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.
We would like to be one of the first to congratulate Assimilate for their success at the Cannes Festival 2012. Although the winning films are yet to be announced, several films on the competition's roster have been created using SCRATCH, Assimilate’s digital workflow and post-production tools. SCRATCH has been used on recent screen successes like The Artist, Thor and Underworld: Awakening as well as the films nominated at Cannes 2012.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Our friends at Hoxton Redsox recently completed a very fun job for one of their clients, Fox. This is the viral video for the upcoming release of Ridley Scott’s latest feature, Prometheus. Happy Birthday David was designed and directed by Johnny Hardstaff and shows the unboxing of Weyland Industries robot David 8, played by Michael Fassbender. A great addition to a range of teasers produced for the lead up to this film, we recommend you all take a look.
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...
For any 3D system to work efficiently, a sufficient camera solve is essential. This is a virtual representation of the real-world camera move shot on scene. After downloading the assets, I attempted to follow the tutorial video only using the track pad. Regardless of the system, as a NUKE user, the Wacom pen and pad have become second nature when navigating the interface. As anticipated, it was straight away confirmed that the lack of a Wacom pen and tablet made the task extremely awkward and I've found myself falling behind. Therefore, plugging in an external to my Air has been far easier than being constrained to a track pad. Connecting the tablet allowed me to finish the task efficiently, even ahead of the tutorial.
Following on from yesterday’s post, I want to continue the discussion of why NUKE has revolutionised the industry and is an incredible asset to any compositor. The popularity of NUKE is largely down to its advancements in 3D integration, not only with its own user interface (UI), but also its ability to communicate with other packages such as MARI and AtomKraft. Being acutely punned as NUKE's 2.5D space, the 3D system has sped up the conventional 2D workflow in areas such as paint and roto, as well as depth compositing. This 2.5D space allows users to build rudimentary geometries, which can then be projected on, textured, lit, shaded and rendered as complimentary 3D assets or as part of a standard 2D workflow.
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.
Adobe CS6 is due for release very soon, and for those of you who haven’t already purchased an Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 or a Creative Suite 5.5 component, we recommend you look to do something about it now. Adobe is currently running a promotion that entitles anyone who has upgraded to or purchased CS5.5 between March 26th and May 6th, 2012 to a free CS6 upgrade. The advantages to this are that you pay the current price for the Suite and can request an upgrade to CS6 at no additional cost. If you wait until CS6 ships, you’ll have to pay the CS6 upgrade price, which could be significantly higher.
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.
Moving on from the presentation by Kevin Jenkins we turned our attention to Ben Morris who gave us the low-down on his role as a VFX Supervisor. As we watched the end sequence of War Horse, which is the part where we discover the fate of our hero’s horse, we all became a little misty eyed, but were quickly reassured by Ben that no horses were harmed during the making of this film. Needless to say, we were all very impressed with the great VFX work done by the guys at Framestore and how realistic the horse looked. Surely Mr Spielberg wouldn't have it any other way.
Last Friday, 23rd March, the students at Escape Studios had a much deserved break from the studio in Soho. It was nice to finally catch a bit of sunlight as all of us have been cooped up indoors, out from this amazing weather. However, the blast of sunshine was short lived as we were to enter one of the largest VFX studios in Soho.