The official Houdini 11 Launch event was held last night in London by Side Effects. In this fairly short presentation (2 hours), as well as Kim Davidson president and CEO, Janet Foster Senior Account Executive and Jeff Wagner (old school blog) there were people from Double Negative and Framestroe showcasing how they’ve used Houdini in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”,” Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang”.
It was overall an interesting event which was followed by a little party afterwards. I didn’t stay long , the place was too small and too crowded, but you could find interesting people from London’s big effects houses there. You can watch some of the Houdini 11 new features that was presented by Jeff Wagner at the event in the video below.
It’s been another few busy weeks but things are coming together and I will have a little more time to spare soon, but I hope not for so long! It will be stressful until I get my first job. Meanwhile I’m developing some Nuke tutorials for a course in my old university Kingston. I’m very happy to do this and give the students the chance to learn and little more and hopefully motivate them to do more on their own.
I’m going to upload my masters project here today, this is the first time it’s going online officially and only here in my weblog! It’s been different experience and I’m not sure how much I’m satisfied with it, but what I’m really satisfied with are the things I’ve learned from it, have it look!
With high definition digital cameras available at affordable prices and a global screening opportunity phenomenon called YouTube, film making enthusiasts have experiencing a golden age! The next challenge that they saw ahead of them was how to make their videos to look more like ‘film’. This is when a new gadget was introduced; 35mm DOF adapter. DOF adapter creates the shallow depth of field that comes out a full frame film camera which results in giving digital videos a ‘film look’.
Of course nowadays with the amazing videos captured by DSLR cameras and even the industry leaning towards using them, there’s less need to buy a digital camera and then use a DOF adapter to create the film look effect for amateur cinematographers, however, with most of the advanced digital camcorders inability to create a similar outcome the market remains open for DOF adapters. 35mm DOF adopters come in different designs and the price range goes from 50 to even 5000 pounds for a full package. There are a few good cheap alternatives which obviously don’t give you the clarity of the professional ones but outcome a very interesting result. The one I’d like to introduce here is Static DIY 35mm DOF. This low-weight adapter which works with no power source creates an interesting distortion on the frame and gets the best focus only in the center of the image(something like a zoom blur effect on the edges). This works particularly well when creating a dreamy look environment. I did a little test with this adapter using Canon XH-A1 and a Canon EF 50mm lens. In a good sunny day or enough light it perform quiet good and the noise level is very low. Focusing is very tricky because of the distortion but if everything goes well the final image is pleasing; see my test video from below.
A few months back I made a collection of some of the good presets available for XH-A1 but it took me nearly 8 months to find the time to make a new one. This set includes 8 new presets and a bonus which you need to try on your own!. You can watch a quick preview of them in the video below.
Being a Burton’s fan, I went to watch the film with very high expectations, and the thing about having high expectations is you can easily be disappointed! Alice in Wonderland is an “OK” film.. nothing really too special about it .. and definitely not made for 3d so you better save yourself some money and just watch it in 2d where you get to see the colours better.
“19-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.” Imdb
Effects wise the film satisfies the VFX fans so do the other technical aspects, but the storyline is rather boring; there are long gaps between the high points and the events in between aren’t developed enough. Ironically the crowed (mostly families with young children) seemed very pleased and they even clasped which is not something you see very often!
I liked the soundtrack composed by Burton’s inseparable composer Danny Elfman, although it reminded me a lot of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack, perhaps a little too much! And the ending credit soundtrack (ALMOST ALICE-Avril Lavigne) felt completely out of place … suddenly a Rock/Pop music! why?
Overall Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is an entertaining enough film to watch (in 2D!) but definitely not something that will be remembered as a successful film by Burton’s fans.
Whoever is in charge of this Gogo business apparently the are making loads of money!
In the last few months they’ve been improving their products by adding new lines and updating the website which in the past was useless! The latest addition to their family is Metropolis collection that comes in bigger size and holds a mini gogo inside!
And a few days ago while walking in town I found this collection accidentally! I saw this shiny box blinking at me on the shelf of a temporary christmas kiosk.It is called “Gold Series”! for 9.99 GBP and contains 10 “Most Valuable Gogos”! I liked the packaging and the idea. They sure know how to make you pay!
A few days ago my CPU fan started to make a funny noise! Desktop’s PCs create enough noise already and there’s certainly no room for any extra annoying noise!
So I decided to buy a new fan. After doing a bit of research I got myself a CM Sphere fan! I have to admit that I fell for the design rather than the functionality although it seemed promising! Installing the fan was bit of a headache since the manual was confusing and I had to take out the motherboard and screw the fan from the back side; sadly it won’t work with the fan stands that come with some motherboards. Afterwards I didn’t see much of a difference in terms of the CPUs’ temperature, but two things changed! Less noise (the fan is reasonably quiet) and the case temperature which dropped by 2 degrees! I’m fairly happy with it now and the only downside is the lack of support for Intel Core i7 CPU which means I’ll need to change it if I upgrade the pc.
The first effect project of the Digital Effects course at NCCA (Bournemouth University) was to create an underwater scene. It was pretty interesting and I think I did an acceptable job although at the end I got sick of it so didn’t finalize the project as good as I should have been!. There’s still a lot left to do and I’m hoping to find time and go back to make some improvements. Here is the final render plus the making of;
I shot the backplate in Christchurch a small town near Bournemouth. The model and some of the underwater effects were made in Houdini and the rest were recorded live in a small aquarium. Apple shake was used to do the comp; a very powerful package which doesn’t attract you in the first look. I quiet enjoyed using the acquisition elements shot with a black background for this project, I painted a cocnout black and used it as the proxy. I think now and for the first time, I can call myself a compositor!