VFX News 07/29/15

How Many Shots in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Are Completely CGI?

(slashfilm.com)             Due to the overwhelming amount of CGI visual effects used in the Star Wars prequels, and all the complaining that followed from fans hoping for more practical filmmaking, Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams have really been hitting home their use of authentic, real, practical effects for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. They’ve been relying heavily on that message, as seen in the recent Comic Con behind the scenes reel.

But that doesn’t mean Star Wars: The Force Awakens won’t have its fair share of CGI visual effects. Undoubtedly, CG was needed to extend sets, hide puppeteers, and even create entire characters. (Hopefully none are as distracting or invasive as Jar Jar Binks.) However, it sounds like there aren’t a lot of shots in Episode VII that are completely CGI, with no practical effects whatsoever.

Full article:   http://www.slashfilm.com/star-wars-the-force-awakens-cgi-shots/


Avatar 2 Production Delay Explained: Technology Needed Does Not Yet Exist

(ibtimes.co.uk)          Most fans awaiting the release of Avatar 2 will know that the technology (or rather the lack of it) is one of the key reasons for the delay in the film’s production and release. Latest reports reveal some new updates on the Avatar 2 production and explains the reason in more detail.

As per earlier reports, Avatar 2 will showcase the water ecosystem of Pandora and as a result, a major part of the film, will be filmed underwater.

According to Clapway, director James Cameron is planning on using a technology that will help him film breathtaking scenes underwater. The technology that he plans on using is still not present and there is work being done to bring it to existence, and that has led to delay in the production process. (via Day Herald)

“Cameron himself has revealed that the technology will help them speed up the filming process. A lot of the graphics and computer software have been developed at Weta Digital in New Zealand where Avatar 2’s animation and special effects is worked upon,” states the website report.

Moreover, producer Jon Landau earlier revealed that Avatar 2 will have a team which is going to help test out new technology for underwater motion capture. Landau said that they can use animation and graphics to simulate the water, but the same cannot be done for the actors. For this very reason they need technology that helps them capture the actor’s experience when they shoot inside a tank for Avatar 2.

Avatar 2 is expected to release in December 2017.


BFX Pro Festival Tickets On Sale

(bfxfestival.com)                    The seven day festival takes place in Bournemouth at the Bournemouth International Centre on the south coast of England, from the 28th September – 4th October 2015. The festival is split into 3 parts:

BFX Pro sponsored and curated by The Foundry

Monday 28th September

A one day conference of presentations, demos, and networking aimed at CTO’s, pipeline engineers, asset managers, service providers, professionals and academics working within the creative industries. We will be discussing current and future research, services & platforms, and their role within the sector. Our themes will include – ‘Tools for Iteration and Collaboration: Pipeline Empowers Creativity’, ‘The Cloud – Invisible Technology and the Backbone of the Future’ and ‘A/R & V/R – The Reality of Virtual Content’. There will be a clear focus on production and we have some AMAZING speakers lined up. Stay tuned for more information – we’ll be announcing our schedule very soon (you won’t want to miss this).

Presentations, Screenings & Careers Hub

Tuesday 29th September – Friday 2nd October

This unique four day programme is aimed at students, professionals and hobbyists and consists of  screenings, presentations, workshops and a careers hub. Our confirmed speakers include:

Framestore, Method Studios, Iloura, Double Negative, MPC, Animal Logic, Axis Animation, Aardman, Frontier Developments, Blue Zoo, The Chaos Group, The Foundry, Eric Shaw, ILM and The Mill, with more to be announced very soon.

We can already confirm that Iloura will be joining us from Australia to present George Millers Masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road. Dan Bethell, FX Sequence Supervisor (and NCCA, Bournemouth University Graduate) will talk us through all aspects of the film and its effects.

Our  Careers Hub is back, and its going to be even bigger than last years, with recruiters from some of the world’s best VFX, Animation and Games studios. The Careers Hub can be found in the Purbeck Lounge, next to the speakers hall, from the 1st – 2nd October, 10am – 6pm.

BFX Family Weekend

Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th October

This weekend will be jam packed with family friendly events aimed at those interested in Film, Animation and Computer Games, containing a programme of public screenings, presentations and workshops.

BOOK TICKETS FOR BFX FAMILY WEEKEND

More information regarding the festival will appear online very soon!

BOOK TICKETS FOR BFX PRO

Source with links:  http://www.bfxfestival.com/festival/

‘Transformers 5’  To Likely Introduce ‘Beast Wars’

(masterherald.com)               Paramount Pictures has come up with a “Transformers” writers’ room sometime in May as put together by Akiva Goldsman and Michael Bay. The writers’ room assured the next installment of the very successful robot movie series of a good storyline as well as all future films or spinoff movies of the franchise.

It could be recalled that towards the penultimate part of “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime, were able to draw support from at least three beast robots, which alluded the possibility that the next installment of the series could focus on beast wars.

Reports coming out as of late indicate that Akiva Goldsman seems to have given the writers a free hand on deciding which direction they want to go in as far as plots and subplots for “Transformers 5” are concerned, details Enstarz.

In a recent interview, Goldsman said that if one of the writers discovers an affinity for Beast Wars, he or she can move forward on treatments that will have been fleshed out by the whole writers’ room.

When the concept of ‘Beast Wars’ materializes for “Transformers 5,” it would mean that the machines will now transform into wild animalistic form.

The beast versions of many of the robot characters of “Transformers” can be found on the G1 toyline series – Optimus Prime is Optimus Primal, Bumblebee is Cheetor, Star Scream is Terrasaur, and Blackout is Tarantulus, and so on and so forth. The rest of the robots from both the Autobots and the Decepticons all have their wild animalistic form.


Martial Arts Legend Bruce Lee Set for a CGI Comeback in ‘IP Man 3’!?

(moviepilot.com)                The magical world of CGI has sprung its latest fascinating surprise on cinema lovers everywhere. For it has just been announced that a computer-generated version of martial arts and action movie legend Bruce Lee will make an appearance in IP Man 3.

It is as yet unknown how much of a role Lee will play in the Ip Man saga, which portrays the life story of Yip Man, the first person to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun, but we do know that Lee was a pupil of his.

Apparently, the film’s producers were unable to find an actor to portray Lee’s intensity onscreen so have decided to use computer graphics to re-create the most authentic Lee in the film.

We have, of course, already seen a CGI-ed Lee in the Johnny Walker whiskey commercial, “Gamechanger.” That ad was directed by Joseph Kahn, who also directed the recent gritty Power Rangers fan film.

Local Studio Wants to be ‘China’s Answer to Pixar’

(CCTV.com)                With China’s hairy hero the Monkey King swinging back into action, it appears people’s interest in Chinese-made animation movies has been re-ignited. And with more local and international talents joining the industry and a more mature financial environment, more local studios are chasing their dream to become the next Pixar or Dreamworks.

The girl needs 300,000 strands of animated hair, almost three times more than a real-life girl, to make this swing appear more real. That is just one of the fun parts of computer-generated-imagery animation. Computers are a necessity, but the believability and acting still come first.

The animators themselves are cast like performers and in this dream-making industry, Hollywood will no longer play the dominant role. On a visit to Light Chaser studio in a Beijing suburb, Yu Zhou, the founder of this three-year-old Chinese company, said that they keep learning from Pixar and Dreamworks. But they do not see them competitors, as the market is large enough.

Zhou said in China you can find capital, artists, and even the most cutting-edge animation technology, but the toughest part is management. In the CGI industry, studios follow a step-by-step integrated system allowing everyone to build off one another’s work, what’s called a production pipeline.

Liu Lu, an industry veteran who worked for Pixar for many years, is tasked with building a powerful management system so this 150-person team can work together.

More international talents have been attracted back to China, looking for new opportunities that are hard to come by in the well-established Hollywood ecosystem.

In the US, animations can take up to 15 percent of movies’ market share. This compares to only 5 percent in China. But more local studios are joining the competition and want to grab a slice of the growing pie. They plan to take advantage of their international experience, as well as local talents and Chinese creativity.


‘Revenant’ Director:  “CGI was out of the question as “the film would be a piece of shit”

(theguardian.com)              Film crew rep claims executives on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, ignored multiple warnings about safety concerns

How far is too far in pursuit of that perfect shot? Filming during Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest offering, The Revenant, has been described as “a living hell” according to some cast and crew, a fact the director does not dispute.

While conditions were undeniably brutal, now Damian Petti, president of film crew union body IATSE Local 212, suggests that cast and crew may have been in real danger. He told the Hollywood Reporter that production executives ignored multiple warnings about safety concerns.

Director defends Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Revenant as crew call shoot a ‘living hell’

The Revenant sees Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass betrayed by his companions during a fur trapping expedition in 1823. CGI was out of the question as “the film would be a piece of shit”, according to its director, and so The Revenant was shot in harsh conditions in the Canadian winter, a far cry from a soundstage in Los Angeles.

Petti criticised what he calls an “it’s all worth it because the picture looks really good” attitude stating: “That’s a very dangerous road for any of us to be on and to buy into.

“In terms of our industry, it’s important that people differentiate between getting an amazing movie at all costs, and safety.”

The Revenant producer New Regency deny these allegations, insisting that on-set safety was duly followed throughout the shoot: “While filming in challenging conditions, safety was not compromised.”

Petti is acting as a voice for crew members he feels were “not … taken seriously” and who fear the consequences of speaking out. Petti claims that around 15 to 20 crew members quit or were fired during production, some of whom “raised safety issues”.

New Regency, in its defence, say it hired specialists to ensure overall safety while shooting in harsh conditions: “We hired experts who worked with us in swift-water, mountain-climbing, bear behaviour, helicopter operations and cold-weather safety to complement the US production management team.”


Dr Who Special Effects Whiz Sets Students a Space Ship Challenge

(aboutmyarea.co.uk)                  Animation students from Barking & Dagenham College got the chance to learn from creative employers and leaders in the hi-tech world of TV and film 3D visual effects and take part in a speed 3D modelling challenge – with one student winning first prize.

The students, who are studying for a Foundation Degree in Animation with Games Design at the College were excited to take part in the challenge set up by leading visual effects artist, Adam Dewhirst.  Adam has worked on popular projects such as Dr Who, World War Z and Maleficent to name just a few.  Up against animation students from two other colleges, the task saw them create 3D spaceship concept designs in just one hour.  All were hoping they would be in with the chance of winning the prize of a £650 Wacom tablet, the type used by visual effects professionals and graphic artists.

Whilst all work was of a great standard, only one student could win and this honour went to Barking & Dagenham College student Dominic Esprit, 20, from Walthamstow. Adam felt Dominic’s design would work well in full production and looked very realistic.

Commenting on his win, Dominic said: “This opportunity has really changed my life. I hope to one day work in this fantastic industry and want to say a massive thank you to my tutor Matthew Phelan for all his help and support and my classmates Viktorija and Francis for being such strong competition, encouraging me to keep pushing myself harder.”

Escape Technology, the technology reseller and support specialists for the digital creative industry, hosted the 3D speed modelling challenge and event. As well as drafting in Adam Dewhirst to set the student challenge, the company arranged for Adam to also be on hand to offer career advice to students on how to apply for work in the industry once they graduate.

Adam, who has created visual effects for the TV, film, music and gaming industries said: “To succeed in the industry a 3D VFX artist needs speed as well as accuracy. This speed modelling challenge is a great opportunity for students to put their technical ability to the test as well as how they perform under pressure. The Barking & Dagenham College students were particularly strong in both areas and I’m positive these talented students will have no problem securing 3D VFX jobs in the future. It’s important that colleges like Barking & Dagenham College continue to train students to the standard they are – making sure the UK continues to compete as a world leader in the art of visual effects.”

Ana Guimaraes, Curriculum Director Creative, Digital and Enterprise at Barking & Dagenham College added: “As a Digital & Creative Career College we make sure our students get every opportunity to work with and learn from industry experts. Technological advances mean that the world of visual special effects is a hugely rewarding and exciting career option for our students.”


Terminator Genisys Crosses $300 million, Sequel Unconfirmed

(denofgeek.uk)                The future of the Terminator movies remains in the balance, as Terminator: Genisys crosses $300 million at the global box office…

When the rights for the Terminator franchise were snapped up in an expensive auction back at the start of the decade, this is not how things were supposed to have ended up. It cost $20 million to acquire said rights, with Skydance and Paramount ultimately teaming up for a proposed new trilogy of Terminator movies.

The problem is that the series, not for the first time, may not get that far.

Terminator Genisys opened back at the start of July, with reviews ranging from not very good to outright hostile. We’ve heard from a few people who have warmed to the film, but nowhere near the number that director Alan Taylor and his team would have wanted. Right now, Terminator Genisys is being marked down as one of the summer’s disappointments.

Free Preview of Our VFX Supervisior Background Fundamentals Series

(fxphd.com)                The new July 2015 term was just launched here at fxphd and you can check out all the great new courses we have on offer in our term overview video.

This term’s Background Fundamentals, our weekly magazine-style course covering the fundamentals of vfx, focuses on vfx supervision. We’ll be sharing a wide variety of interviews with supervisors from around the world. The first class featured Andrew Jackson, the vfx supervisor whose work includes Knowing, Happy Feet 2, 300 and the last blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road.

Check out a free preview from the first class — and join fxphd to gain access to the full series as well as all of our great courses.

VIDEO – Take a look:  https://www.fxphd.com/blog/free-preview-bkd/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=fxpage&utm_campaign=post-andrew

Pixar Bets on Better Image Quality

(bbc.com)         Inside Out is the 15th film to come from Pixar’s computer animation studios and it focuses on what goes on in the mind of an 11-year-old girl.

The film is the first Pixar feature to use Dolby Vision which claims to offer a better quality of picture.

BBC Click spoke to director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera about why they chose to employ the process for this film.

Clips courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures. Inside Out is released in UK cinemas on 24th July.

VIDEO – Take a look:   http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-33508826


Ant-Man Crew Insulted At Crew Screening

https://twitter.com/FilmCredits101/status/621396172784078848


The Goonies – Sequel in the Works

(usmagazine.com)           When it comes to a Goonies sequel, the film’s original screenwriter Chris Columbus always keeps three words in mind: Never say die. In a new interview on July 20’s HuffPost Live, the filmmaker — currently promoting Pixels with Josh Gad — told fans that yes, the sequel is happening, but no, it’s not on the fast track.

Problem No. 1? There’s no final script. “There are a lot of writers who are interested in writing Goonies, but we’re very protective because it’s such a well-loved movie,” Columbus said. “The Goonies have aged 30 years, so there was a magic about that particular cast. How do you make it work now? That’s a difficult challenge.”

Rumors of a Goonies sequel were first sparked in April 2014 when the original film’s director, Richard Donner, hinted at a second movie, and suggested that Columbus and co-writer Steven Spielberg would return.

Last year, film costars Sean Astin and Corey Feldman admitted they’d be on board, and on Monday’s HuffPost Live, Columbus entertained plot twists and casting ideas. “Do you want to announce that I’m playing Stripe’s brother, or wait?” Gad, the star of Columbus’ Pixels, joked.

Gad had also already thought out how the reboot would get with the times. “What if it’s a crossover so that Josh Brolin’s character from No Country for Old Men is actually what became of Brand? Then you get Anton Chigurh as the guy who’s hunting down the goonies,” he proposed.

Read more: http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/the-goonies-2-is-coming-chris-columbus-calls-sequel-difficult-2015207#ixzz3hCXgyhjd


6 Tips For Becoming an Artist in Visual Effects for Film

(linkedin.com)                 Batman vs. Superman. Guardians of the Galaxy. Suicide Squad. Films like these and many more are thrilling audiences worldwide and are driving the entertainment business. Their success depends largely on the visual effects artists creating the images and action that expose audiences to new worlds and experiences. It’s a growing field with the work being done globally and young people are clamoring to get into the field. However, it is highly competitive and the expectations for entry level artists keep climbing. Read on to learn a few tips if you want to become part of this exciting field.

Focus.

Visual effects studios working on feature films tend to want specialists. Compositing and lighting are the biggest departments with the biggest demand. FX artists are always in demand, there never seems to be enough of them. You might also specialize in a more niche department, like crowd or character TD. Even though the number of positions in those departments is smaller, the demand is there because fewer artists choose it as their focus. We need modelers and animators too, however the proportion of those artists coming out of colleges and universities is not in line with the demand. While it’s good to learn a bit of everything, focus on the department that most resonates with you and put all of your eggs in that basket.

Code.

Having some scripting skills like Python under your belt will make you more valuable to employers. Many think “I didn’t become an artist so I could be writing code.” However, it can be creative, and further, some scripting saves you from repetitive tasks which frees you to focus on the creative choices.

Reality.

Visual effects artists make photo-realistic images. While we create fantastical creatures and worlds, they are rooted in reality by believably obeying physics and anatomy of the real world. So when you’re creating your own work, create images that look photo-realistic. Study reference from photos and the world around you. It is better to create a simple scene from everyday life that is convincingly real than to make chrome dinosaurs that look really cool.

Research.

Know your industry, find out what films are being made and who is working on them. Learn about the leading artists in your area of interest and find out how they got there. Be sure you are using the latest industry techniques and software; things can change quickly in this field and it’s important to stay up to date.

Network.

You’re probably reading this on LinkedIn, so you’re taking good steps already. What often gets overlooked in an era of friending, connecting, liking, sharing, tweeting and following is actual human connections. Look for opportunities to meet people in person. Join organizations like SIGGRAPH, get involved in events, volunteer and talk to people. Make friends, follow up with people you’ve met, don’t expect them to chase you.

Apply.

MPC is one of the biggest visual effects companies in the world and is committed to help develop the next generation of visual effects artists. MPC Academy is our in-house finishing school where we hire recent graduates and pay them to be trained full time for up to 12 weeks, after which the successful graduates join their department working on feature film visual effects. Find out more at moving-picture.com/academy.

Would you like to learn more about MPC Academy? Sign up now for a live webinar that I’m hosting next Tuesday at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5101753012550018306


This is the Power of Age-Reduction Visual Effects

(petapixel.com)          You’ve probably seen many examples of Photoshop being used to make a portrait subject look younger, but have you seen the same type of age-reduction retouching in real-time video?

Digital artist Rousselos Aravantinos recently did an age-reduction test using the digital compositing software Nuke and Mocha Pro. The 30-second video above shows the results of his experiment.

“I’ve decided not to apply any facial markers, to challenge myself (and make my life more difficult). It’s a 100% work in 2D space,” the Los Angeles-based artist writes. “There are a few things i would like to improve, but I felt like it was time to move on.”

The original video is a short moving portrait of actress Michele Valley shot with a Nikon V1 mirrorless camera. You may not think that Aravantinos’ de-aging work looks completely realistic, but it’s an interesting look at what one person can do these days using the latest software tools available out there.

VIDEO – Take a look:   http://petapixel.com/2015/07/22/this-is-the-power-of-age-reduction-visual-effects/

VFX News – 07/27/15

Tom Cruise: ‘I’ll do Top Gun 2 if there’s ‘no CGI on the jets’

(theguardian.com)             The actor is keen to reprise his role of Maverick in a sequel to the 1986 hit but only if the film relies on practical effects

‘If I can figure it out, if all of us can figure it out, it’d be fun to do’ … Tom Cruise on reprising his role as Maverick in Top Gun 2. Photograph: Splash News/Corbis

While promoting Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the 53-year-old star spoke about his desire to play the role of Maverick again, if all falls into place.

“If I can figure it out, if all of us can figure it out, it’d be fun to do, I’d like to fly those jets again, but we got to do all the jets practical, no CGI on the jets,” he said to Extra. “I’m saying right now no CGI on the jets. If we can figure all that out, and the Department of Defense will allow us to do it, that would be fun.”

It’s already been revealed that the film will revolve around the clash between traditional aviation and unmanned drones. Producer David Ellison also added that it will be in 3D and shot for Imax.

The script is currently being written by Justin Marks, who was responsible for Streetfighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, a film which has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was originally being developed by the late Tony Scott.

Reports also suggest that Cruise would like Prince Harry to cameo in the film because of his “real experience and knowledge of flying in combat”.

After the release of the fifth Mission: Impossible film, which the Guardian’s Henry Barnes called “slick with silliness”, Cruise will next be seen in Mena, as a pilot who works for the CIA and as a drug runner.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Predicted to Make Worldwide Box-Office Haul of $2 Billion

(c/star)                 “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is expected to be a major box-office hit as it is predicted to earn $2 billion in sales once it is released to worldwide theaters on December 18.

Predictions are overly optimistic for the latest installment of the epic space opera franchise as it could eventually end up just behind “Avatar” and “Titanic” in the list of highest-grossing movies of all time, Deadline reported. Analyst Benjamin Swinburne is optimistic about the overseas sales of the movie so he raised his forecast of profit to nearly 22 percent.

After considering all the revenues and costs of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” it was predicted that the movie will be very profitable to Disney, the company that acquired Lucasfilm in 2012.

Disney is expected to gain more than $1 billion in revenues. Swinburne predicted that the domestic sales will reach $650 million with overseas sales expected to reach $1.3 billion. The ratio of overseas sales doubling local sales is expected to be higher than the last three “Star Wars” films.

Swinburne also added that Disney is poised to take a larger than average slice from the theatrical sales pie. For the “Star Wars” movie, Disney is expected to take 55-60 percent of domestic receipts and 40-45 percent of international sales. Prediction of global merchandise sales is also high with an expected income of $3 billion a year on licensed toys, clothing, and other related “Star Wars” stuff. About $215 million of the sales will go back to Disney.

Further predictions said that due to the “Star Wars” wide reach, Disney might gain $350 million in home video revenues, $100 million from video games, and $75 million for global pay TV. Swinburne figured that the revenues will trump the expected overall expense of Disney to produce “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” which cost the company $423 million.

‘Ant-Man’ Wins Box Office for Second Straight Week

(foxnews.com)          LOS ANGELES –  “Ant-Man” crept past new opener “Pixels” to claim the top spot at the box office this weekend by an ant-sized margin. The Disney and Marvel superhero pic brought in $24.8 million over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $106.1 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday.

“Pixels,” meanwhile, just barely missed first place with a $24 million debut. While studios always hope for the bragging rights of a No. 1 debut, the real issue here is whether or not the Adam Sandler end of the world comedy will make up its $88 million production budget.

Jurassic World 2 Will Go Head-to-head with Godzilla 2 in June of 2018

(scified.com)                Hold on to your butts! Not a day after Jurassic World was crowned third most successful film of all time has Universal announced plans to release the sequel, Jurassic World 2 in just under 3 years from today! Eyeing a June 22nd, 2018 release date, Jurassic World will see the return of lead actors Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. BD Wong is also likely to return, though his return has yet to be confirmed.

Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly will once again team up to pen the screenplay for Jurassic World 2, which Steven Spielberg will once again executive produce.

What makes this release date so interesting is it means Jurassic World 2 (a Legendary / Universal Pictures production) will directly compete with Legendary and Warner Brothers’ own Godzilla 2, which is currently slated for a June 8th, 2018 release date. Whether or not Godzilla 2’s release date will be pushed or accelerated has yet to be determined, but as it stands, both films will compete for top place at the box office throughout the month of June in 2018.

Which film do you think will take home the biggest box office earnings? Which sequel are you most excited to see? What are your hopes for Jurassic World 2? Let us know in the comments section!

Thanks to Evan123 in the Jurassic World forum for the news (via Variety)

Jurassic World is a sci-fi terror adventure film set 22 years after the events of the first Jurassic Park movie. When a terrifying new hybrid Dinosaur breaks free from its compound, the park is sprung into chaos and visitors must fight for their survival, or face extinction.

Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World.  Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure from a screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly.  Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, written by Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly and starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jason Schwartzman, Omar SY, Irrfan Khan, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Katie McGrath, Lauren Lapkus, Jurassic World hit theaters June 12th, 2015.

$150M Gambit Feature to Begin Production in October, Casting Call Revealed

(comingsoon.net)        Though a logo for the character’s upcoming solo film was shown at San Diego Comic-Con, very little has been announced about the forthcoming Gambit movie, starring Channing Tatum and currently set for a release on October 7, 2016.

Now, a new document from LouisianaEntertainment.gov reveals new details on the film, including that it will have a budget just north of $150 million and production is slated to last from October of this year until February of 2016.

In other, Gambit news, Showbiz411 has found a casting call for the film with brief descriptions of some of the characters set to appear in the film, though the names have all likely been changed. They read as follows:

Louis– Male, any ethnicity, 40s-50s. Elegant and intelligent. An appealing entrepreneur with an unexpected
dark side.
Vera– Female, any ethnicity, mid 20s – early 30s. Beautiful, smart, tough, fiery and unpredictable.
Wes– Male, any ethnicity, mid 20s – mid 30s. Aspirational but weak minded. Soulful and sensitive.
Fritz– Male, any ethnicity, 40s – 50s. A professional thief. Charismatic con-artist. Warm hearted but untrustworthy.
Nash– Male, any ethnicity, mid 20s – early 30s. A potent threat. Heir to his mother’s business. Malevolent.
Willhelm– Male, any ethnicity, 30s. Dangerous street criminal. Protective and loyal to his family. Intensely loyal and violent.
Gary– Male, any ethnicity, mid 20s – early 30s. A little simple; dim-witted and passive.
Nonna—Female, any ethnicity, mid 20s – 30 years old. Uptight, corporate, vicious, sexual.
Joe– Male, any ethnicity, 30s. He’s a gun for hire. He is the black sheep of his family. Not from good breeding but from a working class family.
Ben–Male, any ethnicity, 20s. Just reaching adulthood. A street kid, a disaffected outsider, an orphan.
Boris–Male, Hispanic, 20s. Charming, handsome, and dangerous..
Clarissa– Female, mixed race, 10 – 12 years old. Ethereal and other worldly. Very expressive.
Wolfgang– Male, authentic French, 40s. A French criminal. Must speak fluent French.
Howard– Male, Caucasian. 50s. A refined European mobster who speaks fluent French.

Set to be directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and featuring a screenplay by Josh Zetumer (RoboCop), Gambit will be produced by Tatum and his creative partner Reid Carolin, along with “X-Men” franchise stewards Simon Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner.

How ‘Pixels’ Brought 2D Video Games to a 3D Motion Picture

(hollywoodreporter.com)               In Sony’s Pixels, directed by Chris Columbus and opening this weekend, aliens attack the Earth with ’80s video games as models for their assaults — meaning the human saviors must fight off the likes of Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede and Space Invaders.

Bringing classic video game characters to a 3D live-action motion picture proved challenging — as well as fun — for the VFX team. Led by overall VFX supervisor Matthew Butler, the work was shared primarily by Digital Domain and Sony Picture Imageworks, and parts were also tackled at an additional nine facilities. Here, The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Imageworks’ VFX supervisor Dan Kramer.

Did you play these video games in the ‘80s?

Kramer: I did; I’m the perfect age for this. When I was a kid I spent many hours in the arcade playing most of the games that were featured in the movie. I had a lot of fond memories of those characters, like lots of people do. I was exciting when we got the project. … A lot of that had to do with the Pixels short by Patrick Jean, which inspired the movie. I though it was charming and paid homage to the video games in a really clever way.

What did it take to bring 2D video game characters into a 3D live action world?

Kramer: 2D video games are sprite sheets, which are little images that you flip between to make it look like you’re animating, and these are put on a CRT screen. So we tried to find out what the analogous of that would be in 3D. A pixel is a dot of light on a screen, and the equivalent in 3D is called a voxel (volume pixel). We use them a lot in CG … but we’ve never used them to render something directly to represent a character — at least not that I’m aware of. We ended up modeling simple characters, and we put them through an effects pipeline to “voxelate” them. Basically there was a 3D grid in space and wherever that character moved, we’d, like, up those voxels. So as the characters moves around, the voxels turned on and off.

There’s a sequence during which Frogger jumps between live action cars. How did that come together?

Kramer: We had to coordinate with the stunt coordinator, drivers. They set up a scene so the cars were all moving at the same speed and there was a nice gap between the cars that Frogger could jump in between. We had to choreograph this scene and imagine how Frogger would make his way across the street. We did similar things with Tetris; we built a 3D building and had giant Tetris blocks coming down and destroying sections of it. Anything that would tell the story of the video game was fun to do. That’s something that [Jean’s] short did really well.

Full article with pics:     http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/pixels-vfx-bring-video-games-810568


Did Pixar Kill Hand-Drawn Animation in the US?

(rotoscopers.com)       By my personal admission, the topic of hand-drawn animation and its current state in the animation industry is a subject that I always keep coming back to. Just when you think that you’ve squeezed the subject for all of its worth, something comes along that unveils a new layer to the conversation and injects it with new vibrancy and life. Alas, it was this ‘something’ that prompted me to go back and ask a hard question. One that will definitely cause a divide among readers on both sides of the equation.

I never, ever go into these types of articles with the intention of asking questions that are easy to answer in one go. But if I’m being honest, I had to think really hard about this article. How could I write this in a way that was satisfying? How could I give an explanation that was worthy of my time devoted to this article and to answering the question at hand. Now, in hindsight, I’m glad I wrote this. You might not be happy with it (not that I expect you to be), but I’m happy with it, simply for the fact that it might challenge you in the same way that it challenged me.

With all of that out the way, let’s go to the question. Here we go.

The Question at Hand (Introduction)

Did Pixar kill hand-drawn animation in the US?

As of current, Pixar is enjoying an ascendant comeback. Thanks to a little film called Inside Out, Pixar is once again in the good graces of critics and audiences every, and judging by the recently-released trailer for The Good Dinosaur, their comeback phase looks to continue unabated. But I guess on some level, that was to be expected. There was no way that Pixar, the studio that forever shifted the course of the animation industry, would not recover from a three-film tumble that started with Cars 2.

Now, you might be asking yourself: what do you mean when the animation industry was “forever shifted” by the course of one company?

A Trip Through Times Past

Let’s rewind the clocks to November 22 of 1995, when the first Toy Story bowed in theaters. During this time, hand-drawn animation was still prevalent in US theaters everywhere and was arguably still in its ultimate prime, while CG animation was still in its infancy and not yet the industry standard (as is the case today). Back then, the idea of a fully CG-animated feature film (let alone it becoming industry standard) was almost unheard of.

Of course, that would all change when Toy Story hit the scene. Oh boy, did Toy Story turn heads. Not only did it mark the beginning of an iconic franchise (now set to receive a fourth installment), but it was a watershed moment for the animation industry. CG-animation was the way of the future, and what other way to prove that than the success story that was Toy Story.

Throughout the remainder of the 90’s and into the early 2000’s, hand-drawn animation was still in vogue, even as a number of flops started popping up occasionally (Quest for Camelot, The Iron Giant, Titan A.E., etc). Running concurrent to this was the rise in the number of animated studios that were either switching over to CG-animation or were doing CG-animation from the onset. Regardless, Disney was holding firm on hand-drawn animation, made confidant by their successes with films like Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, and Tarzan as they eventually start to command an near-automatic monopoly over these films.

But as history would have it, even Disney’s iron grasp on hand-drawn animation would begin to slowly fade away, as the early 2000’s saw more of their hand-drawn feature films come up short in the box office. Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Home on the Range. As the medium of hand-drawn animation began to fall out of favor with each passing year, so did Disney’s interest in soldiering on with a medium that was starting to hand them diminishing returns. The feature animation unit of Disney-MGM Studios (now known as Disney’s Hollywood Studios) in Orlando was shut down in March of 2004. Home of the Range was also released that same year, and as with the others, it underperformed at the box office.

Now, let’s time-jump five years to 2009. CG-animation is now the industry standard and rule of the land, and Disney had realized this fact after Home on the Range and shifted course accordingly. That said, there was a certain sector of the company that thought that hand-drawn animation still deserved a fair shot. So along came Princess and the Frog, their first 2D-animated film in some time. While not a box-office flop or even an underperformer, any hopes that the movie would be a course-correction for theatrically-released hand-drawn animated films were squandered by missteps in the marketing and an error of judgment that saw Princess and the Frog stomped on by the release of Avatar five days later.

Two years afterwards, 2011 would see Disney take a final dip in the waters of hand-drawn animation with Winnie the Pooh. Despite shining reviews and a modest, easily-achievable budget, it too was trampled on by the release of another big film (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2) and likewise went utterly flaccid at the box office with $44 million.

This was (arguably) the last breath drawn by Disney’s hand-drawn division, two years before it was dismantled entirely in the summer of 2013. Jumping forth into the here and now, hand-drawn animated feature films on the big screens of US theaters are a rare occurrence. Even more rare are hand-drawn animated feature films made and produced in the US. It’s been four years since the release of the last hand-drawn animated feature film to ever come from a major studio, and the argument over the current state of hand-drawn animation is still debated with hard passion and even harder opinions.

Full article:    http://www.rotoscopers.com/2015/07/27/did-pixar-kill-hand-drawn-animation-in-the-us/

Terminator: Genisys Passes $300 Million at the Box Office

(flickeringmyth.com)                  It has been destroyed by critics (read our reviews here and here)and was called the Worst Blockbuster of All-Time by our own Anghus Houvouras – but Terminator: Genisys passed a milestone this weekend.

Terminator: Genisys added another $2.5 million to its domestic total and has now made $305 million worldwide, the majority of which has come from overseas. In the US, the movie has made just $85 million, but its worldwide take of $219 million (taken mostly in South Korea, United Kingdom and Russia) has helped push the movie past the $300 million marker.

However, the movie cost a whopping $155 million – and that doesn’t include marketing costs – so there is still some way for it to go before it becomes “profitable”. Terminator: Genisys is currently the 14th biggest movie of the year, and is being outperformed by The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, Taken 3 and Mad Max: Fury Road.


The ‘Minecraft’ Movie Finds an ‘Always Sunny’ Director

(screencrush.com)        Today in “extremely unlikely actors making their unlikely directorial debuts with unlikely projects,” we have It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-creator and star Rob McElhenney landing the Minecraft movie. If you are familiar with every element of that sentence then you know just how weird this news is.

The news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter, who had no additional details on the project, including whether or not anything that was developed by Shawn Levy (who departed the project in December) is still in play.

McElhenney is best known for playing Mac on 12 seasons of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Minecraft is best known as the video game that all of the kids are playing, where gamers can build complex worlds from scratch and then navigate them at their own peril. McElhenney, who has only a few credits to his name, seems like an odd choice for what is surely going to be a large and expensive tentpole movie…but it makes a weird kind of sense when you stop and think about it.

If the Minecraft movie is working off the template established by The LEGO Movie (and it is surely going off that template), then putting someone with a little bit of an edge to their work in the director’s seat is the right move. Much like how Phil Lord and Chris Miller brought their off-kilter sensibilities to what should have been a lame kids’ movie, McElhenney can enhance Minecraft with his own subversive tendencies.

Minecraft has no characters and no storyline, so the movie is going to build its narrative from scratch. In other words, the guy who plays Mac is going to hand-build his own fantasy story about a world where everything is hand-built. This should be interesting, at the very least

VFX News – 07/24/15

‘Jurassic World’ Sequel to Hit Theaters in 2018

(variety.com)             After the smash success of “Jurassic World,” Universal has dated a sequel for June 22, 2018.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will return to star in the film, which Steven Spielberg will exec produce through his Amblin Entertainment banner.

Colin Trevorrow, who directed “Jurassic World,” will co-write the screenplay with Derek Connolly.

On Wednesday, “Jurassic World” became the No. 3 top-grossing film of all-time, surpassing “The Avengers” with a monster $1.52 billion in ticket sales.

It has one remaining territory left to open — Japan, where it debuts on Aug. 5.


How Exactly Did Ant-Man Make Michael Douglas Look So Young?

(vulture.com)                  In Ant-Man’s opening scene, Michael Douglas’s Hank Pym strides into S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to tender his resignation. Well, that’s not 100 percent right — it’s definitely Hank Pym, and it’s definitely S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, but it’s not quite Michael Douglas, at least as we know him in 2015. The scene takes place in 1989, and the Douglas that walks into the room is the spitting image of the actor during his Wall Street and Fatal Attraction days. How did the film undo 25 years of time’s cruel work? We were lucky enough to talk to Trent Claus of Lola VFX, the company that de-aged Douglas for Marvel, to learn the scene’s secrets.

In the world of visual effects, Lola specializes in “visual cosmetics,” which can range from secret touch-ups to complete physical transformations. As Claus puts it, the company can make anyone “older, younger, thinner [or] fatter.” Lola first got into de-aging in their work for X-Men: The Last Stand, but their breakout moment came on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, where they handled the aging and de-aging of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett’s characters. Since then, they’ve had a long relationship with Marvel — Lola created skinny Chris Evans for the first Captain America film — and they were brought on fairly early in the production process to handle the de-aging work in Ant-Man’s prologue.

The heads-up helped. “They asked for advice for what they could do when they were shooting that could aid us, which is very much appreciated,” said Claus. “We put our two cents in, and they did everything we needed right from the start.” Mostly that meant no anti-aging makeup on the 70-year-old Douglas (it messes with the way light works on the face) and a sprightly stand-in to give a reference point for the way young skin looked on the S.H.I.E.L.D. set.

From there, Lola got to work. Unlike on previous transformations, they had a plenty of reference material — multiple feature films’ worth — of exactly what a 45-year-old Michael Douglas would look like. To hear Claus tell it, this was both a blessing and a curse. “It helped us a lot to have that reference,” he said, “but it made us work harder, because the audience already knew what he looked like at that age. There wasn’t a whole lot of leeway.”

The only solution, they decided, was to view as much of Douglas’s late-’80s oeuvre as possible, as closely as possible. They found themselves watching Wall Street not only for its dramatic indictment of corporate greed, but also for its great shots of Douglas’s middle-aged wrinkles. “What’s really important is the way his face moves as he speaks, the way that the muscles in the face have changed over time, the way the skin reacts to those muscles. To sell the effect you have to look at the way [the face] looks in motion.”

De-aging an actor is essentially giving them a digital face-lift, and Lola’s team do the same work with digital composites a skilled plastic surgeon would do with a scalpel. The two professions turn out to have similar ways of talking. “The most obvious thing is that the skin along the jaw in most people tends to get lower and lower and sag a little bit as you get older. Particularly around the throat and the Adam’s Apple area, you’ll get a build-up of extra skin down there,” Claus told me. “One thing we’ll have to do to de-age someone is restore that elasticity and try to not only to remove the excess skin, but pull it back up to where it once was.”

Our cheeks thin out and sink as we get older, so Lola also added a little more fat to the middle of Douglas’s cheeks. And since human ears and noses never stop growing, they also had to shrink Douglas’s back to their 1980s’ sizes, as well as remove some of his ear wrinkles. Then it came time to restore what Claus called Douglas’s “youthful glow,” adding shine to his skin and hiding the blood vessels in his nose.

The result in the finished film is eerie in its accuracy; it’s as if Douglas stepped into the room straight off the cover of Time. There’s still a telltale digital sheen, but the de-aging effect has come a long way in the nine years since X3. I asked Claus if this was because technology had gotten better. “It really hasn’t changed,” he said. “The basic tools have been the same for decades. It’s more the experience of the artists that are actually doing the work.” In other words, their skills have grown over time — just like their ears.


How Hollywood Filmmakers Can Supply China’s VFX Demand

(hollywoodreporter.com)         Top experts from Hollywood and Asia are learning from South Korea to foray into the world’s fastest expanding film market.

In China, local comedies have recorded some of the biggest box office scores but VFX-heavy Hollywood films such as Furious 7 and Transformers are still dominating the world’s fastest growing film market. Naturally, everyone from DreamWorks to star VFX specialists such as John Dietz (Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games) have set up shop in the Asian country.

“In the past few years, the interest [in China among American producers] went from zero to 100 percent. China is the only market in the world that gets people in the film business in America very excited,” said Stu Levy, the international chair of the Producer’s Guild of America who is based in Tokyo and L.A. and now frequently travels to Beijing. Levy was among specialists who spoke during the NAFF (Network of Asian Fantastic Films) forum on Tuesday during South Korea’s Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan).

According to Levy, box-office projections for China are expected to shoot up from the current $7 billion to about $20 billion in 2020, compared to the $1 billion jump from $10 billion to $11 billion during the same time frame for the U.S. There is higher demand for more films and for more diverse genres, which naturally feeds into the need for more VFX experts and other specialists.

“You have big productions, internally made Chinese ones. There is a whole lot of demand for sci-fi and other genre films that pose technical challenges and they’re trying to compete with Transformers and Avengers. Chinese audiences want to see these movies made by the Chinese,” said Dietz, who is currently working on his 13th Chinese/Chinese-language project.

Says Beijing-based Singaporean film producer KQ: “Chinese filmmakers are no longer disconnected from the international creative community. But there is a lack of locally trained crews that can work well with the shooting process, while producers don’t have experience understanding how costly and time consuming VFX projects are.”

Though many American filmmakers have tried to work with Chinese partners, many have failed because they simply do not understand the nature of the local market.

“Chinese films can’t compete with [films like Avengers] right now because of ability and skill… But [American filmmakers] can’t come to China just because you did Transformers,” said Dietz, emphasizing that non-Chinese filmmakers need to understand that there is no organized structure in China’s ever evolving market.

“Part of the chaos is that there is so much money floating around and there are many risks. What often happens is that you have inexperienced producers working with inexperienced financiers,” he said.

Americans, furthermore, can learn from the Korean example.

Having created the VFX for the ambitious 2013 Korea-China co-production Mr. Go, Korea’s Dexter Digital has been a key player for big-budget Chinese works such as Tsui Hark’s Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon and The Taking of Tiger Mountain. Chinese giant Wanda Group also recently became a major stakeholder of the company.

“Korea has a great advantage because there is great proximity with China, both geographically and culturally,” said KQ.

“For many Korean companies, working on Chinese projects is very appealing because many will pay shot-based rather than a flat rate like it is in Korea. Also, the Korean government provides financial support when Korean companies work on foreign projects,” said Kim Wook, executive VGX supervisor and producer at Dexter.

In 2013, the Seoul-based studio opened a Beijing office, of which some 30 out of the 50 employees are Chinese. “You have to get involved after really understanding how business works in China. It’s all about building trust first,” said Kim.

Dietz agreed, saying that it took him a while to prove that he was there not to “just make a few films and leave” but to contribute to build the local VFX industry. “Sure, there are many risks in China. But with taking risks there comes innovation and different techniques actually have a shot at taking off. In the long term there is room for a lot of growth.”

‘Pixels’ Tilting Toward Soft $25 Million Debut at Box Office

Sony’s sci-fi action comedy directed by Christopher Columbus will be squeezed by “Minions” and “Ant-Man,” which also target family audiences

“Pixels,” the sci-fi comedy based on classic video games and starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James, is heading for a box office opening in the mid-$20 millions.

That’s not the kind of number a studio would typically look for from a summer tentpole movie, particularly one with budget of at least $85 million and directed by Christopher Columbus (“Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”). And Sony currently ranks last among the major studios in market share.

This isn’t a typical summer. The box office has been white hot, with numerous films overperforming and three — “Furious 7,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Jurassic World” — grossing more than $1 billion worldwide.

The domestic box office is running roughly 7 percent ahead of 2013, which ranks as the biggest year ever with $10.9 billion in grosses. Analysts now project 2015 will be the highest-grossing in history.


Smaller VFX Shows To Qualify – New Zealand Merges Film Agencies

(hollywoodreporter.com)                Locations marketing agency Film NZ, will become port of the New Zealand Film Commission as international production balloons.

Kiwi locations marketing agency Film NZ will be absorbed by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC), following a government review into the operation of incentive program, the New Zealand Screen Production Grant, which the agencies have jointly promoted since April last year.

The merger of the agencies will take place from August 1, with Film NZ staff moving to the NZFC premises as part of the NZFC’s expanded international and marketing teams.

“Our two agencies have worked very closely together for many years and particularly to ensure the success of the New Zealand Screen Production Grant since it was introduced last year,” Dame Patsy Reddy, New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) chair said.

She added: “This announcement builds on and formalizes that approach, by creating a one-stop shop for film makers and screen companies in New Zealand and overseas.”

NZ Arts Minister Steven Joyce said that it had been a record year for international production shooting in New Zealand following the establishment of the NZSPG, The grant boosted incentives, including allowing major productions to claim back up to 25 percent of their budget as rebates. Films made in the Kiwi territory have included  including Walt Disney Pictures’ Pete’s Dragon, Dreamworks’ Light Between Oceans, The Weinstein Company’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II, and Legendary Pictures’ Krampus.

Indeed the production grant has also been successful in securing a number of key TV series, including Ash v The Evil Dead, MTV’s Shannara and Saban’s Power Rangers, that have kept the sector busy after production  on Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy finished.

At the same time the review of the NZSPG has recommended amendments to its operation including halving the qualifying threshold for the post digital and visual effects grant for international productions from $660,000 to $330,000 (NZ$1 million to NZ$500,000). That’s designed to encourage amore international post production and support smaller visual effects companies, Joyce said.


DreamWorks Animation’s Campus Sold Again For Major Profits

(deadline.com)    Property values are rising in Glendale: Griffin Capital just paid $215 million to Sun Trust Equity for DreamWorks Animation’s 14.7-acre campus there — five months after Sun Trust paid DWA $185 million for the site.

The studio sold the property as part of a restructuring, announced in February, designed to improve its liquidity after a string of its films resulted in write-downs.

DWA benefits from the transaction. It has a 50-50 profit sharing agreement with SunTrust.

You’d thought Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen would have picked somewhere closer than Glendale when building their studio

The studio’s employees can relax. DWA has a lease enabling it to stay for 20 years, with four renewal options each running five years. It pays $13.2 million a year, increasing 1.5% a year.

Griffin Capital’s Director of Acquisitions Louis Sohn calls the property a “one-of-a-kind asset, with a rich array of high-quality improvements that are not typically seen at an office campus.”

DWA built the site in 1997, and expanded it in 2010. It includes 460,000 square feet of office space, and has a cafeteria, training rooms and a Starbucks.


Seven Movies That Could Break the Video Game Movie Curse

It’s no secret that the majority of movies based on video games are not very good. We’re not talking about movies set in the world of gaming or featuring fictional and real video games like TRON, Wreck-It Ralph, and this week’s release of Pixels. We’re talking about movies based on an existing video game title being brought to the big screen.

The first video game movie was Super Mario Bros. in 1993, and while that movie should have been terrible enough to kill the entire subgenre (the recent Honest Trailer for the film illustrates that pretty well), there have been about 26 video game movies released theatrically since then, and not one of them deserves to be called great (many of them can’t even be called okay).

However, there might be a chance that the future has some genuinely good video game movies on the horizon, that is if the talent attached to some forthcoming projects is any indicator. Below, we look at seven forthcoming video game movies that could break the apparent curse that plagues the subgenre.

Check out some promising video game movies coming soon after the jump!

Seven Promising Video Game Movies on the Way

Assassin’s Creed

What’s it about? Assassin’s Creed is based on the Ubisoft game franchise of the same name about a bartender named Desmond Miles, who turns out to be descended from a long line of assassins. He’s captured by a secretive organization and sent back in time to access his ancestors’ memories and collect ancient artifacts.

Why does it sound good? Aside from the intriguing story, the talent attached to this game sounds better than any cast we’ve ever heard of for a video game flick. Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class, 12 Years a Slave) is in the lead role with Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, Contagion) taking a key role along with Ariane Labed (Before Midnight, The Lobster). The film also reunites Fassbender and Cotillard with their Macbeth director Justin Kurzel. Watch the trailer for that Shakespearean adaptation and you’ll see why this roster of talent taking on Assassin’s Creed sounds awesome.

When can we see it? Assassin’s Creed is currently set for release on December 21st, 2016.

Warcraft

What’s it about? The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home. So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

Why does it sound good? This is a deep, rich fantasy taking us into a world the likes of which haven’t been seen since Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Hobbit trilogy jut isn’t on the same level). Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) is directing the film that will be brought to life with visual effects comparable to that of Avatar and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and it has the potential to be the biggest video game movie ever made.

The footage shown at Comic-Con was wholly impressive, though certainly a little confusing for a non-Warcraft fan, but it’s a massive epic with a huge scope and a diverse ensemble of characters from Orcs to humans to wizards and more. The cast doesn’t have many huge names (Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Clancy Brown, Dominic Cooper are the most notable names) but that means they put all the money into everything else in the film, and that’s a good start.

When can we see it? Warcraft arrives on June 10th, 2016. The first trailer arrives sometime this fall.

Source with more:     http://www.slashfilm.com/promising-video-game-movies/


‘Kong: Skull Island’ Production Moving Forward

EXCLUSIVE: Brie Larson is in talks to play the female lead in Legendary Pictures’ Kong: Skull Island. She will join Tom Hiddleston, who was set some time ago. Legendary is actively setting the two other male leads after the exit of both Michael Keaton and JK Simmons. One actor they are courting hard for one of those roles is Russell Crowe, but it won’t be clear whether or not that happens until the next script draft comes in.

Keaton and Simmons had scheduling conflicts, my colleague Ali Jaafar reported when he broke news of their exits.

Legendary has Jordan Vogt-Roberts directing a script by John Gatins and Max Borenstein, and they are eyeing a production start of late year or early 2016. The film will be released by Universal Pictures on March 10, 2017, with a Imax 3D a big part of the release plan. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni produce with Mary Parent, with Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod exec producing. Kong: Skull Island will fully immerse audiences in the mysterious and dangerous home of the iconic ape as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island. Clearly it wasn’t lost on anyone that Peter Jackson’s King Kong had its best moments on Skull Island, depicted as a scary place. Wannasee has been high on this since Legendary revealed the project at San Diego Comic-Con awhile back.

‘Pirates of the Caribbean 5’ – CGI Technology to be Used on Javier Bardem

(vinereport.com)              The rumor mill continues to churn for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie slated for 2017 showing in theaters globally. Filming has begun early in Queensland and transferred to the idyllic Hamilton Island this month.

Javier Bardem will play the formidable baddie who looked grey and sinister in a set of photos leaked by The Daily Mail . The face paint indicates that there will be a massive amount of CGI work to be done. Sightings in the leaked set photos also show the very memorable Captain Jack Sparrow, though it remains to be verified if it is Johnny Depp himself or a stunt double wearing the gear.

The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced film will follow the story of Captain Salazar, who is apparently on a homicidal rampage against other pirates. It will be Captain Jack Sparrow’s task to stop these attempts to obliterate all the other pirates.

While all of the snapped visuals in Queensland are making rounds on social media, there is also a rumor that Orlando Bloom will return to the franchise but it is yet unconfirmed.

“I’m not entirely sure that [I’ll be back] just yet, but there are talks. Basically they want to reboot the whole franchise, I think, and do something with me and the relationship with my son,” said Bloom in a Perez Hilton post.

Bloom’s statement fueled other rumors that Brenton Thwaites’ inclusion in the cast may actually be indicative of that story arc. The love interest for Thwaites in the movie is still unconfirmed but there are a handful of names floating around since late last year. Some of the more popular crowd favorites in the running for this role are Alexandra Dowling, Kaya Scoledario, Gabriella Wilde, Jenna Thiam, and Lucy Boynton.

Jaeger Pilot Hopes Pacific Rim 2 Isn’t as Effects-driven as the First Film

(ew.com)           These days, the success of a film can be difficult to measure. It requires more than just a passing look at box office receipts. On paper, Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 kaiju love letter Pacific Rim took in over $400 million at the global box office, with $100 million of that coming from the US alone. Those sums were enough to justify a sequel for Warner Bros. and Legendary, but the narrative around the release of the movie still had the ring of minor disappointment.

Charlie Hunnam, one of the film’s stars, looks back on Pacific Rim similarly, but for a much different reason. When EW spoke with the former Sons of Anarchy actor on the set of Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur, the conversation turned to working on an effects-heavy film and how that can be inhibiting as a performer. “When it becomes very technical, those technical aspects create a rigidity to the process,” he said. “Then all of the sudden, you have to find where your little place to fit into that process is, as opposed to the whole thing being about you.”

That rigidity is partially what led to his disappointment with Pacific Rim, which in the end favored the robots and their fights with monsters, over the Jaeger pilots inside their heads. “I think world creation and monster creation and all of that stuff is exciting as a secondary element of storytelling. When it becomes more important than storytelling, I get very nervous, and you sort of lose me a little bit,” Hunnam said. “Although we tried very hard on Pacific Rim to marry those two elements, I do feel like ultimately it got weighed heavier on the side of spectacle than storytelling.”

With Pacific Rim 2 scheduled to shoot this fall, that balance is something that Hunnam is excited to take another crack at.  “I hope that we are able to remedy that a little bit going into the second,” he said. “Not to say I wasn’t proud of the film. I really liked it, and I felt like it delivered exactly what it was supposed to. But I do feel like we could have maybe plumbed the depths of the character and the storytelling a little bit more.”

VFX News – 07/13/15

Animal Logic Looks to Fill 300 Roles

(if.com.au)              Visual effects and animation studio, Animal Logic is looking candidates for its new Vancouver animation studio due to open in late 2015.

The company is looking to fill around 300 roles across the production pipeline.

According to a company statement, the annual SIGGRAPH conference – August 9-13 in Los Angeles – represents an ideal opportunity for potential candidates to meet with Animal Logic’s recruitment team.

Animal Logic recruitment supervisor,  Patricia Kung said the company was especially keen to hear from associate producers, production Managers, senior system Engineers, CG supervisors, software developers and technical directors.

“Siggraph is an important event for us and an important audience,” said Animal Logic’s Recruitment Supervisor

The LEGO Movie Sequel is scheduled to start production at Animal Logic Vancouver in January 2016.

Kung said the opportunities were not just in Vancouver.

Animal Logic’s Sydney studio is also looking to fill a significant number of key roles as it ramps up production on LEGO Batman and Ninjago, as well as its growing slate of Visual FX projects.

“From software developers to digital artists, the available positions at our Sydney, Australia, studio also represent an amazing opportunity for those currently working in the visual effects and animation industries,” Kung said.

Source:      http://if.com.au/2015/07/13/article/Animal-Logic-looks-to-fill-300-roles/XCYUERWXPT.html


12 photos Inside Sony Pictures Imageworks New Downtown Vancouver HQ

(vancouversun.com)            Sony Imageworks revealed their brand new headquarters in Vancouver this week.

The visual effects arm of Sony Motion Pictures Group unveiled its new operations centre on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver on Wednesday with Premier Christy Clark and Mayor Gregor Robertson in attendance.

Sony Imageworks’ Vancouver location is the city’s largest visual effects and digital animation facility, covering 6,900 square metres and housing more than 700 artists. Sony Imageworks first opened an office in Vancouver in 2010 with a staff of 80.

“B.C. is thriving because we have a diverse economy and diverse markets — and tech is leading the way,” Premier Christy Clark said in a statement. “With a highly skilled talent base, attractive lifestyle and business climate, B.C. is increasingly a global destination for digital media giants.”

Sony Imageworks’ contributions in visual effects include the Spider-Man franchises, Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, sci-fi film Edge of Tomorrow, and animated film Hotel Transylvania.

Photos – Take a look:  http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/07/sony-pictures-imageworks-vancouver-office-photos/

Hayao Miyazaki To Make Debut 3D CG Animation Film

(variety.com)          TOKYO — Animation maestro Hayao Miyazaki confirmed that he is directing an animated short for the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. This will be his first animation since completing “The Wind Rises,” a 2013 hit which he said would be his last feature.

The new ten-minute film, starring a hairy caterpillar, will be made in the 3D CG format, a first for the director, and take an estimated three years to complete. Miyazaki did not say whether the film will be shown outside the museum.

Miyazaki spoke to reporters at his studio Higashi Koganei, Tokyo. He dedicated most of his remarks to criticism of the Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


Gameloft Closes Their NYC Studio, Lays Off All Development Staff

(toucharcade.com)               I think it’s fair to say that Gameloft has been one of the most important publishers in mobile gaming’s brief history. They were going big into making mobile phone games before most, and although a lot of their earlier efforts were pretty blatant riffs on popular console and PC games, you still have to give them credit for the amount of effort they put into those games. But the times have changed, and the App Store even more so. The type of games Gameloft made best don’t sell the way they used to, and I think it’s fair to say the company has, like many, struggled to keep up with the movement of the market. There’s only so long that can go on before something terrible happens, and I suppose yesterday was that day for Gameloft’s New York City offices.

According to a report on Gamasutra which cites a now-deleted Facebook post from Gameloft NYC lead programmer Kevin Chen, production at the NYC offices has ceased and all development personnel have been laid off. As many as 100 people lost their jobs yesterday, effectively dissolving a development studio that has produced a bunch of best-selling games over the last 15 years, including one of my recent favorites, Spider-Man Unlimited [Free]. Gameloft has a number of other development studios around the world, of course, but it’s awful to see any developer shuttered, no matter how big or small they may be.

Let’s hope everyone who worked at Gameloft NYC who finds themselves out a job today can land on their feet somehow. Spider-Man Unlimited is probably one of my most-played mobile games since its release, and I know I’m not the only Spidey fan who loves it. Each and every person who worked on it deserves an ultra-coveted TouchArcade Most Spider-Mans Of A Lifetime award, and if you’re going to enjoy some celebratory vermouth, you might want to make it the non-metaphorical kind today. Best of luck to all the folks at or formerly at Gameloft during these difficult times.


Weta Workshop Built on ‘The Hobbit’ Tech to Create ‘Warcraft’ Weapons

(slashfilm.com)               One of the best things about Comic Con is getting up close and personal with objects and costumes designed for many films. Weta Workshop is here with artifacts from Duncan Jones‘s film Warcraft, for example. While waiting to speak to Jones at Legendary’s preview night event, I got a few minutes of private conversation with Richard Taylor, the Weta Workshop founder and creative director whose work with armor and weapons gave such weight to the Lord of the Rings movies.

The work Taylor and Weta have done for Warcraft is spectacular. You can see evidence above — that shot is of a statue of Dominic Cooper’s character King Llane Wrynn, unveiled this evening. We’ve got more shots of Weta’s armor work below, along with a nice chat with Taylor. The armor master says that new digital-enhanced techniques saved the day on Warcraft.

Taylor also brings up Krampus, from Trick R Treat director Michael Dougherty, for which he says about 80% of the effects are practical.

What was the overall approach to Warcraft?

It was terrific for us, because naturally people thought that the film would be significantly digital. But you have two protagonists — you have these equal armies, almost, and you want to tell those two stories. The way to tell the human story is through human actors. That required armor and weapons to be built, which was a joy for us. We’d done some early development with Duncan and Stuart on a previous movie, and that’s how we got to know them. So when Legendary asked us to do this, and connected us with Duncan, you can imagine how extraordinarily excited we were.

The approach, luckily this director has a very strong vision, and he was armed with a studio that would support him and encourage the ideas he had. Initially, the armor was a real challenge, because in the game the human-proportioned armor is significantly off. So there was a little bit of design process to get people through prototyping to understand what was possible. Building the armor to be as significant as possible while still having someone be able to wield a sword.

The test we always use, as crude as it is, is that an actor has to be able to clap their hands in front of their bodies, because that means that they can hold the sword, and wield it above their head. If they can’t do that, it’s because the armor is too encumbering. And you can’t allow the design of the armor to overwhelm the performance of the actor. Otherwise, halfway through the shoot, the actor is going to become disengaged from the armor. These things are really important.

But the design process was a joy, the designs came to us mostly finished and we got to build them. Thankfully, for the last I guess twelve or thirteen years we’ve been investing in digital modeling technology, 3D printing, milling machines. Lord of the Rings was 100% hand-built. The Hobbit was 60% manufactured by robots. The technology that we developed for that film we were able to bring heavily to bear on this.

3D printing and milling, really, milling saved our ass on this. The product requires such a perfect finish. Perfect symmetry. If you look at the Lion shields, the swords, it was never going to be possible through hand-sculpting, in the time that we had. You could arguably do everything that the machines can do, but you could never do it in the time.

Full article with pics:     http://www.slashfilm.com/richard-taylor-warcraft-interview/


Boston Film Tax Credit Survives Attack  – Zero VFX Keeps 25% Discount

(bostonglobe.com)               A controversial state tax credit for the film industry has proved once again to be invincible.

The Legislature rebuffed efforts by Governor Charlie Baker to kill the subsidy. The governor had wanted to use the savings to finance an expansion of a tax credit for low-income workers.

Like his predecessor Deval Patrick, Baker had criticized the film tax credit as a wasteful giveaway that did not generate enough economic activity in Massachusetts to justify the tens of millions in revenue lost to the state treasury.

“My view has been that the subsidy is not worth the value of the return,” Baker said Wednesday. “There are clearly people in the Legislature who disagree with me, but, as I said before, that’s politics. That’s government.”

Baker’s loss, though, is a coup for the thousands of film workers and related professionals who said its elimination would disrupt the burgeoning industry and threaten their livelihoods. They organized a lobbying campaign that included testifying at public hearings, social media call outs, and personal appeals to legislators.

It didn’t hurt that those workers had a well-placed supporter in their corner: House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

“We feel that it’s good business,” DeLeo said Wednesday as the Legislature wrapped up negotiations on the state budget for fiscal 2016, which began July 1. “I know I’ve talked to small businesses throughout the Commonwealth who say when films are made in that particular district, how valuable they can be.”

The Massachusetts film tax credit equals 25 percent, with some exceptions, of the costs and salaries for films, commercials, and television shows shot in the state.

Under Patrick, the Department of Revenue issued a series of reports concluding that the film tax credit did not yield much economic benefit.

For example, Massachusetts paid out an estimated $77.8 million in credits in 2012 that generated $304 million in spending by movie, television, and advertising productions. However, the department said, two-thirds of that spending took place outside of Massachusetts; $101 million occurred in the state.

From 2006 to 2012, the program created the equivalent of about 5,500 jobs, the tax agency said, but each job cost the state approximately $118,000. In that time, the state doled out almost $411 million in film credits.

But some in the industry said the state’s analysis does not reflect the reality at their companies.

Brian Drewes said business generated by the tax credit helped his visual-effects company, Zero VFX, grow from a small operation in a Newton basement to a 12,500-square-foot space in the Back Bay, with 55 artists working on films and commercials.

“What you see is a groundswell saying that this does have an economic impact on the city that is beyond what the Department of Revenue reports like to mention,” he said. “When you actually start to track reality, you see all the people with stories like mine.”

Pixar Reveals Evolution of Troubled Toon ‘The Good Dinosaur’

(Variety.com)               “At Pixar, we ask a lot of ‘what ifs,’” the studio’s Pete Sohn told a crowd of cartoon devotees (a mix of animation students, professionals and fans) at France’s Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival: “What if the toys come to life when we leave the room? What if the monsters really were real inside the closet? What if a rat became a world-famous French chef?”

So far, those hypotheticals have yielded “Toy Story,” “Monsters Inc.” and “Ratatouille,” respectively, but according to Sohn, “With (‘The Good Dinosaur’), we would ask the biggest ‘what if’ of all.” With that, he cued a clip in which a gigantic asteroid misses the Earth, narrowly averting a mass extinction event: What if instead of being wiped off the Earth, dinosaurs had continued to evolve?

That’s the hypothetical that audiences will see answered when the film opens later this year, just in time for Thanksgiving, on Nov. 25. But internally, Pixar was asking another question: What if you scrap the original director of your upcoming dino movie and plug someone new in his place? In this case, Peter Sohn replaced “Up’s” Bob Peterson — the similarity between their names providing an added irony to the swap.

Of course, “The Good Dinosaur” is hardly the first Pixar movie to get a massive overhaul in production (“Toy Story 2,” “Ratatouille” and “Brave” were all repair jobs of some sort, losing their original directors along the way), but it could be the riskiest. Sohn’s only previous helming credit was 2009’s “Partly Cloudy” short, and though the Korean-American animator is a favorite among his Pixar peers, inspiring the character of Asian boy scout Russell in “Up,” this project put an enormous responsibility in his relatively untested hands.

Full article:    http://variety.com/2015/film/festivals/annecy-pixar-reveals-evolution-of-troubled-the-good-dinosaur-1201521429/

Star Wars: Rogue One Begins Filming Soon, Lucasfilm Confirms

(ign.com)        Star Wars’ first Anthology film, Rogue One, begins shooting in three weeks, according to Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy.

Star Wars: Rogue One is the first Star Wars Anthology film, and it’s about the Rebel Alliance stealing the Death Star plans from the Empire. It’ll be filmed in 6K. The second Anthology movie centers on a young Han Solo.


How the Most Realistic Robot in Cinema History Was Made

(gizmodo.com)           Entirely computer generated characters are now an established part of the Hollywood blockbuster. The likes of Guardians of the Galaxy’s Rocket and Groot are increasingly commonplace – just don’t mention Jar Jar Binks. Perhaps the high watermark for CGI success so far though (at least when you’re talking about silver-screen robots) is Chappie, which came out earlier this year

The film told the story of Dev Patel’s Deon Wilson, an engineer at a South African weapons manufacturer, who figures out how to make the firm’s police robots think for themselves – just like a human. Unfortunately, the eponymous robot (played Andy Serkis-as-Gollum style by Sharlto Copley) ends up getting kidnapped and falls in with a bad crowd of gangsters. Worse still, the authorities decide that Chappie is a danger who must be stopped.

The thing that is really striking about the film is just how good the visual effects are, with CGI robot characters seamlessly blended in with the ‘real’ characters. So how was it done? To find out I had a chat with the film’s visual effects supervisor Chris Harvey, who explained the reason why blending in was so important to making the film work:

“Ultimately the goal of any visual effects is that it is blended seamlessly. My mandate with the team was really that was only step one with what we had to do. It’s like he has to be 100 per cent believable, because as soon as he isn’t the whole point of Chappie – that he’s a character you’re supposed to connect with emotionally – […] he’s supposed to register like any other character. As soon as we break any realism in terms of him blending, you’ll immediately lose that connection.”

It wasn’t easy to achieve though. To make Chappie work, Chris and his team joined the production early in development, much earlier than VFX would usually get involved.

3D Printed Robots

“Typically what will happen with visual effects is that someone will design it practically, build it and we will have to replicate it. And we’re going to be stuck with whatever decisions they made, whether that’s good or bad for us. Chappie was different because we actually came on very early and were part of that design process.”

Full article:  http://www.gizmodo.co.uk/2015/07/how-the-most-realistic-robot-in-cinema-history-was-made/

How Photoshop Changed the World

(pcauthority.com.au)              It’s hard to believe there was no Photoshop before 1990. Its impact has since been magnified by the rise of digital photography and social media, and continues through an endless variety of rival products, but for a quarter of a century we’ve been living in the Photoshop age.

“Photoshop changed the ontology of the photograph,” said Caroline Bassett, a professor of media and communications. “It revolutionised our sense of the relationship of the photographic image to the reality it remade. Before Photoshop, it was easier to believe a photograph captured the truth. After, we knew it was constructed. I think it’s the single most influential software package of the PC era.”

This judgement would have surprised University of Michigan postgraduate Thomas Knoll when he began coding a graphics tool on his Mac Plus in 1987. “Painting” programs existed for the Mac and other early PCs, but Knoll’s PhD was in computer vision. His brother John was working for George Lucas’ visual-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), and their father, Glenn, had a darkroom in their basement. Coming at bitmap editing from this fresh angle, they first sold their application bundled with some of the newfangled scanners.

Before long, John had struck a deal with Adobe, which had just catapulted the Macintosh into the graphics business thanks to the Adobe LaserWriter printer. Priced at less than US$1,000 at launch – half the price of Letraset’s ColorStudio software – Photoshop appealed to users who had latched on to the Mac as a way to get into cutting-edge creative work at a fraction of the cost. Previously, photo retouching had been performed by bureaux on six-figure workstations from companies such as Quantel and Scitex, charged at a going rate of $400 per hour. Now, in-house art staff could attempt it with Mac setups costing as little as $10,000 – and pros and amateurs alike could begin to invent new kinds of images.

Read more: http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Feature/406418,how-photoshop-changed-the-world.aspx#ixzz3fmqqS8cS


Warner Bros. to Give that Green Lantern Movie Thing Another Try

(avclub.com)           Along with the similarly timed and equally reviled Jonah Hex, 2011’s Green Lantern movie was one of Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ first attempts to ride the current wave of superhero movies and get a non-Superman or Batman-based comic book franchise off the ground. But the film’s box office failure—barely making back its $200 million budget, most of which appears to have been spent on slathering bright green CGI on every available surface—seemed to have killed those dreams. Until now, anyway.

As part of Warner’s Comic-Con panel today, the studio announced that it was giving Green Lantern another shot. We don’t have any casting details or release dates yet—the announcement was done via a concept art reel, smashed in between footage of Hugh Jackman’s Pan and the new Suicide Squad trailer—but we do have a name: Green Lantern Corps. That name implies a more team-based film, raising the possibility that Green Lanterns beyond series protagonist Hal Jordan, like Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and newbie Kyle Rayner, might all get a chance in the big green spotlight. In any case, it’s unlikely that Green Lantern star Ryan Reynolds will be reprising his role in the film, because he’s busy with Deadpool, and also because he already said that he really doesn’t want to.

32TEN Studios Creates Practical Effects for Jurassic World

(cgw.com)                 The most prominent were the gates that welcomed visitors to the prehistoric theme park Jurassic World. Those gates, which needed to appear massive on screen, were actually “miniature” 19-foot set pieces built at 32TEN under the supervision of model maker Mark Anderson.

While the size of the piece was nothing new for 32TEN model makers, Jurassic World  director Colin Trevorrow and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) VFX Supervisor Tim Alexander wanted to make sure the doors looked exactly as imagined. “It took a while to get the exact look for the concrete and the aging of the wood,” explains 32TEN Studios Executive Producer Tim Partridge. “But, after a couple of go rounds they looked great.”

Once designed and built, the double doors were mechanized with motion control in order to open at exactly the right time to let the monorail pass through. The gates were set up on the main stage at 32TEN and shot using the motion control system to ensure the effects shots matched the location shots.

The flames for the torches on the gate pillars were shot separately, each with its own motion-controlled move, for later compositing.

“Colin felt it was important for the gates to be real,” explains ILM’s Alexander. “32TEN did a great job building them.”

Trevorrow and Alexander also tapped 32TEN Studios to shoot a number of practical scale explosion elements, green screen shots with extras and stuntmen, background plates in northern California locations, and a handful of other practical elements to fill shots, particularly when the elements were near the camera.

“Explosions are always fun to do,” says 32TEN Studios’ Practical FX Supervisor Geoff Heron, “and we have done a lot of them over the years. Tim [Alexander] was very precise in what he wanted, but he also understood that there’s always a chance that something beautiful can happen with a practical effects shoot.”

ILM’s Alexander was pleased with the efforts. “32TEN added just what we needed to add to our CG shots to create the action that Colin desired for the film.”

Read an in-depth story about the VFX in the film in the July/August 2015 issue of CGW.

Source:    http://www.cgw.com/Press-Center/Web-Exclusives/2015/32TEN-Studios-Creates-Practical-Effects-for-Jura.aspx

Big Friendly Giant on Bamburgh Beach

(northumberlandgazette.co.uk)              Filming for a major Hollywood film, based on a classic children’s book, took place this week on the beach beneath Bamburgh Castle.

The filming, which took place on Monday night into Tuesday morning, was for The BFG, a Steven Spielberg version of the Roald Dahl book. The movie, which stars Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant and Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, will be co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, and Walden Media.

It is scheduled to be released on July 1, 2016. Entertainment One will release the film on July 22, 2016, in the UK. Principal photography on the film began on March 23 in Vancouver and concluded on June 12. It is understood that neither the cast nor Mr Spielberg were present in Bamburgh this week.

In April, the beach was used for filming some of Beowulf, a 13-part ITV drama series, while last February, it was used for a new film version of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Macbeth, which is due to be released in October this year. Interestingly, it is the second time the Scottish Play has come to Bamburgh with Roman Polanski’s 1971 version also filming there.

Source with pics: http://www.northumberlandgazette.co.uk/news/local-news/big-friendly-giant-on-bamburgh-beach-1-7342126

Pixar Animation Studios Releases RenderMan 20

(awn.com)            EMERYVILLE, CA — Pixar Animation Studios has released version 20 of its Academy Award-winning RenderMan software, introducing major innovations allowing cinematic quality imagery to be created more easily and faster than previously possible. Highlights include a game-changing noise reduction technology that directly addresses the problem of image artifacts associated with physically based ray tracers, massively reducing the time needed to deliver completed shots and images.

RenderMan 20 also expands the creative choices available to artists and studios through numerous advances in usability including a physical camera, a Visualizer for navigating and inspecting large scenes interactively, expanded shader libraries and presets, and new volume rendering features. A new Marschner hair shader represents the first time Pixar has shipped shading technology specifically developed for use in its feature films, making available truly Pixar quality hair and fur. In addition, RenderMan’s tradition of advanced customization is emphasized through a new light filter API. Rendering shots for dailies is also faster than ever with new enhancements to RenderMan’s noted image checkpointing, allowing entire shots to be quickly previewed nearly immediately and at full resolution. RenderMan 20 continues to channel the combined technology resources of The Walt Disney Company to the desktop of anyone producing visual effects, animation, and visualization.

“The new denoising technology currently being used in our upcoming feature, Finding Dory, has been incredibly valuable, allowing us to compute final frames up to ten times faster. We could not finish this production without it,” said John Halstead, Supervising Technical Director of Finding Dory at Pixar.

“RenderMan’s new and enhanced Interior Integrators provide us with full control over our volumes and allows us to push their visual quality to the next level.” Said Damien Fagnou, Global Head of VFX Operations at MPC Film.

“RenderMan’s new RIS mode was incredibly stable and consistent on Ant-Man. Everybody was blown away by the quality of the renders even in very early tests” Said Fabio Zangla CG Sequence Supervisor at Double Negative. “With such a radically different internal architecture, RIS is a world away from any previous version, but still retains many features that made RenderMan so successful in the past.”

Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is now upgraded to version 20, and existing and new users are invited to download the latest version from the RenderMan website. New tutorials and workflows for RenderMan 20 can also be found on the new RenderMan Community site.

RenderMan 20 is compatible with the following 64-bit operating systems: Mac OS 10.9, 10.8 and 10.7, Windows 8 and 7, and Linux glibc 2.12 or higher and gcc 4.4.5 and higher. RenderMan 20 is also compatible with versions 2014, 2015, and 2016 of Autodesk’s Maya, and with version 2.0 of The Foundry’s KATANA. RenderMan is available commercially as individual licenses with volume discounts or through custom site licensing packages tailored for each customer. In addition, Pixar’s annual maintenance program provides access to ongoing support and free upgrades.

Han Solo Movie Confirmed By Lucasfilm, ‘Star Wars Anthology’ Set For 2018

(cdn.inquisitr.com)               Han Solo is getting his own movie, Lucasfilm confirmed in a statement Tuesday. The spin-off is part of the Star Wars Anthology series, which so far includes Rogue One, and is slated to open on May 25, 2018.

This is such exciting news for Star Wars fans that Han Solo was trending on Twitter pretty much all evening after the news broke. Han Solo is the intergallactic smuggler who becomes involved with the Rebellion when he meets Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Obi Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness).

Solo was immortalized by original trilogy actor Harrison Ford, and is one of the most popular characters in movies. The new Han Solo movie will focus on a young version of the role, which propelled Ford’s career into stardom.)

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Lucasfilm also announced The Lego Movie team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have been selected to bring the Han Solo movie to life, and they couldn’t be more excited.

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”

Also joining the Han Solo movie production are the father and son team of Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, who will write the script that explores the smuggler’s younger years before we meet him in Star Wars: A New Hope. Lawrence Kasdan is the writer of another Harrison Ford film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as the co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Kasdans also expressed their pleasure at being part of this movie, and working with Lord and Miller.

“We’re so excited to be working with Chris and Phil, who will bring a fresh new dimension to the Star Wars universe. They’re two of the smartest, funniest, and most original filmmakers around, and the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy.”

We are not sure how young Han Solo will be in the movie, but everyone, including the Lucasfilm President and the film’s producer, Kathleen Kennedy, is super pumped to see how the creative minds develop the beloved character.

“It’s not just any filmmaker who can tell the story of such a beloved icon like Han Solo, and I’m excited to say we’ve found the perfect team to handle the task. Larry and Jon know all there is to know about the character, and Chris and Phil will bring their wit, style, energy and heart to tell Han’s story.”

Some have expressed concern that Miller and Lord already have a full plate with other projects, including The Lego Movie Sequel. However, most believe the pair will bring back the humor that was lost in the prequels. Now, fans have a long time to ponder on who is the ideal candidate to portray young Han Solo in the movie. Chris Pratt seems to be a popular choice, but we will have to wait and see.

Disney is Closing its First Virtual Reality Attraction

(engadget.com)               Disney World broke ground in virtual reality when it launched its DisneyQuest “interactive theme park” back in 1998. To say that times have changed would be an understatement, though — DQ is using primitive VR technology that makes even Google Cardboard look like a quantum leap. Appropriately, the company now plans to close DisneyQuest in 2016 and replace it with an NBA-themed attraction. The exact reasons for the shutdown aren’t clear, but it’s likely a combination of the less-than-impressive technology with mounting support costs. At one point this spring, most of the attractions weren’t working — it’s hard to imagine Disney pouring lots of money into hardware that’s more likely to make you yawn than gasp in awe. You might feel nostalgic if you have fond memories of visiting DisneyQuest as a kid, but it’s hard to mourn the loss when you can have a much nicer experience at home.