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  1. I think you've hit the nail on the head Harry, for this industry as well as other forms of freelance digital artistry. Apart from your input over at Red Giant, do you have any other plans to use your creative powers for good now, rather than evil? I'm not talking about promos for charities - I mean lingering personal projects that you haven't so far gotten around to... Thanks for the term 'cultural pollution' by the way, I'm definitely going to be dropping that one into conversation.
  2. I absolutely agree that deconstructing one project file doesn't release all the skill that went into it, but I would say that in a single varied project you can learn a lot about technique in seeing how different materials are designed, lit and arranged, for example.
  3. Hey guys, I've seen a number of very talented mograph artists say that they learned the most through breaking apart and scrutinizing the project files of other artists. Obviously this doesn't replace the fundamentals of design, but as far as learning professional techniques for the application of these designs, it makes a lot of sense. The problem is, most high end projects will never be released for various reasons. Neither the client nor studio wants copycat work out there (the Andrew Kramer phenomenon) and even further, the studio or artist has spent huge amounts of time and money accumulating these techniques and often they form part of their unique style. In short: unless you're friends with them or work next to them, you're probably not going to learn many of their big secrets. This thread was actually spawned by looking through a couple of the Monkey's C4D project files - the isometric town was especially useful. Just things like economic shader usage, material stacking workflows, artful lighting and so forth I don't believe you usually get from the average tutorial site where the artist is far less skilled (a teacher not a doer). In my mind this is a fantastic way to learn, but for reasons mentioned it's not really in peoples' interests to share this stuff. How could we make this work? One way that might work in my mind is for an artist to create an impressive and varied piece of work, then apply the 'ransom' business model whereby he/she won't release the project file until say a thousand people have paid $50 or whatever to preorder the project file. No support, no instructions, just the opportunity to browse a talented person's work. Sure the project file will be leaked and torrented, but at least the artist has earned some money and if it's done publically enough the copycats will be pretty obvious to spot. Keen to hear other peoples' thoughts on this...
  4. Thanks for the suggestions! After some messing around I think the GI route is going to give me a nicer look overall. Do you have any suggestions on how to bring up some of the darker areas that aren't getting lit by the GI? I want to feature some undercover areas of the product internals but introducing feature lights is coming across too severe. I'd ordinarily give the materials some base luminance to limit the shadow intensity but that ruins the rest of the effect. What do people usually do to augment big-white-sky GI?
  5. Thanks for the suggestion! I'll give GI another go - I initially disregarded it because it was playing havoc with some transparencies I've got. I found his website by the way - some amazing work on there. http://www.bryanchristiedesign.com/portfolio.php?illustration=523&category=31&open=31 I'm not totally convinced he's using GI - I find it a little tricky to balance the shadow areas and I can't see him giving up that level of control. Is there something I'm overlooking?
  6. Yeah I think that the foley angle is probably going to be the quickest way to expand the communication channels. I agree with avoiding the micro-management trap - "marbles bouncing on glass" should immediately suggest "bell stabs" while still leaving room for creative interpretation. I think "bigger, nastier, angrier" is probably a reasonable request of a decent engineer given a base sound - I think you'd struggle to find an electronic music producer who hadn't been asked for that before. If you're starting out with a given sound decision I'd say that if you can qualify "angrier" with "jet engine", "lion roar", or "tire screech" you'd be on your way to getting what you're looking for. That said, I understand Cameron spent 2 days with a sound engineer just to get the pulse rifle sound from Aliens so these things aren't always quick
  7. I'm currently working on a project that requires a number of architectural cross sections, so I've been experimenting with the blending of realism with simplicity. I'm going for a classic magazine illustration cross-section look, an example of which can be seen at the link below (click the ship image for a detailed version). The lighting/material setup has to withstand some camera moves also - so it can't just be all geared towards a specific fixed angle. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200906/map-cruise My initial instinct was to go for more of a 'white reflector plane' product-shot lighting setup but that quickly proved cumbersome. Any sort of complex lighting setup seems to introduce too much inconsistency for the 'diagram' feel. I briefly experimented with a sketch/toon approach but it felt too flat. My thinking now is to try to work with falloff shaders in the luminance channel and some AO in the diffusion channel, and only use lights for introducing some specific subtle shadows (and not for a light source itself). I've got some metal elements in the shot as well which add further trickiness since I'm struggling to make them look like metal without confusing the shot with errant reflections. Any suggestions on how to approach this aesthetic without losing my sanity would be greatly appreciated!
  8. Thanks for the explanation Binky - it sounds like you're about as close to the 'concept' side as practically exists so it's interesting to see that it's still a somewhat flexible definition.
  9. Are you having problems with communicating 'production' points like instrumentation/mixing/sounds etc, or is it more an issue of composition? Just as with any industry/craft, audio production has it's share of jargon which I think it would help to familiarize yourself with - mainly so you don't go telling someone to do something when you actually mean something else. For example 'pan' has a specific meaning to us, while the rest of the world sees fit to use it for anything vaguely related to the moving of a camera. So make sure if you're talking about EQ/reverb/compression in any specific way you're doing so correctly. As far as communicating musical ideas, I think a basic understanding of major genres and a mental backlog of music reference is the best way to go. If you can say "I like the grittiness of the percussion at 2:30-2:40 on track X" and "the creamy syncopated house bassline from Y" you're at least going to be on the same track production wise. If you're talking about sound/texture invention, that's always going to be somewhat vague territory unless you want to speak in terms of waveforms/LFOs/envelopes and so forth. In this case I'd probably try to reference real world sounds that you can both identify with - a 'glassy shatter' or a 'pistol crack' or a 'green-tree break'. If you look at the iconic pieces of film sound design, they're mostly familiar, everyday sounds augmented and taken out of context. If you do some research on foley techniques that might give you a more accurate way to describe sounds. E.g. 'rice pouring onto wood' is more specific than saying 'rain' and 'an umbrella opening' is more specific than saying 'a fireball whoosh'. On the other hand, if you trust the sound designer, you may want to give him/her the freedom to experiment but giving them just the emotions you want to feel when hearing it. I think that's a matter of budget and schedule though - the guy who came up with the Raiders of the Lost Ark boulder sound (car tires crunching on a gravel road) no doubt had more time to experiment than you will.
  10. I think that's the key really - if you want to get paid to do something, you need to show that you can do that specific thing well. What you choose as a means of survival in the mean time is up to you.
  11. Thanks for all the thoughts guys, I guess it's not as alarmingly clear cut as the impression I drew. I guess I'll keep going with the animation work to stay afloat but dedicate time to purely concept stuff while I move in that direction. Time to start checking out style frames around the place to see what I'm up against..
  12. Thanks for the detailed response, I really appreciate the insight. In a way I do feel like I've wasted a lot of time. Countless hours trying to get Blender liquids to export as mesh sequences and import into Cinema4D, when I should have been drawing. Endless meddling with contradictory articles to devise a consistent color management workflow, when I could have been experimenting with light and composition. I know I have technical tendencies otherwise I wouldn't have come this far, but I can say without a doubt that if I could just focus on the conceptual and collaborate with masters of technique I'd be a very happy man. I just didn't think it was possible in the near term... Point well taken on the unusual nature of the Psyop piece. Do you have any advice on how to migrate across to the sort of role we're discussing? Should I begin hand drawing style frames for long-project houses (blur etc) and just start pitching?
  13. I just read an interview with Kylie Matulick from Psyop which has blown my mind. Here's a couple of quotes: http://motionographer.com/features/interview-kylie-matulick-and-todd-mueller-of-psyop/ I've always taken it as a given that if you wanted to work in concept creation on big projects then you had to rise up the ranks as a generalist until you got to the stage where you could lead a team of specialists. My understanding was that in this field you needed to know how to track/model/texture/light/rig/animate/composite in order to warrant a position leading a production. Have I been fooled by an illusion of the one-man-show, superstar mograph artist? Is high-end concept creation (without the hands-on technical work) the hotly contested end-goal of most designers here? Or have I been needlessly competing with the more technically passionate while I should have been focusing on creating compelling style boards?
  14. Kramer is definitely providing useful information for free, but make no mistake his site is a business. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that he has several full time staff to handle all the purchase orders/shipping of his products. That said, his success and popularity is testament to what giving out free stuff can do for you and I think the world would be a better place if more businesses were able to take a similar approach.
  15. Just to confirm guys, is the gamma of the x264 supposed to match the gamma of your AE comp window? Because when I export a lossless animation QT .mov, it looks darker than my comp when I open it up in QT. If I open that animation QT and export a h264 and an x264 from it, this happens: a ) The h264 is lighter than the animation QT original, and the x264 is lighter again than that. b ) Of the 3 QT movs, the x264 matches the comp window pretty much perfectly (gamma wise). Is this how things are supposed to work? I imagined the first animation QT would match the comp window, then the x264 would maintain that (where the h264 doesn't). Or have I got a different problem with my color managment pipeline?
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