Having previously worked in the games industry and studied Computer Games Art at degree level, Ewan Armstrong wanted to broaden his skill set to make the transition into film and TV media. Ewan made the decision to study at Escape because he saw an opportunity to fill the gaps in his knowledge on production rendering techniques, camera tracking and compositing, all while being in an environment closely linked to the VFX industry.
Over the weekend we attended the London VES Career Fair & Tech Expo, and let’s just say it put Love Box to shame with the numbers who turned out for the event itself! Queues of aspiring VFX artists patiently lining up to speak to representatives from some of the world’s greatest post houses, including ILM, Framestore, Pixomondo, Method Studios, Cinesite, Prime Focus and Disney, really highlighted just how much competition there is to get your foot on the first rung of the ladder in the world of Visual Effects.
After a previous visit to Double Negative, James Dower and his class mates really got a taste for the high standard of work that DNeg set. And on this, their second visit, they were all keen to get some professional feedback for their own VFX Production projects.
Want to introduce yourself to some of the fundamental techniques of compositing? Well now you can. The lovely Simon Richardson, compositing escapee and one of our esteemed Studio Assistants here at Escape, has put together a free NUKE tutorial that will demonstrate exactly that. This short video will walk you through a basic CG rebuild inside NUKE, using Maya’s Mental Ray passes. For anyone starting out using this software, it’s a great insight into the processes behind building a shot ready for edit.
Doing a VFX course can lead your career in many directions. For many of our students it has been the launching pad for a career in post-production, for film, TV and commercials. Many students have also gone on to work in other areas such as games and architectural visualisation. We teach the fundamentals and practicalities of working in CG, paving the way for what you will eventually specialise in.
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.
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?!
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.
The current VFX Professional class were assigned The Mill as part of the ‘Industry Coaching’ scheme, which is a new initiative for us here at Escape Studios. The main idea behind the scheme is that we invite established post-production houses in Soho to mentor our students as they prepare to enter the industry as VFX artists. The VFX Professional course is our more advanced course for students who have completed the VFX Production course or artists already in the industry who are looking to further their knowledge in the field. For these students, getting advice from professionals working in the industry is golden, helping them prepare better for what is to come. Emmy Castelain was among the group during this visit, and this is what she had to say about their time at The Mill…
A recent venture undertaken here at Escape was to invite established post production houses in Soho to coach our students, to offer them direct feedback on their work here at our studio, and subsequently helping them prepare for what is expected once they enter the industry. On Thursday, 12th April 2012, the alumni class of Studio 5 attended the final coaching session with Framestore commercials, where they got to present their ‘end of course’ project to the VFX producers for feedback. Charles Downman was among the group presenting work that day, and here’s what he had to say about the experience...
So we have a new class of students for the Visual Effects Production course and I thought I’d quickly run through what this class has been up to recently and where they’re at now in their studies. We are currently on week four and they have just started their first major project after covering the ins and outs of Maya (the industry go-to package in VFX). So far, we have covered modelling, UV’ing, texturing, some lighting and rendering and a bit of Photoshop just to mix it up a bit. To put all they have learnt into practice, they have been asked to create a CG object, integrate it into a backplate and to make it look photo-realistic.
Welcome to the Studio Assistant workshop, with Ashley Miles and Brad Collier-Brown, and here's our debut issue. As studio assistants, our main job is to make sure both students and escapees are getting the most out of the Escape Studios experience, which involves answering a lot of weird and wonderful questions. We thought it'd be a good idea if we blogged a few of the most common queries and solutions every week, so you guys at home could learn a little something from us too.
When it comes to catching recruiters’ eye, it’s all about looking good. And this is when only the best showreels will cut the mustard. You have 10 seconds to impress and there is no room for error or work that you're half hearted about.
Those smiles pretty much tell this story! On 28th of March 2012 one of our Compositing classes had the exciting opportunity of having their work critiqued by two of MPC's finest: Christine Troianello and Doug Larmour and they loved every minute of it. The project they were asked to complete was a 115'" shot requiring both roto and keying which is taught on the course. The assignment was not without its challenges though! They had to deal with heavy motion-blur, integration of the key and the roto, as well as the amount of detail certain parts of the shot required. Toya Drechsler took the time to explain what the whole experience was like.