blender

#BCON17, DAC-FRA, another 20 VJ loops and a monkey called Suzanne

A few months ago I wrote about all the upcoming events and now it's time to look back and reflect.

Starting with DAC-FRA, I had a great time attending and meeting everyone. It was a really fun conference in terms of just hanging out and talking about everyone's art. Adding on to that, the titles I designed for them were received really well. (More on that in just a second.)
I was happy with how my talk went, which was recorded and has since been posted on YouTube.

Fast forward almost two months and I'm in front of an audience at the Blender Conference for another talk. This time the focus is just on DAZE as I accomplished what I set out to do by creating 60 unique VJ loops for the event. Even with a few presentation issues I think the talk went well and my point came across.

suzanne.jpg

On top of that, I even won a Suzanne award for Best Design with the DAC-FRA titles. I didn't expect this to happen at all, as I was already blown away by getting nominated in the first place. Therefore, I'm extending a big thanks to everyone who voted for me, I'm super stoked to receive the award! If you're interested in how I created them, there's also an archived livestream available where I explain some of the more interesting parts of the production.

So what's next?

Well, the next 20 VJ loops are now publicly available for download.
As before, they're all licensed under a public domain (CC0) license so you're free to use them how you want.
Credit is always welcome, but not necessary, as I want people to be able to use them for anything.

DAZE is coming up in a week, so there's one last push to be done to get the word out to more people. That being said, I'm ready to go and think it will be an awesome party!

All 36 Days of Type files now available!

The 2017 36 Days of Type are over, so I'm releasing all the files for download! You can find them over on the resources page.
Being the second time I took part, this year has been interesting to compare with last year's series. I was even featured, which was rad. :)

Where, in 2016, they marked my transition over to Blender full time from commercial software, this year it was OpenCL's time to shine. In the month and a half that took to create them, significant changes were made to the Cycles OpenCL implementation. Just a quick look at the Blender Release Notes for 2.79 (at the time of writing) shows the amount of stuff going on.

  • The amount of work that the compute device does at once is now determined automatically to fill available memory, independent of tile size. This reduces render times by up to 50% in certain cases, without the need to adjust the tile size for every scene or system configuration. (230c00d)
  • Tiles can now be seen updating while rendering. (230c00d)
  • Fixed shading artifacts sometimes seen especially at low samples. (223f458)
  • Fixes for most common cases of hanging and crashing. (365a423)
  • Added support of SSS and Volume rendering (57e2662)
  • Optimized transparent shadows (e8b5a5b)

As always, these features aren't guaranteed, but usually they're a good indication of what's to come. Throughout the project, I was excited to work on a number of posts with the daily builds seeing Blender improve every day. Things like this keep me investing time and energy in improving my FOSS pipeline.

I also had the chance to sit down with my brother Robin Sinnaeve for a collab on the 0 and 1, which was a lot of fun. Thanks bro! #binarybros

As with last year, I would recommend taking part next year, even if you only do one. It's great seeing so many takes on the same subject, day after day. And a big thanks to everyone for the enthusiasm!

36 Days of Type on OpenCL & Blender Motion Graphics

So it's that time of year again! :) The 36 Days of Type are starting on the 21st of February and I fully intend to take apart again this year. Keep an eye out on my Instagram page once it gets started.

This year though, I wanted to set myself more of a challenge. As with last year, once I'm done the files will be made open to everyone after I clean them up a bit.
The big difference is that I'll be limiting myself somewhat by only using the OpenCL implementation of Cycles. This means I'll be missing some of the usual tricks and workflows I use.

So why do this? In the past, I've noticed that by limiting myself I tend to get more creative in the way I solve problems, whether that's in 3D or real life. By constraining what I can and can't use I'll have to re-think some of the techniques I use a lot (and sometimes overuse).
Add to that the fact that I'm a hardware nerd and want to see what a pair of AMD RX480's can do when it comes to Cycles. All of the HDR's and / or textures will be grabbed from the Blender Cloud so I can share all of the files in their original state. If you're a Blender Cloud subscriber and haven't tried the addon, I highly recommend having a look at it!


Then... Blender Motion Graphics?!
I recently visited the Blender Institute to discuss and finalize a course that I'll be creating in the next 6 weeks for the Blender Cloud that's all about... You guessed it, motion graphics in Blender.

The course will focus on a small project that I'll break down from start to finish, talking not only about the techniques used, but also the general workflow behind it. I find this approach to a course more interesting as it gives more insight on how to actually start a project and follow through with it until the end.

This will all be made available exclusively on the Blender Cloud once it's finished and is currently planned for release at the end of March. So be sure to check it out in a few weeks if you're interested.

Amaranth Colors for Blender (Themes)

I recently had a number of people ask me which Blender theme I use. The Amaranth theme was originally created by Pablo Vazquez and is usually packaged with testbuilds.
I've been using it for a while because it's a nice dark gray theme that's easy on the eyes, even during late night Blender sessions. ;)

Recently though, it seems like the link to the original theme no longer works, so I decided to take the one I use and create a few different colored spins. There are 7 different flavors in this package: Lime, Mint, Navy, Orange, Purple, Red (Original) and Turquoise.

They're all hosted on my github page.

Enjoy!

amaranth-ui.png

Open Source Artwork: 36 Days of Type

Now that the 36 Days of Type have ended, I decided it would be fun to open source the files. Feel free to have a look through them, from a crazy procedural meat shader to overused metaball particles. ;)

DOWNLOAD ALL OF THE FILES HERE

All of the 3D files were created with Blender, and for post-production After Effects was used. I use quite a few plugins for After Effects though, so your mileage may vary with those files.

Some of the projects use an HDR to light the scene and, apart from one, are included in the files. Thanks to HDR Labs for making these available for free, be sure to check out their HDR library!
One of the letters uses an HDR that's part of Maxime Roz's free Interior HDR pack, which can be downloaded here.

I hope you enjoy having a look through these, I had a lot of fun creating them!

36 Days of Type!

A friend of mine put me on to the 36 days of type a few weeks back. I have to admit I'd never heard of it but I thought it would be nice to give it a go, after seeing what it's all about.
Basically, you create an image a day with that day's letter or number and post in on Instagram.

What I didn't expect to happen was that I would be working hard in my spare time to keep up with posting a letter every day. With the end of the alphabet drawing near, we're soon down to the last 10 days, which is all about numbers.

So if you haven't heard of this like I have, take a look at what everyone is creating and maybe give a few numbers a try. (Post instructions are here)
I've found that as the weeks have progressed, it has challenged me to really perfect my skills and try out a lot of new things. :)

Follow me on Instagram: @the__mantissa

Compositing Blender Cycles Render Passes in Natron

Hi there,

This time around we'll be looking at how to comp the render passes coming out of Cycles in Natron. This method can be applies in any compositing package but I chose to use Natron for this example. Version 2 released recently and contains a lot of new features, which is why I decided to highlight it. Download it for free here.

As with the previous Natron tutorial, you can download the EXR file used to follow along. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

Blender 101: Learning Blender as a 3ds Max user

The next tutorial in the 101 series is all about Blender. This is mainly aimed at 3ds Max users, as it discusses how to set up Blender to make learning it easier with the knowledge you already have. There's plenty of other websites out there that can get you started with the basics of learning Blender, so I decided I wanted to start off with something else.

It's always good to add new software to your personal toolkit and I've been experimenting a lot with Blender lately. Why Blender? Well, it's got a lot of great features for a free application. Dynamic topology sculpting, fluid and smoke sim capabilites, and a built in modern path tracer, to only name a few things. It's really evolved to become a software package that can rival some of the "bigger" packages out there. Oh yeah, don't forget it's free. (Download it here)

EDIT: Check out the Cosmos Laundromat Pilot to see Blender in action.

I'll always love working with 3ds Max, but challenging yourself with new or different software teaches you to adapt your workflow and improves it in both packages. One is not better or worse that the other, it's just different. (And that's all I'll say on that subject)

The Blender community are also a great group of people, so I wanted to include some of the resources and websites I've been learning from in the last few months.