The man behind this guest blog is Eugene Flormata: Lead 3D generalist at Hadron Films.
Hadron Films is a production company based in Vancouver, Canada that aims to amaze. They are a small but nimble studio doing some great work and here at YellowDog we are committed to getting our fans the inside scoop. To discover the challenges and rewards of working for a full-service production company in Vancouver, we spoke to their Lead 3D generalist, Eugene. Take it away Eugene…
The Goldilocks City
I’m the Lead 3D generalist at Hadron Films and have been there for over 10 years. I’m based just outside of the downtown core of Vancouver. It’s the Goldilocks city – not too hot (rarely rising above 34°C), and not too cold (fortunately nothing below -10°C)! It’s a great place near the ocean that offers all the perks but without the crowds.
Hadron lives by the motto that “there is no such thing as impossible”; we use our collective expertise to make things look, well… great! But then, I would say that. Alongside working for Hadron Films, I also co-own Qoobit with a friend of mine. We focus on more interactive experiences with website design and mobile applications with AR/VR. I love to keep busy.
Like all jobs in life, there are fun projects as well as challenging ones. My favourite project at Hadron is the ‘Christmas Card’. I enjoyed it because I animated the characters and surprisingly, I don’t get the chance to do that in my day to day job as most projects require me to focus on product model animation and camera work.
Watch the Christmas card video in 360 or for the standard version, check it out below.
For 3D modelling and animation, we use Maya. This is mostly because students coming out of school use it and so any notion of ramping up freelancers almost requires it. With the type of work we do, we could use Cinema 4D, but as the last supervisor here was Maya based, I had a semi-small foothold in it when Softimage was put to end of life status. Personally, I believe Houdini is the future, and I will attempt to make the move when the time is right.
For render engines, we use Redshift, Element 3D, and more recently Unreal Engine. It’s all dependent on how quickly I can see things, iterate, and hit the quality necessary for our expectation and that of our clients.
For compositing, we use After Effects; the Adobe suite is great value for money. That said, it would be nice to move to a node based compositor some day.
Rendering with YellowDog
One quick way to lose the client’s approval is to send them grey scale renders – they don’t always understand them and they don’t want them. To keep clients happy, we rely on good quality rendering to send them coloured images they can understand.
We decided we could trust YellowDog after checking a Redshift forum and found they had been vouched for by another user, so we decided to give them a go. YellowDog’s scalable cloud rendering for GPU just makes sense. You could rent a machine and put a load of GPU cards in it, bearing in mind you have the licenses you need and the finances to cover the cost; or you could simply use YellowDog’s platform, spin up any number of machines you need, and feed in your scene directly. YellowDog provides fast and reliable support so you’re not left in the lurch if something goes wrong.
Why GPU, why Redshift?
I am always on the lookout for the newest tools to make my life easier. While the real-time solutions of Element 3D and Unreal are great for some projects, sometimes you just need better quality. For us, Redshift makes more sense with its biased rendering for speed. We have freed ourselves from a prebuilt sunk-cost CPU farm. We can also upgrade GPU yearly which is cost effective for a smaller studio like ours and in terms of the future, the use of artificial intelligence to fill in the gaps of noisy renders seems to be really promising.
Making life easier
We are all looking forward to working smarter and not as hard in the coming years! I like to attend local VR meetups here in Vancouver, like vanVR, to stay up to date with where the industry is headed and how we can streamline and improve our work. I’m looking forward to three pieces of technology, in particular, moving out of R&D status and into off the shelf programmes:
I also can’t wait for the advantages of 6dof control in VR/AR over a mouse for production purposes. With YellowDog on hand for that offline rendering quality bump it’s all play, no work – things are looking fun!
Take a look at the Hadron Films showreel below
People who like this, love how YellowDog pushes Redshift hard for LEGO with M2Animation.
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