Mapbox plugin in Houdini: Terrains

Mapbox is an amazing plugin within Houdini. It allows you to download elevation data (heightfields) from anywhere in the world along with a color map.

Mapbox node with zoom capability to download data

You just zoom to whatever region of the world and click download.

Downloaded data
Zoom around and download again

See below for a little quick demo.

Demo

Dengar on Watch

So here’s a little sketch I did using Maya with Arnold. I wanted to play with lighting scenarios and the Lighting Filters I mentioned last week.

I was originally inspired with this piece by trying to pay homage to the 19th century artists, like Jean-Leon Gerome and Ludwig Deutsch. They were part of a movement called Orientalism, which was a depiction of the Middle East thru artists from a Western culture’s perspective and interpretations.

I began researching Star Wars related elements. I wanted to incorporate, specifically a bounty hunter, but with all the attention to Boba Fett with the amazing Mandalorian I chose a more obscure one with Dengar. A friend, Brian LaFrance pointed me to a great reference gathering tool Pure Ref. You can create your own pin board of various references easily.

I was able to find low resolution models on RenderHub. There were a bunch of free Star Wars characters from a user, Rip Van Wrinkle.

From here, it was trying to figure out a layout and characters to support my main character, Dengar. For some characters and environments I swapped out textures, used megascan textures. I combined some characters together (made a jawa out of the emperor, etc).

Then just played with mood using different lights in Arnold.

It was a fun exercise. Now onto the next piece.

New Tutorial: Vehicle Concept Art by Pablo Dominguez

I don’t have much to report this week but I wanted to give a plug for a new tutorial that hits the virtual shelves. If you’re looking for something awesome and inspiring, check out Pablo Dominguez‘s new Learn Squared course: Vehicle Concept Art. Check it out soon, it’s marked down 40% as an Early Bird Special.

Pablo’s work is amazing and it’s awe-inspiring to see his workflow and thought process as he tackles his design.

I’ve been following his’s work for awhile now and very excited to see his workflow up close. Needless to say I’ve purchased it and will be tinkering with it ASAP!

New3dge VFX Graduation Projects 2020

new3dge

I had the incredible honor of being part of VFX Graduation Projects 2020 for the Senior Projects at New3dge school.  It was supposed to take place at the school in Paris, France, but with Covid totally makes sense to cancel the in person gathering. The school was able to allow us access to the students’ work, breakdowns, and face time with the groups.  The Senior Projects are a bunch of shorts that a small group of students work on as team replicating a mini pipeline as they execute a highly caliber of work. The students of VFX/Animation graduation projects for 2020 were very impressive and produced really outstanding quality! So much great work and inspirational to see!

It was a great pleasure to interact with each team and talk about their projects and questions. The excitement of each team  was infectious and reminded me of my days back at school. New3dge school is doing an amazing job teaching their students to be ready for professional careers in VFX, Animation and Games.

Unfortunately I can’t share the projects that the students worked on yet. The School has them submitted to various festivals. Once I am allowed I’ll share the works with links.

What I can say is these shorts are worth checking out when I do! Below is a demo reel from the school with a sampling of what the quality of work the students there produce. You can watch previous Projects on it as well.

Sincere thanks to Fabien Roumazeilles and New3dge for allowing me to be part of this experience, and my friends Ryan Prestridge and Brian Lafrance for recommending me. 

While I’m on the subject of schools rocking out quality work, you may want to check out my friend, Emmanuel Shiu and Jan Urschel’s podcast on schools and what that means in today’s world with Stacy Tang and John Park.

Utopia Demo

I had the honor of giving a demo at University of South Florida St. Petersburg at the beginning of the year. This is one of the demos I made that weekend. Had a fabulous time with the students.

During the long weekend I spent a couple hours touching it up. I have a FREE version of the demo here: https://ericbouffard.artstation.com/store/JXpy/kitbash-demo

demo_utopia2

Big thanks to John Stanko for asking me down to give the lectures and demo.  Hope you enjoy the image.

Project Icarus

This was a fun little concept solely to start messing with Marvelous Designer. Granted it’s a very simple use of Marvelous. I was thinking of Raiders of the Lost Ark Pangrazio shot, a little of Hal from 2001, and Timeless show.

Image converted using ifftoany

I used Maya, Marvelous Designer, Arnold Renderer, and Photoshop. Here’s a quick breakdown of my process.