06/02/2020No Comments

The Importance of Not Standing Still

Sound on folks, and take a look at the latest showcase.

It's been fun to look back and stitch this 30s montage together. It makes me realise how multi talented Punch Digital can be, and the benefits of not being stuck rigidly to one area.

Many folk say "you need to be super niche", and whilst I do agree, and perhaps even see the business sense in that, it's just not for me.

I see huge advantages in working on a wide range of projects. What you learn on an architectural job will have a positive impact on a product animation.

Take for example the part of the showcase where the "2020" objects fall and bounce around. In my head, I'm thinking, could we use a system like this to drop leafs into an architectural project, to have a more realistic and interesting visual.

I totally understand that this approach isn't "mainstream", and we will end up going down routes that lead to nowhere. But that's half the fun!

Doing the same thing, day in, day out, also leaves you very exposed. People will copy, imitate and rip-off work. And if you're not quick, they could overtake you, and run you out of business. That scares me much more than wasting a few days on side project!

"If you don't move, your legs become stiff. And once your legs become stiff, it becomes harder to move."

Kind of makes sense, right?

So here's to diversity!

Dean

14/06/2019No Comments

Finished Friday // Evolution // CGI Motion Graphic Animation

Evolution motion graphics cgi animation

Stand still and you're irrelevant.

Why not evolve?

This r&d piece explores the need to evolve, grow and push ourselves beyond current capabilities.

Check out the full project on the Behance page.

This side project also features in the R&D section too.

 

Thanks,

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!

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

21/07/2016No Comments

Marketing CGIs and animation help sell luxury houses off plan!

Off plan marketing with the magic of architectural visualisations and animations!

Viver Green Housing Development, a project which we recently completed, has been a great success in helping our client to successfully sell many of their properties, even before the diggers arrived on site!

It's great to hear from our clients when the work we produce has been a real success. To be able to sell properties before work begins is incredible, and it shows what a great architectural design, marketing and of course great CGIs can do!

We produced 15 architectural visualisations and one CGI animation for Egg Homes, which were used in web and printed marketing. To see the all the images please check out the Viver Green Housing Development page.

There will be a video blog coming soon, showing you behind the scenes of how we created the images and animations. Until then, if you have any questions, would like to know more, or even have a development that needs to be visualised, then please get in touch!

Dean

01/04/2016No Comments

360° Video Gives us a View into Pre-historic Life!

360° video gives us a view into pre-historic life!

360° video is on the rise, and it's becoming a fascinating way to engage with viewers. The technology is very new, and as such people don't quite know the best way to use it, or even produce it, but this 360° video is one of the best examples I have seen so far. David Attenborough stars in the video where a giant dinosaur appears to walk past him, but the beauty of using a 360° video is that it allows the viewer to look around and really feel like you're there.

The video is hosted on Youtube, which is brilliant as it's accessible on PCs, laptops, tablets and smart phones, so go ahead and watch the video.

If you're on a PC use the mouse to click and drag on the video to look around, and if you're on a phone or tablet, hold the device up and turn around (and ignore the odd look from others!).

If you're using a smart phone and the YouTube app you may have noticed this symbol in the bottom right corner...

google cardboard vr headset 360 interactive

When watching the video on your phone, clicking this button will make the video will split in 2, which allows the user to strap on their VR headset, such as the Google Cardboard or Gear VR and fully immerse themselves in the 360° video, brilliant right? OK it might take some time to get use to viewing content this way, but it is fun, trust me!

Anyway, back to the video. In my opinion what this video does, which other 360° videos perhaps haven't quite mastered yet, is the ability to direct the views whilst telling a story. Other  360° videos they can be visually great, but not really engaging or have any purpose. Take for example the Star Wars 360° video; it looks great, and ties in well with the movie release, but it really doesn't tell a story, and as such it doesn't engage with the viewer. You don't know where you should be looking, and as CGI nerd I find myself picking apart the 3D and finding errors, which if I was engaged I may not initially notice. Others might simply just stop the video after 10 seconds, either way it hasn't fully reached its potential.

When we create 360° videos we will have to be very mindful to engage the viewers. With 360° videos the user can look anywhere, so directing the viewers without being forceful will be the key to a successful video. Creating beautiful videos and CGI won't be enough, and although the technical challenge to create visually great videos is the first hurdle, it wont be long before 360° videos are mainstream, and we'll see where content and story telling really set the good and bad videos apart.

360° videos, I hope, are here to stay, and only time will tell just how successful and useful they can be. We're working on plans and ideas to bring 360° videos to our services, we're already experts in creating virtual environments, so the next step is to take our expertise from 2D images and animations to 360° videos and other virtual reality content. We've already tested the Google Cardboard and YouTube 360° video with this little interior apartment test, and we have plans to create something quite exciting, so watch this space!

Dean

 

02/02/2016No Comments

The Chemical Brothers new 3D printed exoskeleton music video is AMAZING!

Combining 3D printing, VFX / CGI animation and of course a great tune, The new Chemical Brothers new music video is here, and is certainly one to watch!

The video features a dancer, who gradually transforms into a 3D printed exoskeleton. It's a superb video, beautifully choreographed, animated and produced!

As a CGI and 3D printing enthusiast, the video really grabs my attention. I'm not exactly sure how the video and CGI were produced. My thinking and logic would be that the dancer is shot either in front of a green screen, or in the warehouse, and then the warehouse is in fact either entirely CGI, or a mix of real and CGI. Markers on the dancers body may also have be used to track the dancer, and allow the animators to sync the footage of the girl with the computer generated exoskeleton. No matter how it's done, it's no easy job!!

chemical brothers cgi vfx video animation 3d printing

The visual appearance of the exoskeleton reminds me of Cortex Exoskeleton, which was designed to replace the traditional cast for broken bones. This style of 3D form has also been used in films, architecture and product design, and is a fascinating mix of organic and rigid shapes.

chemical brothers cgi vfx video animation 3d printing

Towards the end of the video, the girl is transformed entirely into the mesh form. At this point (and this is my only tiny criticism), the girl / character is entirely CGI, and perhaps the fabric on her t-shirt isn't quite as natural flowing as it looked previously in the video. I'm being really nit-picky here, but when you work all day with CGI, it's hard to not be critical, and see the small tiny flaws. I'm still massively impressed with the video though, and I can't wait to see a VFX breakdown, which according to comments on the Vimeo page, will be with us shortly!

chemical brothers cgi vfx video animation 3d printing

One part of the video I love, and had to re-wind several times was the moment the dancer performs in front of the mirror, and behind the dancer we see the reflection of the girl. Are we supposed to be seeing the dancer from the point of view of her self, perhaps as a ghost, or something more spiritual? The video is already amazing, and  throwing in these little things is never a bad thing!!

And here is the full video! Turn up the volume, go full screen, and enjoy!

Dean

23/12/2015No Comments

Merry Christmas! Here’s to 2016!

Well it's that time of year again....

....so first of all, Happy Christmas everyone!

We're almost at the end of 2015, and I find it's always great to look back at what we've done over the past year. We can smile and pat ourselves on the back at the great work we've produced, but also to reflect on the hurdles and obstacles from the year!

I hope this year has been a great one for you, I know we've had a good year, producing some great work for you guys! As usual we've focused on creating architecture, interior, and product CGIs, but we also explored other area such as 3D printing and virtual reality. I find it's always great to explore and play, even if it's just to glimpse at what might be!

So I'll leave you with a short selection of our interesting 2015 projects for you to browse with a mince pie and sherry....

Student Mattress Room Set -

interior cgi bedroom matress student visualisation

The student mattress room set was a continuation from 2014, but is still worth of a mention. We really enjoyed working on this project, partly down to the fact we were given a lot of creative freedom with regards to the set design, and also to how well the final image turned out. It was technically challenging matching the CGI with the real mattress, but the end result was worth the extra effort!

New Broadway -

architecture arch viz vis building residential 3d cgi

2015 saw an increase is architectural visualisations for us, and the New Broadway project was perhaps one of the more interesting projects to work on. The images were photo-composites, set at dusk, which meant we could play with light and colour much more than a typical day-time CGI.

Construct & Configure Interactive Application -

interactive configurator kitchen realtime cgi interior

The Construct & Configure app finally went live this year, and although it's not 100% finished, it shows the potential of what we can do, and the direction we see things going in the next few years! We will be finishing and improving the app, and it will be used by clients to interactively visualise their products. Give it a go if you haven't already!

3D Printed Miniature Figures -

3d printing print scan scanning subutteo

As part of our need to explore and play with new tech, we have been busy with the 3D printer and scanner, turning folks into miniature figures! We honestly didn't know what would happen when we bought the printer, and it still feels very novel, however the miniature model railway guys have been taking advantage and we've been producing miniatures to go along with their trains, platforms and scenery!

There's been so much more happening in 2015 which I haven't mentioned, from virtual reality, to kitchen CGIs, along with all the other little things which crop up, and perhaps get lost along the way!

In 2016 we of course want to continue to produce amazing CGIs, animations and interactive projects, and as usual we will continue to play and explore! On our "wish list" is a VR headset, perhaps an Oculus Rift, or HTC Vive, which will allow us to really see what the future may hold! Also we will most likely launch another website, dedicated to the 3D scanning and printing, as the interest in this niche is definitly something we want to expand.

Also, away from the "doing", we want to attend more events, exhibitions, and such to make sure we're surrounded by new and exciting things. We'll be travelling all over the UK to various cities and events, so if you want to meet-up for a brew, chances are we could be passing by some time soon!

So that's it for 2015! Time to step away from the PC for a week, re-charge, rejuvenate, and hit the ground running in 2016!

Dean

11/11/2015No Comments

360 Degree Video Test – 3D Interior Apartment

Earlier this year YouTube made it possible to upload 360 degree videos! If you don't know what they are, 360 videos enable the viewer to look around the space, as if they were there, whilst the video is playing!

I wanted to see what the possibilities could be for CGI and 3D rendered environments, I'm always interested in new tech, and different ways of doing things, so it made sense to spend some time investigating, testing and developing.

The video below is the test video I produced. It's a very simple interior room set, with a basic camera movement forwards and backwards, but that's all I need for this test. When you play the video it will play just like a normal YouTube video, however if you click and drag (if you're on a PC browser) on the video you'll be able to look around the 3D environment! Give it a go....

The video can also be viewed on Youtube here.

If however you are viewing the video on the YouTube app on your smart phone (I have a HTC One M8), then hold the camera as if taking a picture of a wall, and move the phone to look around! It really is quite amazing!!

However the fun doesn't stop there, whilst in the YouTube app, you'll possibly see the Google Cardboard logo, and if you have a Google Cardboard (if you don't, jump on Amazon and order one for around £15!), click the Cardboard logo, and now you can view the video in the Google Cardboard head set!

Google Cardboard VR Headset Interactive

The Google Cardboard.

So what does this all this mean? Creating demos like this are always extremely valuable to do, they allow me to test, experiment, fail and play with something new and exciting, and that's half of the reason why I love the industry I work in!

But does it have any practical future applications? I'm sure when it comes to presenting content to users, more immersive and engaging content is going to be a massive plus to any project. I don't see why an architect couldn't use a 360 degree video to present their new building, or instructors aid their students with more engaging training, or even being able to watch a theatre performance as if stood in the centre of the stage!

The possibilities are endless! Of course there has to be a purpose to using 360 videos, in some applications it just wouldn't add anything, but in many situations I see the potential use of 360 videos to push video and user engagement to the next level!

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PUNCH DIGITAL

Punch Digital Services Ltd

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