Projects, Pixar & NAB
Monday, May 27, 2013 AT 4:07PM
Oh boy, the last few months were incredibly busy with so many exciting projects and a lot of travelling in-between. I’ve been to NAB to present our latest project for CINEWARE. Besides presenting I met so many incredibly talented artists, like Nick from Greyscalegorilla, John from Perception, Brian from Sol Design and E.J. from Eyesdesyn.
Akira and me had a blast at NAB and we very totally excited to see that our work for CINEWARE even made it to the cover of Animation Magazine!
Being around the western part of the USA also meant I could finally visit my friends at Pixar! One of my earliest wishes was to either work there or at least visit the full studio and see where all those incredible movies are created. A truly inspiring event and dream come true for me. Thank you Paul, Tanja, Bernhard and Saschka for this great day!
Finally I have managed to record a quick breakdown of my paper tear animation. By popular demand and many people constantly asking how this was done, I have recorded this short video and hopefully help others. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to create and record a step-by-step tutorial but I hope this is still helpful and enjoyable for those that are interested in it.
And last but not least I have updated my portfolio section with the five latest projects. I have also updated my upcoming event list so you can see where I’ll be speaking next. Some of the next gigs will be at Adobe Creative Days in Berlin, Siggraph in Los Angeles/Anaheim and in Cannes at Advertising Festival!
New Facebook page & new projects
Friday, November 9, 2012 AT 5:38PM
On a quick note: If you want to follow me and some of our latest projects and updates check out my new Facebook page.
Updated portfolio & HD Clips on Vimeo
Thursday, March 1, 2012 AT 5:29PM
After a few months of being quiet, finally here’s an update to my website and the portfolio. We have been very busy in the last six months here and I am very excited to share a few of our most recent projects.
All these projects were done in collaboration with great partners and colleagues: 3D candy fun for Läkerol YUP done together with Terje Rian from Norway. For Vectorworks I teamed up with Steve Holmes and Akira Endo, with whom I also worked on the new DOSCH DESIGN Logo animation.
For Wacom we created a stunning promo trailer, for their brand new Intuos5. The new device is truly beautiful, and features multi-touch also! Akira and me had some great fun using MoGraph and other tools to create this piece.
Wacom Inkling hands-on
Monday, September 5, 2011 AT 8:45AM
Last week Wacom released their latest product called “Inkling” and it really is magical. If you haven’t heard or read about it: It is a pen that allows you to scribble and draw on real paper (remember paper?) like on the popular Moleskine Notebooks.
But the awesomeness starts when you take the little receiver (that has to be clipped to the top or side of your page before you start drawing) and connect it to your computer: It records all your strokes as digital vector art, ready to be edited in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk SketchBook Pro or any other app that can handle vector or pixel based graphics.
I even had the privilege to help with the development of this great new device by testing and using it for quite a while now. Thanks to Inkling I started to draw a lot more, actually I probably didn’t draw as much ever since finishing university.
But apart from testing it, I also had the privilege to be working on a massive amount of promo material for this beauty. Within a year we created many scribbles, the 3D packshot renderings for the product box, an animated teaser and of course a trailer. And last but not least we created almost ten minutes of fully animated tutorials that get you started with this amazing new tool. And within the first five days the trailer, which is posted on YouTube and Vimeo, became one of the most watched YouTube clips in the week of it’s release. To this day, it has more than 1,3 million views and still counting. Absolutely amazing and the reactions are really overwhelming to both the product and the trailer we did. We even created a “Making Of” of the trailer to show how we have created it. But as there are a lot of questions out there about how it works and how drawings look, I have decided to collect a few infos, impressions and artwork that should make things a bit clearer.
So here are also a few scribbles I did in the past few months and days. Again, it is important to understand that Inkling is absolutely great for conceptual work, drawings, drafts, rough sketches, etc. Personally I have been using it so far for quick scribbles to show different angles, shot setups and also quick character sketches that I send to a real illustrator as a starting point. Also I’ve been using Inkling a lot for storyboarding purposes and will continue to do so now that I can carry it around in public.
But it is NOT meant to replace any other tablet, like the Intuos or the Cintiq. People have been wondering on how accurate Inkling is when drawing. Well, I think it is accurate enough for what it is meant to do – and don’t forget: it is all vector art with layers (if you decide to create them with a single push of the button). So you can go back and “erase” remove lines or anchor points once you have imported the artwork into e.g. Adobe Illustrator. Actually if you have some knowledge of Illustrator you can even cleverly use this rougher artwork to further “clean up” with the “simplify” function (it will reduce the anchor points, which will result in smoother looking strokes).
I have quickly sketched a rough one-minute drawing of a character to show you how this can look.
However when I drew this character I already knew how I wanted it look, so I used different pressure on different parts of the face, like the ears and the nose to have those nice thick-thin-thick strokes. Of course on paper you can barely make out the different pressure variation, however once imported you can clearly see the variation of the line strength.
Keep in mind, that if you create a rough scribble (as we have learned it in art school) like my two rough sketches with the car or with the lamps, they will have a few hundred or thousand strokes. It wouldn’t make much sense to clean those up – but they are not meant to be cleaned up! It is a rough sketch, concept art that is supposed to look like this – and Inkling does a good job in recording this for easier and more convenient handling. Again, a good way would be to start with a few rougher strokes on the first layer, and then, when you go over it, you can use a second (third, fourth, etc) layer to organize your drawing.
To make it easier for you to see the drawings I have also uploaded the original AI files for you to check out!
- car illustration
- comic illustrations
And if you do not have Adobe Illustrator you can check out these two PDF files of the car and the comic character above.
If you want to find out more about how inkling works, check out the Wacom website, visit the dedicated Inkling website, look at the FAQ (which should answer all your questions) and finally check out our animated tutorials!
Hopefully this will help the community to see and understand how powerful this new tool can be. Inkling kept us busy for a very long time and we put a lot of heart, soul, sweat and hopefully beautiful pixels into creating the (motion) graphics that will accompany this new tool. Hopefully it will bring just as much joy and productivity to all the designers out there as it brought to us. Thank you Wacom for being such a great and innovative company that gives us the opportunity to do what we love.
New tools, presentations and updates
Monday, August 8, 2011 AT 4:20PM
It’s summer – kind of. With lots of rain and thunderstorms the summer has been a big letdown so far. So I am glad to have some great new products to play and work with. Actually they’re so cool, that even if the weather should become nice and you’re not sitting at work, you can still use these products on the go (and work outside). Why? Because here are three great things for the iPad. First the brand new Bamboo Stylus for the iPad, accompanied by a nice little app called Bamboo Paper, which you can get for free at the iTunes App Store.
First, the stylus really is the best stylus I’ve used with the iPad so far. Even though I only compared it to two other products, I immediately fell in love with the stylus from Wacom. So you might be wondering why it is better if it is not pressure sensitive? Well, for one it is very high quality in terms of look and feel, but second and more importantly the tip is the smallest you can get. A small tip for an input device like this is important to be able to draw as precisely as possible. And the Bamboo Stylus has the thinnest tips of all comparable products. Paired with the great weight balance and the simple but nice app “Bamboo Paper” it makes for the best drawing and handwriting experience you can have on an iPad! I am using it mostly for quick scribbles and sketches for storyboards, concepts and ideas. By the way, this is one of my first drawings I made was when I was at the Cannes Lions Festival:
So yes, the Bamboo Stylus is really nice and for me the best choice if you are looking for an input device to draw and write on an iPad (or iPhone). Of course you can use it with any other tool, some of my other favorites include Adobe Ideas, Clockwork Notebook and of course Autodesk SketchBook.
The other great tool for the iPad is Nik Software’s Snapseed. It is simply amazing if you want (or have to) edit or enhance photos on the go on your iPad or iPhone. You can adjust an image globally or even work and fine-tune selectively with Nik’s great “Control Point Technology”:
There are also similar effects that you might know and love from apps like Plastic Bullet, Instagram and Hipstamatic – but with the major difference that you can manually adjust the intensity of the filters and effects. I really love the way on how the beautiful UI and the use of touch input is done. Being able to do things so easily without any other input device other than just your finger is simply amazing and fun.
Last but not least I have also updated my events section to show the upcoming events where I will be giving presentations. So if you will be attending median[plan]tage in Bremen, IBC in Amsterdam or PhoCon Professional in Munich, I would love to see you there. The presentations will be about design and animation and I will show off some new projects and how they were done. Of course I will be using the latest tools including CS5.5 and the latest and greatest release of Cinema 4D. Hope to see you there!
Presentation at FMX 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011 AT 2:17PM
I am invited by Wacom to speak about my workflow and how I am using pen tablets. I’ll be showing a few recent motion design projects and talk about my technical and creative approach. My presentation is at 18:00 on Thursday, May 5 at the weltenbauer company suite in Raum Ulm. If you are attending FMX, I would love to see you come by and say hello!
Adobe After Effects CS5.5
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 AT 2:55PM
Yesterday Adobe announced Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 and with it also a pretty nice update to After Effects. It has a few very nice new features, like the Warp Stabilizer and improvements for stereoscopic 3D workflow, but what I like most is the new Camera Lens Blur. I am especially proud of this new feature as I remember requesting this feature from the After Effects developer team a while ago and also elaborately explained on why I would like this feature.
People who know me, know that I am pretty much into using a crazy shallow depth of field (DOF) and just play with the beautiful bokeh that a proper optical blur creates – no matter if it is in animation using Frischluft’s fantastic Lenscare plugin or when photographing or filming with my 5D MKII. For me it is a beautiful way of directing and guiding the attention of the viewer and at what she or he should look at.
Creating a depth channel (for example in Cinema 4D) and using it in After Effects to do this effect in post was always possible (and now is even better with an additional Camera Lens Blur effect that comes with After Effects CS5.5).
But with the camera in After Effects it was always a different story – until now. It sure had it’s depth of field blur and you could play with proper focus in AE’s 3D space but the blur was not based on an actual iris shape so it would always be round and frankly not that nice. In the latest release however you can finally set many more parameters including Iris Shape, Roundness and Aspect Ratio as well as Highlight Gain to boost up those highlights. All this allows you to achieve a much nicer bokeh, that not only looks sexy but also will help you to match shots in compositing much better, mimicking natural DOF.
Here you can see an image simply rotated in After Effects 3D space, with no DOF active.
This picture shows how it looks with the standard DOF blur. Ok, but certainly not great.
And now with the new Camera Lens Blur set and a Hexagonal Iris Shape creating a beautiful bokeh. Nice!
Here you can see some of the new Camera Lens Blur settings that I have applied for this picture.
Cinema 4D & After Effects tutorial
Monday, March 21, 2011 AT 7:00AM
Some time ago I was asked by Maxon to create a tutorial for their official help file that shows how great, easy and powerful the integration between Cinema 4D and After Effects is. As a huge Science Fiction fan I always wanted to create a scene that reminds of those future mega cities seen in Star Wars, Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, etc. So as an homage to these classics I have set up a 3D scene in Cinema 4D that includes a few elements that will be added in After Effects – including a cool spaceship that flies by (which was created by Maxon’s very own David Drayton aka neosushi).
If you have Cinema 4D R12 you can check it out in their help system (including all the necessary source files). Go to Help > Tutorials and then you will see a list of tutorial files. Mine is called CINEMA 4D – After Effects-Integration. Enjoy!
Here is the final clip in glorious HD (720p that is…).
This is a quick wireframe render of the scene. Nothing too fancy here.
Here it is with a few items composited in, like the massive screen (featuring Aixsponza’s awesome NO KEYFRAMES), a Maxon billboard illuminated by After Effects lights and several flashing lights on the roof tops.
And finally I have created an extra version with all the bells and whistles including lensflares, depth of field and motion blur.
Sunday, March 13, 2011 AT 7:45PM
After the terrible disaster in Japan I just don’t know what to say, other than that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan.
Please donate to the charitable organization of your choice to help:
If you have an iTunes account there is a very easy way to donate through the iTunes Store!
UPDATE! The above iTunes link now also works in the German iTunes Store!
I’m back! New studio, new website, new showreel
Thursday, March 3, 2011 AT 12:01AM
I’m back – regarding my online presence. Other than that I wasn’t really gone, but it has been a while since my last update and what better way to re-start than with a brand new website. In fact it is not just a new website but I have tons of new projects in my portfolio and of course finally a new showreel. Everything now works perfectly fine on mobile devices like your iPhone or iPad and the whole CMS is finally a lot easier to manage and maintain. So there will be much more frequent updates.
I have also decided to post many of my motion graphics and animation related articles, that give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse on how I (or we) approach projects. Go to Portfolio and then Publications where you will also find several workshop related articles about Adobe After Effects, Cinema 4D and Adobe Photoshop! Big thanks to the publishers and editors that gave me permission to upload those PDFs.
Oh, and probably the biggest change is, that I finally moved into a new studio space. Located in the center of Munich it is a beautifully renewed place and I am right next door to my friend and partner Akira Endo. It feels so nice to have so much space to let the creativity flow, heck we have so much space that we could play Basketball in here… hmmm. We are in the same creative building as Scanwerk (known for high-end colorgrading and scanning) who we work together with on many occasions and being closer together can only make it even better.
One more thing though: Not only have I moved studio but also my dear friend and partner Steve Holmes, who made the transition from California to the Isar. Ten years ago who would have thought that the person that got me started with After Effects and who inspired me throughout the years – and still is – will be working in the same space as I am. Starting today he will be joining us in our studio and this is just the start of a wonderful collaboration with everyone together.
Regarding the new website big, big thanks go out to Marc Thiele who did all the fantastic coding and helped tremendously with my new site. Marc is a design and coding genius and without him you wouldn’t be reading these lines, so I can’t thank him enough for his hard work. Besides him being a design and coding wizard, he is also organizing fantastic events like FFK11 – if you haven’t attended one of his conferences yet, make sure you will in the future!
Also massive thanks to MassiveMusic in Amsterdam. Apart from throwing the best Party in Cannes at the festival, they create wonderful music and provided the beautiful track for my new reel. Thank you guys!
So what has happened in the past year? A lot! There are always two possible reasons on why an artist’s website is not frequently updated: one is that he has nothing new to show. The other is because it is just too much too add and there is not enough time. It certainly was the latter for me with so many new exciting projects. Apart from great new projects it has been a very exciting year with many ups but also some emotional downs. There is this saying that one door closes and two others open up – thankfully it feels more like gates have opened now. Everything is back on track and I am so looking forward to this year. Lot of cool stuff to come! Have a great one everybody!