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.
According to Variety we have been saved from yet more badly converted stereo films - check out the story here. Warner Brothers have canned the release of Harry Potter Deathly Hallows part 1 in 3D. This is due to quality issues, that were mainly due to time constraints, and Warner have come to the conclusion that the converted film was not high enough quality. I can only applaud them for not releasing yet another stereo nasty.
Here is another great piece of animation, created by Plato Art Space. It could almost have been created for Escape!
Skillset have recently announced a new funding scheme which will allow individuals working in the UK film industry to apply for a bursary towards various types of training. The scheme is aimed at increasing the high-end visual effects skills within the film industry so individuals who want to get additional training under this new funding can identify a course or a training provider that meets his or her needs and apply for bursary from Skillset.
It's been a few years since Paul Debevec produced his paper with Jitendra Malik, Recovering High Dynamic Range Radiance Maps from Photographs, at SIGGRAPH. Since then, people all the world have begun to generate high dynamic range still images and probes - essentially capturing all the light information from a scene in mulitple passes using digital cameras and then merging these into a single HDR image. A simple web search for HDR Images in google images will present you with an array of hyper-real looking images, or try here for some examples.
Here's my final post showing some work from the courses which have just finished. These clips are from escapees who were on the Visual Effects Production course taught by Dan Shutt. Again these are 'work in progress' and need a little more polishing but you can see they are both great ideas that have been really well executed.
Absolute genius on the part of the creatives at Leo Burnetts for Norton.