For me the best movie so far this year has to be Christopher Nolan's Inception. it will be interesting come Oscar time to see if the Academy and the world at large agree. It is a fantastic combination of amazing direction and cinematography, a gripping script and amazing VFX. The best VFX are the ones you don't see and only afterwards do you think "How did they do that?".
As part of our ongoing commitment to the US, we have recently been on a whistle stop tour of California visiting all of the leading lights in the VFX and animation industry. Lee and I were lucky enough to visit the likes of ILM, Pixar, Dreamworks, Sony Imageworks and Tippett Studio. It was like walking into a living museum of the best VFX and animation has to offer, from the original costumes and matte paintings from the Star Wars series to the giant Luxo Jr outside Pixar's HQ. We were completely in geeky film heaven. Lee's excitement at seeing models and maquettes from some of his favourite movies was very obvious. For those of us who know him, well there is no volume control!
Those of you who follow us on Twitter will know that we had our first ever realtime Twitter feedback session on Monday. I am told I should refer to them as Tweetups or Twitter parties, but if truth be told, it was a simple, honest, online showreel clinic! We asked our followers to send us links to their reels, and Lee Danskin, our Training Development Director, provided his usual professional feedback.
It’s always great to find out how escapees get on after their training and enter the world of work. Last week, we met up with ex-student Robert Holmes out at SIGGRAPH. Since his time at Escape, Rob’s gone on to work on some amazing projects at The Mill. He took time to tell us how he got his break and what’s needed to be successful in this industry.
For those that may not have heard, the UK Film council is under threat of closure after having its funding cut. The UK Film Council has done many great things for the industry since its inception in 2000. We now have the highest cinema attendance in 7 years, UK film exports are also the highest in 7 years, and inward investment in the industry has doubled from 2008 to now.
Firstly, a big thanks to everyone who has entered our CG Graduate Design Competition Award so far. Entries have been coming thick and fast and as always the standard has been exceptional.
Thanks also for keeping in touch via all our social networks - it really is great to hear from you all and it just reaffirms our belief that the UK and the US have a wealth of talent and will undoubtedly produce many future stars in the CG world.
Everyone who studies with us knows how much emphasis we place on our close ties with the industry. The members of our advisory board include some of the biggest names in CG, and they advise on everything from course content to placing escapees in work after they graduate. We are therefore very pleased to announce that Christian Roberton, MD of Film at MPC, has joined the team.
Now almost as hyped an event as the World Cup itself, the Nike ad this year starred a host of big names, from our own Wayne Rooney through to Franck Ribiery of France, Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro and even shiny Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. Most people will have seen at least one of the shorter clips, if not the full thing, and the eagle eyed among you will know that the guys at the Mill were on hand to provide the VFX wizardry.
There has been lots of talk about CityEngine recently... and until now you couldn't easily try it out.
Chaos Group have just announced the availability of the new V-Ray for Maya 1.50 SP1, fully compatible with Maya 2011 a free of charge release for all existing customers.
Thanks to everyone that responded to our graduate survey a few weeks ago. It uncovered some interesting thoughts on the industry and challenges you face getting into CG.
If you were looking to improve your modelling skills you couldn't have picked a better time, because this month we're giving away TWO free tutorials instead of one!
Really looking forward to next week because it's the start of the games course here at Escape Studios. So, before the hard work begins for my students, here is a bit of Friday fun! Check out the impossible motion video.
This month's free tutorial is part of a series that discusses alternative methods of recreating naturalistic lighting in an exterior environment. Taken from our Advanced Lighting with Maya and Mental Ray course, this tutorial concentrates on optimising raytrace shadows within a manually lit scene, and will teach you how to add ambient shadows via a custom occlusion shader. This tutorial will give you the production level skills expected of a junior lighting artist.
Following the Pixar masterclass, we asked Pixar’s Andrew Gordon to share his tips on creating a fantastic animated sequence and tell us how he came to work in the industry and at Pixar.
Pixar have just announced the release of it's much anticipated Distributed Processing Solution for RenderMan and Other Applications!
We've teamed up with 3D World to give you guys the chance to improve your Maya Skills. Seth Gollub, senior animator at Framestore New York shares some of his Maya animation tips, letting us in on a few secrets along the way.
The compositing industry is booming right now which is why we were grateful to Tara for taking a couple of minutes out of her busy day to answer a few questions about what it’s like working in the industry since leaving Escape Studios. Tara’s reel shows everything that a good junior compositing showreel should. It includes examples of roto, rig/wire removal, colour correction and some good CG comping. Each shot is accompanied by a detailed breakdown - which is a great way of demonstrating these skills.