Monday, November 30, 2009

Behind the Art: Herbie Fully Loaded

Behind the Art: Herbie-Fully Loaded

I am often asked where do I start with an automotive virtual image so I have this brief outline of what I do to create an image of a virtual photo-real car.

Design Phase:

I am professionally trained to design a car from scratch, but most often, I build existing automobiles.

Unless the manufacturer hands you 3D data, you need buy or create the virtual model yourself, and having been trained in automotive design is what I use in this step. I also have owned over 40 cars and over 15 have been VW's so I have personally restored and wrenched on a lot of VW's which gave me a great advantage with a head start for Herbie.
This step involves both knowing every part of the car itself, inside and out, and knowing how it is constructed, and as a trained Transportation designer this is what I do best.

Build [3D Modeling] Phase:

Getting a 3D Model made involving a scan will run around $25,000.oo-$50,000.oo for just the exterior, and about the same for an interior. This does not include the engine, suspension or undercarriage usually, but an indication of them. I build from scratch to scale and "On Model" for around $8,000.oo and up.

I build part by part and start with an accurate measurement of the car and block out the wheelbase and overall bounding box so proportions will be accurate. I then move to all pieces needed for the work at hand. I always work bigger parts to smaller ones.

Materials Phase

As I have down time, I practiced with all materials needed to render out a typical car. Most are straight forward with glass and paint taking the longest to perfect. I have used Pre-made shaders, and find most are limited so I build my own. I have a library of automotive shaders ready to go for setting up a photo shoot quickly.

For the Mitsubishi pitch I helped win at The Cimarron Group for The Traffic Agency, I had weeks of time perfecting metalic paints that when I had just 4 Hours to create images for an end of day pitch, I was able to deliver for under $1000.oo. with an online 3D Model form

Virtual Photo shoot Phase

Setting up the virtual sound stage is a mirror of a real one. The techniques used are basically the same. A common misconception I have ran into is that clients sometimes think that you can buy a 3D model drop it into 3D program, hit render, and it is done. That would be like you going to Hertz renting a car driving on to a soundstage and taking a picture with your Casio for a photospread for a client. You would be fired! All automotive manufacturers use professional photographers for a reason, and virtual photography is it's best when you are consulting a professional photographer[ best thing I ever did RE: 3D cars!]

Rendering Phase

Once you have set it all up the computer calculates the lighting and materials on the geometry and renders out the image or movie sequence you have set up. Smart 3D allows for any image to be rendered out larger with exact contitions from the first, as if the photo shoot was perpetual.

Retouching Phase

Every car image you see in print is retouched. The art of retouching itself is a very specialized field and even vendor to vendor there are certain "techniques" that will be in all products from each manufacturer. As a virtual Image I give the Smart 3D channels and masks, so the time factor for retouching is always less expensive.

Cheers, THOM

Current Title Treatment FINISH

Clash Posters have leaked all over the net!

My current and final finish from my 6 years at The Cimarron Group, is the title treatment for the posters and AV trailers for the new Clash of the Titans film. From what I can gather the poster designs are from another studio, but the logo that I did a few months back is what is being used in these poster comps.

I did about 20 logo designs working with the talent over at Cimarron and they have moved between two designs, a serifed one in print designed by Rob Russell, and the San-serifed one used in the AV trailer designed by Adrienne Burk. I literally did the 2nd logo for AV the last day I worked at Cimarron. Not sure who did the AV piece, but the AV logo is a single point bevel that looks like what I built for print.

UPDATE: They Did go San Serif. 12-19-2009.

Cheers, THOM

Link in Post title goes to leaked posters from a few weeks back.

Project Review: New Adventures of Flash Gordon

Project Review: New Adventures of Flash Gordon

After working 2 years on the Phantom 2040 Series for the Hearst Corporation, I helped facilitate bringing in the super talented Nick Pugh to design the characters for the next series we pitched, Flash Gordon.

Working with Nick on this project was one of the best times I have had in design, and I spent the time developing a look and feel for this new universe along side the development of the characters. [ You can see the characters on Nick's site linked on the sidebar>]

In these sketches, I focused on vehicles which I used the new "Hubbless" wheel tech coming out of Italy on them. I went all out with Gatlin' guns on the bike, and N02 for that extra "butt pucker" experience when being chased by Ming.

The top sketch above was a "box car" that I got inspired by a car that fellow A.C.C.D .alumni Paul Kirley did back in school based on a simple cube. It has an offroad exhaust for mud runnin' too.

All 3 vehicle concept designs took about 12 Hrs to complete.

Cheers, THOM

Link is in Post title, or paste text in below into your browser:

Project: Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Project Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events

Here is a small project from back in 2001, where I had to design some doorways themed with "eyes" in them to match the look of the book series that had no photography finished yet. These were for a teaser 1 sheet design, so this first round was just comped.

3D is king in creating images like this, as it was also employed in the Superman Returns project with assets not yet filmed or built being needed for advertising in like manner. Design and build in one step saves cash!

These are what is referred to at Art Center as a "Sketch Model" or "3D Sketch". I designed them in 3D while I was building them, this is where having just a 3D Modeler costs at least twice as much as you also need a Designer to design the doors. I do both at once, and all five concepts were done in under 2 Hrs, or at the time about $200.oo bucks.

Cheers, THOM

Friday, November 27, 2009

3D Model Sales:New Model For Sale ONLINE!

The Swamp House is done and online.

Cheers, THOM

Click Post title for link or paste in text below:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

WIP: Cajun Collection- Swamp House 2.0

WIP[ Work-In-Progress]: Cajun Collection- Swamp House 2.0

I framed out the house and put on a roof and siding. I also added the stairs and a bit more decking. Details are next.

I did a bit of Photoshop on that first one.


Cheers, THOM

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Before Steampunk, there was Jules Verne!

Before Steampunk, there was Jules Verne!

In the early 90's I did more than a few projects which visually were akin to the Disney 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea film. Jules Vern or the HG Wells look as it was called back then is now referred to as Steampunk.

The time machine Image was done for the Disney Interactive Virtual Magic Kingdom project as a concept, sadly the one sketch was it and the story line for time travel was never revisited. I love the retractable stairs and button tuffed Velvet interior!

The Chair concept sketch was a dressing up for a Theme Park roller coaster ride that was Jules Verne in look as well. Big rolls of velvet on this as well.

The Mecha-Flea was for a ride film I worked in in 1994 where the huge Jules Verne robotic and steam powered flea would chase you through the inside of a compute once you were miniaturized.

The last image was done for the highly talented John R. Thomas whom I had the pleasure to work with on multiple occasions, and this image was for the video game we were developing where you enter the MYST-like world via a stagecoach, but you are actually flying into the world. I also worked with two A.C.C.D. Alumni on the project Nick Pugh and Paul Kirley.

Cheers, THOM

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

WIP: Cajun Swamp House

Cajun 3D Model Collection: WIP Swamp House

I am starting a third series in the sale of 3D Models online to go along with the Main Street USA, and the Old West Series. I started the "Cajun Collection", with a swamp house yesterday.

I am building it entirely Sub-D[ Subdivision surfaced] and all quads for higher resolution capabilities. It takes twice as long to model but it is exponentially more usable for years to come.

I was inspired by my friend Bryan Thompson's short story I worked on over a decade back, and after reviewing the work I did years back, I was inspired to revisit the iconic image once again.

Cheers, THOM

Monday, November 23, 2009

Project Review CYAN Worlds URU-Part I

Client: Cyan Worlds Inc.
Direction: Rand Miller
Project Date: Winter 2000

Cyan Worlds URU: Part I

In Y2K, I had the pleasure of going up to Spokane WA and working with one of the most talented conceptual thinkers I have ever worked with, the wonderful Rand Miller. I was brought up to Cyan from California by a great Executive Producer I worked with at WDI in Glendale, Susan Bonds. I initially came up to help with conceptual ideas, and it eventually grew to Creative Direction in creating new worlds for the Cyan universe. These posts are the first in a series and this focuses on the wildlife.

For the many worlds I worked on creating the look and feel for, the world itself, was the base to start with, but next was to populate these virtual worlds with creatures. You will notice some of the quick sketches don't show any details, just proportions, that was intentional. Since this was a real-time 3D world the creature design was tailored to the technology so the creatures were low poly in design. I have seen many an illustrator design a Real-Time character that is so complex once it is executed in real time it looses all details, so I work from the end and more forward designing specifically for low poly.

These proportional studies were done so that will all skin and fine detail removed what was the visual "signature" that was left from each creature. Some creature design ends up being identical proportions to existing animals or people, and is designed very subtle in a surface treatment. I went from the opposite end on most, so that the long shot view of these would be recognizable as something "alien" or otherworldly.

Project Review: Indian Jones 4

Client: Paramount Pictures
Art Director[s]: Calvin Sumler, Joseph Stamper, and Chris A. Hawkins
Date: Spring 2007

Indian Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

In the spring of 2007, I was able to work on elements for the various departments at the company I worked at, The Cimarron Group on the Print pitch, AV pitch, and I finished a few cards for the Home Entertainment division.

Early direction included some "Cold War" Russian elements, as well as adding in the Aztec circular calender. We also explored a variety of ways to adjust the iconic logo, to include the crystal skull look, but ended up at the beginning for finish. I also re-built a DC-3 model for an AV pitch as well.

Though none of this artwork finished, it was a fun film to be a part of the advertising for from a conceptual design phase.

Cheers, THOM

Saturday, November 21, 2009

3D Model Sales: New Model for sale- Old Time Out House PART I

A Subdivided Quad Mesh shot.

The Low Poly base mesh.

 3D Model Sales
New Model for sale- Old Time Out House PART I

I posted the first model in my second series I am building out, The Old West. I did an iconic out house complete with the moon in the door. Very rustic model with 5o+ individually sculpted boards.

Cheers, THOM

Click Post title above to link to the model , or paste text below into your browser:\

Friday, November 20, 2009

How big is the market for 3D goods and services?

3D Conceptual Design Market Breakdown

This following list illustrates the great potential that 3D design has, and will have in the near future in a broad array of business ventures on an international level.
3D Designers will be the central player in these type of products and services.
So, "How big is the market for 3D goods and services?", HUGE!

1. 3D Model sales.
-A. Stock Model sales.
--bb. [ selling on a second main site]
--cc. [ setting up our own sales system online for 100% profit]
-B. Custom Model Sales.
--aa. For the market of Advertising.
--bb. For the market of the Medical Industry.
--cc. For the Education Market.
--dd. For the Product Design Market.
----I. IDSA. [Industrial Design Society of America]
--ee. For the Entertainment Industry Market.
----I. Cinefex Magazine.
----II. AD Week.
----III. FVX online site advertising.[CG-talk, VFX-pro, et all]

2. 3D Design Illustration.
-A. Advertising Illustration.
--aa. Traditional Corporate Agencies.
----I. In USA. [ New York, Boston, Chicago et all.]
----II. International Agencies.
--bb. Entertainment AD Agencies.
----I. Cimarron group, BLT, et. All.
----II. In-House Advertising from the Studios. [WB, Fox, DreamWorks, et. all]
-B. Medical Illustration.
--aa. Pharmaceutical Manufacturers.
--bb. Hospitals.[ County, City of Hope, Private, et all]
--cc. University.[ UCLA, USC, et all]
--dd. Private Practitioner.[ Doctors, Dentists, Chiropractic, et all]
-C. Packaging Illustration.
--aa. Toy Manufacturers.[Mattel, McFarlane Toys, Playskool, Disney, et all]
--bb. Consumer Electronic Manufacturers.[Sony, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, et all]
--cc. Cosmetics Manufacturers.[Revlon, Avon, Mary Kay et all]
--dd. Tools and Hardware.[Proto, Craftsman, Maco, et all ]
--ee. Food and Drink Companies.[ Kraft, Whole Food, Trader Joes, et all]
-D. Technical Illustration.
--aa. Industrial Manufacturing Clients.
----I. Professional and Trade[internal procedure, safety, repair].
----II. Public interaction.[manuals, help, training etc.]
--bb. Electronics Manufacturing Clients.
----I. Professional and Trade[internal procedure, safety, repair].
----II. Public interaction.[manuals, help, training etc.]
--cc. Software Creation Clients.
----I. Public interaction.[manuals, help, training etc.]

3. 3D Architectural Pre-Viz.
-A. 3D Illustration.
--aa. For City and County Permits.
--bb. For Investor Presentations.
--cc. For Marketing.
--dd. For client Design analysis.
-B. 3D Fly-thru.
--aa. For Design Presentations.
-C. 3D Sunlight, Reflection, and Line of sight studies.
--aa. For client design analysis.
--bb. For Public Relations to City and Neighbors.

4. 3D Motion Graphics Design.
-A. Animated Title Cards.
--aa. For Television Clients.
--bb. For Film Clients.
--cc. For Online Clients.
--dd. For Mobile Media Clients.
B. Animated Visual Effects.
--aa. For Television Clients.
--bb. For Film Clients.
--cc. For Online Clients.
--dd. For Mobile Media Clients.
C. Full CGI Animated Scenes.
--aa. For Television Clients.
--bb. For Film Clients.
--cc. For Online Clients.
--dd. For Mobile Media Clients.

5. 3D Animation Design.[ Character].
-A. Animation Properties.
--aa. For BIG Studios.[Pixar, Blue Sky, Disney, DreamWorks, Sony, et. All.]
--bb. For Medium studios, Blur etc.
-B. Animated Corporate Mascots.
--aa. For Internal Business use.[employee and client]
----I. For corporate intranet.
----II. For Presentations.
----III. For client relations
--bb. For external business use [public]
----I. Mascot Design. [ ala. Geiko’s Gecko]
----II. For Software [ala. The Microsoft Paperclip Helper]

6. 3D Product Design.
-A. Toy Design.
--aa. Pre-Viz Designs.
----I. For Manufacturer. [ Mattel et all.]
----II. For Independent Designer/ Design Firm.
--bb. Model to Part for Product.
-B. Consumer Product Design.
--aa. Pre-Viz Designs.
----I. For Manufacturer. [ Sony, Apple, et all.]
----II. For Independent Designer/ Design Firm.
--bb. Model to Part for Production.
-C. Transportation Design.
--aa. Automotive Clients.
----I. Smaller manufacturers.[ Smart, Tesela, et all].
----II. Larger Clients sub-contracted.[ GM, Honda, Ferrari et all]
--bb. Motorcycle Clients.
----I. Motorcycle Manufacturers. [Harley, Triumph, Honda, Ducati, et all]
----II. Parts Manufacturers.[aftermarket]
--cc. Bicycling Clients.
----I. Bike Manufacturers.[Schwinn, Trek, et all’
----II. Parts Manufacturers.[aftermarket]
--dd. Yacht Clients.
----I. Yacht and Powerboat Manufacturers.
----II. Parts Manufacturers.[aftermarket]
--ee. Aerospace Clients.
----I. Airplane Manufacturers. [Boeing et all]
----II. Space Flight and Satellite Manufacturers. [NASA, JPL, Northrop et all]
-D. Military Design.
--aa. US Government.
--bb. International Clients.

7. 3D Web Design.
-A. 3D Interface Design.
--aa. Illustrations and movies for use.
--bb. User Interface for use .[UI]
-B. Full 3D Immersive web page design.
--aa. Virtual Spaces.
--bb. Animated Movies.

8. 3D Interactive Design.
-A. Entertainment CD/DVD design.
--aa. Video Game Market.
----I. Console Games.
----II. PC Games.
----III. Online Games.
----IV. Phone Games.
-B. Edutainment CD/DVD design.
--aa. Publishing Houses.
--bb. Universities.
--cc. Foundations.
--dd. Church and Synagogue.
-C. Traditional Educational CD/DVD design.
--aa. Publishing Houses.
--bb. Universities.
--cc. Foundations.
--dd. Church and Synagogue.
-D. Medical Training CD/DVD design.
--aa. Publishing Houses.
--bb. Universities.
--cc. Hospitals.
--dd. Private Practitioners.
----I. Doctors.
----II. Dentists.
--ee. Pharmaceutical Companies.
----I. For Pharmacists.
----II. For Doctors.
----III. For Patients.
-E. Industrial and Trade CD/DVD design.
--aa. Industrial Manufacturing.
----I. Training.
----II. Safety. [O.S.H.A. et all ]

9. 3D Effects Movie Sales.
-A. Stock VFX Sales.
--aa. “Art-Beats” type of licensed stock library sales.
--bb. Online asset sales.
-B. Custom VFX frames sales.
--aa. Client specific designs bought outright.

10. 3D Training.
-A. Online 3D Training.
--aa. Schools.[ Art Center, Gnomon, Otis, Cal Arts]
--bb. Corporations.
--cc. Peers and Societies. [CG-talk, 3D Total, et all]
-B. Published 3D Training.
--aa. Schools.
--bb. Corporations.
--cc. Peers and Societies. [Walden, Doubleday, et all]
-C. Classroom 3D Training.
--aa. Schools.
--bb. Corporations.
--cc. Peers and Societies. [SIGGRAPH et all]

Cheers, THOM

The Mini Portfolio

"A picture is worth a thousand words"

For almost 15 years I have carried around my portfolio in a wallet sized "Miniport". I have used it to get jobs, and it has worked in getting my work noticed.

The original miniport were reductions from a Color copier of my sketches and output from 3D Studio that I put into a small folder in my wallet. I have secured work at many a party and bar using the miniport.

As the photo above illustrates, the advances in technology now allow us to have pictures and reels on our phones, so the wallet port had to be drawered a few years back when I got my first HTC Win Mobile device the MDA phone.

I now have the new HTC Touch Pro 2, and with the 800 x 480 screen resolution , it is amazing in showing off my reel and stills to others. Look at the comparison image above and notice you can see all the little stars in the HTC image that get lost in the lower resolution screen like the iPhone and the 5 year old MDA.

Cheers, THOM

Check out the HTC in the post title link, to show off your artwork, or paste the text below into your browser:

Project Review: Men in Black- Alien Attack: Attraction at Universal Studios Florida Theme Park-PART I

 The main POV as you approach the finale for Alien Attack the MIB attraction from Universal Florida from the 90's.
 A Sectioned half of the head shell

 Side View Detail on Edgars Claw, about 16 feet tall as a functioning prop.

 Inside the throat with a Ford "POS" up front in the puss bubble...

 Project Review
Men in Black- Alien Attack:
Attraction at Universal Studios Florida Theme Park-PART I

Client: Universal Creative
Creative Director: Dave Cobb
Project Date: Summer 1998

After leaving Disney Interactive, I pursued some Theme park work for a few years, I had met and worked with Dave Cobb prior to working at Universal over at Landmark Entertainment Group on the M&M's World, and some other various Themed projects.
The project was well under way and designed but they needed one more piece for the project, the finale. Being a huge fan of the film made this very exciting to work on, plus the subject matter was perfect for doing 3D Conceptual Design work.

I was tasked with designing out the Big bug "Edgar" from the end of the first film. It was designed in a way that the tram car would be eaten by Edgar and you would be inside his body.
You can see in the above sketches, that I did surfacing studies for the main parts of the head that was to have articulated fangs and huge claws tearing up the pavement around you. I also did the inside the body designs when you are in the throat and stomach. If you look close in the above sketch you will see a Ford LTD inside one "pustule" on the wall to give a sense of the scale this was to be. HUGE!

Cheers, THOM

Click the post title to link to some photos of the attraction, or paste in this text into your browser:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All 3D Designers are 3D Artists, BUT not all 3D Artists are 3D Designers.

I am asked this constantly, "What is the difference between a 3D Artist, and 3D Designer?"

In the past I have regularly spoken to classes of students in both High Schools and College, and I begin with a simple delineation that was made clear while attending both C.C.S. in Detroit, and A.C.C.D. in Pasadena, namely what is the difference between Design and Illustration?

Simplified down to start, the difference is do you like to draw what you see in front of you, or from your head?

Obviously there is cross over , but an illustrators training is in still life, composition, and figurative work. Whereas a Designer is trained in Ergonomics, Theory of Structure, Automotive Engineering, Aerodynamics, Basic Construction, Manufacturing, Mold making, Sculpting, Woodworking, metalworking, etc. The same analogy applys in the world of 3D.

Another major difference between an Illustrator and a Designer is that the flat artwork of the Illustrator or painter, IS the product itself and an end, where as to the designer, say an architect, the plans POINT to the actual design which happens to be a house, the artwork being 2D or 3D is a means to an end so the emphasis is on the design itself not always the illustration.

Why is this such a big difference? Well if an illustrator paints a great concept that looks great, but the door hits the wall and will not open as a functioning design it FAILED as a design solution,but may very well be an amazing painted piece of artwork and be fine. An illustrator in neither trained or always concerned about actual function of products in an illustration[ artistic license] as the painting itself is the final product, since the artwork is the product.

As a 3D Designer I always design two things, first the idea or product itself, and second how it is to be made or built. While designing I am figuring out how to build it so my sketches reflect an accuracy that a painter can miss. This is where the saving is for a clients budget!

As a 3D Designer, if I design something great, BUT it cannot be made I FAILED. I must consider this during the design and sketching stage, whereas an illustrator is painting a cool picture and with most it ends there.

All 3D Designers are 3D Artists, BUT not all 3D Artists are 3D Designers.

"Knowing how to use a table saw and cut wood does not make you an Architect!"

Cheers, THOM

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

3DS r4 DOS!

I have been with 3D Studio since day one that I started with 3D in 1994. I miss the "Dongle" approach to authorizing max as it is so much easier to do[ see photo ]. Max has come a long way!

Cheers, THOM

Link in Post tile goes to history of 3D Studio, or paste in test: