It isn’t that long ago that the visual effects and animation industries were concentrated mostly in Los Angeles. For lots of reasons (ask me again sometime) the work is now spread throughout the globe.
One outcome of this ‘globalisation’ of VFX and animation is that there’s never been more conferences, events and meet-ups to hear from professionals about the films and projects they’ve worked on. Which means it’s more likely there will be somewhere near you where you can learn about VFX and animation.
But it’s more than that, too. Continue reading “Seeing more”
It must have been an amazing time at Weta in the mid-90s. Here’s a piece I wrote for One Perfect Shot which looks at the making of The Frighteners with vfx supe Wes Takahashi, who got brought in from ILM to help Weta finish making the film. He and the studio did a stellar job.
A few months ago I started hearing about Swedish company Quixel’s Megascans and that it had been used by MPC on The Jungle Book for some of the intricate plant and jungle life textures on that film. But it was still unclear exactly what Megascans, a material library based on real-life scans of mostly vegetation and other organic surfaces, ‘was’. So at SIGGRAPH I asked Quixel founder Teddy Bergsman. Overnight, Megascans has just been launched in public beta, which seemed like a good time to run this interview – hope you enjoy! Continue reading “OK, what is this Megascans thing?”
SideFX asked me to find out what visual effects and animation studios were looking for in Houdini artists, and where they can learn more about the software, which I have to say is on something of a hot streak right now.
Laika’s work on Kubo was just incredible, and although it hasn’t been a huge success, it showed off the magic that still exists in stop-motion animation. So I took at look at some present and previous innovations in the field, for Inverse.
This week will be the 20th anniversary of the release of The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), a film plagued with problems. The original director Richard Stanley was replaced by John Frankenheimer, who then faced dealing with the eccentric stars Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer, and even Stanley himself who snuck back on set in an animal costume.
But one even more fascinating aspect of the production was its mix of Stan Winston-crafted creatures and digital visual effects by Digital Domain at a time when so much experimentation was going on in what could be convincingly created in CG on film.
I wrote about the often hilarious challenges the effects team faced at fxguide last year, after make-up and creature effects artist Shane Mahan and visual effects supervisor Kevin Mack shared their experiences on Dr. Moreau in a panel at Trojan Horse was a Unicorn. Check out it for a lot of fun details and imagery.
That’s how Laika vfx supervisor Steve Emerson described the making and stop motion animation of the 16-ft Giant Skeleton for Kubo and the Two Strings. Check out my Cartoon Brew breakdown of how they did it.