TheCGBros CGInsider Newsletter

Editor's Note

Learning should be a life-long endeavor for many reasons, but the primary among them is it keeps us “young”.  We grow as we learn and when we stop learning – we stop growing. Continuous lifelong learning not only keeps us engaged but keeps those creative juices flowing – and this is especially important for artists and creative types.

If you are serious about creating art then you need to make creating art a priority. Be sure to make time for your art. Many artists dedicate their lives to creating art. While you don’t have to spend every single second of your day working on your art,  you should dedicate some time each day (or every other day) to working on your project or learning something new – whatever it might be. 

Then, you’ll start to develop your own style. The best way to define yourself as a unique artist is to create your own style, and that is something that no one can teach you–you need to discover your style for yourself. Finding your style means trying new things and experimenting with different techniques. 

One way to do that is to take a few classes at your local art school. If you want to make art your career or take yourself to the next level, structured learning is one great way to do it. This doesn’t mean you need to enroll at university, but it does mean getting into a program that keeps you on a schedule. Sometimes it’s hard to break yourself out of your comfort zone.

"How Do I Get Started Learning 3D Animation & VFX? (Part 2)"

This month in TheCGInsider – October 2022, we conclude our discussion on how you can get started learning to create CGI, 3D animation & VFX!

I Want To Create 3D Animation!

Today, 3D animation has become the most common kind of animation today mainly because of its level of realism of being 3D, and being able to display the depth of the scene using lighting, shadowing, texturing, and shading techniques.  It is also an economic decision as hand-drawn animation has become prohibitively expensive these days, at least that is what many studios are claiming.  It may just be that recent animated films just weren’t very good and that’s why they didn’t make any money, but we digress.

So as the cost of creating 3D animation continues to dramatically fall due to less expensive hardware and more powerful software – we the huddled masses are beginning to have access to some of the most powerful 3d animation tools in existence – right on our desktops.  We can even collaborate together with other team members on production while doing it remotely.  So many changes happening in such short periods of time.

So after reading last month’s CGInsider, you’ve been doing some research and thinking about what motivates you – what you are passionate about – you’ve decided that you’d like to learn to create 3D animation.  There are many different kinds of 3D animation within the main category of 3D animation.

Two Main Categories Of Animation.

The two main animation categories are “character-based” animation and visual effects (VFX) animation. Within these are subgroups or sub-disciplines of animation.  For character-based animation, there is motion capture animation, keyframe animation, facial animation, lip-sync animation, muscle, skin, hair, and cloth animation to name a few.

For VFX animation there is pryo/fire/smoke animation as well as rigid-body destruction animation, and animation of other natural phenomena such as rain, fog and mist – lightning and hurricanes, oceans, and tornadoes.  You name it.  Lightning coming from Thor’s hammer, magic spells blasting from magic wands, or plasma waves destroying entire solar systems, if it doesn’t fall into character animation it is probably something that is handled in VFX.

Something Else To Know Going In.

Learning anything new takes dedication, devotion, and time- and with time comes the need for patience.  Creating CGI as easy as it may look on the outside, takes an immense amount of artistic and technical skills to accomplish – and an exceptional level of skills to do it really well.  There are a few things that you’ll want to begin learning, and some skills that you’ll want to begin aquiring – and even if you do – honing and refining them is going to be a life-long endeavor.

Some of these skills include but are certainly not limited to – having strong drawing skills.  Why do you need to draw if you are going to be working on a computer you may be asking? One important reason is that it is easier and faster to sketch your ideas out on paper, and thereby communicate your ideas in an efficient way. 

Creating things, especially when it comes to concepting, brainstorming ideas, and creating previsualizations on the computer is not like making instant pudding – it takes a lot of skill and time – and time is of course money. Being able to communicate what you know is of paramount importance and what your vision is to another individual or group of individuals can’t be understated. Being able to communicate in a clear concise and positive way will be a very important ability to develop and use.

The Art Of Motion.

You’ll want to begin studying and learning the “art of movement”, which means that you must really train your powers of observation and your eye’s ability to observe the world around you – how it moves and how it behaves. Observing how things move, how they articulate, and how they interact with other things will provide you with all the instruction you may ever need – especially people.

Observing people is a great place to start especially for animators because there are so many subtleties for animators to observe and analyze in an individual that needs to be animated.  And, of course, since people are not clones – at least not yet –  they do things very differently from one another from how they use their facial expressions, how they hold their body, how they walk, to what they do with their hands, things like that – is critical to becoming a great animator.

Observation Is Your Superpower.

After you’ve started developing your powers of observation, you’ll want to start digging down to the next layer that animators need to recognize and become familiar with has to do with the behaviors and motions that convey things like motivation, purpose, and intent. This will allow you to develop a good sense of scene pacing, timing, and spacing of actions/motion and enable you to convey those actions and reactions in your animation.  Once you’re familiar with motion, you’ll develop a superpower- the ability to anticipate movements even before they happen! 

When it comes to VFX animation, your powers of observation are even more important because you need to understand how natural phenomena move. You’ll want to begin learning about physics and how the physical world works. 

You’ll be setting and animating with forces and parameters such as mass, density, temperature, gravity, speed, acceleration, vorticity, drag, inertia, and momentum are just a few of the things that you’ll be working with when you are creating FX animation and dynamic simulations. Much of VFX animation uses simulation as the means of animating the hundreds or even hundreds of thousands of destructible models in a given scene.

Go Ahead, Get Physical.

Other things that a VFX animator needs to be observant of is how liquids move and flow: how fire, gas, and smoke behave under different circumstance; how clouds form and move, and how energy behaves. Once you understand these things you can begin branching out into creating more mystical and fantastical effects we see in today’s blockbuster films.

VFX is an area where the more reference material you access, the better your final fx animation is going to be. Unfortunately for VFX animators, there just isn’t a heck of a lot of reference footage available of buildings collapsing and giant mechanical beasts bashing through houses, or giant oceanic waves crashing over a city.  What kind of reference material do you think you might need to create Dr. Strange’s Multiverse Of Madness? Nonetheless, reference material is crucial for creating a vision for your VFX, even if it is VFX from other movies.

You Can Be A Successful Animator!

Successful animators are able to combine their communication and practical skills with their artistic skills and technical skills. We at TheCGBros want to encourage you to take the first steps toward your dream to create 3D animation.  The 3D animation market is booming and has a very strong outlook for both near and long-term employment opportunities.  There is an ever-increasing demand for skilled artists that have the ability to both communicate a creative idea and listen to creative ideas, as well as being technically skilled.  Unless you are a “one-man-band”, you’ll need the help and cooperation of teams of people to get a project completed on quality, time, and on budget.

If you found this information valuable, please be sure to “spread the word” and pass this newsletter along to your friends and colleagues. Don’t miss next month’s issue of the CGInsider newsletter, where we’ll discuss what makes a great demo reel!  You definitely don’t want to miss it! 

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"Rebirth" - by Heifa Emna Baoueb & Ahmed Yahia

TheCGBros Presents “Rebirth” – by Heifa Emna Baoueb & Ahmed Yahia – In the distant future, the planet earth is almost devoid of all life due to climate and natural disasters. ECO 583, a small robot initially designed by E.D.E.N enterprises as a home gardener embarks as the last surviving robot on a long journey to search for any remaining vegetations.

Runners up:

"Barking Orders"
by Alexander Tullo

"Cave Ablaze"
by Daniel Williams

News Articles "On the Edge"

Article 1 Image 1022
Black Adam:
Article 2 Image 1022
Proof that F9 is both Fast & Furious - FXGuide

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TheCGBros CGInsider Podcast

Relevant, Trending and Cool Insight - New Episodes Weekly!

This year, after encouragement from fans and consistent with our mission to provide our members relevant and quality content, we launched our own Podcast: TheCGBros CGInsider Podcast. In it, we’ll be answering many questions that our fans have been asking. We will also discuss trends and relevant topics about computer graphics imagery, jobs in the video industry, animation, gaming, and much more. Check it out!

Upcoming Podcasts:

This Month’s Schedule:

  • 2240 – 10/04/22 How Are Fractals Used In CGI?
  • 2241 – 10/11/22 What Is Procedural Animation?
  • 2242 – 10/18/22 What is 3D Painting?
  • 2243 – 10/25/22 How Is Food Animated Using CGI?

Next Month’s Schedule:

  • 2244 – 11/01/22 How Is CGI Used In Interface Design?
  • 2245 – 11/08/22 What Is Volumetric Video?
  • 2246 – 11/15/22 How Is CGI Used To Create 3D Digital Sculptures?
  • 2247 – 11/22/22 What Is Rendering In CGI?
  • 2248 – 11/29/22 How Is 3D Scanning Used In CGI?