MultiAd Selects Blender/V-ray for Production Pipeline, Seeking Artists

KwikeeLogo_TealPeoria, IL, U.S.A. – MultiAd, a central Illinois firm specializing in marketing and advertising services production, was seeking a cost-effective approach to 3-D modeling and rendering. It was determined that a hybrid approach of open-source modeling software, Blender and a popular commercial-rendering solution, V-ray is the best approach in a rough economy. As client demand continues to grow for MultiAd’s 3-D production process, the company is seeking well-rounded Blender artists who are enthusiastic about an adventure into a hybrid 3-D production pipeline.

MultiAd® Kwikee® creates advertising images of retail consumer-packaged perishable and non-perishable goods for approximately 500 companies. The images are distributed to manufacturers, ad agencies, newspapers and the retail industry. Kwikee’s workflow relies traditionally on digital photography and supplements the image creation process with 3-D modeling.

“We selected Blender as the primary polygon mesh modeling tool because of its powerful modeling and animation capabilities which are competitive with several commercial alternatives,” says Christopher Hovey, of Kwikee 3-D research and development. “Blender’s modeling power is a result of close collaboration between the Blender artist community and independent Blender developers. The tools were developed with efficiency in mind.”

For instance, there is no need to browse through countless nested and hidden menus to execute simple polygon editing functions. Commonly used tools and functions are available with little effort. Time consuming drill-down menu operation is kept to a minimum. Blender’s initial user-interface learning curve may be steep for some users, but its workflow is quite streamlined once an artist gains proficiency.

“Blender’s flexibility further benefits our production with its ability to be customized with Python scripting for external rendering applications,” says Hovey.

In order to meet the rendering demands of a large base of manufacturers, MultiAd chose Chaos Group’s V-ray Advance Standalone to work in conjunction with Blender. According to Hovey, it offers rendering quality that is competitive with the slower, non-biased, physically accurate rendering competition.

“A significant amount of credit must be given to Andrey Izrantsev and his hard work on developing a Python V-ray export script for Blender. His development work will benefit a large number of Blender artists who require the use of a professional, biased-raytracing engine with global illumination,” says Hovey. Izrantsev may be contacted through the website, http://blender.bevice.ru.

Workflow

A typical modeling job begins with receipt of a client mechanical file. For instance, if the client is a cereal producer, their marketing or branding team provides MultiAd with either a vectored Adobe Illustrator file or a flat raster product mechanical. The product mechanical file forms the basis of the UV texture map. In the cereal box modeling scenario, the mechanical file contains all of the necessary die line and score mark information to assist with construction. Irregular shaped containers, bottles and cans require additional mechanical orthographic schematics or electronic CAD files for the necessary modeling information.

Once a product is modeled and the UV map data embedded, Izrantsev’s Python script assigns the material, shader and global illumination attributes to export a scene file for V-ray Advance. In most cases, a combination of the V-ray irradiance map and light cache handle the primary global illumination process. To cope with growing pipeline demand, PipelineFX’s Qube render farm management system was selected for Kwikee’s distributed rendering process.

Thanks to the total flexibility of a 3-D environment, clients may purchase an optional custom image ordering and delivering service, iKwikee. It is a web-based VRML Java applet and allows clients to rotate, pan and zoom a preview of their product in real time with existing web technology. Clients are able to enter render output sizes, file formats and a clip path mask option. A screenshot of the presentation is uploaded as a Java servlet. The Kwikee 3-D artist is given the screenshot image as a visual reference of the client’s request for a final render in V-ray at the requested size and file format.

To create the applet, a .X3D version of a given product is exported from Blender and imported into Demicron’s Wirefusion, a Java publishing package based in Sweden. Wirefusion allows total customization of a given interface in addition to both real-time software rendering and OpenGL hardware rendering.

“Both Chaos Group and Demicron have proven the ability to provide outstanding technical support and customer service regardless of being in time zones over seven hours away, ” says Hovey.

If you are a well-rounded hardcore Blender user interested in future employment or contract opportunities as they become available, please contact Christopher Hovey

Founded in 1945 as a “clip-art” service to the newspaper industry, MultiAd has grown by the needs of its clients and as a trendsetter in technology solutions. Today MultiAd focuses on providing the content and solutions for effective advertising and marketing solutions for over 4,000 clients. Bank of America, Lexus, The Los Angeles Times, Nelligan Sports Marketing and Kraft are just a few of the loyal base of clients. For more information, visit www.MultiAd.com

Some Examples of past projects:

Coca Cola Scene

Coca Cola Scene

Bellisio Lighting Front

Bellisio Lighting Front

BellisioLighting

Bellisio Lighting

Final Render

Final Render

WhiteWaveMilkScene

White Wave Milk Scene


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Thanks!
  • roofoo

    Awesome! I sent them my info.

  • http://www.dustyghost.com dusty

    Yeah! Well done guys! Sadly, again, I’m in the wrong part of the world for this. :(

  • Duekey

    Man, I think this is the first public announcement from a US design company to say that they use Blender. Too bad I’m just a little too far from them. If only they were a tad closer to Chicago. Looks like with the economy the way it is, companies are looking for alternatives. As always it doesn’t matter the tool just the end result. Go Blender!!

  • MmAaXx

    WTF!

    great opportunity!

  • velu

    Distance is probably not a problem, especially if they’re contracting out. This is perfect work for someone working from home.

  • Tom (not Ton)

    I’ve been having a discussion with someone on my blog about this kind of thing (and the previous post) the last few days, he saying Blender has a “stigma” and asking why I’m using it. This is one of the reasons I gave. :)

    Good to see some folks “coming out” but I suspect it won’t be enough for the anon poster until ILM comes out and says they use Blender.

    Rock on Blender, and congratulations to all the folks who put in countless hours on Blender to get it to this point. Onward to world domination!

  • freecul

    Tom,

    Why do you think everyone on earth should use Blender? Because Ilm does not use Blender does not mean that Blender is inferior to others . I do not think that we should care about who use what. We use what we use because we like to use it. The kind of thought process that is displayed in your post is not really helpful. On the otherhand because some company starts using Blender we should not be celebrating, I am glad that they made a good choice by using Blender. Everyone has different needs and expectations, one`s choice should not become a celebration point for others really. We all can stand up on our own :)

    I have used all kinds of 3d applications(Maya, Modo, Lightwave, Xsi, Real3d you name it). Blender is very capable of letting the artists to create alot of things. It is all about the passion and the skill set that the artist can put into it. Lets try not to worry about the fame and brand name issues here please.

  • Icono

    Looks like my plan to ruin the economy so more people use Blender along with more free and open source software is finally coming to fruition. If you could see me right now, I’d look like I’m milking a giant invisible cow and laugh manically.

    Second, I’m really hating ATI right now. This driver is driving me, not my graphics card.

  • Born

    Nice article.

    Inspiring for all Blenderheads and 3D/CG artists in more ways than one.

    Cheers!

  • Tom (not Ton)

    freecul, did you read the first part of my comment? I think you missed the point. Perhaps it’s a language/cultural thing.

    1)Besides hoping that Blender is incorporated into more workflows “world domination” is also called sarcasm. Until someone invents a damn html tag for it people will continue to misread it. The Blender community’s sometimes fanatical support of Blender and the bashing of other software was one of the things I conceded and condemned on my blog (I’ll do no advertising of it here) as a potential negative. It does however play a huge role in the development and advancement of Blender.

    2) ILM comment was bashing an anon poster on my blog who claims that until ILM or WETA say they use it Blender can’t be considered “good enough” to be considered a “professional” application.

    As I said on my blog,

    “In the end I guess it comes down to personal preference, need, and justification. I can’t justify dropping thousands on something I use in a production rarely. I’d rather put that money towards tools or things I use constantly as opposed to the rarely used program. ”

    I don’t give a damn what program someone uses, or even the process if they want to do cel animation. There are quite a few different uses for any program, TV, film, still, photorealism, stylized or cartoon and the number of approaches to any project are so vast any one tool can’t possibly be the only solution.

    I hope that clears things up a little bit.

  • RNS

    Blender at this point is an entry level 3d application.which is very educational and profitable for some professional freelance artist.Weta studio produce visual effects for king kong and it fail at box office. and ILM made some films too using top notch 3d application and it also fail at the box office.and the list goes on. personally I preferred using blender for all my work.the only thing is that strand should be in physic dialog setting.I have been bitching about this for two years now.will no one is perfect.

  • Charon

    Support Blender, no matter what!!

  • http://Digitalgrafixwerks.com Digikiller

    You can put a $4000.00 package in the hands of a person that has no talent and get junk artwork.
    You can put a $100.00 package in the hands of someone that has talent and his work will blow you away!
    Don’t get hung up on names and who uses what. It’s all about talent and how much time and detail and care
    you put into your work. Remember, it’s the man not the package that makes the artwork or animation pop or poop!

  • Allan Chief

    Actually thats true… Autodesk has top notch artists promoting their product- so naturally they will always look great. If anyone had seen what Matt Ebb can do with even the earlier versions of Blender (For example), I don’t think that many would believe it was possible to create those things. It’s definitely the artist that makes the huge difference. Blender can actually do everything a large package can do and more because ILM/ WETA program their own custom software and use programs like Maya as just an interface a lot of times, so they are not even really “using” Maya or whatever. The same goes for the rendering engines. If you know what you’re doing as a true digital artist (I mean REALLY know, not just a button pusher), then you know Blender can handle it. This would especially be apparent if you were a programmer (Which I’m not :(… yet). So maybe Blender is testimony that there aren’t that many artists who really understand the true intricacies of 3D, or else they would quickly recognize what they have… and for FREE!!