Posted In:Ideas Archives | Greyscalegorilla
A 2D artist’s guide to 3D design and using Cinema 4D for commercial projects.
In this Cineversity presentation with Nate Rodriguez-Vera, you’ll see easy ways to get started with 3D design. You’ll hear about his personal journey from music to design, all leading to his commercial 3D work.
He offers advice for artists transitioning into 3D work and then dives into some of his commercial projects. Rodriguez-Vera shows you how to arrange simple shapes with Booleans to make geometric designs, and also breakdowns a Trident spot.
Happy 2016! It’s that time of year again. Time to think about what we want to accomplish and what we want to learn in the new year.
Like you, we are constantly learning and growing to push our abilities beyond where they currently are. There is no resting. Being Human is about growing.
Let’s Learn And Grow Together
We have always encouraged others to start their own daily render project to help learn faster and to give a deadline to push against to make great work. It’s time we take our own advice.
That’s why are starting our own daily render project on our new Greyscalegorilla Daily Render page.
Why are we starting our own daily render?
- To encourage more play time and experimentation in C4D.
- To expand and grow our visual language and design skills.
- To have an excuse to do more live shows. Look for a live show soon that is all about watching how some of our daily renders are made.
- To show off our incredible artists here at Greyscalegorilla.
- To show off what Cinema 4D and GSG tools are capable of.
Everyone Is At Their Own Level Of Learning
Listen, we aren’t experts or Gurus. Trust me. We are only trying to get better just like you. We are all at our own different levels of learning. We should all try something new every day and experiment with Cinema 4D and new plugins to see what is possible. As we do, we will be sharing our process.
So, will you join us? Will you commit to your own render per day? Set up some deadlines and let’s grow together in 2016. Drop a message in the comments if you commit to a daily render project with us. I would love to see everyone’s work.
Follow us on one of these sites to see our new render get posted every day.
Here is to a productive and educational new year!
Rob Garrott of lynda.com interviews Nick about his inspiration to start Greyscalegorilla.com. An in depth look at his background, how he got his start and how that morphed into what Greyscalegorilla is today.
Garrott also interviews other industry professionals in this course. Here is a summary of the series:
Rob Garrott, lynda.com’s video content manager, got the chance to sit down with nine influential artists to talk about their work, their inspirations, their tools, and the industry as a whole. The series kicks off with a conversation with Kris Pearn, storyboard artist for Sony Animation, and one of the people “drawing the movement” behind movies like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. We also include interviews with the following industry pros:
- Nick Campbell, motion graphics artist, photographer, and entrepreneur
- Marc Potocnik, designer and 3d artist
- Tim Clapham, VFX artist and educator
- Alan Torres and Stephen Morton (Cantina Creative), design and visual effects artists
- Aaron Limonick, concept artist
- Mike Lowes, 3D animator and technical director
- Lorcan O’Shanahan, motion graphics artist
- Scott Keating, 3D artist and illustrator
- Clear Menser, visual effects artist
- John Robson, motion graphics artist and filmmaker
- Grant Miller, VFX supervisor
- Tomasz Opasinski, creative director and movie poster artist
A special thanks to Lynda and Rob Garrott for the interview.
Any creative endeavor is highly non-linear, but the sharing of it almost always skips a lot of the actual work that goes into it. That’s ok; a clear progression makes for a good story that’s easy to tell. But don’t judge your reality against someone else’s compressed work. It’s ok if it takes you a day to make a cutting board like one that someone made in six minutes on YouTube; the truth is it probably took them a day too.
This is why we leave our mistakes in our tutorials. Editing out the boring but necessary parts during a tutorial can sometimes help get to the point faster, but it can also easily confuse and frustrate beginners that may not know how you got from point A to point B.
More importantly, when you edit mistakes out, you simultaniously edit the humanity out. By cutting out your mistakes and hiccups, or doing another take until you get it perfect, you may be unknowingly setting a tone of “I don’t make mistakes. I am perfect.”, or at the least “I am a perfect robot”. Hardly a tone you want when you are trying to transfer knowledge to someone that will inevitably make a mistake and wonder if they are doing it right.
Leave your mistakes in when teaching others. You may think it’s embarrassing, but it’s not. Humility is empowering to those you are trying to teach.
Three students from The University of Arts Utrecht hopped on Skype to ask me a few questions this morning. Here is a recording of the interview.
Questions Asked In This Interview
- Who is Nick Campbell?
- Are you aware of the influence you have on the motion graphics industry?
- How do you see GSG progressing in the next 10 years?
- What do you think is the most difficult aspect of Greyscalegorilla?
- Who are your artistic Heroes?
- How do you progress as an artist conceptually?
- How do you feel about people Pirating your Products?
- Is there any technological advancement you look forward to?
- What’s going to be next for Greyscalegorilla?
- What are your hobbies?
- If you had to give us three “golden tips”, what would they be?
- What are your projects outside of Greyscalegorilla?
- What are your favorite Podcasts?
- Does music knowledge give you an advantage as an animator?
Talented artist, Albert Omoss posted this amazing animation a couple weeks ago. I loved the look and style of it so much. So, I did what I usually do when I see something that inspires me… I opened Cinema 4D to try to figure it out myself.
I played for hours trying to figure out how to get soft bodies to behave like he did. I didn’t quite get the right super-stretchy dynamics, but I sure tried. In fact, here is a time lapse of all the renders and tests over a few days of playing with soft body settings and looks.
While playing with this technique, I got excited and posted a work in progress GIF on tumblr. Albert responded on twitter saying that he wan’t cool with us doing a tutorial on his exact effect. He said that we should “…change the concept enough to encourage your students to be creative and original.”
I certainly can’t argue with that.
We all learn by watching and emulating the masters. But, then we need to use those new techniques to make our original work better. I’ve ended many tutorials with a similar request. Take what you learned today and apply it to your own work. Don’t just recreate tutorials.
Don’t forget, we couldn’t teach what we do without talented artists like Albert to emulate and look up to. I certainly can’t make renders as original and beautiful as Albert’s or any other true artists out there. We need them.
Work from great artists make learning exciting and fun for us beginners. Their work is a goal, a beacon, something to make us say, “I want to be able to make something that good one day”.
Beginner guitarists and Pianists learn covers because it’s more fun to try and play great music you already love. But remember, we aren’t learning Bach or The Beatles to steal their style. We are learning from the best because they are the best, and there are no better people to learn from.
Let’s be inspired by amazing work. Inspired enough to learn more about our tools and technique to become better. Copy and emulate anything and everything that inspires you. But don’t forget, you are copying to learn, not to put it on your reel.
Make Your Own
In the spirit of being inspired to make something new, let’s all learn and play with Softbody stuff this week and post an original animation in the comments below. Just something short. Play with the tools and make something all your own.
Here are some soft body tutorials to get you up to speed with many of the techniques needed to make a dynamic soft body animation.
- Smash A Van With Plastic Deformation
- Build A Low Poly Mesh For Softbody Dynamics
- Softbody Settings Test
Half Rez was a great success! Thanks to everyone who helped make the night so wonderful. We managed to record most of the presentations (links below) and to have a great night of hanging out and chatting with other artists. Huge thanks to our sponsors that helped make this possible and to everyone who came out to enjoy the night with us. We hope to see you again next year.
Huge Thanks to our Sponsors
Presenters And Links To Their Talks
Nick Campbell (Greyscalegorilla) – What’s new in C4D R15
Watch The Presentation
Amador Valenzuela (Digital Black Book) – Designing For Motion Graphics
Watch The Presentation
Mathias Omotola (Maxon) – Live 3D pipeline between CINEMA 4D and Adobe After Effects CC Not Recorded
Chris Schmidt (Greyscalegorilla) – 30 minutes of C4D Tutorials, Tips, and Tricks
Watch The Presentation
I’ve talked a lot about the importance of local user meet-ups, so I decided to invite the founders from two of the largest Chicago animation user groups to talk about how they got started, how they run the event, and if they have any advice to someone that is trying to start a user group in their town.
It’s easy to argue that Local user groups and meet-ups are the best way to meet other people who are into what you are doing. It’s a great place to find work and friends in the industry. So many artists are stuck at the “I am pretty good at what I do” stage, but fail to get out and meet the people that will start and eventually make their career.
Some Take-aways from the interview
- If your home town doesn’t have a user group, start one! It’s easier than you think.
- Get like minded people in a room. It can be that simple.
- Use existing social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to organize an event.
- If your town DOES have a meet-up, go!
- Hanging around other people that do what you do is a great way to start to get a job doing what you like doing.
San Francisco Artist Neil Blevins has a great CG Education page. There you will find dozens of posts full of technical, design, and artistic knowledge. His Lighting, Materials, and Art Theory categories are a must read. And, even though many of his tutorials are based on 3ds Max, most concepts can be applied to any 3D package including Cinema 4D.
Hat Tip to Colin Evoy Sebestyen
Designer, main title director, and Cinema 4D artist, Aaron Becker presented at the latest Chicago C4D Meetup. We recorded his presentation and it’s now up for viewing. In the presentation, he talks about concept development and creative process for feature film title design and shows some of his recent work for TV and film.
I worked with Aaron at Digital Kitchen back in 2008-2009. He was a great guy to work with; always ready with an honest critique and an incredible sense of design and purpose. Now I’m lucky enough to still work near him at Bomkamp where the GSG offices are located. What a guy. Hope you love the talk.
I saw this video recently and I can’t get it out of my mind. Like a lot of technology, it looks like it was originally built for science, but I can see this filtering down pretty quickly. I can imagine some pretty cool things being done with this tech for VFX/Motion Graphics. What is amazing, is that it works on existing footage. No need for a special camera. For some reason, it seems like this would be right up Michel Gondry’s wheel house.
How could this new technology be applied to VFX or Motion graphics?
It’s February again and that means it’s time for my annual road trip across the country to find the best snow to ski in, meet up with friends, and, most importantly, think about and plan this silly life of mine. This will be my fourth year driving out west and it’s always been some of the most fun and productive few weeks of my year. Here’s why:
I prefer to drive alone so that I can think, learn, and study as I go across the country. Seventy hours in a car is a great place to really think about the last 365 days and plan for the next. This is where I think about what I want to happen in the next year. For me, if it’s not planned, it doesn’t happen.
Hours Of Learning
Being alone in a car is also the best time to learn and catch up on things that I’ve been meaning to read, or things that have been recommended to me over the year. Audio books and podcasts are my favorite way to learn about everything and I really rely on this trip to learn about interesting people and ideas. Here are a few of the things I will be listening to this trip:
- Nikola Tesla Biography
- The Singularity Is Near
- Stumbling on Happiness
- Thinking Fast And and Slow
- The War Of Art
- Winning: The Jack Welsh Bio
Friends and Fun
Of course, there is more to this trip than a long car ride. When I arrive to all these places, I get to ski, drink, play pinball, and catch up with all my friends. Some of them live in the city I am visiting, and some are meeting me there to hang out. I can get pretty busy during the year, so it’s nice to catch up with my friends and have no distractions as we ride up the chair lift together and talk about life. It’s often at ski resorts where my best ideas, friendships, and stories start.
This trip doesn’t mean I can stop working. Sure, I don’t work normal hours during these few weeks, but it’s definitely not a full on vacation. Besides, I gave up the idea of “normal” vacations 4 years ago when I decided to start my own business. There is a lot to do including customer support, writing and making tutorials for the blog, doing the podcast, working on a new site design, getting ready for NAB, and a ton of little things to keep up with while I’m away. Just because I’m away from my desk, doesn’t mean my business can stop. Good thing I like what I do for a living.
Here is a tentative list of where I will be heading this trip. I usually try to keep my schedule a bit loose. I may not hit all these spots, or I may head to a new place if I find out a friend is there, but here is the rough itinerary for 2013. If you’re nearby, I will be waving out my window the entire trip. I promise. 🙂
- Chicago, IL
- Portland, OR
- San Francisco, CA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Denver, CO
- Chicago, IL
If you want to see where I am or what I am up to, follow along on Tumblr, Twitter, or Vine. Also, if I’m heading to your town, keep an eye out on Twitter for a potential meet-up for a beer or two at the local dive.
What’s Your Plan?
It’s hard to express how important this trip is for me. I try to get a lot done every year, but most of those things come from planning during these next few weeks. I hope you save some time this year to reflect and plan your year. Every action starts with a thought. Plan time to relax and think about what you have done and what you want to do. It may just be the most productive time you spend this year.