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.

VIEW Conference preview: Making a digital Hugh Jackman


Between the 23rd and 27th of October, the city of Turin in Italy will be host to the VIEW Conference. Now in its 18th year, VIEW offers an intimate setting with a wide-ranging set of speakers from the visual effects, animation, games and interactive media industries.

One of those speakers is Image Engine visual effects supervisor Martyn Culpitt, who worked on director James Mangold’s Logan, one of the biggest films of the year. It’s also a film that surprised many with a seamless use of digital doubles for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and X-24 characters, and the digital double for the character of Laura, played by Dafne Keen.

At VIEW, Culpitt will be exploring Image Engine’s CG digi-doubles work and other visual effects in Logan, in detail. I caught up with the visual effects supervisor for a preview of his VIEW talk and a discussion about his thoughts on the state of digital human performances. Continue reading VIEW Conference preview: Making a digital Hugh Jackman

So, about those iPhone Animojis…


Apple’s animated emojis – Animojis – for the iPhone X just announced today are getting lots of attention, partly because the tech behind them likely extends from the company’s acquisition of Faceshift in 2015.

While that’s certainly not been officially confirmed, back then, Faceshift was doing some very cool things with driving animated avatars directly (ie. in real-time) from video of your own face, coupled with depth sensing tech – effectively the same thing that happens with these Animojis via the iPhone cameras.


Several tools have of course also been developed elsewhere that use input video and facial performance to drive animated characters, but for fun, I thought it might be interesting to go back to specific pieces of computer graphics research from 2009, 2010 and 2011 that each partly served as the origins of Faceshift.

Other continued research efforts also played a part in the development of Faceshift, but these papers below (which also have accompanying videos), were key and show how the facial animation of CG avatars would be driven in real-time from video captured of human performances.

Thibaut Weise, Hao Li, Luc Van Gool, Mark Pauly
Proceedings of the Eighth ACM SIGGRAPH / Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation 2009, 08/2009 – SCA ’09

Hao Li, Bart Adams, Leonidas J. Guibas, Mark Pauly
ACM Transactions on Graphics, Proceedings of the 2nd ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition in Asia 2009, 12/2009 – SIGGRAPH ASIA ’09

Hao Li, Thibaut Weise, Mark Pauly
ACM Transactions on Graphics, Proceedings of the 37th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition 2010, 07/2010 – SIGGRAPH 2010

Thibaut Weise, Sofien Bouaziz, Hao Li, Mark Pauly
ACM Transactions on Graphics, Proceedings of the 38th ACM SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition 2011, 08/2011 – SIGGRAPH 2011

A hot tip for VIEW: get there a day early for the workshops and masterclasses


Most of the incredible visual effects and animation talks at the upcoming VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy start on Tuesday 24th October. But if you’re in town on Monday 23rd October, I would definitely suggest heading to the masterclasses and workshops.

Now, if you already have a ‘full access’ pass to VIEW, then you’re all set for both the masterclasses and workshops. Otherwise, you can buy individual tickets to attend the workshops and masterclasses. There’s a lot of diverse subjects to choose from, and a lot of short or longer ones, too, from digestible 2 hour sessions to half-days and full days! Many are on that first Monday, while others continue through the week.

Here’s my take on just a few of the must-see masterclasses and workshops to check out at VIEW. Continue reading A hot tip for VIEW: get there a day early for the workshops and masterclasses

‘Son of Jaguar’ is a VR short I really enjoyed


I’m going to be honest, I get really motion sick in VR. But it’s not what happened when I watched Jorge Gutierrez’s Son of Jaguar at SIGGRAPH at the VR Theater – this short made by Reel FX knows how to respect audience space and audience viewing habits in VR. Gutierrez and I had a chat at the conference about how he had to learn new things in directing Son of Jaguar, and you can read the transcript at Cartoon Brew.