NASA's Kepler Mission has been running since 2009 and is currently searching our region of the Milky Way for habitable planets. So far, it has spotted about 2,300 and confirmed 61 planets. Data artist Jer Thorp and John Underkoffler, the designer who created the interfaces in Minority Report, have produced a user interface that lets us find out how these new planets look.
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?!
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.
As of last month Autodesk released the 2013 update of their 3D software, and with that you’ll find a variety of enhancements and new features that make these versions pretty special. In our competitive industry, having the latest and greatest tools to complete the job is always a bonus, and the 2013 versions may well set you on your way to creating work that stands out from the crowd. Of course for many of you, the cost can make upgrading a tricky business and that’s why we want to make sure you’re all aware of a promotion that could help stretch the pennies a little further.
For Softimage fans out there, you may be glad to hear that the loyal community of Softimage users are regrouping. Under the new name Softimage Creatives (SiC), this is an independent user group based here in London. Following a user group meeting held last November, a discussion began to revive the community among Softimage users. Six industry professionals expressed their interest in helping make this a reality, and with the support of Escape Studios SiC London was born.
Happy Tuesday, loyal readers. Here's a quick one relating to a problem that popped up a few times for the students last week. This is for anyone taking who has tracked footage into Maya and finds their tracking markers don't line up, because they've forgotten one simple step.
Back in 2006 Google acquired SketchUp, the 3D modeling program commonly used by architectural, civil and mechanical engineers. Google SketchUp was released as a free downloadable version that excluded some of the functionality of SketchUp Pro, but included tools for uploading content to Google Earth. Since that time Google SketchUp has been deemed very popular worldwide and can boast 30 million activations over 2011 alone.
In an interview with BioWare, the company responsible for the art in Mass Effect, Pixologic find out how ZBrush was used in the making of Mass Effect 3. The ambitious game series has exhibited some pretty impressive artwork during its time, and the work in ME3 is no exception. Read the exclusive interview here.
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 9th annual Architectural 3D Awards, hosted by CGarchitect.com, are taking place on July 4th 2012 and a last call for entries has just been sent out, with only three weeks remaining. The competition is open to everyone in the Architectural Visualisation industry, and looks to award the best imagery, animation and real-time projects created over 2011 and 2012. This year there are five categories for the award, and only five entrants will be shortlisted for each category - Image (Commissioned), Image (Non Commisioned), Film/Animation (Commissioned), Film/Animation (Non Commissioned) and Real-Time.
I’m sure you’re all aware by now that upgrades to Adobe CS6 will be available soon, and with this new version we can all look forward to accelerated performance and interactivity. Yes, now you can feel safe in the knowledge that Adobe Creative Suites now support NVIDIA Quadro and Tesla GPUs, opening a whole world of enhanced efficiency for their programmes.
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!
So Intel has finally made their official reveal of the new 'Ivy Bridge' range of processors after much speculation. Although it’s not really speculation as multiple 'leaks' and certain overeager e-tailors were listing the processors well in advance of this official release. They follow the same naming convention as the past two generations in the series so we still have the i3, i5 and i7, although only the quad-core variants have been announced thus far.
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.
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.
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.