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.
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.
3D Render Challenge Ongoing: Shine your talents and win $500 Render Coupons, submit now!
5 Key Features in Blender 2.82 that Boost Your Creation Productivity
Update Alert! Blender 2.82 is Released!
New features include improvements in various aspects, from sculpting to texturing. Also, the support of RTX on rendering and USD on pipeline are going to boost your productivity to the next level! Here are the details for the 5 groundbreaking new features, and what they mean to CG artists.
- New Fluids Simulation System
Blender is a popular open-sourced software for production and animation artists, but not a perfect choice for hardcore simulations. The new fluids simulation system - Mantaflow - is going to change that.
Mantaflow is the new physically-based fluid simulation framework in Blender for gas (smoke & fire) and liquid simulations. It completely replaces the existing fluid simulation systems and changes the way you work with fluids.
- Cloth Simulation
In cloth simulation, internal air pressure and internal cloth springs are both supported now, which means simulating balloons, cushions and soft bodies will be much easier. What’s more, it is likely that future releases will enable Blender artists to do fully procedural workflow like Houdini.
(Left: Internal air pressure; Right: Internal cloth springs)
- UDIM Support
The UDIM UV layout format was initiated by Weta Digital to handle the high-resolution textures more efficiently. Now it is widely used in the VFX pipelines.
The new support for UDIM in Blender facilitates assets exchanging with applications like Substance Painter, Maya and Houdini. Moreover, UDIM is implemented across all of the key toolsets, which means to display UDIMs in the Image and UV Editors, to paint onto UDIMs in the Image Editor and 3D viewport, and to render scenes that use them in both Cycles and Eevee, are now possible.
- Pixar USD Export
Blender now supports exporting files in Pixar’s open-source Universal Scene Description format.
(Image via Google)
Universal Scene Description (USD) files can contain complex layering, overriding, and references to other files. Blender’s USD Exporter takes a much simpler approach. When exporting, all visible, supported objects in the scene are exported, optionally limited by their selection state. Blender does not (yet) support exporting invisible objects, USD layers, variants, skeletal animation, etc.
- Cycles Improvements
The updated Blender now supports custom render passes, adding in the Shader AOVs (Arbitrary Output Variables) panes in the view layer settings, with a name and data type. The output of any component of a shader graph will be shown in the custom render passes. That helps artists to debug shading problems in a scene.
For artists who work in production, another change to Cycles in Blender 2.82 is supporting the AI-accelerated Denoiser from OptiX, from NVIDIA RTX graphics cards.
(Image via blendernation.com)
As the leading render farm in the CG industry, Fox Renderfarm supports most mainstream 3D software, renderers and plugins, including Blender, 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, Clarisse, and more. We always provide fast, secure and affordable cloud rendering services to reduce your rendering time. Welcome to get a $25 free trial.
For more update details, please check the Release Notes by Blender:
Fox Renderfarm Launches GPU Rendering
Fox Renderfarm News
Rendering and previewing in a flash!
The craze for Marvel’s superhero movie Deadpool swept over the world; As the first full CGI realistic human feature film in Asia, Legend of Ravaging Dynasties dominated the headlines once the trailer came out. These two movies were rendered with GPU rendering engines.
Obviously, GPU computing card and GPU rendering engines are gradually used in film production. It is a good start!
Now, as the leading render farm in the industry, Fox Renderfarm launches GPU rendering. Let’s start a free trial with Fox Renderfarm’s GPU rendering.
Let’s get it started!
What're the differences between GPU and CPU?
A simple way to understand the difference between a CPU and GPU is to compare how they process tasks. A CPU consists of a few cores optimized for sequential serial processing, while a GPU has a massively parallel architecture consisting of thousands of smaller, more efficient cores designed for handling multiple tasks simultaneously.
Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman made a painting demonstration to show the difference between CPU and GPU:
Mythbusters Demo GPU versus CPU
What’s the advantage of GPU Rendering?
In the field of graphics rendering, not only films and animations but also CG art, GPU with its computing ability and architecture specially designed for graphics acceleration provides the users with a more efficient rendering solution, namely the GPU rendering solution. GPU rendering has a great advantage of fast speed and low cost. Moreover, GPU rendering becomes more and more available now, lots of works with high quality rendered with GPU has come out. GPU rendering tends to be popular with users at home and abroad.
Thinking of the CPU as the manager of a factory, thoughtfully making tough decisions. GPU, on the other hand, is more like an entire group of workers at the factory. While they can’t do the same type of computing, they can handle many, many more tasks at once without becoming overwhelmed. Many rendering tasks are the kind of repetitive, brute-force functions GPUs are good at. Plus, you can stack several GPUs into one computer. This all means GPU systems can often render much, much faster!
There is also a huge advantage that comes along in CG production. GPU rendering is so fast it can often provide real-time feedback while working. No more going to get a cup of coffee while your preview renders chugs away. You can see material and lighting changes happen before your eyes.
Redshift is the world’s first fully GPU-accelerated, biased renderer and it is also the most popular GPU renderer. Redshift uses approximation and interpolation techniques to achieve noise-free results with relatively few samples, making it much faster than unbiased rendering. From rendering effects, Redshift can reach the highest level of GPU rendering, and render high-quality movie-level images.
Blender Cycles is Blender’s ray-trace based and unbiased rendering engine that offers stunning ultra-realistic rendering. Cycles can be used as part of Blender and as stand-alone, making it a perfect solution for massive rendering on clusters or at cloud providers.
NVIDIA Iray is a highly interactive and intuitive, physically based rendering solution. NVIDIA Iray rendering simulates real-world lighting and practical material definitions so that anyone can interactively design and create the most complex of scenes. Iray provides multiple rendering modes addressing a spectrum of use cases requiring real-time and interactive feedback to physically based, photorealistic visualizations.
OctaneRender is the world’s first and fastest GPU-accelerated, unbiased, physically correct renderer. It means that Octane uses the graphics card in your computer to render photo-realistic images super fast. With Octane’s parallel compute capabilities, you can create stunning works in a fraction of the time.
V-Ray RT (Real-Time) is Chaos Group's interactive rendering engine that can utilize both CPU and GPU hardware acceleration to see updates to rendered images in real time as objects, lights, and materials are edited within the scene.
Indigo Renderer is an unbiased, physically based and photorealistic renderer which simulates the physics of light to achieve near-perfect image realism. With an advanced physical camera model, a super-realistic materials system and the ability to simulate complex lighting situations through Metropolis Light Transport, Indigo Renderer is capable of producing the highest levels of realism demanded by architectural and product visualization.
LuxRender is a physically based and unbiased rendering engine. Based on state of the art algorithms, LuxRender simulates the flow of light according to physical equations, thus producing realistic images of photographic quality.
GPU Computing Card Parameter Table
Now Fox Renderfarm is applicable to Redshift for Maya and Blender Cycles. There are more than 100 pieces of NVIDIA Tesla M40 cards in Fox Renderfarm cluster, each server has 128G system memory with two M40 computing cards. Welcome to Fox Renderfarm to experience the super fast GPU cloud rendering !
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