Friday, 11 April 2014

Finally! My Last Days on Mars Reels

My 2014 Reel

After finishing my work as 3D supervisor on Last days on Mars at Screen Scene  on the 17th march 2013 I can fianlly show the two reels and some images of what I did on it including something not seen in any breakdown reels by screen scene (as it was done directly for the director on an evening and weekend).  So there have been serious additions to the main site.

My Last Days On Mars 3D Supervisor Reel

I don't actually any of this to get work now, as I work as Senior Environment Artist at Rockstar North.  The main LDOM reel of mine is as way of a thank you to every single person I had the joy of working with back then and that helped me to create such happy memories.  I count every single one as a dear friend now and if only we were allowed to tell some of the crazy stories of things that happened in those 7 months. Once I get time I may do a blog on some of the interesting facts and figures from us guys in 3D and the dev and shot times from last days on mars...if I am allowed that is.

Me sculpting the suit for the Liev Digital dev time till ready for rigging.. 24 hours. With all shaders and textures.
But while I can't list everyone I worked with (the comp dept get a special mention for saving our arses more than a few times and making  all us crazy loud 3D people look good).  But let me list the core 3D team that did the majority of the 3D work on The Last Days on Mars

John O Connell
The only shot I have that is fit to be shown publicly of at work on the infamous 'shot 1016' that everyone worked on at one time or another

John is a good mate, someone I had met prior to screen scene at the end user event one year previously.  He is without a doubt one of the best technical artists I have worked with and always was able to knock out a Maxscript to get us out of a bind or make life easier.  A total savant at optimizing Vray (but definitely not an idiot!)  and cutting down render times.  John did all sorts on the film and was indispensable, John is the ultimate 3D Generalist.  I hope one day we get to work together again. (You'd better be blushing at this point John! ;) )

Daniel Rath

Daniel modeled and textured  the lander and the Rover, seen here on with the lander
I remember when I 1st started at Screen scene Daniel sitting at his corner desk, this serious young German lad.  He turned out to be one helluva modeler and texture artist, and had a wicked sense of humour.  Put it this way...neither myself or Glen Southern could fault a single thing he did.  The guy who single handedly modeled and textured the rover and the lander.  I would recommend him highly in the strongest terms.  He worked hard, always exceeded what was required and was great fun to be around. (Just don't mention 99 red balloons to him or garloff).

Garloff  'Mr Garloff' Langenbeck
Oh no! Deadline crashed again!

The mad German!  Garloff was responsible for just about every bit of wheel dust you see in last days on mars, a lot of the lighting, most of the blood and god alone knows what else.  One of my favorite people to be around and sort of like a younger better looking German version of me.   I am proud of the fact I learned him many new English swear words.

Garloff on with the zombie blood Simulation

He lit the best lit shot in the entire film and made it look so good out of the gate that I re-evaluated the whole lighting pipeline afterwards.  The fact that Garloff also managed to stay sane after sharing a house with me for 2 weeks is testament to his fortitude.  Definitely a person who you can enjoy your work and off times with.
..and a third shot of garloff because its such an awesome shot.

Glen Southern
Glen hard at work avoiding using shotgun again lol

Glen doesn't need an introduction at all, he's been a mate for a good few years now and I asked him to come over to help with the modelling duties as we had a serious amount of stuff to do and not enough time to train someone to do it to the required standard.  Glen and I always have a sort of short hand that meant we could get assets out between us very fast indeed.  Glens now creative director over at Egg in Dublin.  When you see the Pit...glen did one side in Zbrush I the other in Mudbox...only glen and I know which is which and we're not telling ;)  (fanboys of either app should have fun trying to work it out lol)

Yanko Slavov 'The Terminator of 3D Tracking'
Yanko at he had run out of shots to track.

A member of the infamous [NAME REDACTED]'family'  The Bulgarian Mr Yanko was the fastest and most accurate tracker I have ever worked with. Every 3d tracker has a percentage of failure... Yanko didn't..his tracks were always perfect and done at warp factor ten. Often before you even realized you needed them.  A really nice guy and he saved my bacon one night in the early hours when I got back off my flight from seeing my kids and the lock had jammed, Yanko gave me his bed so I would have somewhere to sleep while he slept on the couch.  That says everything I can about the man.  If you need the best 3D tracker... go for Yanko.  I count him as a dear friend and look forward to visiting him in Dublin again soon.

Giacomo Cavilleti
Giacomo's Lighting face

Giacomo came straight out of Aardman and into screen scene.  He cranked through lighting shots like a man possessed and I always knew if I gave a shot to him it would get done well. A great guy who likes a laugh but takes his work very seriously.  Giacomo is someone that anyone would love on their 3D team.  I do miss having lunch with him.

Martin Naydenski

Martin after 5 months of 7 days weeks and late nights..he still looks better than I did lol
If you saw a dust storm in Last days on was martin, done on his own in impossible time limits that would make any large studio bring out a team of 30. He managed to exceeded anything anyone thought was possible. A Bulgarian particle mastermind, he now runs BottleShip FX with Hristo Velev. 

Ed Bruce and Glen pretending to understand what Martin is doing.... I swear it was black magic somehow.

Ben Klimmeck

Ben had the distinction of working on both the screen scene LDOM crew and the directors crew over the road.   Ben is a hardcore production 3d guy with some good skills and the ability to get shit done well.  He was also (amongst many other things) responsible for the facial rig on the marko zombie  head I did for RR.  Alas I don't have a decent shot of Ben.

There were others who came and went during the course of LDOM but these guys and myself were the core 3D Crew.  Add to this the production staff with VFX sup Ed Bruce, Mighty VFX coordinators the legendary Sarah Mooney (another member of the [NAME REDACTED]' am I ;) )and Amy James, along with Nico Murphy and Kenneth Coyne.  The comp dept headed by Grainne Freeman (with special mention to another of my favorite people Joe Courtis).... It was without doubt the most hectic , but also most fun time I have had working anywhere in my life.

So guys and gals who worked at Screen Scene on Last Days on Mars..I salute you all.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

I am now Senior Environment Artist At Rockstar North

My New place of work

I'm sitting right now in Starbucks about to go in for my 1st day at my new job as the Senior Environment Artist At Rockstar North in Edinburgh.  I purposely kept the whole thing under wraps until the very last minute and only a few people I trust knew in advance.  So it means me leaving the VFX side behind at the very least for a considerable time, maybe for good.  So By the time you read this chances are I have already started work and have managed to move into a new place in secret.

It also means I will not be doing any freelance work (apart from maybe the occasional thing to help out clients or friends I know well away from the games side).  I remember losing a year of my life on the 1st GTA and GTA 2 on the PC... lol.

I wanted to put it in the video above which is the last of my video blog 'Waynecasts' I shall be doing along with a few other things to go out with bang.  I started the social experiment that was my video blogs 6 1/2 years ago and wight he changes that have happened in my life from the end of last year it seemed like the perfect time to wind up the story.  Its seen me go from a young guy with a baby living in a place called Langley Park with no future to now working at the largest game firm in the world.

So I may well be quiet for a while and the art work few and far between at least for a while.   This video is a lot more serious than usual and for once I drop the 'persona' and cover things like the real cost of working in VFX from a personal stand point, something that people often overlook.  So to those of you who enjoyed the waynecasts , thank you.... at the very least they hopefully entertained you from time to time.

Now I must finish this coffee and get to work..... (BTW don't ask what I am working on or anything about as I cannot tell you.)  But it already means to my son Kane that I am now instantly 2000% more awesome....and thats good enough for me.

Wayne Robson

Monday, 17 March 2014

Last Days On Mars Screen Scene FX Breakdowns

Screen Scene VFX on Dublin posted the VFX breakdowns of some of the work done on the film The Last Days On Mars that I was 3D Supervisor for.  It is missing some things I did on the film outside of the stuff for screen scene but shall be able to show that around the 11th April.  When I'll be putting not one but two reels up.

I'll stand by what we did on the budget and time we had until my dying day on this one.  Excellent times and I was lucky to have some very talented dudes working in the 3D Dept.

Monday, 10 March 2014

MudWalker X2 release (Finally!)

Why just transfer between apps ...why not between machines...anywhere there is a internet connection?

MudWalker was an idea that has probably 'inspired' more clones than I ever foresaw, Then the clones started inspiring other clones and things got really weird.  It was the first of its type to allow you to transfer between applications but that was never the original idea, the original concept I had was so much bigger.  But at the time it was also impossible to test.  I had to wait a few years until I was working at Screen Scene in Dublin as 3D Supervisor on the film 'The Last Days on Mars' to be able to be allowed to fully test it in production.  Then (and only then) would I be sure it would be able to be released.

Due to work commitments and being busier than a rabbit in the mating season I haven't had a chance to release it for 2 years now. So it has sat on my drive gathering dust when not being used on Film and TV projects.   But as I have big changes coming in my life I have to put this out now as otherwise it may well disappear down the rabbit hole for another few years.

So the initial concept of MudWalker was not to just send models and assets between applications.... but between machines.  In fact anywhere that has an internet connection.   THAT is what MudWalker was always supposed to be.

Now right now I don't have a chance to do flashy complex videos or go into insane amounts of details on MudWalkerX2... you will either get why this is important or you wont.

The plugin has been compiled and tested again Mudbox 2014 SP1 and SP2 although as my internet provider has saw fit to block me from my own site (lol) I am having to upload it to another location.  The original version of ReDucto and MudWalker X are of course on  Again as usual its windows only.... as no I still have not got around to compiling it on the mac and my Linux box exploded somewhat last year.

About The XClone Character Creation and Digital Double System

In the video above I make reference to an internal system of mine I have been using for a few years its called 'XClone' and is a fast idiot proof suit to create high end characters and digital doubles.  I've had cause to do a lot of digital doubles for both TV and film over the last couple of years and dev times are forever getting shorter.  So to keep quality up where I want and need it to be I developed XClone. Xclone version I have at the moment run on 3Ds Max, Mudbox and Modo so that they can best fit into a pipeline.

So using what I call the 'identikit' system I mentioned briefly in passing during one of my Autodesk Siggraph Mudbox Masterclasses back in 2010 I can ball park a digital double in a very short time ready for simply refining and sculpting.  But I can also press a button and if a client needs say 100 humans for a crowd scene hit a button and off it goes and you have 100 completely different models already UV'd and with shader set up in about 30 seconds.

I showed my xClone system as part of my closed session at CAVE in vegas last year.... If I get a chance I shall do a teaser outlining it.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Project Seurat: High density Accurate Point Clouds from Your Phone

What is Project Seurat?

the 6 source images taken on iPhone 4

Consett church ...1st test of the technology

Project Seurat came about by accident while I was messing around with an idea I had while I was sitting eating chilli for my dinner one evening.   It became apparent that I had hit on something very important.
I have an algorithm that will allow a high density point cloud to be created in a totally salable way using NO special hardware...NO expensive LIDAR rigs... NO sensors...NO need for anything new at all....just your existing smart phone or compact camera.  What you see here was captured on an old iPhone 4, currently I am working on porting it to Windows 8 phone thanks to the free Lumia dev phone Microsoft sent me last week.

only 5 images were used for this example

Its highly accurate and can run on anything from a phone to a server if need be and is 100% scalable.  How much detail it puts out is only limited by the capabilities of the hardware.  It can generate a point cloud for anything of any size.... from microscopic to the grand canyon.  

Court house and Zaps farm

It outputs in full colour, has no problem with occlusion or shiny surfaces and runs from a very small amount of images.  Ironically a DLSR set of images work less well than either a cheap phone camera or a cheap compact.  It allows the user to get LIDAR comparable quality from consumer devices.  

Now normally I would keep things like this under wraps for a long time, but.... I wanted to show that I have this in development and also make sure certain companies know what I have.   What you see is pre alpha stage proof of concept code only.  It is capable of so much more. 

The algorithm is capable of being adjusted to work in real time as well.... so that opens up a world of possibilities for data acquisition for everything from visual fx, architecture, military applications, autonomous vehicles...well you get the idea.

So THAT is Project Seurat (which in case your wondering is named after the pointillist painter George Suerat... which I thought was rather fitting).

So if companies do not want this to disappear down the black hole of Wayne development land (as this is to be frank bigger than anything I could do alone) they know what to do. This is not me being mean... trust me big changes are coming for me and as such I wil not have the time to develop ideas like this properly.  Equally I will not be giving this away, trust me I know you'll want to play with it, but it is for others to develop this further... not me.

This is just a proof concept ONLY.... It is to a final version what windows 3.1 is to a modern operating system... I have some big changes coming in my life very soon so development time for experiments such as these will be limited.  Its also important for various reasons that I start dragging out what I have had in development and start showing some of it over the coming couple of weeks.

It has no problems as other systems do with producing a noisy set of points, a flat surface is flat...and in the example files enclosed you will notice it even captures the brick work detail itself. In the shot of Zaps farm (generated from an aerial video he took) it even captures the footprints and ski marks.  I should also point out zap passed the video to me in a personal capacity, as a favor to a mate.  It was NOT in any capacity as Autodesk personnel.  

I felt the easiest way to demonstrate is to provide a few early simple examples and a viewer (windows only I'm afraid). Simple drag the files onto the Viewer exe... if you middle mouse click you can see it flat shaded etc... mac /linux people could use mesh lab to view the point clouds.

Acquisition can be done two ways, via a bespoke app running on a phone, tablet etc, or processed later with images from everything from a cheap compact camera to your smart phone.  Yes it is perfectly possible to mesh this into a model before you ask.  This makes it perfect for on set data acquisition to capture sets etc for visual FX to cut down on asset dev time.  The point clouds could also be used in Nuke.

Time to generate the high resolution point cloud  takes a very short time and a place can be captured in a couple of minutes and be ready for use.  Again it can work at any scale from microscopic to huge grand canyon scale...maybe more I don't have the ability to test that, but the algorithm is sound.  It can be made to do this in real time as well.... as ideas of my better ones I think.

I am tossing around the idea of providing this as a service should it not end up being developed by a company out there.  But nothing is set in stone right now.

So yes I have many things such as this in the black hole that is Wayne Development Land....  This is just one of them...but arguably the most important.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Something I'm doing for my Kids

My kids every now and again request daddy to make something for them, sometimes a monster, sometimes a robot...other times crazy things.  So this is something I'm messing about here and there with for my two kids.

Materials still need some serious work and I'll be sorting those next time.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Moonfleet nominated for VES award

Moonfleet,the 2 part special that was shown on Sky TV here over xmas and new year that I worked on has been nominated for a VES Award for "Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program".   Screen Scenes work is whats up for the award.

You can read the other nomination's at the link above.