Posted In:Interview Archives | Greyscalegorilla
We talk to designer turned 3D artist Zachary Corzine about his career path, the tools he uses, and his desire to keep learning.
Zachary Corzine, or as Instagram users may recognize him as @zachdarren, is a designer turned 3D artist living in California. He has worked for a variety of companies and found success as a freelancer for the past few years.
Zach is currently moving to Los Angeles to join the incredibly talented team at ManVsMachine.
Take a glimpse at his work here in his latest reel.
I had the pleasure of meeting Zach earlier this year and learned a ton about his work. It was fascinating to learn about his experimentation and his persistent work ethic to figuring out ways to create things in new ways.
I wanted to learn more about him and his work, and the following is our conversation with some incredible art for you to check out.
See how this surprising piece for VELCRO® Brand had the entire design community enthralled with its beauty and technical wizardry.
Designers Lukas Vojir and Alexa Sirbu recently released their latest collaboration, a stunning piece created on hook and loop technology.
The video was quickly shared among design circles, not only for the video’s beautiful renders, but also its technical achievements. How did they get that shot? It was a question I kept asking myself, so I reached out to Lukas and Alexa to learn more.
Here’s what I learned in our conversation. Read More
How two surgeries sidelined this skateboarder and turned him into a top motion designer with his own creative powerhouse. This is the story of Already Been Chewed and Barton Damer.
All great artists evolve. It comes with the territory. In this industry in particular, motion designers will constantly face pressure, second-guess their abilities, and continue to push themselves harder. That’s what it takes to make it in this industry, or really how to succeed in any type of creative position.
In this interview, you’ll certainly hear about many familiar stages of creative growth. Discovering your talent, honing your skills, facing your fears, getting lucky, taking risks, failing, and evolving. These struggles are not unique to Barton Damer, but his personal experiences are.
Barton Damer is the Founder and Creative Director of Already Been Chewed, or as many may know it as ABC. In our chance encounter, Barton and I learned that we live and work in the same area, a coincidence you’ll find repeating itself in this story. It’s funny how the internet has brought everyone together, but we tend to forget that many of us are just down the road from each other as well. That’s what led to me visiting Barton and his team at Already Been Chewed.
Here’s a glimpse at some of ABC’s most recent work.
I wanted to find out much more about ABC and Barton, and they were gracious enough to host me. Not only did I learn about his personal experiences, but we talked about motion design, rendering, tech, and growing your own business online. Here’s what I learned. Read More
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?
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?
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
Date: October 31, 2017
Listen to, or watch this episode.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
— Ash Thorp (@Ashthorp) April 3, 2018
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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 – Zaoeyo, Greyscalegorilla
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.
If you are curious about the GorillaCam plugin, you can check out the GorillaCam product page here.
Rick Lundskow aka @lundskow
We’d like to welcome Daily Render Guest Artist Rick Lundskow @lundskow to our ongoing series of awesomeness.
What is your name, position, and where do you currently work?
How did you get into Cinema 4D?
I’m almost positive I saw a motion graphics video on vimeo back in 2010/2011. It was so impactful that I wanted to learn how to create art like it. I immediately downloaded the trial version and started watching Greyscalegorilla tutorials. After the trial expired I used the demo version. The demo wouldn’t let you save or render out projects, which was a slight bummer because some of the pieces were sweet. However, I could recreate them if I really wanted them.
Once I moved to Michigan to work at Cornerstone, I budgeted for Cinema 4d Studio. That’s when the real fun began.
When did you start your daily render practice?
I tried to start daily renders but they took too much time or I ran out of ideas too quickly. I got in my head too much… Each piece had to be amazing, but often times they were not great by any stretch of the imagination.
At Half Rez this past year I had a chance to talk to Beeple, the master of daily renders. He really encouraged me that it wasn’t as big of a deal as I was making it out to be. I just needed to make something happen. I don’t know what it was, but it clicked in my brain and I started the next day, September 15th.
What is the hardest part about doing a daily render?
Time would probably be the most difficult part of a daily render for me. Some nights I don’t get home until 10pm-12am and I haven’t even started on my project. The worst is when I get home late and I don’t even have a concept. On those nights, I wanted to give up. And there were many of those nights. However I’m sure other people have had that same exact excuse but have continued anyway. So I told myself that I couldn’t have any excuses for missing a day.
What have you learned by making something every day?
Probably the most significant thing I’ve learned is lighting and reflections. Lighting can make or break your render, so I experimented with different techniques until I found something that works for me. Since I don’t have a fancy render (which might change very soon), I wanted to learn the most with the tools that I had on hand.
As far a basic life skills go, I learned that I can put too much pressure on the creativity. I want the design to be better than the day before it, or create a compelling piece that will sell to millions of people. The former is stressful and the latter hasn’t happened yet. Daily renders are more like experiments. No pressure on the outcome. You try an idea that doesn’t work, but you fix those mistakes the next day and publish your findings. It’s important for me to realize that when I fail, I just found another way of not doing something.
What Hardware and Software do you use to make your work?
I do most of my work on a 2012 MacBook Pro. Nothing too fancy about it but it gets the job done. If I stay late at work, or have some free time over lunch, I’ll create piece on my Mac Pro with 12GB of ram. Then render it out using Team Render across 3-4 of the other machines in the office.
Aside from using Cinema, I use Illustrator a lot to create splines. The shape builder inside Illustrator is incredibly powerful for making custom shapes for lathes, sweeps, and extrudes. I recently purchased ZBrush core. While Cinema’s sculpting tools are great, there were a few features about ZBrush that made it easier to sculpt heads.
What is your day to day like at work?
My work schedule changes on a daily basis. I tend to have a theme to each week day though. Mondays are meeting days. A nice easy transition into the work week. Tuesdays are typically my big project day. I can get the most done without a ton of distractions. Wednesdays are a big filming day. We do video announcements in our Sunday services and we record & edit them mid-week. Thursdays are the busiest days because we’re trying to finish the work week strong. So I’ll finish projects that I didn’t quite complete the other work days. Coffee is a requirement for Thursdays. The great thing about my job is that I don’t work Fridays. Actually, I don’t think I’ve had a job in the past 10 years that required me to work Fridays. It’s pretty amazing.
Anything advice to anyone out there just getting started?
Great art isn’t about having the best resources, it’s about using what you have. There’s something special about taking what little resources you do have to create something beautiful. It gives you an appreciation for the things around you. When you hit a roadblock, figure a way around it. Don’t let circumstances hold you back from accomplishing what you want to do.
Also, don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Start with a 5 minute idea and work from there. Most of my projects come from a small element I see in my day to day world. Find something that inspires you and run with that idea.
Where can people learn more about you?
I’m currently rebuilding my website from scratch, so currently I don’t have more info available.
Half Rez 5 was a blast and we couldn’t do it without the help of lots of talented people. This year LooseKeys created a new set of animations for us and knocked it out of the park!
We at Greyscalegorilla know the people over at LooseKeys well since we shared an office space with them for years. Now’s your chance to get to know them as well! We sent them some questions so you can get a taste for who they are and the work they do!
What is Loosekeys and how long have you been around?
Brad Chmielewski – LooseKeys is a design and animation studio in Chicago. We’ve been around for about 5 years now. A lot of the work we do involves character animation and storytelling.
What did you learn while making these animations?
Jake Williams – What was great about making the Half Rez animations was feeling like a newbie again with a new creative tool. While Cinema 4D was daunting at first, the amount of community resources available was integral and helping us learn on the fly. As we got more comfortable with the software, we were able to apply our style and animation principles with a totally new tool.
Ethan Barnowsky – This would be an appropriate place to thank Nick, Chris, and EJ because I spent a LOT of time in their tutorials learning techniques and tips for this project. It’s easy to take that resource for granted, but I would be miserable without their help! So, thanks!
How did you guys decide the content of each video?
BC – With most projects, we sit down and brainstorm concepts as a team. From there we’ll typically go and explore some concepts or at least pull some references for what the videos could be.
JW – We knew that we wanted to have a flow to the spots; that together they would tell a sort of story with the characters. We brainstormed a good number of ideas to get us started and then boiled it down to the 3-4 that we realistically thought we could accomplish before the show. The dance party, cheers, and drunky spots were the original 3 spots and the drone guy was added when we realized we could squeeze in one more.
Normally Loosekeys has a 2D workflow. What made you guys decide to try some 3D for these?
BC – Since HalfRez is an event centered around 3D animation we felt that we needed to make something that all the 3D animators in the room would enjoy while still staying true to our style. We could have easily done something in 2D but then we really wouldn’t have pushed ourselves to do something that challenged us.
JW – Echoing what Brad already mentioned, we wanted to push ourselves with this project. Really there was no better time to finally try to get our bearings in a 3D software package than this very project.
EB – I asked myself that question a lot while I banged my head against the keyboard trying to learn more 3D but in the end I’m super happy I had this as an opportunity to learn and create something new in C4D. I’m really thankful. Turns out it’s super fun.
Any inspirations feed into the animations?
BC – I know one thing that came up early on was the “Dumb Ways To Die” video.
JW – We looked at a ton of reference centered around TV idents and bumpers. There’s such a great timing and pacing in the stories that are told in quick 10-15 second spots that we wanted to capture. One of my favorite early references were these Adult Swim Idents from Art&Graft.
EB – We also looked at the Half Rez logo and branding and previous years bumpers and wanted to play off of those elements a bit. Love cubes and bubbles.
How was the crowd reactions to the animations both online and at Half Rez?
BC – From what I could tell it seemed that most people really enjoyed them. It’s sometimes hard to tell since I personally know so many people in the community, you never know if they are just being nice. What I think worked for us was that we took our character animation skills and storytelling ability and applied them to 3D. The 3D was very simple and I’m sure many people out there would have no trouble recreating these spots. What’s sometimes troublesome about 3D animation is that the possibilities are endless. What we do well at LooseKeys is to take something that’s complicated and make it simple. I felt like the reaction was great, we did something a bit different for us at LooseKeys and although they were cubes, it was a bit outside the box.
JW – The live crowd seemed to enjoy the spots although I wish I had made the “dance party” spot a bit longer to see if people would have jumped out of their seats! From friends and acquaintances alike I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback and it’s incredibly humbling to get this sort of response from guys and gals whose opinion and work I respect so much.
Loosekeys and Greyscalegorilla used to share office space. How’s your new place and what has changed?
BC – We do miss the Greyscalegorilla guys. Having more energy in the office is always nice to keep your creative juices flowing. For us it was time to make a move in order to feel more like the studio we wanted to be. You don’t need your own space in order to be a studio. Still there is something about having your own space that feels comfortable and helps set the tone for your workday. Having your own studio makes you want to invite clients over and show off with parties. We have now been in the space for a year and there is plenty of room for us to grow and try new things.
EB – It’s quieter without the ping pong, pinball and excited chatter which is occasionally good but mainly I miss those aspects! It took a long time to adjust to the lack of lunchtime ping pong noises coming from the other room. Like Brad said, it’s nice to have a space to call our own where we can have parties and create without getting in anybody else’s way.
Best way to follow your work as a fan? Best way to contact you as a client?
BC – I try to keep all of our social media channels updated with what we are working on. Twitter is a great place to start if you want a catch all for everything we are doing.
And for any clients who are looking to get in touch, I would be the best person to talk to about new business firstname.lastname@example.org
You guys are the most prolific podcasters I know. How many podcasts are the members of Loosekeys involved in these days?
BC – Thanks! I love the medium. At the moment I have 4 podcasts that I release new episodes for pretty regularly. There are a few that come on and off and some others that have ended but there are 4 that I focus my time and energy on. Shatter The Vain, a podcast with over 120 episodes about the mobile game Vainglory. This podcast is released every Monday. Released every Tuesday is Toon Talk Weekly, a podcast where Jake Williams and I talk about a new cartoon each and every week. Then there is Chicago Beer Pass with 160 episodes. Chicago Beer Pass is a weekly podcast about beer events in the Chicagoland area and Illinois. And then my video podcast is Hop Cast. This podcast isn’t recorded as often and doesn’t have a real schedule anymore but it is the longest running podcast. Ken Hunnemeder and I have been talking about beer for eight years and recorded over 285 episodes of this show.
I love the idea of podcasting, you’re able to take something you’re passionate about and share that love with the world. Each show I do has a different fan base but it doesn’t matter if one person is listening or thousands. Just the idea that someone cares about something as much as you do is enough. Podcasting is a form of storytelling and using the medium to help perfect that skill set is very important for me and the business.
JW – Special shoutout to Chris for being on Toon Talk Weekly Episode 86 to talk about his love for ReBoot!
Who are some artists / websites you admire?
JW – I’d be lying if I didn’t say I check Dribbble and Vimeo daily to see what talented folks are working on. I love simple, clean, and clever character design and animation and there is a ton of great work out there. A few favorites:
Ice Cream Hater
EB – All of those artists Jake mentioned are amazing. I also tend to lean towards bold, simple, sometimes crude illustration styles and love artists like:
Everyone in the Late Night Work Club
Follow the LooseKeys guys on twitter
Music provided by Art List
Thanks to everyone for making another season of AskGSG amazing. Without your questions the show could not exist! Season two had 39 episodes, over 79 hours of Q&A and lots of great guests.
Season Three Starts October 12th!
We’re gearing up for season two beginning on Wednesday the 12th of October at 1PM CST. Mark your calendar, get those questions ready and be sure to subscribe to us on Twitch and follow out newsletter to never miss a show. We have so much more in store including special guests and special tutorials only for people who watch live. See you then!
Missed Season 1 and 2 of AskGSG?
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Want to get all 3 seasons of askGSG? We created a bundle price so you can get all 3 seasons at once. Get everything from Seasons 1, 2 and the upcoming 3rd season all for $229. That includes all the 200+ scene files from every episode of AskGSG and new recordings every week from the upcoming season.
Visit our new training site and start watching TONS more C4D recordings today!
Of course, anyone and everyone can watch AskGSG LIVE for free every Wednesday starting next week! As always, get your C4D questions ready and we will see you LIVE for the first episode of AskGSG Season 3 Live on Twitch.
We’d like to welcome Daily Render Guest Artist Allison House to our ongoing series of awesomeness. She will be taking over our daily render feed for the next 6 days. She is an amazing designer who cut her teeth in silicon valley with Dropbox, tackled a whole Tweedy music video in C4D, and now is spreading her love of 3D and design all over the world. Check out our interview with Allison below.
Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
What’s up, party people?! I’m Allison House, a designer, visual artist, and educator. I spend my days jamming on 3D art and illustration projects from my studio in Austin, TX. If you’re into lo-fi geometric art with an aggressive neon streak, you might dig my stuff!
I’m also on the road a lot for speaking events, where I show other creative people how totally not scary 3D can be. One of my big projects right now is 3dfordesigners.com, an introductory Cinema 4D course for designers and illustrators.
How did you get your start in design?
My background is in software and technology, so I got into design through that. I made my first website as a pre-teen, an ode to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was hooked on that rush of making something out of nothing. Working on the web is so great for this—for very little cost, you can make something really interesting and beautiful. I’m still chasing down that feeling.
At 15, I started my first web design business. I called competitors from my bedroom and pitched phony projects, then undercut their quoted prices. That’s how I know teenage girls are cutthroat. I don’t mess with ‘em.
How did you go from 2D to 3D? What was that transition like?
A few years ago, I had a pretty decent design career in technology. I was shaping the future of storage as a product designer at Dropbox. Yes, from my bedroom in Florida to a Silicon Valley rocketship! That means I made it, right? Except… I was getting tired of designing apps. Everything I made was the same inoffensive shade of blue or gray. My rate of production dwindled.
Designing apps didn’t make me come alive any more. When I left Dropbox, I dug into my curiosity and endeavored to find out what would. Playing with Cinema 4D for the first time was like writing my first few lines of code. Earth-shattering, deep-down, gut-level excitement. Something out of nothing. Best day of my life.
Some of Allison’s most early work:
Can you tell us about the Tweedy music video? How did that come together?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned between hiring at Dropbox and teaching in the classroom, it’s that top performers have this in common: they produce an enormous amount of work. I’ve never had much luck scheduling or micromanaging myself, so I developed a practice that doesn’t require a whole lot of self-discipline. Rather than summoning the willpower to start a session, I make it automatic by chaining it on another activity I already do every day. I call that my “second shift”.
After a few weeks of this, I had already developed a portfolio’s worth of work. That’s when Spencer Tweedy reached out. He and his dad (Jeff Tweedy, Wilco frontman) had recently kicked up a band called Tweedy, and they were about to release their first single, Summer Noon. He asked if I could do a full-length music video for them.
Technically, I could not! The longest animation I’d made up to that point was 2 seconds. But I said yes anyway, downloaded a 30-day trial of Adobe Premiere, and figured it out over three weeks.
We noticed you’ve got a lot going on. How do you balance it all?
Chill hard, thaw hard. When I hear people talk about balance, it’s always scoped to the daily level. You do some work, then come home and do some life. I can’t operate like that. That’s context-switching multiple times a day! Instead, I work and play in long cycles. Two weeks knocking out a project. Three days playing a video game. Five days jamming on a project. Five days making my own stuff. Chill hard, thaw hard.
What’s in your Everyday Carry? What tools, hardware, drinks, foods can you not live without on a daily basis?
I’ve become a HUGE fan of Signal in the last few weeks. I was starting to do more still illustration in my practice sessions because it’s fast to produce. Now I’m like, “Okay, I’m done. What can I animate?” Signal just makes it too easy.
Do you have any advice for graphic designers looking to get into 3D?
Yes! To all designers and illustrators: 3D NEEDS YOUR TALENTS. You don’t need to have the latest hardware (I started learning on an old MacBook Air) or create realistic, chromed-out renders to be successful in this space. Bring your innate creative talent, excitement to learn, and find a deliberate action to take right now. 3D for Designers is a great place to start!
Follow Allison on Instagram
Thanks for agreeing to do an interview with us. We saw your beautiful work and thought it would be cool to ask you a few questions about your process.
Thank you so much for having me. I’ve been following your work for many years and your tutorials helped me a great deal getting into Cinema4D. It’s a huge honor to get interviewed by Greyscalegorilla.
First, what is your name and where do you work?
My name is Mario Tran Phuc. I’m currently working for Insydium (the creators of X-Particles) as VFX Designer, Art Director & Technical Support.
What got you into 3D and Cinema 4D when you first got started?
I got into 3D during my studies about 8 years ago. My buddies and I made a ten minute short film using Maya which was a great start into 3D animation. I then worked at Pixomondo for 7 years as an Art Director / Project Lead working on projects for advertising, live events as well as working on feature films. Adobe After Effects was my go-to tool for many years, but with the rising demand of 3D visuals in Motion Design and impressive Mograph demonstrations by my great workmates, I finally decided to dive back into 3D again. I chose Cinema4D, because of its amazing modules and its seamless connection to After Effects. Actually, over the last few years it increasingly became my tool of choice for nearly every kind of design work.
Your X-particles work is so beautiful. What got you into X-Particles originally?
Thanks a lot! About 1.5 years ago, I opened up X-Particles for the first time, because we needed particles in the VFX department and I was totally sucked into it. First I started out with a little program called ‘Particle Illusion’ and later on ‘Trapcode Particular’ for After Effects and eversince I have been using particles on pretty much every project so far.
Finally, X-Particles allowed me to achieve all the difficult things that were out of my reach before, e.g. accurate collisions or particle emission based on 3D geometry. Due to its wide toolset of particle modifiers and the unique Questions&Actions system it suddenly opened up almost endless possibilities for a digital artist like me. So while I got dragged into learning XP I started doing personal artwork & experiments in my spare time. I still thoroughly enjoy exploring visual effects and expressing my creativity with X-Particle.
What is your favorite “Go To” modifier in X-Particles?
Definitely the xpTurbulence. It is one of my favorite modifiers to begin a setup as it quickly adds a nice random motion to the particle flow and therefore realism. It works beautifully with other modifiers like xpGravity or xpAttractor and it can be restricted to the XYZ-axis seperately, which gives you a lot of control, especially using multiple turbulences. I really adore many other modifiers as well, for example the xpConstraints, xpChangeGroup or xpSpawn, because of their high viability within the X-Particles system.
What is your favorite feature in X-Particles 3.5?
I really like the new xpParticleFalloff. It basically converts your particles into spherical falloffs, that can be used within every modifier of XP and any C4D object with a falloff tab. My favorite use of it is driving a xpChangeGroup modifier. You can just assign all the modifiers you need to the new xpGroup and they start triggering once the falloffs come into reach. It opens up countless possibilities! I highly recommend checking it out.
As part of an ongoing artwork series for Insydium this rendering was an example of using the xpGenerator and the fluid dynamics of the xpDomain. From my experience the xpDomain achieves the best results by emitting particles out of a thin source to capture the forces nicely – in this case a spline-circle. After linking the particle colors to their speed, I cached the simulation and made multiple copies of it to fill the view (the ‘Copy Tag Data’ needs to be checked to copy cached emitters). This way I didn’t need to simulate them again at a larger scale.
To render the particles as custom shapes I used the xpGenerator, which is perfect for transfering attributes like facing direction, size and colors from the source emitter onto custom geometry. In order to get particle colors and glossiness at the same time, I actually rendered the picture twice (with and without a reflective material applied) to achieve this look in compositing later on.
The way to achieve this kind of traditional painting style is to use particle emitters to generate trails just like paint brushes. For that I keyframed the scale and strength of multiple xpTurbulences to shape the wavy form. After doing some variations I converted the xpTrails into splines and rearranged them to get a volumetric feel.
The coloring was done with the xpMaterial as you can apply the xpMaterial to xpTrails since the release of XParticles 3. Simply activate the age parameter beneath the color properties to enable the color-gradient for your xpTrails. This works even after converting the xpTrails and therefore on any kind of spline within Cinema4D.
We loved your Noise Palettes renders. How did that idea come about?
I came up with the idea of the Noise Palettes while I was testing different kinds of noises within the Displacement Deformer. I was totally surprised how appealing they looked in 3D space and couldn’t stop experimenting with the different types and attributes. At this moment it was when I came up with the idea to bring them together as a visual reference. It can be quite hard to judge the 2D thumbnails from the Material Editor and therefore to predict how one of them leads to the texture you are trying to achieve.
So I created a “printing plate” for every single noise by applying multiple Displacement Deformers to subdivided planes and adjusted each noise to look the most appealing while trying to keep the overall noise-scale in balance at the same time. In order to achieve the sculptural look I applied a Subsurface Scattering Material and positioned lights of different colors at opposing positions to shine through the geometry. The rendering was done with the Physical Render with a bit of color correction using After Effects.
Is there any advice to someone just starting out that wants to make great looking 3D renders?
Well, I think a good start is to study the artworks you personally adore the most. You can learn a lot by analyzing their composition, framing and contrasts in color and shape. I love those pictures where you feel like you can literally dive into, if you know what I mean. I try to give my renderings as much depth as possible by adding equal amount of detail into fore-, middle and background.
Once you have set up enough elements in space, which can be complex forms as well as simple shapes like particles, the “Rule of Thirds” helps a lot to balance out a composition. Apply it on the part that looks the most appealing to you. You can achieve a lot of depth by using warm colors with high contrast in the foreground and cool colors with less contrast in the background. It really helps to zoom out of the picture from time to time to check if the composition is working overall.
I can highly recommend to join the wonderful Cinema4D community as well, either online via platforms like Twitter and Motion Design Slack or onsite at Maxon user-meetings and conferences. You can find me at this year’s NAB in Las Vegas demoing X-Particles 3.5 for Insydium at the Maxon Partner Booth. I hope to see some of you there and chat with you in person.
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.
Beeple has been posting his creative work every day for over 3000 days straight. If that wasn’t enough, he recently posted ZERO-DAY, the most recent animation in his “instrumental video” series.
We asked him a few questions about his process for ZERO-DAY and about how in the heck he continues to stay so prolific?
Thanks for answering some questions about your new project, Mike. You seem like such a motivated and hard working guy. What keeps you going with all these great projects?
Hahaha, honestly I really don’t feel like that. I feel like it’s a constant struggle to stay focused and productive each day. Damn you interwebz and your engaging content!! 🙂
No, I think the main thing that motivates me is seeing all the amazing work out there and wanting to try to make something like it. The main motivations for this piece were people who do amazing robot and mech designs like Vitaly Bulgorov, Aaron Beck, Greg Broadmore, Mike Nash etc.
What inspired you to make Zero-Day?
Well this is part of a larger “instrumental video” series that I’ve been working on for the last 10+ years. If you look at “IV.10” and “instrumental video nine” it’s the pretty clear next step. I really like making audio and video super tightly synced as I think it illicits some sort of visceral response.
Based on the themes from Transparent Machines and Zero Day, you seem to have some thoughts on the way technology is changing society. Would you say you are optimistic or pessimistic about the future of a tech connected world?
I would say I am cautiously optimistic. I think technology is doing a huge amount of good and will continue to. I do think there are some potential pitfalls but I think things are changing so fast that there really isn’t gonna be a lot of time to stop and realize if things are getting fucked until it’s too late.
I think these videos might come across as paranoid or very pessimistic but they are really more sort of exaggerations of a worst case sci-fi scenario. There is plenty of technologies like AR, VR, self-driving cars, etc. that I am BEYOND jacked up for. I think these things have the *potential* to be extremely positive for society.
ZERO-DAY Process Video
What was the most difficult part about this project?
Hmmm, I think just sort of defining the scope of the project. I really never have a clear idea about where these things are going when I start. I shit you not, at one point the second half of the film was gonna have a bunch of snippets of 70’s porn on the walls and the film was gonna be more about like how we have this weird machine fetish culture. I even downloaded a bunch of old porn and edit it in to see how it would look. HAHAHA. So this shit is really all over the place until the very end. At best i have a loose grasp on where the hell this shit is going.
The audio is so great and very integrated to the animation for Zero Day. What was the process like with working with Standingwave?
I’ve known Kyle for a very long time and he did the sound design on Transparent Machines, Subprime, etc. This was the first time though that I’ve had someone else do the music for an “instrumental video”. Which was a bit of a learning curve but Kyle does amazing work and he killed it. Never ceases to come up with great ideas or push things in directions I never thought of.
I’ve noticed you using Octane more. How has Octane Changed your Design or Animation Process?
Honestly it’s very hard for me to imagine going back to the standard renderer. Not until the put in a live viewer at least. Can’t overstate how amazing and helpful that is. Really changes everything for someone like me who has no idea what they’re doing and is just pushing buttons until something looks cool.
One last thing. What is your favorite artist to listen to when working?
Oh god, I could sit here and be like, I love all this super obscure cool crap (which i usually do) but lately I’ve been listening to just fucking horrible shitty like 90’s rap music like puff daddy and like nelly and shit. HHAHAH, so fucking random and weird. I’m this fucking nerdy ass middle aged white dude all dressed up sitting in his basement alone making robot animations listening to DMX… LOLOL. WTFFFF.