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Xiang Jianan's Portfolio 2023/2024

Xiang Jianan's Portfolio 2023/2024

Xiang Jianan
by XiangJianan on 24 May 2024 for Rookie Awards 2024

Jianan here! I'm recent graduated at Skyup Academy and my dream is to work for the VFX Industries. Below I will show my works that have made me grow since last September. Enjoy!

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I will present you 4 best personal projects that I think can describe me from multiple points of view. Starting from the most recent up to the most distant 6 months ago. My main goal is to become an FX TD who also has knowledge of the departments above and below his pipeline to be able to play better as a team.

Beach Water Splash FX

My first FX project created in Houdini and rendered in Karma, I chose this project because I live in a small coastal town and I am fascinated by how water communicates with its surroundings.

Below are some screens and the final video of my work.
Pss.. Turn on the volume!

01. Initial Study

I studied the behavior of the water to understand what forces make up the effect and its behaviors as it crashes against the rock, forming lots of Whitewater and creating both large and small splashes.

02. Colliders

The Colliders are made up of 2 elements: Rock and a plane of Sand. Merged both via VDB and created the SDF and Poly version to use later as Volume Sample in the simulation.

03. Sourcing

The Source is simply a cube in which volume variation has been created thanks to noise and a random velocity has been added via curl noise.

04. Forces

The fundamental force is certainly the Wind that blows on the beach, created through a cube that represents the domain in which there is a Vel Field that represents the strength of the wind: on the base it is weaker.

05. Simulation

Below is a breakdown of the simulations that make up this effect: Flip Sim, Whitewater Sim. The Wet Map was created using an SOP Solver which colors the rock as the simulation particles approach.

06. Scene Setup and Camera Movement

The scene is composed of Megascans assets, while the camera was created manually using the "VirtuCamera" Plug-in for Maya which allowed you to use your cell phone as a video camera

I created an image plate on which I applied the image sequence of the simulation preview made in Houdini, so as to allow me to coordinate the camera and the simulation in real time without lag.

07. Rendering

For rendering I used the Karma CPU, I decided to render only the Whitewater due to hardware limitations. The difficulty I encountered the most was creating the dynamic material of the rock that gets wet. I used the Pointcloud on which I created a color attribute to guide the mix between Dry and Wet.

08. Post-Production

Post-Production through Compositing in Nuke also taking advantage of AOV obtained from Karma to have greater control. On Premiere Pro I added the sound of water using audio tracks found on the web.

09. Final thoughts

I believe that the Effect I have achieved is not yet perfect, I could improve the following aspects:

- Create variation between Whitewater points;
- Try using VDB volume to render the Whitewater;
- Render the Flip Fluid mesh representing water;
- Add other forces that create further details;
- Add more Motion Blur only for the FX;
- Increase the number of points and rendering quality (now it is in 720p HD).

Inside Live-Action

I decided to learn Nuke because I believe that the Compositing department is the closest to the FX department, thus understanding the workflow and therefore being able to help the work of those who come after me. In the meantime I became passionate about the world of Post-production.

Below is my Compositing Showreel.

Jakob the Robot

Jakob entails Realistic Photo recreation through Hard-Surface modeling, integrating Clothing, setting up the Environment, organizing UVs, applying Textures, managing Lighting, retouching in Post-Production and Color grading.

Jakob, a character in the Amazon Prime Video series "Tales from the Loop", which is an adaptation of the art book by Simon Stålenhag.

Below an image taken from the TV series.

00. Plate Prep

On the left we see the assigned Reference. On the right the retouched image through Photoshop (removed elements and expanded the margins).

01. Initial Study

I started by studying the clips of the TV series, images each component and the history of this Robot.

02. Line-Up

I used Maya to create the initial volumes for the Block-Out.

03. Modeling

I initiated the SubD modeling process in Maya by systematically replacing each blocking component. I made the Garments via Marvelous Designer with simple shapes.

04. UV mapping

Utilizing the UDIMs workflow, I obtained 4K 12 tiles organized by component type. 

The Challenge was to create something Organized and Optimized.

05. Texturing and Shading

I started to distinguish between dielectric materials and metals, but found the process uncomfortable when I moved to Substance Painter. As a solution, I opted to divide the asset into n.6 materials corresponding to macro-areas (Head, Metal, Plastic, Fabric, Glass, Emissive). Finally I returned to Maya for the Shading.

06. Enviroment, Lighting and Post-Production

The terrain initially took form through Gaea and was later enhanced by integrating assets sourced from Quixel Megascan and placed through Vray Scatter.

For the Lighting, a cold tint was achieved using Vray Sky, complemented by a pair of rectangulars serving as keylights to simulate sunlight.

In Post-Production, I utilized ID masks to individually fine-tune RGB channels through color-grading curves. Subsequently, leveraging the Z-Depth pass, I applied lens-blur effects and heightened details using camera-raw adjustments. Finally I created another image to recall Simon Stålenhag's Style.

Below Stålenhag's Artworks.

07. Final Comparison

On the left the Cropped Final Output. On the right the Reference Image.

Kinukaze the Oni Neko

Sculpted using ZBrush, brought to life in Maya with V-Ray and perfected through post-production in Photoshop.

Kinukaze is a character born thanks the Concept of Emily Young Chapman named Oni Ninja Neko

Below the Reference Images.

01. Initial Study

I started by studying the shapes, body sizes and each equipment component.

02. Sculpting

In Zbrush I proceeded to start the initial blocking, then I continued to delve into details.

03. Posing

The primary challenge in this project was the transformation from the A-pose to the final dynamic stance using Transpose Master.

04. Lighting and Rendering

After the Decimation process I imported the mesh in Maya for the Lighting and Rendering.

That's all! Hope you enjoyed it!

Thank You for Your time!

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