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Spring Sale 2018

May 22, 2018 - By 

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Cineversity Tutorial: Using Cinema 4D to Create Broadcast TV Promos

May 17, 2018 - By 

Cineversity Tutorial: Using Cinema 4D to Create Broadcast TV Promos - Examples

Learn techniques and tricks used to create broadcast promo videos for action, comedy, thriller, and sci-fi shows in Cinema 4D.

As the Motion Graphics Design Director for Fox Broadcasting, Dan Pierse creates promos and non-traditional marketing assets in Cinema 4D. In his two presentations, he will demonstrate several techniques he uses while creating different types of promos. Dan first shows you how to create action and comedy promos, and then in part two he will cover sci-fi and thrillers.

To showcase these techniques, he’ll be promoting a fictional channel called Flux. He even went as far as making a creative brief.

Cineversity Tutorial: Using Cinema 4D to Create Broadcast TV Promos - 4 Types

Image via Dan Pierse / Cineversity.

Creative Brief:

  • Make tune-in messaging clear
  • Highlight 4 different genres for movie nights
    • Action: Meteor Apocalypse
    • Comedy: Millie Monka and the Donut Factory
    • Sci-Fi: Space Hangar 2
    • Thriller: Moon Lake
  • Build procedurally when you can, there will be changes.

Special thanks to Cineversity for recording the presentation, and to Maxon for hosting these great speakers.

Part One: Action and Comedy Promos in Cinema 4D

First, in the action promo, Dan shows you how he uses Cinema 4D’s Voronoi Fracture to procedurally break apart buildings and roadways. He’ll showcase several techniques for creating fractures and controlling their dynamic animation.

In his comedy promo piece, Dan creates a scene controlled entirely via Cinema 4D’s dynamics. Watch him design a working conveyor belt using Motor and Hinge objects and the MoGraph Cloner. Then he’ll use the sculpting toolset to quickly add icing to donuts, and finally apply soft-body dynamics to the donuts with the help of the Mesh Deformer.

Let’s jump into part one.

Here’s a timestamped breakdown of the presentation courtesy of Cineversity.

03:24 – Technical Brief: Fox Presents
07:15 – Action Sequence
09:20 – Quickly Model a Building
13:05 – Voronoi Fracture Trigger on Collision / Meteor Attack
19:54 – Voronoi Fracture Trigger via Effector
26:18 – Comedy Scene
30:14 – Dynamic Conveyor Belt / Motors and Cloners
38:34 – Sculpting Donut Icing
42:40 – Soft Body Dynamic Donuts / Mesh Deformer

Part Two: Sci-Fi and Thriller Promos in Cinema 4D

In Dan’s second presentation, he’ll move onto a sci-fi promo, where he models interesting wall and floor designs with C4D’s Knife tools. He then models an articulated arm and shows you how to animate it with Inverse Kinematics (IK). He also creates hanging wires using Spline Dynamics.

For the thriller promo, Dan will create a procedural landscape by layering noises and gradients within a Displace Deformer. He’ll populate the landscape with trees using the MoGraph’s Cloner object. Then he’ll apply MoGraph Selections and the Hide Selected command to art-direct the location of the trees. He also uses the Spline Defomer to add a roadway, and animates a car along the road via the Align to Spline tag.

Dan concludes his presentation by talking about C4D’s Take System and After Effects integration, which are invaluable when creating multiple versions of similar promos.

Here’s a timestamped breakdown of the presentation courtesy of Cineversity.

07:05 – Sci-Fi Scene
08:19 – Wall Detailing
12:22 – Floor
16:08 – Articulated Arm – IK Rig
22:09 – Hanging Wires / Hoses (Spline Dynamics)
30:35 – Thriller Scene
31:18 – Procedural Landscape (Displace Deformer / MoGraph Selections)
36:13 – Roadway (Spline Deformer)
41:25 – Versioning (Take System and AE Integration)


More from Dan Pierse:

“Ever since I was a little kid, I remember getting excited about seeing the production logos at the beginning of movies or seeing the Stephen J. Cannell production card at the end of my favorite tv shows. I sometimes loved title sequences more often than the actual shows themselves. I never really knew why I loved them, but funny how life works out as now I’m lucky enough to work on them. I’ve been creating motion graphics for film and broadcast since the late 90s, dipping in and out of freelance and staff, holding every position from Runner to Creative Director. I try to be inspired by as many things as possible, the beautiful, the mundane and the ridiculous and, hopefully let that all come out in my work. Sometimes a job just pays the bills but I like to think I’m one of the lucky ones who truly loves what they do.”

Website – theautomator.tv


More from Cineversity:


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Denoiser Battle Royale: Testing Top Denoisers for Cinema 4D Renders

May 16, 2018 - By 

Can the built-in 3D denoisers in Redshift and Arnold beat out my favorite 2D denoisers when it comes to 3D animation? We test out Optix AI, Noice, Altus, Red Giant Denoiser III, and Neat Video.

Before we get started, I have to get one thing out of the way. This little experiment entirely ignores denoising as it relates to still images. This is a motion design site, right? No one can argue the usefulness of denoising still images, but the tall order here is cleaning up moving images.

Denoising images is nothing new, artists and filmmakers have been using plugins for After Effects, Nuke, and Fusion for years. But now that denoising is showing up in Cinema 4D with artificial intelligence behind it, maybe it’s time to take a closer look.

Denoisers being put to the test:

  • NVIDIA Optix AI
    • Free with Arnold
    • Free with Redshift
    • NVIDIA GPU Only
    • Requires no extra AOVs
    • Denoises in the IPR
  • SolidAngle Noice (Autodesk)
    • Free with Arnold (Built-in)
    • Very slow (9 hours for this render)
    • CPU Only
    • Requires specific AOVs
  • Innobright Altus
    • $149.90 annually for Redshift
    • AOV setups done automatically
    • Limited Controls
    • Dual pass looks better but takes longer
    • Denoises in the IPR
  • Red Giant Denoiser III
    • $199 for After Effects, Adobe CC
    • Quick to process
    • No OFX
  • Neat Video
    • $74.90 for After Effects, Premiere, Final Cut Pro
    • $99.90 for Avid
    • $249.90 for OFX (Nuke, Fusion, etc)
    • Relatively quick to process
    • Tons of control

Denoising grainy GI renders is a convenient way to push fewer samples into your scene and save time by denoising the images after the fact. There are a ton of players out there that are either built-in to 3D renderers, have standalone apps, or that you can access in your favorite compositing application.

The newer denoisers vary in technique from accessing unique AOVs that the renderer provides (Altus and Noice), using machine learning AI (Nvidia Optix), and the 2D denoisers use temporal and spatial magic to predict and remove noise in your footage.

Algorithms and machine learning all working to denoise that killer render your client is clamoring for. Mathematics YAY!

If you’ve seen any of my recent tutorials, you’ve probably guessed that my primary renderers are Arnold, Redshift, and Octane. At the time of writing this both Arnold and Redshift ship with two built-in denoising options and Octane has one on the way.

As a long time user of denoising plugins in After Effects and Fusion, I set out to see if any of these built-in denoisers could dethrone my go-to 2D denoisers. Would there be a new denoising champion in this battle royale?

Enough of this noise, let’s get to the results.


Denoising Arnold Renders

Up first, I’ll show the results of denoising Arnold renders. Here is a look at a RAW render without any denoisers applied.

Download Arnold Scene Files

Get the Arnold scene files by clicking on the button below.

GET ARNOLD SCENE FILES
 

Now let’s look at the Arnold denoiser results.


Nvidia Optix AI with Arnold:

Nvidia’s Optix AI denoiser is popping up everywhere lately. It seems like they are relatively good about providing access to renderers to their “Ultron-like” system. The problem is, most companies are using a version of Optix that was trained on iRay. I think we will see many renderers training the robots on their own style of grain and we’ll see better results soon.

For now though, Optix should be used strictly for stills. It has a difficult time with motion and often gets blotchy while the machine tries to predict what is noise and what is texture.


Autodesk Noice with Arnold:

Noice certainly has the best name of all these denoisers, so hat’s off Autodesk! Noice is one of those denoisers that require specific AOVs to function and it also needs to be run after your render has completed using a command line function or through the Denoising GUI in C4DtoA. So you won’t see just how far you can push it until you’ve fed it your EXR sequence.

It’s also EXTREMELY slow. This 300fm 1024×1024 sequence took 9 hours to compute in Noice. It also soaked up 99% of my CPU resources turning my machine into simmering brick of uselessness for an entire day. Not noice. However, the results were very noice (ok last one).

It did a great job recognizing texture detail while eliminating GI noise. However, it did struggle with glossy refraction noise where the AOVs could not help.


Red Giant Denoiser III (After Effects) with Arnold:

What I love about Red Giant Denoiser III is its simplicity. Very few knobs to twist and reasonably good results on a wide variety of footage.

Red Giant’s Denoiser III performed well with the Arnold footage cleaning up a majority of the noise with no sweat. I did notice it struggled a bit in the shadows and that seemed to be a recurring issue.


Neat Video Denoiser with Arnold:

Don’t be fooled by the website, this plugin is pretty much magic. I love how the fact you can use it in both AE and as an OFX plugin in Nuke or Fusion.

In this test, Neat Video did a fantastic job smoothing out the noise while maintaining texture detail.

Overall, Neat Video outperformed the competition and remains my go-to denoiser.


Arnold Denoiser Ranking:
  1. Neat Video
  2. Red Giant Denoiser III
  3. Noice
  4. NVIDIA Optix

Denoising Redshift Renders

Before using a denoiser, here is a RAW render straight out of Redshift.

Download Redshift Scene Files

Get the Redshift scene files by clicking on the button below.

GET REDSHIFT SCENE FILES
 

Now let’s dive into the Redshift denoising results.


Nvidia Optix Denoiser with Redshift:

It’s not easy to get a grainy/noisy render in Redshift, so that was a challenge unto itself. You can quite effortlessly get clean results with this renderer, but hey, we had to give the denoisers something to work with.

Optix in Redshift is pretty much the same Optix as everywhere else. Trained on iRay renders in a secret lab and pushed out into the world. Great for stills, not so much for animation. Splotchy, unpredictable results and still quite noisy. Not great.


Altus Denoiser with Redshift:

So Altus has a standalone app that I’m sure has more bells and whistles to get more control, but for this test, I used the current Redshift version which has fewer controls than the stand alone but enough to work with. This denoiser also has the option of using “dual pass” which is sort of like doing twice the samples (according to the folks at Redshift).

I was assured that the single pass would be sufficient, but the dual pass would most likely produce better results. I tried both and saw little difference in my test, so I opted for the faster single pass method.

Given that Altus uses Redshift AOVs to hone its results I expected similar results as Autodesk’s Noice. Boy, I was wrong. Not sure what was happening with Altus, but nearly all of the detail in the statue’s shoulder and leg were completely obliterated.

It did a slightly better job at removing noise than Optix, but it’s inability to hang on to subtle texture detail makes this one a definite pass for me.


Red Giant Denoiser III with Redshift:

I’d say that Red Giant Denoiser performed slightly better in this test than during the Arnold run. I think this might be because the Redshift version of this scene ended up being marginally brighter and it’s the shadows that Denoiser III struggled with in previous tests.

Here Red Giant Denoiser III did well in both denoising and texture preservation. Nicely done Red Giant!


Neat Video Denoiser with Redshift:

Neat Video once again clobbered the built-in denoisers by effortlessly eliminating all the noise AND holding onto all the subtle texture details. All without AI, AOV’s, or CPU burning render times, and Neat Video is much cheaper than Red Giant Denoiser.

That’s another win for Neat Video.


Redshift Denoiser Ranking:
  1. Neat Video
  2. Red Giant Denoiser III
  3. NVIDIA Optix
  4. Altus

Summary:

I think it’s safe to say that the built-in denoisers, in spite of their robotic intelligence and use of AOVs, are no match for the tried and true 2D denoisers.

Optix AI has the most ground to make up here followed by Altus. I think Noice has potential if they can speed it up, and perhaps get it working in the IPR. Until then, I’ll stick with rendering out my undersampled GI and letting Neat Video repeatedly save the day.

Thanks to Pixel Plow‘s render farm for helping us get these results! Stay tuned for a follow-up with the Octane denoiser upon its release.


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The Greyscalegorilla 30% Off Spring Sale Starts Now

May 15, 2018 - By 

The 24-hour spring sale is here. Now’s your chance to save 30% on all Greyscalegorilla tools and training.

Save the Date: The Greyscalegorilla 30% Off Spring Sale Starts Soon - Banner

For 24-hours you can save 30% on all Greyscalegorilla tools and training.*

USE CODE: SPRING30


When is the sale?

10 AM Tuesday, May 22nd through 10 AM Wednesday, May 23rd. Mark your calendar now, set a reminder, set an alarm, put a sticky note on your monitor, tell your friends to remind you. Whatever it takes, don’t miss the sale!


What products will be on sale?

All products built and produced by Greyscalegorilla will be 30% off. That includes our tools, training, and suites. Save on our plugins, in-depth training series, LUTs, 3D models, HDRIs, and more!

Greyscalegorilla Tools:

Greyscalegorilla Training:

Greyscalegorilla Bundles and Suites:

X-Particles (by Insydium LTD) is not part of the sale.


How do I save 30%?

Simply apply this discount code during the checkout process to save 30%.

USE CODE: SPRING30


What’s new in the store?

GorillaCam

GorillaCam is a Cinema 4D plugin that will add natural camera movement to 3D cameras. Quickly add camera shake, overshoots, jolt, or smooth movement with the click of a button. GorillaCam is available as an individual plugin, or as part of the Complete Suite and Motion Suite.

Gorilla Guide to X-Particles

We’ve just released a major appendix to the Gorilla Guide to X-Particles training series. Now nearly twice as long, the Gorilla Guide to X-Particles now includes in-depth training on XP4.

HDRI Studio Rig

We just updated to HDRI Studio Rig 2.148. The latest version gives you real-time control over HDRI rotation, meaning you can see changes in your reflections without having to render.


What are the best deals?

Suites! Save extra by purchasing a Greyscalegorilla suite. Not only do you already save on the price of the individual products, you’ll save an additional 30% off the price of the suite.

Greyscalegorilla Complete Suite

The GSG Complete Suite includes all the Cinema 4D tools built by Greyscalegorilla. You’ll get all of our animation, rendering, lighting and color grading tools.

The Complete Suite includes:

  • City Kit
  • Gorilla Grade LUTs
  • GorillaCam
  • HDRI Studio Rig (for Standard and Physical Renderer)
  • HDRI Link (for Third-Party Rendering)
  • HDRI Expansion Packs
    • Commercial Locations
    • European Holiday
    • Paradise
    • Pro Studios
    • Pro Studios Metal
    • Road Trip
  • Light Kit Pro
  • Signal
  • Texture Kit Pro
  • Topcoat
  • Transform

Browse all Greyscalegorilla Suites.


Will X-Particles be on sale?

No.

*X-Particles (a product of Insydium LTD) is not part of this sale.


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Cineversity Tutorial: Using 3D to Enhance the Look of 2D Deliverables

May 11, 2018 - By 

Watch as Andy Needham shows you how he created a series of promotional GIFs starring professional athletes. From import to render, see how he used 3D to create these 2D spots.

At NAB 2018, artist and tutorial author Andy Needham shared how he created a series of GIFs featuring a beverage and pro athletes (who both will remain nameless).

Cineversity Tutorial: Using 3D to Enhance the Look of 2D Deliverables - Example

In his Cinema 4D: The Best Tool A Motion Designer Could Ask For presentation, Needham will show you the entire process. From import, to tracking, 3D rotoscoping, modelling, adding 3D objects and particles, and even an introduction to Python.

He’ll even cover some of his favorite tools, like X-Particles and HDRI Studio Rig.

Let’s dive into this Cineversity presentation, and thanks again to Maxon for hosting these speakers at NAB.

Timestamped breakdown courtesy of Cineversity.

00:00 – Intro
02:16 – SHOT: 3D Rotoscope Effect with Crown
03:04 – Mapping Footage onto a Plane
03:23 – Using Content Browser Presets for Head Geometry
04:56 – Modeling a Crown
14:14 – Exactly Position Textures with XPresso
16:03 – SHOT: Selfie
16:52 – Animating a Polaroid with Hand-Drawn Splines
18:12 – Bending the Polaroid
19:52 – Lighting with GSG’s HDRI Studio Rig
20:44 – SHOT: Salute
21:51 – Precision Camera Animation
25:17 – Working with MoSpline
26:00 – SHOT: Magician
26:33 – Object Tracking
28:09 – Adding Particles
30:21 – SHOT: 1… 2… 3.
30:49 – Creating Bubble Text
35:12 – Morphing Spline Shapes
41:01 – Adding Motion Trails
43:16 – Rendering out Passes with Takes
45:57 – Python Development
48:28 – Accesing Objects Relative to the Tag
50:22 – Accessing UserData
50:38 – RangeMapper Function
55:33 – Thank you!
56:11x-particles-challenge.com


More from Andy Needham:

Cineversity Tutorial: Using 3D to Enhance the Look of 2D Deliverables - Cineversity

More Cineversity presentations: