I recently supervised a motion reference shoot on 3 x 5Ds for the film at Siamese, all went swimmingly! Ballerina Meg Parry performed an excellent Russian ballet sequence for us, choreographed by the equally talented Sam Fox. I wish I could show more of the materials and look dev, it’s starting to look very cool behind the scenes!
The sequence is currently being edited and will be imported into Maya as image planes from 3 angles. From there the animators will be able to (loosely) roto the dance, as we require a slight stop-motion treatment to the movement and the character is missing a foot, after all. Can’t wait to see how it turns out, I’ll post up something if / when I can! (Probably not until release, sadface)
By now we’re probably all up to speed on the debate surrounding the state of the VFX industry, particularly post-Oscars. For anyone who isn’t, VFX Soldier has made some thoughtful, objective posts on the topic.
I’m not at all convinced that unionisation is the answer, but it is something that affects myself and many of my colleagues and friends (see image: left. As a side note, some of your greens are a bit iffy, guys and girls ) I may be wrong on the unionisation issue, though I’m curious to see what a workable model would look like and am looking forward to participating in the discussions moving forward.
Meanwhile, VES has posted an open letter calling for greater subsidies for Hollywood – like others I’d say this will only exacerbate the problem and would work as a short-term, short-range solution at best.
If there were an easy solution it would have already been found, but it’s a debate I’m keen to contribute more to in the hope that all stakeholders can be running successful businesses supported by satisfied employees.
Direct-to-agency via Tim, Doni and Simon at Gatecrasher, cheers guys! Tim supplied the audio, trees, houses and bike artwork, and being a small job I handled the rest myself – except for the titles which were bumped on at John Cheese during finishing. Apparently the client’s only final feedback was “I love it!”. Looks like everybody wins, it makes me happy
We’ve been experimenting around the Qantm office with various forms of tracking – mocap suits down in the green screen room, various implementations of the Kinect, and then this!:
Pictured: Blake vs. faceshift and live markerless facial tracking. The RGB+depth video (left) coming from the Kinect sensor feeds into a calibrated model of Blake (center). The blend deformers on the calibrated Blake model drive the blends on the dog (right) – live! I’d have to say I was very impressed, the nuancing was great and included eye-look direction and blinks. It sometimes slipped a little and the lips didn’t always close correctly (UPDATE: apparently the latest version of the software has fixed this), but overall it was clean and fast.
I later had the data feeding live into our own custom models inside Maya, where the data could be recorded and baked directly. Overall you’re still going to have to do some cleanup in a process like this, but it’s still a very solid and exciting solution! There are also some pretty nifty things you could do with it video-art wise once it’s in Maya, using your own facial expressions as an input control for pretty much anything.
The super awesome Beaufort St Festival is coming up, so I was excited to be able to help out with the TVC for it. Lead animator Andrew Buckley did a great job bringing it all together. I lent some VFX Supe / TD / consulting / production assistance, including creating a versatile rig for the people cards and painting a few of them myself.
All of the people cards were actually the same piece of geometry, with two sliders above it – one to swap out the background cardboard texture and one for the foreground person illustration. I used an embedded cutout matte to punch out the ripped edges. This enhanced workflow and direct-ability, as changes to the texture on the card could be quickly dialed in and new textures could be easily added.
I used projection maps and some tricky light-swapping on the skateboard ramp shot to have the cardboard properly interact with the strong sunrise spec highlights on the road. We used mental ray to render. All turned out well!
I know, I’m a monster. Even when I’m travelling I want to be making stuff. Here’s a little music-video style short I made using footage from a trip to Japan at the start of the year. Most of it’s shot on a GoPro Hero 2, with my old Canon 350D used for the timelapse sequences. Some bits treated a little in AE and then edited and graded in Premiere.
No, it wasn’t me presenting this time! Together with Damian from Marketing (who’s also a talented music producer) we organised for my mate Martin Sawtell from Dr D to drop in for 2 days and wow the junior artists.
Martin did an excellent job showing the peeps through some VFX processes in Houdini, which was a huge challenge given most of them had only worked in Maya before. Awesome stuff, cheers Martin!