A recent venture undertaken here at Escape was to invite established post production houses in Soho to coach our students, to offer them direct feedback on their work here at our studio, and subsequently helping them prepare for what is expected once they enter the industry. On Thursday, 12th April 2012, the alumni class of Studio 5 attended the final coaching session with Framestore commercials, where they got to present their ‘end of course’ project to the VFX producers for feedback. Charles Downman was among the group presenting work that day, and here’s what he had to say about the experience...
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.
For any 3D system to work efficiently, a sufficient camera solve is essential. This is a virtual representation of the real-world camera move shot on scene. After downloading the assets, I attempted to follow the tutorial video only using the track pad. Regardless of the system, as a NUKE user, the Wacom pen and pad have become second nature when navigating the interface. As anticipated, it was straight away confirmed that the lack of a Wacom pen and tablet made the task extremely awkward and I've found myself falling behind. Therefore, plugging in an external to my Air has been far easier than being constrained to a track pad. Connecting the tablet allowed me to finish the task efficiently, even ahead of the tutorial.
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.
Since its official release last month, HIERO 1.0 has been wowing the post-production industry as it is introduced to top studios here in the UK and worldwide. This is the new project management, conform and review application from The Foundry, and like their other tools, this software is going to dramatically change the way you work, for the better.
Being relatively new to CG and to Escape Studios I am still astounded by the standard of work that comes from our students. Despite studying Media Production at University, where I majored in Scriptwriting, I never knew the actual amount of effort that goes into creating CGI. It gives me a completely new perspective on everything that I watch in the cinema and at home on TV.
Following the recent release of ZBrush 4R3, we are running a webinar on May 10th, 2012, that will present some of the more important new features now available in this 3D modelling software. We have invited the development team at Pixologic to show off what makes this new version even greater.
Adobe CS6 is due for release very soon, and for those of you who haven’t already purchased an Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 or a Creative Suite 5.5 component, we recommend you look to do something about it now. Adobe is currently running a promotion that entitles anyone who has upgraded to or purchased CS5.5 between March 26th and May 6th, 2012 to a free CS6 upgrade. The advantages to this are that you pay the current price for the Suite and can request an upgrade to CS6 at no additional cost. If you wait until CS6 ships, you’ll have to pay the CS6 upgrade price, which could be significantly higher.
Industry proven among some great names in the VFX industry, SCRATCH has played a significant role for an impressive list of film and documentary titles. Developed by software vendor, ASSIMILATE Inc., it is the highly flexible and comprehensive tool for digital workflows, giving you a range of features at your disposal. SCRATCH can manage dailies, versioning, conform, colour grading and finishing all within one application. Often referred to as a ‘post-house in a box’, this tool has a great many qualities to impress.
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.
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.