New lighting checkers

April 17, 2014

The new lighting checkers have arrived at
Check them out here.

More Legos.

March 31, 2014

Another couple render tests, having a lot of fun with Lego figurines and learning Modo at the same time :)


Another of those steps that I need to do when I’m working on any kind of vfx project and I consider “a must”.
This is how I set up my Zbrush displacements in Modo.

- Once you have finished your sculpting work in Zbrush, with all the layers activated go to the lowest subdivision level.



- Go to the morph target panel, click on StoreMT and import your base geometry. Omit this step if you started your model in Zbrush.



- Once the morph targer is created, you will se it in viewport. Go back to your sculpted mesh by clicking on the switch button.



- Export all the displacement maps using the multi map exporter. I would recommend you to use always 32bit maps.
- Check my settings to export the maps. The most important parameters are scale and intensity. Scale should be 1 and intensity will be calculated automatically.


- Check the maps in Nuke and use the roto paint tool to fix small issues.


- Once in Modo, import your original asset. Select your asset in the item list and check linear uvs and set the amount of subdivisions that you want to use.


- Assign a new shader to your asset, add the displacement texture as texture layer and set the effect as displacement.
- Low value 
and high value should be set to 0 and 100.


- In the gamma texture options, set the value to 1.0
- We are working in a linear workflow, which means that scalar textures don’t need to be gamma corrected.


- In the shader options, go to the surface normal options and use 1m as value for the displacement distance. If you are using 32bit displacements this value should be the standard.


- Finally in the render options, play with the displacement rate to increase the quality of your displacement maps.
0.5 to 1 are welcome. Lower values are great but take more time to render, so be careful.


- Render a displacement checker to see if everything works fine.


March 24, 2014

I continue with my transition to Modo. I already know more or less the basics of the software and I have adapted my way of working to be productive in Modo. It’s time to make my first image and put in practice all that I learnt last week.

I have chosen a simple theme. After watching The Lego Movie (and some great references that they used) I wanted to create something related with it. It’s simple enough to allow me to finish the image in half a day or so. Say hello to all my mates who worked on the movie, we worked together on Happy Feet while ago.

The model for the character is quite simple, perfect to try all the modeling tools that come with Modo. Great so far. The work plane is quite useful, love it.

Modo’s uv mapping tools are great and very fast. I love atlas projection and unwrap. I’ll be using them all the time. For this particular model I used only unwrap. Just select a few edgest and that’s it, done. I didn’t worry much about seams, I can fix that later in Mari.
I’m using only one UDIM, this model and textures are simple enough to use only un uv space.

I worked on the textures in Mari. I could have used Modo paint tools, but I’m used to paint in Mari, and it’s definitely faster and more powerful.

Only needed three texture channels. Color, Specular and Bump maps. I used two different bump maps, one with fine noise for the plastic, and another one with scratches and imperfections.
All the textures are 8k resolution sRGB and Scalar and 16bit .tiff

For the look-dev I created an Image Based Lighting rig. With an overcast HDRI, perfect to create atmospheric lighting without too much direct light coming from the sun. It gives me perfect reflections and nice contrast between light and shade.
Always working with a Linear Workflow.

Only used one single shader, with no layers. Simple shader with a bit of reflection driven by a specular map.

For the ground I used a simple grid sculpted in Zbrush. Just a few dunes and procedural noise to simulate sand.

I did a few tests to find the best way to setup Zbrush displacements in Modo.
I’ll be posting soon how to do it. It’s not that complicated :)

For lensing, I used a 50mm focal length camera. I created a low poly version of my characters and ground, just to block the camera angle and lighting.

Finally, I updated the proxy models with the final ones.
To lit the scene I used a nice high resolution panorama shot by myself. It gave me the perfect atmosphere and reflection for this shot. But I couldn’t get the perfect shadows.
I wanted to lit this like a miniature, so I wanted a very strong key light with a perfect and hard shadow. I just removed the sun from the HDRI and then added a 3D light just behind the characters.

I dind’t need to render aov’s or render passes, I just rendered a quick id matte to control the ground and the characters.

This is the final render.

And finally, the black and white image that I conceived from the very beginning.

New Maleficent trailer

March 19, 2014

New Maleficent trailer has been released. You can see there some of the creatures that we made at MPC.

You know I’m migrating to Modo.
Multi UDIM workflow is on my daily basis tasks, so this is how I do the setup.

First of all, check textures and UDIMs in Mari and export all the textures.

Check the asset and UVs in Modo.

Load all your textures in the Modo’s image manager.

Create a new material for the asset.

Add all the UDIM textures as image layers for each required channel.

In the texture locator for each texture change the horizontal repeat and vertical repeat to reset. And change the UV offset. It works with negative values (not like Softimage or Maya).

That’s it. Make a render check to see if everything works fine.

New Godzilla footage!!!!!
Check out some of my work there.


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