A blog about VFX, or not?

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A couple days ago I was having lunch with a bunch of coworkers, and this blog came up. Several people read it at work, and wonder the same thing that I occasionally do. What in the world can I write about in visual effects that doesn't give away what I'm working on? There are a lot of entries here about vague shots and interesting concepts that don't fully get fleshed out in detail. And of course, there's the entire NDA aspect of the work that I do, in that I can't divulge what I am working on! I'll just forward you to a scoop page or IMDB or ComingSoon or VFXTalk. So here's a question for the reader-folk. What can I talk about? What in the vfx industry would you be interested in? What we had for lunch? Who caters at Rhythm & Hues? Who's not worth the money? How do I keep busy outside of work?

As you know, I'm still working on The Mummy, and we're slowly wrapping up. We've got a couple more weeks to go, and it's getting busier and busier. I think I have worked around 53 hours in the past four days. I'm not sure what's going to be on my plate next, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it! Today, Friday, a couple compers are leaving us, their contracts are up. I'll probably see some of them again, as it's a small industry, and DD is always looking for good talent. If you haven't already, check out the The Mummy HD trailer that is now over on Apple! There seems to be lots of good buzz about it.

Over the weekend I spent the cash to see the new Indiana Jones film. It's taken me a while to formulate my own opinion of it, but finally, I settled on a conclusion. I thought it wasn't as good as the previous three. The three stood on their own as a testament to the character and story. This fourth installment seems hokey and tacked on, and I just couldn't get into the story as much as the previous. There was just something more unbelievable about the storyline, and I don't blame the actors, I blame the delivery. There were many scenes that I was shaking my head inside, watching the horrific action unfold onscreen, and I couldn't get into the film. As such, I was noticing more of the greenscreen problems than I should have. Usually I can suspend my belief during a film like this, but not this time. Cate Blanchett was bad, Ray Winstone was worse. Shia? Eh.. He's got a good agent, that's for sure. From Indy to Transformers to Constantine, somehow he's the guy that everyone seems to want. I'll always see him as Shia. Much the same way I see Nicholas Cage as Nicholas Cage in every movie. Speaking of Cage, I preferred National Treasure 2 over this Indiana Jones.


Indy obviously not as good as the first three but I wonder whether I look back on the old ones through rose-tinted glasses. Other critics have panned the effects, saying they lacked realism. I felt the blame for lack of realism should be squarely set at the door of production design and the grade. The sets lacked atmosphere, I always felt they were constructed rather than 'real'. The grade started out well but fell into the blue-tint-orange-skin-tone grade which is the style du jour and totally lacks realism. But overall I still felt like a giddy ten-year-old watching it.

BTW Aruna I think you should comment more on the pipelines you use at DD for particular types of shots e.g. 3d scenes in Nuke, greenscene work in Nuke, kinds of passes you get from cg dept etc. You could probably do this without revealing the content of your work, no?

I dig your site. I've been reading it for a while now. I really enjoy your articles about compositing, 3D and workflow.

I want to understand VFX better and I use your site as a resource.

It's also interesting to peer into the culture of the VFX world.

I've seen Indy4 twice now, once for free (VES screening) and again when I took my Pops to see it (paid) and I had a lot of fun with it, and for some reason the second viewing mushed everything together because even the iffy screens during the jungle chase sequence looked not that bad upon second viewing, but maybe I didn't care anymore and was just into the ride. I liked it just as much as the older ones, just as unbelievable, well that 3 times it drops part was a bit much, but a whole lot of fun. I dunno, I liked it a lot, yeah Cate Blanchett seemed a bit hokey, but come on, we know she can act, it's part of those old cereals, a bit cheesey and one hell of a fun unbelievable ride!

:) I thought it was great. Then again I want to see Hulk for some strange reason... not even sure why, I don't even like the Hulk.

Cheers Aruna, finish up that mummy movie!

as a student (and lurker of your blog) i like reading to find about any insight i can get into the industry and really into the work process... which is what i'm most interested in, how things are being done / how things are made. so while you may not be thinking that you are writing tutorials, there's always tidbits of info there on software or process that always surprise me. making more of a conscious effort (i know, i know. this isn't a tutorial site) to explain some process would be great -- even if it isn't step by step but just more explanatory! :)

thanks for the work you put into your blog!

Like this previous comment here I too am a student, undergraduate in fact, and am subscribed to your RSS feed so I never miss a post. You've done a great job with all your posts and we all appreciate the work you put into distributing your wealth of knowledge in the industry.

One thing I would like to see more of, even though it may not be applicable to all your readers, are any helpful hints and tips of how to break into the industry for students and newcomers. For example, I remember reading your post on the VES mentoring program which sounds suburb but I've never heard of that program or how to apply: Granted I am from the east coast so perhaps it is only for west coast colleges but I'm still surprised I've never ran into it. I would also find it interesting to know of any situations you've confronted in your career where you would acted differently in hindsight of your success. For example, moving from one company to the next, or shooting a scene one way as appose to another.

However you decide to continue blogging I'm sure the outcome will be very interesting. Your blog offers a much more grittier and humanistic side to the VFX industry which magazines and books merely romanticize. I hope you continue enthralling us with your insight in the years to come.

Thanks Again, -Paul

Hey I'm writing from Argentina, I'm vfx designer and I would love to know more about vfx management & pipelines. How are the companies organized (most of it the small ones). How is the work organized (tv commercial mostly) because down here there are a lot of question regarded to vfx production since nobody knows the position of a vfx producer... even vfx supervisors figures are not 100% recognized. Also there are a few guys who know that they must to ask for consulting on time during preproduction stage.
I give my apologyse if somebody talk about it and I didnt see it. I've just read the begining of this post and I came out with all these topics. Excuse my english... thx in advance.

All good comments!

Paul, check out this entry that I made about recruitment, it might answer some of your questions. Before the recent switch to MovableType4, there were several great comments there! Too bad they're all gone now. The VES Mentoring program is, unfortunately at this time, mostly for the students in the Los Angeles area. This is the second year, so we're slowly increasing the number of schools that participate.

I'll try and write some dedicated entries on the overall vfx pipeline that is prevalent in many of the large (and smallish!) studios, but that will probably have to wait until this movie is complete in about three weeks!

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