The 3D Artist’s Toolbox Grows as Software Becomes More Affordable

August 15, 2019 - By 

From compositing to post-production, there are many tools you are expected to know in addition to Cinema 4D.

Today’s 3D artists and motion designers are constantly learning new software to add to their toolbox. With lowering software costs, there is so much more to learn.

In this episode the team talks about software news like Autodesk’s indie licenses and the release of Blender 2.8. They also discuss all the other tools artists are expected to know in addition to Cinema 4D.

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Show Notes:

Production Software You Should Know About

Plugins You Should Know About

The Happy Toolbox Vol 2 – Coming Soon


Nick Campbell: Hey, it’s Nick here from Greyscalegorilla. Before we get started with the podcast, I wanted to remind you that we are launching Greyscalegorilla plus any minute now. Head on over, learn more about it, and if you are looking at our training, we think you’ll love Greyscalegorilla plus. Check it out at, and also You pick the URL. I love you either way. All right, let’s get on with the show. Well, hello and welcome to the Greyscalegorilla podcast. Hope everyone’s doing fine today. It’s a sunny day here in Milford, Michigan. How are you guys doing? Is it sunny where you live?

Chad Ashley: No.

Chad Ashley: Well, that’s just like such an Eeyore thing to say.

Michael Maher: It’s so hot here. We just keep the windows closed so I don’t know what it’s like outside.

Chad Ashley: Oh yeah, we’re probably living in a basement.

Nick Campbell: Texas in Chicago, represent.

Chad Ashley: Yup. Yup.

Nick Campbell: What, is it still like swampy style in Texas these days?

Michael Maher: Oh yeah, you’re going to have to throw some gold bond on those legs so you don’t chafe away your skin.

Chad Ashley: Thanks for painting such a vivid picture.

Michael Maher: You’re welcome y’all.

Nick Campbell: For those listening. That’s Michael Maher in Texas, and Chad Ashley in Chicago, Illinois. Thanks for coming on today guys. We’ll do the… We got some news. We’re going to talk about some software, some fun stuff today. I figured we’ll get started with the news. What’s been going on, what’s new in the 3D world these days?

Michael Maher: Well, I mean if you just joined us on our last episode, you heard all about cinema 4D going subscription, and all the options that you have with that. But, the things we didn’t get to talk about were all the other announcements from sea graph as well as what’s happened since. So, some of the things we can talk about are the new indie licensing that Autodesk is trying out for Maya and 3Ds Max. And then I believe a Blender 2.8 is now available to the public if I’m correct.

Nick Campbell: That’s amazing. New stuff everywhere.

Nick Campbell: Now, do you guys know about all the new stuff in Blender? I’ve been catching it. YouTube has been trying to recommend that I watch some Blender videos, and I keep saying to YouTube, not right now. Okay. But do you guys have like an overview of what all this fun new Blender stuff is? People seem really pumped.

Chad Ashley: Yeah. I mean it seems like a good release. A lot of people are excited about it. I’m not really, I don’t really follow too much Blender stuff, but yeah, I’m the same. Like it keeps trying to serve me stuff like pretty much constantly these days. But yeah, it’s definitely… I’m keeping my eye on it. I just think that it’s really crazy how incredibly powerful free tools have gotten, and then also just like how the price of entry has just dropped for all this stuff. It’s crazy.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. It’s exciting.

Michael Maher: It’s everywhere. I mean, with the Cinema 4D price drop, with Autodesk having indie licenses, Blender obviously being free, it’s so much more affordable for people to start hopping into 3D.

Chad Ashley: Yeah, it’s crazy. And I think that, I mean I don’t really know how much further it can go. It’s so interesting to think about, and whether or not, we’ve hit the lowest sort of entry price or will they find ways to make it even cheaper? Like how will that even work? I don’t know.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. I think someone asked me at NAB too, or I’m sorry, Sea Graph, and they were asking, with all this new Blender stuff, what does this mean for some of 4D users? What does it mean for all this… Like the fact that you could do this all for free. What does that mean for everybody? And I think for me, my response at the time, and I think it’s still true is, there’s going to be tools at all levels, but any competition is good competition for the end user. So if you have something like Blender come out and there’s a ton of new awesome stuff that you could just go use for free, well, the rest of the people that are charging need to step up their game.

Nick Campbell: They’re going to add more stuff, they’re going to add, I don’t know, better support. Maybe there’s other things that they could do. I mean this is the oldest thing in the book, right? Competition is good for the end user, and so as soon as you have all these other lower and lower prices, you have people like Blender stepping it up. They just got a huge grant as well to like add even more stuff to Blender. It’s, at the end of the day, no matter where you are, it’s going to mean cheaper prices, and more capable software for everybody, which I think is great.

Chad Ashley: Everybody wins.

Nick Campbell: Everybody wins.

Chad Ashley: Everybody is a winner.

Chad Ashley: Yeah, I agree with that.

Michael Maher: That’s so much of the same thing that I’ve seen. So, I don’t know if anybody listening knows my background at all, but I come from more of a traditional production background, a lot of video editing. And that whole change has happened over the past 10 years. And with 3D, it’s still been more expensive because you guys are still using really high end computers, and the cost to get started is still really high. But now once premiere went subscription with Adobe Creative Cloud, and especially with all the YouTube stuff, like everybody’s a video editor now. And I think you’re really going to start seeing more of that in 3D where you’re going to see more people just dabbling and experimenting and playing.

Chad Ashley: Yeah. I mean we’ve already… I would say that, that’s already begun to some extent, but yeah, I agree. I feel like it’s just like… What was it like? After Effects became the new Photoshop, and Cinema 4D become the new After Effects. You know what I mean? In terms of tools that just everybody’s expected to know, like Ubiquitous tools that you should just know. And I feel like for so many years 3D wasn’t on that list because it was a very specialized thing. Like you mentioned, it took expensive computers, took a long time to learn, and now that it’s so easily, readily available, and cheap, and faster computers, all that sort of thing. I do think that it’s like one of those things that people are just going to expect you to have a pretty decent knowledge of 3D as either a designer, a motion designer or even an editor. I think that’s totally going to happen if not happening right now.

Michael Maher: It’s also like a mix of what you’re going to need to know. So it’s like even if you are expecting to know cinema 4D for a job, you’re now going to need to know product rendering. You need to know even VFX stuff. You need to know motion design. You needed to know like everything these days.

Nick Campbell: Right. It’s a little overwhelming. Yeah. We’ve been seeing this for a while, right? I mean, we all have some history in this business and you’re right, I could get hired as just an After Effects person. And in fact, not even a good designer. I was just like an okay animator as an After Effects person. And just knowing one piece of software is definitely like going away. You’re either working in a team by yourself as a freelancer, and you need to know all this stuff including building software, and all the business side of it plus all the design side of it.

Nick Campbell: But even in a company where they have… They hire a designer to come help them, they’re going to need to know 2D. Like you said too, Michael, editing 2D animation, 3D animation, how they all come together compositing like a little bit of everything. And you’re right, it’s just expected now that you know at least a little 3D. So it’s pretty crazy. And I know it’s actually leading into probably what we’ll talk about later, of like all the software that surrounds us and the ones that we’ve been looking at. But what else do you think, there is Indie licenses, and the Blender stuff, what does all this stuff mean for the current cinema 4D user right now?

Chad Ashley: That’s a good question. I agree with what your initial statement was, which is competition is ultimately going to help the end user. And I think that’s what we’re going to see here. We’re going to see companies looking to differentiate themselves from what’s available in the free open source world. And I think that’s going to be features, that’s going to be speed, that’s going to be support. They’re just going to have to up their game. And I think we’re already seeing that with cinema, and the improvements they’ve made since R19. I think they are definitely, with R20, they were like, okay, we see what’s happening with Houdini. And a lot of people are hitting the limits of what we can do in cinema. Let’s really focus in on keeping those users happy and staying in cinema. So you see fields, you see all of these different improvements being made procedurally, for doing more procedural based animations and whatnot.

Chad Ashley: And that’s really what we’re going to see more of, I think. I think we’re going to see more of the tools that’s lives somewhere in the middle of the complexity scale. I put cinema in that category that are going to have to really up their game on both ends, on more of the beginner level stuff, making it very approachable yet trying to keep it powerful enough to not lose the higher end artists, if that makes sense.

Nick Campbell: Yes. So what do you think about the compositing side of this? Because it’s obvious that you get to a high enough level, you’re going to look into Houdini or RealFlow or something that, cinema 4D can’t do. But there also seems to be this way of thinking that you need to composite and almost have a final render out of your 3D program, which is kind of a new thing that only GPU rendering and faster computers allowed us to do. Do you think that, that will be a part of the future? Or do we still going to rely on getting out to a true quote compositing program? Or, how do you see all that playing out right now?

Chad Ashley: Yeah, there’s that whole side of it too, man. Because you’ve got After Effects fusion and Nuke. And with Fusion being part of black magic, there’s a free version that comes inside of resolves. So even that’s becoming much more approachable. I remember back in the day, I don’t know if the price is still accurate, but NukeX I think used to cost about 10 grand. And so the price of entry for that was really high. That was a very expensive piece of software. And now with After Effects Creative Cloud, and Fusion being free for the most part or $300, if you want to get the standalone version, the price of entry on compositing has gone way down, way, way down. With the exception, I think of Nuke. I’d have to check their prices, I don’t know if they’ve actually changed them recently, but feel free to yell at me in the comments if it’s cheaper than that.

Chad Ashley: But yeah, I feel like you’re right, the whole landscape on that end is changed. We used to have to do so much clean up and fix fixes and just try to tweak stuff in the comp because it just took so long to render. And not to say that like things don’t still take a decent amount of time to render because they do. People as with anything, the Moore’s law, things that says like as your ability to… What’s that? What’s Moore’s law thing again? Is it like basically, if you have more time to re… If renders take shorter time, you’re just going to turn up more knobs, and you’ll just end up killing all that time by just turning up quality and all that stuff. So-

Nick Campbell: I don’t know whose law that is, but that definitely applied to me. I was like, oh I have this machine, it’s eight times faster than my last machine. Does that mean all my renders are eight times faster? Hell No. That means I’m turning on eight times more button.

Chad Ashley: That’s exactly.

Nick Campbell: It means I’m turning on… I got now man, I got subsurface scattering on everything now baby, let’s go. You’ve got depth the field, I got depth of field, let’s go.

Chad Ashley: There you go. Yeah. So like, and so basically what I was trying to get at is, yes the beauty render, the beauty pass is a lot closer to final output. I would say from the majority of people out there than it ever was before, I think less and less people are doing like fully Multipass composited 3D renders, and only because you can get it really, really close in the beauty, and then just rent it out upon a bunch of mats. So I don’t think… Yeah I think that’s an interesting thing too, just as like see how the quality and the speed and all of these things becoming faster and more approachable, ends up on the screen is basically, it’s better I think.

Chad Ashley: I mean, talking to somebody on Twitter about, they’re asking me about camera, ReelSmart Motion Blur. And it’s funny how quickly RealSmart Motion Blur and Lenscare depth of field, just completely left my tool set. Because I just never need to do vector motion blur. And I never… I’m always doing a depth of field in camera now as well as the motion blur. So I just don’t even use those things anymore. But two, three years ago, you had to have that.

Nick Campbell: Yeah, that’s definitely, something I still have installed, still use the heck out of it, but less and less because of exactly that. Now I have a machine that can do this, in way less time. So I wonder too, Michael, you’ve seen this process, you come from that more traditional background. What are the tools then, and a software that you’ve seen where you used to be able to just know premiere be a great editor, but then what? What are clients starting to ask for? Was it 2D After Effects? 3D? What are those? What is that crew learning as well?

Michael Maher: It’s a little bit of everything. I think a big part of that mix that we haven’t even touched on yet is where you guys were just talking about the mix of, say Nuke and After Effects. There are still industry standards After Effects very much more on the low end, Indie market and Nuke like in major studio productions, right? That’s still happening in the video editing world. A majority of television shows, and like movies and things like that are cut on Avid, which has been the standard for decades now. Avid is still a very expensive piece of software, and it’s like archaically built into workflows.

Michael Maher: So, you’re not going to see major studio switch into cutting on premiere right away because they have so much dedicated time and money that they’ve spent building out these platforms for somebody to cut a show in LA, and send it to somebody in New York. When it gets to high end stuff, you’re still going to see a mix of things. So, I don’t think After Effects is going to hurt the Nuke market. So I think the same thing’s going to happen in 3D. It’s what’s going to be that high end versus low end and they’re still going to be a mix of everything. But I expect you’ll still have to know a bunch of different software.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. It’s probably part of cinema 4D success, right? It’s easy to use and it’s easy… like if you’re an After Effects person, it’s not crazy to go open up cinema and with a couple of tutorials. Well look, we made a whole business over this. With a few tutorials you’re up and running with cinema 4D. If you just know some basic timeline stuff, and some basic After Effects essentially. And so you end up with cinema 4D kind of like in this middle ground where they’re mostly really good for most things. And then I think what we’re talking about too is like all the other little bits and pieces you strap into it to make it an even more robust cockpit, right? You’re the beginning of the video game and you got your basic cockpit, and you just did your first race and now they’re giving you some money to like strap in better tires or whatever.

Nick Campbell: And that’s how I feel like cinema 4D is still at the center core of most people’s everyday workflow. But then as they progress through the game, they strap on these other additions and turbo boosters. And I don’t know why I need to speak in analogies all the time. There’s third party renders, and there’s a Houdini, and there’s app, a compositing program, whether it’s After Effects or Nuke. And so what are these other things that are popping up these days. I know Chad you’ve been using substance a lot lately, working on the new material pack. So what are… Are you guys hearing anything else that is the next turbo booster that we’re strapping into cinema? Or just off to the side?

Chad Ashley: I would say it’s still… I still get a ton of people asking about Houdini. And, hey I’m learning Houdini. Are you ever going to learn Houdini? And I’m like yeah, some day, relax. All right, get off my back.

Nick Campbell: Hey, he’s busy guys.

Chad Ashley: All right, let’s just cut me some slack dude, I’ve got enough stuff to learn. But yeah, I think that’s a pretty big one. Substances obviously, I think fits so perfectly into a lot of people’s workflow. I mean there’s other third party plugins too that help people do what they need to do. Obviously there’s, I mean this is more of an asset thing but Turbosquid, and other a kit bash type offerings. But yeah, I think the one I hear the most about is probably Houdini, and Substance it’s probably the two that people are like, oh man, I really got to add that to my toolkit.

Michael Maher: What would you say are the standards for the current motion designer? Because from what I’ve seen is, with the YouTube generation of, we’ve been cutting on premiere now and we’ve learned After Effects. People in that area are much more likely to jump into cinema 4D now, and learn more about 3D and really up their game there. But in terms of the 3D artists already in the cinema space, are you still seeing a bunch of people hopping to After Effects to Comp? Or are they moving into Fusion? Or what’s kind of the other stuff you guys are using a lot of in addition to cinema?

Chad Ashley: Yeah, I’ve seen. I think after effects is probably still the most widely used for everything. Motion design in terms of like comping, doing titles, basic, motion design animation type stuff. I think it’s still a huge, huge part of everyone’s workflow. I think that… I see less and less Nuke over the years just because I think it’s just… It could just be that I’m not exposed to the shops that really utilize it. That could very well be it, but it’s also very expensive, and I think other people are realizing that Fusion is becoming a pretty good replacement for that tool. But yeah, I think that After Effects is still the most widely used comp for sure.

Nick Campbell: Yeah, I’m seeing that. It’s like, I think there’s like three major ones. You get into motion design, and you’re going to come across After Effects no brainer. You’re going to have to learn that. And then you have a crossroads to pick there. You can go into the built in, 3D stuff, and play around in After Effects or try video co-pilot stuff, and to me, it kind of like just either get the taste for 3D while working in After Effects, or your clients are just asking you so much for it that you eventually go fine, and then you start playing with probably cinema 4D. And then there’s really one other key piece of software that every motion designer just needs on their machine. You may have to get, maybe an older machine to run this, but Kai’s Power Goo is really the main thing. I want you to just make sure you have some Kai’s Power Goo, because you know what, those clients are still asking for those effects. You need it.

Chad Ashley: Truth.

Nick Campbell: We need to eBay some Kai’s Power Goo. Is that still around.

Chad Ashley: I totally remember that stuff. And Alien. Was alien skin or something, right? Not another one.

Nick Campbell: Oh Man. Yeah. After Effects and cinema 4D for sure. And then, yeah, the next piece of the puzzle. It all depends on what your clients are asking for, depends on the type of work you’re doing. I think honestly at that point, and I know this is a lot of what we do at Greyscalegorilla, but it’s why we make this stuff. Is that, I’m still hearing so many teams and small teams of one or two or three, trying to get so much done, and they’re starting to start from scratch on every project. And I think that, that’s an incredible way to learn something. It’s how I’ve learned something, it’s like if I can’t do it from scratch, then I can’t really prove it to myself that I know how to do it. However, once a client is asking you to do something, if you start from scratch you are doing yourself, and the client a disservice.

Michael Maher: So I think it’s at that point you’re looking into plugins, assets, trying to build your tool set that, of the toolbox that you already own, and filling up those tool sets, right? So, each of your eyes and models and lighting rigs and even just rigs yourself things that you’ve used over and over again as an artist, like trying to build your own tool. Even if it’s just something you’ve… If you have a logo all the time that you use all the time, like put it in your content browser, those kinds of things. So I think there’s some learning at that point where you have to fill up your current toolboxes and really see how much you could do with cinema 4D before jumping into Houdini or before jumping into Nuke or whatever. And then at that point it really, I think the client sometimes dictates where you’re going to go. Whether you’re going to start to be forced into Houdini or learning more compositing tricks or whatever that is.

Nick Campbell: Does that make sense?

Nick Campbell: Yeah. That’s kind of how I see, the progression of it.

Chad Ashley: Yeah. And I’ll add that, I don’t know if it’s just me, it’s not just me. I’m not even going to say that. I’m going to say it’s definitely a fact. And that is, I think new users, new artists coming up into the industry are more malleable and faster learning than any of us were, because they’re coming up in an environment where they’re just, it’s just part of their world. Learning new software. Yeah. Okay. I’ll learn it. I could learn that in a couple of weeks, month, whatever.

Michael Maher: I 100% agree with that. Absolutely.

Chad Ashley: Just like anything, any sport, anything like that where new generations are pushing the boundaries, and just like learning faster and just pushing the industry. I see that happening. Just watching some of the presentations at the booths, and stuff and just these artists that are just like, yeah, they’re just soaking it all in because they just came up in this world where they’ve been using a computer since they were three years old. And to them, maybe they took programming in grade school. I have no idea, but the stuff they’re doing, I’m just like, oh my gosh, that’s insane. And it’s really wild to watch, and I’m happy because it’s definitely pushing the industry forward.

Michael Maher: I recently saw quite a bit of that. So I visited my old college just to see how they’re, film program was doing. And it was so interesting to see one, that they have way much nicer cameras and stuff to use than I did when I was in school. So that sucked. But it’s so true. And you’re talking about the younger upcoming artists that, we were only taught Avid, and now they have Creative Cloud installed on all the machines, and everybody knows all of the programs. Like you have to know Photoshop, After Effects Premiere. You need to know how to work with everything. And I think that’s also, when we’re talking about, when you’re trying to decide what software you’re going to learn next. I think there’s also that whole client mentality of, if you’re a freelancer and you’re trying to get a job at a studio, and you’re using Cinema right now, and are you going to try to go learn Blender or are you going to try to learn the thing that costs more money?

Michael Maher: Because if you even look at that from a filmmaking standpoint, back when I was coming up, people were more impressed by how big your camera was. It didn’t matter if you had the low level stuff, and you can do it all. There’s is some kind of weird mentality of when you can start proving yourself that I know more of the expensive software, and I know more of this, but when you can start combining all of that, are you going to start seeing, what’s the software you’re going to see on people’s resumes right now? What’s going to impress a studio to get them a job to work on something?

Chad Ashley: Definitely Kai’s Power Goo, I guess.

Nick Campbell: Update your resume kids.

Chad Ashley: You certainly set me up for that one dude. You teed me up so perfectly. I mean, yeah, I get that. And I think that, obviously people should be cognizant of what software the studios are using that they want to work at, and that should be the studio that they’re aiming for. Sorry, the software to learn that they should aim for. But yeah, I don’t know, do people still put software on resumes? I haven’t seen a resume in a long time.

Nick Campbell: It’s tough and this is what I’ve seen. Let me know if this, and let me know those of you listening too, because you’re out in the weeds making this stuff happen. But I have a sense that there’s a lot of young artists that are getting hired, and we’ve heard these stories a lot, but I think there’s more than even just the stories we’ve heard. There’s a lot of young artists out there getting hired at, not studios that have their own software and have their own way of doing it. It hadn’t, this is where you fit in, and this is what you do and go to it. That is happening less and less. And more and more what is happening is that this artist is being hired because they know 3D. That’s really all they’re looking at on the resumes, you know how to do this 3D stuff?

Nick Campbell: They go, Yep. And they go, okay. We’re going to sit you down and we’re just going to have you do that. And then the client, which is less and less an actual client, it’s more that they work at, let’s say, they work at an actual business, right? Every website out there has their own media team, and every media team more and more is having this 3D person sit there. And then what’s happening is their creative director, or their boss is saying, “Hey, do that 3D thing that I’ve seen on Game of Thrones, or do that 3D thing that I saw in Spiderman,” because you’re the 3D person.

Chad Ashley: I’d hate to be that 3D person.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. You do the 3D thing that we just saw on this Pixar movie. And then they are stuck in this world where they have to explain, hey, whoa, whoa, whoa. I know 3D. But hundreds of people, thousands of people sit to make, half a second of this movie. And you’re asking me to pull this off. And there’s this raw communication difference where, there’s an unlimited amount of hours that they think this 3D person has, and they’re going to ask to do more and more complex stuff because, hey it’s 3D. And that education process is, that education process, Chad, we’ve sat in these meetings when we’ve worked together in production.

Nick Campbell: That education process works when there’s a producer there to explain it. And there’s the salesperson to make sure that we all are clear on what this is and, hey, we could do Spiderman but it’s going to cost you this many millions of dollars, right? But when you’re just somebody being hired and being asked to do more and more and they don’t understand the, even just the ability or the function, and then you have to stand up and say, I don’t know how to do that. And now you look like you weren’t hired the right way or like there’s this miscommunication. So I guess-

Chad Ashley: You just described hell.

Nick Campbell: Yeah.

Chad Ashley: Like that would suck so bad.

Nick Campbell: I’m hearing this, right? And again, I’m kind of reaching out to the audience too, let us know, if that’s you right now, like hey, drop us a comment. We want to give you a hug, because that’s the worst. But two is like, we’re also trying to figure out how to give you, not just an extra eye tool, but also tools that you could use in your world that can help you explain what you can do, what you’re available to do, and give you more tools to say, yeah, I could do that, but here’s what it’s going to cost. The amount of people I talked to and they’re, yeah, I’m still on this five year old machine because I can’t convince my boss that I need this machine, because I can’t basically sell through that I need this, and it’ll speed up my work tenex, or a new renderer. Right? Like that’s what I’m starting to hear more and more.

Nick Campbell: Of course they all want all the new renders, they want the new machines. And they know that they could do much, much more with them. But they’re stuck because they’re not the one with the credit card. And it’s, when somebody like Chad is your creative director, they actually get it. They’ve seen, they’re your ally. But a lot of these people don’t have a Chad in their… As their creative director, they might not have any creative director and they’re just like struggling to make this happen for their boss and make them happy. I don’t know. Does that ring true to you guys or am I just hearing the worst of the worst stories?

Chad Ashley: I mean, I think it’s definitely something that happens for sure. I think that every business, I think has the people that work in the business that need something that they can’t immediately justify or they can’t quantify the value of it very clearly, struggles with that problem. And even though you can sort of understand its value, whether it’s a render or a piece of software, new computer or whatever, the less you can like actually communicate that need to your boss in a way that they understand using language that they understand, then you’ll have a hard time selling that through. And I think that you’re right, there’s probably a lot of people out there so focused on the day to day just like getting the work done that they can’t even begin to strategize a way to ask their boss for help or ask their boss for this thing or that thing. So yeah, it’s hard.

Chad Ashley: And I’ve consulted and advised many artists that asked me that question, how do I convince my boss to do x or y? And the answer is just really pretty simple. It’s like figure out what language they speak. Are they interested in saving time or saving money? Usually it’s both. Or usually it’s one over the other. And if you can state your case and in any of those areas and say, well I need this because it’s going to save me this much time, make us this much more money, I’ll have this much more time to do other work. And they really line it up like that and in a way that they can understand, you’ll make a better case for yourself. There’s no guarantee that they’re going to get you what you need. But it’s better than saying, well I need this because it looks cooler, or I need this because it’s going to… You know what I mean? Like that’s never going to convince.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. Cause then the boss, if you have one that is not sympathetic at all to the creative side of things, they’re going to say, it’s your job to make it look better. Dude, I hired you. You’re a designer. I thought you said you could design. Why don’t you make it look better for free?

Chad Ashley: What am I paying you for?

Nick Campbell: Yeah. Why do I just buy this software and I’ll use it and if it’s making as good as stuff as you claim, then you know what, I’ll buy the software, I’ll fire you, and then I’ll be all set to go. So why don’t we just do that.

Chad Ashley: You’re a terrible boss, man. That’s awful.

Nick Campbell: I know.

Nick Campbell: But what’s interesting though is I would consider myself kind of like halfway in between both worlds. I have this business side of me and I have this creative side of me. And I’ve got to kind of expand and grow and learn on both sides. But when you guys have, I hope I do this, when you guys have a thing that we need to use, and it’s going to save time and it’s going to… I’m staring at the Zencaster Interface right now. And it was a no brainer to say, hey there’s this piece of software that records podcasts and it’s easy to edit and it’s got awesome sound effects and it’s got awesome things [inaudible 00:34:20] So like-

Michael Maher: [SFX]

Chad Ashley: Dude I was so hoping you’re going to do that.

Michael Maher: I was just on standby. I would also point out that I think it’s been solid because obviously Chad got a super maxed out PC and then Nick got a super maxed out PC. But I don’t know, I didn’t get a maxed out PC. So I’m just pushing airhorns.

Chad Ashley: Ladies and gentlemen, this is another tactic. It’s the public shaming tactic.

Nick Campbell: Are you publicly asking for a new machine? Are we didn’t do this live? But you know what, the fact that, well, let’s go through this, the fact that we put out Greyscalegorilla Plus. We’re working hard on it. Mike’s been working extra hard on it and we would screen share, and I would see his machine like slow immediately down. And so, but to kind of finish the point of it, is Mike needing a new machine is at the cost of speeding up production of getting like the number one thing we’ve been working for over a year on, is such a no brainer for me as a business person. So if Mike’s machine, which we’re happy to get, I just needed you to bring it up six months ago.

Chad Ashley: You can’t see me but I’m tipping my hat to you right now Mike. This is brilliant.

Nick Campbell: That’s pretty good.

Michael Maher: I’ll uh, just let me just go ahead and start shopping real quick.

Michael Maher: No, I get that completely. This is something I’ve seen. So, in another past life I managed a studio and I was very much a mid-level guy. I ran office in Texas. But we reported to headquarters in New York, and we were creating a ton of content, blog content, YouTube content, things like that with these really old machines. And I had to try to talk to the bosses in New York and explain to them, we need new cameras, we need new computers. We need all of this stuff just to create content faster. And it was a really hard fight over months to get them to sign off. But once you really just take that time to… We actually screen recorded the process, which probably also helps slow the machines down. But we delivered this and said this video just sat while we waited here, because the computer took so long. We need bigger machines, and months later we were finally upgrading the studio and now they’re turning out stuff. They’re still turning out videos nonstop. It’s crazy.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. When that is, and this is all to help, hopefully you listening there, like when you present it in a way, and I like how Chad said it, present it in a way that your creative director or boss or whoever’s got the credit card that they think that if it is really helpful that it should be almost a no brainer decision. And maybe we got to wait until this lines up or maybe we’ve got to get the budget for this or whatever. But if you can make it clear on, look, this renderer doesn’t just speed me up twice as much. It speeds me up 10 times as much, and I could get more done, and it looks better too. That’s like one of those no brainer things.

Nick Campbell: Now the fact that you may have to switch to a computer and all that, we’ll figure that out later. But presenting it in that way I think is there. So, I don’t know if we’re way off topic on that, but I think that, that’s something that is another part of your tool set as a designer on how to make sure that you have, and get the gear, and software, and plugins that you need to get your best work done.

Chad Ashley: Yeah. I mean, that’s really an important lesson to learn over time and whether you’re working in a small company or by yourself, it’s an important skill to have. I remember, gosh, I think it was when I started at DK, they didn’t have a render farm. And I had to convince them that they needed a render farm. And that took about two or three years of just constant, hey, we need to do this. We need to do this. We’re going to be able to get so much more work done. We’re going to be able to actually turn jobs around overnight. We can actually do more jobs.

Chad Ashley: And then by the time I left we had, I think over a 100 nodes or something. And there wasn’t anything that we couldn’t iterate overnight on. And that transformed our ability to make our clients happy. We could turn around changes, we could do giant aspect ratios. And just that convincing took a long time. But then once they’re over that hump, and they understand, oh, sometimes I need to make investment in infrastructure in order to do this work, I get it. And then it’s going to be a little easier the next time, a little easier the next time.

Nick Campbell: I can’t believe you got a render farm. I couldn’t.

Michael Maher: I can’t believe I got a new computer.

Chad Ashley: Mike is just like, this podcast is great.

Nick Campbell: Look, no matter how much value this podcast has given you listener, nobody’s won today as much as Michael with the new machine. No. You definitely need that thing, man. It was, I can hear your fan screaming every time we did a stream.

Chad Ashley: I’m going to go ahead and order you the Chromebook right now, Mike.

Michael Maher: Oh Wow.

Chad Ashley: I mean. That’s what you need.

Michael Maher: That comes with the power cord, right?

Nick Campbell: God, no.

Chad Ashley: If you can make a case for it.

Nick Campbell: You got wind turbines over there in Texas. Come on.

Nick Campbell: What are you worried about?

Chad Ashley: Oh, that’s great.

Nick Campbell: Oh Man.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. Well get yourself a fully licensed version of Kai Power Tools while you’re at it. Throw it on there. And I’m trying to think of old After Effects plugins that aren’t around, but my brain’s gone.

Chad Ashley: Dude. Yeah. They all had the weirdest names too. Yeah. Kai’s Power Goo was a big one.

Nick Campbell: I’m going to, Zaxwerks is still around, but that was one of those where I’m like, there’s something there. I knew I wanted 3D, and so Zaxwerks was always on my-

Chad Ashley: Oh my God. Yeah. Dude. I used to use that all the time.

Nick Campbell: They were always on my radar.

Nick Campbell: Yeah. I See.

Chad Ashley: Zaxwerks actually made a bevel tool that I used when I was using Maya back in the day because it actually had a really good text and logo beveling tool that you could export OBJs out of. And I remember it man, that thing was awesome back in the day.

Nick Campbell: Oh man.

Chad Ashley: We need a podcast where we just, we all come to the show with our top 10 retro plugins, and we take up stroll down memory lane.

Nick Campbell: Just the old, just the old man pocket. It’s slowly turning in. I’m glad. Glad you’re here, Mike.

Chad Ashley: Back in the day.

Nick Campbell: [inaudible 00:41:24]. Yeah. Well.

Chad Ashley: My [inaudible 00:41:29] on AVA direct.

Nick Campbell: He’s gone. He’s clicking and clacking in order [crosstalk 00:41:34] machine.

Chad Ashley: I like, oh man. What can I get here?

Nick Campbell: Well look, there’s the ultimate tip today folks. Write this one down. If you ever really need something, make sure your boss is in a public situation.

Chad Ashley: Then humiliate them with how slow it takes you to do stuff.

Nick Campbell: Oh, that’s good.

Nick Campbell: Well, let’s see here.

Chad Ashley: Oh good.

Nick Campbell: I don’t know if it’s internet or web, Mike’s dropping in and out. So I think we should wrap it up. It’s been 40 minutes. So I think, I like to keep them under an hour.

Chad Ashley: I was wondering why he was so silent.

Nick Campbell: Well, unless there’s anything else we missed. Thank you as always for listening. I know we dropped it at the beginning of the show. We talked a little bit about it here, but we’ve been working hard, and Mike, we broke Mike’s computer getting Greyscalegorilla Plus up and ready to go, and we’ve already had a few people join us and start checking it out. We’ve had a ton of incredible feedback already. We’re really excited to do our official launch, which should be any time now. But if you’re listening to this, make sure you’re on the list. Head on over to Learn more about it, and I’m just excited about all that stuff. And look, an episode like this kind of gets me thinking of other stuff, other training that we need. So that all works out. Anyway, as always, please leave us a review if you’re listening on iTunes. That always helps us get the word out about this thing. We’re going to try to keep this rolling, two weeks in a row. We can keep it going. What do you think?

Chad Ashley: Yeah, we got it, man. We’re on it.

Nick Campbell: All right. Good to talk to you, Chad as always. And Mike’s machine… We literally broke Mike’s Machine on air. So let’s give us, let’s give ourselves a big high five, and let’s go get the credit card out folks.

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  • this was interesting podcast, i think you can’t be good artist if you dont know basics and foundamentals to the motion ,design, or filmmaking, no mater how meny softs youknow.
    good luck with mike’s comp

  • First time listening to the podcast, really enjoyed and can definitely relate to some of the issues raised. Looking forward to The Happy Toolbox Vol. 2!

    – instajam.jpg

  • Blender 2.8 has loads of improvements, too many to list here, but a few of most highly anticipated additions are the following (in no particular order):
    * Grease Pencil System – A whole new subsystem in blender to create 2d animation (a la vector based like Flash) but within the true 3d viewport. See “hero” [] for an example of what it could do even in its beta stages prior to 2.8 launch.
    * Eevee Render Engine – A brand new render engine for realtime viewport preview and editing as well as time optimized rendering (less accurate than existing Cycles engine but a great compromise for lot faster render times). This engine is in addition to Cycles not a replacement.
    *UI Overhaul and Workbench Render Engine – So this release saw a major UI overhaul (And an overwhelmingly positive one) bringing the look and functionality of Blender into the modern era, but also not compromising power users in being able to work fast and efficiently. The viewport render modes (wireframe, solid, lookdev, rendered) have been redesigned to give the 3d artist better visual feedback from the viewport. This manifests in lots of ways but ultimately users will better understand their projects and therefore be able to make better creative decisions while modeling, sculpting, posing, and weight painting. The Workbench engine takes it one step further in being able to do improved viewport renders for animation timing.

  • *Forgot to add an Eevee demo video, check this out []

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