Making 3dsMax Xref Scene objects Invisible to the camera

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Its useful to hide objects in the scene from the camera yet still have them contribute to the lighting. This means that other objects in the scene will still receive shadows and reflections from the hidden objects. This especially important for compositing . Here are a few useful tricks to help manage xReferences in 3dsMax

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VFX of Poldark Mines

Poldark Breakdowns: The Mines

Here is a breakdown of the work I did for Lexhag creating the mines in Poldark. Shot on location in Cornwall my job was to digitally extend the existing ruins,to rebuild the Grambler and Poldark Mines

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Sci-fi London 48-hour film challenge 2015: satellite Detail

The Satellite is based on an actual NASA model of a space probe called DAWN, that actually uses an ion drive for thrust. This appeals to my geeky sense of cool and is the reason why my engine plume is blue.

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Compositing shadows and mattes from V-Ray

Shadows help place the CG elements in the world. Literally grounding it in reality. Rendering them is easy, but for more control we need to separate the shadow layer for compositing. Creating them in 3dsMax isn’t hard and here’s how to setup V-Ray to separate the necessary passes.

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sci-fi London 48 hour challenge: Back Issue

Once again its the sci-fi London 48hour short film competition. It gets bigger every year , and this time I almost managed to get some sleep.

I had a lot on over the weekend so couldn’t join the #TheCreepyGuys on location. It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I could get down to Modelling the DNA and Skeleton.

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I was beginning to feel squeezed for time but fortunately my house mate Dan gave up his Sunday evening help out.

We spent a while looking at  Jorge-Almeida’s work and some Oblivion UI’s. While they had weeks of design work compared to our hours. It gave us something to spring our ideas off.

Dan then moved on layouts in Adobe illustrator while I wrangled with the 3d elements and composite tests

With work the next day Dan went to sleep at midnight. But I kept tweaking the 3d elements until I got the final locked cut from Karel at 5am. That left me 4 hours for 6 shots on no sleep !

I liked the idea of a simple Blue colour palette to contrast with Red danger areas. I needed next to nothing render times to reach the morning deadline. After a couple of test I decided to use the Max Scanline render for the particles and Fusions OGL renderer for the skeleton.

I needed every minute of the 4 hours to drop all the elements into place and match Alix’s performance. But I got the final shot to Tom at about 8 in the morning, leaving him just enough time to render short and deliver it to the judges.

As ever there is loads more I would like to have done. I made some pretty cool particle tests to represent DNA sequences. We left a big space for them in the GUI. But alas there simply wasn’t time to add them.

It’s a joy to work with such a talented crowd. Hopefully I’ll see them all at the cinema for the final.