» Posts Tagged ‘cgi’

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Leaked Set Footage from Star Wars Episode VIIAs filmmakers we’re often trying to convince an audience that what they are seeing is real, even if what they are watching couldn’t possibly exist. That’s why it’s always interesting when “viral” videos come out that really make people question what they are seeing, if only for a short time. We saw this recently with the fake Hoverboard video, and even though some work for different reasons, for the most part they play on the fact that people tend to have their guards down when watching “amateur” or “nonfiction” videos. While a new video claiming to be leaked on-set footage from the newest Star Wars film is obviously CGI, is there something about it that makes us want to believe it more than the films themselves? More »

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ILMEarlier in the week, we talked about how Industrial Light and Magic changed the cinematic world when they developed CGI and used it in Jurassic Park. Those computer generated dinosaurs marked the beginning of a creative revolution where filmmakers could actually take what was in their heads and put them into their films (and with as much or as little realism as they desired). ILM’s contribution to the filmmaking community is huge, and if you’re curious to see how the visual effects company came to be, as well as a view inside how they’ve advanced cinematic technology, then you should check out this documentary directed by Leslie Iwerks, with interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and many, many others. More »

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Jurassic ParkDirector Steven Spielberg is responsible for more than his fair share of cinematic innovations; Jaws proved that a movie could completely dominate at the box office, ushering in the era of the blockbuster. And though that animatronic, man-eating shark was a sight to behold back in 1975, it was nothing compared to what audiences would see coming from the Spielberg effects camp 18 years later with Jurassic Parkthe film whose CGI dinosaurs managed to breathe life into an art form that wasn’t quite catching on. This short Academy Originals video explains how Spielberg’s digital dinos changed the way we make films. More »

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autodesk mudbox 10 dollar monthly subscription perpetual license software 3d modelling animation design sculptingAdobe’s move to CC and a “software as a service” model is still met with much controversy. This is in no small part due to the lack of any perpetual license ownership choice for those (many) who want one. Such is not the case with Autodesk’s release of Mudbox 2015, a powerful CG 3D sculpting tool originally developed by artists of Weta Digital for Peter Jackson’s King Kong. This release comes with the option of a subscription — starting at $10 per month and scaling out to an annual plan — as well as the option for a traditional perpetual license. Read on for more on Mudbox 2015 and Autodesk’s Desktop Subscription plans. More »

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Only God Forgives VFX BreakdownThink big-budget Hollywood films like the new Spiderman film are the only ones using tons of visual effects? Wrong! Even some of the smallest indie films can use mountains of CGI to do things that would either be dangerous or difficult to shoot more than once, or to enhance whatever on-set effect they were trying to pull off. In this fantastic VFX breakdown from Nordisk Film Shortcut (Martin Madsen was the VFX Supervisor), go behind the scenes of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives and see just some of the many visual effects that were necessary to pull off the final vision, including removing dolly track and adding all sorts of blood and bullet hole effects. More »

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Godzilla Director Gareth Edwards AdviceGareth Edwards, who you might know from his very DIY film Monsters, is back with another monster film, Godzilla. While he’s got quite a bit more money to spend on this project than the last ($160 million versus Monsters which was made for under $1 million), the basic aspects of filmmaking are no different, and regardless of budget, it still takes the same discipline. Gareth, who has been in VFX most of his career, has been working towards his goal of becoming a director from a very early age, and shares some fantastic advice to all filmmakers: More »

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Shanks FX_cosmosYou can make pretty much anything with visual effects software: other worlds, new creatures, even sharknadoes. With so much creative power at our digital fingertips, it’s easy to forget the incredible effects that we can pull off in the real world with real objects. About a year ago, we shared a few practical effects tutorials by Shanks FX (aka Joe Schenkenberg or Joey Shanks,) which showed how to create warp speed effects with steel wool, as well as alien atmospheres with a fish tank. In this demonstration, Shanks shows us how to create the cosmos with a few dirt cheap household items. More »

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Lucasfilm Real-Time Computer GraphicsWhile J.J. Abrams has claimed a number of times that he wants to use more practical effects to make the new generation of Star Wars films feel more “real,” the usage of computer generated imagery is only growing. More and more live-action movies are creating entire scenes in post-production. Those kinds of effects will continue to get more realistic, but at what cost to productions (since things aren’t exactly getting cheaper)? Post-production schedules are shrinking while effects budgets are exploding, so what are filmmakers to do? Lucasfilm, the company responsible for Star Wars, wants to take real-time CGI to the next level and revolutionize the filmmaking process. Check out some of what they are working on below. More »

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Game of Thrones_vfx dragonsOne of the biggest draws of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones is its ability to transport its viewers into another world. One way that the show’s creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, manage to do that is by enlisting talented VFX artists to transform Northern Ireland (as well as its other filming locations) into Westeros and Essos, as well as cleverly animating imaginary creatures, like Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons. Focusing on conceptualizing their idea, this short video from fxguide and WIRED reveals how VFX company Pixomondo brought the dragons on Game of Thrones to life. More »

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Video thumbnail for youtube video Here's How You Can Create Your Very Own Textures in Blender - nofilmschoolJust because software is free, does not mean you can’t get incredible results out of it. Blender is a free 3D program that has a ton of capabilities, and it has helped create a few movies so far, including the completely open source live action film Tears of Steel. If you’ve done a bit of 3D work (or if you’re brand new to the 3D world), and you’ve wanted to create some of your own textures, the tutorial below from Cgtuts+ can help you get started. More »

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OscillateWe’ve all heard the maxim that ‘70% of a movie is sound‘ and whilst there may be some quibbling over that exact percentage, in the case of Daniel Sierra’s transfixing musical film Oscillate, I can confidently pronounce sound and the sine waves which represent it on-screen, equal 100% of the whole, compelling experience. Take a look at what you can hear after the jump: More »

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Color spaces and color models can be difficult to wrap your head around completely. There are additive and subtractive spaces, like RGB vs. CMYK, and different format/display technologies, like analog’s YUV vs. digital’s YCbCr — all of which you may have to traverse to achieve the final ‘look’ you want for your imagery. Not to mention that many color spaces are not absolute, meaning they don’t profile device-specific color representation. This can certainly induce a bit of a headache for newcomers to the color science realm. A great post by photographer Mark Meyer, featured recently on PetaPixel, explains how you can quite literally better-orient yourself to color spaces and models by, well, modeling them — in 3D open suite Blender, no less. More »

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In creating computer generated imagery, reference photographs of real-life objects may assist modeling, texturing, and animating a 3D object. In animation, this practice translates into something called motion capture, or ‘performance capture’ when facial expressions are the focus (see: Avatar). Fixed reference points on an object or surface help artists recreate something virtually, but Microsoft XBox 360′s Kinect technology is actually able to recognize shape and motion on its own, turning you into a full-body video game controller in real-time. The new Lynx A Camera looks to take this a step further. Meet the world’s first ‘point-and-shoot’ camera that can model and capture the geometry, texture, and motion of anything you aim it at, right before your eyes. More »

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This story has repeated itself a few times over the last few years, but it’s worth sharing another inspirational and impressive short film that gets noticed by Hollywood. Kaleb Lechowski, a 22-year-old who studies digital film design at Mediadesign Hochschule in Berlin, Germany, produced the animated short R’ha for a school assignment. The impressive CG animation has earned him accolades across the web, and even across the Atlantic, garnering interest from Hollywood executives. Check out R’ha: More »

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One of the great features in Adobe After Effects CS6 is its built-in 3D camera tracker, which helps realistically integrate CG elements into footage that have a fair amount of camera or subject movement. But what if you want to do a 3D match move shot, and you can’t afford a copy of After Effects? Not a problem. Andrew Price of Blender Guru has a great hour-long video to get you started with 3D tracking and compositing CG elements in the free open source 3D program, Blender: More »

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It may seem so obvious that it generally skips the mind, but the shape of the frame is one of the most basic qualities governing visuals. Traditionally speaking, we’re locked into this pretty successful sort of rectangular thing (no complaints), with some variability brought to us by the likes of format spec limits and the option of shooting anamorphic. Rarely do we have a reason to even want to break out of this box — but as visual creators, the power to do so is there should we require it. The yearly Fête des Lumières (or Festival of Lights) in Lyon, France has recently provided one such opportunity for a group of art Masters students — given that their animation would be projected on the side of a building, they chose quite the interesting shape for the frame of their vibrant and charming CG short. More »

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With the advancement of computer generated animation, many effects are no longer done on set where safety and cost are priorities (though it seems CGI ends up costing just as much, if not more). I personally have always been a fan of real effects, and it’s one of the reasons a movie like Star Wars, made back in the late 70s, still looks as good as it does today. A recent example is the practical effects used in the movie The Fountain, where organic fluid effects were filmed on a microscopic level to help make the film feel timeless. A new PBS Digital show created by Joe Schenkenberg (also known as Joey Shanks) gives some practical examples of visual effects that anyone can create at home on a budget. More »

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Open Source doesn’t always have the greatest reputation in the filmmaking community, often because many believe it means unsupported and infrequently updated — and sometimes they’re right. We’re going to be getting the first open source camera, but open source software has existed for filmmaking for quite some time and there are plenty of options out there that can produce spectacular results, like the 3D animation program Blender. The Blender Foundation has been working with talented people to make films using the software, and Tears of Steel is their 4th completely Open Source film. How open? They are releasing all of the materials for the short film completely under a Creative Commons license (free to reuse and distribute with attribution). The film is streaming, and also available as an HD download (which is the way I’d recommend watching). More »

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Computer animation has come a long way in the past 20 years — to the point where hand-drawn animation is almost non-existent. Even most cartoons are digitally drawn and made to look like old fashioned paper drawings (how ironic — or maybe nostalgic?). Most animation starts from scratch, with new models and textures needed for every animation. But what if you didn’t have to start from scratch? What if you were an independent animator, and you could build off a world that has already been created for you? That’s the idea behind Valve’s Source Filmmaker. The tools they use to make cut-scenes and videos is being released completely free, along with the textures and models from Team Fortress 2. Here’s a look at what’s being released: More »

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Amidst folks judging the authenticity of Natalie Portman’s ballet form in the outstanding Super 16mm/DSLR-shot Black Swan, it turns out that even some of the head-to-toe shots of Natalie dancing were in fact performed by professional dancer Sarah Lane. If the mark of good CGI is for the audience not to notice it, Darren Aronofsky’s gritty, grainy feature is a prime example of good visual effects. Watching the behind-the-scenes video, I’m sure you’ll see a lot of elements that you didn’t perceive as CGI: More »