Me: Eric Keller

Hi and welcome to my Blog. This is a hastily compiled record of my digital art and computer graphics experiments. I am a freelance CG artist living and working in Hollywood CA. I have written several books on Maya and ZBrush. Below my blog you'll find links to the books and tutorials I have authored and co-authored. I also occasionally teach at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. Soon I will get around to posting my demo reel and resume. I named my blog "Bloopatone" in honor of my first dog "Blue". She passed away a few years ago and I still miss her even though she was very grouchy and liked to bite me!

I'm proud to be an instructor at The Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood. Take a look at the work of our students and instructors on the Gnomon School Blog and the Gnomon Workshop Blog

Here is a link to my Demo Reel:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gasteracantha Hasselti weekend render project

In my quest to achieve more photo real renders I created a ZBrush model of Gasteracantha hasselti (a super cool spider). This one was a little difficult to get a render that did not look "CG". I modeled it in ZBrush then exported, textured, and rendered in Modo, but I didn't like it so I rigged the whole thing in Maya, added hair via Paint Effects, created new MIA shaders, and rendered using mental ray. I even did a short animation but the movement just wasn't right so I'm not posting it. I may try again after some study of spider movement. I need to step away form this critter for a while, do something else, come back and try again.

Here are some still images that came out pretty well. Don't ask me about render times. The DOF is in camera in the mental ray renders which took forever. The only post process I did in Photoshop was slight color tweaks. In one of the renders the spider had "angry eyes" which I fixed with a few dabs of a clone brush.

Here's the mental ray version with hair:

The Maya rig:

 Here is the Modo render (DOF added in Photoshop) Notice that without hair it loses a lot of realism.

Here is the ZBrush model:

 Next up I need to revisit some ant models that have been on the back burner for the last 18 months!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Maya Export To Modo Test

For a fun weekend project I decided to try exporting a Maya animation into Luxology's Modo using an Alembic cache. Turns out it was pretty easy. I like rendering in Modo a lot. Painless compared to mental ray (V-Ray is still my favorite rendering system though). Anywho, this was rendered with medium quality settings and without Depth of Field or motion blur (i'll use those options in another test later on). Far from perfect of course, but not bad for a few hours work. People tell me I spend too much time on insects so, here you go! I did a spider which is an arachnid and not an insect, Happy? ;)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Golden Orb Weaver spider Rendered in Modo

Getting back into using Modo. I love this program. Here is my ZBrush Golden Orb Weaver renderd in Modo 701. Needs some more work clearly (needs some feet and a web to hang out in. Looking forward to rigging her in Modo. Have yet to play with Modo's animation tools.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Photoreal rendering tests

I set up my ZBrush Big Head fly (Eudorylas) model in a simple scene in Maya and rendered with mental ray (OK it took a few more steps than just that). Here is the result. The DOF on the extreme close up is a bit much and a little too grainy so I may redo that one later today if I get a chance. Over all though she's looking pretty good. Not bad for polygons.

Here are some images of teh ZBrush model and Maya set up (Maya version 2014, rendering in mental ray)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Big Head Fly

Working on a study of big headflies (Eudorylas) cant find good reference for the mouth parts though.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ant Print Project

So I finished painting the purple ant print that Electric Geisha made for me. Check this out I matched photos of the final print with the original renders I created in VRay last year. Kinda neat!

This process was very experimental some things worked some didn't but in the end I'm happy with the result. I had a few experimetns that worked really well I hope to try in the future.

Below are some images of the process of painting the model.

Here is the model before painting I used Bondo to create a diorama stand (that didn't actually turn out to well but I'm still fiddling with it). I glued the legs on since they broke in transit, the legs are very delicate.

I foolishly tried to drill a hole in the bottom so I could ad a peg to support the weight. This was a minor disaster, ended up making a nasty hole which i then filled with Bondo and sanded to repair. Don't drill this stuff or at least use a very small drill bit.

This came out really well. I used a Dremel with a carving bit to add detail on the back of the abdomen. I was trying to bring out some of the cracks in the chitinous sclerites. I was nervous doing this but it really helped especially when it was painted.

A coat of white primer

more primer

Purple metallic spray paint for the initial coat. This was kind of sparkly which looked cool but maybe a little too sparkly.

The purple base coat is applied to the top.

I used a blue model paint mixed with thinner and white paint to create a bluish wash. This toned down the sparkly quality and also brought out the detail especially the marks I created with my dremel.

some more wash and a little color variation is added.

Red model paint is used to add the markings. I used my VRay remder as a guide.

Finished the paint job with a light coat of clear lacquer. This brought some shininess back. Final model on a white Styrofoam background

what a cutie!