Lighting/Lookdev/Compositing/CG Generalist Demoreel - Maksym Osmolovskyi

Lighting/Lookdev/Compositing/CG Generalist Demoreel - Maksym Osmolovskyi

Maksym Osmolovskyi
by max0110 on 30 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Hi! I'm a CG artist from Ukraine. Everything started as my uncle bought Canon 60D. I fell in love to a photography, than I realized also for me a video mode and started filming everything. With time I decided that I wanted to go to one of the best abroad VFX schools to improve my VFX knowledges even more!

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Hello everyone! With a big pleasure I want to introduce you my entry for The Rookie Awards 2022. It includes 6 different projects with a detailed breakdowns from my recent Demoreel. All projects I have done during my education at PIXL VISN media arts academy in Cologne, Germany. All of my projects were rendered with ACES color space for the better and deeper colors and nice lights distribution.

Used software : 3DEqualizer, PFTrack, Autodesk Maya, Cinema4D, Side FX Houdini, Nuke, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Davinci Resolve.

Used render engines : Arnold, Octane, Redshift, Mantra.

So, let’s have a look at my best projects! 

Car chase project 

This project was a first project as I started working on my Demoreel. 

I'm a big fan of the Cyberpunk & Sci-Fi theme, so I have 3 projects in my Demoreel on that theme.

I did blockout, layout for the city in Maya just with a simple cubes and static cameras angles for all video. After I exported my blockout from Maya to Cinema4D, replaced it with a sci-fi buildings from KitBash3d and did a procedural city rig using cloner effectors that are controlled with a noise patterns. So I was able just with a one click totally change a whole look of the city.

In Maya I did previously just a static camera angles for my project. After that I started doing animation. I also did a basic car rig. As I final result I finished with a full 3D previs for my project.

I did a fully procedural car texturing for this project. I started with a basic car paint and then I added on top of car paint water drops, water streaks, scratches, dust, surface imperfections. Material node graph of a car paint you can see below.

I also created for lookdev/shading stage 3 separates scenes with studio, outdoor, indoor HDRs to be sure that my texturing looks good in all scenarios. 

On a lighting stage I had a lot work. Since my environment is a cyberpunk city, there should be a lot of light in it. So first I assigned mesh lights to all the geometry that should be emissive, then I did a kind of procedural light rig for them using Xpresso editor in Cinema4D. To create a more dynamic look for my project I created expressions that change the intensity and color of each light source in each frame. For my first shots where the car is in garage I finished overall with 8 light sources, of course I separated them into light groups to have much more controls on a compositing stage. Then on a compositing stage I rebuilt my beauty pass with all light groups AOVs, added everywhere some cards on BG where it was needed, added film grain, chromatic aberrations, lens grime texture and did some final color grade.

The motto of this project was proceduralism. I used it absolute everywhere where I was able. Procedural texturing, procedural city rig, procedural light rig. Proceduralism gives much more controls for your project and you can always change everything just with a few clicks. I spent also a huge amount of time doing animation for this project. I tried to achieve the most dynamic effect doing cameras animation for this project. 

Cyborg project

Without going far from the first project I decided to do another project in cyberpunk/sci-fi style. I wanted to create a shot with a character staying on top of the roof.

For this project I decided to simulate fisheye camera lens with extremely wide field of view. I found a cool 3d model of cyborg on sketchfab and used mixamo for a simple animation. For an environment i also found on gumroad 3d model of some sci-fi buildings. All assets textures by default were so bad, so i did some tweaks to have a nice look of them. On a lighting stage i tried to achieve a typical cyberpunk city look, i also added a fog volume using zDepth pass. In Nuke i rebuilt my render with all light groups and render layers, added film grain, chromatic abberations, did some color correct and some color grading. 

Last vaccine on Mars project

I wanted to create also some kind of space scene. I really liked cg renders in The Martian style, so i decided to do my scene happening on Mars. Of course as usual, I started my project with a collecting of references for overall mood, lighting and composition. 

First I started with a layout and did a modeling for environment. It was pretty fast, I just modelled a couple of simple different ground surfaces and then did a lot of breakups on them with displacements map using different types of noises. Then I scattered small, medium and big stones on this surfaces. 

I decided to do a "frozen time" effect in my scene. For this I did in Houdini random water splash simulation and 3 different smokes simulations. Smoke volumes I exported in VDB format. It gives you an opportunity to do a shading directly in render engine.

In this project I was also fully responsible for a texturing and re-texturing off all assets. I tried to add a lot of details to each surface and models creating a lot of breakups in roughness and bumps maps. 

Night forest project

I wanted to do also some nature scene for my demoreel. During analysis of a lot of references I decided to do a night forest scene.

All props I used from Quixel Megascans. I did a layout with all props, did a simple camera animation and started with lookdev and lighting.

On lookdev stage I did some re-texturing work for almost all assets, played with displacements and roughness maps adding to them some additional breakups. In this project I ended up with a 10 light groups and 4 render layers. 

With every project from my demoreel I understood how it is important to split your render into light groups. As a render was done I noticed some artifacts coming from one light source on a couple of assets, but I could easily fixed it using cryptomattes masks, excluding them. I added at the end film grain, chromatic aberrations, a little bit of a glow effect and did some final color correction and color grading work.

Orc chase project

This is another great project that i did together with a 2 students from Pixl Visn school. Orc was modeled and textured by Darleen Fischer, grooming was made by Jacqueline Köhnlein. 

First i started with an initial idea for overall mood and style of a project. I wanted to convey the atmosphere of the chase, the fear, the tension. So as usual i collected a bunch of references for lighting and mood.

I found some a little bit scary props on Quixel Megascans that were perfect for my idea. On a lookdev stage of Orc i did some minor adjustments on a specular, roughness and displacements maps and then started with a lighting. I had really many light sources in this project. For example, for a police siren light source i did a simple animation in after effects. I did some flickering for blue and red solids and added on top a little bit of a rising smoke volume. Then i exported this animation as an image sequence and used it a s a texture for an area light. You can clearly see it on a close up shot, where reflections in eyes are moveable and dynamic. It gave me really much more realism in my scene. I ended up having 11 light groups and 3 render layers.

On compositing stage i rebuilt my beauty pass with all light groups and render layers. I did a simple particle dust simulation in Nuke. I also decided to experiment with a texturing directly in Nuke and rendered window blinds almost with a solid white color. I found on Nukepedia two amazing gizmos that i use right now absolutely in every project. This gizmos are called P_NoiseAdvanced and P_Matte. For them to work correctly, you should always also render Position (P) and Normal (N) passes. So then using this two gizmos i retextured my window blinds mixing a lot of different noises on top of each other. With a P_Matte gizmo i could easily pick any certain area of an any object and could do some additional color correction without the need to doing rotoscoping. It was a huge time saver for me.

Cyber Kyiv project

Another great project where i turned my lovely city Kyiv to cyberpunk, future city. 

This project i started directly before the start of my study at Pix Visn media arts academy and finished during study. I decided to participate in VFX/Post Production course from the online VFX/Motion Design school in Ukraine Isaev Workshop. My main reference for this video were commercial "Three | 5G Future" from The Mill and Ghost in the Shell film. All CG renders i did in Houdini using Mantra render engine. I also simulated a huge amount of holograms using distorted, pixelated, cubics effects on them. Some holograms FX i also did using C4D. Final stylisation of all holograms i did in After Effects using Pixel sorter, Data glitch and Modulation plugins.

I was provided with a live action footage of Kyiv and also with a lens distortion grids for each camera that were used to shot a live action footage. For 3D camera tracking i used mainly 3DEqualizer including lens distortion calculating. For couple of shots i used also PFTrack. I liked really working in 3DEqualizer and how this software does amazing job even on so motion blurry shots.

Last stage was compositing, where i spent the biggest amount of time. Because of Mantra render is CPU based - it's very slow. I rendered motion vector, zDepth passes and matched motion blur, depth of field later in Nuke. Example of Nuke node tree just from a random shot you can see below. 

All amount of work that has been done on this project in the video below.


All of the projects above are part of my new demoreel. I spent almost a year working on this video. Because of the war in Ukraine on February 24, my life and my family's life completely changed. Almost one month we spent in basement hearing 24/7 air sirene and flying rockets. At such moments you lose motivation to do anything and just want to stay alive. But thanks to my family, I was able to move successfully to a safe place and eventually continued work on my demoreel. I would also like to thank the entire Pixl Visn team for giving me a few months extension on my Demoreel deadline. Instead of many words, I suggest you to look at all these projects together again. I tried to make this video as high quality as possible, I searched for a long time for good music, did also a full cg intro and outro. I tried do put in this video my soul, i wanted to show my passion to VFX. So turn the volume up and enjoy watching!


At the end I want to share with you some usefull tips from me for your future projects :

1. First of all, before your start working on your project - you already need to know how your project will look like at the end. Art direction, a lot of references for texturing, framing, lighting, overall mood, storyboards, color schemes. As a last stage the best thing you can do is 3d previs of your project - you will know a total length of your project, how many shots you will have overall.

2. Cameras! Don't forget that everything what we are doing as CG artists - we do a render through a camera perspective. Try to use always different focal length in each shots. Never use a default animation curves for a camera. Try to analyse cameras storytelling from a projects of the best VFX studios. 

3. Composition and framing! Another important thing with a camera storytelling. Rules of thirds, symmetry, diagonal lines, leading lines, 180-degree dialogue rule, up/down angles depending from a mood of your shot. You have to control the viewer's gaze. You have to get your viewer to look where you want them to look!

4. Always split your renders on layers and light groups. Maybe as an initial setup it could take same time for you. But then it will be a huge time saver for you. You can always re-render only some specific render layers, without need to render again a whole frame. Regarding light groups, it's also a huge time saver. You can always completely exclude any light from your scene or, on the contary, double its intensity. As a cool feature for separated light groups is an opportunity to animate each light source as you want in Nuke.

5. Always render Postion (P) and Normal (N) passes. It gives much more controls you on a compositing stage in Nuke. I found amazing free gizmos for Nuke which are called P_NoiseAdvanced and P_Matte, they are both using P and N passes. With this gizmos and with a combination of cryptomatte pass you can create any type of additional breakups on any surfaces. You can add dust, scratches, surface imperfections in Nuke. With this two passes you are also able to do a relighting of your scene directly in Nuke.

6. Power of Noise! Procedural noise should be used absolutely on every stage during your work on projects, from texturing to final compositing.

7. Depth of field and motion blur! This two things are usually essential for a usual camera and this two things should be always in your cg renders. With a depth of field you can always play with a viewer's gaze. It makes your scene much more realistic.

8. Autosave! You should always enable auto-save in every program you use. It's better to have 100+ versions of your Nuke script than just a couple. The more and more often you will save your projects, the more nerves you will save, believe me!

9. You might say that demoreel is a video where you only show your technical skills, and maybe that's really true. But I put absolutely everything I could into my demoreel. I found cool music, did also full cg intro and outro, used perfect font combinations. Try to always stand out with something special, show your specialty - and with a time you will understand that all these efforts were not in vain.

Thank you all for reading and watching my entry!

I hope you liked all in-depth breakdowns for my projects. I will be so thankful for your feedback and thoughts in comments. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn, Artstation or via email : [email protected]

Stay safe and of course #StandWithUkraine


Last vaccine on Mars project

Astronaut model : Cornelius Dämmrich

Props : KitBash3D

Car chase project

Car model : CGTrader

Props : KitBash3D

Cyborg project

Cyborg model : o0ozexo0o (sketchfab)

Environment : Zaki (gumroad)

Cyber Kyiv project

Buildings : KitBash3D

3D Models :

Live action footage :

Night Forest project

Props: Quixel Megascans

Orc chase project

Orc sculpt&texturing : Darleen Fischer

Grooming : Jacqueline Köhnlein

Props : Quixel Megascans

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