Posted On:April 2018 | Greyscalegorilla

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Cineversity Tutorial: Learning Cinema 4D Through Experimentation

April 30, 2018 - By 
Cineversity Tutorial: Learning Cinema 4D Through Experimentation - Featured

GIF via Cineversity / Zachary Corzine.

This is a must-watch presentation on learning Cinema 4D through experimentation and exploration. Watch as Zachary Corzine guides you through his C4D projects.

This hands-on approach to learning Cinema 4D is the best way to discover features and tools. You really have to see Zachary breakdown his use of the Cloner, Effectors, and Dynamics all together to create these stunning renders.

Here’s a glimpse at the projects he is going to breakdown.

Image via Cineversity / Zachary Corzine.

Zachary will demonstrate how the Follow Position and Rotation options in Cinema 4D’s Rigid-Body Dynamics can be used to create dynamic simulations that are art-directable with shaders and effectors.

You’ll also see him use the Blend mode within the Cloner object to make it easy to transition objects between various states, like cube to sphere, static to dynamic, or from metallic to glass.

This is a true master class in C4D’s MoGraph toolset will inspire you to create your own outstanding animations through exploration.

Special thanks to Cineversity for the recording, and many thanks for Maxon for having so many great presenters at their 2018 NAB booth.

Here’s a timestamped breakdown of the presentation.

00:00 – Introduction
02:38 – Shader-Driven Dynamics
09:35 – Coloring Clones with Octane’s Mograph Color Node
13:07 – Adding Interest with Turbulence and Noise Falloff
16:21 – Effectors Triggering Dynamics
17:30 – Morphing between shapes with Cloner Blend mode and Modify Clone
20:16 – Transitioning Dynamic States with MoGraph Effectors
21:23 – Blending between materials with Octane Mix Material
23:28 – Adding Dynamic Forces
25:10 – Simulated Soft-Body Dynamics with Displace Deformer
27:24 – Blending Clone Deformations
31:22 – Source Falloff
33:28 – Procedural C4D Pong

Follow Zachary Corzine

Image via Zachary Corzine.

See more from Zachary Corzine by following him on Instagram or check out his porfolio.

New to learning Cinema 4D? Take our free Intro to Cinema 4D series.


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Our Favorite Episodes of the Greyscalegorilla Podcast

April 27, 2018 - By 

We celebrate our 100th episode milestone by sharing a dozen of our favorite Greyscalegorilla podcasts.

To celebrate 100 episodes of the Greyscalegorilla podcast, we put together a list of some of our favorite episodes. In order of release, dive into these staff favorites.

Is this the end of the Mac?

Way back in one of our earliest episodes, we talked about Apple’s failure to meed the demands of creatives, especially 3D artists and C4D users.

Podcast: Is this the end of the Macintosh for C4D artists?
Episode: 009
Date: November 07, 2016
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Are You Too Old To Do 3D?

We are all getting older, but are we getting too old for this fast-paced and continuously evolving industry?

Podcast: Can you outgrow the motion design industry?
Episode: 046
Date: January 18, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Make Mornings Suck Less

This classic episode covers our morning routines and the odd habits we’ve picked up that help us get our day started. Like most other episodes, we also talk render wars.

Podcast: Make Mornings Suck Less
Episode: 051
Date: February 20, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Tips For Working Remotely

In this episode, we share all the good, bad, and lonely parts about working from home. From self discipline to tools, we cover tips and tricks on making working from home easier.

Podcast: Tips for working remotely
Episode: 057
Date: April 03, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Our take on Apple’s WWDC 2017

Between this and the previous Mac episode, you may see our growing frustrations over the years. Here’s what we though about the newest (at the time) Apple products.

Podcast: Our take on WWDC 2017
Episode: 065
Date: June 06, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


What would you tell your past self?

In this podcast episode, we all share the things we wish we would have known sooner. Whether it’s learning new skills or breaking down your decisions, this is all about questioning your path.

Podcast: What would you tell your past self?
Episode: 078
Date: September 26, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Learning how to learn

Back-to-back favorite episodes? You better believe it. Following up to self-advice to our younger selves, we then dive into the unique ways we as creatives learn, or even learn how to learn.

Podcast: Learning how to learn
Episode: 079
Date: October 04, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Wrangling client expectations

Whether your dealing with clients face to face or through a studio CD or Producer, this can be a tricky minefield to navigate. The guys share strategies around wrangling client expectations, using plenty of their trademark metaphors.

Podcast: Wrangling client expectations
Episode: 081
Date: October 17, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Our favorite things we’ve learned in mograph

We answer a bunch of questions including our favorite things we’ve learned in mograph. We touch on just about everything on this one, including 3D tools, production strategies, and inspirational posters.

Podcast: Our favorite things we’ve learned in mograph
Episode: 083
Date: October 31, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


PROJECT BREAKDOWN

This is a special episode that breaks away from our standard format, Chad and Chris breakdown the animated trailer they created for The Happy Toolbox. You’ll want to watch this episode, so you can see our workspace and renders.

Podcast: The Happy Toolbox project breakdown
Episode: 084
Date: November 14, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Good Money. Good Work. Good Life Balance. Pick Two.

How do you strike a balance between work and life, and how do you keep the important stuff from falling away? The group talks about freelancing versus going staff, and finding balance and ultimately happiness in this crazy creative business.

Podcast: Good Money. Good Work. Good Life Balance. Pick Two.
Episode: 086
Date: November 27, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Where did we go wrong?

We managed to make episode 100 an all time favorite. We share stories, many we never have, about our failures. Whether we failed at a job, or made life mistakes, our failures helped lead us to where we are and what we know. Bonus, we have some free downloads to giveaway!

Podcast: Where did we go wrong?
Episode: 100
Date: April 26, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.


Did your favorite episode not make the list? Let us know down in the comments which podcasts you loved. If you are looking for more episodes, check out the podcast page for every episode.


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Cineversity Tutorial: Speeding Up Your Animation Workflows with C4D

April 25, 2018 - By 
Cineversity Tutorial: Speeding Up Your Animation Workflows with C4D - Cover

In this tutorial from Cineversity, motion designer EJ Hassenfratz shows you how he transitioned from 2D to 3D workflows using Cinema 4D.

Image via EJ Hassenfratz / Cineversity.

Recorded live at Maxon’s 2018 NAB booth, this Cineversity tutorial features motion designer, and Greyscalegorilla regular, EJ Hassenfratz. You’ll hear about him starting his career making 3D logos, and then shifting to work on his animation and color fundamentals.

This is a great presentation for After Effects and 2D creators looking to get started with 3D. You’ll learn about integrating Cinema4D into your 2D workflow, saving time with C4D animation tools, character animation, and some other helpful time saving tips. Dive into Sketch and Toon, learn about Jiggle Deformer, and learn helpful techniques using Voronoi Fracture objects and Dynamics.

Ready? Let’s tune in.

Presentation Breakdown

Here’s a timestamped breakdown courtesy of our friends at Cineversity.

00:00 – Introduction
06:42 – Reel
08:37 – Joystick Project
08:49 – Sketch and Toon Renderer
09:57 – Adjusting Shading Settings
11:22 – Adding Grain
12:26 – Animation Tips
13:07 – Time Remapping with Time Tracks
17:58 – Secondary Animation with the Jiggle Deformer
20:35 – Using the Jiggle Deformer to create Springy Type
23:43 – Better Silhouettes with Falloffs
24:43 – Realtime Liquid Effects
27:50 – Dynamics for Logo Animation
28:17 – Breaking a Logo into Pieces with Voronoi Fracture
28:52 – Adding Dynamics Tags
30:23 – Art-Directing Dynamics with the Trigger Options
31:41 – Invisible Dynamics Triggers with the Ghost Collider Option
33:09 – Other-Worldly Results with Forces
36:47 – Simple Character Animation
39:46 – Squash and Stretch Deformer
41:17 – Reusing Deformer Animation for Different Characters
42:01 – Rigging
42:38 – Adding Joints / Bones
44:26 – Adding Automatic Secondary Animation with IK Dynamics

More from EJ Hassenfratz

GIF via EJ Hassenfratz / Cineversity.


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PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives

April 24, 2018 - By 
PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives - Featured Image

Keep your reference images and project notes in your sight at all times with PureRef. No more tabbing between windows and programs.

Once in a while, a productivity tool comes along and changes the way I work. Now to be clear, I think of a good coffee cup as a productivity tool, so that should give a bit of insight into my obsession with honing in my toolset. When a tool can drastically improve your work or your life, I feel compelled to tell people about it. So this is me yelling from the rooftop about my latest obsession, PureRef.

PureRef is a straightforward utility app for Windows, Mac, and Linux with a very simple premise. Keep your reference images in view at all times. The app places your references in a window that stay on top of all your active programs and tools. 

All day I bounce back and forth between my DCC (digital content creation) apps to random reference bookmarks or folders on my machine. Sometimes even dragging images into the Cinema 4D picture viewer just to keep them in sight.

With PureRef, you can create a new canvas and drag as many images onto its infinite canvas as you’d like. The best part is that you can tell PureRef to stay on top of all your open applications and windows. While you’re working, you can dial in your look while having all your reference imagery sitting right next to your preview render (IPR).

The ability to save canvases means you can start keeping multiple PureRef projects to suit your current needs. It’s a huge time saver. I also love how you can quickly zoom, resize, and re-arrange your images anytime you’d like, saving the changes for the next time you need instant inspiration.

This tool improved the look of my work on first use. I was able to take 20 minutes assembling reference imagery, and during my look-dev process, I was able to hit the look I was after in minutes. You can even add notes to yourself within the PureRef canvas. 

Having reference imagery sitting an inch away from your IPR is something I will no longer be able to live without. You will see a lot of it in the future in my tutorials. So do yourself a favor, find an excellent sturdy coffee cup and go download PureRef right now.

About PureRef and Download

PureRef allows you to drag-and-drop files from your machine, or directly from browsers. You can also edit photos in your canvas to meet your needs, including rotation, scale, crop, opacity, and more. You can also customize the canvas and keyboard shortcuts to speed things up.

  • Compatibility
    • Windows 7+
    • Mac OS X 10.9+
    • Linux Ubuntu 14.04+
  • Supported Image Formats
    • BMP, DDS, GIF, ICNS, ICO, JPEG, JP2, MNG, PBM, PGM, PNG, PNM, PPM, PSD, TIFF, WEBP, XBM, XPM, TGA(TrueVision 2.0)

PureRef is a name your own price download, and you can get it here. It’s well worth throwing them a few dollars if you can.


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X-Particles 4 Training is Here. Stream Over 20 Hours of XP Content.

April 19, 2018 - By 

We have doubled down on our Gorilla Guide to X-Particles. This professionally guided series now includes over 20 hours of X-Particles training, including new XP4 features.

Join XP master Jon Bosley in the most definitive X-Particles training available. When first launched, the Gorilla Guide to X-Particles included 50 training videos on X-Particles 3.5. Now we’ve added an additional 20+ new videos on using XP4 in Cinema 4D!

The X-Particles 4 appendix covers all of the following:

  • New and Updated Modifiers
  • New and Updated Generators
  • Special Objects
  • Dynamics
    • PPCollisions
    • FlowField
    • Constraints
    • FLIP Domain
    • Fluid PBD
    • ExplosiaFX
    • ClothFX
  • Questions and Actions

If you are ready to master X-Particles, these training videos will take you for a deep dive into this particle and VFX system for Cinema 4D.

Check out the Gorilla Guide to X-Particles product page for more information, or check out the trailer below.

Already own the Gorilla Guide to X-Particles? The additional XP4 training is available to you for FREE! You can stream the X-Particles 4 Appendix in your Greyscalegorilla account now. Just search for the new series under Your Products and Training.

Don’t have Insydium’s X-Particles?  Check out our store for more details. We also have free Cinema 4D X-Particles tutorials on our site, if you aren’t ready to dive into the Gorilla Guide training.

 


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Real-Time Rendering, Free Tools, Ray Tracing and Motion Design News

April 18, 2018 - By 

Early 2018 has brought about tons of new products, major rendering announcements, and much more to discuss. Let’s dive in.

Most developers and companies announce their new products and updates in Q1. This year, it was a big year for 3D designers and video game developers. We saw some big updates on rendering. Let’s take a look at all the big announcements so far this year.  Also, be sure to download the free tools from Greyscalegorilla, and well as some beta downloads from third-party renderers down below.

Real-Time Rendering is Changing the Design Landscape + Free Unreal Studio Beta

In this great piece on CG Society, you can take a look at the work of Unreal Studio in terms of these real-time renders.

Image via CGSociety.

“73 percent of respondents stated that real-time rendering is important to their workflows, suggesting a major shift towards modern rendering engines is already well underway. Unreal Engine was cited as the most popular real-time engine among respondents who aren’t already using it in their design pipeline.”

Head over to CGSociety for much more on Unreal Studio, and you can even download a free beta to play with.


NVIDIA, Unreal Engine, and the Future of Ray Tracing

Earlier this month, Epic Games, NVIDIA, and ILMxLAB released a Star Wars short showing off real-time ray tracing in Unreal Engine. Lighting is moved around the scene interactively, and the shadows and reflections render in real time.

You can dive much deeper into ray tracing over on the NVIDIA blog, where they show off their API and pipeline.

Image: Ray tracing pipeline via NVIDIA.

Engadget dives a little deeper into ray-tracing with this breakdown video, which is definitely worth a watch. Chris Schodt also touches on tesselation, shaders, occlusion, and mapping to achieve nearly photo-realistic renders.

You can read more about this video on Engadget.

For an even more in-depth dive into ray tracing, you must listen to the GPU Technology Conference panel with founders, lead engineers, and supervisors at Pixar, Blur Studio, Autodesk, Otoy, Redshift, Epic Games, Chaos Group, Isotropix, and NVIDIA.

You can listen to the entire panel’s presentation here.


Free Tools, Models, and Scene Files from Greyscalegorilla

At NAB, we compiled many of our free downloads from over the years, as well as some of the files we presented at the Maxon booth this year.

Head over to our Free Downloads page to get all the assets you want. There you will find free presets, tools, scene files, and 3D models from the GSG community and our friends at The Happy Toolbox.


Autodesk announces Arnold 5.1 and Arnold GPU Updates

The Arnold 5.1 update brings users adaptive sampling, a new toon shader, denoising solutions, and more. The company also updates us on bringing Arnold to the GPU.

First, let’s check out this Arnold 5.1 video from Autodesk.

The Arnold video features Chad Ashley’s work with the new toon shader. You can see some of his final renders on his Instagram account.

Here’s a glance at his proton pack from the Happy Toolbox model pack.

 And another with some shading tests from the new toon shader.

 You can read more about the 5.1 update on the Autodesk site.

Image via GPU Technology Conference.

As for the GPU, there was much to be said in the update and demo you can watch here from the GPU Technology Conference.


Otoy Octane 4

In more rendering news, Otoy recently announced OctaneRender 4. Octane 4 introduces AI light, AI scene, AI denoiser, and out of core geometry.

You can read more about Octane 4 here, and if you have a V3 license you can download this build, which Otoy has also released a list of current issues.


GorillaCam

The newest tool from Greyscalegorilla, GorrillaCam allows you to add natural handshake and organic movement to your Cinema 4D camera.

Think of GorillaCam as a filter that you attach to your original camera. You feed GorillaCam a pre-animated (or still) camera and that becomes the “reference” camera. That way you are free to add as much overshoot, smooth, and shake as you like without destroying your original camera.

GorillaCam was recently used by designer Ash Thorp in his latest piece for Nike. We had a chance to talk to him about the project, and you can read the full Ash Thorp interview here. You can read more or buy GorillaCam in the GSG store.


Renderman XPU Update

Image via Disney / Pixar.

Pixar announced that RenderMan XPU is currently in active development, with a release planned after the delivery of RenderMan 22.

“The RenderMan XPU project is addressing the challenge of rendering Pixar-scale production assets on systems with a mix of CPU and GPU capabilities. From a single set of assets, RenderMan XPU produces film-quality renderings by seamlessly using all available compute cores concurrently. RenderMan XPU is a single renderer that can operate on a variety of systems, from render farm machines with mid-range CPUs only all the way up to workstations or servers having many-core CPUs and multiple extreme GPUs.”

The photo above features a scene from Coco, without shaders and lights, that was rendered by XPU. Read more about Renderman XPU on the Pixar site.


Happy Toolbox on Adobe Stock

The whimsical 3D models created by The Happy Toolbox are now available on Adobe Stock. You can individually license a single model for you project needs, or you can bundle up and get the entire pack right here on Greyscalegorilla. Read more about the 3D models on Adobe Stock here.


More articles worth a read:

In addition to all this news, we have a few more pieces and projects you may enjoy.


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The Happy Toolbox: 3D Models Now Available on Adobe Stock

April 17, 2018 - By 

You can now license individual fun-loving 3D models from The Happy Toolbox on Adobe Stock, or get the whole bundled pack on Greyscalegorilla.

Are you on the hunt for a specific 3D model for a certain project? Find what you are looking for with these fantastic models from our friends at The Happy Toolbox.

We are thrilled to see that the incredibly fun 3D models from The Happy Toolbox have made their way onto Adobe Stock for creatives to use these models in their Adobe Dimension CC projects.

There are over 150 OBJ files, meaning you can use these models in Adobe Dimension CC, Cinema 4D, Maya, 3ds Max, Blender, and more!

The team over at Happy Toolbox also put together a quick Adobe Dimension CC tutorial, showing you how easy it is to render these models with material textures and custom backgrounds.

Head on over to Adobe’s Create blog to see the tutorial by Happy Toolbox.

These models are also compatible with Cinema 4D, which we originally used to put together this Happy Toolbox pack promo.

If you want to see how we used The Happy Toolbox models in Cinema 4D, check out this breakdown.

You can license over 150 Happy Toolbox models individually on the Adobe Stock site, or you can bundle up and get the 180 model pack here on Greyscalegorilla.

I also had the opportunity to chat with Adobe about how much I love using these models from The Happy Toolbox. You can read that interview on the Adobe blog.


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Nick Campbell Honored as StudioDaily 50 Honoree at NAB 2018

April 10, 2018 - By 

Congratulations to Greyscalegorilla founder Nick Campbell for his recognition as one of the top creatives and technologists.

StudioDaily honors Nick Campbell as a 2018 StudioDaily 50 honoree. The list includes fifty of the top executives, independents, specialists, and technologists in the creative industry.

“The annual StudioDaily 50 honors professionals across the full range of our industry who create, innovate and interact in groundbreaking, envelope-expanding ways every day. It’s our honor to recognize Nick Campbell for [his] invaluable technical and creative contributions to the media industry.” – Bryant Frazer, editor of StudioDaily.

Campbell is recognized for his candid teaching style, which helped turn Greyscalegorilla into the top resources for the motion design and 3D community. Campbell and his collaborators have collectively created hundreds of online tutorials, Cinema 4D and motion design tools, and industry leading training 

StudioDaily also recognized fellow Cinema 4D artist and educator Julia Siemónmotion graphics industry professional who specializes in design direction and creative support for commercial and broadcast clients.

“Julia and Nick are two incredible Cinema 4D artists whose respective work consistently pushes the boundaries in 3D motion graphics design. They are both well deserving of today’s industry recognition for their work, but even more so for their contributions to the Cinema 4D community as a whole.

As guest artist presenters at our NAB booth, they once again extend their generosity by sharing tips and techniques to inspire the next generation of 3D artists.” –  Paul Babb, President/CEO MAXON US.

NAB attendees can visit with Cambpell and Siemón during and after their presentations at the Maxon booth. Their presentations will also be streamed live at c4dlive.com.

See the complete list of StudioDaily 50 honorees at studiodaily.com.


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Interview: Ash Thorp on Creating a Cyberpunk Western for Nike

April 9, 2018 - By 
Interview: Ash Thorp on Creating a Cyberpunk Western for Nike - Featured

Designer and Art Director Ash Thorp creates a sci-fi spaghetti western in this Nike VaporMax spot. See how he used GorillaCam to bring the project to life.

Nike’s fourth collaboration with ACRONYM® sees the release of the Nike Air VaporMax Moc 2. To announce the new sneakers, Nike released the following trailer featuring ACRONYM® founder Errolson Hugh and musician John Mayer.

Blink and you might miss the stellar work of designer and all-around creative mind, Ash Thorp. If you aren’t familiar with Thorp’s work, he created many of the stunning posters, concept art, VFX, and titles used in films like Blade Runner 2049, Ghost in the Shell, and several Marvel blockbusters.

You can take a closer look at his Nike work in this video Thorp shared on Twitter.

We wanted to learn more about how this collaboration came about, so we reached out to Ash Thorp. Here’s what we found out in our interview:


Chad Ashley: For those not familiar with your work, could you give us a brief history of who you are, and what you do?

Ash Thorp: My name is Ash Thorp, and I am a creative, I’m a director, artist, illustrator. I’ve been working in the feature film industry and AAA games industry for almost 8 years now.

I primarily work on feature films, that’s my client work. I’m slowly migrating all my efforts to direct my own feature film.

I’m basically a generalist. [laughs]

CA: How long have you been using Cinema 4D?

AT: I’ve been working in Cinema 4D maybe about 7 years now. It’s kinda crazy, seeing I still kinda suck at it. [laughs]

CA: I’m curious about that. You’re work is amazing, and you do a lot of original concept work. How much of that is done in 3D versus sketching.

AT: It all varies and depends. I will sketch my thoughts on paper. If it’s a motion piece, I’ll do a still, or series of stills to sell the idea. From there, it’s full on pipeline mode to do the animation and all that fun stuff.

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

CA: I just watched your new Nike piece, and it is just fantastic. Can you tell me how that started?

AT: Yeah, it was a quick job. Very quick. Just a couple of weeks. I knew Errolson, who is the founder of ACRONYM clothing. He’s just an awesome guy, and I’ve had him on my podcast.

So, he was pitching a concept and idea to the team at Nike for the release of his new shoe collaboration, the VaporMax. He was like, “You know who could do this? Ash Thorp.”

They needed to make a world very quickly. They pitched the idea to me, to merge a spaghetti western and a cyberpunk world. Instantly I was like, “Wow, that’s really weird. That sounds good. Let’s do it!”

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

I was thinking, well, we’re really in a place in the realm of CGI that you can do anything you want. That’s really powerful for someone like me, who just wants to get these ideas out of my head as fast as possible.

I saw the vision for what it was, so I grabbed a bunch of assets off of turbosquid, modeled a bunch of stuff, and did some style frames. The Nike guys loved it, Errolson loved it, and then I was like – Ok. To the races.

I was basically rendering for an entire week with all my cards on fire. I think it was a total of three weeks, from nothing to the final.

I wasn’t alone. I had my buddy Toros Kose, and he took care a lot of the heavy lifting in After Effects while I was rendering and building out the worlds. We had a lot of fun passing stuff back and forth.

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

CA: So it was just the two of you?

AT: Yeah baby!

CA: Dude, that’s great.

AT: I think it’s the future. The future is in smaller teams of smart people working together, complementing strengths and weaknesses and making good stuff. In my mind that’s really where things are going.

I’m seeing the death of the bigger studio. I could be completely wrong, I just feel like that’s the way I’m moving.

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

CA: I don’t think you’re far off at all. I remember a while back, that you were mentioning you were starting a potential job that would be good for GorillaCam, which we were we still pretty early on in developing. I got you an early version of the plugin to play with. I had no idea you were going to actually use it on a job!

AT: You literally gave me the plugin the day I started animating. That’s how good it is!

CA: Wow, my timing is just that good.  [laughs]

AT: I took it, and watched the tutorial. I think that’s one thing that I will say is so important for software creators and app developers. Please give us an understanding of how this thing works. For people that are crazy busy like myself, and with an attention span of a nit-wit.

I watched the tutorial, and I went right into it. I was like, “Oh, this is what I’ve been wanting for forever now.”

This is the way I did it, which is probably against the way you intended – but I don’t care. I just kept hitting “I’m feeling lucky.” I made two cameras and said I’m feeling lucky, and I was like, yeah, that’s good. Alright, cool. Then I rendered it out.

I wanted it to feel really weird and handheld. Kind of like a drone that was super spazzy. So, I created the cameras in a point A point B, then patched everything together using the GorrilaCam.

I would change the scale to World Scale proper, and then I’d just keep hitting I’m Feeling Lucky. I had no time to really finesse things.

CA: That is exactly how I use it, just so you know. When we were designing it, I said to Chris Schmidt, I want a button that says I’m feeling lucky. I got used to the Google Play Music “I’m Feeling Lucky” button that would build playlists for me. I wanted that functionality in GorillaCam. Sometimes you could surprise yourself, you’re not really sure what you want. So I usually hit that or Randomize Seeds.

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

AT: Beautiful. Thank you for that. That’s how I work. I’m a weird hyper-child who pixel-fucks everything to death, but I also like randomness. So I enjoy the ability of having flaws. I like to be surprised when I make things.

When you’re at a computer, it’s such a linear experience. It’s very controlled. Oftentimes, it’s about putting imperfections into your work to let it breathe.

I think it works mighty fine for me, and I’m gonna use it like that till the end of time. [laughs]

I’m starting to do pre-viz for my films, and I started slapping the GorillaCam on there, just so it doesn’t feel so rigid. It just helps me do my job faster.

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

CA: I’ve always wanted this tool in Cinema, and I feel very fortunate to work with developers who can make this a reality. The most satisfaction I get from my job, is hearing from artists like you and hearing that they’re getting something out of it.

AT: I couldn’t be more thankful, honestly. You guys have an interest, you build something, it’s awesome, it’s very useful. It helps me just be an artsy-fartsy guy.

When it comes to CGI work, the thing I love is that it’s the most powerful of the artforms, I think. The thing that I hate about it, it’s the most powerful. It’s so hard to get good at fast. You can’t just go, but you can make a multi-dimensional experience.

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

CA: What renderer did you guys use for this?

AT: I’m using Octane right now. Testing out Redshift still, but I’m worried about learning a whole new thing.

CA: That’s why I’m here, friend.

AT: [laughs] I know, I know! I’ve seen your new tutorials on Redshift, and it looks so promising and awesome. Especially to someone like me, who uses a lot of volumetric and lights and doesn’t like noise. But, I’ve been using Octane since I started doing GPU stuff.

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

CA: What about the comp pipeline, that was all After Effects?

AT: Yeah. I just like to render everything without any passes and send if off. I’m kindy risky like that. Then Toros and I will take all the renders, which I have 6 GPUS – 3 Nvidia Titan X‘s and 3 Nvidia GeForce 1080‘s. Some scenes are really heavy geo-wise, so it would be 8 or 9 GB of VRAM. So they’d take like 7-8 minutes a frame.

I think there were 20 shots, each with maybe 40-80 frames, so it was just a lot of rendering. I just didn’t want to do extra passes on top of that. I just didn’t want to deal with that, and I didn’t have the time.

We originally cut it to a Justice track, added glitch and removing things and going bonkers on it up until it shipped. We were working on it up until the last minute.

You know, you hate it when you do it, but the only way to get that stuff out is to put that pressure. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just how it goes.

The people at Nike are very talented, and have great taste. I’m just lucky that they picked me to go along the ride with them, and they realize that they best way to do this stuff is work with a creative and stay out of their way.

They just let me be a bozo and get crazy. Plus I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cyber-western.

CA: That’s great. Thanks for sharing and talking with me.

AT: Thank you for what you’re doing! And thank the entire team at GSG. You’re making it easier to do what I want to do, which I appreciate. Thanks!

Image via Nike / Acronym / Ash Thorp.

Project Credits:

Client – Nike
Creative Director – Danny Demers
Designer/Animator/Art Director – Ash Thorp
Designer/Animator – Toros Kose
Score – Pilotpriest
Producer – Monica Thorp
Producer – Collin Samples
Producer – Bria Hisey
Special Thanks – ZaoeyoGreyscalegorilla

More about this project:

If you want to know more about the product, you can read more about the shoe collaboration on Nike’s website. For more of Ash Thorp’s work, check out his website. His site also includes many of his reels from the films and other projects he’s produced. His Behance page also includes more incredible renders from this project.

You should also check out Ash Thorp’s AWAKEN AKIRA passion project. The short tribute film also has hours of behind-the-scenes breakdowns in C4D and AE.

Image via Ash Throp / Zaoeyo.

If you are curious about the GorillaCam plugin, you can check out the GorillaCam product page here.


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Hands-on Review: Cinema 4D Backlit ASTRA Keyboard

April 4, 2018 - By 
Hands-on Review: Cinema 4D Backlit ASTRA Keyboard - Featured

We test out the backlit Cinema 4D ASTRA keyboard from LogicKeyboard. Do you need one on your desk?

So why am I reviewing a keyboard when there are so many other juicy things to talk about in hardware? I guess because this particular item scratched an itch that’s been bothering me for two years.

When I first started learning Cinema 4D, I was coming from Maya and 3ds Max. To get a leg up on the learning curve, I decided to port most of my shortcuts over to C4D so I could get up and running as fast as possible. It was all going swimmingly until I started realizing that in most of my tutorials I would be hitting hotkeys that made complete sense to me in my Maya/Max mindset, but would be utterly confusing to the C4D artists following along.

Image via LogicKeyboard.

I recently came across LogicKeyboard’s Cinema 4D ASTRA, a keyboard with specific hotkeys printed on each key. Was this keyboard finally my excuse to ditch my patchwork hotkeys and go legit? I reached out to LogicKeyboard, and they were kind enough to send me a unit to review.

Before we get into it, I think you should know that I’m not a mechanical keyboard enthusiast (though this was not for lack of trying). I purchased a Cherry MX3850 and gave mechanical keyboards a shot. After about a week of the clickety-clack lifestyle, I ended up back at my trusty Apple wired keyboard. Yes, I’m on a PC and I use an Apple keyboard. I’m a sucker for both the form factor and the feel of the Mac keys. I don’t like a lot of travel, and I love how quiet it is. With that in mind, here’s what I thought about this scissor-switch Cinema 4D keyboard.

Image via LogicKeyboard.

ASTRA Cinema 4D Keyboard Specs:

  • Backlit keys
  • Dimmable light with five levels
  • Built-in dual USB-ports 2.0
  • Scissor-switch keys
  • Color-coded labelled shortcut keys with graphical commands
  • Compatible with PC and Mac
  • Dimensions – 17 5/8” x 6” x 11/4” (446mm x 150mm x 30mm)
  • Net weight – 2.1 lbs (950 grams)
  • Number of keys – 104 (ANSI version) 105 (ISO version)
  • Manufactured for 10.000.000 keystrokes per key
  • 1.8 meter cable with separate keyboard and hub connections (avoid interference with USB extenders)

First Impressions

I have to say, I was rather impressed by Logickeyboard’s packaging and overall presentation. A clean well-designed box is always a treat to open. Especially those with magnetic clasps that snap shut. Always satisfying. In addition to the keyboard, it shipped with a disposable cleaning wipe and a transparent silicone keyboard cover.

Image via Chad Ashley.

The keyboard itself was larger than I had expected. A few inches longer and deeper than my Apple keyboard. A bit taller as well. The ASTRA has a dual USB plug, one to plug directly into your machine’s keyboard port, and another USB 3 plug that will turn the keyboard into a USB 3.0 hub.

What immediately drew my attention was all of the useful standard Cinema 4D shortcuts printed on all of the keys. It was like looking into a shortcut menu sitting right under your fingers. The printing on the keys is of high quality and well designed overall. When backlit, the ASTRA has several levels of brightness, but no RGB support. I must note that keys do seem uneven in their translucency.

Once I plugged the ASTRA in, I fired up C4D and I was off and running. I simply had to delete my old shortcuts and switch to the C4D default layout.

The Good

Image via Chad Ashley.

Overall, typing on the ASTRA is a reasonably pleasant experience. Key travel and feel was on par with other scissor-switch keyboards I’ve owned. I must say though that the hardware is not what impresses with the ASTRA. The keyboard’s ability to teach me the proper shortcuts in C4D keeps me coming back. It turns out having hotkeys in front of my face and under my fingers is precisely the sort of motivation I needed to legitimize my shortcuts.

I began to transition to the new keys reasonably quickly, and whenever I got stuck a quick glance down would set me straight. I also enjoyed the multiple levels of backlighting. It was helpful to transition to a brighter back when needed. I found myself discovering shortcuts printed on the keys that I had never even known about.

The Not So Good

Image via Chad Ashley.

The biggest problem I had with the ASTRA was the build quality. Several times my right index finger would catch the underside of the “h” key and nearly pop it off. A few other keys also randomly popped off with barely a press. Luckily they could snap right back into place but it was annoying nonetheless.

I personally was not a big fan of the key press feel, which was a bit mushy. My fingers would become fatigued when typing for long periods of time. Its size was not as big of an issue as I had anticipated, but I do wish it were a bit slimmer.

It’s worth mentioning that this keyboard is not easily affordable, with a retail price of $139. At that price, I would have liked to see some dedicated audio controls, or perhaps a slimmer build.

Summary

Image via Chad Ashley.

I’m rather split overall. I would highly recommend the LogicKeyboard ASTRA for anyone wanting to double down on learning the C4D shortcuts. This is a fantastic learning tool, much more useful than a laminated shortcut cheat sheet (which I’ve had my fair share of over the years).

Though it has a well designed look and appeal, the keyboard itself doesn’t really stand out from other traditional keyboards. If you are a big fan of mechanical or scissor-switch keyboards, you likely won’t be stunned by this device.

So if you are ready to commit to being a hotkey master, this might be worth the price tag. The real question is whether or not it stays on your desk when you’re ready to take the training wheels off. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

You can check out or order the LogicKeyboard Cinema 4D ASTRA keyboard here.


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Welcome Marketing Director Michael Maher to Greyscalegorilla

April 3, 2018 - By 
Michael Maher Greyscalegorilla

We are excited to introduce Michael Maher as the newest member of the Greyscalegorilla team.

Greyscalegorilla continues to grow to better support the needs of our incredible community and customers. With that in mind, we are excited to introduce Michael Maher as our new Marketing Director. Michael will be helping share and promote all the amazing tutorials and content you see here on the site, in emails, and on our various social media channels.

Michael is a fellow creative with over two decades of experience in film and video. He started his professional career in documentary film, sports broadcast, and live production as a shooter and editor. Michael began sharing his experiences by creating video tutorials and writing articles for the PremiumBeat and RocketStock blogs, which were then acquired by Shutterstock. He transitioned from writer to manager, eventually leading all global content marketing initiatives for Shutterstock and its subsidiaries.

In his time there, Michael created tools and tutorials for filmmakers, video editors, designers, and photographers. Aside from the business successes, Michael is most proud of the industry-leading content his team continues to make. His strengths are in creating actionable and engaging content, and he has a passion for helping the creative community hone their skills.

Michael’s Bio

Michael is a Texas native currently living in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. He began making films at 5-years old with his younger brother. The two of them studied Radio, Television and Film at the University of North Texas, and went on to co-direct documentary films, commercials, and shorts.

Like every filmmaker in the world, Michael is “award-winning,” though he’d rather brag about his replica Michael Keaton Batman cowl and other various movie memorabilia. He once cried when opening a pair of knock-off Back to the Future II shoes – they don’t self-lace, but they do light up!

He now considers himself an accidental writer, and pretty darn good marketer.

Facebook: @michaelmaherwrites
Instagram: @maherfilms