There are some things at Escape Studios that we take very seriously. And pumpkin carving is one of them. The staff here have been furiously sculpting this weekend in an attempt to take top prize for ‘Best Pumpkin Carver’ and we really do have some very talented contenders. We were very impressed with all of the guys here for proving their skill and dedication however; our Software Manager Graeme Pitt might be disqualified for his attempt, blowing up an orange balloon with a scary face and then calling it a carved pumpkin. Now, we appreciate modern art as much as the next person but really, even we think this is a step too far. Judging is taking place this evening by students who have a very artistic eye – so let’s see who they crown king.
SIGGRAPH is the worlds leading conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Each year they welcome thousands of artists, research scientists, gaming experts and developers, filmmakers, students and academics to Vancouver from 74 countries around the world.
Are you a MARI user or have an interest in MARI, then you may be keen to know that a group of artists are getting together on November 24th in London, Soho for a few beers. The venue is currently top sectret but will be released soon.
Mingle and network with fellow MARI users over a drink. There are a few special gifts up for grabs too.
I've also heard that some of the MARI engineers should be attending, which is a great opportunity to ask those all important questions! Should be quite a geek fest.
There is a new VFX facility in town to have recently opened their doors for business. They are a trio of young visual effects professionals who have proven talents across a range of high profile projects both in the UK and US. This company is the Electric Theatre Collective, and we would like to congratulate them on a very impressive start up. We believe these guys are destined for great things as they venture into the sometimes uncertain territory of running their own facility and build a strong foundation around the name Electric Theatre. We wish Giles Cheetham, James Sindle, Daniel Stanhope Marum and their team every success in the years to come.
Yesterday afternoon The Foundry announced the release of KATANA 1.0, the much anticipated look development and lighting tool. In addition to this, The Foundry also shared the news that Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a Lucasfilm Company, have purchased a licence of this latest version with the hope to boost their production pipeline across their ILM and Lucasfilm companies.
The whole point of CG Whiz is to give talented aspiring artists the kind of exposure necessary to kick-start their career, and there’s no better example of that than the first ever CG Whiz winner, Adam Droy. Following his 2009 success, Adam completed a twelve-week training course with Escape Studios, and now works as a 3D Artist at CG Whiz sponsors The Mill, at its UK studio in Soho, London.
Western Digital, one of the worlds largest hard drive manufacturers, has been badly affected by recent flooding in Thailand where they have two production plants. The one in Bang Pa-in Industrial Park is completely destroyed, with equipment submerged in water. The other in Navanakorn Industrial Park is struggling to keep flooding at bay.
I was on the hunt for an appropriate piece of tech to occupy my mind whilst travelling to and from Escape Studios, during my epic commute into London each day and initially the novelty of an iPad seemed the best source of distraction. However after further investigation the answer came in the form of Hugo Guerra (Escape Studios compositing tutor) who, in less than ten minutes, managed to persuade me to spend an extra £600 on an alternative Apple product.
A Softimage UGM in the UK has been a long time coming, something that Autodesk are very aware of. So, we've partnered up with Autodesk to make it happen. We are delighted to announce that Jason “Chinny” Brynford-Jones, Softimage product manager and demonstration guru, is making the trip to London to chair this meeting. It certainly wouldn’t be the same without him. A blast from the past for some of you, “Chinny” has been with the Softimage family for 15 years. He started out as a demonstrator in London and has since gained a reputation as being the cheerful face of Autodesk Softimage. He has been working in Product Management for the last 8 years and is now a Technical Product Manager at Autodesk in Montreal.
Have you ever thought about taking your artistic talent and transferring those skills to VFX? Then the webinar that we’re running on November 10th could be the start of you doing that. For the industry to remain fresh and buoyant, it’s important that there are constant waves of creative and original talent. We always say that creativity is key – if you have that, learning the technical skills is the easy bit. The current growth of the VFX industry in the UK means there is a growing demand for fresh talent. In this webinar I'll look at the potential routes a Fine Art graduate may take into the industry and the transferable, creative skills that will allow them to stand out from the crowd when making the move into this demanding and competitive industry.
BOXX Technologies are bringing a new workstation to the market that aims to boost processing speeds and accelerate workflow. This unique product is kitted out with 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor as well as Intel Smart Response Technology, a combination you can’t get elsewhere. It is currently the fastest single socket workstation on the market, with incredible speeds of up to 4.5 GHz. The latest addition to the 3DBOXX XTREME workstations line, it is designed to offer exceptional support for visualisation, modelling, 3D animation and motion media applications.
Pictured centre flanked by tutor Gideon Corby to the left and Training Manager Miles Petit to the right, Alex Williams savours the launch of his book with a glass of champagne.
It turns out that our escapees are never prouder than when they are wearing an ‘escapee’ T-Shirt, as you can see in this photo of Mentored VFX Course student Ricardo Vianna. Whenever I’m out and about in Soho, I’m always surprised by how many escapees stop to tell me that they continue to wear their T-Shirt, even after we have placed them in jobs. Some have mentioned that they’ve even taken them on holiday. All of our Classroom and Mentored Course students get a T-Shirt and they are becoming a bit of a phenomenon – well, put it this way, it’s very easy to spot our graduates when out and about in the industry. It turns out that one of our students has a picture of herself standing outside the pyramids with it on! (Picture coming soon…).
Once again we are going to be running a couple of course specific Open Days for those would like to find out more about our courses and the sort of training we offer here at Escape.
CG Whiz 2011 has been open for entries for over a week now, and we’re already seeing lots of great work coming in. We know a lot of you will be hard at work on your showreels, so to give you some insight into what the judges will be looking for in the amateur category, we caught up with Lee Danskin, our Training Director and a CG Whiz judge since the competition started two years ago.
One foggy day in London town, a gaggle of our compositing students congregated for coffee at Oxford Circus.
There’s a new tool on the market that is taking the industry by storm. MARI is the magnificently user friendly 3D paint package that lets an artist spend more time painting and less time battling tech issues. It offers a great many solutions that until now have been missing from comparable applications. Photoshop continues to be an invaluable tool to compositors and motion graphic artists, but MARI has the time saving functionality currently missing.