Yesterday afternoon The Foundry announced the release of KATANA 1.0, the much anticipated look development and lighting tool. In addition to this, The Foundry also shared the news that Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a Lucasfilm Company, have purchased a licence of this latest version with the hope to boost their production pipeline across their ILM and Lucasfilm companies.
The whole point of CG Whiz is to give talented aspiring artists the kind of exposure necessary to kick-start their career, and there’s no better example of that than the first ever CG Whiz winner, Adam Droy. Following his 2009 success, Adam completed a twelve-week training course with Escape Studios, and now works as a 3D Artist at CG Whiz sponsors The Mill, at its UK studio in Soho, London.
Western Digital, one of the worlds largest hard drive manufacturers, has been badly affected by recent flooding in Thailand where they have two production plants. The one in Bang Pa-in Industrial Park is completely destroyed, with equipment submerged in water. The other in Navanakorn Industrial Park is struggling to keep flooding at bay.
A Softimage UGM in the UK has been a long time coming, something that Autodesk are very aware of. So, we've partnered up with Autodesk to make it happen. We are delighted to announce that Jason “Chinny” Brynford-Jones, Softimage product manager and demonstration guru, is making the trip to London to chair this meeting. It certainly wouldn’t be the same without him. A blast from the past for some of you, “Chinny” has been with the Softimage family for 15 years. He started out as a demonstrator in London and has since gained a reputation as being the cheerful face of Autodesk Softimage. He has been working in Product Management for the last 8 years and is now a Technical Product Manager at Autodesk in Montreal.
Have you ever thought about taking your artistic talent and transferring those skills to VFX? Then the webinar that we’re running on November 10th could be the start of you doing that. For the industry to remain fresh and buoyant, it’s important that there are constant waves of creative and original talent. We always say that creativity is key – if you have that, learning the technical skills is the easy bit. The current growth of the VFX industry in the UK means there is a growing demand for fresh talent. In this webinar I'll look at the potential routes a Fine Art graduate may take into the industry and the transferable, creative skills that will allow them to stand out from the crowd when making the move into this demanding and competitive industry.
BOXX Technologies are bringing a new workstation to the market that aims to boost processing speeds and accelerate workflow. This unique product is kitted out with 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor as well as Intel Smart Response Technology, a combination you can’t get elsewhere. It is currently the fastest single socket workstation on the market, with incredible speeds of up to 4.5 GHz. The latest addition to the 3DBOXX XTREME workstations line, it is designed to offer exceptional support for visualisation, modelling, 3D animation and motion media applications.
It turns out that our escapees are never prouder than when they are wearing an ‘escapee’ T-Shirt, as you can see in this photo of Mentored VFX Course student Ricardo Vianna. Whenever I’m out and about in Soho, I’m always surprised by how many escapees stop to tell me that they continue to wear their T-Shirt, even after we have placed them in jobs. Some have mentioned that they’ve even taken them on holiday. All of our Classroom and Mentored Course students get a T-Shirt and they are becoming a bit of a phenomenon – well, put it this way, it’s very easy to spot our graduates when out and about in the industry. It turns out that one of our students has a picture of herself standing outside the pyramids with it on! (Picture coming soon…).
Once again we are going to be running a couple of course specific Open Days for those would like to find out more about our courses and the sort of training we offer here at Escape.
CG Whiz 2011 has been open for entries for over a week now, and we’re already seeing lots of great work coming in. We know a lot of you will be hard at work on your showreels, so to give you some insight into what the judges will be looking for in the amateur category, we caught up with Lee Danskin, our Training Director and a CG Whiz judge since the competition started two years ago.
One foggy day in London town, a gaggle of our compositing students congregated for coffee at Oxford Circus.
There’s a new tool on the market that is taking the industry by storm. MARI is the magnificently user friendly 3D paint package that lets an artist spend more time painting and less time battling tech issues. It offers a great many solutions that until now have been missing from comparable applications. Photoshop continues to be an invaluable tool to compositors and motion graphic artists, but MARI has the time saving functionality currently missing.
Last month Henry South, lead texture artist at Framestore, kindly shared 23 MARI tips via twitter over 23 days. For those of you who followed these feeds over the 23 days, thank you for your positive feedback. Your encouraging messages let us know that these little projects are welcomed and necessary.
Here at Escape Studios we are constantly fine-tuning our courses to give our students the best possible balance of skills.
Due to unprecedented demand for our 12-week Visual Effects Production and 18-week Visual Effects Professional courses, we've just announced a new course date for February 2012. Our two January courses our now full, so if you're interested in joining the February course please contact us as soon as possible as we expect it to fill quickly too.
Here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with stories that I have picked up over the past week. If you have suggestions for stories I missed, just drop me a line or post a comment.
The UK has a flourishing VFX industry that is attracting business from all over the world. In terms of film production in this country, we’re securing huge business. The standard of work being produced here is world class, and it’s impressive to see how this industry is flourishing right across the United Kingdom. For those of us who work in London, sometimes we risk embracing the city as being the centre of the universe, paying far too much attention to what’s going on locally, rather than what’s happening countrywide. Granted Soho is a hub for post-production, but if we were to look beyond the M25 and further North, East or West, we would find an amazing number of talented companies working on some fantastic projects.
IKinema are a relatively young company based in the UK with a very special product that is improving the workflow among VFX departments. For anyone lucky enough to have worked with this programme they will know that the IKinema technology is a powerful plug-in and a real asset to any project working with motion capture and animation. It’s an incredible tool with advanced solver settings and a flexible constraint system. It's no wonder Framestore, one of the top VFX companies in Europe, are taking full advantage of this tool by integrating it into their motion capture pipeline.
We’re delighted to announce that CG Whiz 2011 is now open! We’re accepting entries from today for the competition, with the winner receiving a 12 week classroom course at Escape Studios and a 12 week placement with The Mill in either its London or LA offices. This is a once in a life time opportunity that could kick start the career of one talented young artist. If you don’t believe us, see what past winners Stu Schwartz and Adam Droy say about what winning has meant for them.
One of the most entertaining parts of the Character Animation course that I teach at Escape studios is the lesson where the students invent, design and pitch an original animated character to myself and the rest of the class. The purpose of the exercise is to get students thinking not just about the technical side of character motion and action but also to think inventively and creatively. Can we invent characters as well as animate them? The visual effects industry is often demanding in terms of time and energy, and one of the best antidotes to the problem of "burn out" is to keep the creative spirit alive. After all, we all went into the arts to invent and create, not just to polish other people's ideas.