CAD Pixels!

It’s funny that I’ve been doing 3D much longer than any of the After Effects stuff, yet barely anyone gets to see my work which in turn often leads to these weird situations where people just start bashing me for not showing off. Of course there are reasons for this. One of them is probably that people mistook my MoGraph tutorials I did several years ago for my real work and then were disappointed when they could not find any of it on the web. Another is that I don’t particularly care much for putting together reels and galleries. I simply never seem to have the time for it nor do I think that this tells anyone anything beyond the fact that eventually things got done at some point. You still do not know how long it took and which techniques and workflows were used to get it done. That is one thing to keep in mind with any reel, BTW.

Finally, and probably the most important reason is that many times I do not have the freedom to share too many details. Doing technical visualization and animation there is always the risk of disclosing too much info to competitors and our clients surely won’t like that. However, since I have been writing posts about this for months, I thought I’d at least share some of the fun since it’s gonna be shown on screens and printed hand-outs on drupa 2012, anyway. All in all with our 2 man show we mangled the raw CAD data for 7 printing machines or associated parts and equipment and if there had been more time, we probably could have done another 7. As you might already have gathered from my previous posts, the tough part is actually sorting through all the data and grouping it sensibly for rendering and animation since naturally what works based on physical laws in the real world may require a lot of rigging trickery in 3D. Likewise, many components are standardized and have the same materials, so you need to sort and consolidate them.

While I’m not gonna say that the rendering and lighting part is easy, it makes a much smaller part of the whole work. On that note, I’m not gonna make claims about "photorealism". Certainly the objective was to make it as real as possible given the conditions, but there is still a lot of potential for improvement. Also I rather like to call it trying to achieve a certain aesthetic. What many people do not understand is that going too real sometimes defeats the purpose. As you may kinda guess from the picture, a lot of the components are made from stainless polished steel and similar materials, so if you make it too realistic, all you get is sharp reflections everywhere without being able to make out a single detail. This would then be no different than having made a photograph and having one hell of a time to avoid all the excessive light bouncing around. Anyway, just take a look and if you happen to be in Düsseldorf those next 2 weeks, take a look at the real thing in Hall 16…

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