Reel 2015

In preparation for my upcoming freelance era I have put together this very short showreel. I'll add a few in-depth project descriptions to the website in the next weeks.

Shack

It should have been a big animated piece using Octane for Cinema 4D. But since I haven't touched the project for almost a year, I might as well throw it out there on the internets. So, for these still images I just took a simple glass material and applied it to the model I had so far. Some quick Photoshop work to crank up the grain and push the saturation and done.

Old concept scribbles.

Old concept scribbles.

Model made with lots of cloners and Random effectors.

New monitor

Since I first tweeted about our new monitors at BrandNewPixels, I received several questions about what exact model it is and why we chose it. 140 characters are a too few to elaborate on these questions, so I'm throwing out this short blog post.

The model is the LG 34UM95 and you can use the magic of Google to find out all about the technical details. Here is what mattered to me the most: the resolution is 3.440 x 1.440 which is the exact pixel height of the 27-inch iMac that I used before. It even has the same pixel density, in other words the actual screen height in cm is the same. The "only" difference is the 880 pixels added to the width - and this is a really really really good difference.

Working in Cinema 4D, for instance, is a totally different experience. You'll have a hard time trying to fill up the complete width of the UI with custom buttons. There's just so much space.

Currently I have the content browser / render settings and queue / help with its separate space in the layout.

After Effects is nice as well. Here's my current layout.

Some people asked "Why not use two monitors?" Well, I just don't like it. I tried it now and then, but having that gap between two monitors feels like you're drawing on two canvases at the same time. It's just not right for me.

The other question that I heard a few times: "Why don't get a 4K retina display?" Think about it: if you use a 4K screen in retina mode everything will look super crisp (given the software supports retina), but the UI size will actually be the same... or even less, depending on what screen you are working on right now. Sure, you can use that mode where every pixel is used like it is on a non-retina screen, thus giving you four times the space. But this would make the UI and the graphics so tiny that you'd have to get your nose real close to the monitor in order to work pixel-perfect.

If I was a video editor working on cinematic material I'd say "Okay, get a 4K screen." But for motion designers who mostly work for TV, it'll still be a very long time before 4K is broadcasted. TV stations just made the switch to HD and they'll stick to it for a while, I'm sure.

And let's not forget: On a 21:9 monitor every game feels epic :)

The only negative thing I can say about the monitor is, compared to the iMac, the screen is not that bright. At noon daylight in a room with lots of windows you might find yourself wanting to crank the brightness-slider above 100%. But, as said, this is compared to the iMac, which has one of the brightest and nicest screens that is currently on the market.

Lastely, if you happen to own a monitor with that resolution as well, here is a great forum thread with some nice nerdy wallpapers. Do you know more resources? Please share them in the comments!

"Metal Flowers" featured in Olympic Winter Games exhibition

It's with pride I can tell you that my animation "Metal Flowers" is part of the exhibition "A Season of Triumphs" organized by The Museum and Exhibition Association "Manege" in Moscow from February 7th until March 2nd.

Exhibition concept: Five zones by the number of five Olympic rings symbolize five energies of nature: earth, water, wood, fire and metal (according to a conception by Carl Gustav Jung).

In case you haven't seen the animation, you'll find it in the Lab section.

Here are some pictures from the opening that were kindly provided by the organizers of the exhibition:

Floating thing

Just some random thing I made for experimenting with other Octane materials. The fine tentacles were modeled from X-Particles trails that I baked and merged with the main corpus. Rendered at 2048 samples in about 10 minutes.

More Octane & X-Particles testing

Instead of making these eye-candy animations I should actually dig deeper into the options of the Octane render engine... but it's just so much fun to play with the textures and looks :)

This time I really wanted to crush my machine by making a scene with over a million polygons. This one has 1.570.206 to be precise and more lights than my first test render. And still, a frame of this animation took only about 2.5 min to render!

This golden sticks were done with X-Particles again. And no, I'll never get tired of my dramatic music library!

I was asked repeatedly how long a frame would render until the noise would be gone. So I re-rendered the first frame with 4048 samples (for the animation I used 512 samples). It took about 20 min. Considering the extreme DOF and specularity of that frame, I think this is a pretty good render time. Don't forget I'm only working on a single GPU. Here's the rendered frame. There's still a bit of noise, but this would barely be noticeable as animation I think.

First Octane test render

I recently purchased the Octane render engine by Otoy and the corresponding plugin for Cinema 4D. It still officially is in Beta status, but a release candidate has been made available for testing not long ago, so I decided to better get it now for the reduced price.

Here's a first test render. It is a bit grainy because I set the maximum samples very low... but, wow, doesn't it look great?! And for a HDRI-lit scene with 319.054 polygons, extreme depth of field and complex shadows, about 80 seconds per frame render time is really impressive, don't you think?

The trail geometry was created with X-Particles.

For those who asked, these are my iMac system specs:

  • 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2048 MB
  • 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3