Recently I got a chance to do a phone interview with director Tom McGrath, whose newest film is DreamWorks’ The Boss Baby. I was in Tasmania when I did the call, babysitting my amazing niece and nephews. But just because of the time I did the call, I had to ask the kids if they would be quiet for about 30 minutes.
While I was transcribing the interview there were several moments I’d forgotten about where the kids came up to see and ask what I was doing, and others where they were fighting with each other in the background (and there’s a few moments of me saying ‘Shut up!’, too – thank goodness for the mute button on Skype…).
Anyway, I really enjoyed chatting to Tom, and the film is fun throwback to the look of old-school animation design in some ways. Check it out at Cartoon Brew.
It’s hard to write a post that will do the programme for FMX 2017 justice. There are just so many great speakers and sessions planned. If you’re able to head to Stuttgart on May 2-5, I’d say, do not hesitate.
This is one of the CG/VFX/Animation/production conferences where you can actually spend all four days in wall-to-wall sessions, or spend just as much time catching up with colleagues and friends.
If I had to list some highlights, they’d be something like this:
Valerian – ILM and Weta Digital have a sneak peek presentation.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 – Animal Logic and Weta Digital also showcasing their work.
Rogue One – John Knoll’s going to be there!
Animation director’s panel – Kelly Asbury, Peter Lord and more.
Pixar and Disney – pretty much anything they’re doing, from Piper to Moana
Scanline’s Stephan Trojansky on water sims – the studio’s Flowline tools are some of the best
Anything real-time – Epic’s there, as is Unity, and there’s a special automotive thread
Digital humans forum – this is always awesome, and what you get is a lot of frank discussion and research being presented
Thrillist asked me to look into The Lawnmower Man, Brett Leonard’s VR horror/thriller from 1992 and which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. I talked to the director and found out some neat things about his approach to the story and visual effects. Check it out here, and stay tuned for more vfx-focused retro coverage of the film, too.
I’ve got to travel around to a few conferences and events recently and what I’ve found is, there’s nothing quite like hearing and learning directly from artists in visual effects and design – in person.
In Australia, it can sometimes be tricky to have that exposure to the best artists in the field. However, there’s an event coming up – in both Melbourne and then in Sydney – aiming to change that.
It’s called Gnomon Live, and it’s a full weekend event of live demos, masterclasses and panel discussions with a whole bunch of world-class artists speaking on a range of VFX and design topics. People like Neville Page, Tran Ma, Miguel Ortega, Brian Recktenwald and Josh Herman. Plus the big studios – Animal Logic, Luma Pictures, Iloura, Firemonkeys, and more, will be there.
Another of the presenters whose attending is art director Alex Nice from Magnopus, an exciting studio which is crossing the line between visual effects and new forms of immersive entertainment. Nice has previously worked on films like Sin City, The Hunger Games and Hugo, and these days he’s exploring new art direction techniques in AR and VR.
Many big action blockbusters these days makes use of digi-doubles. One of the latest to take advantage of advancements in scanning humans and realizing CG actors is Logan, for which Image Engine crafted digital Hugh Jackmans and avatars of the new mutant Laura. I wrote up a breakdown of the work for Cartoon Brew.