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.

3D People Meetup (16 Feb. 2017)

We're doing a small meetup event on the 16th of February here in Antwerp. This is a re-imagination of the Max User Group I attended over the last few years hosted by Johan of belly.be.

This time around though, we're focusing less on the software and more on the people. Which is why we decided to invite everyone who's interested to come and have a drink in the Little Brewers Winter Garden.

We both noticed how much fun it was after the speakers were done at MUG just having a drink and talking about all the different things people are doing. So we decided to resurrect this a little but focus the drinks and the banter in the first place.

Where MUG focused mainly on 3ds Max at the time, there's no software theme this time around. Any 3D artist, animator, compositor, vfx artist, archviz master or even student is more than welcome to come and hang out from 20:00 onwards.

To keep things organized we ask you to register for the event, which you can do HERE for free. This way we can get an idea of how many people are coming.

See you there!

Weird Sh!t, 3D Artist, Blender Cloud & Thank You!

So while it's been pretty silent over on the blog here, most of the action has been happening on my YouTube channel. I recently started a series of video called "Weird Sh!t" where I discuss certain techniques I use and discover while creating a lot of my artwork. These aren't meant as paint-by-numbers tutorials but more breakdown of how I work. There's only two episodes at the time of this blog entry, but more are sure to come in the future. Be sure to head over and check them out!

Aside from the aforementioned series, I've also been posting what I call "Workflow Logs". These are basically raw screen captures of unedited workflow and as such are a few hours long usually and without comment. The reason for these is that I don't always have time to record full tutorial-type content. I don't expect anyone to sit through them entirely, but they might be helpful to some, which is why I put them up on YouTube.

Recently, I've also been creating some Blender content for 3D Artist magazine, which you can find in issues 99 & 101, with the tutorial in issue 99 focusing on how to create your own superhero movie titles. It's been a pleasure working with them and let's hope for a lot more content in the future! From my point of view, it's really cool to see stuff I've created showing up on my doorstep in a printed magazine. And the added learning curve of not just creating video tutorials, but also trying to fit them in a print format has been a lot of fun to discover.

Additionally, I had a chance to speak about my work and my experience switching to Blender over the last two years at the 2016 Blender Conference Open Stage. Check out the full video here, and my bit starting at around 40 minutes in. Meeting with some of the team working hard on developing Blender and other artists using it has been an absolute blast. They've also added some of my artwork on the Blender Cloud recently which you can download and tinker with for free!

And last but not least, I've been focusing a lot on Instagram as a platform for posting work. All the feedback over the last few months has been awesome and I wanted to say thank you to everyone who's been supportive! 'Tis the season after all. ;)

Some folks have asked me why I'm not doing anything like a Patreon page and for me the reason is simple. When I started all this a little over 2 years ago, my goal was giving the knowledge that I gather from everywhere back to the community. I keep all of this stuff updated in my free time, and I don't want any money involved in any of it, as that just tends to complicate things. If you do wish to support me however, I have prints for sale, which give me a small kickback. I prefer doing this because you actually get a physical product for it. I'm also always available for freelance work or commissioned pieces for those interested.

With all of that said and done, 2016 was great and 2017 is looking to be an even more productive year already. I can't wait to meet and connect with everyone I'll cross paths with in the future.

Thanks again for everything! :)

M.

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.

You can download them from the tools page. 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!

Half Finished - A Collection of Experiments

After having a lot of fun experimenting in my free time the last few months, I wondered what to do with all the renders I had amassed. Rather than letting them just sit on a hard drive, I figured I could throw them all together in a short edit to further my editing skills.

All of the fluid simulations in the video were done with Realflow. Almost everything was rendered with Cycles and comped in After Effects. Even though the guys over at the Blender Foundation are still working hard on implementing Alembic in to Blender, there's already one way to import Realflow mesh caches at the moment. It's a hack, and limited to Blender 2.75 at the moment, but if you scroll down through this page you can find builds for all platforms with this modifier implemented.

You can download a high quality version of the video here.

10 Free Freshly Squeezed (Photoscanned) Fruit Models

So it's been no secret that I've been focusing on photogrammetry for a while now. After a long delayed camera upgrade, I've finally finished a new set of photoscanned models for you to download.

The difference with the previous models is that all of these have been retopologised, making a lot more suitable to just drop them in a scene. Also, the file size of the download has decreased significantly, even with the 2K textures included.

Below is a short promo made with the models, to give you an idea of the quality. And feel free to check out each individual one through the embedded Sketchfab links.

Download them now from the resources page!