Blog

The VFX Festival 2012 - Get your tickets now!

The VFX Festival 2012 - Get your tickets now!

Step into the mind-blowing world of VFX with The VFX Festival! Escape Studios has created the first ever four-day festival exploring the breathtaking world of visual effects, held in London on 10th-13th October.

Celebrating a decade of UK visual effects, the festival will be packed with the most respected VFX talent, visionaries and companies who have helped shape the industry. Offering inspirational insight behind the clever trickery in this booming VFX industry, with an exciting four-day programme packed with insider knowledge and information, showreel demos, hands-on workshops and exclusive premieres, it's perfect for those with a creative talent or thirst to develop their VFX Career.

19 Comments Bethan Lofthouse

Posted by
Bethan Lofthouse
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 1:30pm

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part II

Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part II

Continuing on from Part I of this blog... then, at the start of season 8, and totally out of the blue, RvB started using action sequences, made with fully scripted fight scenes that involve stunts not possible with the previous game engine. CG had crept its way into the show, and in a big way; multiple people beating the incredible hell out of each other, huge explosions, space fights, giant weapons, and jaw dropping set pieces littered season 8, including a hilarious 8-minute sequence of Tex destroying the Reds and Blues, and flashbacks to Project Freelancer.

0 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 9:05am

Tags: , , , , , ,

Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part I

Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part I
And here we arrive at the end of our spotlight on web series blogs that have cool visual effects. And fittingly, we will wrap up with one of my absolute favourite shows.
This show began with a few friends recording themselves playing Halo; Combat Evolved(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo:_Combat_Evolved), and dubbed voices over the top to create humorous shorts. Now, ten years later, those few guys have become Rooster Teeth(http://roosterteeth.com/home.php), and are the proud owners of the internet's longest running webseries, Red vs Blue(http://roosterteeth.com/archive/?sid=rvb&v=more). RvB has won many awards, and now has a huge fanbase(http://rvb.wikia.com/wiki/Red_vs._Blue_Wiki) over the entire world. 
In the begining, RvB was a clever nod to the nuances of videogaming; two teams, of the aformentioned colours, trapped in a boxed canyon with two identical bases with no purporse or logical goal other than to kill eachother. There was a heavy emphasis on humour, specifically for gamers and Halo fans. Over the last decade, however, it has evolved. The length of the episodes has grown, the cast has greatly expanded, the plot has twisted and turned dramatically, and although they are split into seasons, the episodes actually tell one long continuous story from start to finish, which at this point clocks in at over 18 hours. It's basically one really, really long film. 
The comedy has continued - and improved - over the years. However what's more impressive is the story, and how, despite it being created on a year by year basis, it continuously managed to tie itself into past events to create on long complex yet sophisticated narrative.
Both visually and in terms of production value, you can see how the show has adapted over the years. In its beginning(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BAM9fgV-ts), RvB was filmed in an almost bootleg fashion, where large black bars covered the top and bottom of the screen to cover the Halo HUD, and the aiming reticule is always visible in the centre of the screen (They have since gone back and 'remastered' these episodes for HD quality). As the popularity of the show increased, Bungie(http://www.bungie.net), the creators of the Halo series, gave the guys at Rooster Teeth the means to record and render their exploits with their own in game cameras. Rooster Teeth have also cleverly used their stories to explain the visual differences that occur as new versions on Halo are released. For example, when they began to use Halo 2(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_2), the cast were blown into the future, where everything looked better and shinier. 
Then, at the start of season 8(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ9pCqbwCFo&list=ELKa7KIIcrH8k&index=3&feature=plpp_video), and totally out of the blue, RvB started using action sequences have been made with fully scripted fight scenes that involve stunts not possible with the previous game engine. CG had crept its way into the show, and in a big way; multiple people beating the incredible hell out of each other, huge explosions, space fights, giant weapons, and jaw dropping set pieces littered season 8, including an hilarious 8 minute sequence of Tex destroying the Reds and Blues(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke9wtbzGjCI&feature=relmfu), and her epic final battle against Washington and The Meta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgweBtQLL5g&feature=relmfu).
Since then, the show has cleverly incorporated fully CG sequences by showing flashbacks to Project Freelancer(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ3OZfPsP2E&list=ELYWB-pNdHjy0&index=2&feature=plpp_video) that tie into the current story. They've also built models for their characters underneath the suits of armour they wear, allowing their helmets to come off. It's important to remember that this is still a low budget show so the graphics aren't movie quality, but it's perfectly forgiveable considering the sheer amount of action and artistic direction used. 
For those of you who're desperate to follow RvB in all its glory after this extremely  thorough and well-written blog (which, I'm sure, will be all of you) it's important to point out a few things. The first 3 season's do look a little rough by today's standards, and it takes just a little bit of time for the cast to refine their voices. While it's fine to skip ahead to see the kind of quality you'll end up with, I urge you to start at the beginning, otherwise you'll fail to grasp most of the long running jokes. Also; it's totally hilarious, heartfelt, intelligent and constantly impresses with its ability to create a complex and intriguing story using just a few multilayer maps from a video game. So you should watch it anyway. 
It terms of visual effects, RvB delivers incredibly over the top sequences that rival any film this side of The Avengers(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0848228/). In terms of the series as a whole, there's a reason this show has been running longer that most television shows, keeps winning awards, had it's fictional game Griffball incorporated into Halo 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_3), and generally keeps getting better every year (this has even seen the inclusion of Elijah Wood to the cast). It's the best and longest running webseries out there, and well worth you're attention. Now go; you've got 18 hours of webshow to watch this weekend. Enjoy!

And here we arrive at the end of our spotlight on webseries blogs that have cool visual effects. And fittingly, we will wrap up with one of my absolute favourite shows.

0 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 9:00am

Tags: , , , , , ,

Gamers… get immersed!

Gamers… get immersed!

Seems things are taking some interesting turns for the games industry. The word on the street is that the main players are opting for immersive 3d environments in games... allowing games to leave the confines of the TV. Both Microsoft and Sony have recently revealed their very different plans on how to achieve a totally immersive experience.

0 Comments mark spevick

Posted by
mark spevick
Fri 14 Sep 2012: 3:02pm

Tags: , , , ,

Konami announce plans for Metal Gear Solid Movie

Konami announce plans for Metal Gear Solid Movie

If you, like me, were the owner of a PS1 back in the late 90’s, (or as we called it back then, simply ‘the Playstation’) there’s quite a high chance you would have owned stealth action game ‘Metal Gear Solid’, the successor to Konami’s MSX2 tactical action espionage game, ‘Metal Gear’, which this week celebrated its 25th anniversary.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Thu 30 Aug 2012: 12:00pm

Tags: , , , , ,

Oggy Oggy Oggy, Ouya Ouya Ouya!

Oggy Oggy Oggy, Ouya Ouya Ouya!

Living rooms all over the planet best prepare themselves over the next few months, for the arrival of the world’s first ‘fist sized’ games console… ‘Ouya’.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Wed 29 Aug 2012: 5:30pm

Tags: , , ,

Autodesk Scaleform

Autodesk Scaleform

Our friends Autodesk have recently released three user friendly packages for Scaleform users, Unity plug-in, Mobile Flash platform and Mobile SDK.

0 Comments Tim Flett

Posted by
Tim Flett
Fri 24 Aug 2012: 3:30pm

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mortal Kombat: Legacy

Mortal Kombat: Legacy
Mortal Kombat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortal_Kombat) is a franchise everyone's familiar with. Along with Street Fighter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_Fighter) and Tekken  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tekken), it's one of the classic beat 'em ups of early arcades and game consoles, pitching several outrageous competitors against each other in an excessively violent fight to the death for who cares what the reason was it was awesome. Spawning a huge list of games from 1992 all the way to the present day, MK has helped taint innocent childhoods for 20 years. It had two major films, one acceptable (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113855/), one classically woeful,(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119707/) and last year, around the release of Mortal Kombat 9 (http://www.ign.com/games/mortal-kombat/ps3-14317281), came a pleasant surprise; Mortal Kombat: Rebirth. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9YUeTTaVqo)
Rebirth was a 8 minute short film from director Kevin Tancharoen(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Tancharoen), who wanted to create a 'proof of concept' for a MK movie. It retold the MK story in a style that focused on realism, without the Outworld or any of the supernatural elements from the game, and was used as a way to convince Warner Brothers (http://www.warnerbros.com/) to reboot the MK film franchise. While they didn't immediately agree, they did help Tancharoen create his webseries Mortal Kombat: Legacy. (http://www.youtube.com/show/mortalkombatlegacy?s=1)
Legacy was the follow up to Rebirth, telling the stories of several different MK characters, mostly in the same gritty, real world fashion, with some others taking a less grounded approach. Although both had famous actors in them, you can see through the series that they've spent their modest budget wisely, even though there are some episodes that rely more of VFX than others. While the story of Jax, Sonya and Kano focused more of acting and gunfights, Kitana and Mileena's episodes were heavily supernatural and involved both 2D and 3D animation. My favourite of the bunch is Raiden's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tWh4Z42SJk&list=SL) story which is both raw and stupendous at the same time, and packs an emotional punch. 
It's another example of how webseries' are evolving to incorporate brilliant visuals with real production and producing something that is legitimately worth watching. Its worth noting that the series did so well that Warner Brothers have now agreed to let Tancharoen helm a new MK feature film! Keep your eyes peeled for my next Webseries spotlight, where I'll show my favourite web show. And if you have anything that you think should be covered, sound off in the comments below!

Mortal Kombat is a franchise everyone's familiar with. Along with Street Fighter and Tekken, it's one of the classic beat 'em ups of early arcades and game consoles, pitching several outrageous competitors against each other in an excessively violent fight to the death for...well who cares what the reason was, it was awesome! Spawning a huge list of games from 1992 all the way to the present day, MK has helped taint innocent childhoods for 20 years. It had two major films, one acceptable, one classically woeful, and last year, around the release of Mortal Kombat 9, came a pleasant surprise; Mortal Kombat: Rebirth.

0 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Wed 22 Aug 2012: 5:00pm

Tags: , , , ,

MARI: the best thing since sliced bread for texturing

MARI: the best thing since sliced bread for texturing

The latest version of 3D digital paint tool MARI is being harnessed by LucasArts to help power the impressive visuals seen in its hotly-anticipated title Star Wars 1313.

0 Comments Simon Fenton

Posted by
Simon Fenton
Tue 21 Aug 2012: 10:15am

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Rock on...another escapee success!

Adam Esat explains, that like many video games industry professionals, the first seeds of inspiration were sewn as a child, playing the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid and Pokémon. 
We soon found out that like the protagonists of his childhood inspirations, Adam had embarked on a pretty exciting journey of his own.
We caught up with this escapee in the wake of a recent poll from ‘develop online’, indicating Travellers’ Tales (His employers, and main producers of games under the Lego franchise) to be the number one UK game developer.
Adam explains that although he knew he wanted to enter he world of gaming, he didn’t quite have a clear cut vision so early on, and it took him three years at university to make a decision as to what he wanted to specialise in.
‘I loved 3D modelling most of all, which I dedicated my efforts to from then on.’
From here the foundations were set, and Adam could start stacking the building the blocks of his career. (If you’ll excuse the pun) Speaking of his time with us, he acknowledges the premium level of teaching and positive learning environment that Escape Studios has to offer.
‘The quality of the tutoring is what I consider to be world class; it truly was a creatively charged, collaborative place to study, which frankly made me strive to improve myself even more’
As with all of our success stories though, our resources are matched, if not trumped by the infallible commitment of our students, and it took Adam four patient months of meticulous alterations to his show reel before he felt it ready for job applications. These were four months though, that surely pale into insignificance now… 
‘Since then I've been happily employed at TT, whilst also pursuing my personal work in my free time’
We asked Adam to dispatch some industry wisdom for our students and any potential VFX artists out there  who may be reading his success story
I would say the most important thing is decide exactly what you want to do within the games industry, and focus on it, the key is to specialise. Work as much as you can on creating an awesome showreel targeted at the area you wish to specialise, It's incredibly competitive out there and if you want to succeed, you need to work hard. Show your prospective employer that you're the right person for the job and most of all that you want it more than anyone else.
Adam knows not what the future holds, as the industry is always evolving. But with a work ethic and skillset like his, we can be sure that this escapee has a very bright future.

Adam Esat explains, that like many other video games industry professionals, his first source of inspiration came as a child, playing the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Metal Gear Solid and Pokémon.

0 Comments Simon Fenton

Posted by
Simon Fenton
Thu 16 Aug 2012: 11:00am

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

SimCity Is Back on a Global Scale!

SimCity Is Back on a Global Scale!

Some of you may remember the incredibly addictive Maxis game, SimCity. If anything, you’ll remember the awesome tunes that accompanied your construction of cityscapes, with endless building potential. And for those of you with fond memories of this game, you’ll rejoice in knowing that the creators are taking it to a whole new level of development. SimCity is now global!

0 Comments Ellen Payne

Posted by
Ellen Payne
Wed 15 Aug 2012: 4:42pm

Tags: , , , ,

Get your game on at Gamescom 2012

Get your game on at Gamescom 2012

Gamescom, Europe's premier gaming event, starts today in Cologne, Germany and will run through until the end of this week (15th - 19th August). With over 275,000 visitors, more than 5,000 journalists and 557 exhibitors from 39 countries, Gamescom is the World's largest games event, uniquely showcasing all interactive game segments from PC and console right through to mobile gaming. This is the place for game devs and manufacturers to make an impression on Europe's tastemakers and games journalists.

0 Comments Emma Lee

Posted by
Emma Lee
Wed 15 Aug 2012: 12:00pm

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Spirograph - Spirogreat!

Spirograph - Spirogreat!
I recently commandeered a kinder egg toy from my colleague Ellen in the form of a mini-spirograph!
It has subsequently stolen enough minutes of my working day to justify a blog post.
After a bit of research into this eighties megadoodle phenomenon, I found its evolution to be a fantastic representation of our evolving use of spare time, in the wake of the technological revolution.
Youtube provides an interesting distinction between the retro adverts, showing spirograph as fun for all the family, (is this what the world did before the internet?) to contemporary videos of digitalised spirographs, often using laser omitting contraptions to further enhance the visual tantalisation!
I recommend having a look If you’re overdue a healthy dose of nostalgia.

I recently commandeered a kinder egg toy from my colleague Ellen, in the form of a mini-spirograph!

1 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Mon 13 Aug 2012: 10:45am

Tags: , , ,

The Rise of Mobile Gaming

The Rise of Mobile Gaming

I’ve just discovered some news for the British video games industry. In the middle of a double dip recession, there are 2 new studios opening up in the game industry, which is exciting enough, but this comes alongside the recent announcement that Amazon are also opening up a digital media innovation hub in London. This will have a focus on the creation of interactive digital services for games consoles, smart phones, PCs and TV. They are also building new services and APIs behind the company’s digital media.

0 Comments Simon Fenton

Posted by
Simon Fenton
Wed 25 Jul 2012: 3:30pm

Tags: , , , , ,

Worth The Money?

Worth The Money?

I’m sure all of us at least once have spent a good few minutes of our lives trying to get the bird to knock all the fixtures and pigs down. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then it is the one and only Angry Birds game.

0 Comments Sophie Collier

Posted by
Sophie Collier
Tue 17 Jul 2012: 3:00pm

Tags: , , , ,

From Past To Present

From Past To Present

It’s always interesting to see how different studios rank, whether it’s in regards to gaming, films or television. On Wednesday, Develop Online released its top 100 best studios, which, let’s be honest is always good to have a nose at. This time, however, what made it more interesting for us is the fact that two escapees have gone on to work for the number one voted UK game’s developer, Traveller’s Tales!

0 Comments Simon Fenton

Posted by
Simon Fenton
Mon 9 Jul 2012: 11:00am

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Next Generation Of Sony Entertainment

Next Generation Of Sony Entertainment

Huge news was announced this morning that SCE (or Sony Computer Entertainment to those of you not familiar with the Sony department responsible for all things Playstation and games) has purchased the online gaming streaming company GaiKai for $380 million.

0 Comments Brad Collier-Brown

Posted by
Brad Collier-Brown
Mon 2 Jul 2012: 4:00pm

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Gamers Paradise: What Should we be Getting Excited About?

Gamers Paradise: What Should we be Getting Excited About?

Epic Games released this trailer of the Unreal Game Engine at the E3 Festival last a few weeks back and it got me thinking, what else can we look forward to seeing this year?  

0 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Wed 20 Jun 2012: 10:00am

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Create Your Own MOCAP Studio

Create Your Own MOCAP Studio

Well, what a day Thursday was! As part of the Visual Effects Animation Professional TD course, we created our own motion capture studio here at Escape!

1 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Tue 19 Jun 2012: 3:00pm

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Has E3 Spelt the End of VFX? Possibly Not!

Has E3 Spelt the End of VFX? Possibly Not!

I was on holiday last week, enjoying the almost total lack of sun, and having a week long geekasm at the E3 coverage. Imagine my surprise, then, to come back to work at Escape to discover hardly a mention of all that awesomeness on the blog. This is not, I thought to myself, acceptable. So have a peek at this!

2 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Mon 18 Jun 2012: 11:30am

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,