We were all delighted for our friends at Double Negative on Sunday, as they scooped an Oscar for their VFX work on Inception, and the whole country was feeling a touch of national pride as Brits dominated the ‘big’ awards. No matter what your thoughts on the future of British film, it was certainly a good day to be a part of the UK film industry.
I don’t think anyone was too surprised by last night’s BAFTAs. Personally, I was really pleased to see Inception win the Special Visual Effects award. With the hardware becoming more powerful, the software more sophisticated and the work ever more creative, as an industry the bar is set incredibly high, and it’s always great to see how people are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It’s even more impressive when you consider who else was nominated.
According to Nintendo’s president, low priced mobile phone games are one of the biggest risks for the games industry as they are giving the impression that all games should be cheap. Last night I had a fantastic gaming session with my son, not on a Wii, PS3 or xbox but on my iPhone and it cost me 59 pence. The success of the Wii is something that Sony also encouraged with eye toy, casual gaming that is fun and accessible for all kinds of people not just hardcore gamers. It strikes me as a little naive to think that the app generation is the biggest threat to the games industry. Though, the cost of a ds game is huge and takes a child ages to save up their pocket money
The iPhone has opened the Market to small developers, provided a fantastic opportunity for people to break into games and because it is so easy to use, has opened up the world of videogames to a whole cross section of society. My children and I get just as much fun from an iPhone game as well as a ds for a fraction of the price. Epic has produced an amazing looking game for only a few pounds and created a version of their awesome engine specifically to embrace this exciting platform. The biggest threat to the games industry is the CEOs not listening to gamers - they should be encouraging development every where creating internships and fostering talent.
The makers of angry birds have opened an academy, not bad for a little throw away game. Come on Nintendo Sony and Microsoft, get your act together! Speaking of internships one of our games students Chris Chorley is doing a six month internship at veemee. You also only have to look at the success of Portal to see that Valves approach to internships pays huge rewards.
I came across this blog on the 5 miserable VFX Jobs that make movies possible and found it quite amusing... ;-)
You can really impress future employers by taking advantage of our two expert tutorials this month. Taken from our Character Animation Foundation and ZBrush for 3D Artist courses, they are designed to give you pro-skills in very specialised areas.
With 2011 around the corner, I wanted to reflect on some of the amazing things that Escape Studios has achieved this year. Opening our offices in LA, launching our brand new US website, the phenomenal success of CG Whiz and the launch of our Mentored Training Courses is just the tip of the iceberg. We've had Paul Frankin of DNEG talk to our students about the incredible VFX created for Inception and Christan Manz, VFX supervisor on the latest HP7 talk about how Framestore wowed with their character creation.
Lighting and Shading are an integral part of the VFX pipeline and if you want to take your skills to a professional level these tutorials are the best place to start learning. What’s great about these tutorials is that they tackle pretty complicated subjects head-on and they are practical so, although you’ll understand the theory, you’ll also learn how to practically apply this knowledge. The best part is that these tutorials will sit in our resource centre permanently, so you can access them whenever you want and learn whenever it suits you.
As you know we have spent the past month judging the 170-odd entries we received for this year’s CG Whiz awards. I have to say the standard of entries was incredibly high, and our judges had an extra-tough job singling out those who showed the sheer talent and potential they were looking for.
Here I am, sat in the airport with some time to kill – so I start reading the papers and the front pages are all covered with reviews of last night’s premiere of Harry Potter (The Deathly Hallows Part 1) in London. That’s lucky, because I really like Harry Potter and I am quite looking forward to seeing the film.
VFX escapee, Jacob Flint has just bagged a job at The Mill which as you can imagine he's pretty pleased about. The truth is, we are too. Having studied with us for 12 weeks on our VFX Production course, Jacob learned all of the vital skills that he needed to get started in the industry right away. He was pretty nervous during his interview but ultimately his skills shone through.
When Nik Illingworth came to an Open Day last year, he was brimming with CG enthusiasm. He knew that he wanted a career in VFX but didn't really know how he was going to make it happen. After studying for 12 weeks with us, Nik was up and running. He finished his course, was offered his first job at Frametore and accepted it, then a short while later he decided to come back to us for 6 weeks of final professional training. He's now Effects Technical Director at MPC and still has the same love for the industry that he started off with. Nik's is one of many stories of CG enthusiasts who come to study with us and that's why we wanted to share his case study with you - getting a career in VFX off the ground really is easier than you think.
Few VFX artists can claim to have as prestigious a career as Paul Franklin. From junior VFX artist to co-founder of Double Negative, one of London's most prestigious post houses, Paul has been on quite a journey. He's worked on some of the most memorable and successful films of recent times, titles such as Batman Begins, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Dark Knight. His work has brought him nominations for an Oscar and two BAFTAs along the way.
Those of you who follow us on Twitter will know that we had our first ever realtime Twitter feedback session on Monday. I am told I should refer to them as Tweetups or Twitter parties, but if truth be told, it was a simple, honest, online showreel clinic! We asked our followers to send us links to their reels, and Lee Danskin, our Training Development Director, provided his usual professional feedback.
For those that may not have heard, the UK Film council is under threat of closure after having its funding cut. The UK Film Council has done many great things for the industry since its inception in 2000. We now have the highest cinema attendance in 7 years, UK film exports are also the highest in 7 years, and inward investment in the industry has doubled from 2008 to now.