In Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, join our favorite monster family as they embark on a vacation on a luxury monster cruise ship so Drac can take a summer vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. It’s smooth sailing for Drac’s Pack as the monsters indulge in all of the shipboard fun the cruise has to offer, from monster volleyball to exotic excursions, and catching up on their moon tans. But the dream vacation turns into a nightmare when Mavis realizes Drac has fallen for the mysterious captain of the ship, Ericka, who hides a dangerous secret that could destroy all of monsterkind.

Checking out Guardians of the Galaxy:Mission Breakout

Sunday I was able to take the family on the Mission Breakout ride for a special wrap party. The ride is amazing and the Tivan collection in the queue is really cool.  Everything turned out better than expected and I am proud to have been part of the project.

Friends and family wrap party for Guardians of the Galaxy:Mission Breakout.
Friends and family wrap party for Guardians of the Galaxy:Mission Breakout.

Only one of the kids were brave enough to make it on the ride.

What to expect from Disney’s new ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ ride

The “Guardians of the Galaxy” ride opening May 27 at Disney California Adventure will replace the venerable Twilight Zone Tower of Terror as the anchor of a new Marvel themed land.

The 2004 Tower of Terror indoor elevator drop ride will be re-skinned with a back story loosely based on the original 2014 movie and the upcoming sequel, which feature a mismatched team of intergalactic misfits who band together to save the universe.

Mission: Breakout, as the new Guardians ride will be known, will take visitors on a comical and thrilling ride with new visual effects and music from the film’s soundtrack, according to Disney.

Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde, who is supervising the makeover, has spoken extensively about the Guardians overlay to numerous publications and in prepared statements and videos.

VFX jobs and what they do

I found this handy breakdown of what the different artist do for Visual effects.

Previsualization In a nutshell, you can think of “previs” as 3D animatics, or a 3D animated version of the storyboards. Although you’ll need experience in 3D software, you’ll really need to be able to deliver the director’s vision for the film into your sequences. To do this, you’ll essentially need to be a generalist that can do everything from modeling to rendering, along with video editing and some compositing skills in After Effects. Instead of trying to get everything polished, though, you’ll be foc

Source: VFX jobs and what they do


13 July 2018 (USA)

Hotel Transylvania 3 is next up on the Sony Pictures Animation presentation.

5th times’ a charm – 

Ill be making my way back to Imageworks to work on HT3. Excited to get started…

Mavis surprises Dracula with a family voyage on a luxury Monster Cruise Ship so he can take a vacation from providing everyone else’s vacation at the hotel. The rest of Drac’s Pack cannot resist going along and once they leave port, romance zings Drac when he meets the mysterious ship captain Ericka. Now it’s Mavis’ turn to play the overprotective parent, keeping her dad and Ericka apart. Little do they know that his “too good to be true” love interest is actually a descendent of Van Helsing, arch nemesis to Dracula and all monsters!

The voice ensemble of favorites returns, including Adam Sandler (Dracula), Selena Gomez (Mavis) and Andy Samberg (Johnny).

Director Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) is back in the director’s chair, along with Michelle Murdocca back producing and Adam Sandler executive-producing, with a screenplay by Genndy Tartakovsky and Michael McCullers (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me).

In addition to this feature film, a new animated short, Puppy, directed by Tartakovsky, will be debuting in theaters attached to The Emoji Movie in August 2017. In the short, the residents of Hotel Transylvania find their world turned upside-down when youngster Dennis gets a surprise monster-sized pet!

Sony Pictures Animation Teases Upcoming Slate

Disney California Adventure’s Tower of Terror to be Rethemed to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

Slammer at Disney California Adventures

Guardians of the Galaxy sequel – the band of space heroes would be next taking over Disney California Adventure’s Tower of Terror ride at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California

I have had the pleasure of picking up a gig at  Walt Disney Imagineering  – WDI.  Most of my tasks have been visualizing the elevator part of the ride in motionbuilder. Timing out the media and door animation and audio. I have had to learn how to operate and program a big robotic arm you can ride. We used this as a previz tool since we couldn’t shut down the ride for testing early on. I have also got to hone my skill set in the Unreal Engine doing virtual reality (VR) walk-throughs of the queues.

On-set VR demo.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Kingsleigh (Wasikowska) has spent the past few years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland and her friends the White Rabbit (Sheen), Absolem (Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Fry) and the Mad Hatter (Depp), who is not himself. The Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana (Hathaway) sends Alice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends – and enemies – at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out.
Release date: May 27, 2016 (USA)



VFX News 8/17

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Starts Filming in England

(      Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ highly-anticipated feature Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the studio announced today. The all new adventure is set in the wizarding world created by J.K. Rowling in her best-selling Harry Potter books, which were adapted into the highest-grossing film franchise of all time.

Filming started today, August 17, at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four “Harry Potter” feature films.

Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) stars as Newt Scamander, the wizarding world’s preeminent magizoologist, who stops in New York following his travels to find and document magical creatures.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also stars Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) as Tina; Alison Sudol (“Dig,” “Transparent”) as Tina’s sister, Queenie; Tony Award winner Dan Fogler (“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”) as Jacob; Ezra Miller (Trainwreck) as Credence; two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (In America, Sweet and Lowdown) as Mary Lou; Jenn Murray (Brooklyn) as Chastity; young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty; and Colin Farrell (“True Detective”) as Graves.

Marking the screenwriting debut of J.K. Rowling, the script was inspired by her character Newt Scamander’s Hogwarts textbook, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

The film is being produced by David Heyman, producer of all eight of the blockbuster “Harry Potter” features; J.K. Rowling; Steve Kloves; and Lionel Wigram.

Collaborating with Yates behind the scenes are: Oscar-winning director of photography Philippe Rousselot (A River Runs Through It, the “Sherlock Holmes” movies), three-time Oscar-winning production designer Stuart Craig (The English Patient, Dangerous Liaisons, Gandhi the “Harry Potter” films), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Alice in Wonderland), Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Tim Burke (Gladiator, the “Harry Potter” films), Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Christian Manz (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1), and Yates’ longtime editor Mark Day (the last four “Harry Potter” films).

B.C.VFX  Industry Struggling with New TFW Rules

(           B.C.’s digital entertainment sector has become one of the province’s fastest growing, but its expansion is being cut short and Canadian jobs are being lost by the clampdown on temporary foreign workers, say those in the industry.

The Vancouver chapter of the Visual Effects Society held a job fair last weekend seeking out prospective workers, but Canadian talent is in short supply. To win contracts, those in the industry often have to supplement their Canadian work force with temporary foreign workers. Without the foreign talent, the Canadians aren’t working either, says Nancy Mott, manager of digital entertainment at the Vancouver Economic Commission.

Last June, the federal government unveiled a series of changes to the temporary foreign worker program, including an increased application fee of $1,000 and also a new labour-market impact-assessment process. LMIAs determine whether there is a need for a foreign worker, rather than a Canadian, to fill a given position.

Ms. Mott said the long waiting times for these new impact assessments are often untenable in a fast-paced and highly competitive industry.

“We used to have a fast-track in the creative industries; a two-week turn around. … The LMIA [process] kind of said, ‘No exceptions for now.’ And companies, large companies like Digital Domain, couldn’t bring in the 20 to 40 people they need to hire 80 to 200 Canadians.

“The visual effects, animation and even games [industries are] a global work force. You’re always going to have about 20 per cent of your team for a project [that] is going to be international.”

In Vancouver alone, there are more than 900 companies in the digital entertainment and interactive sector, which includes digital effects for television and film, video game animation and smartphone apps and games.

“[Studios] are really, really hungry for especially Canadian talent,” said Ria Bénard, who runs Lost Boys Studios visual-effects school with her husband.

“It’s been hard to grow Canadian talent, so they have to reach out to internationals. And that’s become a bit of a problem with our government, which is putting some roadblocks in the way of … getting international talent.”

Los Angeles, London and now Vancouver are the world’s biggest hubs for digital animation and effects, which means that workers with the most expertise find themselves frequently hopping from country to country depending on the latest project they have signed on to.

“Most of the teams for large projects are 150 to 200 people, sometimes even more, and in order to secure that work you have to make sure you can get that temporary foreign worker expertise in. And quickly,” Ms. Mott said.

“Often what happens in the film industry is it’s like, ‘Okay, you’re hired, go.’ You don’t get a lot of lead time.”

Daniel Duwe is a visual-effects artist from Belgium who has worked in London, Singapore and now Vancouver. Since arriving, he has done postproduction work on such projects as American Sniper, Game of Thrones and the coming film Jurassic World.

He said he would like to continue working in Canada but the new system has meant constant uncertainty about what will happen when a project ends.

“If my contract ends and I don’t have a visa, I basically have to leave the country,” he said. “So for me it’s really crucial to get a work permit processed quickly.”

The Vancouver Economic Commission estimates that about 16,000 people are employed by digital entertainment and interactive companies in B.C., with more than 60 per cent of these companies in the greater Vancouver area. The commission’s chief executive officer, Ian McKay, could not say what percentage of these workers are from outside Canada, but described it as a small but important percentage.

“I think the government needs to look at the unintended consequences of the TFW and other immigration reforms … and make some real strong policy overhaul recommendations.”

And there is an incentive. In 2003, the provincial government launched the British Columbia Digital Animation or Visual Effects (DAVE) tax credit for companies hiring domestic workers.

A statement from federal Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre’s office said the department has been in talks with the digital entertainment and interactive industry over the past few months “to better understand the sector’s needs.”

“The department received positive feedback from the industry following the engagement and has not heard recent concerns about having applications approved in a timely manner,” the e-mailed statement said.

‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ Books ‘Jurassic World’ Director

(           The next Star Wars trilogy is complete as far as naming directors goes. Lucasfilm announced that the director for Star Wars: Episode IX would be Jurassic World‘s Colin Trevorrow.

Variety reported on the announcement that was made at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., over the weekend.

“Colin is someone I’ve been interested in working with ever since I saw ‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’ ” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement as Variety reported. “The power of that film paired with the enormous success of ‘Jurassic World’ speaks volumes about his abilities both as a storyteller and skilled filmmaker. We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the Star Wars universe.”

Jurassic World, starring Chris Pratt, became the third highest-grossing movie ever, Variety reports.

Trevorrow said in that same statement that helming a Star Wars would involve “channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope.”

The next trilogy goes: J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens out December, Rian Johnson’s VIII out in 2017, and Trevorrow’s IX due out in 2019, according to

Tag Graphic Novel Picked up by Fox for Annabelle Director John Lonetti

(          The latest graphic novel to be picked up for an adaptation into a movie is Boom! Studios’ Tag, created and written by Keith Giffen and drawn by Kody Chamberlain and Chee, with Annabelle director John Lonetti attached to helm from a screenplay by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, according to Deadline.

Serialized as a three issue mini-series and then collected, Tag is about a man who is “tagged” by a random stranger who then discovers his body is decomposing, forcing him to figure out the origins of the curse and decide whether to pass it onto someone else by tagging them.

Tag was originally in development at Universal but after the rights lapsed, Fox picked it up under their first look deal with Boom! Studios. Boom! CEO Ross Richie will produce the movie along with  BOOM’s President of Development Stephen Christy and Senior Vice President of Film Adam Yoelin. Ryan Jones and Mark Roybal will be on board to produce for Fox.

Lonetti recently finished filming Wolves at the Door for New Line, following the enormous worldwide hit of Annabelle, which grossed $255 million worldwide after spinning off from New Line’s other horror megahit The Conjuring.

For writers Collins and Piotrowski, this will be their follow-up to the Blumhouse Productions film Stephanie being directed by Akiva Goldsman and another untitled horror film being directed by Marc Munden for A24.

Inside Industrial Light & Magic’s Secret Star Wars VR Lab

(                I’m on Industrial Light & Magic’s motion capture stage, standing inside what they call “the cave.” It’s not much to look at: two big screens angled at 90 degrees, awash in a smeary blur of images. But put on a pair of modified 3D glasses, and bam — it’s the Holodeck, and I’m on Tatooine standing face to face with one of the most famous robots in movie history. I walk around C-3PO, crouching one moment then jumping the next. The mo-cap performer across the room raises his hand, and the CG Threepio waves. It’s exhilarating and immersive, and it’s all happening in real time.

The cave is a place for filmmakers to test out worlds that don’t exist yet, and for ILM to demo and build augmented reality experiences for its recently unveiled skunkworks division, ILMxLab. The lab is a developmental playground for any and all kind of interactive or immersive experience. Virtual reality, AR, theme park attractions; it’s all up for grabs, uniting decades of visual effects expertise, computer wizardry, and Lucasfilm’s own creative team into a self-contained entertainment studio of the future.

The goal isn’t to just create what people will be trying out on their Oculus Rift next year. It’s to come up with the interconnected virtual experiences we’ll be having 10 years from now. And you’d better believe they’re starting with Star Wars.

Full article:

Pixar Announces Day of the Dead Film ‘Coco’

(                Pixar announced today that it will move forward with its Day of the Dead film project, now called Coco.

Coco will be directed by Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3). Unkrich’s project will answer the question, What if a Mexican boy named Miguel could meet his long-dead Mexican family members? It was described by Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter at the D23 Expo as “breathtaking, beautiful, and fun.”

If Unkrich, a white Jewish gentleman from Cleveland, Ohio, sounds like an odd choice for directing a film rooted in a centuries-old Mexican tradition, fear not. Unkrich explained today that he has traveled several times to Mexico to study real Mexicans doing real Mexican types of things. Plus, he’s surely seen the illustrations of Posada, so he’s at least as qualified as any other white person who wants to appropriate Mexican culture for the purpose of boosting an American corporation’s bottomline.

Producer Darla Anderson and director Lee Unkrich announce “Coco” at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. (Click to enlarge.)

In an interview with Cartoon Brew last year, actual Mexican director Jorge Gutierrez, who directed Fox/Reel FX’s Day of the Dead-themed feature The Book of Life, shared his thoughts about gringos who go on “research trips” to learn other country’s cultures:

Personally I’ve always found it a little ridiculous that animation artists can go on a research trip and think they understand the culture. I never, never bought that. I think you get the tourist version of a culture if you do that. So I said to the crew, ‘No research trips to Mexico. I am Mexico! You guys have any questions, you come to me.’

A few years ago, in preparation for this Pixar film, the Disney Company unsuccessfully attempted to trademark the entire Día de Muertos holiday, which caused widespread outrage in the Latino community. William Nericcio, a scholar specializing in the representation of Latinos in American pop culture, told Cartoon Brew at the time that Pixar’s film would be “a public relations nightmare” because Disney and Pixar are “not really equipped to talk about other cultures in a way that shows even the slightest sensitivity.”

We’ll find out how well equipped to talk about the culture and customs of our southern neighbors when they release Coco in fall 2017.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Who was this Movie’s Ralph McQuarrie?

In the mid-1970s, when George Lucas was struggling to persuade 20th Century Fox that his script about a farmboy who teams up with a wizard, a pirate, and a space-ape to rescue a princess from a black knight was worth doing, he turned to the talents of illustrator Ralph McQuarrie.

McQuarrie, who died in 2012 at age 82, painted countless concept images for the original Star Wars trilogy, creating the iconic landscapes of Tatooine, Hoth, Cloud City, and Dagobah, as well as the visage of characters like Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO (pictured above), and many, many more.

His influence can still be found in the details of The Force Awakens, more than 40 years after the artist began visualizing the galaxy far, far away. But in talking with writer-director J.J. Abrams about this first step back into the cosmos, I wanted to know: Who was his Ralph McQuarrie?

In other words – who helped him see the unimaginable?

“I was incredibly blessed to work with Rick Carter, who – beyond being a brilliant production designer – is a font of imagination and associations,” Abrams says, without having to think long, “He is able to make connections to things that no one else can see, and he has such a trove of references and life experience and images and design ideas.”

Carter is a recent Oscar winner for the production design of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (seen below), and he also picked up a trophy for creating the alien forest-world of James Cameron’s Avatar. A frequent collaborator of Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis, his other credits include Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump, the Back to the Future sequels, Cast Away, and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. In case you needed to love him more, he also was the art director on The Goonies and 1984’s cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

Carter had never worked with Abrams before, but he proved to be as a vital partner as McQuarrie was to Lucas back in the day.

“I brought him in very early on, when I was working, originally, with [screenwriter] Michael Arndt,” Abrams says. “I brought Rick in to our story meetings, which is atypical in a production designer’s job description, but I wanted him there because he was a dreamer – a complete dreamer.”

Abrams described Carter as “a giddy, excited genius, and he was a muse for me in that regard. Not just visually, but also spiritually, and he was just a terrific partner in crime.”

Another person who was Abrams’ Ralph McQuarrie was … Ralph McQuarrie. Even though he’s gone, his illustrations are still influencing Star Wars, and the late artist was a kind of guardian angel for both Abrams and Carter.

“We both knew the importance of what McQuarrie had done, and how critical he was in creating the aesthetic of what we all know is Star Wars,” the director says. “We could have taken another path and said, ‘Okay, everything that we all know about Star Wars has been done; let’s go somewhere else and do something totally different,’ but when you’re lucky enough to inherit the history of this world that we know, there should be a continuum.”

The key to finding a path back to Star Wars, he said, was not just to follow the best idea at the moment, but to look back at what had been done, well … a long time ago.

“I don’t know what a Star Wars movie would look like without TIE fighters, and stormtroopers, and that pill-shaped lighting from the Empire,” Abrams said. “All things that are Ralph McQuarrie’s brainchild.”

Siggraph 2015 Launches VR Village

(                SIGGRAPH 2015 (Aug. 9-13 in LA) capitalizes on the Virtual Reality craze by introducing the 2015 VR VILLAGE, featuring real-time immersion in the latest virtual and augmented realities, including Nomadic Virtual Reality (VR), Tabletop Augmented Reality (AR), Full-Dome Cinema, and live performances and demonstrations in a 360-degree immersion dome.

The VR Village at SIGGRAPH allows attendees to explore the fascinating potential of VR, AR, and Immersive Environments as a means for telling stories, engaging audiences, and powering real-world applications in health, education, design, and gaming. The curated programming offers a wide range of content from major studios and game developers to non-profit institutions, including research labs and planetariums.

“Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Immersive Environments are part of a fast-growing, emerging market,” said Ed Lantz, SIGGRAPH 2015 VR Village Program co-chair. “As it grows, there’s room for alternative and independent producers, developers, distributors, and manufacturers to make important and original contributions to consumer products and programming. For the debut of SIGGRAPH’s VR Village, my co-chair Denise Quesnel and I wanted to ensure that attendees have the chance to see amazing applications that have been developed by the world’s best programmers, cinematographers, artists, and game developers that are currently out there. We also hope to inspire and bring together the larger VR community.”

Full article:

Disney Announces ‘Gigantic’ Animated Feature

(   Today, during the Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films panel at D23, Disney Animation announced a new feature film called Gigantic.

Gigantic, Disney’s unique take on Jack and the Beanstalk, will feature music from Oscar-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (Frozen’s “Let it Go”), who greeted D23 EXPO fans in song alongside director Nathan Greno (Tangled) and producer Dorothy McKim (Get A Horse!).

Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, Disney’s Gigantic follows adventure-seeker Jack as he discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds. He hatches a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl, and agrees to help her find her way home. But he doesn’t account for her super-sized personality — and who knew giants were so down to earth? Gigantic hits theaters in 2018.

The 6 Best Video Game Movies Coming Out Soon

(               These are the console classics making their way onto the big screen. And yes, that includes Angry Birds

1. The Angry Birds Movie

The annoyingly popular Finnish game by Rovio Entertainment – that sees you sling-shotting birds at pigs – will be made into a 3D animation film produced by Sony Pictures Imageworks. It’s rumoured to have a budget of $80 million (£51.3m). Jason Sudeikis will be voicing “Red”, the main bird, with Bill Hader as the Minion Pigs and Peter Dinklage (aka Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones) as the “Mighty Eagle”.

Expected to be released May 2016

2. Warcraft

If you liked Lord of the Rings then you’ll like Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft game-series first launched in 1994. The film is said to depict a long-winded war between the human race and orcs (similar to the first game), and has been given a budget of over $100m (£64 m). Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, Dominic Cooper (aka Howard Stark from Captain America) will star. According to film news site IGN, the movie will feel like “a cross between Game of Thrones and Avatar”.

Expected to be released June 2016

3. Assassin’s Creed

The action-adventure game series by Ubisoft featuring protagonist Desmond Miles will follow the conflict between the Knights Templar and the Assassins. Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard have been tied to the film, and Olivia Munn has expressed some interest according to IGN. If the film is as good as the game then it is definitely one to watch.

Expected to be released December 2016

4. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Rex Features

Capcom recently stated that they would be updating Resident Evil for modern consoles. But did you know that another Resident Evil film could be in the making? Milla Jovovich will return as Alice in a post zombie-apocalypse world that has been inflicted with the T-Virus. It will be the sixth and final film in the series.

Expected to be released January 2017

5. Uncharted

The brilliant action-adventure game, developed by Naughty Dog, is to be made into a film. The story follows Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter, and his journey across the world trying to decipher mysteries. Nathan Fillion has expressed interest in the role, but all we know is that Mark Boal (writer and producer of Zero Dark Thirty) is currently working on the script. It is expected that this live-action thriller might take its cues from Indiana Jones.

Expected to be released June 2017

6. Tomb Raider

Rex Features

Rumour are spreading that another Tomb Raider –  the game series developed by Core Design, Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix – could soon be coming to our screens featuring a young Lara Croft. Evan Daugherty (who wrote the script for Divergent) is said to be working on the film’s script. The Tomb Raider series, featuring Angelina Jolie, was the highest grossing film-of-a-video game ever made. Nina Dobrev, Gemma Arterton, Jennifer Lawrence are some of the fan favourites to play Lara. Whoever it is, they will have big boots to fill. Who do you think can play the next Lara?


VFX News 8/12

China is Creating its Own Sci-fi Franchise to Rival “Transformers” and “The Hunger Games”

(        Hollywood remains the global mecca for big-budget sci-fi movies, producing global multi-part powerhouses such as The Hunger Games and Iron Man. As Chinese financing flows into Hollywood movies, China’s own fast-growing film industry wants to try its hand at building a sci-fi franchise of its own.

Chinese film studios have wrapped up production of The Three-Body Problem, an adaptation of a popular sci-fi novel about an alien invasion that takes place during the Cultural Revolution. The three-part series that it’s the first part of has sold more than a million copies in China—unusually high popularity for the genre in China. In November 2014, the first book was translated into English and published in the United States by Tor Books.

The film will be the first of a five-part series co-produced by Alibaba Pictures and Yoozoo pictures, both relatively new players in China’s film industry. Each feature is reported to have a budget of 200 million yuan (about US$32 million), and the first feature is to hit theaters in July 2016.

China’s consumers have an appetite for foreign and domestic films alike. Six out of the ten highest-grossing films in China were from Hollywood, while the remainder were produced at home.

What China’s film industry lacks is a very specific type of franchise—series that have a large narrative universe, and that rely heavily on special effects. Hollywood studios love these franchises because audiences prefer to see them in the theater rather than at home (which helps curb piracy), and they also come packed with intellectual property that’s easy to license out. The Three-Body Problem marks an early Chinese attempt to follow this model.

China’s domestic film industry remains an important part of the nation’s entertainment industry as a whole. Box office receipts hit $4.82 billion in 2014, and that figure will likely exceed the US by 2017. And with a quota of only 34 foreign films that can show in theaters each year (expected to increase by 10 movies in 2017 for art-house and Oscar-winners), Chinese movies have some advantage.

Moreover, the industry has plenty of room to grow—America has 20 movie screens per resident, while China has less than five.

2015 VES Summit Keynote Speaker Announced – Dean Devlin

(                 As we move from the information age into the Visualization age where every industry uses imagery to educate, communicate, entertain and sell —  it’s creative development and its aligned businesses that will drive this developing economy. Virtualization speaks to cloud-based production, to augmented and virtual realities, to multi-platform experiences, and the broad idea of hyper-connectivity. It encompasses heightened realities, immersive experiences, presence capture, and more. This evolution is bringing about changes and expansion in Storytelling.

Exceptional Storytelling remains the ultimate goal but approaches are open to innovation. From TV taking non-time-constrained forms, to audience-driven narratives, to 360° experiences, webcasts and six second videos — all being told across multiple platforms — the creative world is in a seismic shift.

The VES Summit will delve into these exciting times and processes. Come join us!

Source with more info:

Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 Finishes Filming

(            Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has wrapped production in Australia, it’s been confirmed.

For the last few months, production on Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has been ongoing in Australia. Johnny Depp is reprising the role of Captain Jack Sparrow for the movie, and Javier Bardem leads the new additions to the cast.

This time around, the film is being directed by Espen Sandberg and Joachim Ronning, and it’s been revealed that production wrapped on the new movie at the end of last month. Not that you’re going to be seeing it anytime soon. We’re still just under two years away from the release of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which is set to arrive in cinemas on July 7th 2017. We suspect there might just be a fair amount of post-production work to get through.

See Every Visual Effects Winner in Oscar History

(      Visual effects have come a long way since Star Wars took home the first Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1978. Revisit everything from a galaxy far, far away to a dream near you with a look at every Visual Effects Oscar winner since the award’s inception.

VIDEO – Take a look:

‘The Thing’ Actor Jamie Bell inspired by Andy Serkis

(             Jamie Bell is inspired by Andy Serkis, and followed his lead when using motion capture in ‘Fantastic Four’.

The 29-year-old actor used motion capture to portray The Thing in ‘Fantastic Four’ and learned a lot about the technique from his ‘Tintin’ co-star, who most famously used it in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘King Kong’.

Jamie said: ”I’ve worked with Andy Serkis a few times now, and seeing how he creates those characters is inspiring.

”When I did ‘Tintin’ I was asking a lot of questions.

”It’s all about breaking through that wall of technology and getting through to people. You need to work closely with the visual effects people to make sure you have authorship of your performance.

”That can be blurry at times, but as long as you’re in close contact, then you’re fine.”

Jamie also had his voice digitally altered because he and film bosses felt it would be ”pretty silly” for him to change his tones himself.

He explained to Shortlist magazine: ”We had a few conversations and we ultimately decided it would be pretty silly for me to put on a voice.

”You lose a sense of who the character was before. They’ve changed my voice in post-production – it’s me but slightly warped.”

NUKE and V-Ray

(            Today at Siggraph the Foundry and Chaos Group are announcing V-Ray for Nuke. The renderer allows Nuke artists to render full V-Ray on any version of Nuke or Nuke Studio and runs on Windows and Linux. For artists doing environment work camera projections are an essential tool environment work, and so Chaos have worked closely with The Foundry to, for example, support NUKE’s Project3D.  As a result V-Ray now emulates the Project3D node as closely when rendering V-Ray in NUKE. This means you have the option to avoid having to pass assets back and forth between departments to adjust 3D elements to match live action elements. It also means for the generalist, far more control without having to leave their current work space.

V-Ray’s Nuke version is built on the same adaptive rendering core as V-Ray’s standard plugins for Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya. “The introduction of V-Ray for NUKE adds a powerful component to a comprehensive pipeline,” said Sean Brice, product manager for NUKE, The Foundry. “By bringing increased creative capabilities and efficiencies to the pipeline, artists can focus more on the creative process, achieving better results in less time.”

We caught up with the Chaos developers and spoke to a team of artists who did a brilliant test during the Beta cycle, to answer the question: “why would I want to render in NUKE and not just MAYA?”.

Full article:

UK Needs 1.2 Million New Digital / Creative Workers

(               A total of 1.2 million digital and creative skilled workers needed by 2022 says Creative Skillset

The digital and creative sector is expected to need 1.2 million new workers by 2022 – equivalent to half the current workforce.

Creative Skillset, the creative industries skills and training body, has accepted the challenges of the unprecedented growth outlined in the UK Commission for  Employment &  Skills (UKCES) report, Sector Insights, Skills Challenges in the digital and creative sector.

In order to meet this level of growth, fairer access to job opportunities and training is essential, according to Creative Skillset.

The report demanded that the digital and creative sectors speak to a wider field of potential recruits with different educational and professional backgrounds.

Outside of IT and Tech, the creative digital sector is formed of small businesses and has high levels of freelancers, characterised by informal recruitment and barriers to training.

Creative Skillset CEO Dinah Caine said: “With a growing workforce, ensuring fair access is an absolute priority for our industries. That’s why we’ve launched Hiive, a professional networking site for the creative community.

“No matter what background you come from or whether you’re a filmmaker, photographer, games developer, an apprentice a school leaver, a graduate or a digital design veteran, Hiive has the right mix of tools and resources to help you start or further your career.”

Powered by Creative Skillset and with startup co-investment from UKCES, Hiive has gained more than 23,000 members since its launch in March. The site provides information on accessing the industries, including apprenticeships.

Later this month, Creative Skillse will launch a Trainee Finder service that matches trainees with companies across the UK’s animation, games, film, high-end TV and VFX industries on the platform.

Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy Ed Vaizey said: “The latest report from UKCES confirms how important diverse talent is for these fast growing sectors, and initiatives like Hiive and the work of Creative Skillset have already made great strides in championing fairer access and training in the creative industries.”

Paramount VFX Supe Takes us Behind the Scenes of the Effects Created for Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation…

(      Tom Cruise (Risky Business) has developed a reputation for performing his own stunts, but even the fearless actor needed some digital magic conjured by David Vickery (Furious 6) who supervised the visual effects for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015).

“The marketing campaign has focused on the practical effects, and that is fair to a certain extent because Chris McQuarrie’s (Jack Reacher) mantra was always do it for real, get it in-camera, and no CG for CG sake,” notes Vickery, who was responsible for over 1,200 visual effect shots. “But inevitably there are portions of the movie that rely on visual effects to enable them to be brought to life.”

A particular example comes to mind. “You could have had Tom Cruise at the side of the A400 with wires everywhere which aren’t much fun to see. Visual effects steps in and paints the rigs out. In addition to that the vision of the filmmaker was to make the location more acceptable to the story. We filmed it in the UK but the A400 environment was supposed to be a disused military airfield in Belarus. We replaced large portions of the background, reorganized the structure of the airfield, and put in grass covered hangers and fencing.”

“We did previs for the A400 because Airbus was going to be picky about where we could put our rigs and mounts,” states David Vickery. “We knew exactly the shots we were going to get, exactly where Tom was going to run on the plane, exactly where camera angles needed to be, and the speed the plane would be travelling.”

Full article:

Angelina Jolie Pitt to Exec Produce Animated Feature ‘Breadwinner’

(            Angelina Jolie Pitt and her Jolie Pas Productions have teamed up with Aircraft Pictures (Toronto), Cartoon Saloon (Ireland) and Melusine Productions (Luxembourg) to executive produce a new animated feature, The Breadwinner. Based on the best-selling YA novel by Canadian author Deborah Ellis, the project is being directed by Cartoon Saloon’s Nora Twomey (co-director, The Secret of Kells) from a screenplay by live-action writer/director Anita Doron.

The Breadwinner is the story of an Afghani girl named Parvana living under Taliban rule, who passes herself off as a boy in order to support her family when her father is unjustly imprisoned. According to the producers, in addition to highlighting messages of self-empowerment and ingenuity, the film will also celebrate the culture, history and beauty of Afghanistan — and a version produced in Dari is planned in addition to an English cut.

The Foundry introduces MARI 3

(                  At Siggraph 2015 – the world’s largest conference on computer graphics, taking place from 9 to 13 August at the Los Angeles Convention Centre – The Foundry is demonstrating MARI 3, the newest version of its 3D paint package. Ideal for texturing and look development artists in the VFX, animation and games industries, MARI 3 combines productivity enhancing features with broader and tighter pipeline integration. This includes an exposed node graph for advanced users and integration with the rendering and baking capabilities of MODO, The Foundry’s 3D content creation solution.

“Fitting into the pipeline or creative lifecycle in which an artist works is just as important as enabling artists to create beautiful 3D painted and textured content,” said Jack Greasley, head of new technologies at The Foundry. “Therefore, MARI 3 continues The Foundry’s commitment to addressing not only what artists need to do but how and where they do it. This includes seamless integration with third parties, open APIs and support for industry standards.”

MARI 3 brings support for widely used shaders such as Unreal, as well as for OpenSubdiv geometry. Within the games market, more AAA and indie game developers have adopted MARI to create the cinematic quality characters and experiences required in today’s most successful games.

For visual effects artists, MARI 3 delivers creative tools that provide the performance, power and quality that the creation of today’s high resolution assets require. Prior to MARI, 3D paint solutions could only handle a small handful of textures at one time. Now, with MARI, artists can create and edit thousands of high resolution textures, freeing them to concentrate on their art rather than technical details. As film and television audiences demand more spectacular visual effects, MARI lets artists push their artistic imagination.

“I’ve used MARI for almost five years now and really don’t know where I would be without it. It has been the cornerstone for all of my texture work both personally and professionally,” said Justin Holt, texture paint lead, Sony Pictures Imageworks. “MARI is a world-class tool for any serious texture painter and I highly recommend to anybody who wants to succeed in the world of textures to pick this tool up now because it will quickly become one of the only tools you will ever need. I have spent time exploring MARI 3 and I simply cannot wait for the official release in order to take advantage of all of the wonderful new tools it will offer.”

MARI 3 will be commercially available in Q3 2015. For more information on MARI 3, visit The Foundry website.


(             The likes of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “In the Heart of the Sea,” and “Jurassic World” look like the top contenders at the moment.  “The Martian” can break up the party if it becomes the technical marvel of the year.

The full list with runner-ups:

Unionizing VFX  In Vancouver – Frequently Asked Questions

(          VFX is a modern labour chimera of part-time and full-time artists and technicians. Successful labour movements of the 21st century will need to reflect global competition and evolving digital technologies as traditional jobs are supplanted with ever increasing contract employment. The question is “Do you want to have a say in the way it evolves?” We invite you to do your own research. Talk with other union members in the industry. Ask IATSE members about working under a union contracts with benefits. If you have already made up your mind or want more information call 604.664.8921 or email the union at

Let us know when you are ready to join the Union behind entertainment and we will assist you.

IATSE 891 responds to questions and concerns expressed by VFX artists:

“Why is IATSE 891 interested in unionizing all BC VFX artists?”

“Will I make more or less money in a union?”

“Will IATSE 891 be involved in management?”

“Is there seniority?”

“I want the freedom to negotiate my own contract”

“Does a unionized VFX industry mean I can’t be laid off or fired?”

“What are we guaranteed if we organize a union with IATSE?”

“IATSE 891 is a business that only wants our dues.”

“What type of benefits does IATSE 891 offer to its members?”

“Does IATSE 891 provide training?”

“When can we expect union contracts?”

“Will 60, 70, or 100 hour work weeks be common with a union contract?”

“Is it possible to contractually sign away my right to overtime?”

“I hear unions protect ‘Lazy Joes'”

“I’m an artist. I donate my time to make my art better. I make enough money and don’t want or need overtime, or a union contract.”

“Will a unionized VFX industry just encourage studios to leave Vancouver?”

Source with more:

VFX News – 07/13/15

Animal Logic Looks to Fill 300 Roles

(              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.


12 photos Inside Sony Pictures Imageworks New Downtown Vancouver HQ

(            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:

Hayao Miyazaki To Make Debut 3D CG Animation Film

(          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

(               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

(               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:

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

(               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’

(               “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:

Star Wars: Rogue One Begins Filming Soon, Lucasfilm Confirms

(        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

(           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:

How Photoshop Changed the World

(              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:,how-photoshop-changed-the-world.aspx#ixzz3fmqqS8cS

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

(           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

(                 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.


Big Friendly Giant on Bamburgh Beach

(              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:

Pixar Animation Studios Releases RenderMan 20

(            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

(               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

(               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.

Prime Focus

This was an interesting gig. The work was pretty easy doing 3D conversion. The conditions wen’t that great, construction was going on at the same time as we worked so we would have to wear dust masks. 12 hours a day 6 days a week was normal. This is the closest I have come to working in a sweat shop.