Monday, December 26, 2016

Refinery Sunrise Rough

Scifi refinery, people who cross the Richmond Bridge may recognize the bottom 20% of the image

Wishing everyone a great 2017!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Doomsday Machine 4 Color Sketch

Inspired by the Star Trek Episode of the same name, and a photo of a flower I saw. Both drawn and painted in Photoshop.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Xeelee Sequence Timelike Infinity The Eye Of The Spline

Michael Poole riding the "Hermit Crab" towards the Spline warship, from the book "Timelike Infinity", part of the Xeelee Sequence by Stephen Baxter. The Spline are basically giant intelligent whales that have modified themselves to become spaceships, and rent themselves out to the highest bidders, in this story, the Qax. All painted in 2d in Photoshop.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Last Stand


Monday, December 5, 2016

Next To Conquer

Quick rough that I came up with while stuck in the parking lot also known as the 80 highway.


Also two color sketches showing my initial ideas before I refined the first one with more details. 


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Check Out Affinity Photo

So ever since Adobe went rental only, I've been hoping to find an eventual replacement for Photoshop in my workflow (I'm still using my trusty CS6). After seeing Affinity Photo in action earlier this year, I hoped I might finally have my answer.

The open windows beta started about a month ago, and I'm happy to report we may in fact have a winner. I made a detailed list of all the features I use in photoshop, and ended up with a list of 111 features. Affinity covers 101 of those features. Plus, it has a bunch of new features I've wanted for a long time, like an improved Liquify, more no destructive procedural filters, brush categories, multiple layer masks. In fact, the only must have feature it lacks for my workflow is the ability to clip layers to groups.

The future in painting/photomanip apps finally looks bright again, and it looks like we will indeed have a viable alternative in the near future. Check out the open beta and support this software!

https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo/

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Update On Paris Talk in 2017

I'll be doing a talk in Paris in March on the making of the Inc book project, I'll be discussing our process, doing a live digital painting demo, and showing off a ton of never before seen art. The conference will also feature 19 other artists, some amazingly talented people will be there, artists from all different walks of life. Check out the official site below, you can watch the teaser video and get tickets to attend in person or tickets to watch from home. Hope to see some of you there!

http://www.iamag.co/features/iamag-master-classes-17/

Monday, November 28, 2016

CGTools Updated Nov 29th 2016

I've received many requests over the years for my 3dsmax UI, so I've just uploaded my 2017 UI files. I'd recommend taking what you want from these and customizing them, no two people work alike and I don't expect anyone is going to use my exact UI. But it is interesting seeing how other people choose to organize their tools, and so maybe this can help inspire a UI for you that's better for your own workflow. Enjoy!

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/ui/ui_3dsmax.htm

Desert Wandering

“Although I knew better, I pushed us day and night, sometimes taking shortcuts we should have avoided. We were nearly devoured several times.” - Landis

From the Inc Book Project.


Link Removed

Friday, November 25, 2016

New Paintings




Monday, November 21, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Nov 22nd 2016

Added a new 45 minute video tutorial called Shading A Hard Surface Model 2016: Texturing A Robotic Mask, which shows off my workflow for texturing hard surface models (and shows how max 2017.1's new BlendedBoxMap and Curvature work as part of that workflow)

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/shading_a_hard_surface_model_2016/shading_a_hard_surface_model_2016.htm

Available at low quality on youtube or high quality downloadable for $1 on gumroad.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Nov 21st 2016

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm

Updated the Curvature Based Edge Wear tutorial with a new video showing how to use the Curvature modifier in 3dsmax 2017.1

Visit the page above for the full tutorial, or if you already know the theory and just want to see the video tutorials showing the new features, follow this link...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgQfbxsp-iQ

Thursday, November 17, 2016

CGTools Updated Nov 17th 2016

Updated 1 older Asset Packs:

Soulburn_MaterialAssetPack_Free_v002: Updated the asset pack to use the BlendedBoxMap and Data Channel Curvature available in max 2017.1

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/assets/assets_3dsmax.htm

You can still download the older v001 of the asset pack if you're using max 2012-2016, but the max 2017 material asset pack will be the only one to get updates from now on.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Nov 16th 2016

The Soulburn CG Education Page has been updated:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/cg_education.htm


Updated my Blended Box Mapping and Blended Cube Projection tutorials with new videos showing how to perform these techniques using the new BBM map inside of 3dsmax 2017.1

Visit the pages above for the full tutorials, or if you already know the theory and just want to see the video tutorials showing the new features, follow these links...

Blended Box Mapping 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=js3tA-wYj0c

Blended Cube Projections 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDQPXunmTfQ

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

SoulburnScripts Updated Nov 16th 2016

For years I have wanted a Blended Box Map and a Curvature Map in max. I wrote my own scripts to hack something together, but really they were just good enough to work, they lacked the polish that only actual max plugins could bring.

Well, 3dsmax 2017.1 adds a BBM and Curvature to the max base package, and I couldn't be happier! You can expect new scripts, new assets, and new tutorial videos from me in the coming days to show off the new workflows.

Lets start with a brand new script pack that use the new tools, with the option to always go back to the old soulburn methods for people who want to use older copies of max. First, download 3dsmax 2017.1 from your autodesk account. Then install the latest script pack...

Added 2 new scripts:

blendedCubeProjectionManager: Lets you change parameters to any Blended Cube Projection inside the material you currently have active or the objects you have selected.

curvatureManager:
Lets you change parameters of any Curvature Data Channel on your selected objects. Also lets you propagate an existing curvature modifier to all selected objects. So say you have 3 objects that have a curvature Data Channel modifier and you add 2 objects to your model, propagating will copy and paste that modifier to all 5 objects. 

Updated a bunch of older Maxscripts:

blendedBoxMapMaker: You can now create a BlendedBoxMap using max's BlendedBoxMap map. Also added compatibility with vray's Triplanartex map.

blendedBoxMapManager: You can now update the parameters of a Max BlendedBoxMap map.

blendedCubeProjectionMaker: You can now create a BlendedCubeProjection using max's BlendedBoxMap map.

cameraMapTemplateRenderer: You can now render max's BlendedBoxMap map projections.

curvatureMaker: Renamed script from cornerEdgeToVertexMap to curvatureMaker. Added ability to create new max 2017 Data Channel Curvature.

modelPreparer: You can now render your projections with max's BlendedBoxMap map.

groupWithPoint: Added option to have it not size the point based on bounding box size. The point will be of whatever default size you last chose. Added option to use a dummy instead of a point, which helps when exporting the scene as fbx to maya. Point is still default.

wireMaker: Fixed an issue where not having SplineMesher installed causes tons of error dialogs.

subdivisionAutomator: Added UV boundry controls for Opensubdiv. Now will always place the subdiv modifier under the data modifier in the stack.

modifierUtilities: Adjusted preset modifiers a bit. Added "Collapse To Modifier By Type" and "Collapse To Modifier By Name"

layerCleaner: Fixed a bug where it would not work in max2017 or higher.

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/scripts/3dsmax/soulburnscripts.htm

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Inc I'm Going


"I looked out the main viewport to see us flying in mere moments across the landscape that took me weeks to cross. We ascended toward the blue sky, then upward as it turned dark and filled with stars."

An image for the Inc Book Project. Primarily photobashing with a lot of hand paint on top, source images from a photoshoot I did in Utah. Starship design by Jeremy Cook.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

CGTools Updated Oct 12th 2016

Updated 1 older Asset Packs:

Soulburn_ModelAssetPack_Free_v004: Added 3 new commonly requested primitive models, a Subd Pole, a Subd Slab and a Subd Pipe Elbow.

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/assets/assets_3dsmax.htm

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Space Pirates

"The Widows Revenge descended to the ground, and the captain emerged on the boarding ramp with a cocky sense of victory. Inc immediately aimed his welder at him. Captain Sturges seemed unfazed, almost charmed by Inc’s actions."

Link Removed

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Funeral

“Are they trying to keep people out, or in?” INC asked. “Definitely out,” I replied. “We just need to wait for the funeral.”


Link Removed

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Aug 16th 2016

Updated my Reflections and Highlights tutorial with tons of new info, especially about IORs, Fresnel, and how a rough surface affects Specular Reflections.

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/reflection_highlight/reflection_highlight.htm

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated July 30th 2016

Updated my Art Process Overview tutorial with tons of new info and a newer video.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Another new Starship Hull


Monday, July 18, 2016

Xeelee Sequence Timelike Infinity The Eye Of The Spline


Michael Poole riding the "Hermit Crab" towards the Spline warship, from the book "Timelike Infinity", part of the Xeelee Sequence by Stephen Baxter. The Spline are basically giant intelligent whales that have modified themselves to become spaceships, and rent themselves out to the highest bidders, in this story, the Qax. Just a quick color sketch, may do a full detailed version at some point.

7/12/2016
Programs: Procreate, Photoshop

The Heritage Universe Zardalu Line Sketch


 A Zardalu from the Charles Sheffield book series The Heritage Universe.
7/13/2016
Programs: Procreate, Photoshop

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Dangers Of Defying The Gods!

The dangers of defying the gods!

Link Removed

Monday, July 4, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated July 4th 2016

Here's a full write up on my experience with the tiltbrush, including pics, walkaround video, stepbystep videos, fbx export info and a bunch of info on the technique, and where it may go in the future:

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_education/tilt_brush_space_battle/tilt_brush_space_battle.htm

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Google's Tilt Brush Experiment "Space Battle 1"

Had to chance to try out Google's Tilt Brush, a vr painting program. I see a very bright future ahead.

Go to vimeo to see a walkaround video.










Sunday, June 26, 2016

Starship Hull 14


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Megastructures 6 Skyhook


A skyhook is a tether attached to a heavy orbiting space station that would help reduce the cost of placing payloads into space. The cable attached to the station would extend towards the surface of the planet. Payloads would be brought to the end of the hook by a suborbital launch vehicle, attached to the cable as it passes, and then are flung into orbit by the rotation of the cable / station around its centre of mass. The station would then be reboosted to its original altitude by propulsion, or by deorbiting another object equal in mass to the payload. A skyhook is different from a space elevator in that the cable would be much shorter, would not come in contact with the surface of the planet, and the cable / station would be rotating like a pinwheel around its center axis.

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/EE4mK

6/9/2016
Programs: 3dsmax, vray, Photoshop, Looks 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Soulburn Assets Updated June 10th 2016

A number of changes to the asset files:

1) The materials are now 1 single download, instead of 4 separate packs. This just makes them easier to update, from a user perspective, nothing has changed with installation except you now only need to download a single zip file instead of 4.

2) Added one new Test Material called Test_ToonPaint, which is a simple material that allows you to give 2-3 different levels of solid color paint based on lighting direction. While the vray toon shader will do outlines, this is perfect for the paint inside those outlines.

3) I've removed the need for the ColorCorrect plugin from the materials and environments. Cuneyt's ColorCorrect is a great plugin, and far superior to the Color Correction map that's built into max, but a lot of people don't like being dependent on plugins, even free ones, so I've converted all the color corrections in the materials to using Output maps or the max default ColorCorrection map. At some future point, I hope to persuade autodesk to write a better Color Correction map, and when they do, I will swap all of these materials over to using the new map. But until then, you can use the materials without the ColorCorrect 3rd party plugin.

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/assets/assets_3dsmax.htm

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Megastructures 5 Shkadov Thruster


The Shkadov thruster (named after Dr. Leonid Mikhailovich Shkadov), also known as a Class A Stellar Engine, accelerates a star through space by selectively reflecting or absorbing light on one side of the star's surface. This could be used to move your own sun to a different location in the cosmos, or move a potential dangerous sun (one that's likely to go super nova) away from damaging your system.

5/30/2016
Software: 3dsmax, vray, Photoshop, Looks

Monday, May 23, 2016

More On The Inc Model Kit

Inc Artist Nathan Fariss has added photographs of the unpainted Inc The Robot Model kit on his model blog. Check it out!


Link Removed

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Will Be Speaking At IAMAG Master Classes In March 2017

I know this is 10 months away, but I will be speaking in France at the IAMAG Master Classes in March 2017. There will be a total of 15 speakers, the 2017 list isn't finalized, but folk like Ryan Church and Ash Thorp will be speaking as well. Check it out, I'll have way more information later in the year as all the details finalize:

http://www.iamag.co/features/iamag-master-classes-17/

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Xeelee Sequence Exultant Greenship


Greenship from the book "Exultant" from the Xeelee Sequence by Stephen Baxter. Greenships are starfighters in the Interim Coalition of Governance. Resembling massive three-pronged claws, they are armed with three starbreaker cannon turrets, one for each blister (a clear bubble containing one crew member) at the tips of the prongs, and a monopole cannon, which fires spacetime defects. Its trifurcated design was all about redundancy, a ship could lose two of its three blisters and still function.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated May 16th 2016

To create my Megastructures 4 painting, I decided to limit myself to using 2d perspective grids rather than creating a full 3d image. This tutorial goes into all the details of how to use grids to paint in 1 point, 2 point and 3 point perspective, and using Photoshop's transform - Deform tool to put flat objects into proper perspective. The first half of the video shows all the theory, and the second half shows a portion of my actual process creating the final painting at double speed with narration. Achieving proper perspective is an important fundamental skill and this video will give you some tips and tricks how to add more accurate perspective to your own imagery. Comes with a free 4096 pixel perspective grid.

37 min video, $2
Painting A Scifi Image With 3 Point Perspective (Gumroad)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Megastructures 4 Krasnikov Tube

A Krasnikov Tube is a permanent space warp created behind a spaceship as it travels at near lightspeed to some distant star system, and then uses the resulting tube for the return trip. The tube would provide a distortion of space such that it gets you back home shortly after you left. Painted in Photoshop, the main image uses no 3d, just various photos and hand painted elements. Will post a tutorial on the process in the near future.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

SoulburnScripts Updated Apr 23rd 2016

The scripts have been now fully tested in Max 2017!

Updated 1 older Maxscripts:

alignViewportToFace: Onur Kardelen added some code to allow you to align the camera to multple faces, by taking the average. Thanks Onur!

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/scripts/3dsmax/soulburnscripts.htm

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Coming Soon

Link Removed

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Megastructures 3 Alderson Disk

My latest Megastructure, the Alderson Disk is a giant platter (like a Compact Disc) with a thickness of several thousand km and an outer radius roughly equivalent to the orbit of Mars or Jupiter. The sun is located in the hole at the center of the disc.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Inc Model Kit

Inc Artist Nathan Fariss has updated his model blog with a post on creating the Inc Robot Model kit. Check it out!


Link Removed

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Interview with Big Bad World Of Concept Art

Eliott Lilly from the Big Bad World Of Concept Art website did an interview with me, it's available in 3 parts here:
Eliott is the author of a book about breaking into the video game concept art field for publisher Design Studio Press, I gave it a read a few months ago and its a great book of tips for students trying to find their way. Check it out here: http://bigbadworldofconceptart.com/buy/

Monday, March 14, 2016

God Robot 1 Defends

"I was just about to put my cup to the wall when the ground shook under my feet, sending me backward onto the dirt. It was as if the building had come to life."


Link Removed

Monday, March 7, 2016

Megastructures 2 Space Elevator

A Space Elevator is a system for transporting cargo from a planet surface to orbit without the need for large rockets. It consists of a cable (tether) that extends out from the planet into space. It is anchored to the surface of the planet, and the other end is anchored to a counterweight (possibly a space station or asteroid) positioned past geostationary orbit. The cable would allow for a vehicle, called a climber, to travel from the ground to space and back again, delivering cargo or people into space. The force of gravity vs the force of outward / upward centrifugal force would result in the cable being held up under tension, and stationary over a single position over the planet. Depending on the gravitational pull of the planet the Space Elevator is anchored to, the cable would have to be made of a material that has a very high strength to weight ratio.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Megastructures 1 Ringworld

The first of a new series I'm working on, Megastructures will explore a number or larger than life scifi engineering projects.

We'll start with The Ringworld, CATEGORY: STELLAR SCALE. A Ringworld is an artificial ring in space large enough to maintain an atmosphere and habitable land. The ring spins to create g-forces, and inner walls could be used to hold in the atmosphere. “Stellar Scale” rings could have a radius roughly equal to the radius of the Earth's orbit around the sun, and could in fact have a sun at its centroid.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Check out Romain Chauliac's Hulkbuster Modeling / Texturing tutorial

Wanted to give a little shout out to Romain Chauliac, who has posted a great hard surface modeling / texturing / lighting tutorial available here:

https://www.artstation.com/artwork/ag6m2
http://gumroad.com/l/HulkBuster

This tutorial is epic, you get to watch him timelapse style go from nothing to a pretty spectacular image (no audio, but the visuals are pretty self explanatory).

He starts off subdiv modeling, its all in maya but all of the stuff he's doing is pretty standard in any software package from 3dsmax to modo.

He then goes through the process of setting up UVs for the model, since his goal is to move it over to Substance Painter for texturing. My god is this part tedious! Apparently the process took close to 10 hours to set up good uvs on all of those tiny pieces. And this is no slam on Romain, he's a real pro and does a great job, this is a slam on UVs and the pipelines that rely on them. As you're probably aware, I am a big fan of UVless methods, and I can think of no greater example of why then to watch the process of setting up UVs on this mesh. In fact, I challenge the makers of Substance Painter to watch the UV process in its entirety in realtime, and then tell me why they can't implement PTEX in their software!

Once this process is complete, he moves over to Substance for his texturing. Other than the gruesome uv requirement, I really dig how he goes about texturing the mesh. A little hand painting here and there, but for the majority its procedural texturing using Curvature, Triplanar Projection (Blended box maps) and Ambient Occlusion to drive noises. And their system for blending between materials is really intuitive.

He then goes into Cinema4D and sets up the final shaders using the maps baked out of Substance Painter. Then some lighting and rendering in passes, and final composite in Nuke.

If you want to learn about complex hardsurface modeling and shading, this video is a great resource, you even get the model and maps as part of the package. Highly recommended, thanks for posting this Romain!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Interviewed for The Good Dinosaur

It's Art did an interview with me on the making of Pixar's The Good Dinosaur. I discuss our work doing Visual Development and then Sets, lots of pre-production artwork from myself and the talented Pixar team. Check it out, and thanks to Patrice for the interview!

http://www.iamag.co/features/making-of-the-good-dinosaur-exclusive-interview-with-pixar-artist-neil-bleivins/

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Inc Book Project: Arrival

“Your confused friends out there have been sipping from a leak when they could have been guzzling from a firehose if they just had the courage to take a look.” 

Another painting from the Inc book project. Ever since the film Dune, and that spectacular shot of the Guild Heighliner above Caladan, I've always loved the image of a giant spaceship hovering in a planet's orbit, I could paint them all day, it raises such juicy "What's going to happen next" type questions. 

My usual combination of 3d, photos and hand painted in photoshop. The most time consuming was the planet, as I had to make it up of dozens of individual cloud images, then warp them to the contours of the planet. 


Monday, February 8, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Feb 8th 2016

25 min video, $2
Paint Dramatic Lighting Using Photo Reference (Gumroad)

Many times the best way to get dramatic lighting in your painting is to reference the real world, so this tutorial discusses how I used the lighting from two photographs in two paintings of a sci-fi scene from my book project Inc.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Soulburn 3D Education Page Updated Jan 24th 2016

Updated my Curvature Based Edge Wear tutorial with a brand new 8 minute video showing some alternate techniques.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bru9yN2i8oQ

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Coral Desert Wandering 10

Link Removed

Friday, January 1, 2016

SoulburnScripts and Assets Updated Jan 1st 2016

Added 1 new Maxscript:

elementSelectByFace: Once you've selected a face of an Editable Poly, it will select the entire element the face is associated with. Great for selecting elements without having to leave face mode.

Updated 2 older Maxscripts:

materialInfoDisplayer: Added a test to display "Number Of Times A Map Type Appears In A Scene".
soulburnAssetLoader: Added a Texmap category, where you can load your favorite individual texture maps (like Bitmap, Noise, Gradient, etc), or your own personal texmap chains (such as a Noise with 2 Gradients in the Color swatches. This allows you to make a "Favorites" selection of texmaps so you don't have to find what you need in a long list of texmaps you never use. To make your own texmap assets, create a Standard Material or VrayMtl, place the texmap or texmap chain in the diffuse slot, assign this material to a dummy object like a teapot, and then save the max file to your Texmap directory. Think of it like the way you save a Material asset, except it only grabs the diffuse map and places that into the material editor instead of grabbing the entire material.

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/scripts/3dsmax/soulburnscripts.htm

Added 1 new Asset Pack:

Soulburn_TexMapAssetPack_Free_v001: A bunch of texmap assets to go with the latest version of SAL.

http://www.neilblevins.com/cg_tools/assets/assets_3dsmax.htm

Thanks to everyone for your support.