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.

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.

Adobe unveils major update to Creative Cloud in time for NAB 2017

Adobe unveiled enhancements to its video offerings within Creative Cloud. The “major update” for video in Adobe Creative Cloud was designed “to help filmmakers and video producers collaborate and streamline video workflows,” it said in a news release. The Creative Cloud release delivers new features for graphics and titling, animation, polishing audio and sharing assets; support for the latest video formats, including High Dynamic Range (HDR), virtual reality (VR) and 4K; new integrations with Adobe Stock; and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s AI and machine learning framework.

“One of the biggest” parts of the new enhancements include Motion Graphics Templates, which he said enables After Effects users to create content and then package it for distribution so that others can “modify it, but the core essence of your creativity is simplified and shared with the masses.”

Motion Graphics Templates “now bring the power of After Effects to Premiere Pro through easy to use templates, allowing creators to add beautiful titles, animations and lower thirds to their videos and create custom motion graphics templates” that can be shared via Creative Cloud Libraries, Adobe said in the news release.

The “areas of innovation” also include greater support for HDR and 360 VR workflows, Roberts said. Machine learning and AI, meanwhile, “are a theme running through our products and you’ll see it reflected” in the updates, he said.

Adobe provided demonstrations of some of the update highlights to reporters. As examples, Patrick Palmer, senior product manager for workflows, showed how machine learning technology used in the Essential Sound Panel helps content creators improve their audio mixes. In Premiere Pro, the Essential Sound Panel “lets users make audio mixes and sound improvements that in the past would have required a dedicated session by an audio engineer,” Adobe said in the news release.

Form more information read the entire press release here

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

2D to 3D Stereoscopic Conversion

MadWerkz Studios is doing 2D to 3D stereoscopic conversion work for a major feature film. We will be looking to hire Senior and Junior Roto artist. Stereoscopic Silhouette experience is a plus but not needed. Sr Roto artist should have experience with Digital Domain Rotoscoping workflow, Silhouette v4 and knowledge of Stereoscopic principles. Sr position is inhouse only. Send CV and link to reel to operations@madwerkz.com starting in September.

A new take on an old story

The compelling open to a Project Gilgamesh sampler was completed by visionary Artist and Director Joddy Eric Matthews. The particle animation streams, synced to the haunting music of International Artist DBR, each consisting of over 12,000 particle per frame, was rendered using trapcode particular and uses custom scripts in Adobe After Effects. The destruction wave which creates the logo, which was supplied by Studio C, was done was custom expressions. The finished open was added to the online edit of Editor Lee Will of LeeWillEdit.

Click here to see movie


 

3D State of Mind

Helmed by Director and Animator Joddy Eric Matthews and featuring amazing compositing work by new Visual Effects Artist Brian Beba, we created six 4 to 8 minute 3D Stereoscopic movies for transformer giant SD Myers, was created in 3D using Autodesk Maya and composited in Adobe After Effects. Beba, handled over 100 gigs of information and created several custom stereoscopic rigs in After Effects.

In order to get accurate models of the companies various products completed on time for the quick turn around, we called upon the amazing talents of artist Doug Kiley and the great teams of TRGReality (www.trgreality.com). The completed videos were authored to BluRay 3D and s3D digital files for digital delivery.