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.
2D or 3D - which camp are you in? This age old fight is battled out by two of our studio assistants and it seems, there is a rather heated argument for both. I'll leave it up to the guys to convince you either way. If however, we can't resolve it in this post, a mud wrestle might be the only answer.
Scott Squires, of Industrial Light & Magic, has a blog called Effects Corner. Scott talks everything VFX, from artistry to wages. If you are looking to read the frank ins and outs of the VFX world then Scott’s blog is the place to go. Scott has 35 years’ experience in the industry and has work on film projects like Van Helsing, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and Stars Wars: Episode I – Phantom Menace.
His articles are well written and packed full of industry top tips. He talks you through key skills like camera tracking and 3D match-moving as well as providing links to some of the latest visual effects news.
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.
I recently went to see the Lucian Freud Portraits exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Wow! Intense, raw paintings that reflected his relationship to his sitters. I actually quite liked his early portraits that were very flat in dimension and lacking perspective in a stylised way. He painted the eyes of the faces quite large and dominant in the frame. But in most cases looking away, or 'blankly' towards the painter. This created for me a disturbing yet intriguing relationship between the viewer of the painting, me, and the personality of the person he is trying to portray. When we look at portraits or a picture of a person, we tend to look at the eyes first to connect in some way. Not being able to do that created a whole new approach of portraiture that I do not see often. Their eyes were wide, but not allowing a connection. The faces were rarely smiling and this one is a great example.
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.
I’m sure you’re all aware by now that upgrades to Adobe CS6 will be available soon, and with this new version we can all look forward to accelerated performance and interactivity. Yes, now you can feel safe in the knowledge that Adobe Creative Suites now support NVIDIA Quadro and Tesla GPUs, opening a whole world of enhanced efficiency for their programmes.
This is just a little reminder that the release of Adobe CS6 is just around the corner, but for those of you itching to upgrade, you should think about getting round to it soon. Adobe are currently running a pretty good upgrade promotion that will keep you up-to-date with the latest and greatest features in Adobe Creative Suites. When you buy a full CS5.5 license between now and May 6th, you get an upgrade to CS6 absolutely free. Just to be clear, this will also save you money, as the CS6 price will undoubtedly be significantly higher. That’s a good incentive if ever I heard one, for upgrading now!
The current VFX Professional class were assigned The Mill as part of the ‘Industry Coaching’ scheme, which is a new initiative for us here at Escape Studios. The main idea behind the scheme is that we invite established post-production houses in Soho to mentor our students as they prepare to enter the industry as VFX artists. The VFX Professional course is our more advanced course for students who have completed the VFX Production course or artists already in the industry who are looking to further their knowledge in the field. For these students, getting advice from professionals working in the industry is golden, helping them prepare better for what is to come. Emmy Castelain was among the group during this visit, and this is what she had to say about their time at The Mill…
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.
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.
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.
Following on from yesterday’s post, I want to continue the discussion of why NUKE has revolutionised the industry and is an incredible asset to any compositor. The popularity of NUKE is largely down to its advancements in 3D integration, not only with its own user interface (UI), but also its ability to communicate with other packages such as MARI and AtomKraft. Being acutely punned as NUKE's 2.5D space, the 3D system has sped up the conventional 2D workflow in areas such as paint and roto, as well as depth compositing. This 2.5D space allows users to build rudimentary geometries, which can then be projected on, textured, lit, shaded and rendered as complimentary 3D assets or as part of a standard 2D workflow.