Digital Makeup Chronicles 2 — The Life of Brian

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

Practically Effective The addition of Digital Makeup in Falling Skies actually expanded the use of practical effects.  I know that may shock some of you to read.  In a time when computer Generated Imagery frequently replaces the practical world, this syndicated, wrapped series bucked the trend.  Practical makeup artists used the computer as one of their tools, not a visual effects studio, to improve what they made sculpting rubber and glueing it to actors. This series, the Digital Makeup Chronicles, explores these effects, and discusses how practical and digital worked in tandem. After all, it is not every day you… Continue reading

How We Faked The Moon Landing: Part 3 — The Visual Effects of Magnificent Desolation

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Magnificent Desolation VFX

To the IMAX Moon and Beyond Filming on location is not an option. On September 23, 2005, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D released on giant IMAX screens. It is a 4K stereo3D experience of the moon landings, and speculative missions from the past and future. The film was honored with the first Visual Effects: Special Venue award by the Visual Effects Society in 2006. This multi-part article is based on a presentation about the visual effects at LA SIGGRAPH, the following June.   Part 1: Prep and Landing —Preparing for Stereo3D in 2005 and Beyond. Part 2: Strolling on the… Continue reading

How We Faked the Moon Landing: Part 2 — the Visual Effects of Magnificent Desolation

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Magnificent Desolation VFX

To the IMAX Moon and Beyond We didn’t have their giant rockets, so we faked it later. On September 23, 2005, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D released on giant IMAX screens. It is a 4K stereo3D experience of the moon landings, and speculative missions from the past and future. The film was honored with the first Visual Effects: Special Venue award by the Visual Effects Society in 2006. This multi-part article is based on a presentation about the visual effects at LA SIGGRAPH, the following June. Here is an overview of the work:   Part 1: Prep and Landing —Preparing… Continue reading

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 your skill set while solving problems, and look for solutions outside your immediate surroundings. Several of my inspiring career moments came from people writing software for visual effects — those whom I jauntily call “Code Breakers.” These particular programmers changed how I thought about solving VFX challenges, and altered my… Continue reading

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 meant something more than how to raise children.  The character that Leonard Nimoy created on Star Trek gave was an ideal of logic, and personified our struggle to overcome or embrace emotion.  Mr. Nimoy gave us an unforgettable performance, and was able to eventually springboard from this character and become an author, singer, screenwriter,… Continue reading

Thanksgiving Photogrammetry — The GALACTICA

This gallery contains 13 photos.

  Fun With Photoscan. A year ago I started playing more with Agisoft Photoscan software, at the behest of a very respected VFX artist.  It is now a professional tool in my kit, but also a hobby. On the hobby side it is always fun to do things guerrilla style on purpose — to learn to what extent you can push the software. Take photos, throw them in and eventually read what scant documentation exists.  (Much more fun to kick the tires, and answer questions after the fact).    Typically it is late night when these experiments take place, so… Continue reading

Halloween Photogrammetry

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Photoscan Software in Action — Where Have You Been All My Life? Just for Halloween: 3D pumpkins! AgiSoft’s Photoscan is a stunning development for visual effects production. It is at its root designed for virtual map making, but is agile enough for full-body scans in action poses. Yes, there are other services out there from Autodesk that do similar things, but this is $180, with a free stereo version available, and no concern about uploading images to a “free” service (and all the image property rights that may entail). You can eventually go up to $3500 for the pro version,… Continue reading