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  • NEWS CENTER

    How to Create a Hail Phoenix with Cinema 4D and ZBrush

    2021-02-24

    Fox Talk

    Art Competitions

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

    One of the Honorable Mentions goes to Santa's New Ride: A Phoenix Hope, created by our dear friend Kay John Yim. The artwork is made with Cinema 4D, ZBrush, Redshift and Character Creator.

    “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 for a new ride, it might be a supernatural one like this. It looks as if 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.” One of our judges, Miho Aoki said, who is the Associate Professor of Computer Art University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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

    • Kay John Yim
    • Chartered Architect based in London
    • CGI Artist
    • From: Hong Kong

    Santa's New Ride: A Phoenix Hope © Kay John Yim

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning honorable mention in FGT3D Santa's New Ride Challenge?

    John: I feel really honored winning the honorable mention, and thank you so much for having me for the interview!

    Fox Renderfarm: What inspired you to create the work Santa's New Ride A Phoenix Hope?

    John: In light of a turbulent and disruptive year, I believed Santa’s New Ride for Christmas had to be symbolic for 2020’s Christmas, a motif bringing hope across the world. Phoenix, a legendary creature well-known worldwide was well-suited for that particular role. This led me to re-imagine the traditional Phoenix in a more festive and seasonal form - the Hail Phoenix - made up of both ice and fire, it was an embodiment of warmth and cold, a personification of sublimation and reincarnation.

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

    John: It took me about 3 weeks to finish - a week on the backdrop buildings, a week on sculpting the Phoenix, and another week on set-dressing and designing the final composition and lighting.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you tell us how you make the modeling so appealing?

    John: I set out to do quite a large scale scene at the beginning, so I knew I would have to focus on assets/part of the assets visible to the final view/camera or else I would easily run out of time.

    Part of the background building components were procedurally modelled in Houdini, part of them were from an asset library that I built up in the past, assembled with Houdini’s Building Generator.

    The Phoenix model took a lot of trial and error - although it was sculpted in ZBrush in reference to body proportions of an eagle and a peacock, the wings and the tails were exaggerated in scale to make it look more heroic and surreal.

    Santa's New Ride WIP

    Fox Renderfarm: We’re all impressed by the lighting and composition of the work, could you introduce how you make them? Any references?

    John: Glad you like it! The scene was created in reference to Paris high streets and Christmas Markets - I personally loved the abundant festive lightings found in a lot of European Christmas markets, which I replicated and had them scattered around the scene.

    Composition wise it was actually a reference to my own personal artwork, “Thousand Cherry Trees (千本桜)” - a centered main subject surrounded with a symmetrical backdrop and foreground character(s). Coming from an architectural background, I personally love using central perspectives - although not often as realistic - I think they leave the deepest impression and are the easiest to design and iterate on.

    Thousand Cherry Trees © Kay John Yim

    Fox Renderfarm: The shading and texturing are brilliant. How did you make it?

    John: The shading and texturing were done in Cinema 4D (Redshift) and they were relatively simple.

    I used mostly Megascans materials for the buildings and the street props with a bit of color correction and material blending.

    The festive and window lights were subtly randomized emissive materials - I originally lit a lot of them as diffuse lights but had to swap them out for emissive materials instead due to excessive render times.

    As for the Phoenix, it took a lot of trial and error to arrive at the final look without exact real-world references. I originally planned to groom it as if it were an oversized eagle, but I figured that the grooming would take up too much time on top of the sculpt, and it would have covered up a lot of the background lights and buildings. This was the primary reason why I ultimately made it a translucent “living ice sculpture”, shaded with an ice material mixed in with a lot of roughness noise for reflection and refraction.

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

    John: The most difficult part was managing rendering time. Refractive materials like glass and ice were computationally expensive to render - caustics in particular could easily double or triple rendering times. With such a large refractive object in the scene (the Phoenix), my original estimated rendering time would be well over 2 weeks (for a 4K image) with caustics on! I had to turn off caustics and place in some fake spotlights with caustic textures as a “cheat” to speed up my rendering time at the end.

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

    John: I have tried a lot of rendering services and I think Fox Renderfarm is one of the most helpful renderfarms; the file uploading speed is particularly impressive.

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you think of the FGT3D Challenge, any suggestions for us?

    John: I think the FGT3D Challenge is great, as the topics are really flexible and thus allow for artists’ own interpenetration.

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

    John: To render a good image, I think it is most important to train one’s artistic sense, attention to detail and proportions, which could be as simple as watching good movies.

    Technical-wise, there is really no defined path for learning since CG softwares is advancing so quickly these days. In general I believe it is essential to practice effectively and regularly. I try to spare as much time as I could everyday on personal CG projects, and when I am learning a new software myself, I would pick a photo or an object that I really like and try to fully replicate it as a 3D rendering.

    https://johnyim.com/projects/EL4Lln


    Passion is Everything: Introducing Enthusiastic 3D Animator, Maynard Ellis

    2021-02-08

    CG Challenges

    Art Competitions

    What if Santa wants to be a superhero?

    Showing us a story about Santa saving a young lady in his heroic dream, Maynard Ellis’s 3D animation short Santa's Dream won third place in the 2020 Animation Holiday Contest of Renderosity.

    As the old friend of Fox Renderfarm, the largest cloud rendering service provider in the CG industry, Maynard Ellis told us his inspiration and how he made the animation.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you tell us what is the inspiration for your 3D video Santa's Dream?

    Maynard: The inspiration for this video came from the contest theme 'Dreams of Peace'. I took the theme quite literally and thought it would be cool to have Santa dreaming of being a buff hero type keeping the peace for the local villagers near his South Pole home.

    My original concept was a little grander and a little better executed than the final piece but that mainly came down to time. Having said that I think I ended up staying pretty true to the original idea and the original story board narrative that I put together.

    Essentially I planned to have:

    • The opening scene with Santa falling asleep outside his home, including a cool effect to transition into a dreamstate.
    • The party full of young revellers in the village.
    • A monster charging in and creating some mayhem, throwing aside one of the young men and carrying off his girlfriend... very King Kong sort of style.
    • Another character running up to Santa's house and alerting him to what had gone on. This was dropped but I think it worked better with Santa in attendance at the party. It certainly cut some corners having him there witnessing it all.
    • An epic showdown in the monsters lair followed by warm accolades from the rescued young woman.
    • A return to the original scene with Santa waking up exclaiming that it was all just a dream. This too was dropped but I think it worked ok ending it the way I did and it saved on some time which I just didn't have a lot of.

    Fox Renderfarm: How much time did it take you to create your work?

    Maynard: Time!!!! Aaargh!!

    Anybody who does animation will tell you how long this process can take and when you are trying to do a full narrative style production and not just a moving montage there is a sooo much to do and you certainly need plenty of time. As I have a day job I generally only get to work on projects like this at night and on weekends, although I have been working from home during the Pandemic so I do get the luxury of kicking off test renders during the day and other little things I can do on breaks.

    I really wish I'd had 6-8 weeks to get all I had hoped for done but I barely had 3 weeks as I didn't realise the contest had started. Luckily I still had some time left when I checked for it. I guess I should have been looking for it earlier, and knowing it was coming I guess I should have been planning stuff but I hadn't heard anything and just assumed it would run closer to the end of December and not need to be done by the 10th of December!!!! So all gripes about my stupidity aside this was a tough project to finish in 3 weeks and the soundtrack, voice overs, the quality of animation and the overall content I included all suffered as a result of this. I was still pretty pleased with how it came together though and it is always great to see a concept grow from your initial idea into something that works out OK.

    Fox Renderfarm: There are many characters in your video, such as Santa, the snowman, the monster, and the beauty, could you introduce the design of these main characters?

    Maynard: Firstly I generally use high quality DAZ characters brought from DAZ to iClone and the main characters were mostly created this way, but the performance of iClone was getting bogged down so the villagers and the main beauty were iClone characters which are lighter weight than the DAZ characters. With more time and planning I could have reduced the resolution of my DAZ characters but I just dropped some people out of the village scene and substituted some of the DAZ characters for iClone characters and this helped enough to get something out.

    Just before I started this project Reallusion ran a sale on a Christmas character bundle so I had a couple of young girls in Xmas outfits although I originally planned for the main woman to be a DAZ character that I had prepared.

    The snowman character came from DAZ and I took his hat, scarf and glasses and put them on a traditional snowman model to help sell the concept of him coming alive. With more time he would have had a bigger role in the story but he still worked out OK.

    The traditional Santa was easy enough in DAZ and then I made his buff alter ego in a less traditional outfit. Doesn't everyone have a better looking, younger, sexier alter ego they see themselves as in dreams?

    I was very disappointed with the monster and really wanted a furry snow beast but had to settle for the pasty, hairless, albino abominable snowman type of beast. As my animations are very small and quick projects just for personal pleasure under contest deadlines there is no real time to model custom characters but I would like to do more of that for my animations in future. I have a bit more to learn in that regard though!!

    Fox Renderfarm: In the video, Santa has a wonderful fight with monsters, and also there are some people who dance in the snow. Could you tell us how these characters' movements are achieved? Did you use any motion capture?

    Maynard: I really wanted to use motion capture and tried to, but I didn't have a successful pipeline for this in place and in the end I abandoned those plans as the lack of time caught up with me. I have a Kinect and tried using that and I captured a couple of animations that both ended up on the cutting room floor as I ran out of time and fast tracked each scene. I motion captured Santa yawning before falling asleep and the monster picking up the girl and putting her on his shoulder. In the end I just had Santa drop straight off to sleep and I cheated with the snatch and grab by cutting to the monster running off with her already on his shoulder.

    I was thinking of buying the iClonect Kinect plug-in but I was not overly impressed with the demo and I have some software for Kinect capture that works in Unity but I had issues trying to get that animation into iClone. What I did end up using was a little capture app that was a freebie in the DAZ community. It writes out a text file of the motion capture data that is then imported into DAZ by a script and applied to a figure. This worked surprisingly well and was easy to get into iClone after I exported it out as an FBX. iClone recognises FBX files based on Genesis 8 so that would have been what I used if I persisted with motion capture for this project. I currently am looking at some solutions that work with Unreal Engine 4 as that has better integration with iClone and I have also downloaded some new iphone motion capture apps to try.... oh and who knows I might even win a Renderosity animation contest one day and get a licence for the iPi mocap studio.... one can only keep dreaming of these things :)

    Most of the animations were crafted from stock animations from Mixamo and from iClone animations that I have. In order for these animations to tell the story I tweaked them in iClone and created custom keyframe animation to string them all together cohesively where required. The fight scene was especially difficult in regards to this. I had hoped for it to be a longer and grander battle but that was just going to take far too long to animate. Luckily I think it fitted the theme that the dreamstate buff santa hero was able to dispatch the villain so easily :). The hardest part of that fight scene was creating something credible and despite it being short with the help of some sound effects I think I pulled it off ok. I was quite happy with it in the end and Santa really did save the day with his devastating roundhouse kick.

    Fox Renderfarm: Did you use any new approach during creating the work?

    Maynard: I think you always end up trying new things when you are doing new projects. Something always comes up that you don't know how to do or you research new techniques, or your idea just makes you think outside the box. This is one of the great reasons to do stuff even if it is just for your own pleasure or as a contest entry.

    The following were new things I used, or tried to use

    • I really wanted to use Depth of Field (DOF) camera blur in this project, especially for the monster reveal. iClone has this feature but for some reason I couldn't get it to render properly. I am sure with some more time I could have worked this one out but I ended up just removing it altogether. I think this would have been a very cool little trick to have given some more sparkle to my video so I will investigate this again.
    • I used a toon shader built into iClone for the dreamstate. By not coming back to reality at the end it wasn't as effective as I would have liked as most of the video was dreamstate. It would have been nice though to see the video go into this rendering mode when the dream started and to come out of it when the dream stopped.
    • I used a friend for voice-overs. I sent her an email with some lines I wanted and chatted to her about the story and the emotion I wanted in the lines and she recorded them on her phone and sent them to me. This worked surprisingly well and I will hopefully use her again in future projects, although I am investigating AI based text to voice and may use that as well for future projects. I had to use my own voice for Santa (which I hated) and I had wanted the 'Gary' character to have a line and the snowman character could have had some dialog, so just one female friend willing to help with voice overs does not give me enough scope for a large project. I have found an AI Text to Voice service that is surprisingly good allowing you to add different emotions and emphasis to the dialog and it is far superior to other services I have looked at. It has a cost but given that when I investigated using someone from Fiverr they started at $15 USD a good paid service that is not too expensive may work for me. I highly recommend checking out the one I found. https://replicastudios.com/ They sell 4 hour blocks of voice generation for $20 USD and with careful planning that should be good for a few projects so all in all I think they are dirt cheap.... and they have amazingly good AI text to voice so check them out!!
    • I learnt more about iClone which is great. I bought it last year when they had a big sale during our first COVID lockdown and I am starting to get the hang of it now. I learnt about auto switching between my cameras on the timeline while rendering which really helps in assembling complex scenes quickly and I learnt about using paths for more fluid walking and running animations. I also used their automatic lip synching from a sound clip for the first time in this project. If I had more time I would have tweaked the phonemes to get a better result but for what I was doing it was all I really needed. For something more advanced in a future project I think I will use facial mocap from an iPhone app.

    Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties? And how did you solve it?

    Maynard:

    • I had time difficulties as already mentioned and I just cut corners and simplified my scenes and soundtrack. This was not ideal but sometimes being leaner and tighter is better than what you were originally intending.
    • I encountered difficulties with the motion capture I was trying to use. Having a good and reliable pipeline is very important as no single app will do everything you need and I just didn't get a suitable pipeline worked out in time for motion capture. I will definitely persevere with this though as just using stock animations gets very limiting even though you can tweak them quite significantly in iClone.
    • I encountered problems with the DOF feature in iClone. I need to look into this more as I was not able to solve the issues and I just dropped it. I really wanted the background to be blurred during the village party scene so that when the monster is first revealed I could have blurred the foreground and brought him into sharp focus in the background. This is a cool technique and it actually worked well when I tried it but using the DOF on the entire scene left some strange artefacts in the background and I just wasn't happy with it overall. I have seen videos of DOF being used effectively in iClone so I need to try again for my next project.
    • I had major performance issues with iClone for the early attempts at creating the village scene. There were just too many characters moving in the scene and too many of them were high poly count models. I swapped a few of the villagers that I had prepared in DAZ out and replaced them with standard iClone characters and I reduced the overall number of characters in this scene and this helped immensely. When having just 2 or 3 characters in a scene there is not much issue if they are high poly count but for bigger scenes with more actors this really has to be considered. I use Reallusions Character Creator 3 (CC3) in my pipeline between DAZ and iClone and I did reduce some of the size of my main characters in CC3 as well but I was mindful not to push this too far as they were often focussed on in close up. In future I will take all my characters through CC3 and prepare them for their role by reducing the quality and amount of textures and also removing hidden meshes where appropriate. I may also try to use billboard crowds if I want to do scenes with large numbers of characters..... maybe that can be what I do next time... have huge crowds in a scene... an epic battle or a city overrun with zombies :) 

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

    Maynard: Here are some thoughts for aspiring animators:

    • Don't let yourself be easily discouraged.
    • Give yourself plenty of time and use good time management.
    • Try to tell an engaging story. I have seen some very simple animations brought to life with narration or with text so any project can aim to engage and tell a story.
    • Plan your animation and storyboard it. This can be as simple as a scene narrative in dot points or some stick figure drawings, but it will help immensely and will allow you to better manage your project if you need to make changes on the fly. A good story board can also help you see the overall picture more clearly and lead you to make better decisions about the project.
    • Don't be afraid to cut something you planned to add.
    • When you have a plan for your scenes don't always just create them in large linear blocks, have fun with how you tell your story and break scenes apart and intercut them with other scenes, you may be surprised at the results.
    • Try new techniques and don't always just use the same approach, I am wanting to do a stop motion animation soon which will be very different from what I have recently been doing
    • Never stop learning, there is a wealth of great learning material out there for anything from 2d keyframed techniques to stop motion against green screens to AAA quality 3D epic adventure sagas.
    • Check out as much stuff other people are doing as you can. Seeing what is being done by others should encourage you to create and may lead to some ideas you hadn't thought about.
    • Treat anything you are watching as being a potential idea playground for things you can create. I recently re-watched the film 'Memento' There is no other film quite like it and it is a story told completely backwards. Thinking about techniques like this could trigger a great idea for your own project and I am planning to try something like that one day with some sort of backward narrative.

    Dream Big and Fly High.

    There are no rules and you can make no mistakes. There are just the things that you imagine and the things that you create.


    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!


    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 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.


    FGT3D Santa’s New Ride Challenge is Online Now!

    2020-11-04

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm

    As Christmas is coming soon, FGT3D Santa’s New Ride Challenge is now open for submissions! We would like to invite CG artists around the world to submit their artworks and show their CG talents.

    Fox’s Got Talent 3D Challenge (FGT3D Challenge), organized by your TPN-Accredited CPU/GPU cloud rendering services Fox Renderfarm, is a Render Challenge for 3D Artists to shine their talents and win great prizes!

    The theme of the 3rd FGT3D Challenge is Santa’s New Ride. As usual, Santa Claus is on the way to deliver Christmas gifts again this winter. 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.

    Time

    Time for entries:November 2nd - December 30th, 2020 (UTC+8)

    Winners announcement time:January 8th, 2021 (UTC+8)

    Prizes

    6 artworks will be selected and awarded!

    1st Place Winner

    Total prize value $5655.88

    • XP-PEN Artist 13.3 pro Festival Version x1
    • Corona Renderer 1 year license x1
    • Redshift $500 coupon code
    • Fox Renderfarm $500 Render Coupon
    • Raysync Larger File Transfer pro 1-year license x1
    • TopoGun SINGLE license x1
    • Textures.com 1 year subscription with 2500 credits per month
    • Texturebox Legendary Membership x 1 month
    • Friendly Shade 32K resolution Bundle x1
    • Graswald Pro Personal license x1

    2nd Place Winner

    Total prize value $2893.88

    • XP-PEN Deco Pro M x1
    • Corona Renderer 6 months license x1
    • Redshift $300 coupon code
    • Fox Renderfarm $300 Render Coupon
    • Raysync Larger File Transfer 50TB (pay as you go edition)
    • TopoGun SINGLE license x1
    • Textures.com 2500 credit pack ×1
    • Texturebox Legendary Membership x 1 month
    • Friendly Shade 16K resolution Bundle x1
    • Graswald Pro Personal license x1

    3rd Place Winner

    Total prize value $1615.48

    • XP-PEN Deco 01 V2 x1
    • Corona Renderer 3 months license x1
    • Redshift $200 coupon code
    • Fox Renderfarm $200 Render Coupon
    • Raysync Larger File Transfer 10TB (pay as you go edition)
    • TopoGun SINGLE license x1
    • Textures.com 1000 credit pack ×1
    • Texturebox Legendary Membership x 1 month
    • Friendly Shade 8k resolution Bundle x1
    • Graswald Pro Personal license x1

    Honorable Mention x 3

    Total prize value $471.49 for each

    • Corona Renderer 1 month license x1 for each
    • Redshift $100 coupon code for each
    • Fox Renderfarm $100 Render Coupon for each
    • Raysync cloud account 200GB download traffic for each
    • TopoGun SINGLE license x1 for each
    • Textures.com 500 credit pack ×1 for each
    • Texturebox Legendary Membership x 1 month for each
    • Friendly Shade 8K Single texture for each
    • Graswald Personal license x1 for each

    Besides, the winning artworks will gain a great amount of exposure and publicity, including:

    • Interview with Fox Renderfarm
    • Advertisement and promotion on our official website, social media accounts, and newsletters.

    How to submit

    Send your artwork to fgt3d@foxrenderfarm.com with your name and the name of the work.

    Rules

    • Your entry must relate to the challenge’s theme (we strongly encourage you to set your imagination free)
    • Your entry must be a 3D rendered image, 2D or concept art is not allowed
    • Your entry can be created by one artist or a group
    • There’s no limitation on styles and the choices of software and plugins
    • Your entry must be original art created specifically for the challenge (no existing projects)
    • Minimal use of third party assets is allowed, as long as they are not the main focus of your scene (third party textures and materials are not included in this rule and can be used freely)
    • Feel free to enhance your rendering
    • Images that depict hate, racism, sexism or other discriminatory factors are not allowed
    • Works must be submitted before the deadline

    Sponsors

    The prizes are provided by our awesome sponsors, including:

    • XP-PEN - XP-PEN means infinite possibility, we are committed to offering superior graphics tablets, pen display monitors and related accessories to our customers.
    • Raysync Larger File Transfer - Fast file transfer solutions with reliability and security.
    • Corona Renderer - Known for its ease of use, power, and affordability, Corona Renderer 6 is available for 3ds Max and Cinema 4D.
    • Redshift - An award-winning, production ready GPU renderer for fast 3D rendering.
    • TopoGun - A stand-alone resurfacing and maps baking application.
    • Textures.com - A website that offers digital pictures of all sorts of materials.
    • Texturebox - Making great textures for free and premium at a low cost.
    • Friendly Shade - High-quality textures for 3D artists.
    • Graswald - The best way to create nature in Blender.

    Judges

    For this competition, we have invited professionals in the CG industry as our judges to ensure the fairness and professionalism of the competition.

    Here's the list of our jury:

    • Ben Cheung - Vice President of Fox Renderfarm
    • Kariem Saleh - Filmmaker and Character Animator
    • Miho Aoki - Associate Professor of Computer Art, University of Alaska Fairbanks
    • Julius Harling - Founder of Graswald
    • Tom Grimes - Marketing and Community Specialist of Corona Renderer
    • Frank WANG Yefeng - Media Artist / Assistant Professor of Digital Media Curriculum, Art Department, Rhode Island College
    • Nicolas Burtnyk - CEO of Redshift

    Inspiration

    Here are some references for you, gathered from Artstation.

    Santa´s new sleigh © Jonte Löfgren

    Santa’s Ride © Enrico Tribbia

    Santa’s Ride © Shahadat Hossain

    We are looking forward to your participation. Come to shine your talent and great prizes are waiting for you! Let's celebrate a special Christmas!


    How to Create a CG Scene in Norman Rockwell Style in Blender

    2020-10-15

    Trending

    Art Competitions

    Heroes are Everywhere © Akhil Alukkaran

    FGT3D “Hero” challenge organized by the TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider, Fox Renderfarm, was started in June and sponsored by our awesome sponsors, including TopoGun, Friendly Shade, Graswald, Raysync, ProductionCrate, Textures.com, Texturebox and Marmoset. In September, twelve finalists were received votes by our jury and three winners were picked! Thank everyone for participating!

    And the first place winner is Akhil Alukkaran. Congratulations! His artwork, Heroes are Everywhere stands out for its strong composition and amazing storytelling, conveying the concept of what makes a hero in one of the purest forms.

    Fox Renderfarm is so glad to have an interview with Akhil. What’s the story behind while creating this artwork? Let’s figure it out together!

    • Akhil Alukkaran
    • 3D Artist
    • From: Kerala, India
    • Artwork Caption: “What makes a hero? It doesn't always have to be something great, even a small act of kindness can also be considered heroic, even if it is just a good thought it shows that there is a hero in you. Heroes are everywhere, you just have to look closer.”

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

    Akhil: I am really glad to have the opportunity given by Fox Renderfarm to share my experience, approach and vision with the making of ‘Heroes are everywhere’.

    Well... to start with, my name is Akhil. I am 25 years old and I am from Kerala, India. I am a freelance 3d artist and soon to be an Architecture graduate. It's been two years since I started working with 3d and I'm still trying to improve and learn. I used to work with sketchup and V ray, mostly Archviz. Recently I also included Blender in my workflow.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 1st place in the FGT3D Hero Challenge, how do you feel about that?

    Akhil: Thank you. Actually it felt good. I was looking for opportunities to do something nice, that's when I got to know about this particular challenge, so I thought of participating. However I wasn't sure about winning this one. My knowledge was limited, so if i needed to do something great I had to learn so many things. This taught me so many things and inspired me as well.

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

    Akhil: I took about a month and half to finish this work. I had other things to do as well so I worked whenever I got time. This work needed a lot of patience, since I was doing most of the process for the first time. But I managed to get inspiration from my friends.

    Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use to finish the artwork, Heroes are everywhere?

    Akhil: Most of the work was done in Blender, and also used photoshop for post processing. Also used ‘F spy’ addon for camera matching in the beginning stage. For the character creation I used reality capture and meshroom.

    Fox Renderfarm: This artwork conveys the concept of what makes a hero in one of the purest forms. What’s the inspiration behind?

    Akhil: When I got to know the Theme was ‘Hero’ I thought of so many things to work with. Every concept that i came up with was about doing something great and epic. Somehow I ‘wondered what makes a hero?’ Is it just about doing something great or doing something humanly impossible? We also do have a lot of real life heroes, however in the end I decided to look at it in a different perspective. That's when I decided to do something subtle but have a good story inside it and I wrote like this.

    “What makes a hero? It doesn't always have to be something great, even a small act of kindness can also be considered heroic, even if it is just a good thought it shows that there is a hero in you. Heroes are everywhere, you just have to look closer.”

    I was not confident about the concept in the beginning, but now it seems right for me.

    Fox Renderfarm: The amazing work has strong composition, and lovely lightning. How did you make them? Any references?

    Akhil: In the beginning itself i had a clear idea how the environment should be and about the main characters of the scene except the background characters which i decided to add in the final stage. So I gathered some reference images for the environment from pinterest and google and compiled it as a Concept board.

    Later I chose one particular photograph to be the base for my environment. Using F spy addon I matched the camera and exported it to blender so that i could build upon it. The buildings were just the image projected onto simple base planes which then modeled simply to have a bit of 3 dimensionality. I struggled a little with UV mapping. Since I had a clear picture about the composition in the beginning itself, I only tried to work on the area which would be seen in the final image.

    In the figure the road texture and puddles were added later in the finishing stage.

    I tried a different lighting setup in the beginning itself. Earlier it was just meant to be a night scene but later felt like doing a daytime scene and came up with a lighting which I felt was good. The lighting setup was simple. I used an hdri image as the base for the ambient light and used a simple sun lamp.

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

    Akhil: I wanted this work to be as realistic as possible, but I didn't know how to do that. Especially the main characters, the boy and the dog pups. Even before working on the environment, I started to work on the dog’s 3d model. I used a low poly base mesh and tried to sculpt details and pose it in Blender. It didn’t work out, well it was fine but wasn’t that realistic. Also I wasn’t comfortable with posing it, so I left it midway and thought of doing something later. After working on the environment again I started to work on the dogs again. This time I tried something different. I chose a reference image for the dog puppies and using ‘pifuhd’ i created a base mesh and later projected the same image on the mesh and sculpted the details. It was looking decent, so I decided to use them in the final scene.

    But the main problem was to create the human characters. I thought of doing something with character creator software but it would take so much time for me to achieve a good result. So I decided to 3d scan the characters. So I took photos of my nephew and created a 3d scan with reality capture. I also used Meshroom but since my photo quality was not good, it didn’t give me a good result. However the process was a bit longer than I expected because of some error. So i had to do some experiments. After that I scanned my dad as well for the character in the background. The whole process took around one week and I was just learning. The resulted model wasn’t that great, so I sculpted the rest of the model and details later in Blender.

    The final image needed a lot of work, so the rest of the time I focused on individual props which I needed for filling up the scene.Most of them were modeled but a few of them were third-party assets.

    Finally the scene was almost done. Later it needed a little bit more tweaking. The smoke and rain added later in photoshop, since the attempt to simulate them inside Blender, took so much time.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

    Akhil: It is hard to pick one. There are so many artists out there who are doing amazing works. I really do follow a lot of them and also learn from them. But for this particular work, I don’t know. I might have been inspired by some of them. In one of the jury comments they mentioned about ‘Norman Rockwell’. I have seen his amazing works before but that was a long time back. So really that was a good reference for me to learn from.

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

    Akhil: I am a self taught cg artist (actually in the process of being one). I am almost done with my Architecture degree. It's been two years since I started doing things in 3D, before that I didn’t even know how to model in SketchUp. Earlier works were done in SketchUp and V-Ray, those were mostly Archviz works. Last year I started to work more with Blender, and I always wanted to create larger worlds and tell stories through them and I am still learning.

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

    Akhil: I really don’t know how to answer that. I am still struggling to find the right method to learn. Only thing which I do is that I work hard a lot and I try to learn from my mistakes and others’ as well.

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

    Akhil: Yes, I have used Fox Renderfarm for some of my works. It seems quite fast and reliable. I am planning to use the service more in my workflow.

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

    Akhil: I used to depend more on the tools which I am using. Also I limited myself with what I knew, but I realized there are plenty of ways you could achieve something. Most important thing is the idea in your mind and the passion which leads you to give that idea ‘life’. Keep learning......

    NOTE: Fox’s Got Talent campaign keeps going. Welcome to share your artwork rendered with Fox Renderfarm and be our next winner and win prizes! For more info https://www.foxrenderfarm.com/fgt-community.html


    FGT3D Hero Challenge Winners Announced

    2020-09-18

    Trending

    MILESTONES

    We are happy to announce the winners of the Fox’s Got Talent(FGT) 3D Challenge themed on 'Hero'!

    https://www.foxrenderfarm.com/fgt3d-hero-challenge.html

    From June 22nd - September 6th, 2020(UTC+8), we received several artworks from various countries. After the selection by our jury, three artworks were picked and would be awarded. Congrats to the winners, but also to everyone who was taking part.

    The best works were evaluated in the following way:

    1. We sent the works to judges, including the caption of the works, so they could read about the hero story behind the work.

    2. Each judge had to choose 3 works and assign them to 3 places. Points have been assigned to each place, then we added points from each judge and got the first results.

    The prize covers fast and easy cloud rendering services provided by Fox Renderfarm and a huge amount of prizes by our awesome sponsors, including TopoGun, Friendly Shade, Graswald, Raysync, ProductionCrate, Textures.com, Texturebox, Marmoset. We will contact the winners in the next few days.

    Now let's see who are the winners!

    1st Place

    Title: Heroes are everywhere

    Created by Akhil Alukkaran

    • Fox Renderfarm $500 Render Coupon
    • TopoGun SINGLE license x1
    • Friendly Shade 1 bundle of texture maps
    • Graswald ProPersonal license x1
    • Raysync Large File Transfer Pro 1-year license x1
    • ProductionCrate 2 years Pro membership x1
    • Textures.com 1 year subscription with 2500 credits per month ($325 value) ×1
    • Texturebox Patreon Membership x 3 months
    • $200 Marmoset Shop Gift Card

    What Akhil says:

    “What makes a hero? It doesn't always have to be something great, even a small act of kindness can also be considered heroic, even if it is just a good thought it shows that there is a hero in you. Heroes are everywhere, you just have to look closer.”

    What our jury says:

    Fox Renderfarm Team: “The coloring, composition, lighting, complexity, children, puppies, and storytelling reminded me of the works of Norman Rockwell.”

    Graswald Team: “Great image with a great message! I love how the feeling of the city was captured with the grafiti, the trash cans and the smoke. The rain sets the mood while in the back, the sun is shining, showing there’s always hope. ”

    Productioncrate Team: “Strong composition and good narrative, lovely lightning!”

    Textures.com Team: “This artwork conveys the concept of what makes a hero in one of the purest forms. Great storytelling. ”

    Marmoset Team: “Anyone that cares for animals is a Hero in our book!”

    TopoGun Team: “Indeed, heroes are everywhere. Very nicely rendered and detailed.”

    Texturebox Team: “There are thousands of good people helping who need it. Kids, men, women, they are real heroes.”

    Friendly Shade Team: “Great concept! I'd change the focus more towards the person with the dogs by framing it differently, maybe cropping the upper part of the image? The environment is drawing too much of the attention the subject deserves.”

    2nd Place

    Title: Cuddly Protector

    Created by Jeffrey Frias

    • Fox Renderfarm $300 Render Coupon
    • TopoGun SINGLE license x1
    • Friendly Shade 1 bundle of texture maps
    • Graswald ProPersonal license x1
    • Raysync Large File Transfer 50TB (Pay as you go edition)
    • ProductionCrate 1 year Pro membership x1
    • Textures.com 2500 credit pack ($110 value) ×1
    • Texturebox Patreon Membership x 2 months
    • $100 Marmoset Shop Gift Card

    What Jeffrey says:

    “Made for sweet dreams.

    What our jury says:

    Fox Renderfarm Team: “In terms of storytelling, this work stimulates the audience’s imagination. The narrative lighting creates a horrible atmosphere that children can accept. The main light outside the window guides the audience to pay attention to the little bear while the lamp leads to the monster behind the door. The setting of the children’s room, the scars on the bear’s body, and the posters on the wall all need plenty of time for in-depth character story background settings. The tension built in the scene also allows the audience to have a creative imagination of the story.”

    Graswald Team: “I love the idea of this image, and it was executed very well. The pose and the lighting set the mood and I love the details in the room, like the teddy bear holding the toy sword of the child. Great work! ”

    TopoGun Team: “Good idea, perfect setting, the context (childhood) is where heroes are needed the most in our lives. The artist paid attention to details, lighting and most of all, composition.”

    Friendly Shade Team: “Love this idea!”

    3rd Place

    Title: Hero's Journey

    Created by Sathish Kumar

    • Fox Renderfarm $200 Render Coupon
    • TopoGun SINGLE license x1
    • Friendly Shade 1 bundle of texture maps
    • Graswald ProPersonal license x1
    • Raysync Large File Transfer 10TB (Pay as you go edition)
    • ProductionCrate 1 year Pro membership x1
    • Textures.com 1000 credit pack ($59 value) ×1
    • Texturebox Patreon Membership x 1 month
    • $50 Marmoset Shop Gift Card

    What our jury says:

    Fox Renderfarm Team: “The psychedelic atmosphere and the grand view of the scene give the audience endless imagination in both the storytelling and character design. The composition, scene settings, and imagination are close to the level of blockbuster design. It is a masterpiece combining art and imagination.”

    Graswald Team: “This piece has little context, but it captured me instantly with its tone. Displaying heroism as a journey of self-development and showing the hero so small in contrast to the huge world tells a story about what heroism really is all about.”

    Productioncrate Team: “Nice subject and structure. would have liked to see more variations in the creatures and riders, their positioning seems too cloned. overall narrative and composition are strong.”

    Textures.com Team: “Super polished artwork with good value structure, color palette and mood. Could easily be a keyframe for an upcoming movie.”

    Texturebox Team: “It seems to loo a utopic universe. And every utopic universe needs a hero. It reminds me of avatar anime.”

    Our Sponsors:

    TopoGun

    A stand-alone resurfacing and maps baking application.

    Friendly Shade

    High-quality textures for 3D artists.

    Graswald

    The best way to create nature in Blender.

    Raysync

    Fast File Transfer Solutions with Reliability and Security.

    ProductionCrate

    To make top quality video production tools accessible to everyone.

    Textures.com

    A website that offers digital pictures of all sorts of materials.

    Texturebox

    Making great textures for free and premium at a low cost.

    Marmoset

    3D Real-time rendering, lookdev, & texture barking tools.

    Thanks to all the participants. We really appreciate your imagination and hard work. Meanwhile, A big thank you goes to our sponsors. Finally, we’d like to thank our jury revealing FGT3D ‘Hero’ Challenge winners. Congrats to the winners again!

    Who’s our next winner? We hope to see you in the next FGT3D challenge!

    NOTE: FGT Art campaign keeps going. Welcome to share your artwork rendered with Fox Renderfarm and be our Month winner! For more info https://www.foxrenderfarm.com/fox-got-talent.html


    Creating a Realistic Moon Environment in 3ds Max and V-Ray

    2020-07-30

    Fox Talk

    Art Competitions

    Hum3D’s Space Rover 3D Competition, sponsored by the TPN-Accredited render farm, Fox Renderfarm, attracted 98 artists to take part in the competition.

    Among them, Space Walk created by Patryk Urbaniak stood out and won 1st place in the challenge because of its great composition and fantastic photo-realistic render.

    Patryk Urbaniak is a Lead Lookdev Artist at Method Studios Montreal. Some of the movies he worked on include Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Deadpool 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and many more. Generalist background helps him to tackle 3D scenes from a simple concept to a finished product.

    Here’s the interview between Patryk Urbaniak and Fox Renderfarm, in which we can find out how he created this wonderful piece.

    Clay Render © Patryk Urbaniak

    Space Walk © Patryk Urbaniak

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 1st place in the Space Rover Challenge, how do you feel about it?

    Patryk: Thank you so much for your kind words. It truly feels amazing. I remember waking up, going through my emails when I read what Hum3D wrote to me and I was just speechless for a good few minutes. I really couldn't believe it as there were so many good submissions.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the idea behind your artwork 'Space Walk'?

    Patryk: I had an idea to do a render of a realistic moon environment and then put it into an image, behind the camera I would render a film studio and I would place the astronaut on some wires and cover everything in green screens. After some trial and error with the frame composition I found out that the image is losing a lot of impact and I couldn't properly place it in strong composition points. This time I had to revert back to the first idea I had and that was just an image of a rover on the moon surface.

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

    Patryk: It took close to a month to create my work. I was able to put around 3-4 hours each day after work and a few weekends.

    Fox Renderfarm: The piece is extremely photo-realistic which received loads of praise from the jury. How did you make the render?

    Patryk: Thank you. I rendered everything in V-Ray and I have to say that this renderer is super intuitive. The realism is super easy to achieve when you just use the proper ranges of a PBR workflow. Right now a modern renderer does a lot for you and you can just iterate your work with such effectiveness that you are able to compare your renders to the reference much frequently.

    Fox Renderfarm: The lighting is capturing the Moon feel really well, such as the harsh sunlight and shadows. How did you make it?

    Patryk: The lighting was quite challenging because you mainly have to create a very interesting piece only with one light (I used a few additional rim lights to slightly detach the objects from the ground). What I did is I animated the sun going from left to right, and from top to bottom on a 200x200 preview. I was able to judge the shadows of each render and see exactly how much we can see and how much goes away. I picked the best scenario for my idea and I just added a few small lights here and there. But again, just because it was super fast to iterate the light, I was able to hit a few different approaches. In terms of the shadows, you might think I'm crazy but I just started to decrease the diffuse bounces. The less bounces or GI I had the more realistic it was looking. While there is no atmosphere at the moon it was easier to match the references with less bounces and I guess about 0.2x the GI.

    Fox Renderfarm: There are many nice details of the models and materials. Any references?

    Patryk: A lot of materials are fully procedural based on seamless textures and triplanars. The ground for example is a composition of 8 noises and one footprint texture with one mud texture that I created. In terms of the references I had an opportunity to visit a Boeing Factory in Seattle in order to look at a lot of space equipment that took us to the Moon so I took some pictures but in general the Internet is full with super quality images on that topic.

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

    Patryk: I faced many difficulties. Let me start by saying that the whole scene was rendered on V-Ray GPU and I’m working on a 2015 laptop. Like said above, the ground itself was done procedurally by using a blend of certain nodes and 2 seamless textures. The displacement being set to the satisfying quality took almost 80% of my VRAM so it was hard for me to create an illusion of the horizon being far away from us but after some optimization, I was able to free some space for the rover itself!

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

    Patryk: I don't have any graphic designer education or an art degree but I was attending a film school for 2 years and it gave me a good understanding of camera work or light. As for my experience I started in a small company as a 3d artist and I had no idea what I was doing at that time. After 4 years I joined the biggest studio in Poland, Platige Image and in 2017 I moved to Canada to work on slightly bigger productions. I have to say that I was incredibly lucky with the people I have met and friends I still have today. Being an artist is like running a marathon. It takes time and perseverance but it leads you to a whole new level of understanding the world through an observation.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you enhance your professional skills?

    Patryk: I think I just stay with problems longer. Whenever there is an issue I always dig for days until I figure it out. I read the documentation of the tool as well as "help". It gives me a little bit more information about the broad usage of a software. And then I just give myself a task each week and I try to complete it. I fail most of the time and then after a few more tasks I learn how to do it properly.

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

    Patryk: I would like to thank you each and one of you guys! Everyday I go to your website and it motivates me so much for the day that I can't even describe it. It is a great feeling that all of us can learn from each other and be an inspiration. Thank you so much for having me and I wish you all the best.

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


    Call For Submissions: FGT3D ‘Hero’ Challenge

    2020-07-08

    CG Challenges

    Art Competitions

    FGT3D ‘Hero’ Challenge is now open for submissions! We would like to invite CG artists around the world to submit their artworks and show their CG talents and originality.

    Fox’s Got Talent 3D Challenge (hereinafter, “FGT3D” or “FGT3D Challenge”) is a 3D Rendering Challenge curated and organized by Fox Renderfarm, which aims to provide a platform for creators to improve their CG skills, shine their talents and get the chance to win the great prizes.

    The theme of the 2nd FGT3D Challenge is ‘Hero’. Have you ever imagined the shape of Heroes? What hero looks like in your mind, set your imagination free, create a 3D render, and tell us your Hero story!

    Time Time for entries:June 22nd - September 6th, 2020 (UTC+8) Winners announcement time:September 10th, 2020 (UTC+8) Prizes 3 artworks will be selected and awarded!

    Besides, the winning artworks will gain a great amount of exposure and publicity, including:

    • Interview with Fox Renderfarm
    • Advertisement and promotion on our official website, social media accounts, and newsletters.

    How to submit Send your artwork to fgt3d@foxrenderfarm.com with your name and the description of the work.

    Rules

    • Your entry must relate to the challenge’s theme (we strongly encourage you to set your imagination free)
    • Your entry must be a 3D rendered image
    • Your entry can be created by one artist or a group
    • There’s no limitation on styles and the choices of software and plugins
    • Your entry must be original art created specifically for the challenge (no existing projects)
    • Minimal use of third party assets is allowed, as long as they are not the main focus of your scene (third party textures and materials are not included in this rule and can be used freely)
    • No fanart allowed
    • Feel free to enhance your rendering
    • Images that depict hate, racism, sexism or other discriminatory factors are not allowed
    • Works must be submitted before the deadline

    Sponsors The prizes are provided by our awesome sponsors.

    We are looking forward to your participation. Come to shine your talent and loads of prizes are waiting for you!


    Creating a Hyper Futuristic Robot Under an AI Generative System in Blender

    2020-05-20

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Sponsored by the TPN-Accredited cloud render farm Fox Renderfarm, the CG Boost “Baby Robot” Challenge collected so many cute and adorable little robots for the 9th challenge, smashing the record with 170 submissions.

    In the “Baby Robot” challenge, Karel Schmidt, the 3rd prize winner, created his baby robot in a creative way.

    The image stands out for its simplicity and suggestive quality. It merges the cold realism of the surrounding with the strange-looking artificial embryo, creating fantastic tension while remaining calm in composition!

    What’s the story behind while creating this artwork? Let’s figure it out together!

    • Karel Schmidt
    • Motion designer and compositor
    • Manama, Bahrain

    “I wanted to create a hyper futuristic robot, from an era where technology is grown organically. This robot is the project of a human working in his garage clean room, grown using an AI generative system.”

    © Karel Schmidt

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Karel! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Would you please give us a brief introduction of yourself?

    Karel: Yo. I'm an online video editor/finisher by profession, motion graphics and VFX specialist in my 5-year plan, a fine artist at heart, and musician in my free time. I spend most of my time editing corporate films and banking ads.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the 3rd place in the CGBoost ‘Baby Robot Challenge’?

    Karel: To be honest, I was stumped when I read the announcement. I started learning Blender a month before entering the challenge (thanks to Blender Guru’s donuts). Entering the contest was just a little personal challenge to add a goal structure to my learning process.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your artwork delivers a futuristic experimental feeling, what’s your inspiration for it?

    Karel: I tried to imagine what a robot would look like if it was grown in some guy's garage cleanroom a few decades from now. You know, when AI will be doing most of the heavy design thinking.

    Fox Renderfarm: The whole picture is neat and concise with stunning details, any ideas behind the composition and background setting?

    Karel: My education was in Fine Art, and I’ve liked the minimalism of an art gallery. The idea here was to present to the robot in a similar space, to really make it feel like it’s on display. Regarding composition – minimalism requires good layout and that’s hard to get right. I probably spent 50% of the time on this project just trying different layout options.

    Blender viewport screengrabs

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you achieve the mesh-look of the baby? And what’s your consideration behind the lighting design?

    Karel: The baby's skin is a basic node setup in Cycles with Voronoi texture node driving everything. Lighting went hand-in-hand with the composition process – a basic three-point setup that I built to look good on a clay render, then a few fill lights to highlight important details.

    Node setup for the robot's skin material

    Fox Renderfarm: The wires and the shell outside the baby are very realistic, how did you make that happen?

    Karel: The Tree Generator add-on that comes bundled with Blender :)

    Work in progress renders (from the initial concept onwards)

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

    Karel: Around 3 weeks (squeezed into any downtime I could find in my work schedule)

    Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use to make the artwork?

    Karel: Blender 2.81 and a few bundled add-ons. (Tree Generator and node wrangler). The grade and composite were done in After Effects, since that's been my bread and butter for the last few years.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most unforgettable experience in the production process?

    Karel: Hoping like crazy that the final render doesn’t crash before the deadline. I guess that's where render farms will come in handy ;)

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulties? How did you solve it?

    Karel: Yes, I wanted to create a kickass environment for the robot. Everything I tried just cluttered the concept, so I stripped it down to the clean gallery space. With more time I might have done something different.

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you come up with entering into the CG industry?

    Karel: As a kid I started dabbling with 3d software because of the physics simulations. Pair that with a love for good design and an editing job where I’m doing motion graphics and VFX cleanups more than actual editing, and you get where I am now.

    2017 Dailies © Karel Schmidt

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us about the education and career experience along your 3D journey?

    Karel: I studied Fine Art, did a post-grad in Media Studies and Film Production, then spent two years shooting and editing wedding videos. From there I got a job doing hard-sell retail TVCs, which got me fluent in After Effects and dabbling with Cinema 4d. Blender 2.8+ is currently getting me into whatever will be next.

    2016 Dailies - Cinema 4D © Karel Schmidt

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

    Karel: Coldplay’s Up & Up has been a massive influence. Cyriak’s early work. Cyriak’s later work. Strong motion design in branded content (like the last few years of Nike ads) also does something for me.

    Coldplay - Up&Up (Official Video)

    Baaa © Cyriak

    W/ Bob & David - Opening Credits © Cyriak

    The IT Crowd - Series 4 - Episode 3 - Spaceology © Cyriak

    Bonobo: Cirrus © Cyriak

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

    Karel: The outdoors keeps my head fresh. I’ll binge Vimeo content every once in a while, and work through tutorials and online courses when I find the time. On-the-job learning is the biggest one for me though – with every project I’ll try to find something new I can learn and implement somewhere in the workflow.

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

    Karel: Now that Apple dropped support for anything that enables GPU rendering in Blender’s Cycles, I think I'll start using Fox Renderfarm :)

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

    Karel: Stay active, spend as much time as you can away from your screen, and don’t ever stop learning.


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