Posted In:Behind The Scenes | Greyscalegorilla

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Beeple’s Short Film is a Wake-up Call for Everybody, Including Himself

December 2, 2019 - By 

Four years in the making, Beeple never thought he’d finally release ‘Manifest Destiny.’ Now you can watch it and download all the scene files he made for free.

Mike Winkelmann, a.k.a. Beeple, wrote the treatment for his latest film, Manifest Destiny, a little over four years ago, never dreaming that it would actually take so long to get the film finished.

Derailed by procrastination, he finally got back on track after making a deal with an artist he met at SIGGRAPH, him agreeing that he would finish his film in 100 days, and she would create an Everyday for 100 days. “I don’t know why I agreed to that, but it forced me to f—ing do it,” he says, admitting that “I still didn’t do anything until the last two weeks, and I seriously finished it on the 100th day.”

Reached in Denver last week where he was one of the featured speakers on Maxon’s 26-city 3D Design + Motion Tour, Winkelmann talked with me about the making of Manifest Destiny, using Cinema 4D, Octane and Houdini; losing interest in making longer films; and how his Everydays have turned darker and more political in the last year, but he remains optimistic about the future.

Meleah Maynard: Your other films, Transparent Machines and Zero Day, were social commentaries too, but Manifest Destiny feels stronger and more pointed. Would you agree?

Mike Winkelmann: Yeah, this one is not vague at all. The things I’m pointing out are literally happening now. But there is a bit of sensationalizing, like I did with the other films. There is so much inequality in the world, and it is improving in some areas, like statistics show that the number of people living in extreme poverty is slowly declining.

But things are getting worse in a lot of ways too. I tried to choose statistics that people may not have been aware of, like how Jeff Bezos made over $100 million dollars every single day in 2018, and the average Chinese worker assembling iPhones makes $1.85 per hour. I wanted to hit on a lot of different points about money.

MM: You’ve been saying this film would be done for a long time. What happened?

MW: I don’t know. I think, to be honest, I’m not actually that interested in making things that are this long anymore. I’m more interested in doing short 10- to 30-second videos. I think that you can be more experimental when you have less time, like, ‘I’ve got two days invested in this, who cares? I can do whatever.’ But when you spend four years, you’re like, ‘OMG, should I do this, or that, or this?’ It becomes paralyzing. I don’t even watch short films much anymore. If I do another video, I’m giving myself a deadline, like a month or something.

MM: Were you redoing it over and over? What was left to finish?

MW: No, the only thing left to do was edit it to the Run the Jewels track. I had everything done and rendered. But then I just didn’t touch it for a year and, honestly, it wasn’t even bugging me that I wasn’t getting it done. I was always planning on using that Run the Jewels song, “Legend Has It.” I liked the overall vibe of the song, but I hadn’t talked to them about it yet. And then one of the guys got in touch with me to say they’d seen some of my Everydays and wanted to talk about making a video. So it all worked out.

MM: Talk a little bit about your process for making this.

MW: The workflow was pretty simple, really. I mainly used Cinema 4D and Octane. Octane gave it a great look that really felt super realistic. I could just set up a couple of lights and throw some volumetrics on it to get a lot of depth and atmosphere.

The buildings were modeled in C4D, and all of the fire and destructions was simulated in Turbulence FD and rendered in Octane. There was no compositing: I just went straight out of C4D and Octane and did one color correction and that was it.

MM: What about the fat gold characters, and how they sort of melted together?

MW: Oh, yeah, I used Houdini for the melting gold people. I have no idea how I did that. When I started this four years ago, it was the first time I’d ever done characters. I used Mixamo for the big gold character, and Houdini for the melting effect. It’s a good thing I saved that as an Alembic file, or I would have had to start over since I don’t remember how I did that.

All of the fighting was done with Mixamo models that we already in poses, like they were hitting, ducking or punching. I just had to choreograph the characters, so it looked like they were fighting. I’m happy with how it turned out. The melting thing was kind of symbolism for this weird orgy of people at the top, like our politicians and upper-class elite, all bumping heads and wrestling around in a big pile. They’re not really doing anything meaningful, just shifting their weight around while very little changes for the rest of us.

MM: Why did you go with text and music rather than narration this time?

MW: I was going to do a voiceover with music, like I usually do, and I had like 140 people submit auditions, but none of them were right. So I decided, pretty much at the last second, to put use text, even though it would be covering up all that sh-t I worked on for so long. That was probably a better choice anyway because a lot of people watch videos on mute, so they wouldn’t have heard the narration. I wanted to get a lot of stuff across, like how much debt we’re in, how rich Americans are, and how so many people are insanely poor and a few are insanely rich.

MM: Do you worry, or think about, the state of the world a lot these days?

MW: No, I wouldn’t say that. But I do work a lot more with two TVs on, one turned to FOX News and the other to CNN. I mute the sound, but it’s very interesting to see how differently they cover things. FOX is just all of this propaganda and, pretty much the opposite of what CNN says. You can see why the country is so divided.

I’m definitely interested in politics, and I do think we are headed for a time when we’re all going to have to make some changes and adjust to a new reality, including changing our levels of spending. But there are things we can do, like give money. Most of us can afford to give money, but we don’t. Or we don’t give enough. Honestly, as I’ve made more money, I’ve given less money. This film is kind of a wake-up call, for everybody, me included.

MM: It seems like you’re trying to say more with your Everydays now, too.

MW: I’d say it was about July when I started doing things that are overtly political. I like taking a political- or commerce-related scenario and abstracting it out to a ridiculous degree, like the pro-choice one where robot Trump is being forced to have a baby in the future, or where Mark Zuckerberg has no nipples because women can’t show nipples on Facebook.

The response has been super, much bigger than anything else I’ve done. It really just felt like a natural progression from the storytelling I’ve been doing.

MM: What else are you doing these days?

MW: I’m working on a couple of things I can’t talk about yet. I just did some concert visuals for Zedd, and I’m doing a video sculpture for a festival that Amazon’s doing in December. I’m traveling a lot more. A month ago, I was in Brazil with my wife and the kids. And my wife and I are going to Russia soon for a conference I’m doing with Maxon. There’s a lot going on.


Credits and Free Downloads:

Directed by: BEEPLE
Music: RUN THE JEWELS

Donate:
Donations to Direct Relief.

Make a Donation

DOWNLOAD ALL CLIPS:

Does not require Cinema 4D.

Download Now

DOWNLOAD CINEMA 4D PROJECT FILES:

Beeple’s resources

Get the Project Files

Meleah Maynard is a writer and editor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


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A Must Watch: Promoting Wolkov’s New Watches with a Colorful Spot

November 11, 2019 - By 

Paul Clements on how he used Cinema 4D, After Effects and Arnold to create a style-conscious watch promo.

Like many directors, Paul Clements runs his own business, London-based RocknRoller Studios. While he often handles projects on his own, he frequently builds teams of freelance artists and designers from all over the world, allowing him to keep work moving forward nearly 24 hours a day.

Known for his motion design and directorial work for Adidas, Cadillac, Sky and other brands, Clements was recently asked to design and animate a promo piece for Wolkov, a new watch company looking for a distinctive way to showcase their product’s fresh, youthful features.

Because they had already seen and liked some of his previous work, Wolkov trusted Clements with a very open brief. And he spent two intense weeks using Cinema 4D, After Effects, and Arnold to create a launch promo that dynamically highlights the watch’s versatility.

Here Clements explains his process explains his process, including why he chooses to work in an iterative way that can sometimes means redoing shots 20 or 30 times. Read More


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Lighting iPhones and Peripheral Products in Cinema 4D and Octane

October 30, 2019 - By 

Breakdown the composition, lighting, and render settings of this iPhone product render from R4D Studio.

All images via Nik V. of R4D Studio.

After seeing the jaw-dropping renders from R4D Studio on Twitter, we reached out to creator Nik V. to talk about his product render process.

He tells us all about his work creating product renders, then guides us through his latest render of an iPhone 11. Take a look at his process and breakdown this Cinema 4D and Octane project.

Read More


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Making The Lonely Island’s Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience

October 1, 2019 - By 

How production studio Lord Danger helped The Lonely Island realize their crazy Netflix visual poem tribute to ‘80s baseball.

Comedy Trio, The Lonely Island—Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone—met in junior high and have been collaborating on creative projects for years. After a longtime stint with Saturday Night Live, the troupe has lately become known for producing their own viral videos and studio albums.

Among their recent releases is a Netflix comedy special called The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience. Billed as a “visual poem,” the half-hour mockumentary features Samberg and Schaffer as 1980’s baseball legends Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire (a.k.a. the Bash Brothers). The storyline imagines what their rap album and accompanying videos might have been like if they had really captured their experiences chasing the ladies, taking steroids, working out, being rich, and occasionally pondering questions of love and the meaning of life and fame.

For “IHOP Parking Lot” freelance artist Josh Johnson used a modified TurboSquid model, the Everyday Material Collection, C4D and Octane to create a Back to the Future-like car scene.

Mike Diva (Dahlquist), of the LA-based production company, Lord Danger, teamed up with Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer to co-direct the special. Diva also assembled and led Lord Danger’s team of global freelancers who worked on the show from concepting to completion over four months using a combination of Cinema 4D, After Effects, Blender, and Nuke. Read More


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Beeple Reveals Everyday Secrets and Shows His Daily C4D Process

July 9, 2019 - By 
Beeple Reveals Everyday Secrets and Shows His Daily C4D Process - Featured

Mike Winkelmann, AKA Beeple, shares insight to his daily creative process and offers tips and tricks for 3D artists of all levels.

For the uninitiated, Beeple is a 3D artist and motion designer who has reached legendary status for his daily creations. He helped grow the “everyday” movement which inspires artists to create new pieces of work everyday so they can continue to grow their skills. To date, Beeple has created over 4400 daily renders.

His work has been featured in places like the Louis Vuitton runway and was recently admired on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Read More


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Painting Over Cinema 4D Renders to Animate a Spotify Music Video

April 16, 2019 - By 
Painting Over Cinema 4D Renders to Animate a Spotify Music Video - Featured

A behind-the-scenes look at the surreal and powerful Spotify music video for Mitski’s “A Pearl.”

In the new music video for Mitski’s, “A Pearl,” from Be the Cowboy, a barefoot woman walks determinedly for a while before breaking into a run that turns into a freefall as the lyrics lay bare her soul. Eventually, the Mitski-like woman lands on her feet and begins walking again and it’s hard to know whether to breathe a sigh of relief, or cry.

Artful and heart-wrenching, the Spotify-commissioned video is a collaborative creation by Brooklyn-based studio Art Camp and New York City-based designers/animators Saad Moosajee and Danaé Gosset. Read More


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Interview: Maxon’s Academy Award-Winning MoGraph Tools

March 5, 2019 - By 

Cinema 4D’s Lead Developer talks about the now Academy Award-winning MoGraph toolset in C4D, which earned a Scientific and Technical Award.

Though the films themselves often take the spotlight during the Oscars, this celebration of achievement in production extends far beyond the last year’s movie releases. In addition to the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) celebrates outstanding achievements with Scientific and Technical Awards.

We previously talked about Cinema 4D’s MoGraph tools earning a Scientific and Technical Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and since we have had the opportunity to talk with Maxon’s Cinema 4D Lead Developer Per-Anders Edwards about their achievement.

Here’s our conversation.


Per-Anders Edwards Interview

Per-Anders Edwards at the award ceremony. Image via Todd Wawrychuk / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Read More


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Searching for the Best Monitor Displays for Motion Design and 3D

January 21, 2019 - By 
Searching for the Best Monitor Displays for Motion Design and 3D - Featured

A back-and-forth journey to find the perfect new displays for 3D artists and motion designers.

If you think shopping for new PC is difficult, try shopping for a new computer display.

I’ve been rocking two displays for quite some time now, one NEC PA271w-bk as my main and a ViewSonic VP2780-4K for 4K reference. I knew my displays were starting to show their age and it was time to upgrade, but deep down inside I was dreading the process.

My first inclination was to check out the NEC website, only to find out that the newest version of my current monitor didn’t have many new features other than LED backlighting. After quickly being overwhelmed by the amount of options, I decided to see what I could find locally.

I drove to a MicroCenter and discovered the Dell U3818DW, which was a 38″ widescreen monitor with a resolution of 3840×1600 and a PPI of 110 for $899. It seemed like it could be the perfect monitor to replace my two. I quickly looked it over and decided the price was right, so I bought one.

The Dell U3818DW is definitely wide.

I lugged this beast home and quickly set it up. The screen was even in terms of color and lighting and after staring at it closely for a few minutes I determined there were no dead pixels. With much excitement I went right into Cinema 4D and completely redesigned my layout so that I could take full advantage of such awesome screen real estate. Everything was working great. Read More


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Interview: Making Iceland’s Landscape More Surreal

January 8, 2019 - By 
Interview: Making Iceland's Landscape More Surreal- Featured

You’ve seen countless photos and videos of Iceland, but nothing like this.

See how this filmmaker and VFX team took surreal footage of Iceland, then used Houdini and Nuke to create something you’ve never seen.

It was really refreshing to see a unique piece like this, so I reached out to the creative team behind it. Here’s our conversation.


Interview:

Michael Maher:  We have the whole ANOMALY creative team joining us today. Can we go around and hear a bit about each of you?

Jacco Kliesch: Hi, my name is Jacco and I’m a filmmaker. I grew up in Erlangen, Germany. I studied Media Technology with key focus area Media Design at the Deggendorf Institute of Technology. Now I live in Nuremberg.

I love to make creative films and to edit dynamic videos. I work in advertising and I do corporate videos and commercial films. But I also do personal projects from time to time – like this short film ANOMALY, which I did with Wildboar 3D Design Studio. Read More


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Switching from Mac to PC: Unboxing and Setting Up My C4D Workstation

December 14, 2018 - By 

Watch as Nick sets up his first PC in 20 years. See where he struggles, questions he has, and getting things ready to render.

Nick will give you a guided tour of his office, unboxing his new computer, and PC setup challenges. Want to know more about the gear and the tools we installed? Check the list down below.

What happens in this video?

Nick shows up to the office to open his new PC and monitor. He will show you challenges of his office space, where and how he works, unboxing all the gear and accessories, and then setting up the machine. Read More


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The Making of These Mesmerizing Flourish Loops in Cinema 4D

December 10, 2018 - By 
The Making of These Mesmerizing Flourish Loops in Cinema 4D - Featured

We talk to motion designer James Owen about his experimental series of looping animations. See how he uses C4D, Redshift, and the new Everyday Material Collection.

All images via James Owen.

The benefit of scrolling through the Instagram accounts of the many talented C4D motion designers is the treasure trove of stunning imagery.

One of the most recent eye-catching designs that caught my attention where the series of flourishes created by James Owen.

It’s a really beautiful series of shorts, and to find out more I reached out to creator James Owen. Here’s what I learned about his Flourishing series. Read More


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Oscar-Nominated Animators on Creating Their Dark Comedy Short in C4D

December 7, 2018 - By 

To create a spiritual sequel to their Academy Award® nominated short film, this trio relied on Cinema 4D, Octane, and After Effects.

In Dutch animation trio, Job, Joris & Marieke’s latest short film, A Double Life, a husband and wife spiral into a life or death confrontation when the wife suddenly opts to become a man. A complex story to tell at any length, Job Roggeveen, Joris Oprins and Marieke Blaauw manage to do it in two minutes and forty-three seconds while intentionally leaving the ending open to interpretation.

Like their Oscar-nominated short, A Single Life, about a young woman who finds a mysterious record on her doorstep that allows her to time travel, A Double Life is a thought-provoking darkly humorous tale that relies primarily on in-house sound design by Job Roggeveen and visuals created using Cinema 4D, After Effects, and Octane rather than dialogue.

Here Marieke Blaauw, Job Roggeveen and Joris Oprins—who met while studying product design at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands—explain their latest project as well as their love of black comedy and really, really short stories Read More