Tag Archive for: Tips

Hey there, recent grads from ADM, NYP, or LASALLE! Whether you’re from any of these schools or just starting your journey in the creative field in Singapore, this article is for you. I’m here to share some tips to help you ace your creative job interviews and avoid common mistakes.

First off, let’s cover some basic job interview advice. You’ll definitely need to prepare your portfolio and showreel, practice answering typical interview questions, talk about your work experience, and have some relevant questions ready to ask. These are the basics, so now let’s dive into the specific details that matter in the creative industry.

Acing Your Creative Job Interview

Do Your Homework

Even ChatGPT will advise the same. Start by digging into the company’s vibe.

“What’s their work like?”
“Who are their clients?”
“Who are creatives who make up their team?”

Social media stalking? Absolutely encouraged! Understanding the company’s ethos helps align your values and ensures you’re speaking the same language during the interview.

Stay Chill, You’re Already Awesome

Remember, you’ve got the skills. From an employer’s perspective, I wouldn’t invite someone for a chat if their work wasn’t already impressive. The interview is mainly to make sure there aren’t any glaring red flags. You don’t need to keep boasting about your skills; your work says it all (whether it’s good or bad, we can tell). Keep the vibe cool, calm, and collected.

— Status Dance

At a job interview, there’s bound to be a play of status: Employer vs Job Seeker. Usually, the employer is seen as having more control since they’re the ones offering the job. Even so, my advice is to keep it leveled as much as you can. Neither should you be desperate for the job, nor be arrogant and play hard to get. Be yourself, and see if its a right fit.

Know Your Worth

Don’t shy away from discussing salary expectations. Generally, creatives feel some level of discomfort when talking about money, but anchoring your rate not only showcases your confidence but also reflects your self-worth. Aim for a figure that matches your experience level and the value you bring to the table.

Now, let’s learn to do the opposite.

How to Bomb an Interview for a Creative Position:

The Art of Fabrication

Nothing ruins an interview faster than being dishonest. Employers are pretty sharp, especially in fields like ours where we work with creative types and big ego all the time. It’s easy for them to spot when someone’s trying to act like they know more than they actually do. Pretending to know stuff you don’t is just asking for trouble. Once they start digging deeper with follow-up questions, your lies are exposed. Keep it real.

Negativity, Anyone?

Bad-mouthing ex-companies or throwing shade at former colleagues? Yeah, that’s a major no-no. Keep the gossip at bay and focus on the positives. Occasionally, interviewers may even bait you into it, so as to assess for toxic traits. Be careful. Remember, you’re here to shine, not to spread negativity.

Conclusion

Alright, now you’re all set! With these tips, you can gauge how ready you are for interviews. And here’s a bonus idea: try practicing with a friend acting as the interviewer. I personally find it a great way to get comfortable and gain confidence. Remember, the more you practice, the better you’ll be at nailing that creative job interview.

Stay confident, stay genuine, and let your creative spirit shine through! Best of luck out there!

If you’re new to 3D graphics or looking to level up your skills, you’ve come to the right place. PBR materials allow you to create realistic surfaces in your 3D scenes. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the basics, but first,

What are PBR Materials?

PBR stands for Physically Based Rendering. Unlike traditional rendering techniques, PBR materials simulate how light interacts with real-world surfaces. This means your materials will look more accurate and lifelike.

“Hang on, materials and textures are different?!”

PBR materials are basically a collection of textures that are designed to be connected as maps into a Arnold/Redshift/<insert your renderer>StandardMaterial. “Hang on, materials and textures are different?!” Yup, read “Difference between Textures, Shaders, and Materials” for disambiguation.

How to Use PBR Materials:

  • Texture Basics:
    • PBR textures include maps for Base Color, Roughness, Height, Normal, Metallic, and Ambient Occlusion, each defining different material properties.
  • Material Setup:
    • Import and map the texture files onto your model in Blender or Maya, ensuring proper UV unwrapping. Be sure to interpret Base Color as sRGB, and the other maps as RAW data.
  • Connect Maps:
    • Link the maps to corresponding inputs of the Principled BSDF shader: Base Color to Base Color, Roughness to Reflection Roughness, etc.
    • If you need a video guide on connect maps, you can find it here.
  • Specialized Properties / Limitations:
    • Certain real-world material properties cannot be properly mimicked by game engines, hence they are not commonly supported as PBR materials. And we’d need to rely on offline renderers like Arnold or Redshift. Like believable murky liquids, colored glass, sheen etc.
    • Examples of specialized material properties
      • Implement opacity, translucency, and double-sided rendering for realistic leaf materials.
      • Implement thin film for oily, iridescent, or pearlescent materials.
  • Surface Imperfections:
    • Enhance material realism with surface imperfections like smudges, fingerprints, and water droplets, adjusting their blending and strength accordingly.
    • These maps can be layered on to supplement the base PBR material that has been pre-designed.

Conclusion

Using PBR materials is a reliable and predictable way enhance the realism of your 3D projects, and you can find them for free at PolyHaven. With a bit of practice, you’ll be creating realistic materials in no time. For a more detailed guide on doing this Blender, please visit “How to use PBR Textures in Blender”. Also, I’ll write about the common misconceptions of PBR Materials, just to help student-types out a little bit with all the confusing terminology and less intuitive features. Happy rendering, and stay tuned!

A video documentation on how to use the tool.

In this video, I explain some of the time-saving tricks in Maya that I kind very useful for my CGI work. There’s a lot in there that I think can save you some time too. On top of this list, there’s a fairly hard-to-explain MMB trick in the Maya timeline when animating, and that shall be the next video tutorial I’m going to tackle. Meanwhile, enjoy this list and I’ve also detailed them as a image-text tutorial below!

  1. Duplicate with Transform
  2. MMB Main Menu for Last Used Submenu
  3. Quick Expressions in attribute editor
  4. Multiple Attribute Edtors
  5. MMB Drag in Viewport for translation
  6. Repeat last command
  7. Content browser + Remesh + Retopo
  8. Varying speeds in Channelbox + Attribute Editor
  9. Right click on <>
  10. Noob code – Drag MEL to shelf

01 Duplicate with Transform

Quickly create cool shapes with this technique. Also useful for quickly populating a scene.
Select object, press Shift+D, do some transformations (rotate, move, scale), Spam Shift+D.

How does it work? When you press Shift+D, it starts “recording” the transformations you make from your original object, then next time and subsequent times you press Shift+D, it applies those transformations it temporarily stored!

02 MMB Main Menu for Last Used Submenu

Quickly access the last used submenu by MMB click on the main menu item.
Very useful when you like to work without clutter of floating menus, but want quick access.

I personally use this all the time for my Graph Editor. Also, I think it’s high time for the Graph Editor to be shipped with a hotkey by default. Alt+G will be nice!

03 Quick Expressions in Attribute Editor

In valid fields in the expression, type “=” followed by the expression you want. For instance, we can oscillate a rotation of an object by typing “=sin(frame)” in one of the rotation axis channels.

04 Multiple Attribute Editors

Have as many attribute editors as you need by pressing the ‘Copy Tab’ button.
The copied floating ones aren’t context-sensitive, so it’s particularly useful for drag-n-drop UI

05 MMB Drag in Viewport for Translation

This is a little bit of a “Kung Fu”. Select your object, switch to your translation tool (W), hold down Shift, and MMB drag anywhere in the viewport in the general direction of where you want your object to move. It’ll work like magic!

06 Repeat Last Command (G)

As long as it’s a function/command in Maya, you can keep pressing “G” to repeat the last command. Useful for repetitive modelling operations like ring splits and bevels, or anything repetitive actually, look out for repetitive tasks and this will come in handy.

07 Content Browser + Remesh + Retopo

Use the base mesh in the content browser to prototype or block out models. They can quite easily be utilized for cartoony models (where details are selective) and Maya 2022 makes auto topologizing easy with the new remesh and retopo algorithms! Very decent results I must say!

08 Varying Speeds in Channelbox / Attribute Editor

We often want to get minute control when adjusting values of each attribute. In the channelbox, simply hold down Ctrl, Nothing, Shift, for slow, medium and fast respectively. In the Attribute Editor, hold down Ctrl, and scrub in the input field with your LMB, MMB, RMB for slow, medium and fast respectively. Remember, “Hold Ctrl for Control!”

09 Right Click on <>

When you’ve a bunch of modelling or deformation history on your geometry, you’d have many tabs on your Attribute Editor. The material attributes are usually placed at the end of this stack and instead of fast-clicking the “>” button to reach the end, you can simply right click on those buttons and choose the node you’re looking for!

10 Noob Code

Maya records everything you do in the Script Editor. Simply copy and paste the relevant commands into the MEL input editor, select the code block and press Ctrl+Enter to test the code. If it works, you can drag this bunch of code onto your custom shelf button. Masterful!

Developed this iridescent glass shader in Maya / Redshift based on IG @odddough ‘s request at work.

  1. Start with the Redshift “Glass” present.
  2. Create a RS Fresnel and remap its values into rainbow hues.
  3. Optionally, if you’ve used MASH Color to have varying colorSet values for each part of your geometry like this toy gun example, you can add a Redshift Color Correction to this resulting information, remap colorSet to 0 to 360 and use it to drive the hue variance of the Color Correction node.
  4. Feed the resulting information into the refraction color of the Glass Material
  5. Increase the Dispersion Abbe number to 1 or 30 to taste, it creates iridescent refraction
  6. Enjoy the results!
An example of what this material can achieve.
The lighting setup for this example render. Some volumetric atmosphere and a couple cylindrical mesh lights with volume contribution
Iridescent Glass Material Shading Network
Screenshot of my screen as I was working on this material. While the render at the start of this post has some simple compositing, from this screen shot, we can tell that it looks pretty good right off the bat, without any comp work.

Here’s a tool to add filecache and file nodes to your selected node in SOPs geometry context. At Masonry Studios, we base our Houdini geometry caches and its version on the file name (which contains the version number) and the node name, which is the default in Houdini’s file cache node.

However avoid using the file cache’s “Load from Disk” option to load the geometry back in, because:

  1. It’s convenient for the file cache node’s “Geometry Path” to stay as the default un-evaluated relative path, in order to generate new caches based on the current file version
  2. If we load in the geometry based on this relative path, and we version up our working file, this relative path will fail.
  3. Hence, we find it quite an elegant solution to use a file cache and a file node separately. The file node points to the absolute evaluated “Geometry Path” of the file cache node and we’ve since successfully avoided the issue of broken links to caches.
# Author: Ronald Fong
# Date: 29 Sep 2021
# Usage: Add this as a shelf tool. With a SOP node selected, use this tool to quickly create a filecache and a cache node.
# Feature 1: Names the cache nodes based on your selected node
# Feature 2: File node will automatically be the evaluated absolute path of your filecache node
selected_node = hou.selectedNodes()
geo_node = selected_node[0].parent()
name = str(selected_node[0])
filecache_node = geo_node.createNode("filecache", ("filecache_" + name))
file_node = geo_node.createNode("file", ("file_" + name))
file_node.setInput(0, filecache_node)
filecache_node.setInput(0, selected_node[0])
geo_node.layoutChildren()
filecache_node.setDisplayFlag(1)
filecache_node.setRenderFlag(1)
filecache_node.setSelected(1)
filename = filecache_node.parm("file").eval()
file_node.parm("file").set(filename)

Vellum and RBD both have the newer packaged workflows, and while it’s nifty on their own, I haven’t found a way to set up such that they can mutually affect each other properly in a single simulation.

Usually, we’d set this up in a custom dopnet using the multi-solver, but because of the way the packaged node’s geometry and constraints are group together, there’s no straightforward set up setting this up.

So here’s a quick and dirty (but efficient) way to fake the interaction between RBD packed simulation and a Vellum simulation.

The Result

The idea is to first mimic the movement we’d want of the interaction using just the RBD bullet solver. We feed that output to serve as a collisions geometry for another temporary Vellum solve, feed this temporary Vellum output back to a new RBD bullet solver for the final RBD simulation, and once again feed it back to a new Vellum solve for the final vellum interaction.

This multi-phase simulation approach yields decently convincing results. While it’s not technically accurate, it’s artist-friendly to utilise the packaged simulation nodes.

Node Tree

This screenshot of the node tree shows how Vellum and RBD packaged SOP level nodes feed into each other to arrive at the illusion of interaction.

Tag Archive for: Tips