Midsommartårta

TL;DR: Don't cut your tendons. They're quite useful and take forever to heal.

A lot of people knows how me and my friends celebrated midsummer, after our video went viral.

But the aftermath sucked. A lot. I cut my tendon and couldn’t really do any physical activities during the entire summer. And even four months after, I’m still unable to do a lot of things.

Here’s a short behind the scenes look.

At least I made a few people laugh.

Fender Stratocaster

TL;DR: If you're interested in making your own guitar or are just curious of how I made mine; This is the article for you!

The first 3D assignment was to make a realistic instrument using Maya and Vray.

I looked around at different instruments online. I decided to make a Fender Stratocaster. Here’s how I did it.

Modeling

References

The first thing before I even started modeling was to find a bunch of reference images. That was another reason for choosing the Stratocaster. Because it is a famous model it was easy finding reference images, from all different angles.

Basic shapes

When I had found enough reference images I brought some of them into Maya as image planes. That way I can use them as stencils to get the shape of the guitar right.

After I imported them I scaled them correctly and according to real world scale.

Blocking out shapes

When all was set up correctly it was just a matter of starting to block out the basic shapes of the guitar. Then I added more geometry to be able to shape it to look like a guitar and not just cubes.

 

Details

When the basic shape was done I started working on the details. The good thing about this instrument was that it had a lot of similar features so I could reuse a lot of things.

 

More details

For example the screws, saddles and knobs. And of course the tuning pegs on the head, as seen in the picture below.

 

Details on the head
Finished model

Once I was all done with the model, it was time to start shading and texturing it.

Shading

First render

At first I just made basic materials to distinguish the final look of the different parts. After that I just started tweaking values.

UV-mapping

Knob details

For the neck and the knobs on the pick guard I had to do some UV-mapping. The shapes were pretty basic though and only needed details on specific parts so I didn’t spend too much time on this process. For the rest of the model it was just basic shaders that didn’t need any UV-mapping.

 

Reference and render

I had my reference image next to my model while rendering for comparison. This helped a lot when trying to figure out a good lighting setup and to get the reflections right.

I used a Vray dome light with a studio HDRi for some basic lighting. Then I placed two directional lights to get additional reflections and lighting.

Compositing

Test comp
First comp test
Finished concept

I tried a few different angles and compositions before getting to a final composite I was happy with.

 

Finished comp

The final composition in Photoshop.

I looked at a few different pack shots to get some inspiration. I ended up with this simple design with a gradient background and some text. The amplifier is a picture I found and thought it would fit. I rendered out a few different passes from Vray but I ended up not using them and just adjusted the beauty pass instead.

 

Here’s how the final image turned out.

Final image

If you have any criticism, feedback or just questions, please write to me on Twitter!

Moped

TL;DR: What better way to spend a saturday than to go to Norway on a moped?

Earlier this summer, when I was unable to do anything because of my thumb, Me, Arn and BJ decided to go on a moped trip as soon as I had recovered. Since I wasn’t able to even lift a fork until two months ago, it never happend during the summer.

But a couple of weeks ago I was in Lysekil. And it was the last time I would be able to do something fun with my BJ before he left for Hawaii. So we decided to borrow some mopeds and go on an adventure!

We started a bit later than we had planned. But the weather was really nice and the roads were beautiful.

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This was our first stop. Some kind of castle ruins. Doesn’t look like anything special, but apparently a Dane betrayed his Swedish friend and killed him here.

 

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We saw “Kungsklyftan” from Ronja Rövardotter. Pretty cool!

 

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And of course we had fika breaks.

 

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Last stop before we entered Norway.

 

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We managed to get all the way to Norway before it got dark. While there we peed, pooped and skinny dipped. The only things you can do in Norway.

It got dark pretty much immediately after we entered Sweden again. And not long after, Arn’s headlight broke. My strong headlight didn’t work either. So BJ had to drive first to light up the road. However, our visors got too foggy to see through so we had to drive without them as well.

It was a cold drive home. The wind blowing straight into our faces and I didn’t even have any proper gloves.

About halfway home Arn started honking like a maniac. BJ stopped. “Did you see that deer?” he said. Neither BJ nor me had seen it. BJ turned his moped to light up the dark side of the road. And in the beam of BJ’s moped was a huge moose just staring at us. It was so weird that just Arn had seen it, since it ran across right in front of us.

We kept going and took a few right turns and a few wrong ones as well. But after a couple of hours of driving and a stop do defrost at a gas station we arrived back home again.

And last but not least, here’s a video to document the journey.

Introduction to CGI

TL;DR: Mountain temples, sky replacement and robots! The first assignment on my way to become a VFX artist.

Digital Visualization at Campus I12, which is the program I’m going, has two different orientations. Both are aimed towards the Visual Effects industry but they differ quite a lot. It’s either Compositing or 3D.

But since everyone who starts this school doesn’t have a background in Visual Effects or even film at all, it can be hard to choose. So the first weeks were pretty basic to get everyone familiar with what visual effects is and the industry in general.

The first assignment was split in three parts. Nuke, Maya and Photoshop. For the Nuke assignment (compositing) all we had to do was a simple sky replacement. Even though I’ve never worked in Nuke before I felt pretty comfortable thanks to my experience in After Effects.

The Photoshop assignment was to make a sketch or previs and then make it look good. I’m not very happy with my result, but it’s really hard to find good temples from that angle! There’s more than just the temple that is wrong in that image though.

Previs and Final

The part I put most effort into was of course the Maya/3D task. It felt really awkward navigating around the viewport and just working in Maya at first. But after playing around for a while I got used to it. Like last time I tried to learn Maya I was a bit frustrated with having to learn everything from scratch again. It’s so different from Cinema 4D, which I’ve used before.

The task was to make a robot. It took me longer than I wanted to finish the robot. Perfectionist as I am, I deleted my work multiple times before I started on my final model. I got so frustrated because I couldn’t produce what I saw inside my head. But after a while I made a head that I liked. And after that it was just(…) a matter of finding a good body shape to fit the head.

After finally finishing the model I textured it and fixed the lighting. It was a lot easier than I expected. Below is the final image.

Robot in glorious 4K!

It was a fun challenge and perfect for getting to know the software a bit better.

Back in School

TL;DR: Believe it or not, but I'm back in school...

I can’t believe what I’m doing. I’m back in school. If you asked me anytime before January this year I would tell you that I would never go back to school.

Why?

I’ve never really liked school. I’ve always been under stimulated and pretty much just been sitting around thinking about stuff I would do if I wasn’t in school. And the last three years in school was more of a prison than anything I’ve ever experienced.

The day I graduated was one of the best days in my life because it was such a relief to finally get away from school.

So why did I change my mind?

I don’t know. But one day in January I just got this crazy idea that maybe I should go back to school? I’ve been wanting to learn 3D and Maya much better for a long time. But I’ve never had enough self discipline to sit down and do it. And there has always been a million other, more fun things to do, instead of sitting inside and watching tutorials.

And school gives you time to focus on that.

So now I’m spending all my waking time working in Maya or watching tutorials.

Therefore I am probably mostly going to write about my progress. And mostly for my own sake as well. It’s always fun to have something to look back upon.