Technical Art for Animation and VFX

Archive for the imagemovers digital category

IMD and All Good Things

April 26th, 2010

ImageMovers Digital will be closing after the completion of Mars Needs Moms… it’s still really hard to type that sentence, but I’ve waited long enough. It has been one heck of a ride and I couldn’t have asked to work with better people. We did the impossible, and that makes us mighty.

Since the announcement, I’ve been busy with the reel and networking. Made a trip to SF for a job fair at IMD North and visited a couple PhaseSpace powered mocap stages while I was in town. Thanks to the Motion Capture Society, I was lucky enough to get a seat at the Performance Capture Technology panel hosted by Dreamworks on Thursday. Incredible line-up of presenters, including IMD’s very own, John Root.  I also spent the last week  standing in as a mentor over at Rigging Mentor. Created some video training for MoBu related questions. Had a blast. Love to do it again.

VERY excited about my FXPHD classes this session: Crafting The Scene, Mathematics for Visual Effects and Design, Intermediate RenderMan. Especially the math class – I hate not knowing how my tools work under the hood, so I’m pumped to be part of this.

There’s much more I want to say, though I think I’m just going to quote a fellow IMD’er and call it a night…

“The future is bright. Time for beer.” – Geordie Martinez

IMD’s George Murphy and Jenn Emberly on FX Guide

February 8th, 2010

George and Jenn did a short interview about their work at IMD for A Christmas Carol for the folks over at FX Guide…

fxguide.com

I’d like to single out a quote from George…

“So that was one of the things that pushed us to create this head-cam technology where we could isolate the facial performance animation separately from the body capture and allow us to break those into different types of problems that could be dissected and gotten to much faster.”

Coincidentally, I heard one of the guys at work mention that exact same point in a meeting today. It underscores what I see as an important bit of theory and I really feel that type of thinking is crucial to not only coming up with effective and elegant solutions to very large problems, but also building a foundation which allows for intelligent maintenance and upgrading.

Lookslikematt 2010!

January 11th, 2010

Happy New Year! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

You might have noticed that my posts have been fairly sparse over 2009. I had a lot of opportunities that I jumped headfirst into and sadly, had to neglect the website. I know… excuses, excuses. Right?

Here’s what was keeping me busy:

  • The Produced By Conference… to see the talks by the MCS panel, VES previs panel, the Stereoscopic 3D panel, James Cameron, Pixar producers and the PGA/ASC Camera Assestment Series.
  • CG CON…  checked out many of the animation classes from the Animation Mentor guys.
  • FXPHD… took classes for crowd work in Massive, scripting with Python, Maya and match-moving in PFtrack.
  • Beta Testing… software and what looks to be an excellent online school for rigging.
  • Some much needed traveling… trips to Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Wellington and Sydney.
  • and of course LOTS of mocap time with the great crew at ImageMovers Digital. :D

I’ve been very blessed to meet and work with some incredibly talented people over the last year. I hope you all had a chance to see Up, A Christmas Carol, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Avatar (all in 3D of course). Many of the people I met have put forth amazing effort to polishing those films and have been part of an incredible push on technology and artistry to make them a reality. 2009 really was an incredible year and I’m very proud of everything that was accomplished within the medium.

As far as animation goes, the plan for my 2010 is a few more classes with FXPHD, lots more python scripting and a welcome return to rigging and animating – for me it’s still all about the performance. I’ve had a lot of requests to update the The Mocaptionator’s Handbook to include some more detailed thoughts on facial mocap, props and tools. I’m not promising anything on that front this year, but we’ll see how it goes. ;)

Here’s to another great year!

- Matthew


Mars Needs Moms Wraps!

May 25th, 2009

The Mars Needs Moms shoot wrapped last Monday – ahead of schedule.

This was my first feature shoot and by far the longest and most engaging. I don’t think that many cg artists realize exactly what kind of an effort it takes to capture an entire movie’s worth of performances. I want to thank the entire cast and crew for their dedication, patience and overall incredible attitude during all the moments of what were sometimes very, very long days.

The more I get to work with everyone at IMD, the more I realize exactly how special this studio really is.  They’re a very passionate group and it shows every day.