Art Spotlight: Weight of the World

Back to overview

In this very interesting superblog I will superdescribe how I made this!:

But first some superinteresting superbackground about myself.

I’m a person. This usually means that I navigate through the physical experience of reality using a variety of senses. My favourite sense is probably sight. I very much enjoy being able to navigate reality using the optic functions of my eyes, communicating the whereabouts of exciting surroundings like trees, lava lamps and a wide variety of dogs.

I am a 3D artist

I went to art school because I think too much, and art-school is probably the only place where that is an asset. I’m sorry, that was a joke, no it wasn’t.

I studied cinematography but I got really into 3D and VFX during my film-studies. Nowadays I manage my own VFX/3D/XR company, named RYMDFISK (Swedish for “spacefish”) because I like space and I like fish. Also I am from Finland, but I speak Swedish. English is my third language, that I learned from watching too much TV.

I also work in research at the Institute of Measuring and Modelling for the Built Environment at AALTO University. I experiment with 3D storytelling and with using highly detailed industrial 3D models for “artsy stuff”. This is where “Weight of the world” fits in.

It also makes me a Scientist, which is very cool and my employment contract actually says that my main task is “laserscience”

LASERSCIENCE!!!

Here is a laser-selfie I took the other day with a laser-scanner because I’m a laser-scientist:

Yes, so “Weight of the World” is basically a study in three-dimensional storytelling.

Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry is a technique and science where you can extract 3D data from photographs, and this is how it works:

Light pole being all light poley in eastern Helsinki

Me taking photos of the light pole like some sort of polecircleing maniac-person.

This works with any kind of camera as long as you don’t change your exposure or camera settings in between images.

After this I load the photos into a photogrammetry software (in this case Autodesk Recap).

That’s some three-dimensional light pole goodness!

The photogrammetry software is basically like:

“Hey, nice pictures taken of the same object, taken from 200 different angles! I’ll now calculate the differences in perspective between the points I can recognize and make a 3D model of this for you!”

and I’m all like: “ Thank you Photogrammetry software, you’re so nice!”

Then I repeat this process for all the objects I want in my scene. The most important part of this is to make sure that all the models have similar lighting, or else they are not going to look like they belong together.

Here is some more info about photogrammetry. I have found these things very helpful in understanding and using this strange technique.

The other stuff

When I added the notes I just took pictures of them against a green screen.

My lovely girlfriend-person Linda (who is also the model) did the illustrations and handwriting for the notes.

It is quite hard to have a dog be completely still and therefore hard to do photogrammetry with one camera.

So the dog is a camera projection.

Here is my good friend Tessa, that was kind enough to come hold her dog Lurva in the air like an insane dogholding maniac-person, while I took pictures of the “weightless dog”

Assembling all the stuff with the other stuff

After I have all my 3D models, I clean them up and import them into Cinema 4D ( my 3D software of choice).

In Cinema I assemble everything into a composition that I believe makes sense. I try out different compositions and move all the stuff around until I’m sort of happy with how it looks and feels.

Upload to Sketchfab!!!! AAAAHH!! Calm down.

From Cinema I export an .fbx file that I then upload to Sketchfab. I just love the depth of field function in Sketchfab and it was very clear from the beginning that I wanted to use the depth of field in the way the story unravels, shifting the viewer’s focus in a natural way similar to the way our eyes look at things. I just love that shit! Could do it all day, sitting around… eating some sandwiches… shifting some focus…

The other thing that was clear from the beginning was that I would use the camera restriction function in Sketchfab to make sure the right things come into the field of view, and that the viewer is not able to get lost.

Color correction and Grading

Whenever I make a photo manipulation or a composition that consists of different images (or in this case 3D models), there is a lot of color-correcting involved.

I use Photoshop to color correct all the images and textures so that they have similar colors and contrast. I fix errors and match all the different images so they look like they are part of the same scene.

After this I do a grading to give the image the right feeling, I tweak colors and contrasts to achieve a certain feeling and grade the composition as a whole.

Since this is a fictional quite dreamy thing, I decided to go for a very strong bluish cinematic-ish grade, and I’m quite happy with the colors in this. I think they reinforce the dreamy feeling of the thing. This also helps objects to blend in better with each other since they all get equally “graded-the-crap-out-of” and fit together better as a whole.

Therefore I also love the post processing options in Sketchfab, I think it’s great to do the final tweaks in. I did the whole grading in Sketchfab and just put a bunch of post-processing stuff on there to help blend everything together.

And then It was done…I guess.

Yeah…

It took me a long time, though

These are really big steps and it’s the basic idea of how it was made. But there was a lot of testing involved and it took me several months to complete. Just searching for the right pole took me, like… weeks.

I also had to learn retopology, and that took me like a month to figure out what programs to use and I basically learned how to make a UV-map making this thing.

It was a long process of adding stuff, seeing how it feels, taking away stuff, seeing how that feels. Changing everything, starting over, getting completely tired of it, taking a break, starting again, changing everything again until I was happy with how it felt, and in the end I really like it and I have learned so much now. The next time I make something like this I think it will be easier because I have now learned all the stuff I need to make something like this.

In the end I am really happy with the way it turned out and extremely overwhelmed and touched of all the positive feedback I have gotten.

I also would like to thank Sketchfab for the opportunity to write about “Weight of the World” and for a very valuable tool in my work as an 3D-artist-laserscientist-person.

If you are still with me and have gotten this far, I would like to congratulate you on being a very patient, interesting and probably very nice and handsome person. I wish you all the smoothest polygons in the world and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to try out photogrammetry for yourself. There is a lot of free software out there, even for your phone, and it is really fun. I would also like to thank you for your interest and reward your patience with a lovely collection of light pole pictures taken during my search for Mr. Right Pole.

Thank you for reading!

 

About the author

Henrik Gullmets

3D-artist-laser-scientist-person


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related articles