Last week, disgruntled students took to the London streets to protest about tuition fees and the "privatisation" of universities. Frankly, I don't think it got the attention it deserved, but in an unstable world where the media is focused on the economic consequences of what Greece and Italy's political elite are up to, I can't say I am surprised. Shame though, because there is a lot that still needs to be said about this government's reform of the higher education system.
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.
Time’s up! Escape Studios’ CG Whiz competition 2011 is now closed. Our judges are starting work behind the scenes and boy, do they have some work to do! What a breath of fresh air this year’s entries have been! The standard has been exceptionally high and unbelievably inspiring. Not only are they technically accomplished, but they are also proof of the raw talent that continues to emerge. All, I'll say is that I’m glad I'm not judging the countless number of entries; they’d all get my vote!
Back in September, Escape Studios and The Foundry joined forces to run a series of free MARI tutorials. To start with, there were two training programmes on offer, but due to an overwhelming demand we scheduled in a third. The aim for the tuition was to introduce professional artists working in the industry to some key features available in MARI, that are fast becoming an integral part of the modern pipeline.
The latest version of OCULA has arrived. Last Thursday, 3rd November 2011, The Foundry announced their release of OCULA 3.0, a leading live action, stereo-3D correction and integration toolset for compositors. A production proven tool, OCULA is a plug-in that has been used extensively on major productions such as Avatar, TRON: Legacy, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. For these films, working in stereoscopic 3D had many undiscovered challenges. Over a course of trial and discovery, OCULA has developed into a reliable tool that meets the demands of artists to mend polarisation issues in photographic plates or correct common stereo-3D defects with precise speed and ease.
Yes, it is. That time of year when many of us give up our face real-estate to grow some facial hair in the name of prostate cancer. This year is no exception and team "There's Mo Escape" and its 16 members of varying facial hair success, are just 10 days in...
For some of us it's hard to see we are actually partaking in the fund-raising event. But hey, we are having fun trying... If you have a spare 50p and want to see how stupid we all look as we'll post some pics then please feel free to donate!
Character Animation can be a tricky business. The industry is full of talented, creative people who are passionate and dedicated about what they do and this means they often have lengthy careers at the same company they first started out at. So, getting your first break can be tough because when those job opportunities arise, standards are high and so are expectations. Your work really does have to stand out.
If you’ve been thinking of entering CG Whiz 2011, but haven’t submitted your showreel yet, then there is still time. But you’ll have to be quick – the competition closes on Saturday. The standard of this year’s entries is incredibly high, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. Our judges are looking for your potential and creativity, not just good technique. If you think you’ve got what it takes -whatever your talent or specialism- then head to our Facebook page and follow the instructions to upload your reel.
Every so often, I come across something that makes me pause for a second. I did just that yesterday in one of my usual web trawls.
The more obsevant among you will have noticed that I didn't publish my round up for a couple of weeks - apologies for this, but I decided it was time to take a well deserved holiday. Still, I am back now, and 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.
This Friday, our Character Animation Tutor Alex Williams will be presenting a talk at the Aesthetica Short Film festival. Aesthetica Film Festival is hosted by Aesthetica Magazine a respected voice in contemporary art and culture. The talk being given by Alex is called: Creating and Designing Memorable Animated Characters and its aim is to help you achieve just that! There is certainly no better man for the job. Alex understands exactly what it takes to get to the heart of characters, giving them their very own personalities and making them totally believable. If you don’t believe us, you should check out his CV which includes: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Lion King and The Iron Giant, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader.
When we caught up with Maxwell Smith about his new position as a Matchmove Artist at Framestore, he wanted to make it clear that he owed a lot of his success to his tutors Gideon Corby and Dan Shutt. They were ‘his greatest influence’ while he studied here at Escape Studios and according to him are ‘Masters of their craft’. Max proved to be a very talented artist and once he completed his VFX Production course, he actually came to work with us as a studio assistant.
I must admit that I had read too many negative reviews about 3D cinema's second coming, to risk the disappointment of ruining my night at the movies. I now bitterly regret doubting James Cameron by seeing Avatar on the small screen, but I had to break this cycle of negativity sooner or later, and figured the dream team of Spielberg, Jackson and Hergé would be a smart bet. After all, if these masters of cinematography and story telling could not deliver - then no one could do.
A few months back FX Guide released an article on The Science of Fluid Sims. If you didn’t manage to catch it at the time, you should definitely check it out now. It is a great read for anyone looking to know a little more about the science and evolution of fluid simulation and what the future holds for its craft. The article should also set you up nicely to understand the importance of what the company Exotic Matter are working towards with their new product Naiad.
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.