17/10/2018No Comments

Key Project Stages

Key Project Stages

We make it easy for our clients to show customers their products. One way we make it easy is with our straight forward approach to delivering amazing work.

Our approach and workflow breaks a project down into key stages. This means we don't bombard you with too much information, but we also give you (and us) a chance to take a step back, review, and then move forward.

Essentially there are 5 stages, and this is a quick overview of the process behind a branding visualisation for our recent work with O2. -

Stage 1. Planning.

Perhaps the most important stage as it gives everyone a clear direction and expectations thoughout the project.
Meetings, calls and discussions generally kick of a project and from there we plan the project. Visually we might produce sketches, mood boards or concepts for approval before starting on stage 2.

We might also collect technical drawings, references and other info at this stage.

Quick sketches and collected references for a better understanding before any CGI work starts.

Stage 2. View / Composition Draft.

Now we start to build the visual! Working from the brief, references and information from stage 1, a basic mock up of the visualisation is created. This draft is to approve or amend the view and overall composition of the visual elements.
This stage is intentionally colourless and perhaps a little dull. That's totally intentional, as it helps to focus on the key elements, such as the composition, layout and camera angle.

Main elements blocked in, and camera angles proposed.

Stage 3. Pre-Production Draft.

Once the view draft is approved, the pre-production stage begins. Here the illustration is built. Textures, lighting and other large elements are added to show the overall direction of the image. This is a great stage to review the overall direction of the visualisation. Often parts of the images are "rough and ready", that's so we can deliver the drafts quickly to our client. Once this stage is approved, we go back and add all the detail.

The draft now gives a better visual progress of the project. 

Stage 4. Post-Production Draft.

In the previous stage, elements may be quickly built for approval, but lacked detail. In stage 4 everything is refined to a final quality. The only main difference between the drafts in this stage and the final work is that the visuals will be blurrier and noisier. Some final "Photoshop" work may also be left until the final image. Final CGI images can take hours to compute, so to quickly approve the drafts we produce this draft.

Final detail added, ready for the final image.

Stage 5. Final Image.

The final image is now produced to a high quality and handed over to the client. Happy days!

The final image!

 

Summary

Hopefully this little article has given you an insight into how we work, and how it actually makes a client life that little bit easier.

We want our clients to be involved through the process, but we're careful to not bombard you with too much information at one time.

The key stages also mean clients, and us, can pick up on any issues or changes early in the project.

The overall process is very similar for all jobs, be that an interactive configurator or an architectural visualisation. Occasionally the process may be tweaked as each project is unique. Animations may require additional steps due to their increased complexity, but the general methodology to producing the same work remains.

 

If you'd like to know more about the processes then just give us a call!

Dean

04/07/2018No Comments

That Winning Feeling!

Celebrating the winners of this year's Prolific North Awards!

Do folk shout about success enough? We're not to sure, so we've been busy visiting the Prolific North Awards winners to create a little memento* to continue the magic and fun from the award night!

Part of process to create the memento is to say "hi" to these amazing businesses, and then 3D scan someone from their offices. The response has been amazing, and we've so far met with 9 of the 12 winners, and here's a little glimpse into what we've been doing!

So do you recognise any of the folk from their 3D scan alone? Who would win the trendiest northern business folk?!

This is only the first step to creating the memento*, so be sure to also check out our Instagram account www.instagram.com/punchdigitaluk for more updates to the little side project, as well as our usual visualisation goodness!

Thanks,
Dean

*the memento will be revealed in due course 🙂

03/07/2018No Comments

We’re hiring!

We’re looking for a Creative Junior CGI Artist!

Creative, driven, passionate about visualising things? Up for hard graft, pushing the limits and the occasional game of table tennis? We might have the job for you!

What can you expect?

To be paid! £18k plus bonuses and paid overtime.

Work in a creative studio. Situated on the top floor of an old mill, it could do with a lick of paint, but we love it!

Be part of creative and challenging projects, check out our past work.

Learn new skills through personal development. We aim for 4-8 hours per week to keep progressing. We want to explore VR, AR and other new ways to visualise things, and you’d be a part of that development too.

Unlimited holiday. Yep that’s right, life’s too short to miss the important things in life!

Work 9-5 (ish). We know it’s impossible to schedule work and life to the second!

What do we expect?

A good attitude, work ethic and ability to work independently and part of a team.

Forward thinking and an eagerness to learn. We have a good workflow and methodology, but could you help make it better?

An artistic eye for what makes a good visualisation.

A good understanding of 3D modelling in 3D Studio Max. Experience in the Adobe suite. Knowledge of Vray is preferred, but not essential. Learning skills to industry standard will be part of the job.

To be able to work from the studio in Huddersfield (working occasionally from home a possibility).

Bonus if you have skills in lighting, animation, interactive applications, or anything else that would help us visualise things!

Need to be able to make a good brew, training provided if needed!

How to apply?

If you meet the requirements above, then send an email to hello@punch.digital

Do not send attachments, word docs, or boring covering letters. Be creative, sell yourself, don’t be shy!

Simple right? We’ll reply to every email, and if we believe you’re a good match, we’ll invite you in for a brew. You can then see if you actually want to work with us!

 

Dean

22/12/2017No Comments

Our First Project to Mix CGI VR and Live 360 Footage

We love a challenge, so when our friends at Superla came to us and said they want to combine CGI VR with live 360 footage for a distracted driving campaign 360 video we said "hell yes!"

The concept behind the video is simple - distracted driving kills. But how we showed this concept wasn't as easy, and we had to overcome some technical and creative hurdles.

Don't let a single moment of distraction change your life. #ParkYourPhone and follow #Cartesy when you head out next time. Take the pledge here: http://bit.ly/2xpS7vE

Posted by Ford India on Friday, 13 October 2017

For our part, we produced the car interior, which is entirely CGI! The character is also CGI too. Creating photo-realistic content is something we do on a daily basis, but the challenges of the project pushed our technical knowledge to the limit, and beyond. To seamlessly blend the live footage, with the CGI car interior, we had to match the lighting, but more importantly, the reflections. Then throw in some motion capture, super high resolution footage, and numerous other challenges!

Distracted Driving 360 Car Interior Animation Video

Superla did a cracking job with the live 360 footage, post production and leading and directing the animation. For the character animation, we used the Rokoko motion capture suit, then refined the animation before rendering the animation. I personally love the text message alerts, which divert your eye away from the road, which is of course the video's aim is to distract you as you drive along.

We believe 360 video has a big future, especially when telling an engaging story. By viewing the 360 videos on a VR headset, the immersive experience is unlike any traditional media. I believe in 2018 we will see a growth of VR and 360 content, and it's certainly something we're excited to be a part of!

08/12/2017No Comments

Why I Fell Out Of Love With 3D Printing

3D printing, marvelous isn't it?! Well, yes and no. Let me explain.

Firstly, 3D printing is a great piece of technology. The ability to own a 3D printer, and make physical objects is great. And it's great that 3D printing appears "becoming affordable" too.

In the past I thought there was a gap between 3D digital files, and being able to hold the object. As someone who deals with 3D files on a daily basis, I felt that 3D files should have the potential to be physical, touchable, even breakable. And I do still think that way to an extent.

However 3D printing isn't as glamorous, easy or exciting as I had hoped.

I have found there are several drawbacks to 3D printing which I don't think are often discussed -

You need a very good understanding of 3D modelling - This may seem logical, right? But I'm amazed by how many people, businesses and institutions buy 3D printers, but have very little idea how to create the 3D content to actually print. I have been 3D modelling since I was 17, and I still have to use all my knowledge to make something printable. And to create a model, suitable for 3D printing, takes a hell of a long time. My advice wanting to do 3D printing, make sure you have a good understanding of 3D modelling. You need to know how to modelling anything. You'll soon become bored printing primitive shapes and Yoda! And trust me, 3D modelling isn't something you can learn overnight.

You need an even better understanding of 27 pieces of software, a degree in engineering and thermodynamics - OK I exaggerate, but sometimes it does feel like you need know know a hell of a lot to make something very simple. For example, you want to print a desk tidy? OK let's research the size needed and the design. Let's make the 3D file. Then make sure it meets all the requirements to print. Then let's use several pieces of software to make sure the file is printable, and in a format your printer can read.
OK now we can print. GO! Oh wait, that wasn't supposed to happen. Is my design unprintable? Was the printer extruding too hot? Am I using the right filament? Back to stage 2. Now repeat this process a few times, and you might have a desk tidy. Or you could have gone to the stationary store, handed over £5, and saved yourself a few hours.
OK you generally will want to print something that you can't buy, but the same frustrating, tedious process remains!

3D printing isn't fast - Following on from the point above, turning an idea into something useable takes a long time. Don't expect to create something with a good amount of detail in under a day, it just isn't going to happen. The only way to get fast results is to try to create the most efficient workflow as possible. For the 3D Printed Miniature Figures we sell, we have a very tight workflow to make the process profitable. However even after creating 100s of miniatures, things still don't go to plan, and we'll easily lose half a day on something very trivial!
Saying all that, you could view 3D printing as being fast. You don't have to wait for manufacturing, minimum run numbers or even shipping. But in a time when we're used to everything being instant, even the fasted 3D printers can feel slow!

It can be a pricey hobby - 3D printers have a huge price range, from £300.00 for a budget desktop printer, to £100,000+ for an industrial grade printer. Here I'm generally talking about the lower end of the price range, definitely sub £5000.00 anyway. An Ultimaker 2, one of the most common and universally known 3D printers, is still £2300.00! That's a lot of cash, especially if you have no commercial use for one. I am surprised the price hasn't dropped a lot more over recent years.
Also maintaining and servicing can add to the cost too. If, or should I say when, something goes wrong, it's going to cost. OK sometimes it might be a £10 part, but it could easily be a lot more if these temperamental machines decide to properly break!

Finally, you'll need time, lot of time - This is perhaps the reason why I'm currently out of love with 3D printing. 3D printing seems to eat up so much time. Whether it's learning the software, tinkering with settings to perfect a print, or disassembling the extruder to remove a blockage, the whole process is time intensive. Perhaps 3D printing is still relatively new, therefore a lot of manual work is still required, but really it doesn't appear to be getting any easier. Maybe I'm inpatient, but if my bike needed as much attention then I'd be hopping on the bus!

So until someone creates a 3D printer offering maintenance free, no set-up require with guaranteed quality, then expect to spend a lot of time scratching your head, googling words you didn't know exist, and swearing at lost allen keys!

Dean

07/11/2017No Comments

Motion Capture Fun with the Rokoko Suit

Work should be fun right? So when we have the chance to have a go with a new bit of kit, and it really makes us smile, we know we're doing something right!

As part of a new project with Superla, we had chance to have a go with the Rokoko Motion Capture Suit!

This is very nice bit of kit indeed. In a nut shell, the Rokoko suit records the actors movement, which can be re-applied to a virtual character. Motion capture is often used in films and gaming as a way to simulate realistic movements, and it does a very good job. Check out this clip about how motion capture was used in the Pirates Of the Caribbean films.

 

Motion Capture Suit Rokoko

Stuart from Superla, capturing some questionable driving.

As I've mentioned, he process of motion capture isn't anything new, the technology has been around for decades. However the suit contains new technology, meaning that motion capture process totally different from what came before. Usually to do motion capture, you'd have to hire a studio which was specifically design and equip for motion capture. This is both expensive and very restrictive.

The Rokoko suit doesn't need a studio, all the motion sensors are built into the suit, meaning you can capture motion almost anywhere. All you need is the suit, a laptop and wi-fi.

Motion Capture Suit Rokoko

Data captured and applied to a virtual character.

But what makes it fun? There are several reasons as to why I strangely consider this fun. I love new tech, especially when it's affordable, so that's the first point. I'm always drawn to affordable tech, from 3D printing to 360 cameras.

I also think it's brilliant that you can do something very technical anywhere, and see the results right in front of your own eyes. OK you have to edit, refine and make changes to the data, but the instant feedback is great. The laptop we used wasn't anything spectacular either, so the guys who developed the Rokoko really haven't alienated themselves from a lot of users.

Generally the whole experience is easy and straight forward. No one likes a clunky process, or un-intuitive piece of software.

Motion Capture Suit Rokoko

And of course there's the skin tight suit, always worth a laugh right?!

Over the next few weeks, we should be able to show you what we used the Rokoko motion capture suit for. It's quite a unique project, mixing motion capture, 360 video, and some dodgy driving!

Dean

08/06/2017No Comments

Champions League VR Experience Review

Champions League VR Experience Review

Quite a game wasn't it, with some fantastic goals, and a bit of controversy too! But this blog post isn't really about the Champions League final, but about the VR experience that BT Sport offered.

In my last blog post Watch the UEFA Champions League final in VR I looked at the past sporting VR content, and made some predictions and thoughts on how a VR experience could play out. I was critical of BT Sports YouTube channel, and I hoped, but didn't expect, that the VR experience for the final would be much improved. I'm glad to say my expectations were exceeded, and the final was enjoyable in VR!

The experience begins with the BT Sport app. I'm a big fan of keeping as much as possible to the browser window (for speed, accessibility and convenience), but there are limitations, so downloading the small app was necessary. The app beings with a virtual environment, perhaps loosely based on a corporate box overlooking the stadium. There isn't a lot to do here, other than have a quick look around and press the play button to load the live stream.

VR headset sport google cardboard football soccer live 360

Once loaded you are transported to the stadium, and immediately you can see the difference in design, quality and experience from the YouTube VR clips. The build up and pre-match show for the final was also streamed, which was nice, but I think it would have been amazing if we could have seen something a little special. How amazing would it be to have a camera in the players tunnel, or even in their changing rooms? Maybe next time!

VR headset sport google cardboard football soccer live 360

The app sadly didn't let us into the dressing room, but we could watch the match from 8 points around the stadium. The interface at the bottom of the view is very easy and straight forward to use, but does involve a lot of head movement to select your choice as the "cursor" is controlled by where you're looking, quite annoying if you're drinking a pint!

VR headset sport google cardboard football soccer live 360

Some of the view points are from the position of seats within the stadium, others are from positions closer to the pitch. You do get a feeling of being there, and it is nice to choose your view point.

VR headset sport google cardboard football soccer live 360

But I'll be honest, the camera positions aren't great, and you're so far away from the action that it can be hard to follow the football at times. This is one of the pitfalls of football, you simply can't place a camera in the middle of the action, which could be possible in other sports such as Formula 1.

VR headset sport google cardboard football soccer live 360

One nice feature of the VR app is that highlights of the match are shown on virtual screens above the pitch. This helps with keeping track of the action and anything we might have missed. We take highlights for granted when watching a match on TV, and without them it really does take something away from the experience. Now here's a side thought, will we be able to watch a game in person, but with features like this for us to use via augmented reality technology?

One notable and quite considerable frustration was with the virtual screens and commentary. To view the virtual screen and commentary you had to watch the game in "auto" mode, meaning the camera position was controlled by the TV station. As soon as you selected your own camera position you no longer had the virtual screen and commentary. I'm sure this is an easy fix, but it did take away from the experience.

VR headset sport google cardboard football soccer live 360

Other features are also incorporated into the app, but have little substance. Checking a players stats is nice, but do we really need to know Gareth Bale weighs 74kg? I would like to see live stats, that actually mean something during the match. How many passes did he complete, or how far has he run?

VR headset sport google cardboard football soccer live 360

All in all, I did enjoy the VR experience, and it did exceed my low expectations. Did I watch the entire match in VR? No. I wanted to get a flavour of what is currently possible, but my desire to enjoy the match took over, and I admit I watched most of the match on the TV. The camera positions were not better or worse that I expected. This is where the TV coverage is still leaps and bounds in front. Perhaps a zoom / virtual binoculars function would help?

But perhaps we shouldn't be comparing VR to TV. Instead we maybe should be comparing VR to being there in person. In that respect the VR option offers more flexibility, features, and is a whole lot less expensive! But does it really compare to actually being there? Well sadly no. The buzz you get from arriving at a stadium, finding your seat, and watching the game with thousands of others isn't really replicated in VR. It is immersive, and enjoyable, but it's just not on the same page, yet.

Virtual reality for football and sports is right at the beginning of its journey, and I did fear that it might be another giant flop like 3D TVs. However I'm slightly optimistic, and can see the potential to make the VR experiences brilliant. Firstly I think we need a way to make the TV and VR experience become one, or at least much closer. How can people be persuaded to ditch the 50" LCD for a VR headset? What can VR do that TV doesn't? Will TV always be one step ahead of VR? All tough questions, and I sadly don't think there are any quick answers.

But will VR replace going to the real event? This I'm really unsure of. The ability for VR to instantly transport you to anywhere in the world is a huge advantage. Time is becoming an increasing commodity, and in a society where life can sometimes feel too busy and exhausting, could VR be an answer?

At the moment, I can't see how VR could ever replace the buzz from going to a sporting event, and I don't think this is a bad thing either. Going to a match is so much more than what you can see. It's about the atmosphere, the noise, the people, the bad weather! Maybe one day we'll fool our brains into digitally replicating these things, and stadiums will be filled with rows of VR cameras instead of people. I hope not, and I hope we can have the best of both worlds.

Anyway, if you haven't yet tried the BT Sport App, download it here for android, and here for IOS and have a go. Let me know your thoughts and ideas too!

Dean

02/06/2017No Comments

Watch the UEFA Champions League final in 360° VR!

Watch the UEFA Champions League final in 360° VR!

The UEFA Champions League final is this Saturday! The high light of the football season for many, and it never disappoints! But this year will be slightly different, as you'll apparently be able to watch the match in 360° VR!

Read more

14/02/2017No Comments

A Look at the o2 15 Project // Punch Digital Vlog

In this Vlog I take a look at the o2 Fifteen project, showing you what goes into a project like this!

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07/02/2017No Comments

Follow us on Behance

Follow us on Behance

Behance is a great platform to share, view and appreciate anything visual, and we love it! That's why we're now posting our finest work on there for all to see.

Feel free to follow us, our page is Punch Digital, and if you like our work, give us thumbs up and click "appreciate"!

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PUNCH DIGITAL

Punch Digital Services Ltd

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Peel Walker
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