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CG Generalist Demo Reel 2024

CG Generalist Demo Reel 2024

Sebastien Puiatti
by spuiatti on 10 Mar 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Presenting my first demo reel, done in my third year at SAE Institute Geneva. Aspiring to become a CG generalist in animated features or series, it's important to me to grasp the overall process to be a better team player, and contribute in telling great stories.

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Welcome to my debut demo reel, crafted during my third year at SAE Institute Geneva. As a passionate CG Generalist, aiming to working in animated features or series, I love to dive deep into the intricacies of the production. It's important to me to be a team player and understand what will make the work of other people easier further down the pipeline. 

There are three projects in my reel, let's walk through them together:

I love the art and animation of the original Metal Slug games, and wanted to translate it in a hybrid cartoon/claymation style, with all the rich secondary animations and overlaps that give the series vehicles so much charm and personnality. Modeling was based on an ortho released by SNK Coporation, mainly done in Maya, with Zbrush used to break edges and give it a claymation feel, surfacing in Substance 3D Painter, Animation in Maya, rendering in Arnold, and compositing in Nuke.

The 400+ elements of the model were grouped in 4 parts, and UDIMs organized to texture them separately in Substance. During the lookdev, three shaders were mixed using a Fresnel effect; a hand painted base material, a purple to green gradient to give some extra shades, and a coat for subtle indirect reflections and overall punch.

The rig was also pretty challenging; the treads must roll and deform, but also able to be posed as paws to reflect the tank atypical behavior and personality. There is also a whole interconnected and automated piston and aim system so to SV-001 can jump and crouch like in the games. Recreating the rich secondaries and overlaps that are a hallmark of the franchise was a priority.

Transformers: Jazz is the second project. I wanted to adapt this character from Fall of Cybertron (High Moon, 2012) into an asset for an hypothetical hybrid 2D/3D animated serie.

Jazz was modeled in Maya and Zbrush based on the ortho and concept by Billy King ( ), textured and surfaced in Substance 3D Painter and Arnold, rigged and animated in Maya, with final comp done in Nuke. The most interesting aspect of modeling was planning ahead for the rig and ensuring the character had full range of motion without parts clipping into each other or hard parts bending when animated, while staying true to the original design.

The texture was initially hand-painted in polypaint, with adjustment in Substance, but something was missing. The metal didn't feel right, and Jazz wasn't looking as massive and heavy as it should. I wanted to get close to how an artist would paint it frame by frame, and not just bump the metalness slider. The reflections had to follow the brush strokes on the texture and not the glide over the geometry during animation. Two shaders were mixed together in Arnold using a Fresnel effect; one with a pure hand painted base, another with brush strokes on a PBR metal.

The rig is a simple character rig done in Maya, with a single skeleton using FK for the upper body and IK for the legs.

Staying within the Transformers franchise, the last project is an environment based on James Daly III artwork for Fall of Cybertron:

This one was more about planning the shot, organizing and prioritizing assets into foreground, midground and background, each with an appropriate modeling technique and texture resolution. Hero assets, like the fallen titan and its hand, were sculpted in Zbrush, with a high level of subdivision and displacement map at rendering. Most of the environment was done using 3D modular techniques, with few elements combined together to give an impression of complexity. Some other elements, like the buildings close to the titan, would have some sculpt added to break the rigidity of the rest of the environment. 

In terms of colors and texturing, inspiration was drawn from matte paintings found in Netflix's Arcane, with a deep purple overlay broken by streaks of orange directing viewer's attention to points of interest. Shades of green were lite on the borders to highlight to forsaken and tragic nature of the scenery. 

Three shaders were mixed together using various technique. A standard hand painted base was applied, with a purple gradient mixed on top of it using surface illumination to give the impression of malevolent shadows swallowing everything. A metallic shader was then applied on top using a Fresnel to have a strong contrast reaction to the overhead light. The look was further tweaked in comp with Depth of Field, color grading and relighting in Nuke.

This concludes my demo reel overview. I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did, and that it show how my skills, methodology and potential to grow-up within a team crafting great stories!

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