Dark Side of the Sun

Sunday, May 30, 2010

concept art - Mortui

I just added this concept art to my website gallery:

It's a concept digital painting I did, for a VFX test which a friend and I started as R&D for a short film. We shot video of myself walking, with a shaky camera, and the test (still WIP) consists in digitally replacing parts of my head to make me look like a zombie, with damage that could not be done through traditional FX make-up techniques.

I made this image more than a year ago, but only now realized I had not uploaded it to my website, even though it was in my deviantArt gallery.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

fxguide - Robin Hood at MPC

In this article, fxguide interviews Richard Stammers, VFX Supervisor on Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, about the work we did for the movie at MPC:

fxguide - Robin Hood at MPC

It was really nice working with Richard, and I look forward to doing it again. It's also nice to read about the specifics of our work in this film, since in this case we take pride in having made invisible VFX that go completely undetected. As reported by a colleague, some media are saying that the final battle did not have a single CG element in it, and was fully practical. Isn't it nice... many of us have been payed during 6 months for doing nothing at all. :)

A couple of quotes about the work I was directly involved with:

"Finally there was also a lot of work creating the interaction of the horses' hooves with mud, grass and augmenting everything with live action dust elements."

There, Richard talks about the shot shown in the above image, where, besides creating some of the water elements of the disembarking army, I also created several particle elements of the mud and grass being kicked up by the CG horses in the front.

"Our effects team was responsible for creating all the wakes and splashes for the French armada. So we had 200 boats creating splashes, then landing craft with doors opening into the water and troops coming out into the water. They had to generate the footfall splashes for every single horse and soldier in the water as they got off the landing craft. Our crowd animation coming out of ALICE had to be matched up with these splashes in Maya and we had to write some custom additions to our pipeline, by pre-simulating lots of splash elements using Flowline. Those pre-cached simulations were placed at the feet positions of the ALICE crowd agents, so at render time we could get the line of water right and leave a trail of foam behind."

That paragraph sums it up pretty well. I created all the flowline splashes simulations for the horses and soldiers, as well as the interactions of oars going in and out of the water. I want to mention the great work of Rob Hopper (fx lead) in creating some nice tools to place all those splashes to match the cached ALICE crowds, with sometimes thousands of agents on screen. Also worth of mention is Nicola Danese's setup and scripts for the dozens of boats' interaction with the water surface and the foam they leave behind.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Because Sharing is Caring

I have added some new functionality to this blog. Now, at the end of every post, you will find the following button:

Bookmark and Share

Thanks to it, it is very easy to share my posts on almost any social networking site (like facebook or linkedin), or online bookmarking site, as well as the old-fashioned direct e-mail (I can still remember when old-fashioned was the so-called snail-mail).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Politeness & Tires" screening in Edinburgh and Stirling

My short film Politeness & Tires will soon be screened in Scotland, at CinemaAttic's Norman McLaren - Spanish animation today: converging identities?

There will be two screenings:

University of Sterling: May 13th, at 5pm

Roxy Art House, Edinburgh: May 22nd, at 5pm

The film is part of the section Diversity & Inventiveness: the total artists, which in the programme is described as:

The variety of his filmic expression together with a technical invention that continously transcended the barriers of traditional animation made of Norman McLaren a modern, total artist. Introduced by his stunningly multilayered and expressionistic Begone Dull Care (1949), this section opens a deep browsing into the richness and diversity of the Spanish animation nowadays.

Fluctuating from a wide range of formats and skilfully accomplished techniques, the list of Spanish animated films grouped here are nothing less than the epitome of McLaren's career: inventiveness, spontaneity and powerful expressing quality.

More information here.
Programme download here.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

new MaxScript: Chain Rigger v1.1

I just released a new tool for 3ds max, called Chain Rigger.

This MaxScript tool creates a simulation rig for a chain (free or constrained) with a few simple steps. The rig is an optimized one, very stable and fast to simulate, based on a Reactor rope.

Update (02/05/2010):
I uploaded a video that shows how to use the tool.

To download the script (including an information text file, a tutorial and an example scene), visit the scripts section of my website.

Like Autumn Leaves, this tool is also based on a technique I used for some FX in Planet 51. Namely, rigging and simulating the alien-dog's chain.

As with all my other scripts/tools, feel free to use this for any purpose. I only require proper credit and that, if you feel like it, drop me an email to tell me how useful it was. All comments, bug reports and ideas for improvement are most welcome.