January 8, 2007

Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture - 2006

5th Annual VES Awards Nominees...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Eddie Pasquarello, Francois Lambert, Jeff Sutherland, Tory Mercer

Pat Brennan, Mark Hopkins, Nelson Sepulveda, Mark Nettleton

Th DaVinci Code - Saint Sulpice Sequence
Mathew Krentz, Jordan Benwick, Enrico Perei, Rafal Kaniewski

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program

Battlestar Galactica - Season 2, Episode 218 "Resurrection Ship, Part 2"
Lane Jolly, Don Kim, Matt Smith, Chris Zapara

Coke - The Greatest Gift
Jared Jones, Jason Korber, Geeta Basantani, Ryan Dutour

Sports Heaven

Geoff McAuliffe, Yafel Wu, Robert Sethi, Jimi SImmons

Travelers - Snowball
Laure Lacroix, Lyse Beck, Steve McGillen, Matt Holland

Congratulations to all the 2006 nominees, (good luck, Laure Lacroix, Lyse Beck, and Weta!) - That Traveler's Snowball spot was great! (watch it: youtube or quicktime)

For the complete list you can visit Visual Effects Society - nominees or download the 5th Annual VES Awards Nominees pdf.


Posted by dschnee at 7:59 AM

June 20, 2006

Shake 4.1 Released! only $499?

Shake 4.1 Released

Apple Releases Shake 4.1
Industry Leading Compositing Software Price Cut to $499 (down from $2,999)

I just ordered up a copy for my powerbook this morning! Wow, $500 bux, fantastic... So what's the catch? Word on the street is that this will be the final release of shake with no further updates or development planned. r.i.p. shake - but I've heard that they will begin work on the next generation of compositing software, another high-end compositing application not due until 2008.

apple.com/shake/press release

CUPERTINO, California—June 20, 2006—Apple® today delivered Shake® 4.1, the first Universal version of its industry leading compositing software and cut its price from $2,999 to $499 to fit almost any production’s budget. Final Cut® Studio editors can now take advantage of Shake for sophisticated 3D compositing, keying, image tracking and stabilization for the price of a plug-in. Shake continues to be the tool of choice for major motion-picture studios and leading effects houses to create award-winning visual effects including this year's Oscar winner, “King Kong.”

“At just $499, Shake is now priced as low as a plug-in for Final Cut Studio,” said Rob Schoeben, Apple’s vice president of Applications Product Marketing. “Now Final Cut Studio customers can retouch their shots with Shake’s optical flow technology or add photo realistic visual effects to their productions, even on a shoestring budget.”

“Shake has become an essential tool at ILM for visual effects compositing, playing a central part in our pipeline on blockbuster movies such as ‘Mission Impossible 3,’ ‘Poseidon’ and the upcoming ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,’” said Cliff Plumer, chief technology officer of Industrial Light and Magic. “By pricing Shake at less than $500, Apple has opened up the doors for the next generation of artists to master their craft.”

Shake 4.1 complements Final Cut Studio by providing a full range of operations from simple re-touching to complex 3D compositing. Launched directly from the Final Cut Pro timeline, Shake uses state-of-the-art optical flow image analysis to re-time, track and stabilize shots with precision. Particle effects from Motion 2 can be dropped directly into the Shake process tree to add elements such as smoke, sparkles and fire to sophisticated multi-plane 3D composites. High resolution work can flow from Motion to Shake by rendering with the shared OpenEXR format for pristine film quality reproduction.

Shake 4.1 delivers significant performance gains on the new Intel-based Macs providing artists and editors with desktop level experience on the new MacBook™ Pro* notebook computer. Performance tests on a MacBook Pro have shown that common tasks such as color correction, warping and the application of filters are processed up to 3.5 times faster on a MacBook Pro than on a PowerBook® G4. Artists and editors can start compositing with HD, 2K and even 4K shots directly on location making Shake 4.1 on a MacBook Pro an ideal tool for continuity.

Pricing & Availability
Shake 4.1 is now available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $499 (US). Owners of Shake 4 can take advantage of a crossgrade to Shake 4.1 for just $49 (US). Full details are available at www.apple.com/shake. Apple will no longer sell the Apple Maintenance Program for Shake. Current Shake Apple Maintenance customers can contact shake-sales@apple.com for more information.

* Performance tests on a 17-inch MacBook Pro have shown that common tasks such as color correction, warping and the application of filters are processed up to 3.5 times faster on a MacBook Pro with 2.16 GHz Intel Core Duo than a 17-inch PowerBook G4 with 1.67 GHz Power PC.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store.

Press Contacts:
Christine Wilhelmy
(408) 974-9730

Cameron Craig
(408) 974-6281


Apple's "Phenomenon" due out in 2008?

By AppleInsider Staff Jun-22-2006 05:00 PM

The latest release of Apple Computer's Shake compositing software may be the last of its breed, as the company reportedly plans to shift gears and focus on developing the next-generation of the application around a different codebase.

Apple made the revelation alongside the release of Shake 4.1 this week, telling customers that it "will no longer be selling maintenance for Shake" as "no further updates" to the application are planned.

Instead, Apple said it has begun work on the next generation of the software, which reports target for a release in 2008.

According to a rumor first published on MacRumors this week, Shake's successor bears the codename "Phenomenon." Although the software will build off users' experiences with Shake, the report states that it will be based heavily on the the codebase for Motion, Apple's professional graphics animation software.
Shake is a big deal in hollywood, where it is considered the most advanced compositing application -- designed for large format productions by major motion picture studios and leading visual effects houses.

The application has been responsible for visual effects in blockbusters such as "Star Wars Episode III," "Harry Potter," "Mission Impossible 3," "The Lord of the Rings" and this year's Oscar winner, "King Kong."

In rolling out Shake 4.1 this week -- an update that delivers native support for the new line of Intel Macs -- Apple also slashed over 80 percent off the cost of a Shake license.

Apple says the price cut from $2,999 to $499 allows Shake to fit into "almost any production’s budget."

No further details on Shake's successor have been reported at this time.

Posted by dschnee at 7:29 AM

June 8, 2006

Toxik 2007 Demo

We had a great demo yesterday from the guys at Autodesk (formerly Discreet) on Toxik. Autodesk's effects and compositing interactive, collaborative compositing solution for feature film pipelines.
They also did a demo on Combustion 4 which was primarily geared toward showing us improvments in the roto/paint features of the package as it relates to Tippett's roto/paint department.

Toxik has some really great things going, most noteably that it's running over an relational oracle database that allows artists to work on the same shot at the same time and be notified of updates realtime once another artist publishes their work. They then can choose to start working with the latest work from another artist.
For example, if you have one artist in the paint department painting out markers on a green screen, and another artist pulling the key/matte, and another artist compositing the shot, instead of each artist rendering out the work they did, publishing, sending email and handing it off to the compositor, all 3 of them can work inside Toxik and publish their work, and the compositor can simply grab their latest workflow inside Toxik and can add it to their composite without any rendering that takes up time and storage space. A very elegant solution.

Toxik also has The Master Keyer from the Discreet Inferno/Flame suites, and watching how this keyer worked it's magic, definatley got some ooohs and awwwes, especially those of us who recently finished work on the horrible screen pulls for Pirates 2. We are constantly generating multiple mattes for portions of the image that need to be treated differently and combining these mattes for the final matte, but with the Master Keyer, it's smart, it lets you keep portions of the matte you are happy with and then isolate and pull specific portions all inside the same keyer, seemed to work fantasticly.

We definately asked the Autodesk guys if Toxik would do the things we do on a daily basis with Shake, and for the most part it was able to perform in a similar way, but some of the layout and gui navigation seemed limited compared to the simplicity of shake's windows and tabs. Rather than going to a sidebar and dragging that feature set into a window, and if you want to go back to the window before, you'd need to again go to the sidebar and drag over to the window again.

What else... well when you fileIn or load a sequence of images into Toxik, it creates tiled proxy versions of it on the fly, so the second it's into Toxik you can play the clip real time, this is awesome. Why tiled? Because depending on your level of zoom in the viewer window it loads up the appropriate proxy tiles for that image, nice.

The tracking in Toxik worked faster than realtime, because of it's slick proxy system.

It has great 3d compositing features (one huge area shake lacks) that on top of a full 3d environment based on 3dsmax, it allows for control and use of multiple streams inside .exr and .rpf formats to manipulate and control images with normals, materials, zdepth, spec, refl, etc.

Also, the entire package and everything that runs inside it is 32bit float high dynamic range imagery-friendly! Another cool thing is that the core of the program has been built, and this allows for feature sets to be added for Toxik around 4 times a year. This means no waiting for a new (usually yearly) major sofware version of Toxik, they will be continually updating customers with the latest and greatest features.

Check out more about Toxik for yourself with the links below:

Features & Specifications
Toxik Full Features List

- Autodesk Toxik Brochure
(pdf - 279 Kb)

Posted by dschnee at 7:24 AM

February 16, 2006

VES Announces 2005 Winners

Last night, The Visual Effects Society had it's anual black tie event Honoring... JOHN LASSETER with the Georges Méliès Award For Pioneering and Artistic Excellence.

Quickly, Kong Captures 3 VES Awards,
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture
King Kong
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture
King Kong-Kong
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture
King Kong-New York Dawn Attack
and in Comperland,
Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture
War of the Worlds
Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program, Commercial, or Music Video


Here is an older link for the 2005 VES nominations for Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture and Broadcast Program

- visualeffectssociety.com

Los Angeles, February 16, 2006 – The VES Awards were given out last night during the Visual Effects Society’s (VES) fourth annual gala event at the Hollywood Palladium. The sold-out event attracted more than eight hundred celebrities, visual effects and animation artists, dozens of nominees and members of the film, television and games industries.

“The extraordinary breadth and diversity of the awards were matched only by the extraordinary talent displayed in the room last night,” said Eric Roth, Executive Director of the VES. “It was an eye-popping, visual effects treat equivalent to a triple ice cream sundae with a dozen exotic toppings capped off with the biggest cherry ever.”

Los Angeles, February 9, 2006 - Actress Bonnie Hunt will be a presenter at the fourth annual Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards, it was announced today by VES Executive Director Eric Roth, who also announced that the Award Show is now sold out. Hunt will be joining Katherine Helmond, Cheech Marin, Edie McLurg, Craig T. Nelson and John Ratzenberger at the Hollywood Palladium on February 15th for the annual gathering of visual effects and animation professionals. The VES recognizes artistic and technical achievements with twenty awards spread across the areas of visual effects and animation in film, television, computer gaming and special venue large format offerings.

This group of actors will be part of the tribute to Pixar's John Lasseter, who collects the VES Georges Méliès Award for Artistic Excellence at this year's event. This award recognizes artists whose contributions to the filmmaking industry have advanced the craft of visual effects. Hunt, McLurg, Nelson and Ratzenberger have worked previously with Lasseter on movies from famed Pixar Animation Studios. Helmond and Marin join Hunt and Ratzenberger in Pixar's upcoming release, the Lasseter-directed "Cars."

One of Hollywood's youngest organizations, the VES was formed in 1997 in response to the explosive growth in the visual effects industry. It is a professional, honorary society, dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences, and applications of visual effects and to improving the welfare of its members by providing professional enrichment and education, fostering community, and promoting industry recognition. The VES is the entertainment industry's only organization representing the full breadth of visual effects practitioners including artists, technologists, model makers, educators, studio leaders, supervisors, PR/marketing specialists and producers in all areas of entertainment from film, television and commercials to music videos and games. Comprised of a diverse group of about 1,300 global members, the VES strives to enrich and educate its own members and members of the entertainment community at large through a multitude of domestic and international events, screenings and programs.


(variety) "King Kong" and "War of the Worlds" were the big winners at
the fourth annual VES Awards Wednesday as each pic walked away with three
awards and at least one top honor. But an emotional tribute to Pixar toon
titan John Lasseter stole the show.

Lasseter was saluted with the Visual Effects Society's George Melies
lifetime achievement award. He was hailed for melding computer science with
the principles of traditional animation to create the foundation for today's
visual effects and CG-animation industries.

"King Kong" garnered top honors for visual effects in an f/x-driven picture, and snagged kudos for animated character in a live-action pic.

In accepting the top award, "Kong" visual-effects supervisor Joe Letteri
saluted Lasseter, saying, "All the principles of animation you were
preaching years ago, some of us were listening."

Pic also drew the created environment nod for its high-altitude depiction of
New York at dawn.

But "War of the Worlds" grabbed honors for the year's best single visual
effect, the "Fleeing the Neighborhood" sequence, as well as awards for its
models-and-miniatures work and compositing.

"Kong's" rivals for top honors, "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the
Witch and the Wardrobe," "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" and
"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" were shut out.

"Kingdom of Heaven" took the supporting visual effects kudos.

On the TV side, TNT's "Into the West" won two awards, while HBO's "Rome"
drew the prize for visual effects in a series.

The tributes to Lasseter included digs at Disney, which rebuffed his efforts
to launch computer animation at the Mouse House some 25 years ago.

Presenter John Ratzenberger quipped that the day he saw the news that Pixar
would be taking over Disney animation, "I also saw a little item that Walt
Disney had stopped spinning in his grave."

Lasseter, in his acceptance speech, recalled going to work in 1980 at
Disney, "the place I'd wanted to work all my life," only to find "they'd
reached a plateau."

Recognizing huge potential in the work being done on "Tron," he worked on a
demo to show what computer animation could do.

"It fell on deaf eyes," he said.

Lasseter was careful not to disclose any plans as animation topperfor the
Mouse once the purchase of Pixar is complete, saying only that he is
"looking forward to working with the pioneering artists" there again.

Lasseter's tale hit a nerve among the assembled visual effects pros, many of
whom were disgruntled ex-Disney animators.

Fellow Pixar vet Ed Catmull, who also goes with Lasseter to Disney, will
receive a sci-tech award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
on Saturday.

Pixar's Jim Morris received a special honor, the VES board of directors
Award. Morris is a longtime Lucasfilm vet who left to join Pixar in 2004.

Morris managed Lucasfilm's transition into digital production and was
saluted for being a linchpin of the VES during its founding and early

Posted by dschnee at 7:19 AM

January 9, 2006

Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture - 2005

4th Annual VES Awards Nominees...

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Voldemort’s Nose
Ben Shepherd, Uel Horman, Charley Henley, Nicolas Aithadi

King Kong - T-Rex Fight
Erik Winquist, Michaell Pangrazio, Steve Cronin, Suzanne Jandu

War of the Worlds -
Marshall Krasser, Michael Jamieson, Jeff Saltzman, Regan McGee

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program

Empire -
Stefano Trivelli, Michele Moen, Kelly Bumbarger, Sean Wilson

Into The West Mini-Series Movie I, Wheel to the Stars
Jared Jones, Jason Korber, Geeta Basantani, Ryan Dutour

Mezzo Djarum - Race

Mark Rienzo, Feliciano di Giorgio, Maciek Sokalski, Jay Frankenberger

Congratulations to all the 2005 nominees, (great job, Suzanne Jandu, Erik Winquist, Michaell Pangrazio, Steve Cronin on Kong)

For the complete list you can visit Visual Effects Society - nominees or download the 4th Annual VES Awards Nominees pdf.


Posted by dschnee at 7:33 AM

January 6, 2006

Komp Kong

One of the 'Team UK' or 'The UK Four' @ Weta, Matt Welford speaks to apple about some of the compositing on Kong!

in Apple's Hot News Article... from last month.

POST Magazine has also done a spread covering a decent amount of compositing on kong, check that out in King Kong's Tale Of Two Islands...

Apple's Shake Rocks Ape "Compositing Kong"
If all you wanted for Christmas was a giant ape holding a beautiful woman atop a landmark building on a superwide screen, this holiday has certainly turned out for you. “King Kong” roared into theaters just in time for the holiday, carrying big name talent, Oscar buzz and eye-bending special effects.

The visual effects were created by Weta Digital, the same company that did the effects for Kong director Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. And as it did for “Rings,” Weta used Shake as its primary compositing tool on “King Kong.”

Even More Effects
Matt Welford, the film’s 2D sequence lead who worked on most of the film’s New York sequences, quantifies the task. “Kong has a little shy of two and a half thousand visual effects shots.”

This was a more intensive effects package than “Lord of the Rings,” says Welford, “because ‘Kong’ is more action-packed from start to finish. In the ‘Rings’ trilogy there were frequent breaks in the action. Not so in this film. And then of course, there were all the creatures that Peter Jackson loves to put into these films — the bugs and worms and flies. So the shot count went up just because of those sequences.”

Synthetic City
It is difficult for people who have seen “King Kong” to believe that the sequences, which prominently feature 1930’s Manhattan, were shot on a one-story high New York street back lot in New Zealand and then “digitally extended” by a crew of 500 artists and technicians using thousands of carefully researched and prepared elements.

“We had a huge library of reference photos, and a department of researchers who were able even to find out what color the street signs were in 1930’s New York,” says Welford.

He points out that that the jungle scenes were similarly shot and altered. “Animation would animate the creatures, the modeling guys would build the models, the TDs would light whatever was needed, and then pass them over to the comp department. We would take those elements and integrate them into the plates that were provided by Peter Jackson and the shooting crew. Then it would be our job to basically layer it together with any extra 2D elements that we need. Using Shake, we could integrate those in with the CG and the plate and come out with the final shot.”

Welford says that Shake was also used for some 3D work in the roto and paint departments. “Our TD’s could actually do rough comps of their work before they pass elements off to the comp department, so they could check that their elements were working before we actually start.”

Composite Solution
Welford, who has used Shake since it came out, says the product was perfect for their task. “Personally, I’m a big fan of the node-based compositing. It’s a lot more logical and it allows for you to change things quickly, so you can experiment and jump around to different parts of the tree. You’re not locked into pre-rendering elements and then working on those pre-renders.”

Another advantage of Shake was its ability to work with independent bit depth images.”You can have an 8-bit file, a 16-bit file and a float file and Shake will resolve and comp them all together,” he says.

And at a fundamental level, the large available Shake talent pool allowed Weta to scale up quickly and dramatically from a small core compositing crew — essential, it turned out, to meet a challenge as big as Kong.


Ken McGorry

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — The Balrog, the Ents, the Orc armies, the Oscars. All the hard lessons learned in Weta Digital’s effects work for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy helped Weta deal with an 8,000-pound gorilla and other fantastic creatures that interact with (and kill) human characters in Jackson’s new King Kong remake. And there were new lessons, too.

Academy eyes will surely be trained this season on the seamless visual effects for Kong — especially given its dramatic portrayal of two craggy islands teeming with primitive life forms: Skull Island and Manhattan.

Much of Kong’s compositing work involves innovations Weta developed in-house after LOTR wrapped. “Our biggest compositing innovation on Kong was probably incorporating 3D tools directly into the mainstream of our compositing pipeline,” says Weta Digital FX supervisor Dan Lemmon. He says Weta uses a variety of off-the-shelf software, both third-party and proprietary plug-ins, and a few stand-alone programs written at Weta Digital. “We use Nuke from D2 Software as well as an Apple Shake plug-in called Cyco, developed at Weta by 3D sequence lead Nick McKenzie,” Lemmon says.

Weta Digital’s compositing supervisor Erik Winquist adds, “Just like on LOTR, our primary compositing pipeline revolved around Shake.” To help speed shots through the King Kong pipeline, Winquist says, “in-house genius” McKenzie wrote several custom plug-ins, “from a sequencer-like tool for animating the illuminated signage in Times Square, all the way up to a full-blown 3D interface and accompanying suite of tools inside of Shake to simplify the placement of elements on cards in the comp.”

Skull Island in ‘2.5D’

“One of the biggest challenges on this show was the amount of virtual locations that had to be brought to life in the composites,” says Winquist. “An enormous number of miniature elements were built and shot for the various Skull Island locations, but those were often the broad strokes: key pieces of architecture or terrain foreground elements would then be expanded via virtual jungles and matte paintings. Peter said from the beginning that he wanted Skull Island to have the look of glass matte paintings from the original 1933 film,” Winquist says, “dark silhouetted foregrounds with increasingly bright, layered atmospheric backgrounds. The main challenge became staying true to the spirit of those static compositions with the broad, sweeping, signature Peter Jackson camera moves that are everywhere in this film.”

Winquist adds, “For the dynamic action sequences where the camera traveled sizeable distances over the course of a shot, the Miniatures Units typically shot motion-control camera moves with multiple lighting and matte passes, which were integrated in the comp with matte paintings, CG elements and plate photography. This is pretty standard for us and was used all throughout the LOTR trilogy.”

Due to King Kong’s enormous workload it became clear that Weta’s Miniatures Units, and Oscar-winning miniatures DP Alex Funke, couldn't wait for animation to dictate the motion-control moves on every shot, Winquist says. “So wherever possible, the Miniatures Units would instead shoot a set of tiled passes of the miniature with a standardized nodal motion-control move in set intervals. These tile sets were then assembled in 2.5D at Weta Digital and used as virtual environments, freeing the animators to let the action dictate the camera moves instead of being locked into a plate.”

To accomplish this, Winquist says, “We adopted D2 Software's Nuke compositing software which is really fast and has a great set of scriptable tools for pan-and-tile 2.5D and 3D projection setups.”

To render such intricate virtual jungles in full 3D with all of the organic detail found in reality would be too time consuming for King Kong’s tight schedule, Winquist says. “So for the most part, the jungle extensions were created in the composite with a library of hundreds of separate miniature bluescreen trees created by Weta Workshop and shot high speed with wind to make sure every time we see jungle, it feels like a living place.”

With a suite of custom plug-ins for Shake, compositors were able to load the virtual camera for their shot and one by one, dress in photographed miniature trees on virtual cards in 3D space.

Little old New York

VFX supervisor Lemmon says one of the biggest compositing challenges in creating New York ca.1933 was developing a look for the city that would work for the whole end sequence — the final showdown which takes place at the top of the Empire State Building and involves a squadron of Navy biplanes attacking Kong from every direction. “The sequence opens during the twilight of early morning and ends not long after sunrise” Lemmon says, “so we had to account for dramatic changes in the lighting of the city and the sky as the sequence progressed.”

To re-create the look of vintage, antennae-free Manhattan, digital compositing supervisor Charlie Tait and 3D sequence lead Craig Wentworth created an elaborate city "pre-comp" that used nearly 50 CG layers to build about 10 primary city elements, says Lemmon.

Posted by dschnee at 12:04 AM

April 17, 2005

Shake 4 Advanced Digital Compositing

Was announced today National Association Of Broadcasters (NAB). This is the software I use to Composite at work.

You can find out all the details at the apple.com/shake site.

A number of us at work, myself included, have been beta testing this latest version of shake, and so far pretty damn good. There are a number of new features, and a slew of fixes and requests that should finally make us much happier this time around. Finally we get a 3D Compositor!!! And the enhanced node view has some great features!

Here are some of the Features from apple.com/shake

Unified 2D/3D Compositing

Shake delivers the most efficient compositing operations for handling large images with pristine quality. From full 32-bit float Keylight and Primatte keyers to OpenGL-accelerated 3D multi-plane compositing, no other visual effects software delivers as complete a toolset for individual artists and full visual effects facilities.

* 3D Multi-plane Compositing
* Enhanced Node View
* Resolution Independence
* Tracking on Rotoshape Points
* 32-bit Keylight and Primatte
* Truelight Monitor Calibration

Advanced Image Processing

Shake leads the way in integrating the latest image processing technology into a single, affordable visual effects package. Shake’s Optical Flow technology uses pixel-by-pixel image analysis to create smooth retiming, incredible high quality resizing and automatic stabilization. The results are cleaner, sharper and more natural-looking images.

* Optical Flow-based Retiming
* Smoothcam and Tracking
* Shape-based Warping and Morphing
* Auto-Align

Ok, so here is that cool Citroen Transformer Dancing Car Commercial ~enjoy

Copyright © 2005 Apple Computer, Inc. All rights reserved.

Posted by dschnee at 10:58 PM

March 15, 2005

VFXTalk.com interviews Constantine 2D leads

VFXTalk.com has a fantastic interview with Dan Cayer and Matt Jacobs, the lead compositors on Constantine. (Tippett Studio) Click here to go to the interview.

See Also: One of the Vermin Man shots I completed featured on the Interview... A creepy reaction from the Vermin Man as he heads off John Constantine in the middle of the street...

Posted by dschnee at 8:08 AM

March 13, 2005

Some of my work from Constantine

Can be found on Tippett Studio's fresh new site in 'reels' section and under Constantine, as well as in A Perfect Circle's video 'Passive'

I have assembled a couple quicktime's to reflect shots I completed and worked on Constantine from the Hell Apartment, Hell Freeway, and Vermin Man sequences.

://my shots in the Constantine Reel from Tippett Studio
/Tippett Studio's Constantine Reel

://my shots in A Perfect Circle's 'Passive' music video
/track 'Passsive' - artist A Perfect Circle - album Emotive

Once the DVD is released, I'll be able to put up higher quality clips from my work on Constantine as well as follow up on some compositing details for eachs shot. Until then I hope you enjoy the brief frames of hard work.

See Also: my posting on A Perfect Circle video "Passive" takes the Hell Freeway

© 2005 Tippett Studio © 2005 Warner Bros. Ent. | All Rights Reserved.

Posted by dschnee at 9:53 PM

February 16, 2005

VES Announces 2004 Winners

Hollywood, February 16, 2005The Visual Effects Society (VES), the entertainment industry’s only society of visual effects professionals, celebrated the best visual effects artistry in film, television, commercial, music videos and games at tonight’s 3rd Annual VES Awards recognizing outstanding visual effects in nineteen (19) categories.

Robert Zemeckis was honored with the VES Lifetime Achievement Award for his enormous contributions to the visual effects industry and to filmmaking as a whole. The honor was presented to him by Academy Award® winning visual effects artist Ken Ralston and long-time friend and collaborator Tom Hanks. Robert Abel was honored posthumously with the Georges Melies Award for his contributions to the visual effects industry and Don Shay received the Board of Directors Award for illuminating the field of visual effects through his role as publisher of Cinefex. The ceremony was presided over by VES Executive Director Eric Roth.


Here is an older link for the 2004 VES nominations for Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture and Broadcast Program

- visualeffectssociety.com

Posted by dschnee at 8:20 AM

January 11, 2005

Digital Compositor - So, what is it you do exactly?

well...I just smack pixels around all day,

Digital Compositing: The digitally manipulated combination of at least two source images to produce an integrated result.
(as defined in The Art and Science of Digital Compositing by Ron Brinkmann)

As digital artists, we work with multiple image sources. Live action plate photogrphy including, blue/green screens, miniature photography, photographic elements shot on stage, and still images. Computer Generated Images (CGI) or sequences, which can include, effects elements, digital environments, digital matte paintings, general objects, animated creatures, and characters.

Its the seamless integration of all these sources that we assemble one final whole image that you will see in the end. That end result being on film at the movies, on tv, in a videogame, or in print somewhere in a magazine, on a billboard, or poster.

In its basic form, it would be put A over B, but in it's usual more complex form its treat A a dozen times, add it to C, mix it with H, link it to M, animate it by F which was treated by G a dozen times and then over B, and B has a few dozen treatments of its own.

Below is a screenshot of my project script from a shot I composited from Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (click on image to view it big)

Each of the nodes in 'red' represent an image or sequence of images, treatements are below them, then they find there way over or under one another, until we reach the bottom of the tree for the end result. To add complexity, I have below another script that created just one of those 'red' image nodes above:

So what does all that mess of spaghetti nodes and noodles create? - below is the final shot created from those scripts above. A over B right?

[shot za12 - Starship Troopers 2: - 2004] (2.5mb Quicktime)

The shot above was created using a number of the source images talked about above, including: the live action plate of troopers running toward the base of the outpost. That was built on a sound stage. The top of the outpost is miniature photography shot on stage. The storm building and rising, was created entirley from a 3' diameter cotton roller shot on stage at different speeds and angles. The crash of the storm was created using impact dust elements and cloud tank elements. The rest is 2D photographic dust elements used many, many times, I also did some hand drawn lightning arcs and hand animated internal lightning patches in the storm.

"weeks, and weeks of work, FOR SECONDS, of on-screen entertainment."
-Eric Leven
Visual Effects Supervisor
Tippett Studio

Posted by dschnee at 8:30 AM

January 10, 2005

Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture - 2004

3rd Annual VES Awards Nominees...

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Azkaban Guards Attack
Dorne Huebler, Jay Cooper, Patrick Brennan, Anthony Shafer

The Phantom of the Opera - Opening Shot
Claas Henke, Laurent Ben-Mimoun, Anupam Das

Spider-Man 2 - Train Sequence
Colin Drobnis, Greg Derochie, Blaine Kennison, Kenny Lam

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program

The Librarian - Himalayan Pass sequence
Greg Groenekamp, Joel Merritt, Mamie McCall

Smallville, "Crisis"
John Han, Eli Jarra, Noriaki Matsumoto, Terry Shigemitsu

Space Odyssey - Voyage to the Planets

George Roper, Christain Manz, Sirio Quintavalle, Pedro Sabrosa

Congratulations to the 2004 nominees,

For a complete list you can visit Visual Effects Society - nominees or download the 3rd Annual VES Awards Nominees pdf.


Posted by dschnee at 3:18 PM

February 16, 2004

Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture - 2003

2nd Annual VES Awards Nominees...and the Winners.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
George Macri, Mike Hardison, Patrick Murphy, Dan Trezise

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Moritz Glaesle, Mark Lewis, Kara Vandeleur

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World "Storm"
Philip R Brennan

Outstanding Compositing in a Televised Program, Music Video or Commercial

Angels in America
Stefano Trivelli

Battlestar Galactica
Patti Gannon, Chris Jones, Sean Apple, Jarrod Davis

Smallville “Accelerate”
Eli Jarra, Ivan DeWolf, Brian Harding

2nd Annual Visual Effects Society Awards 2003 Nominees and Winners


Posted by dschnee at 4:05 PM

February 16, 2003

Best Compositing in a Motion Picture - 2002

1rst Annual VES Awards Nominees...and the Winners.

Minority Report
Scott Frankel, Patrick Jarvis

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets "Quidditch Match"

Barbara Brennan, Jay Cooper, Kimberly Lashbrook, Dorne Huebler

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Mark Lewis, GG Heitmann Demers, Alex Lemke, Alfred Murrle

Best Compositing in a Televised Program, Music Video, or Commercial

Christian Manz, Pedro Sabrosa, Nicolas Cotta, Tor Bjorn

Firefly "Serenity" Pilot
Loni Peristere, Emile Smith, Kristen Branan, Chris Jones

Adidas "Mechanical Legs"
Eric Barba, Bernd Angerer, Jeff Julian, Feli di Giorgio

1rst Annual Visual Effects Society Awards 2002 Nominees and Winners


Posted by dschnee at 4:20 PM