I stumbled upon a really good site the other day which sent me on a trip down memory lane. The site is called "Scanimate Central" and is basically a resource for anyone to read about how animations used to be made.
The UK attracts worldwide attention for the high standard of post-production being undertaken by facilities around the country. London houses a number of such companies, but this talent stretches up and down the country. Mere Mortals Moving Image, based in Newcastle, is a company growing from strength to strength, while adopting new technologies like Nuke X and Pro Tools HD.
For some time now, I have been doing a weekly round up of news for our own internal use at Escape Studios. I never actually thought of sharing it more widely until someone pointed out to me last week, that actually, maybe it would be useful to the people who read this blog.
MARI is a relatively new piece of software, and is becoming more popular with artists as its reputation for efficiency and adaptability becomes more widely known. As with any piece of new software there is a period of trial and error before you really get to know its full capability. It is in light of this that Henry South, lead texture artist at Framestore, is offering to share his top 23 tips when working with MARI.
With the launch of our Creative Futures report, we have been giving the topic of 'Jobs in the Creative Industries' a lot of thought lately. We have been talking to many professionals in sectors as diverse as Graphic Design, Architectural Design, Web Design or VFX. Ultimately, the majority of men and women we have been talking to are interested in getting tips and advice on how to get better jobs and further their careers. Seems it's quite a hot topic. So much so that Dom - our CEO - was asked to write a piece for The Guardian about what young professionals needs to do to improve their changes of getting a job in the creative industries.
We currently have one final seat available on our hugely popular compositing evening course which is starting this week! This course has been booked up for some time but we have just had a late cancellation which has freed up a space. If you're interested, be sure to contact us straight away. But don't worry too much if you can't make this one, we do have a new round of evening courses starting October for compositing and Maya Core on October 10th.
Here is a bit of Friday eye candy for you...
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.