June 2010 Archives

2010 Reel

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If you've been following the twitter feed, you'll notice that I uploaded a new demo reel to Vimeo. Check it out below, or head over to Vimeo to see it in 720p.

It's got a lot of what I've done in the past couple of years, I hope you enjoy it! You can also check it out by directly going to the main digitalGYPSY site here and navigating to reels.

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It's about that time of the year when the Academy starts shipping out screeners for their nominated TV shows!  Here are just a sample this year.




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Ok, this picture has nothing to do with the Visual Effect Society. I just happen to be hiking up in the Santa Monica mountains, and I turned back and looked over West LA.  This is the panorama from the top of the Temescal Ridge Trail.  I'm standing near Skull Rock, a rock that.. uhm, looks like a skull from afar. This picture covers from a little west of downtown LA, Santa Monica, the Pacific Palisades, and Malibu on the far right. It was taken about 7:30 in the morning. While this was a shorter hike (only ~4 miles roundtrip at two hours), it is in preparation for a bigger stint in July. I'll be hiking up Mt. Whitney with some friends. That hike is supposed to be around 22 miles roundtrip with an elevation change of about 6000 feet. Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m).

If you've subscribed to my Twitter feed or are a VFXTalk VIP member, you may have read about my lack of renewal for the next year of VES membership. There are couple reasons for me to do so. While the Visual Effects Society provides a number of outstanding benefits for their members, I have not been able to utilize the majority of them.  In addition, my contributions in general overwhelm what I am really getting in return for being a member.  Many of you know that I have mentored students in the past as part of the VES. I've mentored students for three years. I've also been an active member of VFXTalk, at one brief moment a co-owner, one of the bigger VFX discussion groups around, and also have VFXWages (subsidiary of Industry Wages Inc.), which is gaining in popularity and usefulness.  Doing a search for vfx in google will return VFXTalk as the number two choice, right after the wiki entry, and doing a search for vfx wages, wages in vfx, vfx payrate, all give VFXWages a number one hit. With 8500+ users, an upcoming iPhone app and a new site design with unique tools, we're going to continue to increase our usefulness. After the VFX Townhall that Lee put on a while back, there was a lot of discussion that artists in our fields have to take the initiative and push for their own benefits (be it financial or not).  One thing I've learned is that we as artists work long hours, seem to get a decent amount of financial payback, and are generally a happy lot. So in order to upend the status quo takes a fair bit of work. With many companies going under, or outsourcing their work, the California vfx artist may be a dying breed, so it's up to us to keep ourselves relevant.  We are not replaceable (well, some of us are).

The past couple of weeks I've been researching the US Labor Code, the California Labor Code, and am writing up a piece for VFXWages that covers our entertainment industry. A lot of people that I've met don't really have an idea of what to expect when going into an interview and what to ask for. IMs and SMSs from colleagues asking for rate information, legality of work hours, enhance the fact that we don't really know what to expect!  From the VFX Townhall, the idea is that each artist should be pro-active and strive for their own lifestyle and benefits. One of the key lifestyle benefits is to not be taken advantage of. The article I'm writing will hopefully help professional and starting artists realize that there are laws on the employees side, especially relevant for vfx, that many of us don't know! 
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Tech Fixes and Little Parts

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Hello dear readers, and welcome to another interesting entry here at DigitalGypsy.  It's been about a month since I've last posted, and there have been a lot of exciting developments here in visual effects, among other things!  We've successfully wrapped the A-Team, which came out yesterday! Has anyone seen it yet?  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm taking a little vacation break, which is probably why there hasn't been a post in a little while. I'm busy coming up with other crazy ideas! Here are a couple pictures of the progress I've been making with my little engine.

exhaust.jpg rodsupport.jpg

The item on the left is the exhaust for the engine. It's 0.34" in length. For my metric readers, about 8.6mm. The brass rod guide support and steel bushings are the right. The bushings are 0.080" (~2mm). The diameter of the US dime pictured is 0.7" (~18mm). Below is a finished nut and bolt system, and myself at work!
nutandbolt.jpg meatwork.jpg

Recently I acquired a CNC rotary indexer, which allows me to cut wheels, gears, spokes, flywheels, and anything else that requires rotations around a fixed point. Here's a video I shot of it in action.

Pretty cool! In other news, we're working diligently in releasing our next iteration of VFXWages. That it one of the primary reasons why I haven't written another article in a little while! This next update, which should be coming around the middle of the year, definitely before the end of summer, will contain a number of bug fixes that we've had, as well as a new look and easier accessibility to our data.  We are also in the process of creating some applications for the iPhone and iPad.  To that end, I played with an iPad and visited VFXWages.com. It is so much easier to browse and look at data with it! It is easier to scroll through all the regions and occupations. We are still planning on creating an auto complete section for it, since it's still not very intuitive to scroll through hundreds of companies to get to the one you want to input wages for or view information. I am really excited about our iPhone app, and I think it will help a lot of you in your negotiations.  I was playing with a simple beta version last night during our Industry Wages company meeting (two guys on a Friday night talking about work, squashing bugs and talking about improvements and doing them!). The version I played with was nearly done, with just some minor tweaks to get it ready for release in the iTunes store.  We will release it at same time as the new site.

Speaking of wages, some of you may have gotten an email from VFXconnection this week about their introduction of an anonymous wage graph system. I have not seen it yet, but our system is already up and running, and we already have valuable data from a number of companies that is more relevant.  When our new services are revealed in about a month or so, I hope you all will stick with us! We've been in print and reviewed, and issued a press release more than a year ago, so we're deep into production.  We've also set up a simple partnership with CGcritic.com to help their users!  Right now it is just an exchange of ad space, which I hope will extend into other opportunities. We have some tricks up our sleeve that will leverage the power of both of our sites, and I hope you will gain a lot out of their site and ours in the future!

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This page is an archive of entries from June 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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