2017 and Beyond

Firstly Happy New Year 2017!

2016 has been a major milestones in my career and personal achievements as I’ve survived several situations by sacrificing many of my favourite pastime like writing Nuke/After Effects/Vray/Maya/3dsmax/etc Tips!

Not to forget gaming and drawing…

As 2016 ends in several hours as I’m writing this post, I’ve completed 19 months of working full-time in the Japanese 3DCG industry as a FX artist at a subsidiary studio located in a backwater corrupted “peaceful” country in South East Asia region.

This post will reflect on what I’ve achieved in 2016 and also what I’m looking forward in 2017 and beyond as a FX artist in the high-end visual effects industry.

2016 – In a Nutshell

Many things happened because it already happened! Here’s what happened to me in 2016:

  1. Survived the challenging FX works for Gantz: O! Ironically I’ve haven’t even got the chance to watch the final movie yet.
  2. Mastered majority of Maya and Vray features especially FX, lighting and rendering!
  3. Learned and wrote dozens of MEL Scripts for Maya and Javascript for After Effects to boost productivity.
  4. Scratch a bit of Python to prepare for the inevitable Python scripting for Maya and Nuke.
  5. Reached the summit of Mount Rinjani at Lombok, Indonesia! (and got sunburned super badly-)
  6. Still wondering why the use of Nuke is still not a reality at the studio… After Effects is very clunky when dealing with multi-channel EXR files.
  7. The increase of cost of living in my area = Being way too thrifty since what goes up in meals’ pricing in this country never goes down…
  8. Neglected my gaming and drawing session since my work has been insane with the amount of overtime.

2017 and Beyond!

So the following will be my to-do list for 2017:

  1. Must watch Gantz: O! Need to see my glorious FX works composited with various render layers with audio.
  2. Practice Houdini as the holy Maya, 3dsmax, FumeFX, Realflow combo are not sufficient in the ever demanding VFX works.
  3. Create a new demoreel featuring FX works done in Houdini!
  4. Continue my coding practice especially Python and maybe for fun, C++ for Unreal Engine 4.
  5. Slowly brush up my language skills in Cantonese and Mandarin. Yes, I’m still a banana but a slightly better banana from previous year-
  6. Going on a journey to explore other countries beyond South-East Asia region for the very first time in my life!
  7. Probably I might need to pickup rudimentary French to future proof my living skills.
  8. Resume whatever gaming/drawing that I left in the backburner…

…So What’s Next?

I should hit the publish button and wrap this up–

Being a non-believer in religion and Gods, I don’t really care if something happens because it happens. I believe in creating and seizing the opportunity.

Also the desire to keep learning new stuff (and earning more money too-) is crucial for my personal growth and development since globalisation has exposed me to various stories of other humans who manage to push their limits in raising the bar especially in the realms of VFX and real-time graphics!

While my other tutorials articles still a work in progress since proof reading it takes time, hopefully I can up my guide to MEL Scripting to improve your quality of life when you’re working in a very small facility that lacks a dedicated artist/scripter by the middle of January.

Thanks for all the support and visits to my website!

Rain Hut – Timelapse Drawing

rain_hut_header

Another new Nuke Tips… this is not.

I was doing spring cleaning for my HDD when I saw an old artwork that I never got to finish back in mid 2010.

rain_hut_2010

Instead of deleting it, I’m partial to this particular rough sketch as it is part of my mini project (which got way too ambitious for me back in 2010).

So I decided to see how much I can develop this rough sketch into a plausible key illustration.

rain_hut_2016

As usual, Paint Tool SAI, Photoshop and 3dsmax was used to produce the final work. The chair was taken from an online free model repository which I need to improvise as it has smoothing issues and rendered with Octane Render.

Obligatory Timelapse Drawing

Here’s the Youtube link to the timelapse drawing:

The video was speed up by 20x and hopefully you’ll find it useful (as I think the final work still sucks big time). Artist’s remorse, I guess.

P/S: High-res version can be found here (3000px width).

Uber in Kuala Lumpur – Hands On

uber-hands-on-header

Riding Uber in Kuala Lumpur! Wait this is not a Nuke Tips post!

Disclaimer: This post is not affiliated with Uber nor do they sponsor it!

Everyone pretty much knows that the taxi services in Kuala Lumpur leave much to be desired so I wanted to share my experience in using Uber (while my next Nuke post will be up this coming Wednesday).

taxis_malaysia

^A typical taxis seen around Kuala Lumpur. Photo credit: Wikipedia

The following list are some of the common issues with local taxis:

  1. Majority of the drivers don’t use the meter.
  2. Rarely you can find a comfy and good condition vehicle (read: boneshaker vehicle).
  3. Rude and arrogant drivers (for 9 out of 10 taxis that you attempt to flag down on the road).
  4. Stale and tobacco flavour air freshener if you’re unlucky.
  5. Did I mention it is really really expensive? (e.g.: a ride from Mandarin Pacific Hotel at Petaling Street to KL Sentral cost at least RM20)

How many rides have I taken?

I rode 31 trips of Uber since early this year after using a promotion code on Twitter that offer RM30 worth of ride.

uber-profile-trips

As seen in the above screenshot, there is my profile (without a photo of my mugshot and obvious censor).

So a quick rundown before you can use Uber:

  1. You need a credit card or Visa/MasterCard/Amex/any major service debit card linked to your Uber account.
  2. Obviously a smartphone with your active phone number.
  3. At least 3G connection with GPS and Wifi enabled.

The very first trip was a Uber Black ride which happens to be a Nissan Teana and the trip only cost RM9 from Mandarin Pacific hotel at Petaling Street to KL Sentral!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, U Mobile was having a bad hair day I mean minute that resulted in the canceled trip for my second ride. Luckily the driver still managed to pick me up and mentioned about a passenger cancelling his pickup which happen to be me. So long story short, the ride only cost me RM6.50 from Kenanga Point to Sungei Wang Plaza.

On average, it takes around 5 to 10 mins for the driver to reach your requested pickup location from my experience.

My last trip was comfortable too with a nice comfy ride from Kelana Square back to Kenanga Point. In this case, I usually walk to Paradigm Mall as my office area aka Kelana Centre Point can be a frustrating pickup place for most drivers as they are not familiar with the location… but luckily this young gentleman was having his dinner at Kelana Square and to not waste time, I detour to Kelana Square as it is a 1 min walk from Paradigm Mall.

Not everything is comfy ride right?

uber-awesome-sucks

Out of those 31 trips, there is only one trip that I slightly disappointed since the driver drove really slow on the Federal Highway (40KMph!) and one cancelled trip due to the driver failure to make sure his GPS is functioning (although I don’t buy his excuse since without GPS, how do they even pickup passengers?).

Although to be fair, not everything will be perfect but overall, most of my journey are excellent!

Technically, Uber is not legal right?

Well there is a risk that the local police might stop the car you’re on but I’ve yet to encounter such event.

I mean do you prefer to obey the law by riding expensive junk service by the local taxis or getting a fairer and better service through Uber?

Here’s my tips if you’re planning to use Uber regularly:

  1. Do chit-chat with the driver so that you learn the proper pickup location term. For example, there is two pickup place at Paradigm Mall at Kelana Jaya which is identify as lower lobby or upper lobby (fondly known as Coffee Bean entrance).
  2. If you get the screen where the Uber app ask to verify your phone, exit it and make sure you have enable your GPS, Wifi and mobile data.
  3. Look out for promo code frequently that Uber will email to you!
  4. Also try to SMS/text the driver indicating your location or at least your whereabouts so they can identify your pickup location better. Usually they will call you if they are near to your requested pickup location from my conversation with the drivers.
  5. If you’re not happy with your ride or pickup, Uber customer service is excellent! They reply promptly and didn’t charge my cancelled ride if you politely explained your situation.

With that said, if you’re in Malaysia and planning to give Uber a try, remember to use the referral code if this is your very first time! (obvious advertisement is obvious)

uber-promo-code

Kino’s Halloween

kino_halloween_2014_header

This is a test post to see if WordPress is behaving correctly without any errors that will crash the MySQL process on the server.

The various stages for my Kino’s Halloween artwork that I did for last year Halloween (2014).

Click on the thumbnail to launch the lightbox gallery which allows you to interactively fade in each steps to see the changes progressively from the lineart to the final artwork.

Rendering Wireframe in 3ds max

rendering_wireframe_3dsmax_header

Yet another Rendering Wireframe in 3ds max on the internet

Just sharing my thoughts on the pros and cons of the various wireframe rendering techniques that I’ve used. If you ever need a more in-depth tutorial, Digital Tutors have a great article on it.

I’m using 3ds max 2015 for this article so take note if there is any difference compared to newer or older version. The land drone is modelled by Cheah Wenjian… who sadly doesn’t have an active online portfolio at the moment.

Also the frame are rendered at 1080p except for the Quicksilver method which I rendered at 3840 x 2160 resolution and later resize to 1080p in Nuke.

Continue reading