Happy New Year!

Wishing all a happy and healthy 2016.

I’ve been working on some new shots for a new reel for MadMicrobe.

This one depicts a tight bombing run and pull out over space squids a dendritic cell; a component of the immune system whose role is to process any harmful antigens it comes in contact with, and then present fragments of those antigens on its surface (the little dummied-down spheres) to T-cells which. Through a cacade of events,  these T-cells will trigger the production of antibodies from plasma cells, which will then help the immune system seek out and destroy these antigens.


In other news, I have picked up a few new bits of software that I am excited to add to the creative arsenal.  I am working with Solid Angle’s Arnold Renderer using the plugin for Cinema 4D and loving it so far. Will post some images when I have something worth sharing. I’ve also finally gotten TurbulenceFD which is one I’ve been wanting to get for quite awhile. Still much to learn.

Cesar Vonc has released an update to his useful and fun Pro3durale plugin for Cinema. Proc3durale 2 has many more features and is much faster than before. Here is a sort of stylized depiction of trabecular/spongy bone which I was able to create after  about 30 minutes of play. Thanks for looking.



Some recent work: Cellular environment and organelles.

Worked on a project recently in which part of the animation took place within the cytosol of a cell. I needed to build some organelles including the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, golgi and mitochondria. Here are some images.

Look dev for the Nucleus and ER:


Then built some Mitochondria:


Made some tweaks,and then incorporated these together into the cellular environment:


And a final render with a bit of cytoskeleton around the edges of the image:


Thanks for looking!

-Joel Dubin

Vector Professional: A quick way to make neat stuff

Just picked up a license of Paul Everett’s new plugin and as all of Paul’s plugins, it has become immediately useful. VP is more than just an improvement to C4d’s built in vectorizer spline object, which for me always produced dodgy, unreliable results. Paul’s generator gives the user much more control of every nuance of the generated vector object,which can be built from an imported bitmap or animation sequence, producing animated spline/vector objects. Paul added a useful feature (which he seems to be doing almost daily!) allowing the user to reference any UV shader (static or animated) to use as the source for your vectorized object. And for me this is where the fun began.

Using Biomekk’s Enhance 4D shaders, I loaded a procedural hexagon tile (see screenshots below), and from that a hexagon patterned mesh was created. After making the result editable and preparing for cloning, I used mograph cloners to duplicate the tile so it interlocked many times. Then subdivided the results and added displacer deformers to get some organic randomness to the mesh, and voila!: another way to create tileable cells. I should mention that VP has built in extrusion controls, so I could have kept the whole thing procedural without making the original results editable. I just chose to do that as I wanted a little more control.

Great plugin and Im looking forward to discovering more things I can use it for.

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Screenshot 2014-02-04 00.07.56

Greebler Addict

One of the things I love most about art, and visual media in general is complexity. I love getting lost in an image chock full of minute detail, whether it be a computer generated image (or SEM) of a blood clot, a detailed pen and ink panel from a graphic novel, or the pitted surface of a huge spaceship in a sci-fi film. I’m easily awestruck by complexity of detail and scale.

I strive to apply such detail to all the work I do in the field of medical animation, and whatever other types of cg artistry I find myself involved with. Detail generally takes a lot of time and focus. But sometimes a tool comes along that literally gets you most of the way there with a push of a button. Robert Templeton who develops plugins for Cinema 4D under the name Koroyume offers a plugin called Greebler which kind of does just that. I have had my eye on the plugin for a few years, but because I don’t do a lot of scifi vfx modeling in my day-to-day work, I put it on my wish list for a later time. A recent post by Robert in which he shares some personal hardships made me consider trying Greebler out, and I’m glad I did.

What ensued was a weekend of enjoyable experimentation, and a bit of geeky scifi fun. The plugin is easy to use, fast, and allows for users to create custom libraries of “greebles” and “nurnies”; terms used in the practical effects and cg vfx industry as well to describe the detailed panelling and chunks of metal machinery applied to a spaceship model or cityscape to add that extra level of complexity and realism. Just think of the Deathstar from Star Wars, or really ANYTHING from Star Wars and you get the idea. Getting back to the mentioning of “custom greeble libraries” I should mention that Greebler comes with built in ready to use “stock” greeble shapes with loads of parameters for tweaking.

Here are several images that came out of my initial Greebler playtime.

Five minutes after installing:

Below, I added some tubing on the surface–everything esle is Greebler.


In my last post, I talk about X-Particles and include a sample of liquid poured into a bowl. I took the skinned liquid, made it editable, frozen in time, and tried greebler on the surface of that object. Here are the results after dropping the object into a radial cloner and adding some antennae.

greebler liquid8

greebler liquid2

The results have a bit of that Gigeresque organic, yet mechanical feel, ala Alien or Prometheus. When I get a chance I’ll see if I can build some custom greebler libraries as the basic geometric obejects dont hold up well up close.

greebler liquid6

greebler liquid10

greebler liquid

And just a few more…

more greebly


So now the weekend is over, and time to get my head back into the more organic, biological work I do for a living, but it’s fun to take a detour now and then. Thanks for looking!

[Postscript: Still at it. Help.]

I’l just keep adding to this post as I come up with interesting results. Here’s another one. Some sort of big pipe thing. You can click on the mage to see better detail.Check back if you’d like!

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Added 10/31/2013. Testing with VRAY 1.8. Still kind of a VRAY newb!
Just rearranged a few already greebled models.

Greebler city vray

And another VRAY 1.8 test 11/8/13. OK I think need to move on to something else…


X-Particles 2.5 Beta: some tests

I’ve been on the beta team for X-Particles, a particle plugin for Cinema 4D by the folks at Insydium Ltd. for about a year now. It’s been a real pleasure watching the plugin develop from the inside, and I’m continually in awe of the skill and talent demonstrated by the development team on a daily basis. X-Particles, which is currently at Release 2, with version 2.5 right around the corner, is destined to be the must have plugin for pro c4d motion graphics VFX (and medical) artists alike, if it isn’t already.

Among its many features, X-Particles Pro includes fluid dynamics, something that many C4D artists, myself included, have hoped would find it’s way into the software’s feature list for years. While there is still some growing to do in this area of the plugin package, I can say that this growth has accelerated greatly since version 2 was released, and I think many will be blown away by how easy fluids are to work with as well as the quality of the results in the upcoming 2.5.

Here are a few of my tests.

This short “teaser” began as a simple test of the upcoming “Move Over Surface” modifier. Particles are simply emitted towards a sphere, which the particles then land upon and traverse the surface of. A very common need with particle work, but was missing in X-Particles until now. I switched on fluid dynamics and was liking the way the particles flowed towards and onto the surface. I then used the Skinner generator object to mesh the particles, applied materials and lighting, and shot the scene from several angles.

What would make the results of that test better, would be the addition of wet maps on the surface of the metallic sphere, and better particle meshing, both of which hav been included since this clip was rendered. Xparticles 2.5 now includes wet map generation as well as two new particle mesh algorithms: Fluid, and Zhu-Bridson.

Below, I drop several million particles into a torus object. The particles are rendered with its’s proprietary particle shader. The particle shader and render engine in 2.5 have been enhanced by the development team to render in a fraction of the time compared with version 2.0. Partciles will also render using the C4D physical renderer, and render with refraction and reflection. This test not only demonstrates ray-traced rendering within a transparent, refractive object, but also illustrates some of the improvements in fluid/liquid dynamics.

Here are two more tests. A viscous pour into a half of a sphere. The first is the particles alone. the second is the meshed version of the same scene.

Hope to post some more tests soon.

To wrap up, I should say that this release is just amazing. Not the beta-fanboy hyperbole “amazing” but the fast, useful, jam-packed and affordable kind of amazing. So many areas have been improved since 2.0 and many new features have been added. XP is a lot of fun to work with and provides the c4d community an affordable arsenal of cg weapons that will aid not only your standard particle needs, but motion graphics, visual effects, and even modeling needs, for instance, using the skinner (XP’s meshing generator) in conjunction with particle painting allows for organic sculpting without the need for the outdated cumbersome and poorly topologized metaballs. If anyone has followed the development of similar 3rd party toolsets in other packages and thought, I want that too”, well there’s no doubt you’ll be getting that with X-particles. Already looking forward to version 3.

Thanks for reading.

Earth Renders and the International Space Station

This was just a little exercise in space animation (astromation?) which is something I’d like to do a lot more of. I downloaded the excellent ISS model from NASA’s site for this test. The file can be found here: NASA ISS model

For the Earth and moon I used high res maps from NASA’s Blue Marble site.

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The cloud map was composed of two separate 21K maps, which needed to be stitched and cleaned up. The cloud file was too large to save at 42K x 21K so I reduced it down a bit, while still retaining detail. Its the cloud maps that seem to break up the most when rendering closeup, orbit shots of the Earth, so the high res maps were important. For the atmospheric glow and shading on the Earth model, I used Michael Welter’s great free plugin shader Atmosphere (make sure you donate to his site if you use any of his plugins!).

Michael Welter’s Awesome Atmosphere Shader

Heres the very short animation test. Theres a bit of flicker on one of the solar panels–looks like I might have some overlapping geometry there. Good enough for a test.