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Grey Knights Teaser interview with Erasmus Brosdau

Crytek artist, Erasmus Brosdau, puts CRYENGINE's Cinebox through its paces for his latest teaser trailer, The Lord Inquisitor: Grey Knights...

Crytek artist, Erasmus Brosdau, puts CRYENGINE's Cinebox through its paces for his latest teaser trailer, The Lord Inquisitor: Grey Knights...

Erasmus Brosdau is a senior character artist at Crytek and has worked on some impressive titles, including Crysis 3. Recently, he has been working in his free time on a Warhammer animation project, and more specifically, been utilizing CRYENGINE's Cinebox to get real time rendering results. We chat with him to get his verdict...

3dt: Hi Erasmus. Before we get on to your impressive work, could you let us know a little about yourself?
EB: Hi, sure my name is Erasmus and I'm currently working as senior cinematic artist and senior 3D artist at Crytek in Frankfurt, Germany. I have worked on multiple games and animations so far as I've been in the industry around 7 years now. In my free time I like to work on a huge open movie project called The Lord Inquisitor, which has already gathered over 60,000 fans on Facebook.

A Grey Knight preparing to go into battle

A Grey Knight preparing to go into battle

3dt: We loved your work on the The Lord Inquisitor: Grey Knights teaser. We understand it is one part of a whole project would you explain how this fits into the story you are creating?

EB: The teaser called Grey Knights is definitely no story trailer it's meant to showcase that Grey Knights will be part of the final movie. So the scenes of this teaser are not actually part of the movie but let the well-trained eye of Warhammer 40,000 fans realize what's going to come soon. And to be honest once they show up in the final movie it's going to be way more epic than this teaser.

A Grey Knight suit ready to serve

A Grey Knight suit ready to serve

3dt: This teaser marks a new era for independent film-making, as the whole sequence was rendered entirely in real time using the CRYENGINE Cinebox game engine. What effect did this have on your production, and how important will it be for the future?

EB: It affected the whole production but only in positive ways! I have worked for many years with V-Ray, and although V-Ray is a fantastic render engine, Cinebox allows me everything I could dream of as an artist and director. I can fly through my set and adjust lights, particles, characters, and so on, in real time... Cinebox displays the final image without noise in real time, all the time. Because of this I had so much creative freedom and was able to render out this whole teaser in a couple of minutes... Now, only one good graphics card is enough!

Servitors helping the Space Marine to get into his armor

Servitors helping the Space Marine to get into his armor

3dt: What other software do you use for creating your productions? How easily does CRYENGINE integrate these formats?

EB: I can't speak too much about specific formats of Cinebox as it's not released yet, but it does fit just perfectly. I can assemble my scenes there and do the lighting, particles, cameras, and so on. Other software I use are of course ZBrush and 3ds Max, which I need to create my assets. However I'm currently switching from 3ds Max to Blender and from ZBrush to 3D-Coat as I found these software incredibly powerful and want to support them.

3dt: Is there any news on when we can expect CRYENGINE Cinebox to be released to the general public?

EB: I sadly can't say anything about that.

Hallway of Honor

Hallway of Honor

3dt: Taking a closer look at your Grey Knights teaser, were there any particular technical problems you had to overcome, or any accomplishment you are particularly proud of?

EB: I'm really proud of how fast we were able to create content from scratch. The team and I worked really great together and produced this whole teaser in around 1 month, working in our free time. The only asset that was finished before we started was the suit of the Grey Knight.

There were a few technical problems, but I found cheap solutions to fix them based on the shots I had. So in some shots if I turned the camera down a bit you could see really bizarre things not being final or polished.

3dt: When can we expect the next installment? Has CRYENGINE Cinebox now become a mainstay in your production workflow?

EB: Yes, with CRYENGINE Cinebox the whole process of rendering images makes it so much fun. No rendertimes anymore it's amazing!

"Many assets I model are only shot-based they look terrible from other angles. But having a good eye for lighting and composition makes everything perfect and creates a cool-looking image that's all that counts"

3dt: Do you have any top tips or techniques you can share with our readers for creating dark, sci-fi animations, or using real time rendering?

EB: Real time rendering is definitely the future; engines like Unreal Engine and CRYENGINE rule so far as what is available. If other engines like Frostbite would be available for public use it would be even more interesting. However, game engines work more and more like offline render engines, so the transition will be easy for many artists. For creating animations like I do, it's always a wise tip to not try to create the perfect assets, but to create the perfect final image. Many assets I model are only shot-based they look terrible from other angles. But having a good eye for lighting and composition makes everything perfect and creates a cool-looking image that's all that counts. The audience doesn't care if you have a perfect UV layout or a terrific topology it's the final image that counts, no matter how you get there.

The fully armored Grey Knight with a Psy - Halberd

The fully armored Grey Knight with a Psy - Halberd

3dt: What's next for you? Any other projects you can tell us about?

EB: Yes, I'm working on a small side project as well, as I can't work all the time on Warhammer without getting crazy. It's a small project, but I guess many of my fans will like it it has something to do with 3D printing. I won't say more for now, but I will announce something next year.

Related links

Check out the website of Erasmus Brosdau
Find out more about CRYENGINE's Cinebox
Try our Unreal Game Engine book
To see more by Erasmus Brosdau, check out Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection

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