Photo Merge (Photoshop)
After months of interviewing new and old customers, there was a known gap between new artists and older artists that we wanted to close up. One of the topics we found to be missing from our students knowledge was how to create a large scale matte painting using the Photo Merge technique. Included in the project files are an array of high resolution images of NYC skyline taken from the Empire States building by Chris Maynard. Learn how to build up “area collections” to help assist your matte painting techniques. This feature is fantastic for adding detail to various locations in your matte painting when you're in desperate need for detail or filler, and lack the time to hand paint this kind of detail.
Image Restoration (Photoshop)
One of the first things I became an expert in was set extension painting. The art of cutting out shapes in a still image and paint-restoring the missing layers to help build parallax. This technique, also known as “paint behinds” or “reverse object removals,” might be the most important skill in digital matte painting today. Artists who learn how to layer and restore backwards will earn more money for their work. If you're not a matte painter, but you're charged with doing the paint behinds yourself, this chapter will be the most valuable lesson of your life.
Reflection and Specular Generation (Photoshop and CrazyBump)
So you find yourself with a city skyline or photo of a house that you need to project onto a 3D scene but you do not have any other source for channels to feed into a 3D shader. What can you do? The answer is to generate your own assets from the existing assets you have. Sometimes you will need to combine your assets into a final painting first, then extract them, other times you can extract from the original source to help maintain resolution. Either way, this chapter will explain how to make the assets if you ever do need them.
If you set up your photoshop files correctly, you can use one of the automated scripts to spit out all your layers using the naming conventions you want and send it directly to your project textures folder. This chapter will show you how.
Assembly (Cinema 4D)
One of the largest chapters in this video, we will show you how to do a wide variety of general 3D production techniques. We will start off by creating a single projection asset with polymodeling and texturing using our image restoration textures and reflection textures to set up your first building. Next, we will focus on optimizing your technique so that you don't “over work” the scene by creating geometry that simply won't be seen by your camera. One of the main issues to deal with in VFX is to only create what the camera sees. Anything else could be wasted time and money that you wont get back. During the course of this project, we will start with nothing and end up with a full scene (included in the project files).
Winter Project Intro (Photoshop and Cinema 4D)
This chapter focuses on the exploration of created assets used in the Winter matte painting project. Learn the assets one layer at a time to get ready for assembly.
Winter Modeling (Cinema 4D)
As promised, we will create several assets for 3D camera projections in our scene. Learn how to speed up this process by utilizing copy and paste techniques that could save you hours of work in the long run. We also set up this scene file to be used in the next application for assembly and look/lighting dev.
Winter Trees Modeling (Speedtree)
Nothing beats Speedtree for creating realistic foliage assets for any application. The Alembic output contains the leaf or needle animation which imports directly into all major VFX packages today.
Winter C4D Exporting (Cinema 4D)
We have the base elements for our scene created now, and we must get them into a form that other applications can understand. No matter how you want to assemble this together, you must create the elements to work with your targeted applications. These assets will work with Fusion, Nuke, Clarisse, C4D, and just about any other app out there. Only you will know which one you will use to assemble. We chose both C4D and Clarisse as examples.
Winter Assembly (Isotpropix Clarisse)
We show the techniques for building up a final scene using both Cinema 4D and Clarisse. The main focus in this chapter is on Clarisse and lighting techniques. Learn how to import the textures for shading the trees, creating projections on surfaces, and modifying animation curves. This could be done in any application, however we are using Clarisse because of its potential to build multiple shots for review very quickly.
About cmiVFX Profit Sharing
The cmiVFX profit-sharing model was invented by Chris Maynard (cmiVFX owner and Chief Public Partner) in order to ensure that everyone working with the organization could earn a fair portion of the profits for their time and expertise. Profit sharing has allowed cmiVFX to continue to provide training from true experts while strengthening the VFX community, allowing the artists get what they deserve for their time and expertise. This is how cmiVFX gets the best mentors, and it's why cmiVFX customers don't have to settle with sub-par content or cheap training. cmiVFX literally gets the best teachers out there to create the training, and gives them a fair share of the profits for the life of the product. Chris himself is an artist and mentor as well, so as a customer, you can know without a doubt that every dollar spent at cmiVFX is going straight to hardworking artists that have worked their whole lives to acquire their skill and expertise and to bring you this content.
About the Instructor
Chris Maynard is the owner and Chief Public Partner of the profit-sharing organization known as cmiVFX.com. Surprisingly, the letters "CMI" in the company name are not an abbreviation for Chris Maynard Institute. The initials actually stand for the first company name, entitled "Creative Minds Imaging," which dates back to 1997 and is responsible for the creation of digital pre-press applications made from adobe products on roto gravure, which is a form of heat transfer printing. Since then, Chris has been the driving force behind a large majority of Application User Interfaces for the visual effects and computer graphics industries. He has designed application features, entire GUI's and partial GUI's that nearly everyone in the visual effects industry has used on some level. Applications like Photoshop, Painter, and Poser allowed Chris to break into the "commercial illustration and design world." This was when he decided to move away from the field of engineering. Before graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology for Advanced Computer Graphics, Chris studied Laser Holography for real 3D applications. In 1998, he became the first person in history to simulate holograms of helium neon laser light. He did this on a Cray super computer, using Houdini as the backbone of the project. Later, he moved on to become the Creative Director for several large corporations in which training for CBT (computer-based training) sparked his interest in combining all four of his practiced skills into one complete business operation. For the last decade, Chris has been assisting tens of thousands of customers deliver top shelf productions through training and extensive labor. He is a dedicated service provider for freelance compositing work whenever he is not managing cmiVFX. If you need him to solve a problem with your software or production pipeline, just email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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