The 10th Edition of the VES (Visual Effects Society) Awards is upon us, and whilst I know many of you will already be working on your entries for it, I thought I would take time to write about it in this blog to encourage those of you who haven't considered entering the competition.
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.
Character Animation can be a tricky business. The industry is full of talented, creative people who are passionate and dedicated about what they do and this means they often have lengthy careers at the same company they first started out at. So, getting your first break can be tough because when those job opportunities arise, standards are high and so are expectations. Your work really does have to stand out.
This Friday, our Character Animation Tutor Alex Williams will be presenting a talk at the Aesthetica Short Film festival. Aesthetica Film Festival is hosted by Aesthetica Magazine a respected voice in contemporary art and culture. The talk being given by Alex is called: Creating and Designing Memorable Animated Characters and its aim is to help you achieve just that! There is certainly no better man for the job. Alex understands exactly what it takes to get to the heart of characters, giving them their very own personalities and making them totally believable. If you don’t believe us, you should check out his CV which includes: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Lion King and The Iron Giant, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader.
SIGGRAPH is the worlds leading conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Each year they welcome thousands of artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students and academics to Vancouver from 74 countries around the world.
Are you a MARI user or have an interest in MARI, then you may be keen to know that a group of artists are getting together on November 24th in London, Soho for a few beers. The venue is currently top sectret but will be released soon.
Mingle and network with fellow MARI users over a drink. There are a few special gifts up for grabs too.
I've also heard that some of the MARI engineers should be attending, which is a great opportunity to ask those all important questions! Should be quite a geek fest.
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.
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.
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.
It seems there is an abundance of technology conferences to choose from this year. For fellow technology enthusiasts out there, this is an exciting time, as we are treated to an ocean of updates, new releases and ground breaking developments. One conference we give a particular seal of approval to is the much anticipated CVMP (Conference for Visual Media Production), now in its 8th year running. This is a conference dedicated to the geeks of the visual media production industries, whether that is in film, broadcast or games.
Not many traditional artists ever imagine that they’d be able to transfer their artistics skills from the studio to the computer but in fact it’s quite the opposite. The current growth of the VFX industry in the UK means there is a growing demand for fresh creative talent. Learning the skills is the easy bit; it’s the creativity that the industry is looking for and that really is something that you’re born with.
On September 7th, 2011 we held a webinar for Autodesk’s 2012 version of the Entertainment Creative Suites. As ever, registrations for this Autodesk webinar were plentiful, and we're delighted so many of you were able to join us on the day.
We just caught up with Stu Schwartz—last year’s CG Whiz winner. Here’s what he had to say about the experience and knowledge he’s gained and, of course, a few tips for this year’s submissions:
I learned a lot this last summer at Escape Studios as a student and intern but one of the most important things I want to make sure students and aspiring artists know is that I found out how important networking can be. The more you get out there and meet people, the more opportunities will present themselves. Escape is located right near the heart of countless studios and is always putting on events and connecting with other studios and industry professionals. It's been a great environment for meeting other artists and potential employers. So keep that in mind as you move forward in your careers.
Ever find yourself wondering about a better alternative to your current network setup? Could there be a larger, faster and more predictable solution out there for your server / storage requirements? You are not alone in asking this question. This is fast becoming a major concern for many IT teams in the media and entertainment sector. That’s why we will be addressing this very topic at a special event being held in London on September 16th, 2011. Andy Bechtolsheim, a highly respected figure in the Information Technology industry is coming to London to share his expertise on this issue. Andy has been involved in the IT industry throughout his career. He has witnessed first-hand how computing infrastructures have scaled over the decades, and how network speeds have failed to keep up.
In a fast paced industry, where new technologies are being introduced more frequently, it can be difficult to stay on top of which products successfully aid efficiency and quality in our work. It’s great to know that some companies take an opportunity to show off their products and how they are being utilised in the industry. Last Thursday I made a special effort to attend an event for NUKE and MARI software. The torrential down pour that evening made venturing out difficult, so I was glad to see so many people were able to attend. Armed with umbrellas and rain coats well over one hundred of us braved the weather to enjoy an evening with NUKE and MARI, an event hosted by Escape Studios in collaboration with The Foundry and HP.
I'm really honoured to have been asked to join a panel of speakers for a session on Continual Professional Development (CPD) Education and Training at the International Animation Festival (LIAF) in London.