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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

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Ash Miles
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 9:00am

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WoW - the mists of Kung Fu Pandaria

WoW - the mists of Kung Fu Pandaria

MMO game (that’s massively multiplayer online game, for those who don’t know) World of Warcraft sometimes has a bad rep outside of, well, the world of World of Warcraft. However with the recent release of a trailer for this September’s add on, ‘Mists of Pandaria’ even loyal fans are starting to dish out criticism. Many of whom are insinuating that WoW has taken a turn for the worst, in an attempt to appeal to a mass market of gamers, turning their back on their real audience in the process. 

1 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Fri 14 Sep 2012: 5:30pm

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3D Artist review our VFX course

3D Artist review our VFX course

If you’re an avid reader of 3D Artist magazine, then make sure to look out for an article on Escape and the VFX course we run here. Released in this weeks issue (issue 46, September 12th), this is a rather lovely article. The 'Course Focus' section is a regular feature in this mag, so we’re pretty chuffed they wanted to include our VFX course in this issue.

0 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Fri 14 Sep 2012: 12:10pm

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Union VFX's 'River Zoom'

In a bid to cure our post-Oylmpic blues, we've been re-watching Union VFX's fantastic opening sequence, comprising a mix of real photography, animation and CG elements, which helped to kick off the celebrations at the opening ceremony for the Games. 

0 Comments Taran Spear

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Taran Spear
Thu 13 Sep 2012: 5:30pm

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September’s Free Tutorial: "Hellboy" Inspired Maya Animation

September’s Free Tutorial: "Hellboy" Inspired Maya Animation

For those of you looking to get more adventurous in Maya, September’s free tutorial is a must see. This is the perfect opportunity to spice up your showreel with something a little different, while learning a diverse range of new skills in the process.

3 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Thu 13 Sep 2012: 4:50pm

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VFX for TD's – Going the distance!

VFX for TD's – Going the distance!

How much can you learn over 12 weeks? Well hopefully after seeing some student work in yesterday’s blog you’ve realised, quite a lot actually! Learning the tools that create impressive 3D visuals is the hard part. After that, it’s a process of applying what you’ve learnt to more ambitious projects and making sure you push yourself to continue learning.

0 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Wed 12 Sep 2012: 1:23pm

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Virtual Reality - An art soon to be perfected?

Virtual Reality - An art soon to be perfected?

Valve established itself on the gaming map as creator of Sci-Fi shoot ‘em up Half-Life. Since then however, branches of the Valve tree have reached out to unchartered territories.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Wed 12 Sep 2012: 12:30pm

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Fusion ioFX

Fusion ioFX

The Escape Studios Technology team have received some rather exciting new solutions recently, one of which being the new Fusion ioFX board.

0 Comments Brad Collier-Brown

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Brad Collier-Brown
Tue 11 Sep 2012: 2:30pm

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Weird Wins!

Weird Wins!

With the US release of Paranorman last month (UK release 14th September), sporting giants Nike have released a one of a kind edition of their synonymous, ‘foamposite’ sports trainer. Only 800 of these Paranorman themed pumps were made and get this - they could only be won by weirdos.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Tue 11 Sep 2012: 11:00am

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Making VFX magic in a matter of weeks!

Making VFX magic in a matter of weeks!

Want to know what can be achieved in just 12 weeks of a VFX for Production course? Take a look at some of the work by the students who graduated last month.

0 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Tue 11 Sep 2012: 10:28am

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Augmented Reality - A real game changer

Augmented Reality - A real game changer

Sometimes a new piece of equipment struts onto the gadgetry scene, reminding us all, just how hard it is to keep up with the rapidly evolving trends in the technological world we live in.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Mon 10 Sep 2012: 12:02pm

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Escaping to IBC 2012

Escaping to IBC 2012

The 2012 IBC Conference & Exhibition is now in full swing in the buzzing city of Amsterdam. Let’s just say, you’re not going to find a hotel room very easily right now! Jason Jenner and I from the Escape Studios technology team are here to represent our partners in the world of tech. We’re here all week, so if you want to get in touch, please drop us a line. 

0 Comments Tim Flett

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Tim Flett
Fri 7 Sep 2012: 3:01pm

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Taking the next step into VFX wizardry!

Taking the next step into VFX wizardry!

Before becoming a mighty VFX warrior, you need to become a master of Maya. That is why our VFX courses are designed so you dedicate significant time to mastering the tools inside Maya before taking the next step into more advanced visual effects. And of course, it’s only when you know the limitations of any creative tool, that you know how far to push it.

0 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Fri 7 Sep 2012: 11:52am

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Last Chance to Book! VFX Taster Classes Start Soon...

Last Chance to Book! VFX Taster Classes Start Soon...

The one-day VFX taster classes kick off a week on Monday. If this is something you want to participate in, make sure to book your place soon. For anyone considering taking the first step into a career in VFX, this is your chance to get a practical insight into what it’s like to study with us.

0 Comments Flora Ho

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Flora Ho
Thu 6 Sep 2012: 5:30pm

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The Mill get musical with Terry Crews

The Mill get musical with Terry Crews
The Old Spice ads have been tickling viewers over the last year or two, and this one for me, just takes the biscuit. With some magic from our friends at the Mill LA, this musically themed two minutes is brought to life by some intrinsically timed VFX. 
If that isn’t enough, the ad is interactive! Viewers can tap their keyboard, to make Expendable and general macho man Terry Crew’s muscles move, in turn making sounds from an strange array of precariously placed instruments.
According to their site, Creative Director at the Mill LA, Phil Crowe explained… "I

The Old Spice ads have been tickling viewers over the last year or two, and this one for me, just takes the biscuit. With some magic from our friends at the Mill LA, this musically themed minute or so is brought to life by some intrinsically timed VFX.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Thu 6 Sep 2012: 10:30am

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Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part II

Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part II

Following on from Part I... Of course, the challenging work didn’t stop there. The team was faced with a range of tasks, including the China Falls sequence, creating multiple Synths for the Synth bay as well as getting the reflective metal and shiny plastic surfaces just right. To tackle this, the team customised their pipeline to help make the workload all the more manageable. Alex continued saying...

0 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Wed 5 Sep 2012: 4:07pm

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Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part I

Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part I

If a movie is a massive studio blockbuster, then the Prime Focus World visual effects team have most likely had some involvement in its making. Prime Focus was responsible for creating the stunning effects for titles such as Men in Black 3, Dredd 3D, Mirror Mirror and Total Recall…to name just a few! And of course, every new VFX project comes with its own challenges. Len Wiseman’s remake of Total Recall was one such project that allowed the team to flex their creative and technical muscle.

0 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Wed 5 Sep 2012: 2:00pm

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A Joker of a film?

A Joker of a film?

Here at Escape Studios, we’re all about the visuals. Cut us and we bleed visuals... I’m sure you’re well aware!

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Wed 5 Sep 2012: 10:30am

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An insight to VFX with escapee Chris Chadwick

An insight to VFX with escapee Chris Chadwick

If you’ve not had access to the internet over the last week, (why else wouldn’t you be keeping up to date with the hottest VFX blog on the planet?) as well as some highly informative, highly entertaining, VFX related internet titbits, you’ve missed out on a few smashing success stories.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Tue 4 Sep 2012: 1:00pm

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Side by Side - The Impact of Digital Cinema

Side by Side - The Impact of Digital Cinema

The other night I had a quiet evening at home and decided to have a flick through the documentary section of iTunes and see what was new.

0 Comments Dom Davenport

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Dom Davenport
Tue 4 Sep 2012: 11:40am

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