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Summary of 23 MARI Tips Courtesy of Henry South!

Summary of 23 MARI Tips Courtesy of Henry South!

Last month Henry South, lead texture artist at Framestore, kindly shared 23 MARI tips via twitter over 23 days. For those of you who followed these feeds over the 23 days, thank you for your positive feedback. Your encouraging messages let us know that these little projects are welcomed and necessary.

0 Comments Tim Flett

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Tim Flett
Thu 20 Oct 2011: 3:07pm

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The Art of Flight

It might be sunny outside now, but we're in England, so its fair to say that winter is just around the corner. For most, this invariably leads to grumbling about dark, depressing days, weather-induced travel disruption, and just how much you can't afford Christmas this year. But for some of us its a time to get excited about the upcoming snow season, and whether you ski or snowboard, nothing gets you in the mood like a stupidly high-budget documentary showing people younger than you, performing tricks you will never be able to do, in places you will never go.
Cool skiing and snowboarding videos are a dime a dozen these days. Every grungy kid with a camera and a rough idea of which way up to hold it can shoot his mate face-planting in their back garden and stick it on you tube, but with so much stuff on the internet these days, people bore easily, so it takes something special to drop the masses' proverbial jaw. The Art of Flight is something special. Released earlier this month, it is the much anticipated sequal to BrainFarms' 2008 release, That's It, That's All, which documents pro snowboarderTravis Rice and his entourage of boarder buddies hurling themselves off some of the most incredible mountains in the world. The sequal aims to go bigger, better and harder and do it all in 3d. With more helicopters.
True to their style, Red Bull Media House spare no expense at producing a luscious looking result chok full of awesome landscape shots, arty focus pulls and lots of obligitory slow mo. Amongst others, Brainfarm used the Phantom Flex camera, capable of packing 1 second of time with a whopping 2800 frames at full 1080p which goes some way to explaining why it features so heavily. Other camera trickery includes lots of low fish-eye shots, the usual head cams, and even suspending a cameraman by his waist from a cable car wire. Huge tricks are what this film is selling and what you get defies belief and seemingly gravity some of the time. Even the helicopter pilots seem to be adrenaline junkies, often nosediving down a cliff face after unloading their troops.
So clearly we can't compare something of this scale to backyard handicam hijinks. Yes, this film does seem to sweat the supposed $2 million budget put into it and wallow smugly in its own glory a little bit, but rightly so too. Despite the fact that this is supposed to be a documentary about snowboarding, or more accurately, a documentary about making a documentary about snowboarding, it is as much about showcasing some really lovely cinematography and editing, while also paying homage to the extreme landscape and conditions that these guys choose to test. Focusing on these aspects makes it so much more accessible to people who would normally have no interest in a film like this. You could show this to your gran and she will probably overlook the fact that some silly boys have stuck two skis together, just because its so beautiful to watch.
So whether your a skier, snowboarder, tobogganer, or enjoy wildlife (in every sense of the word) documentaries, this is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine and possibly have you typing your credit card details into a travel website shortly after. Dangerous stuff.

It might be sunny outside now, but we're in England, so it's fair to say that winter is just around the corner. For most, this invariably leads to grumbling about dark depressing days, weather-induced travel disruption, and just how much you can't afford Christmas this year. But for some of us it's a time to get excited about the upcoming snow season, and whether you ski or snowboard, nothing gets you in the mood like a stupidly high-budget documentary showing people younger than you, performing tricks you will never be able to do, in places you will never go.

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Thu 20 Oct 2011: 2:24pm

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Escapee Richard Jeffery Wows with his Animation

Here at Escape Studios we are constantly fine-tuning our courses to give our students the best possible balance of skills.

3 Comments alex williams

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alex williams
Wed 19 Oct 2011: 3:47pm

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New February VFX Course Dates & Exciting News About Houdini

New February VFX Course Dates & Exciting News About Houdini

Due to unprecedented demand for our 12-week Visual Effects Production and 18-week Visual Effects Professional courses, we've just announced a new course date for February 2012. Our two January courses our now full, so if you're interested in joining the February course please contact us as soon as possible as we expect it to fill quickly too.

1 Comments Paul Wilkes

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Paul Wilkes
Tue 18 Oct 2011: 1:35pm

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Free Tutorial: Generating Faster Renders Using Command Shells

Free Tutorial: Generating Faster Renders Using Command Shells

In this month's free tutorial, I have a real treat for you - something which I know many VFX artist wish they could do. It all stems from my experience working in the industry where I have so often witnessed artists resorting automatically to using Maya's Render Tool when they could actually be so much more efficient if they knew some of the alternatives available to them.

7 Comments Lee Danskin

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Lee Danskin
Tue 18 Oct 2011: 11:54am

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News Round-Up: Monday 17th Oct 2011

News Round-Up: Monday 17th Oct 2011

Here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with stories that I have picked up over the past week. If you have suggestions for stories I missed, just drop me a line or post a comment.

0 Comments Isabelle Duarte

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Isabelle Duarte
Mon 17 Oct 2011: 10:55am

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MAG Sneakers: To Buy or Not to Buy?

MAG Sneakers: To Buy or Not to Buy?

September saw Nike unveil the long awaited "MAG" sneakers - a near perfect replica of the futuristic foot ware featured in the classic "Back to Future" trilogy.

0 Comments David Conisbee

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David Conisbee
Mon 17 Oct 2011: 10:30am

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The Foundry and Escape Studios UK Tour

The Foundry and Escape Studios UK Tour

The UK has a flourishing VFX industry that is attracting business from all over the world. In terms of film production in this country, we’re securing huge business. The standard of work being produced here is world class, and it’s impressive to see how this industry is flourishing right across the United Kingdom. For those of us who work in London, sometimes we risk embracing the city as being the centre of the universe, paying far too much attention to what’s going on locally, rather than what’s happening countrywide. Granted Soho is a hub for post-production, but if we were to look beyond the M25 and further North, East or West, we would find an amazing number of talented companies working on some fantastic projects.

1 Comments Tim Flett

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Tim Flett
Fri 14 Oct 2011: 5:17pm

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Degas, Picturing Movement

Degas, Picturing Movement

What relationship if any, a nineteenth century impressionist painter has to today's CG artists is an interesting question, and one that occurred to me whilst at the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. Degas and the Ballet examines in detail the redoubtable French artist's devotion to his favourite subject, placing it in context alongside the then nascent, new media of film and photography.

0 Comments Jason  Jenner

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Jason Jenner
Fri 14 Oct 2011: 12:51pm

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Amazing Idents for BT Vision By ManvsMachine & Proud Creative

Amazing Idents for BT Vision By ManvsMachine & Proud Creative

BT Vision (a TV-on-demand service from British Telecom) has just been through a re-branding excersise which was carried out by ManvsMachine in collaboration with Proud Creative. ManvsMachine were tasked with creating the idents, while Proud Creative worked on the graphic design elements of the newly created identity.

0 Comments Dom Davenport

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Dom Davenport
Thu 13 Oct 2011: 9:52pm

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Framestore Integrate IKinema

Framestore Integrate IKinema

IKinema are a relatively young company based in the UK with a very special product that is improving the workflow among VFX departments. For anyone lucky enough to have worked with this programme they will know that the IKinema technology is a powerful plug-in and a real asset to any project working with motion capture and animation. It’s an incredible tool with advanced solver settings and a flexible constraint system. It's no wonder Framestore, one of the top VFX companies in Europe, are taking full advantage of this tool by integrating it into their motion capture pipeline.

0 Comments Tim Flett

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Tim Flett
Wed 12 Oct 2011: 4:19pm

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CG Whiz 2011 is Now Open!

CG Whiz 2011 is Now Open!

We’re delighted to announce that CG Whiz 2011 is now open! We’re accepting entries from today for the competition, with the winner receiving a 12 week classroom course at Escape Studios and a 12 week placement with The Mill in either its London or LA offices. This is a once in a life time opportunity that could kick start the career of one talented young artist. If you don’t believe us, see what past winners Stu Schwartz and Adam Droy say about what winning has meant for them.

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Wed 12 Oct 2011: 10:58am

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Escape Studios’ Blog Factor

Escape Studios’ Blog Factor

A few weeks back we launched an internal competition at Escape Studios to get people’s creative juices flowing and find new budding literary talent. We invited people to write blog posts on anything they felt passionate about. It didn’t have to be CG related; it just had to be something which got under their skin enough to get them writing about it.

0 Comments Isabelle Duarte

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Isabelle Duarte
Tue 11 Oct 2011: 2:26pm

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Keeping Creativity & Your Animations Alive

Keeping Creativity & Your Animations Alive

One of the most entertaining parts of the Character Animation course that I teach at Escape studios is the lesson where the students invent, design and pitch an original animated character to myself and the rest of the class. The purpose of the exercise is to get students thinking not just about the technical side of character motion and action but also to think inventively and creatively. Can we invent characters as well as animate them? The visual effects industry is often demanding in terms of time and energy, and one of the best antidotes to the problem of "burn out" is to keep the creative spirit alive. After all, we all went into the arts to invent and create, not just to polish other people's ideas.

0 Comments alex williams

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alex williams
Tue 11 Oct 2011: 10:33am

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Mimicking Tilt-Shift in AfterEffects

Mimicking Tilt-Shift in AfterEffects

My cousin - David Itzcovitz - went to Israel last month and he took a series of photos, which he then processed to give this strange look. The process he mimicked in After Effects is called tilt-shift and is usually achieved by using a tilt-shift lens (lensbaby). This puts the focal plane at a strange angle to the film and as a result, you get this strange depth of field effect which makes big things seem like miniatures.

1 Comments Mark Spevick

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Mark Spevick
Tue 11 Oct 2011: 8:29am

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Shapes in Motion - Inspiring Animators

Shapes in Motion - Inspiring Animators

Shapes In Motion was founded in 2010 by Sarah Perry who is not just an actor but an acting and movement coach. Having met Sarah recently at Escape Studios I wanted to tell you more about the interesting coaching work she does with animators. Sarah has been working in the visual effects industry in various tutoring/coaching capacities on a freelance basis since 2008, with recent clients including MPC and Double Negative.

0 Comments Paul Wilkes

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Paul Wilkes
Mon 10 Oct 2011: 10:38am

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News Round-Up: Monday 10th Oct 2011

News Round-Up: Monday 10th Oct 2011

Here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with stories that I have picked up over the past week. If you have suggestions for stories I missed, just drop me a line or post a comment.

0 Comments Isabelle Duarte

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Isabelle Duarte
Sun 9 Oct 2011: 9:56am

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CVMP - Last Call for Short Papers

CVMP - Last Call for Short Papers

It seems there is an abundance of technology conferences to choose from this year. For fellow technology enthusiasts out there, this is an exciting time, as we are treated to an ocean of updates, new releases and ground breaking developments. One conference we give a particular seal of approval to is the much anticipated CVMP (Conference for Visual Media Production), now in its 8th year running. This is a conference dedicated to the geeks of the visual media production industries, whether that is in film, broadcast or games.

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Fri 7 Oct 2011: 11:18am

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@Escape_Studios Follow: @I_Zer0

@Escape_Studios Follow: @I_Zer0

An extended conversation (more than 140 characters) with our Twitter followers. Five questions finding out more about them and what they feel about the industry, with @TobyJOYdigital our Social Media Manager.

0 Comments Toby Young

Posted by
Toby Young
Fri 7 Oct 2011: 8:32am

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CG Whiz is Coming!

CG Whiz is Coming!

Those of you who follow us on Twitter will probably have noticed that we are soon to launch the third edition of our now famous CG Whiz competition. So, since the 'cat's out of the bag' already, I thought I might just get away with giving you a bit of an insight in what we have been cooking up for this year's edition of CG Whiz.

0 Comments Isabelle Duarte

Posted by
Isabelle Duarte
Thu 6 Oct 2011: 11:28am

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