The 10th Edition of the VES (Visual Effects Society) Awards is upon us, and whilst I know many of you will already be working on your entries for it, I thought I would take time to write about it in this blog to encourage those of you who haven't considered entering the competition.
Here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with 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.
Time’s up! Escape Studios’ CG Whiz competition 2011 is now closed. Our judges are starting work behind the scenes and boy, do they have some work to do! What a breath of fresh air this year’s entries have been! The standard has been exceptionally high and unbelievably inspiring. Not only are they technically accomplished, but they are also proof of the raw talent that continues to emerge. All, I'll say is that I’m glad I'm not judging the countless number of entries; they’d all get my vote!
The latest version of OCULA has arrived. Last Thursday, 3rd November 2011, The Foundry announced their release of OCULA 3.0, a leading live action, stereo-3D correction and integration toolset for compositors. A production proven tool, OCULA is a plug-in that has been used extensively on major productions such as Avatar, TRON: Legacy, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. For these films, working in stereoscopic 3D had many undiscovered challenges. Over a course of trial and discovery, OCULA has developed into a reliable tool that meets the demands of artists to mend polarisation issues in photographic plates or correct common stereo-3D defects with precise speed and ease.
Yes, it is. That time of year when many of us give up our face real-estate to grow some facial hair in the name of prostate cancer. This year is no exception and team "There's Mo Escape" and its 16 members of varying facial hair success, are just 10 days in...
For some of us it's hard to see we are actually partaking in the fund-raising event. But hey, we are having fun trying... If you have a spare 50p and want to see how stupid we all look as we'll post some pics then please feel free to donate!
If you’ve been thinking of entering CG Whiz 2011, but haven’t submitted your showreel yet, then there is still time. But you’ll have to be quick – the competition closes on Saturday. The standard of this year’s entries is incredibly high, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. Our judges are looking for your potential and creativity, not just good technique. If you think you’ve got what it takes -whatever your talent or specialism- then head to our Facebook page and follow the instructions to upload your reel.
The more obsevant among you will have noticed that I didn't publish my round up for a couple of weeks - apologies for this, but I decided it was time to take a well deserved holiday. Still, I am back now, and here is my usual Weekly Round-Up of News, with 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.
When we caught up with Maxwell Smith about his new position as a Matchmove Artist at Framestore, he wanted to make it clear that he owed a lot of his success to his tutors Gideon Corby and Dan Shutt. They were ‘his greatest influence’ while he studied here at Escape Studios and according to him are ‘Masters of their craft’. Max proved to be a very talented artist and once he completed his VFX Production course, he actually came to work with us as a studio assistant.
I must admit that I had read too many negative reviews about 3D cinema's second coming, to risk the disappointment of ruining my night at the movies. I now bitterly regret doubting James Cameron by seeing Avatar on the small screen, but I had to break this cycle of negativity sooner or later, and figured the dream team of Spielberg, Jackson and Hergé would be a smart bet. After all, if these masters of cinematography and story telling could not deliver - then no one could do.
A few months back FX Guide released an article on The Science of Fluid Sims. If you didn’t manage to catch it at the time, you should definitely check it out now. It is a great read for anyone looking to know a little more about the science and evolution of fluid simulation and what the future holds for its craft. The article should also set you up nicely to understand the importance of what the company Exotic Matter are working towards with their new product Naiad.
There are some things at Escape Studios that we take very seriously. And pumpkin carving is one of them. The staff here have been furiously sculpting this weekend in an attempt to take top prize for ‘Best Pumpkin Carver’ and we really do have some very talented contenders. We were very impressed with all of the guys here for proving their skill and dedication however; our Software Manager Graeme Pitt might be disqualified for his attempt, blowing up an orange balloon with a scary face and then calling it a carved pumpkin. Now, we appreciate modern art as much as the next person but really, even we think this is a step too far. Judging is taking place this evening by students who have a very artistic eye – so let’s see who they crown king.
There is a new VFX facility in town to have recently opened their doors for business. They are a trio of young visual effects professionals who have proven talents across a range of high profile projects both in the UK and US. This company is the Electric Theatre Collective, and we would like to congratulate them on a very impressive start up. We believe these guys are destined for great things as they venture into the sometimes uncertain territory of running their own facility and build a strong foundation around the name Electric Theatre. We wish Giles Cheetham, James Sindle, Daniel Stanhope Marum and their team every success in the years to come.
The whole point of CG Whiz is to give talented aspiring artists the kind of exposure necessary to kick-start their career, and there’s no better example of that than the first ever CG Whiz winner, Adam Droy. Following his 2009 success, Adam completed a twelve-week training course with Escape Studios, and now works as a 3D Artist at CG Whiz sponsors The Mill, at its UK studio in Soho, London.
Western Digital, one of the worlds largest hard drive manufacturers, has been badly affected by recent flooding in Thailand where they have two production plants. The one in Bang Pa-in Industrial Park is completely destroyed, with equipment submerged in water. The other in Navanakorn Industrial Park is struggling to keep flooding at bay.
A Softimage UGM in the UK has been a long time coming, something that Autodesk are very aware of. So, we've partnered up with Autodesk to make it happen. We are delighted to announce that Jason “Chinny” Brynford-Jones, Softimage product manager and demonstration guru, is making the trip to London to chair this meeting. It certainly wouldn’t be the same without him. A blast from the past for some of you, “Chinny” has been with the Softimage family for 15 years. He started out as a demonstrator in London and has since gained a reputation as being the cheerful face of Autodesk Softimage. He has been working in Product Management for the last 8 years and is now a Technical Product Manager at Autodesk in Montreal.
Have you ever thought about taking your artistic talent and transferring those skills to VFX? Then the webinar that we’re running on November 10th could be the start of you doing that. For the industry to remain fresh and buoyant, it’s important that there are constant waves of creative and original talent. We always say that creativity is key – if you have that, learning the technical skills is the easy bit. The current growth of the VFX industry in the UK means there is a growing demand for fresh talent. In this webinar I'll look at the potential routes a Fine Art graduate may take into the industry and the transferable, creative skills that will allow them to stand out from the crowd when making the move into this demanding and competitive industry.
CG Whiz 2011 has been open for entries for over a week now, and we’re already seeing lots of great work coming in. We know a lot of you will be hard at work on your showreels, so to give you some insight into what the judges will be looking for in the amateur category, we caught up with Lee Danskin, our Training Director and a CG Whiz judge since the competition started two years ago.