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Sunbathing / Be the Meister / Energy by Oliver Schiel

Sunbathing / Be the Meister / Energy by Oliver Schiel

Oliver Schiel
by oliverschiel on 6 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Hey, I´m Oliver! I was introduced to the world of 3D art for the first time in my life at the Pixl Visn booth at a student fair in Hamburg. Immediately I knew that I had to learn 3D and VFX just because it combines creativity, art and work on the PC, things I love.

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As mentioned before, I had no experience with 3D before I started my studies at Pixl Visn media arts academy. I specialized in texturing, lighting and look dev. After 18 months I graduated and  I am happy to present two of my demo reel projects and one I did privately. I hope you like it!


During my youth, I lived in Costa Rica. There I saw for the first time this tiny frog, the blue jeans dart frog. I was amazed, how can a creature be so small but at the same time so deadly. I just had to make it as a 3D project! This made me choose this frog as my 3rd Demo reel project!

Already existing Demo Reels with Frogs in them, motivated me more to try and challenge myself to reach that level of perfection.

Below you can see a 4K frame, I hope there are some details better recognizable, especially with the frog skin!

Development process:

To start my project, I collected references and made sketches of how the scene could look .

The next step was to start with the frog model, at first I modeled an base model and created the UV´s, after that I sculpted different details in Zbrush and exported my Zbrush disp map.

Then I proceeded with building the scene. I changed my scene some times, rearranging trees and plants to have the best parallax effect and depth. After having the scene perfectly layed out, I continued with the texturing of the frog, in Mari. I have started with painting the displacement map using frog scans from Having them, it was easy to create the Base Color, SSS Maps, etc., because I used them as masks to break up the surface and adding detail. 

After that I did the look development of the Frog in Maya with Arnold. After the lighting was finally done, I worked on perfecting the mood in my scene. In Nuke I added the final touch using depth of field, color correction etc.

Challenges I had:

During this project I had to confront several challenges, like matching the skin displacement of the frog, look dev the SSS and more. This was also my first big project I rendered with Arnold, I was used to work with Vray, so some things were quite new. To resolve my problems, I searched for tutorials, like for the SSS and how it works the best.

Also to scatter moss I needed to invest time by learning from tutorials and trying and testing. At first I used XGen but at the end I used the Mash tool which was new to me, but not difficult.

Another problem I had to overcome, was fireflies after rendering. I solved the problem with in compositing by rearranging and comping separate AOVs.

As mentioned above, I had to rebuild the scene a few times to get the perfect result. 

In the following pictures you can see different scenes and the development of the frog textures

Following you will see some closeups of the frog and the skin! Also the different color layers for the base color, I just picked the most important ones :)


The software used for this project was, Mari for texturing, Maya and Zbrush for modeling, Arnold to render and to composite the shot I used NukeX.

During this project I learnd a huge amount of new things. I optimized my workflow in Mari for displacement painting and texturing. Also how to creat large scenes and how to creat the perfect mood. Adding to this, I learned how to use the Mash tool to scatter moss and without having an haevy scene. Finally, I learnd how powerfull Nuke can be for post production. Denoising, defocusing and color correcting pushed my prject to a other level.

The use of reference material was extremely important, it helped to creat the model and to match the texturing.

Although I knew which frog, I wanted to create; it was a bit difficult to do the best texture, different black spots and alternating red and orange tones made it complicated to find the best mix for the skin color. Below I leave you the references I used for the project.

This project made me realize once again how important team work is, because without the help of my friends I would not have had such a lively animal!

Thanks to Moa Jendral for the animation and to Maximilian Keet for rigging the frog.

I got the vegetation from Quixel Megascans.

Be the Meister

I have a big interrest in advertisment, which made me go for a bottle, at the start I didnt knew which to make, when I saw my Jägermeister shot glass on my table, I decided to make the shot glas and the Bottle, but I wanted it frosted, to give it more texture and make it more interesting!

Once again, you will find two 4K renders to see more details!

Development process:

At first I started with the model, it was very important that it looks perfect. After that the UVs were created. In consequence, I could now create the displacement maps, for the engravings on the bottle and the glasses, with the help of Mari. There I also made the textures for the ice, as well as for the logo and the lid. Next, I had the animation made by Moa Jendral and meanwhile I made lookdev. After that, I went to the lighting, trying to draw the focus on the bottle and adjust it to the background. Finally I did the post in NukeX. 

Challenges I had:

Some of the challenges were to make the ice as realistic as possible, since there is wet looking ice and rough ice. Another challenge was to create the displacment map with Vray, since I hadn't done one before. Through a lot of try and error and time, I managed to do it. Another problem was keeping the the render times reasonable, which I managed by balancing the threshold and denoiser, so I don't lose too much detail but have moderate render times (about 20 min per frame). Additionally I denoised some AOV's individually in Nuke.

Also in this project I have changed the scenery, the light and the ice textures a few times, below you can see some examples.


To do the textures I used Mari, lookdev in Maya, render in Vray 5 and compositing in NukeX.

This project taught me how to work best with layer textures, giving me an non-destructive workflow. I also learned how to do Vray displacements and how to get a lot out of a raw render with post processing in Nuke.

The use of reference was very important, because almost every one knows how a Jägermeister looks like, so i had to match perfectly the textures and the model so it doesn't look off. Here I will show you some of my digital refs.

The planing was key, it made an easy and quick workflow, also making the project very flexible for different environments.

Thanks to Moa Jendral for the animation


This is a project I worked on after finishing my demo. It is an project from my brother who should invent and visualize a beverage for one of his projects. He gave me the task for the visualization. The brand name, the appearance and the logo idea were given to me, the presentation I could create according to my ideas.

Please ignore the listed ingredients in the nutrition facts as it is only a placeholder! :)

Development process:

At first I modeled the can,  using a real life reference and measuring everything out made it pretty easy. Next, I prepared the various images and words as black and white masks, so I could easily work with a layer node.  I continued with the texturing, creating a node tree and with the masks I was able to get the desired results with the ailayer node without having to open a texturing program. Then I brought the stone in the desired size and position, and did the look dev. For the lighting I wanted to achieve a savannah-like mood, so I used yellowish highlights and a palm gobo. For the final result I had to do a little comp, this time I did everything in Affinity.

Following you will find two small breakdowns. 

1st: Texture layers and comp

2nd: Lighting

Challenges I had:

One challenge I also set myself was not to use a texturing program. Except for Affinity to create the lettering. I wanted to get to know the Arnold nodes better so that I could work faster within maya. I mainly used the aiLayerFloat/Rgba node, to solve difficulties I invested time and tried it myself, but also watched a tutorial.

Another challenge were the droplets, because I have not created any before. Unfortunately my Pc is not strong enough to work with particles, so I combined a displacement map and an opacity map to see the droplets only in the desired places.

Also my brother couldn't decide between some logos,so I had to decide for him! Here you can see some other variations.


For this project I used Maya to do modeling, lighiting, lookdev and texturing, Arnold to render and Affinity for post and to create masks.

With this project I learned how strong the Arnold nodes are and how the layer nodes work and how to best use them. Also how to make simple droplets using disp maps.

Another thing I had fun doing was visualizing ideas my brother had and bringing them to "life". I realized how important it is to try and fail, and try to solve the problem by various approaches, that's how I learned the most!

Stone: Quixel Megascans                                                                                                                                                                           

Here you can find my full Demo Reel with some other projects!!!

Thank you and good luck!!!

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