If you’re looking for VFX work and done mind the sunny beaches of South Florida, maybe you should consider Digital Domain who just reporting an additional $11Million in incentives, bringing their total to an impressive $135M in total incentives from the State of Florida & the cities of Port Saint Lucie and West Pam Beach.
”This recent award brings the total funding that we have received from our government partners to approximately $135.1 million in support of our business expansion,” said John Textor, CEO of Digital Domain Media Group. “As we deliver on the job creation promises we have made to the communities that support our growth, we benefit from a unique business model that utilizes these grants and economic incentives to greatly minimize the financial risk of such growth.”
Still looking for a gift for the VFX person in your life? Check out this amazing new book available on Amazon (order today for 1-day delivery by tomorrow) chronicling the story of ILM from their early roots to more modern pursuits.
Industrial Light & Magic: The Art of Innovation is the first and only book to focus on the company’s work during the last sixteen years, detailing its creative and technological innovations on dozens of blockbuster films. Through firsthand accounts of the problem solving that has pushed the art form of visual effects to its limits and created visual experiences that could only have been dreamed of in the past, the book features extensive commentary by George Lucas, Dennis Muren, John Knoll, Scott Farrar, Roger Guyett, Ben Snow, Rob Coleman, Lorne Peterson, and many others. Their accounts are supplemented by more than 400 images from many of ILM’s breakthrough movies, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Transformers, Iron Man, and the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, offering a crash course on the most groundbreaking visual effects created today.
Over at Bill Desowitz’s blog he’s got some details of the work behind the new Tintin movie coming from their presentation at Autodesk University.
Meanwhile, the bravura two-and-a-half minute motorcycle chase in Morocco occurred as a result of the previs offering so many long master shots that Spielberg decided to utilize one in the film.
Snowy, the dog, proved challenging because of his white, curly fur and trying to maintain the spirit of Hergé’s odd design for the terrier. Weta used Maya and nCloth and Spielberg made sure that Snowy stole every scene he was in.
I have to admit, I know nothing of the Tintin comic, but the visual alone have me interested in seeing the film.
The latest production diary from The Hobbit covers their impressive use of dual Red Epic and a Beam Splitter rig from 3ality to shoot the new film in 3D. They cover much of the technical details of the rig, and show lots of how they’re doing their video capture, preview work, and review.
Dreamworks had lots of experience with the characters and environments of the Shrek series that they could reuse in much of the new Puss In Boots film, but the additional new characters required a good bit of new design and development work. They actually found that their previous fur system used in the Shrek films didn’t scale to having Puss and his companion Kitty as major characters, so they had to find a new system.
On prior films, Dreamworks had relied on a proprietary fur system, but this time around artists used Houdini for much of the fur. “We found that Houdini could handle an order of magnitude number of curves bigger than we’ve been able to in the past,” says Bielenberg. “We had a one to one representation of curves for the fur that were interacting with other objects like the belt. The character FX artists could pull up Houdini and really get a WYSIWYG representation. You could see how the curves were interacting with any forces in Houdini. And four or five simulations could happen in the one package, rather than a serial process.”
Computational fluid dynamics is one of the oldest areas of computer simulation, and probably one of the most commonly requested features of most VFX projects. Not only for fluids, but now also for fire, smoke, and more, it’s an area with lots of well-developed software products but frequently with little understanding of what actually is going on under the hood. FXGuide has a nice starter article on the field of CFD, and some of the big names in VFX fluid simulation.
One of the most significant and commonly requested areas of real world simulation is fluid simulation. From pouring shots to ocean vistas, directors and artists have come to rely on computer simulated water and similar fluids. Fluid dynamics is a complex area and fluid simulations are notoriously computationally expensive, yet when they work they can provide magnificent production value and breathtaking visual effects.
ABC’s new series Pan Am focuses on the glory days of American commercial aviation, so it’s no surprise that greenscreen and visual effects come into heavy play to reconstruct some of the bigger scenes of the era. But thanks to the technology from Stargate, you may be surprised to see just how much of it actually is (as shown in the image above).
Stargate based its virtual set on historical photographs to more or less exactly match the Pam Am terminal of the day. “We built the entire set digitally in conjunction with the production designer,” explains Nicholson. “Then we optimize it. It may have 20 million polygons, so you need to cut it down so that it can be pushed through a real-time system at 24 frames per second.”
The recent Smurfs movie includes little blue guys running around in true environments and interacting with real people, which is always a challenge for VFX Studios. To make it a little more lifelike and vastly reduce the time required to make it so, Sony Pictures Imageworks turned to the Spheron VR Camera.
“On set, the Spheron enabled us to capture the actual wattage and energy of every light and lit surface and do so in a time efficient manner the production crew appreciated,” said Rich Hoover, visual effects supervisor on THE SMURFS. “In digital production, the lighting data captured on the set allowed us to render digital characters in a live-action plate very quickly, giving our artists more time to be more creative and make the final shot even better.”
Green Lantern featured hundreds of aliens, several of which had important speaking roles in the movie. Animating each of these individually and realistically would have taken months of time, but thanks to some new facial capture technology from Mova, they were able to accurately track real actor’s faces.
“We create more facial data than people are used to getting,” said Pearce. “In markers you can get maybe 100 or 150 data points tops, and we are giving people hundreds of thousands of points of data,” requiring the FX house to come up with a process that can use the exceptional amount of information and Mova to decide what data needs to be sent.
The article gets surprisingly in-depth into the workflow and technology, and makes a great read.
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