Enter the Trojan Horse Golden Ticket Challenge

2017 Golden Ticket Challenge winner Te Hu with the theme, THU Clans.

I’ve been a regular attendee at Trojan Horse Was a Unicorn for a few years now. Formerly in Portugal, THU is landing in Malta this year, and the location looks stunning.

What’s exciting is, you can enter the Golden Ticket Challenge art competition to get there yourself. There are two categories – student and professional – and winners will receive a ticket to THU, flights to Malta and 5-star accommodation. The first placed student also receives a Wacom mobile pro and a Lenovo mobile workstation.

So, what do you have to do?

To enter, you need to create a piece of artwork on a set theme, ‘Land of Wonder’, which is inspired by the new Malta location.

Submissions opened on May 14th and run until July 9th. Winners are announced on ArtStation – which is partnering with THU on the Golden Ticket Challenge – July 16th.

What are you waiting for – find out more here: www.trojan-unicorn.com/main-event/golden-ticket

Oh, and how good does THU look already? On the VFX front, some of the speakers include ILM’s Hal Hickel, Black Panther vfx supe Geoffrey Baumann, DD’s Matthew Butler, vfx Leslie Ekker and more. And then there’s production designer Alex McDowell, director Jorge Gutierrez, and concept designer Ian McCaig. Seriously, amazing people.

THU takes place September 24-29, 2018 in Valletta, Malta.

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:


Invisible effects and how they were invisible


There’s always so much great film work around that’s invisible, and for 3D World magazine, I highlighted a few recent releases. My favourite bit is this feature image which just has the sand bags for a deer that will be later added in for the film, Three Billboards.

Willow is 30!


It’s very nearly the 30th anniversary of Ron Howard’s Willow, a huge effects film full of practical fx, miniatures, optical composites, matte paintings…and digital morphing. This was ILM’s big breakthrough into 2D image manipulation. I recently wrote about for VFX Voice magazine, and you can check out that article here.

Submit your film to VIEW Conference!


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


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


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.

Rampage: vfxblog’s long read


I recently got the chance to visit Weta Digital and sit down with some of the team on Rampage. Here’s vfxblog’s special coverage of the film at vfxblog.com/rampage, looking at Weta Digital’s creature work and destruction sims.

Horses everywhere


In February, I wrote this piece for 3D World magazine about their horse and rider agent. Check out the tutorial that Steven Regelous did, too.

Proceduralism from Rise


Back for the February 2018 issue of 3D World magazine, I talked to Rise FX about their use of procedural workflows in Houdini for Babylon Berlin and The Dark Tower.