Beautybots and robot dogs: just another day in the life of Sony Pictures Imageworks


Sony Pictures Imageworks is behind a whole range of shots in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, from robot dogs, to the beautybot (inspired by Claudia Schiffer), the surrounds of Poppy’s diner environment, a robotic arm, the destruction of the Kingsman mansion and that crazy one-shot fight scene at the end.

Visual effects supervisor Mark Breakspear tells vfxblog how working on some of these hilarious shots was different from the usual VFX assignments – a bag of weed transforming into a forest environment was one of many challenging tasks Imageworks had to pull off, for example. And that was nothing next to mincing one of the bad guys… Continue reading Beautybots and robot dogs: just another day in the life of Sony Pictures Imageworks

Learn the (VFX) secrets of ‘mother!’ with visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker


When I was interviewing visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker about the VFX of Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, I was still getting my head around the movie. I knew I loved it, but I wasn’t clear on everything that had happened (I don’t think you’re meant to be, by the way).

The result, though, from talking to Dan, was that as he guided me through many of the sequences that VFX had had a hand in, I found our discussion almost as gripping as watching the actual film! Suddenly, major plot points and thematic elements became obvious, and I enjoyed hearing about the problem solving involved in simply getting mother! made.

I hope in reading this Q&A you might find that too. Of course, I suggest you see the movie first – not just because of obvious spoilers but because a lot of what Dan and I talk about probably won’t make sense otherwise.

In the interview, Dan describes how the visual effects requirements evolved through planning, production and post. There’s a great story about using VR to plan the shoot in the house, and other anecdotes on specific VFX design decisions and changes made along the way. Here’s your last chance to back out now, so again, beware of spoilers… Continue reading Learn the (VFX) secrets of ‘mother!’ with visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker

“That gives you goosebumps” – the VFX perspective on THU with Rise FX’s Florian Gellinger

Florian Gellinger from Rise FX.

It can be hard sometimes to nail down exactly what Trojan Horse was a Unicorn is. Of course, that’s its appeal – it’s an ‘experience,’ as co-founder André Lourenço describes it, for all kinds of creatives in digital illustration, design, concept art, 3D, CG, games, animation…and visual effects.

To that end, visual effects supervisor and Rise FX co-founder Florian Gellinger was one of this year’s Knights at THU. It was his first time attending, and I cornered him for a brief Q&A on the final day for his thoughts – as a ‘VFX person’ – on the week that was. Continue reading “That gives you goosebumps” – the VFX perspective on THU with Rise FX’s Florian Gellinger

When you get to go to the beach for work


Animal Logic has done some killer stuff on The LEGO Ninjago Movie. A lot of the original look for the film came from referencing natural elements, like sand, water, smoke and fire. The studio’s FX team even went to Bondi Beach in Sydney and dunked LEGO minifigs in the breaking waves to see what that would look like. I asked them all about it for Cartoon Brew.

Here’s a way to be part of Trojan Horse even if you’re not in Portugal

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Trojan Horse was a Unicorn or THU is about to kick off in Portugal. If you’re a regular reader then you might know I’ve been the last two years to this design, animation, concept art and VFX event (although listing those things doesn’t really fully cover what THU is all about – I think of it as the BEST motivational event for creative people I know about).

Not everyone can go to THU, partly because it always sells out ridiculously quickly. But one innovation they’ve been bringing for the past 2 years is THU TV, a mix of livestreaming interviews and coverage, and catch-up shows, direct from the event in Troia.

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This year, I’m going to be hosting some of those interviews. They’ll be a mix of casual chats and conversations with people from design, animation and VFX (I’ll post the schedule when I can). Some other fantastic presenters, Christopher Nichols from Chaos Group, and Haje Jan Kamps of Techcrunch LifeFolder fame, will also be hosting sessions. And you can watch them by signing up to a THU TV ticket right here:

It’s 59.90 Euros for live coverage of 5 days of THU Talks and Masterclasses, live talkshows (that’s the thing I’m part of), and VoD on Vimeo after the event.

I think THU TV is a pretty great way to stay in touch with what’s happening in the creative industries, learn some new things, be inspired, and feel like you’re there at THU in spirit even if you can’t be in person.