fusion

It's hip to be square - G Class by David Mackenzie

Fusion x64 TIFF File

I LOVE the Mercedes G-Glass, I have no idea why. There's something innately beautiful about it while still being tough and having a presence on the road. Kind of like a MMA fighter but wearing a tux, its hard, from the street and ready to go but along the way it has been refined a polished, it has developed a sophisticated exterior. All of these were rendered in 3ds max with V-Ray. All of the post was done in Digital Fusion 6.3. Back plates and HDRI from Moofe.

Any way enough that, check out the renders below. 

Fusion x64 TIFF File

Fusion x64 TIFF File

Fusion x64 TIFF File

Fusion x64 TIFF File

Fusion x64 TIFF File

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

 

Custom S5 - Everything is better in black by David Mackenzie

Custom Audi S5

This is a quick render I did the other day. It was rendered in V-Ray and comped in Fusion. My only thought when I started this image was everything looks better in black which is definitely true when it comes to cars. The gold stag on the number plate is the Mackenzie stag. I will have a making of it online in the next few days.

Would love to hear what everyone things.

Update. Here is short making of/review of the HDR I used for the image. 

Ocean Water Test - HOT4MAX by David Mackenzie

Hot4Max Render Test
HOT 4 MAX
HOT 4 MAX

So a little while ago I wrote a quick article about a plugin I purchased called HOT4MAX . Long story short, this a very short render test of the plugin. I put the test together in about an hour, as you can no doubt tell by the camera animation. I can report, that the plugin really does work well. I have been very impressed with it. For the record I rendered the shot with V-Ray and comped it in Fusion.


If I get a chance in the next few weeks I will do another test with water spray and some interaction with the surface. I am interested to see how far I can push it as I have a couple shots in mind that I would like to put together.

If you need to do some ocean shots or renders then I highly recommend HOT4MAX. You can get the plugin here.

Spring Cove Manly - Our Vision by David Mackenzie

Spring Cove Manly
Spring Cove Manly

We finished this project up last year and so far it has been very well received. Spring Cove is a very high end development in Manly, possibly one of the best harbour locations in Sydney. Consisting of Apartments, town homes and houses. Our Vision was responsible for all of the work in the film. We shot the Helicopter footage on a Cineflex system the footage was then tracked in Syntheyes with roto and compositing being down in Fusion. All the CG shots where rendered in V-Ray. Any way, enough out of me, check out the clip below.


You can check more of Our Vision's work here and on YouTube here.

Tutorial - Fusion, Zdepth, EXR's, 3dsmax by David Mackenzie

10. Adjust the settings to get the desired effect

It is AMAZING how often people ask me about this. I wrote a tutorial way back in 2010 about how to use Z-Depth passes in Fusion. To this day it still gets a lot of traffic. However, that tutorial is somewhat out of date and seems to be causing more confusion than clarity. So here is an updated tutorial. If you are really unsure about Z-Depth passes I would recommend you go and read the old one here and then come back to this one as I am not going to explain the basic aspects in this tutorial. I will also explain how to use a Z-Depth pass that is stored in a EXR file which I did not do in the last tutorial. So here goes. First off make sure you render something to an EXR that will have the Z-Depth pass embedded in it. This is not difficult to do, I am max guy so below is a screenshot of the 3dsmax exr save dialog showing my setup. The main things to look out for here are the "Automatically Add/Remove Render Elements" checkbox and the G-Buffer channels at the bottom, both of which are outlined in green. If you have a render element that is creating Z-Depth pass then it will be automatically embedded. For instance if you are rendering with V-Ray and you have a "VRayZdepth" pass in the element list you probably do not need the G-Buffer Z-Depth channel. I as habit always save a few G-Buffer channels as a 'just in case'. Often I will get handed a file that has had Z-Depth element added to it but the ranges have not been correctly setup, in this case it can be handy to have G-Buffer passes.

3dsmax EXR Settings

Hopefully by this point you have a render to take into Fusion. So lets get to it, this is super simple.

  • Create a "Loader" (LD on the toolbar) and load up your render.
  • Go to "Tools" panel and click on the "Format" tab.
  • Expand the "Channels" flyout.
  • Go all the way down to "Z".
  • In the drop down list for "Z" select your Z-Depth pass. This will depend on what you have named your render element. In my case, I select "VRayZDepth.R" (In 99% of instances you can select either the red, green or blue (.r, .g, .b) as they will all be the same.
  • Now if you click in the viewer press "Z" on the keyboard you should be able to see your Z-Depth pass. If you screen is all white or it is hard to see hit the normalise button so you see it properly.
  • Now you can add either a Depth Blur or a Fog node. They will automatically see the Z-Depth information.
  • Adjust the settings on either your depth blur node or your fog node.
  • Done, easy.

That's it. If you are unclear of anything above you can follow that same procedure in the images below which might make it a bit clearer.

[gallery columns="4" link="file" ids="1090,1091,1092,1093,1094,1095,1096,1097,1098,1099"]

I hope that helps everyone. I might do a video if I get time, along with my workflow for using Frichluft Lenscare which is what I normally use to create any DOF effects. If you have any other questions leave a comment and I will try to get back to you.

Aston Martin short/tvc/video thingo... by David Mackenzie

One_77

So I thought I would start the new year off with some making of clips from a little animation I have been working on. It was inspired as you no doubt will be able to tell by Joseph Kosinski's Black Bird spot that he made some years ago. I have always liked it and thought I would use it as the basis of this project. Anyways check out the clips below, I hope you enjoy them and I would love to hear any feedback you have.

Neat Video, Render noise reduction. by David Mackenzie

Neat Video

I have recently being using Neat Video and I have to say I supremely impressed with the results. It works great on video footage as I would expect and it also works REALLY well to clean up renders that have had to low subdivs on reflections etc... The video below is an example that was rendered in Max/V-Ray and you can clearly see on some shaders the subdivs were to low.  I ran it through Neat Video which cleaned/removed 98% of the noise in the reflections. See for your self below: [flv:http://daveandgoliath.com/wp-content/video/Neat_Video.mp4 600 337]

I have now used it on a couple projects (one were it saved our a**) which I can not show just yet. I will however post them up when I can.

You can check Neat Video Here. We bought the version for OpenFX hosts (Fusion in this case) for $199USD which is WELL worth it!

Cheers,

Dave

 

Another One 77 by David Mackenzie

I was recently playing around with an idea for car render. I chose to use my Aston Martin One 77 model. It was rendered with V-Ray 1.5 with all of the post being done in Digital Fusion 6.3 (Which I recently purchased). I hope you guys like it I would love to hear any feed back you have. Aston Martin One 77 Studio

Since I did buy Fusion I have started working on a small animation that has the One 77 in it primarily to put Fusion through it paces and try out some of the new tools like volume fog.

I hope you guys like the render. There is a darker version below for those of you using brighter screens. The above image looks great on my Dell 24 using Adobe SRGB. The render above seems to look better brighter less colour accurate screens. I will let you choose ;)

Aston Martin One 77 Studio

Cheers,

Dave

Using Z-Depth Render passes in Fusion by David Mackenzie

Zdepth

This is question I get on a almost weekly basis, how can I use my Z-Depth pass in fusion. For those of us who have been compositing for some time it is a dead simple thing to do but for those of you who are learning to composite or even just new to Fusion or other node based tools you might find this useful. First off if you are rendering OpenEXR files then chances are your Z-Depth pass will already be in the file which means all you need to do is add a depth blur node to your flow (see below), you can test to see if the Z-Depth pass is already present by clicking in the viewer and hitting "Z" on the keyboard. If you are rendering it as separate file or as a render element then I will show you how to incorporate the channel into your flow below.

Z-Depth Pass A couple quick notes about z-depth passes. First off I want to take a moment to mention that you really should be saving your z-depth passes at a minimum of 16bits per channel the higher the better. Secondly make sure the you have enough range in your z-depth pass, you will want to make sure the all of or most of your scene is visible in the channel. Sticking to those two point you will ensure you have a good amount of "play" in your pass for when it comes time to picking the start and end points of fog etc.

Z Depth pass and Base render
Base render on the left with its zdepth pass on the right Although the z-depth pass is very white is was saved in float as a EXR so there is plenty of range.

The Fusion Comp The fusion comp is very simple. The process I use is the most basic it involves loading your beauty pass then adding a "Channel Booleans" to the flow (make sure the beauty pass is connected to the BG input). Now load your z-depth pass and pipe it into the FG input of the channel booleans.  Select the channel booleans and set the "Red", "Green", "Blue" and "Alpha" channel to "Do Nothing". Now hit the "Aux Channels" tab, click the "Enable Extra Channels" radio button. Once the Auxillary channels are enabled select the z channel and set it to "Luminance FG".

Channel Booleans Setup

That process basically copy's the z-depth pass to the z-channel of your flow which will carried all the way down your comp from this point on. This means that at any point in your comp you can access that Z-Depth information. A couple quick points you can view the Z-Depth channel by clicking in the viewer and hitting "Z" (You can push "C" to get back to colour) if you see a red "X" in the viewer then something has gone wrong as the view is unable to display a Z channel. If you see black you might want to try hitting the "Normalize Luminance" button which is the right most button at the bottom of the viewer, this will normalise the data so it can be viewed generally speaking you will only need to do this if your Z-Depth pass is in floating point, remember to turn it off otherwise your results will vary frame to frame. If you ever leave it on and do a couple hours worth of colour correcting only to realise your output is still being normalised, I guarantee you will only do it once!

Fusion Flow
Notice that teh z-depth loader is the top node that is being piped into the "FG" input of the channel booleans.

To quickly recap, we have copied our Z-Depth pass into the Z Channel of comp so that it can now be accessed. Lets move on and do something useful with it!

Depth Blur There are many nodes inside of fusion that can take advantage of the z-channel. Nine times out of ten everyone wants to use there Z-Depth pass to create a DOF (Depth of Field) effect in post, so thats what we will concentrate on.

Luckily in Fusion this is very easy to do the Depth Blur node is very quick and easy to use and although it does not generate the very best effect allot of the time in can be used to enhance a scene, in any case it is one the building blocks to generate a really nice effect (That might be the focus of another tutorial?).

So lets go ahead and add a Depth Blur node by right clicking in the node view and selecting Add Tool -> Deep Pixel -> Depth Blur.

Fusion Add Depth Blur Screen Capture
Fusion Add Depth Blur node

You can now use the "Pick" focus point tool to set the focus area, you can also use the slider to for finner control.  Most of the controls are pretty straight forward the best way to get your had around them is play with them and check out the results. You can see the results of an example I prepared earlier below. Also try experimenting with the Fog node.

Base render with depth blur and fox applied to it.

If you have any ideas for other 3d or 2d tutorials please let me know here. I hope that helps you out next time you are having trouble with Z-Depth Passes. If you do run into any trouble then post a comment! Happy Compositing!

Ferrari F430 by David Mackenzie

Ferrari_4301

Rendering of a Ferrari F430 A recent render I did of Ferrari F430. I am continuing to explore studio light setups in this case I was interested in seeing what is possible with the least amount of lighting. I believe the simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

While I am not sure I achieved the ultimate sophistication I am however generally happy with the result, if I get some time I will revisit the shader on the rims as believe the current shader lets the image down.

I would love to hear what you think.

Cheers,

Dave

Incursion by David Mackenzie

incursion

Incursion was a cinematic style animation created at Ivolve Studios.  The image above is the final grade and look. The image below was the initial grade and look that we went with, after while I felt as though it needed more atmosphere so I added the rain and did the regrade in fusion.

All of the buildings and assets in the scene are low-res assets built for real time use.  All of the assets had where built high res to create normal and specular maps we also backed allot of the lighting into the textures as well. Overall the result was quite good as usual if we had more time we could had have gotten allot more out of the scene but for two weeks work I think it came out quite well.  You can check out the videos below.

The final shot: [flv:http://daveandgoliath.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/game_shot.flv 613 308]

Compositing breakdown: [flv:http://daveandgoliath.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/game_breakdown.flv 613 308]

Modeling breakdown: [flv:http://daveandgoliath.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Game_Final.flv 613 308]

Cheers,

Dave