CGW would like to invite everyone to a new series in collaboration and courtesy of xoio! Enjoy.
You might have taken note of the collaboration CGW and xoio have announced early October 2013. For this we together thought it would be a nice idea at first to give a summary every now and then about what is going at or office (which is a lot) and what might be of public interst (ahm – hard to decide what’s relevant, we hope it’s not too boring ;) ).
But first of all we think it would be good to just say „HI“ and tell a bit about us – xoio.
Well, the studio xoio has been founded in 2005 by Peter as an office for visualisation in Berlin; about half a year later Lasse teamed up with him. We were doing the grinding back then a lot – visualising a lot of trade-fair-booths along with the process of their designing. And of course architectural visualisation for competitions.
It was a tough time back then with a lot of all-nighters and rare sleep – working on single-Core Pentium Laptops on 32-bit systems (4GB Ram!!). Rendering a carpet with fur was kind of an adventure accompanied by funky freeze-frames, sudden crashes and blue-screens. But nonetheless it also felt good – for our understanding we were doing something edgy, sitting in a store-front office with a lot of cables and doing something not many people had an understanding of.
We were doing the two-guy setup for several years, hiring freelancers every now and then when there was need but the xoio-family nver really grew.
Then Peter’s wife – Bettina – joined xoio for acting as a project manager and to coordinate the stuff we boys were doing: A good decission.
For different reasons we also made a shift from hiring freelancers that come and go to a more stable staff-policy. Today xoio consists of around 10 people that form a good team. Everybody knows the strengths and weaks of the other guys which makes it more easy to really know what to expect and who is best for what kind of job. And: you know who to ask if you are stuck in your workflow. We love that.
That being said it directly leads to three very important points that makes us xoio:
– being a good team: communicate openly, be friendly and fair
– do solid work: we always (try to) do our best in production
– doing the fun-stuff: working on personal projects and experimenting with techniques is a very important thing to grow and become better (personal, artistic, technical …)
First point is covered above – now I’d like to write a few sentences about the last two topics.
Besides a lot of other stuff that went out during 2013 there has been one project happening that we are very happy about!
We have been asked by our beloved client TPA to do some marketing-renders for the Hofgut von Carstanjen – a refurbishment of an old estate located in western Germany. They should be done in a quick time-frame and contain a lot of vegetation as well as showing the old existing parts of the complex in a convincing manner.
We also managed to fully integrate corona-renderer in the workflow which now – after testing it on several ocassions before – worked pretty well without big proplems.
The fun stuff aka xoio-labs ;)
As written above this part of our work is a very thrilling and important piece of what we are doing. Of course we make a living of doing CG-Images but doing research and personal projects takes you always a step further – no matter what kind. There is always something you can learn and take with you and hopefully be able to apply in a future project.
This for example show a stillframe from an animation containing a simulated ocean done with phoenix FD we did for testing purposes
After some test-sessions with a Kinect-device and some very nerdy software as well as 123D, and single DSLR + Agisoft Photoscan last spring we decided to give the DSLR + Agisoft another go.One of the main problems you are facing when shooting without a ton of cameras (which is kind of pricy) but with only one camera is that when shooting living objects – like humans – there might be a lot of errors in your calculated 3d-solution due to little unconciously done movements like breathing and little shaking the object (human) performs during the shoot. To avoid that we tried using a puppet that we posed and put clothes on it and shoot our beforehand fixated heads seperately. We later mounted our heads on the now acceptable 3d model and pushed a bit on the overal pose in zBrush to look the whole construction more natural.
We now have a result that should work just fine when posed scattered on the background of an image – at least better than other crude 3d-people we where using before.
We also did some experiments regarding 3d-camera tracking. This process is used to integrate CGIobjects into filmed footage. Well – there are several tools out there that can be used for this purpose, as well as after-effects has an integrated 3d-tracker since CS6. Well, we gave that thing a ride and rendered some cars and mirrored balls into a clip we shot during lunch-break down at the river ;)
See it here:
Well, this actually is not pure fun-stuff or experiment but also for creating footage we can use in our images – besides that the shooting-sessions are always a great event. This time we wanted to shoot a lot of interaction-scenes like somebody taking a photograph, working on a laptop, carrying something etc. Those kind of poses bare a strong narrative in them so we thought it would be a good thing to fill up our library with that kind.
Be aware to find the best-of of the figures ready for download at our freebie-site xoio-air.de early 2014 – until then your can find our previous collections there.
As you can see our approach to these kind of things is not really a high-tech one but we have a lot of fun doing that.
Well – We hope we could give you an image of who we are and what we do, let’s see what 2014 brings and we are loking forward very much at what will be comming together with CGW!