December 27, 2010


Season’s Greetings and Wishing You All The Best for the New Year. We'll be off to Waikiki for some R&R and back at the trigger on January 11th of 2011.

Santa's “CALIFORNIA SPECIAL” delivery sled, a 1932 Ford Roadster, painted with emission-free Candy Apple Red at Raygun Studio, Christmas 2010.

December 20, 2010


Too busy to post anything lately, immersed in this project we call 12LVE. Check it out. But my main wingman John shared this cool YouTube video with me... hard to believe this is actually real... watch it til the last scene... amazing. if I could fly...

November 1, 2010


Just returned from New York City where I was showing the Raygun book to ten select art buyers, art and creative directors. With all that email, conference calling, iChatting and even FaceTime, there's no substitute for meeting people face to face. And Debra Weiss who puts on these OnOnOne portfolio shows provides a setting for that second to none. I walked away with a new understanding how the work was perceived, how to present, explain and edit it down for the next showing. Priceless experience and as always a great shot in the arm that we're heading in the right direction with the work. Some pictures from the trip and space below...

September 25, 2010


The new Mac Pros arrived this week and they are configured, fueled up and ready to do some burnouts. I don't know why Intel can't think of a better name than "Westmere" for their processor that powers the 12-core engine of these new high-end Macs. I can barely pronounce it in my native tongue and even there it sounds like decaffinated lavender tea from Northwest Holland. I would like to see them take a page from the book of muscle car marketing where the power plant matters too... why not V12, Viper 24 or Thunderbolt 5150?

Vinnie... please make some calls before the release of the Lipton Fine Twine.

Anyways, for now enjoy the view of this 24-barreled Raygun melting through some Photoshop ice texture zoom blurred lighting effect in seconds...

September 16, 2010


Just picking up some pieces from a collaboration with Claudia Götzelmann who wanted to know more about CGI water while I wanted to know more about how pretty girls are shot. These pieces have been shelved for quite a while and I just felt like playing around with them again.

September 11, 2010


A new Osama Bin Laden video message has been leaked and it's clear now that they'll be back to audio tape next year.

September 9, 2010


FaceTime that is. Take a look into the new window at your local .Store. I guess, here's the reason you want to get not just one, but two iPhonefours. One for yourself and one for your best friend. Thanks Kevin, Claudia, Shawn, Annie, Chris & Chris, Charlie, David, Peter & Pete, Barbara, Mike, Vicki & Tracey, KandB, Wyatt & Tanya.


Thanks, Mike for this great 'tip'. Take a look at this Tipp-Ex YouTube interactive. The one thing I've always wanted to do was drink with a bear, too bad this bear doesn't drink. But anyways, this is the best campaign I've seen since the Subservient Chicken.

August 22, 2010


Christmas came a little early this year and I found myself back in LA for two crazy days on a shoot with Radical, complete with famous and funny director, fake snow, semitrucks full of stuff, and the best darn craft services I've ever had. Day Two we're shooting somewhere downtown LA and I come across this sign in the parking lot... I am not sure which way I should turn. But I am pretty sure it was Don Draper's secretary that came down the hall looking like she's going to a costume party.

It's also where I met Barbara, the producer from Austria who made me speak German and helped smoke all these cigarettes. She sports the best tattoo I have ever seen in my life. She swore she's not on suicide watch, and never even thought about it in this way when she had these life-affirming words edged into her wrist. I really believe her, even though I can't imagine a better way to remind oneself, that whatever it is, it's not worth dying for and to put away the razor blade.


Just finished a fun piece for Tracy Locke/Schlage titled "Transparency" with Chad Vander Lugt art directing this piece and Scott Dorman of Smalldoggin' making sure the composite passes the muster of probability. We were asked to build the two open floors out of glass, including workstations, desks, conference tables and even threw in a couple of elevators and then composite in the individual people portraits. Went out and captured HDRIs of the surroundings while the photographer was up on a crane shooting the building and giving free rides to anybody who wasn't afraid of heights. Here's a look at the final and some under-the-hood pieces leading up to it.

The final CGI/photography composite

Close-up of the transparent floors

The HDRI pano used to light and provide reflections for the CG parts

An in-progress rendering of the glass floors

A rough rendering populated with CG people to help with perspective in shooting the warmer bodies

The building used in building the building

Erik and a fearless companion up on the crane shooting angles

Everything starts with an idea


Managed to spend a day at Siggraph in LA a couple of weeks back to get caught up with whats new and what will be new in CG. Overall impression? Faster, higher res, touch screens, and ground zero for GPU vs. CPU rendering. Nothing earth shattering really, its more evolutionary. Seems we have reached the point, where the tools and the speed is there and it's now coming down to the artistry. Which is perfectly fine with me :-).

Okay, I am going in...

A 180 view from the entryway.

The break dancers at the live motion capture booth seemed tired, even though they were working in shifts of three. What a job.

And then there was this realtime interactive demo of a fully-raytraced Porsche aus Stuttgart on an HD display touch screen. Change colors in real time. Definitely for those who don't know what they want and put off their decision making until the last second. But don't they realize that all creative reviews and sign-offs are now done on iPhones nowadays?

RealFlow 5... had a look at their sheeter demon, so maybe our CG water can finally be less "cheesy" and nice integration with the Maxwell rendering in Cinema 4D. The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together quite nicely. This is going to be just what the doctor ordered for a piece we're working on with Robert Schlatter.

Best of all, the guys from Luxion/KeyShot showed off Version 2.1 of their realtime rendering software, with translucent materials (aka subsurface scattering) and lots of small improvements overall. Please ship now...

August 8, 2010


Lots of times I get so busy around here and got so many things going on in my head at the same time that I lose focus. All these little cogwheels spinning at different speeds and sometimes even in different directions... and the big machine starts to jam. That's when I need to hit the Big Reset Button. The only thing that works for me is to face death for 10 seconds on opening and then everything comes into focus and things start running smoothly again. Junkie that I am, the home grown (and street legal) psychopharmica Adrenaline and especially the magical Endorphin that gets dispensed right after to counter the Adrenaline are what's really going on, or so I was told by my instructor in the 90s. I like the skydiving thing because you can slip out for just one afternoon and get it done. It's also the furthest thing from dealing with the virtual computer world, it's so real. Running or working out just doesn't have the same effect on me for some reason. So while I am working this Sunday getting things out the door (procrastinating really while writing this blog entry) and getting ready for a big shoot day tomorrow in LA, I did manage to reset the machine last Sunday. Took my brand new iPhone into my hand and out along for the process. Enjoy the video and let me know if you want to go jump, I get ten bucks for every referral ;-)

August 7, 2010


For better or worse, it seems we're getting more and more into motion. And, yes... it's rendered... to answer the question of "Is it real or is it Memorex?" This turntable Mustang is something we're playing with as a result of some conversations about 4K video and the fusion of 1440 frames of raytrace rendering and AfterEffects magic. Enjoy.

July 22, 2010


Now that looks familiar... hmh... where have I seen this concept before? Got to hand it to them though, they were able to pull it off completely "in-camera". Now, why didn't WE think of that?

July 20, 2010


Have you seen the demo video of this new physics engine simulator: milk shaker, rabbit thumper, sock smasher and dirt piler, throw-all-your-render-cores-and-then-some-at-me piece of software? Scaaary great. Thanks for the link, Shawn. Wonder what year the Mac version will ship.

July 14, 2010


It's been a while since I uploaded any real work or something worth looking at, so to all those who haven't jumped ship yet from our humble little blog, this is for you. I checked out a hot rod show in the East Bay a few weekends ago and looked at some mighty fine cars with Frank, Connie and Alex. A 1932 roadster was especially fine and inspired me to do this render job. It's been a bit of a dry run lately so this was also good render therapy. Enjoy.

June 18, 2010

WE'RE ON THE COVER OF A MAGAZINE! Mike Wazowski would say. Just found out that our Space Girl, an image we collaborated on with D.C. photographer Cade Martin is the key image for the new Photoshop website, And not even a bar code over the face! How do you like that, Sully?

May 4, 2010


This is the blood that an oath for good design was signed with. It's virtual blood, Virtual like the blood that thankfully didn't get spilled on Times Square. Thank you, Mr. T-Shirt man. Can't quite believe we stood there, right in the middle of it, my daughter and me just a few days ago, thinking how great... this City. I LOVE NY.

April 30, 2010


This is a bit of a Silicon Valley type post, to give you fair warning. Not sure how many of you readers are old enough to remember what the web looked like until Flash came around. For those who don't, here's a screenshot of Netscape's homepage I took... I don't know why... back in 1994. Yes, Netscape... Mosaic... AOL... Mozilla... FireFox. Those guys:

What about Flash though? A little "flashback" might be in order... it started as FutureSplash... a neat little plug-in that allowed you to create and display vector animations. Animations that downloaded really fast over those slow dial-up modems. It became Flash when Macromedia bought it. They were king in tools for making interactive CDs at the time. And yes, one could actually play tiny little videos over the web... using Apple's QuickTime mainly... that's if you were a coding and video compression Ninja. But you never knew how or even if it would play. It was trial and error. Just like everything else about making pages for the web. Needless to say graphic designers, who are by nature control freaks, were not the early adopters of the World Wide Web.

Flash allowed designers to design once and play everywhere. Something that Java promised, but never delivered. It is also the simple reason why (click on link if you're not familiar with it) YouTube succeeded, which... and you'll find that hard to believe... started out only 5 years ago. What was it they offered that had never been done before? Simple... your video would play! You uploaded it and no matter what format you sent it or who you sent the YouTube link to... they were able to watch it. Anybody could just post a video now and it could be seen by anybody, anywhere. Guaranteed. It wasn't about standards or technology, it was simply about predictability and removal of the need for expert skills. Come to think of it... not unlike the Mac in 1984. Ironically it's the iPhone and iPad that are the only platforms your Flash video won't run. Interesting though that Apple didn't ban YouTube also. Wonder why that works ;-).

Now Adobe... these are the guys that gave us Illustrator and Photoshop. Adobe... who has been making the best graphic design tools for 20 years now. So if HTML5 is really the present and the future, where are the graphical authoring tools? I've you've seen them, please let me know. I did find aa MUST SEE design tutorial video (in Flash of course) on YouTube if you want to get a head start on the future...

March 31, 2010


In the course of working on a project with Erik and Scott involving some CGI insects, Diana, the art director, shared this great link with us for inspiration. Miroslaw Swietek is a photographer in Poland who goes out in the pre-dawn hours and flashes sleeping insects covered in morning dew. Just when you think you're familiar with the world around you, someone opens a window and shows you the world in a brand new way. The brilliance of these photos is just stunning. Here's the link to the story.

March 19, 2010


Just installed the new Poser 8 and I have to say I am excited to see that they finally got around to clean up after the mess they made of the interface over the last ten years. If you're old enough to remember when Poser was taken on by MetaCreations, you know that Kai put in one of the most amazing, intuitive and clean interfaces on the Mac, or any computer for that matter, and quite some time before his ideas started popping up in the OS X betas. Anyhow, so I just gave this new version a quick spin... some new alien character by the name of Andy is the default figure now... I wonder whether that's a hommage to the amazing Andy Murdoch. He sure looks like the flying chief that kidnapped the baby and put him into a glass jar.

Either way, I kind of prefer a semi naked fist fighting blonde.

I really like the new folder based navigation system for poses, figures, parts... the library... now that there is so much content, the old way of browsing the library really became tedious. To that end, it's great that the new Poser gives us a search function now. How about groups of poses, morphs, or hair belonging to a figure together or highlighting related content in bold if it relates to the selected figure?

Looks like the sketch render has been worked on too. Fun stuff. Hope to find some more time to sink into this new release soon.

March 17, 2010


Kate stopped by today to say Hi and drop off the new 7x7 magazine with the flying whale in Erik Almås' picture of supermodel Maggie Rizer. Not up to speed with the who's who in supermodelling, I had to google her name. Turns out she moved to San Francisco from Manhattan and is working on a comeback after being out for a while. The reason? Her stepdad gambled away her fortune of millions of dollars she had made in supermodelling. With Lotto Quick Picks. Wow. You'd think that the guy at the corner store would have told him that this isn't his game, after he spent the first million there. It's almost harder to believe than her flying out on a whale ship.

March 10, 2010


Working on a series of images with photographer Robert Schlatter that are combination of our CGI and his iconic photography. One of the shots involves half of a retro soda pop bottle, the other half a CGI component that's still under wraps. Although the final image is really a pure front 2D view, Brian Gunderson, the art director showed me a sketch of the sectioned bottle in a 3D perspective view to get a better understanding of what's going on...

I didn't notice his little camera in the corner and misinterpreted the sketch as the view he was actually looking for. Since the bottle is photographed, I asked him how he was going to cut the bottle and keep the soda in it... jokingly... then went ahead to render some takes... and I think it works quite well, no OSHA necessary.

Here's a look at the final image...

And a closer look at the detail...

Probably the most fun we had with this project however was the last minute design and illustration of the artwork on the cans themselves, originally to come from the client but instead added on as super fun side project in the making of this image. And yes, Waldo is in there somewhere.

March 5, 2010


An interesting and welcome break from the regular glass and chrome work, which came to us courtesy of the upcoming Spring Fashion issue of San Francisco's 7x7 Magazine. The original reference had the whale floating, the way they do when they are resting in the water. I first imported the model of this Humpback into the renderer, before posing it or fixing the UV maps of the texture. Just to get a perspective and play with it a little. I love how the basic T pose and the messed up texture tiling made the whale feel like a 747 Zebra Zeppelin. In the end, flaps came down and the Zebra was escorted back into the jungle, but I still like that first shot and while maybe not right for the final image, I think it's perfect for the blog.

Progressing towards the final image with whale texture in place and Erik's toy ship prop in place. We liked how the whale feels more dimensional and dynamic when at a slight angle and not totally pure side...

The problem however was that the toy ship was pure side and being a photo not something you can simply rotate to fit. I felt that that toy boat being too small in scale anyways could be improved upon anyways and then we can match the air boat to the whale. This steam punk air ship is what I had in mind, complete with transcontinental luggage and hat box...

The near to final composite...

February 14, 2010


Happy, bitter, sweet Valentine to all you loving fools... why does love hurt so good?

February 11, 2010


So here I am a little past midnight working on this RealFlow simulation, really simple actually, two glasses of water pouring into a tray and making some ice cubes float and move. Not sure whether I didnt apply enough external pressure to these hotheads, but instead of a nice smooth result, what do I get? They break out into a fight. What are the viscosic energy numbers for a peaceful pouring? Anybody?

Click here to see the full version of the movie.

February 6, 2010


Here's a turntable rendering we did not long ago in HyperShot Pro, but it didn't make it into the reel. Enjoy.

YouTube is a little crummy, even in HD, but you can click here to see the HiFi version from our server.


Anybody involved even peripherally in 3D knows the name TurboSquid, but what do they have to do with Katrina and it's aftermath? Pretty interesting interview. Here's the video.

January 27, 2010


My friend mmyykk keeps me up on what's cool in music and technology-related art. Found this youtube link in my idle iChat window after I came back to the computer tonite. Thanks, Mike! Reminds me of a General Electric 3D ultrasound... maybe its the same technique... in any case... check it out:


Finally finished the Jack & the Beanstalk project, where we provided the CGI part for a composite by Cade Martin and Michal Horevaj. This is a close-up from the GI rendering on an 8 core. Each square represents one of the processors working on resolving the image. I wonder who gets to design the look of this render progress feedback mechanism. Whoever it is, it's a work of art on its own. Truth told I almost like it better than the rendered result.