Saturday, November 7, 2015


Today, we decided to visit the Zoo of Antwerp. It was a nice train trip, the weather was great and there were some Belgian youth hopping in and out of the queue for the tickets. Probably because they were smash hammered and kept forgetting what they were waiting for in the first place. The mental image makes me smirk.

Took along my camera, but I didn't check the battery at home and had only 20% to shoot with. Alas.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Rendering with jf_nested_dielectric

Lately I've been trying to try to achieve realistic dispersion and refraction for my Arnold shaders and noticed a massive increase in render time. Switching to alShaders solved most of this, by their Russian Roulette concept. Today I found the "jf_nested_dielectric" Arnold shader and it is perfect for super light and realistic results, only I can't find a way to include an albedo map. As far as I know, and this knowledge is based on an hour of reading documents and trying the shaders myself, this shader doesn't have any input. I wonder if I can nest it into a shader group and just use it's refractive and dispersive attributes.

Anyways, pictures. Really basic setup. Displacement map in the shader group works like a charm.


Kind regards,

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Paul Cézanne: Master Study

Today I decided to try and mimic the style and compositions of Paul Cézanne, a French post-impressionist. I don't know too much about him, just that he's done a mash of landscapes / objects and cubist stuff.  I found it quite challenging, working from already stylized paintings.

Like yesterday, I took around 20 minutes for the value sketch and 10 minutes for the color pass. So 30 minutes per sketch.

Kind regards,

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rembrandt van Rijn: Master Study

Since I'm quite enjoying practicing digital painting, I felt like making it a little more interesting by doing a couple of studies based on one artist. Today, Rembrandt van Rijn. Tomorrow, I'm not sure, but since it is the weekend I'll have plenty of time to find an artist I like.

For the value sketch I took around 20 minutes to get sufficient amount of detail in. The color didn't take as long, so I guess about 30 minutes per sketch.

Kind regards,

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Noah Bradley: Master Study

I've started working on my paint skills as I am having a blast at Grid doing look development but am looking for more painterly activities next to texturing and shading.

Currently following the advice of Noah Bradley and making very fast / short (~10 minute) lighting sketches from other paintings. So far I've used a book called "Color and Light" by James Gurney as my main reference as I know myself and can't cheat like this. Below are the results from the past three days.

Kind regards,

Müllerthal Hike

Went on a small hike with my girlfriend. 70 km along the Müllerthal Trail in Luxembourg. Fantastic environment but the weather could have been better.

First day. Wrong turn made for 3km of asphalt.

Second day. Working our way up.

Third day. Change of scenery.


I'm into taking square pictures now. Kind regards,

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Dr. Guislain Psychiatric Center Museum

So I've thought about several ways to boot this blog up again since I'm starting to feel creative again but can't really figure out the best way to provide some nice content. I picked up my camera a while ago and started shooting pictures, practicing my eyes for color combinations, compositions and possible tiny details and nice places. I'm still in the process of learning, which really just translates to hating everything I shoot and keeping the 1%.

A small while before starting work at Grid-vfx I really got into photographing the sky. We had some heavy storms, lots of rain and thunder, which provided nice material to practice on. Below some of the ones I liked.

Then my girlfriend did a photo shoot with our small plant collection, currently consisting out of a bunch of vegetable plants and herbs and while she is even more trigger happy than I am, the pictures turned out quite nice. I did some -arguable okay- cropping and color correction on a number of them. Below some of the ones we liked.


Literally no idea

Rosemary (crawling)


And I am still not finished yet. Today, my girlfriend's parents visited us in Ghent and we headed to the Psychiatric Center Dr. Guislain. It's a seriously awesome place, the building is beautiful and the inside is unique and interesting. We even saw some guys walking around that made us think the psychiatric ward was actually still in use. Anyways, pictures!

EDIT: After a quick google, apparently the actual psychiatric ward shares the ground with the museum. This probably explains our encounter.

And that was it again. Probably going to do this a little more often as I really like shooting pictures. I feel that for me it's not as creatively fulfilling as CG art or VFXing is. It comes close though, so that's good enough for me to continue playing around with it.

Thanks for watching and reading like always!

Kind regards,

Monday, July 20, 2015

Game Design graduate & Look Development at Grid-VFX

It's been quite a while since I've blogged about anything. This is partly due to the fact that my graduation was a brutal period but also because my colleague (Niek van Gorp) and I made a deal not to post anything related to our graduation online. This was motivated by the fact that we set up a really ambitious project and didn't want to spoil anything.

So first a quick heads up of the last couple of months. I started my graduation, finished my final retake, got my driving license, graduated from IGAD, celebrated my birthday (24 aye), moved back to Ghent, took up some freelance work and applied at Grid-VFX for a spot in their Look Development team and was accepted! I'm a week in now and although Mari is a tough cracker, I'm having a lot of fun. Cool beans!

To fill the downtime I got in contact with a small studio in Nuenen, near Eindhoven, called SoMMedia and made some models for them. Hopefully they'll be of use in their production. For me it was good practice as I hadn't modeled in some time.

As for my graduation, this was accompanied by a presentation, or oral defense as the institution likes to call it. I'd rather call it more like a semi-professional assessment of "what-went-right-and-what-went-wrong".

Right now I'm settling into the working life, doing 9 to 6 everyday, groceries in the weekend, DIYing during the evenings, studying and partying during the time that is left (none). My girlfriend set up a small garden project so now we're growing broccoli, tomatoes and bunch of herbs in an old euro pallet. I guess all I do is eat them with eggs for breakfast.

And we saw that new Disney movie the other day, Inside Out. Awesome stuff! The subject matter is very relatable and incredibly polished. The intro is so wonderfully choreographed while the rest of the movie lets you focus on the story, which was actually quite deep. To my amazement, at the end of the film, much of the theater was whimpering and squalling. It was terrific!

Off to sleep now, tomorrow (a day off) a long day of Dungeons and Dragons. I'm terrified.

Kind regards,

ps. I noticed this blog post was featured on Walvin Media Daily News so here's an infinite loop. In case you're actually coming from there, please go here to read some actual blogging instead. I'm sure you're not actually interested in reading this 'life'-update.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Miniature Town VFX Compositing Breakdown

In the downtime between the final two phases of my education I've rounded up a final course and decided to start working on a compositing breakdown for the finished phase. Can't say I've spent much time getting it picture perfect, but alas; putting it out there anyways. Below is a Vimeo video. I like their layout much better than YouTube's layout for blog formats.

Secondly, since graduating has come into the picture there had been a necessity to figure something out for that as well. I was carrying a fairly solid idea around for quite a while and contacted a few ex-colleagues at Grid-VFX about it. However, after discussing the subject with a lecturer at my education, the idea was quickly dropped. The scope, for a single person project, was far too ambitious and the market too saturated for this type of work. I'd like to spill the beans, but it's still something I'd like to work on. Just not for my graduation project.

Then a colleague student and good friend suggested we could try and combine our graduation projects as he found himself at the same crossroads. This, of course, is very risky business, but would undoubtedly enable us to create something much more impressive. A safe gamble was put on a cinematic 'space scene' short focused around a comet in a sort of perpetual motion. Unfortunately the "cinematic short market" is so incredibly saturated with these type of videos, even the notion of it was quickly disapproved by our supervisor. Although we were unpleasantly surprised by this response, we had to acknowledge the fact that it was true. A link to an animated storyboard is found below.

As for the future of this blog in relation to updates regarding this graduation of ours, I'll have to discuss whether or not my companion is okay with me writing monthly updates. It's safe to say that since that moment the creative juices have been flowing.

In the meantime I've spent some time learning this software package called Agisoft Photoscan. It can generate dense points clouds using a process called photogrammetry. It's really awesome. Below are some quick results. The results are especially great for measurements.

Living room chair

Garden pots and junk

Basement full circular capture pt. 1

Basement full circular capture pt. 2

In any case, thanks for reading,

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Graduation Full Speed Ahead

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Holiday and a Happy New Year. Resolutions for this year are to work more efficiently, graduate and start my career in VFX. My holiday was great. I spent the first week finishing my specialization dissertation to actually fully finish my Specialization Phase and just over a week ago I finished my final course for my study, which was writing a short academic paper on stuff related to CG. Although I officially haven't received any grades for these courses yet, I'm fairly positive I've passed the both of them. This effectively means that I'm in the all clear for graduating and, obviously, I've already started thinking about all the possibilities. There's so much time in 5 months. That's like... almost 150 days. Doesn't sound like that much anymore.

Anyways, I've uploaded the finished live-action short to both my YouTube and Vimeo channel. There's a million things I would have done differently and looking back at the work I've done I'm hardly satisfied. But I guess that's the thing with studying. You learn by failing to apply the things you've learned. I thought I was making some really smart choices during the process. In hindsight, some of these proved irrelevant or just plain wrong. Below is the YouTube short and below that the Vimeo one. I dislike seeing it, though I do feel a sense of pride. I can't deny, managing to stay motivated through five months of working solitary, often 80 hours a week, and actually working directly off of a planning I made at the start, does feel really good.



The dissertation, written along the project, is about 25.000 words strong and touches all workflow components that were part of the live-action short. Each chapter is introduced by a short theoretical analysis of the discussed component, succeeded by a practical approach. These practical approaches are supported by illustrations taken from the work-in-progress of the live-action short. In case you are interested in reading this dissertation, I can send it to you through private mail. Below are the Abstract, Table of Contents and Introduction.

Then in the meantime I'm killing time with photography, recording footage, playing this game called Starbound and working out (losing the weight from Christmas). Starting tomorrow I'm going to following tutorials on how to create custom effects in Houdini and probably some Nuke matte painting combination techniques. I'll keep posting all the results here.

Below is the video I recorded today. I'm really trying to keep everything as natural as possible because I'm starting to get really sick of all these modern movie post-processing effects. I like it way better when it's just colored naturally. Orange people and teal backgrounds are weird.

Birds and rain

That's it again. There's a lot I can't say about my graduation project, but that'll come in due time. I need to discuss and determine many things before I can start detailing this project. There's certainly an application for Houdini Effects and Nuke Matte's. That's for sure.

Kind regards,

ps. I'm having a little problem in Nuke where my nodes boxes and pipes disappear from my node graph. All I see is text. The picture below illustrates what I mean. This happened after installing Nuke 9.0. I have since uninstalled everything and re-installed just Nuke 8.0, which seemed to work for a few days, but the problem has returned. I'm pretty sure it's a graphics card compatibility issue, but I can't find anything about this on the web.

Resolved! The issue only occurred on my laptop, which has two graphic processors. The problem was caused by w7 not prioritizing the Nvidia processor, thereby forcing Nuke to use the Intel processor.

pps. Let's make it a habit of incorporating everything remotely interesting.

Cinematographic breakdown of Prisoners
Cinematographic breakdown of Inglourious Basterds
Collection of awesome shots by Matthew Scott
Professor Kliq - Wire and Flashing Lights - Plastic and Flashing Lights