Posted On:Octane Archives | Greyscalegorilla
Four years in the making, Beeple never thought he’d finally release ‘Manifest Destiny.’ Now you can watch it and download all the scene files he made for free.
Mike Winkelmann, a.k.a. Beeple, wrote the treatment for his latest film, Manifest Destiny, a little over four years ago, never dreaming that it would actually take so long to get the film finished.
Derailed by procrastination, he finally got back on track after making a deal with an artist he met at SIGGRAPH, him agreeing that he would finish his film in 100 days, and she would create an Everyday for 100 days. “I don’t know why I agreed to that, but it forced me to f—ing do it,” he says, admitting that “I still didn’t do anything until the last two weeks, and I seriously finished it on the 100th day.”
Reached in Denver last week where he was one of the featured speakers on Maxon’s 26-city 3D Design + Motion Tour, Winkelmann talked with me about the making of Manifest Destiny, using Cinema 4D, Octane and Houdini; losing interest in making longer films; and how his Everydays have turned darker and more political in the last year, but he remains optimistic about the future.
Mike Winkelmann: Yeah, this one is not vague at all. The things I’m pointing out are literally happening now. But there is a bit of sensationalizing, like I did with the other films. There is so much inequality in the world, and it is improving in some areas, like statistics show that the number of people living in extreme poverty is slowly declining.
But things are getting worse in a lot of ways too. I tried to choose statistics that people may not have been aware of, like how Jeff Bezos made over $100 million dollars every single day in 2018, and the average Chinese worker assembling iPhones makes $1.85 per hour. I wanted to hit on a lot of different points about money.
MM: You’ve been saying this film would be done for a long time. What happened?
MW: I don’t know. I think, to be honest, I’m not actually that interested in making things that are this long anymore. I’m more interested in doing short 10- to 30-second videos. I think that you can be more experimental when you have less time, like, ‘I’ve got two days invested in this, who cares? I can do whatever.’ But when you spend four years, you’re like, ‘OMG, should I do this, or that, or this?’ It becomes paralyzing. I don’t even watch short films much anymore. If I do another video, I’m giving myself a deadline, like a month or something.
MM: Were you redoing it over and over? What was left to finish?
MW: No, the only thing left to do was edit it to the Run the Jewels track. I had everything done and rendered. But then I just didn’t touch it for a year and, honestly, it wasn’t even bugging me that I wasn’t getting it done. I was always planning on using that Run the Jewels song, “Legend Has It.” I liked the overall vibe of the song, but I hadn’t talked to them about it yet. And then one of the guys got in touch with me to say they’d seen some of my Everydays and wanted to talk about making a video. So it all worked out.
MM: Talk a little bit about your process for making this.
MW: The workflow was pretty simple, really. I mainly used Cinema 4D and Octane. Octane gave it a great look that really felt super realistic. I could just set up a couple of lights and throw some volumetrics on it to get a lot of depth and atmosphere.
The buildings were modeled in C4D, and all of the fire and destructions was simulated in Turbulence FD and rendered in Octane. There was no compositing: I just went straight out of C4D and Octane and did one color correction and that was it.
MM: What about the fat gold characters, and how they sort of melted together?
MW: Oh, yeah, I used Houdini for the melting gold people. I have no idea how I did that. When I started this four years ago, it was the first time I’d ever done characters. I used Mixamo for the big gold character, and Houdini for the melting effect. It’s a good thing I saved that as an Alembic file, or I would have had to start over since I don’t remember how I did that.
All of the fighting was done with Mixamo models that we already in poses, like they were hitting, ducking or punching. I just had to choreograph the characters, so it looked like they were fighting. I’m happy with how it turned out. The melting thing was kind of symbolism for this weird orgy of people at the top, like our politicians and upper-class elite, all bumping heads and wrestling around in a big pile. They’re not really doing anything meaningful, just shifting their weight around while very little changes for the rest of us.
MM: Why did you go with text and music rather than narration this time?
MW: I was going to do a voiceover with music, like I usually do, and I had like 140 people submit auditions, but none of them were right. So I decided, pretty much at the last second, to put use text, even though it would be covering up all that sh-t I worked on for so long. That was probably a better choice anyway because a lot of people watch videos on mute, so they wouldn’t have heard the narration. I wanted to get a lot of stuff across, like how much debt we’re in, how rich Americans are, and how so many people are insanely poor and a few are insanely rich.
MM: Do you worry, or think about, the state of the world a lot these days?
MW: No, I wouldn’t say that. But I do work a lot more with two TVs on, one turned to FOX News and the other to CNN. I mute the sound, but it’s very interesting to see how differently they cover things. FOX is just all of this propaganda and, pretty much the opposite of what CNN says. You can see why the country is so divided.
I’m definitely interested in politics, and I do think we are headed for a time when we’re all going to have to make some changes and adjust to a new reality, including changing our levels of spending. But there are things we can do, like give money. Most of us can afford to give money, but we don’t. Or we don’t give enough. Honestly, as I’ve made more money, I’ve given less money. This film is kind of a wake-up call, for everybody, me included.
MM: It seems like you’re trying to say more with your Everydays now, too.
MW: I’d say it was about July when I started doing things that are overtly political. I like taking a political- or commerce-related scenario and abstracting it out to a ridiculous degree, like the pro-choice one where robot Trump is being forced to have a baby in the future, or where Mark Zuckerberg has no nipples because women can’t show nipples on Facebook.
The response has been super, much bigger than anything else I’ve done. It really just felt like a natural progression from the storytelling I’ve been doing.
MM: What else are you doing these days?
MW: I’m working on a couple of things I can’t talk about yet. I just did some concert visuals for Zedd, and I’m doing a video sculpture for a festival that Amazon’s doing in December. I’m traveling a lot more. A month ago, I was in Brazil with my wife and the kids. And my wife and I are going to Russia soon for a conference I’m doing with Maxon. There’s a lot going on.
Credits and Free Downloads:
Directed by: BEEPLE
Music: RUN THE JEWELS
Donations to Direct Relief.
DOWNLOAD ALL CLIPS:
Does not require Cinema 4D.
DOWNLOAD CINEMA 4D PROJECT FILES:
Meleah Maynard is a writer and editor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Breakdown the composition, lighting, and render settings of this iPhone product render from R4D Studio.
All images via Nik V. of R4D Studio.
After seeing the jaw-dropping renders from R4D Studio on Twitter, we reached out to creator Nik V. to talk about his product render process.
He tells us all about his work creating product renders, then guides us through his latest render of an iPhone 11. Take a look at his process and breakdown this Cinema 4D and Octane project.
Learn how to create realistic objects with high fidelity from one of the best artists working with Cinema 4D and emerging 3D tools.
In this fantastic NAB presentation, freelance 3D artist Aaron Covrett guides you through his personal projects and experimental workflows.
Earlier this year we talked to Aaron Covrett about his remarkable work creating his Harvest still life that was inspired by Renaissance paintings. He share with us his passion in learning about new emerging technologies, experimenting with better workflows and pipelines, and his real passion for 3D.
Now at NAB, Covrett breaks down some of his personal work. He specializes in texturing, which you can really gain a sense of as he walks you through prop development and asset optimization in Cinema 4D. Read More
A behind-the-scenes look at the surreal and powerful Spotify music video for Mitski’s “A Pearl.”
In the new music video for Mitski’s, “A Pearl,” from Be the Cowboy, a barefoot woman walks determinedly for a while before breaking into a run that turns into a freefall as the lyrics lay bare her soul. Eventually, the Mitski-like woman lands on her feet and begins walking again and it’s hard to know whether to breathe a sigh of relief, or cry.
Artful and heart-wrenching, the Spotify-commissioned video is a collaborative creation by Brooklyn-based studio Art Camp and New York City-based designers/animators Saad Moosajee and Danaé Gosset. Read More
Get the latest on the new version of After Effects, learn about GPU render updates from GTC, and find about about the new features in X-Particles.
Tons of news and updates as we head into NAB 2019. Are you headed to the 2019 NAB Show? Be sure to join us at the many events like the MoGraph Meetup and Maxon Booth presentations. Swing by for some GSG Swag.
Let’s dive into what’s new.
New in Adobe CC and After Effects
Adobe seems to be on a tear lately. After their acquisition of Allegorithic, makers of Substance, the company has now made big updates to the Creative Cloud. Adobe has just added support for Substance materials in Adobe Dimension.
Tons of new features were just released in the latest version of After Effects. You’ve likely seen headlines for Content-Aware fill for video, which many thought was just an April Fool’s Day prank. Jokes on them, the feature is available now. Read More
To create a spiritual sequel to their Academy Award® nominated short film, this trio relied on Cinema 4D, Octane, and After Effects.
In Dutch animation trio, Job, Joris & Marieke’s latest short film, A Double Life, a husband and wife spiral into a life or death confrontation when the wife suddenly opts to become a man. A complex story to tell at any length, Job Roggeveen, Joris Oprins and Marieke Blaauw manage to do it in two minutes and forty-three seconds while intentionally leaving the ending open to interpretation.
Like their Oscar-nominated short, A Single Life, about a young woman who finds a mysterious record on her doorstep that allows her to time travel, A Double Life is a thought-provoking darkly humorous tale that relies primarily on in-house sound design by Job Roggeveen and visuals created using Cinema 4D, After Effects, and Octane rather than dialogue.
Here Marieke Blaauw, Job Roggeveen and Joris Oprins—who met while studying product design at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands—explain their latest project as well as their love of black comedy and really, really short stories Read More
What appears to be a traditional Renaissance painting is actually a carefully crafted Cinema 4D render. Here’s how it was made.
All images courtesy of Aaron Covrett.
There are countless photo-realistic renders that make you second guess whether an image is a photograph or 3D render. In the case of Aaron Covrett’s Harvest, you would believe you were studying a painting, but your eyes have deceived you.
What you see is a fine crafted piece of art created by 3D artist Aaron Covrett. I wanted to learn more about his process, and this is what I found out. Read More
See how Blind used Cinema 4D, After Effects, Octane, and Redshift to create several 3D scenes of popular games to announce Xbox Game Pass at E3 2018.
All images courtesy of Microsoft / Blind.
In 2018, for the fourth year in a row, Microsoft and the Ayzenberg Group tapped Los Angeles-based design and brand strategy studio Blind to create content for their high-profile E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) show. While last year’s project was devoted to the launch of the Xbox One X, this year’s goal was to highlight Microsoft’s monthly subscription service, Xbox Game Pass.
When should you start thinking about color in your 3D and motion design projects? It’s time to think like a Director of Photography.
While listening to an Entagma discussion, where Manuel Casasola Merkle and Moritz Schwing rant about render engines, the duo spends a little bit of time talking about LUTs in the post-process.
This led me down a tangent of questions, which ultimately led me to wonder if 3D artists should operate more like cinematographers. A Director of Photography (DP) will often devise a color scheme before production even begins. They’ll talk with the director about the emotional connection they want the piece to convey, and then the DP, either on their own or with a DIT or colorist, will create a look. Read More
Early 2018 has brought about tons of new products, major rendering announcements, and much more to discuss. Let’s dive in.
Most developers and companies announce their new products and updates in Q1. This year, it was a big year for 3D designers and video game developers. We saw some big updates on rendering. Let’s take a look at all the big announcements so far this year. Also, be sure to download the free tools from Greyscalegorilla, and well as some beta downloads from third-party renderers down below.
Real-Time Rendering is Changing the Design Landscape + Free Unreal Studio Beta
In this great piece on CG Society, you can take a look at the work of Unreal Studio in terms of these real-time renders.
“73 percent of respondents stated that real-time rendering is important to their workflows, suggesting a major shift towards modern rendering engines is already well underway. Unreal Engine was cited as the most popular real-time engine among respondents who aren’t already using it in their design pipeline.”
NVIDIA, Unreal Engine, and the Future of Ray Tracing
Earlier this month, Epic Games, NVIDIA, and ILMxLAB released a Star Wars short showing off real-time ray tracing in Unreal Engine. Lighting is moved around the scene interactively, and the shadows and reflections render in real time.
You can dive much deeper into ray tracing over on the NVIDIA blog, where they show off their API and pipeline.
Engadget dives a little deeper into ray-tracing with this breakdown video, which is definitely worth a watch. Chris Schodt also touches on tesselation, shaders, occlusion, and mapping to achieve nearly photo-realistic renders.
You can read more about this video on Engadget.
For an even more in-depth dive into ray tracing, you must listen to the GPU Technology Conference panel with founders, lead engineers, and supervisors at Pixar, Blur Studio, Autodesk, Otoy, Redshift, Epic Games, Chaos Group, Isotropix, and NVIDIA.
Free Tools, Models, and Scene Files from Greyscalegorilla
At NAB, we compiled many of our free downloads from over the years, as well as some of the files we presented at the Maxon booth this year.
Autodesk announces Arnold 5.1 and Arnold GPU Updates
The Arnold 5.1 update brings users adaptive sampling, a new toon shader, denoising solutions, and more. The company also updates us on bringing Arnold to the GPU.
First, let’s check out this Arnold 5.1 video from Autodesk.
The Arnold video features Chad Ashley’s work with the new toon shader. You can see some of his final renders on his Instagram account.
Here’s a glance at his proton pack from the Happy Toolbox model pack.
And another with some shading tests from the new toon shader.
You can read more about the 5.1 update on the Autodesk site.
As for the GPU, there was much to be said in the update and demo you can watch here from the GPU Technology Conference.
Otoy Octane 4
In more rendering news, Otoy recently announced OctaneRender 4. Octane 4 introduces AI light, AI scene, AI denoiser, and out of core geometry.
You can read more about Octane 4 here, and if you have a V3 license you can download this build, which Otoy has also released a list of current issues.
The newest tool from Greyscalegorilla, GorrillaCam allows you to add natural handshake and organic movement to your Cinema 4D camera.
Think of GorillaCam as a filter that you attach to your original camera. You feed GorillaCam a pre-animated (or still) camera and that becomes the “reference” camera. That way you are free to add as much overshoot, smooth, and shake as you like without destroying your original camera.
GorillaCam was recently used by designer Ash Thorp in his latest piece for Nike. We had a chance to talk to him about the project, and you can read the full Ash Thorp interview here. You can read more or buy GorillaCam in the GSG store.
Renderman XPU Update
Pixar announced that RenderMan XPU is currently in active development, with a release planned after the delivery of RenderMan 22.
“The RenderMan XPU project is addressing the challenge of rendering Pixar-scale production assets on systems with a mix of CPU and GPU capabilities. From a single set of assets, RenderMan XPU produces film-quality renderings by seamlessly using all available compute cores concurrently. RenderMan XPU is a single renderer that can operate on a variety of systems, from render farm machines with mid-range CPUs only all the way up to workstations or servers having many-core CPUs and multiple extreme GPUs.”
Happy Toolbox on Adobe Stock
The whimsical 3D models created by The Happy Toolbox are now available on Adobe Stock. You can individually license a single model for you project needs, or you can bundle up and get the entire pack right here on Greyscalegorilla. Read more about the 3D models on Adobe Stock here.
More articles worth a read:
In addition to all this news, we have a few more pieces and projects you may enjoy.
- Review of LogicKeyboard’s ASTRA C4D scissor-switch keyboard
- Greyscalegorilla 5-Second Projects are Back
- Nick Campbell named StudioDaily 50 Top Creative + Technologist