Posts Categorized: Motion Graphics

Custom 3D Logo Build

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About 4 months I was contacted through Envato Studio, formerly microlancer, to do another 3D Logo Design. This will be the third job that I have received through their service and unlike my earlier jobs this one was a bit more of a custom job.

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The client wanted the 3D version of their logo to be a bit more than just a flat extrusion of their vector file. So I actually modeled a 3D head for logo instead of just extruding out the shape of it. Everything in the logo is model as a full 3D object except the text and the “reel” scarf.

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That was an extrusion so that it matched up more with the illustrated logo. The idea for this logo later was that it might transition from the 3D version to the 2D version and would need to match up pretty closely to make it as seamless as possible. I also had another version where scarf was mirrored on both sides, which looked “cooler” in my opinion, but wouldn’t work for its final purpose.

After a few revisions I was able to end up with a version of the logo that client like that fulfilled all of their request.

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3D Printing a Gold Statue

This project began as a request from my producer at work Brain, it was if we (the graphic artists) could model and 3D print a figure of one of our talent for an awards show he was producing. This model would have to resemble the main talent of the show and look like an actual gold trophy. I was one of the three artists working on the project.

To read a quick bullet point summary(tldr) jump to the end.

logo-123dWe began by brainstorming ways to capture the talent that could be easily translated into a 3D model for printing. My first thought was to use a program by Autodesk called 123D Catch to get the best representation of our talent for our model. Unfortunately we did not have direct access of our talent, and although we where able to get pictures of the talent from various angles of the chest and head it was not enough for the application to process and create a model for us.

I also looked into some alternatives that would work like the Autodesk application but with less proprietary restrictions. I found a good blog post on ditching 123D Catch however the application, insight3d,  seems to work better for interiors and exteriors then people. Another alternative was FaceGen which was mentioned and used in a CorridorDigital video, but the cost for this application was not in the budget.

mhlogo3What we did use, as suggested by my awesome co-worker Caresse, was Makehuman. This open source application lets you easily create realistic characters.LemmingMakeHumanRaw Age, weight, eyes, nose, body proportions, and more can all be easily adjusted using sliders. Caresse worked with the producer Brian to get the model as close as possible to our talent. This took a bit of back and forth to get his likeness into the model and even after we were done using the application we still had to do some manual tweaking of the model to get it to look just a bit closer to our talent.

The next step was to pose the model for the final 3D printing. Fortunately MakeHuman exports the model with a full skeletal system that is already skinned to the character. I was able to add IK(Inverse Kinematics) to the arms that allowed me to easily pose the model’s arms. I had IK on the legs as well but I took them off since the pose for the legs was simple and did not required them to be bent. Having IK on the arms turned out to work well since the original pose was to have the arms crossed, but since it looked awkward we opted to have the arms out one holding a stopwatch and the other holding a clipboard.

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After locking down the pose, we proceeded to prep the actual model for printing. This required us to connect all the parts of the model together to make it one whole piece. This was probably the most tedious part of the whole process. The head/neck, shirt, arms, pants, ankles and shins, and shoes all needed to be connected to each other to make one piece for printing.

Next after combining all the parts was we added a base and optimized the stopwatch and clip board for printing. The model however would still need some more tweaking once we tried to get it printed. We also tried to use the sculpting tools in Cinema 4D to add some extra detail in the model. They looked great but when prepping the model those parts did not hold up well in the printing system checks so we removed those details.

ManFigure At this point we had a good model that we could do a quick rendering of to show what we had been working on for the past couple weeks. We also were ready to start uploading it and seeing what we would get back as far as printing quality and integrity. My first thought was to use Shapeways since they have printing for 6 days if the model print size is under 200mm(20cm/7.87”). Although our originally goal was for print size to be between 9”(22.86cm)-12”(30.48cm) high figure, my producer said that the size limit would be fine if it would come in on time. However the estimated ETA for arrival was longer then expected so we could not use them.

I started to look for alternatives that would allow us to make our deadline. I found a number of sites online and most where priced around the same as Shapeways. The top two that I found that where the closest was i.materialise.com and sculpteo.com. Both had pricing similar to Shapeways for the size we wanted to print, but Sculpteo had more tools for fixing and reviewing our model using their system that made it the front runner of the two.

 

Between the two of them I uploaded over 40 different model versions tweaking the geometry to attempt to fix any issues that may arise during the printing process. I had an especially hard time with the thickness of many parts of the model that did not meet the minimum required thickness. The collar and thin parts on the stopwatch and clipboard where always giving me issues. Luckily with the print being rather larger most of the small parts would be larger enough just because of the print size otherwise I would had to figure out some other solution.

While working with these online solutions I was also still searching for a local printer in NYC to use as well since I thought that would be a good option and being local would help with delivery time. I was able to find a 3D printing place local to NYC and we were able to get in contact with them to discuss the project and had them print out an 8” figure of our model. There was one caveat though, and that was they did not have their ABS printer working at the time so we had to use their Sandstone 3D Printer. Which is not the worse option and has the ability to print in color, but is more fragile then ABS or PLA plastic material.

logoWe went with this local printer for the company model, however as a back up I had two other models commissioned for printing via the website 3dhubs.com. This site lets you connect with 3D printer owners directly to have them print your 3D model for a fee. You can easily upload your model have it system checked for printing and priced out. Then you can search for a printer locally and either pick it up or have it shipped to you. An awesome idea that is just starting out but seems like it will have future with the growth of 3D printers.

I choose three printers local to New York City and sent them a preliminary request about my deadline and a preview image of my print. I received responses from two and choose to have a print made with both of them. One of them unfortunately had an issue with their printer, so mid print their printer broke down with some technical problems so I could not get a print from them. I did however get a clean print from my other hub, which was Peerless’s Hub. If you want read my experience working with this hub check out my review on his hub, but to sum it up I had a great experience working with them. I also used a different material for the print as well, using Makerjuice G+, which I had never used before but is similar to PLA.

Now began the waiting process as the prints where completed. This was one of the more nerve racking parts during the project since it was all in the hands of the printers and we had to trust that they would produce our model in the time we needed it. I was kept update with my prints fairly regularly from the 3D hubs printer and knew of any issues that cam up during the printing process. From the NYC local printer not so much but both arrived in time for when we needed them to.

Through out the whole process we had been discussing at the same time how we would would actually paint our model to make it resemble an actual gold trophy. I did a lot of research on how to paint on 3D printed plastic as well as other figures. I also did some searching on what would be the best type of gold spray paint to use to get the best looking gold items as well. The video links were especially good to actually see how the paint looked when applied to an objects. They also helped me determine the final paint that I would get which was Rust-Oleum 1910830 Metallic Spray Gold & Rust-Oleum 7710830 Bright Coat Metallic Color Spray Gold both 11-Ounces. The first one I used on the backup and the second on the sandstone model.

All of this researching was good but it didn’t nearly help as much as asking someone who had years of experience actually doing production work. This is when I asked around the graphic artists at work if they knew about spray painting. Neil, who is a newer addition to our group at work, had years of experience working in production and graciously lent his expertise to our project. Using him as a resource I was able to determine not only some more material I would need to buy but also some techniques for painting. He pretty much did most of the priming, painting, and lacquering of the company model that was eventually used in the show.

The process was for making the models look like gold was fairly straight forward. On my backup model I did not use the primer and simply applied the gold paint directly to the model doing 2.5 coats. I would have done a full 3 but I ran out of paint due to my earlier tests I did. These test lead me to believe that I could paint directly on the model without primer.

 

GoldStatueCloseThat was not the case with the work version that was sandstone. After testing it we decided that the sandstone was to porous and would required a few coats primer before applying the gold. We also where concerned that to much of the grain from the sandstone would show through the paint. It does show as you can see but it does add a nice feel to it that wound up looking nice for our purposes. I still like my version of the model a bit better since it has the nice clean shiny look of an actual trophy.

The last step we had to do was to apply the models to our base which was a plastic mirror riser that I found on amazon. We went through a  few options to find one that we thought work well since we decided not to go the traditional route with a wood or marble-esqe base that is normally used. We applied it to the base using some 5min epoxy that I brought from home.

The next day they used the model on the show and even did a close up on it which made me cringe just a bit. Overall though it worked well as a prop on the set and looked pretty official looking despite being built in just few weeks. I wasn’t scheduled to work when the show was recorded by my producer was kind enough to give me a DVD copy of the show. We also did some other graphics that feature the trophy throughout the show as well.

My last thoughts about the whole process are about how cool it was to do a different type of project then what we normally work on. It was quite an experience working on making physical object as it did the previous times I have. It definitely makes you think about your modeling process differently especially in regards to how scale is so important. And as always  I wish we had more time, particularly working on the design of the model. We got a few comments on his pants legs, looking like high waters a bit, and on the shape of his hips. Both could be fixed if we had the time to review the model a bit longer before trying to get it printed but we had to make our deadline.

It was a great project to work on and I’m glad we got the chance to work on is despite the concerns of our manager saying the project would take too much extra time(which it did) to complete it.

Lessons Learned

  • Take more time making your model as good as you can before print prepping
  • Be prepared to do some more iterative tweaks to get your model ready for printing
  • Research your 3D printer thoroughly and choose wisely, especially if you have a deadline to make
  • Have a solid location for the painting process and letting it dry in a ventilated area.
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Hess “Toy” Truck Instagram Series Notes

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I got the idea to start another personal project around the end of November, revolving around my Hess Trucks that I’ve been given over the years. Part of the idea came from my Dad who mentioned that he should put them all together to take a picture of all of them . I decided to take it a step further and do a series of individual pictures/videos that would end when I get the newest one for this year.

I have received them from my grandfather since 1990 when I was around two years old. Then my mother would get them when my grandfather couldn’t get them anymore. So I have almost everyone since then except 2008 where we(Mom) waited to long and we didn’t get it. Somehow I was able to get the small front loader truck that came with the Hess truck for that year, though I don’t remember how I acquired it.

Pre-planning

To start this project up I first developed a template that I would use to display each truck on my Instagram, which I had recently joined after the recommendation of my co-workers. I looked around to see if anyone had done something similar or used any video production tools with Instagram. There wasn’t much out there but I did find a good video on doing Instagram videos with After Effects where I learned the video size limit and some exporting specs. The exporting specs didn’t work perfectly for my version(s) of After Effects. I wasn’t getting any sound in the beginning, but rendering with Media Encoder I was able to find an easy way to get my videos in a usable format.

After some research I completed my design in Photoshop after one revision and some feedback from some friends. I then brought it in to After Effects to set up the animations and use some quick temp images of my Truck to test the layout and animation. I also did some test renders to see how my videos would work in Instagram sharing the videos privately to make sure it would actually work.

While working on the design and animation I was also developing my set that I would be using to take these pictures. My original idea was to make my set as simple as possible so that I could quickly take make photos without having to adjust much. The location was my basement where I could set it up easily leave it up with out it interfering with anything. The stage was just a few crates stacked on top of each other with a green table-cloth draped over it to make it seem nice.

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The lighting was originally going to be just the ceiling light, which are the long fluorescent bulbs, that I was going to cover to diffuse the light. This did not work at all, too bright even with reams of paper covering diffusion and too noisy when doing video, just really bad overall. A co-worker suggested getting some cheap LED lights which sounded good though I thought maybe that might be a bit much for this simple(seemingly) personal project

What I wound up using where four Verilux lights that I had/commandeered to use. They boast being “original natural spectrum® floor lamp”, and the natural lighting did worked well for me. Along with some extra paper covering they worked out well for still photographs and where passable for the type of video I was going for. They do have a two way switch on them to control the light level but the difference was barely perceptible to the eye…

The last part I needed for the project was camera and tripod. Unfortunately I no longer had possession of my pretty good Canon point and shoot(yeah I know…) camera but I did have a new Moto X 2nd Gen. Cell phone. So along with my current tripod and a smartphone tripod holder I ordered from Amazon I was set to take my pictures.

Photo Production

The actual production process for making these Instagram videos evolved over time and varies a bit depending on which truck I was photographing but the basic outlined stayed the same. I set the truck up on my stage and would take pictures from various angles around the whole truck. I would usually start from a high angle to make sure I could get all of the truck on the stage. Then I would turn it around taking pictures and then do the same at a lower angle to get closer to the truck. The low angle worked well for getting the license plate years and the smaller trucks, motorcycles, buggies and other smaller vehicles that came inside the bigger trucks. I would repeat the same process for taking pictures with the lights off for the Trucks that worked well in the dark.

 

While taking these photos I learned a few things about light, composition, and mechanics of phone camera as well. There was never a perfect light setup(not too surprising) even when just rotating the same Truck around to take a picture from a different sides. I always had to move at least one light to compensate for something. My goal was to have the shadows as minimal as possible but somewhere along the way I let that goal go to just try to get good reflections and as even lighting as possible. This was not always achieved and even with the exposure control on my camera some Trucks where still blown out. This was really hard with video since the my camera phone requires a lot of light to get the truck in focus, so almost all the video footage was over exposed. Fixing it in post helped a bit but I could only do so much.

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Composing the pictures was for the most part straight forward, once I had done a few trucks. However not all of them where the same shape and many where not trucks at all. I have said “trucks” this whole time since that is how they are marketed but many  of the ones I have are over sized helicopters, cars, or have a space vehicle on their trailer. The Helicopters where particularly hard since I wanted to get the blades all in frame and stay completely on my stage. This was where I wished I had a bigger set for some extra wiggle room for framing that would have been helpful for the larger trucks as well. I was able to work around it with mainly just using photos that were zoomed in or some post work to extend the stage.

Instagram Video Production

Producing the video was pretty simple but it took time to go through all the photos I took. I had around 150-200 pictures for each truck that I had to go through. I started out going through the photos I wanted to use ahead of time and separating them out before I hand. However by the time I got to the late 2000’s I was doing some of the videos the day I shared them, so I would find the picture I wanted to use from my main folder separate them and import them for use all in one go. But by then I knew what pictures I was probably going to use for each slide section anyway.

Each still picture frame went through four different pictures, so eight in total. The ending two usually being the year license plate and some times with the in the dark photo. The top large frame was designed for videos or still pictures depending on the truck, ideally I wanted to make a video featuring the major electronic feature of that truck. So all of them have lights(not all working), many have sounds, and some have motorized parts. I edited together the various sounds that each made to have them go off during the video. I was able to feature all the sounds of each truck until the latest years where they had too many sounds to fit together in a coherent way.

A video posted by Greg (@greg2bpro) on

Some of the sounds also worked in tandem with how you would move some of the trucks, car or shuttle/plane. One racer car even had its own sound, so I was able to have it run across the stage and use its sound effects. I did this also with jets/shuttle although they didn’t actually fly across the set so I had to animate them in After Effects and add their sound effects. I think the newest one, 2014, worked out well since I was able to composite the cruiser taking off the launch pad and have the scout ship follow it.

Sharing and Recap

Getting it out there was just a simple as transferring the final video for each truck on my phone and telling Instagram to upload the video. I wrote out little blurbs about each one to accompany the video ahead of time, then shared it to via Instagram to my Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. I had planned a schedule so I knew which year to post on what day so that I didn’t have to post more then two a day.

During the posting process one thing I think I did too much of was hash tags. I had them already setup in a text document and just threw them on at the end. I think it would have been better to integrate them more into my description of each truck and not have as many.

In the end it was a fun and self-educating project to put together. It was also a lot more work then I was expecting but still rewarding. Not sure if I will do it again next year but if I do I will definitely start earlier.

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Big Joe’s Special Salad

This started as a project for work but was never finished/used in the end. So I decided to turn it into a personal project after changing a few things. The cockroach model is from turbosquid which I rigged up. I did the backbone(exoskeleton) wrong but it still works well for the amount of control I wanted. If anyone wanted the model rigged just get in touch with me and I can post it up.  Thanks goes to everyone in my office who gave me great extra ideas to add to the final project.

Created in After Effects CC & C4D R14.

Some sound effects from freesound.org

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OFF THE RADAR

A quick animation I did over a weekend for one part of a sports show. Done in C4D and After Effects.

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3D Logo Design Service

As I’m always looking for more ways to do the type of work I like to do I try to keep up with new things that will enable to continue doing the type of work I like and get paid. Envato has many different services to do this and the recently release a new one microlancer.

microlancer service g2bI  recently completed my first project and second one soon after using this service. I have one service listed for 3D Logo Design.

I have used services like microlancer before though I have rarely received jobs though them, rather most of my jobs have been found working directly with people on various projects. I had a great experience using their service despite not complete sure how the actual system worked until I had a client. The two jobs I completed where from the same person who needed a logo converted from a 2D design to 3D. They client liked the result on both logo customization’s and I was able to complete the job on time.

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So if you need a very quick no-nonsense 3D logo from a logo you already have check me out on microlancer. Or you can always contact me directly for any project you might have in mind.

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Brown Jordan Notes

I’m always looking for more opportunities and different projects to work on. So when I was contacted by SME branding to asking if I would like to be a part of a project they where going to being I jumped at the opportunity. The Project began in mid august with a hard deadline in the middle of September.

My involvement other then discussions on the project as a whole was involved with the animation following the direction given from the storyboards done by the awesome designers. I worked over a week with the SME designers to create the vision they had for this animation. I used primarily After Effects CC with some C4D via cineware. Though cineware is still not as work flow steady as I would like it to be, so I did have to render out a few things in the end.

In addition to the animation I was responsible for the final audio mix of the project. They wanted to give the project a real environmental feel to it. Their team discussed the sounds that they wanted and I went about doing the final mix with their direction and feedback. SME had a composer create and original track for the piece that would express the feelings they where going for. I used Audition CC to do the final mix which worked well in my final workflow.

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Overall I had a great experience working on this project, with the team over at SME and I’m glad it turned out well for Brown Jordan. You can even check it out on their website.

 

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3D Logo Design 02

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Another 3D logo I created for a client based of an existing logo design. More about this project soon.

 

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3D Logo Design 01

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A 3D logo I created for a client based of an existing logo design. More about this project soon.

 

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Brown Jordan “the world’s finest furniture” Unveiled

An animation production I worked on with agency SME in NYC to help promote the re-branding of brownjordan.com. I was responsible for animation, and final audio mix. The storyboards, design, and direction was done by the awesome people at smebranding.com.

 More info about my process in a later post.

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