Jason Busschaert / Stanley Black & Decker – Keyshot

Jason Busschaert is an award winning designer and Sr. Project Industrial Designer at Stanley Black & Decker Inc. where they are using KeyShot to produce 3D renderings and animations for everything from internal design development to website imagery. We had an opportunity to ask Jason about what inspired him to become a designer and why they chose KeyShot for their product rendering needs.

Jason Busschaert / Stanley Black & Decker

Modeling software used:
CATIA

For as long as he could remember he wanted to become and architect. “I was set to apply to a few Architecture programs and as I was planning a couple campus trips to review departments, my high school guidance counselor suggested I look at this program called Industrial Design.” Jason recalls, “I agreed, and after only a few minutes into the tour of the ID studios and thesis projects, I got this feeling; part excitement and part purpose. I knew this was what I was meant to do.”

He’s been developing products over the past 10 years, winning multiple National Post Design Exchange Award, an Industrial Design Excellence award and an Annual Design Review Award. “I’ve been fortunate to have worked on a variety of projects and develop some really nice products. That said when it’s all said and done; the teams I’ve been on are the highlight–the extremely talented people, like extended family, are what I remember most when I look at these objects we created. It takes a great team of people, people of multi-disciplines to create great products.”

“Continuous improvements by the KeyShot development team and the ability to natively import 3D from CATIA make it a perfect addition to our workflow.”

The primary design tool used throughout the entire product development process at Stanley Black & Decker is CATIA with KeyShot used for 3D rendering. “The CDIY Power tool division uses CATIA V5 end to end. It’s an amazing and powerful tool for product development. I’ve used all the usual suspects from a 3D stand point and thus far CATIA has been the best tool I’ve used.”

They needed fast, simple way to create photorealistic images of the product line, which lead them to KeyShot. “The interface and fast results were the main attraction; continuous improvements by the KeyShot development team and the ability to natively import 3D from CATIA make it a perfect addition to our workflow. The primary use is largely for internal design development and communication. However, our use of KeyShot continues to expand to items like packaging, POP (point-of-purchase) displays, website imagery as well as animation.”

Rhino 5.0 Beta – New Build

Rhino 5.0 is now very stable and ready to put into production.

http://www.rhino3d.com/images/rhino.gif

Timid owners of Rhino 4.0 are now invited to download and use the Rhino 5.0 beta. We still have a few tune-ups and minor bugs to fix. Plus, the documentation, translations, and marketing materials need to be finished. New Rhino 5.0 public beta builds are available almost every week. Rhino 5.0 automatically downloads and notifies you of updates when they are ready.

64-bit Windows Supported: The 64-bit version of Rhino 5.0 allows you to open and edit models that are much larger than you could in Rhino 4.0. The 32- and 64-bit versions of Rhino 5.0 can be installed and run on the same computer at the same time.

Backward Compatible: Rhino 4.0 Plug-ins will load and run in the 32-bit version of Rhino 5.0. Plug-ins will need to be recompiled for the 64-bit version of Rhino by the plug-in developers. Until they’re ready, you may need to run the 32- and 64-bit versions of Rhino 5.0 side by side. Rhino 4.0 and 5.0 can be run on the same computer without a problem. Also, you can SaveAs 4.0 files from Rhino 5.0.

System Requirements: Windows XP (32-bit), Windows Vista (32- or 64-bit) or, Windows 7 (32- or 64-bit) Rhino 4.0 500MB of disk space 2GB RAM (4-16GB recommended for 64-bit systems and very large models)

Don’t wait to try Rhino 5.0!

Mass Effect 3 – Behind the Scenes with Pixologic!

Pixologic recently interviewed the amazing Bioware team that’s behind the spectacular game, Mass Effect 3. The artists talk about the progression within Zbrush that has helped move the process faster for them and the new and improved tools that have contributed towards these fantastic characters. Here is some of what they had to say…

Of course, the software industry moves at lightning speed, so the tools have evolved dramatically since you began work. How has that impacted you the most?

Herbert: Polygon limitation is now a thing of the past because now most software can handle millions of polygons without any major lag. My primary modeling tool for hard surface modeling is XSI and a lot of my models are millions of polygons in my XSI scenes. There is a lot of software to choose from and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example there are now great tools for generating AO, UV’s, etc. It is because of this that I feel character artists spend less time dealing with technical issues, allowing them to focus more on the art creation process.

Rafael: Tools that have been developed which speed up the process affected the pipeline a lot. ZBrush tools like Decimation Master, SubTool Master and UV Master are very handy on every model. Most recently, DynaMesh is a very amazing tool that helps a lot when sketching a new idea for a character.

Rodrigue: The biggest impact was on time and quality. We can now really go to town with the details on our characters. ZBrush and 3DS Max allow us to work faster, yet also put more and more details and love into our characters with a lot of flexibility. (Layers, etc.) But of course having great high-res models is not enough and you need a good engine with nice rendering and nice shaders to really show all the hard work put into the high-res models. On that side we were very lucky on ME3; we had a very nice budget for the polycounts of our characters and I was able to re-work some of the shaders to add more reflection and sweetness to our armor. If you compare the rendering between ME1, ME2 and ME3 you can see a big jump in terms of character details and quality between each installment.

Tools and tech are very important but on top of it the biggest impact for us came from the Art Director and the concept artists. It’s a great feeling to see a new concept and think, “Wow! This guy looks awesome I want to work on it!” and you know that ZBrush and the ME3 engine give you all the tools you need to deliver it without losing quality.

You’ve also seen significant advancements in ZBrush since you first started using it. How have those changes affected you?

Herbert: Greatly! I remember the first ZBrush version that I used was 2.5. I had to sculpt my characters in pieces because of the polygon limit and there was no SubTool Master or Decimation Master at the time. I sometimes like to generate my normal maps outside ZBrush and my AO with Mental Ray. Without decimation master, getting the best results outside ZBrush was very difficult. The new selection of brushes is awesome as well. With each update, sculpting in ZBrush feels more like sculpting in real clay but with symmetry, undo and “save as” enabled!

Rafael: I kind of adapted my workflow when I first started using ZBrush, so all the changes haven’t really impacted my work. But for sure tools like the new DynaMesh, SubTool Master and Decimation Master, sped up my pipeline like crazy.

I use DynaMesh a lot to concept new characters and ideas. Decimation Master is a must now for the pipeline in all my projects.

Rodrigue: Again, speed. The workflow is getting smoother and all the new brushes and layers give us so much flexibility and creative freedom. One of my favorite parts is the sculpting feel. I don’t feel like I’m moving points around anymore. Now I feel like I’m actually sculpting. That feeling is great and because it’s so fun I try to stay inside ZBrush as much as I can.

How much were you able to carry forward from ME2? Was there anything that you significantly re-worked like what you did for the Salariens with Mordin?


Rafael: We had to re-work almost all the assets we used from ME2. I had the pleasure to re-design the Keeper and Rachni Queen. I did this by using the same base model and with ZBrush I changed all the details and textures. For other models like civilians and romance bodies we added more details on top of the existing models using ZBrush and re-working normal maps and textures.

 

How did you use ZBrush for Shepard and his squad? How was it beneficial for things like armor?

Herbert: For the humanoids armor, ZBrush was used mainly for the cloth and rubber areas.

Rodrigue: We used ZBrush on all the faces, but also on most of the armors for the cloth and leather parts. In ME1 all the folds were modeled in 3Dsmax and were very basic but with ZBrush we were able to bring greater realism to our more organic parts.

What are the advantages to using ZBrush for concept creation as opposed to traditional methods like going from a drawing to the game’s base mesh and then finally to detailing?

Rafael: With ZBrush it is really easy to play with shapes and try different designs. The best thing about doing concept creation in ZBrush is that you have a base to start modeling on top of or a 3D feeling for how the character will react later with skinning and with the other characters in the game. On the other hand, it’s really slow to do a lot of major variations. So if you don’t have a base idea to start sketching in 3D the work can become useless in the hands of the art director.

Rodrigue: I used ZBrush on some armors to quickly test designs as well as different shape and size variations. It’s really fast, especially when the team is not sure about a specific design. With ZBrush you can quickly make 3D propositions to show to the Art Director and the rest of the team. Seeing the design in 3D helps to make decisions; a 2D concept can be interpreted differently depending on who looks at it but with a 3D model it’s easier to get everyone on the same page.

With the various Reapers you really got to go all out creatively. How did ZBrush help with that?

Rodrigue: These guys were a lot of fun. We had concepts but they weren’t precise. The team really wanted us to have more room with these guys and they are the characters that the 3D artists changed the most. We really had the opportunity to just let loose in ZBrush and let the sculpt talk. After so many armors, it was great to be able to go with an all ZBrush sculpt on these creatures. The Cannibal, the Banshee and the Brute had multiple revisions based on gameplay requests. Using ZBrush, we were able to quickly make them and propose different solutions.

What techniques in ZBrush do you find work best for detailing characters?

Rafael: ZBrush has a lot of brushes that truly help the detailing process. I don’t find myself playing a lot with alphas and other tools. Only brushes and patience are needed to handle the job.

Rodrigue: Like Rafael, I mostly use simple brushes and a lot of work and patience. But I would say that sculpting layers are still my favorite tool in my pipeline. I sculpt almost everything on different layers. With that I can boost or reduce the effect of my sculpting or delete it and do something different. Or I can close the mouth of a character or re-size the arms and quickly show the difference to the Art Director. I do use alphas and Drag-Rect once in a while. Or in the case of faces I texture them and then convert the texture to a mask and use that mask to add some details. When I do use these two techniques I always do it very subtly and add most of my details by hand. It’s just the best way to get exactly what you want.

This is probably your last chance to speak as a team to the ZBrush community. Is there anything else you’d like to say while you have our attention?

Hertbert: Big thanks to Pixologic to keep updating ZBrush with awesome new features, ZBrushCentral is a great forum for people to get inspiration and feedback to keep growing as artists. So keep posting!

Rafael: ZBrushCentral for me is one of the best communities online. All the tools you need to learn are available online. Keep studying and building your portfolio because we always keep an eye on ZBC!

Rodrigue: Keep rocking, Pixologic! Every new release is amazing and the ZBrush community is huge and full of awesome artists. What you do is great, so continue doing it.

And to all the characters artists out there: like Rafael said, we always keep an eye on ZBC.

 

To read the full interview click here.

If you are interested in more information on this product or to buy ZBrush click here.

ZBrush.. Did you know?

With this article, we begin a series of posts taking a closer look at ZBrush – and specifically what it can be used for. ZBrush is one of the most versatile packages available. From a consumer perspective, it can look a little expensive; however, from a business perspective, it is one of the best value applications available.

While most people consider ZBrush a modeller, they may simply associate it with character modelling. Although this is one of ZBrush’s strengths, in the last couple of years, Pixologic have evolved ZBrush into something much more capable.

ZBrush is a 3D application that is more intuitive to use for most designers than traditional 3D packages. Most designers from product design, industrial / transport design, furniture design, jewellery design and a wide range of other design disciplines are familiar working with materials, moquettes and models. Coming from this background, ZBrush can feel immediately familiar. Plug in a Wacom tablet and you find yourself fully emerged in the virtual equivalent of a clay studio or workshop.

ZBrush is an efficient polygonal modeller – much more so than most 3D applications. It makes very efficient use of model data to provide detail whilst keeping overhead to a minimum. This means that users can continue modelling and adding detail without expecting increases in lag as the depth of data increases.

A couple of the key principles/features:

Dynamesh – the underlying technology that allows continuous reshaping, modelling and extension of the initial polygons. In ZBrush, sculpting results in a contstant, intelligent rebuilding of the underlying model. There’s simply no need to worry about the number of polygons or their integrity under reshaping. Think of it as ‘digital clay’.

Fibermesh – this technology provides very impressive tools in the creation of fibres and fibre-like media such as hair, fur and grass. Fibermesh can be used to create a much wider variety of fibrous or strand-like surfaces and models. For example, Fibermesh is ideally suited to the design of fabrics, soft furnishings, toys and such like; realistic plants can be created to reside in interior design products; in fact – Fibermesh becomes invaluable in a range of situations where existing modellers and renderers fail. Genuine 3D topography is much more convincing than bump maps.

Rendering – with a powerful, and realistic built-in renderer, ZBrush not only makes your pipeline simpler, it also reduces costs further.

Why not take the time to get familiar with ZBrush if you haven’t already? Visit the ZBrush product page and use the download button to trial ZBrush today.

ZBrush 4R2b Now Available – New Fur and Hair Functionality

Pixologic this week announced the release of ZBrush 4R2b which offers hair, fur and fiber capabilities amongst other features. The new FiberMesh will enable quick and intuitive creation of hair and other fibrous materials. The FiberMesh function will generate fully sculptable Polymesh 3d objects. This means your fur and fibres will behave as sculptable geometry when using any of ZBrush’s 3D sculpting brushes.

Users will benefit from having control over density ranges where meshes are concerned. Polygon numbers will span a wide range from minute to millions, whilst retaining exportability. These features will be joined by further developments to the BPR (Best Preview Render) system. The added functionality in the BPR system will see ZBrush users benefit from the ability to have even more control in the creation of highly detailed final rendered images.

ZBrush 4R2b Feature List

  • FiberMesh to create real 3d fiber, fur and hair geometry with export capabilities.
  • New set of dedicated FiberMesh “Groom” brushes and corresponding Brush settings.
  • MicroMesh support to render fibers or single polygons as separate 3D objects.
  • New set of BPR filters and operators to greatly improve your final ZBrush renders
  • BPR Global Shadow and Ambient Occlusion settings simplifying shadow management.
  • New Cavity Mixer used to define different material shaders based on the mesh cavities.
  • Improved small details creation through Alpha and Mask. Alphas may be placed using TransPose.
  • Surface Smoothness feature detects mesh curvature for Mask creation.
  • New global deformation with Transpose Curve deformation and UnClip.
  • Improved Mask operations with Shrink and Extend.
  • Topology editing additions: Group Mask and Edgeloop Mask Border.
  • New JPEG Exporter with Crop, Preview and adjustment settings.
  • Numerous improvements such as storing shadow information based on the camera point of view, preview of mesh Extraction, Auto Adjust Mode for perspective… and a lot more.