Can abstract art be alive?
Tokyo-based, 3D artist and video jockey, Yuya Takeda, AKA Skybase, has a talent of transforming geometrical shapes into fascinating, living animations. The skilled motion designer told us about his experience with real-time rendering, managing time issues and producing animated stage visuals for large-scale music festivals in Japan.
How did you become a 3D artist and motion designer?
Yuya: I’m a 2D/3D generalist from Tokyo, Japan. I’m also located there too. My main occupation is currently a motion graphics artist, responsible for producing animated stage visuals for large-scale music festivals in Japan and for other LED displays in the public. I’ve also produced works for planetariums, games, and many other mediums as well.
For which projects are you using U-Render?
Yuya: I’ve been using U-Render mainly for my VJ (video jockey) work. These tend to require me to pump out quite a number of items in a short span of time. I always want a few hundred visuals per show I do, so the faster I can get visuals out for the event the better. This was particularly useful for recent events I’ve participated in which had a lot of themed visuals.
How did you end up choosing real-time rendering?
Yuya: The main issues I faced before trying U-Render are many.
- Time rendering: Even with the fastest GPUs I’m still having to deal with render times that can be quite “slow” relative in terms of a fast-paced job, that requires me to push out a huge number of assets on a single PC. A lot of my VJ work tends to be simple, so I always wished that I don’t have to spend even 30 seconds waiting for the grain to clear up.
- General quality: Brute-force rendering is pretty grainy. Denoisers can help significantly but may result in splotchy pictures at lower sample rates. That can quickly ruin the quality of an image or video and may require additional cleaning up before calling it final.
- Tedious preview process: Preview rendering has always been an irritation for me. I usually have to wait for a little before I start seeing results.
How did your workflow get stuck because of them?
Yuya: Usually, I get stomped by render times. While many of the modern render engines have exponentially increased in quality and speed, I often find myself still having to sit and wait for a little while before I start seeing the overall picture.
While that can be seconds, I sometimes think that I’d rather have stuff instantly happen than waiting for the grainy render to get to the places I want to see. Even with regionalized rendering, this tends to be a hassle. So it’s a process of stop-and-go and repeat while I make adjustments on the fly to the image. Even with the latest and best hardware, not being able to see what you’re creating in real-time is a struggle.
What was the big a-ha moment when you decided you needed to try something new?
Yuya: Overall, it seems that I’ve been looking for some real-time solution to the annoyance of rendering costs and time.
Which were the top reasons you selected U-Render?
Yuya: I selected U-Render because
- It’s real-time and pretty much gets the job done to the necessary quality I usually need for my VJ work.
- It’s iterative and lets me quickly develop videos and images right from the viewport. Again, the critical thing is the ability to preview the overall appearance of VJ clips. The faster I can approve the look, the better.
- It works with Cinema4D. That’s been my go-to for motion graphics. There’s no need for me to go out to a separate program just to do rendering.
Which are your 3 favorite features and why?
Yuya: Here you are
- The curves preview and additional color grading options are absolutely killer. It makes previewing the end result faster, and it does help to get the visuals out way faster. What’s fantastic is that it works right from the viewport.
- A very simple material system. I frequently slap textures into scenes and don’t do any complex procedural rigging. Having a system that’s as simple as the material system in U-Render is pretty welcoming.
- Spherical rendering. It’s nice to have the ability to instantly produce 360 videos directly from U-Render, given I have a few plans to use those for my next VJ project.
Did your workflow change once you used U-Render?
Yuya: The workflow did change when I began to use U-Render. If I need a quick and easy preview to visually see models, I often just open up U-Render and skim around in the viewport for a cool angle. It also allows me to work very close to the deadline and still make a few more visuals I can add to the events. Oftentimes, I can deliver more using U-Render than with any other render engine I own.
What is the single biggest reason you would recommend U-Render?
Yuya: There are not a lot of options when it comes to real-time rendering in Cinema 4D and U-Render is simply the best. The output is gorgeous, and you can get quick results.