“Big things have small beginnings”, was an idea acknowledged in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, released earlier this year. And for us, this statement couldn’t be more true. Taking the art of visual effects as a prime example, the spectacular CG you see on screens today was born from the most basic of concepts, and the people who created those effects invested significant time and energy to become the talented artists they are today. Every creative talent has to start out somewhere, and with the right levels of care and determination, it can evolve into something magnificent.
Or wanted to be able to say, ‘I did that’, when watching a film and seeing a huge, breath taking explosion? Then maybe you should start to think about pursuing a career in Visual Effects. At Escape Studios, we want to make those first steps into the industry as easy as possible whilst providing you with the tools to succeed. Our Visual Effects Production course will not only give you the skills to progress in the exciting world of Film Visual Effects, but will also show you how to make an impressive show reel (which results in many of our students securing jobs once they have finished.)
Last Wednesday we sauntered down to our friends at Saddington Baynes, devoured some gourmet Pizza, washed it down with some ice cold beer and cleansed our pallets with some invigorating VFX related conversation, all in the name of our second graduate reunion…who says you can’t mix business with pleasure? And with a high calibre of industry employed attendees from the likes of Double Negative, Framestore, The Mill and MPC London, conversation was rife.
Last week I accompanied the current Compositing class on a trip to the MPC studio in London. It's all part of the industry mentoring scheme we're encouraging at Escape, as we work to prepare our students for the working world. With aspirations for one day working in the industry, we feel it's really important for all our students to get a taste for what is expected from them as early as possible in their training. Irene Bonilla was one student who joined us that day, and here's what she had to say about it...
We’ve been catching up with lots of the escapees from over the years, and one story in particular has been hugely inspiring to us. Having studied a ten week Maya comprehensive course at Escape Studios back in 2003, Alenka Abraham has paved a very exciting career for herself. Taking on an R&D software project at Glassworks, Alenka met her future business partner, Adam Cubitt. Together they set up Existential Ltd., a company that develops both real-time and off-line computer visualisation and animation technology. Collaborating with leading post-production companies like MPC, and many others across the UK, they’ve been involved in pioneering projects and are making quite a name for themselves.
Yes, I really went there. A new trailer has been released for the updated version of Total Recall, and gone are the days of Arnie showing his rippling torso and basking in the limelight. This adaptation follows Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) on his quest to find something better than his current life. After discovering ‘Rekall’, and being warned against it, he decides to rebel (against the norm, funnily enough) and visit the place regardless. This results in Doug Quaid having to question everything to try discover what is, and isn’t, real. The film boasts robots, a futuristic (yet dark) London and a whole lot of CG from MPC, Double Negative and Prime Focus. So from an industry point of view, it's definitely going to be worth a watch.
NATIVITY is a pioneering digital art project by Martha Fiennes, a moving-image interpretation of the Christ Nativity inspired by a canon of Renaissance paintings on the story. Martha’s idea for this project was brought to life through the process of SLOimage, which is the process of random and perpetual image self-generation. It slowly transforms through a wide range of alternative pictorial content in a way that is unpredictable to both the artist and the viewer. In a way, it is as though this technique has its own level of consciousness, allowing the artwork to generate meaning in new and very unexpected ways.
The Visual Effects Society (VES) are holding their annual worldwide VFX career fair this year in LA, New York, Montreal, San Francisco and London. This daylong event brings together some of the biggest names in the business and aims to inform, educate and employ the VFX community.
Film fanatics and CG lovers alike have been waiting for Ridley Scott’s latest movie Prometheus and it is the film that we have spent all year waiting for. Prometheus is due for UK release on June 1st this year and our friends MPC have been working hard on the post-production visual effects. And although we have to wait just a little longer judging from the trailer it will be well worth the wait.
Originally written to be the prequel to the infamous Alien franchise, Prometheus follows the crew of a spaceship as it attempts to find the origins of humanity through exploring an advanced alien civilization and from here chaos ensues.
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.
For anyone with an iPhone or an iPad here is a great app from our friends at MPC. If you are interested in entering the VFX industry, this is something which I would highly recommend. MPC's app shows the jobs they have available as soon as they are published, and is a great way of finding out about those entry level positions that aspiring artists are after.
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.
Everyone who studies with us knows how much emphasis we place on our close ties with the industry. The members of our advisory board include some of the biggest names in CG, and they advise on everything from course content to placing escapees in work after they graduate. We are therefore very pleased to announce that Christian Roberton, MD of Film at MPC, has joined the team.
It’s been pretty busy for Nik since completing his VFX course a few weeks back. After a stint at Atticus Finch and then Framestore he’s now working at legendary post house MPC. We caught up with Nik, sat him down, and asked him what it’s like being the new FX TD on the block.
We’re launching a brand new set of online courses – Self Directed Learning. These low-cost distance learning courses are aimed at students, aspiring 3D artists and computer graphics (CG) hobbyists across the world, and cover CG industry staples Maya, ZBrush and Nuke in detail.