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.
Finally we can take a glimpse at the new Pixar feature animation, Brave. We’ve heard great things about the film, and so we’re all completely psyched about its upcoming release later this summer. This is Pixar’s first time to tackle a fairy tale, and it’s set to be much darker in tone to their previous Pixar releases, as it takes inspiration from the masters of whimsical storytelling, Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pixomondo has expanded their impressive global network of VFX studios yet again. Recently they established their twelfth facility at the Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to service local film and commercial productions as well as provide support to the other international studios. With over 150,000 square feet of design-built stage spaces, the Celtic Media Centre is perfect for meeting the demands of any production. This is the largest studio facility in Louisiana state, and with the generous tax incentives currently in place in that region, this looks to be a great move for the Oscar winning VFX company.
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!
The current VFX Professional class were assigned The Mill as part of the ‘Industry Coaching’ scheme, which is a new initiative for us here at Escape Studios. The main idea behind the scheme is that we invite established post-production houses in Soho to mentor our students as they prepare to enter the industry as VFX artists. The VFX Professional course is our more advanced course for students who have completed the VFX Production course or artists already in the industry who are looking to further their knowledge in the field. For these students, getting advice from professionals working in the industry is golden, helping them prepare better for what is to come. Emmy Castelain was among the group during this visit, and this is what she had to say about their time at The Mill…
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.
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...
Gamers, rejoice! Blizzard Entertainment has announced the Diablo III Open Beta Weekend, so all players with a valid Battle.net account can get open access. This means you will be able to sit back, login, team up with your mates, play each of the five heroic classes to level thirteen and kick some demonic ass.
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.