Retro vfx: Godzilla is 20!

Patrick Tatopoulos 6th scale Godzilla upper torso. Destruction of miniature jetty with Godzilla head. Photo by Isabella Vosmikova, © 1998 Tristar Pictures.

In vfxblog’s ‘Man-in-suit, miniatures, mechanics and modern CG: looking back at 20 years since Godzilla’, we chat to visual effects supervisor Volker Engel about this massive 1998 release and its use of practical, miniature, animatronics, puppet and CGI effects – all at once. The Q&A has some fun new facts about the teaser trailer for the film, and about how a whole bunch of shots were done, including one of my favourites, the fisherman running along that pier. You can check it all out at this dedicated link:

http://www.vfxblog.com/godzilla

Submit your film to VIEW Conference!

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Are you a filmmaker? The 2018 VIEW Conference is now accepting submissions for its 2018 film competitions.

There’s a €2,000 first prize – the VIEW Award – for short animated film, and the ITALIANMIX award for Italian short films.

Here’s some more info on how to enter:

– The VIEW AWARD is open to professionals and students, individuals or groups. Entries must be 2D or 3D animated films of 30 minutes or less created after January 1, 2016. An international jury drawn from the VIEW conference speaker roster will award the prize.

– The ITALIANMIX award is open to Italian artists working individually or with a group. Animated, experimental, or documentary films of 30 minutes or less created after January 1, 2016 are accepted. The winner will receive a Wacom tablet.

– Any dialog in the films must be in English or Italian, or have subtitles in English or Italian. Each submission should come with a press kit, a description of the project, high res still images of the work, and director credits. There is a €10 fee to enter.

– To enter either competition, go to https://festivals.festhome.com/f/776

– The deadline for entries is September 15, 2018.

The VIEW Conference takes place in Turin from October 22 to 26 and vfxblog will be there – you can register at https://www.viewconference.it.

Remembering this killer ILM shot from Deep Impact, now 20 years old

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20 years ago, the first of 1998’s asteroid films, Deep Impact, was released. In some ways it used visual effects rather sparingly to showcase the result of a partial meteor hit on the Earth. Massive waves hitting New York were a feature of the film, and these were realised as CG water sims by ILM. One shot in particular stayed in my memory – an overhead view of the waves crashing between buildings. Christopher Horvath was behind the sims for that shot, and he spoke to vfxblog about how it was made two decades ago. Read the interview here: http://vfxblog.com/deepimpact/

The week that was at FMX 2018

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I’m now back in Sydney but last week I had an extraordinary time at FMX in Stuttgart. There I was lucky enough to introduce several killer VFX and animation presentations, and host my own track – ‘Then & Now’ – with Chris Wedge from Blue Sky Studios and Phil Tippett. Another highlight was moderating an animation directors panel with Wedge, Shannon Tindle and David Silverman (who sang the Spider-Pig song from The Simpsons Movie; I’ll never forget it).

In addition, FMX was an incredible time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Plus get to see what’s happening in the industry. One thing I always love at FMX, too, is that the presenters regularly get to show behind the scenes material that can’t be shown anywhere else.

The FMX team made this highlights video, below, which I think really shows off the high calibre of speakers and attendees to the conference. Can’t wait for 2019 already!  Keep an eye on their website.

Inside the mind of Pacific Rim: Uprising’s animation director

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Pacific Rim: Uprising might just be an animator’s dream project; giant Jaeger robots fighting giant alien Kaiju. Whenever I watch a film like that, I always wonder, where do the animators start? Notwithstanding the fact that there’s already a Pacific Rim film out there, and perhaps plenty of other giant fighting robot films, something about Uprising’s animation felt different.

So I asked animation director Aaron Gilman to tell me. He’s now at Double Negative and is a veteran of such other effects-heavy films as Avatar and Iron Man 3 at Weta Digital. We talked about getting started with animating such large characters, finding performances, using motion capture and what Gilman calls his ‘Heft and Jank’ approach. Continue reading Inside the mind of Pacific Rim: Uprising’s animation director