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    Exploring New Worlds: Introducing Ken Nguyen and His 22 Years of CG Journey


    Fox Talk

    3D Rendering

    Victory is Ours! © Ken Nguyen

    The war between the E.U.N. (Earth United Nations) and the aliens has been going on for decades and brought humanity on the brink of extinction. While wars ravage the Earth, E.U.N has sent people to explore and settle colonies on other planets.

    The art series, "Exploring New Worlds", are created by Ken Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam, grew up in Paris, France, in the 80s and then moved to the USA in the mid-90s. Ken has over 22 years combined experience in architecture, video games, themed entertainment, immersive experiences and trade shows and exhibits.

    In our exclusive interview, we can find out how Ken created the amazing art series and his 22 years of CG Journey!

    • Ken Nguyen
    • Sr. 2D/3D Concept Designer
    • From: United States
    • Artstation:

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

    Ken: My name is Ken Nguyen. I was born in Vietnam but left the country at a very young age after the war. I grew up in Paris, France, in the 80s and then moved to the USA in the mid-90s. I have over 22 years combined experience in architecture, video games, themed entertainment, immersive experiences and trade shows and exhibits.

    Fox Renderfarm: As a 2D/3D Senior Concept Designer, do you think 2D art skills help you a lot in 3D art developing?

    Ken: Like most concept artists, I started learning traditional media such as pencils, markers, and watercolors. Then I discovered Photoshop in the late 90s. I got introduced to 3d modeling with SketchUp when I was working in architecture in the early 2000s.

    I would say that 2D and 3D skills work in tandem to create the desired art. Indeed, I do not think an artist is 100 percent 2D or 100 percent 3D, especially nowadays with all the new 3d software. Some use simple 3D geometries and do a lot of paint-over and photobashing in Photoshop. Others like myself use a lot of 3D and do minimum 2D work in Photoshop.

    However, there were some pieces that needed a lot of Photoshop paint-over for things that were faster to do in 2D than in 3D (e.g., Adding FX such as smokes, fires, or doing color corrections and whatnots in Photoshop).

    This one is a great example of concept that I spent a lot of time with paintover and texture/photobashing in Photoshop.

    The Last of Them - The Ambush © Ken Nguyen

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for your series of visual developments called "Exploring New Worlds"?

    Ken: It is actually a long process that started back in 2013 when I did the first concept in the series called the Last of Them.

    The Last of Them © Ken Nguyen

    It was the beginning of my alien-invasion/post-apocalyptic/end-of-the-world series of visual developments. Humans were living in peace under the E.U.N (Earth United Nations) until the alien invasion that brought the human race to the brink of extinction.

    The war between the E.U.N. military and the alien forces lasted for over a hundred years. As decades passed, humans developed new technology and spaceships that would allow them to escape the war-ravaged earth to explore other planets. That was when the Exploring New World (XNW) series would begin.

    I was laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic last year and it was a perfect time to take a break and work on personal art pieces such as the XNW environment concepts. That was also a way for me to visit those worlds and escape all the craziness happening in 2020. LOL

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the "Exploring New Worlds" series?

    Ken: As mentioned above, I lost my job, therefore I had a lot of free time to work on personal projects. I spent a few months during the Spring and Summer of 2020 working on the XNW series which actually consists of different themes. The main subject is Exploring New Worlds, but there are also concepts that were parts of Alien Encounters, Alien Civilizations, E.U.N. Capital, Military and Bases on other planets.

    Alien Encounter © Ken Nguyen

    E.U.N. Capital © Ken Nguyen

    Alien Civilization © Ken Nguyen

    E.U.N. Military Base © Ken Nguyen

    While working on XNW series, I also did some concepts for the Last of Them series that tells the story of the war between the humans and the alien/mutant races on war-ravaged Earth that will lead to the XNW series after over a century has passed.

    The Last of Them - The Ambush © Ken Nguyen

    The Last of Them - Abandoned Warehouse © Ken Nguyen

    The Last of Them - Behind The Car! © Ken Nguyen

    Fox Renderfarm: You were the Concept Artist at DIGITAL DOMAIN in 2018 in charge of environment and prop concepts for ELEVEN ELEVEN. Did you meet any difficulties while creating? And how did you solve it?

    Ken: I was one of the many concept artists working on Eleven Eleven, which is an original science fiction story designed for virtual reality and augmented reality and has been selected by the 2019 SXSW Film Festival.

    I believe the art team worked on the game several months before Digital Domain reached out to me and hired me to help with some extra environment concepts as they were on a tight schedule.

    I was tasked with creating the jungle and cave areas as well as some props. The challenge here was to create a jungle that looks realistic and natural by populating the scenes with trees and plants, and at the same time it must satisfy the gameplay.

    Designing in 3D was the biggest advantage compared to 2D. Indeed, I was able to place the vegetation assets in real-time and experience the spaces with camera movements as if I were in the jungle.

    Eleven Eleven VR Game © Ken Nguyen

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

    Ken: There are many concepts that are my favorites and that I am proud of. Among them are some from the XNW or The Last of Them series because they were the newest concepts and I have learned a lot from previous projects to create them. However, for this question here, I would like to share some renders that are perfect examples to show how working in 3D is fast, efficient and productive especially for architectural renders.

    This project is called A Day in the City and was an entry to the 2018 Evermotion challenge.

    After I read the brief, I thought it would be interesting to create a scene showing everyday life in downtown of a big city. I started gathering buildings from my 3D resource folders and played around with different layouts as shown in the WIP-01 image. I came up with seven options. They were all grey renders so that I did not have to worry about materials and textures. I then populated the scenes with people, vehicles and trees as you can see in the WIP-02 image.

    After picking one of the views, I started to do some color renders and played with different lightings, weather, and time of day such as evening, night, sunny, overcast, etc. I believed the final submission was the evening one. After the contest was over, I decided to do a snowy post-apocalyptic version just for fun.

    A Day in the City © Ken Nguyen

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

    Ken: I do a lot of 3D kitbashing using models I build from scratch as needed, free models and some that I bought from different 3D sites. A lot of them are quite affordable and they are made by professionals, therefore the quality is particularly good.

    After I have an idea of what I want to do, I gather the 3D assets and compose them together in SketchUp. I then export the whole thing into Lumion, set up the views, and add lighting. I usually do some tests with white box or grey renders. I can focus on the composition and lighting/values and not worry too much about color, materials, and textures.

    When I am somewhat satisfied with the grey renders, I start adding materials and textures. It is a long but fun process going back and forth between SketchUp and Lumion. Nothing is written in stone for the 3D composition. As a matter of fact, I kept on changing, adding, or rotating the 3D assets as needed. Everything is in real-time, therefore, I can see what the final render might look like with actual lighting, shadows, reflections on materials, etc.

    When I have something that I really like, I render it and bring it into Photoshop for some paintover, color corrections, FX like smokes, and so on.

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

    Ken: After graduating from high school, I went on to study architecture. I received a bachelor and master’s degrees in Architecture and worked for about five years as an architectural designer. I never knew that learning SketchUp (a program originally created for architects to create quick 3D designs) would help me get a job in the game industry.

    Ever since I was a little kid, I always love to draw fantasy and sci-fi characters, environments, and architecture. Therefore, I decided to quit my architectural job and move to San Francisco, California, in 2003 to attend the Academy of Art University where I graduated with a MFA in Games focusing on concept art, modeling, texturing and animation with Maya and Studio Max.

    I got my first job in the game industry working on concepts of environments and architecture for an MMO in 2006 using SketchUp and E-On Software Vue.

    Then in 2013, I discovered Lumion3d, a program similar to real-time game engines, that allowed me to create my first alien invasion/post-apocalyptic concept that would evolve into the Exploring New Worlds series.

    I have been using SketchUp, Lumion3d and Photoshop to do all my environment concepts ever since.

    I also use Daz3d for my character designs, but my next goal will be to learn ZBrush.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

    Ken: I get inspiration from the artists and concept art from movies like Star Wars or Avatar, and video games such as Halo, Assassin Creed, The Last of Us, and Uncharted series, and Ghost of Tsushima.

    I also like to look at the old masters and how amazing the intricate details are in their oil landscape paintings.

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

    Ken: Composition, lighting, and color are basic art foundations that all artists must learn. Whenever possible, one should think about foreground, middle ground and background, and what stories the renders are telling and how the composition of the elements guide the viewers’ eyes. Lighting (and shadows) when done correctly will create a sense of realism. As for color, it creates moods and emotions.

    Concepting in 3D certainly helps a lot with composition and lighting especially for environments and architectural designs. Indeed, I can place, move, and rotate all the elements (e.g. rocks, mountains, plants, characters, buildings, vehicles, etc.) and see which compositions work best. Also, using Lumion I can add lights and try different weather types and times of day (e.g., morning, night, etc.) and see the changes in real-time. That would be impossible to do in 2D concepts.

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

    Ken: Here is an advice that many of you certainly have heard: Follow your dreams and “Love what you do and do what you love” (Ray Bradbury). Also, learn from your past mistakes, be willing to embrace changes and learn new techniques and software. Finally, practice, practice, and practice!

    As a CG artist, it is a never-ending journey of learning and discovery to become a better artist.

    As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Life is a journey, not a destination”.

    Fox Renderfarm Supports Anima® Now!


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    Fox Renderfarm

    Fox Renderfarm is committed to providing fast and secure cloud rendering service for customers around the world, and now we support the software Anima®, the 3D people animation and crowd simulation application, for rendering on our platform!

    Anima® 4 is the people and crowd animation application developed specifically for architects and designers that will help you create amazing 3D animated people quickly and easily! Anima® 4 introduces a new and unique hyper-realistic 4D people animation system that includes facial gestures and clothing movements.

    With anima®, the native plugins for 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D and UE4, you can easily add 3D people and crowds with facial gestures and clothing movements to your CG scenes!

    As the authorized render farm of anima®, Fox Renderfarm supports the most popular 3D software, renderers and plugins all over the world, including 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender, V-Ray, Redshift, etc.

    With enormous computing power, Fox Renderfarm will continue to provide customers with a faster, safer, cheaper, smarter, and easier cloud rendering service, helping CG artists realize their dreams.

    The Rebirth of the Phoenix: Introducing 3D Artist and Entrepreneur, Reinaldo Handaya



    Architectural Visualization

    As the sponsor and long-term partner of the CGarchitect 3D Awards, which is referred to as the Oscar of ArchViz, Fox Renderfarm, the best cloud rendering service provider, is very pleased to speak with Mr. Reinaldo Handaya, who led his team to create an amazing project -- Born Neo, and got nominated in the Image (Non-commissioned) category in CGarchitect 3D Awards.

    In our interview, Mr. Reinaldo shared a lot of details about how his team endeavored to make this project happen, and also revealed that he made this competition into an internal challenge. He explained the reason and shared with us the unforgettable hours behind.

    Besides, his story of how he got into the industry is quite inspirational and motivating. In 2004, his family factory was razed by fire and left him with $100,000 debt, in the later years, his life was changed because of 3D creation. After winning awards and praise in the ArchViz field,with his partner Evan Mandala, he set up ArchViz studio, 2G Studio, and 2G Academy, a 3D educational platform. With his relentless efforts and business mindset, he is a top-tier ArchViz artist in Indonesia now.

    His experience keeps us wondering how he got out of the trouble, kept his pursuit and succeeded at the same time, which Fox Renderfarm thinks you will find the answer in the latter part where he speaks about his plan in the interview.

    • Reinaldo Handaya
    • CEO at 2G Studio
    • From: Indonesia
    • Artwork Caption: This project is for our internal challenge to challenge our artist to work together as a team and as a family. We call it a pressure challenge, they have to finish the still image and animation in just 1 week, the building also needs to be modeled from scratch and have to design by themselves. This pressure challenge is also to help the artists to be creative as they want, because most of the commissioned projects are boring and for the team that wins the challenge will be rewarded with a bonus.

    BORN NEO © 2G Studio


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

    Reinaldo: First of all, I want to thank you for having us here. We never thought, not even once, that we would get the nomination, especially in the non-commissioned category. Having been one of the judges in 2014, and I know there are thousands of images submitted to the 3D awards, and there are tons of talented artists in this world, and I feel blessed that one of our team’s works got nominated.

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s your inspiration for this amazing project Born Neo? Any idea behind this name?

    Reinaldo: I can’t take full credit for this project, me and Evan (Co-Founder of 2G Studio) only help our team to give some space to express themselves and be creative. We give them direction, how to think, how to create the storytelling, the rest is theirs. However, this is also teamwork, not just a single-artist work. The inspiration for this building came from The Heydar Aliyev Center by Zaha Hadid, and the Harbin Opera House by MAD Architect. The rendering look and feel was heavily inspired by our own friend, Arqui9.

    ArchViz by Arqui9

    The idea behind this name is because our president decided to move the capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan. Kalimantan’s International name is BORNEO ISLAND. And moving to a new place is kinda like being born new, and the team comes up with BORN NEO, matching the island name. And in fact, there was a competition to design the new capital city, but we didn’t join the competition since it was a design competition, not rendering.

    Fox Renderfarm: The building is so terrific, could you introduce the function of the building?

    Reinaldo: The building is a convention center, which is a meeting place and also a place for all large-scale activities such as concerts, shows, seminars, as well as national and international level meetings which will certainly be held in the new capital city.

    Fox Renderfarm: As you introduced, this is a project from your team’s pressure challenge, so why did you hold this challenge and how long did it take to finish the work?

    Reinaldo: There are several reasons why we held this challenge and they only had 7 days to finish 1 still image and a 60 sec animation. Because if there are more than 7 days, chances are, they will never finish.

    The first one is to let the team express their creativity, and as you know, our field is filled with people who love architecture, and we challenge our team to do the concept, and the story about why they come up with the concept.

    The second reason is to challenge them working overtime. Because we cannot deny that sometimes we’ve got tons of work that we need to work overtime. We just don’t want our team to get spoiled.

    The third reason is to give more pressure by asking them to finish in 7 days and should not disturb the real project schedule.

    But the ultimate reason is to train them to work as a team. So we split our team into 4 small teams and they have to deliver different concepts, so we got 4 different renderings.

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

    Reinaldo: The team is actually enjoying this challenge although they work till 4 am. And it shows that they really love to do some designs and do the render, completely different than working on a real project. Just make sure not to let them do this all the time, or they will hate me for sure hahaha.

    The unforgettable moment is that working as a team is not as beautiful as we think, working as a team requires a lot of sacrifice. As you know, people will easily point a finger to others when under pressure. Actually the rule is when one of the team members points a finger to others, the team will be disqualified. We always believe when we point a finger to others, we need to know that the other 4 fingers are pointing to ourselves.

    One of the teams was actually unable to deliver the animation, only able to deliver 1 image. And of course they would have lost, but this is the most interesting part, the team still continued to work on the project, and finally created another 1 image and 1 animation. And this team is the one that created this BORN NEO. Here we can learn that it's ok to fail, but it shouldn’t stop you to keep doing what you love. The challenge only stops when you said so and they didn’t stop before they delivered 1 image and 1 animation.

    Well, you know how proud I am with my team.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long have you been in the visualization field? Who inspires you most in this industry? Could you briefly introduce your career story?

    Reinaldo: On November 3, 2004, my family factory was razed by fire and left me with $100, 000 debt. And then I built my furniture workshop, then in 2008 I learned 3D to present my design to my client. And I deeply fell in love with 3D ever since.

    My career started when I got my first award, Visualization Pro of the Week from CGarchitect, and that was in January 2011. And in March I established 2G Studio with my business partner Evan Mandala. Somehow we got lots of exposure, in 2012 one of my renderings got awarded by Ronen Bekerman, the reinterpretation render of Starbuck by Kengo Kuma and that work skyrocketed my name in this industry. And Evan’s work got Visualization Pro of the Week from CGarchitect. One of our works was also selected to be in the 3D World magazine. And in 2013-2014, CHAOS group chose me to be guest speaker for their Asia Pacific V-Ray Community Meetings and Siggraph Asia in Hongkong. In 2014, Jeff asked me to be one of the 3D awards judges.

    Master Bedroom PIK © Reinaldo Handaya

    (Won Visualization Pro of the Week from CGArchitect, January 2011)

    Reinterpretation render of Starbucks by Kengo Kuma © Reinaldo Handaya

    (Awarded by Ronen Bekerman, 2012)

    House La Invernada © Evan Mandala

    (Won Visualization Pro of the Week from CGArchitect, 2012)

    Most of my clients both direct clients and other 3D studios were coming from CGarchitect, and that is why I strongly believe that CGarchitect is the place where talents meet the clients.

    I was inspired by lots of people, not just one. But the one person that gives me a lot of influence is Jeff Mottle. It's not because CGarchitect Visualization Pro of the Week started my debut in this industry, but I can see that Jeff built CGarchitect not for himself, but to help others in this industry. Somehow it resonates with me a lot, since I also love to help others to learn 3D. And I established 2G Academy in 2013 with the spirit “helping others”. In 2017, I learned from Simon Sinek, why you do what you do is the most important thing, and I learned money is only a result from what you do.

    Jeff Mottle

    President/Founder, CGArchitect

    2G Academy:

    Simon Sinek

    Author/Motivational Speaker

    Fox Renderfarm: What is the development vision for 2G Studio? Any new projects or plans that you can share with us?

    Reinaldo: The development vision for 2G Studio itself is definitely to provide the best marketing tools for our clients both developers and other 3D companies that work with us shoulder to shoulder. However we also have other developments outside the production, which give back to the community. We have our educational platform, 2G Academy and we want to give back to the community. We started a new movement in Indonesia when the lockdown happened in March 2020, we call this movement AVIS ID, meaning ArchViz Indonesia. We are aware the lockdown will affect lots of Indonesian 3D artists. Since Indonesian ArchViz artists' quality is pretty stuck, it is the time to focus on improving the rendering skills when the world stops spinning. We share free tutorials on our YouTube channel, do free portfolio reviews for Indonesian 3D artists. And we also did business and mindset talks and open for the public, we did this consistently till now.

    We also follow our government program “Bali Kembali” meaning Bali is back, since Bali is a tourism island. We live in Bali and we love Bali so much. And we want to promote Bali through ArchViz. We are still working on this project and we choose 3ds Max and V-Ray to do this project, and we are also going to work on this project with our students. It is going to be epic, lots of still images and animations. And this is not for our personal benefit, but for a greater cause, we also want this industry to be aware about Indonesia as one of the best in this ArchViz world, and also want to break the stereotype that outsourcing to Asia is low cost.

    The upcoming movement is following the CGarchitect movement, Women in ArchViz. Our version is Kartini in ArchViz, as you know there are lots of women that are not exposed in this industry. Why we call it Kartini is because Raden Adjeng Kartini is an Indonesian heroine and she is a symbol of women's right movement in Indonesia. This project is all about women in ArchViz in Indonesia, and we are also surprised that around 40% of our students are women.

    Sanctum © 2G Studio

    Fox Renderfarm: As the founder of 2G Studio, you established the leading 3D ArchViz Company in Indonesia, so do you have any views and prospects for the development of this industry in Indonesia?

    Reinaldo: It is very challenging, having been in this industry for years, we’ve only worked with 1 local client. The reason why it is challenging is because in Indonesia we don’t have any belief in products labeled “Made in Indonesia” and this is happening in every sector not just ArchViz. Most big developers in Indonesia send inquiries to other 3D companies outside Indonesia, because they don’t believe there is a company in Indonesia that can produce high quality images. So definitely more time is needed to build the trust. As 2G Studio itself never tried to work with locals, we know the problem, that is why we always aim to work with international clients. All the movements that we build, and all the architectural talks we did every Saturday by inviting architects in Indonesia to share their thoughts, is also to build a strong community. Definitely it's not a quick result that we are chasing after, it is a journey, and for a good cause.

    Fox Renderfarm: As an outstanding 3D Artist and architect, do you have any advice for the young artists in ArchViz Industry?

    Reinaldo: We can say that this industry is easy to make money while we are doing what we love. Most people in this industry are artists, either architects or interior designers, and most of us here is because we are introverted people that enjoy our time when we do what we love. But this comes with a cost, and what happened in Indonesia is that most people don’t know anything about business and the art of negotiation, don’t know how to add value and end up slashing the price and racing to the bottom. Racing to the bottom will always happen in any kind of industry, Arch viz is not exceptional. The only way to get out from the red ocean is learning about business and marketing. Business and marketing are the art itself with a different form. It is also the same when we learn about rendering, rendering is a journey, it needs time, business and marketing also need time, and learning about these 2 things will help us overcome our own fear.

    2G Studio: Instagram Facebook

    2G Academy: Instagram Facebook

    Evergreen Program: Fuel the Community with Vigor and Vitality



    Best cloud rendering services

    2020 has been an overwhelmingly crazy year for all of us.

    One year ago when the pandemic was crazily torturing people around the world, Fox Renderfarm cared deeply about every staff and our friends worldwide. We’ve sent numerous masks to customers domestically and mailed packages of surgical masks to European and Asian countries including Spain, India, Malaysia, etc.

    After that, Fox Renderfarm has tried our best time after time to support the community, concerning the artists especially those freelancers and those who work in SMEs may have been in huge difficulties due to the lack of both financial and rendering support to meet up their deadlines. Last April, we launched a Customer Care Program, providing over $88,000 to support our users worldwide. And in last August, GoCreation Program was initiated to assist freelancers with preferential rendering prices and subsidies. All these programs received praise and thanks from numerous artists. We learned that no one is fighting alone in the community, only by holding our hands together can we get through the crisis, grow and prosper.

    The pandemic rages, yet it can never suffocate vigor and vitality. The economic consequences need time to alleviate, what’s more pivotal, the wounded souls need more artistic and creative expressions to heal.

    Fox Renderfarm has contemplated what more we can do to make your projects “come true” with a fast and easy rendering experience while enjoying the greatest and the most cost-effective cloud rendering services. So we push the boundary once again. We have decided to launch Evergreen Program to benefit more individual artists and SMEs. However, we might not be able to make it for a very long time.

    Grab the chance, and let’s grow together!


    For every new user*

    1. Any new user whose first top-up is equal to/ above $10 and under $100 will get a $15 render coupon.
    2. Any new user whose first top-up is equal to/ above $100 and under $2000 will get a $30 render coupon, and also a 90-day Gold Membership, which is 20% off for CPU rendering, and 30% off for GPU rendering.
    3. Any new user whose first top-up is equal to/ above $2,000 will get a $30 render coupon, and Gold, Platinum or Diamond membership accordingly. The more you recharge, the more you save, you can save up to 50%.
    4. All users will follow the regular membership scheme according to the accumulated recharge amount after the 90 days.
    5. All the coupons offered will be validated before 12/ 31/ 2021.
    6. Fox Renderfarm reserves the rights to alter, amend or add these conditions at any time without prior notice.

    *New User: User registered in 2021 who is ready to accomplish the first top-up.

    Coupons and membership will be automatically offered after top-up. We will inform you about any changes concerning the Evergreen program in our multi-channel network, including our website, blog, newsletter and social media platforms.

    Fox Renderfarm would like to thank all the artists who strive and contribute relentlessly in the darkest time. Let’s hold our hands tighter until the sun shines every corner again.

    ‘Deer King’: How to Create Powerful Deers in Blender


    Top News

    Art Competitions

    How strong the power of nature will be? When the power of nature rises, it will be even mightier than we expected!

    Recently, the Power of Nature Challenge attracted so many 3D artists to show their talent and imagination, portraying the mighty power of nature in 3D art.

    Showing the braveness and strength from nature, the work “Deer, the king of the forest”, which was created using Blender, ZBrush, Substance Painter and Photoshop, received an honorable mention in the challenge.

    Deer, the king of the forest © Artzai Elorza

    The work’s color palette and composition are strong and impressive, according to the jury of the challenge. As the sponsor of the challenge, Fox Renderfarm is pleased to interview the creator Artzai Elorza Arana, who talked about how he made this amazing work.

    · Artzai Elorza Arana

    · From: Spain

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

    Artzai: Hi there, thank you Fox Renderfarm for giving me this opportunity. I am really happy for being here :D

    My name is Artzai Elorza Arana and I am from Bilbao, Spain. Currently, I am working as a 3D artist in Visyon by Mediapro Group, a great virtual reality company located in Barcelona, Spain.

    Palau Moja © Artzai Elorza

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about receiving the honorable mention in the Power of Nature Challenge?

    Artzai: I was excited when my workmate let me know that I had received an honorable mention. I am very happy with these challenges allowing us to express our creative side… This is beautiful! :D

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take you to finish the work “deer, the king of the forest”? Did you meet any difficulties?

    Artzai: Certainly, I don't know how long it took me but I started thinking about the power of nature from the first day to the last day. I would say 1 hour or 2 hours per day, during 12-15 days.

    Yes, I met difficulties because my main challenge always is to improve some techniques or learn new software, so when I tried to use sculpting of Blender, I ended up switching to ZBrush because of the deadline :´)

    Fox Renderfarm: As the main character of the work, the deer king is so powerful, could you tell us how you create the deers?

    Artzai: Yes, of course! First of all, I made a blocking out in Blender according to the reference draw because I would just have time to focus on more important things. This meme helped me a lot!! hahaha! XD

    Then, I sculpted level by level in ZBrush. When this model had good detailing, I made a low poly version and a high poly. I used both versions for normal map baking and I made a good hand painting texture with Substance Painter.

    I wanted to achieve hairlight with hairy deers to make a more magical powerful scene so finally, I became a deer hairdresser with hair and fur; I made a nice eye material becoming alive in it. And that’s all!

    Fox Renderfarm: The color palette and composition of the work are impressive, could you introduce how you made them?

    Artzai: As I said before, I wanted to make a powerful and onirica poster so the color palette started based on orange for the power blood moon and complementary blue for the onirica sky. Then I started making my final color palette.

    Regarding the composition, I thought of carrying the attention from the bottom side to the top side of the image.

    The lake diagonal would make the viewer meet with the boatman (which gives real scale). Then they go to the mid where the main light gains attention. Finally, the pyramid composition of the huge deers and blood moon light explosion makes the viewer go to hold their head up high like the deer poses. Sure, our eyes are looking for the deer eyes. I don't know if this worked but I tried it, haha.

    Fox Renderfarm: What is the biggest gain for you from participating in the challenge?

    Artzai: My biggest gain was to finish the challenge with a very good feeling. I think that the good thing that these kinds of challenges have is the short deadline where we can offer all our knowledge and inspiration of the moment in a short time. I will use it like an instant photo of that moment to keep knowing my real progression.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long have you been in the CG career? Could you share your education or career experience with us?

    Artzai: Wow! My career is really rare. I have always been associated with 3D. When I was sixteen I loved the technical drawing so I tried to use 3ds Max 7 owing to the teacher's suggestion and I made my first scribble but I didn’t have a good computer for working properly. Then I graded in Geomatics Engineering and due to the photogrammetry I started (but not finished, haha) a Philosophy Doctorate in Virtual Reality for Architectural Patrimony in Laboratorio de Fotogrammetría Arquitectonica University of Valladolid. Finally, thanks to this unfinished Doctorate, Visyon by Mediapro Group company offers me the great opportunity to join their company. As of today I am still grateful, I am working almost 5 years as 3D artist in a VR company :D

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you improve your CG professional skills?

    Artzai: I improve my CG skills working with my teammates because we share all our skills all the time and work on many different typologies of projects such as architectural visualization, minigame, VR experience or animation. VR keeps growing so this makes me learn something new everyday. Fascinating!

    Fox Renderfarm: Have you ever heard of or used Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering services previously?

    Artzai: Yes, I have heard about Fox Renderfarm cloud rendering services in 3D communities. I remember the first time that I heard was in a Facebook page that someone wanted to know about render farms and prices. So I took a look at all of them and I thought that Fox Renderfarm seemed to care about their community with challenges, online magazines... It was interesting!

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

    Artzai: Yes, I would like to share my ArtStation where I’ve uploaded some personal projects. I don’t have much content so far, because I’ve been very focused on work projects, but my idea is to start participating in challenges like these in order to spend more time on personal projects, so I’ll be uploading more content from now on.

    tyrannosaurus rex © Artzai Elorza

    the lost spaceship | WIP © Artzai Elorza

    Creating Memorable Animations: Introducing Kukari Animation Studio


    Fox Talk

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

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

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

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

    Javier Mendez Lafon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

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

    Guillermo del Toro © Danielle Levitt for Variety

    Steven Spielberg © The Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Character design "The grandfather"

    Sets and Props Lookdev

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fox Renderfarm: Would you please introduce your team?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Click here to know more about KUKARI ANIMATION STUDIO.

    Discovering New Things With Innocence and Euphoria in 3D World



    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    The explorer © Yisus Castellon

    Clay render © Yisus Castellonv

    What’s the shape of Explorer in your mind?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

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

    1.- Soren Zaragoza

    Cinematic_1 mood © Soren Zaragoza

    2.- Limkuk

    Muse of tragedy © Limkuk

    3.- Edgar Gómez

    Skeletor © Edgar Gómez

    4.- Ancelmo Toledo

    Croconel © Ancelmo Toledo

    5.- Marco Lorenzana

    Arte en Cuarentena...2 © Marco Lorenzana

    6.- Daniel Bel

    The Flash_Sideshow Collectibles Premium Format © Daniel Bel

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

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

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

    Yisus: Practice daily and always put quality before quantity.

    How to Make a Planet Explorer With ZBrush


    Fox Talk

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

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

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

    Exsolar © Alberto Nicolini

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    After this I made the clothing in Marvelous Designer.

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

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

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

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


    Final Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More info:

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


    CG Challenges

    Art Competitions

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

    Cyberpunk Neo Dharavi © Rahul Venugopal

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

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

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

    Rahul Venugopal

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

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

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

    Stormy Outpost © Rahul Venugopal

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

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

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

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

    Blade Runner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Ad Astra Earth Opening Environment Sequence

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

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

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

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

    Abandoned © Rahul Venugopal


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


    Fox Talk

    CGarchitect Architectural 3Dawards

    Painted Room

    © LIU Xin, Yuting Zhu

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

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

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

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

    screenshots of Phygital Supermarket Trilogy

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

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

    1. Farm / Boolean

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

    1. 3D Cinema / Displacement

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

    1. Playground / Painting Brush Strokes

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

    1. Disorder / Mograph Cloner

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

    1. Restaurant / Voronoi Fracturing

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

    1. Viewpoint / Anamorphic Optical Illusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    video clips from Augmented Library Aggregation

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

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

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

    the offline and online exhibitions of All At Onceness

    © LIU Xin, Jessie Pan, Leo Wan

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    Fox Talk

    CGarchitect Architectural 3Dawards

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

    • LIU Xin
    • Designer/Director

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

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

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

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

    Phygital Shopping Cart

    © LIU Xin & Yuting Zhu

    Won the 2021 CGarchitect Awards


    Phygital = Physical × Digital

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

    Shopping Cart Miniature Scenarios

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

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

    Three Supermarkets

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

    Phygital Supermarket Worlds

    © LIU Xin, Yuting Zhu

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

    Augmented Library Aggregation

    Augmented Library Aggregation

    © Xin Liu, Nero He

    volume bashing

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

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

    How to Make an Appealing Snow Fairy in Blender



    Art Competitions

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

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

    • Jesse Amiel Gayanilo
    • Engineering student
    • From: Philippines

    Snow Creature © Jesse Amiel Gayanilo

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

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

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

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

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

    Clay render © Jesse Amiel Gayanilo

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

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

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

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

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

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

    © Nikita Veprikov

    © Follygon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Giant Samurai Rampages © Jesse Amiel Gayanilo

    • Artstation:

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