Get a free HDRI every week from HDRI Haven

CG artist Greg Zaal has announced that he plans to release a new free HDRI each week through his website HDRI Haven.

Signing up is not required although you’re encourage to do so in order to support the artist.

The first of the files, a shot of a bridge over a pond at night, can be downloaded here.

The HDRIs on HDRI Haven are typically outdoor scenes spanning a range of weather conditions, shot with a high number of exposure values, and are available at up to 16,384 x 8,192px resolution.

Feel free to check out HDRI Haven and their large library of HDRIs.

More than ever, Speech Matters Too

MadWerkz Studios Web Design Ohio Cleveland

In an era of emoji’s, 140 characters, and Snapchat, the art of verbal communication appears to be a lost art. But for those whose voice has been diminished not by technology – and through not fault of their own, but by health, birth or accidental means, the ability to improve their speech is a vital concern regarding quality of life.

Dr. Kennetha Mentor is a highly regarded Speech Pathologist based out of Detroit, Michigan who sees her mission, improving quality of life, as a core message. With that in mind, she charged us with building a website and branding identity that spoke to the core mission but also to a diverse clientele.

 

Logo

Playfulness and colorful artwork dominate the speech pathology market. In large part to many of its clientele being infants and children. Dr. Mentor loved the colorful aspect of many of the logos she saw, but she also wanted something that was clean and gave the impression of a well thought of design. Our approach,  to take the best aspects of the samples and infuse function and best practice design principles to create a clean design that spoke to the freshness of her business but also created a sense of trusted organization.

We went away from the scripted, cursive type that seems to be a well used choice in this industry and tapped Bubbler One as the logo font. It gives the design a sense of light hearted fun while maintaining a readable, balanced form, stated project manager Chris Kennedy.

Print

MadWerkz Cleveland Business Card Brand Identity Design
Business Cards Mockup

The brand identity extended into business cards and a trade show sell sheet where we saw a chance to drive the fresh, colorful palette combined with a modern design reminiscent of an interactive interface.

Print Design Cleveland MadWerkz Studios Ohio
Trade Show Half Page Sell Sheet

speechmatterstoo.com

The primary deliverable for Dr. Mentor, the web page is a fun, responsive scroller built to educate and drive engagement with potential clients.

“One thing we wanted to do was drive a sense of unified thought and showcase the diversity of Dr. Mentor’s services. Since she works with not only children but also the elderly, it needed to drive that message”, states designer Joddy Eric Matthews

MadWerkz Design Layout Ohio Web design
Website Design

The site included animated image scrolling and image gallery which drives the them of diversity. To see the finished site, be sure to check out Dr. Mentor at www.speechmatterstoo.com

Need a fresh creative design? Give us a shout out. contact@madwerkz.com

 

 

 

Solid Angle releases Arnold 5

Solid Angle has released Arnold 5, the latest update to its production renderer, updating the API and sampling algorithms, and adding new physically based Standard Surface, hair and volume shaders.

The release also introduces support for Light Path Expressions and a number of workflow and performance improvements – but not for GPU rendering: a feature that many users had hoped to see.

Most of the key changes in Arnold 5 are beneath the hood, notably to the C++ API, which Solid Angle describes as having been “cleaned of legacy features, refactored, extended and simplified”.

Arnold 5 Sampling
Arnold 5 Sampling

Arnold’s sampling algorithms have also been updated in version 5. Solid Angle claims that the changes should result in reduced render noise for both direct and indirect illumination.

Arnold 5 Hair Renders
Arnold 5 Hair Renders

There is also a Standard Hair shader, which again, is physically based and replaces the old hair shader.

It comes with a wide range of parameters, including two representing melanin, the pigment in human hair and skin, making it the only hair shader we’re aware of with biologically plausible controls.

Read the full article here.

Raising the Roof

Ohio based RJK roofing company has grown significantly over the last 15 years… now providing construction services to a large portion of Northeast Ohio. Increasing the demand for more staff. – RJKco.com

Roofing is a seasonal field that only becomes active during the spring and summer. It’s because of this that roofing has a high turnover rate from year to year which constantly brings inexperienced workers in that need to be trained from scratch.

“Our old way of teaching new workers just wasn’t cutting it. We needed a new way to show them the basics.” stated Greg Tomasic (Production Manager, RJK).

“RJK wanted to get away from three to four hour long orientation and training sessions that took them away from their main focus, which is being on roofs.” Remarked Producer Chris Kennedy. “We proposed an interactive eLearning course, which would allow the new hires to orient themselves and gain compliance in one of the session’s most crucial areas, Fall Protection training.”

 

Fall Protection Harness Instruction courseware on iPhone

The courseware would be available via smartphone and laptop, and once a new hire completed the course, an email is sent to Human Resources and Management for compliance.

Ladder Safety Graphic
Ladder Safety Graphic

Fall Protection training is a requirement for all new hires and workers at RJK, and the need to have attendees attest to the training is mandatory, therefore any courseware needed to include an attestation phase. “Employees would not be cleared until that phase was passed.” Stated Kennedy.

Safety Harness Demonstation
Greg Thomasic of RJK conducts Fall Protection Course

To learn more about RJK Construction, visit them at rjkco.com

To learn more about our elearning and video production services, please contact us.

Artist uses once forbidden martial art to change lives, starting with his own

Capoeira: Live The Game, screens at oldest film festival in United States.

Mention martial arts and most people instantly recite disciplines such as Karate, Kung Fu or various fighting styles like Wushu, Akido or Tai Chi. But mention the Afro Brazilian art form known as Capoeira and glazed eyes usually follow.

“Capoeira was born of the African slaves need to develop some sense of harmony with their environment. The need to protect themselves while hiding their true intentions by cloaking it in the only creative art form available to them… dance.” Says Director Joddy Eric Matthews.

 

Live The Game’s program director, Anthony Santo Domingo, himself was an individual who found personal harmony, despite a somewhat troubled youth, and a positive roadmap for his life in the practice of the Brazilian martial art. He now uses the tenets of the centuries old melding of dance, whirling kicks and high flying aerial displays to change the lives of Cleveland’s at-risk youth.

“Before I started the program, I was very introverted and given the neighborhood I grew up in, I struggled to stay away from those who would offer me false confidence – like gangs.” says Demetri Tye, Live The Game student.

 

Live The Game Ad One Sheet

“When the kids leave the program I just want them to know that there is a community around them and their actions impact that community.” Domingo remarks.

Live the Game is directed by former MadWerkz head Joddy Eric Matthews, lensed by Yasmine Lawler and produced by CK and Obadiah Baker. The film has been officially selected for multiple film festivals across the country. The selective LA Dance Film Festival, the prestigious Columbus International Film and Video Festival and the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival are a just a few.

Interested in Live The Game? Reach Anthony Santo Domingo on Facebook

TenderHearts Crusades +(877)320-2228
www.tenderheartcrusades.com
Obadiah.baker@tenderheartcrusades.com

Seeing Tomorrow VFX – Part Two: The Making of Metal and Men

Independent Filmmaker Series

Some time ago we were approached to conduct a workshop on successful workflows in Shading and Material construction for Independent Filmmakers.

PART ONE: The following videos (see below) represent Part One of the Workshop which deals will laying a solid foundation for Independent Filmmakers to be able to follow. Part Two, which is more of an application workflow tutorial is in production now. SEE BELOW FOR PART ONE VIDEOS

  • Designed for the Filmmaker who wants basic education on Shading Next Steps
  • Foundation aspects of Shading and Material Creation
  • Role of Production Design
  • Use of Color Palette creation tools
  • Identifying Render Engines

PART TWO IS IN PROGRESS AND WILL BE RELEASED THROUGH INDEPENDENT FILM SERIES NEXT WEEK

  • Step by Step Vray Shader Creation
  • Creation of Color Palette
  • Texture Material Creation in Photoshop and Mari
  • Diffuse, Normal/Bump, Reflection/Spec Map Creation
  • Scene Reference Linear Workflow Explained
  • HDRI Light Setup

If you have been invited to ask a question, for the workshop, please use the link here: Send Shading and Material Questions Here or Send an email with your shading question to operations@madwerkz.com subject line: IFS Shading Video Question

 

Medium Rear Shot of Communications port
Medium Rear Shot of Communications port

The IFS Price for the Video will be $34.95, follow the link belong to get the video from us at a discounted rate. If you would like to advance purchase the IFS Shading Video, go to the SideBar and Choose BUY NOW.


 

THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS ARE FREE:

PART TWO IS IN PROGRESS AND WILL BE RELEASED THROUGH INDEPENDENT FILM SERIES NEXT WEEK

The IFS Price for the Video will be $34.95, follow the link belong to get the video from us at a discounted rate. If you would like to advance purchase the IFS Shading Video, go to the SideBar (Right) and Choose IFS Shading Video and click BUY NOW.

Welcome, To The Future: Cost effective pixel creation

Director Joddy Eric Matthews has teamed with Writer/Director Steve Lidrbauch to produce a provocative music video for indie music group, Seconds Before Landing. The song, Welcome, To The Future is the first release off their new album, The Great Deception, melds a combination of viral videos, 3D CG, particle animation and stock footage.

“I tried to write a visionary story, that would fit with the Producer’s vision of what the song was really about. They have a huge following in Europe and I tried to use that knowledge to aid in delivering the message they wanted to tell” says Lidrbauch.

The initial draft of the song contained about 25 HD stock images of a man or people in a gas mask or surrounded by smoke. “The budget wouldn’t support it, and as much as we loved the concept, some of the imagery was over $400 per clip! We needed other options.” stated Producer John Cristino.

See the video here: Welcome, To The Future

Creating cost effective pixels

Co-Director Joddy Eric Matthews decided to create the various imagery of a person with a mask in 3D. “It allowed us to mimic most of what Steve envisioned at a smaller budget”, quipped Matthews. We always wanted to show a human emitting smoke or material from the mask instead of filtering it as it entered the body, doing a fully CG environment allowed us to control the situation more fully”.

Finished Playground and Jail Cell

Animation Lead Chris Kennedy oversaw concept of the videos jail cell and playground of desolation, both of which were modeled in Maya by Matthews over the course of a few days. The human skeletons and a lounge chair, last minute additions by Matthews, were the only stock models added to the design. The mask was quickly modeled and UV’d by Kennedy in 3D Max and sent to Maya for shading. Texturing was also handled in Maya via Mental Ray’s Mia Material shaders. “We had some thoughts about using Arnold, but since time was short we decided to stick with a more proven workflow” says Kennedy.  Lighting was accomplished using Final Gather, Mental Ray’s Portal Light solution and several Area Lights using CIE Blackbody using Quadratic decay rates. Each Camera used the Mental Ray lens shader, mia_exposure_photographic in order to get the closest exposure match to a real camera as possible. “The initial render is really dark. We under lit the scene at 800 ASA and 5.6 since we knew we would be adding a ton of atmospheric layers in post.” stated Matthews.

CG Breakdown

Modeling – 3D Max/Maya
Animation – Maya
Lighting – Area Lights/CIE Blackbody/Portal Lights/Final Gather (100 rays)
Camera – MR Lens Shader/Mia_Exposure (800 ASA/F5.6)
Render – Mental Ray

A custom Trapcode Particular particles script that allowed for the creation of a hundred thousand particles per frame allowed for the emitter to be set up and designed in a day. Three emitters, each sync’d to the Bass, Treble and midrange of the song, generated between 8,000 to 120,000 particle per frame. Turbulence and Physics were added to influence direction. The final composites were sent to Adobe Premiere CC for editorial.

Welcome To The Future has logged over 30 Thousand views worldwide since it was releases a day ago.

Title: Welcome, To The Future
Artist: Seconds Before Landing
Producer: John Cristino
Directed by Steve Lidrbauch and Joddy Eric Matthews
Creative Director: Joddy Eric Matthews
Animation Lead: Christopher Kennedy
Particle Animation: Joddy Eric Matthews
Editor/Colorist: Joddy Eric Matthews

Festival Series: BluRay versus DCP

Still From Film Derby Baby
Still From Film Derby Baby

Our latest DCP was for the Indie Doc Derby Baby, produced by Dave Wruck and Robin Bond for Robin Bond Media. The film, which has no less than 100 Showtimes across the country Derby Baby showtimes, is a great project which we were proud to help get on the big screen. The film’s Producer’s contacted us seeking to find out more about the DCP option. They understood BluRay or even a HDCam tape delivery were options but they wanted to see if a DCP could be done quickly and inside the Indie Budget they were working with. One of their first questions centered not around price but around the benefits of a DCP over a BluRay.

The wide adoption of BluRay, after the HD-DVD/BluRay Wars (remember those?), gave us a standard that has allowed theater owners to offer a presentation platform of high resolution and reliability to today’s Independent Filmmaker. The ease at which a disc can be authored and played back on almost any machine, worldwide, coupled with the fact that the 1080p format scales nicely with the Digital Projection 2K standard and it’s relatively cheap disc/burner cost, make it a great tool for the filmmaker looking to release his/her film.

So why use a DCP?

First let’s answer the question, what is a DCP? DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package. In short, a DCP is the digital equivalent of a 35mm film print.   It is what you give to a commercial theater so that they can screen your movie on a digital ( also known as “D-Cinema”) projector.  Like a 35mm print, a DCP is a world-wide standard.  If you walk into any D-Cinema theater, anywhere in the world, they can play your DCP without a problem. It can handle files up to 4096k in size and runs at speeds up to 250 Mbit/s! It also operates in XYZ Colorspace rather than videos YUV/RGB Colorspace. So in short, it is made to as closely simulate the image complexity and fidelity of film as possible.

But why spend the money on a DCP? Is a DCP really that much better than a BluRay. In short, yes!

BluRay, DCP Frame compared

A BluRay gives you easy access to the 1080/24p spec, and 5.1 Dolby Surround audio. and having seen many BluRay projected films, It can look stunning given the author encodes at the highest rate allowed, color corrects with D-Cinema in mind and uses as close to master quality as they can. But even with those pluses, the BluRay has the following limitations;

  • Since the Projector screens at only 2k or 4k, any HD material will introduce bars on the sides.
  • Most likely your compression will come in somewhere around 12 to 25 Mbit/s, falling way short of the 250 allowed by the server.
  • Since there is no standard on authoring, encoding from say a H-264 web release to BluRay is allowed, meaning there is nothing to prevent you from burning your 640 x 480 scaled Youtube video to disc.
  • A mistake in the authoring process can result in an unplayable disc.
  • Films, can for the most part be copied by anyone.

DCP standardizes the process, giving the filmmaker full access to the 2048k/4096k image format, and it allows films shot in 2:35/2:40 to be projected as intended. The DCP will not be created if the source footage is not within the strict DCP spec. Another benefit is that DCPs don’t wear out like 35mm or scratch like BluRay’s.  Digital copies do not degrade, so you’ll never have a broken, scratched or dirty DCP.  The 1000th screening will look just as perfect as the first. Also as stated above, If you walk into any D-Cinema theater, anywhere in the world, they can play your DCP without a problem. Often housed in a military grade USB drive, factors such as scratching and damage from transport are nonexistent. And since the package is housed on a Linux formatted hard drive and in a muxed jpeg2000 format, copying a film is extremely difficult.

Another factor, and a very important one if you care about the look of your film or your film depends on the look to enhance audience participation, is regardless of what you deliver on, that your film will be projected in XYZ Colorspace not in the YUV/RGB Color we are all used to from our television sets. DCP’s are automatically converted to XYZ in the packaging process. DCPs and theatrical D-Cinema equipment will make well-shot and color-corrected footage look absolutely fantastic.  The color gamut and contrast are far superior to anything you’ll see on your computer monitor.

3D DCP’s are easy to encode and package. There currently is no solution below 5k for authoring 3D BluRays.

Lastly, In order to be considered for an Academy Award, your film must be delivered on either a film print or a DCP. For full specifications, go here, http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/digital.html

Derby Baby Logo

Derby Baby DCP
A darling film, about love, addition and ring rash, Derby Baby was turned into a DCP from a sequence of Tif files and a set of discrete 5.1 audio files. The original film was uprez’d from 720p to 2k by Dave Wruck and sent to us via a Hard Drive. The finished 90 minute film was sent to a D-Cinema in Los Angeles for screening on a CRU 100 gig hard drive. To get more information on the film, go to http://www.derbybabythefilm.com/

So what special steps do you have to do in order to prepare your film for a DCP? Contact us and we’ll gladly walk you through the steps.

The price of DCP’s have come down drastically in the last few years. The choice to go with the format used by all the major studios versus BluRay is a much easier one today. The ability to compete with the majors is now fully within your grasp. For instance, we offer dynamic packages starting around $10 per minute. Visit us at www.madwerkz.com or contact us at madwerkz for more info on creating DCP’s. Happy filming.

Joddy

 

Creating a Deadly Comic (Animated) Open

Frame from Open

MadWerkz animation and graphic artist Jeff Black recently finished (6) six amazing hand drawn and inked comic book style illustrations for a series of Short Opens being produced by MadWerkz Films.

DR_Open_teaser_480

The Open directed by Joddy Eric Matthews, which took 12 weeks to complete was a study in the old school, hand drawn approach meeting the digital age. “I use a tablet and pen, often, but to get the personality of the live action characters into these drawings, I needed to feel the paper and the pencil in my finger. I needed tactile response.” says Black.

Full Page artwork for Open

Even though each drawing was hand crafted and inked, more like a paper based comic, they were quickly scanned and colored in Painter and Photoshop in 16bit resolution. Effects such as dot gain, splatter effects and lens flares were added to the layered files as they were sent into After Effects for Motion graphics artist Jason Mithell, whose scene quickly rose to over 100 layers in some places

The layered PSD files, imported into After Effects as compositions, were quickly turned into 3D layers, animated and rendered to 16bit 2048 DPX and Apple ProRes 422 10bit files for lay back to the editor.

Jeff is currently in development for MadWerkz Films motion comic, “Trinity: HellWater” a prequel to the live action film “Trinity”, set to film in the fall. The motion comic, unfolding over five episodes, will see Mr. Black serve as Animation Director.