, but actually tapping into a broader deep learning, AI kind of environment to provide this great interactivity. And as that happens with low latency, and the kind of infrastructure we're seeing. The ability to scale up is just going to produce sensational results.

    Fox Renderfarm: As the Chair of Real-Time Live! in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019, what’s your biggest surprise?

    Mike: There are a lot of submissions to Real-Time Live! this year. But Real-Time Live! is a little different from other things because you need to actually mount a performance. It's a bit like volunteering for a stage show. If I am coming here to do a show, I will bring my powerpoint on my laptop. But if I'm coming here to do Real-Time Live!, like the Matt AI project, and a number of other projects that are being seen, you actually have to bring a whole lot of computers, a whole lot of gear and actually mount a live presentation. You have nine minutes to sort of wow the audience, and of course, it's very unforgiving because, in nine minutes, you can’t afford to switch the computer off and start again. So we've been really impressed by the variety of the projects, and the variety of applications that they’re addressing. So we have teams that are addressing making digital characters talk, which is one of my favorites, I love that one. But we've also got ones that people are looking at how to use VR and real-time graphics for science research, for communication, as well as just artistic pieces that are very much just producing a really amazing show in their own right.

    Real-Time Live! in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019

    Fox Renderfarm: You were doing VFX before, and you are a researcher and also Co-Founder for fxguide.com, what’s the biggest influence along your multi-dimensional career path? What do you do to keep yourself inspired and motivated?

    Mike: I was in the visual effects industry for many years and got nominated for Emmys and AFIs, and that was all great. I enjoyed that and it was terrific work. What I decided a little while ago, having done quite a lot of research and teaching and increasingly doing consulting work to companies around the world, which we still do, I thought it would be really interesting to up that research component and get more involved with hardcore research. So I still come consulting, I do work for major Hollywood studios, and I enjoy that work tremendously. But what I'm interested in is can we, in addition to that work, in the entertainment industry, take that tech and apply it to these other areas. So, for example, my research area at the moment is seeing if we can take some of these digital human technology and use it for stroke victims. So, people that have had a stroke and have trouble forming short-term memories, are very good with long-term memories. But they literally find everything that's going on around them today a little unfamiliar and disconcerting. As an extraordinary high level of stroke in the world, a lot of people have strokes, and quite a high percentage are actually under the age of 65 and wanting to still continue to contribute and work, because they are of that younger age. Now, of course, we want everybody to benefit from this, but particularly those people that are still trying to work in the world, if you have problems with short term memory, all technology starts to become a challenge. And we expect someone to use a computer just (as) to use a phone these days. Well if we could put a familiar face on the technology, a face from their past, a face that is I don’t think is a real person, but they are familiar, reassuring. Then this new thing, this new technology whatever it is, suddenly no longer seem quite so harsh, so unfamiliar, so disconcerting. And we think that's a really good way of being able to help with rehabilitation. So this is just one of the areas that we are looking at, taking this terrific tech from the entertainment industry, which I love to death, but just seeing if we can help people that are less fortunate, that have been through really hard circumstances.

    Fox Renderfarm: Who or what projects inspire you most in VFX and Interactive Technology respectively?

    Mike: So it's been really great work done in technology around the world. Obviously, some of the big film companies like Weta Digital and ILM have been doing terrific work. The research that I've been doing, we've managed to partner with companies around the world. So when we were doing a digital version of me, for example, we are partnering with Epic Games, but also with Tencent, which is terrific. And companies in Serbia, in England, and so it's an international kind of collective. And one of the things that really inspires me is how open these companies are working together and sharing what's going on. Because there's a lot more to be gained by expanding what we can do, than people worrying about individual bits. So the community that's doing this work has been really generous and really open with their work.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your comment on Gemini Man?

    Mike: Gemini Man is one of the most startling and just groundbreaking pieces of production that I've certainly seen, I was really impressed by a number of things. Firstly, they were doing work at Weta Digital, where we really knew the character very well at both ages. We know Will Smith as he is today, and Will Smith earlier in his career. We know from our own research that the more you are familiar with the face, the harsher you are. So if you have a younger version of someone you didn’t know, it may look great to your eyes, but their brothers or sisters would be very upset by that wouldn't feel right to them. So what we're trying to see is if companies like Weta can produce very familiar faces in a way that we find acceptable, reassuring, entertaining, and I think they've really done that with Gemini Man. The second thing that really impressed me is that in that film, while it's an action film there are a lot of slower emotional scenes, where there is really no way to hide. The young Will Smith is on screen and the camera isn't flying around. Sure, there are bike chases but there are other scenes he is really acting so that the audience can buy into that performance, I think it's terrific. I really applaud the work that the team of Weta Digital have done, it's absolutely well breaking.

    images source: fxguide.com

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

    Mike: I think one of the things that I've been really happy about is how internationally the community has come together. There are teams now have got like pockets of excellence. There's a couple of teams in China that are just spectacularly good. And obviously, what we've seen with the work in China, I’ve actually lectured up in China, and visited many times, is we've got a real depth of both technical expertise and creativity. So it's really great to see the infrastructure being built up, things like the render farm and so on. So that they can provide that technical support that will match the creativity, I think that’s been really good. Now there are two teams in China, I can think of, there's a team in Europe, a team in New Zealand, a team in Serbia, and in London, and of course, America. And so what's great is to see that this is a very balanced international effort, and I love the fact that here at SIGGRAPH Asia, we’ve got all of the teams coming and presenting their work and sharing things. Because, as I said earlier, there’s so much can be gained by people cooperating and working collaboratively together. And from all my years in the film industry, it's a thousand people that do the visual effects on a film. So you need this great collaboration of artists this great infrastructure from companies supporting that. And then, of course, you need people willing to be open and share their ideas, as they're doing here at SIGGRAPH Asia. So, it's really great.


    Interview with BoBoiBoy Movie 2, the Highest-grossing Animated Film in Malaysia

    2019-09-12

    Fox News

    Kre8tif!

    3-6 September 2019, Fox Renderfarm participated in Kre8tif! 2019, an annual digital creative content industry event in Malaysia aimed to spark innovation and exploration of major trends across the creative sector. We received a large number of CG enthusiasts and had good communications with them regarding our powerful cloud rendering service.

    In Kre8tif! 2019, we were honored to have an interview with Mr. Kee Yong Pin, COO of Animonsta Studios in Malaysia.

    Kee Yong Pin

    COO of Animonsta Studios

    Works:

    Animated series BoBoiBoy (2011-2016)

    BoBoiBoy Galaxy (2016-present)

    BoBoiBoy: The Movie (2016)

    BoBoiBoy Movie 2 (2019)

    Animonsta Studios, a Malaysian animation company that produces creative content for the Malaysian and international market. Its second computer-animated film BoBoiBoy Movie 2, which is the new No.1 animated feature in Malaysia.

    Below is Fox Renderfarm’s exclusive interview with Mr. Kee Yong Pin. Let’s check it out!

    Fox Renderfarm: Can you introduce yourself?

    Kee Yong Pin: My name is Kee Yong Pin, from Animonsta Studios, an animation studio from Malaysia.

    Fox Renderfarm: Can you introduce BoBoiBoy?

    Kee Yong Pin: BoBoiBoy is an animation created by Animonsta Studios since back in 2011. And our latest movie for BoBoiBoy, it’s just completed and released in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam at the same time. So, we are happy to tell that our BoBoiBoy Movie 2 is currently the highest-grossing box office animation ever shown in Malaysia of all time.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the interesting part when producing BoBoiBoy Movie 2?

    Kee Yong Pin: One of the biggest, interesting things about this movie is actually the production, the whole production only takes 12 months. Most of the animated movies need to take 3 to 4 years. And then our team is actually not very big. We have only around 100 people with around 60-70 people from production.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any challenges of making the movie?

    Kee Yong Pin: The challenge is the time itself, so, as much as we worked very hard, there is still a lot of obstacles, for example, all the technical stuff, the rendering processes or the animation processes. So, the biggest challenge for us is actually the race against time for the rendering. For rendering it needs to be done by the computer. We need to do a very proper calculation, so that we can speed up the process without sacrificing the quality.

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you think of Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering service?

    Kee Yong Pin: In order to meet our timeline, one biggest thing that we changed is actually going into half GPU, which is using Redshift. And then we find out that even that is not enough. Throughout the movie, we can deliver according to timeline. But towards the end of the movie, that's when things become difficult, because the deadline is getting closer and then the scenes are getting very heavy towards the final part of the movie. So that's when we start to engage with Fox Renderfarm. And then we are really impressed actually, especially on the support portion of Fox Renderfarm. Because it's so easy for us to get in touch with, you know, just using WhatsApp. So everything just is direct communication, whenever we need anything and then everything is actually quite fast and, more importantly, when it comes to the last minute, it is hard for us to get the finance portion, budgeting portion to meet according to our criteria, and timeline also needs to be meeting. So, Fox Renderfarm, luckily for us, managed to meet our criteria in terms of pricing, in terms of delivery.

    Fox Renderfarm: Will you distribute the movie in China?

    Kee Yong Pin: We are actually trying, because China has a very small quota for foreign movies, but we are actually trying our best to get into China’s market. Good thing for us is that our animation series is already broadcasted on China's platform, which is Tencent. And it gets quite a good amount of views, which is more than 40 million views already up to date. We want to continue our footsteps into China's market if possible.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any plans for next step?

    Kee Yong Pin: We are doing our next animation, moving forward. And unfortunately, we cannot share anything in detail yet, but definitely I would safely, at least say that project has more challenges than BoBoiBoy Movie 2. So we want to get more market after this release in more countries and all those things, and so definitely, we need more support in terms of technology and also various partnership in the near future.

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

    Kee Yong Pin: We just want to share that animation industry in Malaysia has been more than fifteen, twenty years. We might not be the most famous animation content hub in the world yet. But definitely Malaysia is going to be one of the best, not in terms of quantity, but in terms of quality, one of the best animation providers in the world. So, we really hope that the world will be able to really pick up our animation, have a look on what we can achieve in a more practical way, high quality, efficient, because we have a lot of good talents in Malaysia.

    Let's look forward to the new development of Malaysian animated films.


    Green Book VFX Veteran Raymond McIntyre Jr. Shares Production and Careers Insights

    2019-08-30

    Fox Talk

    Green Book

    Nowadays, with the development of computer graphics technology, VFX plays an incomparable important role in sci-fi blockbusters, live-action movies or animation films. Behind these stunning VFX, there is a group of professionals & specialists. Raymond McIntyre Jr., one of the legendary VFX Supervisors, who has been working in the film industry for more than 30 years, has been involved in the production of films including Green Book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Spider-Man, X2, Blood Diamond, Men in Black 3, The Conjuring and so on. Let's take a look at the scenes behind these Hollywood blockbusters through Ray’s story.

    Raymond McIntyre Jr.

    VFX Supervisor and President of Pixel Magic

    VFX Supervisor and Producer for ABC, Netflix

    Works Rim of the World (2019) , Green Book (2018), 22 Jump Street (2014), The Conjuring (2013), Men in Black 3 (2012), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1&2 (2010/2011) and more

    Awards

    2004, Visual Effects Society Award, for his work in THE LAST SAMURAI 1998, International Monitor Award, for his work in CASPER MEETS WENDY

    Raymond McIntyre Jr. is a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award winning Supervisor that brings 30+ years of experience in the film industry and oversees all creative operations at Pixel Magic, an award-winning VFX & 3D animation studio with credits including: Blood Diamond, The Guardian and the films mentioned above.

    An impressive production pipeline, combined with deep expertise in both visual effects and 3D stereo conversion has allowed Pixel Magic to tackle some highly visible projects. And their capabilities in 3D stereo conversion has landed them work on the Chronicles of Narnia, as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

    As the President and VFX Supervisor of Pixel Magic, Ray brings extensive knowledge and expertise to the company. Also, he has frequently served as the primary Visual Effects Supervisor for feature film productions. In that capacity, he provides on-set supervision, plate/element photography as well as 2nd / VFX unit direction. Ray has been recognized for his achievements as Visual Effects Supervisor.

    Ray and his team offers a wide array of visual effects such as compositing services, including CGI creation of objects, animals, smoke, fire, and matte paintings to many Hollywood blockbusters.

    (Pixel Magic VFX breakdown reel)

    In the film 22 Jump Street, Ray was called on for 2nd unit VFX supervision supporting Edwin Rivera, the film’s overall VFX supervisor. The Pixel Magic team was tapped to create all of the visual effects for the establishing action scene of the Metro City Port and other 100 VFX shots in various scenes throughout the movie, such as the CG gantry crane and CG netting that tangles up the heroes, CG windshield cracks on the 18 wheeler truck and CG octopus tentacles.

    What’s more, they completed over 400 visual effects shots for the film My All American. "Production wanted the ability to move the camera all the time. This eliminated the traditional approach of locked off cameras and tiling practical people in different spots in the stadium, hence the need for CGI crowds. A full digital crowd was mixed with extras shot on green screen and composited with the few extras available on set. Shooting HDRI's on set allowed for realistic and accurate lighting for all the digital crowd and stadium shots. This is the real advantage of CG crowds, an exact match of lighting." according to Ray.

    In SIGGRAPH 2019, Fox Renderfarm was honored to have Mr. Ed Lantz, President/CTO for Vortex Immersion Media & Chair of Los Angeles ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter, to do an interview with Ray.

    Here’s the exclusive interview with Raymond and Ed Lantz.

    Ed Lantz:

    Hi, my name is Ed Lantz, from Vortex Immersion Media and Chair of SIGGRAPH Los Angeles. I'm here with Raymond McIntyre, and Ray why not just tell us a little about what you do.

    Raymond:

    Hi, my name is Raymond McIntyre. I'm a visual effects supervisor and visual effects producer. I usually get hired by studios and companies to do the visual effects for movies like Netflix, Warner Brothers, CBS, ABC or companies like that. I also have my own company called Pixel Magic and I am president for Pixel Magic and we are a visual effects house, a small visual effects house that's been in business for more than 30 years now. And what I do is, I create and budget and produce visual effects for features, generally, I'm known for creating photo-realistic work. Most recently, I did the movie Green Book which won Academy Award for Best Picture and Academy Award for Best Screenplay. I did the visual effects for that, and my company did as well. And visual effects we did on that movie is the actor Mahershala Ali who did not play the piano in that movie at all, so everything he did was a head replacement. So we had a piano player play the piano on set and then move the piano player out once we were happy with take, and move Mahershala Ali in, shot him in the same seat, and the computer later on composited his head onto the piano player's body. So that's the kind of work I do, we create a basically seamless visual effects that hopefully you watched, the movie like Green Book and ever saw one of the 2 or 3 hundred shots we did for that movie.

    The film Green Book

    Ed Lantz:

    That's incredible. Could you tell us a little about the process in Green Book to replace the head? Was that volumetrically scanned or you're working with 2D plates?

    Raymond:

    Sure. To replace the head or do the head replacement on Green Book, we actually get it in a more traditional approach. We did not create a 3D model of Mahershala Ali or anything like that. We actually shot him on location, either at the piano or wherever the shot or scene was and composited via rotoscope. We did not put up green screen because the green screen changes the light value on the actor pretty substantially. And so when you're looking for absolute seamless work, we decided that the green screen change the light too much to make that work. So we shot him in the scene with the exact same light that was on the piano player and then tracked and rotoscoped, and composited Mahershala's head onto the body of the piano player. So it was all done with a more traditional approach instead of either a 3D approach, or you know something like that.

    Green Book VFX breakdown

    Ed Lantz:

    I especially like the shot of the White House (in the movie LBJ). And you actually shot a caravan of cars, and you could see (White House) through the windows. How did you pull that one off?

    Raymond:

    Well, for this movie called LBJ, that was directed by Rob Reiner and it stars Woody Harrelson. Rob wanted a shot in 1960 presidential motorcade was driving out of the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue to go off and whatever their business was for that day. But you cannot get a permit to shoot in front of the White House and plus Pennsylvania Avenue is closed to all car traffic except for presidential car traffic. So it's not something you can go and do. In order to create it, the movie was being shot in New Orleans. We shot the motorcade driving on a parking lot in New Orleans, because of the camera move, the extreme scale of watching them drive out the front driveway of the White House and then panning to follow them as they drove down Pennsylvania Avenue. That was a really big camera move, so we were unable to put up a green screen for the size and scale that would have been needed for that. So the approach had to be rotoscope, and that's something we're very familiar with, fortunately. It was really the talent of the artist that put the shot together. His name is Patrick Trahan and he was responsible for all this. His ability to make us believe that as we saw through the window of the motorcade as it was driving in the Louisiana parking lot, he had to roto and create transparency and create glass basically for his own (distortion). When you go around a corner especially those curves have to be rounded pieces of glass, it would distort the image, so he actually created pieces of glass, created his own distortion. So as the car rounded the corner and you as now seen the White House background through there he distorted and created exactly. And then we generated a Matte Painting for the White House based on photography that I did at the White House today and then painted out everything that isn't period or doesn't look correct and added in movements for trees and things like.

    LBJ VFX breakdown

    Ed Lantz:

    Very impressive!Why don't you tell us a little about what software tools that you use in your work?

    Raymond:

    We used a lot of software to complete the visual effects, and a lot of different tools. First off, you usually have to match move or track your scene or your object, or whatever it is, what that means is if you have a moving camera and a person in the shot that's moving and you want to add something to the person, you need to know what that movement of that person. Let's say we want to change my badge to something else, and I'm walking and the camera is moving, so you need to know what the movement of that is in the computer. So we call it a match move, which means we're going to match the motion of what the physical object in the real world does in the computers. Then the computer can recreate its motion exactly in pixels, and in dimensions in the computer. And then we can replace the object, change the object, do whatever it is. So we use tools to do that, which is called match move. We use SynthEyes and tools like that which is our primary matchmover. And then whether you create something in 3D to change the object, you have to composite it, so we use different compositing tools. But primarily we use Adobe After Effects and Nuke for our two primary compositing tools, and they both have features and feature sets that are unique and different than the other, and both have pros and cons that the other one does or doesn't have, so we use those two. There are others that are very similar, but those are our two main tools. And then for creating 3D objects like the cars in Green Book or the creature in Rim of the world, or the snowfall in Green Book, to create those kinds of things that have to be generated in a computer, they are solely made in the computer. We use several different tools. We use LightWave 3D, we use Maya, some of our people use Houdini for certain things. Again the tool that you choose should be based on what its strength and or weakness, isn't that you don't want. So if something is really good at doing water, for example, a CG ocean or CG water, then you use that tool, not all 3 software tools sets create water equally as good as the next. So you choose a tool that's best for the project.

    Green Book VFX breakdown

    The film Rim Of The World

    Ed Lantz:

    And why don’t you tell us maybe one of your most challenging projects that you're most proud of?

    Raymond:

    Well, I think the project I'm most proud of right now is Green Book, because it's a recent project that won two Academy Awards, and the actor won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. A lot of People would probably say that they thought he was playing the piano, even though he did not. So that's something we are very proud of, and I'm proud of that the sense we made something that (hopefully) no one had any idea that we actually modified a change.

    Ed Lantz:

    Certainly I didn't, that was very impressive.

    Raymond:

    I learned something I've been doing this. I've been in this business for quite a while, and I've been doing this for a very long time, but I learned something basically on every show, I learned how to improve or what I should have done better or what I can do on the next one and so there's many shows like that. Recent ones come to mind for me, Rim of the World. We had to design and create two different creatures, three or four different alien vessels and ships and things like that. And that's always fun for a different reason because when you're designing and creating something you're trying to make something that hasn't been seen or hasn't been done before, which is difficult in today's world, especially when it comes to aliens and spaceships and things like that. And then implement them in a way that they look like the real in the shot, that are realistic and photo-realistic in the shot. And so that's always fun, you need challenges, but always fun.

    Fox Renderfarm:

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

    Ed Lantz:

    My work involves projecting on large domes and we're creating shows with a-list talents. We did a show with Childish Gambino, otherwise known as the Donald Glover, and a 160 foot dome out in the Joshua Tree Desert, and we had 12 video projectors covering the dome blended together and produce the whole concert. 5 shows over 3 days, 2500 people per show inside the dome. And we also did an event at the Coliseum, here for the founder of Minecraft. He invited 3000 of his closest friends to come to party and with Skrillex and Diplo and some big DJs. And that was 24 video projectors blended together to create one big image. So now there's project in Vegas, Madison Square Gardens Entertainment makes LED dome that will hold twenty thousand people. So now we will have an arena that artists can graduate to. My company is building five-hundred to twenty-five-hundred-seat venues, so we hope CG artists get into the format creates spherical not just for VR but also for dome.

    MSG Sphere

    Raymond:

    As a visual effects supervisor and producer, and as a company owner, I've been doing this for a long time. It's not a good way to say is going to be, most of my exposures is US-based, but I travel all over the world for shooting and for production and things like that. The post production end of things is in the last ten or fifteen years really started to become worldwide. But I would say now that's really expanding, even more so with China and India and Australia. I'm all for the worldwide visual effects input because there's lots of reasons for that. The more brains you have figuring something out, the better it's likely to get and the result will be. So it's always nice to involve people who either look at something a little bit differently with a fresh perspective. As opposed to a perspective that I may have or colleagues may have looked at for a long period of time. When we go down one path when there is really another path that might get something done. So I actually enjoy traveling for production and I enjoy being on shows now where you know you have five, six, seven hundred, even more of those movies that have two and three thousand shots. You have to involve companies all over the world in order to get them done, and that's a challenge, but it's a good one.

    As Ray said, challenge helps us to step forward. Looking forward to more possibilities of CG creations.


    Interview with Jakob Scheidt, 6-year Exploration in Blender of a 16-year-old 3D Artist

    2020-01-14

    Trending

    CG Challenges

    Who wouldn’t dream about life on a boat, far from boredom and pressure, with tranquillity and maybe some adventure? Fox Renderfarm is amazed by the excellent artworks from ‘Life on a Boat’ 3D render challenge held by CGBoost, both for their diverse creativity and high-quality images. Congratulations to all the winners of the challenge, and never stop letting your ideas make the community shine bright!

    Jakob Scheidt, the 3rd place winner in the challenge, is also an old friend of Fox Renderfarm - Winner of Fox’s Got Talent! Here is one thing about him you won’t believe - Jakob, with 6 years’ practice of Blender and having won prizes and praise in various platforms, is only 16 years old.

    In the interview with Fox Renderfarm, he told us his unique thoughts behind the awarded artwork, and how he got started and motivated in 3D art creation.

    • Jakob Scheidt
    • 3D Artist
    • From: Germany

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

    Jakob: Hello! My name is Jakob Scheidt, I’m a 16-year-old 3D artist from Germany. I started drawing when I was a kid and continued creating visual artwork. I discovered Blender six years ago and I’m still using it today, combined with Substance Painter and Photoshop. I think about working as an Illustrator or 3D Artist in the future.

    Artworks by Jakob Scheidt

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the 3rd place in CGBoost ‘Life on a Boat Challenge’ this time?

    Jakob: It’s always a good feeling to be awarded, but the prizes are not the most important thing you get from participating in a competition. Every time I have a deadline and a topic to create an artwork I get very motivated and spend as much time as possible working on the artwork. At the end you get improved in so many areas, like concepting, telling a story, modelling, sculpting, texturing and lighting. Knowing and practicing the complete process is crucial, even if you want to specialize in a particular skill. In the past, 3D art challenges always boosted my motivation and skills as a 3D artist.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your artwork delivers a pretty tranquil and exotic feeling, could you tell us your inspiration for it?

    Jakob: The topic ‘Life on a Boat’ can be interpreted in many different ways. In the beginning I had no idea what to create and started researching to get inspired. I came across many different cultures, the instruments they play, the food they eat and the boats they have. I combined everything I liked into a scene that captures the relaxed, calm mood. It was great to see that the other participants had totally different ideas and created images with action and humor for example.

    Fox Renderfarm: The lake takes the biggest proportion of the image, the lighting and ripples of the water matters a lot to the picture, could you introduce the production process and any consideration behind?

    Jakob: I added the water at the end of the process and thought it would just be a simple plane with a simple material. It took several hours to finish in the end, it was a challenge to make it look good with the lighting of the scene. I experimented with volumetric effects, particles, color variations and several combined bump textures for the small waves. In the end I had a giant node tree that included all the elements mentioned. The interaction between the water and the paddle was particularly challenging. It’s basically a bump texture painted by hand, even though I used a water simulation as a basis. And as always, using many reference images was important to make it look realistic and appealing.

    Fox Renderfarm: About the senior man on the boat, his clothes, hat and shoes have really appealing colors and prints, how did you make them? And did you refer to any materials?

    Jakob: I was fascinated by the clothing patterns of different cultures; many parts of the image include them. Although I tried using a simple texture to wrap around the whole model, I ended up painting or adjusting most of the textures by hand in Substance Painter. Adding the golden parts and the small graphical patterns was time consuming, but it makes you want to look at the image for a longer time, the details and bright colors catch your attention.

    Fox Renderfarm: About the objects on the boat, like the case, food, hookah and so forth, could you introduce them a bit, and any ideas behind that?

    Jakob: All the assets are created based on reference pictures I collected earlier. They had to look good individually as well as combined with the boat and the character. Modeling and texturing them was time consuming, but these details make the scene look believable and appealing.

    Fox Renderfarm: The steam from the spout of the pot gives the whole image a dynamic and vivid touch. How did you make it? And any ideas behind that?

    Jakob: Adding the steam makes the scene look more realistic. It was very easy to create though, I just added an alpha texture to a plane, the scene is not meant to work as an animation.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most interesting and unforgettable memory during the production?

    Jakob: At the beginning of the modelling process I was very keen on getting every detail on the boat right, even though I wasn’t sure about the final camera angle and composition. So, I spent 6 hours creating two special chests with sophisticated details and complex textures. At the end you can’t even see the first one, the other one is mostly in shadow and a simple cube would have done the job. The lesson I learned from this is to think about the specific camera angle and how much details you need to include in the assets early on, so you don’t waste your time like I did!

    Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulty, and how did you solve it?

    Jakob: The water and the character have been challenging, and the lighting for sure. I spent a lot of time trying different HDRs and added many spot lamps in addition to that. This was important for establishing the mood of the piece and emphasizing particular parts.

    Fox Renderfarm: What are the software and plugins did you use for this artwork?

    Jakob: I used Blender 2.8 for modeling, sculpting, retopology, UVs, Materials and Rendering. Most of the textures are created in Substance Painter, but I used resources like Poliigon, Textures.com and Pixabay. The final image was composited in Adobe Photoshop and rendered in Blender cycles.

    Fox Renderfarm: You are also the winner for Fox’s Got Talent, how do you feel about winning our challenge?

    Jakob: It was a great promotion for my ArtStation profile and some free render credits are always great for future projects. Looking at the other artworks created for Fox’s Got Talent is a pleasure too, very inspiring!

    Fox Renderfarm: Can you recall your first encounter with CG? And could you briefly tell us about the education and career experience along your 3D journey?

    Jakob: I started using 3D software six years ago. The beginning was tough, but I had a lot of time to learn and was fascinated by 3D, even though 100% of my renders in the first two years sucked. I was learning Blender with video tutorials on YouTube, but I wasn’t following a particular curriculum. Slowly my technical skills improved and I could use the software. At that time, I was messing around with animation, VFX and simulations almost every day. Today I focus mostly on modeling, sculpting and texturing realistic creatures and props.

    Fox Renderfarm: Who or what project inspires you the most in this career?

    Jakob: I look at a lot of 2D artwork and I like to draw as well. That’s why I enjoy many concept artists, but I’m very inspired by artists mixing 3D and 2D, one example is Jama Jurabaev. Some other 3D artists I admire are Julien Kaspar, Gregory Smith, Henning Sanden and Gleb Alexandrov.

    Concept Art by Jama Jurabaev

    Rain-Turntables by Julien Kaspar

    Artwork by Gregory Smith

    Artwork by Henning Sanden

    Artwork by Gleb Alexandrov

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you do to get inspired and motivated? And how do you improve your professional skills?

    Jakob: Participating in art competitions is very motivating and drawing every day is very important for me to practice observation. Other than that, there are many excellent courses on the internet on 3D tools, asset creation, lighting and anatomy.

    Fox Renderfarm: As an old friend of Fox Renderfarm, how do you feel about Fox Renderfarm’s cloud rendering service?

    Jakob: Having access to an easy to use render farm has become very important to me. I am working on a music video right now and I need a lot of rendering power for that. Rendering externally allows me to get higher quality renders in a short time. Another advantage is that I can still use my computer when the render farm is rendering my animations.

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

    Jakob: Never stop creating!

    For more Jakob’s artworks:

    ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/jakobscheidt

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jakob.scheidt/

    Youtuebe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk4--F0P5NGHjy_1JGwWDCA


    Interview with Alvaro Arroyo, Creating a Melancholic Atmosphere in ArchViz

    2019-10-30

    Fox Talk

    Art Competitions

    Exclusive interview about 2019 ARCHITECTURAL 3D AWARDS

    After reading 2 interviews with the winner and nominee for the 2019 Architectural 3D Awards, you must have been amazed by their great ideas and persistence in their ArchViz career. Today, we go on our exploration in the creation of ArchViz by talking to Mr. Alvaro Arroyo, nominee for Student Image category.

    • Alvaro Arroyo
    • From: Spain
    • 3D Artist
    • School: School-ing

    CREDITS:

    • School-ing
    • Adán Martín
    • Eduardo Rodríguez
    • All of the School-ing students
    • 3D Collective

    Alvaro’s work delivers a sense of melancholic atmosphere while the composition is with coherent layers. The moment he created this artwork, he was still a student, however, he has already stepped into the ArchViz industry and put his whole heart in it currently. Let’s read the interview to know more about the creation of the nominated work, and how he sees the shift in his life.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Alvaro, would you please give a brief introduction about yourself?

    Alvaro: Hi, my name is Alvaro Arroyo Cerdá, a 27-year-old 3D Artist from Valencia (Spain). I´m an architect from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) and now I´m working full time in the architectural visualization industry.

    Polytechnic University of Valencia

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about being nominated in The CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards?

    Alvaro: It is definitely a great honour. Just the fact of having my work recognised in the world's most important awards of the industry is an amazing feeling. A few months ago I couldn't imagine all these things were going to happen.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this amazing project? Why did you select this artwork to participate in the competition?

    Alvaro: This image is part of a project that I was working on in the school, so besides this one, more images have been made. Each one has the architecture as the base, and then I tried to experiment (with) different moods for all of them, creating atmospheres that fit my purpose.

    Other 2 pictures for the same project

    In this artwork, I had the idea of creating a melancholic atmosphere where nature and modern architecture might get together. I added some women playing music inside the house just to emphasize that idea.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce the light design and the composition of this project?

    Alvaro: The light design is just based on a foggy HDRI, and I used the Vray environmental fog to mitigate the light and exposure of that HDRI. In terms of composition, I had a clear idea of having the house entry in the center of the image, and for that, the shape of the building was so helpful. I had the forest and nature on the foreground, just playing with its colours and wildness, and introduced those broken branches on the right to avoid a flat image. The road on the left was a great element to avoid it as well. Finally, I placed some forest on the background to make them disappear in the foggy day.

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

    Alvaro: Probably it took between two and three weeks to do that image, but it's hard to tell because it was part of a bigger project, so modeling the architecture and texturing were the longer parts.

    Clay render

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most unforgettable and interesting part of the creation process?

    Alvaro: Maybe the most interesting part was when I was trying to achieve the mood that I had in my head for this image. As I saw the first results, my idea was to place myself inside that environment to keep improving all the details and have a humid atmosphere like the one we have when just stopped raining.

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

    Alvaro: Of course, I think is part of the process and in my case as a beginner, I had much more difficulties. The hardest part was to recreate a realistic wild forest because it was so close to the camera, and I solved it working a lot in the vegetation materials and placing the nature elements very carefully in the scene.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long have you been in the architectural visualization career? And how did you make the decision to step into this career?

    Alvaro: I have been actively learning from January of this current year, so just ten months. They have been really intense months as you can imagine. I made the decision when I realized that the part of the architectural work that made me happier was to visualize unbuilt architecture and where I can use more of my creativity.

    Fox Renderfarm: Who or what project inspires you most in this industry?

    Alvaro: Well, Adán Martín has been the real inspiration for me in this industry. In fact, studying and learning from him in School-ing has been the best decision I could have made to start in Archviz. Maybe Csaba Banati, Karim Moussa or Thomas Dubois are artists that inspire and motivate me because their creative mindset of facing new challenges representing the unbuilt is just awesome.

    Fox Renderfarm: As an outstanding architectural visualization artist, what do you think are the qualities that will make a great artist greater? And what do you do to enhance your professional skills?

    Alvaro: I think that in an industry like this, always changing, is so important to have a learning attitude towards everything. Use our creativity to solve our working problems will make an artist much better. In my short experience, I have been trying to make works where I can always learn some new things, to have my mind active.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your next step?

    Alvaro: As I said before, keep learning every day new techniques, new software and the best visualizer I can be to fulfill all my expectations that are coming. Now, I am focused on my new job as a Junior 3D Artist at Kilograph and that is where my mind is.

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

    Alvaro: Not really because I didn't have the chance to use them because my short career in the Archviz industry, but definitely I´m going to do it from now on.

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

    Alvaro: Well, just encourage people that are starting in the industry, like me, to work with passion and determination to create great illustrations. I will be happy to keep meeting people of this industry because is always a pleasure for me to meet such talented people, so feel free to contact me on social media to share thoughts about our works. And finally, I hope you saw the rabbit in my image, did you?

    Alvaro’s Instagram @arc.alvaro


    Interview with Dans Digital, A VFX Creative Company Won 112 International Awards

    2019-11-13

    Fox Talk

    Art Competitions

    Exclusive interview about 2019 ARCHITECTURAL 3D AWARDS

    Dans Digital, one of the few comprehensive visual effects companies in China which integrates technologies such as 3D animation, live-action shooting, and visual effects, won numerous international Ad awards including CICLOPE, MOBIUS, NYF and so forth, was founded by Mr. Bohong Deng who was honored as AUTODESK 3DS MAX MASTER in 2009.

    This year, Dans Digital won The Best Commissioned Architectural Film at CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards 2019, for its wonderful architectural film, Yuxin Building. It’s our honor to have an exclusive interview with Dans Digital, from which we can know more about the success story of the multi-award winning team.

    • Company: Dans Digital
    • From: China
    • Director: Bohong Deng / Executive Producer: Cuimin Zhou / Executive Producer: Yan Jiang / Post production: Guanghao Xu / Editor: Yuping Duan / Post production: Yan Li / Photographer:Bo Yang / Visual Effects:Jinliang Jiang / Layout:Hongming Xiang / Technical Support:Guibing Xu / Photographer:Minsheng Lin / Post production:Zhiqiang Chen / Layout:Haixiang Hong / Assistant Camera:Jujun Zhang / Post production:Hui Yang / Layout:Junwen Xu / Assistant Camera:Zhichen Tang / Layout:Jie Yu / Visual Effects:Xiaozhen Cheng / Layout:Rongxiang Yang / Layout:Mini Chen / Layout:Leisi Feng / Layout:Zhijing Sun / Production Assistant:Yucheng Chen / Production Assistant:Liling Gao

    The film stimulated the foggy morning with 3D visualization technique, it portrayed the building and surrounding landscape covered in the mist with low contrast and low saturation tone, which provides people an artistic conception of traditional Chinese ink painting.

    In addition, the traditional means of artistic expression resonated with the ancient Chinese Philosophy where the creative idea was generated.

    As the creator of the awarding-winning film, Dans Digital, founded in 2003, is mainly engaged in film production work within advertising, animation and visual effects field. Dans Digital has won 112 awards in total in international competitions, including 1 Best Of Show and 16 Gold Awards.

    Some of the honors

    Dans Digital takes a leading position within the industry of China in 3D animation, visual effects and post-production, and has mastered the advanced technologies proficiently including photographing and 3D synthesis, pilotless aircraft photographing, computer simulation and performance of fluid and rigid-body dynamics, particle system and computer cluster rendering, etc.

    Some of the award-winning works

    No matter in architectural style, artistic style or creative ideas, Dans Digital has never stopped the pursuit of innovation. Dans Digital started building growth animation technique and traditional Chinese realistic painting animation style within the industry, and has created many works which were regarded as milestones of the industry.

    An excellent leader is indispensable to an excellent team. The Founder and Director of Dans Digital, Mr. Bohong Deng, one of the jury for the“CLIO AWARDS” from 2015 to 2017, has created more than 100 excellent works within 16 years since he founded Dans Digital.

    He initiated the creative architectural growth animation and traditional Chinese realistic painting performance practices. His works were made outstanding contributions to the development of the industry.

    Mr. Bohong Deng was honored as 3DS MAX MASTER in 2009

    Here’s the interview between Dans Digital and Fox Renderfarm.

    Fox Renderfarm: Why did you select this artwork to participate in the competition? Which part of the film do you like the most?

    Dans Digital: Actually, we submitted three films. But the judges did not turn their noses up at the other two. I think all excellent films should be outstanding as a whole. I’m satisfied that our award-winning film completely integrates our client’s business purpose with artistic feeling.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration for this amazing film?

    Dans Digital: The inspiration comes from two lines of a poem from a famous Chinese poet Lu You living in over 900 years ago. The two lines are “铅华洗尽,珠玑不御”, which mean remove all makeups and jewelry, get back to basics. More precisely, it means “Remove all gorgeous colors and celebrated labels in life, get back to simplicity and peacefulness.” Therefore, the film is presented in lighter colors. I try to use the state of life described in the poem in architecture, life and films.

    Fox Renderfarm: The whole film delivered a very tranquil atmosphere, what objects in the film you made and techniques you used to strengthen this style?

    Dans Digital: To create a peaceful and graceful ambience for the film, I chose a foggy morning to set a tone for the film.

    Fox Renderfarm: In the first half of the film, we can see drops of water floating in the air, any ideas behind that?

    Dans Digital: In Chinese, when we have some ideas and feelings, we usually use “Rise and Emerge” to describe them. And these two words both imply the meaning of “upward”.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce more about the camera movement design? Other than the horizontal movement of the camera, the camera was zoomed in with multiple movements and such.

    Dans Digital: The camera is designed to move from some specific part to get a whole picture, from slow to fast. This is the simplest narrative rhythm of a film. In the end, the fast moving long-length shot could meet the client’s need to fully display the product as a whole within limited time without destroying the overall atmosphere of the film.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the work?

    Dans Digital: We spent ten months finishing the work from ideas to reality.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most unforgettable and interesting part of the creation process?

    Dans Digital: The most interesting part is always the hardest part during every creation process. The most difficult part of the film lies in how to determine light and colors as a whole as well as the concentration and tone of the fog. Stronger light, colors and fog will make the film too flashy while weaker ones will create a dark and gloomy atmosphere.

    Fox Renderfarm: Dans Digital, as a comprehensive and award-winning visual effects company, what is the project that your company most proud of?

    Dans Digital: We do our best and challenge ourselves on every project. And such experience deeply impresses ourselves.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the development vision of your company?

    Dans Digital: To bring people with better feelings.

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

    Dans Digital: Even if others misunderstand you or try to bring you down, never stop putting sincerity and effort into your work.


    Interview with Patrick Vogel, a Designer Thinking about How Futuristic Architecture to Save the Last Nature

    2019-12-16

    Fox Talk

    Architectural Visualization

    Exclusive interview about 2019 ARCHITECTURAL 3D AWARDS

    What happens, if the ecosystem is going to collapse? How will architecture save the last few bits of nature? Patrick Vogel, a multidimensional designer and creative director, told us his answer through a futuristic 3D architectural work.

    • Patrick Vogel
    • From: Germany
    • Multidimensional Designer
    • Company: ALT/SHIFT

    The Prophecy: Nominated work in Image (Non-commissioned) of CGarchitect 2019 ARCHITECTURAL 3D AWARDS

    Patrick Vogel spent 4-5 weeks to finish the creative work The Prophecy, which contrasts the world of the extinct to the world of the living through an architectural Utopia. By creating the image, he wants to point out that architectural visualization can be used for more than selling buildings. It rather can be a tool for portraying political, social and ecological problems, to gain attention and publicity.

    Patrick’s Work

    Patrick is a 3D designer in the field of visualization, animation, VR, and design & art. With the background of the architect, he found his own 3D/Design studio ALT/SHIFT, an interdisciplinary design studio in Hamburg in 2016. Patrick and his team create high-end visualization, animation and high immersive VR-experiences, and keep their own unique style in creation. Their vision is to be the digital architects who create digital realities.

    ALT/SHIFT’s Work

    Here’s the interview between Patrick and Fox Renderfarm.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Patrick, would you please give a brief introduction about yourself and your company?

    Patrick Vogel: My name is Patrick, I’m a 31-year-old dude from Hamburg City and the founder of ALT/SHIFT. I used to be an architect but hated that boring job. So the decision was clear in 2016: I have to start a 3D/Design Studio. We’re basically doing whatever we want. It just has to be creative. We’re mostly doing ArchViz, Motion Design, Branding and other weird stuff. We do what we love and we love what we do. Ah, I forgot the most important thing. I’m having ALT/SHIFT with my amazing wife Tanja.

    ALT/SHIFT’s Work

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about being nominated in The CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards?

    Patrick Vogel: I’m super blown away! Just amazing! I really didn’t expect that. Feels unreal.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this amazing project of The Prophecy? Why did you select this artwork to participate in the competition?

    Patrick Vogel: In general, I’m really interested in the whole climate change discussion and wanted to portray a sinister future scenario about this topic. As I’m doing a lot of ArchViz for commercial projects I am always asking myself if this kind of job is the right thing for contributing to society. The answer is no. We basically selling images that sell houses to people who can afford it. Don’t get me wrong, I love this job, but I was asking myself if it would be a cool idea to use the ArchViz-medium as something that communicates a modern problem. That was also the reason why I participated with that work: I wanted to tell a real story through ArchViz. Not a customer journey.

    Other 3D architectural works of Patrick

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce the lighting design of the project?

    Patrick Vogel: That was actually a tough one. I tested like hundreds of lighting setups and HDRIs to get the right “poisoned-world”-look. I didn’t know, what I was searching for and it literally took days to find the right mood.

    Fox Renderfarm: We discovered that this artwork is different than the commercial architectural visualization, why do you illustrate the future architecture in this way? Any ideas behind that?

    Patrick Vogel: Yes, like I said in one of the answers above: I tried to create something that communicates the climate change problem and shows a possible future, where there is no real nature anymore. Something that can happen. A world that we created for our children. Sounds really dramatic and emo, haha. But basically, that’s it.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most unforgettable and interesting part of the creation process?

    Patrick Vogel: Staring for hours at the screen and being amazed and scared at the same time… And then realizing that this dystopian piece comes out of my head.

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

    Patrick Vogel: I had huge trouble with finding the right light setup and I hope I solved it.

    Fox Renderfarm: ALT/SHIFT not only devotes to high-end architectural visualization but also dedicates to multidimensional visual communication like animation and VR, what’s your inspiration for this integration?

    Patrick Vogel: Oh yes, we’re doing a lot of different stuff. That’s what keeps us moving forward. We tend to always say YES. Because YES usually leads to way more fun then MAYBE or no. From branding to motion, fashion, cover art – we see ourselves as multidimensional designers with a strong foundation in 3D and CGI.

    ALT/SHIFT’s Work

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the development vision for your company?

    Patrick Vogel: We want to create. It’s that simple. At the moment we realize, that we will be forced to grow a little bit – but we want to stay a weird and fancy boutique studio. MY nightmare would be, that I’m not creating stuff on my own anymore – instead just caring about employees, client needs and new business. If that means, that we will stay small and will never have a Lamborghini – I’m happy to pay that price. So the answer in general: We want to become one of the most creative boutique-agencies in the world.

    ALT/SHIFT’s Work

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

    Patrick Vogel: Honestly, I never ever used a render farm in my whole career. But I guess, that will change now. And I also guess that Fox Renderfarm would be an amazing partner! So be prepared to welcome us as new customers!

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

    Patrick Vogel: Like Nike said: JUST DO IT. Don’t overthink things. Don’t overthink light, composition and so on. Just create CGI more based on how it feels. Not how it’s supposed to look – because somebody set some standards in look and feel.


    Interview with SIGGRAPH 2021 Conference Chair, Pol Jeremias-Vila, A Man of Many Responsibilities

    2020-01-03

    Trending

    SIGGRAPH Asia

    Pol Jeremias-Vila is the Co-Chair of SIGGRAPH Asia 2019 Computer Animation Festival (CAF). He has been a consistent force in helping to elevate the conference in many years.

    SIGGRAPH 2019

    Originally from Spain, Pol is the Lead Graphics Engineer at Pixar Animation Studios where he develops algorithms to help artists make movies. He is credited in multiple movies including Toy Story 4, Incredibles 2, Coco and Finding Dory. In addition to his credits on films, he is also the co-founder of Shadertoy.com, a website that enables graphics enthusiasts to create and share rendering knowledge.

    Since 2012, Pol has been actively involved with SIGGRAPH, holding multiple roles on past conference committees, including as Computer Animation Festival Director, Real-Time Live! Chair, and Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Chair, as well as serving as a content contributor and juror.

    SIGGRAPH 2017

    SIGGRAPH 2016

    Also, he will chair the SIGGRAPH 2021 conference in Los Angeles. Let’s look forward to a new CG memorable ride.

    Here’s the interview between Pol Jeremias-Vila and Fox Renderfarm, in which Pol shared his SIGGRAPH experience and the unforgettable memory in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019.

    Fox Renderfarm: Why are you so passionate about Computer Animation Festival (CAF)?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: One of the things I like about the Computer Animation Festival is something as technical, as how we render a polygon can be used to tell meaningful stories that can either inform people how the lights went off in Puerto Rico, and how that affected the rest of the country, or it can tell a story about Mascot. It can help with the development of feature films through visual effects, like this simple piece of technology can help tell all these different stories, and it can help create this medium. And I think that's a very interesting field and I personally really like it of course.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your goal for the CAF in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: We wanted to create a show this year that had a lot of varieties that you could see the different ways in which computer graphics are used. And for us, it was important to showcase scientific visualization. We believe this is a field that uses computer graphics in a very important way, and we wanted to support that. So we actively supported that, you can see it in the film, similarly, visual effects. I think for us that was one of the goals, say, we're gonna make a show that really tells the story that you can use this technology in different ways. And it doesn't need to be just short films. It could be advertising as well.

    CAF in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019

    Fox Renderfarm: Any unforgettable memory about this CAF?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: This year I’m co-chairing along with Jinny Choo, the SIGGRAPH Asia Computer Animation Festival. So great memories, I think seeing the numbers of submissions coming in was really satisfying. We did a lot of work to outreach to areas in which we hadn't done it as intensively. And seeing all those numbers and seeing all the submissions from schools all over the world, it was really rewarding.

    Fox Renderfarm: There is an ‘inter-see show’ in this CAF, any efforts behind that?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: For us, it was a way to break the rhythm of the show and make sure that there was a little bit of surprise as well, like something that wasn't really expected. We have inter-see shows after each piece, so you can expect the inter-see show, and then we put something that may be surprising for some people, hopefully, funny, and trying to make it all be a more coherent experience. Even though they're disconnected stories, we try to create a flow that lasts an hour and 40 minutes. It doesn't feel like too disconnected. It needs to flow.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you share some rendering technology development trends with us?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: One of the things that we are seeing in the Computer Animation Festival (is) that there are more submissions that are using real-time engines to produce short films. And this is always interesting and we try to support every technology that is used for filmmaking. So this year we showcased some works that were using real-time engines as well as other techniques that are already using, offline renderers, path tracing or ray tracing. Again, we don't necessarily look at the technology per se more, so like the artistic composition and a story. We do try to showcase the different ways in which you can use computer graphics to tell stories. For example, this year we have scientific visualization, we have advertising; we have visual effects breakdowns, short films. All of them use computer graphics regardless of being a real-time render or being an offline render. They all use this medium to tell stories and that's what really matters, and it's at the core of the festival.

    Some works of CAF Electronic Theater

    Kids

    The Gift

    Kinky Kitchen

    Pumpers Paradise

    Fox Renderfarm: Any difficulties that you’ve met when you were working on CAF? And how did you solve it?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: So there is an obvious physical difficulty when you are on site. You have to deal with screens, projectors, light that might be coming in from other rooms. We try to create this perfect environment and to enjoy films. And we try to be as respectful as we can with the works that are submitted to our conference. We care a lot about how that video is playback. (I’m) not sure (if) that is difficult but it's definitely one of the parts that we try to really take good care (of). Another part that's interesting always is how to deal with these big numbers of submissions, and how to make sure that they are all properly reviewed that we have enough opinions on each of the pieces. So we can have our jurors provide good decisions, so they have enough information to do a good decision. What we see though is that we do have a lot of content that gets through our hands and we would love to have more spaces, in which we can show it. So this year we have also an Animation Theater that goes and runs all day long.

    CAF in SIGGRAPH Asia 2019

    Fox Renderfarm: SIGGRAPH is closely associated with the emerging technologies, how do you integrate them better?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: Personally, one of the things we did in North America in 2017, was to invest in a new way of seeing 360 and VR films. And for us, it was to create a new physical space that people could go in the same way that you go into the Electronic Theater to see the best of the 2D films. Can we create a physical space that people can go and enjoy VR? I think it was a great success. It's happening as well here in SIGGRAPH Asia. And I'm sure that sometime, we will see some forms of stories that are grounded in the real world through AR or something like that. I don’t know exactly what that will be, and I think that's why SIGGRAPH always needs to be aware of what's happening in those spaces, what are those stories going to look like, and how we are going to support those creators. That's where I see that as SIGGRAPH members, we need to be thinking about those things, talking about it, and talking to the people that are creating those stories to make sure they have a place here, and they can show it.

    SIGGRAPH 2017

    Fox Renderfarm: SIGGRAPH 2021 will be in Los Angeles! As Conference Chair for SIGGRAPH 2021, anything you want to share with us?

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: Really excited! We will start working the way on preparing SIGGRAPH 2021. We bring the team together. It's going to be in Los Angeles. I'm not sure what technologies will be around in 2021. We might have some surprises. The team that we are working together is spectacular. I'm really confident that we're gonna have a really awesome show. We're gonna have actually our first on-site meeting in February of next year. So, this project takes time to prepare. So, really excited about it!

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

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: Yes! I have it (the brochure) right here!

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

    Pol Jeremias-Vila: If you have an opportunity to see the Computer Animation Festival 2019. We hope you really enjoy it! Please request showing in your local areas. We'll be more than happy to try to arrange that. We hope you enjoy the show!

    Special thanks to Rajeev Dwivedi from Live Pixel Technologies.


    Interview with Ernest Petti, Revealing the Production Secrets of Frozen 2

    2019-12-11

    Top News

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    During the visual and information feast - SIGGRAPH Asia 2019, Fox Renderfarm is delighted to have the chance to talk with Mr. Ernest Petti, Studio CG Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, who has also devoted to the production in Frozen 2, the biggest-worldwide-opening animated film of all time.

    Ernest Petti has been working with Walt Disney Animation Studios for over 19 years, now is the Studio CG Supervisor. In this role he acts as a bridge between Production and Technology for long-term strategic initiatives, orchestrating the initiatives and projects of the Workflow team and uniting them to fit within the studio’s vision for workflow. Prior to this, he served as Technical Supervisor on Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) and the 2016 Oscar-winning feature Zootopia. Ernest joined Disney in 2000 as a software engineer in the Technology group and has served as a supervisor in Lighting, Look Development, and Tactics. Credits include 2014's Oscar-winning feature Big Hero 6, as well as Wreck-it Ralph (2012), Tangled (2010), and Bolt (2008).

    In the Featured Sessions of SIGGRAPH Asia 2019, Ernest delivered a presentation named - "Frozen 2" and the Past, Present, and Future of Tech at Disney Animation, and he was also being part of the discussion and communication: Proactive Large-Scale Pipeline Efficiency Management, with a panel from large-scale Animation and VFX studios to share insights to their challenges on how to balance between creating amazing visuals as well as given a tight production time frame.

    During our interview, Ernest expressed his excitement about this year’s SIGGRAPH - how interested he was to connect with other people, companies and technologies. Besides, among all the cutting-edged technologies shown, machine learning sparks his curiosity about its application during his work. Of course, the development of rendering technology arouses his wonder about how to make a more interactive and direct manipulation with rendering, especially with GPU that comes along.

    More insights into the production of Frozen 2 is definitely what Fox Renderfarm would not miss, and are also what we can’t wait to share with you. Let’s check out the interview video and article, and see how Walt Disney Animation Studios combines timeless storytelling with innovative technology.

    (F=Fox Renderfarm, EP=Ernest Petti)

    F: Could you tell us your main responsibilities in Frozen 2? How did you cooperate with the VFX departments along the production?

    EP: My role is Studio CG Supervisor, I’m in the studio level position that kind of overlooks the long-term technical development and artistic workflows over the course of shows.

    I work closely with the technology group and with the productions, and try to find the bridge between those over time. I was the Technical Supervisor on Ralph Breaks the Internet. On that show, we did stuff like the first steps into nested proceduralism for some of the buildings on the internet that paved the way then, and was built on top of further for Frozen 2. So there is that sort of continuity of shows that we passed on. And then in my current role, looking at workflow is a big thing that we are focused on and is in the concurrent collaboration and making that as smooth as possible between different departments. So talking to the groups in Frozen 2, like all the Visual Effects Supervisor like Steve Goldberg and the Technical Supervisor like Mark Hammel, and working with them and understanding what they're doing on their show, and making sure it's in line with the shows before, and moving into the future so that we can really build to what will come next.

    Basically, when the new set of leadership starts on a show, we try to connect with them, then start understanding what our show’s specific needs, and what are things that we want to advance in the studio that makes sense to, also try to dock on at that show so that we can have some continuity.

    F: How did you cooperate with the Production Director and the Production Designer to actualize the creativity through the technologies?

    EP: When that story starts forming and the show leadership really is working with the Production Designer and with the Director to understand the story and what the look of the film is, achieving that comes first. So we really want to partner closely on what technology might be needed to make that happen. It’s very important that we’re able to achieve that. Then in partnership with that, it’s can that build off things that were already in the plan; should that accelerate things that we may have been thinking about but weren't going to necessarily line up with that timing; and are there things that aren't necessarily tied to show needs, but we do want to advance and this would be the right timing to do that, for instance, the work in USD - of course, we're hearing about lots of studios, we’re trying to make significant advances in USD in our pipeline for Raya and the Last Dragon, which is our movie coming out next November - so that's not a show need, it's nothing out of the artistic vision of that movie that said we need USD, but it'll help advance a lot of future tools and workflows. And we need to find the right place to start feathering that in.

    F: Which part do you like the most in the production of Frozen 2? Why?

    EP: It’s a movie that has a lot of scope and scale to it. I like that it kind of takes you in more surprising directions. It takes you outside of what you've seen before in the first one, so it's not staying in the same zone, it's leaving Arendelle. It’s going out into the wild into a different environment and world, and it has sort of unique Spirits and settings that we haven't necessarily done before.

    F: How did you achieve the scale of autumnal trees and foliage through technical changes?

    EP: In a lot of our films, we have (been) trying to strike the balance between artistic stylization and procedural simulation to make sure we have the complexity and richness that we want, and yet still the stylization that we need. And we've worked overtime to build the tools to give that stylization for, say a single tree. And then you place them well to get a cluster of trees that looks nice. But now, when you have a whole forest that has a certain level of stylization to it, and it has a lot of depth to the ground cover, the pebbles and everything else around it as well. We needed to prove our toolset so that we would not only have that sort of balance of stylization and complexity on the single tree level, and then make a whole forest of them, we can stylize the appearance of the forest as well. So we had nested proceduralism which would allow us to build up, like here's a pebble, here's a cluster of pebbles, now here's a ground cover that includes some leaves and a cluster of pebbles; and then it includes a tree, and then there's a grove of trees, and then the grove of trees expands to the forest. And you can sort of stylize but also build up and populate at each of those levels. And then we created a tool called Droplet that was essentially a procedural painting tool that you could then paint down the trees in a more painterly fashion, so that you could have more direct control over the style and flow of the forest as a whole, and all the trees throughout it. So it did definitely lead to expanding on our Bonsai tree tools and our Aurora instancer, as well as developing the new tool like Droplet.

    Bonsai Instancing Zootopia Test

    F: What’s the challenging part of the production? How to solve it?

    EP: I think there's a couple of areas environment side we had a very lush rich forest environment that includes very colorful diverse autumn forest, but also because its fall leaves are on the ground that also had to be very rich. On top of that when you start adding in the elemental spirits and you have something like Gale, the Wind Spirit, you're tying that environment as a character and having to make sure there's a lot of coordination between how the environment is built; and how the character of the wind plays through that, and then interacts with the rest of the environment, and with any characters and the scenes with Anna or Elsa or any of the other characters. So this film presented a lot of challenges with collaboration. A lot of things that like the Water Spirit and like the Gale that didn't fit neatly into one department, one group of people or a linear pipeline. So the challenge is finding the ways to iterate smoothly when you're having to have a very tight connection between people across departments.

    I think we always start with the sort of research into trying to ground the challenge that we're looking at, and what the closest connection is to the physical world. When you have the Water Spirit taking the form of a horse, you study water, you study horses, and then you bring all the people across departments together, and everywhere from art and trying to understand the stylization, and how far you want to go in wateriness versus sort of solidity. The effects departments, the spray and the foam of the mane and the tail to the animators, so you really have everyone working together to look at the challenges together, form more of a team around the problems you're trying to solve.

    F: What did you do to make these characters realistic?

    EP: There is the realism you want, the realism of a horse movement or the realism of water movement. And where do those conflict, and how do you find the right balance between those, and the choices you may make for a beautiful horse animation may not work when the mane and tail are refractive water that you can see through. Say, the mane goes in front of the face, it's not actually completely covering the face, you're kind of seeing through that. So that's again where what decision might be made in animation may need to be iterated on when you see a render. Because of the effects of the water on the character, so it's definitely a challenge to find just the right balance for that character.

    F: In this process, what kinds of tests did you do to give the designers the idea?

    EP: I think with all of the tests and with the Nokk as well, we did start with some hand-drawn tests. Even seeing once again the example of legs, and how much the leg should sort of splash away into water, and how much they could stay fairly solidified, was something that we tested with some hand-drawn tests first. And then you take that into animation, and then you would try to run little sort of various types of character tests, like a still test of the Nokk with just some head animation. That informed that we needed to take the water distortion and reduce it on the face. Because there were subtle movements, that distortion was making the rig harder and keep that just on the body. Then you would do a test on how much spray and spindrift should be in there. And you do a running test. So it's kind of you really work closely as a group and sort of run these tests to explore different aspects and keep the Directors in the loop for that time.

    F: Could you explain more about the unified rendering?

    EP: I think when we talk about unified rendering and looking forward, at a lot of places at Disney animation, we have a glViewport that we use for when we're viewing things in our various departments and getting previews as we're working, and then you do a final frame render that on a render farm and takes a significantly longer chunk of time. Sometimes those technical requirements require different paths and different pipelines. We would love to find paths where almost what you see is what you get, and so there's more of a continuum from the preview that you see, to the final frame. It's almost more of a transition from speed to quality over time, but it's less of a dichotomy.

    F: Any suggestions for the audience when watching Frozen 2?

    EP: The movie takes place three years after the original story. The movies made six years after the original one came out, so there's been a lot of tech technology advancements. And I hope people can see it in all the beautiful images that are on the screen. At the same time, we want to bring you back to the same characters that you love from the first film. And you'll see some nice additions, like of advancement. Olaf now has a permafrost covering so that he won't melt as it's getting into autumn. He's learned to read now, and all the characters have sort of progressed. Because there has been a time period that's passed in the film as well.

    F: You have made so many great animation features, which one do you feel most proud of? Why?

    EP: I love different aspects of all of them. I have a special connection to Zootopia to a certain degree because XGen was one of the first developing (tool), when I first started at the company way back. And it was a big sort of fur-based show, and there was a lot in there that connected with me. Returning to Wreck-it Ralph with Ralph Breaks the Internet, it's always fun to revisit a place that you've been to before. And even going all the way back to Bolt that had a certain painterly style to it. That was exploring sort of a looser look that was a very different look at that time.

    Thank Mr. Ernest Petti again for accepting our interview. Keep up with Fox Renderfarm and follow us on social media platforms, more interesting and insightful content is waiting for you!

    Special thanks to Dan Sarto from Animation World Network, Ian Failes from VFXVoice and Chang Wei-Chung from InCG Media.

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