VFX Touchstones: Part One — The Code Breakers

Writing Code For VFX Solves Problems, and Motivates Others It is my supposition that everyone in the visual effects business should learn to program, even a little bit, as it opens avenues that were once barriers. Whether writing the code, or just “breaking the code,” it is necessary to expand …

Jason Jue — 1977-2015 — The Sassoon Six Minus One

“I sit on the beach, drink instant coffee, and dive when I can.” Jason Jue   On April 5, 2015,  The Digital Makeup Initiative,  Stereo VFX, and Stereo Conversion Communities lost one of its pioneers.  Jason Jue, VFX supervisor, compositor, and avid diver passed away. Those who knew him grieve with …

Digital Nimoy — Across the Final Frontier

The Digital Legacy of One of the world’s first 3D scanned actors.   I’d hoped to have written this before it happened. You never know how much you appreciate something, or someone until they are gone.  I was one of the generation raised in a world where the name SPOCK …

Lost Concepts: Part 2 — Almost Human dMFX

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts

The Lost Concept Series explores production designs by Johnathan Banta that never saw the light of day — until now.   There is always so much work that goes into an entertainment property that no one ever sees. Were it not for the books that chronicle the preproduction of Star Wars, …

Fringe to Falling Skies — The Unwanted Rise of Digital Makeup

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The dMFX Chronicles

It Came From the 1990’s Okay, this will take a little bit of back-story… In 1997, I started to write an article in conjunction with Digital Domain’s Andre Bustanoby (fresh off of Titanic VFX) for the (now archival) website VFXHQ.  This article was to chronicle what we saw as the beginning of a new …

MastersFX VES Nomination for dMFX

Digital Makeup Shines at VES Awards The Visual Effects Society has nominated Hemlock Grove as one of its finalists for best visual effects in a television program.  It is an achievement to have digital makeup effects (dMFX) nominated for such a prestigious award, and hopefully a trend for the community …

Vector-based Particle Emission: A 2D Method for Complex Particle Motion

    Using Motion Vectors as Fluid Forces I was stuck. The particular scene In front of me required that a character from existing footage be combined with tentacles of my own making, repositioned to come out of water at the edge of screen, combined with a sky matte painting, …

Lost Concepts: Part 1 — Almost Human

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series Lost Concepts

  Almost Human Concept Art Occasionally a sketch can become something else.  I have taken to the iPad for illustration, as many have over the past few years.  it is convenient, and allows me to do more finished work as well as sketch on-the-fly.  Tasked to do some concept illustrations …

The Missing Millennium Falcon?

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series VFX_archaeology

Evolution of a Design This article contains an image recreated from memory of an actual  photo in an ex-ILMer’s archive — it is a re-creation for research purposes only, and not an official StarWars art piece. (However, the design has been verified to exist in the LFL archives by an insider.) …

Gorilla VFX : Episode 2 — What I Learned From Spider-Man

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Gorilla VFX

  Two Simple Tricks For Professional Results. After Jumanji it was all about gamma blasting to check the black levels, but with the 2002 Spider-Man talk at SIGGRAPH, two new composite analysis methods came to the forefront to improve quality — and almost nobody noticed. There he was, John Dykstra, at …

AGsketchbook — Oct. 19, 2014

This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series AGsketchbook

Scribble Ships It is easy to fall into a pattern or style of illustration. To break the monotony, or creative block I occasionally like to apply an exercise I learned in Art School. The fact is, with a slight application of imagination, even a scribble can look like a face. …

The VFX War: Part 4 —The California Drought

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The VFX War

The Great Dust Bowl 2 There is little to no rain in California. For the last several years the once verdant fields of this great American state (both in size and productivity) have produced fewer crops as water restrictions expand every year. Los Angeles, is a desert, and has always …

Back to Harv’s World

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To VFX.   It all started in 1982 with a sketch in the corner of the Social Studies notebook (I probably was not paying attention anyway).  Originally an alien life form, not quite sure from where, but cute.  I’d already spent several years drawing Danger …

Gorilla VFX: Episode 1 — Couch Clouds

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Gorilla VFX

The title is not spelled wrong. Guerrillas are crafty, live by the seat of their pants fighters on the front lines. Gorillas are rough,  hit-it-with-your-fists solvers of problems. Both of these are distinct VFX mind-sets we embrace. This series explores solutions to problems that are a little unorthodox, but effective. …

BOSS Film Studios – The Last Watch

Information and title updated 03/20/2014 A patch from the old Boss Film Days. The 65MM in the title says it all.   I was there at the end. Richard Edlund’s BOSS film studios  (named after his favorite shotgun, but originally BOSS FILM CORPORATION **) was a powerhouse of creativity. It …

The VFX War: Part 3 — The Slight Heard Round The World

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series The VFX War

Hollywood’s Juvenile Response to Brilliance. For 2014 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences promises in a Variety article to “get the visual effects presentation right this year.” They are in reference to last year’s global debacle of a presentation after The Life of Pi was played offstage as …