Building a 5X brand

MadWerkz creates branding, splash page and product labeling for S5X supplement line

AB Style agency tasked MadWerkz with creating Branding and Product Labels for the digestion aid supplement S5X.

“The agency wanted a clean style with a clear way of determining the various types of supplements in the product line, we determined that a numbering system, color varied, would do the trick.” Stated project director Christopher Kennedy.

Product Label

Joddy Eric Matthews designed the labels, then handed them off to Jay Mitchell who created them in Adobe Illustrator before they were then rendered in Photoshop. The next step was to map the labels on to a CG bottle which was done by Christopher Kennedy in Maya. The Bottle was lit and rendered, using a custom shader in Vray before being submitted to the client for approval.

 

Splash Page

Once the product designs were finished, a quick responsive splash page was mocked up using Photoshop and Adobe Experience Design. The tagline, Take 5 & Revive was added along with the product lineup and the S5X Logo. In the end, the splash page mockup was rendered and delivered to AB Style.

MadWerkz develops website for leading Cyber Security solution

MadWerkz Studios has created a custom website for cyber security solution provider Sepio Systems of Israel. The supply chain security startup is focused on protecting an organization from the effect of an attack—instead of trying to prevent it. The suite stops rogue hardware before it damages the normal operation of an organization or degrades system performance. Leveraging hardware, software and cloud technology, it protects organizations against device supply chain attacks.

MadWerkz designed a custom parallax site which incorporates the highly graphical nature of Sepio’s solution into its style. Thus making its offering highly visible and easy to understand.

Click here to view the Sepio Website and learn more about the Sepio security solution.

Seeing Tomorrow VFX – Part Two: The Making of Metal and Men

Independent Filmmaker Series

Some time ago we were approached to conduct a workshop on successful workflows in Shading and Material construction for Independent Filmmakers.

PART ONE: The following videos (see below) represent Part One of the Workshop which deals will laying a solid foundation for Independent Filmmakers to be able to follow. Part Two, which is more of an application workflow tutorial is in production now. SEE BELOW FOR PART ONE VIDEOS

  • Designed for the Filmmaker who wants basic education on Shading Next Steps
  • Foundation aspects of Shading and Material Creation
  • Role of Production Design
  • Use of Color Palette creation tools
  • Identifying Render Engines

PART TWO IS IN PROGRESS AND WILL BE RELEASED THROUGH INDEPENDENT FILM SERIES NEXT WEEK

  • Step by Step Vray Shader Creation
  • Creation of Color Palette
  • Texture Material Creation in Photoshop and Mari
  • Diffuse, Normal/Bump, Reflection/Spec Map Creation
  • Scene Reference Linear Workflow Explained
  • HDRI Light Setup

If you have been invited to ask a question, for the workshop, please use the link here: Send Shading and Material Questions Here or Send an email with your shading question to operations@madwerkz.com subject line: IFS Shading Video Question

 

Medium Rear Shot of Communications port
Medium Rear Shot of Communications port

The IFS Price for the Video will be $34.95, follow the link belong to get the video from us at a discounted rate. If you would like to advance purchase the IFS Shading Video, go to the SideBar and Choose BUY NOW.


 

THE FOLLOWING VIDEOS ARE FREE:

PART TWO IS IN PROGRESS AND WILL BE RELEASED THROUGH INDEPENDENT FILM SERIES NEXT WEEK

The IFS Price for the Video will be $34.95, follow the link belong to get the video from us at a discounted rate. If you would like to advance purchase the IFS Shading Video, go to the SideBar (Right) and Choose IFS Shading Video and click BUY NOW.

Seeing Tomorrow VFX – Part One

 

Wide Medium Shot of Jezebel Gerri
Wide Medium Shot of Jezebel Gerri

Freedom

Seeing Tomorrow is a thrilling science fiction cable/web series, set in the near future. The three part series, produced by Donna Dabbs and Joseph Primes of Triangle Park Entertainment. Written by Mona Golden and directed by Joddy Eric Matthews, Episode One finds a lonely accountant, Joseph Primes who orders a simple lunch date with a Companion, artificial life-forms that serve as cures for an increasingly disconnected world. In walks Nina (Katrice Headd), a Companion with a complex past and a plan that takes Jeremiah on the ride of his life.

“Science fiction often gives society a chance to look at difficult concepts such as freedom and death without compromise, that’s what this film does. At its core, it’s a film about rights, the right to be free, to live, to determine your own destiny” remarks Producer Donna Dabbs.

Central to the plots storyline are the deeds of global conglomerate, Blade/Hrushu and two of its products, Urban Law Enforcement Drones and the Gerri Robot. “These two characters are important to our story” stated Matthews. “Even though we were operating with a really low budget, the creation of these assets needed to be done at a high level to sell the story” he added. To that task, Animation Supervisor, Chris Kennedy set forth to complete a daunting effort, create engaging images on a virtually non-existent budget.

Medium Shot of Jezebel Gerri
Medium Shot of Jezebel Gerri

The Gerri Robot

In the Film, The Gerri Series robots were created by Blade Technologies in 2014 and were constructed as Robotic platforms that would serve a multitude of different services ranging from being soldiers in the military to working in the service industry.

“In concept, we decided that the robotic should rely on as much real world design and functionality as possible. Not scientific accuracy but something a consumer could see as real.” remarked Producer Joseph Primes.

To save on cost, MadWerkz used an existing frame and built on it, reconstructing it’s polygons to be more robust and to ready it for UV layout, to which Chris knew would be difficult considering the models initial state. “It was very time consuming to layout the UV’s since the model contained so many little parts.”

The look development and Vray shader construction was handled by Matthews himself. He states, “The color palette behind the Jezebel robot in Episode 1 is tied to the Cajun themed restaurant, which employs a rich purple and gold yellowish color scheme. Working from the original concept, this particular Gerri Series machine had seen years of service and to illustrate this we used deep scratches and food smudges to convey this to the audience.”

Medium Rear Shot of Communications port
Medium Rear Shot of Communications port

To aid in the up close realism, Kennedy developed several files of decals to add to the Robots look. “Most of them, you’ll never see but it sells the realism of the material. Which Joddy simply had to have.”

Rear Shot of Communications port
Rear Shot of Communications port

That also mandated textures that reached 8K in pixel size in order to accommodate the numerous close-up shots needed. “We needed the image to stand up as real close-up.” added Texture artist Jim Hagar. The ideal tool for the character texturing would be Mari, but because not everyone was experienced in its use, Mudbox and Photoshop were the primary texturing platforms. “Jim did a great job in finding these high resolution metal textures and I painted them, adding scratches and several dirt layers”. The final outputs were linear 16bit Tifs, ranging between 8k to 4k diffuse, specular and normal maps for each metal object. “It wasn’t unheard of for the file size in Photoshop to exceed 2 gigs” stated Matthews. The textures were combined in Maya using custom Vray metal shaders, some of which were supplied by Paul Dreisen or built by Matthews. “We wanted the Jezebel Gerri to made out Aluminum, but not reflect all the interior of the restaurant, as we felt that would look fake”, remarked Primes “I think the final render captured that effort perfectly”.

Close up of Head
Close up of Head

The final renders were accomplished in Vray using a Dome Light and 2048 pixel HDRI Textures along with Vray area lights for some of the directional highlights mimicking the restaurant lighting setup. “Most of the highlights come from the HDRI Lightmap so the render time was pretty good at about 8 minutes a frame”, states Kennedy.

 

Police Drone in front of Jezebel's Restaurant
Police Drone in front of Jezebel’s Restaurant

Police UAV Drone

“Very early on Joddy and I spoke about the fact that the police UAV drone needed to be believable as an urban law enforcement tool but not betray its owner’s future military plans.  In other words it had to be constructed in such a way that people would respect it and see it as a possible weapon of war, but not run away in terror from it”, stated Chris.

Police Drone
Police Drone

Different concept ideas were pitched concerning the ship’s overall design and everything from propeller-based engines to jet based engines was discussed. The final product ended up being a car size craft that employed a propulsion based engine set up and a sleek, steel/aluminum body design that civilians would respond well to. The drone employs an arsenal system, camera, motion sensor and two separate engines that can rotate independently of one another. The design decision behind the independent engines was made to allow the drone to be capable of hovering in place, tight cornering while patrolling the streets, and high velocity take-offs.

Police Drone
Police Drone

The color palette for the UAV drone was constructed in a way with colors that were easily identifiable with police vehicles but also would standout with civilians. With this, red and black colors were selected to be added to the plastic rib backing on the drone while the rest of the body would sport a grey, scratched steel and aluminum material.

The drone was constructed in Maya with Look Development completed in Mudbox and Photoshop. The ship was rendered in Vray with HDRI textures acquired onset.

“As producers we’re really happy with the work of Joddy, Chris and the gang at MadWerkz in bringing this story to life, especially given the budget and time frame” adds Primes. “It looks outstanding and we think audiences will really enjoy Seeing Tomorrow!

To see the film, visit seeing tomorrow on facebook: seeingtomorrow

Welcome, To The Future: Cost effective pixel creation

Director Joddy Eric Matthews has teamed with Writer/Director Steve Lidrbauch to produce a provocative music video for indie music group, Seconds Before Landing. The song, Welcome, To The Future is the first release off their new album, The Great Deception, melds a combination of viral videos, 3D CG, particle animation and stock footage.

“I tried to write a visionary story, that would fit with the Producer’s vision of what the song was really about. They have a huge following in Europe and I tried to use that knowledge to aid in delivering the message they wanted to tell” says Lidrbauch.

The initial draft of the song contained about 25 HD stock images of a man or people in a gas mask or surrounded by smoke. “The budget wouldn’t support it, and as much as we loved the concept, some of the imagery was over $400 per clip! We needed other options.” stated Producer John Cristino.

See the video here: Welcome, To The Future

Creating cost effective pixels

Co-Director Joddy Eric Matthews decided to create the various imagery of a person with a mask in 3D. “It allowed us to mimic most of what Steve envisioned at a smaller budget”, quipped Matthews. We always wanted to show a human emitting smoke or material from the mask instead of filtering it as it entered the body, doing a fully CG environment allowed us to control the situation more fully”.

Finished Playground and Jail Cell

Animation Lead Chris Kennedy oversaw concept of the videos jail cell and playground of desolation, both of which were modeled in Maya by Matthews over the course of a few days. The human skeletons and a lounge chair, last minute additions by Matthews, were the only stock models added to the design. The mask was quickly modeled and UV’d by Kennedy in 3D Max and sent to Maya for shading. Texturing was also handled in Maya via Mental Ray’s Mia Material shaders. “We had some thoughts about using Arnold, but since time was short we decided to stick with a more proven workflow” says Kennedy.  Lighting was accomplished using Final Gather, Mental Ray’s Portal Light solution and several Area Lights using CIE Blackbody using Quadratic decay rates. Each Camera used the Mental Ray lens shader, mia_exposure_photographic in order to get the closest exposure match to a real camera as possible. “The initial render is really dark. We under lit the scene at 800 ASA and 5.6 since we knew we would be adding a ton of atmospheric layers in post.” stated Matthews.

CG Breakdown

Modeling – 3D Max/Maya
Animation – Maya
Lighting – Area Lights/CIE Blackbody/Portal Lights/Final Gather (100 rays)
Camera – MR Lens Shader/Mia_Exposure (800 ASA/F5.6)
Render – Mental Ray

A custom Trapcode Particular particles script that allowed for the creation of a hundred thousand particles per frame allowed for the emitter to be set up and designed in a day. Three emitters, each sync’d to the Bass, Treble and midrange of the song, generated between 8,000 to 120,000 particle per frame. Turbulence and Physics were added to influence direction. The final composites were sent to Adobe Premiere CC for editorial.

Welcome To The Future has logged over 30 Thousand views worldwide since it was releases a day ago.

Title: Welcome, To The Future
Artist: Seconds Before Landing
Producer: John Cristino
Directed by Steve Lidrbauch and Joddy Eric Matthews
Creative Director: Joddy Eric Matthews
Animation Lead: Christopher Kennedy
Particle Animation: Joddy Eric Matthews
Editor/Colorist: Joddy Eric Matthews

Festival Series: BluRay versus DCP

Still From Film Derby Baby
Still From Film Derby Baby

Our latest DCP was for the Indie Doc Derby Baby, produced by Dave Wruck and Robin Bond for Robin Bond Media. The film, which has no less than 100 Showtimes across the country Derby Baby showtimes, is a great project which we were proud to help get on the big screen. The film’s Producer’s contacted us seeking to find out more about the DCP option. They understood BluRay or even a HDCam tape delivery were options but they wanted to see if a DCP could be done quickly and inside the Indie Budget they were working with. One of their first questions centered not around price but around the benefits of a DCP over a BluRay.

The wide adoption of BluRay, after the HD-DVD/BluRay Wars (remember those?), gave us a standard that has allowed theater owners to offer a presentation platform of high resolution and reliability to today’s Independent Filmmaker. The ease at which a disc can be authored and played back on almost any machine, worldwide, coupled with the fact that the 1080p format scales nicely with the Digital Projection 2K standard and it’s relatively cheap disc/burner cost, make it a great tool for the filmmaker looking to release his/her film.

So why use a DCP?

First let’s answer the question, what is a DCP? DCP stands for Digital Cinema Package. In short, a DCP is the digital equivalent of a 35mm film print.   It is what you give to a commercial theater so that they can screen your movie on a digital ( also known as “D-Cinema”) projector.  Like a 35mm print, a DCP is a world-wide standard.  If you walk into any D-Cinema theater, anywhere in the world, they can play your DCP without a problem. It can handle files up to 4096k in size and runs at speeds up to 250 Mbit/s! It also operates in XYZ Colorspace rather than videos YUV/RGB Colorspace. So in short, it is made to as closely simulate the image complexity and fidelity of film as possible.

But why spend the money on a DCP? Is a DCP really that much better than a BluRay. In short, yes!

BluRay, DCP Frame compared

A BluRay gives you easy access to the 1080/24p spec, and 5.1 Dolby Surround audio. and having seen many BluRay projected films, It can look stunning given the author encodes at the highest rate allowed, color corrects with D-Cinema in mind and uses as close to master quality as they can. But even with those pluses, the BluRay has the following limitations;

  • Since the Projector screens at only 2k or 4k, any HD material will introduce bars on the sides.
  • Most likely your compression will come in somewhere around 12 to 25 Mbit/s, falling way short of the 250 allowed by the server.
  • Since there is no standard on authoring, encoding from say a H-264 web release to BluRay is allowed, meaning there is nothing to prevent you from burning your 640 x 480 scaled Youtube video to disc.
  • A mistake in the authoring process can result in an unplayable disc.
  • Films, can for the most part be copied by anyone.

DCP standardizes the process, giving the filmmaker full access to the 2048k/4096k image format, and it allows films shot in 2:35/2:40 to be projected as intended. The DCP will not be created if the source footage is not within the strict DCP spec. Another benefit is that DCPs don’t wear out like 35mm or scratch like BluRay’s.  Digital copies do not degrade, so you’ll never have a broken, scratched or dirty DCP.  The 1000th screening will look just as perfect as the first. Also as stated above, If you walk into any D-Cinema theater, anywhere in the world, they can play your DCP without a problem. Often housed in a military grade USB drive, factors such as scratching and damage from transport are nonexistent. And since the package is housed on a Linux formatted hard drive and in a muxed jpeg2000 format, copying a film is extremely difficult.

Another factor, and a very important one if you care about the look of your film or your film depends on the look to enhance audience participation, is regardless of what you deliver on, that your film will be projected in XYZ Colorspace not in the YUV/RGB Color we are all used to from our television sets. DCP’s are automatically converted to XYZ in the packaging process. DCPs and theatrical D-Cinema equipment will make well-shot and color-corrected footage look absolutely fantastic.  The color gamut and contrast are far superior to anything you’ll see on your computer monitor.

3D DCP’s are easy to encode and package. There currently is no solution below 5k for authoring 3D BluRays.

Lastly, In order to be considered for an Academy Award, your film must be delivered on either a film print or a DCP. For full specifications, go here, http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/digital.html

Derby Baby Logo

Derby Baby DCP
A darling film, about love, addition and ring rash, Derby Baby was turned into a DCP from a sequence of Tif files and a set of discrete 5.1 audio files. The original film was uprez’d from 720p to 2k by Dave Wruck and sent to us via a Hard Drive. The finished 90 minute film was sent to a D-Cinema in Los Angeles for screening on a CRU 100 gig hard drive. To get more information on the film, go to http://www.derbybabythefilm.com/

So what special steps do you have to do in order to prepare your film for a DCP? Contact us and we’ll gladly walk you through the steps.

The price of DCP’s have come down drastically in the last few years. The choice to go with the format used by all the major studios versus BluRay is a much easier one today. The ability to compete with the majors is now fully within your grasp. For instance, we offer dynamic packages starting around $10 per minute. Visit us at www.madwerkz.com or contact us at madwerkz for more info on creating DCP’s. Happy filming.

Joddy

 

The Art of The Guillotine: Finishing Sentences

“The best collaborations are the director-editor teams, where they can finish each others sentences,”

These are the words of Writer/Director and all around “Do-it-Different Guy” Quentin Tarantino when asked what the most important collaborations where in making a film. He went on to add that his own editor, Sally Menke, was his “only, truly genuine collaborator”. Indeed, even noted Film critic Walter Kerr has argued that editing is comparable in its importance to directing itself, and should be credited as such; he wrote “At the very least, it seems to me, the editor’s credit should be rescued from its place near the bottom of the list, an area we may call Oblivion…. Second position is where he belongs, and no lower, if we’re still going to hold him to also-ran status.”[1]

Oscar winning Editor Thelma Schoonmaker

Recently, we’ve seen a lot of films where the end credits read as such, Written, directed, edited, sound mixed and starring…. insert one name. Never mind the circus which comes with acting and directing yourself, but the one that gets us is the WDE (writer, director, editor) or Indie Trifecta.

The greatest downside to cheap digital tools is that any Filmmaker can now pull off the Trifecta (writing, directing and editing) or even the dreaded Quad Singularity, Writing, Directing, Editing and Acting!  (See that black hole ahead, that’s your film!). The old world notion that a filmmaker should have to raise funds to hire or pitch professionals to work/gift on their films is no longer necessary (Hint: if you can’t convince an individual to invest in your project (funds or gifted work), maybe a re-evaluation of your Project might be called for) In the words of one filmmaker, “Final Cut Studio comes with a manual, so why do I need an Editor, Colorist or Sound Mixer?” (The next Oscar winner to get up and thank Apple or Avid for creating a great manual will be the first)

This post is not a comment on the hobby filmmaker or the occasional practitioner, but to the auteurs/pros and career filmmakers who dream of one day holding a statue in their hands (as we do also).

Today, filmmakers yearn for EPICs and Scarlets, but how many times have you heard someone long for a Murch or a Cox? I think the latter is far more vital to success (I have an EPIC and I’d trade it for a Murch/Cox or even an Angus Wall in a heartbeat). As proof I point to this long list of Oscar winning filmmaking collaborations;

35 years and more

30–34 years

25–29 years

20–24 years

15–19 years

9–14 years

Sure, we’ve all heard repeatedly the wounded cry of a lot of filmmakers, “look at Akira Kurosawa (who both directed and edited many of his best-known films, Seven Samurai (1954) and Kagemusha (1980)) or The Coen Bros, who edit under the name Roderick Jaynes, they can do both well”. I think if your opening statement is to compare yourself to the above auteurs well, have a nice day, because I really don’t think you are in the same Astral plane as the rest of us. These are unique individuals, that’s why the list above is sooo very long and this paragraph has three names, nuff said.

So what am I saying? Get an editor. An Artist. Someone to finish your sentences. Beg, Borrow, Bribe and/or just Ask. Develop inhouse (Many wanna be directors would do far better learning storytelling, pacing and angles by editing than crowning themselves helmer and asking mom and family to crew. And not growing or maturing as an artist because of it) .

Why get an editor? Because it helps to have someone who knows your goals, but can see with a fresh pair of glasses. (Editing IS directing, it’s just done at a keyboard instead of on a set.) Someone once said; A Film is made (3) Three times, once with the pen, once through the lens and finally in the edit. If you as the filmmaker helm all three times, how many opportunities did you miss to re-tell the story or explore other avenues in the plot because you can’t see anything other than the story the way you wrote it? A good editor can see and shape audience reaction, even if the Director missed getting the footage needed to tell the story in production. (When problems shooting the mechanical shark on Steven Spielberg’s Jaws threatened to sink the show, Verna Field’s legendary edit of ordinary b-roll shots of a shark fin slicing through water, transformed the movie from ordinary thriller to box office legend). Two storytellers, each seeing the goal and working, together to complete the vision.

(As Martin Scorsese garners another statue for his visionary film Hugo, one has to ask, would “Marty” be Marty without Thelma Schoonmaker? Maybe so, maybe not.) For an inside story on the Scorsese/Schoonmaker collaboration on Hugo go here

Another point is that if and when you are lucky enough to get funding for your projects, know that very few investors are going to be comfortable with the WDE scenario. Most will outright prohibit you from holding all three hats, often bringing in their own editor or (worse yet, Director). Despite the fact that securing funds with yourself listed as WDE is difficult to impossible (unless you have a proven track record of success with that model), why not start collaborating before that?

Personally, I’ve completed projects where I was forced for reasons to edit my own work and I’ve helmed projects edited by amazing collaborators that saw my vision. I’ll take the latter, every time. And though I can edit, I’m NOT an editor, as I’ve seen that a good editor is a storyteller and artist in their own right, and not just the Director’s (or Producer’s) puzzle builder. (I’m also a Colorist and I love collaborating with talented Directors and Producers as it gives me a chance to tell stories with light and color, adding my uniqueness to their vision)

I hire or beg good artist to work with me because I want to collaborate, with talented artist, some even though we don’t share anything in common but a love of good storytelling. The fact that they work with me, helps me to understand that I’m maturing as an artist myself. And having someone to finish my sentences makes me a better filmmaker. Good collaborations produce good results, from Production Design to End Credits, thus producing the best product-Films people enjoy and want to watch. And isn’t that the point?

My After Effects CS6 Wishlist

Recently, I found an unlicensed copy of After Effects 3.1 in cleaning out our storage room and I began to delve into the confusing world of the Adobe upgrade process. A morning glass of Orange Juice, a few mouse clicks and a new version of CS5.5 would soon reside on my drive. I had a mission.

Half the day later, my mission in flames and my sent box littered with thisperson@adobe.com emails, I found myself communicating with Steve Forde, product manager for After Effects via the forums. Not looking a gift horse in the mouth, I immediately abandoned my upgrade quest and asked the most relevant question I could think of, “What is planned for the next release of Ae?” Steve pointed me over to Todd Kopriva’s blog article discussing the same. The article which covers the most talked about request from the forums is more of a People’s Choice edition of have’s, must have’s and suggestions. Todd spends a great deal of time explaining that to ask for a feature is nice and encouraged, but specifics are what they need to give the request wings. He compiled the feature request based on popularity as following;

  • import of AAF files:
  • keyboard shortcut editor:
  • Vector Paint effect:
  • grouping layers in the Timeline panel:
  • variable-width mask feather:
  • saving projects backward so that they can be opened by a previous version of After Effects:
  • scopes (waveform and vector):
  • better handling of image sequences:
    • ability to see each image sequence as a separate item, not as a gazillion files
    • report showing exactly which frames are missing from an image sequence
    • auto-creation of a folder to hold each exported image sequence
  • extrusion of vector graphics:
  • GPU/CUDA acceleration:
  • scaling: better algorithms and ability to choose:
  • nodal compositing:
  • custom zoom values:
  • import of 3D objects:
  • After Effects for Linux:
  • bones and inverse kinematics within Puppet effect:

A good list, but as anyone who has followed After Effects for any significant time knows, a lot of the items above were addressed in CS5.5 or dropped in the 64bit port and would eventually be included back in (Ability to go back to Cs4 projects for example). To read Todd’s comments or to view the whole document go to http://blogs.adobe.com/toddkopriva/2011/12/top-after-effects-feature-requests-for-the-past-year-or-so.html (Steve Simmons also writes about this on his article for Studio Daily this week)

So what are my request for After Effects? My list includes some of the above (Scopes, CUDA Acceleration), but I’ll be more specific in my wish list and say for instance Scopes, specifically RGB-YUV Parade with realtime update and a ability to adjust sensitivity equal to the plugin from Test Gear (or port the technology over from Speedgrade). Here’s my list:

  • Integrate every cool thing from Speedgrade (RAW Support, HDR Support, Scopes, Multiple Timelines, Ability to play 4K Clips from timelines from GPU (even without RED Rocket)
The interface for Speedgrade NX
Interface for Speedgrade NX
  • Dynamic linking with upcoming new Adobe Speedgrade Product for Color Correction, specifically sequence import with color descision list (CDL) intact and ability to port plugins across the product (example: Sapphires show up in Speedgrade, provided you have license of course)
  • Mercury Engine Playback (or Speedgrade Engine) in Ae (Please!)
  • Vector Graphic Extrusion of Illustrator objects and Text into 3D space with Bevel and material and texture assignment. (This last feature could be done in Illustrator and imported)
  • Grouping of layers using an Uber-Twirl
  • Nodal Compositing of Adjustment Layers, Plugins and Mattes: This gives the user the ability to assign a plugin to an Adj Lyr then node connect only the layers they wish to the layer, so say goodbye to sitting layers at top of timeline and having to re-order to disconnect influencing layers below
Nuke Interface using Nodal Compositing feeding multiple Lyrs
Nuke Interface using Nodal Compositing feeding multiple Lyrs into one Mask
  • Matte Layers: Ability establish a matte on an Adj Layer and then connect layers to it via nodes noodles (like Fusion and Nuke)
  • Variable width mask feathering or just ability to read those attributes from programs such as Silhouette or Mocha
  • Python scripting for creating gizmos (Similar to Nuke) or applications containing both Plugins and Scripts that can be saved as gizmos or such (For example someone who does Keying might want a Key App that contains a sequence ready for keying but contains all the scripts also) This app can be pluged in, instead of opened
  • Better handling of RED Metadata by making the dialog box more accessible and including feedback in Project bin in a column. Also more integrated reading of RED Time of Day, and Absolute Timecode.
  • Better handling of Canon Color Science
  • Bring back AAFs support
  • Changing workspace to Display LUTs to be more in line with industry
  • Add CUDA support to Render Engine (Free up the CPU) This would allow you to buy one low cost PC, stock it full of  Nvidia Cards and use it a GPU Render Farm!
  • And finally, let users with RED Rocket engines enjoy realtime playback of RED clips

There’s my list, feel free to comment and I’d love to see yours, maybe I can compile all our list and send to Steve for his thoughts, and post here in future. Or better yet see some of them in April integrated into the next version of After Effects!

Creating a Deadly Comic (Animated) Open

Frame from Open

MadWerkz animation and graphic artist Jeff Black recently finished (6) six amazing hand drawn and inked comic book style illustrations for a series of Short Opens being produced by MadWerkz Films.

DR_Open_teaser_480

The Open directed by Joddy Eric Matthews, which took 12 weeks to complete was a study in the old school, hand drawn approach meeting the digital age. “I use a tablet and pen, often, but to get the personality of the live action characters into these drawings, I needed to feel the paper and the pencil in my finger. I needed tactile response.” says Black.

Full Page artwork for Open

Even though each drawing was hand crafted and inked, more like a paper based comic, they were quickly scanned and colored in Painter and Photoshop in 16bit resolution. Effects such as dot gain, splatter effects and lens flares were added to the layered files as they were sent into After Effects for Motion graphics artist Jason Mithell, whose scene quickly rose to over 100 layers in some places

The layered PSD files, imported into After Effects as compositions, were quickly turned into 3D layers, animated and rendered to 16bit 2048 DPX and Apple ProRes 422 10bit files for lay back to the editor.

Jeff is currently in development for MadWerkz Films motion comic, “Trinity: HellWater” a prequel to the live action film “Trinity”, set to film in the fall. The motion comic, unfolding over five episodes, will see Mr. Black serve as Animation Director.


 

Of MOPs and Men: Learning How to Create a Winning Reality Show Pitch

I have the perfect ideal for a Television show!

How many times have we all uttered this phrase? 50 times, 100 times, 200 times! Its a well used expression, by professional and novice alike. Everyone it seems, thinks they have a hit Television show in them.

Joke and Biagio Messina of Joke Productions in Los Angeles have produced several hit Reality Television Shows in the last decade (Scream Queens, Beauty and The Geek) and currently produce the IFC hit show Commercial Kings along with the upcoming hit MTV Reality Doc Caged. So it was a real treat to hear from Inda Blatch-Geib at IBG Productions that she was bringing the Reality Show vets into town for a Pitch Workshop.

“I thought it was going to be – spend your money and I’ll tell you how your ideal stinks! But they told us about the business and how to win at Pitching! I felt like they were really interested in me bringing a winning pitch to a Network Executive!”

— Gina Brinker, Indie Filmmaker

Geared to find Producers to partner with in the Midwest, the 2 Day Workshop (with another 2 Day workshop in November) was no-holds-barred from the start.  Joke and Biagio spent the first day elevating the audiences understanding of everything from the Producing structure (including pay rates!) to a detailed breakdown of EACH Networks (from Cable and Broadcast) wants and needs. The two filmmakers left no stone unturned as they gave the attendees the correct terminology to phrase their pitch (sorry can’t tell), and went thru several sample pitches, helping the attendees understand why they were pitched for one Network and not another.

Day Two brought the focus to the art of Pitching itself, with Joke driving the attendees thru several of the the duo’s winning and not so winning Pitch’s. Each pitch was broken down as Biagio helped the audience understand the art of making the perfect video pitch and how to craft an effective leave behind. The two talked about adding small elements to drive home message and rules to live by in making the pitch count. In the end, the attendees were tasked to take their ideals and develop them over the course of the next month, checking them against the new knowledge they had been empowered with and come back in November with ready-to-view pitches. The two host promised any pitches ready for a Network Executive pitch would get that opportunity.

The Attendees also recorded their own testimonials, have a look.

 

The second round of The Pitch Workshop will occur on November 5 & 6 at The University of Akron. New attendees are welcome. Contact Inda Blatch-Geib at indabg@neo.rr.com for registration details.

Have the perfect ideal for a Television show? Great we’ll see you there.

Ohh yeah, what is a MOP? Ask me at the workshop.