New city, new job, new challenges by David Mackenzie

After almost 5 years as the Technical Director at Our Vision I decided it was time for a new challenge. So earlier this month I packed up and moved to less sunny and certainly colder than Sydney, Melbourne and took a position as Technical Director at Squint Opera. 

I thought now was a good time to reflect on some of the achievements Our Vision has had over the years, in particular:

  • Our award winning campaign and film for Spring Cove. 
  • The 5 (or is it more??) seasons of Grand Designs Australia we have completed. 
  • The tools, the many, many tools we created that gave us a incredible animation pipeline that has enabled us to bat well above our weight for years. 
  • The Renovators tv show that saw us work around the clock and produce animation for 5 houses in a week.
  • Also, the some odd 300 projects we completed! 

I should also mention the many hundreds for beers consumed. I wish Our Vision all the best for the future. It was pleasure to work with the team over the years. 

Now onwards and upwards!! Many new and infinitely exciting challenges lay ahead. 

Since I only know about 3 people down here in Melbourne any 3d guys who want to catch for beers get in touch! 



Blackmagic NAB 2015 Announcements by David Mackenzie

Lets be honest I am Blackmagic Design fan, I own a BMPCC, I own Fusion and I love Resolve. I have to say that Blackmagic's announcements from NAB are pretty bloody exciting. 

Lets start with cameras. The URSA now has a 4.6k sensor option that features a global shutter, 15 stops of range (1 stop less in global shutter mode) along with some good slow motion features. Nice. They also announced three new cameras:  

  • The URSA Mini which is similar to its big brother but in a smaller lighter all magnesium body. It is available with the 4.6k sensor option for $5K USD. I think that is pretty solid offering. 
  • The Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera which looks great. I do a lot of drone work I would love to be getting RAW footage off a camera with a global shutter. I am really digging this one. 
  • Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K. This camera looks great as well but since I don't really do any studio work ill hold off on an opinion. 

The product I am most excited about is there new monitor. I have been in the market for a monitor and had been considering something from SmallHD. However, this monitor looks pretty good, 5" full HD touch screen with ProRes and DNxHD recording built in. The price $495 USD, take my money now!

The two announcements that will have the most impact on my day however, is Fusion 8 which is coming to Mac, I have wanted to run Fusion on MBP for years so I am very excited about this. No doubt there will be some other new features for Fusion 8 as well. 

Resolve 12 looks awesome, I think I am now ready to do away with Premiere and just use Resolve for editing, I already like to use it for grading so why not. Plus I am getting tired of paying $50 and month for Creative Cloud, all I use PS and Premiere...

What I am really excited about though are the pipeline implications. From acquisition on cameras through ingest and rough cut in Resolve,  push the shots out through Fusion for post and extra work and come full circle back to Resolve for finishing. It seems me that this is a very nice workflow that maintains the same colour science the entire way. Awesome. 

It's new website time! by David Mackenzie

Its a new year and a new website. I have had loads of emails about download links for my scripts and I am happy to report that they will be back online very shortly.

My old site was wordpress based and after years spending too much time making sure wordpress was updated along with all of its plugins my final straw was pulled at the end of last year when a plugin I was using for managing downloads was orphaned by its developer. So long story short rather fix the old site I made the decision to migrate platform and build a new site. I apologise for any inconvenience any of you have had while looking for scripts.  

Over the next week or so the website will probably change a little bit and be updated to massage any teething problems. 

Hopefully this year I will keep my site updated on weekly basis (thats the plan at least). I wish you all a great new year. 



OUR VISION IS HIRING! by David Mackenzie

This is great opportunity to work in a unique and awesome office with a great bunch of people. Great work life balance, beers on Friday. We have built an excellent infrastructure to enable great artists to create amazing work. If you’re a senior who fancies a change of pace, get in touch! We would love to have a chat. 

Ad below:

Our Vision is accepting applications for Senior Visualisation Artists to join our dynamic & growing team in our warehouse style studio in Green Square, Sydney.

Our Vision is one of Australia’s leading arch viz studios and our dynamic & creative studio is focused on delivering high end photo-realistic images and animation to our diverse range of clients. You will be producing world class architectural CGI’s and be involved the production & marketing of high end printed collateral and compelling camera matched animation utilising drone & helicopter footage for broadcast TV & digital applications. We’re growing fast and need motivated, energetic, creative and passionate people to help us achieve our goals.

We are looking for passionate and talented artists who can not only meet the demands of our clients autonomously, but also make a sound contribution to the team and our ambitious growth plans. The right candidate will not be afraid of hard work and demonstrate the required technical ability to take a project from concept all the way through to final production with little or no assistance. We are looking for full time in-house artists, but we will also consider applications from remote artists who can demonstrate exceptional work.

Job Requirements

Candidates must have at least 5 years experience
An expert understanding of 3D Studio Max
An expert understanding of V-Ray
An expert understanding of Photoshop
To Apply

Please send your resume and a and portfolio to [email protected]

Wanderers by David Mackenzie


I am really digging the run of awesome space related content the world keeps churning out. We have had Interstellar, the Rosetta mission and the Ambition short that went with it. Now a new short (above) which is ticking all my awesome buttons. It's space based eye candy and I love it. I would love to hear what everyone else thinks. To be honest as cliché as it sound I really want to go and model a spaceship.

Did I also mention the new star wars trailer?

Fusion 7.5, aww yeah. by David Mackenzie


blockbusters As someone who has owned a Fusion seat for years now I was very excited to hear  Blackmagic Design had bought Eyeon, to be honest Fusion 7 had taken a long time to materialise and I was faced with the choice between coughing up some coin to upgrade to Fusion 7 or just jumping ship Nuke. I have to confess Nuke really was on the cards for me personally and especially after the Nuke Studio announcement which I saw as a future upgrade path. However, after the announcement that Black Magic purchased Eyeon all bets where off, I already own a Blackmagic Camera and I have come to love using Resolve for grading and now editing with the latest release.  So, long story short I am pretty happy with Blackmagic's relaunch for Fusion. As with Resolve there is a completely useable free version for Windows, the only real limitations are network rendering and open FX which not quite a deal breaker for me. With that said though, I am definitely going to get studio seat, I just hope that there is an upgrade path for existing Fusion licenses owners. Check out the site here, I highly recommend Fusion I have being using it for years.

Ambition by David Mackenzie


Ambition is a short film created to highlight the importance and achievement of the Rosetta mission thus far and it is truly epic. I love space, sci-fi, short films and everything Platige Image does generally pretty bloody awesome. It was directed by Tomek Baginski, his Oscar nominated short film The Cathedral was one of the reasons I wanted to work in 3d many years ago. 

Check out the short below: 


The behind the scenes video is worth checking out as well:

Skies - Tell me how you don't want more skies in your library... by David Mackenzie


If there is one thing I know, it is the insatiable need for 3d artists to collect textures, models, backgrounds, hdrs, reference and just about anything else for their "libraries". Just incase you need it right? Given that I thought I would post some more skies for everyone to download. I have done this before just in case you missed them last time around.

About a month ago the sky was working for me so I stopped and took some shots. These were all taken in the afternoon with the sun behind me. If enough people want the raw shots I will upload them as well, let me know in the comments if you do.

There are about 70 shots in the zip which can be downloaded below. As usual these are straight off the camera, no post etc... Here are some of the shots I like most:

[gallery link="file" ids="1348,1350,1349,1351,1352,1353,1354,1347,1346"]

All the shot were taken on a 7D with 17-40L. For those interested these were shot in Coalcliff about ~60km south of Sydney, NSW  Australia.

Download the zip here.

You can use these where ever you like for free. Just let me know! I like to see where things end up!

Attribution CC BY

Mezzo - In between the city and village. by David Mackenzie

Mezzo Roof Top
Mezzo Roof Top

Just a quick look and some recent work we (Our Vision - where I work) are doing for the Mezzo project in Glebe. Situated between city and its surrounding village areas this beautiful development has an excellent mix of park, village and city life which were the main themes that we echoed in our content. Using a mix of technologies to deliver the project very quickly, we utilised UAV & helicopter shots to set the scene, beautiful lifestyle photography from Our Agency, CGI's and animation. Everything was brought together in a full HD ~2 min film by myself and the team at Our Vision. We also delivered three 55" full HD touchscreen  interactive displays that were installed in the display suite.

You can check out the video here:

Mezzo Penthouse
Mezzo Penthouse

All of the content was produced by Our Vision & Our Agency

The Winner is Spring Cove! by David Mackenzie


I am very pleased to announce that the work by Our Agency and Our Vision completed on Spring Cove was recently recognised by UDIA NSW with an Award for Excellence in Marketing. It's always good to know that the work we do is appreciated and even better when it has been recognised by our peers and industry at large. Check out the website here, below is one of the films we created for the project.

It was great when Anthony Denman from Our Agency (who received the award on stage) took time to acknowledge Our Visions work and specifically my work during his acceptance speech with "Dave Mackenzie and Our Vision who re-invented the category". </end shameless plug>

I should also acknowledge UDIA for putting on a great night along with our fantastic client group Oakstand and Denwol Group.

Now just to make sure we win again next year! Challenge Accepted!

Unity 5! by David Mackenzie

Unity 5
Unity 5
Unity 5

I really love Unity, I have owned a pro license since version 3.5 and I have to say version 5 looks awesome! 

Check out the announcement video below:

There are many new features which are going to make this a killer release. Real time GI for starters, along with the audio tools but I have to say I am pretty excited about the WebGL publishing. It will be great to be able to simply through something up online and know that nobody will need to download plugin.

As to be expected they discount pre-order prices which I will definitely be taking advantage of.

HDR Sets - Review, of sorts by David Mackenzie

HDR Sets

06. Crop So, the other day I was browsing Max Underground as usual when this post caught my eye. Seeing as I often waste spend my time creating renders of cars I like, I am always on the look out for great HDRs I can use. As you will see below HDR Sets products are second to none.

First off, this is what you get with one of their sets:

  • Highres 360° HDR for reflection ( I also used this for lighting ).
  • 360° HDR for Lighting
  • A series of Highres HDR backplates.
  • FBX file (other formats as well)  with matched cameras and a sphere with the correct orientation of the HDR.
  • sIBL compatibility.

As you can see above these guys are definitely 3d guys or they at least understand what artists need. After reading about all of this I was pretty excited to see they have a couple of free HDR Sets you can download and test. So naturally thats exactly what I did.

S5 Max Scene

Creating my test image

OK, so my test image took me about 5 mins to setup, 20mins to render (@3k) and another 10-15mins in post, less than an hour all up. This is mostly because these HDR Sets make it that easy. Now I should say I did not use sIBL to set up my scene as I have never used it before (something I should probably check out), I just went old school and simple, chuck a dome light in there...

Below are the steps I took:

  1. Create a new max file and import HDR Sets cameras.
  2. Create a ground plane.
  3. Create a V-Ray Dome light and load the HDR as V-Ray HDRI.
  4. Chuck a material on the ground plane and camera map the backplate on to it.
  5. Merge in a car, position it.
  6. Test render.
  7. The test render looked great but I was not getting hard shadows off the HDR (was not expecting too), so I took it into Fusion and upped the gain on the sun to about 25000.
  8. Test render, hard shadows, looks sick.
  9. Render High-Res.
  10. Post processing, comp the rendered car over the HDR backplate add some colour correction. You can see a breakdown of the post process below.

That workflow is blazingly fast and exactly what you would like when purchasing any kind of assets for your work. As a commercial artist this workflow is very bankable.

[gallery link="file" ids="1271,1272,1273,1274,1275,1276"]

 Final Thoughts

In short these HDRs are the best I have used. The thing I love most about them is the HDR backplates, it makes it much easier to comp your renders and get a consistent treatment across both your render and background when grading them.  The fact the backplates are already camera matched is just a bonus. There other products out there that are similar, Moofe has an awesome and more extensive selection of HDRs, they also include backplates which are pretty easy to camera match due the 1m² cube that is in the image. To be honest though the single biggest upside for me was the fact that HDR Sets cost  40€ - 80€ and they are not rights managed which makes life easier.

HDR Sets will definitely be my first port of call when looking for HDRs moving forward. I highly recommend them.

Custom Audi S5


Highpoint Animation - Our Vision Sydney by David Mackenzie

Highpoint Hurstville
Highpoint Hurstville

Last year Our Vision complete an animation for Highpoint project in Hurstville. This animation was turned around pretty quickly and came together without much trouble at all. Along with the film, Our Vision also produced a number high res still images. The project was created with 3dsmax and rendered in V-Ray as usual.

You can check out the film below:

True Crime Titles - Antibody by David Mackenzie


This is one of the nicest hottest title sequences I have seen in a long time. The style and treatment really appeals to me along with just about everything else about it. I was very excited to learn that it was done by Sydney based Patrick Clair and his studio Antibody.

Check out the spot below:

There is a great making of at the Art of the Title which is worth checking out. I also recommend having a browse through Antibodies site its full of great work.

Iron Man 3 - Weta Digital by David Mackenzie

Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3
Iron Man 3

This post is a bit late, no doubt about that. I have to admit I am a massive sucker for the Iron Man films, no wait all of the Marvel films... Moving on, I really liked this look at some the of the great work Weta has done for Iron Man 3. The model of the cranes on the dock are sick with lighting and post the entire thing is completely believable. Check out the video below. 

Moving the camera - Van Damme Style by David Mackenzie

Jean Claud Van Damme Mullet
Jean Claud Van Damme Mullet

Anyone who has ever had to shoot some video knows that moving the camera is true skill and normally to get a good result you need good camera operators and some good grips to bust gear to make it all happen. Well here is a look at moving the camera with Van Damme, it's worth watching for the cool camera tech and the 80s hair cut.