Following on from last Friday, welcome back to the Studios Assistant workshop, where Brad Collier-Brown and I share a few of the most common queries and solutions from the Escape Studios classroom, so you guys at home can learn a little something from us too.
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.
Here is an amazing chap called Michael Hansmeyer. Michael studied as an architect and programmer. He explores the use of algorithms and computation to generate architectural forms for artistic and commercial purposes.
The images of the forms that he creates are very intricate and beautiful...check them out.
Last week Claire Anderson, Talent Manager at The Mill divulged some of the greatest tips and tricks young artists need to apply in order to cut it in the VFX Industry. I have to say; I couldn’t help but feel a little awestruck listening to our Training Manager and Claire chat away during the 40 minute webinar because of the room we were stationed at. It was like something from a bond movie – check out the pictures! Filled with The Mill’s previous conquests (let’s be clear that I’m talking about Oscars and Bafta’s here….) I kept expecting a drinks cabinet and a man with a white cat to appear from behind one of the walls. One thing’s for sure, The Mill certainly know what they’re talking about and have the awards to prove it.
The quality of work that our students create during their Visual Effects Production course is always awesome and there's no doubt it's getting better and better. When you consider that every student doesn't just attend their daytime lessons. They have to find, track, model, light, texture, render and composite a shot in just 6 weeks that shows the extent of their ability. One of our former students and now Studio Assistant Ashley Miles remembers how stressful it can get.
When Sue Rowe, Cinesite’s senior VFX Supervisor on John Carter, came in to talk to our students it was like a breath of fresh air. Reassuringly, despite having masses of technical and creative responsibility, her fundamental joy is much the same as the students studying with us – that blowing stuff up is what still excites her.
IKinema is a UK based company with a great technology for quick full-body solving and animation. Their flagship product, IKinema Action, is a plug-in for Maya that enables artists to rig characters as well as stream, retarget and record motion capture data, in less time. It is also a very cost effective solution.
Last night, Thursday 29th March, was the Art of 3D Visualisation event at the Barbican Centre, and we’re delighted to report it was a great success. To start with, the setting was spectacular. The Barbican is an inspiring setting for architectural design. The event kicked off in the conservatory terrace, a hidden treasure in the heart of the Barbican and a lavish space with a back drop of decorative tropical plants. This time was spent wisely, arming ourselves with a cold drink the proceedings moved to Cinema 3 where we and our guests were treated to four presentations from five fantastic speakers.
Pixomondo, an international visual effects company with eleven facilities worldwide, have a very talented team right here in London. Based just off Old Street, the London facility opened in 2010 and is one of the more recent additions to the Pixomondo global network. The company is currently growing from strength to strength, and is working on some very highly anticipated projects such as Snow White and the Huntsman, The Amazing Spiderman, and the new series of Game of Thrones. Over the past five years, Pixomondo has provided VFX production and supervision for over thirty high-concept feature films, including popular titles like Hugo, Red Tails, Sucker Punch, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Super 8, Fast Five, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2012, to name just a few.
HP has partnered with DreamWorks since the beginning, helping the business mature into the well-oiled animation machine we know today. HP is responsible for the hardware platforms at the very heart of the company, with a storage infrastructure that allows the team to share data quickly and easily over a global network, as well as state of the art workstations and monitors for creating detailed and realistic effects. In the video above, the team at DreamWorks discuss how HP technology has contributed significantly to the company staying on the cutting edge and how this technology brought to life the 2011 production of Puss in Boots.
On Thursday 29th March, Escape Studios are hosting an event at the Barbican Centre that will discuss the art of 3d visualisation. Joined by four industry speakers this is an opportunity to discover how professionals in film and other media create stunning as well as captivating animated visuals. The event is aimed at anyone working in the business of 3d visualisation, whether that’s in architecture, design, engineering or media and entertainment. We would like to invite you all to this exclusive event as we expose the creative side of this visual form.
Around half an hour into the demonstration, after setting up the HUD and preferences, Jeff turned to the group and said, "Now, select your cube, and press the 'Fireball' button, then press play!"
Here is my usual jumble of news to start off this week. There are tutorials, news of various software releases, a cool "Making of Rango", and really sweet advert for Twinnings tea, and lots more. Feel free to add anything I may have forgotten.
The fifth week of the Maya Core evening course is equivalent to day five of the intensive day time class, so we have now covered one week of the comparable daytime course. The advantage of the evening course is you have more time to soak in the deluge of information showered onto you, but the daytime class are constantly thinking in Maya so perhaps absorb it more thoroughly.
We believe it's crucial for students to not just have a thorough knowledge of work flow and software, but also understand the VFX industry and pipeline where they will work. So during their course we invite established post production houses to coach them, this means they get direct feedback on their work from respected VFX supervisors.