Inside Out Characters

Animated Features - Character Videos from Inside Out

Over at Yahoo Movies, new clips featuring each of the five emotions in Inside Out.


Oscar Winning Editing Timelines


Making of gravity timeline
Oscar winning editor Mark Sanger showed off this screen grab from his timeline of the opening sequence to Gravity, in a talk he gave at the Avid booth during NAB 2014. 


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Production Diary 13

Behind the Scenes - Peter Jackson’s Production Diary 13

Find out why Peter says that shooting parts of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is "just like I used to do in the old days, at home, on Super 8 camera." The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is in theaters on December 13.

Behind the Scenes of Pacific Rim

I am animating giant crazy robots lately, 
so this kind of thing is rolling round me head these days...

A Piece of the Pi

Have you noticed a lot of green profile pics on facebook?  If you work in Visual Effects or have a friend who does, you might be seeing a lot of green on your feed.  Most of my readers here work in VFX/Animation, so you should know what I am talking about.

However, I was shocked at some of my own animation student's impression of "what is going on" in the VFX/Animation field they hope to enter as a career... so let me explain.

Life of Pi cost $120 million to make, its current gross is $600 million. Ang Lee and Claudio Miranda won Oscars last night for Best Director and Best Cinematographer.  Above is what their film looked like without the work of the hundreds of VFX artists whom neither man acknowledged or thanked.


THE GREEN BOX:  For all the Non-VFX, rising students and animation folk out there, the green square you are seeing on facebook is to show solidarity for the struggling VFX and animation community.  The snubs felt at the Oscars are the symptom of a very ill industry that is on the brink of imploding.  Without the hard work of VFX facilities and artists on films like the Oscar Winning "Life of Pi", modern films would be nothing but green or blue screens and guys in funny body suits jumping around. I will attempt to explain the complex events that have led up to the current plight of our industry.

THE PROTEST:  There was a VFX protest march at the Oscars yesterday afternoon - February 24th, 2013.  From Yahoo Movies: The protest was spurred on by... 

Scott Ross, who was a top manager of Industrial Light & Magic and a founder at Digital Domain, started the ball rolling with a tweet: "I had a dream, 500 VFX artists near the Dolby (Kodak) theater on Oscar day waving signs that say 'I Want a Piece of the Pi Too.'" Since then, the plan spread online, with protest organizers launching a Facebook page, and some investing in a banner that will be flown by a plane over the theater during the red-carpet ceremonies, reading "box office + bankrupt = visual effects vfxunion.com."

Photo permission Jon Tojek 

Artists from VFX and animation carried signs up and down Hollywood and Vine to bring awareness to the issue.  The protest came out of frustration among the artists.  Contrary to what the rest of the world thinks, the artists working on movies are not rich. Artists receive no residuals, royalties or back-end bonuses from the award winning films they work on.  On a union movie set every person working on a film is covered.  They have a residuals, pension, health benefits, but not the post production artists.  Even puppeteers are SAG covered.  Thus, "If the work VFX/Animation/CG artists create is the main reason these movies are blockbusters, why don't they get a piece of the pi?"

Doing it for effects … a placard held by a protester from the visual effects industry at the 2013 Oscars. Photograph: Billy Brooks

PERCEPTION:  Perception is what this protest was all about.  It's not about punishing the VFX facilities, or the movie studios...  it's about letting the rest of the world know what is going on.  The KCRW Interview below reveals the perception of our industry.  The director - Pete Berg sums it up at 19:24 into the show - link below.

VFX Industry in Trouble: Won and Oscar Now What?

Director Pete Berg says, "The Business to be is ILM. (Industrial Light and Magic) That is who is making all the money."

Wowsie wow.  What a bunch of bunk.  This is why the artists protested. To set the record straight here.  More than 583$ million dollars for Life of Pi!  And, the artists who worked on it were let go without pay... huh?  What if I told Samuel L. Jackson he needs to take a serious pay cut to work on a movie?  What if I said, "Sam, we need you to take a 30% pay cut with no benefits, no residuals, and you need to work 16 hour days, move yourself and your family to another country with a higher cost of living and produce double the work your normally do in that time?"  What do you think ole Sam Jackson would say to that?  Would he still work on the movie?  Yet, the box office hits are the movies with more than 50% of the movie created entirely on a computer with animation and VFX.  Getting the picture now?

CULTURE:  Most VFX/Animation studios today are nothing more than sweatshops with hundreds of artists working an average of 12-16 hour days.  To make this crystal clear, the toughest run I worked in my career was 21 days (16 hour days) in a row.  I seriously thought I was going nuts towards the end of that run. I have friends who have worked 9 months without a day off.

It wasn't always like this, though. I have seen the decline in culture at the studios since 2000 as CG and VFX driven movies continued to make more and more money.  You would think if the movies are making more money, the folks involved would be too... right?  Nope, the complete opposite has been happening.  The last show I worked on was in 2011.  I have purposely only accepted work from home because the culture at the studios has become one I do not want to work in.

The schedules presented today are 1/4th of what I saw ten years ago.  A shot you would normally have 4-6 weeks to work on, is now bid at 4-6 days!!  It is insane!  No one leaves their desks.  Everyone is tense, trying to make the impossible, possible.  When I moved to LA in 2000, I was given benefits and sick days, permission to work out at the gym for free on lunch hours, 401k, and the animation facility even paid to move me and all of my belongings up from San Diego.  Today, you will not see that.  Today, your are lucky to have a job. It is a toxic, abusive working atmosphere.  Why would I stay in this field?

THE BUSINESS MODEL:  The VFX/Animation industry has a shaky business foundation on which to build a business model.

- very small profit margins
- no trade organizations to work towards raising those profit margins
- no unions to work on the artist's behalf
- subject to the whims of client, revisions and schedule changes
- no way to cover overhead in between show schedules

ENTER SUBSIDIES:  Government funded movie productions (up to 30% of the budget) pop up in London, Vancouver, India, Singapore, China, Australia and various other places around the world.  These VFX/Animation facilities find a way to pay for the overhead of keeping artists employed and the lights on, in between the schedules of each show, with this extra money in countries with lower costs than the US.

HOW CAN A U.S. STUDIO COMPETE?
The US studio has no cash flow, everything that comes in goes right back out and now their competition has the upper hand with the extra money to float in between projects and lure cheap talent with the work.  I heard Scott Ross give a great analogy in an interview.  He said owning a VFX/Animation facility is like owning an airline.  You aren't making money unless the planes are in the air.  So, you fill the seats at any price.  He said VFX facilities are run the same.  Get the bid in low, so you can get the cash flow in to keep the place afloat.

Runaway production, overseas competition and government subsidies have forced domestic VFX houses to survive on less than 5% profit margins. Of the many studios I have worked at over the years, five have gone out of business or bankrupt:
Digital Domain,
Asylum FX,
Cinesite: Hollywood ,
Cafe FX,
and now Rhythm and Hues.

The company behind the Life of Pi's stunning visual effects, which made the movie possible, Rhythm & Hues went bankrupt as the film just passed the billion dollar mark in global ticket sales. The CG & VFX (visual effects) facilities that make the Hollywood blockbuster movies possible bid shows at a loss.  The Hollywood production companies walk away with profits.  Artists who dedicate their lives to their craft get the boot.

NOT JUST VFX:  The folks working in CG Animation for studios like Dreamworks, Disney, Pixar, BlueSky, etc. are feeling the push to create more profit too. See the breakdown below of recent closings of VFX and Animation Facilities.

From Reddit:

Digital Domain: September 11th, 2012 Closed Florida facility, laid off 350 employees
Pixomondo: February 24th, 2013 Closing Detroit & London Offices http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118066500/
Electronics Arts: February 21st, 2013 Extensive Layoffs http://www.polygon.com/2013/2/21/4014372/ea-montreal-los-angeles-layoff
Rhythm and Hues: Feb. 16th, 2013 Bankruptcy, Layoffs
Junction Point (Makers of Epic Mickey): Jan. 29th, 2013 Extensive Layoffs
Disney Interactive: Jan. 29th, 2013: 50 employees laid off
Sony: January 28th, 2013 Major layoffs
Dreamworks:  Feb. 7th, 2013 Several hundred upcoming layoffs http://www.businessinsider.com/dreamworks-animation-layoffs-2013-2
Technicolor: Feb. 21st, 2013 Closing Facility
THQ Jan. 23rd, 2013 Studio Closure, Massive Layoffshttp://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2013/01/23/thq-layoffs.aspx
Eurocom Dec. 23rd, 2012

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

TO MY STUDENTS AND NON VFX/ANIM FRIENDS:  If something doesn't give soon, there might not be an industry for you to enter.  At least not one in the US and not one you would like to work in.

Although the green square on facebook makes reference to the behind the scenes of VFX, CG Feature Animation is suffering the same layoffs and outsourcing.  Artists at big studios working on intellectual properties fear losing their job.  Staff positions with benefits and sick days no longer exist.  Newbie animators with little to no experience are being hired and trained only to find a sink or swim attitude. If the newbie doesn't cut it in production, they are let go.  You get three weeks to prove you can work at the same level as a seasoned artist.  The race to the bottom is about to hit rock bottom.  The next few months, will reveal what is in store for the industry as a whole.

I could go on about this topic, but I think this a good time to stop, take a breath and see what happens next.  I will say this.  I love to animate.  I had fun when I first started in the business.  I won't return unless the biz model and culture changes, though.  I am hopeful there will be change.  Artists are not asking for much... live where they already have planted roots and/or own their house and not have to uproot their families to find work every 6 months, work a respectful 8 hour day, fair pay, benefits, health care, and the like.

In the meantime, here are some more articles on the subject.

http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/tb/tb130225vfx_industry_in_trou

http://www.animationmagazine.net/vfx/vfx-community-reacts-to-ang-lees-oscar-speech/

http://www.fxguide.com/quicktakes/visualeffectsprotestatoscars/

http://thebigsocialpicture.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-oscar-protest-that-you-didnt-know.html

http://www.studiodaily.com/2013/02/getting-our-piece-of-the-pi-for-real/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/feb/25/oscars-protest-life-of-pi

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/oscars-2013-vfx-artists-blast-424304

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/24/jaws-oscars-life-of-pi-_n_2756380.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false


Life of Pi - Behind the Scenes with Ang Lee

Life of Pi Associate Producer and author Jean-Christophe Castelli presents a behind the scenes look at the making of the film in a special event, February 9 at Fiber Flame Studio.
The long time confidante of director Ang Lee and author of "The Making of the Life of Pi" will be on hand to talk about the magic behind the four year journey to make this year's hit film. 
(Woodstock, NY) January 24, 2013- Jean-Christophe Castelli, long time associate of director Ang Lee and author of "Making of the Life of Pi" will be on hand for a special talk and book signing event hosted by Pondicherry of Woodstock in collaboration with The Golden Notebook. 
The event will be held at Fiber Flame Studio in Saugerties on February 9 from 5:30-7:00pm and proceeds will benefit the Woodstock Film Festival. Life of Pi, directed by Lee who spent time in Woodstock while shooting his previous film Taking Woodstock, has garnered 11 Academy Award nominations. The film is Lee's most profitable film to date grossing nearly 500 million dollars worldwide, however it did not come easily as the book was long considered unfilmmable. 
The filmmaker spent nearly four years developing the story and planning how to film the monumental tale of a boy stranded on a boat with a tiger. Jean-Christophe will give anecdotes and the back story of the making of Life of Pi as well as talk about the technical magic which went into making the film. Tickets for the event are $15 and can be purchased in advanced at www.woodstockfilmfestival.com. 
For more information contact the Woodstock Film Festival at 845.679.4265 An Ang Lee autographed copy of the book will also be auctioned off. This special event is sponsored by Pondicherry of Woodstock, The Golden Notebook and Fiber Flame Studio.

ParaNorman Booklet






PARANORMAN
Available to Own on Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Download & On Demand
                                                     
Story: The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.

CLICK HERE to view/download an interactive booklet and experience a closer look at the members of the filmmaking team and their handiwork.

Visit the Official Site:
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Be sure to use #ParaNorman when tweeting about ParaNorman.

Making of Ponyo

Behind the Scenes of Ponyo
(subtitled in french :)





Behind the Movies

There is a new fb page that has great photos from behind the Scenes of your favorite movies!


DREDD'S MEGA-CITY ONE EFFECTS

Behind the scenes:   Visual effects supervisor Jon Thum, Prime Focus, Baseblack and The Mill.



32TEN Studios

fxguidetv #159: 32TEN Studios - This week we go behind the scenes of our fx2012 practical and digital effects workshop at 32TEN Studios in San Rafael, and we preview the October 2012 vfx training courses available at fxphd.


Building Brave New Hair

Great behind the scenes article of Brave focusing mostly on the hair solutions.

Star Wars Begins

Okay star Wars geeks... this apparently has been up for awhile, but if you haven't seen it... Star Wars Begins, a new 24-part fan-made documentary is available free on YouTube.

The 1977 movie is reconstructed in full, using lost footage, alternate takes of scenes, and narration taken from audio recordings of interviews with actors and behind-the-scenes crew.  Skipping around the ten-minute clips, you'll find gems like an alternate Cantina sequence, featuring a gorier bar brawl (not only does that drunk alien lose his arm to a lightsaber, but his head goes, too).  All that, and Han gets some action from a female patron.

Despite the geekier material, it's a fascinating look behind the scenes of a very risky Hollywood production — especially when studio execs demand that scenes of Luke and his friends are cut for being "too much like American Graffiti in space."  Watch it now, before Darth Lucas unleashes his legion of lawyer.

via the rundown 


Fury Puppet and Go Daddy

Ohhh how I love puppets, and Furry Puppet is really pushing the boundaries fo what a puppet can do! Watch this behind the scenes video on their puppet design for the characters Larry and brandy for a Go Daddy commercial in the video above.
Sooo jealous!
I would love to be a puppet designer!


Innovation lessons from Pixar

Hayagreeva Rao, Robert Sutton, 
and Allen P. Webb

Brad Bird makes his living fostering creativity. Academy Award-winning director (The Incredibles and Ratatouille) talks about the importance, in his work, of pushing teams beyond their comfort zones, encouraging dissent, and building morale. He also explained the value of “black sheep”—restless contributors with unconventional ideas. 
Steve Jobs hired him, says Bird, because after three successes (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2) he was worried Pixar might struggle to stay innovative. Jobs told him: “The only thing we’re afraid of is complacency—feeling like we have it all figured out,” Bird quotes his boss as saying “…We want you to come shake things up.” Bird explains to McKinsey how he did it — and why, for “imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.”
The piece is behind McKinsey’s pay wall, but we extract its 9 key lessons below.
Lesson One: Herd Your Black Sheep
The Quarterly: How did your first project at Pixar—The Incredibles—shake things up?
Brad Bird: I said, “Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door.” A lot of them were malcontents because they saw different ways of doing things, but there was little opportunity to try them, since the established way was working very, very well. We gave the black sheep a chance to prove their theories, and we changed the way a number of things are done here.
Lesson Two: Perfect is the Enemy of Innovation
The Quarterly: What sorts of things did you do differently?
Brad Bird: I had to shake the purist out of them—essentially frighten them into realizing I was ready to use quick and dirty “cheats” to get something on screen… I’d say, “Look, I don’t have to do the water through a computer simulation program… I’m perfectly content to film a splash in a swimming pool and just composite the water in.” I never did film the pool splash [but] talking this way helped everyone understand that we didn’t have to make something that would work from every angle. Not all shots are created equal. Certain shots need to be perfect, others need to be very good, and there are some that only need to be good enough to not break the spell.
Lesson Three: Look for Intensity
The Quarterly: Do angry people—malcontents, in your words—make for better innovation?
Brad Bird: Involved people make for better innovation… Involved people can be quiet, loud, or anything in-between—what they have in common is a restless, probing nature: “I want to get to the problem. There’s something I want to do.” If you had thermal glasses, you could see heat coming off them.
Lesson Four: Innovation Doesn’t happen in a Vacuum
The Quarterly: How do you build and lead a team?
Brad Bird: I got everybody in a room. This was different from what the previous guy had done; he had reviewed the work in private, generated notes, and sent them to the person… I said, “Look, this is a young team. As individual animators, we all have different strengths and weaknesses, but if we can interconnect all our strengths, we are collectively the greatest animator on earth. So I want you guys to speak up and drop your drawers. We’re going to look at your scenes in front of everybody. Everyone will get humiliated and encouraged together…
Lesson Five: High Morale Makes Creativity Cheap
The Quarterly: It sounds like you spend a fair amount of time thinking about the morale of your teams.
Brad Bird: In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget—but never shows up in a budget—is morale. [what’s true for a movie is true for a startup!] If you have low morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about 25 cents of value. If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value. Companies should pay much more attention to morale.
Lesson Six: Dont Try To “Protect your success”
The Quarterly: Engagement, morale—what else is critical for stimulating innovative thinking?
Brad Bird: The first step in achieving the impossible is believing that the impossible can be achieved. … “You don’t play it safe—you do something that scares you, that’s at the edge of your capabilities, where you might fail. That’s what gets you up in the morning.”
Lesson Six: Steve Jobs Says ‘Interaction = Innovation’
The Quarterly: What does Pixar do to stimulate a creative culture?
Brad Bird: If you walk around downstairs in the animation area, you’ll see that it is unhinged. People are allowed to create whatever front to their office they want. One guy might build a front that’s like a Western town. Someone else might do something that looks like Hawaii…John [Lasseter] believes that if you have a loose, free kind of atmosphere, it helps creativity.
Then there’s our building. Steve Jobs basically designed this building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center—which initially drove us crazy—so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.
Lesson Seven: Encourage Inter-disciplinary Learning
The Quarterly: Is there anything else you’d highlight that contributes to creativity around here?
Brad Bird: One thing Pixar does [is] “PU,” or Pixar University. If you work in lighting but you want to learn how to animate, there’s a class to show you animation. There are classes in story structure, in Photoshop, even in Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense system. Pixar basically encourages people to learn outside of their areas, which makes them more complete. [and more creative].
Lesson Eight: Get Rid of Weak Links
The Quarterly: What undermines Innovation?
Brad Bird: Passive-aggressive people—people who don’t show their colors in the group but then get behind the scenes and peck away—are poisonous. I can usually spot those people fairly soon and I weed them out.
Lesson Nine: Making $$ Can’t Be Your Focus
The Quarterly: How would you compare the Disney of your early career with Pixar today?
Brad Bird: When I entered Disney, it was like a classic Cadillac Phaeton that had been left out in the rain… The company’s thought process was not, “We have all this amazing machinery—how do we use it to make exciting things? We could go to Mars in this rocket ship!” It was, “We don’t understand Walt Disney at all. We don’t understand what he did. Let’s not screw it up. Let’s just preserve this rocket ship; going somewhere new in it might damage it.”

Walt Disney’s mantra was, “I don’t make movies to make money—I make money to make movies.” That’s a good way to sum up the difference between Disney at its height and Disney when it was lost. It’s also true of Pixar and a lot of other companies. It seems counterintuitive, but for imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.


VFX Breakdowns Boardwalk Empire

Brainstorm Digital reveals the man behind the curtain with detailed before and after VFX breakdowns of scenes from the first season of HBO’s period drama Boardwalk Empire.

Thought of You

Gorgeous lines of action by Ryan Woodward. This just shows you how important reference is... but to not be a slave to it and to embellish it and heighten the entertainment with your artistry to create something really beautiful.


Meet Buck

 
 
Meet Buck Trailer from TeamCerf on Vimeo.

Meet Buck looks like it could be fun...
and their behind the scenes rigging reel is insane!
start 1 minute in and watch the extreme madness!

 
 
E Sousa Vincent - Rigging Showreel 2010 from Vinzou3d on Vimeo.



Carboard Warfare

What do you get when you combine Canon HDSLRs with over 427 frames that are manually rotoscoped and over 59 layers of sound effects and a month of production with no budget and a ton of creativity… You get Cardboard Warfare!

Boys will be boys...
Behind the scenes


Carousel - Phillips (HQ)

and,
"the making of"


Created for Tribal DDB, Amsterdam, Stink Digital and Director Adam Berg deliver this interactive campaign for Philips new CINEMA 21:9 TV. The cinematic proportions of the display became the theme of this piece. Adam responded with an idea for an epic frozen moment cops and robbers shootout sequence.

This 2:19 film runs as an endless loop, allowing viewers to control their moves through the scene. The film also contains embedded hotspots, which, when triggered, give us a behind-the-scenes look at some of the shots.

Yes, this film does share some creative similarities with pieces weve posted in the past. However, it is the mode of distribution thats really got me excited as the frequency of these types of projects are increasing.

As many feared the death of the traditional spot, others embraced the webs potential to distribute longer form content. Not only longer form, but branded stories where directors and production companies had more of a front seat role. Adam had the opportunity to make a short-film which is quite far removed from the brand who funded it — and promotes them better than any product or tech-centric spot. This is an exciting time for story-tellers of all mediums.


Opening Text for Empire Strikes Back

Behind the scenes look at the opening text 
crawl shoot for Empire Strikes Back.
just because...

Adele Blanc-Sec (Trailer with English subtitles)

Night at the museum meets Indian Jones meets Jurrassic Park in Luc Besson's style...me likeee!
Some behind the scenes snaps here.
VFX/CGI produced by BUF


T-shirt War

awesome!

Behind the Scenes...


Walter Wick and balacing Act

Walter Wick, photographer and children's book author who has produced the “I Spy” and “Can You See What I See” books, sales of which have totaled over 19 million copies is also a master model builder. He creates layered scenes of found or created objects that he carefully lights and photographs them.

Above is one of his videos called "Balancing Act" showing the building (and unbuilding) of a teetering stack of toys.

Here is a link to more behind the scenes.


DEADLINE post-it stop motion

Directed by Bang-yao Liu
Music by Röyksopp (http://royksopp.com)
Sound design by Ian Vargo, Shaun Burdick
Actor: Chun-yao Huang

Behind the Scenes


NIGHTMARE BEFORE XMAS behind the scenes


NIGHTMARE BEFORE XMAS behind the scenes from Joel Fletcher on Vimeo

My buddy Joel sent me a link to a video of him animating on Nightmare Before Christmas...those stop mo animators are some patient people.


Animation Winner Steam Punk Contest

So cute!!! and well done!
I want to try out that rig.
Click here to see more behind the scenes and see the
sick rig Frame Breed built for this short.

VFX Oscar Bakeoff 2009: The Dance of the Superheroes

AWN Review of the Bakeoff

I have to say Iron man is my favorite VFX movie this year. The movie made me laugh and had me on the edge of my seat. Most importantly, this was finally a superhero you liked and rooted for and the VFX were off the hook.

ILM posted the behind the scenes of the Iron Man Suit Breakdown here.


Meghan Brain United Spot

It's no secret I am a big fan of 
Meghan Brain's Paper Sculptures.
I found her art back in 2006 and 
posted some of it on the blog.

She worked on a couple united commercials where her sculptures are animated!

There is a whole behind the scenes section on it on her blog...
http://www.meganbrain.blogspot.com/

Here are links to the spots:


Radiohead House of Cards Video

Behind the Scenes video of "House of Cards" was
made and the various technologies
that were used to capture and render 3D data.

And the Actual Video
All Data Driven...No cameras.


Siggraph 2008 LA August 11 - August 15th


I am so glad that Siggraph is in Los Angeles this year. I don't have to travel or get a hotel! Also, the new staff for Siggraph seem to be working very hard to make the show more accessible to artists and broader than just the white papers and the usual techie stuff. The theme EVOLVE for this year's show couldn't be more on point.

I love the new perspective on what the show should be about, in light of the evolution of the medium and more and more artists working in visual effects. CG Society has a great article covering many of the new things Siggraph is exploring this year...Check the article out! It's looking like it might even reflect more of what Massive Black has been doing in San Francisco with the show Insomania.


The show is actually Monday through Friday (August 11 - August 15th) this year, instead of the usual starting on a Sunday. This is really better for the exhibitors since most people just are not there on a Sunday.

Last year, I was working for Side Effects Software. I got a real "behind the scenes experience" of what it's like to be an exhibitor for Siggraph. It's exhausting, so be nice to anyone you see working the floor and bring them a water or buy them a beer if you see them out at night. Especially Leyla Tirgari or Cristin Barghiel - they are going to need it.

As far as speakers, it's no secret I am a HUGE fan of Ed Catmull. last time I had the opportunity to see him speak in person it was 1995 at NATE and he was talking about the revolutionary new tool - NURBS. Wowsie Wow, that was a whiel ago. Anyways he is on fo the featured speakers and I just might have to be a little under the weather that Monday morning for work, if I am not allowed to attend.



SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference Chair Terrence Masson says to prepares for Siggraph this year: Ask your vendors for Exhibit passes as always ... but Basic one-day passes are only $45 (deal of the century IMHO), one day Computer Animation Festival passes are also only $50.

More details :
http://www.siggraph.org/s2008/attendees/registration/fees.php

BOF's are here :
http://www.siggraph.org/s2008/attendees/birds/

****************************************************
Siggraph Parties:

Houdini - No Party This Year :(
It's the end of an era.
Houdini always was known for the best
party of the year at Siggraph.
But, no more...


****************************************************
Siggraph Chapters Party

...going to be at Dodgers Stadium this year!
http://www.siggraph.org/s2008/attendees/reception/



****************************************************


Softimage User Event & Party
Where: Club 740
Tuesday, August 12th, 8:00PM – 1:00AM

Club 740 in downtown Los Angeles
Celebrate at one of L.A’s premier nightclubs.
Featuring the latest news from Softimage
and unforgettable guest performances, this event is sure
to be the talk of the show.
Space is limited – register now

That is all I can find at this time.

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WALL•E Featurettes

The PR Peeps at Pixar contacted me and as the premiere of WALL•E nears, they have four new featurettes! Each of these videos provides a behind-the-scenes look at the production of WALL•E. You can frame by frame these movies in hi-REZ and see all the Squash and stretch that happens to a robot! Don't miss when WALL•E is hit by lighting! ~Angie


WALL•E has a MySpace page (http://myspace.com/wall-e) for more fun features, such as giving WALL•E commands, building your own bot through the Build-A-Bot feature, and grabbing the social widget to use on your own personal sites.

For more information about the film, visit http://wall-e.com, and remember that the debut of WALL•E, June 27th, is just around the corner!



WALL•E – “Lots of Bots” Featurette


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WALL•E – “A Space Journey In Sound” Featurette

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WALL•E – “The Man & The Machine” Featurette

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WALL•E – “Pixar Goes To Space” Featurette


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Fostering Innovation



In the beginning weeks of this blog and right after our book came out, we met Henry Caroselli. Henry wrote a great book called Cult of the Mouse. I encourage you to get it. He speaks on the loss of innovation in corporate America passionately. He makes many specific references to Disney regarding the loss of innovation, since he worked there for many years. Henry has a look at "what we as a country must do to reinvigorate idea generation––to reestablish innovation, not quarterly-profit imperatives, as the top priority in American business."

Well thanks to my friend Paolo, I see that Brad Bird also understands that its very important to keep innovation alive within your studio in order to keep creativity fresh...from Found Read.

This week The McKinsey Quaterly asks: what does stimulating the creativity of animators have in common with developing new product ideas or technology breakthroughs? Apparently, a lot. In Innovation lessons from Pixar, McKinsey writes:

Brad Bird makes his living fostering creativity. Academy Award-winning director (The Incredibles and Ratatouille) talks about the importance, in his work, of pushing teams beyond their comfort zones, encouraging dissent, and building morale. He also explained the value of “black sheep”—restless contributors with unconventional ideas.

Steve Jobs hired him, says Bird, because after three successes (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2) he was worried Pixar might struggle to stay innovative. Jobs told him: “The only thing we’re afraid of is complacency—feeling like we have it all figured out,” Bird quotes his boss as saying “…We want you to come shake things up.” Bird explains to McKinsey how he did it — and why, for “imagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.”

The piece is behind McKinsey’s pay wall, but we extract its 9 key lessons below.

Lesson One: Herd Your Black Sheep

The Quarterly: How did your first project at Pixar—The Incredibles—shake things up?

Brad Bird: I said, “Give us the black sheep. I want artists who are frustrated. I want the ones who have another way of doing things that nobody’s listening to. Give us all the guys who are probably headed out the door.” A lot of them were malcontents because they saw different ways of doing things, but there was little opportunity to try them, since the established way was working very, very well. We gave the black sheep a chance to prove their theories, and we changed the way a number of things are done here.

Lesson Two: Perfect is the Enemy of Innovation
The Quarterly: What sorts of things did you do differently?

Brad Bird: I had to shake the purist out of them—essentially frighten them into realizing I was ready to use quick and dirty “cheats” to get something on screen… I’d say, “Look, I don’t have to do the water through a computer simulation program… I’m perfectly content to film a splash in a swimming pool and just composite the water in.” I never did film the pool splash [but] talking this way helped everyone understand that we didn’t have to make something that would work from every angle. Not all shots are created equal. Certain shots need to be perfect, others need to be very good, and there are some that only need to be good enough to not break the spell.

Lesson Three: Look for Intensity

The Quarterly: Do angry people—malcontents, in your words—make for better innovation?
Brad Bird: Involved people make for better innovation… Involved people can be quiet, loud, or anything in-between—what they have in common is a restless, probing nature: “I want to get to the problem. There’s something I want to do.” If you had thermal glasses, you could see heat coming off them.

Lesson Four: Innovation Doesn’t happen in a Vacuum

The Quarterly: How do you build and lead a team?
Brad Bird: I got everybody in a room. This was different from what the previous guy had done; he had reviewed the work in private, generated notes, and sent them to the person…. I said, “Look, this is a young team. As individual animators, we all have different strengths and weaknesses, but if we can interconnect all our strengths, we are collectively the greatest animator on earth. So I want you guys to speak up and drop your drawers. We’re going to look at your scenes in front of everybody. Everyone will get humiliated and encouraged together…

to read the other Five steps click here...


Blue Sky Moves From New York to Greenwich With Tens Of Millions In Film Tax Credits

Film tax credits draw fire

By Brian Lockhart
Staff Writer

Published February 29 2008

Additional details emerged yesterday about the state's behind-the-scenes bid to lure a renowned digital animator and its 300 employees from New York to Greenwich with tens of millions in film tax credits.

But it remains unclear how thoroughly the state's effort to woo Blue Sky Studios Inc. has been analyzed and whether it will pay off.

State budget director Robert Genuario of Norwalk said he has not seen a cost-benefit analysis of the tax breaks.

Jim Watson, spokesman for the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said an economic examination of Blue Sky's move exists.

Read More From Article on The Advocate...


Madame Tutli-Putli - I Can't Believe it's Stop-Mo

I do not envy the judges for the Best Animated Short Film Category. This is really amazing and doesn't look like any stop-mo I have ever seen...

Madame Tutli-Putl Trailer

Madame Tutli-Putl Behind the Scenes with the Directors



The National Film Board of Canada presents a stunning, stop-motion animated film that takes the viewer on an exhilarating existential journey. The film introduces groundbreaking visual techniques and is supported by a haunting and original score. Painstaking care and craftsmanship in form and detail bring to life a fully imagined, tactile world unlike any you have seen.

animation national film board of Canada stop -motion Clyde Henry Productions Chris Lavis Maciek Szczerbowski.



The Mill Does it Again

It seems like everything the Mill touches these days turns to gold. I wanted to grab a bunch of stills from this spot, but they just don't do it justice unless it's moving. The execution and direction of this piece is spot on. ~Enjoy

Title: Behind The Scenes of Guinness 'Music Machine' Description:
Red Bee Media director Steve Cope has directed the new Guinness 'Music Machine’ commercial on behalf of IIBBDO Dublin. The spot merges top-end visual effects by The Mill and clever in-camera touches to create a visual representation of the life inside a pint of Guinness. The commercial was shot at a green screen studio using three stuntman, various rigs and one authentic drum. A CG replica of stuntman had to be modeled, textured and rigged. Real stuntman were used for the foreground shots, while all the characters in the background are CG. Animators worked on over 50 shots; 10 of which were completely CG. Guinness ‘Music Machine’ took over eight weeks too complete in post production.


Sony BRAVIA - PLay Doh


The third installment of the Sony Bravia campaign called "Play-Doh" has released a teaser revealing some behind the scenes including a look at the crew of 40 animators.

2.5 tonnes of plasticine on set
40 animators
3 weeks
189 2ft bunnies
150 1ft cubes
10ft x 20ft purple wave
30ft giant rabbit.
6 cameras.
40 animators working through 4 hours generated 4 seconds of footage.
40 animators working on the same scene had never been attempted before.
The 60 second spot will be constructed of approximately 100,000 stills.


Happiness Factory Short Film


I giggled through this entire short film.

You see, I am originally from Atlanta, GA and the two characters that start this new branded content, 6-minute film for Coca-Cola...act like my Uncle Cecil and Uncle Ernest. Hearing the southern accents takes me back home where, if you order a coke at a restaurant - they ask you "what kind?" because "Coke" in Atlanta MEANS soda.

Wendy the baton twirler is just too much fun and actually all of the employees have great character design and persona's. The short has a Creature Comforts feel to it with the interviews! The snowballs crack me up too. Kudos to Psyop! Check it out!

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Wieden+Kennedy/Amsterdam and Psyop give us a behind-the-scenes peek at the Happiness Factory. Real Coca-Cola employees were interviewed and their responses used by the animated factory workers.

Full Credits


Client:
Coca-Cola

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy (Amsterdam, NE)
Production Company: Psyop
Live Action: Dab Hand Media
Music: Human
Sound Design: Amber Music
Sound Mixer: audioEngine
Executive Creative Director: Al Moseley,
John Norman
Creative Director: Rick Condos,
Hunter Hindman
Art Director: Barney Hobson
Copywriter: Rick Chant
Executive Agency Producer: Tom Dunlap
Editor: Ken Rosenberg,
Brett Nicoletti,
Cass Vanini,
Brett Goldberg
Director: Todd Mueller,
Kylie Matulick
Executive Producer: Justin Booth-Clibborn,
Boo Wong
Producer (Live Action): Paul Middlemiss
Producer: Mariya Shikher
Animation Director: Nicholas Weigel
Sound Designer: Bill Chesley
Executive Producer (Music): Marc Altshuler