December 2008 Archives
Well, another busy weekend has past, and another busy week is coming. We've got a lot of work to do on this movie before I break for Christmas break! Luckily, the majority of the visual effects work on my shots will happen in the new year. However I still have two to final before next week!
Like on The Mummy 3 earlier this year, a majority of the items I've been tasked with have been 3D in nature. I mentioned quite a bit of the obstacles we faced during Siggraph. There has been more and more 3D compositing this past year than most, simply because it is one of the most efficient ways to composite! The film plates are shot with a camera, it only makes sense to create our visual effects using that same camera! It also make life a lot easier than the old fashioned way, of trying to manually warp and track 2D plates to other 2D plates. Ugh, that time is behind us. Unfortunately, if you're not using a 3D compositing software package, you may be up a creek without a paddle!
VFXWages hit the next milestone last night, with a couple vital bug fixes today. We've cleaned up the interface, added some new options, and hopefully made it a little easier to navigate. I don't foresee changing from the current layout for a little while, but we will be adding other tools in the menu system and the biggest pages, Wages and Jobs. We're fairly on track to release our public milestone in January sometime. I was hoping for early January, but that may well turn out to be the end of January! I think we'll be able to push out an interim update before then though. One of the big things that I'm excited about is the inclusion of an invite system! Current users have up to 10 invites where they can invite friends and coworkers to the site, and help improve the data that we have! Drop me a line if you have any concerns, critiques, or comments.
This past weekend was the first overtime one for the show for me, and there are only going to be more until the end of the show, or whenever I get pulled off of it! On Saturday I worked an eight hour day, putting my last week total to a conservative 53 hours. Yesterday I didn't get a chance to relax that much, waking up at the break of dawn to head out to Arroyo Canyon near Pasadena and Angeles Crest to do some hardcore mountain biking with a coworker and pals.
When I mean hardcore, it was not beginner stuff, and quite different from my excursions out into the North Shore wilderness of North Vancouver. While the North Shore has difficult trails as well, the trail we went on yesterday was a different kind of difficult! It was 14.3 miles of downhill, on a precipitous singletrack trail along the side of the canyon, with drops ranging from 5 to 50 feet on one side of the trail. There were some uphill sections, but most of it was downhill, through a couple calf deep stream crossings, lots of rock gardens, and lots of loose leaves and shale. Check out the trail map! We did the trail with five riders, two full suspension rides and three hardtails. I got two flat tires in the first 3 miles of the trail, a snakebite on the front tire, and then another one on the rear about five minutes later! I crashed twice, once slamming into a Yucca plant (ouch! i removed a thorn about a 1/2 inch long from my thigh later in the ride) and another endo into thorns in a rock garden near the end. And of course, the usual assortment of bruises and cuts that come with handling a mountain bike over rough terrain (chainring scratches and gouges, mostly). Overall, it was great fun, and I think I need to upgrade my brakes, one of the most necessary items while descending a cliff wall among loose gravel and rocks!
In other news, we have parsed some VFXWages graph data into the site, so be sure and see if your occupation has some graphs! I know off the top of my head that we have a world compositor graph set up, but we'll need more data to get those other occupations up, as well as people with more years of experience to contribute! If you're a beta user, check out the Wages section. Later this week we hope to release another incremental and usability update, I'll keep you informed on both this site and the news section of VFXWages.
There was a recent discussion on CGTalk about where the industry (cg, vfx, gaming, who knows exactly) is headed. While I didn't contribute to that thread, I did read it, and felt that I should write a little something about what might happen in 2013. Three years ago, I wrote a little post called 3D and IMAX, and many of the things I mentioned have started to come true, if not already!
Here's what has happened in the last three, and what I think we'll find happen in the next three to five. More 3D films are coming out. Beowulf, Meet The Robinsons, sections of Harry Potter and Superman, the Tron 2 teaser was shown in stereo at Comicon, and many of Disney's films are now created with 3D in mind. Films are regularly getting shown in IMAX, even shot in that format. The Dark Knight is the most recent example, with sections of it filmed in IMAX. Shows are getting finished in 4K and above. Visual effects are being completed at that resolution. We're still ahead of the technology curve; most of our machines are still struggling to put out 4K imagery. We are always pushing the limit. Plasma, DLP, LCD/LED display technology has gotten better. The RED camera systems and Canons new SLRs are pushing the boundaries of what a prosumer can afford and record. SSD drives have become an affordable reality. All these technologies will allow a filmmaker to create a film for much cheaper. Shooting at 120+ fps on digital has become a reality.
We're in the midst of the holiday season, with Thanksgiving just over, and Christmas and New Years on the way! I hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving, for those of you in the states. I drove out to Phoenix to see my brother, who is also working in a field similar to this. He has his own gaming company over there called Coin App, and they're developing a pretty sweet game to come out mid next year. I got a chance to quickly see some concepts and gameplay in action, and I think it'll do well! It's not a remake of a remake of a game, and it doesn't fit into any particular genre, but if I were to guess, it would probably be in the arcade-action one. They've put a lot of work into it so far from what I've seen, and I think it's going to be a hit. There's really nothing quite like it. Check our their website at CoinApp.com
I'm back at work as of yesterday for several more weeks before we break for the major holiday season, and like always, we'll be hanging out in the Los Angeles area. I'm not a big traveler during major holidays, the rush, the packing of people like sardines, the lines, it's not for me. So I'll be enjoying sunny LA past the new year. We've got a lot of work ahead of us on the show, so it's almost hunker-down-and-go time!
Our incremental update for VFXWages has been delayed for about a week or so as we sort out some last minute hiccups in development. We definitely hope for one more round of updates before we go live in January, so if you see some menu items change whenever you log in, that's the reason.