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Topic: Flying - 3D
Message: Posted by: reedrc (Dec 27, 2007 08:46AM)
So uh. Sometimes I like to try to mimic things I see on screen then re-create it in 3D to hone skills with lighting and camera movement when working on real projects. I made this last couple days working on some new lighting techniques I'm applying to another project. Thought you guys might like to gander at it for those copperheads out there. Its a rough sketch so there is a bit of flutter (pixelation) your going to see.
Hope you like it. This one's just for fun . .. .

Message: Posted by: gulamerian (Dec 27, 2007 09:51AM)
You always come up with some really cool stuff. What program are you using?
Message: Posted by: reedrc (Dec 27, 2007 10:38AM)
This was done with Pixar Renderman & Maya. Trying to make lighting more realistic,
sometimes I like to just render a random scene (nothing to do with a real project)
from something real life, try to mimic it to look realistic, I find helps with final
projects , lighting and what not, I figured since I chose the stage-set from
flying I'd show you as I know its a popular scene, and would amuse some.
Again just practicing / honing my mojo. Thought I'd share it with you.

(The scene. Not my mojo. Sheesh)


Message: Posted by: asianmagic (Dec 27, 2007 11:03AM)
Oh my gosh! That is so cool! Soooo... Are we saying that everything we are seeing (except the backdrop picture from DC's flying) is all done by computer generation? The truss system, lights, steps ... all are computer generated? that's so very, very cool.

Ryan may I ask a few questions?

Can you tell us which parts of this video that you used Maya for, and which parts
you used Pixar Renderman?

I really love this type of work and would love to get the software and learn how to use it. Did you teach yourself how to use Maya and Pixar Renderman or did you go to a class? Is it hard to learn?

I use Photoshop quite extensively. Is it a fairly easy jump for someone with a background in Photoshop and its various tools?

Thanks so much!
Message: Posted by: asianmagic (Dec 27, 2007 11:04AM)
Ryan do you have any other similar types of videos that we can see? Particularly if it relates to magic?
Message: Posted by: reedrc (Dec 27, 2007 11:46AM)

First round of questions: renderman is being used for render speed and Fast HDRI and image based lighting effects. I'm using maya for the modeling & building of the set. Yes ALL of the elements you see were built from scratch. By myself. (even the moving heads, if you were to zoom in you see the LED's on the light, and logo for studio spot) The Scrim is just a texture from a screenshot from the live special. This is the first few months with the software. I came from a lower end (and much much much slower render time / crashing and freezing) software, but was good to pick up basic elements and hard learned lessons on rendering time and modeling)
So I upgraded. MUCH BETTER performance now.

My advice regarding learning. Start with Maya, (your going to HAVE TO, use the tutorials / classes out there) the interface is not all that intuitive. But start modeling things you see. Try to mimic them. (then once you CAN do that . create something new and or original with what you've learned) its taken many years to get to this point , so know this takes time. Be patient. Try new things. . . do it your own
way to learn the best method of going about things.

Its not easy for a graphic designer to jump into 3D. Going from 2D to 3D is like being awake, after realizing your in the matrix. (if that makes any sense, if not just laugh a little and move on)

Second Round of question:

I do have video: but I'm fixing to add that to my portfolio released on my website just after the new year. As well as some VERY cool video & flash website using this technology released on a brand new illusion released also shortly after the new year for something I did for designer Mike Rogers out of Australia. Going to be pretty darn cool.

Thanks for your thoughts.
Message: Posted by: Christopher Starr (Dec 27, 2007 02:17PM)
Nice work! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Message: Posted by: Jack Murray (Dec 27, 2007 06:02PM)
The problem is most 3D renderings DON'T translate into the real world and they don't work when built from 3D renderings. They DO look good....it's just not the "real world" when you start fabrication!!! I know this from experience with 3D!!!!! Many measurements must be changed and you can get into trouble when you think a 3D rendering will translate into a real working DECEPTIVE prop.

Message: Posted by: asianmagic (Dec 27, 2007 06:32PM)
Hi Ryan,

Thank you so very much for taking the time to share your insights. Yep, understand the Matrix metaphor. It's very, very fascinating work. Super impressive results for only having worked on it a few months. What was the other lower level software you were using before Maya?

So, then, you are saying that Renderman was used to accelerate the rendering process?

Wow, you certainly have me sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see your new works soon to be released. Sounds very intriguing, for sure!

Should we just keep checking illusionentertainment.com to see when the new updates will be on there? Do you have a newsletter list setup for people to keep up with anything new you are working on?

Thanks again for your time! Very enjoyable to see and to learn from your insights!

Message: Posted by: reedrc (Dec 27, 2007 07:20PM)

Thanks for the note
As far as the website: things are certainly changing. There will be some
basic info there on services, Q&A, and what not. The rest will be handled
by a newsletter. And password protected area's to keep out the lookie-
loos to the interesting stuff. When the time is right. You'll know where
to look.

Renderman is the name for a couple things. There is a render node
(Alf Server) that aids in processing and rendering, as well as "Renderman
Studio" which provides better , more realistic lighting HDRI based effects,
shadow & sub surface scattering and so-on. So essentially its hardware +
Software as well .. Make sense?

See https://renderman.pixar.com/products/tools/rfm_pro.html
for technical info on the goods.

Maya, been learning since shortly after July. Coming from Carrara, Lightwave & Max.
As for the lighting thing I posted: Just a few days. Not a few months. Something
I threw together from pre built pieces I have from other projects. (truss, heads,
things like that) Is very simple when you don't have to build each thing every time.
Just cut and paste certain elements into it and be done, with some tweaking.
I was working on some bloom, flare & lighting type effects. I did not want to mod
the real model I was working on so I built this one. Just testing looks of light. How
it reacts to different textures and stuff. Knowing some of the copperheads out there,
I figured you'd like to take a look.

Closing Topic Now. Have a good new years.
Message: Posted by: Jack Murray (Dec 28, 2007 05:56AM)
Well Ryan I just hope you can get away from the 3D renderings you seem so fond of. That last one you sent me was a real problem and wasn't at all deceptive with actual fabrication. This is the pitfall with these type of drawings. You can put anything on paper, but it's a different animal when fabrication begins.
Good luck with your new site.

Message: Posted by: Bill Blagg III (Dec 28, 2007 07:45AM)
Seems to me like this thread is going way off topic (like most here in the Café do). I just watched the DC special this shot was from and I think it's really cool Ryan how you were able to "recreate" it on a computer in 3D...amazing how technology is evolving. Dam* it's exciting to see where the world is heading and the vast new technologies that are becoming available to performers to make better "miracles" happen!

I know many elite professionals out there who are already using the 3D design for illusion planning and performance. Take Franz Harary for example. When the discovery channel did the documentary on his illusion creation process he showed how they "pre-visualize" what the shots and scenes will look like as well as the props long before building them or spending the crazy amount of money it takes to bring in the camera crew, set the scene and shoot it. Franz said it was a great asset and if anyone here has sat down with many performers in Vegas you'd know they all use it to.

In regards to applying the 3D designs to building the actual effects I personally have found them a great tool. I never interpret them as being the end all say all but rather view them as a framework or outline for the basic concept or idea.

Now of course if you're looking for a print for an illusion to build right off the print and need specific dimensions and everything figured out then these are not for you. Stick with Osborne Plans or Steinmeyer books b/c they use a different process. They build it first then they draw the plans from the completed effect. As most of us know this is not the case when it comes to creating "new" magic. That process involves a lot of r&d. Starting with the idea, then visualizing it, to analyzing the visuals and then interpreting them and hitting the shop to build or sending it to a builder. Even if you do that it's still a process of trial and error. But you never fail, throughout the whole process you learn and you keep taking those successes and putting them together to get the end result. It's a long and sometimes costly process hence why if you're just starting out it's not the right way to go. As Jim Steinmeyer told me when I was starting...build a solid foundation with the classics of magic. They are classics because they have stood the test of time and people enjoy them. Once you solidify that foundation and are finding success and have the financial resources to try "new" things then start doing that. But don't take $10,000 to create 1 totally original idea b/c you'll go broke and never have a show. Take the $10,000 and buy a sub trunk, thin-model sawing, crystal casket(heck I still use mine) and the like.

Okay, now that I've totally taken this whole thread off topic...hahahaa. I just want to say that I've used 3D renderings to help assist my builders with understanding what it was that I was trying to do and how I wanted it to look from all angles and it's proven to be very helpful. To each their own and we all have ours. Back to work for me guys..good luck everyone and have an awesome New Year!

Party like a rockstar!
Message: Posted by: Jack Murray (Dec 28, 2007 07:52AM)
Well when you have a 3D rendering and "measurements" that the designer insists you follow, then is where the problem begins. That is my point. There must be room for compromise to make the prop work.
Message: Posted by: Bill Blagg III (Dec 28, 2007 07:58AM)
Exactly Jack. People have to take the basic idea (rendering, sketch on a napkin, etc) and transform it into something that works in the real world. As I previously mentioned the truth is it takes A LOT of time which translates into a lot of money. It's not as cut and dry as taking a picture and building from it. You can't even do that from most "professional" plans either...there are always though little surprises that pop up that need to be worked through.
Message: Posted by: Kevin Ridgeway (Dec 29, 2007 09:00AM)
There are two side to this:

If one is trying to make a 3D rendering by which something will be built to specs from, then using software like Ryan does is not the best tool. I can see where this does not help Jack very much. A true CAD program, working model or prototype would be better. Jack is correct in stating that one can't really build from a 3D rendering. In fact he couldn't build any better with a 3D rendering than he could from a drawing with no specs, measurements, etc.

However, if one is trying to see a concept come to life, trying to bring storyboards into the 21st century, etc, then what Ryan uses is the perfect tool for that. If you need to see a visualization of a stage, lighting, reflection, refraction, blocking, etc, then once again this is the way to go and as I mentioned it really takes storyboarding to a whole new level. This past summer we did a 13 cell full color traditional storyboard to present an idea to a large pharmaceutical company. The storyboards did their job, just like people have used for years. But 3D rendering could have been even better. Suffice to say we got the deal anyways, but using things like what Ryan uses, is very very slick.

There is no one way do anything...use what works best for you in your specific application. We have used storyboards for presentations, 3D renderings for visualization & set design, CAD for design & building.

Message: Posted by: Jack Murray (Dec 30, 2007 11:36AM)
Bill, You're not telling me anything I don't already know. I was trying to "warn" readers here that think a 3D rendering with "exact" measurements is the way to go.
When I fabricated my last "3D" project and realized it just wouldn't be deceptive, I told the designer it needed some changes to work for the client. The designer went through the roof because he wanted it built "his way". I wanted to make sure the client received a "working" prop so I made the changes.