#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!

Free Landscape Pack, UI Designs & Blender Motion Graphics Update

Blender files for these shots are also included! :)

Another big update this time, as it's been a busy few months.

First off, check out this free landscape pack I created!
It's licensed under the public domain, so you can use it however you want. All of the texture sets are 8K resolution and include displacement maps, flow masks, height masks, normal maps and more. All of them were created using World Machine and the source files are also available. That way you can generate endless variations yourself if you have World Machine!

There's also fairly high resolution meshes included in OBJ format, as well as nine example blender files to take a look at. There's also an included PDF overview and a quick start video to get you rolling quickly.

So why did I license this CC0? Well, to be honest, I'd rather people use these and be happy with some free stuff, than try and monetize all of this. I created all of them in my free time exploring World Machine and just wanted to share it without limitations. Of course, if you end up using them and want to send me a link to the result, I'll be more than happy to check it out! ;)

You can download it in a variety of ways, as the full pack with all the content is about 5GB. I understand that not everyone can easily transfer this amount of data, so here's all you options:

  • Download the full pack with everything included. (5GB)
  • Download just the textures and meshes. (3GB)
  • Browse for individual files.

All of this can be found on the Resources page of the site. (DOWNLOAD LINK)


Download this scene and more!

Download this scene and more!

A few weeks ago, I ended up creating a few UI designs (like the one shown) which are available as a free download from the Blender Cloud. After creating one for the Blender Motion Graphics series, I caught the UI / Hologram bug a little and had some fun. So be sure to check those out as well!

There's 5 available right now, and I might add more in the future if / when I end up creating them.

Speaking of the Motion Graphics training, it was an absolute pleasure working with everyone over at the Blender Institute, and I want to thank them again for giving me the chance. I'm very pleased with the end result and I hope I can help some people along with the variety of content included.

It was definitely an interesting experience doing many short videos, rather than just one long YouTube tutorial and I learned a lot from it too. All the feedback I've received is very welcome as well and for that I thank everyone who commented. :)

Over on YouTube, the WEIRD SH!T series has slowly continued as well and we're already up to episode 5! More Workflow Logs have been added too and I should be able to get back to recording more of them soon.

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.

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.

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!