Fewer Clicks to Better Renders with Topcoat 1.5

  1. The First Plugin: The Origin Of Motion Design 22 Comments

    The More You Know

    Around 1984 I was sitting in my living room in my footie pajamas and watching Saturday morning cartoons. The commercial breaks and production company openers were FULL of animation. But it wasn’t cell animation or even stop motion. It was often blue and full of grids and starbursts.

    “The More You Know” flashed across the screen and DIC and Hanna-Barbera logos swirled around in their blue and rainbow glow.

    These animations swirled around my living room and my brain with out of tune Moog synthesizer jingles playing over them. Star-filters and dusk chrome gradients filled my head and every second of TV I could sneak in before my parents woke up.

    This was the first “Motion Graphics” that I remember seeing. And those blue swirls have stuck with me throughout my over 10 year career in Motion Design and animation.

    Chasing The Light

    Thousands of other kids my age grew up seeing all this stuff and some of us made the decision to figure out how this animation stuff is made.

    Plugin developers like Peder Norrby from Trapcode gave us ways to emulate these effects with ease. Also, Artists like Harry Frank clearly had the itch to bring these 80s effects to life.

    We traded formulas around to get that TV look JUST RIGHT.

    Scanlines? Check! CRT Effects? Check! Glows? Check.

    So many of us were trying to emulate the look we remember from the early 80s living room. And we were getting pretty dang close!

    This excellent Justice Video probably got the closest to really nailing these effects.

    But as with most emulations, you can get pretty dang close but it’s never absolutely perfect.

    I kept thinking “How in the heck did they make this stuff to begin with? How is it that we have all this new technology, plugins, and computing power and we cant make something look the way it did over 30 years ago?

    Scanimate is the answer.

    It’s All About Analog

    Finally discovering Scanimate was absolutely the missing piece in the pixel puzzle.

    Here was a huge analog computer from the 1970s with the ability to make real time animation.

    The result was filmed and manipulated on a monochrome CRT screen and then colorized all through analog circuits.

    It was then I realized why these effects were so had to emulate. The analog nature of the machine and the filming of actual phosphor made a look that was almost impossible to emulate with digital manipulation.

    Just like photographers chasing the “film look” and music lovers chasing the “analog sound”, we too were looking to our past to try and emulate old technology with modern tools.

    I obsessed over this machine. And when I found that there was still one in working condition, I knew that I just had to see this thing for myself. I was telling everyone about this thing. I even did my entire presentation at Half Rez 2014 on the Scanimate.

    Scanimate Presentation from Half Rez 2014

    My passion about the Scanimate came out during an interview with And they loved the idea of making a documentry about it. Months later, I was on a plane to North Carolina to actually see and play with a Scanimate!

    I just HAD to see what the actual process was like making an authentic analog animation just like the ones I was chasing for over 30 years.

    I had the pleasure of sitting down with original Scanimate Artist, Roy Weinstock and Scanimate Technician and owner Dave Sieg to talk about how the Scanimate got started and how all the magic worked.

    I also couldn’t pass up the chance to make an authentic Scanimate animation with the machine. You can my perma-grin in the film when they finally got my logo up on the CRT. It looked just like what I was searching for all these years. In all it’s analog glory.

    Greyscalegorilla Logo Animated With An Original Scanimate

    Thanks to Roy Weinstock, Dave Sieg, Everyone on the team and the excellent film crew for helping make this kids dream come true.

    Extra Link: (This is a Video of me in that exact living room and that same TV).

    22 Comments Posted 3 weeks ago
  2. Living in an HDRI Paradise 1 Comment

    Nef_Face_ExampleHDRI Collections: Paradise

    We just updated our HDRI Collections Product with 30 new HDRI images…we call it “Paradise”.

    Who can’t use a little Paradise in their life? This latest group of HDRIs are filled with sun and blue-sky goodness. This high-quality collection was shot in and around Brazil and South America.

    Paradise includes 30 7000px x 3500px high-quality HDRIs and is just one of the many high-quality sets that are part of HDRI Collections.

    CINEMA 4D_2016-06-20_17-52-04

    “Paradise” is just the latest set in our ever growing Greyscalegorilla HDRI Collections library. When you purchase HDRI Collections you instantly get access to ALL of the collections! Continue to pay for updates and get more HDRIs as new collections are added! When our library grows, so does yours!

    Get HDRI Collections HERE!

    1 Comment Posted 3 weeks ago
  3. Rigging and Animating Whaley 20 Comments


    I’ve been itching to do a little bit of character rigging so today we’re going to rig up Whaley using joints and some easy weighting tricks then use inverse kinematics to drive most of his movement. A little looping animation from Signal and we’ve got ourselves a happy little Whaley! Whaley was modelled by our friend Patrick Goski, head over to his site to see more great models. Head to the bottom of the post to grab the Whaley model to follow along.


    In this Tutorial we will:

    1. Create a skeleton using joints

    2. Use the weights manager to quickly bind the joints to the model

    3. Add IK to add dynamic rig, even avoiding collisions.

    4. Animate just four parametrics using Signal to get a fast, fluid, and happy animation


    The Tutorial:


    Get The Model Here

    Please share your creations and questions in the comments below!

    20 Comments Posted 3 weeks ago
  4. How to Create Pixel Art Renders in Cinema 4D 7 Comments

    In this tutorial, we’re going to have some fun creating pixel art inside of Cinema 4D, Cinema 4D Lite, and After Effects!  First I’ll cover the super easy workflow to turn your 3D compositions into pixelated 8 bit style renders directly in of Cinema 4D without any need to bring into Photoshop or After Effects.  Then, I’ll show you how you can use Sketch & Toon to create Nintendo style 8 bit looks devoid of 3D shading.  Scroll down to the bottom to watch another version of my tutorial where I’ll show you the workflow Adobe Creative Cloud users can follow utilizing Cinema 4D Lite and After Effects.  Happy pixelating!

    If you want to learn more about Sketch and Toon, be sure to check out my Creating Motion Graphics with Sketch and Toon course on that is a comprehensive walkthrough of all the features in Sketch and Toon or the Cel Shader check out my quick breakdown of Sketch & Toon outlines in this tutorial and the Cel Shader in this tutorial.
    I also have collections of useful Sketch and Toon ready 3D models in my Sketch and Toon Model Packs that you can turn into 8 bit art that you can find out more about here: Sketch and Toon Model Pack that you can find out more about here.

    If you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this 8 bit workflow, I’d love to see it so be sure to share it with me on Twitter!  Thanks for watching!

    This was recorded live on the C4DLive Twitch stream.  To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.

    Cinema 4D Tutorial:

    After Effects & Cinema 4D Lite Tutorial:

    Visit for more from EJ

    7 Comments Posted 4 weeks ago