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.
The Foundry returned triumphant from this year’s NAB show in Las Vegas. For them, this was by far their biggest and most successful NAB, as they exhibited their most advanced portfolio yet. Showcasing the latest versions of NUKE, NUKEX, HIERO, KATANA and MARI they had crowds gathering throughout the event to check out live demos of all these products, as well as the incredible line-up of speakers invited to share their experiences using each of the products above.
On Thursday 29th March, Escape Studios are hosting an event at the Barbican Centre that will discuss the art of 3d visualisation. Joined by four industry speakers this is an opportunity to discover how professionals in film and other media create stunning as well as captivating animated visuals. The event is aimed at anyone working in the business of 3d visualisation, whether that’s in architecture, design, engineering or media and entertainment. We would like to invite you all to this exclusive event as we expose the creative side of this visual form.
Around half an hour into the demonstration, after setting up the HUD and preferences, Jeff turned to the group and said, "Now, select your cube, and press the 'Fireball' button, then press play!"
We believe it's crucial for students to not just have a thorough knowledge of work flow and software, but also understand the VFX industry and pipeline where they will work. So during their course we invite established post production houses to coach them, this means they get direct feedback on their work from respected VFX supervisors.
This was hardly surprising news, but the positive spin put on this stat by Universities UK, was that the drop wasn’t as great as predicted. However, a decrease of 8.7% is significant, and demonstrates prospective students are unable or unwilling to pay the increase in fees imposed by the current government.
There were more women than men applying, but the biggest drop is not amongst school leavers, down only 3.6%, but from older students over 21 which were down significantly.
However, there was also a slight increase in overseas students applying here, and conversely more UK students are applying abroad, for example, Maastricht University forecasts 600 applications.
It’s not rocket science figuring out that fees of £9000 p/a over a three year degree, plus all living costs will be a considerable sum to repay, and for a non-vocational degree, it will require serious thought to justify. After all, if the degree studied will not guarantee a job at the end earning you X amount, then being saddled with that kind of debt is a hefty burden to bear.
Even the prospect of the student idyll and those first tastes of freedom living away from the parents, in the life of Riley, may now seem a little indulgent.
In our sector, Animation and Computer Graphic degrees are wide ranging and extensive, but this can be both their strength and their weakness. Yes, you may learn a wide range of skills, direct your own mini movie masterpiece, and if you’re exceptionally talented and hardworking, this film may lead to a job winning Showreel.
The reality is too often we see films that are either strong in one discipline but severely lacking in others, so making the overall effect disappointing. Or either, so many students have worked on one jaw dropping movie, that it’s hard to see exactly how much of a role any one individual played in the overall execution.
If getting a job is your top priority, fair to say it’s better to study an in-depth industry specific course, such as we offer here at Escape Studios, rather than something less focused.
When Amy Cuthbertson finished her degree in Music Technology, she didn’t expect to find herself starting a career in CG, but that’s exactly what happened. Wandering around a careers fair, Amy spotted the Escape Studios stand, got talking about her love of animation and the rest is history, as they say.
After the usual slow down over the festive & new year period, here at Escape Studios recruitment department we're now experiencing a big surge in demand for freelancers, right across the board.
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.
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.
The UK has a flourishing VFX industry that is attracting business from all over the world. In terms of film production in this country, we’re securing huge business. The standard of work being produced here is world class, and it’s impressive to see how this industry is flourishing right across the United Kingdom. For those of us who work in London, sometimes we risk embracing the city as being the centre of the universe, paying far too much attention to what’s going on locally, rather than what’s happening countrywide. Granted Soho is a hub for post-production, but if we were to look beyond the M25 and further North, East or West, we would find an amazing number of talented companies working on some fantastic projects.
It seems there is an abundance of technology conferences to choose from this year. For fellow technology enthusiasts out there, this is an exciting time, as we are treated to an ocean of updates, new releases and ground breaking developments. One conference we give a particular seal of approval to is the much anticipated CVMP (Conference for Visual Media Production), now in its 8th year running. This is a conference dedicated to the geeks of the visual media production industries, whether that is in film, broadcast or games.
Since the introduction of HD to our television screens, we’re starting to see a huge push from a number of channels to deliver a broader range of quality viewing in HD, and the BBC are no exception. Their latest project Planet Dinosaur aired on BBC ONE from September 14th and is an exceptionally ambitious six part series, exhibiting the findings from dinosaur research over the past decade. Each episode is entirely computer generated, and it was one lone company based in London that produced this work completly in house. The company I’m referring to is Jellyfish Pictures, and we at Escape Studios were involved with kitting them out in preparation for this difficult project. Jellyfish now have a completely up to date system, and are in a great position to offer future clients the very latest software and hardware, putting them ahead of the rest for a couple of years.
On September 7th, 2011 we held a webinar for Autodesk’s 2012 version of the Entertainment Creative Suites. As ever, registrations for this Autodesk webinar were plentiful, and we're delighted so many of you were able to join us on the day.
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.
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.
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.
When I see students go from first day newbies to fully-fledged VFX artists I can’t help but feel that they absolutely deserve it. After weeks of rigorous training learning how to create believable CG, the moment comes when they start looking for a job. And that’s exactly what happened to Pasquale Riefoli and Maria Busco who have both secured jobs at Double Negative!