November 16, 2012


Pretty sure the blackout period has expired on these early studies of breaking CG glass in Strata 3D. Stumbled over these and felt like sharing. A little too "computer generated" for today, but I think they have great energy and light.

November 13, 2012


Expanding on the work for Rick Smolan's "The Human Face of Big Data" here's a little experiment combining 3D scanning, real time rendering and immersive, interactive VR that works in any browser... yes even on the picky iPad.

November 11, 2012


Just got back from Chicago and two days and two nights of meeting some new and some familiar faces... art buyers, creative directors and photographers, too.

It's always a thrill seeing cool creative spaces and getting to present and talk about the work face to face, away from the screen and email. For the occasion I created an iBook of the portfolio that incoporates our motion work as well, where the animations and videos pop right off the corresponding printed page. I have to say, the iBook has been the perfect medium between book and reel and something that I was waiting for since neither a book nor a video shows the integration between print and motion. To get your own copy, make sure you have Apple's iBook App first. Then download the Raygun book for the iPhone or the HiFi version for the iPad and view it in iBook. Please be patient, the iPad file is slightly north of 100MB with all the motion in it.

I really like the people of Chicago. There is so much creativity, great architecture and art there, yet people are very modest and down to earth. And then there's this winter I heard so much about, but it did not seem to materialize... guess we brought a little California sunshine along. Michigan Avenue has a lot of really cool store windows and even though it's just past Halloween, there it feels like it's Christmas already...

November 7, 2012


Developing this steel Gargoyle character while putting the new 3D VR rendering through the paces. Take it for a spin here. Works everywhere now, even on iPhones and iPads. Come to think of it... swipe gestures and VR seem to be made for each other.

November 5, 2012


Heading to Chicago this week for show and tell at the OneOnOne portfolio show Wednesday and Thursday nights at Draft FCB and connecting with creatives from the windy City. Chicago has been my top City this year with most of the work coming from out of there for some reason. Maybe it's because my daughter is studying architecture there at IIT and has gotten the word out about Raygun? In any case, went ahead and created our first iPad iBook portfolio for the occasion which incorporates motion seamlessly. It looks pretty amazing on the new iPad, at least IMHO. You can download the short version here and the full version here.

Pop me an email or give me a call if you're in Chicago town Wednesday through Friday and would like to meet for a cup of coffee or a beer and see the new work in person.

October 26, 2012


It sure took a long time, but I had a feeling about that... Wonder if that includes the sliced apple on the B sides of the old vinyls too.

Either way, it seems the time has come to retire that drab gray apple that followed the beautiful Aqua glass logos, don't you think?

October 2, 2012


I had the pleasure to work with Rick Smolan of "Day In the Life" fame over the last few weeks courtesy of a referral from Michael Rylander. We were brought in to create the cover image for his new book project The Human Face of Big Data

...and the accompanying motion piece. The project kicked off in a big way today in New York, at an event called Mission Control. Check out the highlights on YouTube.

June 21, 2012


To answer the question of whether a print campaign that Robert Schlatter shot for the GAP Stay fragrance could be translated into motion using only CGI we created this 30 second motion piece. Not so much billboards, but retail spaces have become the OOH environment where extremely high print resolution and high quality imagery really come into play. Not only are the displays quite large in size, but shoppers can walk right up to it and hopefully the image is "infinite", meaning you don't lose the magic with the sight of pixels or dots once close up. And not just since the advent of video walls in Microsoft stores are high definition video displays all over the retail environment.

Here's one of the first test renderings:

It made sense for us to pursue this, after having been involved on the creative retouching end for the still photography to also create this extension into motion. The challenge was not just to create believable CGI water and match the photographic look and feel of the printed image, but somehow make it magical.

Here's another rendering with depth of field added:

The cherry on top came from Robert with the idea for a little surprise at the end of the clip. Did we rise to the challenge? Click here for the final video and judge for yourself.

June 20, 2012


Checked out the new Retina MacBook at the local Apple Store and the display is amazing. For those lucky enough to have gotten their hands on one, we've rendered out a version of our 1932 Ford Roadster Hot Rod 4K video we blogged about a few months ago, this video uses every pixel of this new display, so you can see for the first time what a full Retina video looks like on your new MacBook. Or click here to download and view it in QuickTime, full screen. Fast connection recommended, although good things always come to those who wait.

April 24, 2012


If you're supposed to be creative right now, but for some reason you find yourself here instead, rest assured that the half hour wasted on watching John Cleese talk about creativity is actually not a waste, but you might even be able to chalk it up as billable time if you manage to get your client or boss to watch it too. Especially since it also includes some tips on how to stamp out creativity and control uppity creatives in the organization. So without further ado, here's Monty Python's John Cleese:

April 4, 2012


A really amazing and FUN assignment came our way just before the end of last year and it went live on Ariat's site this week. An image for Western Boots involving a pretty Western girl on a magic horse to be made out of the fancy embroidery you see on the side of these boots. Warhorse meet fashion challenge. Since the image is to be seen in Western lifestyle magazines and speaking to an audience quite knowledgeable about horses, it's probably needless to say, I learned a few things about horse anatomy and equestarian jargon in the process. This gig also gave us a chance to team up with the incredibly talented Claudia Götzelmann again to create the beauty shot of the girl. If you're familiar with this blog, or just the Raygun work, you may remember Claudia's name from the collaboration a while back with Pacifica, the water goddess. Something we just riffed on back then to explore how CGI could mesh up with fashion photography. And here we had our chance to collaborate on a real job. Take a look behind the scenes, outtakes from the shoot and a bit of the process that led up to the final image. Giddy up!

To start we needed to figure out a prop to shoot our girl on. We wanted her to look like she's actually sitting on a horse and at the same time capture her inside back leg on every take, since the magic horse would be partially see-through. A specialty acrylic manufacturer in LA who was a bit baffled at our request (later to be known as the giant glass mailbox) provided us with the solution in record time. Seen here, my wingman John who assembled the final rig and main CGI gunner Kevin doing the giddy up stress-test the day before the shoot.

It's working!

No green screen here: We had a few quick renderings with a simple glass material of the CGI horse in various poses on-set to try them out with a some of the shots coming out of Capture right away.

And continued post shoot with the same technique to explore at a wide number of selects and horse poses to find the best combo.

The finalized model complete with mane and tail details, ready for the render room.

We used the embroidery designs on the boot for reference to design the pattern that was to make up the final magic horse.

Some call it UV map, we call it a canvas. It linked to the model of the horse in the render room, allowing us to play with an array of designs and see them on the horse in real time.

One of the pattern designs on the model.

Close to final render pass.

March 30, 2012


First the kerning game, now this —, a typeface dating game. Whether to spread the love, procrastinate, or just to kill some time, you'll be working your typography chops.

February 16, 2012


Or as they say in Silicon Valley: The Future is Now. This new year also brought a new challenge in the form of a CGI motion piece we developed for a friend and client, Amine Chabane of Marseille Inc. His Silicon Valley start-up company develops 4K video chips while revolutionizing the way chips are designed and prototyped on the side. Marseille unveiled their first 4K video chips at CES in January and needed a demo loop with killer 4K content to strut their stuff, content that would actually do their massive display and new 4K chips justice. You might be asking yourself, what in the hell is "4K"? Simply put, it's when HD is just not good enough. Another way to understand it, is to think of it as video running at print resolution. Roughly four times the number of pixels of today's HD runnning on these 5 foot flat panel HDTVs you can pick up for less than a grand at BestBuy nowadays. When you think about it, even though they are called "High-Definition" those TVs are actually quite low-res, given that they have continued to get larger and larger but the resolution has stayed the same. So you don't actually see more detail on a bigger HDTV, just bigger pixels.

Compare that to your Retina iPhone or Samsung HTC phone, where the displays are basically staying the same small size, yet the resolution or the amount of pixels in that space keeps getting higher and higher with every generation. An iPhone 4 packs about 10 times more pixels into every inch than a large HDTV, while the iPhone 4s' camera shoots pictures that are now twice the resolution of what even the highest-end HDTV can display right now. It looks like 4K displays are not that far off.

For the demo then we created a motion piece that exceeded what the chip and display can deliver rather than just barely meeting it, as most RED 4K footage would and pack in tons of detail and tricky things that would tax the system enough to show where its maximum performance tops out.

The result was a four minute 4K loop that weighed in at 56 gigabytes incorporating timelapse Nikon photography, RED camera footage, and the cherry on top... a 360 of our CGI Hot Rod, the 1932 Ford Roadster you may have seen around here. This time around with a custom Marseille California Sunset Orange paintjob and personalized vintage California license plate. And then imagine having to render out 5000 print magazine pages at 300dpi and you get the idea. We let this render over the holidays, spread out over several 12-core machines, cranking the quality settings to the max.

To see the final loop on the 4K display at Marseille in Santa Clara was breathtaking.

It's difficult to express other than "you have to see it to believe it". But for what it's worth check the HD version of the video above or click on these still frames to get a taste.

Raygun MARSAY4K California Plate

Raygun Marseille 4K Frame 5076

If you're seriously interested in this kind of thing, who knows, I can talk to Amine and maybe arrange a demo for you at Marseille in Santa Clara and you can see for yourself what the future looks like right now.

January 30, 2012


To search for some extraterrestrial chickens. Have mercy on the cows. Or so the concept brief goes. Although we finished the work on this a while back, the blackout just lifted given that this goes into Chick-fil-A's 2012 calendar. The photographer for this assignment, Andy Mahr, contacted us to create the rocket and the launch platform in CGI for this image. Knowing that Scott Dorman from Smalldog Image Works would be doing the parts wrangling and final licks (aka compositing and retouching) made it easy to say "Yes", as this triumvirate constellation of Photographer-CGI-Retoucher is tried and true by now. Below the final outcome and a few in-progress renderings.

Building the Scene in 3D

It's all about the light, as any photographer will tell you.

Too bad, but this little easter egg didn't even make it past the internal review.

The Final Image