So it’s almost bank holiday weekend and your old pal Ash is gonna give you another one of his awesome tips before you spend the next three days drinking your body weight in alcohol and watching The Avengers… seriously, how awesome is that film?!
Happy Tuesday, loyal readers. Here's a quick one relating to a problem that popped up a few times for the students last week. This is for anyone taking who has tracked footage into Maya and finds their tracking markers don't line up, because they've forgotten one simple step.
It's important to only isolate three separate elements per ID pass, or the technique becomes redundant. For example, if I had made both the windows and door red in the image for Part One of this blog, then any colour correction I applied to the red channel in NUKE would affect them both. You've already seen a broad example, but there's no reason you can’t use ID passes to focus on more specific areas of your render. The image above shows an example of an ID pass refined to specialise in the windows only. This kind of pass would be useful if the texture I added to the window transoms (red bits) had rendered far too dark, but everything else rendered correctly, as I would be able to adjust them without damaging the rest of my render.
Pixomondo has expanded their impressive global network of VFX studios yet again. Recently they established their twelfth facility at the Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to service local film and commercial productions as well as provide support to the other international studios. With over 150,000 square feet of design-built stage spaces, the Celtic Media Centre is perfect for meeting the demands of any production. This is the largest studio facility in Louisiana state, and with the generous tax incentives currently in place in that region, this looks to be a great move for the Oscar winning VFX company.
The current VFX Professional class were assigned The Mill as part of the ‘Industry Coaching’ scheme, which is a new initiative for us here at Escape Studios. The main idea behind the scheme is that we invite established post-production houses in Soho to mentor our students as they prepare to enter the industry as VFX artists. The VFX Professional course is our more advanced course for students who have completed the VFX Production course or artists already in the industry who are looking to further their knowledge in the field. For these students, getting advice from professionals working in the industry is golden, helping them prepare better for what is to come. Emmy Castelain was among the group during this visit, and this is what she had to say about their time at The Mill…
So we have a new class of students for the Visual Effects Production course and I thought I’d quickly run through what this class has been up to recently and where they’re at now in their studies. We are currently on week four and they have just started their first major project after covering the ins and outs of Maya (the industry go-to package in VFX). So far, we have covered modelling, UV’ing, texturing, some lighting and rendering and a bit of Photoshop just to mix it up a bit. To put all they have learnt into practice, they have been asked to create a CG object, integrate it into a backplate and to make it look photo-realistic.
Following on from yesterday’s post, I want to continue the discussion of why NUKE has revolutionised the industry and is an incredible asset to any compositor. The popularity of NUKE is largely down to its advancements in 3D integration, not only with its own user interface (UI), but also its ability to communicate with other packages such as MARI and AtomKraft. Being acutely punned as NUKE's 2.5D space, the 3D system has sped up the conventional 2D workflow in areas such as paint and roto, as well as depth compositing. This 2.5D space allows users to build rudimentary geometries, which can then be projected on, textured, lit, shaded and rendered as complimentary 3D assets or as part of a standard 2D workflow.
When it comes to catching recruiters’ eye, it’s all about looking good. And this is when only the best showreels will cut the mustard. You have 10 seconds to impress and there is no room for error or work that you're half hearted about.
Last week Claire Anderson, Talent Manager at The Mill divulged some of the greatest tips and tricks young artists need to apply in order to cut it in the VFX Industry. I have to say; I couldn’t help but feel a little awestruck listening to our Training Manager and Claire chat away during the 40 minute webinar because of the room we were stationed at. It was like something from a bond movie – check out the pictures! Filled with The Mill’s previous conquests (let’s be clear that I’m talking about Oscars and Bafta’s here….) I kept expecting a drinks cabinet and a man with a white cat to appear from behind one of the walls. One thing’s for sure, The Mill certainly know what they’re talking about and have the awards to prove it.
Being relatively new to CG and to Escape Studios I am still astounded by the standard of work that comes from our students. Despite studying Media Production at University, where I majored in Scriptwriting, I never knew the actual amount of effort that goes into creating CGI. It gives me a completely new perspective on everything that I watch in the cinema and at home on TV.
Every year Sci-Fi London runs a competition inviting Sci-Fi fans and filmmakers to take part in a 48hrs film challenge. Armed with a title, a line of dialogue, a scientific theme and a specified prop, competing teams have two days to develop and make a 5 minute short film. The winning film is premiered during the London Sci-Fi Film Festival, and also benefits from a promotional platform through The Guardian newspaper website, as well as a development deal with independent UK production company, Vertigo Films.
Pixomondo, an international visual effects company with eleven facilities worldwide, have a very talented team right here in London. Based just off Old Street, the London facility opened in 2010 and is one of the more recent additions to the Pixomondo global network. The company is currently growing from strength to strength, and is working on some very highly anticipated projects such as Snow White and the Huntsman, The Amazing Spiderman, and the new series of Game of Thrones. Over the past five years, Pixomondo has provided VFX production and supervision for over thirty high-concept feature films, including popular titles like Hugo, Red Tails, Sucker Punch, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Super 8, Fast Five, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and 2012, to name just a few.
It's great to see our escapees leading the way in a new film from Skillset promoting the computer graphics industry.
A few friends of mine have posted the Nike 'FlyKnit' commercial link on Facebook and I can't help but share it with you all because it's so cool. Nike is showing off its latest technology for the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London. It was created at Digital Domain, and is directed by David Rosenbaum and VFX supervised by Aladino Debert.
The whole shoe weighs a mere 160g (5.6 ounces) for a size 9 and has been worn by the first, second and third place athletes in the men's marathon at the 2011 World Championships. Nike released the Flyknit HTM Racer in London on Saturday 25th of February, to much anticipation.
I think you'll agree that the commercial looks amazing and stylish. It just makes me want a pair of these bad boys! Well done to the guys at Digital Domain!
Here is my usual jumble of news to start off this week. There are tutorials, news of various software releases, a cool "Making of Rango", and really sweet advert for Twinnings tea, and lots more. Feel free to add anything I may have forgotten.
The lives of professional VFX artists, who during their working hours create amazing effects, are generally fuelled by a colossal coffee culture, which is almost as strong as the pub culture that exists after work.
Wednesday 29th of February marks the official release of HIERO, a VFX tool we’ve been lusting over for the past 6 months. Following rigorous beta testing this product is now ready for integration with VFX pipelines around the globe. To give this product the welcome it deserves, The Foundry are hosting launch events in LA, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, London, Paris, Hamburg, Munich and Sydney. Escape Studios are teaming up with The Foundry for the launch in London, an event we hope you can all attend. The event is on Tuesday, 6th March at the VUE Leicester Square, running from 7-9pm, followed by drinks. Registrations will start at 6:15pm so try to get there early to avoid queues.