Author Topic: Final Renders of 2018 (+ELD Vintage Lighter Concept & Aurora SubLED subsea lamp)  (Read 1538 times)

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Offline Magnus Skogsfjord

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Hi guys,

It's been a while since I've posted anything here. A lot of happened, as I quit my job and started on my own at 1st of November. So, it's been a hectic couple of months with webpage building (Miror - Design & Engineering for those of you interested) and clients. Now it has finally settled down a little bit. At least to the point where I can do short breather and work on some personal stuff.

Anyway, I thought I'd share a couple of works I've done lately that I feel is worth sharing. On the first one i had the pleasure of teaming up with the amazing Jordi Cerdà who gave the soft bodies (leather strap) some much needed love in zbrush. The work is done for the render weekly challenge on instagram, which this week was to design and render a lighter . I wanted to make a vintage styled heavy duty outdoors lighter, and I think I achieved that. It was designed in NX, where Jordi gave the leather strap a bit more organic feel in Zbrush. The rock and wood assets is from Quixel Megascans.

More images here on the lighter for the interested, including a clay overlay: https://miror.no/portfolio/product-design,rendering/eld-vintage-lighter-concept-design/

The second one is from a reoccuring client: NORBIT, where i did a little water droplet experimentation in Blender. The product is the subsea lamp Aurora SubLED, that has an immense power (1350W!), and on the lowest power setting you can see the color spectrum as rendered.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 06:48:09 am by Magnus Skogsfjord »

Offline mattjgerard

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Great images, I saw the lighter on instagram and its a really neat design with well thought out details. I'd buy one :) I love cool flashlight, pocket knife and lighter designs, anything different.

Good for you hanging out your own shingle too, that's a large step one I've done several times (mostly because companies have gone under, once on my own decision) but every time it worked out well after lots of effort, its well worth it.

Offline nacho_grande

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Great products as much as the render quality Magnus. I'd like to have one of those torches.  8)

Offline Will Gibbons

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Wow. Those droplets on that LED are really, really nice. Most physical droplets I see look a bit too round or odd. I think you nailed it here. Mind if I ask how you did the gradient background on that image? Backplate? Composite? Physical plane with image texture? The lighter is great! Glad to see you stuck with it and stuck the landing.

Offline Eric Summers

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Great stuff as usual Magnus! I love the heat discoloration on the nozzle of the lighter. Those water drops look really good too.

Best of luck with your business, I'm sure you'll do great!

Offline Magnus Skogsfjord

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Great images, I saw the lighter on instagram and its a really neat design with well thought out details. I'd buy one :) I love cool flashlight, pocket knife and lighter designs, anything different.

Good for you hanging out your own shingle too, that's a large step one I've done several times (mostly because companies have gone under, once on my own decision) but every time it worked out well after lots of effort, its well worth it.
Thanks for your kind words Matt! Glad to hear the design is hitting it off with you!

Yeah it's been a long process to figure out if I was ready to do this step, but the pieces in life just came together in such a way that it was the only natural step further. Lots of work is absolutely necessary, but oh so rewarding when it comes together now and again.

Wow. Those droplets on that LED are really, really nice. Most physical droplets I see look a bit too round or odd. I think you nailed it here. Mind if I ask how you did the gradient background on that image? Backplate? Composite? Physical plane with image texture? The lighter is great! Glad to see you stuck with it and stuck the landing.
Cheers Will! Yeah I followed Andrew Price's wonderful waterdroplets on the modeling there. Was happy with it myself, thanks! The gradient is actually both foreground and background and painted manually using Photoshop Brushes over several layers. But I really love new bloom setup in KS8. Made the process a bit simpler :) And happy to hear you like the lighter! I was a bit unsure for a while there (which it sounds like you picked up somehow), but I'm happy how it eventually turned out.

Great products as much as the render quality Magnus. I'd like to have one of those torches.  8)
Cheers Nacho! Glad to hear that :)

Great stuff as usual Magnus! I love the heat discoloration on the nozzle of the lighter. Those water drops look really good too.

Best of luck with your business, I'm sure you'll do great!
Thanks for your kind words Eric! I sure hope you're right!

Offline puyopuyo

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Congratulations on your endeavor the site looks amazing! Best of luck!!!
The lighter is awesome, it looks cool with amazing proportions and some sick lighting! I was already a fan of the subsea lamp- the new shot is excellent as well.

Offline Magnus Skogsfjord

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Congratulations on your endeavor the site looks amazing! Best of luck!!!
The lighter is awesome, it looks cool with amazing proportions and some sick lighting! I was already a fan of the subsea lamp- the new shot is excellent as well.
Thanks for you kind words and wishes man! Really appreciate it ! : )

Offline scanner

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Very nice materials and detail!

Online Speedster

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Magnus, we're really proud of you!  Many in our community have gone on their own the past few years, and all are successful, not a surprise!

Hanging out your own shingle is scary at best, and it sure was for me 46 years ago.  There will be many ups and downs, and all business is cyclical, but trust me, you'll never look back!

Your website is superb!  Captures perfectly your professionalism and attention to detail.  You have also followed the most important rule of marketing, "Perception".  This was taught to me years ago by the then VP of Ogilvy and Mathers...  "You ARE what you are perceived to be", like your use of the word 'we' rather than 'I'.  Good work!  Always remember that sales is the expected result of excellent and relentless marketing. And marketing takes time to kick in.

Be careful to qualify new clients- you don't need every one of them.  A large percentage of my client base are advertising and marketing agencies, who are just starting to understand the value of CG in the marketing cycle.  But make sure they are above board and liquid, with a strong track record, easily identified by their past and current clients.  I don't market to the "big boys", either agencies or manufacturers, as they have internal capabilities, are slow to pay and tough to deal with.  My base is start-ups (well funded!) and smaller agencies without internal capabilities.

And be sure to charge enough, which also goes to perception.  Years ago I was charging what I felt was a fair and competitive rate, but still was having a hard time landing new contracts.  But one day a client suggested I raise my rates to a level commensurate with my skills and experience.  I thought he was nuts, but I doubled my rate!  Guess what, I started landing important and high-end design contracts, as now I was "perceived" to be in the big leagues.  But importantly, I was able to back that up in my deliverables. Even more important, I actually started making money at what I love!

Best to you for an exciting and profitable 2019!

Bill G



Offline feher

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Great work as always my friend. Your attention to detail is second to none.
Keepers.
Can't wait to see what you do in 2019.
Tim

Offline Esben Oxholm

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As you know Magnus, I think this is good stuff.
I'm your biggest fan  8)

Be careful to qualify new clients- you don't need every one of them.  A large percentage of my client base are advertising and marketing agencies, who are just starting to understand the value of CG in the marketing cycle.  But make sure they are above board and liquid, with a strong track record, easily identified by their past and current clients.

And be sure to charge enough, which also goes to perception.  Years ago I was charging what I felt was a fair and competitive rate, but still was having a hard time landing new contracts.  But one day a client suggested I raise my rates to a level commensurate with my skills and experience.  I thought he was nuts, but I doubled my rate!  Guess what, I started landing important and high-end design contracts, as now I was "perceived" to be in the big leagues.  But importantly, I was able to back that up in my deliverables. Even more important, I actually started making money at what I love!

Solid advice, Bill. Always good to hear thoughts and experiences from someone who has been in the game for several decades!

Offline Magnus Skogsfjord

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Very nice materials and detail!
Thank you!

Bill: Thank you so much for your elaborate kind words and advice. It's such a great read, and gives such a boost.

Quote
Hanging out your own shingle is scary at best, and it sure was for me 46 years ago.  There will be many ups and downs, and all business is cyclical, but trust me, you'll never look back!
This is so true, but I'm already feeling relatively confident that I've made the right choice. All this encouragement - both from family, friends, earlier colleagues and you guys - doesn't exactly dampen the feeling either!

Quote
Be careful to qualify new clients- you don't need every one of them.  A large percentage of my client base are advertising and marketing agencies, who are just starting to understand the value of CG in the marketing cycle.  But make sure they are above board and liquid, with a strong track record, easily identified by their past and current clients.  I don't market to the "big boys", either agencies or manufacturers, as they have internal capabilities, are slow to pay and tough to deal with.  My base is start-ups (well funded!) and smaller agencies without internal capabilities.

And be sure to charge enough, which also goes to perception.  Years ago I was charging what I felt was a fair and competitive rate, but still was having a hard time landing new contracts.  But one day a client suggested I raise my rates to a level commensurate with my skills and experience.  I thought he was nuts, but I doubled my rate!  Guess what, I started landing important and high-end design contracts, as now I was "perceived" to be in the big leagues.  But importantly, I was able to back that up in my deliverables. Even more important, I actually started making money at what I love!

This is such good advice. I've already taken it too my heart, and I've landed on a value I think is good. For the last couple of years I've practically already had this role, getting my own work and clients. The main difference now is that I don't have the security of a paycheck. Although I feel the financial bit in a new venture is the least comfortable part for now, I'm starting to get a good feel of my worth and what to look out for. That said, I still have a lot to learn! But yes, making money at what I love is something that echoes over at my end at the moment too. It's really the best feeling.

Happy new year Bill, thanks again!

Great work as always my friend. Your attention to detail is second to none.
Keepers.
Can't wait to see what you do in 2019.
Tim
Thank you Tim, really appreciate hearing that! Hope 2019 will treat you well.

As you know Magnus, I think this is good stuff.
I'm your biggest fan  8)
Hah, pffff... Come on man :D Thank you Esben, really appreciate it!
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 07:00:43 am by Magnus Skogsfjord »

Online Speedster

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Long reply!

Quote
This is so true, but I'm already feeling relatively confident that I've made the right choice.
See? Question asked and answered!

A few more tricks I've learned over the years...

Create a really solid Terms of Sale document (TOS) and don't even think of proceeding with a new client until it is signed and returned.  It should spell out all terms, warranties and conditions, and always include a basic NDA.  You will get some static at times, as it may conflict with the client's NDA and stuff, but most won't and they see it as a mark of the professional.

Be absolutely honest!  That's a given, but really important.  Some clients will want to micromanage you, and are usually wrong.  Remember, they are hiring you as a professional, and good clients will listen to and heed your advice.  You don't want the ones who refuse.

Many startups are founded and staffed by young folks, most in their 30's.  They are used to, and require, "instant gratification", and are always driven by venture capital.  But design work simply takes time, especially in medical devices, and they need to understand this simple fact of life and allow for it.

Be very careful with communication!  Most of my clients (as described above) prefer to text or email, and often use emojis, which is not acceptable, at least to the FDA Design History and Data Retention rules. Communication must be clear and concise.

I'm usually the "old phart" at the table, so I'm very careful with the politics and hierarchy. I make it clear (in a subtle way) that I'm simply there as a professional team member, not to step on anyone's toes.  I also try to enable the team members, and give them most of the credit, and make them look good.  I mentor them in a quiet manner, such that they get the credit they almost always deserve. After all, they are also pros!  When they move on, they become my next client!

Be absolutely honest!  I keep a printed time sheet, on which all the important info is logged, as well as a day-by-day charting of time spent, and what that effort was for.  My timesheet is always available for review by the client, and is essentially a duplicate of how I create the invoice for the period.  I bill every two weeks, Net due 30 days.  If a client does not pay within terms I halt the project until it is current.  All of this is duly noted in the (signed) TOS.

If you run into a snag, have an honest talk with the client.  They are always working on tight deadlines, so keeping them appraised of progress, problems, etc. is critical.

Go the extra mile!  We all tend to do this anyway.  At least I do, and my clients know this.  My client retention rate is very high, about 80%.  Many have been clients for 15 or more years, and often one guy or gal moves from company to company (common in startups) and "drag" me along.  Some clients of course are one-off, and specifically project driven.  Once finished, they move on.

Part of the above deals with an issue we all face.  Our work is creative.  We often have to play around searching for a KeyShot (or design) solution.  It's part of the learning curve, and I feel it's unfair to bill my client for this, as they expect me to "know it all", which I don't!  I still add in the time, but will usually fudge it down to benefit them.  And they know and appreciate this!  The issue of billing for rendering time is tough, but you do have to have a payback.  I usually render as a queue at night, at 50% of my rate.

We're fortunate as CG artists to have minimal invested in capital assets. Way back I owned a hobby products manufacturing company, with 38 wholesalers and 1800 retail dealers in nine countries. I had several hundred thousand dollars invested in the toolroom and plastic injection machines. And I was factoring (borrowing against receivables) about $25k a week.  Life sucked!  I sold the company and invested in a four-core computer (high-end at the time!), SolidWorks, training and then KeyShot in 2008.  Never looked back!  But soon my little computer was slowing me down, so I bought my $13k BOXX 64 core big boy.  This increased my throughput and of course income, with 100% ROI in six months.  As professionals we really need the best available hardware within a reasonable budget.

We are very fortunate, in that our focus is directed, or work well defined, and investment minimal, allowing us to invest most in marketing.  For way to many companies marketing is a last thought, and seldom well funded.

Here's to a great and exciting 2019!

Bill G







« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 09:48:17 am by Speedster »

Offline mattjgerard

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Create a really solid Terms of Sale document (TOS)

Was burned by this once, and implemented a TOS doc and never had another problem. 18 years of freelance work and only got screwed once. I'd call that a pretty good record.

as they expect me to "know it all", which I don't!  I still add in the time, but will usually fudge it down to benefit them.

I ended up for certain clients with an R&D line item rate. That worked most of the time, but for stuff that I "should have known" yeah, that was just part of my budgeting time for it and shuffling stuff around to make it work. I always took a hit on
"play time" to figure things out, as creativity takes time and dozens or hundreds of iterations to get things to look right, then pushing it further. I also got in the habit (At the advice of my own old phart mentor) of line iteming EVERYTHING then I would zero out certain items as research or just good ol loyal customer discounts. That way if the client is getting something for free, they know it and can appreciate it. Most of the time if you are giving the client something for free (storage space, FTP hosting, different sized renders, video encoding specials, etc) they won't know unless you tell them.

I undersold myself all the time, but that is what the market was balanced for in my area. Loads of media schools churning out "graduates" at an ungodly rate and flooding the market with dozens of people with a camera rig that think they were big time film producers. I was able to create relationships where they didn't come to me for video production, but problem solving.

Lots of great advise here, You got the skills to make the deliverable, as long as you have the business sense and dedication (which it sounds like you do) there's little reason you won't succeed.

I was in the same place as  you, working for a paycheck but running my own show. I quit when my friend told me that I was already freelance, I'm just giving 80% of my take to someone else.