Affinity Software

There is this relatively new software, Affinity that’s pretty good candidate as an Adobe substitute if you are looking for a non-subscription model. Their current applications are Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher. I’m currently most interested in Photo.

You can download them for a 90 trial.

The Affinity Photo has some nice features that Adobe Photoshop still hasn’t addressed over the years. Raw editing, true HDR workflow, and 32-bit workflow.

What’s nice is you can import/export PSD/PSB file formats and it supports ABR brushes, so you can have the best of both applications.

You can see the UI is very similar to Photoshop so working in it it’s hard at all.

The cost of the software is pretty affordable, just $50. You can purchase these apps at a 50% discount now. They are available for Mac, PC, and iPad. It is not a subscription model. It is a single one-off price. You have full capability whether on PC, Mac or Ipad.

Download for free and see what you think. For me the HDR and 32-bit capability alone is worth looking into.

Maya/Clarisse Bridge 2.0

If you’re used to working in Maya and want something to help you port over files from it to Clarisse this tool is awesome.

Muhammad Etman created it. Here’s the gumroad to purchase if you like what you see. It’s $70 but for what it does it could really speed up your workflow into Clarisse.

What’s great is you can still set things up in Clarisse as you’d normally do but now you have the ability to just send over files you want from Maya easily. Update a camera in Maya, click to send over the camera. If you have a huge geometry set you want to port over now it just takes the push of a button to send it over. Now, you can manually setup your shaders in Clarisse or you can assign an arnold shader in Maya and port that over. Super handy.

Here is a great example of using it for a large scene.

Here’s the UI for it (you can set it up in different viewing modes)

Select the elements you want to port over, click “add” and then send it over to Clarisse. It’s that easy.

Maya file:

Simple click to send over the camera, light, and geometry with shaders

Clarisse file after sending over elements (3 clicks later):

Pretty slick and simple.

Take a look at it and see what you think.

The Shot List

I came across this amazing series on YouTube by StudioBinder. Their YouTube channel goes over everything video and photo production. Their series the Shot List is a must watch on a series of ultimate guides to camera shots, camera framing, camera angles, Depth of field, Camera Gear, Camera Movement, Camera Lens, and Frame Rate. This is a must watch series to increase your knowledge in cinematography and photography. Definitely worth the investment. Enjoy.

If you want to study other movies for their cinematography these two sites are wonderful resources:

Epic Games’ MetaHuman Creator in Unreal

So most of you might have seen this amazing announcement from Epic Games/Unreal: MetaHuman Creator

Now this is crazy impressive, but wait it gets better…

Mind blowing stuff. You can download 2 free metahumans already. I’m very excited to see the full version of MetaHuman Creator when it comes on-line. It’s a cloud based application. You’ll be able to create real-time photorealistic digital humans in blazing speed.

This made for Unreal so it’s going to hook in nicely to all of unreal’s tools. 30 different hair styles using Unreal Engine’s strand-based hair, 18 different proportional body types. When you’ve completed your character download the asset via Quixel Bridge. It’s fully rigged, ready for animation and motion capture in Unreal. You can also get source data in Maya form with meshes, skeleton, facial rig, animation controls and materials. I think the possibilities of this tool are endless. It is a top tier fidelity cg human but you can also output a lower level of detail. You may have limitations of modifying this character into other applications. I haven’t really messed with Unreal that much but this just might push me over the edge to jump in.

Keep an eye out for updates on Epic Games’ MetaHumans creator and lets see where this goes.

New3dge 3D Animation & VFX shorts out!

Like I said in my New3dge VFX Graduation Projects 2020 blog entry, I am so excited to finally share the New3dge Students projects! All are amazing and dazzling to see.

Here is a trailer of all the projects:

Check out each link below by clicking on the Short’s poster. Each short has wonderful breakdowns of how the students created them. Unfortunately you can’t still watch the short in there totality but you do get to glimpse everyone’s outstanding work. You can reach out to the school if you’d like a private link.

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At the end of each project’s website, you can look at every student’s Artstation links for more information on each student and they’re work (as they all are looking for jobs currently and want to join us as peers in our amazing profession).

New3dge VFX Graduation Projects 2020

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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.

Spring 2020 Students Work

Another Semester closes as we begin Summertime. I had an outstanding time with my latest group of students. So many of them really went the extra mile and couldn’t be prouder of the growth they all made. Please take a moment to look at all of the students work.

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After 4 straight years of teaching at CGMA, I am taking a sabbatical for awhile. I had such a wonderful time working with all of my amazing students over the years and it has given me a new drive to delve into my own projects and IP for a spell. Please keep an eye out on my Blog for some of my new endeavors. Cheers.

Cinematic Reference Resource Library

There are a multitude of ways to build up your own Cinematic Reference Library. I’ve talked about created your own cinema library.  I’ve been using Evan E. Richards website for years. My VFX/concept artist friend, Adam J. Ely recommended it to me long, long ago.  It’s been a phenomenal resource and has been a trusty go-to tool for me. Whenever I’m looking for inspiration or to do composition/lighting studies.

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There is now a newer website called SHOTDECK. It’s in Beta mode now but you can email them to be added to their website. It has an amazing catalogue of films and search parameters. I first heard of it from Jan Urschel. Here is a link to his free youtube link talking about it in more detail.

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Both sites are great for you to search out key cinematographers and top visionary films.

Here’s a little run thru using both.

 

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

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