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    How to Build a Realistic Character in Maya



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    André Jukebox © Jonathan W. Rodegher

    The artwork, André Jukebox, was created by Jonathan W. Rodegher from Argentina, who is currently working in Ireland as Lead Sequence Lighter for a feature film, and rendered with Fox Renderfarm, the leading cloud rendering services provider in the CG industry.

    This video has been made as a technical test for his short film, André Jukebox. It tells a story about André, a busker, who intends to pursue a life doing music, his main passion, despite being born and raised in the marginality.

    This is the first of the last array of renders that will close this phase, reaching an important milestone in the animation project. Following this, there will be a number of updates rolled out for the character, including new skin shader/textures, eyes improved, cloth new shaders and textures, a much better-improved rigging system, etc.

    Here’s the interview between Jonathan and Fox Renderfarm, in which we can find out how he came up with the idea and created this wonderful video.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Jonathan, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Jonathan: Hi! Thank you for interviewing me. My name is Jonathan, I’m from Argentina and currently working in Ireland as Lead Sequence Lighter for a feature film. I’m also a bit of a music nerd and lately, I’ve been going into filmmaking and storytelling.

    Fox Renderfarm: Now we can see the beautiful shot concept of André Jukebox, including a video as the technical test, could you give a brief introduction about the whole story?

    Jonathan: Well André is a busker who, despite being born and raised in the marginality, intends to pursue a life doing music, his main passion. Along with JD, a friend from childhood, they both try to survive and help each other try to build a better life, far from a drug-infested neighborhood.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for the short film?

    Jonathan: The Wire is a big one, storytelling and tone wise. Narc, the movie is another one. Visually though, Seven, Pear Ciders and Cigarettes and Into the Spiderverse. Very different sources that I intend to mix somehow.

    Fox Renderfarm: In the video, we see the cloth and hair motion is realistic, how did you do that?

    Jonathan: I just did the sims and then load them up as alembics, using modifiers to apply wind-like motion. For such a short clip, these little tricks are often good enough.

    André Jukebox © Jonathan W. Rodegher

    Fox Renderfarm: When did the project start? And when will the film be released which we are looking forward to?

    Jonathan: I started building the character, from design to final model, about 2 and a half years ago. By then I already had a few written ideas. After that, it’s been iterations and iterations of improvements, be it technical or visual. I just put in some hours now and then when the inspiration hit or when new ideas came up.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most interesting or unforgettable thing during the process?

    Jonathan: For sure the learning side of it is the most interesting. For example, I had to learn how to actually build cloth, and shoes. Also, how many times you think you’re done and happy with, and keep finding ways to improve your assets.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulty in the creation? How did you overcome it?

    Jonathan: Yeah, naturally. Many different issues during all this time. The way to overcome it is to test, test and test. Also do a lot of solid research. Taking a day or two away from the problem is a really good technique too, given you have the time. Way too many times I found myself stuck in an issue, and I just needed a fresh look into it.

    Fox Renderfarm: The video is the milestone in your project, so what’s your next step for the project?

    Jonathan: Right now there’s a teaser/proof of concept on the works. The next step is to gather all the needed assets/rigs up to pace so the animation team can start with final animation. In the meantime there’s quite a bit of pipeline and other processes being developed as we go, as well as finishing with the rigging, recording of voices, music, touching up the edit, etc.

    André Jukebox © Jonathan W. Rodegher

    Fox Renderfarm: When did you encounter CG? Could you briefly tell us the story of your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Jonathan: I found a VFX school in Argentina, around 2001, and that was the first time I got the idea that I could actually work on it, in a user computer. Having always had the knack for drawing and animation, and also a huge interest in computers, I found that 3d animation was quite ideal. So I started there, with a very basic and informative 6 months training. And not too long after that, I started working on tv ads. Around that time, lucky for me, 3d animation was wildly popular for ads. Not too long after that I was working on animation full time.

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you do to enhance your professional skills?

    Jonathan: I’m usually keeping an eye open for any new training material I can come across. Especially if it comes from artists I admire/respect. The other thing that’s very important is to keep working on your stuff, and be brutally honest about your results. Your instincts are pretty good at telling you what you don’t wanna hear/see.

    Fox Renderfarm: Anyone or any artwork inspires you the most in this industry?

    Jonathan: Lately, I’ve found the work from Alberto Mielgo super interesting. His stuff looks amazing. Also, Zac Rets, his art direction is pretty stunning too.

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

    Jonathan: It’s been a real pleasure to work with. Everyone seems eager to make the whole thing go as smoothly as possible, not to mention how friendly the attention is. If my project can afford it, it’s a no brainer!

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

    Jonathan: Be humble, there’s at least one very very useful thing you can learn from anyone in the team. Also, take more time learning the fundamentals, I’ve seen a lack of this over the years. A software might take a couple of weeks to get used to, fundamentals? You’ll be perfecting forever. It’s the fastest way to make your work look really good.

    How to Build A Magnificent Space Carrier in UE4



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    If you are a science fiction fan, you must be very interested in space carriers and its adventures. In CG Boost “Space Carrier” Challenge, artists surprise us with their own interpretation of space carriers.

    As the champion of the challenge, Mateusz Szymoński, a Digital Artist and Game Developer from Poland, created an epic widescreen shot about the United Earth Federation, which looks straight out of a futuristic sci-fi movie.

    Mateusz Szymoński Digital Artist & Game Developer From: Warsaw, Poland

    United Earth Federation © Mateusz Szymoński

    Clay render

    Since it’s the first attempt for Mateusz to create in Unreal Engine, he took some time to learn the basics of its editor and he realized that the rendering features, especially height and atmospheric fog are absolutely amazing which help him to receive the great results quickly.

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

    Fox Renderfarm: Hey Mateusz! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Mateusz: Hi! My name is Mateusz Szymoński. I am from Poland. Currently studying computer science at Warsaw University of Technology. I think that “a fusion of a digital artist, game developer, gamer, game jammer, and game engine programmer” is the best description of me.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the 1st Place in the CGBoost Space Carrier Challenge?

    Mateusz: Wonderful! It is always nice when a work in which you put a lot of effort gets awarded.

    However, places or prizes are not the most important things for me.

    I like to participate in such challenges since they are great sources of motivation.

    A well-defined deadline really gives me a strong productivity boost when I am working on the project.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind the nicely-done render?

    Mateusz: I usually get most of my inspirations from movies and video games. This particular project is based on the style and setting of Supreme Commander, a real-time strategy game with large-scale sci-fi battles.

    Game world is set in the far future where the human race, united as the United Earth Federation (UEF), fights an infinite war with three other factions.

    Except standard units like tanks, bots, or battleships there is a special type of unit called experimental. These are usually very expensive, heavy game-enders that can tip the scales in favor of their owner.

    I thought that making a massive UEF-style space carrier would be a great shout-out to the game I like so much.

    Moreover, I always wanted to make an open landscape scene.

    Turned out that a dominating spaceship fits ideally in such an environment.

    Fox Renderfarm: As the main part of the picture, the spaceship is strong and well-designed. How did you make it from modeling to texturing?

    Mateusz: It took me one full day to create it, from soup to nuts.

    First of all, I searched the internet for some references and took some screenshots in the game. I like to skip the designing phase in such sprint-projects. Blocking things out of simple shapes works much better for me.

    I started from a simple cube and after a couple of iterations I had base shape.

    I heavily experimented with kitbashing to add all the details.

    After a few hours I textured my model in Substance Painter which I find to be absolutely amazing software. It is hard to describe how powerful it is, especially its procedurally generated masks. They add an extreme amount of detail with minimal effort.

    Fox Renderfarm: The composition makes the artwork look balanced and beautiful. Any considerations behind the composition? And how did you make the men and grass vegetation on the foreground, and the mountains and sky on the background?

    Mateusz: I had a general idea for the landscape scenery long before the theme was even announced. Honestly I did not spend much time on compositing. This is a fairly easy scene, in fact it consists only of a ship, man, and landscape with some grass and stones on the foreground.

    Most of the final effect was achieved thanks to the camera settings. Its position, rotation, and focal length play the most important role.

    Fox Renderfarm: The color and lighting are widely praised by the judges for they strengthen the atmosphere and make the picture so touching. How did you make it happen?

    Mateusz: Fog is a crucial element of almost every render since it adds a lot of realism to the image. In an arid environment like this it is twice as important.

    I relied on my intuition, 3 hours of adjusting fog settings sliders did the job.

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

    Mateusz: I like to focus on the work entirely. This project took me only 3 days to create, where half of the time I was trying to figure out how different features in Unreal editor work.

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

    Mateusz: PureRef for keeping my references in one place, Blender for modeling and unwrapping, Unreal Engine for rendering, Substance Painter for texturing and creating several tiled textures, Gaea for landscape heightmap generation, Quixel Megascans for getting some materials and vegetation models.

    Additionally, I used my own Rapid PBR Material Creator addon for Blender along with several others to speed up the whole process.

    Fox Renderfarm: Why did you choose Unreal Engine to do the render? What’s the biggest difference between UE and traditional 3D software for you?

    Mateusz: Blender lacks several key features. I mean advanced atmospheric fog, tessellated landscape system, and handy foliage system (current particle system with weight painting is not as convenient for vegetation creating as the one Unreal has).

    I was trying to achieve good looking atmosphere fog in Blender for a while, but since there was not so much time left till the deadline I decided to switch to Unreal Engine and I must say that even without ray-traced renderer renders look surprisingly good.

    Also, it is worth noting that fog Unreal Engine tools give the best results I have ever seen in any software.

    Fox Renderfarm: When and how did you encounter CG?

    Mateusz: At the age of 15 I decided to create my first video game, it was complete magic for me back then. I started with creating some simple 3d models and this is moreover how my adventure with CG started. I was immediately fascinated by it so much that I abandoned my idea of making games and for a couple of next years I was trying to develop my skills as a digital artist. I realized that it is this freedom of creation, this amazing feeling of making something from scratch, what I really like in CG.

    Temple of Ylnir © Mateusz Szymoński

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

    Mateusz: It is strongly connected to my discovery of CG, While making the first game I became interested not only in graphics but also in programming and generally computer science stuff, especially the technical part of 3D art - things like how shaders and GPU work, how vertices of models are stored, how renderers process them, etc. Artistic skills in combination with programming skills give a much broader perspective and open new exciting ways of development.

    For example, I was always struggling with creating new materials in Blender as is quite a tedious and repetitive task. Thanks to coding knowledge it took me a single day to code Rapid PBR Material Creator addon for Blender that I mentioned earlier. It does everything for me. It imports all selected textures and connects them properly with one click. I realized that there are an infinite number of such small optimizations to code and it is really great to be able to do this. It is an amazing feeling to use the tools you have created yourself and see how much they help.

    I decided to study computer science and I can say that I completely do not regret this decision.

    PE-1 Reconnaissance Drone © Mateusz Szymoński

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated? What do you do to improve your professional skills?

    Mateusz: Challenges, culture, and making new projects. I think this set is a key. Challenges give motivation, culture gives inspiration, making new projects gives skill boost.

    However, it is important to keep the balance, working too much can burn out so have breaks to take a breath sometimes.

    Desoutter Drill Gun © Mateusz Szymoński

    Fox Renderfarm: Anyone or any artwork inspires you the most in the industry?

    Mateusz: I love the design of entire universes like Blade Runner or Star Wars. Not the characters but rather how the locations and small props are stylized and how they work together to tell stories.

    Here is the list of my favorite artists:

    Col Price - Urschel - Chadeisson - Jeon - Alexandrov - Enchev -örn Nord - Averkin - Develtere - Dybowski - Rozalski -

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

    Mateusz: Stay creative and keep on amazing the world with your creations.

    Fox’s Got Talent April Winner recreated the Vista of Cliff from ‘UP’



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Fox’s Got Talent (FGT) is the stage for all Fox Renderfarm users to show off their excellent CG artworks.

    We are so pleased to announce that FGT April Winner is Mr. Nguyen Hoang, a CG Artist from Vietnam. He is also a VFX Supervisor from Silver Swallows Studio, a post & production team in Da Nang, Vietnam, specializing in 3D/VFX, Audio production and concept art. In addition to working on team projects, he also creates personal artworks. With the exquisite details and imposing composition, his Houdini artwork White Cliffs made him the FGT April Winner.

    Nguyen Hoang VFX Supervisor & CG Artist From: Vietnam

    White Cliffs © Nguyen Hoang

    Process Breakdown

    In the exclusive interview, Nguyen Hoang talked about how to create the beautiful oil-painting-style artwork.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Hoang, could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Hoang: I began my career in computer graphics in 2013 as a freelance CG artist. In Vietnam, not many people know about the CGI industry and how it works. This career was my dream job when I was a child. So, I could say I’m feeling lucky.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about being the April winner of Fox’s Got Talent (FGT)?

    Hoang: This is the first time that I got an award from an online contest. That was a big surprise for me, I’m so happy and I want to thank Fox Renderfarm for the contest.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this wonderful artwork?

    Hoang: That was inspired by "UP" - an animation movie that I love so much. You guys can notice that the house is similar to the house in UP.

    The film UP

    Breakdown of White Cliffs

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

    Hoang: A week, I spent on the terrain mostly.

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

    Hoang: Houdini, Redshift and Nuke.

    Fox Renderfarm: The beautiful color and warm light make the work look like oil-painting-style, how did you match the color and set the light?

    Hoang: I first determined the mood for a peaceful place. Then start to work on the color on each asset and prop.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulty in the creation? How did you overcome it?

    Hoang: The most difficult thing is the cliff. Because everybody now the terrain always comes with the height map, so I have to find a way to displace the cliff by the slope mask in Houdini. I'm still a Houdini beginner so this gave me a lot of experience.

    Fox Renderfarm: Technically and visually, which is your favorite part of this work? Why?

    Hoang: Lighting. Because the overall mood comes with the lighting.

    Fox Renderfarm: When did you encounter CG? Could you briefly tell us the story of your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Hoang: I remember when the filmmakers oversea started to implement CG in movies, in Vietnam, we still have no TV to watch. During university years, I tried to learn VFX by myself. We almost learned from online tutorials until now.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a CG artist and VFX Supervisor, which artwork or project you worked on impressed you most, why?

    Hoang: That was our first movie called "Vietnam Airwar: The First Swallows". Cause it's my youth.

    Trailer of Vietnam Airwar: The First Swallows

    Demos shot from Silver Swallows Studio

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated? What do you do to improve your professional skills?

    Hoang: Usually, I watch Artstation every day to learn from the best artists all over the world. And another way to improve skills and motivation is to join a contest. It really helps me.

    Roy's Gas Station © Nguyen Hoang

    Coming To Gank © Nguyen Hoang

    T54 Tank Vietnam Military © Nguyen Hoang

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

    Hoang: I was used many render farm services before and there are many things about Fox Renderfarm that make it outstanding. First of all, the support service is really really good and has a quick response. Besides, the submission, job monitor... are all easy to use.

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

    Hoang: We are in a difficult time for everyone so instead of worrying we can use this time as a time to learn more or to create artwork. Then submit it to Fox Renderfarm to make it shine.

    Will you be our next WINNER? Click here Fox's Got Talent and submit your artwork rendered with Fox Renderfarm. Shine your talent now!

    Creating a Magical Library Inspired by Harry Potter in 3ds Max



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    On April 29th, CG Boost announced the winners of its 14th 3D challenge, Library Challenge, which was sponsored by the TPN-Accredited cloud render farm, Fox Renderfarm. You will never know what magical and interesting stories are going to happen in the library until you see these amazing award-winning artworks.

    We are so proud to have an interview with the champion of the Library Challenge, Krzysztof (Chris) Fendryk, a CG Supervisor & CG Artist from Poland, whose artwork The High Room received unanimous praise from the judges as its top-notch composition and lens perspective.

    Krzysztof (Chris) FendrykCG Supervisor & CG ArtistFrom: Poland

    The High Room © Krzysztof (Chris) Fendryk

    Clay render

    Chris’s inspiration came from visiting Trinity Library in Dublin (an iconic place) and re-watching Harry Potter movies with his daughter. The artwork was created using 3ds Max, Marvelous Designer, RizomUV, Substance Painter and Nuke.

    Trinity Library in Dublin

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    “The biggest challenge for me was to create all of the assets within the time given. I’ve made roughly 60 different books to avoid repetition. Technique wise, it’s a typical edge/box modeling, UV’s, textures painted in Painter, all rendered with V-ray with a sprinkle of volumetric fog on top. I’ve used Nuke to rebuild shaders and color correct the composition adding glow and vignette,” according to Chris.

    Now let’s find out what went on behind the scene in the exclusive interview.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hey Chris, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Chris Fendryk: Hi all, my name is Krzysztof but pretty much everyone calls me Chris due to the fact I've been living abroad for 12 years before I've moved back to Poland. I'm currently working at Platige Image as a CG Sup, balancing time as best as I can between family, work and CG.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the 1st Place in the CGBoost Library Challenge?

    Chris Fendryk: It's a really great feeling and experience to have your work recognized and awarded. I didn't expect that I could take the win.

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

    Chris Fendryk: It took me roughly 10-14 days on/off work, juggling kids activities, work and sanity ;).

    Fox Renderfarm: The fisheye lens distortion contributed greatly to the success of the artwork, why did you use the lens distortion in your work and how did you make it?

    Chris Fendryk: I do set up my cameras and basic lighting at the blocking stage, it helps me a lot to focus on the most important parts of the image. I've decided to use a fisheye lens as I felt it will add a lot to a rather static image. I've achieved the effect by using V-Ray camera with properly set up distortion.

    Fox Renderfarm: The symmetrical composition and the cold lighting make the library magical and mysterious, any idea behind that?

    Chris Fendryk: Regarding symmetrical composition, I've always loved this kind of framing, in the previous studio (Brown Bag Film) friends tend to joke around: "Ease out with the symmetry you not Kubrick" :). Lighting took much longer than I expected besides creating all of the books that was the most challenging part of the process. I had around 20 different lighting iterations all of them set up in the same mood (cold outside + warm interior). I felt that this kind of lighting scenario will have the best mood, and both colours will nicely complement each other.

    I would say that every single step of creation has something unforgettable in it. But if I had to pick one - lighting would be the number one.

    Fox Renderfarm: When did you encounter CG? Could you briefly tell us the story of your educational and work experience along your CG journey?

    Chris Fendryk: I think the first time I've become aware of CG was around the mid 90's. That's when I first encountered a Polish CG scene. I was always involved in a lot of artistic activities, from being a professional dancer for most of my life to painting, architecture, calligraphy and so on. If I would have to pinpoint the exact moment when I knew CG is what I really want to do, I would say Computer Arts magazine special edition on how to create tags in 3D. That was it, I've been sold. It also happened around the time when I was working as DTP for a printing business and I felt that I needed a change. In terms of education, I did two years of Game Dev in college, then I did it with Bachelor of Arts in Animation and VFX at Irish School of Animation. Work wise, I've been lucky enough I didn't struggle to look for work. I've put a lot of "bum hours" into my portfolio which secured my first gig. After that, everything happened more or less through word of mouth.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a CG supervisor and artist, which artwork or project impressed you most, why?

    Chris Fendryk: I would have to say that every project I was/I am involved in brings certain moments that make all of them special. But the most memorable one would be working on Black Sails Season 4 - a trial by fire for me ;).

    Black Sails Season 4

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated? What do you do to improve your professional skills?

    Chris Fendryk: I do tend to stay on top of what’s currently happening within the CG scene, from browsing art to listening to podcasts, etc. Being motivated most of the time requires rigour and determination. We all have downtime either due to being burned out or simply having troubles finding an inspiration. I would suggest that starting even a simple asset will get you going in no time. Also having an "outside CG" activity or hobby helps a lot, cycling, gym, etc.

    Ford GT 40 CG © Krzysztof (Chris) Fendryk

    Cave study © Krzysztof (Chris) Fendryk

    ED 209 - Robocop fan art © Krzysztof (Chris) Fendryk

    Fox Renderfarm: Anyone or any artwork inspires you the most in the industry?

    Chris Fendryk: There are so many amazing artists out there, but definitely Marek Denko, Fausto De Martini, Peter Sanitra, to name a few. From the closest circle that keeps me going, Darko Mitev and Rory Bjorkman - those guys don't know when to stop ;).

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

    Chris Fendryk: I would like to say thanks to everyone who liked my piece and showed the support, and let's comment and give feedback not just "like" someone’s art, it does help a lot and shows we do care for other artists too :). Cheers.

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



    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.

    A Senior Thesis Animation Film by Harvard Student, Showing the Communication Between Digital Natives



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Fox Renderfarm is deeply committed to supporting education with fast and easy cloud rendering service and making it accessible to everyone around the world. Memie Osuga, from the Art, Film, and Visual Studies department at Harvard University, is supported by Fox Renderfarm to render her senior thesis animation short Keep In Touch in April 2020.

    Memie Osuga Student from Harvard University From: New York

    Keep In Touch by Memie Osuga

    The animation film tells a story between 2 best friends, Min and Lillian, and the only place they've ever met is in the online world of the fantasy novel they're writing together over the internet.

    This film was a culmination of about a year's worth of work. Memie spent the first several months for concept drafting and story development, and the last 4-6 months for the bulk of the image development. She was in charge of all the works including concept, direction, animation and music.

    Here’s the interview between Memie Osuga and Fox Renderfarm, in which she talked about the inspiration and creating process of the short.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Memie! Would you please give a brief introduction about yourself?

    Memie: Hello! I’m Memie, an animator born/raised in NYC. I’m a graduating senior at Harvard University in the Art, Film, and Visual Studies department. I really love CGI, but actually only got started in it about three years ago, though it’s been a great three years since then! Back in the day, I was a huge science kid and also did a ton of music (parents are both piano teachers). On the side, I do taekwondo.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on your senior thesis film Keep In Touch, could you introduce the inspiration for the film?

    Memie: This film came from a lot of stories of people in my generation who are increasingly finding ways to connect online. Though this is the experience for so many people right now during the pandemic, it’s a larger shift I’ve felt growing up as a digital native in this generation.

    For the personal origin story, I’ve identified strongly as an introvert for most of my life. Talking out loud has never been the most natural way for me to communicate, and I wanted to highlight the beautiful things that can happen when we allow people to express themselves in the ways that are most natural to them. So it was a mix of all these ideas that came together for the film.

    Fox Renderfarm: In the film, we know the story between two friends who keep in touch online, are there any ideas you would like to express through this story?

    Memie: Besides trying to showcase the wonder of online connection alongside the feeling that it’s always missing something - because in person facetime is still irreplaceable, yes, there were a few other ideas I was trying to convey. One is my own enchantment with imagination and fantasy creations: I’ve always loved art that allows you to escape to other worlds. Another is that the creative collaborations you have with others can be some of the most powerful things in this world!

    Fox Renderfarm: About the models of two main characters, how did you design them? Any reference?

    Memie: I started with 2D sketches of the characters, and sculpted them from the drawings I had made. I would say they’re an amalgamation of a lot of my friends, actually! It was important for me to have Asian characters. One thing that has personally haunted me is of Asian stereotypes in the US of Asians being robotic, boring, or non-expressive. In my high school, even, this could be seen by kids being called ‘random Asians’. It’s very depersonalizing. So I wanted to push back against that idea by showing even non expressive or small-eyed characters with big imaginations and really rich interiors. People who think other people are boring or not worth their time just don’t really know them.

    2D concept & 3D character

    Fox Renderfarm: What software, renderers, plugins did you use in this work?

    Memie: A bunch! It was a challenge to learn a lot of the different software, but also so cool to expand my capabilities with these amazing tools! I used Krita, Illustrator, and Photoshop especially for concept art. I sculpted, rigged, and animated in Maya. For texturing, lighting, and additional asset creation, I used Substance Painter, Isotropix Clarisse, and WorldMachine. Then final renders were with Fox Renderfarm and Maya’s Arnold Engine. I put everything together finally in After Effects (which I also used for the 2D animation), plus Red Giant’s Trapcode suite. The last bit was recording, generating, and processing sounds in Adobe Audition and composing my own music in Logic Pro X!

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

    Memie: I think creating my characters was definitely the most intense part (combing their hair was so difficult!), but putting the time into their look really paid off for me.

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

    Memie: So many difficulties! As per usual, most of my troubleshooting came from asking questions to google and reading through documentation and webforums and watching online tutorials. My mentor at Zero VFX Dave Pietricola was also a huge technical help; my advisor at school Jie Li gave fantastic creative feedback and support as well.

    Fox Renderfarm’s tech support was for sure helpful during rendering issues. And for final picture issues, good old frame by frame cleanup was the answer.

    Fox Renderfarm: We can see that the style of your artworks is lovely and unique, anyone or any artwork that inspires you the most?

    Memie: Thank you! For this film, I reached into my favorite landscape photography, and my favorite fantasy novels. I just love the whimsy of the whole Oz series, and I was inspired by Michael Ende’s books as well. Some recent films I had seen also pushed me into using UI elements to tell the story.

    Afterschool by Memie Osuga

    Fox Renderfarm: Would you please give a brief introduction about your major and courses in the Department of Art, Film, and Visual Studies of Harvard?

    Memie: My major is kind of the catchall Art major at Harvard. So we have studio courses of a whole range, some film classes, and just 2-3 animation workshops. The department gives great support and I’m grateful to it for being the place I really got started on my animation journey.

    As far as CGI animation goes, there’s very little, but I’m hoping that’s something that changes in the future.

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

    Memie: It got the job done very well! And I wouldn’t have used the service if they didn’t have the free trial credits to make sure the pipeline worked. Thanks to the customer service team who helped me smooth out all the technical issues with rendering.

    Fox Renderfarm hopes to support and help more students to create excellent CG artworks. In this special time, please work from home and work with Fox Renderfarm.

    Ejen Ali, The Highest-grossing Malaysian Animated Film Surpasses RM30mil Mark



    Malaysian Animated Films

    Ejen Ali,Malaysia's beloved 12-year-old super spy is well known by its TV animation series and its first animated feature film broke Malaysian’s box office records and ranked the highest-grossing local animated film ever in Malaysia.

    Ejen Ali: The Movie beats stiff competition from the popular animated film Frozen 2, to set a new opening weekend box office record, which marked a landmark achievement for the Malaysian animated film industry.

    Fox Renderfarm, your TPN-Accredited cloud render farm, was pleased to have an interview with Usamah Zaid Yasin, the co-founder and CEO of WAU Animation. Usamah is also the scriptwriter and Director of Ejen Ali Series and The Movie sharing his story with the production of this popular animated film.

    In 2013, Usamah Zaid founded WAU Animation, the Malaysian CG animation studio focuses on producing and developing original animated programs, such as Ejen Ali, which debuted in 2016 and has been broadcast in over 50 countries.

    Prior to starting WAU Animation, Usamah Zaid was also a founding member of Les’ Copaque Productions in 2005. The company behind the successful Upin & Ipin series and the movies.

    For Usamah Zaid, animation is a labor of love. “It is not going to get you rich or famous, so what keeps you going is your passion for creating characters and showing your artwork to the world, then seeing the reaction of your audience,” he said.

    Here’s the interview between Usamah Zaid Yasin and Fox Renderfarm. Let’s have a look at the stories behind the local animated film with such a huge success.

    Or you can watch the following video about the interview,

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

    Usamah Zaid: I’ll introduce my name - Usamah Zaid, a co-founder of the studio with another of my other friends, WAU Animation was founded in 2013. We set up the studio as a CG animation 3D house. Our dream is, of course, to create content IP, to tell our own stories.

    Fox Renderfarm: Which part of Ejen Ali: The Movie do you like the most, visually and storytelling respectively?

    Usamah Zaid: The one scene that I felt most for; while watching, and trying to be in the seat of the audience, I would say Scene 27! It was amazing because the team really exceeded my expectations. In delivering that scene, when I wrote it, I didn’t imagine it would be that good. And I think it’s a risky thing, sometimes in storytelling and in directing, we try to turn to something that is not common then. In terms of editing, in terms of the visual cue, a lot of things felt risky. We didn’t know whether these things would work, but I think it paid off. When I wrote it, I knew it would take some convincing to be able to deliver the scene, and the team did it very well. Once they felt what the direction was going to be, the things that they came up with were really impressive. And I think it worked well, judging from the feedback we got from the audience. I think we manage to deliver that scene successfully.

    Scene 27 in Ejen Ali: The Movie

    Source: Wau Animation

    Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties when making the film? And how did you solve it?

    Usamah Zaid: There are so many things that were problematic, so many challenges. Like duration, I think in any production, duration is a huge factor. And in our case, the duration of the movie, so we needed to keep it to that duration that we committed to. One (reason) is that I wanted to make sure it’s not too long so that children aren’t restless in the cinema, I wanted to make sure it’s not too long so we can get a good amount of repeat in one day at the cinema. Because if it’s too long, then you might have less screening. We also needed to make sure we don't exceed too much, because every single minute added to the duration would mean having more time to the production and money. One year and eight months, while it sounds like a lot, relatively if you compare with a global production, a 3D computer animation pipeline or even hand-drawn animation pipeline, one year and six months is actually very tight. We literally had to work our butt off in order to make sure we were able to complete the movie.

    Source: Wau Animation

    As an indie-studio, while we do secure investments and grants, cash-flow is always something that we struggled with. So we had to make sure we do enough servicing stuff to ensure that we get enough money and infrastructure - hardware and software. I think 70% of our time was to plan our spending, throughout the first 3 quarters of the production, we were actually struggling with the lack of hardware capacity, (which) means that we needed better machines. But we didn’t have the money to spend for it. Towards the end of the last 3, 4 months, when we were really able to move at our best capacity.

    Ejen Ali was estimated to cost around MYR5.6 Million when we budgeted the movie back in 2017, to date the actual movie cost a whopping of MYR7.4 Million, where WAU had to bare 62% of the total cost on our own through grant and personal investment, whereby our partner only had to spend 38% of the total cost. So can you imagine the financial turmoil that we were continuously facing…

    I think creatively in terms of story development, character development, there were a lot of things that we wanted to do. It was a lot of learning process as well. Because this is literally WAU’s first feature-length film, we thought we knew enough before going in. But while we were in the production, there were lots of things that we needed to figure out. It took a long time to develop the story and the characters. Believe it or not, the script was only finalized about 3 months before the production ends. But we started the production much earlier. While we were in production, we were still figuring out the story, and making tweaks and fixes. So you can imagine the amount of stuff that did not make it, in the final film. Those were some of the things that we have to deal with. There was a lot of learning. It's an opportunity, if you approach it with that mindset - you don't want the opportunity to pass. So whatever it takes, we have to figure it out.

    Source: Wau Animation

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you think of the distribution of international films like Ne Zha in the western world? Is there any inspiration for you to think of distributing Ejen Ali in the western world?

    Usamah Zaid: I think it’s great. It’s amazing to see movies from our side of the world being able to make such a breakthrough. Because in Hollywood, the western film industry, they are looking for fresh ideas. Sometimes they even tap in our side of the content, and sometimes not doing it properly, like changing the elements, offending the people along the way. It’s an amazing breakthrough. It has always been a part of the dream, not just for the company, also for the local animation industry to be able to make that kind of breakthrough.

    In terms of distribution, because we work with Prime Works, and they are handling our distribution, they are in talks with so many other countries to push the movie. I think I can’t announce yet. The series is in over 50 countries, hopefully, we can get half the amount of countries to screen the movie. It would be amazing.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you give a brief introduction to your new project or the next step of Ejen Ali?

    Usamah Zaid: The demand is there. I mean in our initial plan when we first approached our broadcast partner, working on the partnership, there has always been a continuous plan - Ejen Ali is meant to go for another 2 or 3 seasons, and at least another movie. But with such amazing feedback, I think we have to look into speeding up stuff. A movie is a big event, I don’t think we can wait more than 3 or 4 years before making another movie. In the immediate future, we have to look into making another season and another movie. And as the studio of WAU, Ejen Ali is not the only project/ IP content that we want to create. We have a few, and definitely one in particular that I am very excited about to announce soon!

    Ejen Ali Season 1&2

    Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any plans to collaborate with China?

    Usamah Zaid: We've actually spoken to a couple of studios, toy-makers from China. And they have shown really strong interest. But I think due to the business of movie production, we sort of took a step back from the conversation. China is undoubtedly a huge market. I think it would be able to get into China and tap into the resources that we can have access to. Definitely, if you ask me if I want to work with China.

    Fox Renderfarm: Malaysia’s animation reaches a new height this year, in your opinion, what contributes to the success? And what do you think of the future development of Malaysia’s animation?

    Usamah Zaid: Having known the three studios, and their animation films that dominated the film industry this year, I think it’s the mindset. Since the beginning, when I was in Les’ Copaque Production as well. It was the mindset that drives the desire to deliver the product, regardless of what you can get your hands on. I think a lot of studios probably have a long term plan, but of course, the challenges of not having enough people, not having enough money, and just to get a spark of opportunity is not easy. With us, the mindset of seizing the opportunities has always been there. We don’t wait until everything is in place.

    If we are just talking (about) this year, 3 movies are the highlights. Over the last 10 years, the growth of the industry has been immense, you have to give credits to how the government has put focus into it, especially MDEC. And all the companies, agencies and service providers that came into; in a way, that complete an ecosystem. And the IHL (Institute of Higher Learning) providing and creating more programs, making more talents available. As a nation, once we set our eyes on the animation industry, I think a lot of things came together. And as an industry, the growth has been amazing.

    I literally grew up through this time when animation was not seen as something that’s possible, something that’s credible. My father was worried when I wanted to go into animation. But now I think it has been proven, just a couple of weeks ago. I have a 7-year-old child who loves painting. He does amazing illustration. He came to the studio with his grandmother, he wanted to learn about animation. It’s the kind of story you hear outside of Malaysia, kids wanting to go into the animation industry, and parents finally supporting the idea - “oh, my kid wants to do animation” and I think that’s amazing.

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

    Usamah Zaid: When starting the series, we actually tried to set up our own internal facility, like a small render farm. But I felt the impact wasn’t that huge. Because to make a difference, we actually need a lot more nodes in order to be able to really boost the production. We were moving at an OK pace as long as we were able to catch up with the production timeline. But in production, that almost never happened. Something would always go wrong, and you probably had to push back the time. We thought that and tried to scale up already, even to maintain the facility, (but) the licenses, it was a lot of investment. That was when we discovered Robust (Fox Renderfarm’s agent in Malaysia). When we first tried it out, the speed was just amazing. We started working with Robust during our second season, I think; halfway to the second season. And since then, we knew for certain, we want to be working with Robust for the movie. So far, no complaint, it has been amazing! The system that we get has been prompt. I think it was a good move and it was a very good decision for us to work with Robust. And I can’t imagine delivering the movie without working with Robust.

    Source: Wau Animation

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

    Usamah Zaid: Aside from the general audience feedback, we’ve received some good feedback from the fellow industry peers as well. Getting such feedback from your peers really makes us feel very validated, because it’s not easy for people from other studios to give compliments to another, especially industry players usually have much higher expectations and much higher taste in the works. Because other people, the normal audience, are not as picky in terms of the technical output. They would feel that it looks good, and they suddenly see that we are as good as Pixar, but we know that we have a long way to go. But to be validated, by CG enthusiasts I think, it’s been amazing. We still could use more viewers. (So I hope anyone who haven’t seen the movie, it’s currently available on Astro First) And people say that this movie is historical in the sense of Malaysian animation development. So, I hope anyone who haven’t seen it, please go and see it.

    The War on Hoarding in Cinema 4D



    Cinema 4D

    Fox Renderfarm, a powerful but affordable render farm, is glad to have an interview with CG artist Marien Singbo from Sweden who created ‘The War on Hoarding’, Episode 1: Toilet Paper.

    The animation short was made by Marien as a response to the senseless and irresponsible hoarding that's going on at the moment.

    Let's enjoy the short and the story behind!

    The War on Hoarding © Marien Singbo

    Artist: Marien Singbo (Sweden)

    Caption: I made it in CINEMA 4D with Redshift. My inspiration came from running out of toilet paper basically. I had to go on pilgrimage over 3 hours, through 4 stores here in London before I finally found some toilet paper. People have been hoarding even though the government & supply managers have reassured us that we will not run out of toilet paper anytime soon. My sister who has a 1-year-old baby has been unable to purchase baby wipes. It's all a bit disappointing and incredibly frustrating as it can easily be avoided.

    I've also been very affected, at least my career plans. I had a freelance gig canceled. And I was also going to have an animation internship at a big studio in London as the last thing in my education. But it's been canceled/postponed for now.

    As I will be graduating soon it's all a bit scary not knowing how the industry will recover from this and how I as a new person in the industry will be affected.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Marien, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Marien: Hi, Of course. Glad to. My name is Marien Singbo, both a freelance animator and a student as I’m currently enrolled in Motion Creative Program at Hyper Island, Stockholm.

    I started out doing traditional cel animation and After Effects work a few years ago but kind of randomly found myself doing 3D work this last year.

    I enjoy creating and animating Characters, in both 2D and 3D.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind your work?

    Marien: Honestly I just get inspired by everyday life. I’m pretty easy-going and like to see the funny aspect of everything I encounter and I usually try to have this reflected in my work.

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

    Marien: It took me 5 days from start to finish (modeling, character creation & rigging and animation, materials and final compositing)

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

    Marien: I used CINEMA 4D with Redshift and Photoshop to create texture for the assets and composited in Premiere Pro. I didn’t use any additional plugins.

    Fox Renderfarm: Who was invited to dub for the animation? How did you complete it?

    Marien: I did the male voice and had 2 friends with the other voices. I usually love to work in person, but due to the circumstances, it was all made possible by the Internet. I had my friends in Stockholm email me their recording to me in London.

    Fox Renderfarm: There are many details, such as the fingerprint match, police sketch, and the newspaper. How did you make them?

    Marien: The fingerprint was illustrated in Photoshop and so was the police sketch. The newspaper was made on a website that lets you create newspapers really face using mock-ups.

    Fox Renderfarm: What does the word “Asshat” mean? How did this connect with the police sketch? Any ideas behind that?

    Marien: An asshat is slang for someone who is stupid, cruel and idiotic. This whole concept was inspired by my own experiences & frustration of going shopping in London during this COVID19 crisis. Where I’ve had multiple unsuccessful tries of finding toilet paper in different supermarkets due to hoarding.

    Time and time we’ve been assured by vendors & suppliers that there is enough toilet paper for everyone yet people keep hoarding, leading to people who might need sanitary products might not be able to get it.

    If that’s not asshat behavior, then I don’t know what is. While the perpetrator might not see themselves as an asshat, other people as seen in the police precinct identify them as an asshat.

    Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any references for the appearance of the final criminal?

    Marien: I actually don’t, the character creating was completely organic.

    Fox Renderfarm: Technically and visually, which is your favorite part of this work? Why?

    Marien: I really enjoyed the detective board scene because I liked the lightning the best in that scene.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulty in the creation? How did you overcome it?

    Marien: Honestly this process was pretty straightforward to be honest. I didn’t want to make it more complex than it had to be. The scenes are pretty simple and straightforward. Took some shortcuts; for instance the character doesn’t actually have a lower body. But since it’s never visible it doesn’t matter.

    Never Lose the Passion to Learn and Create Your Own CG Worlds




    FGT3D “Easter Egg” challenge was organized in March, sponsored by Texture Box and Fox Renderfarm.

    Fox Renderfarm is so glad to have an interview with Maged Atef. Maged won the 3rd place of the Challenge by Wrong Easter Egg. Congrats!

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

    Wrong Easter Egg ©Maged Atef

    • Maged Atef
    • From: Egypt
    • Caption: Someone was surprised by this big egg, so they collected and painted it. To their surprise, it turns out to be a dinosaur's egg that just hatched, so they run for their life.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Maged, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Maged: I am Maged Atef from Egypt. I am 24 years. I love art, cartoon dubbing, and English.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the 3rd place in the FGT3D “Easter Egg” Challenge?

    Maged: Feels awesome, as I have always been suffering self-confidence issues, and it's the first time l officially compete with others rather than only making personal projects. And came the third, yay me.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind the award-winning work?

    Maged: I love being different, that's why I thought of going for something like "wrong" easter egg, rather than a normal easter egg project.

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

    Maged: 5-6 hours on several days.

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

    Maged: Blender 2.82 - ZBrush - Substance Painter.

    Fox Renderfarm: Technically and visually, which is your favorite part of this work? Why?

    Maged: I guess the nest, it was the first time I used Blender hair particle system, l love how it worked, and I also like how it looks.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulty in the creation? How did you overcome it?

    Maged: Some issues creating the grass, but youtube really helped.

    Fox Renderfarm: When and how did you encounter CG?

    Maged: It's a long story, but basically I studied English then tried dubbing cartoons, really loved it but found very few local cartoons in Egypt, then decided to learn to create my own cartoon. Wish me luck.

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

    Maged: Surprisingly, never been into working in CG art. Yes, I am still learning till now. Started almost a year ago, but was struggling in different courses, and was on the right track only three or four months ago.

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you do to improve your professional skills?

    Maged: Watch more tutorials and practice.

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

    Maged: Yes, never lose the passion to learn and create your own worlds.

    Reproducing the Moment of Resurrection in 3ds Max and V-Ray




    FGT3D “Easter Egg” challenge was organized in March, sponsored by Texture Box and your TPN-Accredited cloud render farm, Fox Renderfarm.

    Fox Renderfarm is so glad to have an interview with Roy Bou Samra. Roy won the Honorable Mention of the Challenge by The Art of Easter Eggs. Congrats!

    The artwork started with Saint Mary Magdalene when she talked with Caesar about Jesus’ resurrection. The inspiration combined with the color use gives us surprises.

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

    The moment © Roy Bou Samra

    • Roy Bou Samra
    • Freelance architect
    • From: Lebanon
    • Caption: The concept of this image is mainly related to the history of the Easter egg.

    It started with Saint Mary Magdalene when she talked with Caesar about Jesus’ resurrection.

    She picked up a hen's egg from the dinner table to illustrate her point of resurrection but Caesar told her that it is impossible for a human being to return to life as it is impossible for the egg to turn red. At that moment, immediately the egg turned red in her hand. (The moment is represented in the picture when the egg started to turn red. That's why the name of the image is " The moment").

    The Romans, Chinese, Egyptians and Persians all cherished the egg as a symbol of the universe. (They are symbolized by the egg pieces surrounding the main egg).

    In this project, I tried to combine the present that we are living now (which is the black background in the picture), with the meaning of the Easter egg which gives us hope for the future ( in the black background there are no edges, no guidelines but there are two white spaces that represent hope).

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Roy, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Roy: My name is Roy Bou Samra, 27 years old, from Lebanon, I am an Architect graduated from Holy Spirit University of Kaslik(USEK) with a Master degree in Architecture (accredited from NAAB).

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the Honorable Mention in the FGT3D “Easter Egg” Challenge?

    Roy: I am very proud of winning the honorable mention of this challenge since it is my first time entering a challenge because in the last few months I was working hard to improve my skills and this honorable mention came as a reward for me.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind the award-winning work?

    Roy: I was first inspired by the history of the Easter egg and from where it comes from. So I got the story and I tried to make a creative concept other than the normal ideas that we are used to seeing in Easter.

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

    Roy: It took me five hours to finish the artwork because I saw this competition on 29th March.

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

    Roy: To finish this artwork I have used: 3ds Max 2016, V-Ray 3.60.03, Photoshop CC2017.

    Fox Renderfarm: The beautiful color use is perfect and well received by the judges. How did you design it?

    Roy: The main idea was the transformation of the color of the egg from its normal color to the red color. I used water-based colors because they are the most colors that give the power of transformation when they are mixed together.

    Fox Renderfarm: Technically and visually, which is your favorite part of this work? Why?

    Roy: Technically, my favorite part was finding the best composition surrounding the egg and trying to make them simple so they would not take the attention more than the egg itself. Visually, my favorite part was the egg itself, because I liked how the colors were mixed and how they made the transformation very clear so I felt the moment as if I was capturing it.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulty in the creation? How did you overcome it?

    Roy: For sure I have met difficulties in the creation, one of them was to make the shape of the egg look like a real egg. I tried to use several commands in 3ds Max but I wasn’t convinced with the result, so I searched the internet and got a new technique to draw the egg and it was perfect.

    Fox Renderfarm: When and how did you encounter CG?

    Roy: I started working on CG when I was in my second-year university.

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

    Roy: Educational wise, I started my CG journey in the university as a beginner, then I started improving my experience by taking 3ds Max and V-Ray courses in parallel to the courses that I took in the university.

    Working wise, I learned that the execution should be similar to the design, so I cannot render something that is out of space and impossible to implement. This was the reason that pushed me to improve my skills in rendering.

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you do to improve your professional skills?

    Roy: To improve my professional skills I always tried to take online courses and this is what I am doing now in the quarantine, I am watching more tutorials on YouTube and I am learning many new things that are improving my skills.

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

    Roy: Always be hungry for good work and professionalism.

    I hope that this competition will open an opportunity for me to work with you in the future.

    NOTE: Fox’s Got Talent campaign keeps going. Welcome to share your artwork rendered with Fox Renderfarm and be our April winner! For more info

    Fox’s Got Talent March Winner talked about how to create a doomsday battle in C4D



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Last month, we have already announced Fox’s Got Talent March winner--Yaw Onyina, a 3D Generalist and Medical Doctor from Ghana. Congratulations again and let’s see how he created a doomsday battle in Cinema 4D.

    · Yaw Onyina · 3D Generalist and Medical Doctor· From: Ghana

    The Final Stand by Yaw Onyina

    After over 2 months of work, Yaw finished his biggest ever project The Final Stand, which was modeled in C4D with a few exceptions made in MoI3D. The texturing was with Substance Painter, Alchemist, Illustrator, and Photoshop, and rendering was done with Redshift for C4D. What’s more, Yaw introduced the texturing and shading processes and how to set up so many details in the scene in our exclusive interview.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi, could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Yaw: My name is Yaw Onyina and a 27-year-old from Ghana. I work professionally as a Medical Doctor. I love design in general and so I make time to work on it.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning Fox’s Got Talent (FGT)?

    Yaw: Brilliant. It’s the first contest I’ve ever won in design and I’m really grateful to Fox Renderfarm for the opportunity to enter and eventually win!!

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this creative artwork?

    Yaw: I call my artwork ‘The Final Stand’. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where artificial intelligence has taken over the world and has the current goal of exterminating all human life. The hero in the shot comes against the AI drones. After an epic battle, he falls. My pieces lately are inspired by the works of Simon Stalenhag and Cornelius Dammrich. Their works are amazing!

    Details in The Final Stand by Yaw Onyina

    Artwork by Simon Stalenhag

    52HZ by Cornelius Dammrich

    Fox Renderfarm: We can see that you set up many details in the artwork, such as the telephone booth, weapon and neon lights. Which part did you spend more time on and how did you make it done?

    Yaw: Most of the time I spent on the scene was in texturing and shading processes. The scene contains over 300 separate textures so you can imagine how long it took compiling them into shaders haha.

    Telephone booth design in The Final Stand by Yaw Onyina

    Fox Renderfarm: The drone is so cool, how did you design it? Any references?

    Yaw: I spent time looking for references online. Pinterest and ArtStation are great resources which I think every artist should use. Then I went into Cinema 4D and using subdivision modeling, I made the drone. I then unwrapped the separate pieces using RizomUV and took the unwrapped model into Substance Painter for texturing. The entire drone model took about 4 hours cumulatively to make.

    Drone design in The Final Stand by Yaw Onyina

    Fox Renderfarm: Technically and visually, which is your favorite part of this work? Why?

    Yaw: My absolute favorite part of the process is texturing. Substance Painter is such a joy to use. Back in the day I hardly ever properly unwrapped and textured models however with the advent of Substance, everything’s changed. I’ll never look back!

    Texturing in The Final Stand by Yaw Onyina

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

    Yaw: My main difficulties were in rendering. I use a laptop in making most of my scenes so rendering the final images at full 8k resolution was a nightmare. I spent over 8 hours rendering a single frame only for Cinema 4D to crash, right at the end!! I’m really happy I found Fox Renderfarm. It freed my computer for other purposes.

    Fox Renderfarm: As you are a 3D Generalist and also a Medical Doctor, how do you keep yourself inspired and motivated? And what do you do to improve your CG professional skills?

    Yaw: Paradoxically, design is what keeps me motivated to work as a medical doctor. I keep Behance and ArtStation tabs open on my browser as well. So they serve as great sources of inspiration. I strive to be like the artists who inspire me and that’s what keeps me constantly trying to improve my skills. I try to stay humble and invite critique from fellow artists on several of the artist platforms (such as 3douchebags, Motion Designers Community, The Cinema 4D Subreddit, etc).

    Artworks by Yaw Onyina


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

    Yaw: I absolutely love it! I’m definitely rendering all of my bigger projects on this service. Customer service is spot on too. Great service.

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

    Yaw: I’d like to encourage all C4D artists to step out of the stereotypical “C4D daily style” of design and tackle bigger personal/client projects. That is the only way we can improve as artists.

    Will you be our next WINNER?

    Click here Fox's Got Talent and submit your artwork rendered with Fox Renderfarm, shine your talent now!

    Telling a Mysterious Ice Adventure Story in Blender



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    CG Boost announced the winners of its 13th 3D challenge, “Discovered in Ice” Challenge on April 1st. This challenge.also sponsored by the TPN-Accredited cloud render farm, Fox Renderfarm. The brilliant award-winning artworks bring us to discover creepy monsters, broken ships and many adventure stories in ice. The champion artwork created by Benjamin Roman, a hobbyist 3D artist from Paris, shows us an isolated and mysterious church in the glacier.

    Last Church by Benjamin Roman

    “At first, I wanted to create a more scientific-looking image showing a modern expedition. I started to search for photos but after a few days making a PureRef project, I changed my idea to go with a more Viking style artwork,” Benjamin talked about his inspiration for the project.

    Due to the great composition, lighting and colors, the artwork done in Blender 2.81 stood out in the challenge. Let’s find out what went on behind the scene in the interview.

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi, could you briefly introduce yourself?

    Benjamin: Hi, my name is Benjamin Roman, I’m 21 years old and I live in the south of France. I do CG art as a hobby and I never followed art courses. Actually I’m a physics student at Paris Saclay University. University and I temporarily live in Paris.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning 1st place in the CGBoost Discovered In Ice Challenge?

    Benjamin: I feel really excited. Participating in this type of contest is a great way for me to complete a full project and improve my skills. Also, some prizes will enable me to create environments and nature art which was hard for me before (doing everything by hand is a nightmare). So I think it will give me more freedom with my creativity. I really push my skill on each challenge I enter, so it's cool.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind the award-winning work?

    Benjamin: The idea of the cave was the root of everything. I wanted it to look huge and to be a peaceful place where something was protected. Then, since it was an icy challenge, I decided to go with a Nordic-looking architecture. The main inspiration here were great photos from my brother he took in Norway. Initially, I wanted to show a scientific discovery with some sci-fi looking explorers but I thought it was not coherent with the little church so the character had to be lonely to let the church be the greatest part of the image.

    Photos by Benjamin’s brother

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

    Benjamin: I spent a bit more than one week finishing it with around 7 hours a day. So I guess it took me around 70 hours in total. Due to the current situation, I had quite a lot of time to do it.

    Clay Render

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

    Benjamin: I mainly used Blender to build the whole scene and Photoshop to do the composition, color correction and slight additions like fog, light rays and so on. In Blender, I used the BlenderKit addon which was quite handy to quickly find ice and snow materials. During the project, I used PureRef on another computer to keep an eye on my references. PureRef is really a great piece of software! But overall, I think the most useful “software” I used was a pen and a piece of paper. It was a great way for me to stay focused on what I wanted to do and improve.

    PureRef Moodboard

    Benjamin’s hand-written checklist

    Fox Renderfarm: The lighting of the artwork is so great, which made the building and environment full of mystery. How did you make it? Any ideas behind that?

    Benjamin: The lighting was quite hard to set up. Actually the scene is very open but I wanted to create the illusion of a cave. I used a pretty uniform HDRI (from to light the main scene with some modifications: I tweaked the tint to get a more bluish light and drastically dropped down the intensity to create this ambient light. At this step, it was crucial to have a split render: the background was rendered separately. This has two advantages: it reduces the render time and since I tweaked the HDRI to get a cave lighting, I needed to have light coming from everywhere.

    Then I added a strong spotlight to mimic some sunlight coming from a hole inside the ice. I drove the intensity with some noise to avoid an obvious big circular shape. Finally, I lit the background with a very large area light to create a diffused lighting coming from the end of the cave. It had to be quite bright to grab the viewer’s eye in this area.

    Fox Renderfarm: The beautiful composition and color use are perfect and well received by the judges, how did you design it?

    Benjamin: Obviously, I wanted the whole image to have a blue/aquatint to match the theme. Then the red of the church came from the reference images I showed before. I tweaked the colors with some RGB curves and levels. For the composition, I created two main elements which are facing each other. To keep a balanced image, the explorer is very dark and does not pop out too much. This way I keep the greatness felt for the church. I tried to build a spiral shape by playing with the cave elements that lead the eye toward the focal element. Also, the fact of putting the church on a high place creates some greatness and serenity. On second thought, I think the stairs were not a good idea since they break the reading path I created. I wanted them to be a secondary detail to add some interest to the image but in the end they were not necessary.

    Fox Renderfarm: Technically and visually, which is your favorite part of this work? Why?

    Benjamin: I’m pretty proud of how the snow interacts with the roof tiles on the church. The snow is quite low poly and I roughly sculpted it but I used micro polygon displacement to create the roof so that wooden tiles interact with the snow and create this cool pattern. I must admit that it was not intentional but since it looked good, I kept it.

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulty in the creation? How did you overcome it?

    Benjamin: I met the same difficulty I meet at each render I make: optimization. I have a good gaming laptop but some scenes can be heavy and the software becomes unstable. So I have to do some optimizations, and always think about “Is this texture resolution necessary?”, “Do I really need that amount of polygons here?”. But it’s a great way to learn how a render engine works and how to cheat.

    Fox Renderfarm: When and how did you encounter CG?

    Benjamin: I don’t really remember when it was. When I was a kid, I was reading a magazine about science called “science et vie junior”, and I came across an article about Blender explaining how to create a very simple dinosaur but I didn’t have a computer at that time. So a few years later, I downloaded Blender (it was version 2.62) and tried this. Then I did some other work but I never really put effort into learning more about CG. It was around 4 years ago that I really started to learn Blender and discover the CG world.

    Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us the story of your education along your CG journey?

    Benjamin: I never studied CG with conventional courses. I learned a lot with YouTube videos by Gleb Alexandrov, Zacharias Reinhardt or Andrew Price. I think the best thing I learned was some art theory like the use of color and composition. In parallel, I started to enter small contests like the weekend challenge on They were quick and a good way to improve my skills. Then I started to enter bigger contests like CG Boost ones. The first time I entered this challenge, I had the chance to see my render being smashed down by Zacharias Reinhardt in one of his review videos, it was very instructive.

    Time to play with snow by Benjamin Roman

    Fox Renderfarm: What do you do to improve your professional skills?

    Benjamin: Usually when I start a new project, I always have to do something challenging. So I have to do some tests with simple setups to find the best way to do what I want. This way I can create a technique that can be useful in the future. For example, I’m currently trying to make a photorealistic coast with rocks progressively fading into the water so I did some tests with some weird node-setups but I think I found a good way to do this.

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

    Benjamin: Keep doing what you love and what you are passionate about. Experiment, try new things and challenge yourself!

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