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.