Last night, Thursday 29th March, was the Art of 3D Visualisation event at the Barbican Centre, and we’re delighted to report it was a great success. To start with, the setting was spectacular. The Barbican is an inspiring setting for architectural design. The event kicked off in the conservatory terrace, a hidden treasure in the heart of the Barbican and a lavish space with a back drop of decorative tropical plants. This time was spent wisely, arming ourselves with a cold drink the proceedings moved to Cinema 3 where we and our guests were treated to four presentations from five fantastic speakers.
Up first was Jamie Gwilliam, 3ds Max guru at Autodesk, who walked us through some essential workflows, offering some tricks and tips along the way as well as offering an insight into what we can look forward to in the 2013 release. This was a great start to the event, a perfect foundation for what was to follow.
Jamie’s presentation was followed by Ximo Peris and Dan Grover of Crystal CG. Their presentation involved an exhibit of their work for the 2012 London Olympics. Crystal have been appointed the official digital imaging service supplier for the 2012 games, and since 2009 they have been working extensively to provide a range of visual material that will support the marketing, branding and training for big event. For these guys, Autodesk 3ds Max has been a really useful tool for the work that they do, and both were able to give a brief insight into the trials they have been faced with during the production process.
Next up, was Christoph Malessa from Pixomondo, and I have to admit this was one of the highlights for us during the event. This was where the event went into greater detail on how 3d visualisation contributes considerably to the VFX process on many big budget feature films. Pixomondo are a VFX studio with a network of studios worldwide, one of which is located just off Old Street in East London. Their filmography is rather impressive, and for anyone who attended the event last night, you should feel very lucky to have seen an exclusive range of materials usually reserved for clients only. Christoph gave a breakdown on the VFX work for both Red Tails and Hugo, and how 3ds Max and V-Ray played a huge role in creating such impressive effects. To paraphrase something that Christoph said, the task Pixomondo were faced with was to fill any space that was green, and let me tell you, there was a lot of green screen to fill.
Christian Debney was our last speaker, and for me it was the perfect note to end on. Christian is a VFX artist, animator and director, working freelance on a wide range of projects. His presentation really showed how experimental a tool like 3ds Max allows him to be, and with a bit of imagination the possibilities are endless. He treated us all to a screening of some of the music promo’s he has worked on over the years. All these projects were created on a very tight budget and time frame, and they were all really fun to watch. If you would like to see some of his work please take a look at his website. My particular favourite is the promo produced for the Foo Fighters album release in 2008, featuring the track The Pretender - aggressive teddy bears on a mission to destroy. This is a great example of how by keeping things simple you can execute a great story that is both entertaining and amusing.
Also, what may be interesting for you to know is that both Pixomondo and Christian Debney exposed their rendering tool of choice as being V-Ray. It is in fact the only rendering tool used by Pixomondo among their network of studios worldwide. For many of you working in VFX, this may not be a tool you associate with rendering shots for feature film, but having won an Oscar for their work on Hugo, Pixomondo seem to be onto a winning solution here. It obviously works well for them and the work they produce.
Escape Studios would like to take this opportunity to thank all the presenters who took part in the event last night. It was a really entertaining evening. For those of you who attended, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the event. What were the highlights for you?