Touchdesigner | Instancing

Houdini | Rendering with Mantra | 01

An introduction to rendering with Houdini with Mantra. We cover various aspects of rendering a scene, from lighting and camera to setting up multi-pass .exr rendering. The different kinds of light that we have in Houdini and how we can use the GI Light to create point clouds for both indirect illumination and caustics. We look at how Mantra handles sampling and how we can troubleshoot noisy renders. This is as a follow up to a lecture for a class I teach in Houdini so the students can re-cap the in-class lecture. I apologize for any lack of polish. Hopefully there will be some good information in there.
You can download a free version of Houdini here.

Other Houdini Tutorials:

Houdini | Terrains with Height-Fields

Houdini | Terrains with Heigh-Fields | 01

Houdini height-fields for terrains covers the basics of creating terrains in Houdini. Terrains are complex and Houdini is amazing at re-creating realitistic terrains that we can use in Houdini or wrap them up in a Houdini Digital Asset for use in Unity or Unreal. This is as a follow up to a lecture for a class I teach in Houdini so the students can re-cap the in-class lecture. I apologize for any lack of polish. Hopefully there will be some good information in there.
You can download a free version of Houdini here.

Other Houdini Tutorials:

SideFX Houdini | Introduction to Rendering with Mantra

Houdini | Rendering with Mantra | 01

An introduction to rendering with Houdini with Mantra. We cover various aspects of rendering a scene, from lighting and camera to setting up multi-pass .exr rendering. The different kinds of light that we have in Houdini and how we can use the GI Light to create point clouds for both indirect illumination and caustics. We look at how Mantra handles sampling and how we can troubleshoot noisy renders. Introduction to Rendering with Houdini is as a follow up to a lecture for a class I teach in Houdini so the students can re-cap the in-class lecture. I apologize for any lack of polish. Hopefully there will be some good information in there.
You can download a free version of Houdini here.

Other Houdini Tutorials:

SideFX Houdini | Interface | 01

Houdini | Interface | 01

This is a free tutorial on the basics of using Houdini. I used this as a follow up to a lecture for a class I teach in Houdini so the students could re-cap the in-class lecture so apologies for lack of polish but hopefully there will be some good information in there.

Terrain Generation with Houdini Heightfields

Some fun stuff with automatic terrain generation in Unreal Engine using the procedural world build new to Houdini 16. All of the terrain and foliage generation is handled procedurally through Houdini’s heightfield tools and attribute maps baked out and used in a shader.

Opening Multiple Instances of Adobe After Effects

Being a long-time After Effects user from back in the Cosa days before it was bought out by Adobe, this is a little trick that, even when I show it to some power users their jaw will drop in surprise. Yes, you can open and run multiple copies of After Effects on the same computer at the same time and it is so lame and easy to set up that it is crazy that it does not just do this out of the box.
after effects properties window
All you need to do is go in the properties window by right clicking on the icon and choosing properties (get info on Mac OSX). After the command to open the program append a -m which is the flag for multiple and you will now be able to open up several After Effects projects all at once.

Filming Stan Lee | Stereo Red Weapons in 8k

Last week I had the amazing experience of being able to be on location while we filmed Kevin Smith interviewing Stan Lee and his wife over several hours. As the Technical Director for VR Playhouse, I do not always need to be onsite during shoots and often have too much on my plate that I skip them knowing that DJ, our Head of Production, will take care of everything. This shoot was different on many levels. First off it was Stan Lee being interviewed in his home office, and then technically we needed an extra set of eyes. For the shoot we used the very new Red Weapon 8K as stereo pairs on an offset nodal rig, with 8mm Arri Primes.
red dragon 8k stereo
Derrin Turner, our resident VR Director and Head of Production, frames the camera.
On set with Stan Lee
Stan Lee looks at Kevin Smith
on set with Stan Lee
We shot clean plates before the shoot and then locked off the camera for the interview. After the interview we then did another batch of clean plates where we removed the lighting from each 45 degree wedge and used a general fill. This way we hope to be able to blend between the interview footage and the rig removed clean plates. With eight wedges at 8k resolutions, stitching is going to be interesting. In our tests we were able to get decent stereo stitches out of Cara VR for Nuke but it will be challenging to rectify the lighting between the final wedges and will probably require some finessing. Then we move onto the stereo integration of the interview plate…
Red Weapon Stereo Arii 8mm Primes
Stereo Red Stan Lee

Volumetric Video | Google Jump | Nuke | Houdini | Photogrammetry

I love the visual aesthetic of point clouds and their ability to represent and recreate three dimensional space. I used to bake out final gather points out of Mental Ray and combine them to re-create a static visual cue of the entire animation sequence, or as combined elements for lighting calculations. With Houdini, working with point clouds is just so much fun. Now point clouds are everywhere, and we use them from everything from storing values, geometric reconstruction, volumetric video, and just pure visual beauty.
Google Jump Point Clouds in Post Production
With the ability to now get depth maps from the Google Jump Assembler in resolutions up to 8k, we are now able to implement some more advanced film techniques into the world of virtual reality production. As well, we can begin to see how we will start to create production workflows that in near future will be tools for handling volumetric video for 3d reconstruction in order to create a more immersive experience. While not “lightfield” in that this won’t represent correct light changes that are view dependent, it will allow for greater depth and parallax. As well, it allows for better integration with CGI in the world of Stereo Virtual Reality, as this is very tricky and inherently has problems.  In these examples I am using the Foundry’s NukeX, Cara VR, and Ocula on the front end, and Houdini from Side Effects on the back end.
Google Jump Point Clouds in Post Production
This image shows the perspective of the viewing camera of the scene with both point clouds from Nuke and Houdini merged using deep and viewing through nukes viewer. The 3D tree is rendered through Mantra with a deep pass using the point cloud generated out of Nuke as reference geometry. This is important for correct spatial alignment of depth, as the depth, in this case, comes from the Google Jump Stitcher. This is not a spatially accurate representation of real world depth, rather a spherically projected approximation. At this time, the biggest caveat is the 8-bit banding. This can be solved with a special plug-in that would incorporate a bilateral filter that would process the points while preserving edge detail.
Google Jump Point Clouds in Post Production
Google Jump Point Clouds in Post Production
Reality Capture (www.capturingreality.com) is my current go-to program for photogrammetry. I am just getting the hang of how it functions but it is incredibly fast, especially if you compare it Agisoft. These photos were a test using my studio space. This is with only 377 photographs. I can see where I need more camera positions to capture the whole space and will shoot it again soon. The maximum amount of images that I can do with the version of Reality capture that I have is 2500, I am not sure that I need that much, but I would like to test with around 1500.

Experiments with Photogrammetry

These are some of my initial tests with photogrammetry, testing Agisoft Photoscan. Through my testing, we eventually settled on Reality Capture, a subscription based service with an indie option.

These are some landscape tests that I shot out at Vasquez Rocks.