Barclays Ishares for Euro RSCG

Posted in 3D, Animation on March 18th, 2010 by sketchbookinc

Here are a few test  stills from an animation done for Euro RSCG for a Barclays iShares microsite. I think it’s been about a year since working on this project. That’s how behind I am on posting work! The site was comprised of 3 sections, each with a different 3d animation at it’s core.

The first section was a stack of cards, the second a bucket with water, and the third a dartboard & darts. Cards animated with c4d’s mograph module. Realflow and Vray also used heavily.


Columbia Bugathermo boot animation

Posted in 3D, Animation on October 10th, 2009 by sketchbookinc

Another Columbia Sportswear animation done in Cinema 4d, and rendered in Vray. This was a modeling challenge. The sheer number of polygons on this boot is out of control.

See full Resolution Quicktime version here

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Columbia Omni-Tech Animation

Posted in Animation on October 10th, 2009 by sketchbookinc

Here’s an animation we did last year for Columbia Sportswear. Rendered in Cinema 4d using AR. Water simulation done in RealFlow.

Columbia Omni-Tech 3d Fabric Animation from sketchbookinc on Vimeo.

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Art Installation for Big Giant

Posted in 3D on January 8th, 2009 by sketchbookinc

overview1_0000overview1_0001Here are some renderings I finished up before the holidays for Big Giant. Jason Bacon provided me with a base model built in SketchUp for the room layout, as well as as most of the props in the scenes. As you can see the quality of the props are very very low as they were created for use in Sketch Up. This includes the pink people. I’d like to re-render these with high res, textured objects at some point. We just ran out of time and it wasn’t really that important to get the point across. inside1inside2_20

The structure around the installation I created on my own, and although the bricks ended up being much too large in scale, overall the feeling of the warehouse worked well for the project. Rendering done in Vray.

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Nike Soccer Illustrations

Posted in Illustration on December 26th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

I was commissioned by Nike to create some soccer illustrations recently.

This was a fun project. Part illustration, part 3d, part design. The goal of the illustration was to show a somewhat moody image of a ball and a glove (2 separate images) within a stadium environment. The Inspiration I was given was a very dark night shot of a field (no stadium) with a floating soccer cleat, and a lot of photoshop work. It wasn’t a bad illustration per-se, but it wasn’t what I would call good.

My first thought is we needed some type of human form. A ball or glove sitting in the middle of a stadium is a bit odd to me. I thought the product needed a little more context. I mentioned this to Nike, and their worry was that the product would get lost if there were soccer players on the field, so my next step was to prove the concept with a sketch.


We decided that the mood Nike was seeking was somewhat film Noire, with the high contrast, dark imagery. We pulled some reference images like the one to the left from the movie Sin City. Not the faces, but the black silhouette body forms. I sent some images like the image to the left to Nike to make sure we were on the right path.

Next step was to create some sketches of the 2 scenes, so I started building some rough scene elements so that I could visualize the scale this stadium would play.

00_stadium_render1The stadium was going to be an interesting challenge. Not only was a ball in the middle of a stadium an odd visual to me, but the ball inside an empty stadium was even worse! So the test for me was to create a composition which would show the stadium, but not the people. Ouch. I figured the dark scene with really bright field lights might somehow do the trick. I also started positioning some very basic 3d characters in poses/crops which worked well with the product + the stadium surroundings.

I realized very quickly that Vray would not be an option for this rendering, as Vray does not have the ability to render out volumetric lights. The Stadium lights needed to be volumetric, which basically means they need to have some visible shape.



Initial pre-renders ended up looking like those above. Using a photo I took of my office mate Jason (medical illustrator) kicking a soccer ball as well as some other reference images, Jason helped me to pose the characters as accurately as possible. I then positioned them within frame, and rim lit them a bit.


We then created some sketches that I used to get signoff on the concept from Nike. Shown here are round 1 and 2 of the soccer ball sketch. Nike thought that the ball in round 1 was much too small, so we had to come up with a knew composition. Once we had full signoff, I worked on rendering out the environment and the product, as Jason worked on the illustrating the final characters. Below are Jason’s final deliverables to me. They ended up brighter, and less contrasty than I had expected, but the scene’s would need some color, so I was happy with the result.


The final illustrations are shown below. I think that the Ball illustration is the nicer of the 2 images. I did some fairly heavy post work on the images to get them where I wanted them. Lots of fake fog was painted in, grain was added, filters were applied in AE. Lastly, I did a lot of color correction and tweaking to get it all working together.

The ball and grass were rendered within Vray, and the stadium was rendered with Cinema’s AR3. The cleat was also rendered in c4d. Note that the glove, although slated to be modeled and rendered, ended up being a photo I took in the studio. The ball we had modeled from a previous product, and we ran out of time to model and texture a full glove.



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Microsoft Zune for TCP

Posted in 3D on December 25th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

zune_3zune_2I worked on this project for Mitch Morse over at The Code Project. He was working with Microsoft on some branding and asked for me to render out some elements for a presentation. We rendered these in Vray. Mitch provided skins for the shoes and the Zune concept, as well as some Zune branding elements to design out the van. We also rendered several packaging concepts not shown here. Scott Wilson, an accomplished industrial designer designed and modeled the Zune (not shown).

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Nike EXP Guard Animation

Posted in Animation on December 21st, 2008 by sketchbookinc

exp_stillOver the last couple years we’ve done several 3d animations for the Nike soccer group. Used for internal marketing, these animations tend to be low on creativity and high on realism and function.

This animation was done for the new EXP guard – which is the ultimate protective soccer shin guard.

See the Animation

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Nike Concept Store – Round 4

Posted in 3D, Animation on December 20th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

I worked on the first round of this project with Ziba. After that Nike took this project inhouse. I worked on this round briefly. As I recall I was filling in for someone.

Round 3 as far as I know went to Eight Inc. In San Francisco.

This most recent round Nike hired Skylab Architecture (Jeff Kovel).

Below are some renderings for this latest round. These were rendered with c4d’s Advanced Render. We also created a 3 minute flythrough of the space in Max using Vray. See the Animation

We had to rebuild the entire store in 3ds max due to c4d’s animation limitations at the time.

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Microsoft Zune Animation for Nervo

Posted in Animation on December 16th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

nervo_zuneWe were responsible for the 3d animation of the Microsoft Zune in this spot for Nervo. We also rendered all the glass pieces. Nando Costa was the designer/animator for all the rest.

The image to the left was rendered at the beginning of the project. We were given the Zune model, and within about 2 hours had it cleaned up, textured, and rendered as shown. Almost an exact replica of the Zunes images we were given as reference.

We ended up scripting a custom reflection rig within cinema which allowed us so get the reflection just right throughout the animation. HDR’s were not cutting it. All rendering was done in VRay.

Zune Attract from sketchbookinc on Vimeo.

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Aperion Speaker Renderings

Posted in 3D on December 14th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

I am working for the weekend on some speaker renderings for Aperion Audio. I’ve been working with AA for over a year now rendering out speakers as they are developed.
AA used to photograph their speakers, but the cost was high, and the quality was low. So AA decided to try 3d rendering as an alternative. The finish on the black speakers is the most difficult to photograph. It’s like a mirror, which calls for vast post work in photoshop on the photos to remove the studio reflections from the casing. In 3d you can control this much easier, although getting a nice reflection is still tough.
The other advantage to rendering in 3d is that the speakers don’t actually need to exist before they are rendered. More and more companies are catching on to this technology. Next step will be animating these speakers on the website product pages.

Hopefully one of these days we will do something more creative with Aperion. Cinema has the ability to animate parameters of any 3d object via the amplitude of an imported soundtrack. Very cool. How useful would that be for animating speakers?

Here’s an example of something a little more creative

Check out to see more renderings, and buy yourself some kick ass speakers while you’re at it!

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Columbia Fabric Animations

Posted in Animation on December 13th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

Recently finished up another project for Columbia. They asked me to animate the 3 fabric technology illustrations I worked on recently. The animation was extremely easy for the most part – with the exception of the RealFlow simulations I created. I spent weeks on this – as I am definitely no RealFlow expert.

I have been learning as I go, and am amazed as much as I am frustrated by this program. I need it from time to time, and was using a contractor to create the realflow elements in my animations. At some point I realized it would be best to buy the program and learn it for myself.

So for the Columbia animations, I had to create several simulations. The first, and most challenging, was rain pounding on the fabric and running off the edge. It’s tough enough getting one stream of fluid doing what you want – but even tougher to get hundreds of little rain droplets behaving. The toughest part of RF is getting the water to take on the properties of real water. Sounds like something that would be built into the program right? I mean, if you have a scale object with real world units inside the program, you should be able create “real world” behaving water right? Nope. You have to build your water from about 2 dozen individual characteristics. Viscosity, density, internal pressure, external pressure, etc. And beyond the fluid properties, you have about a dozen different settings for the mesh which builds around the particles which RF uses during simulation. This is your fluid actually – particles. The mesh is what you render in your 3d application.

In the end I had to look up a custom script which changes the properties of the fluid upon contact with another object. So for the Fabric animation, the rain would come down, and I would swap out each particle at the precise moment that the particle collides with the fabric. You can then add different settings to this second fluid, so that your splash could be more like what you were hoping for. I thank Dan at Columbia for pressing me for a better looking simulation as I went along. My rain was looking like bb’s for a while.

My second simulation involved creating a very viscous fluid like syrup interacting with the material. Not quite as difficult, but definitely a challenge. This particular simulation also involved a lot of tweaking with the fabric properties. As if all the other properties weren’t enough!

Lastly, I worked on several simulations for moisture particles which move up off the body and up through the fabric. This was a pretty fun simulation actually, but in the end we didn’t end up utilizing it. Just way too complex. RealFlow has gas particles, which act differently than fluid particles, and this is what I used for the simulation. I utilized an emitter under the fabric and had hundreds of particles rise until they encountered the fabric – at which point they would collect under the surface. After a time, they would pass up and through the fabric, which created a neat looking animation. Tough part was that we had to work with the illustration which we had created originally, which shows 3 fabric layers pulled apart from each other. So if you are to simulate gas (moisture) going up and through the fabric, which layer does it interact with? The middle layer is the layer which performs all the magic, but do you just ignore the other layers? Ideally this animation would be good if it were done on a non-separated section of cloth. Otherwise it becomes too complex – which it did.

I look forward to posting these animations soon.

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Columbia Boot Animation

Posted in Animation on December 11th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

My second project with Columbia involves creating a 3d animation of the Bugaboot – Columbia’s premier winter boot. I can’t speak about the specifics of the animation nor the boot due to NDA, but I can speak some of the complexity of this 3d boot’s creation.

Columbia gave us a sample boot as reference, and we modeled everything from scratch, including an insanely complex tread. Wild. Wish the animation was a little more complex, as the detail in this shoe will never be seen at the resolution we rendered at. I’ll have to do some rendering on my own of some close-ups. This boot looks absolutely real.

I don’t have it in front of me but the boot geometry alone was hundreds of thousands of polygons, and that’s before any type of smoothing. The tread alone was around 50k polys. Sadly, Vray had a bug with bump and displacement maps when using UV coordinates, so I am glad the boot is fairly small in the frame of the animation. Vray 1.1 for c4d is now out, and we will have the ability to really improve on this. Not to mention 64 bit rendering, which will handle the millions of polygon’s without blinking. I will post images as soon as I this boot hits market.

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Aperion Speaker Animation

Posted in Animation, Flash, Web on December 10th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

bravus_microsite1I was contacted by David Stewart regarding an animation for a new speaker from Aperion Audio. I’d never heard of the company, but from the looks of it they make some great home speakers and they are right in my backyard to boot!

The focus of the animation is a new kick-ass subwoofer called the Bravus. The animation was to be kept simple, and would be scripted into flash for an online microsite. Check it out. It’s a fairly simple animation, and was actually my first in Vray. Very impressed with this new render engine.

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Aperion System Builder

Posted in 3D on December 7th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

system_builderMy third project with Aperion, and my second with David Stewart consisted of a “Build Your Own System” project. This was an online application found on the Aperion website which allows people to drag and drop speakers into a pre-defined room, or the users can select from pre-configured systems. 

Aperion provided me with dimensions for 3 room sizes: large, medium, and small. David provided the direction as to what to place the rooms. This was another Vray project which posed many challenged. As you can see above, there is a large shag rug in the scene. I used Cinema’s hair plugin to create the rug, and we consistently ran into problems in rendering the simple scene, as the rug had too many polygons. It was quite the process getting this all rendered believe it or not. 

the second test was in how to “build” the rooms with flash. David’s direction was to animate all the elements into the room. This can be done pretty easily as long as you keep the footage one long animated image sequence right out of cinema. But David was wanting to get each furniture element as a separate file so that he could do the animation in flash, which was much more time consuming on the 3d side. 

Aperion’s budget and our schedule ended up being the defining answer as to which way to proceed. No animation at all.

Next challenge was rendering all the speakers within the 3 rooms. There are dozens of speakers, and you can pretty much put any of the speakers into any of the positions in the room. Front, front center, side, rear, ceiling, wall, etc. Becomes a little mind boggling. We ended up keyframing it out in cinema. So if there were 8 positions, each speakers would get rendered in each of the 8 positions. We had to make sure to place the pivot point of all speakers at the bottom rear of each speaker to make this as automated as possible. We also rendered an ambient occlusion pass and an alpha pass for each frame.

Last was to composite it all together in AE, which posed some issues. Vray’s physical camera tag does not match the default c4d camera, so when we rendered the AO pass, the camera angle was ever so slightly off. Very annoying. Overall it turned out pretty well.

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Nike Global Factory Store

Posted in 3D on November 16th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

nike_factory_01This store is massive from a real world and 3d perspective. When working on 3d stores, it’s always a challenge to render a store out with as much product as this has, let alone work on it. The polygon count is enormous. This being the case, I planned to render this store using Vray, which was not available for Cinema 4d at the time. Vray is arguable the best render engine for architectural renderings.
nike_factory_02I hired a 3ds max contractor and we began converting a massive amount of files from c4d to max. This process took quite a while.

As with most retail projects, my role is to model, light and texture scenes, position cameras, as well as providing initial merchandising. Visual merchandisers are often hard to find on a project until the project is almost finished, so typically once I am given rough direction as to which categories go where, I usually will toss together all the merchandising, and then run this past the VM’s. It’s just faster this way – especially on a store this size. Occasionally a VM is available at the beginning of a project, and some are very specific while other are quite vague. Totally depends in who I work with.

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LP TechShield Illustrations for Pop Art

Posted in Illustration on November 10th, 2008 by sketchbookinc

Here is one of many 3d renderings I created for Pop Art which were used by LP Corp. The idea here was to show a warm attic in the dead of winter due to the roll-on TechShield Product. I also created some 3d animations of the installation and use of this product. This was rendered with VRay.lp_winter_close_09

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