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    Creating Memorable Animations:Introducing Kukari Animation Studio

    2021-04-13

    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.


    How to Make a Planet Explorer With ZBrush

    2021-04-09

    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.

    Render

    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:


    Discovering New Things With Innocence and Euphoria in 3D World

    2021-04-09

    Trending

    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 Create 3D Stylized Characters: Introducing Freelance Artist, Jorge Yepez

    2021-03-11

    Fox Talk

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Aiming to empower CG freelancers to create more excellent CG artworks and realize their dreams, GoCreation Program, organized and sponsored by Fox Renderfarm, is willing to provide preferential prices and subsidies for freelancers, helping them to focus more on creation.

    Jorge Yepez, one of our accredited freelancers of GoCreation Program, is an outstanding digital artist from Ecuador, who enjoys digital sculpting, modeling, lightning, texturing and animation. From his artworks, which are full of delicate details, we can see his romantic and mysterious style and excellent CG skills.

    Kulta © Jorge Yepez

    Gold © Jorge Yepez

    Freddie© Jorge Yepez

    As a freelance artist, he also started up his own animation studio TITA STUDIO, focused on storytelling by creating animated and static compositions. MAYO is one of the artworks from TITA STUDIO, which is made for learning purposes and the beginning of exploration and studies about Real-Time Rendering used on films.

    MAYO © Jorge Yepez / Tita Studio

    Here’s the exclusive interview between Jorge and Fox Renderfarm, in which he talked about how to create these amazing works and his CG journey.

    • Jorge Yepez
    • 3D Modeler
    • Look Dev Artist

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

    Jorge: Hi everyone! First of all, I would like to thank all the members of Fox Renderfarm for the opportunity and space for showing up my work.

    I’m a 3D artist based in Quito - Ecuador, I think I can’t say I’m a generalist, but I have always loved to learn more about every step of a production process, from the sketch to the final result and especially the study of the light which help me to generate stories on each character.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your artworks’ styles are very mysterious, such as MAYO, Kulta and Gold, could you tell us what inspired you to create these works?

    Jorge: I would say, all these characters started as an exploration. I didn't have anything planned or sketched before starting the creation process, I really liked that, because I didn't expect anything and the ideas just came through.

    I’ve always felt really inspired by the culture of Ecuador and South America. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and get to know some countries and their cultures, so I try to implement each color, texture or feature that identifies me into my projects.

    I always look for my characters to be extremely expressive through their gaze and body expression, that’s why the eyes are usually their only and most important feature, so I leave an open possibility to the viewers to create their own stories and feelings identified with them.

    Many times I’ve tried to find the perfect meaning and story behind my characters, but I think it's like an explosion of energy related to how I'm feeling or the situation I’m going through at the moment I am creating them. Also, I like to have a very strong contrast between colors and materials, especially with metallic ones and dark tones, they help me to create an atmosphere of mystery, giving prominence to the character's body expression and silhouette.

    MAYO © Jorge Yepez / Tita Studio

    Fox Renderfarm: We know that Kulta is a project you started as an anatomy study, which is excellent, could you introduce the CG pipeline?

    Jorge: When I released this project, I was really happy with the huge reception it had. As I said, this was my very first project trying a new visual style and I felt really proud of the audience it got.

    Kulta © Jorge Yepez

    I started making the base sculpt on ZBrush, studying many books and references I found on the internet about human face anatomy. I always use a software called PureRef, it's an incredible tool that helps to keep your references organized and has the option to be always on the top of any window, making it easier for the artist to look at, especially when you have only one monitor.

    When I feel blocked and don’t know how to start, I usually use a clay buildup brush, it helps a lot to create primary and secondary forms while giving you a more organic look.

    At the beginning I was a little bit scared about sculpting opened eyes, because I hadn't had good results in my previous attempts, so I decided to sculpt them closed, it helped me to add some mysterious look to the character. Once I was happy with the base form, I used ZRemesher for a quick retopology because it wasn’t planned for animation.

    I created the UVs on Maya, this time I wanted to have more resolutions in areas like the face or the neck, so I divided them into 2 UDIMS. It’s very important to have them organized to make the texturing process easier.

    I decided to make some variations on his anatomy and that’s when I decided to have a specific feature that will represent the style for my future characters.

    After creating the base of the head, I like to stylize most of my characters with a kind of crown or metal halo, I want it to be seen as a sign of royalty and power, a kind of symbol of their divine nature outside of the ordinary. I also think it helps to transmit the energy that it has and from that point, I begin the creation of the character.

    Following the idea of focusing on the general style, I made a simple cloth; a kind of a poncho (it's a traditional cloth, commonly used by many cultures in Ecuador and some countries from South America).

    I felt ambitious with the texture for this project, and due to the simple shapes it has, I tried to put most of the details over the textures, so I started adding wrinkles and pores on ZBrush, using standard brushes with some alphas.

    After that, I sent the model to Substance Painter where I added some contrast like gold lines and dots. Its texture was inspired by patterns and symbols found in the clothing and crafts from Ecuadorian indigenous cultures.

    The lightning was very important too, I put two main lights, a keylight on the right, a Rim light on the left and three lights to enhance the gold parts.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your personal project Gold shows a noble queen, and the texture is so great, could you tell us how you created the character?

    Jorge: For this project, I focused on the study of female human anatomy and its attributes and proportions, which allowed me to delve into the analysis of distinctive parts such as the eye socket, the shape of the jaw and its entire bone structure, and so on, to be able to create a much feminine character with a rigid and formal appearance thanks to the modification of her long neck, this would set a new style into the anatomy of my characters.

    Gold © Jorge Yepez

    Like other projects, I started by making the base sculpture in ZBrush, using Dynamesh and not worrying about topology in its first stage of creation.

    After that, I used the clay build up brush, it makes the process much simpler for sketching and helps to visualize the main shapes easily.

    I used to sculpt the clothes in ZBrush for my previous characters, but this time I wanted to experiment with Marvelous Designer and I really recommend it, it’s a very useful software, the only thing you have to do is to create pieces of fabric and sew them, as you would in the real life, so I made a square path and a hole inside for the neck, this made the dynamic wrapping easier.

    For texturing, I used Substance Painter. First, I baked the textures and then I used some of the generators for creating dust and metal wear look. For other props, and parts of the face, I use some Redshift procedural nodes to have more control in Maya while making the look dev process.

    For lightning, I used a basic set of 3 lights and 2 extra ones that helped me to enhance specific parts, such as the top of the head and the eyes. For rendering, I used Redshift, which despite using 4k textures and 5k final render, it did it really fast, taking into consideration that I was using an NVIDIA 980 graphic card.

    Fox Renderfarm: BTW, we want to know that when will you release the short film Gold?

    Jorge: It was planned to be released last year, but due to the pandemic and work, I wasn't able to finish it. The good part of it is that I can give myself more time to write a script that can make the story more attractive to the viewers and not captivate an audience just because of the characters' looks.

    My goal is to create a universe for all of them, and for the new ones that are gonna be created during the process.

    Gold Teaser © Jorge Yepez

    Fox Renderfarm: Among your works, which one impresses you most? Did you meet any challenges, and how did you solve them?

    Jorge: I think MAYO was the most challenging one because it was made during the first two months of the lock down, so I didn't have much time to focus on my own projects.

    I took a few hours every week to start studying human anatomy and I was very curious to know how the cloth reacts over the body.

    My main goal was to create a cinematic short film using real-time rendering and learning more about video games workflows.

    At the beginning, I had some problems with the textures and my frame rate dropped down around 10fps, that happened because the whole scene had 4k textures, so after some research, I optimized the scene, having less resolution on the textures that are far from the camera and keeping the 4k textures for the character.

    Fox Renderfarm: What 3D software and plugins do you use most often and why?

    Jorge: I usually use Maya for most of the tasks, like modeling, UV layout, animation and rendering. This is the software I learned in college and I feel really comfortable with the UI and the tools it has.

    I also have been using Redshift for 3 years now and for me is the best GPU renderer out there, it’s easy to use, it has simple settings and obviously it's the fastest one.

    I generally sculpt the base mesh in ZBrush and after bringing the mesh with UVs and a good topology from Maya, I start making the details there. The textures are mostly done inside Substance Painter, lately, I’ve done more procedural look dev with Maya and Redshift though.

    I’m also starting to learn Houdini. At first I was a little bit scared about nodes, but then I realized it's extremely powerful and it’s getting easier when you study the logic behind it. I have also been really interested in real-time rendering, that's why I started experimenting with Unreal Engine, mainly because I want to learn more about video games workflows and how it's commonly used in cinematics and creative fields.

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

    Jorge: This passion started when I was a kid, I really enjoyed playing video games with my cousins and I remember three titles that made me feel a deep interest in the VFX world: Resident Evil 4, God of War, and Guitar Hero. I feel really happy to be able to create something similar to that nowadays.

    I started learning a software called Rhino almost every evening after school. I remember I was trying to model my home with basic shapes, but then I stopped studying it for a few years, until I decided to study something related at college. I have a degree in Multimedia and interactive animation, the career took me around 4 - 5 years, including the final project. But almost everything I’ve learned has been by myself through internet tutorials and personal exploration, this has given me the opportunity to grow as an artist and the knowledge to solve any problems or challenges within a project.

    I have been working as a freelancer since I got my degree, I’ve worked with many clients here in Ecuador and also from all around the world, I am currently working with a producer company from Germany, and also focusing on creating my own creative space called TITA STUDIO, where I’m open to show any exploration or study related to my characters.

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

    Jorge: Sincerely, is the best render farm I’ve ever used. I discovered it two years ago, they have a great user interface, it’s intuitive and easy to use. They have incredible customer support, which is 24/7 up to help you with any problems or questions. They also have great competitive prices and the speed of their machines is amazing.

    Fox Renderfarm: Do you have any suggestions for CG freelancers to improve their CG skills?

    Jorge: Practice, perseverance and patience. I heard once from a very talented artist that one hour of study or practicing every day can improve your skills incredibly. This is not a one-day journey, it's a process of personal and professional growth, be focused on that and you’ll see that the road is gonna get easier. Try to not compare yourself with any other artists, everyone has their own paces of learning, the key is to try to overcome ourselves first and if you ever feel tired, learn to rest, not to quit.

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

    Jorge: I think the best way to stay motivated is to focus on more than one project, sometimes we spend a lot of hours a week on a specific one, that can make us feel stressed and we could get stuck creatively. A good start is to have a schedule, try to organize your time between professional and personal work but also don’t forget to get some time for yourself, it’s good to have a distraction from the 3D world, otherwise you could get exhausted. I'm starting to study pastry and it has helped me a lot.

    As a final point, I would like to recommend trying to work on your own ideas, I mean, fanart it's great! But if people get to know you by your own masterpieces and you let your ideas grow, you will feel more satisfied, and don’t be scared to share them!


    Making a Gothic Castle With Strong Silhouettes in Cinema 4D

    2020-11-27

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    On November 4th, CG Boost announced the winners of its 19th 3D challenge, Moving Castle Challenge, which was sponsored by the TPN-Accredited cloud render farm, Fox Renderfarm.

    We are so proud to have an interview with the champion of the Moving Castle Challenge, Kay John Yim, a Chartered Architect based in London, specializing in Architectural Visualization/CGI. His artwork, The Mirage Castle: a Fantasy War Tale, received unanimous praise from the judges as its beautiful composition and strong silhouettes.

    • Kay John Yim
    • Chartered Architect based in London
    • From: Hong Kong
    • Artwork Caption: Set in the medieval times, "The Mirage Castle" was a mysterious city built on top of a gigantic rhinoceros, bringing both war and civilization to all the cities it conquered. Its every movement exerted immense force to the earth and the atmosphere, creating haze and sandstorms that covered its trace.

    The Mirage Castle: a Fantasy War Tale © Kay John Yim

    Clay render © Kay John Yim

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi John, thank you so much for accepting our interview again! How do you feel about winning 1st place in the CGBoost’s Moving Castle Challenge?

    John: Thank you so much for having me again! It was truly my honor to take the 1st place in the Moving Castle Challenge!

    Fox Renderfarm: What software did you use throughout your pipeline?

    John: I used primarily ZBrush, Cinema 4D and Redshift to create this image, however I am gradually transitioning to Houdini at the moment, as its fully procedural workflow allows me to iterate much faster.

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

    John: I was inspired by the compositions and color palettes of Napoleonic romanticised war paintings for my entry. Unlike most works that I have done (which are mostly set in present) – my entry was set in ancient times, and I intentionally reference war paintings to create a painterly look as opposed to a photorealistic aesthetic.

    Fox Renderfarm: The silhouettes are really excellent. How did you make it?

    John: For the Moving Castle itself, I picked Gothic Architecture intentionally for its iconic silhouette - Gothic pointed arches and flying buttresses are easily recognizable from a distance, so I could iterate without worrying too much about camera positioning.

    I then experimented with more and less foreground characters for optimal composition, and tested various camera positioning and cropping to best convey the Moving Castle’s colossal size.

    Fox Renderfarm: A depth pass with color makes the image great and readable even from a very far distance, which is well received by the judges . How did you design it?

    John: The final scene consisted of 3 primary levels of layering - the Moving Castle, the army marching on the sunflower field, and the protagonist knights - all embedded within a large fog VDB.

    The challenge brief gave me an opportunity to experiment with fog VDBs extensively, which I believe was essential to add depth to a scene of drastically varying sizes.

    Fox Renderfarm: Which is the most challenging part of this work? How did you overcome it?

    John: As the Moving Castle was completely fictional, setting the scale and proportions between the rhino and the castle was the most challenging part. Ultimately the scale was primarily based on the camera positioning more so than realistic (gothic) architecture to arrive at a clear silhouette.

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you finish the texturing?

    John: Most of the textures are from Megascans with added noises and amplified AO (Ambient Occlusion).

    I kept most of the shaders and textures fairly simple, with the exception of the sunflowers - which have exaggerated SSS (Subsurface Scattering) to create a painterly aesthetic under sunlight.

    Fox Renderfarm: Lighting is also a vital part, how did you control it?

    John: I used the sun as a hard backlight, to create separation among the layers of subjects and the background.

    The fog VDB scattering color is slightly tinted to add interest and intrigue to the Moving Castle and the army. Though not physically accurate, I think it complemented the sunflower field well.

    Fox Renderfarm: In terms of the rendering part, did you meet any difficulties?

    John: My rendering time skyrocketed when I first added VDBs to the scene, so I stayed away from VDBs until I had finalised the general scene layout.

    If you wanna know more about John, there’s another interview we’ve done with John Creating an Amazing CGI Project Staged at Hagia Sophia in ZBrush.

    Please hit the link to know more!


    Creating an Amazing CGI Project Staged at Hagia Sophia in ZBrush

    2020-11-20

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    On October 30th, Fox Renderfarm announced the winner of our Halloween Treat, Kay John Yim, a Chartered Architect based in London, specializing in Architectural Visualization/CGI.

    His 3D Trick Art “Ritual” is an amazing CGI project staged at Hagia Sophia, standing out for its excellent composition and lighting.

    Ritual © Kay John Yim

    Clay render © Kay John Yim

    Here’s the interview between John and the TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider Fox Renderfarm, in which he talked about how he made the wonderful render.

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

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

    John: Sure! I am a Chartered Architect based in London, specializing in Architectural Visualization/CGI. As a 3D enthusiast growing up in Hong Kong, I always have an extreme admiration for people working in the film and game industries – for all the surreal photographic and photo-realistic CG contents they produce.

    It was only until the recent COVID-19 lock-down that I began exploring 3D techniques outside of the realm of architecture – creature sculpting & grooming, character design and cloth simulation for instance. I started working on personal projects to experiment with colors and lighting in addition to learning new techniques.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning Fox Renderfarm's Halloween Treat with your excellent 3D Trick Art “Ritual”, how do you feel about that?

    John: Thank you! I feel honored to have won the Halloween Treat, and I look forward to participating in future Fox Renderfarm render challenges!

    Fox Renderfarm: What’s the inspiration behind your artwork “Ritual”?

    John: My intention was to create an atmospheric image with a narrative open for imagination. “Ritual”, like many of my personal CG projects, was built upon real locations - which in this case was the interior of the Hagia Sophia. Having been constructed and retrofitted as both a mosque and a church over the course of 1,500 years, I found the unique fusion of Christian and Islamic elements at the Hagia Sophia mesmerizing and enigmatic, hence the perfect backdrop for storytelling.

    The character was inspired by a YouTuber “Taylor R” - who introduced me to Japanese Lolita fashion, a fashion style of which I found formal yet very suiting for my intention.

    I Was A LOLITA For A Day (Modelling in Japan)

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

    John: It took me about a week to finish, during which I spent most of the time testing different color palettes and lighting ideas.

    Fox Renderfarm: The lighting is excellent, feeling like in a wonderland. How did you design the lighting?

    John: Thanks! I took inspiration from the John Wick movies – starting with complementary colors and generally shifting the color spectrum to arrive at a convincing lighting & color combination.

    John Wick (2014) - Official Trailer - Keanu Reeves

    I used candles and chandeliers as the primary light sources, while avoiding CG fake lights. I personally believe realistic lighting setups produce more believable and relatable renderings, regardless of whether it is a fantasy or photo-real quality that I am after.

    Fox Renderfarm: How did you make the stylized character? Any references?

    John: The character was blocked out in C4D and sculpted in ZBrush, in reference to Gothic Lolita Dresses – modern adaptations of Gothic Victorian Fashion.

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

    John: Framing was probably the most challenging – as the character and the architecture vary quite a lot in scale, it was difficult to position the camera such that they were both readable while not competing for focus.

    My solution was to use depth of field to separate the character’s silhouette from the backdrop, at the same time re-emphasizing the sense of space by carefully positioning chandeliers, candles and blue ambient light throughout.

    Fox Renderfarm: Technically and visually, which is your favorite part? And why?

    John: My favorite part is the depth of field and the bokeh that comes along with it– they add extra depth to the image and create additional room for imagination.

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

    John: I got into CG rendering back when I was studying architecture in University, where everyone has to present architectural concepts with renderings on top of conventional 2D drawings. CAD softwares like Rhino, AutoCAD and Revit were essential tools of trade within the architectural industry, tools that I have been using for over 6,7 years until I struggled with the limitations of rendering packages available at the time.

    C4D ended up being my choice for work for its stability and ease of use for animation/motion graphics. Since then I have been using C4D and Redshift as my primary rendering/modeling tool for both work (architectural visualization) and personal projects.

    I am constantly experimenting with new softwares to up my quality and efficiency – my current passion lies in Houdini 18.5 and the procedural magic that it empowers!

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

    John: For someone getting into C4D and Redshift, “Greyscalegorilla” is a great place to start. Beyond that, I think understanding 3D itself (concept of UV, VFX pipelines etc.) is much more important than learning what a particular button does, as modern software is advancing so quickly nowadays. “Hugo's Desk” has great videos that explain the in and outs of CG renderings in a VFX pipeline.

    Apart from understanding the technicality of 3D, studying photography and cinematography can definitely go a long way - I think I personally learn more about rendering by watching movies than watching tutorials, back when C4D Redshift was in beta stage.

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

    John: Yes, I have used Fox Renderfarm recently for a personal project – I really like it as I think it has one of the most user-friendly UIs among the multiple render-farm services I have used. The support I get is also really responsive and helpful!

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

    John: I will be releasing CG art regularly – please follow me along with my CG journey on my social media channels! :)

    Instagram: _johnyim/

    Facebook:


    How to Recreate the Fairytale Rakotz Bridge in Maya

    2020-11-19

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Fox Renderfarm is pleased to announce that the FGT Art October winner came to Thomas Eckstein, a 3D Artist and 3D Animation & VFX Student from PIXL VISN Media Arts Academy. His award-winning artwork Mystical Forest, made in Maya, Arnold and Nuke, recreates the dreamy scenes of Rakotz bridge, a fairytale bridge in Saxony, Germany.

    Mystical Forest © Thomas Eckstein

    FGT Art, a platform for all Fox Renderfarm users to share their talents and get awarded, is willing to support more creative CG artists and students, like Thomas, to improve their CG skills. Here’s the interview between the winner Thomas and Fox Renderfarm, in which he talked about how he felt about winning FGT Art and how he made this artwork.

    Thomas Eckstein3D Artist3D Animation & VFX Student PIXL VISN Media Arts AcademyLinkedIn:

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

    Thomas: Hi, I am currently a student in my fourth term at PIXL VISN media arts academy specializing in Lighting & LookDev. Currently I am working on my Demo Reel and look forward to working on my first big project in a studio. As an aspiring artist, I try to learn more every day so that I can make my work the best I can.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about being the October winner of FGT Art?

    Thomas: I am honored and very happy to have won. It shows me that all the work I put into my projects pays off and is being recognized. This motivates me even more to become a better artist.

    Fox Renderfarm: What inspired you to come out with the idea of making the work Mystical Forest?

    Thomas: The given theme for this project was “fantasy”. So I did a lot of research and found the Rakotz bridge in Saxony, Germany. To me this place already looked and felt very mystical and surreal, which I liked a lot. For this reason, I decided to use it as my main inspiration.

    References

    Fox Renderfarm: This work has successfully created a mysterious and fantasy atmosphere, could you tell us how you make it, including the lighting and composition?

    Thomas: To create this mystical atmosphere I really wanted to play around with the mood of the scene. So I decided that it should take place at sunrise with some nice light rays coming through the foliage. I looked at a lot of references to achieve the right layout and camera angle, so that I can recreate this mood with a nice composition. Some extra lights were used to create rim highlights on the bridge, as well as the rock formations. The lighting was later also tweaked using light groups in Nuke.

    Layout Breakdown

    Reference

    Fox Renderfarm: We know that you finished the work in 7 days, so which part took you the most time?

    Thomas: Creating the environment around the bridge took by far the longest. It took a lot of testing and trying out different types of foliage to create the final look I wanted.

    Fox Renderfarm: If time permits, what would you like to improve to make the work better?

    Thomas: Mainly I would like to add some more light scattering through the leaves to make the foliage look more realistic. Some animation for the foliage slightly swaying in the wind with some falling leaves / particles, would also add a lot to the atmosphere. Finally I would also really like to render in a higher resolution since I only managed to render in 720p for the given timeframe.

    Lighting Breakdown

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

    Thomas: The main difficulty I faced was working with so much foliage. All these models were very demanding on my PC, so I had to figure out a way to be able to work with them. After some research I found out about Arnold Stand-ins and how they allow a lot of objects to be present in the same scene. So after converting all the foliage to .ass files (Arnold stand-ins), I was able to cover the ground with a high number of models of trees, flowers and bushes.

    Fox Renderfarm: Your other work Mjolnir - Thor's Hammer is so cool too, could you tell us how you make the texture of the hammer, including the engravings and scuff marks?

    Thomas: I used Substance Painter for the texturing of the hammer. All the surface damages and scratches were created here. The engravings were created using displacement maps that I also painted in Substance Painter.

    Mjolnir - Thor's Hammer © Thomas Eckstein

    Fox Renderfarm: As a 3D Animation & VFX Student at PIXL VISN media arts academy, why did you choose this major, and will you continue to work in the CG industry after graduation? Could you share your future goals or plans?

    Thomas: Because of the amazing work created by PIXL VISN graduates, as well as the highly qualified teachers working here, I decided to start my education at PIXL VISN. After my graduation I would like to start working in an international studio, to work on high-quality projects and to expand my skills.

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

    Thomas: I am very happy with the rendering services provided by Fox Renderfarm. Many projects would not have been possible without the fast and easy to use rendering service. On top of that, I am really happy with the fast and competent customer service of Fox Renderfarm.

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

    Thomas: Deciding to start working in this industry is one of the best choices I have made so far. Creating work that I can share with other people, while also learning new and exciting things everytime is a very satisfying feeling. I would love to network with other CG enthusiasts to expand my skill set and maybe even create projects together.

    We are waiting for you to be our next FGT Art winner!


    How to Animate the Shortage of Toilet Paper During Pandemic in a Funny Way

    2020-11-18

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    During the pandemic, the shortage of toilet paper must be one of the hot topics in the public.

    A funny animated MV, the official video for Lil DooDoo's single "2020", reflects the shortage of toilet paper in a humorous way. The video is directed by Lil DooDoo, animated by Ricky San E, who is also the September winner of FGT Art, a platform encouraging all artists to share their artworks with the CG community which are rendered with Fox Renderfarm.

    Ricky appraised Lil DooDoo as a potential musician, so this cooperation gave him the chance to invest in Lil DooDoo’s music career. ‘’It would be like helping the Beatles record their first record before they took off. “ Ricky published the music video on his YouTube channel and said.

    Graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design, Ricky has interned at Anima Estudios and Blizzard, done some freelance for Gucci / PinkSalt Milan, and he is working at Avalanche WB currently. In this exclusive interview, he talked about how he made the amazing MV.

    • Ricky San E
    • CG Artist
    • YouTube:

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

    Ricky: Absolutely, it’s my pleasure and honor. I’m a former, very unsuccessful stand up comedian that turned to animation as a medium to tell jokes and entertain.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about being the September winner of FGT Art?

    Ricky: Oh it’s amazing! I am extremely honored and honestly super happy that I found this service. Honestly, Fox Renderfarm was a pivotal tool in making this music video. I had mostly been making 2D animations for YouTube, this was the first 3D animation I’ve made in my free time after leaving college, and I sort of forgot how long rendering can take. If I had tried to render the project locally, it wouldn’t even be finished today. Fox Renderfarm made it possible to finish this animation.

    Fox Renderfarm: How long did you take to finish the work? And what software and plugins did you use?

    Ricky: Honestly, the biggest limitation of this project was time. Since this project was made after business hours, I only had the weekends and about two hours during the week to work on it. I truly have to give my project coordinator Emily Rives a shout-out. She made a schedule with bids for each shot and step of the pipeline and kept things on track to make sure the project could get done in time. She was also a great producer by shutting things down that wouldn’t have been possible for me to achieve in time. For example, I used Maya and Arnold to render, there is a feature in the Arnold renderer called atmospheric volume. I initially had the intent to render with this feature turned on, however rendering a single frame with this feature turned on increases render times exponentially, so I was looking at a couple of extra hours of render time per frame. I simply didn’t have the budget or time for that, so instead the smoke was comped on post using DaVinci Resolve. The final image ended up looking cleaner and I had greater control as to what I wanted the smoke to be doing. The whole project took about 4 months.

    Fox Renderfarm: Can you tell us about the pipeline of the project?

    Ricky: Of course, I started by modeling the character and the set. Once I had the character rigged and textured, I proceeded to shoot a reference animatic where I acted out the music video. This allowed me to start working on the edit and allowed production to know how many shots were going to be in the final edit and how much time could realistically be spent on each shot.

    I then worked on layout, doing a whole layout pass on each shot before moving to animation to achieve consistency. I then moved to animation. Having a great schedule was great to make sure how much time I could spend on each shot for each step of the pipeline. I honestly can animate better than I did for this music video, but I needed to work with time constraints due to the nature of the project to achieve the minimum viable product. Once I had the animation in spline and looked somewhat okay, I created a couple of scripts to automate some overlap to give the illusion of a second animation pass. Because the character had Xgen, I needed to export the final animation as an Alembic Cache. I created a couple of scripts that made this pipeline faster. One script queried the name of the animation file “shot_0010” for example and created an alembic cache with that specific name saved to a subfolder by the same name in the cache project folder. I then had another script that would un-reference the character rig, brought in the correct cache by looking at the name of that shot, (which saved a lot of time digging through directories), brought in the final shaders as a reference and assigned said shaders to the alembic cache all with the click of a button. Then I only needed to import Xgen, dynamics, and render templates that I created to all shots and throw a hero light to help the character pop. The set file all the other lights and were the same across all shots. I used Arnold Standins for all the toilet paper sets to optimize performance.

    Fox Renderfarm: The rapper in the MV is so cute and cool, and there are many creative “TP productions”, could you tell us how you make them?

    Ricky: Thank you so much, I tried to make him cuter than he is in real life haha. For sure, I created a couple of sets organized in different ways and exported them as Arnold Standins. This allowed me to just duplicate the standins and spread them around the hangar without having to worry about hundreds of thousands of polygons slowing down Maya. For the other TP creations like the House, it was a combination of using cloth sim to drape the toilet paper on them as well as some custom posing that I did through a custom lattice toilet paper rig that I created.

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

    Ricky: I ran into some issues with XGen and namespace compatibility issues using XGen. I used the geo cache approach and imported the geo cache without a namespace to get it to work. I feel like doing this actually helped renders be faster and the files be less dense since there was no rig and no rig evaluation during the frames.

    Fox Renderfarm: The MV shows an interesting song about the epidemic in 2020, does COVID-19 affect your work and creation?

    Ricky: It was heavily inspired by current times and these weird times we are all experiencing. I wanted to look at the funny side of things, I think the fact that we had a toilet paper shortage was kind of funny and the idea of people hoarding toilet paper was funny to me. I imagined people will be using toilet paper that they hoarded in 2020 for years to come. I think it would’ve been smarter for Lil DooDoo to write a song about a different and more relevant aspect of the covid experience, I think the toilet paper shortage didn’t last as long as he thought, but oh well.

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

    Ricky: I think it’s great. I love animating, it’s both a career and a hobby for me. The hardest pill to swallow after graduating was losing access to the school’s render farms, which meant that I would either have to be rich (which I’m not) and buy multiple computers or be okay with playblasts, but I care about the final product not just the animation so that wasn’t really an option. Finding Fox Renderfarm cloud was refreshing, it truly solves this big CG artist need of having affordable, fast and secure access to farm rendering. I was also blown away by the amazing customer service. Truly impressed.

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

    Ricky: I would say “hey, you can make films now, just yourself. You now have access to the necessary computing power to render things. Thanks to Fox Renderfarm.” Also, “stay safe, have fun, keep staring at computers.”


    How to Create a Realistic Mushroom House in Blender

    2020-11-09

    Top News

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    The 18th CG Boost Challenge with the topic “Mushroom House” were successfully held with 233 submissions which show us all kinds of fairy tales with innocence and romance.

    Mushroom village © Felipe Del Rio

    With the strong modelling and great composition with the strong depth of field, Mushroom Village, made by Felipe Del Rio, won the first place of the challenge. It took Felipe around 2 weeks to finish the work between work and college tasks, which was created by using Blender, Cycles and Substance Designer. “It's a fantastic, vast yet microscopic world,” the jury said about the work.

    Here’s the interview between Felipe and the TPN-Accredited cloud rendering services provider Fox Renderfarm, in which he talked about how he made the wonderful mushroom model and the background.

    Felipe Del Rio3D Freelancer ArtistFrom: BrazilArtstation:

    Fox Renderfarm: Hi Felipe! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Felipe: Hi, thank you for having me! My name is Felipe Del Rio, I’m a 3D artist from Brazil, currently working as a freelancer and I’m also a design student at São Paulo State University.

    Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning first place in the Mushroom House Challenge?

    Felipe: I felt really happy and surprised because there was a lot of good artworks. And these kinds of recognition always make us motivated to keep learning and making 3D too. Also, I can’t wait to use the prizes on my future projects, so I think it’s double motivation!

    Fox Renderfarm: What inspired you to come out with the idea of making the work Mushroom village?

    Felipe: When I heard about the challenge and the theme, I immediately thought about creating a place I would like to live in, with a very peaceful mood by the river, magical, but relatable. As the mushroom house theme already has a bit of this magical mood, I wanted to make some mundane elements too like buckets on the ground and laundry hanging on clotheslines to make it more real-life relatable, so I came with the village ideia.

    Fox Renderfarm: The mushroom village looks realistic and cute, could you tell us how you make the model and texture of the mushroom?

    Felipe: I decided to take a procedural workflow for the mushrooms because it would be easier than sculpting if I had to change how they look later in the process and also because I thought it would be a cool challenge and opportunity to explore this kind of process.

    So, I started with a simple base for the mushrooms with little polygons and I subdivided and added different displace textures for each part. Those textures were made in Substance Designer, when I had the details done with the displaces, I used these maps to generate the color maps too.

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

    Felipe: The blurred background because it costs some time to render properly. So making the adjustments, adding the plants and seeing how it looked was a bit challenging, but I decided to work on it early in the process, even before working on the mushrooms, so I wasn't running against the clock and I had more time to wait for the renders and making the adjustments until I was happy with the result.

    Fox Renderfarm: What is the biggest advantage of Blender for you in 3D creation?

    Felipe: I guess Blender being free kept my attention when I started learning 3D, because those softwares tends to be expensive. And even though I've been learning 3D for some years and I have tested a lot of different softwares, Blender keeps being my favorite. Its development keeps growing and everybody can participate because Blender is open source, you have a strong and active community with a bunch of great projects around the world and more and more studios are including Blender in its workflow, just good news!

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

    Felipe: I started learning 3D after I got curious about how 3D animated movies were made and I began watching online tutorials. My dream was creating an animated short film, I got lost how many times I tried to create a short alone and I failed because I had no idea how hard it is for one single person to make a film, even if it's just 1 minute long. But I tried a lot of times and I learned a lot of things, but it was just a hobby at that time.

    In high school, I decided I wanted to work with digital art and I became a graphic design student at São Paulo State University. In the first year I created my first animated short film “CICLO” for a sociology class, I knew it had to be a really simple animation because I didn’t have so much time and I already knew from my past experience how hard is to make a whole short alone, but this time I managed to finish it and for my surprise I got it selected for some animation festival like the Anima Mundi from Brazil and Anima Latina from Argentina, also the Suzanne Festival in the Blender Conference.

    The CGMeetup YouTube Channel also posted my short after I shared it and now it has about 8 million views which is something I never expected. After that, I was really motivated to keep learning 3D and I started getting my first commissions, now I’m fully working as a 3D freelancer artist and finishing my graduation.

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

    Felipe: Learning CG doesn’t have to be frustrating and we should enjoy the process. If you think your art isn’t perfect, it only means you have a good aesthetic sense and your skills didn't reach it yet, but it's part of the process and that's what keeps us getting better, so enjoy it and have fun!

    Not the right gift © Felipe Del Rio


    How to Make a Cuddly Protector for Sweet Dreams in Maya

    2020-10-29

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Cuddly Protector © Jeffrey Frias

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

    And the second place winner is Jeffrey Frias. Congratulations! His artwork, Cuddly Protector boasts of its good idea, perfect setting, narrative lighting, stimulating the imagination of audiences.

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

    • Jeffrey Frias
    • From:Germany
    • Junior 3D Artist at PIXOMONDO
    • Artwork Caption: “Made for sweet dreams.”

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

    Jeffrey: My Name is Jeffrey Frias and I am a 3D Artist at Pixomondo Stuttgart, Germany.

    Fox Renderfarm: Congratulations on winning 2nd place in the FGT3D Hero Challenge, how do you feel about that?

    Jeffrey: I'm very happy that I won 2nd Place, but also a bit disappointed that I didn't get 1st place, but given that it was a challenge with many great competitors, it was to be expected that there was no guarantee of being 1st, let alone one of the winners. so in the end i'm just glad to have won too.

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

    Jeffrey: In total, about a week but stretched out through a month because of other stuff.

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

    Jeffrey: I mainly used Maya for layout and modeling and a mix of Substance Painter and Photoshop for the Textures. Then I used V-Ray for lighting and as my main renderer.

    Fox Renderfarm: In terms of storytelling, this work stimulates the audience’s imagination. What’s the inspiration behind?

    Jeffrey: I didn't want to go the obvious route of Superheroes so I took inspiration in the fact that most children, to be able to properly sleep without worries or be scared during the night, need to have their special object or environment to comfort them.

    Be it a special pillow, their dog besides them, parents telling a story first, have a glass of milk etc., it would always ease them and help them fall asleep. And with that i decided to use a teddy bear as my main protagonist to envision that.

    Fox Renderfarm: The narrative lighting creates a horrible atmosphere that children can accept. The main light outside the window guides the audience to pay attention to the little bear while the lamp leads to the monster behind the door. How did you make them? Any references?

    Jeffrey: I did create those 2 specific lights to attract attention to both the bear and the monsters, just to make them stand out more as focus points. i did spend a bit of time in deciding what the light sources for each of them should be, at first it was gonna be the lamp for the bear and the outside floor light behind the door for the monster, but it didn't quite fit right for the monster since it should come out from the darkness, so i decided to use the lamp instead for the monster and since the moon gives off a nice quite bluish light from it, I used that instead for the bear, rather than use it only to fill the scene. In the end, it was a good decision, since it also gave me the chance to use the moonlight as a volume ray to better place the bear upfront.

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

    Jeffrey: I didn't really have any problems with anything.

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

    Jeffrey: I wouldn't say artist or artwork, but the movie Monster Inc. was a big inspiration for me, while also serving as Base Concept that i built my design on.

    Monsters, Inc. 3D Trailer © Pixar

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

    Jeffrey: I started my 3D Career by attending the PIXL VISN MEDIA ARTS ACADEMY in Cologne, Germany. I studied there for about 15 months. afterwards I started working at PIXOMONDO Stuttgart in January 2019 and have been there until now.

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

    Jeffrey: Everyone has their own reasons and preferences when it comes to 3D as I learned it in the industry, some only do it during work and there are also others who really enjoy doing it even after work. I'd say I’m one of the latter, since even after work, the first thing I do is sit again in front of my PC and keep working on my personal 3D Projects. I've learned a lot by just doing my own stuff in my spare time which in turn helps me with my tasks at work.

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

    Jeffrey: I love it. It's saved me a lot of render time.

    Back in my time at PIXL VISN, it also saved me multiple times from tight deadlines and late submissions.

    I've tried other render farms back then, but the overall experience with Fox Renderfarm is something that always pulled me back to it and that's why it's my preferred renderfarm. Doesn't matter what time it is, the support is always ready to help and actually does fix the problems within minutes of asking.

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

    Jeffrey: Try and join 3D Challenges/ Contests when you get the chance, it not only motivates you because of the prizes, but it also helps you better define and speed up your own workflow and skills with the deadline.


    How To Create A Dreamy Piano MV In 3ds Max

    2020-10-28

    Trending

    Fox Renderfarm Interview

    Aiming to foster the development of the industry, GoCreation Program, organized by Fox Renderfarm, is willing to provide preferential prices and subsidies for CG freelancers, empowering them to create more excellent CG artworks and realize their dreams.

    As a 3D Artist and Exhibition Designer from Germany, Fabian Hofmann is one of the accredited freelancers from GoCreation Program. He gets involved in many fields, including concept design, product visualization, CG video, museum exhibition design and so on.

    Recently, Fabian collaborated with Velvet Mediendesign GmbH, a German design studio, to produce a music video for an incredible pianist Meredi. As the 3D Director and Animators of this project, he created all the CGI shots and models with his team, which matches the music, showing a dreamscape where you begin to float and your mind is set free. And Fox Renderfarm is so pleased to provide cloud rendering service for the wonderful project.

    Meredi - Above (Official Music Video)

    Here’s the interview between Fabian Hofmann and Fox Renderfarm, where Fabian talked about how he made the heartfelt MV and his CG journey.

    Fox Renderfarm:Hi, Fabian! Could you give us a brief introduction about yourself?

    Fabian: My Name is Fabian Hofmann, I live and work in Munich, Germany. I have been a freelance artist for 20 years, doing mostly 3D work for various clients and areas. I work either from my small studio or at the clients’ facility if necessary. I love switching between different kinds of jobs which leads to moments like that I am rendering cars for high-quality print ads on one day and spend the next day modeling characters and props for a real-time project.

    Audi movie done for automotive show © Fabian Hofmann

    This is why I am also a self-taught exhibition designer for museums - I love planning as you would do in a 3D or architectural project, but eventually everything is built for real and you can wander through the rooms you have designed yourself.

    Graphic design for the Landesausstellung in Würzburg, Bavaria © Fabian Hofmann

    Having a foot in every door can be demanding sometimes, but I learned that my clients profit from my varied experiences. I think this is a core competence of being a freelance artist: To know how to solve problems in various ways. To be not afraid to tackle artistic or technical challenges.

    Some of my works can be viewed at www.schallplae.com.

    Fox Renderfarm:Could you introduce your Ad production pipeline?

    Fabian: I am changing my pipeline constantly, trying out new things. Every project has its own demands and challenges and I am trying to adapt my workflow accordingly.

    But there are a few things that I rely on heavily: 3ds Max for modeling, Corona renderer for its fast and intuitive handling and Nuke for compositing.

    Right now I am switching to Houdini and Redshift as a rendering platform, which boosted the output speed on the workflow and rendering side. The versatility of Houdini is amazing and Redshift allows an insane amount of output (and their support forum is excellent by the way), but sometimes I still wish there was a Corona renderer for Houdini ;).

    I am using a single Redshift license on my workstation which means that I cannot work and render on my small local render farm at the same time as I could when I was using Corona or V-Ray. But then, the low GPU pricing on Fox Renderfarm allows us to render even low-budget projects or test frames externally.

    Fox Renderfarm:Among the 3D projects you created, which one impressed you most, and why?

    Fabian: When Covid-19 began to strike in Europe around March 2020, many companies canceled or postponed projects, leaving many freelance artists with no work and income. Many colleagues including me were faced with idle time. While talking with Matthias Zentner (www.velvet.de) I decided to start a project to fill our time and busy our minds and create a music video for the Berlin-based artist Meredi.

    Other artists joined in and I cannot thank enough for their hard work and professional dedication: Matthias Zentner, Lara Frank, Felix Hörlein, Valentina Rutz, Wolfgang Haas, Fred Weinl, Andreas Rathmacher, Chris Weingart, Tom Gonsior, Torsten Lippstock, Ellen Grabandt, Laura Caufapé, Marina Hoermanseder.

    Within ten weeks we created eight full CGI shots of belle epoque Paris, including character animation and the physics simulation of hundreds of thousands of cobblestones. The live-action sequences are shot during one day at Sexauer Gallery in Berlin.

    Nearly all models are custom built in 3ds Max 2018 and textured in Substance Painter.

    Straightforward polygon modeling in 3ds Max 2018. RizomUV was used to unwrap the models.

    I created various smart material presets for different kinds of materials which allowed fast and easy texturing. Most objects contain one to five 2k udim texture maps. The movie is black and white, but all objects are textured with their natural color and later desaturated in the shader before rendering.

    Scene setup and rendering were done in Houdini Indie and Redshift 3 and composited in Flame. Thankfully, Fox Renderfarm adapted to my exotic choice of the newest Houdini and a Redshift beta version. Thanks again for their outstanding and fast support even during days and nights and weekends.

    You can learn more about the project by click the link:

    Fox Renderfarm:What is the biggest challenge you have encountered in the process of creating 3D works and how did you deal with it?

    Fabian: The tools of 3D artists are constantly changing and evolving, forcing him to learn constantly. But on the other hand, this is why we love our job so much, don’t we?

    Lighting and shading for a CGI fulldome show © Fabian Hofmann

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

    Fabian: I started to work as a traditional illustrator while I was in art school in the 90s when I saw what Photoshop can do. After school, I earned my living with preprint image retouching and was immediately hooked after seeing 3D generated images in FormZ.

    From there on I switched to 3D, learning the necessary tools while working job after job. It is still a great joy to meet fascinating people and learn from them.

    This is another side of being a freelancer: One day you are knee-deep in scripts and tools, the other day you have to learn about the building methods of medieval castles because of a modeling job. The next day you may have to read everything about Pirate ships. That’s fun!

    Tinman © Fabian Hofmann

    Fox Renderfarm:As an Art Director, do you have any recommendable learning methods to improve professional skills?

    Fabian: In my experience, there is no better way to learn and improve than to work on a client’s project. This way, you make your own errors and it forces you to solve them. Talk to colleagues, learn from each other. Don’t be afraid to do something you have never done before. You might fail spectacularly, but failing means learning. If you run out of ideas, go for a walk and look at the world around you. It is full of ideas.

    Fortis Official Cosmonauts Chronograph © Fabian Hofmann

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

    Fabian: Excellent performance, outstanding support, fair prices. Always a pleasure to work with.

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

    Fabian: Every day I am amazed how many talented people are out there. Please keep on creating wonderful stuff, the world would be a dull place without it.


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

    2020-10-15

    Trending

    Art Competitions

    Heroes are Everywhere © Akhil Alukkaran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Fox Renderfarm: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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