There were so many fantastic VFX movies last year. From the (Hollywood) blockbusters such as The Avengers, The Hobbit, Prometheus or a film that didn’t get as much attention as it deserved; Looper, or even Total Recall that didn’t do so well at the box office but Double Negative’s work on it was top notch.
One however, stood out from the rest. Life of Pi was the most beautiful movie of the year. Sure the work on the tiger was unbelievable, even with the tiger swimming sequence being real, it was still superb. But that’s not why Life of Pi got my attention. Life of Pi was a complete package. How a movie should be. Good directing, story telling, acting, cinematography (in this case married heavily to vfx) and a visual effects that enhanced everything to a level beyond anyone’s believes. A creative collaboration at all levels. Even the 3D Stereo delivery was flawless, did you notice the aspect ratio changing in the flying fishes sequence and the fishes actually coming outside the frame?
What is not even remotely close to a complete package, is the behind the scenes story. The VFX studio responsible for the work, Rhythm & Hues, filing for bankruptcy, The Academy (Oscars) cutting the VFX team speech short just when they were about to address the recent difficulties for the VFX industry and while there was a protest going on outside. It is just such a big shame that Life of Pi will go down as movie that won the VFX Oscar that tasted so bitter!
People working in VFX are there only for one reason, their love and passion for the films and arts. They tolerate all the difficulties, instability and unfair working conditions just out of their love for the craft. However, when on top of everything else they see their work and contributions are not respected, then all the other problems come to surface. I hope whatever happen from now no, and with the awareness raised to the state of VFX industry, and a new movement starting amongst VFX artists calling for unity, film studios will work towards establishing mutual respect and understanding, and for once not driven purely by numbers and maximising their own profit, there’s enough here for everyone!.
This was my first time at Brunel and having done my Bachelor at Kingston and Masters at Bournemouth, the first thing I noticed was the size of the campus! Seemed pretty big! We had a quick tour of some of the facilities first such as the green screen room, performance capture studio and the sound room and were very impressed with the infrastructure and their equipment. Having access to Red Cameras, jeeps and dolly can certainly elevate the quality of students’ projects and in turn helping them putting better show reels together. I tried to find some of their student projects work afterwards which was a very difficult task and I simply couldn’t!
We started the presentation by introducing Framestore and the main departments, and then with more focus on 2d pipeline, R&D and effects. I think it went pretty well and I do hope we provided students with some insight into industry and give them some sort of direction to follow in the remaining years of their degree.
Having been a student myself not long ago I fully understand the difficulties of obtaining some information regarding to the career opportunities and what’s required to get there and I’m always more happy to share what I’ve learned with others. VFX industry in the UK is still growing and I think there’s still so much potential and it’s up to the studios at this point to help the educators train the next generation of artists with good background and knowledge in science and fine arts.
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!
We had an interesting talk from Animal Logic today. This Australian based company has been involved in some pretty interesting projects in the last few years and is definitely one of the effects studios to work for! They currently have about 560 employees but this number will shrink once they finish the projects they are working on. What interesting for me was how clear the things they look in an applicant was pointed out. I think it’s worth sharing some of the those points which is definitely useful for anyone preparing a showreel or looking for a job in VFX.
10 Qualities You need to have!
1- A Good eye
2- Takes Direction – you work for the client not yourself!
3- Strong work ethic – this is not a 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job!
5- Unique Talent
6- Healthy humility – control your ego!
7- Self motivating
9- Passionate – you’ve got to love what you do otherwise you won’t last long in this industy!
10- Visual Thinker
1- Only your best work
2- Best work first
3- Nothing unfinished
4- Group your materials
5- Keep it short (under 3 minutes)
2 pages maximum including:
1- Personal information
3- Work Experience
1- Display your strengths
2- Show your versatility
3- Clean/strong,finished images
4- 10 pieces maximum
*uploaded quick-time preferable
Skills shortage-what they need
1- Pre vis
3- Concept artist and character designer
4- Environments TDS
5- Surfacing TDS
6- Groomers (hair,fur)
7- Creature animation
8- Animation TDS
9- FX TDS
10- Technical matte painters
11- Compositing TDS
12- Software developers