Thursday, April 4, 2013

So my awesome students at CCAD nominated me for the visual effects instructor of the year award through Digital Tutors! The people I interact with at CCAD are wonderful creative people.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The scene is finished!

 The animation is taking shape! Currently I'm testing out the shadows flickering from the fireplace and candles. I have a displacement map applied to the first dragons neck. I need to figure out why the software crashes when it animates(Should be fun). All the material are Vray materials with normals and cavity maps on most of them. 

For the scene, Vray was used. Irradiance map and Brute force were the indirect illumination methods. I wanted to make sure the bump detail really came through so I went with Brute force. The fire was fumefx which will be animated as well. Candles has sss on them. All the lights were rendered out separately as .exr then brought back together in Photoshop so I could control the lighting in post for this single image. Mostly Vray lights were used. A few spot lights were used to extend the light of the fireplace. 

Here are a few of the maps I created for the scene. They are all 4k. I down rezed them for the blog.

Wall normal

Dragon Neck normal

Dragon Head normal

Monday, November 12, 2012

Updated Render

Im finally happy with this low quality render. I told myself I would work on the animation first before I finished the entire image. That way, I would actually do the animation for the scene. I was worried I would do the render then just move on to another project. 

Smoke is fixed, everything is rendered in passes for a lot more control. Still no Motion blur. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dragon Animation Test

I still have a few things to work out but everything is together.

Things I still need to fix are: The flickering with the books, smoke stops and doesn't flow all the way up due to not running the simulation long enough. The geometry that changes and falls off of the dragon doesn't read too well. I need  better lighting to show those shadows. Im going to run some higher simulations for the fire and make it come out of the mouth faster. No motion blur yet.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lighting in Post with exr image files.

I was up til about 3am last night trying to figure out a specific render element process and I stumbled upon another process. The images below are: A beauty pass, layers in photoshop that explain how I put these images back together, and a render of each light by its self in the scene. So whats going on?

All these images are rendered as exr file formats. These file format store a lot of color data inside them.
They can exceed normal 8-bit color ranges since an exr is a 32bit floating point format. They are all added togther in Photoshop using LinearDodge(Add). Each image has a  exposure color adjustment layer attached to it. Now I can go through and adjust my lights in post separately saving a lot of rendering time. Here is the file if you want to play with it.

After realizing you can do this, it makes me think how I ever worked before. Adjusting my light over and over then rendering and waiting and waiting. It makes me want to go back and re-render all my other work.

I was talking with my friend Erich who works at DreakWorks about this process and he said this is how they do all their lighting. Not with Photoshop though ;) So I was a little happy about figuring this process out. 

-Render each light by its self as an exr.
-Put back together your image in a compositing package by ADDITIVE.
-Apply exposure to each of your light renders.

Hold Alt while your exposure adjustment layer is selected, then click your layer that has your render. This will connect it only to that specific layer. 

The noise in the shadows are due to low light samples.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Swan Chair for the dragon fireplace scene.

I was shopping at the mall and saw a swan chair similar to the one that I created below. I started modeling it a few month ago and just now finished the texturing. The chair is a small piece for a larger scene. It will be in front of the dragon fireplace in the final render.

 3ds max and Zbrush was used for the modeing. Photoshop was used for the diffuse, spec and bump maps. 

V-Ray Materials were used for the chair. For the diffuse, I ran the textures through a V-Ray dirt map. The unoccluded areas had the normal diffuse texture and the areas on the model that were closer together(occluded), had a color corrected darker version of the original.

The wood  has a tiny bit of reflection. Just enough to catch a bit more lit so it didn't feel  flat. Also to give the appearance of oils and such collecting on the wood. The leather has a bit more reflection than the wood. The bump map helps a lot with the shader breaking up the reflection. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ive been busy

Its been a month since my last post but I have been busy! I recently bought a new car. I modeled the interior and exterior in max. As you can see, that's not what the image is. Ill post those in a bit . I want to render it out with some hdr's first.

The dragon fire place is uv-mapped with all the maps baked out and render in 3ds max! Simple lighting test. Vray rectangular light with linear workflow. Real basic Vray material on it with a bit of gloss so the stone wasn't to flat. The circular stones around the chimney need to be a bit bigger and I need to raise the ground a bit near the base of the dragons neck. The entire scene is going to be posted soon! Cant wait to get all the maps on their and light it up.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The fireplace is done.

The scene is getting closer and closer. The entire scene is layed out and most of the objects are zbrushed. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


This character is Mrs. Jelly. Shes part of the Bunny Tales world. The pumpkin house environment is where she calls home.  The fur was created with Hair Farm and rendered with V-Ray.

The nose and head model have a sub surface scattering material applied to them. The V-Ray material applied to the head model is helping with the warmth of the fur color. The full body image is concept I did in Photoshop to see where the direction of the clothes are going to go. Sam Gebhardt came up with the initial idea for Mrs. Jelly and has been art directing for me on this character. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

The chair is finally finished! This piece is going to be the focal point of a render that I'm currently working on. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012


When I was in college, Zbrush was getting pretty popular. I tried to use it here and there, it just wasn't for me then. My polygon modeling skills were solid and that was getting me through. Throughout the years I used it here and there for various projects and jobs but it never stuck with me. After using and loving Sculptris, I forced myself to understand and make Zbrush part of my workflow. I really enjoy it now. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Female Body Sculpt

A few weeks before starting the piece below this post, I started this female sculpt. It was sculpted in Sculptris and rendering with V-Ray in 3dsmax. I didn't retopoligize this figure due to not needing to animate her. You can see some of tessellation from Sculptris here and there which would have been fixed if retopoligized. 

The VRayFastSSS2 is a great shader. Very easy to use and nice results. Make sure you model your scene to scale!  You will get more realistic results in your renders. I didn't use any maps for this. Just wanted some simple sss. But for my next project......

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Alien Fun!

Last month I created a model of a design by Kenji Bliss's concept art of this creature carrying an egg. He does great, fun, stylized work. I had to do another one of his character. I wanted to create a piece that went all the way though from modeling,texturing,lighting and rendering since I've been doing just modeling and sculping lately. Here is Kenji's blog with all his great work.

This scene was modeled in 3dsmax and Sculptris. I used Sculptris to model the arms of the character and 3dsmax for everything else and TopoGun to retopologize the model. V-Ray was used to render the scene. The materials used consists of VRayMtls, VRayBlendMtls, VrayFastSSS2, and VRayLightMtls.
Final Render

Final render with wire frames 
The main light over the characters head, the light behind the character and the light behind the 
the window are the only lights besides mesh lights, emitting diffuse to the scene. All the other lights are for reflections and specular highlights. 
Lighting placement

There are four light meshs that are emitting diffuse as well. There are three on the wall and one on the container next to the character. These are used to create a neon light glow or a surface that needs to be emitting light. V-Ray handles mesh lights very well. In front of these mesh lights is the original object with cast shadows turned off. The object has a VrayLightMtl on them and in its color slot, it has textures of neon lights which can be seen below. These textures can be mapped to the mesh lights, but I wanted independent control from the intensity of the light and the intensity of the texture. VrayLightMtl does produce  indirect lighting except when using Photon Mapping since the VrayLightMtl does not create Photons. 
Mesh lights

Floor VrayLightMtl texture

Side VrayLightMtl texture

A V-Ray spherical light was use to  light the planet. Its much larger so the shadows casting from the clouds would be soft on the planet. Since V-Ray lights are physically based, the larger the light, the software the shadows. The planet has four spheres overlapping each other. One sphere with the planet texture, another for the clouds, one for a bit of reflection and the last sphere has a fall off map. The fall off map was used to get the atmosphere/glow around the edge of the planet. 
Sun placement

Planet breakdown

Sunday, December 18, 2011

BedTime Bunny Tales!!!!

After 3 long years of working in my free time, Bedtime Bunny Tales is finally out on the apple store. I did so much on this project. It was a long,hard, fun educational journey.
Please, check it out and I hope you enjoy the app. Below are some of the renders I wonder on.


Responsible for everything in scene.
Responsible for everything in scene.
Responsible for everything in scene.
 Responsible for everything in scene.
 Responsible for everything in scene.
                                             Responsible for everything except skin texture.
Responsible for everything in scene.
           Responsible for modeling/lighting/texturing/posing/fur for characters.
          Characters were composited into scene.                   
           Responsible for modeling/lighting/texturing/posing/fur for characters. 
          Characters were composited into scene. 
 Responsible for everything except texturing blanket and Pillows.

Modeled, Textured and created fur for character.