Jan 15, 2014 VFX Breadkdown – Star Trek: Into Darkness
May 13, 2013 The Foundry Mari 2.0 Masking & Painting Tutorial
The tutorial covers: A custom shader in Mari that replicates our in-game physically based shader nearly identically. Paint diffuse, normal, specular, and roughness to describe any type of material simultaneously by using shared mask layers. Everything gets baked down to one material draw call.
Adjusting the brightness of the paint’s roughness map on the fire hydrant will transition through mips in the specular cubemap, effectively “blurring” the reflection. This can be seen more clearly on the example using the chrome sphere. Using the mask of rust as an input to the bump channel, painting rust will also affect the final normal map.
Apr 16, 2013 The Foundry 2013 Demo Reel
The Foundry showcased its new demo reel at NAB 2013 and it was pretty amazing. There is a lot of great work in there from our clients like Prime Focus, Hinge Digital, Framestore, Look Effects and more.
Feb 25, 2013 An Open Letter to Ang Lee
Reposted with permission:
Dear Mr. Lee,
When asked about the bankruptcy of Rhythm + Hues, the visual effects house largely responsible for making your film “life of Pi” as incredible as it was, you said:
“I would like it to be cheaper and not a tough business [for VFX vendors]. It’s easy for me to say, but it’s very tough. It’s very hard for them to make money. The research and development is so expensive; that is a big burden for every house. They all have good times and hard times, and in the tough times, some may not [survive].”
I just want to point out that while, yes R&D can be expensive and yes it takes a lot of technology and computing power to create films like yours, it is not computer chips and hard drives that are costing you so very much money. It is the artists that are helping you create your film.
So when you say “I would like it to be cheaper,” as an artist I take that personally. It took hundreds of hours from skilled artists and hard-working coordinators and producers to craft the environments and performances in life of Pi. Not to mention the engineers that wrote all of that proprietary code and build the R+H pipeline. That is where your money went. I’d say, judging from the night you just had, you got one hell of a deal.
Incidentally, those were the same gorgeous sunsets and vistas that your DP Claudio Miranda took credit for without so much as a word of thanks to those artists. And the same animated performances that helped win you the best director statue. Nice of you to mentionthe pool crew, but maybe you could have thanked the guys and gals who turned that pool in to an ocean and put a tiger in to that boat?
It was world class work, after all. And after a fabulously insulting and dismissive introduction from the cast of the avengers, at least two of whom spent fully half of their film as a digitally animated character, R+H won for it’s work on your very fine piece of cinema. And just as the bankruptcy was about to be acknowledged on a nationally-televised platform, the speech was cut short. By the Jaws theme.
If this was meant as a joke, we artists are not laughing.
Mr. Lee, I do believe that you are a thoughtful and brilliant man. And a gifted filmmaker. But I also believe that you and everyone in your tier of our business is fabulously ignorant to the pain and turmoil you are putting artists through. Our employers scramble to chase illegal film subsidies across the globe at the behest of the film studios. Those same subsidies raise overhead, distort the market, and cause wage stagnation in what are already trying economic times. Your VFX are already cheaper than they should be. It is disheartening to see how blissfully unaware of this fact you truly are.
By all accounts, R+H is a fantastic place to work; a truly great group of people who treat their employees with fairness and respect. Much like Zoic Studios, the fabulous company that I am proud to work for. But I am beginning to wonder if these examples of decency will be able to survive in such a hostile environment. Or if the horror stories of unpaid overtime and illegal employment practices will become the norm, all because you and your fellow filmmakers “would like it to be cheaper.”
I for one won’t stand for it. Please join me.
Warmest regards and congratulations,
Feb 21, 2013 iPad Version of “Animators Survival Kit” Coming Soon
The famous “The Animator’s Survival Kit” written by Richard Williams is coming soon to the iPad. The price and exact date of release have not yet been determined, but the publisher, Faber and Faber, has indicated that it will be roughly timed with Williams’ 80th birthday next month.
Key Features of the app will include:
- The entirety of The Animator’s Survival Kit Expanded Edition, optimized for the iPad.
- Over 100 animated examples from The Animator’s Survival Kit Animated DVD box set.
- Previously unreleased Circus Drawings animation from Richard Williams
- Silent Film Logo for the Pordenone Silent Film Festival.
- New video introductions by Richard Williams.
- Sensitive navigation, fading gracefully away when not needed, allowing users to focus on the lessons at hand.
- Break down and watch the animated examples frame-by-frame to see how they’re put together.
- Onion skin some animated examples to see the preceding and following frames.
Here’s a couple stills from the Circus Drawings short that will be included in the app: