NAB 2016 Rewind - Nick Campbell: DIY HDRI for VFX and Motion Graphics

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Nick Campbell of GreyscaleGorilla demonstrates how to create an HDR image easily using a Ricoh Theta and the Simple HDR iPhone app.

Nick Campbell of demonstrates how to create an HDR images easily using a Ricoh Theta and the Simple HDR iPhone app. After shooting an HDR and a background plate, Nick uses Cinema 4D’s Motion Tracker to track the background plate and adds mylar balloons into the scene. The HDR shot at the same time integrates the CG elements perfectly with the environment. Nick also shows examples from GSG’s HDR Collection.

01:45Intro to HDR
07:20Ricoh Theta S / Simple HDR
17:06Motion Tracker
18:07Merge HDR in Photoshop
21:30Motion Tracker Constraints
25:38Adding HDR in Cinema 4D
29:30GSG HDR Collection

Recorded Live from NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.

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- My name is Nick Campbell. If you don't know me, I'm at Greyscalegorilla. We basically obsess over Cinema 4D, 3D, motion graphics, how all this stuff works. Then at the end of the day, we make tutorials. We make plugins. We make tools to help make any motion designer's life easier, hopefully. So we've been doing this for quite a long time. I think this is my sixth or seventh year here at NAB. So it's really exciting to be back. Today, I wanted to talk to you about the thing that I obsess over in Cinema 4D. 3D, in general, is just such a big platform, that you kind of have to pick what you're really into. Some people are into modeling. Some people are into sculpting. Some people are into the dynamic stuff. What I found out early on was I was really interested in lighting, lighting, lighting, how the reflections look, how to get the back light. All those things were my favorite part, if you can't tell by the logo there. So early on, I discovered HDRI. You may say, "Nick, you always talk about HDRI." I would say, "Correct." Also, "Why are you saying... Nick, why are you still talking about HDRI?" Well, in the last year, there's been a lot of advancements in the ability to shoot your own HDRIs, which helps people that want to, A, shoot your own HDRI, but also allows us to use HDRIs from all over the world, without spending so much money on them, basically. So what I wanted to show you today is some really cool new technology in the last year or so, that makes it affordable to shoot your own HDRIs. We're gonna talk about what all this stuff is, if you're new to 3D or HDR imaging. Then we're actually gonna do a demo and shoot our own 360 HDR right here, and we're gonna use all the lighting and everything around us to then re-light an object inside of Cinema 4D. It should be pretty fun if it works. So really quickly, if you don't know HDR, it stands for high dynamic range image. What this is is basically the ability to capture pixels that are whiter than white and blacker than black. You go, "Why would you need that?" Right? Well, if you ever try to take a photo out with somebody next to a window, you know that either you're gonna expose for the outside because it's so bright, or you're gonna expose for them, and then the window is gonna be all blown out. But what if you could take an image and capture all the light data, from the brightest sun, all the way to the darkest shadow under the credenza? I didn't think I was gonna say "credenza" in this presentation. So what if you could do that? Right? That's what an HDRI is. It allows us to take beautiful images that capture all the light data from shadows to highlights. So for example, in this image, this blown-out spot over here, if we took it with a traditional camera, it would be clipped. We could never see what is outside that window. With an HDR, we're able to go, again, brighter than white and darker than black, to adjust our exposure after the fact, to then get detail out of this scene. Same here. I'll show you this when we shoot our own. We can actually adjust our exposure and see all the shadows and all the lights. Here's some other examples of some 360 HDRs. See how much detail there is. We're getting... Even this late at night, we're getting all the little shadow detail at the bottom and the sunrise right there. So all this stuff is captured in the image. Now what does this mean for 3D? Why do we... What is this important? Well, in 3D, a lot of times, we're trying to recreate the real world. We're trying to make things look as if they were in the real world, with visual effects, things like that. Even if we're not trying to stick something into a scene in a visual effects shot, maybe you do studio lighting. Maybe you are trying to show off a product, one of your client's products in 3D. Maybe you're just doing motion graphics. You want a logo to look really cool with some nice lighting. Well, you can use HDRs to emulate real light. The reason you can emulate real light is because it's real light. You're capturing 360s of the entire scene, and then you can then put that data back into your 3D object. So early on, like I said, if you go back to our early, early tutorials, you'll see I've been using HDR for a long time. It's because it works. What's really great is the computers are getting faster. So it renders faster. The tools to shoot them and to use them are coming up. Then there's also tools like Octane and other GPU renders, which allow you to use HDRs in practically real time. See the results as you move them around. We're gonna show some fun stuff as we go, but I want to give you some examples of some 360s. This one's really nice. This one would be almost impossible to shoot with a regular camera because there's so much shadow and so much brightness, but we can squeeze it all down. So why does this matter in 3D? Well, maybe it's okay if the whites are a little bit clipped. Okay. Does that really matter? Aren't we just throwing reflections a lot of the time? That is true in some cases, but imagine if the light data... Imagine if the sun was outside that window, and we did not know how bright that window was. The window was clipped at one. Let's say we have a zero-to-one, but the sun is like 17, 18, I don't know the math, like 20 times brighter, 50 times brighter. We don't have that math if we take a regular photo. If we shoot in HDR, we have the math to then light this properly and have more realistic reflections. So this object here, really simple scene, some spheres, obviously. It's what I do. So we're gonna put some wood on it. We get this actual 360 shot from inside of a car and all stitched together, and we get to use the same exact lighting from inside the car. It's really exciting stuff. This one's really fun. This is an example of a studio HDR, where you can actually photograph inside of a studio or even inside of your 3D program and capture the light to use later down the road, without having to mess with all the lighting. So this one's really fun. You can actually see the tree in the top part of this lettering. So you can see the little tree sticking out there. So all that reflection detail is still holding on. We have some more studio stuff here, some nice models. Then this is an example of why you want all that light data also, for refraction. Right? So you have reflection. You have refraction as well, and you want that light data, so that it refracts cleanly and accurately. We're all going, for the most part, going for making things look real. How do you do that? By using real lights around you. So the big reason I wanted to talk to you today is because there's been this revolution in HDR, at least the way I see it. I've always been attracted to HDR, for years and years, but I never went out and shot my own. I've tried to shoot my own many, many times, and you may have had this experience. You go, "I want to shoot one," and then you look into the technique of it, and there's dozens of great tutorials online about, step by step, how to follow and do all this, but it's very, very technical. You have to shoot wide-angle lenses, and then you... Here's the bad word. Here's the S word I didn't want to say today: stitching. You have to stitch all this stuff together once you shoot it on an SLR, even if you have a really nice camera and a really nice lens. You have to stitch all the angles together just perfectly to do it. There's some tools to make that easier and easier. So the process is slow. It's also tedious. For me, I want to get in. I want to get working. I want to get to the fun stuff. All these chrome ball... As much as I like shiny spheres, the chrome ball and reflecting through it and stitching it all together was just not for me. It was also expensive. You needed a digital SLR. Or if you wanted an in-the-box, one-button solution, it was tens of thousands of dollars and even thousands of dollars per day to rent these boxes to sit in the middle of a field or sit in a warehouse and capture all the light data in 360. The last, I don't know, 18 months or so, these little 360 cameras are starting to pop up. As soon as I saw one for a few hundred dollars, I go, "If that thing can shoot a 360, I think I have what I've been looking for my entire time." So I instantly bought one of these cameras. I guess now is a good time to introduce you to... This is the first time I've ever done this...the Theta S camera. So I saw this camera. There's actually two lenses on it. There's one on the back side, and there's one facing you guys. Those two 180-degree lenses take a photo at the same time, and Ricoh, who makes the camera, has all the software built in to stitch it all together. They handle the S word. It's all done in-camera. Then what we get out is a perfect 360 of our entire scene. Now what's the part that we're missing? We got a photo, but we're missing the HDR part of it. So how do you get the HDR? Well, what you have to do is do a bracketed exposure, and this is how you do it with the old way. You take photos from very, very bright. You want to crank your camera as bright as you can and see almost everything as overexposed, except for the very darkest of dark shadows. Then you want to bracket all the way down until you see only the highlights of the brightest, brightest parts of your entire scene. So for example, around here, this carpet's pretty dark. I want to make sure the carpet has some detail in it, all the way to this light that's awesomely bright, aiming at me. I'm looking at this stuff here. I'm looking at these spotlights. We want to get as bright to there. So how do we do that? Well, with this camera came some software. Unfortunately, their software, the Ricoh software, didn't have enough control for us to get those brackets. So we made an iPhone app. We did what we do, 9 times out of 10, when we're frustrated with something. We code a solution, and we try to share it with the world. That's our iPhone app. So let me skip forward too to Simple HDR. So we made an iPhone app. This is my favorite iPhone app because I always like apps with one dang button on them. You log in. You connect with your camera. It's a little wi-fi signal that pops out. We have basically... Okay. It's two buttons. We have two options, a pro option or an easy option. If you have time, you go for pro. It actually gives you a bracket of seven images, and it's gonna spit out all the data you need to make an HDR from the scene. So we can actually do one here. So the two things you need to do this is, obviously, a Ricoh Theta S... These are very inexpensive on Amazon. You can get them, $350, I think. If any of this stuff... You need more info. I actually have a big tutorial on this, on Greyscalegorilla. Just search. Actually, if you search "360 HDR, " I think I'm popping up on Google for this one. I might be at the top, but look. You might have to type "Greyscalegorilla" into that one. I have a little tutorial on what I'm about to show you in a little bit more detail. You need Simple HDR. Again, all you do is you log in from left to right. Log into the wi-fi network, and you go to pro mode. If you have about a minute, it takes to do pro, about 30 seconds for auto mode. You hit the button, and then you see all the exposures on the right-hand side of all the bracketed images. So now, it is time. Now, I practiced this yesterday. I hope this works okay, but let me explain to you what we're about to do. I am going to do a full visual effects shot, in this atmosphere, with this lighting, with this back plate, and we're gonna shoot it all live. We're gonna import it into the computer, and we're gonna recreate a visual effects shot, using the lighting that we're actually a part of. So you may be a part of this movie. I have the NDA that you guys need to sign later, all the talent releases and everything, but we're gonna shoot this. So hopefully this goes well. I'm gonna walk through what I'm doing on all the steps, just to show you how quickly you can make these things. Now don't worry if you're like, "Dude, I just want to make pretty stuff. I don't want to run around with a camera." I'm gonna show you some ways later to kind of have access to all these HDRs that we've been making over the last year or two. So let's do it. I'm gonna open up my iPhone. Unfortunately, I don't have any screen capture stuff, but I am gonna just go to Simple HDR, and it just opens up right here. A good thing to do is actually turn your camera on. That helps. So the Ricoh, itself... The power button is up on the right here. There we go. So again, this camera has two lenses on it, and it's got the little wi-fi signal, which means it should pop up here any moment. We're gonna get that. While we're doing that, I'm gonna pull out my camera here. Brought this cool little camera. This G7X Canon has been really nice to travel with, get some nice little shots. You guys probably have something nicer. It will work with the nicer stuff. Don't worry. I'm packing light. So let's make sure our wi-fi signal is set up. We got a lot of wi-fi around here. It's actually connected to the Theta. So again, the Theta will broadcast out its own wi-fi network. I'm gonna go into the app, and there it is. So now I'm gonna connect to my Theta. It's gonna talk to the camera here. I'm gonna get closer, just because there is a lot of wi-fi, and it's something I couldn't test yesterday or two days ago when there was nobody here. So we're gonna see if that connects. We're gonna make sure. We're gonna shoot our back plate really quickly. So what are we gonna do? We got this nice little thing here. I figured what we'd do is shoot this scene and add some text right here in front of the booth, kind of a simple shot, but I wanted to make sure it was really easy to do so we could do it on time too. The app is connected. So I'm gonna go ahead. Feel free to do your hair. You're gonna... The thing about a 360 photo is you have to be in the shot. There's no escaping the shot. In fact, a lot of the HDRs... If you see some of the ones that I shoot, you'll find just the top of my head sticking up behind a trash can and stuff. You have to hide to shoot these things, but you don't have to hide. You're all beautiful. Here we go. I'm gonna hit the button on the app, and it's gonna take about a minute. You'll see the camera start blinking, and that means it's shooting all the brackets from bright to dark. While that's happening, I'm gonna go over here and just shoot a little video. So just in the corner... Oh, it actually says, "Demo," in the video. So a quick little shot. I'm gonna get a little bit of movement in here. I'm gonna hit "Record." Couple seconds there. Just a little bit of a move to show you some tracking. So what I'm actually gonna do is... Let's go ahead and do this. I'm gonna put this camera in. Plug this in. Bear with me. I hope this will be worth it. It will be super fun because everyone's in the movie. They do this at Universal Studios, but they're a lot better with it. All right. So we're gonna turn on the camera. This is where it gets really fun: file transfers. Yeah. Bet you didn't expect that one today. Our image over here is almost done. It's still blinking. Make sure you look at the camera. You know? You don't want to be blurry. In fact, if you moved since I hit that button, we're gonna have to... If any of you moved since I hit the button, we're gonna have to redo it. All right. So we're gonna see if the camera comes up. Again, power actually does help quite a lot in these situations. Good. Good news there. Welcome. Thank you. Photos. Now I'm an image capture fan. I certainly don't want a beach ball. Come on, buddy. So the app... While that's happening, the app just finished, and it's actually gonna pull a demo or a low-res image of our brackets to the phone, so we could preview it. So we don't have to wait until we get home to download the high-res images. We can actually see, roughly, how they went from the app. So it looks like it's pretty good. It's kind of low-res. You can see the big orange demo thing here, but it's all on the app there. In a moment, we're also gonna do that with the scene. So let's make sure everything's good here. Image capture. I love you, Canon. I'm gonna take this one here, and I'm going to import it to... Let's go to the "Nick Go." Yeah, I like it. I'll just make a new folder here, "Demo." I'm gonna stick this right there, and I'm just gonna grab that last shot, the one we just did. So just a few frames there. Let's go import. You always have to make sound effects when you do that stuff. It's one of the most important parts of the process. All right. So that's done. We got our back plate. Let's take our camera off. It's really small. I'll show you the other lens here. The two lenses... It's like the size of a Snickers bar. I'm gonna protect it. You can never set this thing down because there's a lens on both sides. So make sure you put the little protective coat on it. Again, I'm gonna connect this here. Make sure we're on. Good. Professional. Professional stuff. Then we're gonna take a look at what we have here. So image capture. Ricoh. Thank you, Ricoh. All right. So looks like we're at the top. So we're actually gonna grab the latest seven images. You can see how dark they get and how bright they get. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. It looks like I actually took a shot on the way, when I grabbed the camera. So let's count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. So there's our seven images, from there to there. We're gonna import those to "Demo." It looks like it actually worked. Okay. So now we have everything we need. We're gonna take the back plate. We're gonna 3D track that back plate. We're gonna take the lighting that we just captured here, and then we're gonna add objects to our scene with the actual lighting from where we shot the image. Right? Does that make sense? It's gonna have this light on it. It's gonna have the TV reflected in it. It's gonna have everything. So let's go ahead and do that. First thing we need to do is... Let's do the tracking in Cinema 4D. So I'm gonna hit "New." Get a new scene here. I'm gonna go to "Motion Tracker." If you haven't used this, it's really easy to use. We have some longer tutorials on our site if you're interested, but we're gonna hop into here. We're gonna go to "Demo." I'm gonna grab that background plate. Good. Nice, short clip. It'll be really easy. That is opposite. Good. That's my early one. So let's just make sure here. Go "Image." I'm not... I don't know how Penn and Teller do it. Let's grab this again. Power shot demo. That's the one we want. Let's import that to "Demo." That's 823. Cool. Let's go to our open. 823. Boom. Open. Okay. So what we did was import that back plate that I shot over there, into the Cinema 4D. You'll see in the bottom corner, it's actually loading the footage into RAM. It's doing a full 3D track from this footage that we can then add stuff to. While that's happening, let's hop into Photoshop, and let's open all of our scene files that we just shot with the camera. So that's one, two, three, four, five, six, seven images. These will all open in Photoshop. I just wanted to show you them raw really quickly. You can see, again. Look at this one. This one's super dark, but it has all the little details of all the brightest lights in the scene. Right? All the way up to... Here we go. It's getting brighter. It's getting brighter. All the way up to this one, which actually makes this carpet look tan or something. Right? It's under the seats. It's everyone's under the chairs. We're actually getting data from under all these shadows, and that's the important part. That's what we're trying to recreate. Right? Okay. So how do we make this? Well, we have an action that I use, called "HDR Theta." If you want this Photoshop action, we're actually giving it away to everybody on our newsletter. It's real easy to sign up if you're not on it. If you're already on it, you'll just get it. It's, and then all the stuff here, including the HDR that I just shot, I'm gonna share with everybody on our newsletter. So if you're interested in that, get a free HDR and get this action if you have the camera as well. So what it does is it opens up all the scenes. So let's hit "Play" on HDR Theta. Let's open all the files, which is just all the files that we just shot, and let's hit "Okay." Now Photoshop is gonna compile these into one image that has all the data from bright to dark. Right? Everything we just talked about is part of all of these images, everything from the shadows, all the way up to the brightest light, in one image, so that we can use it altogether. So there is our scene. Right? Now there's a lot of movement going on. There's a little bit of offsetting up here, but I think it'll be okay for this demo. I have a fray... Who moved their foot? Was that you? Yep. It kicked it. Right? So just a little offset here. You obviously want as stable a platform as possible. Carpet's not ideal, but I think we got something here. So I'm just gonna hit "Okay." I'm just gonna skip all this stuff because we're gonna do one final color correct on this and then import this full 360 into Cinema 4D to light our scene. So let's actually just wait for this really quickly to do its thing. The hide command... That's okay. That's okay. Okay. We could stop. All I'm gonna do is take here, which is our full HDR. So this should be a 32-bit image here. It should be all set to go. The only thing I want to add to this is an exposure. The only reason I want to add the exposure is because I wanted to show you all the light data from the bright to the dark. So you can see. We can go all the way dark and have some bright lights, but we can also go super bright and find all the shadows. This is something you just can't do with a regular image. So what are we gonna do with this? Well, all this light data... We're gonna save out, "File: Save." We're gonna save this as... See? It wasn't HDR. So let's go up to "Image." Let's go to "Mode." Let's make sure we're in 32 bits. This is really where you're gonna get all the light data. Let's export this. Save. Radiance. This is the key. Watch what happens when you click "Radiance." HDR. We've seen those letters before. So we're gonna add that to our demo scene. This is demo. Save. Then let's go see how our 3D track is going. So you can see we have some dots here in Cinema 4D. If we zoom in, and we hit "Play," you're actually gonna see that is the video that I just shot in this corner. So just a nice little camera move. I had too much coffee. It's a little shaky, but the 3D tracker found all the little bits. There's even trackers on heads there. Look it. You're tracked. Look it. See that? You're looking good. You got me. You got the demo booth. You got Allison peeking out on this one. Look it. Hi, Allison. Okay. Here you go. So now what do we do with this? We have our 3D track. How do we set up this scene really quickly? The only thing we have to tell Cinema 4D is kind of where our zero is in our scene. Right now, it's just a 3D track in the middle of nowhere. It doesn't know scale. It doesn't know much. All we have to do is add some really simple objects here. In the motion tracker, we have constraints. The first one I always create is the "Create Position" constraint. That's gonna set our zero point on our scene. I'm just gonna pick this right here. That's kind of... When you add a new object, it always pops up in the middle. That's the middle now. Just added it. So what else can we add? Let's go to our motion tracker. Go to our constraints. Go to "Vector Constraint, " and this will kind of say which way is up and down and left and right. Well, what I want to try to find is a line that goes straight across or straight up and down, something that's relatively reliable. It looks like, actually, here's pretty good. I'm gonna click on this one and this one. You see we have a line that is roughly kind of the top edge of the screen. Okay. So now we have to tell that what angle it is. What angle is that? Left to right? It's X axis. So we just tell it it's at the X axis. We have one more thing to do. We go to "Constraints: Planer Constraint, " and the planer constraint... We're actually gonna build a little triangle, and we're gonna say, "Here to here to here, " and that's roughly flat against this wall. So this one's a little trickier, but that axis for that polygon is actually the tangent axis of that object. So it's the one that goes this way. So that is our Z axis. So we have to tell this, "Z." Now when we zoom out, we should have a floor that's roughly right where we wanted it. Right? On the scene. So let's make sure. It should be pretty close. Oh, we flipped it. So now all we have to do is say... Let's try Z reverse axis. Okay. That might be it. So now, the way you test this is by adding an object, and you see where it is. Well, it's a little bit large. So let's scale it down. But look. It's right where we wanted it, on the axis. All the ratios are the same. It looks like it's in the scene, stuck to the wall. If everything goes right, this cube that we just added is now stuck to our imaginary 3D wall. So what can we do with that? Well, what's really cool is we could add anything to the scene now. We could add... Oh, let's see. My favorites of these... Let's go in here. Let's go to... Oh, they're not in here. Oh, I'm bummed. All right. My favorite's a sphere, is what I meant. Okay. So we can shrink this down. We can move this around. We can put one over here. We can duplicate. Put one over here. We could fill up this room with whatever we want. Now, what this also means is we could add stuff like type. So let's go to this. Now I set this up before our demo, and I've used this demo scene a couple times. This is some balloon type that I made with Transform and Super Text. Super Text kind of rounds off text and really gives it some nice edges, and then Transform gives us the ability to kind of do mo-graph [SP] things to our text. So it's actually floating around and giving us these nice little wobbles. I figured this might be a nice thing to add to our scene because it's got this nice reflective Mylar balloon texture going on. Then we could make it say whatever we want. So I'm just gonna copy our transform here. I'm gonna bring it into our new scene. I'm gonna paste it. Of course, the scale is gonna be way too big, but that'll be easy. We can shrink this down. I think we can delete our spheres here. Now we have our type. Now check it out. It's actually also still backwards. Probably if we flipped our X axis, it would come around, but I think we're fine. I'm just gonna rotate this around. It should be relatively easy. 180 degrees. I'm also gonna pull it off the wall a little bit. So it's floating over your heads, not necessarily pinned against the screen here. So now, we have some nice type floating around. It's a little dark, but even when we hit "Render, " you're gonna see nothing renders. Why is nothing rendering? It looked like it was okay. Well, there's no backgrounds, and there's no object in the scene to reflect, even though we have this nice background object. Cinema's not seeing that as a reflective plane. It's just literally the back plate, as if you were in an editing program. So what do we need? We need all the light data from this room, ideally. If only there was a way to get all the light and shadow data from this room back into our 3D scene, then these balloons would look like they're actually in the room with us. Luckily, we shot that 360, and we can bring that in. So I'm gonna go to plugins. I'm gonna bring in HDRI studio, which is our studio rig that allows you to manipulate HDRs very easily. It also allows us to kind of position it, rotate it, and do all those kind of things. We don't need the floor. We can turn that off. We're gonna come in here, and we're going to pick the HDR that we just made, "Demo HDR." Open. Right? So now that's gonna be in our scene. Now we also have to preview it. Okay. The preview's a little bit large here. Let's shrink this down and check out our preview. We can actually rotate it until the orange "Demo" is behind us. That's where we want it. Right? We want you, the audience, to be in the front, and the orange "Demo" is behind us. Does that make sense? So this whole scene... In fact, imagine this as a big reflective object, just a big reflective sphere, and imagine, in the front row here... I keep picking on you. What's your name? Javier? Javier's here in the front row. So I'm gonna align him up, straight up, right where he's sitting, which I see he's right there, I think, somewhere in there. I'm gonna try to line him up so it looks like he's in the reflection of this sphere. So what this does is it lines up all the lighting with our back plate. Right? So all this stuff, all this ring, should all line up, so that when we hit "Render, " we have all the light data behind it. We have all this stuff, all the way around. Now it's a little bit dark. Our exposure might be a little bit off. So let's brighten this up. You can see we have all this light data. We have the orange bouncing around, but we still have no backdrop. How do we add that? Well, we can go, actually, to our motion tracker, and we can go to "Create Background Object," and then it's that easy. Right? So create background object. Then we have our... Let me hit "Render" there. We have our balloons hanging out. I'm not sure why it's... Is it interactive render region? Something's popping our balloons on and off. I'm just gonna do a reset here. I'm gonna turn off our backdrop, our preview, I'm sorry, and do a render and see. That's what we have. So we have the orange reflection for the balloons. We have all the light around us. We can actually balance this and composite it into our scene. So this is how you can do these kind of things and get a visual effects shot done in... How long did it take? 20 minutes. We could literally put anything in here and, in fact, any type, because this is all parametric, made with "Transform." We could put... Oh, I don't know. It's Tuesday. Tuesday. Then we can go all the way here. Just kind of reset that. Now we have our Tuesday type in the scene, ready to go. So that quickly, we can add all this stuff. Check it out. We got reflections from the sphere. Actually, that's catching a little bit high. So check it out. I'm just gonna grab our object and bring it down because I don't want that to be so high in the scene. There we go. That's a little bit cleaner. So really simple. It's very rudimentary. Of course, it needs a lot of polish, and the lighting is not quite studio lighting in here, but that is how simple you could do it. So if you're ever on set, or you ever shoot any visual effects kind of stuff, you can actually set that up, that quickly, and just pull in a camera between takes, put the camera where you want your other objects to be, take those shots, and then you can start to add little things later down the road. This helps a ton. So what else does that mean? If you want to... Of course, if you want to be a visual effects artist and capture your own scenes, obviously, this needs to be in your toolkit. But what about for all of us that do more motion graphics stuff, do more abstract stuff, do more studio lighting? Do you need to shoot an HDR everywhere you go? Well, it is fun, but a lot of people have clients. They're not in a bunch of different areas. You can actually use any HDR when you're using stuff that's a little bit more abstract. Right? So this scene here, we did this during one of our shows, called "Ask GSG, " where people come and ask us questions live online, and we try to answer their questions. Somebody wanted to know how to make model this. So Chris modeled this up, and we lit it all with an HDR. There's actually one real light in the scene, and that's the bright kind of highlight right in the top part of the handle. The rest of it is all lit with an HDR. It's actually an outdoor HDR with a little sun. That's why we have this nice little warm lighting up in the corner. So again, this does not show the background. There's no V effects in this, but we're using a real-life HDR and actually one that was shot with Theta, to light this scene and make it look that good. Here's another example. You can actually see the tree reflections and everything in our off-brand DeLorean here. It's gold. I don't know. It sounded good. We got a little window going on over on the side. You can see that this lighting didn't need to be from your bedroom, but it could just be any good HDR on a scene. So what you realize as you start playing around with HDR is that the more varied of an HDR collection that you have, the more options you have when it comes to lighting. You can always pull out a light or light kit pro and light things exactly the way you want. But with HDR, it's kind of fun to just click through and see different types of lighting. So really quickly, I wanted to show you our HDRI collection. So this is our HDR collection that we sell on Greyscalegorilla. It's over 250 HDRs, just like the ones you saw. In fact, those images were made with HDR collections. There's hundreds of locations from all over. We have artists from all over the world contributing to what we hope will be the largest and least-expensive HDR collection made. Because it was so hard to make in the past, these HDRs have become very expensive to buy, especially really good, high-quality ones. With technology like this, the price comes down, and the numbers go up. Right? Any good technology does that to a market. Right? So this is why we built HDR collections. We wanted to put a bunch of HDRs in artists' hands, whether you wanted to shoot them or not. In fact, if you do shoot your own HDRs, we're looking for other artists to join in and help us grow our collection. So just wanted to show you some of these. This is some of the HDRs that I shot. There's my office in here. There's a friend's wedding. There's some outdoor stuff. There's our half-res event. There's a bunch of really cool stuff happening. This is a really cool scene. These are all different HDRs lit with the same scene. So I'm just gonna pump through a lot of these, and you'll see the variation in texture, lighting, reflections. You'll even see caustics on that glass ball down there. With a physical render and with Octane, you get caustics almost for free. So you could use HDRs and all the bright images to get all these renders. All these are part of HDR collections, all on the same exact scene. So you can see the variations. I wanted to show off some of our artists on Greyscalegorilla that have been contributing to our daily render series. This is from David Brodure [SP] in Florida. He's using Octane and our HDRs to make some really beautiful stuff. This is physical render. Made this one, this one, all in Cinema 4D. You can see this one's more of a studio feel. Like I said, you could also do studios. Chad... Ashley made this one. It's really cool. We got a ton of great work here. Really fun. I actually wanted to demo some of these. My buddy, Ivan, made this one, really fun little animated GIF. Again, all the lighting came from these HDRs. So again, it's not just visual effects. It's not just back plate stuff. It's also for studio work as well. This one's really nice. You can see the window actually in the little leaves there. Classic. I got to have a shiny sphere here. Today, we got our ugly elephant with wire. Got this beautiful thing. Chris Schmidt made this one, modeled it, beautiful stuff here, lit with our HDR. Again, in Octane, some nice stuff. So what I wanted to actually show you was a couple scenes in Cinema. Get out of the slideshow here and show you these two scenes in Cinema 4D, with our HDRs, and the ability to switch between them and how easy it is to light your objects using that. So the first one I'll pull up is the old-school dynamic stuff. So now if you know me and you follow Greyscalegorilla, you know I do a version of this render every year. It's basically the same thing, except the render times get better, and the physical render gets better, and GI gets better and all that stuff. So this is a really neat little scene. It's just a bunch of dynamic objects. They're actually all lit with the new variation shader. The variation shader I don't have time to get into today, but it's a really powerful shader in the latest version of Cinema 4D. Check it out. We got some tutorials up on the site as well. Thank you. So what I wanted to do is just pump through a couple different options for lighting. I'm gonna open up our browser. This is all part of HDR collections and HDR Studio. You have all these different variations of HDRs that you could choose from. These are really, really high contrast and very, very bright scenes. You also have things like our summer collection, which is a lot of warehouses, a lot of outdoor stuff. You got my un-tidied living room there. This one's really fun. Empty table in a bar. So what's really cool about these is you can click them and instantly see a reaction in your render. This works in Octane. HDRs work in almost any rendering platform. So whatever you use, you'll be able to use these collections in it. So check it out. If I click this one, which is Nick playing pinball... I love this one. I got my face. You have to put up with my face in this one. No charge though if you put me in the movie or anything. It's cool. This office window is nice because it's a little bit of indoor lighting, a little bit of outdoor lighting. So let's let that one render. Again, we could also rotate these around to kind of line them up. So I'm gonna turn on a preview, and I'm gonna scale up our preview so we can see it. Again, just like we did earlier, we're lining up the bright and dark scenes. So in this case, all the bright stuff is gonna come from the left, and all the shadows will be on the right. So you can dial these up and down and around. Let me click on a couple more here. Actually, let's go to the other scene, which I wanted to show you. Let's go to Monster Sculpt. Awesome. This awesome, awesome model is from Justin Reed, sculpted this for us, and it's a beautiful crazy octopus kind of thing, and it's just great to show. Justin. So this is great to show off a lot of different HDRs. We also have the ability to adjust the background as well. So you actually get the full studio kind of sweep that you can change colors and do all these things with. Let's go ahead and grab this and just kind of... We can darken this and get a darker background. That way, the lights will kind of pop a little bit brighter. This scene has a lot of detail and a lot of reflection and a lot of polygons around. So it does take a few seconds to update, but we could do the same thing. If you have an object like this, if it's a sculpt or if it's a product, and you're like, "I don't need it to be... I just want it to look good, but I don't know exactly the way the way the lighting is," this is when I use this tool all the time. I'll just go, "I don't know how to make it look either. Let's try this one." Right? So I click that one, and then I wait for it to render. Actually, I think that was the one it started with. So it's not gonna change. Let's click "Bright Michigan Dining Room." We got the American flag in this one. That's always fun. So that's actually gonna go in, calculate, and in a few seconds, you're gonna see a totally different lighting structure. Right? So this one's more flat on, more gray. Let's pick one that has a little bit more contrast down here. Let's go to "Giant Arcade." Now this one actually has a lot of blues. You can actually see it in the preview. It's a lot more contrast-y, a lot darker. It's got some blue lighting. Check it out. A lot more contrast. A lot more blue on his back there. Again, your ability to go try these out is why we made this tool. There's plenty of time to really dig into lighting and tweak every little light, and we still do that, but so many times, we reach for an HDRI because it's automatically realistic lighting because you shot them live. Right? They're just fun to shoot, go see multiple different versions of things. So couple different other scenes here. The dynamic stuff... This Monster Sculpt... So balloon type is actually... Let me show you the... Let me show you this one here. I didn't open it. I wanted to show you the epic movie title. This one's really fun. So again, it's not only for visual effects. You could do it on something like this. So this is a movie title. I'm just gonna render and make sure it's all ready, set to go. I may have to change... Oh, there it is. Okay. So this chisel type and all the type below it all transforms, moving it around, but the important part is all that chrome and all those reflections are coming from an HDR. So in the same way that we did that with a product shot or visual effects, we could also do it with motion graphics. So we'll just click a couple of these as well and open our browser. Let's go do something drastically different. This one, "European Holiday," is really fun. This church entrance has so much bright and dark to it. It's like a really bright day, but under a canopy. Look at all the blingy edges you get, like super, super bright chrome edges from this one. Then this one is more like a sunset. So you get all those kind of colors. So let's do that one. Here it comes. Boom. Look at how drastically different the mood changed on that, from the really hard-edged, metal sword, aggressive thing. If we change the type a little bit on this, it would be like a romantic movie. Right? But the lighting matters. This is why I obsess over this, because no matter how much you sculpt and what you do and how much you animate, if the lighting doesn't portray the mood that you're trying to go for, your audience will lose the joke. The audience will think it's a comedy when it's supposed to be sad. All those things are portrayed with the music, huge, and lighting, close second. Right? So with that in mind, I did want to have some time for any questions that you guys have. I did demo that. If you're interested in HDRI collection, it's an ongoing, growing HDRI collection from Greyscalegorilla. We have a lot of big plans for this. It's growing every quarter right now, with tons of new HDRs. Again, if you shoot HDR with anything, not just the Theta S, hit up Send us an email. We'd love to hear from you. We're trying to build the biggest HDR collection ever made. So with that, I want to do.... Also, drive you to, if you want that HDR that I just shot. We also have a really cool "Six Favorite Cinema 4D" video series and also exclusive tutorials, all on our newsletter. So I'll send you that action we just used in Photoshop and any of that stuff. Just email me. We'll get you whatever else you see from today. So one last thing I wanted to show you before questions was this movie we made. Really simple stuff. We wanted to take a really simple model and run it through multiple different HDRs and see the various reflections and mood and the way that it changes the visuals. We thought this might be a fun way to do it. Chris helped out a ton with rigging our character to make him kind of float around, and then Raul Marks [SP] actually modeled this space man. It's a free model. If you like this model, you can go get it online. So I just wanted to show you this. It's called "Floating." ♪ [music] ♪ Thank you guys so much for coming out today . I'd like to thank you. I appreciate it.
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