I am destined to never grow up and quite frankly I refuse to see why I can’t stay immature for my entire life. I loved every single aspect of my childhood but the most memorable things for me were TV shows. Saturday mornings you would find me virtually attached to the TV for cartoon after cartoon. And another thing you should know is that I have a penchant for all things a little kitsch and retro. So if you combine these two elements you will understand why it is not possible for me to contain my excitement, especially after hearing this news.
Special effects with computer graphics are all the rage recently. There are very few films produced these days without jaw dropping stunts courtesy of the digital department. But a lot of directors still prefer to shoot the real thing if they can as it nearly always looks better than the CG equivalent.
As we all know the countdown to the 2012 Olympics is on, in fact it is at 77 days to be precise. The buzz of the Olympics is infectious and seems like a time for us to celebrate all things British, especially when it comes to VFX. So thankfully I found this in little beauty in the VFX news this week, the final version of Studio AKA’s introduction sequence for the BBC and their Olympic Torch Relay Coverage.
I have found that there are many advantages to studying at Escape Studios. Aside from the obvious vast amount of knowledge that you acquire, you also get to visit and meet some very cool places and people. Last Friday we had the pleasure of visiting Framestore for a presentation with Ben Frost and Chas Jarrett to hear about their experiences working on the second Sherlock Holmes movie - A Game of Shadows. In particular, they discussed with us the typical hurdles and constraints they came across and what we as VFX artists may expect to experience working in the VFX industry.
Film fanatics and CG lovers alike have been waiting for Ridley Scott’s latest movie Prometheus and it is the film that we have spent all year waiting for. Prometheus is due for UK release on June 1st this year and our friends MPC have been working hard on the post-production visual effects. And although we have to wait just a little longer judging from the trailer it will be well worth the wait.
Originally written to be the prequel to the infamous Alien franchise, Prometheus follows the crew of a spaceship as it attempts to find the origins of humanity through exploring an advanced alien civilization and from here chaos ensues.
So it’s almost bank holiday weekend and your old pal Ash is gonna give you another one of his awesome tips before you spend the next three days drinking your body weight in alcohol and watching The Avengers… seriously, how awesome is that film?!
The Foundry returned triumphant from this year’s NAB show in Las Vegas. For them, this was by far their biggest and most successful NAB, as they exhibited their most advanced portfolio yet. Showcasing the latest versions of NUKE, NUKEX, HIERO, KATANA and MARI they had crowds gathering throughout the event to check out live demos of all these products, as well as the incredible line-up of speakers invited to share their experiences using each of the products above.
As of last month Autodesk released the 2013 update of their 3D software, and with that you’ll find a variety of enhancements and new features that make these versions pretty special. In our competitive industry, having the latest and greatest tools to complete the job is always a bonus, and the 2013 versions may well set you on your way to creating work that stands out from the crowd. Of course for many of you, the cost can make upgrading a tricky business and that’s why we want to make sure you’re all aware of a promotion that could help stretch the pennies a little further.
Finally we can take a glimpse at the new Pixar feature animation, Brave. We’ve heard great things about the film, and so we’re all completely psyched about its upcoming release later this summer. This is Pixar’s first time to tackle a fairy tale, and it’s set to be much darker in tone to their previous Pixar releases, as it takes inspiration from the masters of whimsical storytelling, Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm.
Happy Tuesday, loyal readers. Here's a quick one relating to a problem that popped up a few times for the students last week. This is for anyone taking who has tracked footage into Maya and finds their tracking markers don't line up, because they've forgotten one simple step.
Back in 2006 Google acquired SketchUp, the 3D modelling program commonly used by architectural, civil and mechanical engineers. Google SketchUp was released as a free downloadable version that excluded some of the functionality of SketchUp Pro, but included tools for uploading content to Google Earth. Since that time Google SketchUp has been deemed very popular worldwide and can boast 30 million activations over 2011 alone.
It's important to only isolate three separate elements per ID pass, or the technique becomes redundant. For example, if I had made both the windows and door red in the image for Part One of this blog, then any colour correction I applied to the red channel in NUKE would affect them both. You've already seen a broad example, but there's no reason you can’t use ID passes to focus on more specific areas of your render. The image above shows an example of an ID pass refined to specialise in the windows only. This kind of pass would be useful if the texture I added to the window transoms (red bits) had rendered far too dark, but everything else rendered correctly, as I would be able to adjust them without damaging the rest of my render.
Pixomondo has expanded their impressive global network of VFX studios yet again. Recently they established their twelfth facility at the Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to service local film and commercial productions as well as provide support to the other international studios. With over 150,000 square feet of design-built stage spaces, the Celtic Media Centre is perfect for meeting the demands of any production. This is the largest studio facility in Louisiana state, and with the generous tax incentives currently in place in that region, this looks to be a great move for the Oscar winning VFX company.
The 9th annual Architectural 3D Awards, hosted by CGarchitect.com, are taking place on July 4th 2012 and a last call for entries has just been sent out, with only three weeks remaining. The competition is open to everyone in the Architectural Visualisation industry, and looks to award the best imagery, animation and real-time projects created over 2011 and 2012. This year there are five categories for the award, and only five entrants will be shortlisted for each category - Image (Commissioned), Image (Non Commisioned), Film/Animation (Commissioned), Film/Animation (Non Commissioned) and Real-Time.
Our friends at Hoxton Redsox recently completed a very fun job for one of their clients, Fox. This is the viral video for the upcoming release of Ridley Scott’s latest feature, Prometheus. Happy Birthday David was designed and directed by Johnny Hardstaff and shows the unboxing of Weyland Industries robot David 8, played by Michael Fassbender. A great addition to a range of teasers produced for the lead up to this film, we recommend you all take a look.
So we have a new class of students for the Visual Effects Production course and I thought I’d quickly run through what this class has been up to recently and where they’re at now in their studies. We are currently on week four and they have just started their first major project after covering the ins and outs of Maya (the industry go-to package in VFX). So far, we have covered modelling, UV’ing, texturing, some lighting and rendering and a bit of Photoshop just to mix it up a bit. To put all they have learnt into practice, they have been asked to create a CG object, integrate it into a backplate and to make it look photo-realistic.
Welcome to the Studio Assistant workshop, with Ashley Miles and Brad Collier-Brown, and here's our debut issue. As studio assistants, our main job is to make sure both students and escapees are getting the most out of the Escape Studios experience, which involves answering a lot of weird and wonderful questions. We thought it'd be a good idea if we blogged a few of the most common queries and solutions every week, so you guys at home could learn a little something from us too.