November 2007 Archives
Ah, my last day of vacation before I head back into work. And what do I do? I end up writing a post about it. Lots of little things happening here and there. On Friday I saw Beowulf in Imax 3D. It wasn't as bad as I envisioned going in, and while the screen was fairly dim, the imagery was quite good. Some characters weren't as believable as others, most noticeably the secondary characters, but that makes sense. Beowulf himself was well done, as were his immediate friends.
Coming back from Phoenix over the weekend, I coined a new term.. Traffic - The Great Equalizer. I was going at a pretty good clip down the I-10, and there were a number of cars that passed me here and there. They would be pretty adamant about letting me in when we got close to passing big rigs, but my small car fit in right where it needed to. Anyway, here I was, going around the speed limit, and a mess of SUVs comes blasting by me, at least a good 20mph over me. Needless to say, I didn't give chase, because, in the end, the almost stop and go traffic around Palm Springs equalized it all, and I ended up passing them.
Yes. The mind and body need some rest. Especially after a hectic show schedule. I'm still recuperating, hence the lack of informative updates over the past week or so. Not much is going on, just yet. There are a couple Academy screeners coming up this year, but nothing I want to check out just yet. Spending most of my waking hours either here on the computer checking up on VFXTalk and CGTalk posts, or on the XBox playing Geometry Wars and COD4 Multiplayer. A couple of days last week I went outside, to enjoy the sun, as it was a fairly hot 85-90 degrees down here in Santa Monica. This week is much more temperate, running around 65.
If you didn't know, VFXTalk has had an IRC channel up and running for a while now. It started a long time ago, but many of us just don't have time to hang out in there and answer questions and so forth. If you want to pop in, grab an IRC client and join us over on Freenode! Point your IRC client to a local Freenode server and get into the #VFXTalk channel.
Later this year I'll be redoing my demo reel.. Why? Oh, just because. I like to keep it up to date with the latest stuff, and it's been a couple years since I put my newest stuff on. Since Pirates 3 comes out on DVD in early December, I'll get a chance to get some footage there and put some cool stuff together, along with Flags and Letters. It'll probably be the same length, a couple of minutes or so. It's a good excuse to cut some cool stuff together to music, and show it to friends and family and tell them that this is what I do, and then try to explain what a compositor does.
I've been 'on vacation' for a couple days now..It wasn't something that was arranged. Instead, it was very spur of the moment. On Friday, after our shots for the show delivered, I was just walking by the production offices, and ran into my DPM for the next show I'll be on. One thing led to another, and here I am, with the next two weeks off. It's nice, hanging out in the sun this week, but I almost find myself getting, dare I say it, bored? I've been playing Call of Duty 4 on Xbox Live most of the week, while also doing some chores around the house that require drilling and manual labor. It's crazy, how time flies even when you're not at work!
Tonight we head off to a Below The Line screening of The Mist.. I remember reading the short story by Stephen King a long time ago, and it was excellent. Unfortunately, like with most of his stories, the ending kept you hanging. I don't know how they're going to do it for the film. It's been a while since I've seen Thomas Jane in a film, and I'm curious as to how he pulls this one off.
Small updates for this site so far.. I've fixed the Monthly Archives and Commenting system. I'm moving onto the Categories section later this week, as you can't get any of my Tips of the Week unless you know what to search for, or which month I had them in! Within the commenting system is now a 'get updates when new comments appear' checkbox. This will allow you to keep updated of any entries you post in, and you want a response to.
Because of the transfer to Movable Type 4, I'm very keen on completely redoing the site, so that it works seamlessly again, and is a little bit easier to navigate and update, and shows off the work that I do, as well as keeps you informed of the state of feature film visual effects.
After almost a week of downtime, the transition from my old linux server to Debian is complete. As well, I've upgraded to Movable Type 4. It'll take a little while for me to get my head wrapped around the new internal layout and all the new options, so some things may be inaccessible, mostly Categories and Archives. Unfortunately, with the software move, some of my images did not transfer over, most recently, everything in November so far. I'm going to try and get it all uploaded again, but in the mean time, bear with me.
The final shot that I'm doing for this show is now done (or has been done for some time, now that the film is screening)! To give you an idea of how long it's taken me to complete it, here are some numbers..
113.5 regular hours and 102.5 OT hours = 267.25 regular hours = 33.4 regular 8 hr days
What's not included is the time for the other artists that worked on the shot! This was accomplished with three compers, one cg supervisor, one vfx supervisor, one comp supervisor, two animators, four matte painters, and seven fx artists. As you can see, it takes a lot of people to accomplish one shot, and lots of dedication and teamwork. Of course, We didn't work on it for a month and a half, it was more like half that time!
Total nodes: 3535 Channels in use: 56 Channels left: 8
What I want to mention is that there are a number of other bits in the comp that other artists contributed to. Each section in the tree that has a backdrop, mostly on the right side, was a separate artist. As well, a comp artist might just give me a precomp that I could plug in, so their work isn't shown in the schematic either. In addition, while I thought my comp was big, another artists on a different shot had a node count of over 4000. We don't make it that big because we want to. There's just so much experimentation and trying all sorts of different techniques to get a look, that often, we'll use bits and pieces from all the techniques. It adds up.
Big news today.. As of this morning, the WGA is on strike. Check out BTL News for more information about what's been happening. At this moment it's not going to affect feature film visual effects just yet. We are fairly detached from the majority of the strike, as our work is just coming to an end, and we've got post work to take us into mid next year. Unfortunately, a lot of vfx television houses may get hit by this, sooner rather than later, as producing episodic TV may come to a standstill very soon.
For those that don't know, the writers are striking to get revenue from new media formats, like internet and DVD sales, which they don't get now. Now you may ask yourself, they get paid so much, what are they complaining about? Unfortunately, just like actors, 10% of the writers make 90% of the big money, while the other 90% are just regular guys trying to get by. I'm truly hoping they get what they want, but it will be a little time coming. The last time they had a strike was 1988, before I was in this industry, so I have no idea how this is truly going to affect the LA industry.
A couple of days ago, I downloaded the 1.77GB single player demo of Crysis. Last night I played it for about 20 minutes.. Wow. Almost six months ago I bought a BFG 8800GTX video card, anticipating the day that this game would come out. Little did I know that I would have a larger monitor now, with that many more pixels to push! I haven't had a chance to finish the sp demo, just played it a little, and ended up dying a couple times. One of things that I wish was in the game was a little bit more stealth and strategy. I've been used to games the likes of GOW and GRAW2, where cover and concealment aid you, and a headshot takes a guy down pretty quickly. In the demo, no such luck. The explosions are top notch, the water and environmental effects are awesome. Is this one for the game library? Maybe, depending on how long the single player campaign is! At 1920x1200, this games runs well, but the cutscenes, which are realtime using the engine, slow it down just a bit. Here are a couple screenshots that show just how detailed this game is! And yes, these are real-time, in game shots.