February 2010 Archives
Recently I've changed a little about how content on this blog is displayed. I've removed links to reels and the bio and filmography, and while the content is still available if you bookmarked the specific page, there is better, more recent content located at the root structure, which is located here. I've also decided to add a Paypal donate button, which will help run the site (It costs about 300USD/yr to run this thing, with all the bandwidth that I use). I also have an idea to give back to you loyal readers and those who donate. My idea is to give an item away to a lucky person with the funds of the complete donation for the month. This item will be physical in nature, maybe a book if the funds donated are small, or a software package or larger electronic item if the funds are larger.
Don't be misled, all content on the site will remain freely accessible! From the Tips of the Weeks (which I need to get back to creating), to what professional artists are doing in the vfx industry.
So on this note, for the month of January which has just passed and I didn't have any donations (of course), I am giving away a new copy of The Art and Science of Digital Compositing: 2nd Edition! Eligible entrees are any donations to the digitalGypsy fund for the month of February. Donations can be of any amount. Funds received during the month of February will help decide what I give away to a lucky contributor at the end of this month! So you get two chances to win something this month! I'm going to try this for the month of February and see how it goes, and hopefully I can have small prizes given away during the year and at the same time, keep digitalGypsy up and running for you guys and girls.
Like everyone in the entertainment industry now knows, the 2010 Oscars have been announced. I haven't commented yet on the list, as I'm going to let conjecture and speculation reign for a little while before I add my two cents (or more!). I'm also not going to discuss any other awards like best picture or best director, as they are out of my knowledge base.
However, I will comment on the top three visual effects nominees, Avatar, District 9, and Star Trek. Avatar of course was the blockbuster of the year. Currently raking in a total of $2.05 billion worldwide, with a domestic gross nearing $600 million, this is one huge film, budgeted at $240 million. Lots of my friends in the industry have seen this multiple times. It's definitely a 3D film not to be missed, and this is a film that did stereoscopic films correctly (shooting in stereo, rendering with two cameras). District 9 was an underdog, powered by a $30 million budget, a fledging director (whom I acquainted with at VFS), an interesting story, and top notch vfx. This film went on to earn $200 million worldwide with a $115 million domestic gross. Great job Neill! Star Trek was a franchise reboot done correctly by JJ Abrams and his team. This film went on to make $383 million worldwide with a $257 million domestic take home while costing $140 million.
All in all, these three films had wonderful visuals. But what about the other four that didn't make it? Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Terminator Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and 2012. As any industry professional should, I saw all seven films in the theatre. These films were made for being seen on the big screen. What did I think of all seven? Here's my quick recap on the vfx.
- Avatar: Spectacular CG environments and multiple completely CG creatures that the audience empathizes with.
- District 9: Seamless character work with integrating CG characters and live action performers.
- Star Trek: Lots and lots of CG FX work in bringing characters and locales to life. A couple CG face augmentation shots, lots of environments.
- Harry Potter: A number of complete CG shots, well integrated FX.
- Terminator: Big and new terminators, miniature and stunt work blended well with CG environments and characters. Many great matte paintings.
- Transformers: Big metal robots fighting. Oh, and small metal robots too. Spectacular destruction sequences.
- 2012: Amazing FX destruction sequences, completely CG water sequences (both above and below).
Over the past couple of weeks I've been using NukeX, which is just Nuke6 with some fancy additions like lens distortion tools, 3D camera tracking, and the new rotopaint additions. They are all pretty powerful! I've also started using the integrated stereoscopic system, which makes it pretty simple to create impressive 3D comps! It's most likely that I won't be using Nuke 6 on the next show, it's just too soon and all of our productions are currently underway with other versions.
NukeX will work wonderfully with smaller studios and independent operators, as the combination of both lens distortion tools and integrated camera tracker will really help a compositor output more. Like I mentioned before, the realm of 2D and 3D is slowly blurring, and the responsibilities of a compositor have been increasing.
I posted an article over on VFXWages about foreign competition last week, I'm eager to hear your throughts. I've tried to make it relevant to all foreigners, so it should be applicable whether you reside in the EU, USA, AU, or Asia.
I'm nearing 500 readers for the blog, and I thank you all for your patronage! I'll keep writing and hope that you keep reading. I'm always open for topics and suggestions on what you'd like to hear about the vfx industry, so drop me a line in the comments below!