Following on from last week's announcement about our Weekly Round-Up of news, here are the 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.
Pixar, renowned for their cutting edge animation, know better than anyone the advantages of saving time where possible. The technical directors and supervisors on Cars 2 were faced with the challenge of building locations for this feature length animation. Those of you who have seen the sequel will remember that the lead character, Lightning McQueen, is being sent around the globe to race in the world Grand Prix. The challenge for the Pixar creative team was to build recognizable cities, on a very broad scale.
The UK attracts worldwide attention for the high standard of post-production being undertaken by facilities around the country. London houses a number of such companies, but this talent stretches up and down the country. Mere Mortals Moving Image, based in Newcastle, is a company growing from strength to strength, while adopting new technologies like Nuke X and Pro Tools HD.
For some time now, I have been doing a weekly round up of news for our own internal use at Escape Studios. I never actually thought of sharing it more widely until someone pointed out to me last week, that actually, maybe it would be useful to the people who read this blog.
Seems like August was a great month for many of our recent graduates, who were quite literally snapped up as soon as they finished their courses.
MARI is a relatively new piece of software, and is becoming more popular with artists as its reputation for efficiency and adaptability becomes more widely known. As with any piece of new software there is a period of trial and error before you really get to know its full capability. It is in light of this that Henry South, lead texture artist at Framestore, is offering to share his top 23 tips when working with MARI.
Ever find yourself wondering about a better alternative to your current network setup? Could there be a larger, faster and more predictable solution out there for your server / storage requirements? You are not alone in asking this question. This is fast becoming a major concern for many IT teams in the media and entertainment sector. That’s why we will be addressing this very topic at a special event being held in London on September 16th, 2011. Andy Bechtolsheim, a highly respected figure in the Information Technology industry is coming to London to share his expertise on this issue. Andy has been involved in the IT industry throughout his career. He has witnessed first-hand how computing infrastructures have scaled over the decades, and how network speeds have failed to keep up.
In a fast paced industry, where new technologies are being introduced more frequently, it can be difficult to stay on top of which products successfully aid efficiency and quality in our work. It’s great to know that some companies take an opportunity to show off their products and how they are being utilised in the industry. Last Thursday I made a special effort to attend an event for NUKE and MARI software. The torrential down pour that evening made venturing out difficult, so I was glad to see so many people were able to attend. Armed with umbrellas and rain coats well over one hundred of us braved the weather to enjoy an evening with NUKE and MARI, an event hosted by Escape Studios in collaboration with The Foundry and HP.
Giuseppe Candido is not only a recent character animation course escapee, but now also a very talented animator and a skilled Maya Generalist. He has put together one of the most charming demo reels we have seen here at Escape Studios. Giuseppe combined many of his student exercises into a circus project - creating a stunning short film in the process, and all completed from scratch in just six weeks.
We currently have one final seat available on our hugely popular compositing evening course which is starting this week! This course has been booked up for some time but we have just had a late cancellation which has freed up a space. If you're interested, be sure to contact us straight away. But don't worry too much if you can't make this one, we do have a new round of evening courses starting October for compositing and Maya Core on October 10th.
Here is a bit of Friday eye candy for you...
There is one television series that got us all excited here at Escape Studios this year. I am sure you can already guess which one it is... Yes, you got it, it was The Game of Thrones. There have been many discussions and debates about it over coffee in our office. So much so, that I decided it was time we featured BlueBolt on our blog.
My walk down memory lane continues...
I went on a simulator ride called 'Slot Car Boogie' at the weekend. it was actually made by some old friends at Rocket Films in Bournemouth quite some years ago. 1996 I believe! Rocket Films are sadly no longer trading but it lead me to wonder who makes these kind of films today? It's hard to find any reference of it in the UK, which is a shame as we were obviously quite good at it.
This work would have been done on a Silicon Graphics machine running PowerAnimator. To put this into perspective, this would have cost around £60-80K for the SGI hardware and the software for just one artist... Oh, how lucky we all are now!
If you know of any companies that do this type of work in the UK, do let me know.
As with most of my memory lane trips, the memories were normally pre Internet revolution. I have however found this on YouTube, Slot Car Boogie by the originator Ian Williams.
It seems that July was the month of good news for two of our escapees who have secured their dream jobs in the industry. Congratulations to escapee Andrew McGregor who has just landed a 6 month Camera Tracking Job at Framestore from August this year. Andrew studied our VFX for Production Course with tutor Mark Spevick and started working in the industry soon after as a modeller at Polar Media. He is now absolutely delighted to be part of the Framestore Team and can't wait to get started.
I had an email reminder today that Siggraph is less than two weeks away. It got me thinking about travel and how many of us probably miss the good old days when we would all go to Siggraph on our annual trip. These days, we are not only too busy, it's also harder to justify when all the information we could only find in trade shows is now available at our finger tips on the Internet.
For some reason 'Digital Media World' popped into my head. Is anyone old enough to remember DMW? It was THE show to be at in Europe and was held in London every November. It was the trade show part of an awards ceremony called LEAF. I did a quick Google search, but couldn't actually find any links to DMW that I could point you towards - it's obviously that long ago!
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how buoyant the VFX industry is and how Senior NUKE Compositors are in high demand. Well, the surge in demand for mid-level and senior artists is continuing. With some of the biggest releases for 2011 and 2012 (films like The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and War Horse) being worked on in London's Soho, the post houses have never been busier.