So when Activision, the distributor of Call of Duty Black Ops - a game that hit the $1 billion mark in sales in roughly the same amount of time as Avatar - mentions that it might take its development out of the UK you would hope that someone might sit up and take notice.
With 2011 around the corner, I wanted to reflect on some of the amazing things that Escape Studios has achieved this year. Opening our offices in LA, launching our brand new US website, the phenomenal success of CG Whiz and the launch of our Mentored Training Courses is just the tip of the iceberg. We've had Paul Frankin of DNEG talk to our students about the incredible VFX created for Inception and Christan Manz, VFX supervisor on the latest HP7 talk about how Framestore wowed with their character creation.
Lighting and Shading are an integral part of the VFX pipeline and if you want to take your skills to a professional level these tutorials are the best place to start learning. What’s great about these tutorials is that they tackle pretty complicated subjects head-on and they are practical so, although you’ll understand the theory, you’ll also learn how to practically apply this knowledge. The best part is that these tutorials will sit in our resource centre permanently, so you can access them whenever you want and learn whenever it suits you.
Here's a link to a fantastic reel from our friends at Displace Studios, they worked with us earlier this year to create some eye popping 3D brand furniture for our new website and other collateral. They did an amazing job for us and I wish them every luck with this new venture.
So an Iconic mascot after 4 decades has finally become a CG character. Having done this myself with the first CG Tony the Tiger I have to wonder whether this will work. The British public being such a fickle bunch! CG Tony was to be a furry character but was squashed at the last moment by Kellogg's in the States as going to far away from the 2D character of Tony (shame he was so cool furry).
As the end of 2010 approaches we're filling up fast for our next round of courses in January 2011. The last spot on our Compositing course has just gone, so the next seats available for that are now in April. We have also just filled our Character Animation course with Alex Williams so we now only have a few seats left on the two Visual Effects Production courses, taught by Mark Spevick and Dan Shutt.
I went to see HP7 at the weekend. We are all different but I really miss the magical events of the early Potter, I guess I just didn't want him to grow up!
The VFX work was amazing, as always, well done to everyone involved. Would the film have been enhanced if it was in 3D? I think possibly so, but as we all now know, 3D as an afterthought is not the way to go.
I do worry about having a 'two parter' personally, you are going to the cinema knowing that there will not be a resolution. But that said, the cinema was full and that has to be a good thing for the industry. Count down to the final film... or will it be?
Here I am, sat in the airport with some time to kill – so I start reading the papers and the front pages are all covered with reviews of last night’s premiere of Harry Potter (The Deathly Hallows Part 1) in London. That’s lucky, because I really like Harry Potter and I am quite looking forward to seeing the film.
Yesterday, Pixar announced an unprecedented price drop in their flagship product RenderMan® Pro Server. The 40% reduction will allow studios and freelancers that were previously unable to buy into the technology, to get a slice of the Film / VFX industry standard renderer. With the global CG expansion, Pixar appreciate that the growth of renderfarms is real and happening now, this move allows existing customers to ramp up their rendering capabilities in a more cost effective manner whilst allowing smaller shops and freelancers access to the toolset.
VFX escapee, Jacob Flint has just bagged a job at The Mill which as you can imagine he's pretty pleased about. The truth is, we are too. Having studied with us for 12 weeks on our VFX Production course, Jacob learned all of the vital skills that he needed to get started in the industry right away. He was pretty nervous during his interview but ultimately his skills shone through.
Having started at the beginning of October, the first batch of students from our Online Mentored Visual Effects Course are well under way and the initial results of their work has been great.
Last week, we launched our first academic qualification, an MA in Visual Effects Production, which we’re running with the University of Bradford. You’ll probably be wondering what we’re up to, what with everything that’s been in the news about how much university tuition is going to cost in the UK. Having collaborated on this project with some leading industry pros, however, I reckon we’re on to a winner. Here’s why:
I was just looking over some of the people in our alumni group on LinkedIn and it was great to see the amazing list of companies Escapees are working at. To the have the CG industries peppered with so many people from our courses is a great feeling and we'd love to hear from anyone who isn't in the group so we can see where you are and what you've been up to.
So a year on from the opensource announcements made by numerous studios the move seems to be going well. A lot of major facilities are opening up the process and offering solutions the most well known is probably OpenExr by ILM but numerous other facilities have begun releasing software and specs back to the community.
Our CG Whiz competition got us thinking about what our favourite CG films and scenes of all time are. One thing led to another, much "debating" took place around the office and then we thought it would be best to let our Twitter followers have the last say. After being inundated with many great suggestions from them, here are the top five.