This year, Escape Studios is ten years old, and it’s a pretty big deal for us. It’s also a big deal for all of the students who we’ve trained over the years and are now dotted throughout the world of VFX. So, from now on, every week, we’re going to be launching a story from our escapee Wall of Fame which will showcase all of the escapees who have gone on to work on the biggest and boldest films, TV shows, commercials and games over the years. It’s a chance for them to step up and take a bow, albeit a virtual one.
Welcome back to part two of our series on effects that you thought were CG.
I have found that there are many advantages to studying at Escape Studios. Aside from the obvious vast amount of knowledge that you acquire, you also get to visit and meet some very cool places and people. Last Friday we had the pleasure of visiting Framestore for a presentation with Ben Frost and Chas Jarrett to hear about their experiences working on the second Sherlock Holmes movie - A Game of Shadows. In particular, they discussed with us the typical hurdles and constraints they came across and what we as VFX artists may expect to experience working in the VFX industry.
NASA's Kepler Mission has been running since 2009 and is currently searching our region of the Milky Way for habitable planets. So far, it has spotted about 2,300 and confirmed 61 planets. Data artist Jer Thorp and John Underkoffler, the designer who created the interfaces in Minority Report, have produced a user interface that lets us find out how these new planets look.
2D or 3D - which camp are you in? This age old fight is battled out by two of our studio assistants and it seems, there is a rather heated argument for both. I'll leave it up to the guys to convince you either way. If however, we can't resolve it in this post, a mud wrestle might be the only answer.
Scott Squires, of Industrial Light & Magic, has a blog called Effects Corner. Scott talks everything VFX, from artistry to wages. If you are looking to read the frank ins and outs of the VFX world then Scott’s blog is the place to go. Scott has 35 years’ experience in the industry and has work on film projects like Van Helsing, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Stars Wars: Episode I – Phantom Menace.
His articles are well written and packed full of industry top tips. He talks you through key skills like camera tracking and 3D match-moving as well as providing links to some of the latest visual effects news.
So it’s almost bank holiday weekend and your old pal Ash is gonna give you another one of his awesome tips before you spend the next three days drinking your body weight in alcohol and watching The Avengers… seriously, how awesome is that film?!
The Foundry returned triumphant from this year’s NAB show in Las Vegas. For them, this was by far their biggest and most successful NAB, as they exhibited their most advanced portfolio yet. Showcasing the latest versions of NUKE, NUKEX, HIERO, KATANA and MARI they had crowds gathering throughout the event to check out live demos of all these products, as well as the incredible line-up of speakers invited to share their experiences using each of the products above.
As of last month Autodesk released the 2013 update of their 3D software, and with that you’ll find a variety of enhancements and new features that make these versions pretty special. In our competitive industry, having the latest and greatest tools to complete the job is always a bonus, and the 2013 versions may well set you on your way to creating work that stands out from the crowd. Of course for many of you, the cost can make upgrading a tricky business and that’s why we want to make sure you’re all aware of a promotion that could help stretch the pennies a little further.
For Softimage fans out there, you may be glad to hear that the loyal community of Softimage users are regrouping. Under the new name Softimage Creatives (SiC), this is an independent user group based here in London. Following a user group meeting held last November, a discussion began to revive the community among Softimage users. Six industry professionals expressed their interest in helping make this a reality, and with the support of Escape Studios SiC London was born.
Finally we can take a glimpse at the new Pixar feature animation, Brave. We’ve heard great things about the film, and so we’re all completely psyched about its upcoming release later this summer. This is Pixar’s first time to tackle a fairy tale, and it’s set to be much darker in tone to their previous Pixar releases, as it takes inspiration from the masters of whimsical storytelling, Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm.
Happy Tuesday, loyal readers. Here's a quick one relating to a problem that popped up a few times for the students last week. This is for anyone taking who has tracked footage into Maya and finds their tracking markers don't line up, because they've forgotten one simple step.
Back in 2006 Google acquired SketchUp, the 3D modelling program commonly used by architectural, civil and mechanical engineers. Google SketchUp was released as a free downloadable version that excluded some of the functionality of SketchUp Pro, but included tools for uploading content to Google Earth. Since that time Google SketchUp has been deemed very popular worldwide and can boast 30 million activations over 2011 alone.
In an interview with BioWare, the company responsible for the art in Mass Effect, Pixologic find out how ZBrush was used in the making of Mass Effect 3. The ambitious game series has exhibited some pretty impressive artwork during its time, and the work in ME3 is no exception. Read the exclusive interview here.
It's important to only isolate three separate elements per ID pass, or the technique becomes redundant. For example, if I had made both the windows and door red in the image for Part One of this blog, then any colour correction I applied to the red channel in NUKE would affect them both. You've already seen a broad example, but there's no reason you can’t use ID passes to focus on more specific areas of your render. The image above shows an example of an ID pass refined to specialise in the windows only. This kind of pass would be useful if the texture I added to the window transoms (red bits) had rendered far too dark, but everything else rendered correctly, as I would be able to adjust them without damaging the rest of my render.