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.
One foggy day in London town, a gaggle of our compositing students congregated for coffee at Oxford Circus.
Due to unprecedented demand for our 12-week Visual Effects Production and 18-week Visual Effects Professional courses, we've just announced a new course date for February 2012. Our two January courses our now full, so if you're interested in joining the February course please contact us as soon as possible as we expect it to fill quickly too.
In this month's free tutorial, I have a real treat for you - something which I know many VFX artist wish they could do. It all stems from my experience working in the industry where I have so often witnessed artists resorting automatically to using Maya's Render Tool when they could actually be so much more efficient if they knew some of the alternatives available to them.
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.
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.
BT Vision (a TV-on-demand service from British Telecom) has just been through a re-branding excersise which was carried out by ManvsMachine in collaboration with Proud Creative. ManvsMachine were tasked with creating the idents, while Proud Creative worked on the graphic design elements of the newly created identity.
IKinema are a relatively young company based in the UK with a very special product that is improving the workflow among VFX departments. For anyone lucky enough to have worked with this programme they will know that the IKinema technology is a powerful plug-in and a real asset to any project working with motion capture and animation. It’s an incredible tool with advanced solver settings and a flexible constraint system. It's no wonder Framestore, one of the top VFX companies in Europe, are taking full advantage of this tool by integrating it into their motion capture pipeline.
One of the most entertaining parts of the Character Animation course that I teach at Escape studios is the lesson where the students invent, design and pitch an original animated character to myself and the rest of the class. The purpose of the exercise is to get students thinking not just about the technical side of character motion and action but also to think inventively and creatively. Can we invent characters as well as animate them? The visual effects industry is often demanding in terms of time and energy, and one of the best antidotes to the problem of "burn out" is to keep the creative spirit alive. After all, we all went into the arts to invent and create, not just to polish other people's ideas.
My cousin - David Itzcovitz - went to Israel last month and he took a series of photos, which he then processed to give this strange look. The process he mimicked in After Effects is called tilt-shift and is usually achieved by using a tilt-shift lens (lensbaby). This puts the focal plane at a strange angle to the film and as a result, you get this strange depth of field effect which makes big things seem like miniatures.