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Cinema 4D Q&A with EJ Hassenfratz & David Ariew

School of Motion

Two 3D legends team up to answer your Cinema 4D questions.

Let's not beat around the bush here, learning 3D can be tough. From lighting to texturing to rendering there is a never-ending amount of things to learn and master. But then again, that's kinda what makes 3D so fun!

We understand that learning Cinema 4D can be a challenge. So we asked EJ Hassenfratz and David Ariew to Answer common Cinema 4D questions from the School of Motion community. Notable questions include:

  • What are some of the must-have plugins for C4D work?
  • What do you think the next big 3D trend is going to be?
  • Do you think using an EGPU with an older Mac is a decent hardware setup? What do you recommend to someone who doesn’t want to give-up their Mac, but wants realistic renders?
  • Where do you draw inspiration for your 3D work?
  • What are some practical ways to grow your skills?
  • Do you have any advice for people just starting with Cinema 4D?

On the podcast EJ talks about his Cinema 4D Basecamp course. If you've ever wanted to learn Cinema 4D we can't recommend this course enough. In fact, Registration for C4D Basecamp is coming up quick. Check out the course page to learn more.

This is going to be a great episode. Enjoy!







Podcast Transcript Below 👇:

Intro (00:00:01):

He's about 455 yards. He's going to hit a button.

Joey Korenman (00:00:07):

This is the school of motion podcast. Come for the MoGraph stay for the puns. As you've heard many times on this podcast, the modern motion designers being expected more and more to know at least a little bit of 3d. In addition to the normal 2d stuff that we all know and love. We've been working hard to put out lots of informative content about 3d in general, about cinema 4d, about third-party renders. And the thing is we haven't even made a dent in the topic. 3d is quite the rabbit hole as it turns out. And there are so many concepts to learn, nevermind, actually getting a grip on the software. So to help put a little dent in the topic we asked cinema 4d base camp instructor and cinema 4d guru, EGA, Haas, and frauds to guest host this episode of the podcast, along with the crazy talented David area. We collected questions about 3d from our students, our alumni, our community, social media, and gave them to these two encyclopedias of 3d knowledge to go over and answer as best they can. This is a super geeky episode. And if you're thinking of learning cinema 4d, or just want to go deeper with your knowledge of 3d in general, listen up,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:01:26):

Hey, school emotion people out there. Welcome to a very special podcast. It's the 3d around table and I'm very honored and it's a pleasure to introduce my one guest, the only guest you really needed a 3d round table. Good buddy David area. Welcome to the round table. Thanks. It's this it's this round table, but we're like sitting around each other. Yeah. So maybe we just pretend we have imaginary friends to fill out the table here. That would be cool. Like shouldn't we let's just pull our seats closer. So we're just, you know, so this distance isn't so odd, you're face to face. I'm just imagining all of our awesome CG animator, friends, filling the tables, inspiring us and talking about lots of interesting, lots of interesting things. Yes. Well, everyone's spirit is here. All of our invisible friends are at this table with us. Uh, and we're, we're this 3d round table.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:02:26):

We're going to be talking about a little piece of software called the cinema for DS, and I hear it makes fears, so it makes shiny spheres real good. That's all. So that's of what we're going to be talking about today and just in general, like 3d and for folks out there that might be new to 3d or thinking about entering the world of 3d, like what, what they can expect and kinda, you know, why, why should I be caring about the 3d? So let's kind of talk about, you know, just cinema 4d in general. And we had some awesome questions through a, you know, sent into us by, you know, people from the interwebs and the social media. So thanks everyone out there for, uh, your questions. Uh, so let's just start with the first question. And that is, you know, if I just started using cinema 4d, uh, you know, what are some of the must have plugins? Because I feel like for after effects users, you get an after effects. And I don't know, a single human being on the face of the planet that uses after effects, just stock. Like

David Ariew (00:03:33):

Everyone's got Kramer, that guy,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:03:36):

Exactly. That guy, um, like everyone's got their scripts, everyone got their plugins, you got your particular dah, dah, dah. So like, what are, so what do you think are some must have plugins for cinema for,

David Ariew (00:03:48):

Okay, well, I mean, this is going to be an obvious one for me because octane.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:03:52):

Yes. So let's just talk a little bit about like what octane is and you know, you know, why you need it because I feel like, especially for after effects people, it's like, well, why do I need a whole different render? Like after effects has the one render and that's all you need,

David Ariew (00:04:06):

Right. I mean, you don't need it if you're doing a kind of more design-y stuff like what you do, like the more cell shaded stuff, but if you're getting into photo realistic rendering, then I think it's a must have, I mean, some third party GPU renderer, which the three major ones at this point are octane Redshift and Arnold. So, uh, one of those, if you're looking to create more photorealistic imagery, um, it makes it so much faster. Like octane is just 10 or a hundred times faster than physical. Like one of my buddies, uh, Jason, you know, Jason from, uh, max on his first, uh, short using physical and it w it looks good, but, and it was kind of some simple reflections and stuff. And he's like, yeah, it's, uh, you know, this is the trailer, but I can't go and create the full thing because it's two hours per frame.

David Ariew (00:04:56):

And I'm like, what, dude, you can make this same thing in like a minute per frame or less in octane. So that's, that was the big game changer for me. Uh, when I got into octane in 2013 was just, was mainly the speed, but also the, the realism, it makes photo realism much easier to achieve. It takes a lot of the control, like the manual control away from you. But sometimes that's really good because you don't want to have to worry about, you know, fixing perfectly black and sharp shadows and stuff like that. You want it to be a simulation of the real world, uh, which octane and Redshift and Arnold all do really, really well, uh, straight out of the gates. You just throw a sphere in there and it looks way shinier and more believable than you ever could have imagined.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:05:40):

that's an that's fair.

David Ariew (00:05:42):

That's fair though.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:05:45):

Well, I think, uh, like not even for photo real, like, you know me, like I'm doing my like little plastic vinyl toy stuff. I think that even like photo real renders is good for anything like the big design trend. Now you're seeing is that that Memphis design, you know, with the bright colors and just simplistic geometry and patterns,

David Ariew (00:06:09):

It saw the tactile feel. It still feels like it could be plausibly in the real world. Like you set up this nice photographic suite and it's like really design-y button and nicely evenly lit and stuff like that. But it doesn't feel like a cartoon. Like if you want something to feel cartoony, then you use sketch and tune, which, you know, that or selves, so rendering stuff, which I still think is probably the best place to start. Um, you know, bridging from the after effects, like vector-based 2d world, you know, which is why, you know, I feel like your training is so good because it bridges that gap so nicely. But if you're, yeah, if you're like, even with the vinyl toys, those are meant to feel somewhat real.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:06:47):

Right. So I think that, I mean, if you, if you're learning, especially if you're learning 3d, I think a third party render is it's almost like once you and a lot of people go either way on this, like, should I learn the rent, the native renders and all that stuff. And I think it's important to do that, just to know some of the concepts and like, this is how I had to do it back in the day and, you know, and at least, you know, the theory behind it and like what all these, uh, term to all the terminology, what, what all it means and to play

David Ariew (00:07:22):

Well as advocate though, you can learn all that tech terminology through learning GPU renderer, or through learning Arnold. Um, and like I've had, I've heard people's stories where they actually didn't like Zack Corazon, for instance, didn't even want to jump into cinema 40 until he discovered octane. Like for some people, the physical render is actually a barrier to entry. It actually turns people away because of how slow it is and how difficult it is to see like final quality imagery. It's just like, oh, is this the process it's so slow? It's like beating your head against the wall or watching paint dry. Um, so I've seen a lot more people lately get into see 4d and octane directly. Yeah,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:08:06):

I think it's, I think it's all your perspective too. Like if you are completely new to 3d and you're just wanting to learn that is learning a render on top of that gonna bug you down or are you more like, I'm not a very technical person. So when I open up box, I'm just like, well, so here's one of the things I've talked to you about this before is that there's not, there's not that Uber shader. And when I talk Uber shader, I'm talking about like, if I wanted to make,

David Ariew (00:08:41):

They just released a full, full, like over shader type material, but yeah, you're right. That, that wasn't the mindset.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:08:48):

So now maybe it's going to be a lot easier, but that was like a major thing for me, as far as like, wait, I built my shader added all this shiny stuff, blurred reflections, some nice diffuse that are de it's confusing

David Ariew (00:09:02):

There, a diffuse material, and then a specular material, and then a glossy material. These different types should be able to just fully mix together in different spectrums and amounts, you know? Uh, and now they do so that's cool. Yeah. Yeah.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:09:16):

And another thing is like, uh, so here's the thing where I'm like, yes, octane totally are third party render, just because of, I think the native global illumination inside of cinema 4d is just so complicated where I feel like in octane, like you have your path tracing your, you have your, your direct and all that. Like you have three options for making something really nice, ambient inclusions already,

David Ariew (00:09:41):

Nobody uses, um, whatever the third one, I can't even, I'm blanking on the name of the third one, but

EJ Hassenfratz (00:09:46):

I have tracing direct lighting and the redheaded stepchild setting. I don't know.

David Ariew (00:09:52):

Yeah. There's a, there's a full brute force, like, um, Monte Carlo type deal that nobody uses. Cause it's so crazy. Slow P PMC is, is that's it? Um, yeah, so, but really just two options, like fast and or fastest and slightly less fast.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:10:12):

But I do think like once you get your feet wet in there and maybe, yeah, you're playing around with the native C4 D material system just to get your feet wet. I think that to learn cinema 4d, having a third-party render is so crucial, like when the time comes, where that person learning 3d isn't so completely overwhelmed by just learning cinema 4d alone. But the e-learning process of like you're spending less time waiting for a render or, um, like as far as lighting goes, like learning the fundamentals of lighting, like number one, you were a huge part just because you broke it down in such a easy to digest way through a lot of your talks and stuff like that. And we'll, I'll, I'll, I'll wing to a lot of the really awesome talks about like getting into just 3d lighting and how much that really bumps up your 3d skills overall.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:11:06):

But the ability to play around with lights and be like, oh, move this light here, move this light there and bump up the intensity or the power there and be able to see that instant feedback of like, eh, I don't like that. And then you change it and you're not waiting 10 minutes per frame, or that's the game changer. Yeah. That's huge. As far as your learning process, like your, your infant you're exponentially speeding up that learning process of finding out how lights work and kind of developing like, oh, I like this led light set up more for me personally. Like I just dig what that looks like and, and not be in, you know, waiting two minutes each time for, uh, you know, rendered, uh,

David Ariew (00:11:48):

Right. Yeah. It's that, it's that immediate art direction type feedback. And I would go as far as to say that, I don't think I could have learned lighting if not for octane, you know, it's that instantaneous feedback that makes it like playing. It makes it actually creative versus, uh, just a hassle and, and whatnot. And I, I don't know if it's fair to say that, um, you know, people should have to learn physical, you know, that just because we had to do it. And we went through that painful process. I mean, it will get you that appreciation. It will get you fundamentals of 3d, which are extremely important to learn. But I, I feel like because there are so many people doing C 40 plus octane or C 40 plus Redshift, and the quality of imagery overall has just gotten so much more advanced than the past few years that to compete. People need to go there too and go there pretty quickly. And I don't think that you're going to miss out on anything by doing that. That's my personal opinion.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:12:46):

Yeah. I think if you're like how I started was what are you doing? You're, you're adding shiny reflection, shiny, blurred reflections on stuff. And that looks really nice. So even just doing a shiny reflect or a blurred reflection in physical or standard is just the render hog in itself. And, you know, if you're not good at lighting and I think, I don't know. And this is where I'm kinda like, uh, does octane help you with lighting or is it just, everything looks so good out of the box. Does it kinda, do you use it as a crutch in China? Just add lights and not even think about it, but I think that's with any, I think that's with anything it's all your

David Ariew (00:13:25):

It's experimentation. Yeah. And I mean, octane and Redshift and Arnold all treat the light more accurately actually. So if you're putting lights in there, it's more of a realistic physical simulation. So just because it's easy to twirl lights around and you know, it's harder for DPS and people to do that onset doesn't mean you're learning last year. Just have more flexibility to experiment because it's CG, you're sitting in the comfy campiness of your own home and able to move some lights around really quick and see how they're playing with the materials and the environment that you've got set up. So you're still learning, lighting, even if it's just experimental and you can't really necessarily put your finger on like what it is that you're doing. You just know that certain things look cooler than other things that's okay. At first, you know, at some point maybe, you know, you want, you do want to learn like the technical, like look at some DPS lighting setups and see what other people are doing to make things look cinematic and like why you would use this lighting setup with skin or whatever it is, you know? Um, but yeah, there's nothing wrong with just playing until you get something that looks cool. Totally.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:14:29):

Totally. What do you feel about like, like I mentioned off the top, you know, a lot of people have aftereffects have particular, although I'm not sure how important particular is these days. Uh, X particles.

David Ariew (00:14:41):

Yeah. That was next in line for me, which is another obvious choice. A is X particles for plugin for C 4d, because it feels like an extension of [inaudible]. Yeah. It's

EJ Hassenfratz (00:14:51):

It adds functionality. That was not,

David Ariew (00:14:54):

It's not just particles. Like, it sounds like it's just a particle plugin, but with XP four, it can do cloth way better than [inaudible] default cloth engine and like cloth chairing and cool stuff like that. And now they've got this open VDB measure, which is amazing for creating pools and remission, geometry or meshing particles is, which is basically like the X particles Skinner on crack. It's just, you know, creating a surface out of those particles. So that's a really cool tool just in and of itself. It's almost worth the price of admission just by itself. So yeah, X particles is a huge tool set and it fits in with [inaudible] mindset of user-friendly, you know, pick it up and play with it kind of stuff. Uh, much like I feel octane does. So those three plugins together are the big three for me, or actually that's just two, but you know what I mean? Yeah.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:15:38):

It seems like a round table. We think there's more people here, but there's really not a, yeah. And I always think it's such a funny thing. Like the difference between like, after effects and just all these plugins and scripts that I'm kind of lugging around with me and update it. Like from like every update I have to lug all my old presets up and not make sure everything's updated and send them a 14. I got to right. You got your X particles. I got my octane, that's it. So that's kind of the awesome part about cinema 4d is if you buy that full studio version, I mean, it is a lot of money. Yes. But that's all you need. Right? Like you don't need to buy all this expensive

David Ariew (00:16:24):

Getting to be free now, like it's 20 bucks a month for the subscription. Uh, but now the subscription is going to get you up to 20 GPU's and to render nodes, which is just insane. So like all you could ever need for 20 bucks a month, and then they're going to release, I don't know if it's out yet, but they're releasing a version that's free up to two GPS, which used to be the subscription model. So yeah. There's no excuse not to basically get that plug in because it's,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:16:50):

Yeah. That octane VR version, that's the one I have where I paid 20 bucks a month or whatever. So that's going to be awesome because that's all I need. I got my one GPU for now and it'll now be free. Yeah. So it's totally, totally no excuse to just, you know, download it, give it a, give it a test drive. See if it's, if it's for you. Yeah.

David Ariew (00:17:10):

Real quick. Some other plugins that I want to shout out, uh, I've been using a lot, so real flow for C, for D I've been using it a ton lately on this project and it's actually like super intuitive and it's got a very similar interface to X particles and I actually find it easier to use for fluids then X particles. There's like no better option for fluids and C 40 as far as I can tell. Um, and also you get motion blur on the fluids, uh, which is compatible with, you know, octane motion, blur and Redshift motion blur, uh, which I can't get for, um, X particles yet as far as fluids go. Um, and then another big one for me is Nitra blast, which I still sometimes prefer over the Voronoi fracture. I'm good over Rooney. Like if something has to hit the ground and I use the Verona fracture because it's got that progressive shattering, uh, and like displacement on the inside of pieces, you can get.

David Ariew (00:18:02):

So like, uh, I've got this arm, this ice arm shattering on the ground for a shot and my music video I'm working on. And it looks a lot more realistic with those tools that, and like the gluing tools and all that stuff with the VR VR. And I, but if it's like a zero G explosion, then I still prefer Nitra blast. So like asteroids or, um, the look I did recently with the iHeart radio music awards, um, if it's like more MoGraph shattering because you can select pieces and then fracture and then go in and physically select smaller pieces and sub fracture those 100 times and then get the really minuscule pieces and sub fracture that was so like, it's more of a physical, it's like a more intuitive way to do the fracturing. Whereas the Voronoi is like more procedural and it's not as easy to get those like that massive variation in scale where you've got like some huge pieces and then others that are like, just so tiny, they look like particles. Uh, and that makes a more realistic look. Um, so if it's zero G, then I just go for nitrile blast. Cause I still prefer the way that you do fracturing in there better, even though it's destructive, it's not procedural like a Voronoi, but it, you know, that's a more realistic look for some things. I think that,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:19:12):

Um, I'm like super OCD about procedural stuff. So that's why I just don't use cause nitro blast and be like, oh no, I don't like that undo.

David Ariew (00:19:22):

Yeah. But you get, for me, the most important thing is the look. And if I can get a more awesome look with something like Nitra blast and that's what I'm going to reach for. Like every time I don't care if I have to jump through more hoops, like I'm after the best possible look and it's not much harder to get and if you score and like, you can bake it, if you screw up, you just, you know, do it again and shatter it again. And it's not, it doesn't take that long, you know?

EJ Hassenfratz (00:19:46):

So, all right. Next question is, uh, what do you think the next big 3d trend is going to be David?

David Ariew (00:19:55):

Um, that's hard to say because trends can be based on a specific artists style, like, uh, people spring the trend of dailies in general, or, you know, people emulating hood asses work or, you know, or they can be based on, you know, a technique that just proves to be easy, but looks cool, like low poly, uh, the low poly trend or like world machine landscapes with a sphere or some abstract shape embedded or Greenville, displacement with some glowy lasers in there, or be more recently, you know, mo-cap dancing characters from Maximo. And now, like I'm also seeing a lot of like a trend becoming like volumetrics and Hayes in every render, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Like volumetrics look awesome. But you know, there are definite trends, um, or it could be people challenging themselves to a 36 days of type kind of entry.

David Ariew (00:20:43):

Um, so I see a lot of those and I'm also seeing like Houdini trends as well, which makes me think there are a lot of things in there that have become way easier, like squishy, rubber, rubber people flopping around, or like reaction to fusion looks, which is, you know, those squiggly cool looking guts from like the versus a short by man versus machine. I don't know if you know the rainbow guts. I've seen that a lot. It's like also, it's just a like organic process reaction to fusion and it looks really cool when you see it spreading across the surface. So that's another trend that I'm seeing come out of Houdini a lot. And I'm seeing a lot of space, space space lately. And I fell into that trend pretty hard for awhile. Uh, not that I'm like fully out of it because space and scifi is so much fun. Um, and also, you know, forgiving because like a star map is the easiest cop-out, you know, to place a CBE CG object in the

EJ Hassenfratz (00:21:33):

Background going to be

David Ariew (00:21:34):

Stars. Like that's what I did, the dead mouse cart thing. I just put a star map in there cause I didn't want to have to build out a city or a ground or moon surface or anything like that. You know? So it's like, that's why everyone's doing space because they're freaking

EJ Hassenfratz (00:21:46):

Lazy with the dance.

David Ariew (00:21:48):

It's true. I'm lazy. I mean it, you know, and, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It allows you to focus on other things like that's why maybe that's why you say you reached for cell shaded stuff because it allowed you to focus on shapes and character animation and not have to worry about the lighting and all that other stuff. Um, and also with space, like the fact that we don't see it with our own eyes, other than through like Hubble space, telescope shots or concepts that are shaped by films, uh, means that we can stretch things and make them believable. Like, I don't know what an asteroid belt really looks like or a black hole or something, so you kind of get to make it up and it still is somewhat believable. So that's another reason I, but yeah, that's all to say that I think that, um, things that are easier or like, you know, easy looks to get to often become trends.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:22:34):

Now, how much do you think? Like, because the way my mind works is that as you're seeing all of the, this, uh, advancement in technology like octane and realistic renders, you know, engines where like, because that is so much easier to do now, a lot of people are like giving that a test ride. And that's why you're seeing a lot more, uh, high-end realistic renders and stuff like that. And then again, you mentioned with Houdini where like the soft body dynamics stuff and the fluids, and like now you're seeing a lot more of that because people are like, oh, this is a new feature. I'm going to test around with to see how I can use this creatively. And design-wise, how can I, uh, you know, compose a nice shot or animation with that. So I think, uh, uh, a few, like, you know, let's see what's going to come out with like cinema 4d. [inaudible] what are these big, new features that are, you know, people are whispering about. Um, and then how is that going to drive or kind of open up someone's creativity that way? Cause you had a big new feature and a lot of artists are gonna be like, that's sweet. Like that was impossible before.

David Ariew (00:23:41):

And the foreign away fracture, when that came out, that became a trend for a bit. It's like the demo, the democratization of technology creates trends. And so do artists that figure out how to make a cool look. That's not that hard. You know, some of these looks are really approachable. Like the world machine thing, it's really easy to get a cool landscape out of there and put it into octane and in displacement. And then you get all this detail for pretty cheap. So those kinds of things that are low hanging fruit become trends pretty often. Um, but what I think would be amazing to become like another, a new trend is user recorded mocap. Um, like once that becomes democratized, that would like essentially allow us to hire actors for 3d films or act in them ourselves and ground our stories much more in reality.

David Ariew (00:24:28):

And it would allow us to become like better filmmakers. It's almost like, you know what filmmakers do IRL right now, you know, uh, and focus on humans are creatures and more than just the environments, um, and just improve our cinematography skills. Once we've got characters that are emoting and interacting with each other. So that would be pretty sweet if that became a trend, like that's the next thing I want to do. It's like a, if you've seen Saba, uh, Ziff, Covich his, uh, film from IFCC, that's kind of the thing that gets me really inspired, you know, it was cause like they shot on an actual mo-cap stage and he directed an actor to do like this whole performance, which allowed them to tell a much more interesting story in a more involved story with a character, uh, all in this futuristic setting. So like that will become easier to do as we get like mocap as a technology that we can use ourselves. It's not prohibitively expensive.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:25:20):

Yeah. I see, I see, uh, technology, as far as 3d goes, going and completely like two different directions where you're going to have a lot of new advancements in technology that push, uh, realism, like you're talking about mocap. So the, all your rigs and stuff like are going to be completely, you know, humanoid movements, like very familiar movements and realistic. And then I see on the other end, which I think is going to be a massive, massive, and they're already kind of is to this point is the whole VR AR space. And that is kind of like the alternate side of things because the tech isn't quite there yet where you can get like super photo real stuff, right. A lot of this stuff is like, you have to go through unity. And at that point you have to worry about, uh, meshes and polygon counts and textures and dah, dah, dah. But I think that is going to be like the new frontier. If you watch the last Google IO conference where they show the, like how AR will be integrated into Google maps. And it was just, it looks so dang cool. Like if you are walking around a city and you're, you're downtown in San Francisco or something,

David Ariew (00:26:36):

You just get an overlay of like where all the streets are and go, that's awesome.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:26:40):

Or if you, yeah, if you're, if you're looking for directions to, you know, one of the 20 Starbucks within a few blocks, right. You get this, they did a cool demo where, uh, there's a lie. Like you have your phone in front of you, you're looking through your phone, you have all the augmented reality stuff. There's a line pointing and going around a corner around a building. So it's already like fully mapped out the 3d, the 3d environment, massed out where the building is. And there's a loud, like animated cartoon, Fox character. That's sitting there. Yeah. Follow the fellow little rabbit. That's awesome. The rabbit and it just jumps behind the building in the fall.

David Ariew (00:27:20):

Yeah. That's so cool. Yeah. I mean, that's what I'm excited about with, with AR as well as like, you know, just more Intel about our real world. And I mean, there's like the scary side of the coin where it's like our, you know, vision is filled with ads and it's like horrible, but then there's like the calls. Yeah. But then there's like the cool version where it's like, if I'm out on a walk and I'm curious about what species of tree I'm looking at them, I'll get an overlay that tells me it's like just computer assisted technology and it makes us smarter essentially. So that aspect of AR is extremely exciting to me.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:27:54):

Well, it's like the internet in general, if you, it can make you stupid. Right. Yeah. Um, so, okay. We'll go on from 3d trends. Um, let's talk about, you know, going back to, you know, trying to get onto these trends like third-party renders and stuff, uh, someone asked, do you think using a GPU with a older Mac is a decent hardware setup and what do you recommend to someone who doesn't want to give up their Mac, but wants realistic renders? So this is kind of my wheel house right now. And David we'll, we'll talk about your, your massive setup, uh, in the next couple of questions here. But, uh, as far as my setup, I'm still on my, and I always laugh when I say this, but 2013, a trashcan Mac pro. And I was like this, uh, this person who asked this question and they're like, you know what, I'm going to go kicking and screaming into the world of PC.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:28:55):

Fortunately for me, like I, I'm a very special case where I'm not doing client work as much anymore. I'm doing a lot of training. I've been working in the past four months on just this school of motion, see cinema 4d base cam class that took up a lot of my time and that doesn't take, uh, you know, a lot of render intensive stuff. Um, cause I'm not working on, you know, films or, you know, four minute long music videos like David. But, um, I think for those of you out there that do have them, because the reality is is you have a lot of after effects users and max are perfectly fine for after effects. And like if you're whatever yeah. I prefer

David Ariew (00:29:41):

For, for, uh, after effects and premiere, I think that the software is actually way more stable on the Mac, but for 3d, for 3d, I definitely go, uh, for the PC. Right? Uh, well, that's interesting that I didn't know that you use a Mac for all that stuff still, but I don't know how much like after sex workers these days, I don't do as much after effects work is true, but I'm extremely familiar with after effects. I still use premiere extensively and there it's like not a huge difference, but premiere and after effects are both, buggier someone told me once that it's because there's a PC it's buggy on a PC or on PC it's by years, somebody told me it's because you know, that splash screen you get when after effects or premiere crashes. And it says, do you want to report this bug? Somebody told me that that is not even available for PC, so they don't get the bug reports.

David Ariew (00:30:31):

We know. Yeah. I don't even know. So, uh, that's just my experience, but I still use, because I'm using three PCs, it's much faster to just do the compositing and editing right there versus having to go over to my iMac, which is another room right now. And Chelsea is mostly using it for her stuff and like hop on there and try to sync it all up with Dropbox and what not. So like, I'm just using PCs at this point professionally, but yeah, I mean, and there's still like a funny stigma. If you ever go on set, you know, uh, you have to have a Mac, like it's still the only labs, et your Mac book, laptop, or a trashcan. Like, that's it, you know, that's all that's accepted for, like, even for DIT is like they just use, I think they use the trash cans still as far as I know, or like proprietary systems.

David Ariew (00:31:16):

I don't know if it's like some crazy Marvel movie, but yeah, that's, that's kind of an aside, um, to answer the question. Yeah. I think EDPs are amazing for when you're just getting into GPU rendering. Uh, and yeah, I love Macko S you know, I used to be the biggest Mac fan boy ever, but, um, octane drove my switch to PC in, in 2013 and now I'm actually just as happy on a PC. Um, and there actually things about windows 10 that I prefer at this point. Um, but I just forget about the differences on the whole, and I'm happy using either O S you know, I'm, I'm bilingual. Um, so yeah, but if you're serious about creating, like the photo realistic 3d, especially if you're doing animations and not just stills, you'll need to switch to PC, because whether it's building machines with thread rippers, like a bunch of machines with thread rippers for Arnold, which are those new, you know, like CPU's with 16 cores or more, um, that are actually pretty cheap, like they're like 800 bucks for a 16 core CPU, um, or it's, you know, or if it's stacking GPU's for Redshift or octane, it's just so much cheaper to buy a PC and it's even cheaper to build it yourself, which I got into, and I'm pretty comfortable with now.

David Ariew (00:32:26):

I'm not like an expert at it. I don't do like the water cooler madness, but I'm comfortable enough tinkering around when things, when things break or just building it and not screwing it up. Um, but it's not actually that hard to learn windows 10. Like it's much easier than like switching to another 3d app. For instance, it's pretty simple because you know how to use an operating system. Uh, and it's also not that hard to learn how to build a PC. Um, and it can actually be pretty fun. You just watch some YouTube videos, you know, like they're even PC building videos for the specific case that you get. So if you get a certain case, you can see someone else building a computer in that specific case. Uh, so there's, you know, it seems like a pretty big barrier to entry, but it's not,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:33:09):

I think, I think a question you have to ask yourself if you are coming from after effects is like, what type of work do you, do you envision your you're doing, are you going to be doing photo real, crazy VFX stuff then yes. Right. Uh, you're kind of just, uh, putting training wheels on your, your really crappy bike and that's not really going to help much. Um, but if you're say, um, a 2d artist and wanting to get wanting to get in 3d and maybe doing the stuff on doing where everything's just kinda, you know, plasticky looking and, you know, your, your Memphis kinda style design and just very simple shapes, and you just want something that makes GI and shove, uh, blurry, reflections, render really fast. And I think, and here's the thing. I think that it's, it's a perfect bridge. Like if you ju like, if you just bought a Mac, right. Uh, basically what I got my setup is it's a sonnet breakaway box. It costs about 250 bucks. And then I bought, uh, uh, uh, 10 ADTI Nvidia tight, uh, Nvidia 10 ADTI. And that was about 750 GPU prices are a little crazy cause the crypto stuff going on seven 50,

David Ariew (00:34:24):

I actually like good that's how much all my cards costs. So for awhile, they were driven up to like a thousand or 1200 or even more, but they've come back down recently, they're down to like maybe 800 or like dropping even lower now. So yeah,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:34:39):

That's good to know. Um, but as far as like, if you got that box, so this was a concern I had is like, okay, if I buy this set up, uh, and then I, and then I decide like, oh, I am going to go PC, am I going to be out money? And here's the thing is that you're really not because that card, that graphics card you get, you can plug into your PC so that I can use that in a PC. It can be a gateway drug, right? The breakaway box is not useless. Like if I have a, if like you were saying, you can go on set and it's a lot easier to go on set with a Mac book pro or something like that. Guess what you can plug in that EGP view box to your Mac book pro, and you can still use that, that breakout box too.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:35:25):

So, yeah, I think it's a, if you're good, if you think you're going to go that route anyways, and you just you're like, gimme, gimme another year with Mac, give me some time [inaudible] but you want that taste of octane. I think getting the AGB EGP, you set up with, uh, you know, the 10 ADTI card, which is, you know, the affordable standard card. A lot of people have. I think it's perfectly fine, like you, and you're not throwing money in a way either, because if you then are going to PC, guess what? You already got a card ready, ready to go. So I think if you were on the fence and want to give it a go, I think it's a perfect, uh, hardware set up perfect gateway, you know, bridge into the next level and, and doing some, uh, third-party rendering.

David Ariew (00:36:15):

Yeah. Two 50 is just not that expensive for a piece of hardware, you know, and if you've already got a high-end Mac or,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:36:23):

Or you're not worried, you're just setting money on fire anyway,

David Ariew (00:36:28):

Right now. But if you're looking to get into, like, if you're just starting fresh and you don't have a pro computer at all, I would S I would encourage you not to waste money, buying a Mac because they are so expensive and you're not going to get the return on those if you're looking to do the 3d work. Right,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:36:43):

Right, right. Um, all right. Uh, so what let's, let's go to the next question where to you draw inspiration for your three, you work, David

David Ariew (00:36:53):

Cool. Uh, Instagram and the MEO are my tos for sure. As well as the octane Facebook group. Um, and you know, there's just plenty of stuff out there that makes my head explode every single day. Um, I don't even bother, I mean, like there's also Pinterest and be hands on, like every site that I go on to art station, just like, you know, just so many

EJ Hassenfratz (00:37:15):

To look and see how inadequate you

David Ariew (00:37:17):

Are. Exactly. Yeah. It just makes you want to quit every single day, but then also it can be, it can either be inspiring or just, you know, soul crushing. Um, and yeah, seeing, seeing movies like the recent Marvel offerings is also super inspiring, but at the same time, they're created by thousands of artists. And that level of quality of imagery is just always going to be out of reach for us little guys, you know? So, um, that's why I get the most inspired by work of solo artists. Um, because that's something, you know, is achievable. It's possible by just you, if you work hard enough. And if you put in the practice, so artists like Raul marks, uh, Joseph Bashara, Cornelius, Dom, rich people, hood, [inaudible] Connie, Solomon Yon slid, echo like Jake Ferguson. Those are, those are the guys that are most inspiring to me.

David Ariew (00:38:04):

So if you haven't heard of those guys, like any of them, look, each of those guys up, they're all amazing. Um, and also recently I've been pretty inspired by video games too. After I put in a ton of time recently into God of war, um, seeing like the IC textures and volumetric lighting everywhere, and like snow that collects and reacts to the characters footsteps, and like find powdery dust, you know, all that's amazing, but it also just me off like really bad, because it's all rendered in real time taking me like 10 hours per frame to render or something, you know, but it's so optimized that it's cause it's so optimized and it's just baffling, but again, it's that thousands of artists syndrome. There's just so many people working on those video games to make them the way they are. So I try to put that out of my mind and not get upset when I see that kind of stuff, you know? Right. Just try to be inspired.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:38:54):

I want to piggyback on the real-time rendering. I think pigging back to that, that future of 3d question, man, you're getting there is going to be a time in the near future where we're going to have a conversation and be like, I'm going to be having a beer and we'll be like,

David Ariew (00:39:11):

Yeah, exactly.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:39:13):

Remember we had to do the rendering it crazy. It's true. Um, uh, so

David Ariew (00:39:19):

It's this interesting thing real quick, just in the side there renders coming out like blenders Eve or Eve or whatever the hell it is, I guess, EVs a Pokemon. Um, but this is a render that is fully real-time and there are more of these real-time renders out there, but then supposedly it also has an ability to switch to blenders. Um, what's their other like rent cycle cycles. Yeah. I think it can switch from the real time, like, so as you're doing your R and D like you make it look good in real time, which just takes that, um, you know, art direction, time down so much when you can just play with something in real time. Cause even octane is not real time. They're like geometry load times. And like you sit there and wait for it to refine for a while until like you can see it, you know, well enough to make decisions about certain things.

David Ariew (00:40:08):

But the idea is like you've got a real-time renderer that is really optimized and not fully realistic, kind of like element 3d is, you know, but just maybe a better, even more realistic version of element 3d. And then when you're ready to go to your final, it switches two cycles. And does the render that takes a lot longer because you'll get those extra bells and whistles. So that kind of thing, there's going to be a, I feel hybrid renders in the meantime, I think that's where octane is trying to go to with brigade, um, you know, create like a hybrid renderer and then for the final render, you know, spend more time to make it that much better.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:40:44):

That's interesting. I haven't known, heard about that, but that seems like the logical next step to bridge those two worlds. Um, so this is, I think a lot of our video game preferences have a lot to do with like our individual styles, because when you said like video game, video games, uh, uh, inspire you, I was going to say one of my inspirations, isn't like, uh, you know, the hyper realistic

David Ariew (00:41:13):

Or like yeah.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:41:14):

Like Nintendo, like, yeah. But as far as like for my artwork, I'm like all like very like playful colors, simple shapes, nothing too crazy

David Ariew (00:41:28):

Time we went to at SIGGRAPH you took me to like Japan land in and looking at all those vinyl toys, which you can out. And you're like, oh, I need all these so I can make characters like these. Yeah.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:41:41):

Yeah. As I'm like looking around my room and there's just so many vinyl toys, my wife is like, I swear, like you can't, you just need a room just for my vinyl toys. That's awesome. But yeah, I think, you know, bright, colorful, simple geometry, like I'm a sucker for the Memphis design stuff. Just very slick, clean, like animate is something that I, as a studio, I really love buck of course. Like, I love just their sense of color. Like just very bright, colorful stuff. Like I'm happy go lucky guy. I don't like dark moody kind of stuff. So I kind of stay away with, stay, stay away from that kind of stuff. I think,

David Ariew (00:42:18):

I think both extremes are awesome. Like I, I had a stint with a sketch and tune and I love using sketch. Uh, it's, it's really fun. I love that handcrafted cartoony kind of look to like cell shading. If I weren't doing photo trying to do photorealistic stuff, I never actually get to photo real, you know, but uh, if not that, then I would definitely be learning how to do cell animation. You know? So

EJ Hassenfratz (00:42:45):

As a new dragon ball, Z fighters game, it's called fighters. And it's just like, I haven't played it, but I've watched people played on Twitch and it's, it's like a 3d engine, but the Toon shading for it looks like the characters are ripped directly from the, the cartoon. It's, it's insane. Amazing.

David Ariew (00:43:08):

Real-time yeah.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:43:09):

The game studio that worked on it, I guess specializes in that kind of tune shading like 3d Toon shading is just phenomenal. That's awesome. But I can go down that path a lot further, but

David Ariew (00:43:24):

When you wake her windbreakers promise.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:43:27):

Yes, yes, yes. Precisely. Yeah. I have not played that yet either. So this is thing, like I haven't bought a switch because I got crap to do, man. I got work to do so. Like my it's funny because I'm like, I don't play video games, but like I have my iPad and I have like Twitch on it, you know, watch

David Ariew (00:43:46):

You're becoming one of those, like, you know, the, one of these dang kids from, from the next, from this generation where they just like, they don't play video games, they just watch other kids playing video games. So

EJ Hassenfratz (00:43:58):

I'm on the treadmill at the gym and I'm watching people balancing it out. Yeah.

David Ariew (00:44:06):

I don't get enough time to play video games either. And it's hilarious because playing that God of war game, I realized like, holy crap, this takes a lot of time and it can be exhausting, like a full day of playing games. I actually, this is the most pathetic thing ever, but I think I injured my neck by sitting in the same, this awkward position, playing God of war for too long

EJ Hassenfratz (00:44:26):

Will be downward dog. And you're

David Ariew (00:44:30):

Like all crumpled weird on the couch, like with my neck, like straining. And so, yeah, I've been having horrible neck pain for the past several days. I'm like good God injury playing video games like

EJ Hassenfratz (00:44:42):


David Ariew (00:44:43):

For, and it's not even a thumb injury. Yeah. Just don't have the endurance that I used to. Apparently we were disgrace. I mean, disgrace.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:44:52):

All right. So awesome. Uh, next question. What are some pro? This is a good one. What are some practical, practical ways practical, practical, it's even more practical than practical. Uh, what are some practical cheat? I can't just look at words. I'm like, what are some practical ways to grow your skills? Okay.

David Ariew (00:45:15):

I have video games, not playing video games. That's the worst way to grow your skills? Uh, yeah, mess up. You can, you can get skills at playing video games and that's it. And unfortunately that's useless in the real world unless you're going to be a pro gamer or something. I don't know. Or you're in

EJ Hassenfratz (00:45:31):

A terrible movie that Adam Sandler made called

David Ariew (00:45:33):

Pixels. There you go. Exactly. Um, or Tron or something. But, uh, I, I love watching tutorials, uh, and I have no shame about it. Uh, I never went to film school, so that's how I learn most of what I know other than through client work and experimentation, which are the other half of the coin for sure. Or maybe I'll S I'll say that it's a third kind of relationship. So one third tutorials, one third client work, and one third experimentation. That's my personal breakdown, but yeah, I can kick back and watch tutorials for fun all day. And sometimes I do, and they can be really inspiring and provide great ideas and I kind of keep a catalog of them in my head and then refer back to them when I hit a wall in my client work. Um, because I don't like reinventing the wheel, you know, I prefer to start on the head on the shoulders of giants, you know, so if I have some kind of very difficult task in 3d, I'll look up all the tutorials about what that thing is, you know, and try to get, see as far as other people have gotten and then do my own take on it past that if I can, you know, so I'm not putting all the groundwork and grinding and just bang my head against the wall in, and it's not good to blind yourself to the information that's already out there.

David Ariew (00:46:47):

So I love tutorials. Um, and I'm also unafraid of paying for really good quality tutorials because it's cutting to the quick, and I'm reinvesting in myself as an artist, which will pay itself back in spades. You know, so the one thing I would say to watch out for when you're, you know, with tutorials in general, though, is if you get in the habit of only watching the ones that are already within your comfort zone and just Downing them passively. And I do this a lot where I just sit back and kind of double time cinema 4d, or octane tutorials, um, and let them wash over me. And it helps for sure. I'll pick up little things here and there, but sometimes it's really important to, you know, slow down and like follow along or to dive in. If you want to dive into new software to really increase your skillset, uh, you really have to follow along and develop new muscle memory with the software, you know, alongside the tutorial.

David Ariew (00:47:38):

And that can be a slog it's like way more intimidating and overwhelming to jump into new software. Um, and if you can, I'd suggest like scheduling in work retreats as if you're booked for a job. You know, uh, this is maybe more of a freelance mindset. Cause if you're at a full-time job, you can't really do that, but you know, if you can book yourself, you know, and then go and spend a week or two, you know, even like hole up in an Airbnb with your laptop. So you can dedicate that time to learning a new piece of software, you'll be able to progress way more rapidly and get over that initial uncomfortable hurdle much more easily, uh, because you'll be immersed, you know?

EJ Hassenfratz (00:48:14):

Yeah. And we should do that. We should do like a Airbnb retreat and I would learn like a Houdini or something.

David Ariew (00:48:22):

I mean, that would take like, let's book it for a month or two, if it's going to be, you know? Yeah. Uh, it doesn't even have to be like software. It could be like a skill like rigging or design. And that's why I feel like people are gravitating towards the school of motion model because you can't have asked those courses or you're wasting a ton of money. Like they demand immersion to keep up with the other students and the course in general. And so that's like a great environment to make leaps and bounds. It's more like a true film school in that way where you're immersed. And that's, I think the key to learning something new

EJ Hassenfratz (00:48:55):

Right, and, and investing in yourself is one of the best investments you can possibly make. And the guy took the school of motion animation bootcamp, because I was like, I suck at animation. So what am I going to do about that? There's no tutorials on the internet about animation, there's little nuggets of information here or there, but for, for a subject like that, that most students go to college for. And over the span of four years, like through practice, they learn animation. Like we don't got that time. Like we're, we're doing work, we're running our own businesses and stuff like that. Like, we, we need another outlet. So, uh, and I think that's new.

David Ariew (00:49:37):

Some people might skip, starts to skip the film school and invest like H convinced their parents to spend, you know, the money on them for three or four years learning, which would be awesome. I'd be so jealous of that kind of person,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:49:50):

Because I think a lot of like a four year school is like, I can't remember a thing from school. Like, I mean, it was fun. It was a fun experience, but I think that's all it is. It's an experience. You meet other people, you learn different subjects that you had no clue what you were interested in. You know, like I took Japanese and I was like, Hey, I think I like, you know, that culture. So yeah, I think it's, I think it's, and just, I just think today, like I went, I graduated college 14 years ago and it was a lot cheaper then than it is now. And I didn't go to like my dad, he was an art director and he's like, don't go to like the art Institute because you're going to pay a crap ton of money and you're, you can learn all this stuff on your own. So I think that's why you're seeing a lot more people self-taught and because the, the, the information is just out there, like educate yourself. I mean, it's going to cost money, but it's like, if you want to pay a hundred bucks for a bootcamp on school motion and think that's an expensive versus like there's some like $30,000 a semester at these art

David Ariew (00:51:05):

Schools, which is just insane.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:51:07):

Yeah. And yeah, I mean, it's, it's, you're putting the onus on yourself though to, to, to put in the work and to dedicate yourself. So if you're not, if you're not a very self-motivating

David Ariew (00:51:16):

Person, you're good at kicking your own.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:51:18):

Exactly. Which is totally fine. Like then yes, go to go to a school where it's much more structured and, and you have other people holding you accountable, accountable other than yourself. Um, but yeah, I think where I started really like fit, like, you know, the, the Neo I know Kung Fu moment is when I started stepping back from, because, you know, I just started watching tutorials left and right. Just kind of flailing around like, oh, it looks cool. I'm gonna watch that. That looks

David Ariew (00:51:48):


EJ Hassenfratz (00:51:51):

Eventually, if you're saving everything that you see cool on the internet, you're going to run out of hard drive space. And just like, your brain is going to run out of Ram. You know? So yeah, it was just, you know, one out, one ear out the other

David Ariew (00:52:03):

And the filter, you have to learn how to filter good information. And a lot of the time, the best information is the paid stuff. And rather than watching a bunch of mediocre tutorials on YouTube, uh, where you're not really gonna grow much, you know, pay for something that is higher quality, and we'll get you the more direct information to make your growth a lot faster. Uh, and then this also, this topic makes me think of something else that I said on the bird graph podcasts like a few weeks ago, um, is that, you know, maybe collaborate with somebody like this is something I need to do more, not just for a work collaboration, but like, if it's a project that's actually a, you know, passion project and you work with someone that's better than you at something, uh, you can teach each other something. And you can also like recreate that atmosphere in college to some degree, like what I assume film school would be like, which is collaborating with other people and also like holding each other accountable that's the big thing is like, if you just set out to do a passion project solo, a lot of the time, you know, it's easy to lose motivation and put it way on the back burner because it's not essential.

David Ariew (00:53:11):

You know, we're all trying to make money and this and that. But if you have something where the two of you are both in it together, or several of you are in it together to make something really awesome, you know, then that team environment, even if it's a free passion project could be really good to inspire to spur growth.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:53:30):

Yeah, I think, yeah. Collaboration. Uh, and, and I think the one thing that's huge today is that you're surrounded. You have such, you have the most access to the top talent in any field now more than ever, like you want to ask people how he did something, go tweet him. He's probably going to ask you did that

David Ariew (00:53:49):

On my most recent project. Right.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:53:52):

It's just, it's amazing. Like all of your, it's almost like, you know, Dolly or something like, Hey Dolly, uh, how did I do that one painting? And he's like, well, you know, it's like that. I mean, not quite like that, like, uh, but you know what I mean? Like you get some of the top talent in our industry and you can, you have access as much access as people want to give

David Ariew (00:54:14):

Motion. Graphics. Community is so open and into sharing with each other and helping everyone else, you know, all of us get better together. Uh, and that's like the whole tutorial atmosphere. Um, so yeah, you can just ask people and the vast majority of them will be open to helping you. Um, there are some people that are a lot more closed off about their information, but that's becoming more few and far between. Oh,

EJ Hassenfratz (00:54:37):

Right. Cause I, I think the knowledge is it's that you can learn a piece of software. You're just sharing a technique, but it's you, can't, it's hard to learn like creativity. Like that's something you develop on your own through your experiences and you can't teach that. And that's, that's the, the ideas are the thing you can't buy. Right?

David Ariew (00:54:59):

The level of taste, uh, and like knowledge of composition, like all, all of the fundamentals are really the hardest things to come by. And that's why you don't need to be guarded in your information about techniques because they're just techniques. Anybody can like a set of 10 people could watch the same tutorial and create something at vastly different, you know, skill levels are different, you know, looks entirely. Uh, and that depends a lot on just your experience level and your taste, you know?

EJ Hassenfratz (00:55:30):

Yeah. Learning, learning the fundamentals was the biggest thing for me, like through you, like knowing you I've really paid a lot more attention to just the lighting and it's something that like was such an afterthought for. So, so long before D and just in 3d in general. And, you know, that was just a huge thing for me, because at that point it's like, you, you know, where the focus should be. So you're not like just farting around like testing things. You actually have some, some knowledge and intuition as to where light should go. And you know what, like thinking about things more, um, being more self-aware of like, what do I want the scene to look like? And not just kinda not knowing what the heck you're doing and fill up a flailing around. Um, and the nice thing is, is that, you know, once you learn fundamentals, like color theory and animation in, in lighting and design and stuff like that, like if cinema 4d falls off the face of the planet tomorrow, you still got all the skills.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:56:33):

Yeah. So it's, that's what I've re as my career's progressed. I've cause I was one of those people that would, I would follow the shiny object, you know, and found out, you know, what, I'm not progressing as I want to. Um, and what really, when things started really clicking for me is when I started doing the fundamentals. And the thing is, is that the fundamentals are really hard and you're going to be starting with fundamentals throughout your entire career. It's not something you can learn over eight weeks or anything like that. So, um, yeah, and just, just doing, doing the work. And one of the things that helped me a lot was like project based stuff. So in what that it's like the five-second projects on grayscale gorilla. And I think that's a really good thing is where you hone your focus on a specific creative challenge.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:57:22):

And then you figure out what you need to learn and not just learn this for no reason whatsoever, just because it looks cool. It's like learning what the purpose is, is been a big thing for me. Um, and then just a practical way to grow a skill is to do the work. Uh, one of the, one of the analogies I make is you don't learn how to play guitar by watching the dude play guitar. Right? You gotta, you gotta get, pick up your guitar and string and pluck those strings. So you don't learn by just watching a tutorials. You gotta, you gotta learn by doing.

David Ariew (00:57:57):

Yeah. Yeah. And the last real quick thing I would say is like, when you're, when you're watching back to that filtering tutorials thing, if you find tutorials that go above and beyond to actually teach the theory behind things like, uh, Rafael Rao is a really good example of that, where he doesn't just teach, like, this is how to make this look. He teaches all the theory behind it. Like, this is what's happening with, you know, the rays that are entering this thing to create subsurface scattering. And this is why it's turning blue on this side and yellow on this side. So it's like when you learn the reasons behind things, which that's going back to the fundamentals kind of thing that like, why something is the way it is or why is this image better than this, that kind of stuff. Yeah. That's the, no, that's the golden knowledge that I'm always searching for.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:58:41):

And I think it's a total mindset thing too, because, uh, I, I think with the day and age we live in, everyone just wants this, you know, wants to learn this stuff right away and just, oh, how do I do that cool thing? And I'm going to do it for this client or put it on my Instagram channel, all that, all that stuff. And it's like, man, are you, do you really like doing this? Or do you just like making clothes, like copying it and showing them like he going to be around in five years in this industry. So I think it's all the type of mindset that you're in. And I think when you start out, of course, you're going to be driven to like, I want to do this really cool complex thing. But, uh, and it took me years to kind of step back and realize that, you know what, I'm doing things all wrong.

EJ Hassenfratz (00:59:28):

I don't have a good foundation. Um, so yeah. Cool. Another thing I think for me, as far as like, just growing my skills was this kind of dates back all the way to like art school in like a drawing class. I would, you can, I still have them. I have like sketchbooks full of unfinished drawings. I would not finish anything. Like I'd get in. I'm like this sucks. I'm going to move on to the next thing. And I think, uh, I think finishing is so important, like going through the entire process, like if I, if I was drawing a figure per se, and I just got like the torso done and I'm like, am I going to go on to the next thing? And then just do the torso again, guess what? I'm not learning how to draw all the other parts of the figure. So I'm like doing myself a disservice. So, um, definitely finishing is very important. Um, and then,

David Ariew (01:00:26):

Oh, that's the people theories, you know, sit down and make something. Even if it's crappy, at least you finished it and you've got the momentum going, you continue that momentum. And then at some point you'll make something good. You know? So even if it's, yeah, just finishing is, is super important. That's a really good point.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:00:43):

The thing people said in the podcast for the cinema 4d base camp, that was just so like prolific was, uh, you know, the everyday thing is like, you know, what, if it sucks, they, whatever tomorrow is another chance to, you know, get it over again. So I think that mindset is so, uh, like so wise, you know, like, uh, it sucks today, whatever tomorrow's another day I'll get it right. You're you're gonna always going to have tomorrow. So, um, another thing that I think is, is kind of along the same wavelength as that is getting, having perfection, getting in the way of progress. And like once you get something to a certain point, like you're kind of, there's a, you know, it takes like 20% of effort to get to that 80% of the result and like learning a new skill or something like that. And then pass that initial 80%, your returns decrease as like the work and effort and time goes up. So that was always a thing for me where you just kind of going down the rabbit hole and it's like, am I really is I'm really gaining something.

David Ariew (01:01:45):

I feel like it depends like some people like Cornelius, Don rich, like he spends like two months creating a single image. Right. But it's the best image, right? So it depends on what you're going for. Like some things like if you're doing a full animated CG music video, you can't afford to be that much of a perfectionist. You have to, you know, try to achieve a similar, like high quality level throughout. But that means that you can't spend that time on every single shot and making it ultra perfect. But it just depends what you're going for. Like that could be a really great learning exercise is how I'm going to, am I going to plus this in every way imaginable? You know, how am I going to add more and more and more detail? You know, that could be a really good thing.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:02:26):

That's like a special case because dudes like fricking master. So he's, he's got it. He's already got that 80%, right.

David Ariew (01:02:33):

You're saying don't be overly, don't be overly ambitious. Cause it could make you overwhelmed and like just spiral into yeah. Project

EJ Hassenfratz (01:02:41):

3d. Like don't go down the rabbit hole trying

David Ariew (01:02:44):

To do that immediately. I'm just saying in the, in the, if that's your end goal, like if you want to create, you know, beautiful single images that are just a cut above, you know, then, then it is okay.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:02:56):

2% is, is huge. Yeah. Um, all right, so let's go on to the other renders set up questions. So we talked about my Mac and my, my very old Mac five-year-old Mac and my equal to you. Let's talk about what your massive behemoth of a setup is for, uh, for your PC and, and just for octane, right? You have this, this giant. Yeah.

David Ariew (01:03:20):

Everyone asks this, I've got like this canned response. That's long now, but it's short version is in general, I've got nine GPU's across three machines. So I've got six, 10 ADTs and 3, 9 80 GIS. Uh, and it's, it's not even enough. I wish I had like, way more than that.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:03:39):

It's like, if you have a garage, you're going to fill every inch of that space with crap because you have that space. It's like that, you know, it's the law where if there's space, you're going to fill it with something. Yeah, that's true. You're going to take advantage. You're going to really push it and take advantage of all those cars.

David Ariew (01:03:55):

It's absolutely true. And I mean, that's why I switched. At one point I switched from direct lighting to only doing path tracing because path tracing does look a lot better. And, but that costs more render times. And then I'm just like, as you go, you get more and more anal, about little bits of noise. And you're like, I can't take this noise. I need it to be 5 million samples. You know,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:04:17):

You ended up that needs to be three times less newsy.

David Ariew (01:04:23):

Oh, that's awesome. Yeah. Um, but yeah, to take your metaphor about the garage, literally I'm, I'm set up, my set up right now is the middle of the living room. Cause I live in San Diego and the, you know, we found a place which we lucked out. It's like right on the beach.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:04:41):

I'm going to come visit you soon.

David Ariew (01:04:43):

Yeah. Um, well you did, you visited me if I

EJ Hassenfratz (01:04:45):

Need to visit again very soon. Oh, that'd

David Ariew (01:04:47):

Be awesome. Yeah. Uh, anyway, so I'm in the middle of the living room and that can get pretty tiring for having a work-life balance. And when, you know, there's all the distraction of your family watching TV right behind you, or you're like, I'm on a client call, like on a broadcast get out

EJ Hassenfratz (01:05:02):

Of here watching Netflix behind

David Ariew (01:05:04):

Me. Yeah. Um, so thankfully we were almost done with our garage and we've got it wired up with, I've got more electricity than hopefully I'll ever need. So like right now, if I plug into all the same circuit, I blow a fuse immediately. So I have to like, I've got this Jerry rigged, like extension cord going to the kitchen so I can render stuff and it gets really hot, like all sorts of issues, but uh, yeah, we've got, got it wired so that I've got like 60 amps to myself, like three 20 amp circuits. So that's going to be more than enough because right now I'm on like that blowing the fuse situation is a single 15 amp circuit, you know, so yeah. That's going to be really cool anyway, that's an aside. But my, um, the other stuff about my setup is, uh, my favorite case that I've built in, I've built in three cases so far.

David Ariew (01:05:55):

Uh, but my favorite one is the air seven 40, which is a air case. And it looks like this big cube and it is perfect for stacking for, uh, 10 ADTs, which is what I've got. Um, and it's all just air cool, but it makes it really easy to access. It's like the easiest case I've ever built in and it's not more expensive than the other ones. Uh, and it's got a nice door in the front. Like most cases you have to like unscrew the front panel, like that's a hassle. So this is like a glass door that you just open up, which is super nice. And then all of the front, all the, you know, motherboard and stuff in the front is like very clean Lee cable managed because all the cables go in the back half of this cube. Um, so like the power supply and all the cables go in there and that can be an ugly mess and not interrupt the air flow that you've designed. Um, so yeah. Uh, but as far as the individual, do you want me to go into the individual, like setups, like the smallest [inaudible] it's got, you know, just a four core CPU. [inaudible] 37 70, it's got, you know, um, the seven 50 watt power supply and it's got an Antech 900 case. Um, so that's my, that's my gimpy list of the computers. Uh, and then if you were going to,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:07:10):

And just like start and not like, what was that one that you just mentioned, your like your first PC setup and that

David Ariew (01:07:17):

Okay. So I swapped out, like I used to have a nine, a nine 60 and a seven ADTI and those I've since retired. I also retired in nine 80. So there've been several cards that I've, that have like burned out. Cause like that's kind of a reality of like using octane to sometimes or constantly rendering on these cards. They're not necessarily designed for rendering, they're designed for gaming. So at some point you do start to burn them out. I haven't seen that happen as much with the nine 80 TIS or 10 ADT eyes. Those flagship models are a lot more stable, but I have seen it happen with like the nine 80, the seven 60, um, that kind of stuff. Is there, um,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:07:52):

Is it just a, you know, a, a, a reality of those cards that is there, is there any like preventative measures you can take to like, try to get the most out of your

David Ariew (01:08:01):

Cards? Prob maybe water cooling, but that's like over my head that keeps the temperature down. Like the temperature on my cards is typically like around 80 or 84 degrees Celsius or whatever it is, you know, so really, really hot, you know, and they're meant to run like that, but maybe not for such an extended time because I've got them running for weeks and weeks on end. And that does up the electricity bill. Like at first, like my friend was like, oh, you're gonna cost yourself a lot of electricity. I'm like, yeah, whatever. That's, he's just penny-pinching but it's actually true. Like my electricity bill, when I do a full month of like intense rendering with my little render farm, I've got going, we'll jump up to like 400 bucks a month. Holy crap. From what? Yeah. From like a hundred, it's pretty crazy. So yeah, it can cost a lot of money that way, but yeah, you can send in cards that burn out if they're under warranty still, which I think it's usually like two years or so.

David Ariew (01:08:51):

Uh, you can send them in with an RMA and you'll get a replacement card. So I've done that several times. So that's definitely a fail safe a lot of the time. And by the time that you're like burning them out anyway, like usually you'll be onto the next, you know, set of cards anyway. Like the ones that have burned out, I don't want to use any way cause they're kind of crappy, you know, at this point. So that was your first setup. First set up is that one with 2, 9 80 TIS second one, the medium one has one [inaudible] and ti eyes and it's got a six core I 7 58, 20 CPU. I just go for relatively cheap. [inaudible] like I could go [inaudible] and get like an eight core, but that's not where I'm putting my render power. You know, it, it would be good for simulations. Like if I start getting into Houdini, I would maybe want to build a separate Houdini system.

David Ariew (01:09:42):

That's more customized to the CPU with like one of those 16 core thread rippers to do Sims on. So that's the one place where I'm hurting sometimes is when I'm doing Sims, but I don't do a ton of really heavy Sims yet. So I'm not really needing that a ton. So it's fine to just have a four core or six core [inaudible] CPU and like skimp on that versus the GPU's, which are really the most important when you're doing GPU rendering. Um, and I've got in that one, a 13, 1300 watt G2 power supply, which is 1300 is about, it's like exactly what you need for four GPU's. Uh, you don't need a 1600 watt or 1500 watt power supply. Uh, and then I've got 64 gigs of DDR, four Ram in that one, I've got an X 99 deluxe motherboard, you know, like your standard 500 gigs as SD four terabyte, H D D you know, and, uh, that one has a half X case, which was my favorite case up until I built with the Corsair air seven 40.

David Ariew (01:10:42):

Um, and so then the third setup, the big one, uh, Chelsea named it fluffy, it's got the rainbow led fans in the front that I it's, I've got some bling in there cause it's like, if you can't adopt, like if you don't have a Mac anymore and it's not nicely designed, the least you can do is just go the PC gamer route and put like super rave lights in there. Right. It's, it's, it's fun. Um, so little disco party all the time and it's pretty, it's kind of pretty to look at like the rainbow lights spinning and you can change the, you know, whatever, you know, thing it's doing. Um, but the big one has 4, 10 84, 10 80 TIS, uh, 64 gigs of DDR for Ram though. I could upgrade that to 1 28, but that's more of an after effects thing, which I'm not using as much as I used to, you know, so I don't necessarily need to do that, but it's there I've cause I've got 16 gig DIMMs in that one, dim just as like the individual stick of Ram, you know, so there's eight slots in there.

David Ariew (01:11:40):

So I could do, you know, 16 times eight, which is 1 28. Um, and I've got a six core I 7 68, 50 K CPU, which is the best CPU out of all of them slightly. Um, and then the cooler on that one, I've got this knocked to a dual tower CPU cooler. There's like two versions of the knock to, uh, design one that's super beefy and covers the Ram. And that's what I have on my middle machine. And that gets really annoying for, if you need to swap out the Ram or do something there, cause then you have to pull this thing off first. So this is a much more minimal design. Um, so if you look, you're looking for this lookup, not to a dual tower CPU cooler because it's much smaller profile and doesn't get in the way of the Ram. Um, and then I've got an, the motherboards and ASIS Rog rampage, five edition, 10 motherboard, which is a mouthful, but, um, that one's got room for four cards and I really like it and it's been super stable and also has pretty lights on it.

David Ariew (01:12:40):

And then again, the 1300 watt power supply, that one, I've got a one terabyte SSD, a six terabyte hard drive. And then the RGB fans, I think I've got like seven or eight fans total, let's see three front RGB led fans with Coursera link two bottom fans, one top and one on the back. So I've designed it so that the air flows front to back and bottom to top. So like you want to try to, when you're building like look at the direction that the fans are going make and make sure that the air is going in one consistent direction, uh, or to, you know, bottom to top is good too, because that blows air through all the cards and for the cards, the actual cards themselves, there are two common models of graphics card there's ones that are quote unquote overclocked that have like two or three fans in the bottom. Have you seen those?

EJ Hassenfratz (01:13:31):

I remember when I was looking for a G for the EGP, and this is actually a good question that for, for people that are looking for the GPU boxes and which car to get is because I think it was you who is telling me that those three fan cards are actually not the best for certain EG, uh, G E GPU boxes because of the way the air flow goes. And so I got the one that's the a founder's edition that

David Ariew (01:13:56):

Just, yeah,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:13:59):

That just shoots the, uh, the air out the back,

David Ariew (01:14:02):

Out the back. Exactly. So that's, that's really important. Uh, so there's the founder's edition, which is the original Nvidia, which is discontinued, right. Well developers, because Nvidia can't keep up with the demand for all the cards in the world. They just design the cards. There are these other manufacturer third-party manufacturers, which will then take it and add something and, you know, basically build the cards and sell them. Um, so yeah, uh, you want the ones that, that don't say overclocks, cause those have fans that are on the bottom and if you stack those like say you've got four together, the fans and I've had this happen, the fans can actually grind on the neighboring card and I'll like, turn on the computer. And I hear like, you know, I was like, oh God. Yeah. Well, it's also like you smell metal burning. I've I've like probably like screwed some stuff up real bad before by doing that.

David Ariew (01:14:53):

So, um, it's good if you've just got one GPU and you're a gamer and you have just one graphics card in your case, but because it is over clocked, it will technically go faster and stay cooler. But not if they're stacked, because if they're stacked, that means with the fans on the bottom, that they're blowing hot air onto the card right below it and potentially grinding, like I just said, so that's not a good cooling situation. The founders or blower blower design is what your, you want to look for. Just have a single fan and they spit air out the back. So that's in general what you want. And the other funny thing is with those multiple brands when I was building a fluffy, um, I know I'm going to say that seriously, um, fluffy, um, I had to get multiple brands because there's sometimes a limit on the number that you can buy at once from a single manufacturer, unless you like.

David Ariew (01:15:45):

Yeah. At the time, maybe it was crypto stuff. Uh, and so maybe I could have like packed it by entering in a new username and then getting an, you know, another two from that same brands, but I've got like four or five different brands of cards and they're all [inaudible], they all work well, it's just not quite as pretty. So if you can, you know, if you're like super into designing a pretty machine, then try to get all the same manufacturer. I feel like the VGA ones are the prettiest cause of they've got these purple lights, it's purple lights. It makes fluffy, fluffy, it makes fluffy, fluffy, but yeah, that's about all I got on all that stuff. And then for laptops, you know, I've got this kind of crappy one, it's like an ASIS frog with a nine 80 M, which at the time was 1600 bucks. Um, but they it's, I think it's discontinued there's, there's a newer ASIS Rog, but I think the best, you know, PC laptop seems to be like the razor ones, the program dudes have, but those are really, that gets really expensive. Laptops are really expensive and they're never going to be, you know, quite as high powered as just having a tower, you know,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:16:49):

And those guys, they seem to be going through a razor, like every other, like every year, because one of the, one of the, I don't know if it was a matter of Dave, but I think they just like go razor crept out again. Yeah. So there's that, um, you should, do you have like all this write-up on your website because if you don't, you definitely should. So you can then if I want to ask a question and be like, bam, here's everything.

David Ariew (01:17:10):

I just, I have it like, you know, in a Google doc that I just send to people when they ask it. But yeah, I guess I don't know where I would put that website and we can just link to that. I know, but like what one page,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:17:22):

Uh, you have that resources section don't you just

David Ariew (01:17:28):


EJ Hassenfratz (01:17:29):

Information there,

David Ariew (01:17:29):

Man. I know, I know. Let's go

EJ Hassenfratz (01:17:32):

To the rapid fire round, getting the N given the end here so quick, uh, quick, uh, rapid responses to the next three or yeah, next, uh, next four questions actually. Uh, how long did it take you to render walk away space.

David Ariew (01:17:49):

Good question. Um, I'm not sure because I rendered it. I rendered it along the way over the course of four months. If I were to guess how long it would've taken with my setup at the time to render the whole piece from start to finish, I'd say two weeks, but that's ignoring the fact that most shots were rendered several times because you know, you wake up in the morning and something's glitched out, or there's some issue that you don't like with the lighting or something. Bug is not quite there. So most shots were rendered, you know, several times. And there were also several shots I rendered that I never used. So I'm not sure probably maybe you could expand to like three call it three or four weeks total of render time. But in general, yes. Straight render time in general, I would, you know, my process even now is like just render all the time throughout a project.

David Ariew (01:18:36):

You know, if you've got something designed and lit and looking nice, set it to render, you know, and that's why I enjoy having multiple computers because I can design in the context of that machine, set that machine rendering and then move on to my next workstation and design something there and set that rendering there versus the net rendering mentality, which is where you tie all of your computers together for like a more traditional render farm type of mindset, where like you have a shot and you, you know, it's going to be really fast cause all your computers are turning on it at once, but the problem is you can't keep working unless you've got another machine. Like maybe you go work on your laptop when you sit at rendering, but I prefer to just not tie them together and not bother with net rendering because of that,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:19:19):

Raising the thing kind of segmented there

David Ariew (01:19:23):

As compartmentalized. Yeah. Um, but yeah, in general, um, it took an average of five or 10 minutes per frame on the direct lighting Colonel, uh, on my best machine at the time, which had 3, 9 80 TIS and a seven ADTI. And I also had another machine with a nine 80 and seven 60. I mean, these are the same machines. I've just swapped out the cards and internal components at this point, you know? Um, so yeah, less, I had way less firepower, but it took only around five to 10 minutes per frame, which is doable, you know, but since then, I, again, like I said earlier, I've started rendering everything in path tracing because it does look way better on most scenes. Uh, and now I've done that because I have the fire firepower to make it happen. Uh, but on this project I'm doing right now though, which is another overly ambitious, you know, three minutes CG music video, it's taking like 10 to 15 minutes per frame on four 10.

David Ariew (01:20:15):

DTIs like, yeah, because everything is made out of ice with subsurface scattering and tons of lights bouncing around everywhere. So, you know, there's always going to be a project that kicks your. Like, you know, how they say nothing can, uh, play crisis on full settings, you know, it's just like that, you know? Awesome. So, all right, next question is what are some of the changes to the default settings that you change in some of the four D um, I love changing the layout depending on what tools I'm using, but the standard layout takes, uh, my standard layout takes octane into account and has the live viewer docs below the viewport. So I can see both of them in a wide aspect ratio, one above the other. And that works great for me because most of my projects are animations where I'm either rendering 16, nine, or I'm rendering 2, 3, 5, or two, four.

David Ariew (01:21:07):

Oh, you know, um, like 1920 by 800 is an aspect ratio. I often do if I'm given, if I'm given full creative control, that's usually what I go for, which is, uh, you know, cinema scope type deal. Um, if I'm doing Instagram render or something like that, if it's square, you know, then I, it makes sense to dock the live viewer to the right of my viewport and try to make them both square. Um, so yeah, but in general, exactly. Um, in general though, I create buttons for things. I use a ton like octane objects or X particles or real flow emitters and modifiers and things like that. And then save as default layout. I also remap a ton of the shortcut keys and try to favor my left hand. So I'm not constantly reaching across the keyboard, which slow will slow you down over time.

David Ariew (01:21:53):

Uh, for instance, I've got a set to model mode, a S set to point mode D set to edges and F set to polygon. So I can just quickly toggle between those four different, uh, types of, you know, whatever you call those modes. Right? Yeah. That makes sense. That that kills extrude though, which is, I think D by default. So I set that to Z, uh, and inner extrude to shift Z. So those are all easy shortcuts to reach for this came from like my premiere obsession with remapping the keys. Cause I want it to be fast to editing and to do that, you have to kind of like remap all the shortcut keys to just use your left hand. So those are all easy keys to reach. Um, but yeah, once I'm happy with my shortcut keys and default layout, I save those files to my Dropbox.

David Ariew (01:22:36):

So anytime I'm rebuilding a machine or working somewhere else on a fresh install, I can just pull those files in and everything is like customed. How I like it. That's super smart. And you can access. I mean, like the layout files are really easy to save. It's just, there's a dialogue right there for saving your layout file. But the shortcut table file is a little harder to access. It's called shortcut table dot Rez. Um, and you have to go into [inaudible], uh, press folder, which you access through the preferences menu inside C 4d. Cause you know, this is like one of those buried fours. Oh yeah. The little button down there. And I'm sure people are like familiar with doing this for like installing grayscale, gorilla plugins, you know, so there's that button. And then inside there there's a press folder. And inside there there's a shortcut table, shortcut table dot Rez file. So that's going to have all your shortcut keys. So just copy that file and paste it in Dropbox. And when you do a fresh install and see 4d, just overwrite that, you know, and all your shortcuts will be there automatically,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:23:34):

As far as, uh, things I do, I add a few, but like as far as like native stuff, like not octane, all that stuff. Uh, I had, uh, a few buttons to the UI that I use a lot. One is like the access center kind of stuff. So access centric to parent-child that one I use a ton is reset PSR. So I dock with, to my layout. Um, another thing I like to do, uh, that I've been doing a lot more lately is changing some of the default settings on some of like, you know, things like primitives. So like change a plane object instead of being 20 by 20, make it one by one or something like that. So when you do that, you can actually, when you have your primitive, uh, creating an object and just go to the edit menu and the attribute manager and just go to set as default and there will save that, uh, default or that new, uh, way out or, or attributes that you changed as the default setting. So next time you create a plane object, it's one by one instead of 20 by 20. So just like time-savings stuff like that, I've found very useful. All right. Uh, what features let's just do what feature what's the biggest feature you'd love to see in cinema 4d that's currently not there.

David Ariew (01:24:47):

Um, well, okay. So I want them to stop focusing their energy on render engines like pro render. Uh, they're already, like they're already so many amazing options out there for third-party render engines and, you know, octane for being free and stuff. There's no reason not to use that. Like they they're putting, they're spending a lot of their bandwidth on those things. I haven't

EJ Hassenfratz (01:25:06):

Seen teams for octane working on just that.

David Ariew (01:25:09):

Exactly. Yeah. I mean, that's kind of the hard thing to balance is like, you know, w where do you put your energy? Because you could put it into a cloth engine, but marvelous designers still are always going to be better because that's a standalone app just meant to do that one thing. So there's always going to be these, you know, third-party apps that are going to crush it at some specific thing. But I think the goal for C 4d is make it in general user-friendly and make you able to do enough that it's really powerful in all these different ways, especially like the MoGraph tools. Like those are clear, like yeah, always make those better because that's why people really gravitate towards it. The ease of use, and the fact that it's just a hub, you know, cinema 4d can do so many things. It's this Swiss army knife. So instead I want them to just design more features like for annoyed fracture, things that are Houdini, like, but more user-friendly so better simulation tools, you know, I mean, the obvious one that people talk about is like an updated UVM system, everyone harps on that kind of thing, you know? Uh, and then after using stuff like after using fusion 360, uh, I wish [inaudible] parametric modeling tools were better because fusion 360 is like insanely easy to use, and it's just clearly a better and faster way to work than pulling an or sub D modeling.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:26:23):

Gotcha. Yeah. I think that's, that's some, I think you touched on a lot of this stuff. I was going to say like making, sorry, I took

David Ariew (01:26:29):

All your answers.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:26:30):

That's okay. Yeah. The UV tools, I think, uh, I feel like, you know, um, I, I F I feel like I do what a lot of people do is they go through all their projection mapping, things like cubic or whatever, and it's like, it kind of works. Sure. We'll do that. And it's just, I've been doing it the wrong way for so long. And just body paint is just, it's just so cumbersome and just nothing makes sense. And it's just one of those apps that it's just one of those features that because of principle for principle, I'm not going to learn it because it's so awful. Like, so awfully designed,

David Ariew (01:27:08):

They don't even need to update body paint. They just need to make something that does UVS, like nicely, because everybody's going to go to like substance painter anyway, you know?

EJ Hassenfratz (01:27:17):

Yeah. Um, one, one special thing that you didn't mesh mentioned would be just to like, improve, sketch and tune and make it faster, outline stuff like that.

David Ariew (01:27:27):

Yeah. Maybe like they could make a GPU version of sketching too. That'd be sweet.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:27:31):

That'd be phenomenal. Uh, all right. What are other 3d apps that w w w a that you'd like to learn? So you mentioned all the apps. So, uh, some that are listed zebras, 3d coat fusion, 360 Houdini. If you could pick one of those, which would, would Houdini on

David Ariew (01:27:49):

Don't make me cheap. I mean, yeah. If I could, if I could magic something into my brain, obviously it would be Houdini because it's the hardest and most powerful by far.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:27:58):

I, I would find if I could just sit down, do the Neo, I know Kung Fu I would be, I know who Dan is.

David Ariew (01:28:03):

I just watched the matrix like yesterday, or like the other day, because Cyrus had never seen it. So that was pretty fun rewatching. It,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:28:10):

He was like, show me. He was

David Ariew (01:28:12):

Like, it's just, okay. Um, cause he's like used to these Marvel movies now I'm like, Ooh, jerk. This was like the coolest movie that you could possibly imagine when you're a kid and it still holds up.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:28:22):

So talking about that, and this could be like, we can go down a rabbit hole of this, but we want, I'm just, I just want to kind of mention that like the visuals for stuff now, like our eyes are trained. Like everything looks so amazing and VFX that if you even watch like some of the first Marvel movies, like the first iron man, I was watching the first, the original, like the first. Okay. And I'm like, I remember this being so cool in, man. It doesn't not as good. Yeah. It doesn't look as cool anymore because it is

David Ariew (01:28:55):

It really weird. It's weird how we have our memory, like puts in those details

EJ Hassenfratz (01:29:01):

At the time. And now that's like, child's play

David Ariew (01:29:04):

Considered, like, compared to like Dr. Strange. Yeah. Yeah. It's crazy. I mean, yeah. It's like inception. Holy, we just watched that the other day too. It's like, holy crap. This is, you know, it w when it came out, it was like, everyone was obsessed with that city bending shot, you know? And then you get something like Dr. Strange to just poops all over it. It's like, we'll take inception and like, you know, yeah. Just take it to 10 next levels.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:29:30):

You know, what's funny is, you know, the new Han solo movie came out and Washington was awesome. Uh, but they had like on TBS or whatever, they had like the star wars marathon. So they had like the original trilogy, which I think if you watch that and just the, like the models and stuff like that, and this even goes to, uh, uh, Lord of the rings where they're using a lot of like, models, like miniatures and stuff like that stuff is, I feel like it's like timeless. Like I love the, whenever I'm with David Bowie. I don't know if you've ever seen that movie that Jim had go, go watch that. It's awesome. But it's all like miniatures and, you know, little Muppets, you know, the little body suits people are in Chewbacca and stuff like that. Um, like doing things the practical way, like the original star wars story that still holds up. Like, you don't look at things like that looks fake. It's not fake because it's an actual object.

David Ariew (01:30:23):

It's an actual, yeah. It just looks different. Like a never-ending story might be a good example of like, this is a true,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:30:31):

Yeah, totally riding a robotic flying dog thing. Exactly.

David Ariew (01:30:37):

And it looks like I wrote my robotic fine dog, but,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:30:40):

Um, we grew up in like Chucky cheese where they had those scary, creepy robot things, which I love, but I look at them now. I'm like, God, that would've scared the crap, I guess.

David Ariew (01:30:50):

Yeah. And then to play off of that with like video games, like, you know, Cyrus has been going back through like my collection of video games to some, to a large degree. And like, you don't feel like video games are advancing that much. Right. In terms of their graphics. Cause at some point you're like, you get to X-Box 360 a year or whatever. And you're like, oh, this is just, this is great. Like if it can't get that much better, it's a diminishing return. It's like 4k to 80 20, that kind of thing. Yeah. It's like jumping from four K to eight K like, you know, it's not, it's not that big a difference, but then after playing like God of war or one of these games that just came out recently and just going back a few years, you're like, oh, that's how it looks. Oh. Like the marble, there is a lot of room to, yeah. There's a lot of room to go.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:31:34):

All those little details that are missing from stuff from just a few years ago.

David Ariew (01:31:39):

Yeah. Um, but anyway, getting back to, to answering this question, um, yeah, so I've like, I've got a laundry list of programs. I want to learn. Uh, like, like I said, I spent like a week or two digging in a fusion 360 and it's like, incredible. You know, as someone who's never done modeling before this program makes it stupid, easy, it's like illustrator for 3d, with bulls on crack. Uh, and like, so what about like that versus zebra? Shh is that zebra is just sculpting, not modeling and fusions modeling different functionalities. Yeah. This is like hard surface modeling. It's like designed to actually make real products. So there are all these shortcuts and it's a fully parametric. So you can like insert a feature way back in your timeline of undoing and it will ripple through to your current state. So you can like insert a, fill it way back and it will just ripple through.

David Ariew (01:32:30):

So that's just, that's amazing. You can like take two models, jam them together and create huge fillets to the point where they look like they're one piece. So it's just like extremely easy to use. I don't know what I'm doing with modeling and it's really easy to make awesome looking stuff. Um, especially like for scifi and hard surface designs. Um, you know, it really allows you to focus on shapes and designs rather than getting bogged down in technical crap, like with polygonal and D modeling and stuff. Right. Um, and then there's like, you know, there's substance painter, like they mentioned and designer. And I think like if I were to pick a shiny thing, that's next for me other than fusion 360, it would definitely be that because if you look at like hood asses work or Joseph mascaras, you see these amazing hand painted grungy models, you know, their hero assets are just so detailed and there's only so far you can get with procedural textures.

David Ariew (01:33:19):

Uh, so, you know, if you really want to make those hero assets shine and bring so much more detail into your renders, you know, that's like the place to go and it's really intuitive software. Um, it looks like, you know, like those particle brushes, you can like hit your, you know, models with like blasts of like, like almost like a Ray gun, you know? And it'll like fall down the model in an interesting way. Or you can have like the grunge like dripped down. So there's like simulated aspects to, to, uh, painter where, you know, you can get these really natural looks that where you're not just stamping on textures, you're letting it drip down. Also my, um, my buddy, like recently released a tutorial, um, on, on the substance painter to octane live link, which is out now. Um, and yeah, he, he showed like also normal mapping.

David Ariew (01:34:08):

Like you can take stamps of like Greenville textures and stamp them into the normal maps. And you can also paint. So if like you're afraid of UV mapping, um, you can actually paint over the seams of UVS in substance. So you can have a totally crap UV layout and not know what you're doing there and still fix it up in substance. That's pretty fancy. So there's some fancy stuff there. And then there's also like marvelous designer, uh, which is like amazingly intuitive and like the undisputed king of cloth sins. Uh, and you can like easily create crumpled paper and trash bag debris, or, you know, go as far as creating full outfits for your CG CG characters that animate and flow beautifully as they move. Um, and for zebra, shh. Interestingly, I just had to use it on a project that I've got going on.

David Ariew (01:34:55):

My buddy, Chris Rutledge, AKA Tokyo Megaplex, uh, toured me around the interface and show me how easy it is to add automatically. Ritoto a model which we had to, we had to do. Um, and also to bang up, just bang up the edges of geometry and add surface imperfections. Like that's such a useful thing, I guess you could do that in cinema 4d sculpting tool as well, tools as well, but like, um, yeah, zebra seems, you know, just better at that kind of thing. And uh, just those two things alone are awesome. So like reasons I could get in and get out of see brush and like, it's fun to learn, you know, new software just for those simple things, but you could totally go down the rabbit hole with all the sculpting insanity there. And then, yeah, don't get me, don't get me started on Houdini because I wish I wish I could just take a couple of months off and really like get over that hurdle, you know?

David Ariew (01:35:46):

Uh, it's just obviously the program that's most daunting, but also most powerful. And if I ever want to create like amazing Sims, then I've got to start using it. Um, I mean, yeah, there's like turbulence FD, which is awesome. And yeah, there's real flow for C 4d and all of these things that you can patch, you know, into C 4d to make it close, but it's never going to be quite as good. Um, any other full CG music video I'm on right now has this like ice sculpture in an ice cave melting. Uh, and so I ha I hired my buddy G rant to do that in Houdini. Um, and that's looking awesome. And like, there's no way I tried, like I bang my head against the wall for a while. I tried real flow standalone and there's like a script in real flow standalone that lets you do melting, but then you couldn't even see the face cause it's like filling the body with particles.

David Ariew (01:36:32):

And so I lost all the detail and it didn't look right and it would melt, but then the arms would be floating in mid-air like part or, you know, so stuff like that. And it's just kind of automated and not controllable, but with Houdini, you're building this whole system. And so as it's melting, it's like the model sagging and looking so much better. Um, and then the other really technical challenge of this project we've got is we've got all this facial mo-cap that another company did, but then the issue is getting the files back for them. The eyes and teeth were created as separate objects. Uh, but we're rendering this with ice. So all those details showed through and the singer ended up looking like totally skeletal. Cause you can see your whole eyeballs and her teeth through her gums. It's like creepy. So I'm like, how the hell am I going to solve this?

David Ariew (01:37:17):

Yeah. It's like, how am I going to solve this? Like you reach these problems that are almost unsolvable, but rant came up with this genius solution to rematch the whole animation sequence in Houdini, almost like you would, if you filled it up with a fluid. So we've got only surface detail and none of the inner detail. So the shader works, like it looks like a sculpted ice character versus some weird creepy, you know, creatures. So it's like those kinds of crazy hardcore solutions makes me think that I've really got to suck it up and learn Houdini next because you know, otherwise I'm just, I feel like I'm never gonna, and I'm just always going to be, you know, relying on other artists to do those, those tasks, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Like it's good to collaborate and for people to have specialties, but I think I should try to at least get like a working knowledge to be able to do some things myself and realize, okay, well for this, this is like way beyond my comfort zone. And I hate doing Sims and it's so technical and math and like, I hate it. So I'll have somebody else do it, but there's a lot of stuff in Houdini that can't be that hard because of the number of people that I see they're doing those kinds of things on Instagram, you know,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:38:24):

It's like modeling where a lot of people just buy the models just because the time and the cost of just exactly yourself. It's like, yeah. So there's no, there's absolutely no shame in hiring someone to do something for you that specializes in it.

David Ariew (01:38:38):

I know, but at some point, like if you're like all into being like a one man band, like I am and, and having the creative control and like, you know, there, there's just certain things that you want to dip into that software and like create yourself, you know, for, cause you, you don't have to direct someone else to do it and feel like your hands are tied, you know,

EJ Hassenfratz (01:38:56):

And I can do this all myself and I'll have to rely on hire anyone else.

David Ariew (01:39:00):

Yeah. Not saying that about like, like grant is amazing. Like he, he created an amazing melting animation, but it's just like, yeah. I mean, you get, if you're also for certain projects, like you're keeping the entire budget, you know, certain things you just want to say, I made this myself and that's it, you know, versus versus like having a team, like they're both really good scenarios, but when I go off and do my, you know, whatever solo stuff, I prefer to be able to do it all myself, you know? Yeah. All right.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:39:31):

So let's, uh, go to the last question and last question question, we're going to kind of bring it all the way back to like beginner level. Um, so we have, uh, you know, you got C 4d base camp, which was an awesome experience to make. We got our first, uh, enrollment of students going through it right now and they're almost done. Um, but just to talk about any advice for people just starting to get into cinema 4d, is there any advice you'd like to give to anyone? Um,

David Ariew (01:40:01):

I would say watch EJS tutorial

EJ Hassenfratz (01:40:06):


David Ariew (01:40:07):

Yeah, no, seriously. Like you're the, you're the gateway drug from after effects. Uh, and I definitely want to check out your school of motion course. Uh, you know, I mean, like I'm just jealous of people taking that, cause it's just gotta be packed with like tons of information. Uh, you know, I think I told you that I spent like a whole summer like obsessively watching all of your tutorials one time. Like totally got me through some hard times.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:40:31):

Glad I was there for you, man. Thanks dude.

David Ariew (01:40:35):

Um, but also, you know, grayscale, gorilla, everybody, you know, everybody, I know that started around the same time started there and it's like a wealth it's just absurd, the catalog of information there and really accessible to beginners. And then now yeah. I mean, yeah, just the school of motion course you've made for sure. Um, cause that seems like such a well-rounded, uh, thing. And then moving on from that, I would say, you know, tell, I would tell beginners to check out Cineversity um, for the huge number of talks from experts in our field. Um, cause there's just a ton like that I could point to in there that are favorites. Um, like, and what else? I think one of my favorite courses, uh, ever was offered by FX PhD and I've shouted this out before, but it's um, MoGraph two 12 by Ryan Summers. Uh, it's called production tested.

David Ariew (01:41:26):

MoGraph how to work fast and flexible. Um, and it was amazing. It was an amazing look at his whole workflow and it included some rare information that was more like conceptual on like pitching bigger jobs and creating pitch books, uh, as well as like a whole talk on failure and how he and his friends worked crazy overtime hours on a pitch for a character animation type job at imagining imaginary forces. And they got super sleep deprived and worked like some crazy number of hours straight and they still lost their pitch to PSYOP, even though they have, they like went above and beyond. They like had an animation when they were just supposed to be doing style frames, you know, and, and they still lost. So it's like a talk on, you know, what, how to cope with those things and like that you will, it's healthy too.

David Ariew (01:42:11):

And you will at some point in senior career fail, uh, but how to pick yourself back up. And so it's like, there's some really cool information in there. And he, he went above and beyond in his course to like each one was only supposed to be like an hour long, but many of them were two hours long. So it's like packed with content. Um, and then I'd also recommend any of the courses at learn squared, especially designed for production courses by Michael Wrigley. Um, those are on making like a short film in C 4d in octane. Um, I would actually recommend Joey Corman's course on giants. That's a free C 4d course and that's an amazing look at all the features of C 4d animation in general. Um, and then I would also recommend anything by Rafael Rao. Uh, cause that guy just goes so deep with his knowledge. Um, anything by Cornelius, Don rich, uh, he's got like a set out on how he made one of his two month long stills and that whole process. So that's amazing. And also anything by Connie Solomon, like his talks on Cineversity are incredible. Like he breaks down X particles, uh, way better than anybody. I know. Sorry. I'm just totally geeking out here. Cause I love, I love, uh, you know, tutorial and then

EJ Hassenfratz (01:43:24):

It's important too, because a lot of the tutorials you've, you've listed are are very, they, they, aren't just showing you the, how they're showing you the why as well. And I think that's very important for beginners because you want to know why you're doing something, uh, and picking the right instructors and watching the right tutorials is, is so absolutely crucial when you're, when you're starting out. So like, that's, you know, you listed is, is phenomenal at teaching, uh, except for that, you know, EGA bomb, you mentioned right off the bat, but, uh,

David Ariew (01:43:59):

Actually I've got like three more real quick. So like blender guru, I don't know if you've heard of that guy, but his blender tutorials tutorials, he's doing blender tutorials, but they're insanely high quality and useful for general development of your CG knowledge in like environment creation and shader creation. A lot of them, I see, like, and I'm like, you know, oh crap. I can take a lot of those concepts and rejig them into an octane tutorial. You know, there'll be like how to create Mars, you know, in, in blender or how to, you know, and one of them was even about like filtering your knowledge and searching out the good tutorials. Like he had a tutorial on that. Um, so yeah, that dude is just all around. Awesome. He's um, you know, Andrew Price, he's the guy that made a polygon. So that's another huge resource that everyone I know is using.

David Ariew (01:44:48):

Um, for textures, it's just like the evolution of CG textures that totally trumps that in all ways. Um, and then Daniel Danielson, I don't know if you've heard of that guy. He has like some of the best and funniest tutorials I've ever seen on [inaudible]. He's like the Andrew Kramer, cause he's like constantly throwing like neon cats and all this weird stuff into his tutorials. And he's got like this extremely charming, you know, British demeanor, but also like just, I don't know, it's the level of, uh, production quality of his tutorials is just over the top and it's all sort of just really good information. Uh, and then finally, if you want to learn octane, you know, check out my resources page, cause I obsessively, like, as you can tell, I'm kind of obsessed with, uh, learning and tutorials in general. So I collected every octane tutorial, known to man on there and I've written descriptions for everything. So it's kind of a guide to learning octane. Um, so that's aria visuals.com/resources. Uh that's with [inaudible] R I E V V I S U als.com. So yeah, that's, that's what I got.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:45:52):

Awesome. Well, uh, as far as any advice I would give, it would be, you know, focusing on fundamentals. And I even said in, in my actual course that, uh, my seminar seminar, 40 base cam courses that I wish it was something that was out there because, uh, the one thing that always frustrated me when, when I, you know, just making tutorials is that, you know, you can only teach so much in devote so much time to, you know, each individual tutorial and each tutorial goes on, like, it has a very small slice of information that, uh, it's hard to kind of put everything together, you know? Uh, but I wish, you know, there was something like a fully from zero to, to completely comfortable course out there when I was learning because like, as I'm making the cinema 4d base camp course, I'm like, man, I wish I had this one.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:46:46):

I was learning just because I'm like, man, there's so much stuff you need to know to even get started. Like we, when me and Joey were planning out the course, there's just so much information to even fit into six weeks. And there it's, it's amazing how much I had to get rid of that we couldn't teach at all. So I think it's very important to, you know, and I think one of the things that's important too, is like, what part of 3d do you want to work in? Like what, what kind of, what kind of work do you want to gravitate to? And let that dictate what you learn, because if you want to learn all the effects stuff, then you got a path, man. Like you, you know, like people to follow the right tutorial. So I think, you know, coming from maybe to fully 2d after effects, I think that's a big question you need to ask yourself is, you know, what, what would, what do I enjoy watching the most and what do you think I would enjoy creating the most and, and focus on that first and kind of focus on just one segment versus like everything.

David Ariew (01:47:51):

Yeah. Both 2d and 3d are vast disciplines and it's overwhelming the number of different tasks you could be doing. You could be a specialist in any of the above, like rigging, texturing, lighting, layout, you know, camera animation, character animation. Like you can go down the rabbit hole on anything and become an expert at just that thing. Or you can be an Uber generalist and try to create your own projects solo. Or you can, you know, like go do cell animation or do amazing like stuff like buck or, um, Jorge Astrada or, you know, like 2d design, like there's so many, it's like crazy the number of different things you can do. And I wish I could do it all. I think a lot of us wish we could do it all, you know, but, but yeah, it's true. Like figuring out what you really gravitate towards and then making deep cuts into that, you know, uh, is a great idea.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:48:41):

Yeah. And I think just, it's funny seeing some of the students coming from, uh, after effects and taking cinema 4d base camp is because you can see who the designers are like, who are the people that maybe had like an illustrator background and then came into after effects and learn how to animate. And it could just cause their colors are amazing. Uh, the composition's amazing, like their design is amazing. And then the people that came from after effects who are amazing animators and the switch, like if it's a key frames, a key frame, right. Uh, an animation curves in animation curve, no matter what application you're in. Yeah.

David Ariew (01:49:18):

That's why the animation boot camp is such a great course because all of those skills translate directly to

EJ Hassenfratz (01:49:26):

Yeah. It's all the fundamentals. So I think that's where, uh, like for me, if I could go back, I would focus more on the fundamentals then trying to figure out all the softwares and stuff like that. Because software is, I feel like the technical stuff is way easier to learn than the fundamental stuff. So if like solid in all of that stuff and all of your fundamentals, then I think, um, you know, it's important to figure out like, all right, what, what kind of 3d do I want to work in? And how can I, like what kind of 3d can I immediately apply to my current workflow? Because again, hearkening back to like creating is how you learn. And if you can utilize all that knowledge and use cinema 4d right away in your, in your current workflow, that's going to be the fastest way to learn.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:50:15):

But in, I feel like if you're like kind of bad at colors and kind of bad design and stuff, I feel like it, it, for me, at least jumping into 3d, maybe exposed my flaws a little bit more just because there was so much technical things. And if I'm bad at the technical stuff, and I'm also bad at the fundamental stuff that I'm just battle around, you know? So that was kind of a rough thing for me where I kind of took a step back and, you know, went into my sketching phase and all that stuff. Um, totally. I think it's being just, you know, self-reflective figuring out what you want to do, uh, the most important thing, doing the work, um, integrating your workflow and, uh, highly, and it's not just because I, I created it, but it, it was, it was exhausting to make the cinema 4d course, but there's just so much in there.

EJ Hassenfratz (01:51:10):

And even I, along the way learn some very basic things that I wouldn't have discovered if I didn't kind of just take completely stepped back. And I was telling my wife was like, this is hard. Like the hardest part of the course was just talking about the most basic stuff because I, I would equivalent it. I would make an analogy. It's like, oh, what if someone just came an alien, came to earth and was like, why is the sky blue? And you're just like, um, well just cause it is, is, uh, there's bouncing light and atmosphere and you know, it's just so much harder to explain the, the like the most like, well, it's just, it just, it does that. I just, I don't know. Yeah.

David Ariew (01:51:53):

Yeah. You know, I, I get super OCD about that kind of stuff too. And I'm when I'm teaching, I need to know the why to everything, to be able to explain it because otherwise I feel like a fraud or that I've failed the people listening, you know?

EJ Hassenfratz (01:52:07):

So I think the, yeah, that, that part of everything is, was, was, uh, difficult because then, and that's why teaching is, I've learned more about design and animation and everything by teaching because of that, that you have to know the why, and not just the, how, like you press this button, it does that. And it's like, well, why now you understand why? And then you get a deeper understanding of that, of whether it's that discipline of, of like a skill like lighting or whether it's a, a software, like some if we're D so yes. Yeah,

David Ariew (01:52:39):

Yeah. It totally forces you to learn stuff way better than you would on your own when you have to

EJ Hassenfratz (01:52:45):

Teach something to other people. Totally, totally awesome. Well, thanks for sitting down here with this giant round table with me, David, this was fun. It's such a big round type round table and we're, we're sitting right next to each other and it's just great talk in 3d. We're just hugging with fuzzy. Was it fuzzy? Your work, your render fluffy, fluffy, fluffy, but yeah, this was awesome. Thank you for all the listeners out there who sent in their questions. And it'd be awesome to do this again. So maybe we'll maybe we'll get some more questions and talk some more.

Joey Korenman (01:53:25):

I don't know about you, but my head is about to explode. David and EJI are both incredible 3d artists and also really good teachers. If you'd like to get the full Haas and frats experience, make sure you check out our cinema 4d base camp course. Tons of information about [email protected] and check out David's [email protected] a R I E V. visuals.com. Everything will be linked in the show notes as always. And if you dug this format for the episode, please let us know. We love to mix things up and answering your questions. Seems like it might be a pretty useful way to utilize our podcasts now. And again, that's it for now. Who's.

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