November 2006 Archives
Check out a couple of the posters for the next Iwo film!
The Warner Bros website has been updated for this movie, check it out here, and see the rest of the onesheets! They're under the downloads section. I noticed that I can't view the site correctly in linux, probably something with Flash. Just listening to the music on the website definitely makes me want to see the film more. Also make sure you check out the official trailer in the videos section. A couple of my shots made it into that one! The film looks very good. I can't wait, and it comes out around the same time as Charlotte's Web!
Make sure you stock up for the holiday season with some plush Charlotte's Web toys from FAO Schwartz!
When Paramount Studios approached us to create the official plush character line for the movie Charlotte's Web we were thrilled. We love the classic book by E.B. White, and the opportunity to take the characters from the pages of the book and turn them into three-dimensional stuffed animals was a real challenge.
We partnered with one of our favorite creators of plush animals and worked closely with Paramount to develop this special collection that's worthy of both the book and the movie. We're proud of the results and hope you enjoy the special details on these handmade creations, such as the lifelike features of each animal, and the airbrushed details.
Choose from Wilbur, Charlotte, Templeton, Bitsy the Cow, Ike the Horse, Samuel the Sheep, and Gussy Goose. Or, better yet, bring home the whole crowd.
I don't think I'll be picking any of them up, but if you have kids, it could be a cool stocking stuffer. Less than a month left before the film comes out!
Yes, there's a VES branch starting up in Vancouver, my old stomping grounds! If you're a VES member, or an eager VFX artist who wants to see what the local industry has to offer, make some time to get over to the Vancouver IFC this weekend!
Vancouver International Film Centre
VES will host a social/holiday event on Sunday, December 3rd from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, at the Vancouver International Film Centre. Come mix and mingle with your fellow VES members and enjoy the latest work from Rainmaker Digital Pictures, Technicolor Visual Effects, Masters Effects & Artifex, Asling Miniature Effects, Frantic Films, Zoic and The Embassy.
There will be discussion at this meeting about forming a Vancouver Section of VES, so make sure to mark your calendars!
VES MEMBERS should RSVP to:
NON MEMBERS should RSVP to:
Some interesting Rob Cohen news from the Latino Times.
The big headline is that I am NOT using clips from the film; I am creating an entirely photo-realistic Bruce Lee with new, advanced digital technlogy. Digital Domain who did "XXX" and "Stealth" with me are on it big time. We are in the vfx development stage.
This will be the first digital actor and I am very excited about the challenge.
We do have the rights to Bruce's films but the lines are all I am going to use. The Lee Family is also involved with me and Dreamworks.
I am doing this to further honor Bruce. It was one thing to make "Dragon" but this will be the Man himself, alive for those of us that didn't get enough and the new generations who should know what he was all about.
Yes, Digital Domain is working on it, and from what I've seen, he looks amazing.. Remember What DD did with Vin Diesel in xXx? The scenes of Vin jumping the motorcycle over the fence and similar scenes where you do see him? That's a digital Vin head. I recall attending a Siggraph presentation a couple of years ago where the DD artists described their technique of creating the digital Vin head, and comped his head over the stunt motorcycle guys helmet. Some tricky paintwork, as well as some really well done digital head fakery. The before and afters and description of the technique got a big applause. They did it, IIRC, using a combination of subsurface scattering and painted texture maps. Overall very cool stuff. Well, that was four years ago, and technology and technique have advanced and changed.. So imagine Bruce Lee, really there, full face, and articulate, with all his mannerisms. There are a ton of Bruce Lee fans, so getting everything right is going to be tough. I hope they pull it off really well. It's going to be a big challenge to jump the zombie divide.. Square got right into the uncanny valley with Final Fantasy, here's hoping that DD can pull it out. It's one thing to make a great turntable photorealistic head, it's another to make it move and fool the mind's eye.
Letters from Iwo Jima, the companion piece to Flags of our Fathers, has had a release date change. Instead of February 2007, it's moved to December 20th, 2006! I'm thinking that it's a limited release for Awards consideration, as Variety reports that it will only open in LA and NY and possibly San Francisco for right now.
I can't wait for this next piece, as I've heard that it's a significantly more emotional movie than Flags. Most of our work was more invisible in this film, more so than Flags! And it's entirely in Japanese, with English subtitling. It's an ambitious film! We'll see how the public reacts.
Last night I took advantage of one of the local screenings for Children of Men, an Alfonso CuarÃ³n film with some great actors including Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine. I saw the trailer a couple months ago on Apple.com, and it piqued me enough to try and see it. At the moment it's not out in the US, but the Academy is running screenings for its members.
I'll leave the summary of the film to IMDB:
In 2027, as humankind faces the likelihood of its own extinction, a disillusioned government agent agrees to help transport and protect a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea where her child's birth may help scientists to save the future of mankind.
The film as a whole is breathtaking, and grabs you from the initial scenes of Theo (Clive Owen) grabbing a coffee at a local shop to the climax of the film in the refugee camp. The film progresses smoothly from start to finish, with a number of amazing battle sequences and emotionally crippling moments that you feel. The colors and environments within the film truly draw you into their world, one of hopelessness and weakness. Every part of the film felt real to the characters within it, and you can see their hopelessness and desperation. I cannot give higher marks for this film.. It's one of the best of this year.
The guys and gals over at DNeg and Framestore have done some great vfx work within the film. Most the obvious effects work were animated billboards and newspapers, but there several scenes of blood, debris and explosions that were added in post that were noticeable. Despite this, it does not detract from the film, and I urge you to see it when it comes stateside! You can read more User Reviews at IMDB. Warning, they may contain spoilers! I find it's better to go into a film no knowing anything.
It's been a while since I last wrote an entry.. I have a couple Tips coming up, make sure you sign up for updates if you're not a regular visitor with the box on the right side of the main page. Remember, my tips will usually appear on Fridays, so the next one will be next Friday.
A bunch of really cool VES happenings are in the works; screeners in the mail, Oscar contenders at local theatres, and coming this winter, mentoring and reel reviewing. So far I've seen Little Miss Sunshine and The Last King of Scotland (an EXCELLENT film.. Forest Whitaker is amazing! Definitely a Best Actor nominee). Coming this month and next, Children of Men and The Good Shepherd. I've received United 93 and World Trade Center in the mail, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to see those movies just yet. They'll remain in their prestine wrappers for a while.
I've signed up to be a reel reviewer next month, and early next year as a mentor for students. At the moment it's for 30 college-level students from 3 local area schools (Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Otis College of Art & Design and USC School of Cinematic Arts) as they look toward entering the job market. On that note, the 5th annual VES Awards submissions are now open! Check out the VES website for more information.
This week I'll be going in depth with Shake macro creation. If you're not familiar with Shake's macros, variables, or expressions, don't be dissuaded! It took me a little while to learn what I know now. Keep experimenting! Read on to see how I create macros, and how you can start to create your own as well! I originally posted a quick howto over on VFXTalk in this thread over two years ago, but everything listed should still be relevant.
Some changes have been occurring the last couple of weeks here at work, as people move onto other shows and the stage starts emptying out of artists. Only a couple compers from the Flags and Letters crew are still kicking around, and we've been split up onto different shows! Which of course, necessitates a move to another part of the facility. Now some of us are across the street in the commercials building, and others are in the digital building on the other side of the parking lot.
I've been lucky to not have to move from my original seat from Flags (except for a move from one part of the stage to another the first month I was here). There's developed a team dynamic among the compers here, which I was very fond of up at Tippett. A huge plus up there were the weekly comp meetings, where you had a chance to meet new compers, describe problems you might have encountered during your work, and upcoming events. It was a great addition to the generalities of work. At GVFX we had weekly meetings with the entire crew, and you definitely felt a part of the whole company. Over in Australia, we had no meetings, but somehow the shows got done. It's much easier to do this at smaller companies, because it becomes a personal affair. With larger companies, you're just a puppet in a room, and you rely on that team dynamic on your shows to help you get through the day. You had a chance to get to know your fellow artists. At some places I've worked, it's like a mind meld. No need to actually explain in detail what you need, just mentioning in abstracts, and another artist will understand. "Do you remember that thing we did with the head and Keanu?" I had a great repetoire with a coordinator while working on Matrix and Flags, and we would somehow know what the other person was thinking when describing a shot. It was great. "Can I get more stuff for this thing I'm doing? Maybe some more detail?" "Yep, I'm on it.". People around are sometimes stunned as they have no clue what's going on, which shot of which show. It's a dynamic that is often missed when people come and go in a contract or freelance environment.
The importance of working in a group highlights this fact. Team dynamics are a vital role in the creation of our visual effects, in all the companies I've worked for. This is even more apparent in the choosing of an effects studio by a vfx supervisor and director. They realize that the connection between them and the studio is often vital. If the production has a vision, they will often go to the studio that has that same vision, and can easily come to an understanding about the effects.
I definitely miss the team dynamic that I was a part of while up at Tippett. Here at Digital Domain, that team dynamic is slowly being defined, primarily because of the constantly fluctuating influx of talent that come onto different shows at different times.