Friday Animation Fun | New indie animation: NYC Taxi
Find out how 3D artist Efim Armand used 3ds Max and V-Ray to create this crazy city joyride. With cool modelling and great arch-viz work thrown into the mix, NY city never looked as clean and sleek…
When we first saw Efim Armand’s NYC Taxi we were impressed by the city scene he’d created and the great animation of the crazy taxi burning rubber around street corners.
The modelling was done using 3ds Max 2012, with little bits done in SketchUp. (Hey, have you heard the news that SketchUp has been sold by Google?)
He also used V-Ray, Nuke, After Effects, Premiere, MultiScatter, GhostTrails, FumeFX and Photoshop.
- Click on the software above to read independent reviews
Efim’s background in architectural visualization certainly shines through in this high-octane adventure about a taxi racing through the streets of New York city.
“All I was trying to make is an impression and mood of NYC itself,” says Efim.
We think he’s caught the crazy atmosphere perfectly; it’s noisy, fast and fun…
Efim studied architecture in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. “During that time I got interested in CG industry and in particular architectural visualization. For the past 10 years I’ve worked as a 3D artist.”
His motivation for making the animation was to capture New York city: “I’ve always been fascinated by NYC and at first decided to make a simple camera mapping animated shot, so I started with modeling based on one good photo. But during the work I realized that such a noisy and dynamic city can’t be so deserted – I mean without any traffic and crowds of people everywhere.
“The main problem for me was my small experience in animating vehicles. I simply had no skills in that. So I started studying some vehicles rigging tutorials. That came out to a developing of my own tool, which became rather complicated (you could see it on my vimeo channel).
After this work was done I focused on NYC streets creation… The main reference animation for me both in colour and in style was “We miss you” film, I think it’s impressively done, nice idea and direction.
Efim wrote, animated and directed the whole film – a massive achievement for just one man. So what job did he find the most challenging? “[It was] rather interesting for me to embark on this new project; to research new things in 3D.
“The whole project wasn’t really difficult at all. I was involved [in all aspects of it]. I found the modelling process was sometimes annoying, because I had to fill city blocks with buildings.”
Efim worked on the animation on and off for about five months, making it during his free time, for 2-4 hours a day, using mainly 3ds Max and V-Ray.
“I think I should mention Chaos Group’s V-Ray: it is the most useful rendering system, which allows users to quickly and easily create realistic images while giving them full control over the 3D production process,” says Efim.
If he could have his time over and be at the beginning of the process we wondered if he would do anything differently. “Maybe I would choose some different ways of rendering if I was to make something like this film again,” says Efim. “I’m looking on to test DMC+LC rendering mode, which will be a single pass render without GI prepasses (like Irradiance map)…”
“During producing NYC Taxi I got deeper into scripting, it helped me in many tasks (it were simple batch materials modifications and more complicated scripted vehicle riggings). Also I had a new experience in editing.”
Striving for perfection
After finishing the film Efim wasn’t completely satisfied with the result. “I find a lot of mistakes in composition, materials, editing – practically everywhere… and try to fix it. I do it because I don’t want to get this unsatisfactory feeling again I think it’s quiet natural for an artist to be self-critical.”
Efim plans to develop NYC Taxi – we’ll be sure to check back with him to see what he’s up to in the future.
What’s Efim’s favourite film (containing CG)?
“If you are asking about a film which contains CG it is Avatar maybe. I can’t say that I love the film itself, only the CG part of it which is awesome The last film which really impressed me greatly was Melancholia directed by Lars von Trier, he is outstanding artist. There is some CG as well, but it is not the thing you should be focused on in this movie…
Words of advice for aspiring 3D artists
“Don’t doubt yourselves, always try to do something new, and don’t be afraid to experiment.”
You can read a great making-of article over on Ronen Berkerman’s blog
on Friday, April 27th, 2012 at 2:27 pm under Shorts, Showcase.
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Tags: Efim Armand, Friday Animation Fun, NYC Taxi