ManvsMachine and other artists push Apple's iMac Pro to the limit using powerful rendering tools

Apple iMac Pro. Photography: Dominic Tomaszewski

There has been huge hype surrounding the powerful design of Apple's iMac Pro which was released at the end of 2017, but apart from reading a review or having a spare £4,899 to actually buy it, it's hard to capture what exactly the desktop is capable of – or why it needs to be so powerful.

That’s why design studio ManvsMachine, executive creative director at Sarofsky, Erin Sarofsky and four other groups and individual CG artists and motion graphics designers have created short films pushing Apple’s new iMac Pro "to the limit".

Using rendering tools such as Houdini, Cinema 4D, Maya, Nuke and Adobe Creative Cloud, each film is featured on Apple’s website, along with an accompanying video revealing how each film was created.

Reviewed by Digital Arts in January, it became obvious the Apple iMac Pro is one of the most powerful Macs, let alone computers, we’ve ever come across. With its detailed and colour accurate screen, the pricey desktop computer claims to handle rendering software used by 3D artists and designers.

Apple commissioned a group of artists to create personal pieces of work to show what the iMac Pro is capable of, from concept to final render. You can see these below. However bear in mind additional equipment was used by some artists for final render of some sequences.

The chosen group includes Buck, Esteban Diácono, Luigi Honorat, ManvsMachine, Michelle Dougherty and Erin Sarofsky.

Take a look at their final films followed by the 'making of' videos.

Erin Sarofsky

Erin Sarofsky is the founder and executive creative director of Chicago based Sarofsky. Using iMac Pro, she brings a book of ideas to life by bringing concepts from 2D sketches into 3D objects.

Erin spent two weeks filling a sketchbook with drawings, notes and doodles. She used watercolour paint and a blow dryer to distress the pages. She filmed the book using a Phantom Flex camera at 270 frames per second. The sketches were then imported into Cinema 4D, where they were projected onto a 3D model which was animated. The illustration and model were created in Adobe After Effects and fine tuned to make all the different elements speak in the same visual language.

Erin also used Adobe Premiere Pro and Arnold.

Check out how she created the film.


Posting their work on Twitter with the comment "Look mum, we’re on!", we think ManvsMachine were clearly excited about this project.

The design and motion studio in London and Los Angeles based their short film around a giant world of CG detailed architecture, put together by algorithms and code and a custom-designed system. The final product is incredibly monolithic.

Take a look at how it was created.


Buck is a collective of designers and artists. Its slightly-scary, psychedelic and flashing-image combination creates for a sensory experience. Created using 2D and 3D animation along with illustration and stop motion, the short films aims to give insight into the frenetic vision of the creative mind. Software used by Buck includes Dragonframe, V-Ray, Modo and ZBrush.

See the 'making of' video below.

Esteban Diacono

Buenos Aires motion graphics designer Esteban Diacono created a series of detailed 3D Transformer, dystopian-esque characters that converge for a mysterious showdown.

Esteban used motion capture technology to give his creatures life, and additional equipment was used for the final render of some sequences. Esteban used Vicon Vantage cameras, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya and Substance Painter.

See how he created the film.

Michelle Dougherty

Director and designer and Imaginary Forces in LA, Michelle created the title designs for Stranger Things. Michelle combined live-action with graphics, filming dancers in 4 resolution and combined this with painted designs which were animated in Cinema 4D, Maya and After Effects. Michelle also used additional equipment for the final render of some sequences.

See how Michelle put the film together.

Luigi Honorat

French 3D artists and lecturer at Mushashino Art University, Luigi explores form and motion by placing animated forms in gallery spaces around Tokyo.

He started by shooting a 3D HDR panorama of a space his subject will live in, then re-created it in Modo. Once the space was complete, he built a set of procedural rules in Houdini to compose the form.

Here's a little more on how Luigi created the film.

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