Inspiration: The Great Abyss, Childish Gambino & Conrad Ostwald

I love the voice-over, camera work and the grading. Lovely piece of work.

 

Again a really nice grade and amazing camera work.

 

Conrad Ostwald made another epic reel. Music and visuals just work together. Smooth transitions between shots and the great work make this to one of the best reels I have seen this year. Even his 2008 reel is still in my inspiration folder.

My current Hackintosh.

IMG_1357.jpg

A few words upfront

This is my second hackintosh. I have build it in november 2012 but only found time to put this article together now. So be aware that the hardware is not top of the range anymore.

I had some good experience with the first hackintosh, that's why I am choosing this option again. The main reason I am not buying an iMac or Mac Pro is the price and not be able to expand as much as I like. I had an iMac before. Loved it but I don’t want several external Hard drives sitting on my desk or invest in an external thunderbolt enclosure to upgrade the gfx card. I am not using it as my main everyday working machine to earn money which makes it a bit easier to experiment with things and not losing valuable hours when the hardware plays up.

I had a good look around tonymacx86.com before I even began to think about my build. It is my second hackintosh and I really wanted something that is easy to install and maintain but also has some power for graphics work and 3D rendering. 
I tried to pick popular hardware so if there is a problem somewhere down the road there are potentially some people that can help out. 

This is the hardware I choose

1 x Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H Z77 
1 x Intel I7 3770K IVY BRIDGE CPU : Core i7 Processor, 3770K 3.5GHz, Quad Core
1 x Gigabyte GV-N670OC-2GD GF GTX 670 OC EDITION PCI-E 3.0 2GB
1 x Corsair AX-850 ATX Power Supply
2 x G.Skill F3-1600C9D-16GXM DDR3-1600 16GB Dual Channel

1 x TP-Link TL-WDN4800 450Mbps Wireless N Dual Band PCI-Express Adapter
1 x CoolerMaster HYPER-212-EVO Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler
1 x Fractal Design CASE-FDR4B Define R4 USB3.0 Mid Tower Case Black
1 x OCZ AGT4-25SAT3-128G SSD 128G

Hard drives

I had 2 HDD with 1TB and 500GB plus a 128BG SSD and I just bought a new 2TB WD Black.
That leaves me with 3.5 TB on moving HDD and 2x 128 SSD.
The SSD with the OS installed gets backed up manually to the second SSD. So whenever something happened I still have a working operating system.

Backing Up

I have a Time Capsule at home with an external WD Element 2TB drive. I use Time Machine to make a constant backup of my stuff. Most important my photos and some work you can never get back.
I do another back up onto a second 3TB hard drive with Carbon Copy Cloner. This backup is File Vault 2 encrypted so I can take it to work and leave it in my desk. Because of that encryption no one can read that hard drive but I have a copy safe somewhere if my house gets robbed or burns down etc. 

Speed

For all the geeks out there: 
Geekbench 13505 (32-bit) 15141 (64-bit)
Cinebench R15 CPU 683cb GPU 60.43fps

The cpu I picked is apparently quite easy to over clock. I should be able to get 4GHz out of it with the cooler I got but I haven't tested it out at all.
The main speed bump is the SSD. If you're still not using an SSD you really should upgrade. Now.

Some Issues

I had some issues with the build. I couldn't figure out what it was. Sleep worked but I couldn't wake it up again. It took me quite a while to figure out that the Power Supply Unit was damaged. I connected an older unit I had lying around and all of the sudden the problems went away. I guess the problem was quite unique but my point is that if you go and buy a Hackintosh you might run into a situation where you have to figure out stuff like this on your own just because there is not one company behind the hard- and software to help you out. Either you do it all by yourself or find a trustworthy PC shop that will act as your Apple Store.

Desk

Two weeks ago I finally got a new desk. Nothing too fancy. I love it though because it wasn't too expensive and the legs have storage space for some books/toys/things. I was even lucky enough to be able to put my hackintosh into the right leg. I did not use the shelf and turned the leg around to hide the computer. There is an opening in the back so it doesn't get too hot and two openings on the front side so I can use the USB panels and headphone jack on top of the tower.

Conclusion

I am really happy with my computer. It has its flaws here and there but that's half the fun. Being able to upgrade it with more HDD is fantastic and I still have room to overclock the CPU if I want to start experimenting again. Running Windows on the 500GB hard drive as a dual boot allows me to play Battlefield 4 if I am in the mood.

Although I wouldn't recommend it to someone who just wants a computer that works. You're probably better off with an iMac or if you need more power and can spare the money a new/used Mac Pro.

 

 

Random tips to follow or ignore

These are some random tips I got from friends, colleagues, family, strangers and myself. Hard to always follow but I try.

  • Always have a backup. Better two. Especially work files and photos. You can buy your music or movies again but not the stuff you created yourself.
  • Try a simple wallpaper and clean up your files on the desktop.
  • Always be nice. Karma will get you.
  • Get organised.
  • Be structured.
  • It's not all about the money.
  • Stop drinking bad coffee.
  • Look at things differently.
  • Do all things with love.
  • Don't be afraid to fail.
  • Seriously: Get a backup.

Something to add?

Freebie: Ground Breaking in Cinema 4d

I recently came across a question on MoStyle.tv Facebook page asking about breaking up the floor in Cinema 4D and let the pieces fly towards the sky.

This video was the reference:

My first thought was using thrausi to subdivide the floor and use two inheritance effectors to first move the floor up a bit as if it was breaking and then let the second inheritance effector move it towards the sky. I quickly put it together and posted it to the group.

It's not pretty but I wanted to see if its actually possible to do it that way. I didn't spend much time getting the timing or the animation right. Because Mostyle.tv is mostly in german I am gonna post my file here if anyone is interested in grabbing it.

If you have a different approach let us know.

Freebie: Growing Vines in Cinema 4D

Recently I created some simple growing vines in Cinema 4D for our  "Jack The Giant Slayer" promo. I used a combination of Cylinders in a cloner with a twist deformer and a spline wrap. I added text with a rock texture and modified the spline to let the vines grow around it.

Instructions:

Animate the "to" parameter in the spline wrap effector to make the vines grow. Modify the grow spline vines to change the grow path of each vine.

Tutorial: Use ReelSmart Motion Blur in After Effects

This is one of my first video tutorials. I am gonna re-upload them to vimeo to make them accessible for mobile and tablet devices and maybe some of you can take something away from that. It was originally uploaded at John Dickinson site motionworks.com.au and with over 15,000 views quite popular I guess.

There are a lot of questions, answers and comments on the blog post already. Have a look there if something is not clear. Otherwise ask here, at motionworks or on vimeo.

MoGraph Resources

Over the years I found some good resources online for various things that can be helpful as a motion graphics designer. One of the most common things I search for are textures and it's always handy to know a website that offers images you can use for your commercial projects. Here is a list of website I know that are offering free or cheap resources for your everyday design work. I would love to see this list grow over time so please feel free to send in any sites you're using: hello@stuckindigital.com

Disclaimer: Please check the license on everything you're using. Not everything is free for personal and commercial use. I am not responsible for illegally used resources and be aware that a license can be changed by the license holder. If you have doubt please contact the responsible website and ask or don't use it at all.


Textures:

cgtextures.com Probably the most popular texture site out there. Great pictures organised in Categories. Some are tiled, huge or come in a set. Sign up for 15MB free per day.

texturelib.com Another website with high resolution textures. You only get one free per day.

openfootage.net Textures, Clouds, HDRI Panoramas and time-lapse footage.

creativebloq.com 40 Free textures

abduzeedo.com Free texture packs on abduzeedo.com The textures are coming from different sources so check the license for every image.

textureking.com Quite a lot of textures in different categories. Thanks to twistedpoly for the tip.


Fonts:

dafont.com Great font website. Watch out for the comment on the right side if its free for commercial use.

fontsquirrel.com A really good site to find high quality, commercial-use free fonts.

fontspace.com Another website for fonts. Check out the comment below the font if you're able to use it commercially.

fontscafe.com Free fonts from Fontcafe.

behance.net Free fonts on Behance. Please check if they are free to use on commercial projects.

 


3D models:

thepixellab.net: The Pixel Lab not only has some nice model packs for cheap, they also have some C4D freebies

viz-people.com: Recently discovered. Some 3D models, people & kids cutouts & Sky backgrounds

c4d.visibli.com: Free Cinema 4d models,Scripts, Textures and tutorials Please check the rights on every item you're downloading and make sure you're allowed to use it in your commercial project.

turbosquid.com: You can find some free 3D models here.


Plug ins:

c4dtools.net: Cinema 4D plug ins. Some of these scripts & Plugins are for free, some of them are really cheap and helpful.

nitro4d.com: Quite a lot of freebies, donationware and tutorials. Definitely worth checking out.

AE Scripts: Largest community around After Effect scripts and plug ins.


Tutorial: Falling Cubes in Cinema 4D

This is my first video tutorial I have ever recorded and I thought I will link to it from this blog again. I am to re-uploading my old tutorials so that they don't get lost. I still get quite a few hits on this one so I figured it must be something people are interested in. So here we go.


And here is the old description: 

Today I will show you how to set up an particle system which will works with the new MoGraph2 dynamics to create falling cubes. We are using the new version of Cinema 4D 11.5 for that. If you have the particle/dynamics set up in the way I did it in the tutorial you are able to use almost every object as an particle.

I tried to achieve that effects with the previous version of Cinema 4D but failed because of the old dynamics system. I did some test with Thinking Particles and that's the way to do it if you're not calling 11.5 your own or if you need more control over your particles. If you know any other way or if you are an expert in Thinking Particles let us know in the comments below.

Take a closer look at Matthias Muellers videos here

As this is my first tutorial I would love to hear your comments about it. Suggestions, feedback or improvements are welcome. Write a comment or send me an Email. I am not sure if I'll record video tutorials frequently so I used the trial version of iShowU. Sorry about the watermark.

Today’s Inspiration: XGames, Dark Lens, MoStyle

I recently saw Bucks work on the X Games 2012 Trailer and really liked it. Great integration of illustrations into live action footage with a unique style to it.

Dark Side of the lens is around for a while but I really love it. It has a lot of feeling and melancolia to it. From the stunning cinematography to the music and the voice over, everything just fits. Put on your best pair of headphones and hit play.

And here is a recommendation for everyone who uses Cinema 4D. Mostyle.TV is a tutorial series hosted by Kay Tennemann, a german motion graphics artist from Hamburg. The video above is a quick teaser to one of his tutorials (link). This one is in english but unfortunately some of his older stuff is only available in german. But still: Have a stroll through his vimeo account and I bet you can learn some stuff.

Tutorial: Project Organisation & File Structure

In this tutorial I am talking about the project structure I am using on my project. It's based on the structure from my old work at Fluid Post. I think it's pretty handy and helps me to keep organised.

I hope you can take something away from this tutorial. I am not saying this setup is perfect and there is always room for improvement. Let me know what you think.

Download the Project structure here: