Tagfx

6 Minutes of Darkness from PostPanic

PostPanic recently spent 6 months creating this 6 minute title sequence for the 2011 OFFF Festival, hosted in Barcelona. If this dark accelerated cyberpunk future doesn’t disturb you, then maybe you kept your eyes shut for too long or forgot to put your headphones on.

Digital Hands Unleashed in Samsung Galaxy SII’s Ad

Any example of dance driving visual effects catches my interest, and this specific video has me giddily bouncing around in my seat with each viewing.

via Fubiz video.

After some searching for “hand dance”, I found this video. with over 6 million views, I’m surprised I didn’t come across it sooner.

Zombies Ruin Vacation

Zombies chomping (and being chopped) in reverse, for Zombie Island trailer. Houdini was used for rigging, animation, effects and rendering. A nice score for Toronto based SideFX software!

Read the VFX breakdown here.

Vancouver International Film Festival

VancouverFilmFest2010_sm

The last two weeks have been pretty crazy. Back to work in a studio cubical and also attended the Vancouver International Film Festival.

I started everything off with Monsters, and ended if off with the beautiful, French, somewhat depressing The Illusionist. In total I saw 28 films.

  1. Monsters
  2. Waste Land (trash is art!)
  3. Cold Fish (violently disturbing)
  4. R U There? (yes, I am… I’m just sleeping)
  5. An Ecology of Mind (documentary on the amazing system theories of Gregory Bateson)
  6. Crossing the Mountain (…zzzZZZ)
  7. David Wants to Fly (documentary on David Lynch and his association w/ Transcendental Meditation)
  8. Tree (needed a dose of good drama)
  9. Philosophies of Life (short film collection that I didn’t have the patience to finish)
  10. Turn It Loose (breakdancing!)
  11. 13 Assassins (live action version Ninja Scroll?)
  12. Secrets of the Tribe (anthropologists decimating each other’s reputations)
  13. Drummer’s Dream (luckily they were selling copies on DVD at the door)
  14. The Man from Nowhere (South Korean action flick w/ a Korean version of Keanu Reeves)
  15. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (still trying to “get it”, but the ghost monkeys were sweet)
  16. Nénette (I ♥ orangutans)
  17. Guido Superstar (love them poop gags)
  18. Into Eternity (now one of my fav documentaries)
  19. Cell 211 (violently beautiful)
  20. Rubber (the killer tire could be a cult classic)
  21. Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden (spreading the gospel without thinking of the consequences)
  22. Aftershock (wicked earthquake scene followed by Hollywood inspired drama)
  23. Cities on Speed (documentaries where the titles say it all, “Bogotá Change” & “Mumbai Disconnected”)
  24. When the Devil Knocks (documentary on a woman with multiple personalities)
  25. Armadillo (Danish film on the Afgan war)
  26. The Repeaters (Groundhog day with 3 addicts)
  27. Plug & Pray (I ♥ Joseph Weizenbaum)
  28. The Illusionist (French animation from creators of Triplets of Bellville

 

How to Survive?

1) Bring a water bottle & snacks. You will be downtown all day long, surrounded by Starbucks, McDonalds and $2 pizza slices. Considering you’ll be sitting on your butt all day long, just how much torture do you want your body to endure?

2) Sharpie for the marking up of your schedule.

3) Learn to live without your phone for a few hours. I was amazed at how insistent the staff were in having the audience turn off their phones. I was even more amazed at how difficult it was for us to follow this suggestion. I must say, I only pulled out my phone a couple times to quickly check the time. I swear!

4) Networking. In line I met tons of people that made me regret not having a business card, though we all had smartphones so the problem was easily solved. meeting people in line was also a great way to get suggestions on films. If it wasn’t for the texts from my new friend Michael, I would have missed 13 Assassins, and that would have been tragic.

Speaking of “meeting people”, I finally met my doppelganger. According to Michael Hayward, there may be potential for me playing a younger version of Wallace Shawn (Princess Bride) in his autobiographical documentary.

2010-10-06_16-59-24_734_Vancouver

Vancouver International Film Festival

My Viff survival kit (minus the bag n peanuts)

The last two weeks have been pretty crazy. Back to work in a studio cubical and also attended the Vancouver International Film Festival.

I started everything off with Monsters, and ended if off with the beautiful, French, somewhat depressing The Illusionist. In total I saw 28 films.

  1. Monsters
  2. Waste Land (trash is art!)
  3. Cold Fish (violently disturbing)
  4. R U There? (yes, I am… I’m just sleeping)
  5. An Ecology of Mind (documentary on the amazing system theories of Gregory Bateson)
  6. Crossing the Mountain (…zzzZZZ)
  7. David Wants to Fly (documentary on David Lynch and his association w/ Transcendental Meditation)
  8. Tree (needed a dose of good drama)
  9. Philosophies of Life (short film collection that I didn’t have the patience to finish)
  10. Turn It Loose (breakdancing!)
  11. 13 Assassins (live action version Ninja Scroll?)
  12. Secrets of the Tribe (anthropologists decimating each other’s reputations)
  13. Drummer’s Dream (luckily they were selling copies on DVD at the door)
  14. The Man from Nowhere (South Korean action flick w/ a Korean version of Keanu Reeves)
  15. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (still trying to “get it”, but the ghost monkeys were sweet)
  16. Nénette (I ♥ orangutans)
  17. Guido Superstar (love them poop gags)
  18. Into Eternity (now one of my fav documentaries)
  19. Cell 211 (violently beautiful)
  20. Rubber (the killer tire could be a cult classic)
  21. Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden (spreading the gospel without thinking of the consequences)
  22. Aftershock (wicked earthquake scene followed by Hollywood inspired drama)
  23. Cities on Speed (documentaries where the titles say it all, “Bogotá Change” & “Mumbai Disconnected”)
  24. When the Devil Knocks (documentary on a woman with multiple personalities)
  25. Armadillo (Danish film on the Afgan war)
  26. The Repeaters (Groundhog day with 3 addicts)
  27. Plug & Pray (I ♥ Joseph Weizenbaum)
  28. The Illusionist (French animation from creators of Triplets of Bellville

How to Survive?

1) Bring a water bottle & snacks. You will be downtown all day long, surrounded by Starbucks, McDonalds and $2 pizza slices. Considering you’ll be sitting on your butt all day long, just how much torture do you want your body to endure?

2) Sharpie for the marking up of your schedule.

3) Learn to live without your phone for a few hours. I was amazed at how insistent the staff were in having the audience turn off their phones. I was even more amazed at how difficult it was for us to follow this suggestion. I must say, I only pulled out my phone a couple times to quickly check the time. I swear!

4) Networking. In line I met tons of people that made me regret not having a business card, though we all had smartphones so the problem was easily solved. meeting people in line was also a great way to get suggestions on films. If it wasn’t for the texts from my new friend Michael, I would have missed 13 Assassins, and that would have been tragic.

Speaking of “meeting people”, I finally met my doppelganger. According to Michael Hayward, there may be potential for me playing a younger version of Wallace Shawn (Princess Bride) in his autobiographical documentary.

Budget Film Making with Gareth Edwards

A month back I was forwarded an interview with Gareth Edwards, the director of Monsters. In the interview he talks about making a feature film on a small budget. I haven’t yet found out the exact budget, but the $15,000 number has been thrown around.  I’ll spare my opinions on this exact number as there’s already plenty of debate that can be found online. In any case, I certainly believe it could have been pulled off for under $100k, which is still way cheaper than most films of this quality.

Gareth seems to have gained much of his visual FX experience while working for the BBC.  For example, while working on Attila the Hun, he locked the camera and used cycled animations from live footage in order to fill a battlefield with virtual cast of millions. Smart time-saving moves, for sure.

According to this interview, prior to Monsters, Gareth was having trouble making money as a director and he figured it was time to jump in and make a film on his own. He knew the gamble of going off on his own, but he says, “If you always put things off till it’s perfect, you’ll never do anything.”  Jumping in and “pissing” himself was what he knew he needed to do to progress his career. He feels like everything he had done as a director for hire was preparing him for this moment of creative freedom. The 48 Hour Sci-Fi-London Film Challenge was exactly what he needed to prove what he could do.

Gareth Edwards
Uploaded by SFLTV. – Classic TV and last night’s shows, online.

I’ve heard a quote from George Lucas, where he stated that his goal was to use computer graphics in order to put the paintbrush into the director’s hands. Gareth seems to agree with this dream…  and has apparently executed it, with the help of a 35mm adapter for his video camera and a laptop or two.  Gareth designed the creature himself, with thousands of sketches over the course of a year.  The cast consisted of himself, two actors (who were soon married, after shooting the film), two line producers and a sound guy. For the rest of the cast, he would film random citizens in the cities he visited, including his assigned armed bodyguards in Mexico.

First there was Neil Blomkamp’s successful District 9, and now there’s Gareth Edwards. Both are convincing me that I have to start putting some time into learning compositing. Visual effects compositing is the final line where the 2D image is created and the more you can avoid time-consuming 3D, the better.

Are you wishing you hadn’t missed the showing of the film? Don’t stress!! The Vancouver International Film Festival has another showing on Thursday, October 14th at 11am. However, you had better act quick and request that day off work before someone else does. 😉

My opinions on the film?  It’s a nice jaunt through central america while being chased by giant octupi. It reminded of Romancing the Stone, with more focus on the romancing. The effects range from subtle to not-so subtle. I enjoyed the film, as did everyone around me. Don’t worry, I didn’t ruin anything you won’t learn in the first 5 minutes of the film.

Making of “Milk – Sad Princess”

Making of ‘Milk’ – Lighting the Waves from Florian Witzel on Vimeo.

Lasse Gjertsen: Multimedia Nut

Jay would probably call him a “brilliant” Norwegian, and I would have to agree. Music, video and additional points for personality. Granted, he is speaking Norwegian, but that’s similar enough to Swedish…  which I don’t know much either…   but I’ve been there…  finally.  :\

Music

Trippin Video:(tell me this doesn’t feel familiar)

Skit w/ FX: My roommate asked, “Did he really do that?”

Amateur: More music

Thomas Schelesny – VFX Supervisor of “Enchanted”

tomschelesny_crop

Thomas Schelesny

In the afternoon of Saturday, I had the pleasure of attending Tony Chen’s 3D Animation Workshop in Gastown. The special guest for the evening was Thomas Schelesny. Tom is a Visual Effects Supervisor at Tippet Studios. He was the VFX Supervisor for Disney’s Enchanted and is currently supervising the FX for Sam Rami’s Drag Me To Hell.

Tom gave us a quick summary of his career, starting with Northwest Imaging in Vancouver, where he received his first experience at 3D animation on Softimage, working on X-Files & The Outer Limits.  While at work, Tom received an incoming call which he initially thought was a prank and promptly hung up on the caller.  The caller was a recruiter from Tippet.

Needless to say, he got the job at Tippet and was brought in as an Anima…er… a Lighting TD. After having the TD position for 1 week, Tippet quickly moved Tom to a more appropriate position, in animation. Tom spent 3 years as an animator and followed that up with 2 years as an animation lead, working on Starship Troopers and Virus.

Eventually, Tom was surprised by a visit from Tippet, who was showing a client around the studio. Tippet whispered to Tom, “So, you want to be VFX Sup on this show?” to which Tom replied, “Yes.“. Tippet immediately introduced Tom to the client as the VFX Supervisor that would be working on his film.

During our talk, Tom couldn’t stress enough how important it is to take risks. He said how rewarding it was to be confident in yourself, to not care what other people think. If you know what you need to do… DO IT. For example, when onset with an actress who needed to react to a monster that wasn’t there, Tom took his shirt off and started towards the actress, snorting and snarling. Throw on a dress? Sure. Pose for life drawing? Why not? He says that he’s willing to take take it all off, if it needed to be done… and he proved it. This is a point that resonated strongly with me. I’ve lost track of the number of missed opportunities due to shyness or stressing about making an ass out of myself. I mean, the entertainment industry begs for people like this, so  give em what they want!

I keep thinking of the song by The Kills, Cheap and Cheerful – “I want you to be crazy cause your stupid when your sane.

Speaking of being confident with your work, one thing that has surprised me since I came into this industry, was the lack of animator reference. I’m not talking about book or video clip reference, I’m talking about STANDING UP AND ACTING IT OUT. Tom told us how animators are treated at Tippet Studios. In the animation area, you’ll commonly find animators crawling and snarling. If other artists are making discouraging comments about an animator who’s acting, that person will usually get double the criticisms fired right back at them. At Tippet, they do whatever they can to encourage live reference. I know this doesn’t need to be said, but everything is sculpted before it goes digital. Reference is key and the closer to real life, the better. Tom pointed out, “This computer monitor, it’s 2D, not 3D.” This is something we all forget, too often.

Tony Chen @ Tom's talk

Tony Chen

He spoke of his preference to work with rubber suits. The experience is more organic, as your are directing the action, in the moment. If it’s purely digital creatures, a director will usually just shoot the set then save the footage to be dealt with later. However, if you’re working with rubber suits, “…you want a creature to look more wet, you walk up and spray on some water…” I should note that Tom does not dislike digital effects, it’s more a preference of the process.  He also stated that he feels that some 3D animated films are as perfect as you can get, simply because of the control you have over every single element. In a world of film that seems to be driven by digital effects, these comments were a breath of fresh air. Too often does the process oriented work seem too planned and not dynamic enough. It’s hard to pick out sometimes, but we can usually feel when it just doesn’t look right. A rubber suit looks more real, well… because it is real.

Thanks to everyone, especially Tony Chen @ CGMovement, for putting this together.  It was a very inspiring evening that will not be forgotten.

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