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.
Film fanatics and CG lovers alike have been waiting for Ridley Scott’s latest movie Prometheus and it is the film that we have spent all year waiting for. Prometheus is due for UK release on June 1st this year and our friends MPC have been working hard on the post-production visual effects. And although we have to wait just a little longer judging from the trailer it will be well worth the wait.
Originally written to be the prequel to the infamous Alien franchise, Prometheus follows the crew of a spaceship as it attempts to find the origins of humanity through exploring an advanced alien civilization and from here chaos ensues.
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.
I recently went to see the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Wow! Intense, raw paintings that reflected his relationship to his sitters. I actually quite liked his early portraits that were very flat in dimension and lacking perspective in a stylised way. He painted the eyes of the faces quite large and dominant in the frame. But in most cases looking away, or 'blankly' towards the painter. This created for me a disturbing yet intriguing relationship between the viewer of the painting, me, and the personality of the person he is trying to portray. When we look at portraits or a picture of a person, we tend to look at the eyes first to connect in some way. Not being able to do that created a whole new approach of portraiture that I do not see often. Their eyes were wide, but not allowing a connection. The faces were rarely smiling and this one is a great example.
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.
Pixomondo has expanded their impressive global network of VFX studios yet again. Recently they established their twelfth facility at the Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to service local film and commercial productions as well as provide support to the other international studios. With over 150,000 square feet of design-built stage spaces, the Celtic Media Centre is perfect for meeting the demands of any production. This is the largest studio facility in Louisiana state, and with the generous tax incentives currently in place in that region, this looks to be a great move for the Oscar winning VFX company.
The 9th annual Architectural 3D Awards, hosted by CGarchitect.com, are taking place on July 4th 2012 and a last call for entries has just been sent out, with only three weeks remaining. The competition is open to everyone in the Architectural Visualisation industry, and looks to award the best imagery, animation and real-time projects created over 2011 and 2012. This year there are five categories for the award, and only five entrants will be shortlisted for each category - Image (Commissioned), Image (Non Commisioned), Film/Animation (Commissioned), Film/Animation (Non Commissioned) and Real-Time.
I’m sure you’re all aware by now that upgrades to Adobe CS6 will be available soon, and with this new version we can all look forward to accelerated performance and interactivity. Yes, now you can feel safe in the knowledge that Adobe Creative Suites now support NVIDIA Quadro and Tesla GPUs, opening a whole world of enhanced efficiency for their programmes.
This is just a little reminder that the release of Adobe CS6 is just around the corner, but for those of you itching to upgrade, you should think about getting round to it soon. Adobe are currently running a pretty good upgrade promotion that will keep you up-to-date with the latest and greatest features in Adobe Creative Suites. When you buy a full CS5.5 license between now and May 6th, you get an upgrade to CS6 absolutely free. Just to be clear, this will also save you money, as the CS6 price will undoubtedly be significantly higher. That’s a good incentive if ever I heard one, for upgrading now!