Oh, hey, like artists really know how to do stuff

I’m impressed — I had no idea how CGI artists do their work, so it was enlightening to see this video of the creation of a Computer Generated Evil Octopus In A Cage. Except, well, I don’t see what makes it evil. It just looks thirsty, to me.


  1. says

    It looks like the artist is using Blender, which is free and open source. If you want to try your own hand at it, it will certainly give you an appreciation for just how much work went into that scene!

  2. Brownian says

    Where’s the part where he extracts all the story and plot from modern cinema and puts the kids on the critics’ lawns?

  3. consciousness razor says

    Oh, hey, like artists really know how to do stuff

    I read this was sarcasm at first.

    Where’s the part where he extracts all the story and plot from modern cinema and puts the kids on the critics’ lawns?

    It’s right after the part when they* decided the music would consist of several repeated loops, which don’t change except to fade in and out in different ways.

    *I’m not sure who they are, maybe the kids on my lawn or something. It doesn’t actually matter.

  4. Menyambal --- Sambal's Little Helper says

    “Evil Octopus”. Isn’t that redundant?

    Seriously, he doesn’t look evil, but I’m sure the artist hated him after all that work.

  5. consciousness razor says

    I read this was sarcasm at first.

    I meant “as sarcasm,” obviously. I “thought it was sarcasm.” Then that is what I wrote. Then I figured it didn’t really involve much thought, so I changed it to “read.” Then I wrote this comment, which is a very boring story.

  6. pipenta says

    Silly to put it in a cage for all kinds of reasons.

    It could and would squeeze through those bars in a trice!

  7. chrish says

    Oh easy as pie to do. First you promise your future first born, and every dime of your potential income for the next 20 years to the student loan companies, so you can attend a four year college to learn all of the software and get a proper art education.

    After that minor setback, you sketch out your idea on paper.
    Make up the base model in your 3D software of choice.(or the one you were taught on)

    Export the model to Z-brush so you can sculpt out all the details and paint for a bump and displacement map to go on your original model. repeat for everything else you want to put into the scene.

    Once all of your models are complete you have to render them out and import them into a 2D compositing software, so you can piece them all together, color correct, fix the lighting and make the scene all pretty.

    All in all pretty easy. I forgot to mention, unless you plan on downloading freeware programs like blender and gimp to do this with, and learning the interface on those programs. You’ll need to purchase about $8 or $9,000 worth of software(you were trained on) to do it with.

    Now who wants to be a 3D artist?

  8. madtom1999 says

    None of my four computers runs vimeo so I may be missing James (#1) point here:
    You can script (write code) for Blender which if used judiciously can seriously reduce the workload and once you’ve built up a library of the right stuff you can make quite long animations from small scripts.
    I can do the programming – just cant do the art!

  9. says

    @ James


    Modo ™ . It’s exactly $1,195.00 dollars more expensive than Blender.

    (But also Zbrush $699 + Photoshop $699 … that comes to $2593 total if you don’t go the Blender/Gimp route) Ye Gods!!!

    @ madtom1999

    Mmmmh… Carefull what you say on the interwebz, you might get press-ganged into making Pharyngula, The Movie – Episode III: New Pope.

  10. knut7777 says

    >>That’s a lot of work for a still image. How much more to make it move?

    Take that effort and multiply x 10 : rigging, animating, rendering, output, compositing, repeat until the client runs out of time or money. I’ve been doing it too long.

  11. says

    What you saw in that video was called modeling which is the first step in animation. The modeler makes the character and puts “articulations” into the character where the elbow would move, or where the eye would move, or where the eyebrows would move. For a video like this, with all the movement involved in the body, the eyes, and the long tentacles that can move – in real life – in an infinite number of directions, what you saw in 4 minutes would take hundreds of hours. But when the modeler is finished the character cannot move. Now some modelers are also animators but more often they are not.

    When the modeler is finished, the model goes to the animator who then slowly makes the monster/character come to life. He or she then moves each joint, eye movement, smile, eyebrow movement, and over time the creation comes alive and if the animator is good, you can see emotion and real character. To get 4 minutes of action in a complicated character such as this would take one person about a year to pull off. That’s why a team of animators would be involved. (“Oscar” level animation would take a year. Commercial or straight to dvd level animation would take much less.)

    I know this because my daughter did some of the character animation on Smurfette.

  12. says

    Yeah, it looked vaguely Blender-ish, but then I thought… there is no way in hell some of the stuff he is doing there can be done that easy in Blender. lol Man that program has a nasty interface… And, it doesn’t support ZBrush style tweaking, I don’t think.

    There are, like Blender, free tools for most of this stuff, but.. frankly, there are some, like Rhinocerous, where the “free” version falls so short that its like claiming you can do the same thing in MS paint that other people do in Photoshop. But, the “professional” applications are so stupidly costly its absolutely absurd, so if you can’t afford to, say, buy a bicycle, instead of two (or three, or four, or like two really expensive ones) new cars, (paying in cash, up front for them), you are pretty hosed when it comes to getting all the stuff needed to do that stuff the easy way. lol

    I still stare at Blender once in a while and think, “Well, maybe next version will be better, but for now, I will like with Wings3D and all its damn bugs.” ;)

  13. knut7777 says

    Unfortunately, nobody gets a year to create a scene. In most commercials you are lucky when you get 4-6 weeks to do 8 shots. In features I have walked in to situations where I need to deliver 25 character shots in 3 weeks, with no assets prepared. That is its own special circle of hell.

    Don’t believe any school or apple advertising that suggests you will be a cool person making money hand over fist doing this work.
    It is brutally competitive on a personal and business level, and companies go bankrupt with depressing regularity.

    —written from work on a Saturday night.

  14. says

    [time taken]

    this was a side project so it took me like 3 months to finish , but if you do it as your main project would take something like 3 weeks – [Rafael Vallaperde – artist]

    How much can one charge for that one image?

  15. says

    Just looks thirsty… for your soul.

    And, seriously, the only reason that octopus is still in that cage is because it wants to be there. Obviously it’s a masochist octopus. It’s naughty.