Tag Archive: cgi


Last night I went down to Horse Bazaar and did an hour set on the visuals. This was the first time I VJ’d in public. I wouldn’t call it a ‘gig’, more of a practice for the real thing, but i learnt more in that 1 hour than 10 hours practicing at home.

Here are some of the things i picked up which might interest any of you out there into live video performance.

1. Don’t expect anyone to give a shit about your work or what you are doing. Most people at bars and pubs(even art bars) are there to drink with their friends, try to get laid etc. and will not give a shit about the visuals. A small percentage might be interested, but these people will be in the vast minority if not at all, and often they are artists and visualists themselves. Normal people will not often share your passion for the moving image, but this is good.

You must always ask the question ‘who are you making this for?’  when creating something whether performance based or not. It’s a tricky question to answer. Obviously you’re doing for yourself and creating what you want to see, however you are also creating it for an audience. But who is YOUR audience? For me it’s definitely not the normal people, but the visualists, artists, creators and fanatics. If your art is for ‘normal’ people, then prepare for much disappointment.

 

2.If you are VJing in a bar or club, your visuals will be second to the music, unless you are creating both as a full piece. This is because it is still the standard for most bars, pubs and clubs to have a DJ but not often a VJ. VJing is a relatively new art form and has only been democratized by cheap technology fairly recently, whereas music being performed has been around for centuries. So VJing has moved into an ambiance role to support the music but not eclipse it. There are plenty of ‘superstar’ DJs but no ‘superstar’ VJs, this is really good. It seperates the wheat from the chaff, the posers who do it to get laid and get status from the dudes who do it for the love of the art form.

 

3. Repetition is important. Because VJing plays primarily an ambiance role, people will not be paying constant attention to the visuals, but may glance over now and again. Therefore repeating clips in varying loops is important and it also adds to the music beat. In saying that though, be cautious as to how much you repeat. Repetition is good but too much repetition is baaad. Leaving a clip looping for a few minutes straight is pretty lazy VJing, and your set will be boring. Remember you are there performing live so you can adapt to the mood/music, be creative and show interesting work. If you’re going to be lazy and loop one clip for ages they might as well put on a dvd.

 

4. Pay attention to the light levels in the room and don’t use too many whites. A couple of times last night i used clips that washed out the room, the clips that did this had a lot of white in them. This is probably bad technique depending on where you’re VJing.  Remember you’re there to create an ambiance, to make the space interesting or otherworldly for the people experiencing it. Washing out a room and making people squint will snap them out of this and break the feeling you’re weaving. I’m not sure if the same goes for large clubs as I haven’t VJ’d in one yet, but i get the feeling it might be.

 

5. If your video clips are too dark, you will not be able to see much detail on the screen. There is probably a bar or other lights around the room you are working in. Also the color on the projectors might be fucked depending on how good their system is. It’s not like a dark cinema where even dark shots are highly visible. So keep your blacks crunched but think about upping the contrast or light levels in the clip, more so than you would if you were making a video to be viewed in a normal space.

 

6. Want some color in your black and white clips to make them a little more palatable? Don’t put effects on them. Instead create separate animated clips with solid bars, blocks or shapes of different colors and black moving about. Then loop these color animations in another channel, and add it to your black and white clip at low opacity. So the black and white clip will be at 100% opacity and maybe the color animation will be at 20% opacity. It looks way better than some dodgy preset or effect, and it adds another layer of movement to your image.

 

7. If you’re creating a CGI clip to use VJing, render out the same clip in different passes so you can play about with. For example, i’m animating a ball rotating in space. Render out one pass with say, a red texture; a pass with a blue texture, a wireframe pass and another pass with the ball glowing. So then i would have 4 different clips of essentially the same thing but they all look different. Now when you’re VJing you can mix these different looks together on different channels. Your clip will be more versatile, more complex and it will be more interesting.

 

8. Always have more clips than you think you’ll need. When you’re actually performing you will have to adapt and change quicker than you will expect. SO keep plenty of clips handy, even if you never end up using half of them.

That’s all I’ve got right now for you all. I’m just beginning this VJ odyssey myself, so I’ll keep you updated with fresh techniques and tips as I learn them.

 

_PERM

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This week I’ve been up to a few interesting things. Besides getting my studio into workable condition, i’ve been doing test renders and preview renders for the cg/drawn collab i’m doing with Monkeh. I’ve got to get all the scenes rendered with correct lighting, camera placements and movement so monkeh knows how the light will fall and he can get started on the frame by frame drawn character animations.

I’ve started to really experiment with lighting as it’s the beating heart of moving image. Every filmmaker should without a doubt study light in detail because it really makes or breaks a shot. As an animator using computer graphics it is extremely important to study how light works and the effect it has on human perception as CG light doesn’t quite function as light in real life. CG lights are just computer equations not burning filaments, phosphorescent matter or the sun, and GI lighting is for pussies who want the computer to light the scene for them.  As i’m lighting large scenes i’m using up to 40 lights. Some of which have dust running through them, caustics(visible light beams) and ambient illumination which is slowing down render times to a snails pace.

The latest shot i just rendered was 375 frames, or about 13 seconds and it took 68 hours to render! I’ve also put the anti-aliasing to 4×4 because any lower really makes the shots look dodge.

(rendering the last few frames after a crash mid render. as you can see 10 frames has taken 1hr30min to render D:)

(part of the scene unrendered.)

 

RENDER RIG:

My RIG system has a 1gig graphics card, 4 core 2.7ghz intel cpu, and 4 gigs of ram which is really not enough. I used to have 4 sticks of 2gig ram which was way faster but so instable i had to pull out 2 sticks.

The next money i come into i’m upgrading  to a new i7 cpu, new mobo, and more ram which will speed things up dramatically. However i’m too pov at the moment to afford much besides rent and food so it might take a little while :S. I’ve also got to look into learning how to set up a render farm if i’m going to follow this CGI down the rabbit hole much further(which i will). I haven’t even gotten into thinking particles, hair or character animation yet which will really push my system to it’s limits.

 

If anyone has any advice on tech shiz or setting up a render farm, send me a message.

Time to go practice for my 1st ever VJ set next Thursday. 😀

__PERM

N.A.S.A’s ‘A Volta by ‘LOGAN’

TNI MASSIVE AGGRESIVE by ‘ScreamerClauz’

Both of these works are fucking ballz to the wallz insane, Highlighting the freedom of expression possible for one dude in his bedroom creating media. It’s works like these that make me want to work more with 3D cgi as opposed to easier more ‘artsy’ mediums.

also check out the sweet experimental animations over at the Sundance Channel’s ‘Animation Bizarro 2“. Great stuff.

I’ve been working for a little while on some 3D CGI scenes for a collaborative animation with my friend ‘Mad SKillz James‘. The short(like really short) animation is going to take place inside a cinema. We’ve decided to use 3D for the set but mix it up a bit with digitally cell drawn characters(using photoshop and AE etc). I’ve never actually been taught any CGI but always thought that I would need to eventually get some training.

Lately I’m beginning to see realise is not true. If you needed to create generic boring graphics for the $, like in a CGI studio environment you will likely need training so you fit the mold and can create generic boring graphics like everyone else. If you’re using computer graphics for purely creative reasons there seems to be no point. By teaching yourself from the hundreds of thousands of tutorials online you will end up with your own distinct style which is preferable anyway. Of course this is applicable to any creative skill. Although my CGI skillz are still far from advanced I’ve made massive advances in my technique, skill and style in a relatively short time. The best way to do this is to learn while creating something and it won’t feel like a lesson, it will feel more like problem solving. You will eventually be running around yelling “ZOMG LOOK AT THIS BIT OF CG CLOTH I MADE FLAP… LOOK!” and they won’t care, but that’s ok because it feels GOOD that YOU learnt it and figured it out by yourself. The more demanding goals you set yourself the more you will learn.

Just starting out in 3D CGI and/or want to start teaching yourself? Make a short animation entirely in computer graphics. “But wtf pErm! I don’t know shit about CGI”. Just take it one step at a time. If you want to make a cube but don’t know how, type into a search engine ‘how to create cube’ and the name of the program you want to use. Between this learning technique and just fiddling around with parameters/buttons you can learn anything.

In conclusion, don’t be a bitch, be bitchin’ 😀

– Permian * *
((((______))))