DMD 604/605 - Portfolio Enhance Atif Aziz

Portfolio Enhancement

By the end of this project I hope to have a showcase of animations that I had created over the course of a few months leading up to the deadline. These small Motion graphic and 3D animations will be created to build up my portfolio of more animated work. The reason for going down this route is to allow my Portfolio to be enhanced with more animated work then stills, I found that after looking at my Portfolio it mainly consists of static work and only 10 % of it is animated. By creating small animations, I will be able to build up my portfolio with more animation work but it will be a way for me to create a showcase the DMD606 final show.

This project will have three main challenges which are the following:

1. One of the main challenges will be allowing myself enough time to learn and create the animation and decisions of which software to go about making the animation. I will need to stick to animation renderers that will allow me to render with a good duration. I want to be able to have at least one animation per week leading up to the deadline.

2. The second challenge will be to find out what to create each week. I will need to manage my time to find, explore and follow tutorials if necessary to be able to create the final animation that will last ten seconds. These animations will need to be thought and correspondingly put to together depending on what I find out in regards to making a good animation. These animations will not be limited by anything aside from the focus of software and limitation of a week to spend on them maximum.

3. The third challenge will be to make the final showcase a good one, I will need to look into what makes a good showcase and why and then have the same qualities to make my own good. By doing this from the start I will not be wasting time to make any show reels that are of a bad quality.

Program List :

  • Cinema 4D
  • After Effects
  • Maya with Arnold renderer

Personal Learning Objectives - The personal learning objectives to be covered within this project will be the use of multiple programs that allow me to create animations that can be rendered within the time frame of a week. The animations will be of a simple. motion graphic element and not heavy on detail. This is to reduce the render times and allow for more things to be learned over the use of the program. The animations that can be used will be without a purpose and will be of a visual appeal. The way I can learn motion graphics without a limitation of visuals or plot and can fully extend the use of the motion graphic and work towards the deadline originally intended.

Motivation – What motivated me to do this was the way my portfolio currently with how it looks in regards to the amount of video animated work compared to still work. What motivated me to update my portfolio is that it was missing animated work and instead of one medium of work I wanted a good balance of both to show that I was capable of doing both. My portfolio is to show what I am capable and from I see I don't show my full potential but only have static work on my profile.

Learning Objectives

Development work for the project will consist of a varied use of the programs to cover, this will be on the basis of a un-linear plan to work through each one. I plan to use at least all of the programs mention once. Based on the idea of the animation I will look into what is the best method to use and learn about the program while creating the animation in question.

After Effects

Looking into After effects animation coding to help or create an animation with a certain flow that cannot be achieved without the use of code. This type of code is expressions which allow for layers and shapes to be manipulated in a range of ways. With the help of expressions the animation of a project can be automated and have certain aspects of it become more fluid and simpler for the animator to work with. An example can be layers and how they interact with each other, if there are circles flying around and if they come in contact with one another they will light up and glow. Imagine having hundreds of them and to do this manually would take longer and some may be missed out to change.

I want to improve my abilities with After Effects, what I'm used to use third party software to achieve a certain effect. what I would like to do is know the majority of the effects and presets within the barebone After Effects. By doing this I'm less reliant on the third party plugins I'm use to and I will be able to work with after effects without the support of plugins. Some cases with plugins do it better, such as particles instead of particle playground, I could use Particular part of Trap codes suite of plugins for After Effects. I will only use the third party plugins when there is no other option and the effect cannot be created without it.


Maya will be used mainly for the Mograph settings and small animations. Why I want to focus on this is because its best for small scale animations and does not require a lot of computing power to render as the system is working with arrays and duplicates of the same object. Mograph animation can be used for any and all small time animations quickly and effectively. title sequences benefit the most from Mograph and thats what I rather focus on. I rather work on multiple small animations I can relate simultaneously then one bug project that will take weeks to render.

Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D will have a similar learning path to Maya with its own Mograph but rather work on small animations with its Physical renderer. I can work with Cinema 4Ds own presets and learn how to make things with this a lot more effectively and efficiently then Maya as its smaller and less CPU heavy. Cinema 4D has a shorter learning curve then Maya. This is why with Maya I'm focusing on a specific part of it while with Cinema 4D its a general use and improvement path.

Tutorial List


Arnold Renderer Settings

Arnold render section

Sampling tab consists of the quality of the image, higher number mean better quality and more time in rendering. so this allows control of the Anti Aliasing and more. This enables the user to control how much quality goes into the final render. If the render is a test they can make it a low quality one that is faster.

Ray depth - Calculates how many times a ray will pass within a scene before it stops, so for diffuse for example the amount of time rays bounce will be consisting of the numbers shown. For example with a glass sphere with water inside you want higher refraction numbers mean more ray bounce. so it can go through the glass and water and through the other side.

Environment tab - This consists of changing the background and the atmosphere such and fog and more.

Motion blur - Self explanatory, this controls how much motion blur is in the scene and allows the user to enable and disable it. Motion blur is used to add a blur to the moving object the faster the object is moving the more of a blur it will give the object corresponding with its trajectory. This is to imitate our eyes perception in real life with fast moving objects. This in turn gives the scene and objects in question a more life like property.

System Section

Allows you to control how the scene will render, such as controlling the Render types from Interactive to Progressive and more, this also allows you to control the bucket size and control the Initial sampling level.

Overide section

This allows for a universal override to some settings you may want to disable in the scene, anything from textures, shadows, lights and anything else. with a simple check box to make things easier you can disable certain things from the final render.

Working with the IPR render view port it offers live render previews of the view port so any changes made to the texture or colour of the object can be seen live. it only takes a few seconds for the changes to load and render with each change. This is obviously done on a smaller scale and is faster for previewing the changes then a full scale render otherwise done manually.

Arnold Standard shader render will allow the user to make changes they would like to the material and be able to imitate metal, wood, plastic and anything in between due to its versatile attribute settings.

Diffuse tab

The Weight slider of the attributes controls the intensity of the color, a range of default being 0.7 is perfect for real world properties. This is the color of the

The Back-lighting slider allows light to pass through to give the impression of translucency to the object. this is best shown and done to leaves for example. take into account its more better with subtle changes.

Specular Tab

Weight increase increase the specular and highlights but also the reflections of environment, to get sharp reflections you see them by reducing the roughness. Enable Fresnel to make it more realistic reflected. bring the reflectance at normal up to make it more reflective from the Fresnel. medium values help a lot for the viewing angles.

Reflection Tab

To get a blurred reflection you tweak the weight slider for it. the higher the value is the blurrier it is . This is true reflections not specular. So if you need the environment reflected you use this to adjust the quality of the reflection, not how it interacts with the lights.

Refraction Tab

This is the transparency control, the more weight it has the more see through it becomes. the IOR is 1.0 that is same as air, if you need the light to refract you increase the IOR, 1.5 is the same as glass. the color of the glass should have the same color in the shadows underneath but they are not. to fix this you need to adjust mesh properties.

Enabling Refraction of objects realistically adjusting the mesh properties

The mesh options with the shape node and the Arnold tab, the calculations should be opaque, which is a check box. if you uncheck the box you can see that the reflections of the colour of the object hit the environment a lot more realistic.

Sub surface scattering

Use this for simple Sub surface scattering (SSS) - for skin there is a special material shader in the Arnold Shader list. the light cant enter the surface and bounce around and return to our eyes and it works for soft materials like fruit and strawberries and skin. The colour can be applied to the SSS and that gives the object a soft look overall.

Hypershade Window

With the help of the Hypershade window you can see a live preview of the changes you are doing to the objects material properties. This Hypershade window works not only in the Arnold render but in any other render you may have. The window allows for you to see a preview of the material.

Internal reflections

This is an option in the Hypershade window for the object, this will allow the object to reflect itself or not. This option allows for multiple uses and when it isn't needed for the object to reflect you can un-check the box.


There are various kinds of lights for Maya within the software that can allow for multiple uses, depending on the outcome that is needed it can have a big impact on the choice of lights that you can have.

Direct is a light source that is the most basic one that is direct and have a even spread that allows for the whole scene to be covered with the light with a even fallout. In terms of use you can use this for a light that is not a man made and require it to not have a visual representation of the light within the scene. This light does not show up within the render.

Point light is within its name its a light as a sphere and is a singular point within the scene. Point lights are used for reasons to be able to give off a light that radial and would be used outwards in a single point. This would be good for fairy lights and light bulbs on a basic level.

Spot light is just as a spot light in reality, however the width and fill as well as the fall off can be controlled, as you can see it can have a sharp light within the scene or a soft one. Spot lights can be used as a headlight for a car or a stage light in a sense or even a lamp on a desk. it depends once again on the type of light required.


"The temperature of an ideal black-body radiator, in kelvin units, that is used to determine the color for a light source. The default color is set to 6500 K, which is considered as the white point by the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE). The color ranges from red, through to white and then to blue. Values above 6500 K will give a cool color, whilst values below will show a warm color." (Arnold Guide)

Light Samples

Within rendering allows for more or less noise for the overall final render, the reason to have more noise within a render allows for the render to be completed by a faster time.

The example below shows glossy highlights from area light sources. There are four spherical mesh light sources of varying size and color temperature. Underneath are four cubes with Standard shaders assigned to them with varying degrees of specular roughness. Note that more noise is apparent with smaller light sources. Increasing the number of light samples resolves the noise.

1 Light Sample
4 Light Samples

Multi Sampling

Multi sampling for renders allow for the same resolution of the light samples in regards to final render quality. and this will bring with it even more render time for the final piece. This is the case for most of the render settings. Some and most settings allow for the piece to be in detail or noisy. Final render settings need to balanced to allow for more detail or noise in the render and this needs to be taken into account when rendering to have a balance.

Removing Noise with Camera AA

Increasing the number of Camera (AA) samples resolves the noise and improves the quality of the image.

The first step in removing noise from your renders is to identify where it is coming from. Noise can be caused by:

  • Insufficient Sampling
  • Motion Blur
  • Depth Of Field
  • Diffuse
  • Glossy
  • Shadow
  • Indirect Specular
  • Refraction
  • SSS
  • Atmospheric Scattering


  • Fireflies
  • Non-energy conserving shaders, networks or settings.
Sample rate of Specular noise

Indirect specular noise occurs when the Specular Roughness parameter > 0. It is noticeable on the bottom right of the sphere (not the top left). The easiest way to confirm this is the cause is to check the indirect specular AOV. Another method is to set Glossy samples to 0 which will remove blurred reflections. If the noise disappears then it is created by indirect specular.

Mainly due to the test renders and time frames that can come into account will allow for the rest of the renders of the quality within the time frame needed. If the time frame is of a ow quality this allows for test renders to be completed and achieved within the time frame needed. After all initial renders have been completed the final can be done with the highest or near high settings that have adequate balance of both time and quality. This in other words is called optimisation of the final render.

Max Bounces

The maximum number of times the energy from this light will be allowed to bounce in the scene. A Max Bounces value of 0 means that the light will only be part of the direct lighting computations, effectively disabling GI for this light. Note that this value works along with the global ray depth controls, so the default value of 999 bounces per light is just a theoretical maximum; in practice, the global ray depth limits are set much lower.


Shadows are what can make a final render realistic, if there are no shadows or of a bad quality such as with noise or blur then this can offset the final render realism. The shadows are mainly automatically created due to any of the light sources placed within a scene, however the settings of the lights and shadows will need to set correctly which can allow for once again more render time but a higher quality and realistic image at the end.

Object Properties that change the render overall

Visibility settings of shadows and transparency settings within an objects settings. These settings would be a simple checkbox that will allow for the object to have a certain property that changes the way it is rendered.

One of the first settings you can change is the objects self shadows for the object that has the ability for the shadow of the object is question to have its own shadows rendered within the scene. This allows or the objects own close vicinity shadows to be rendered. So for example that is shown below you can see that the tea pots own lid has a shadow while it does not when this option is ticked.

The second option is the objects opaque settings that will allow for the object have a transparency that allows for objects to be seen though it. This is normally un-checked meaning that having a full transparency for the object normally will not be transparent enough till the user ticks the box for the option. You can see from the example below that it allows for the objects to be seen through. By default all objects are flagged as "Opaque", which allows Arnold to take some shortcuts while tracing rays, thus making rendering faster.

Camera Settings

Exposure settings for the camera can define the setting for the scene to give the impression of a certain feeling compared to other settings. For example when having camera settings set to a window like the image below you can show a certain feeling for the scene that is be ing rendered.

DOF( Depth of Field ) Setting

Depth of field settings for the camera being used within the scene can allow for the camera to be perceiving as a human eye, this is because the human eye has a focal point and dependent on what the person is staring at they will have it in focus as the surrounding area will not be in focus. However its hard for us to perceive this on a daily basis and will need to be pointed out for us to take notice. Cameras can be designed to take this similar focal point but the term is called Depth of field this is due to it being a focus point on the object that is either closer or further away. This does however add to the render time.

What is expected of a motion designer?


Looking Into this I have found that the job vacancies of a motion designer would like them to know the Adobe suite and is essential they know After Effects and Photoshop/Illustrator. These programs are the main ones required for a motion designer on a 2D scale working with layers and vectors. To have the abilities to create a range of mediums for the animation at hand for the client. This can be from 2D to 3D and mainly typographic.

They would work closely with other illustrators If the project required it. The motion artist would be animating the vectors and illustrations from the still artists and manipulate them for the video. This can include rigging the characters/objects so they interact within each other in the scene.


As for experience they also prefer prior agency knowledge of 1 - 2 years already. This is most likely for the experience of the individual and less training is required for someone who is already familiar for how it works.

Clients and or possible employers want to see a range of skills within the showreel, there doesn't need to be a theme. The more random and diverse it is the better it is to show them the potential you have. By having a showreel with many different types of animations and themes it shows how much you know.

Development Work

Staying Alive Squad Inspired by Suicide Squad Intro Text Animation

For the first animation created was inspired by the Suicide Squad, the title sequence that was created I wanted to see if I could recreate it and give it a my own creativity and uniqueness. The main challenge would be to re-create its style and then manipulate it further to make it my own. Since there is no online information as to what they originally used for the creation of the title, I will have to use the skills and abilities within After Effects to achieve the likeness of the title intro. Refer to the video below for the original for the sequence of the title. The original video was taken from one of the trailers for the movie. Put on loop with each one becoming slower to see the details as the intro on the trailer is extremely short.



I managed to recreate the title sequence and add effects the elements that make it my own. so I took the style that I originally intended and created this from inspiration, I added secondary effects that make it look original. I wanted to push myself in specifics and small details so with the help of Element 3D I was able to take the 3D text and extrude it and manipulate within After Effects. Saber was used to create the fire effects on the text itself.

The creation process was to get the font or a similar one that was used in the movie and then have that extruded within Cinema 4D so I can use it as a 3D object. I added a bezel to the object and a secondary one to allow for the edges to be glowing after the properties have been adjusted accordingly.

To create the particles I used Trapcode Particular, I set the particle type to sprite layer and then tweaked the settings to be for each frame to be a still node for types of particles to throw around the screen. So each frame of the composition is a different particle, for example the crosshair and heart and more are on their own separate frame.

The sparks and the welding was created with Particular also, this was done by creating a certain number of particles to fly off the screen in a singular location and added the lens flare with a shape layer blurred with glow

Fire study and Primary Research

To be able to create realistic and manipulated creations of fire from scratch within Cinema 4D. I will require to see fire in slow motion and see, how it interacts under certain situations to then be able to recreate it in slow motion and normal motion. This will also consist of creating smoke alone to be able to see if other elements are able to be created. Clouds and smoke in general.

By seeing how fire interacts in certain situations this allow me to see how fire reacts and will show me the types of settings to have in regards to it. So for example if the wind is making the fire flicker how fast is the flicker, why does it behave in this manner. By finding this out I will be able to replicate the real world reactions and in turn be able to make a exaggerated effect to give impression that is needed.

Primary Research

Matchstick fire

By having some primary research of the fire with matchsticks and with its reacting within certain wind it shows how it flickers and moves. Using this as reference the speed at which it moves and how lively it is can be used to adjust the settings to match it.

Development within Turbulence FD

By adjusting the settings for the plugin I was able to make a variation of smoke and fire elements from scratch, these ranged from fire explosions and smoke clouds in general. The fire was controlled by the Burn tab, the smoke is controlled with Density and Temperature controls how hot it gets during its life span, which in turn controls the colour of the fire in the one run for the simulation. Finally the controller for fuel allows for the fire to control its strength.

Adjusting the Voxel size for the simulation makes the render. time longer or faster, it controls the resolution of the simulation. If the Voxel size is a higher number such as 3 - 5 cm this is a large size for the resolution and anything below 2 more closer to 1 will make the render time increase. The detail level is increased and the render time along with this. However this control of Voxels is in conjunction with the size of the container is the container is large the Voxel size will have to be larger or the simulation can cause the system to freeze up with calculations being too much for it to handle.

The Turbulence FD can work with particle emitter within Cinema 4D which allows for the fire to be emitted using its particles as reference points, by adding the gravity and bounce from the defector I was able to create a animation that allows for fireballs to be bouncing along the floor. This lasted 10 seconds and took 8 minutes to simulate and 4 hours to render in 1080P.

Fire Simulation and Rendering Screens of various scenes

End of DMD604. the deadline has arrived and i have managed to explore a majority of the skills and face the challenges that were stated above earlier. To continue this i will attempt to make more animations per week during the Easter break. I will be looking into Realflow, Maya Mograph and more after effects related animations, looking into intro VFX animations also similar to the earlier Suicide Squad inspired creation. Research will continue going into DMD605.

Created By
atif aziz

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.