Apr 202014

The following images are brought to you from this semester’s various Lighting & Rendering class assignments. As I really wasn’t able to update my page with actual projects, here’s a whole bunch of screenshots of what I’ve been working on from February till now.

Render layers exercise, mimicking an art movement (fauvism):


Same scene, caustics exercise:


Maya Software render:


Interior scene, render passes and GI:



This is my favorite class of the semester, and definitely a very dense class in terms of new information and skills. I get to do the things I like best: concept art, modeling, texturing, and lighting.

Although, I must say, GI and Final Gathering and caustics can be evil. One time, I checked the “emit photons” box on an environment image map in my scene, and Maya promptly and saucily told me to save the scene and quit the program. Just like this:

“Error: fatal. The system may have become unstable. Please save the scene and exit Maya.”

At least it gave me a chance.

Apr 072014

Straight from Wikipedia: one of the nicknames for a helicopter in the English language is “whirlybird.”

I made a whirlybird! Specifically, a Sikorsky Blackhawk, for my friend Mark Logan. His film ARC will premiere at Rochester Institute of Technology, during spring screenings, in May. Check out the film’s Facebook page!

The task was to create a 10-second shot of a realistic helicopter moving into the frame and hovering in mid-air. Mark approached me at the beginning of last fall, asking if I would be up for the job. At that time, after a summer of working at RIT Production Services, I was very comfortable with Blender’s Cycles rendering system, and made the decision to tackle this project in Blender. I also still prefer Blender’s tools for hard-surface modeling over Maya’s (I love Maya for just about anything else, except caustics).

So many months later, here it is, from modeling to compositing, created in Blender and AfterEffects.




Mark’s film is intense. Check it out. I can’t wait to see it finished. And I really hope that my part in it works with the rest.

Mar 292014

Last winter, I was hired by RIT Production Services. One of the luckiest things to happen to me in college. I am so very fortunate to be getting a production studio experience while taking classes.

At Production Services, I do a variety of tasks, ranging from concept art and design to 3D animation to visual effects. Every once in a while, have to track a camera. But for the most part, it’s a lot of fun! I work directly with the graphics manager and my student coworkers – graphic designers, motion graphics artists, video editors, and visual effects specialists. I also interact with the directors and sometimes contribute to meetings.

For 3D graphics, we primarily use Blender and AfterEffects. We just got Cinema 4D, and for my most current project I am learning the ropes of that!

Disclaimers: None of this material belongs to me. I do not own SportsZone, SZ Live HD, or any other name mentioned in the reel. I merely do the graphics. Not everything in the reel was done by me. For a breakdown with roles and contributors, go to the YouTube page of the reel. The music is “Wolf Like Me” by TV on the Radio. I do not own that either, using for non-commercial purposes only.

In other news, I finally caught up with culture and watched Frozen last night. Oh, man… So pretty. Such acting. So much work. Such hope for getting hired in the future.

Mar 272014

I don’t think I remembered to eat dinner today, I was too excited about lights and colors and more lights. I’m working on a lighting project for my class, and it is turning into a modeling/texturing/lighting experiment.

The hard lines of the environment model are intentional. Different lights in the scene affect different geometry groups and sometimes individual meshes. The final scene will be a combination of multiple passes and render layers, but today I was working on the toon shader/outline layer. It has the bright, flat colors that I wanted, harsh shadows, and prominent outlines.

Original concept art:


Finished model:


Toon shader and outline layer rendered with Maya software:


Of course, I would love to achieve the “brush stroke” look of the original painting, and, more importantly, the splattered shadows. I plan on using flat image planes with a painted texture and alpha for the trees in the background.

Other than that, I’m fairly happy with how my colors are turning out, especially considering I’m not picking them directly from the concept painting.

Mar 162014

Ever heard of Eyvind Earle?

I haven’t, either, until my mom showed me some amazing artwork in a style I never previously knew existed – magic realism. It was primarily a literary style, but evolved to encompass art, too. The art movement began in the first two decades of the 20th century. It is all about putting magical elements amidst an otherwise ordinary surrounding. The film The Green Mile, and basically anything by Hayao Miyazaki, are good examples of magic realism in film.

Back to Eyvind. He was an American illustrator and author, best known for his painted backgrounds and concept art for mid-century Disney films. He worked on Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty.

I looked at his art and thought that the “magic” part of magic realism is well-earned here. His brave use of color and strong shapes is phenomenal, and the freedom he took with composition and stretching reality is admirable.

However, Earle worked in a variety of styles and media, going from watercolors, to oils, to drawings, to scratchboard, to serigraphs (silk screen printing).

Earle was a prolific artist. The amount of work he produced over his lifetime is staggering. He worked almost until his death in 2000, holding exhibitions as late as 1998. I wasn’t able to find an exact number of his works, but I’m sure it is a large number.

This is the kind of art that makes me want to explore 3D further. This is another challenge – another new 2D discovery that has yet to be replicated in 3D. Or maybe it has. I don’t know, but I would love to figure out how to do it.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to buy me this book, please feel free!

Mar 112014

Sometimes during my late night render wrangling shifts in the mostly empty lab, I get nostalgic about last year. Nora and I were dying over computer science assignments and our very first 3D movies. Last spring was one of my most productive periods ever. May this attest to that (spoiler: inappropriate content):


I miss character animation! This was the time when we were practicing dialogues, weight, and mood changes. Simultaneously, we practiced pick up lines, but only those that relate to 3D programs. Out of all the ones that we worked with, Maya by far inspired us the most.

We even stuck some of these on the office doors of our professors. They’re still there.



Can’t really make these posters/memes/funsies with modeling. Or maybe you could… Or maybe I’m just getting less funny.

Mar 092014

To me, this is exciting. After years of being on Team Impressionism, I think I may have found a new favorite.

Fauvism. Or rather, the modern renditions of it.

Originally, it only lasted about a decade, started by Matisse and Derain. But man, people made it into an amazing thing! The concept is simple – use bright colors where they’re least expected. At least, that’s how I see it.

And maybe that’s not fauvism, but I’ll call it that for now. I’ve been working on concepts for a stylized 3D environment, and I’ll try to go in this direction with it.


Or this:


Trees and bright colors, all the things that make me happy.