Friday, 9 January 2015

Remote VFX is here to stay!

In the last couple of years I have noticed an influx of small independent visual effects studios that specialise in creating stunning visuals for TV, Feature film and commercials in an remote and collaborative working environment.

I'm not saying that big studios days are numbered, it just means that the independent visual effects artist will finally begin to get the recognition that they deserve!

I feel that remote studios will pick up the smaller, indie film projects hopefully bringing a bigger and more diverse selection of films for everyone to watch. The internet and streaming services have helped small/medium budget films get more coverage and hopefully this will mean there will be more work to go around for everyone!

Lower Overheads

Hardware and software has come down in price enough for independent artists to be able to afford the tools to create high quality work from their homes, and personal offices. Coupled with high speed internet connections it has made it more feasible to work independently.

This means independent artists don't have the overheads that the bigger studios have so they can cater to the independent film maker with a small to medium size budget.

How this could benefit independent film makers

A lot of the time directors and producers do not speak directly to the visual effects artists, this can create extra work (and therefore cost more) as the director's vision is not always passed down correctly to the artists creating the visual effects.

I have been lucky enough to work directly with directors and producers on jobs, cutting out the middle men and making communication easier.

The VFX industry is changing!

I am not sure what will happen over the coming years, I personally feel that there will still be large visual effects studios working on the blockbuster film format but there will be an increase of remote VFX houses and artists. This will help independent films get the quality of visual effects they require for their films.

I have recently read a great book that gives some impartial and interesting facts about the VFX industry and the possible future of it!! You can get a copy of it here:http://www.insidevfx.com/

In the video below Michael Cawood and Theory Animation discuss some of the possible ways that on-line collaborations may work in the near future - I believe that were are very close to this being a reality.

One final note, a good friend of mine(Antonio Milo) introduced me to this blog: http://www.allanmckay.com/blog/. Have a listen to the podcasts on there - they are really helpful!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Ambleside - Lake District Nikon D5200 footage

The lake district has some really amazing landscape - perfect location to get some great footage. I recently spent some time there and in my spare time got out and filmed what I saw!

It is even more atmospheric when it is raining and misty! Check out the videos below. All of them have been graded using Adobe Speedgrade and a little helping hand from the Foundry's Nuke!

The only current downside to my Nikon D5200 is I am recording directly to the SD memory card. This means I don't get the full potential out of the camera! Hopefully will get a Atmos ninja in the near future so I can get a better range of colour and 10bit 4:2:2 recording.

Latest update:27/10/14, added in the driving footage - crazy roads!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Lightning VFX Sequence

Iskander Mellakh was hired to produce the lightning VFX on A Touch Of Cloth III. The shots were seen at the end of the part 2! They were included in the teaser clips for the next episode. A full article can be found on our website showing how ICM Studios created the VFX for 4 shots on A Touch Of Cloth III.

Friday, 6 June 2014

A little bit of Depth! Tabby Cat

Luckily Dennis(my tabby cat) was in the mood to have a camera shoved in his face and I managed to get some nice footage of him.
Shot on a Nikon D5200 with an Nikon 18-55mm lens. The focal length was set to 55mm. The ISO was set to 1600.
It was shot using a Eimo DSLR Rig (although I was just propping it on the table!). I should have mounted it on a tripod but I might not have got the footage I wanted at the time!
RV Solo (http://www.tweaksoftware.com/) was used to quickly scrub through and review the footage and Adobe SpeedGrade was used to do the Final Grade.
I am happy with the outcome, however, the use of a tripod and a bit better focusing would be the goal for the next one!
Oh yes, I am still working on this the hanging woman VFX shot. A new plate has been done, just need to matchmove etc first before I put up a new version of the shot. For now, here is a frame from the latest shoot:)

Monday, 14 April 2014

Moon Man Dan Website launched!

ICM Studios has just finished helping Pickled Pepper Productions with the launch of their new website for the first animated episode of Moon Man Dan.

To find out more about Moon Man Dan visit the website here: www.moonmandan.co.uk. To see the episode, I have embeded it below :)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Hanging Woman VFX Shot

I have been working on a VFX shot in my spare time so far the versions below is the progress I have made so far. I had already built the assets before starting the shot but I had to modify them to work with the genre. I chopped off her arm and made a sack for her head as well as the dress and guts. Still needs work but the next version should be closer :)

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Maya Pie Maker


I have made a little script for Maya that creates slices of a pie-chart. Not sure what use it is to anyone but here it is:
////////////////////////////////////////////////

// SCRIPT TO CREATE PIE CHARTS :)

///////////////////////////////////////////////

global proc mkPie(){

float $percent = `floatField -q -value itemPercent`;

$name = `textField -q -text item`;

$sections = `intField -q -value itemSections`;

//setAttr textForBevel1.text -type "string" ($percent+"%");

$deg = ($percent/100);

$degree = (360 * $deg);

cylinder -ch on -o on -ax 0 1 0 -r 3 -s $sections -hr 0 -n $name -ssw 0deg -esw ($degree+"deg");

nurbsPrimitiveCap 3 1 1;

parent -w bottomCap1 ;

delete $name;

nurbsToPoly -mnd 1 -ch 1 -f 2 -pt 1 -pc 200 -chr 0.1 -ft 0.01 -mel 0.001 -d 0.1 -ut 1 -un 10 -vt 1 -vn ($sections*3) -uch 0 -ucr 0 -cht 0.2 -es 0 -ntr 0 -mrt 0 -uss 1 "bottomCap1";

delete bottomCap1;

string $polyName = ($name+"_mesh");

rename "nurbsToPoly1" $polyName;

setAttr ($polyName+".translateY") 3;

makeIdentity -apply true -t 1 -r 1 -s 1 -n 0 $polyName;

polyExtrudeFacet -constructionHistory 1 -keepFacesTogether 1 -pvx 1.239527732 -pvy 0 -pvz 1.499420881 -divisions 10 -twist 0 -taper 1 -off 0 -thickness 0 -smoothingAngle 30 $polyName;

setAttr "polyExtrudeFace1.localTranslate" -type double3 0 0 -1.940407 ;

select -r $polyName; DeleteHistory;

displaySmoothness -divisionsU 3 -divisionsV 3 -pointsWire 16 -pointsShaded 4 -polygonObject 3;

subdivDisplaySmoothness -smoothness 3;

select -cl;

}

global proc mkEnv(){

polyPlane -n myPlane -sx 10 -sy 10 -h 50 -w 50 ;

displaySmoothness -divisionsU 3 -divisionsV 3 -pointsWire 16 -pointsShaded 4 -polygonObject 3;

subdivDisplaySmoothness -smoothness 3;

setAttr "myPlane.overrideEnabled" 1;

setAttr "myPlane.overrideShading" 1;

setAttr "myPlane.overrideDisplayType" 2;

nonLinear -type bend -lowBound 0 -highBound 1 -curvature 1.6;

setAttr "bend1Handle.rotateZ" 90;

select "bend1Handle" myPlane; group -n "environment";

setAttr "environment.translateX" -5;

}

global proc mkPieWindow(){

if (`window -exists pieUI`){

deleteUI pieUI;

}

string $window = `window -title "PIE MAKER :)" -widthHeight 200 300 pieUI`;



columnLayout -adjustableColumn true;

text -label "Percent";

string $itemPercent = `floatField -value 10 itemPercent`;

text -label "Item Name";

string $item = `textField -text "Piece_0" item`;

text -label "Item Sections";

string $sections = `intField -v 4 itemSections`;

button -label "Make Me - go on do it :)" -command "mkPie";

button -label "Environment" -command "mkEnv";

setParent ..;

showWindow $window;

}