How to Create a Future Alien Planet Scene in LightWave 3D
Have you imagined that in the future, humans will travel to other planets in spaceships to collect new energy?
David Aguero, the 2nd place winner of the Hum3D Space Rover 3D Competition, created such an amazing future scene in his award-winning work The harvest, which was made with LightWave 3D, Substance Painter and Affinity Photo.
The harvest © David Aguero
As he introduced, “The new season is here and the harvest begins, soldiers, not farmers, extract the Enerplant, a powerful and green energy that floods the spacecraft engines, making possible star travel. It only grows in the exoplanet B7, in a region claimed by the human alliance, is a deadly business, but very profitable, some say, the new gold fever…”
It’s pleased that your TPN-Accredited cloud render farm, Fox Renderfarm, has the chance to have an interview with David Aguero, a 3D generalist and Art Director form Argentina. He talked about how he created the cool space rover and the beautiful alien forest.
- David Aguero
- Freelance 3D Generalist & Concept Design
- From: Argentina
- ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/david_aguero
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, David! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?
David: Well, I'm 38 years old, living in Argentina, generally working as Freelance, now an Art Director for a local VFX company. Fantasy and science fiction are my favourite subjects.
Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 2nd place in the Space Rover Challenge, how do you feel about that?
David: Thanks! As an artist, winning an art challenge is a big opportunity, not only to win something but to get your work boosted to more people’s eyes, that is great.
Fox Renderfarm: What inspired you to come out with the idea of making the work ‘The Harvest’?
David: From some time I wanted to design a rover involving a "dome-like" windshield, I also love the AT-ST ( chicken leg transport from Star Wars).
AT-ST from Star Wars
Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work?
David: I started May 22nd, and ended one day before the deadline (5 of June), so I spent 15 days ( on free time and weekends).
Fox Renderfarm: Could you tell us how you designed the space rover?
David: I tend to do some concepts in 3D, I use basic shapes to quickly find an interesting design, like sketching in paper then I start to add detail and think about the functionality in the process. You can't see in my entry, what my rover can do. If you look closely you have wheels for long distance travel, legs for complicated terrain and the main pod can detach for diving. :)
Fox Renderfarm: The amazing work has great composition and details such as the robots and colorful trees, could you tell us how you make the amazing environment?
David: I start the terrain base in world creator, then in LightWave 3D, I used a powerful instance system to populate small rocks and vegetation, the giant trees were easy to make, they are basic shapes with some 3D scan barks, I use the instance system to make the ivy, and then I use a unified material for the plant with lots of color variation, very fun to set up with the real-time renderer that LightWave has.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties when creating this work? And how did you solve it?
David: The most challenging, was to make the UVs for the rover, too many parts, its takes a lot of time to do it properly, but to save time I didn't do all the UVs, I mirrored half of the rover since it wasn't to be displayed from other angles!
Detail renders of the space rover
Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us your educational and work experience along your CG journey?
David: When I was little I was fascinated with the old stop motion movies ( Ray Harryhausen), then in the 1993 Jurassic Park came out and blow my mind, ( I was 15 years old ) since then, I slowly learn what 3D was, started with the 3D studio for DOS, the use TrueSpace, 3ds Max, Maya and finally LightWave as my main 3D program now. Almost self taught, I went to a college to refine my 3D skills but at the time it was very basic, I have a degree in Multimedia designer, I learned more on the internet though.
The Last Shuttle © David Aguero
Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any recommendable learning methods to improve professional skills?
David: Yes! Before going to an expensive college or institute you can start by looking at online tutorials from the best artist out there, I learned a lot looking through the process of other artists, then, if you are serious about it, an institute can open jobs opportunities, contacts and give you some discipline for work.
Healing © David Aguero
Fox Renderfarm: Anything else you would like to share with CG enthusiasts?
David: Follow big artists, buy tutorials, interact in social networks, don't be lazy, share your work, accept critics, help others! And join challenges! They are great exercises to develop deadline skills! And more.
Lomas Post, One of Mexico´s Top Ad Agencies, Won the May Winner of Fox's Got Talent
Fox Renderfarm Interview
Fox’s Got Talent (FGT) is the platform for all Fox Renderfarm users to share their artwork rendered with Fox Renderfarm and get free render credits.
In early June, we announced the May winner of FGT, Lomas Post, a creative and dynamic company which has played an important role in Mexico's advertising for over 13 years.
Founded in 2005 by Jack Amkie, Lomas Post grew rapidly to position itself as one of the most important animation and post-production studios in Mexico. Over the years they have maintained a restless spirit which has allowed them to be current and to be a benchmark for the best advertising agencies, production houses and clients in Mexico.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to interview Mr.Carlos García, the Director of 3D area at Lomas Post. With a Film Major, Carlos has specialized in 3D and VFX. He has the ability to craft unique visual images from scratch. He is a know-it-all, which led him to become a master in VFX and 3D.
Here’s the interview between Carlos García and Fox Renderfarm.
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Carlos! Could you please briefly introduce yourself?
Carlos: I am a digital artist born in Mexico with 7 years of experience, I am currently the director of the 3D area at Lomas Post. I am a huge fan of video games and horror movies.
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about Lomas Post being the May winner of Fox’s Got Talent (FGT)?
Carlos: It is a great honor for us that our work is shown on Fox’s Got Talent, we are grateful not only with Fox Renderfarm, but also with our people in the studio that has allowed us to be at Fox’s Got Talent.
Fox Renderfarm: Lomas Post produced lots of good quality animation works and VFX projects, which project gave you a sense of achievement most? Could you give a brief introduction to it?
Carlos: One of the projects that gave us the most sense of achievement was to make a 3D seagull for a movie, the difficult thing was to make it really have a natural behavior along with the feather, rig and animation system, I think it has been quite a challenge to make a fully 3D animal. It is undoubtedly one of the projects that has challenged us the most as a team.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce your Ad production pipeline? Are there any challenges during the production and how did your team deal with it?
Carlos: As it is not a large-scale study, I think it is necessary to analyze what type of project is going to start and the result that we would like to achieve, regardless of that we have a base pipeline that can be modified depending on the complexity of the project.
We start with a visual exploration, looking for visual references, we love to explore at first through colors, textures and lighting.
Once we visually define where we want to go, we begin with the part that we consider the most important of the process, to capture the idea in a storyboard together with a picture with the mood that we would like to achieve, as closely as possible to the final product.
Then we give way to the 3D department that will be in charge of bringing to reality those images that were only an idea or a drawing. Going through all the 3D departments (modeling, texturing, rig layout, animation, lighting).
Once the work is successfully completed, we give our friends Fox Renderfarm the opportunity to help us process the days of renders in hours or minutes, for us it is an aspect to take into account from the beginning of a project. Once the render is coming out correctly, the data manager is in charge of ordering and distributing the shots that must be composed to the different areas, providing them with everything they need for their composition to take place. When we finish composing the project, we perform the base light where all the shots are unified in terms of color and light intensity.
When the shots are ready, we do an online with a client where we present the final product and we do the final distribution going through a master to make sure that all the materials come out with the appropriate parameters and the required quality.
The challenge is always time, and thanks to the fact that our process has been improving, in this case with the integration of external companies in our pipeline as with Fox Renderfarm, they are taking heavy weights off us.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the vision for Lomas Post? Could you give a brief introduction to the studio’s next step or future planning?
Carlos: We define ourselves as a creatively restless company, we are constantly exploring all the time. Right now we are focused on expanding our reach by starting operations in Colorado, USA. Our intention is to open the way to new markets.
Fox Renderfarm: We can see that Lomas Post is a dynamic team, how did your team keep inspired and motivated?
Carlos: We believe that the most important thing in Lomas Post is the people, observing each member of the team achieve their dreams, even being part of them. For us, it is the greatest motivation that can exist in a team.
We are motivated to see people do their work with so much love and respect for their creations that it is impossible for them not to motivate you.
We are always surrounded by young people who have just finished school. We receive many interns with great pleasure because we love to see those desire to grow and make their way into the world of work.
It is practically what motivates us as a team.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you please tell us if the COVID-19 affected your team and work or not? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Carlos: I think the COVID-19 approved of how effective our remote communication could be and if our end results were the same as when we were physically in the office. Nothing changed, we became more observant of our process and our final products, we did not want anyone to feel that we were not working in the same way, and I think we did it.
I believe that we should not fear change, we must make it work in our benefit.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you share with us the current market situation of the 3D animation and VFX industry in Mexico?
Carlos: I think we are a growing market with a lot of talent, there are people that I admire in the industry that have been able to transcend, not only locally but also globally. The industry in Mexico is often limited by time or budget, but that does not limit creativity or the desire to give everything and high-quality things are done, even compared to international projects.
I consider that it is a great moment for the industry in Mexico since we are increasingly heard in festivals worldwide, I am very proud of the people who belong to the Mexican industry.
If I had to define them with a word to the people who are part of the industry in Mexico, I would define it as "warriors".
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about our cloud rendering services? Would you share your experience with Fox Renderfarm?
Carlos: What caught our attention from the beginning was Fox Renderfarm’s personalized attention 24 hours a day, the level of response they have is amazing, Fox Renderfarm is the only company that had the plugins we needed to render our different projects.
Their speed in rendering was amazing, even if you have come to help us with our scripts when something is corrupted, we are very happy with Fox Renderfarm render service, they far exceeded our expectations.
Fox Renderfarm became a fundamental part of our pipeline.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you wanna share with CG enthusiasts?
Carlos: It is never too late to learn something new and never stop creating.
Will you be our next WINNER?
Click here Fox's Got Talent and submit your artwork rendered with Fox Renderfarm. Shine your talent now!
Call For Submissions: FGT3D ‘Hero’ Challenge
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 email@example.com with your name and the description of the work.
- 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!
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.
Making an Eye-catching Vintage Mustang Look Strong and Smart in 3ds Max
For our mutual goal - improving with the community together, Hum 3D and Fox Renderfarm have established a close and significant cooperation. For this year’s Car Render Challenge, Fox Renderfarm, the leading render farm in the CG industry, as the sponsor, is glad to select The Retro Masterpiece by Surjendu Das as the Fox Renderfarm Team Choice.
The Retro Masterpiece by Surjendu Das
“Everything about this work is just well designed, from composition and mood to modeling and materials, making the eye-catching vintage Mustang look strong and smart.”
-- Fox Renderfarm
The powerful Mustang with exquisite lighting was also winning the Autodesk Team Choice. Wouldn’t you want to know more about who’s the magic hand behind the fine artwork and how he has made it? Fox Renderfarm had an interview with Surjendu Das and asked all those questions. Check out out interview for more interesting sharings.
- Surjendu Das
- 3D Artist
- From: Kolkata, India
Fox Renderfarm: Could you please give a brief introduction of yourself?
Surjendu: Hello, I am a student from Kolkata, India. I am currently doing my graduation in Computer Science & Engineering as well as pursuing a diploma in 3D and VFX art. I have a strong desire to learn new things and applying them. I aspire to work for major gaming or VFX studios/companies around the world in the future and be a part of their amazing creativity.
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the Fox Renderfarm Team Choice in the Hum3D ‘Car Render Challenge’?
Surjendu: I am feeling very happy to say the least, and proud of myself, my friends, and my parents who helped me a lot to achieve this milestone in my life. This is my first ever international achievement in the field of 3D and it has encouraged me so much to work and create more and more nice artworks. Big thanks to the Fox Renderfarm Team and Hum3D Team for selecting and portraying my artwork, this means a lot to me . And again I want to thank my parents for enabling me to achieve my goals in life.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for the well-made artwork The Retro Masterpiece?
Surjendu: I am a big fan of cyberpunk, retro-night style arts and games like GTA V. So I always take snapshots of those whenever I get the opportunity, from galleries like Pinterest, Artstation etc. And it eventually inspired me to create a similar one like them. Also the main inspiration for my scene was from a famous scene by Marek Denko – “Her Eventual Hesitation”.
Her Eventual Hesitation by Marek Denko
Fox Renderfarm: Could you tell us the making process of the vintage Mustang?
Surjendu: I started by making a rough layout in Photoshop, mainly I photobashed the various images I saved to my collection.
On the modeling part, my friend Ritam Chatterjee really helped me out as he was modeling the Mustang. And I thought that it would be awesome to have the Mustang model in the scene. While he finished the Mustang, I set out the very basic layout of the scene in 3ds Max. After that I added the Mustang and the buildings as per the layout and did the necessary modeling and tweaking. The buildings used in the scene was from a free kit that was available from Kitbash3d.com
For texturing the Mustang I made custom shaders in 3ds Max for the body, headlights, tires and also added some free textures which I googled and photoshopped as per my needs.
Then I used V-Ray lights to light up my scene. As it was a night scene I had to produce many lights at every place which affected the final view of the scene. I rendered out various lighting passes as a test, and composited them in photoshop to judge and finalize the lighting. I also added fake lighting to enhance the scene.
Then I rendered the raw file in 4K in V-Ray along with various passes for my needs and comped it all together in Photoshop, did some crazy color corrections, masking, painting and finally it was ready to publish.
Fox Renderfarm: We noticed the reflection on the surface of the car and the texture of the car lights are exquisite, could you tell us how did you achieve both of them respectively?
Surjendu: The reflection on the surface of the car is what has started to make the scene look good. It was made by adding fake scene lights. Initially I assigned the car with a matte surface and did the lighting with an HDRI / Dome light. But it came out to be worse than ever, so I made the car paint material to be very reflective and added three big plane lights in the scene on the right side of the car which cannot be seen from the scene camera. Then I googled some night images and put them as a light texture in the big lights which eventually worked as reflection lights and changed the look and feel of the scene and the mustang.
The texture of the car headlight is made by connecting a simple procedural grid map to the bump node of the vray glass material. The grid was created by using a composite texture of two Waves maps available in 3ds Max, one having horizontal lines and one having vertical lines, and one of their blend modes was set to multiply in composite node. The image of the shader is attached.
Fox Renderfarm: And the environment design enriches the ambiance of the whole picture, any ideas behind the lighting design?
Surjendu: As it was a night scene I had to create lights at every possible area to illuminate the objects. So I made use of direct and indirect lighting to light up my scene. I created lights on the physical light sources and created bounces off them where the light would spread. I also added fake lights off the camera to help illuminate the scene and especially the Mustang, such as the creating lights on the right side of mustang to help with extra illumination and reflection. Also I used self illumination material on various sign boards which helped catch attention.
I started with a night HDRI for all the light bounces but it eventually made the scene bad so I did lights on my own.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the artwork?
Surjendu: It took approximately 3 months to complete the whole artwork.
Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use to make the artwork?
Surjendu: I used Autodesk 3ds Max for modeling, texturing, Chaos Group’s V-Ray for lighting and rendering in 3ds Max, Adobe Photoshop for final Compositing.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most unforgettable experience in the production process?
Surjendu: For me, during the production, the most unforgettable experience was the individual lighting of the scene, it felt like it would never end, it was a bit monotonous to add lights and test the renders again & again as I was using CPU rendering but I really enjoyed the process as a whole and was surprised at last to see that the lighting of the scene went well.
Fox Renderfarm: Have you met any difficulties? How did you solve it?
Surjendu: The difficulties that I met in the whole scene was again the lighting part and the time left. I used several HDRIs/Dome light for overall environmental lighting but the outputs were bad or not coming up to the mark. I once thought of changing the entire concept but the time was limited and I had to make the change then and there.
So I ended up manually creating the lights for the light sources as well as creating bounce lighting for the scene along with the big reflection lights on the other side of the car which I discussed earlier. There are a total of 150 lights approx in the scene.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you recall your first encounter with CG? How did you come up with pursuing your 3D career?
Surjendu: My first encounter with CG was back in 2014 when I tried to composite a transformer in my home video after watching many tutorials on YouTube and which I failed eventually.
I loved to play video games and watch sci-fi movies since childhood. So one day all of a sudden I thought of filming & creating my own cool action sci-fi scene with my brother. I searched for a hell lot of videos and tutorials of it and came across VideoCopilot and its host Andrew Kramer. He is a great guy who does free tutorials on After Effects and 3D. His way of approach highly impressed me and encouraged me to create cool action scenes like him. I followed him thoroughly and slowly generated a liking towards this subject as it got revealed more and more. That’s how I ended up pursuing a career in 3D.
Tutorial video via VideoCopilot
Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly tell us about the education and career experience along your 3D journey?
Surjendu: It’s not long since I started my 3D journey, having started it back in 2017. But in these 2 years I have gathered a lot of experience in the course of learning it and I want to say that it is challenging as well as the most fun subject to learn and work in if anyone is really interested. The mix of technology and fine art is groundbreaking and the things that can be achieved is limitless. I have been learning the subject restlessly and the best thing is that I have faced many problems and I learned many things from it eventually solving bigger problems. Hoping to level up my career more and more in the future.
Fox Renderfarm: In your Facebook profile, we saw that you are “Autodesk Certified”, could you share your experience of getting the certification?
Surjendu: After completing the 3ds Max course last year, I was allowed to sit for the Autodesk Certification Examination for 3ds Max from the authorized Training Center I was studying in, as a mark of completing the course successfully. It was a 3-hour long online MCQ-Type exam.
I was given a set of questions from various fields – modeling, texturing, lighting, rigging , animation and particles inside of 3ds Max. The questions were moderate to difficult and consisted of core conceptual questions about using 3ds Max properly and questions asking a lot of keyboard-shortcuts in 3ds Max. I successfully completed the exam with a mark of 970 out of 1000 and got the certification.
Fox Renderfarm: Who or what project inspires you the most in the industry?
Surjendu: In the CG and VFX industry I am inspired the most by many personnels, some of them are:
1> Marek Denko, his CG projects very much detailed which inspires me.
Artworks by Marek Denko
2> Andrew Kramer, he is one of the game changers in the field of VFX and is one of the main reasons why people like me got interested in the world of CG and vfx. His works inspire me the most.
Lock & Load by Andrew Kramer
The project which inspired me the most recently is Project Spotlight by Epic Games where they are doing real time vfx and cg manipulation with actor’s performance in unreal engine, which can save a lot of time in production.
Project Spotlight by Epic Games
Fox Renderfarm: What do you do to get inspired and motivated? And how do you improve your professional skills?
Surjendu: I get inspiration from lots of things. I watch artworks of other artists, play video games which has stunning environments and assets, watch sci-fi short films and watch intros of various films and TV shows.
I take various subscription of online courses whenever possible to further improve my professional skills and creativity and in general I gather knowledge from Youtube and Google any time I face a problem.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you wanna share with CG enthusiasts?
Surjendu: I want to say the CG Enthusiasts that you should always remain interested and keep creating and working without thinking twice, because the more you create, the more you face problems, and the more you solve and overcome, creating your best artwork, that is where the real fun in the process of CG lies.
FGT3D 'Easter Egg' Challenge Winners Announced
We are happy to announce the winners of the Fox’s Got Talent 3D Challenge themed on 'Easter Egg'!
From Feb. 26th to Mar. 30th, we received several artworks from various countries. After three rounds of discussion and election by jury, three artworks were picked and would be awarded. Congrats to the winners and honorable candidates, but also to everyone who was taking part.
The prize covers fast and easy cloud rendering services provided by Fox Renderfarm and a huge amount of textures and models provided by texturebox.com. We will contact the winners during the next few days.
Now let's see who are the winners!
1st place - The Art of Easter Eggs
Surjendu Das will receive prizes:
- Fox Renderfarm: $500 render coupon
- Texture Box: Patreon membership x 3 months
Artists: Ritam Chatterjee & Surjendu Das
Artwork Name: The Art of Easter Eggs
Software and plugins used: 3ds Max 2019, Substance Painter, Vray Next, Photoshop
Caption: It has always been fun to explore our creative ideas, while we are at home. So I tried to portray the same idea through this artwork, where someone is being creative and painting the Easter Eggs in his own artistic styles while at home. And he is also feeling lucky to share his process with us.
2nd place - Easter Land
Sai Dinesh Komanduri will receive prizes:
- Fox Renderfarm: $300 render coupon
- Texture Box: Patreon membership x 2 months
Artist: Sai Dinesh Komanduri
Artwork Name: Easter Land
Software and plugins used: Blender, ArmorPaint and Photoshop
Caption: Bunny has painted the Eggs and went into the bunny house to get ready for Easter.
3rd place - Wrong Easter Egg
Maged Atef will receive prizes:
- Fox Renderfarm: $200 render coupon
- Texture Box: Patreon membership x 1 months
Artist: Maged Atef
Artwork name: Wrong Easter Egg
Software and plugins used: Blender, Zbrush, Substance Painter
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.
Honorable Mention - The Moment
Roy Bou Samra will receive prizes:
- Fox Renderfarm: $100 render coupon
Artist: Roy Bou Samra
Artwork Name: The Moment
Software and plugins used: 3ds Max 2016, V-Ray 3.60.03, Photoshop CC 2017
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 the 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 is no edges, no guidelines but there are two white spaces that represent hope).
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 ‘Easter Egg’ Challenge winners. Congrats to winners again!
Who’re our next winners? We hope to see you in the next FGT3D challenge!
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 https://www.foxrenderfarm.com/fox-got-talent.html
Interview with Florian Renner, the 3rd Winner of Hum3d Survial Car Challenge
Hum3d Survial Car Challenge
The Hum3d Car Challenge just finished recently, and we did found a lot of awesome works there. Fox Renderfarm is so honored to be one of the sponsors and has the opportutnity to be part of it. And we are so glad to have the chance to talk with Florian Renner, the 3rd winner of this competition. Here are the details as below:
Fox Renderfarm: Hi Florian, would you please give a brief introduction about yourself?
Florian Renner: I started to work 2003 after my education as graphic designer . I always loved to create images.. doesn't matter how..digital or analog with pencils. About in 2007 I started with digital painting for contests and combined my work with cinema4d. In 2011, I started as a freelancer in the field of graphic design, 3D visualization, and later 3d animation too.
Fox Renderfarm: Are you currently working as a CG artist?
Florian Renner: Yes, about 70% of my projects are 3d designs(key visuals). style guides, 3d visuals, product visualizations etc. not all projects are shown on my website. Some have secrecy or may not be shown, the other 30% is typical graphic design, logos, flyer, brochures.
Fox Renderfarm: How did you made the decision to step into the CG industry?
Florian Renner: I wanted to become a freelancer and working on projects I like. I was in a permanent position for 8 years before. In addition to my work, I have illustrated a lot and taught myself in cinema 4d to expand my offer. To become a freelancer was my best decision, but without my 3d experiences it would be hard, most of my clients come to me because of the 3d animations and visualizations.
Fox Renderfarm: Good for you! Did you still remember your first CG work, how does it look like?
Florian Renner: Yes, my first 100% digital created image with my wacom was for a game contest about in 2006. I won a trip to Hamburg and had an insight how they work on the pc game. The first images were a bit too rough but some months later the images had a better quality. On my website are still some early illustrations from 2007 (https://www.florian-renner.com/illustrations-part-ii). My "Tank" image is from 2008 and one of the first I combined cinema 4d and digital art.
Fox Renderfarm: The "Tank" looks pretty awesome. While how did you know the Hum3d Survival Car competition?
Florian Renner: I always download my car models on this site for my projects. I don't remember exactly but I think I was searching for a new model and saw the post.
Fox Renderfarm: Haha, that means you are regular customers of Hum3d. So what inspires you most to come out the idea of making the work "Lightage"?
Florian Renner: I like Fantasy Sci Fi settings but I am a bit bored of the zombie and their gore/violence in general...maybe I watched "the walking dead" too often. So I was trying to find something new outside of the mad max universe, the movie was great but most of the apocalyptic cars are in mad max style, so my sketches then went more in the direction of snow and ice and the weapons on my car are for hunting not for killing :-) later I liked the idea of whale bones on a car... This raises a few questions and tells a story I don't know for myself too :-) Maybe an inspiration was the very cool series "the terror" I was looking some weeks before.
Fox Renderfarm: Fantastic idea. OK, what software, renderers, plugins you used in this work?
Florian Renner: I used cinema 4d with the octane renderer. 3D Coat for modelling some parts. World creator for the ground and the background. substance painter for the car textures etc. The car model is a customized Alfa Romeo Carabo.
Fox Renderfarm: Haha, so many software used in it. Did you met any difficulties when creating this work? If yes, how did you solved it?
Florian Renner: The snow shader in octane was a bit complex. First it looked like styropor at the beginning, a bit trial and error. Later I doubled the refraction channel layer in photoshop, after that the surface looked more like ice. And I used substance painter the first time, it was fun to learn but takes some time.
Fox Renderfarm: Difficulties always help move you forward : ) Did you used Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering service previously? If yes, would you share your ideas about us?
Florian Renner: No yet, sorry :-) But maybe in the future if I have an 3d animation project.
Fox Renderfarm: Great, feel free to enjoy yourself. Anything else you would like to add or say?
Florian Renner: Keep on learning 3d software and techniques and try new styles and workflows. The prizes of the competition is great for me, some software I don't know and now I am curious about trying out them.
Fox Renderfarm: Good for you! We are looking forward to your more works in the near future. And thanks so much for your time for this interview.
Fox’s Got Talent January Winners Revealed: Jelly, Demonstrating Connection, Unity and Hope
Fox Renderfarm Interview
At the beginning of 2020, the TPN-accredited render farm, Fox Renderfarm is glad to receive numerous submissions in our Fox’s Got Talent mailbox. More awesome is seeing all the talented artists integrating professional 3D skills with their unique minds, shown on their 3D renders. Now, let’s beat the drum for the Fox’s Got Talent January winners - Stefan Kang & Grace Hori Reaves!
Left: Stefan Kang, Right: Grace Hori Reaves
- Stefan Kang, FX/ CG Generalist, The Mill
- Grace Hori Reaves, Freelance Houdini Artist
The winning artwork - Jelly, is a 15-second short video filled with sophisticated details. Inspired by jellyfish, yet instead of making it a mere recreation of the jellyfish, Stefan and Grace did a lot of experiments on the technical and aesthetic aspects during production. Encountering some “happy accidents” and overcoming them, they rendered their artwork with Fox Renderfarm and achieved the stunning final result.
Jelly by Stefan Kang & Grace Hori Reaves
After seeing artwork, you must be curious about how they made it and who they are. Please enjoy the exclusive interview between Fox Renderfarm and our beloved winners, Stefan and Grace!
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Stefan and Grace! Thank you so much for accepting our interview! Could you please give a brief introduction to yourselves?
Stefan: I’m a Motion Designer/ VFX Generalist specializing in using Houdini for creative work, currently working as a fulltime Generalist at The Mill LA. I started working as a Motion Designer a couple of years ago, and after that, I immersed myself in furthering my skill set with Houdini which landed me my current full-time position at The Mill LA.
Artwork by Stefan Kang
Grace: I am a CG artist from Japan. I started out as a 2D motion graphic artist in Tokyo, focusing on concert visuals and online advertisements. I came to LA in 2018 to study 3DCG, and started freelancing as a Houdini artist in 2019.
Artwork by Grace Hori Reaves
Fox Renderfarm: Congrats on winning Fox’s Got Talent! How do you feel about getting the prize? Which part of the artwork were you in charge of respectively?
Stefan & Grace: We are very honored to receive the prize. Having our work recognized and appreciated leads to a stronger motivation for producing new artwork. The render credits are also going to help us a lot on the next personal collaboration project we are planning! More credit means more high-quality rendering!
In this project, we started out by discussing the concept and the overall feeling together. Once we both had a good understanding of the idea, we split the task so Grace was in charge of exploring the technical aspect of the project, doing R&D for the look and motion, while Stefan was in charge of the development of the look, shot execution and finalizing the shot through compositing.
Break-down of Jelly
Fox Renderfarm: Jelly has a technological and oceanic vibe, what’s the inspiration behind Jelly?
Stefan & Grace: It started out as a pure fascination towards jellyfish. Their shape and motion are so elegant and mesmerizing, so we decided to do a project with a jellyfish as a hero character. To make this project more than a mere recreation of a real jellyfish, we experimented with abstract shapes and motion inspired by the jellyfish itself.
Fox Renderfarm: We found some abstract and concrete elements and patterns of the jellyfish, how did you come up with these beautiful images? And how did you create them?
Stefan & Grace: Since we wanted this project to be an experimental project, we decided to step back from the standard modeling/animating process and approach things differently. In the early development stage, we created several patterns of velocity fields that were based on the jellyfish’s pulsing motion; and throughout the project, we re-used these velocity fields multiple times, when animating tentacles, advecting particles, even the jellyfish itself is generated through a volume simulation based on this velocity field which was then converted into a mesh. We also utilized custom growth systems and mathematical algorithms to generate organic-looking patterns that resemble jellyfish tentacles.
Fox Renderfarm: We noticed yellow and blue are the 2 main colors, any ideas behind the lighting and colors?
Stefan & Grace: Blue comes from the color of the ocean, indicating this scene is underwater. It also represents the sense of unity and security, the connection of underwater creatures, especially all the mini jellyfish and the big jellyfish at the end. Yellow is a symbol of comfort, happiness and hope. This color kicks in when the big one awakens, and all the mini jellyfish get affected by it.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the artwork?
Stefan & Grace: The project itself took 2 months.
Fox Renderfarm: What renderers did you use?
Stefan & Grace: We rendered with Redshift and Arnold.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most fun and interesting part of the creation?
Stefan: I enjoyed exploring the creative side - the why and how that help create the whole picture - and designing meaningful styleframes and motion sequences. However, we also took a very different approach for this personal creation. Most of the early design process actually came from the R&D stages. We invested a short period of time to create some interesting setup and explore using simulation tools to find abstract patterns that are related to our references. Putting the R&D process a little earlier in production and using whatever we explore to create all the motion tests and shapes. I often find this more interesting as I will learn and meet with some happy accidents!
Grace: I had a lot of fun experimenting with various motions for the jellyfish. In CG, there is always more than one way to achieve a look, there is no such thing as the “right answer”, and this always fascinates me. To achieve the feeling of a jellyfish I took multiple approaches, including a simple sine wave to distort the mesh, a cloth simulation with the wind blowing periodically, creating a velocity field colliding with spherical geometry, etc. Of course, not all of them make it to the final render, but you can still see all of the fun stuff gathered in the process video.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties? How did you solve it?
Stefan & Grace: Since this was a personal project and not a work for a client, there was no deadline, which allowed us flexibility in terms of schedule - maybe a little too flexible! There was a certain period of time when we both got busy with our client works and had to pause this personal project. In order to get the ball rolling again, we decided to set a hard deadline by aiming to submit to an award that was coming up. This helped us to keep motivated and also to take time management seriously.
Fox Renderfarm: How did you step into the CG industry?
Stefan: I first started working in the industry about five years ago as a motion designer after graduating from a multimedia design program. Like many other artists, I wasn't confident enough with my skill level and the creative path where I was heading. But I was lucky that I got the opportunity by one of my instructors who needed help to do some freelance projection mapping for a fashion show in Asia. I learned so much during that time and understood all the CG processes, managed to gain more experience and prepared a more solid personal portfolio to continue in the CG industry. Most of my early work was in projection mapping, where I worked alongside other artists to create large-scale projections for events.
Skywatch End Credits Design by Stefan Kang
Grace: I started out as a hobbyist playing with After Effects and creating random 2D motion graphics in high school. Although I always had a dream to become a CG artist, my first job was as a salesperson in an advertising agency in Tokyo. As a result, this gave me a thorough understanding of the entire workflow of any kind of content creation, from communicating with clients to pitching ideas, going through production, delivering to clients/media, and seeing how the content influenced the public. While I was working as a salesperson, I started taking some freelance projects for simple motion graphics using After Effects, which helped me build my very first motion graphic portfolio. After 3 years of sales work, I started sending out my portfolio to CG companies, and soon thereafter I was able to make a transition to a 2DCG artist creating motion graphics for concert visuals and online advertisements.
Houdini VFX Reel + Breakdown by Grace Hori Reaves
Fox Renderfarm: Could you briefly share your education and work experience along your CG journey?
Stefan: I first started working in the industry as a motion designer, creating creative content for fashion shows and projections for events in Asia, mainly focusing on design and motion. Then I took a two year break away from work, and went back as a student at Gnomon school of VFX to improve my technical skill. This is when I first discovered Houdini and realized the potential of this software. I wanted to combine both my design and technical skills to become a better artist. I continued my journey as a Houdini Generalist at multiple studios such as Blur Studio and The Mill LA.
The Essence _Title Sequence Design by Stefan Kang
Grace: For 2D motion graphics, I was basically self-taught by watching After Effects tutorials available online, and was pretty confident with it until I actually started working in a studio and exposed myself to all the professional work out there. There was this thing called “3DCG” whose renders looked amazing. It seemed to have a steep learning curve, but was becoming a bigger deal day by day. After a few attempts of self-teaching 3DCG (and failing), I decided to take a break from work and go back to school to actually sit down and study. I first learned Maya at a school called Digital Hollywood in Tokyo, then found out about Houdini and Nuke which seemed to be the new hot topic in the VFX industry. I flew to LA and spent another year studying these software at Gnomon, and once I got comfortable with it I started freelancing again using my new 3DCG skills.
Compositing Reel by Grace Hori Reaves
Fox Renderfarm: Which area are you mainly working at now? And what’s your next step?
Stefan: I’m currently focusing as a Houdini Generalist at The Mill LA. Most of my daily work involves creating realistic CG/FX works for commercials and 360 experiences creative content. However, I’m hoping to move on as a motion designer, focusing on creative work and hopefully one day becoming an art director in the CG industry.
Grace: I’m currently working for a studio that specializes in volumetric capturing for VR/AR content. At the studio, Houdini is utilized to develop and optimize the pipeline. The work involves a lot of coding, and it is clearly more technical than artistic. However, I am noticing the technical skills actually helps a lot with the more artistic projects I work on in my free time. My next step will be to continue studying the technical aspect of CG, and also start exploring the possibilities of real time rendering and see if I can integrate these new skills to my projects.
Fox Renderfarm: As brilliant artists, how do you keep yourselves inspired and motivated? How to form a unique style in creation?
Stefan & Grace: There’s a lot of creative platforms online these days. We both visit Behance and Vimeo almost everyday to keep ourselves updated to the latest creative content. It’s important to feed yourself with the latest trending design and look at what the others in the industry are creating. Sometimes, seeing all this fun and playful design work just makes you want to create more. Whenever looking for inspiration, we will go on Pinterest, searching for some abstract images, pattern design, or cinematography lighting reference. Then we will use all the reference images to brainstorm a new idea.
Fox Renderfarm: Anyone or any artwork inspires you the most in the industry?
Stefan: Personally, I found “ManvsMachine” and “BUCK” commercial work most inspiring to me. Their work always has the essence of a thoughtful design, you can feel the sense of elegance, cleanness and playfulness. It has a combination of everything, including design, color theory, animation principles and art direction. Just by looking at their breakdown, I feel like they have so much fun during the creation.
Grace: As a CG hobbyist back in high school, I was a huge fan of Andrew Kramer’s work and his After Effect tutorials on Video Copilot. Through his videos I’ve learned not only how to use the software, but that the key of creating an awesome design is to have a strong passion for what you are doing and always be hungry to learn more.
SHOWTIME: Making Slime VFX! by Andrew Kramer
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about Fox Renderfarm’s cloud rendering services?
Stefan & Grace: I’m very satisfied with the service, especially when I have any technical issue there’s always someone ready online to help me fix my problem. Nevertheless, the price is reasonable and the free coupon helps a lot to test out the rendering issue.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Stefan: The most inspiring thing is when being a beginner at something, always strive to constantly reinvent yourself. With every sacrifice comes with a great reward. I like to remind myself why I started in this industry, how much I enjoy the creation process, and seeing the end product that entertains everyone, that makes me so fulfilled. On the other hand, in addition to doing just client work, invest some time on your personal work.
Grace: As a CG artist, you will be going through a never-ending learning curve, and once in a while you will face a wall that seems to be impossible to climb. There may be no clear answer on how to tackle it; however, it will help if you know what resources are available around you. For a common problem, there is most likely a documentation or a tutorial that can help you. For tricky ones, you might be able to find an answer in an online community. You can ask your peers and they might know the answers, or if not, they may be able to help you figure it out. We all know that learning CG is not easy, and there is always someone out there willing to help. Also, don’t forget to get plenty of sleep! CG uses a lot of brain power, and if you’re making more mistakes than fixing problems, it's time to get some rest.
If you also want to win a big sum of render coupons provided by our render farm while showing your talent on the world stage as Stefan and Grace did, don’t hesitate to send us your excellent 3D render artwork through the following link: https://www.foxrenderfarm.com/fox-got-talent.html
You are going to be our next winner!
A Visualisation Artist’s Philosophical Thinking in his VFX & Archviz Films
Exclusive interview about 2019 ARCHITECTURAL 3D AWARDS
As the British philosopher and author, Alain de Botton said, what we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty. Ryan Wai Kin Lam, a Visualisation Artist, explored the beauty through his unique artworks.
- Ryan Wai Kin Lam
- Senior Visualisation Artist
- Company: Foster + Partners
Façades by Ryan Wai Kin Lam
Nominated work in Film (Non-commissioned) of CGarchitect 2019 ARCHITECTURAL 3D AWARDS
Ryan Wai Kin Lam is a Senior Visualisation Artist and Associate Partner in Foster + Partners, a diverse studio with offices around the globe that devotes to the pursuit of sophisticated projects, advanced technology and community development.
Ryan spent nearly 2 months finishing the amazing film ‘Façades’, which portrays the facades of individuals through those of architecture.
He thought that facades hide flaws, failings and – ultimately – reality. In the past decade, the structures surrounding us have been cosmetically overhauled; covering the deeper, economic faults. He tried to find out the parallels between these architectural fronts and the fronts put up by a community through his artwork.
Here’s the interview between Ryan Wai Kin Lam and the leading render farm Fox Renderfarm.
Fox Renderfarm: Would you please give a brief introduction about yourself?
Ryan: I moved to London 11 years ago to study architecture at the Bartlett, UCL. After a few years I switched into a VFX career path; freelancing in roto work and character animation. Then I decided to go into architectural visualisation as my interest in architecture was still prevalent. I currently work at Foster + Partners’ film team; directly involved in the whole film pipeline from concept art through to the edit.
Construction by Ryan Wai Kin Lam
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about being nominated for The CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards?
Ryan: Extremely honoured as I don’t feel I have reached the top yet. Even when I won this same category in 2018, I still felt way behind many people and companies I look up to. It’s certainly a good start for my self-improvement.
Cahaya by Ryan Wai Kin Lam
Winning work in Film (Non-commissioned) of CGarchitect 2018 ARCHITECTURAL 3D AWARDS
Fox Renderfarm: Why did you select ‘Façades’ to participate in the competition? Technically and visually, what is your favorite part of this film?
Ryan: I try to do one VFX and Archviz film a year; so naturally this was the film for the category. Though I never do a film specifically for joining any competitions.
My favourite part was working with other people that are more creative in areas which I am not; which was scriptwriting and music composition.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration for the amazing film ‘Façades’? And could you give a brief introduction to the story?
Ryan: In Archviz films, I feel the look of the film sometimes matter more than the actual story itself to the public and client. I find that quite sad but it’s also the true nature of our work; it’s a difficult task balancing a good story and selling that to a client / public.
As for using facades as a metaphor, I live in London where building refurbishments are almost always retaining the old buildings beneath a new façade.
Fox Renderfarm: ‘Façades’ has many demonstrations with words, like the quotation of Alain de Botton at the beginning and the narration through the whole film, would introduce each one of them and tell us and the reason why you use them?
Ryan: The reason was quite simple. It was very difficult to convey those messages by visuals alone; at least in a very direct sense. Alain de Botton’s work has always followed me so quotes from him come instantly. As for the narration; it was written and voiced by a great friend of mine to help further explain my thoughts with original lines.
Fox Renderfarm: What elements in the film and techniques did you use to assist the storytelling, and strengthen the ambiance of the artwork?
Ryan: One technique I’ve been using recently is to play a BPM counter to edit my storyboard in Premiere for the first draft. That way I get a sense of rhythm and can plan scenes much better even before the music is composed.
Fox Renderfarm: For details, the triangular glass-like pieces play an important role in the whole film, what is that? And any ideas behind that?
Ryan: I wanted something sci-fi to generate the transition of the facades, rather than the usual slice planes or particles seen in most Archviz films. Halfway through I realized it looks like a copy of Doctor Strange’s mirror dimension, but I kept it anyway!
Fox Renderfarm: We noticed that the background music is also made by you? Could you tell us a bit about this song? And what’s your ideas behind the editing of the music and the film?
Ryan: Editing and music convey most of the emotional impact in any film. So, it was important for me to be hands on in those aspects. My music skillset is very basic as I can only start a small composition idea on the guitar or piano. Thankfully my wonderful mother is an amazing music composer, so she wrote half of it and made sure the whole song mixing was coherent.
Fox Renderfarm: What software, renderers, plugins did you use in this work?
Ryan: 3ds Max, V-Ray, Forest Pack, NukeX, Optical Flares, Logic Pro X, Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most unforgettable and interesting part of the creation process?
Ryan: Editing and music composition; but only because the creative process is relatively new to me.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties when creating this work? And how did you solve it?
Ryan: As with every personal project; it’s about putting in the hard work. There are always aspects of any work that will be tedious to do. A lot of people assume that personal projects are fun and easy to do because you’re passionate about it; but it’s not always that way. Not a lot of people can understand that. It’s about pushing through the menial tasks to finish the fun parts.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s your latest achievement, and the project that you most proud of in Foster + Partners?
Ryan: Some of my favourite projects aren’t public yet unfortunately; though I can recount some published ones that I am proud of. The Chicago airport competition film being one of them; I thought the film was much stronger visually than our competitors.
The Nissan and Mars projects were also fun to do, always nice to work on something different from architecture.
Nissan projects by F+P
Fox Renderfarm: For you, as an outstanding architectural visualization artist, you are also a music compositor, what do you do to keep curious and motivated? And what do you do to enhance your professional skills?
Ryan: Motivation is extremely easy to find in the social media age. For example, when I create a matte painting that I’m proud of, my ego rises for 5 minutes only to be shot back down after looking at Pedro Fernandez’s constant amazing work. It’s the same with other aspects of filmmaking from storyboarding to rendering. I find it very difficult to stay egotistic when there are all these amazing artists that I need to catch up to.
I don’t have any secret on enhancing my skills other than just trying to work as hard as I can to improve. There’s a good quote from Christoph Niemann that goes “Every athlete, every musician practises every day, why should it be different for artists.”
The Red by Ryan Wai Kin Lam
Time Machine by Ryan Wai Kin Lam
Fox Renderfarm: Who or what project inspires you the most? What school of thought do you adhere to?
Ryan: Difficult to point out as it changes every week. On the top of my head = Sava Zivkovic for his personal film projects, Ash thorp for his art direction, Thomas Dubois for concept art.
They all put it in the hard work with their personal works and it shows.
FREIGHT by Sava Zivkovic
Passage by Ash Thorp
EVA / Stardust by Thomas Dubois
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Ryan: Check out the community group ‘Women in arch viz’ on Facebook.
Know more about Ryan: waikin.artstation.com
A 3D Re-creation of Classic Story of Rudolph
The TPN-Accredited render farm, Fox Renderfarm sponsored the Renderosity Holiday Creative Contest, which demonstrated the passion of 3D artists for creative digital artistry. Ms. Jennifer Killby, the second prize winner of the 3D category, showed her talent through the Christmas-themed artwork.
The 2nd place work by Jennifer Killby
Jennifer’s favorite character during the Christmas season is Rudolph. The theme for the contest, Lost Holiday Toys, reminded her of the classic story of Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys.
Jennifer spent a few hours placing every prop in the scene individually and complete the winning artwork. In this piece, Santa is spending time with the toys before making his Christmas Eve rounds.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys (2001)
With the passion for art, Jennifer became talented through self-study and has been creating artworks for many years. Her works are fantastic, magic and full of fairy tale scenes.
Friends by Jennifer Killby
Release by Jennifer Killby
Here‘s the interview between Fox Renderfarm and Jennifer Killby, talking about her 3D artwork creation process.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you give a brief introduction of yourself?
Jennifer: I'm a mother of three that lives in Ohio. Ever since I could remember, I enjoyed taking pictures or writing stories. At some point, I started taking pictures for the purpose of writing a story. Then there were other times I would use magazine pictures to write a story. I stopped doing this for a long time once I became an adult, but once again found myself writing, then wanting to add pictures for the readers to see the characters as I see them. I started using Poser in 2011. There was an extremely large learning curve, but I stuck to it learning mostly on my own. I soon put this down for a while but kept writing. A couple of years ago, I started working on my art again. I became more confident in my abilities to use Photoshop and picked up Daz Studio to see if it was much more user-friendly and I haven't stopped using it since. Now I'm able to write and create the characters for the stories as they should be captured.
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the Second Prize in the Renderosity Holiday Contest?
Jennifer: I'm happy that others see something in my artwork and like it enough to vote for it. That really helps me see that I'm still moving down the path I want to.
Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use?
Jennifer: I used Daz Studio to create and render the scene. Then I used Photoshop and Topaz to enhance the scene and add some of the special effects.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you introduce the creation process a bit, from the ideas behind to making the whole picture?
Jennifer: My creation process is quite simple. I have an idea, I make sure that I have the assets to make that idea come to fruition, and then I work through the idea piece by piece until I've completed something that I like. Once it's complete in Daz then I go into Photoshop and Topaz to add or create more of the mood I'm looking for in the piece.
Fox Renderfarm: How long have you been making 3D art? And how did you encounter 3D art?
Jennifer: I've been creating 3D since 2011. However, there was a long time from about 2013 until 2019 that I only dabbled in it every once in a while. Now it's something that I do every day.
Waiting on Them by Jennifer Killby
Fox Renderfarm: Could you tell us the education and training that you do?
Jennifer: I have no official education in art. However, I've taken several art classes in the last few years that have helped. These classes include Photoshop Artistry, AWAKE, Kaizen, and Conceptual Fine Art Photo Artistry all taught by Sebastian Michaels and the last one taught by Sebastian Michaels and Brooke Shaden. I also very recently started teaching Advanced Daz Studio Artistry for Shift Art.
African Queen by Jennifer Killby
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Jennifer: Always create for yourself and not someone else. When you do this, your art will continuously grow.
3D Render Challenge Ongoing: Shine your talents and win $500 Render Coupons, submit now!
A Self-Taught Creator Realized His Unique Idea in Blender
CG Boost keeps bringing us artworks with compelling ideas behind. No matter what the theme of the challenge is, there are always artists who create their artworks with amazing stories.
In the “Graveyard” challenge, sponsored by the leading render farm Fox Renderfarm, Andrey Agafonov, the 2nd prize winner, created his graveyard scene in a humorous way. Curious about how a graveyard scene can be made humorous, what the creative process was like, and how he taught himself to use Blender while being an English teacher? Here is our exclusive interview that can answer all these questions, and hopefully, will give you some inspiration and motivation.
- Andrey Agafonov
- 3D Artist
- Chicago, Illinois
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Andrey! Thank you so much for accepting our interview, could you briefly introduce yourself?
Andrey: Sure. You already know my name. I am 30 years old. I live in Chicago, IL and I am currently in the process of switching careers. Always gravitating towards the creative and artistic side of things, with a background in education, design, and project management, I am looking to make it in 3D now.
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the 2nd Prize in the CGBoost ‘Graveyard’ Challenge?
Andrey: Familiar :D It is the second time I won the 2nd Prize in the challenge. I have participated 4 times in total. With the first one getting into the final, second one earning me an honorable mention, and the latest two being among the winners, I feel that I made decent progress and reached some level of consistency.
Fox Renderfarm: Your artwork is well-made and seems to have a humorous story behind, what’s your inspiration?
Andrey: In fact, I wanted to go for something dark, creepy or even gory for this topic. But every humorous, Pixary idea I had resonated so well that I just went with the flow. I came up with the idea of a skeleton gardener in the graveyard and then linked it to the real person by the name of Lancelot Brown, known as the “England's greatest gardener”. This drove my design choices.
Fox Renderfarm: And there are 2 characters in the image, please introduce them a bit, and tell us how you made them.
Andrey: The first one is obviously Lancelot Brown or rather his undead representation. No grave can hold his passion for gardening down. His skeleton design was heavily inspired by characters from Coco. I sculpted every bone by hand keeping it as close to real anatomy as possible while also making sure they align with the stylized look I chose. I then rigged, posed and textured it, giving it some clothes made in Marvelous Designer. I think making this character took the most time.
Coco (Image via Google)
The second one is a constable of the British Police force, who arrived at the scene after receiving several reports of a strange-looking gardener in the graveyard by its visitors. You can see him questioning his choice of occupation at the moment. To tell you the truth, he is just head and arms, haha, but it is enough to do the job. I sculpted the body parts and hand-painted his skin texture as well as the subsurface scattering map.
Fun fact. No one will ever notice it because of the blur and depth of field effect, but there are some more people in the background peaking around the corner and over the fence. One of them is Inspector Gadget and another one is Dwayne Johnson. They are just planes with transparency.
Left: Inspector Gadget; Right: Dwayne Johnson (Images via Google)
Fox Renderfarm: The face of the skeleton is so vivid, how did you achieve its facial expression?
Andrey: I used a lot of reference images and studied facial expressions, including taking pictures of my own face (which I am not going to provide because I respect your mental wellbeing). The funniest thing is that initially, I planned it to be a different angle and only after a render I accidentally did without adjusting the default position of camera I saw it from a different perspective that I liked more and it ended up being in the final image.
Fox Renderfarm: The composition of the artwork is fine-balanced, did you use any elements and techniques when considering the composition?
Andrey: I had a picture in my head when I thought of the idea and first created it in blockout, then perfecting it through iterations. No magic techniques were used, it was mostly trial and error and trying to fail better. One thing I always do though, is checking my values (using desaturation).
Fox Renderfarm: The choice of the color palette and the process of colors deliver a harmonious picture, what did you consider and do when dealing with colors?
Andrey: I am glad you liked it! I didn’t really consider it much, I think I just relied on my personal taste, which I hope is not too bad. There were definitely some color theory shenanigans under the hood from reading and watching the stuff on the topic.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the artwork?
Andrey: Around 2 weeks. And every minute before the deadline, Parkinson's law is real.
Fox Renderfarm: What software and plugins did you use?
Andrey: It was modeled in Blender 2.81 and rendered with Cycles. Some texturing was done in Substance Painter, clothes in Marvelous Designer, compositing in Krita. I made heavy use of Graswald add-on during environment creation which sped up the process significantly allowing great control of particle systems and materials.
Fox Renderfarm: During creation, what’s the most unforgettable part?
Andrey: I have a pretty good memory and it wasn’t so long ago, so, everything, for now. But jokes aside, I think it was when the main character came together with pose, facial expression, clothes, and props. I thought: “Wow! This looks cool. It needs a good environment now and it will be a shame if I don't finish on time so I better press on”.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties? And how did you solve it?
Andrey: Lots. With pain and satisfaction afterward.
I did a lot of research, read and watched many tutorials to make it look like I imagined it. It definitely pays off and you learn a ton along the way. (Now that is something no one ever said right?)
Fox Renderfarm: Could you recall your first encounter with CG? How did you step into the 3D industry?
Andrey: I took a modeling course in 3ds Max before college. Did a lot of crappy modeling while listening to Sum 41. Happy times.
Fox Renderfarm: Could you share your education and work experience along your CG journey?
Andrey: I doodled with 3ds Max after the course for the next two years and had a couple of design gigs in college. I then chose a career in education while also doing occasional design jobs on the side. I came across the short movie “Spring” and my 15-year old self punched me in the face like: “Man, this is what you are supposed to be doing!” I was determined to switch to 3D, following a self-taught approach, and I started the active phase of it with the legendary Donut scene around a year ago. I decided to participate in challenges because they offer a project-based structure, which lets you learn about every stage of the creation process.
Fox Renderfarm: How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated?
Andrey: I just do what I love and really enjoy it.
Fox Renderfarm: Anyone or any artwork that inspires you the most?
Andrey: So many… If you want some names I can include Jama Jurabaev, Nikita Veprikov, Julen Urrutia, but this list could go on and on.
Artworks by Jama Jurabaev
Artworks by Nikita Veprikov
Artwork by Nikita Veprikov
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Andrey: Just follow your passion. When you see a direction it can really take you places.
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Interview with T. K. Arlington, How to Scare Audience by a 3D Horror Film
Renderosity 2019 Halloween Contest, which sponsored by the TPN-accredited cloud render farm, Fox Renderfarm, themed on Ever-watching Eyes, attracted so many talented 3D artists.
T.K.Arlington, a 3D artist and writer, won the 2nd Prize in the Animation category by a short horror film called Sons of the Damned.
“So Stacy thought running around in some dark, dank, forsaken catacombs underneath the earth would have made for some good ol' riveting soul searching journeys.
Yea, that was definitely a bad idea Stacy. Hindsight full 20/20. Dunno if Stacy's soul searching objective was accomplished.
But as she will soon find out, someone (something?) others' "searching" plans surely did bear fruit.”
Sons of the Damned
Here’s the interview between T. K. Arlington and Fox Renderfarm.
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Toshan, would you please give a brief introduction about yourself?
Toshan: Hello, thanks for having me for this interview. In a nutshell, I am primarily a writer who one day just woke up and started pursuing 3D development as a part-time job. Although my path as a 3D designer and developer started as a hobbyist who really liked modding game assets for his own personal joy around a decade ago, I have now converted my hobby into something much more fulfilling in nature.
For the most part, I have been self-taught when it comes to 3D designing. And even though my story has never been typical when held up against most contemporary standards, I still wouldn’t have it any other way.
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning the 2nd Prize in the Renderosity 2019 Animation Halloween Contest?
Toshan: To be honest, I’m not happy at myself for winning the 2nd prize. It’s because I really wasn’t satisfied with the piece that I submitted to the Renderosity 2019 Animation Halloween Contest and I do not feel like I should have won anything at all for reasons that I will elaborate on further along in this interview.
But with that said, I am just completely floored at the wonderful Renderosity community for having voted me into the 2nd place at the Renderosity 2019 Animation Halloween Contest. The entire Renderosity community really is filled with fantastic people and I say this because so many users go out of their way to message me or compliment my work in personal and public messages regarding the content that I put up on Renderosity. They don’t have to be nice, yet they are…and that is something that I fully appreciate.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for the film? Technically and visually, what is your favorite part of this film?
Toshan: For this particular film, I wanted to give the Renderosity community my adaptation of Ju-On: The Grudge. Well it was a lofty goal and I know I fell far short of achieving what I set out to…but if things had gone a little better on my end, I think I would have gotten closer to instantiating my vision.
Ju-On: The Grudge
As for my favorite part, visually it would have to be the final segment when Stacy, the movie’s female lead, has her initial (and final?) contact with one of the watcher zombies as they rise up from the ground to give her their cheery salutations.
And technically, it would have to be the simple flashlight with its ‘god-rays’.
Fox Renderfarm: From the rising of the idea to the final render, could you tell us the creation process of this film?
Toshan: My process for creating this film followed the same workflow that I employ when creating any 3D content. Since I’m a very visual person, or more like because I got spectacularly poor memory that I need to jot down all ideas and concepts before I forget them, I always start with a rough-hand sketch and give form to my fleeting concepts.
In this case, the original storyboard and associated screenplay that I first sketched out was soon discarded for something a little bit more...terrifying. Or at least that was the intent that I had, with changing the original storyboard to the one that led to the creation of the film that I submitted for the Renderosity 2019 Animation Halloween Contest.
But I digress; now regarding the creation process once the storyboard was completed on the 7th of October, I took stock of what assets I had available in my content library and what else I would need to create in order to complete this film.
Once that was decided, I went to work on creating the scene layouts, the props and the character details that I wanted to use in the scene. I always use a mix of Max and Blender for creating the 3D meshes depending on whether any kind of fluid dynamics comes into play. It wasn’t any different here, since this film had areas involving liquid dynamics (which was cut from the final version, for reasons that I will soon get to) I used both powerhouses to finalize all the various meshes. And after UV unwrapping, I imported them inside Substance Painter where I finished the texturing up and exported all the newly created environments, character overlays and prop models with their required texture maps out to my disk for usage inside DS Pro.
As for the characters, since I had many licensed DS Genesis 8 and Genesis 3 models available, I conveniently used a mix of licensed and original model assets to fill up the cast of lead and mob characters without having to reinvent the wheel.
Once I brought them all into DS Pro 4.12 and starting setting up the assets to have them work inside the rendering program, I took a few tests renders of the various assets in play to see if everything looked alright and adjusted the materials accordingly (since DS doesn’t have proper support for displacement mapping like how Substance Painter does, height maps always need some fiddling around to look right in DS.)
But here is the kicker: when I brought the assets back into DS and rendered out a few test segments, I was under the assumption that the Renderosity Halloween contest’s deadline was on the 18th of the month.
For the sake of those keeping track, I finished drafting the screenplay on the 7th, I finished creating my assets on 8th and I rendered out a few test segments on the same morning. So I was sitting around feeling rather smug that I was making good progress since the submission deadline was on the 18th (oh me, my sweet summer’s child…) right up till the point that I went back to the Renderosity contest webpage later in the evening to size up few of the entries that I would have been going up against.
And that’s when a 100-ton weight dropped down to the pit of my stomach, right after I saw that the contest deadline was actually on the morning of the 10th and not 18th of October that I had mistakenly assumed (from who knows where) when I checked the contest details out for the first time earlier in the month.
Once I realized that I had little more than a day to make the deadline, I took a long hour as a time-out, ordered a pizza, watched some Netflix and once I was done eating I clenched my jaw and fired up all my three systems (which I should note, all are weaklings when it comes to hardware specifications) and started animating the characters on one system while I fed the other two fresh rendering workloads.
I then spent the whole day and night of the 9th to at least get something finished in time for the deadline. The scene setup and animation were done in a few hours…but the rendering took forever. While the still renders were churning out, I spent the wee hours of the morning of the 10th to create the background music. And with just a few hours before the deadline, when I could wait no longer…I shut down the rendering streams, brought all the raw footage and audio into Davinci Resolve 16 and color graded, added visual FX and packaged the film up into its final form and submitted it as my entry to the Renderosity 2019 Animation Halloween Contest.
Fox Renderfarm: For this is a Halloween creation, what elements in the film or what techniques you used to achieve the scary feeling of the film?
Toshan: It would have to be the camera works. I am from the school of thought that blood, gore, creatures, visual effects and jump-tactics (all of which the original screenplay actually had, before I had to axe most of them to speed up the rendering times and make it in time for the deadline) have their own place in horror flicks. But camera works can turn a scary movie into a truly horrifying experience when done right.
If I had the luxury of time (no thanks to my poor comprehension skills of skimming over the contest details and mistaking the 10th for the 18th) then I would hope to have done the entire film direction more justice.
Fox Renderfarm: About the details, the lighting design and the design of the monsters give the film a really thrilling atmosphere, could you introduce a bit about the creation of these two? How did you make them?
Toshan: Well thank you for taking note of that. I did spend a good portion (of the three days that I ended up with), setting up the scene’s lighting and adding all the small details once the models were complete. I only wish you and everyone else would have been able to see All the details that I had originally intended to put into effect (like sweat beading on Stacy’s face, blood flying out from corpses, the flashlight sparking out while Stacy runs down dark corridors, the watcher zombies screaming their eyes out…like literally).
But for the details that finally did make the cut, the beam emitted by the flashlight is something that I am quite happy with because this effect emulates “god-rays” while using the Iray renderer without any additional plugin or post-processing.
As for the monsters, they were a mix of my original model meshes and material settings layered onto a Genesis 8 Androgynous base with some monster details adapted from a purchased Genesis 3 Female zombie that I had lying around in my content library.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the work?
Toshan: It took me a little more than three days to get everything done. I had to cut down on around 90% of the content, the effects and the scariness of what I really wanted to show here…so yes I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t create everything that I wanted to show in time.
Fox Renderfarm: What software, renderers, plugins did you use in this work?
Toshan: For designing the models from start to finish I used (in no particular order): 3DS Max 2015, Blender 2.8, Substance Painter 2019, Substance Designer 2019, Substance B2M 3, Photoshop CC 2019, DS Pro 4.12 and Inkscape 0.92.
For animation, posing, rendering and processing the raw render stills I used: DS Pro 4.12, Iray renderer and Photoshop CC 2019. I also used Adobe Mixamo’s animations, user:rug’s SGApps plugins and user:mCasual’s Daz plugins inside DS Pro 4.12 while setting the scene up.
For creating the background music I used: Apple GarageBand (latest builds on both iOS and MacOS version) and Fairlight (for Davinci Resolve 16).
For rendering the video I used: Davinci Resolve 16 (with Davinci Fusion).
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the most interesting part of the creation process?
Toshan: The most interesting part would have to be putting together the initial storyboards, plotlines and the screenplay. As much as I like designing and creating stuff, I will always be a writer first. And it’s the time spent on putting pen to paper that really sticks with me more than anything else (including stylus to a Wacom pad).
Fox Renderfarm: Who or what project inspires you the most in this industry?
Toshan: There are quite a few people and past/present projects that fill me up with inspiration. Bioware (the original company and its members) for one, always gives me hope that even if one’s path doesn’t start with a computer engineering degree it can always lead to creating some great works that transcend generations.
Another more recent addition to my “inspirer” list is Love, Death and Robots. In fact, this series has impressed me so much that I’ve started drafting and designing a few small animation segments in the same anthology format in hopes of getting it done sometime soon™ and putting it out on my channel for everyone to click on and spend a few minutes getting varying degrees (yea, nay or meh levels) of entertainment. And one positive point that I got going on for me here is that there will be no ‘Remember, remember the 10th of October’ deadline to misinterpret or fear anymore.
(Love, Death and Robots)
And though this next set may look like me going off in a tangent, the bands Dream Theater, Tool, Florence and the Machine, Tove Lo, Hans Zimmer, Rag’n’Bone Man…to name a few are very inspirational to me and my work. I kind of create and put together scenes, visuals, animations, and concepts from certain musical portions of some artists’ songs. I know there are clinical terms for “seeing” music, but l only like to say that they inspire me.
Fox Renderfarm: What do you think the quality that will make a great artist greater? Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Toshan: The quality I feel that can push an artist to greater heights is to realize that there is always a new horizon to breach and that we should never get complacent with what we have achieved thus far. It’s my humble belief that perfection is just an illusion: worth pursuing but never truly achievable.
It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or have ‘made it’ or are anywhere in between. The moment you as an artist start feeling you’re good enough and don’t need to prove yourself to anyone, especially prove it to yourself…that’s when you have peaked and there will only be one place to slide from there on.
If you’re a CG artist (or of any kind), don’t let anyone ever make you think that your art is bad. We all start somewhere, so there are stages while we learn and stages while we get better. But we are always on the stage when we are learning something. And if you’re a CG consumer, then you’ll always have some new content or the other that will keep you entertained, so you’re good on that front!
But I feel this is a great time to be alive for any CG enthusiast, mainly because of the huge influx of new CG content creators and the ever-expanding market with new CG creations that have blossomed in the recent decade.
So I just want to finish by once again thanking the awesome Renderosity community for voting my entry into 2nd place, even though it was a last-ditch attempt to make the deadline. I promise that next time around, my anonymous submission for the next contest will be much better and will definitely be worthy of your vote!
And also my heartfelt gratitude to Fox Renderfarm for their generosity in sponsoring this year’s Renderosity contests and for allowing me to say a few words in this interview. Thank you all for making this happen.
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