FREE WEBINAR: REALISTIC RENDERING
In his 2-day webinar ‘Realistic Rendering’, 3D generalist Dominik Dammelhart will introduce participants to various render engines and demonstrate techniques with which advanced users can achieve photo-realistic results.
If you want to discover how to create realistic-looking shaders, simulate various lighting scenarios and define the right settings for final renderings, this is the right webinar for you!
On January 25, 2017 from 15:00 – 16:15, Dominik will focus on Octane; from 16:15 – 17:15, his webinar will turn its attention to Corona. At these times on January 26, 2017, Dominik will cover VrayforC4D followed by the Maxwell Renderer. Dominik will use real-world examples from the automobile world to demonstrate each renderer’s features.
Register for free for one or both webinars!
Register here for Jan. 25, 2017 (Octane, Corona).
Register here for Jan. 26, 2017 (VrayforC4D, Maxwell Render).
MAXON hopes you enjoy these informative and exciting webinars!
About the trainer
Dominik Dammelhart, a.k.a. CurseStudio, has worked as a 3D generalist in the field of CG for more than 6 years. Since 2010 he has produced numerous free tutorials for the Cinema 4D community and has worked on several projects for companies such as Lenovo and Siemens. His work and his tutorials are featured on many renowned websites such as 3dtotal, Evermotion and Motionserved.
THE FUTURE OF RENDERING
Today we announced our collaboration with AMD to deliver GPU rendering in Cinema 4D through ProRender.
This is a project we’ve been working on for quite some time, and it’s my pleasure to share with you a bit more context around the future of rendering in Cinema 4D.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that we get lots of user requests for GPU rendering and rendering technologies like path-tracing and physically-based shading. Many of our third-party development partners have already shown the power of the GPU in offering efficient and high-quality rendering solutions, and we applaud their efforts. Delivering a solution with Cinema 4D has proven a bit trickier, in large part due to MAXON's commitment to stability, ease-of-use and cross-platform parity.
It’s core to our philosophy that designers shouldn’t have to worry about who makes their computer, graphics card or operating system – you should be able to open Cinema 4D on virtually any system and experience the exact same rock-solid, intuitive 3D design experience. We’ve maintained this philosophy for over 20 years, consistently shipping identical Cinema 4D releases for both Windows and macOS, supporting multiple CPU and graphics card vendors and developing a reputation for outstanding reliability.
There are lots of outstanding GPU rendering technologies, but very few that fit this core philosophy. ProRender does. Because it’s based on OpenCL, ProRender will fully support Nvidia as well as Radeon graphics cards on Windows, and as the vendor of choice for Apple hardware AMD is in the best possible position to support macOS.
ProRender’s unbiased path-tracing engine already supports physically-based materials and virtually all the physical rendering attributes you’d expect. Our own development team is working closely with AMD engineers to add key features, and to contribute our own outstanding rendering talent to the open-source ProRender project. We have more developers devoted to the render pipeline than ever before, with many dedicated to integrating ProRender in a way that’s extremely intuitive. We’ll be working over several release cycles to bring you more great features based on ProRender and fully support the fundamental feature-set of Cinema 4D.
What does all this mean for Cinema 4D’s Standard and Physical Render engines? For now, they continue to offer outstanding rendering capabilities, which not only power Cinema 4D but the 3D rendering capabilities of Adobe After Effects, Vectorworks, ARCHICAD and Allplan. While GPU rendering is ideal for most use cases we continue to believe that there’s a place and need for CPU rendering solutions, and we hope to share more information in the future about our vision for the future of CPU rendering in Cinema 4D.
A final note – Cinema 4D enjoys a fantastic network of third-party developers who provide powerful rendering solutions. We’ll continue to support them as we always have, and encourage you to explore the wide variety of available options. Like an artist’s brushes or chef’s knives, each render engine offers unique advantages and ideally fits specific uses.
Karsten Jancke, Director of Engineering
Agreement Facilitates Scalable, Intuitive, Physically Based Rendering for 3D Artists and Designers
Friedrichsdorf, Germany – September 7, 2016 – MAXON, the leading developer of professional 3D modeling, animation, painting and rendering solutions, today announced a comprehensive, multi-year agreement with NVIDIA that gives MAXON access to NVIDIA rendering technology, including its Quasi-Monte Carlo (QMC) sampling patent family, NVIDIA® Iray® and Material Definition Language.
Additionally, artists and designers using Cinema 4D can now access Iray for Cinema 4D, a plug-in that provides scalable, intuitive, physically based rendering for the most accurate previews when lighting and designing a scene or adjusting a scene’s geometry and materials. Register for the free trial. In a future version of Cinema 4D, users will have easy access directly within the application to download and purchase the NVIDIA Iray plug-in.
At the upcoming IBC 2016 Show in Amsterdam, September 9 -13, NVIDIA Senior Product Manager Steffen Römer will present the capabilities of Iray for C4D at the MAXON booth in Hall 7, K30. Detailed information as well as the live streaming of all presentations is available at http://www.maxon.net/ibc2016_en.
“MAXON has enjoyed a successful and supportive collaboration with our development partner NVIDIA to leverage its GPU-based technology for Cinema 4D users,” said Oliver Meiseberg, Director Product & Partnership Management at MAXON. “We look forward to working more closely together to provide 3D solutions for customers across industries and disciplines.”
Artists in the entertainment industry who have beta tested the new NVIDIA Iray for Cinema 4D plug-in are enthusiastic about the integration and interactive GPU rendering capabilities now available to them.
“In bringing our Iray for Cinema 4D plugin to market earlier this year, we’ve come to know the C4D user base and are very impressed by their caliber and enthusiasm for taking their projects to the next level,” said Philip Miller, senior director of rendering products at NVIDIA. “We are now very pleased to be working directly with MAXON to enable new possibilities for these 3D artists.”
About Iray for Cinema 4D:
With NVIDIA Iray for Cinema 4D, the entire look-development process becomes extremely interactive and intuitive using the novel live rendering feature. This provides immediate visual feedback while lighting and designing a scene. Artists can continue to use the physically plausible material options of the Cinema 4D material nodes and shaders, and even add their own material designs and procedural functions using NVIDIA Material Definition Language. The full NVIDIA vMaterials library is supported, as well as material exchange capabilities with other MDL-compatible applications.
An overview and features list for Iray for Cinema 4D is available here. Cinema 4D customers can download a demo at the NVIDIA website.
About Cinema 4D:
Cinema 4D is an industry-leading, 3D motion graphics toolkit known for its seamless connectivity to popular 2D motion graphics and compositing tools and other entertainment industry-pioneering solutions. Artists and designers around the world rely on the professional 3D software package, as the first choice to create high-end 3D images and animations for film, broadcast, architecture, games, multimedia, design and engineering. Cinema 4D is renowned for offering spectacular image quality and an intuitive, easy-to-use interface that puts professional results within reach of artists at all levels of CGI experience. A demo version of the new Release 18 is available at the MAXON website.
Headquartered in Friedrichsdorf, Germany, MAXON Computer is a developer of professional 3D modeling, painting, animation and rendering solutions. Its award-winning Cinema 4D and BodyPaint 3D software products have been used extensively to help create everything from stunning visual effects in top feature films, TV shows and commercials, cutting-edge game cinematics for AAA games, as well for medical illustration, architectural and industrial design applications. MAXON has offices in Germany, USA, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan and Singapore. MAXON products are available directly from the web site and its worldwide distribution channel. MAXON is part of the Nemetschek Group.
MAXON Web Resources
Additional information on MAXON can be obtained as follows:
All trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.
US Internal: press_us(at)maxon(dot)net
US Media Contact: Vicky Gray-Clark, Ambient Public Relations, 408-243-8880, vicky(at)ambientpr(dot)com
UK: Liam Stacy, press_uk(at)maxon(dot)net
JAPAN: Toshihide Miyata, press_jp(at)maxon(dot)net
FRANCE: Eric Godey, press_fr(at)maxon(dot)net
SINGAPORE/ASEAN: Vincent Ong, press_sg(at)maxon(dot)net
GERMANY and all other countries: press_de(at)maxon(dot)net
Here we go guys, we were waiting on this for months now. Lets keep this conversation civil, without trolling, hating, cursing. I know some will be disappointed, but good thing is that MAXON started to listen more and I am sure they will deliver everything we want in acceptable time frame.
So, let discussion begins!!
Cineversity Highlights of Cinema R18
Cinema 4D Release 18 Complete Feature List
New Quaternions workflow
There is now a Quaternions group in the Coordinates tab
The key attributes for Quaternion Rotations have a new option for Quaternion Interpolation types. The user can choose between different interpolation presets there.
The new "Local Offset" attributes field presents the internal offset that the constrained object will have with the "parent" targets
New Interactive Transform checkbox allowing the user to interactively edit the constrained parameters
New Record button provides an easy way to keyframe the Local Offset and Strength values of the targets
Negative scales and constraints are now supported
New Parent Constraint parameters
"Local Offset" are animatable parameters representing the offset the target (parent) has from the constrained object (child)
"Interactive Local Offset" is a checkbox that enables the user to interactively adjust constrained parameters and have the Local Offsets update to the new adjustments
"Auto-Reset (Legacy)" is the Auto-Reset mode which is now implemented as a Legacy mode, for compatibility reasons with old scenes
"Update Local Offsets" is a new cycle button that will allow to update the Local Offsets based on the constrained object's coordinates, or setting one of the Targets as a new main target. This will allow for a seamless transition to that target.
"Record Optimized" is new cycle button which allows recording all the Weights and Local Transforms of all the Targets, in an optimized way
The new Shift Priority Tag can be used to shift priority values of expressions
The "Breakdown Color" option in the keyframe attributes of the Timeline now allows setting an alternative color for keyframes
The Timeline's baking function is now able to bake an Alembic object to native PLA animation
Alembic module is now based on SDK 1.5.8.
Support for vertex colors was added
The internal tags which represent the data streamed from *.abc files are exposed to the user on the Alembic generator now
There now is a placeholder tag for the Subdivision Surface Weight tag
The subdivision method is now written to and read from the Alembic SubD scheme
Alembic generator has a new option for Creases and Corners used for weights of SDS objects
Alembic generator has a new value to be able to scale SDS weights
New Import options
"Color Maps" option allows color information (RGB and RGBA) to be imported and Vertex Color tags to be created
Importing "Points" with "As Polygon Object" reads the color (RGB or RGBA) property and creates a Vertex Color tag per point mode for it
Importing "Points" with "As Particle Geometry" reads RGBA (vector4d) color arrays now
"Creases and Corners" - reads creases and corners as point and edge weights of SDS objects
New Export options
"Vertex Colors" - the RGBA data of all Vertex Color tags is exported
"Display Colors to Vertex Colors" - writes the display color of the object as vertex color information
"Vertex Colors" + "Points Only (Geometry)" options - exports also RGBA data from points mode only Vertex Color tags
"Subdivision Surface Weights" - writes point and edge weights of SDS objects as corners and creases
Export can now be canceled
FBX module is now based on SDK 2016.2, now supports the 7.5 file format
New Import options
"Vertex Colors" - imports vertex color elements and creates a Vertex Color tag for each of them
"Convert Grayscale Vertex Colors to Vertex Maps" - in case there are only grayscale colors, a Vertex Map tag will be created instead of a Vertex Color tag
"Subdivision Surface" - an SDS Weight tag will be created if at least one crease layer was found
New Export options
"Vertex Colors" - color information of all Vertex Color tags is exported for every mesh
"Subdivision Surface" - if an SDS Weight tag exists, the weight information for points and edges is written as two crease layers
Support for Allegorithmic Substance Engine
Substance archives (.sbsar) can be loaded
The Substance Asset Manager can be used to organize the Substance assets in the scene
The Substance Shader is used to reference Substance asset outputs in Cinema 4D's material system and all other parts of Cinema 4D that support shaders
New Substance Asset mode in the Attributes Manager
New Substance Engine section in the Preferences
New Substance Engine sub-menu in Pipeline menu
C++/Python API supports Substance
Support for the DDS texture file format (loader)
BP exchange supports 3ds Max 2017
Import and Export presets can now be saved and loaded
The Material Mix Mode can now be specified
Updated to use Houdini Engine 15.0.313
The internal tags which are generated by the Houdini asset are now exposed to the user
During Open Scene, if the asset path is absolute and invalid but an asset file with the same name exists in the C4D scene folder, then this asset file is used and the asset path becomes relative
Added vertex color support for both marshalled inputs and generated outputs
Support for OS X 10.11 El Capitan System Font added
Variation shader enhancements
Support for more than one texture
UV Rotation can now be quantized and UV can be flipped
New "Invert Direction" option for Ambient Occlusion
New parallax mapping support in the Bump channel
New Shadow Catcher shader
New Thin Film shader
New Knife tools
Interactive modeling workflow using new on screen handles and gizmos
Line Cut tool
Cuts polygon objects and splines with polyline cuts
Cut line can be interactively adapted via control points
Cuts can be inside of polygons
Several slice modes
Remove Part A
Remove Part B
Supports snapping and constraints
Plane Cut tool
Planar cut for polygon objects
Cutting plane can be interactively adapted
Several slice modes
Remove Part A
Remove Part B
Several plane modes available, defining which coordinate system is used
The number and spacing of parallel cuts can be defined
Supports snapping and constraints
Loop/Path Cut tool
Cuts new loops or path into objects
Loops/Paths can be interactively adapted
Loops/Paths can be searched bidirectional or not
The number of parallel cuts can be defined
Cuts can preserve the curvature of a surface
Cuts can be shaped using spline GUI
Support for Pixar's OpenSubdiv
Greatly improved displacement map baking and rendering
improved accuracy for vector maps (tangent, object and world)
Using ray casting for intensity maps - new options available (intensity, intensity centered, red-green)
Also improved normal map baking
Ray casting also used when not baked in conjunction with a vector displacement map
Resolved issue with sculpting at small scales
Resolved issue with reproject mesh at small scale
Push Apart effector
Helps reduce or avoid clone overlap quickly
Supports several modes:
Push Apart Along X,Y, or Z Axis
Can reset all MoData parameters to initial state within the Effector List it's applied to
Can also blend back to the initial state in a deformer stack
Can re-apply multiple effectors to the "fresh" state and blend their effects into the Effector List per parameter
New distribution modes for MoGraph Cloner and Matrix Objects
Clone on Axis
New behaviors for MoGraph distribution modes
"Object" mode allows to use a custom object to define the form of the cloning
Per Step mode for Grid Array and Honeycomb Array
New handles behavior for these modes to make dragging out fields of clones faster and more intuitive
Scale clones based on polygon size
Rewritten MoGraph Cache tag
Multiple MoGraph Cache tags can now be used and blended between on a single MoGraph object
MoGraph Cache tags can be saved to external files
New weights workflow
New MoGraph Weightmap tag
New MoGraph Weight Paintbrush tool
New XPresso node for weights
Swap Cloner/Matrix - Switch selected Cloner objects to Matrix objects or switch selected Matrix objects to Cloner objects
Hide Selected - Automatically creates a non-destructive setup to hide the current MoGraph selection
Improvements to the Display options for MoGraph objects
Display Clone IDs in the viewport (both on the object and within Selection tags)
Depth Cue and Scaling for better display of MoSelection as well as all other points display modes (UV, Weights, etc.)
New Voronoi Fracture generator
Support for many different point generators (Point Generator, Object, Spline, Particles, MoGraph Matrix, Shader, …) to define the fracture pattern
The Voronoi Fracture generator is a MoGraph generator and brings full support for effectors and all other MoGraph features
Inside/Outside Selection tag lets you assign different materials to the outside and inside faces of fracture pieces
Full dynamics support
Face, point and edge selections can be created
New object tracking functionality
New "Lock View on Tracks" mode
New "Frame All" / "Frame Selected" commands
New "Nudge Track" command
New "Auto Update Tracks" mode
TEAM RENDER / TEAM RENDER SERVER
The "Add machine" dialogue now has a small button that presents a list of recently added machine IPs / hostname
New "Restart Jobs After Unexpected Server Termination" option
The jobs and networks table are now multiselection aware and offer the same functionality as the multiselection bars on the Jobs and Networks page
Jobs can be reordered by clicking on the current position and entering another existing one
If there is input to an edit field, but the user navigates to another section, an information dialog is presented to inform about unsaved changes
The number of active and inactive jobs is shown in the header of the jobs table pane
The number of online and offline clients is shown in the header of the networks table pane
If logged in as an admin, there is now an option to show only the jobs of the admin instead of all jobs
Jobs can be reordered by clicking on the current position and entering another existing one
If there is input to an edit field, but the user navigates to another section, an information dialog is presented to inform about unsaved changes
If logged in as an admin, there is now an option to show only the jobs of the admin instead of all jobs
Render Info in Jobs Details
In the jobs details page (if a master scene is selected) a new collapsable is shown with useful information from the render settings
These settings are: Render Settings Name, Take Name, Frame Range, Regular Image, Multipass Image, Renderengine, Frame Rate, Image Resolution
When creating a new user or changing the password for the current logged in user, the TeamRender Server interface presents a single dialog instead of a wizard
New FAQ page
Questions can be filtered (full text search)
When hovering with the mouse over a question (in the overview panel) a short excerpt is shown with
the first couple of characters
characters before and after the entered filter term in case a filter string is found for the first time. The matched result is highlighted.
Questions are tagged, and the tags can be selected to restrict the results and the overview panel according to the selected category. Q&A can have multiple tags
Calculation of vector maps of all types has been improved
Intensity based maps (intensity, intensity centered, red-green) now use a basic ray casting technique to measure displacement between the base and the sculpt mesh
Baking normal maps only also uses the basic ray casting technique to sample normal vectors on the sculpt mesh
Shading/Vertex normals can now be displayed in the viewport
New "Screenspace Ambient Occlusion" option
New "Reflections" option shows an approximation of the Reflectance Channel in the viewport
Supports multiple layers, masks, fresnel and roughness
New "Tessellation" option shows the effect of displacements in the viewport
Can be set globally and per material
New preference settings
Phong tag: Now the default Phong Angle is 40º
Selection Tools: The setting "Only Select Visible Elements" is disabled by default for Rectangle, Lasso and Polygon Selection
Render Settings: the default render output size has been changed to 1280x720 and a new Screen preset with that size has been added
Viewport filter: now "Object Highlighting" is disabled by default
Weight Tool / Paint Tool: the following default settings have been changed:
Texture Manager: now all options in "View" menu are enabled by default
Scroll to First Active: this command has now been assigned the shortcut 'S'
Extrude Tool: now the "Maximum Angle" setting is 91º by default
Now the default figure height is 180 cm
Now the figure axis is located at its feet
Soft Selection Tool: now "Mode" is set to "All" by default.
Split Command: (C4D main menu / Mesh / Commands / Split) - The newly created object name will have the ".1" suffix, e.g. "Cube.1"
New preference: Remember Last Layout
New Compact Mode
Now the first swatch group is shared between all Cinema 4D documents
New contextual menu options handle the default swatch set:
"Reload Default Group": current swatches in shared group will be replaced with the stored default swatch set
"Save this Group as Default Group": the swatches in the clicked group will be saved as default group set
"Save Selected Swatches as Default Group": the currently active swatches will be saved as default group set
Dragging single or multiple swatches over a gradient converts them to color knots
C++/Python API supports Color Swatches
Improved ALT key handling for left-handers on Windows
Metaball Solidity option makes polygonal metasurfaces solid
The Reflectance channel now supports multi edit for materials with the same layer setup
Pasting a Reflectance layer into a Reflectance channel with a selected layer now replaces that layer instead of adding a new layer
The previews in the Material Manager now indicate which materials have the same reflectance layer setup as the selected material
New "Select Materials with same Reflectance" menu command in the Material Manager
New "Set from Projection" command for UVW Tags to easily create new UVW tags or modify existing ones on multiple objects
The Structure Manager has two new modes to show weights per vertex and weights per edge
Improved baking for multiple tags
Reduced file size for particle storage and improved speed
Loading/saving of large number of image sequences is now much faster
Cinema 4D startup speed increased
Mesa library is now used for viewport rendering on the CPU
Support for the RLM license manager
Support for vertex colors
New Vertex Color tag
Extended Paint Tool now can paint vertex colors
The Vertex Map shader now supports vertex colors
The Vertex Map shader supports OGL
New Vertex Color XPresso node
The Structure Manager now supports vertex colors
New Vertex Map Converter converts between vertex map and vertex color
C++/Python API supports vertex colors
Python API now supports custom nodes description methods, BodyPaint 3D UV commands and texture baking functions
From: Dimitis Katsafouros
Link to MAXON new website HERE!
T20 cricket is an all-action sport that required an equally energetic promotional campaign, as Duncan Evans discovered.
By Duncan Evans
Having already produced two promotional videos for Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club's T20 team, otherwise known as the Outlaws, Pete Black, head of post production at Affixxius Films, knew that this third installment would be the most ambitious yet. A team of just two CG artists and one visual effects supervisor had only two months to create a three-and-a-half-minute film that utilized motion capture, actual cricketers and even a foe in the form of the Alien Cricketer. The concept was that in the previous films, called Cricket Has Landed and Cricket Has Landed 2 the Outlaws had fended off an attack on Nottingham. In this concluding film the aliens unleash a devastating force and steal the "spirit of cricket," hiding it deep within Sherwood Forest. The film follows the players as they attempt to take back the spirit of cricket and save the day. As the first film in the series won Best Promotional Programme at the Royal Television Society Midlands awards in 2014, Pete knew they would have to come up with something special to improve it.
To start with, it meant using MoCap information to drive the animation of the Alien Cricketer. This took half a day in the studio but at least with Cinema 4D it was straightforward importing the mocap data. The entire video has a Japanese anime influence, which was typified by the Alien Cricketer design. This was designed by Kieron Edwards, a concept artist with whom Affixxius works. He was briefed to make a character that was very imposing but had armor that was based on cricket equipment. It took the team 10 days to model the alien character, which ended up being made up of 39,897 polygons.
Pete explained how they went about creating the motion capture, "We worked alongside AudioMotion to capture the movements required and then Dan, one of our 3D artists, translated the information to the character rig he'd made in Cinema 4D. Due to the size of the character, 10ft tall with a large chest, we had to be mindful of the limitations to avoid the arms intersecting with the body." To do this, the actor being captured was directed to hold his arms out wider than his actual body, but this only minimized the issue. The data was then manually adjusted using the rigging tools to fit the large frame of the alien.
The next challenge was to create a CGI forest for the players to be set in. This is where Cinema 4D's MoGraph tools made life easier as Pete revealed, "The MoGraph tools made building the 3D forest really simple as we were able to use Cloner objects with Random Effectors. We used a total of seven trees in a Cloner object with a Random Effector attached. The foliage was animated using XPresso, which drove the various effectors applied to the ferns."
As the action starts in the forest you can also see one particularly large and old tree. This is the Major Oak, which is actually in the middle of Sherwood Forest and, according to local folklore, was used by Robin Hood and his men. The tree itself is over 800 years old. To create it in the film the main sculpting tools used were the Pull, Smooth and Pinch brushes. Pete pointed out that, "The convenience of having the sculpting all within the same application made for a seamless workflow. Sculpt layers helped to add levels of detail onto the bark."
The cricketers themselves were filmed in a green screen studio, and lighting plans were drawn up in advance so everyone knew where lights were going to be positioned. Wind machines were also used to help with interaction. The director ran the players through each of the scenes and gave them reference points, such as where the alien should stand and the direction in which actors need to be looking.
However, at the end of the day they were working with actual cricketers, not actors, so some retakes had to be done. Still, Pete was impressed with how they acted in front of the camera, "On the whole the players were very good. Most had been in the previous videos so they were familiar with the process. Steven Mullaney in particular was very good in front of camera, giving some great performances."
After creating the environments in Cinema 4D and completing the filming they were composited in Nuke. Pete pointed out the benefits of a smooth pipeline between the two, "We're really starting to get to grips with the workflow between Cinema 4D and Nuke and the results are getting better every time. It was a very quick turnaround for our post production department as we only had approximately two months to complete all the shots."
Given the complexity of the project and the small team involved, Pete admitted that it was tough to turn it round in the two-month timeframe and added, "There were a lot of late nights and many pizzas were consumed. Once we received all the data from the motion capture company we did notice that the alien's 'big laugh' scene looked like he was dancing rather than laughing. The scene does feature in the final video but we felt it was clear he was laughing when the audio can be heard, making it less “Saturday Night Fever” and more like an alien chuckling."
In the end it took around five weeks of rendering across a render farm of 10-12 machines to output the three-and-a-half minutes of film. It has the slightly unusual resolution of 2048x858. Pete explained why, "We shot the project on an ARRI AMIRA, which shoots at a native resolution of 2048x1152. We then opted to cut the film at cinema scope 2K, which gave us a cropped height of 858."
Given the heavy workload and intense schedule, Pete was also thankful that Cinema 4D was up to the task, "Cinema 4D is the most robust software I've ever used. It may take time to think about complicated scenes but it'll hardly ever crash."
Watch the behind-the-scenes movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0MvURegLwM
You can see more about Affixxius Films at www.affixxius.com.
Duncan Evans is the author of Digital Mayhem: 3D Machines, available at Amazon.
All images courtesy of Affixxius Films
Creating anatomically accurate dinosaur skeletons for a Microsoft Kinect-based exhibit has proved something of a dream job for Stuart Pond Design
By Steve Jarratt
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the UK government's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the organization asked for ideas for ‘public engagement projects' – interactive exhibits for its Summer of Science with which people can engage with and from which they can learn. The NERC held a competitive bidding process, in which the most exciting projects would receive funding to bring the idea to life.
The Animal Simulation Laboratory of Manchester University pitched the idea for a dinosaur simulation that would enable members of the public to control a 3D dinosaur skeleton. The system uses an Xbox One Kinect that reads the person's movements and drives the muscles in the simulator, revealing how a creature of that scale and weight might move.
The project is the brainchild of Dr. Bill Sellers – a computational primatologist – who enlisted the help of graphic designer Stuart Pond. Pond has been working as an artist and animator for more than 25 years, specializing in scientific visualization but also has another, somewhat unexpected string to his bow: "My other passion is paleontology," he says. "Especially dinosaurs. I've been fortunate to travel to digs in the badlands of Montana and have been on field trips into the deserts of Utah and Arizona but my favorite area for finding dinosaurs is the Isle of Wight! It's here we find the dinosaurs and their footprints that I've been working on for the past few years."
He explains that he was a research associate at the University of Southampton for a couple of years before starting his doctorate. He planned his PhD (on Early Cretaceous Wealden ankylosaurs, in case you were wondering) so he could apply the skills he acquired doing scientific animations to his research. "Working on this project allowed me to work closely with the paleontology team at Manchester, which was a real pleasure and learning experience, and use my passion for the 3D work I do on a daily basis as an artist."
"I've been using Cinema 4D since it was ported to the Mac," he adds. "It's my choice for both commercial work and research. It's important that my PhD also feeds back into my day job because being a scientist as well as an artist enables me to communicate effectively with the medical scientists with whom I work and has helped develop my research skills. Learning new skills is essential for both artists and scientists and I'm lucky enough to be able to do both. Science and art are a powerful combination!"
The dinosaur simulation is driven by a modified version of the GaitSym multi-body dynamics system developed by Dr. Sellers. It's a forward dynamics modeling program that lets the user apply forces to a skeleton and then uses a physics engine to calculate the motion. In the case of GaitSymKinect, it uses the input from the user's movements applied to 3D dinosaur models as a means of showcasing the real-time physics and to help understand how fossil animals might have moved.
Once Dr. Sellers had the go-ahead from NERC, the first thing that had to be done was create some high-quality 3D models of a variety of dinosaur skeletons. Stuart Pond was contacted by Dr. Charlotte Brassey, who works with Dr. Sellers, and explained the concept behind the project. After a meeting to discuss the details, Pond got to work building the skeletons.
"Making the models as accurate as possible was key," he explains, "as they would need to be rigged with virtual muscles. We also needed to keep the polygon count as low as possible so the software could animate in real time, and the models needed to be suitable for 3D printing. All the bones were modeled from scratch and to scale within Cinema 4D."
Before starting work, Pond sourced data from LIDAR and photogrammetry scans, as well as referring to scientific literature and first-hand observation of fossils and casts. "A skeleton has a lot of bones and each needs to be looked at individually to ensure it's correct when modeled," he says. "Modeling organic structures brings its own challenges and this encouraged me to think about the shape of each bone before I started working on it."
He began by blocking out the shape of each bone in Cinema 4D, using as few polygons as possible. The basic shape was then taken into ZBrush where Pond sculpted the finer details before using ZRemesher to retopologize the mesh. This was then transferred back into Cinema 4D using the GoZ bridge, where he could use the native sculpt tools and then assemble each skeleton before exporting to FBX files for use in GaitSym.
"I did this because ZBrush's sculpting tools are quick and easy to use," he explains, "and I find the sculpting workflow and symmetrical modeling much more intuitive in ZBrush, which is vital when creating a dinosaur skull, for instance. However, I did use Cinema 4D's sculpt tools for adjusting many of the models, especially the vertebrae where taking each one individually into ZBrush would have proved too time consuming. I like the fact that I can move freely between the two apps, as this is very important when setting up a workflow for any project that involves a lot of modeling."
Most of the bones were sculpted separately, although Pond admits that some of the vertebrae were simply adapted from ‘master' models: "These bones are repeated many times in the skeleton and while each bone is unique there are quite a number of common features and you can take advantage of that. In these cases I would model a cervical, a dorsal and perhaps two or three types of caudal vertebrae and then adjust those in-between using Cinema 4D's sculpting tools."
Cinema 4D's MoGraph toolset also came into play for replicating and positioning similar bones such as vertebrae, saving Pond hours of work. "I would replicate and scale the various parts of the vertebral column (for instance the vertebrae of the tail) using MoGraph, then convert to meshes and adjust the sculpt and reposition as required. In the case of Edmontonia I used MoGraph for much of the armor as many of the osteoderms [bony plates or scales] are pretty much the same shape, with some repositioning by hand."
Overall, Pond created around 210 bones for each of the six dinosaurs, taking about three days for each model. The armored Edmontonia took longer because it features an additional 178 spikes and plates. "However, it was worth the extra effort because it looks really cool," he adds.
GaitSymKinect and all the skeleton meshes are available for download at http://www.animalsimulation.org, so you can try them for yourselves in Cinema 4D. And despite their use in real-time visualization, they're surprisingly high-res. "GaitSym is more than capable of handling models with this sort of poly count and greater," explains Pond. "We wanted to make these models as useful as possible to other researchers and so the mesh density was kept as low as possible while retaining scientific accuracy."
Clearly the combination of art and science has been the ideal project for Stuart Pond Design and is made all the more special as his creations come to life within the GaitSym software. "It's always a thrill seeing your work being used in any situation and in this case it is very satisfying to know that we can get actual data using these meshes. GaitSym is a remarkable piece of software and I'm very pleased the models work as planned, both in the Kinect version that allows users to control the dinosaurs and in the version Bill uses for biomechanical work. The fact they also look good when printed in 3D is great – I love the idea that somebody can print out a full-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex if they wanted to."
Steve Jarratt is a long-time CG enthusiast and technology journalist based in the UK.
All images courtesy of Stuart Pond Design.
Stuart Pond Design Website:
The GaitSimKinect-System and more: http://www.animalsimulation.org
From July 26–28 MAXON will be presenting its newest developments, interactive technologies and outstanding projects created with Cinema 4D – both at their booth (#421) and in their live stream at C4Dlive.com.
The MAXON booth at SIGGRAPH 2016 in Anaheim, California, from July 24 – 28 will again be the place to be for 3D artists from the fields of motion graphics, CGI, VFX and interactive technologies.
Among the highlights will be presentations of outstanding Cinema 4D projects and productions presented by artists from leading studios, freelance 3D designers from all over the world and highly talented newcomers. Cinema 4D experts will also be providing valuable technical and workflow tips.
All presentations and lectures will of course be streamed live at C4Dlive.com. Live stream viewers will also have the chance to ask questions during the presentations.
The MAXON booth (#421) will be located in hall D at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA., 92802. Doors open daily at 9:30 am. If you register with the code ‘cinema4d’ you will receive a free ticket for the exhibition area at the SIGGRAPH website.
Live streams for all events at the MAXON booth as well as program and speaker information (English only) is available at http://C4Dlive.com.
Guest speakers whose attendance is confirmed are:
Nick Campbell worked at Digital Kitchen as an animator and a photographer where he made TV commercials and title sequences. He also founded an iPhone App company called BananaCameraCo and a motion design education and product site called Greyscalegorilla. Nick has recently been speaking to students and creatives about how to be creative and get paid to do what you love.
Casey Hupke is a freelance digital content creator who has been working in the live visual and commercial field for nearly a decade. He has contributed work to major tours for U2, Lady Gaga, Niki Minaj, and Deadmau5. He’s collaborated with studios to help define a generative art style for brands such as, IBM, ATT, Exxon, Intel, and Buick.
Athanasios Pozantzis, a.k.a. ‘Noseman’
Thanassis has been using digital imaging software since 1985, 3D since 1988 and MAXON Cinema 4D for 17 years. He is a huge fan of the German-engineered software. Working behind the scenes for UK-based advertising agencies for the last 8 years, he relocated to Canada, compliments of his wife, to experience "3D in the freezer." He's proud to be the first MAXON Certified Instructor in Canada. He also won a Grand Epica in 2005.
Chris is the Director of 3D Product Development at Greyscalegorilla and helps make tutorials. This guy really knows his Cinema 4D, is a great teacher, and is hugely helpful on the technical side of things. His Lego collection is probably MUCH bigger than yours.
More information coming soon
Brett is a freelance motion graphics designer & director with skills that cover technical direction, look development and art direction. Now based in Los Angeles, Brett has had the great opportunity of working with top tier design studio Capacity for the past five years as technical director. He is driven by the desire to explore challenges with critical thinking, ensuring the artistic integrity is maintained at the highest level.
Sekani Solomon is a young designer / animator who became interested in computer arts at an early age. His passion for design led him to the Savannah College of Art and Design where he attained a BFA in Motion Media Design. After graduating he took a position at Imaginary Forces as a designer / animator. He continues to push his design and technical ability with every new project.
Trevor Kerr is a freelance CG designer, compositor, and FX artist. Having worked for studios like Optimus Design and Imaginary Forces, Kerr specializes in shading, lighting, lookdev and camera composition / animation. Every project is an experiment in bringing the familiarity of life to the screen through the tasteful imperfections of reality.
Chad Ashley has directed / conceived work that has earned several industry awards, including a Design Grand Prix at the Cannes International Creativity Festival. With over 15 years of experience directing animation, Chad has created worlds for many adventurous brands, including Estee Lauder, Budweiser, and Cartoon Network.
Carlos Ferrer is an award-winning American filmmaker with over 15 years experience in storytelling. He directed several short films and a feature-length film by the age of sixteen. Ferrer graduated from Purchase College in 2008 with a BFA in Theatre Arts & Film. Currently, he is seeking distribution for his latest feature-length project 'Retina' for which he acted as writer, director, cinematographer, composer, sound designer and visual effects artist.
Born in 1978 in Trabzon, Turkey. Reared in southern Germany, got a university degree in Visual Communication, worked in several design and advertising companies until 2007 where he started as a freelancer. Currently working for studios and directly with clients in different roles such as art director, CG artist and technical director. He’s been using Cinema 4D since Release 11.5.
Melissa Oakley is a motion designer at Capacity in Burbank, California. Since graduating last year, Melissa has developed a deep understanding of diverse studio production pipelines and she has contributed to several team productions such as the rebrand of Total Access Football. As a member of many creative associations, including the international group Women in Animation, Melissa is a supportive and active member of the female animation community.
Robert Paraguassu leads the 3D team at Floyd County Productions, primarily working on FX's Archer. He's from Atlanta, GA., is tall, and enjoys various weather conditions.
Art director, 3D artist, illustrator & motion designer Nik Hill has been at Territory for over three years and worked as part of the creative team behind a number of film UI projects, most notably Avengers: Age of Ultron - where he was responsible for a number of design and animation lead tasks.
After graduating from Art Center College of Design’s acclaimed film program in 2002, Sam immediately began work on production and graphic design for Nelly, Amerie, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, and many others. Sam currently spearheads Rainfall’s live action production and visual effects departments. He is represented by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and Writ Large.
EJ Hassenfratz is a multi-Emmy Award-winning freelance 3D/motion graphic artist based out of Washington, DC. Working in Cinema 4D for the past 6 years, he has collaborated with numerous clients such as ESPN, NHL's LA Kings & Washington Capitals, Nike's Street League Skateboarding, Comcast, Nat Geo, ABC, and the Smithsonian. He is also a Lynda.com author creates courses utilizing Cinema 4D.
MAXON’s booth at SIGGRAPH 2016
Booth: #421, Hall D
Anaheim Convention Center
800 W Katella Avenue
Anaheim, California 92802
Tuesday, July 26 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday, July 27 9:30 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday, July 28 9:30 am – 3:30 pm
All presentations can be viewed live: worldwide at C4DLive.com
This year, MAXON again offers daily live streams at C4Dlive with extensive reports about product demos, presentations and what’s new at the MAXON booth. Leading up to this year’s show you will also find information and updates about speakers, their presentations and much more at C4Dlive.com
<< Live-Videostream >>
The annual Pause festival is the tech show for creative spirits. Visitors are invited per video clip, and this year’s invitation was created by seasoned Cinema 4D artist Brett Morris.
When the Pause festival coordinators commissioned the motion response for this year’s event, ten renowned motion graphics designers from around the world were in the running for its creation. For Brett Morris, the project began with George Hedon’s invitation to be one of these select few who had a chance of getting the nod. After accepting the invitation, Brett was able to let his creativity run free in realizing his vision of what the festival’s theme: Discover your future self.
The team with which Brett wanted to tackle the project included Patrick Goski, a digital sculptor, and Stephen Panicara, designer and animator. Brett and his team gathered visual elements for inspiration, which consisted of three main items: the Marble Canyon, Arizona, cliffs known as ‘The Wave’, a bust and a fluids effect. “During the design phase, a lot of what we had in our mind’s eye was doable but also presented major technical challenges,” remembers Brett. “But we knew from the start that our visual concept had great potential. It quickly became clear that the ‘wave’ formation would have to be constructed in 3D. We wanted to track a shot through the cliffs, which we wanted to depict with a highly stylized structure. We built the assets in Cinema 4D and shaped them using the Sculpt feature.”
The next hurdle the team had to clear was somewhat higher: a wax bust on whose back melting wax had to flow horizontally to form stalagmites. “Here we used a special setup for X-Particles. The first attempt resulted in a monotone look that was much too smooth. Fortunately, X-Particles is a fully integrated plugin and any Cinema 4D tag can be used with it. Simply adding a Jiggle tag gave us the irregular look we wanted for the particles as well as the natural look we had imagined!”
In the next sequence, the bust – which is used as a visual element throughout the motion response clip – had to partially melt and disintegrate into two halves that then rotated to face each other. “We already knew exactly how the melted bust should look but we had no idea how we wanted to create this look,” said Brett. “Fortunately, Patrick – who is also part of the MAXON family – decided to take on the job. He sculpted the melting bust. Since the Sculpt tag saves all sculpting subdivisions, we also had a simplified low-poly version of the model that we could animate. Without this model, the polygon count would have been immense and we would have had to do without the animation,” explains Brett. “Cinema 4D is like a dependable colleague who has your back when things get dicey!”
Looking back, Brett sees this project as something special: “This was a very ambitious project and at the beginning we thought we wouldn’t have enough time to complete the project as imagined. But somehow we were able to realize all the ideas we initially had for the project. In fact, it never really felt like “work” but rather like we were kids playing with our favorite toys – only that our favorite toy now is Cinema 4D!”
Short-Term Licensing – Long-Term Benefits.
Cinema 4D Short-Term licenses are an ideal way to bridge production peaks or to get your career started with minimal investment. Best of all, you can upgrade that short-term license to a perpetual license at any time and we’ll even give you credit for 75% of your short-term licensing fees!
Terms and Conditions:
Your Short-Term license must be active at the time of upgrade.
You earn credit from multiple short-term license periods as long as the terms have been concurrent (no gaps).
You must purchase a MAXON Service Agreement (MSA) at the time of the upgrade.
The maximum credit cannot exceed the cost of Cinema 4D Studio and credits cannot be used to offset the MSA purchase.
Only one-to-one license credits can be applied to an upgrade.
Credits cannot be refunded or used for purchases other than a direct upgrade to perpetual.
More information is available on our website or at your authorized MAXON partner.