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E-Cycles for Blender
July 31, 2019
Official Blender 2.8 Is OUT!

Check it out:

In recent months, we've been giving it a (pretty tough) test run. We hope, our project will get official, and we will be able to share our work with you all.

Blender comes with it's own renderer named Cycles. Although pretty decent for the money ( :-), ehm...), still, after previous Redshift experience, it is slow.

But, thanks to open-source nature of Blender, anybody can grab the source code, and tweak / adapt / change / improve it.

And wonderful community of talented people interested in Blender development, showed off it's powers...

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you E-Cycles!
To anybody out there doing rendering jobs with Blender, go for E-Cycles. You will not regret it.

Mathieu Manuet used his black magic coding wizardry to rewrite standard Cycles renderer into something much faster. His Blender build is called E-Cycles. Specifically, up to 2.4x faster compared to standard Cycles. Build is 100% compatible with official Blender, with regular and very fast updates.

On top of that speed gain, there is one very important thing - support: Mathieu's communication, and response is just as fast as his E-Cycles. During our cooperation, he delivered special builds just for our project, and helped us to solve issues. Simply wonderful!

You can purchase E-Cycles here:,

or here: (v2.7 + v2.8x), (v2.8x)

If you need special care, and access to publicly yet not available features of E-Cycles, you can purchase Dev access here:

To name at least one advantage (besides great support), of this purchase - you will receive access to OptiX version of E-Cycles, which is currently faster than Octane...

For more videos of E-Cycles in action, visit Mathieu's youtube channel here:

Official E-Cycles twitter account:

Check out some stuff made by other studios with E-Cycles:

Entity Designer:

Alleyne Studio:

Congratulations to our 3D modeler Lukas Cuba, 2nd place winner in Weekly CG Challenge#122:


Composition and color made this another winner, the microscopic feel was really achieved and the tiny details and readable image make this a great artwork!

More info:
Lukas art work:

Our office became so crowded that space expansion of our company was necessary.  

So, here it is - we proudly present the exact opposite of open-space, our new basement-space!

Full of leisure time possibilities and talented artists, it has become a new home for half of our team since summer 2018.

Welcome stranger.
Enjoy our bread..
... and circuses.
And now get back to work.
Smell of petrol, salty sweat burning in the eyes, speed comparable with the F1 racing cars, barely dressed girls cheering around the racing track ... we had it all recently.

...well, maybe except for the barely dressed girls.

Our last teambuilding brought a lot of fun and revealed some surprisingly talented drivers (considering they had never driven a car before).

And the winner is...
...everyone who was there!
But especially a non-driver - Mirenko (3rd).
Our dear colleague Mirenko invited us to his place Cerová (near Senica - west part of Slovakia).

Sunny afternoon, heavenly fragrance of beef goulash, cold drinks, fresh air, good vibrations. Simple things, that make people happy. And we enjoyed it.

Beautiful summer
Martin & Martin were quite late. They carried all the drinks, so their arrival was very welcome.
Mirenko (left), and Marcel (right), and goulash in the making...
... while the others were enjoying cold drinks.
Looks like everybody minds his own business...
...but goulash...
... connects people...
...for the rest of the day.
Happy doggo tax.
Animation Meetup is a new lecturing platform for animation, movie, and VFX industry professionals. Lectures about interesting projects are presented to audiences on a monthly basis. We were honored to prepare the very first lecture on "8 Heads of Madness" movie VFX production. Thanks to Maroš Brojo, the "father" of Fest Anča, and Animation Meetup, for giving us a chance to show off some of our workflows. We really appreciate his effort to educate and improve skills of Slovak artists.

Here you can find the transcript of our lecture.

"8 Heads of Madness” is an eternal struggle of an artist against the outside world but also against her own demons and desires. “8 Heads of Madness”, a drama woven from the fragments of one dreary epoch, a cut through the desperate 20th century in a desperate country, seen through the sympathetic and sensitive eyes of a poet.    Marta Nováková, writer/director

Anna Alexandrovna Barkova (1901-1976)

The movie is an unconventional biography of the talented Russian poet Anna Alexandrovna Barkova. In 1922, her first poetry collection was published. The collection was a huge success. Some critics predicted her to become a "Pushkin grade" star. But thanks to her rebellious nature, and difficult character, she quickly became persona non grata. In 1934, she was denounced, arrested, and sentenced to five years imprisonment. In 1947, she was sentenced to 10 years in a Kazakhstan camp, and 5 years of restricted rights. Released in 1956, and in 1957, another ten-year sentence. She was rehabilitated in 1965. With poor health and no relatives to care for her, she was placed in a home for disabled in Mordovia. Later, thanks to intervention of some well-placed Soviet writers, she was allowed to return to Moscow, where she died in 1976.

Official Trailer:


Our task:

  • 1 Full CG shot,location:  Step - vast landscape view from a running train
  • 10 shots - set extension,  location: an abandoned train station in Khazakhstan

Step - fullCG shot:

  • 22 seconds long Full CG show without cuts.
  • 385 meters of continuous landscape. (Average speed of locomotive Felix Dzerzhinsky 20 was 65 km/h.. it means 385 meters in 22 seconds)
  • no hills, or woods that can help to split the shot to parts

First tests with card textures were not successful. So, we created a 3D landscape. Unfortunately, procedural ground textures looked too artificial. On the other hand, 385 meters long photo texture would reach astronomical resolutions... We had to develop our own system for effective texturing, while maintaining the overall control over the look.

We decided to use camera projection. We prepared a set of 7 8k textures used for the projection:

A common problem with camera projection is the following - it works well when looking from the position of the projection. As soon as we move to the side, the projection starts to deform. Though for a short time it works. Specifically - it works for 12 frames when the camera travels at speed of 65 km/h. So, we made a new camera projection each 12 frames of the shot. All in all, 43 camera projections.

Of course, there were visible seams between individual projections. So we created a shader which takes  care of blending the edges of the projections.

Later on, we filled the landscape with dry grass clumps, power transmission poles, some huts, and fences here and there. Here is a wireframe preview. Boxes are grass clumps proxy objects. Here you can see basic camera shake as well:

Grass clumps are created using a standard hair system saved as proxy objects. Proxies are distributed over the landscape using a particle system which takes care of the color, size, and rotation variation.

Basic camera shake was included in 3D render. Further movement irregularities were done inside Nuke with simple expression.

Step - final shot:


3D models and textures:

  • it was necessary to create 3D models of buildings based on existing ones - we had to create seamless building extension from a real one to CG.
  • environment - ground, mud, gravel, various assets
  • there were no on-set photos available. It means - no possibility for camera mapping
  • old water tower, and train set models

Here you can see some of the 3D models:


  • We performed complete compositing and finalization .
  • Works included: camera tracking, rotoscoping, keying, black and white paint, CG integration (color matching, grading, masking, 3D masking), and script optimization.

Breakdown video:

Photos from lecture:

Marek presenting.

Our dear client Jeff Meador, COO at Portico Studios, made a small detour on his trip to Budapest. He was so kind as to find some time to meet us here in Bratislava. Together with our friend Marian Villaris from Vertex Creation, we spent a great time in the historical center of Bratislava, tasting local cuisine, and taking a small tour through the city.

Left to right: Marek Hollý, Jeff Meador, Marian Villaris

After starving for some time, to make enough space in our stomach, we enjoyed the most delicious Roasted Goose you can find in Slovakia.

Follow us to Slovenský Grob: and you will never regret. All meat lovers should experience it! 

Well, there was no time to take photos of a full table
Those were the last remnants of the last goose... but not for long..
To drink, or not to drink.
Meat brings smile to your face.