Tag Archives: 2D

Behind the Title: Two Fresh creative director Phil Guthrie

“One of the biggest things I have learned but not mastered yet is taking time off. Do not underestimate a good recharge and break from thinking about work,” shares Phil Guthrie.

Name: Phil Guthrie

Company: Two Fresh Creative 

Can you describe your company?
We are an artist-driven studio. Two Fresh is in this to make fresh and inspiring work. Of course, not every project will be groundbreaking, but when we have the opportunity, that’s that we do. We’re more of a problem-solving company, and if you look at our portfolio, it ranges a lot. We pride ourselves on understanding our client’s problem, and then putting our efforts into fixing it to the best of our ability. Services include design, animation, compositing, editorial, live-action, VFX and stadium graphics.

Two Fresh Creative

What’s your job title?
Founder/Creative Director

What does that entail?
It means a lot of hours. It also means a long road to get to this point in the company’s life. We moved four times before hiring our first full-time employee. We still have room to grow while remaining a boutique size and taking on jobs we feel passionate about.

What would surprise people the most about what falls under that title?
The fact that at some point, I had to bootstrap and do everything myself — produce, design, animate, creative direct and handle billing and accounting. I have given these tasks away along the way, but it really gives you an extra sense of understanding since you now know what’s entailed in the role and what struggles come with it. I think you relate to others with more empathy.

Two Fresh Creative

Another thing I didn’t anticipate is holding the job of peacekeeper — keeping a watch over our team and trying to keep the mood positive and creative. It’s a challenge some days, but it’s so worth all the work.

What have you learned over the years about running a business?
One of the biggest things I have learned but not mastered yet is taking time off. Do not underestimate a good recharge and break from thinking about work. Also, learn to delegate, and bring in people who are smart and adept at certain tasks. This is how you elevate your business. Like [RevThink consultant] Joel Pilger told me once before, focus on your genius.

A lot of your job must be about trying to keep employees and clients happy. How do you balance that?
Yes, there must be a buffer between the two. The balance is in keeping clients happy and creatives motivated and feeling free to think and explore. If we get an odd piece of feedback, the translation to the artist is always tailored to that individual. This is an art on its own, and this is why, when we find people we like to bring into the studio, we find a good rhythm and form these working relationships where we understand each other.

As for clients, we are still relatively “fresh” on the scene, but these relationships develop over time as well. Ultimately, I want what’s best for everyone. My stance is, I am here because I love what I do, and for me to achieve what I love, I need to help you improve your brand/product/service. So we are helping each other. It sounds cheesy but we only live once, so let’s enjoy this!

What’s your favorite part of the job?
The people I meet and work with. I feel accomplished when we’re all flowing as a team on a job. Another thing I love is the constant learning about new industries. Esports, for example, is one that I’ve come to feel like an expert in even though it’s still a bit of a wild-west space. It’s incredibly exciting to watch it change so quickly, and you have to keep up.

What’s your least favorite?
Talking about money! Even on lower budgets, it’s tough to downplay our skills to that.

What is your most productive time of the day?
Just before everyone gets into the office. It’s quiet and I jam at 300%.

How has your studio pivoted to working from home during this COVID crisis?
We now have our network setup on a secure remote access, which has proven to work. We’ve also been using tools, such as Slack and Frame.io, to give notes, set schedules and chat like we are all in the same building.

As for new business, a number of our live events and sports jobs were put on hold, so we’ve been trying to stay in touch with all kinds of people in the industry and be as conversational and resourceful as possible. We’re still mastering the art of remote new business, but I think the same is true for so many of us who are all trying to figure it out day by day. For now, we are staying the course and continuing to work on the projects we have in-house.

XCOM Chimera Squad launch trailer

Any tips for those in a similar position?Stay positive! When this crisis first upended life and business as we know it, I was angry and sad, and I’ll tell you, it slows productivity. So stay positive, engage your staff, keep smiling, try to have some fun and get to know each other better. Laughing together really does have a healing effect, so keep those funny Zoom backgrounds coming.

If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing instead?
Well, if I weren’t running my own company, then I would look for a staff creative director role somewhere. It might sound similar, but it would be so different than what I’m doing now. If that’s not an option, then I’d open that coffee shop I’ve always wanted to and, obviously, have fresh in the name.

Can you name some recent clients?
Our recent clients include TSN, 2K Games, 7-11, Facebook and Fox.

Name three pieces of technology you can’t live without.
My cell phone, Spotify and white boards.

Review: Maxon Cinema 4D R19 — an editor’s perspective

By Brady Betzel

It’s time for my yearly review of Maxon’s Cinema 4D. Currently in Release 19, Cinema 4D comes with a good amount of under-the-hood updates. I am an editor, first and foremost, so while I dabble in Cinema 4D, I am not an expert. There are a few things in the latest release, however, that directly correlate to editors like me.

Maxon offers five versions of Cinema 4D, not including BodyPaint 3D. There is the Cinema 4D Lite, which comes free with Adobe After Effects. It is really an amazing tool for discovering the world of 3D without having to invest a bunch of money. But, if you want all the goodies that come packed into Cinema 4D you will have to pay the piper and purchase one of the other four versions. The other versions include Prime, Broadcast, Visualize and Studio.

Cinema 4D Prime is the first version that includes features like lighting, cameras and animation. Cinema 4D Broadcast includes all of Cinema 4D Prime’s features as well as the beloved MoGraph tools and the Broadcast Library, which offers pre-built objects and cameras that will work with motion graphics. Cinema 4D Visualize includes Cinema 4D Prime features as well, but is geared more toward architects and designers. It includes Sketch and Toon, as well as an architecturally focused library of objects and presets. Cinema 4D Studio includes everything in the other versions plus unlimited Team Render nodes, a hair system, a motion/object tracker and much more. If you want to see a side-by-side comparison you can check out Maxon’s website.

What’s New
As usual, there are a bunch of new updates to Cinema 4D Release 19, but I am going to focus on my top three, which relate to the workflows and processes I might use as an editor: New Media Core, Scene Reconstruction and the Spherical Camera. Obviously, there are a lot more updates — including the incredible new OpenGL Previews and the cross-platform ProRender, which adds the ability to use AMD or Nvidia graphics cards — but to keep this review under 30 pages I am focusing on the three that directly impact my work.

New Media Core
Buckle up! You can now import animated GIFs into Cinema 4D. So, yes, you can import animated GIFs into Cinema 4D Release 19, but that is just one tiny aspect of this update. The really big addition is the QuickTime-free support of MP4 videos. Now MP4s can be imported and used as textures, as well as exported with different compression settings, directly from within Cinema 4D’s  interface — all of this without the need to have QuickTime installed. What is cool about this is that you no longer need to export image-based file sequences to get your movie inside of Cinema 4D. The only slowdown will be how long it takes Cinema 4D R19 to cache your MP4 so that you will have realtime playback… if possible.

In my experience, it doesn’t take that much time, but that will be dependent on your system performance. While this is a big under-the-hood type of update, it is great for those quick exports of a scene for approval. No need to take your export into Adobe Media Encoder, or something else, to squeeze out an MP4.

Scene Reconstruction
First off, for any new Cinema 4D users out there, Scene Reconstruction is convoluted and a little thick to wade through. However, if you work with footage and want to add motion graphics work to a scene, you will want to learn this. You can check out this Cineversity.com video for an eight-minute overview.

Cinema 4D’s Scene Reconstruction works by tracking your footage to generate point clouds, and then after you go back and enable Scene Reconstruction, it creates a mesh from the resulting scene calculation that Cinema 4D computes. In the end, depending on how compatible your footage is with Scene Detection (i.e. contrasting textures and good lighting will help) you will get a camera view with matching scene vertices that are then fully animatable. I, unfortunately, do not have enough time to recreate a set or scene inside of Cinema 4D R19, however, it feels like Maxon is getting very close to fully automated scene reconstruction, which would be very, very interesting.

I’ve seen a lot of ideas from pros on Twitter and YouTube that really blow my mind, like 3D scanning with a prosumer camera to recreate objects inside of Cinema 4D. Scene Reconstruction could be a game-changing update, especially if it becomes more automated as it would allow base users like me to recreate a set in Cinema 4D without having to physically rebuild a set. A pretty incredible motion graphics-compositing future is really starting to emerge from Cinema 4D.

In addition, the Motion Tracker has received some updates, including manual tracking on R, G, B, or custom channel — viewed as Tracker View — and the tracker can now work with a circular tracking pattern.

Spherical Camera
Finally, the last update, which seems incredible, is the new Spherical Camera. It’s probably because I have been testing and using a lot more 360 video, but the ability to render your scene using a Spherical Camera is here. You can now create a scene, add a camera and enable Spherical mapping, including equirectangular, cubic string, cubic cross or even Facebook’s 360 video 3×2 cubic format. In addition, there is now support for Stereo VR as well as dome projection.

Other Updates
In addition to the three top updates I’ve covered, there are numerous others updates that are just as important, if not more so to those who use Cinema 4D in other ways. In my opinion, the rendering updates take the cake. Also, as mentioned before, there is support for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs, multi-GPU support, incredible viewport enhancements with Physical Rendering and interactive Preview Renders in the viewport.

Under MoGraph, there is an improved Voronoi Fracture system (ability to destroy an object quickly) including improved performance for high polygon counts and detailing to give the fracture a more realistic look. There is also a New Sound Effector to allow for interactive MoGraph creation to the beat of the music. One final note: the new Modern Modelling Kernel has been introduced. The new kernel gives more ability to things like polygon reduction and levels of detail.

In the end, Cinema 4D Release 19 is a huge under-the-hood update that will please legacy users but will also attract new users with AMD-based GPUs. Moreover, Maxon seems to be slowly morphing Cinema 4D into a total 2D and 3D modeling and motion graphics powerhouse, much like the way Blackmagic’s Resolve is for colorists, video editors, VFX creators and audio mixers.

Summing Up
With updates like Scene Recreation and improved motion tracking, Maxon gives users like me the ability to work way above their pay grade to composite 3D objects onto our 2D footage. If any of this sounds interesting to you and you are a paying Adobe Creative Cloud user, download and open up Cinema 4D Lite along with After Effects, then run over to Cineversity and brush up on the basics. Cinema 4D Release 19 is an immensely powerful 3D application that is blurring the boundaries between 3D and 2D compositing. With Cinema 4D Release 19’s large library of objects, preset scenes and lighting setups you can be experimenting in no time, and I didn’t even touch on the modeling and sculpting power!

Brady Betzel is an Emmy-nominated online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff.