Changing career is never easy. It takes lots of thought, and above all courage and commitment. But that's exactly what escapee Richard Sowerby did. He sudied multimedia at Cheltenham University and forged a very successful career as a systems/graphics analyst. It took him 7 years to pluck the courage to follow his dream of working in the VFX industry and start looking for courses in compositing. And boy, did his determination pay off!
I felt a little bit like an old-school headmaster last week, taking our latest set of compositing students to MPC where they were to have their work critiqued for the second time. Lots of worried faces trudged behind me - nerves apparent and laughter a little thin on the ground. As usual, all of their concerns were completely unfounded and they all actually left the place beaming and proud of their achievements. But I do understand how showing your work to a bunch of seasoned professionals can be very daunting - despite the team at MPC doing their best to make the experience a relaxed one for our students.
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.
If you want to create a seamless finish for your CG scenes, this is the video tutorial for you. This month, I've created a tutorial that explores how paint effects can be used to embed models into backplate environments simply and easily.
What's in this Tutorial?
First off, we'll take a look at paint effects and will explain how you can paint onto geometry. In order to do this, you’ll need to understand the importance of an object's UV which we will discuss as well. You'll then learn how to access a host of preset paint effect brushes that you can find in Maya.
Starting out in VFX can be difficult for junior artists, but the best place to start is your showreel. It needs to be compelling and to demonstrate all the technical skills that you possess.
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.
Dom, Mark and I were delighted to play hosts to Ed Vaizey – the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries – yesterday.
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!
It wouldn't be right to let Potter go by and not say a word about it?
Personally I loved it - the early days especially and finally HP7 which was amazing, even in 3D!
And for all our friends in Soho, it's also an end to something which has played a major part in the rise and growth of VFX in the UK. The Industry would have survived and prospered without it but I am not sure it would have had the meteoric rise it did if ILM had not passed the work over to this side of the Atlantic...
The Foundry just released NUKE 6.3 and there’s a lot of new stuff in the product. They’ve taken product development in a direction that allows users in all VFX industries to partake in the benefits of the product. NUKE is no longer just built for artists in the film industry, it is built to create highly visual commercials with the functionality that it now has.
Chris Mulcaster is a great example of someone who got to where he wanted to be through hard work and determination. Chris studied our VFX Production course and it gave him all of the skills he needed to secure a job in the VFX Industry. But he didn't just study the course, he poured his heart and soul into it. This is the sort of dedication which pushes you to achieve great things and which sets you apart in a very competitive industry.
How VFX artists can seize the opportunities of this changing landscape
His films certainly divide modern critics and audiences alike, which is perhaps no surprise. In a Hollywood saturated with formulaic product for multiplex audiences, his films are an anomaly, breaking from a conventional narrative and featuring extended, languid shots of the natural world that often serve to emphasise his character's - and therefore Man's - insignificance in the face of events.