Saturday, 21 December 2013

id Software 20th Anniversary Feature

Thursday, 19 December 2013

UK film tax credit update

Based on recent announcement UK government continues to support the film and VFX productions in UK with further enhancing tax credit for lower as well as high budget productions from april 2014. There is also support for digital content Research & Development through Technology Strategy Board and education in the same sector via Skill Investment Fund.


UK goverment website

* image courtesy Thor The Dark World, visual effects by Double Negative

VFX Soldier steps out from anonymity made an exclusive interview with Daniel Lay who is apparently the guy behind the VFX Soldier blog famous for its critisism of film tax breaks and also for posting other stories and happenings from the darker side of visual effects industry.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Ftrack Locations

This has been shown a while ago by Ftrack but I wanted to post it on this blog. Ftrack Locations is new feature being tested and coming probably as the next feature of Ftrack. It makes the sharing of published files between users very easy, withough having to tweak the API as being a default plugin feature. Current FtrackPlugins would store files locally to selected disk, which would usually not match the same folder of other user. Below is a demo of the new system:

Working with multi-site and/or freelancers using ftrack from ftrack on Vimeo.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Online computer game coaching

Wow, computer gaming enters new level. You can have your personal paid coach to improve your gaming skills. The best paid coach in League of Legends takes 30 Euros/ h. Well, games become quite a hobby for many people and e-sports keep getting bigger audience every year. Some would rather watch a Dota2 match on then soccer on classic TV channel.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

MPC goes for site license of Fabric Engine : Splice

Leading VFX vendor Moving Picture Company recently went into full site license deal for 3d tools development platform from Fabric Engine. Software under name Splice API is a commercial solution for application independent development of tools like Real Time Renderer, Geometry Deformers, Animation Solvers, Procedural Geometry Generation, Crowd Simulation and others. Package offers python scripting and compilable yet simple language KL which allows developpers and TDs to focus on the algorithms and not worry about memory and compilation issues. Fabric Engine has developped its own compilers and aims to support seamless GPU support using the same code. Performance is one of the main focuses of this development platform. Ultimately Splice API can bring down costs of high end tools development which is either not viable for many studios or costly for others maintaining teams of programmers often developping the same tools in every studio only to get the basic libraries with profit in production as longer term goal. Fabric Engine developped a software which could change that. Press release is below:

Fabric Engine & MPC Global Site License interview from Fabric Engine on Vimeo.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Ironhide Games interview

Ok this is an older interview. Ironhide Games got my attention as I am recently playing their extension Kingdom Rush Frontiers, I thought - these guys are doing great game, which is fun and I want to find out more about them.
Same as with Carbon Games, this is another small game team, bunch of guys who followed their dream and made it. Btw. they are from Uruguay, south America.
(make sure captions are on if you dont speak spanish)

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Barack Obama at DreamWorks mocap stage

As part of US president`s visit to DreamWorks Animation studios he also saw motion capture performance. The animation was part of the work in progress on the upcoming sequel to How to train your Dragon movie.
Quite a surprise for me as so far I was only aware of using virtual camera in these animated movies (used in Monsters Vs Aliens as one of the first). Probably this is to get the basic animation blocking done and more natural motion performance, which then can get refined or animated over the top. Nice to see DWA not being shy of mocap ;) I think it has become a valid animation technique today, and animators see this is not taking away their jobs but they use it as another input.

Barack Obama visiting DreamWorks

Barack Obama`s speach at DreamWorks addressing animation and entertainment industry in US.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Carbon Games are hiring!

Carbon Games are hiring! For those who don`t know, this is very small independet game development team and authors of great original Action RealTimeStrategy game AirMech. They started in a team of 6 people, now they are 8 I think. They have amazing small community of players, some of them often make video streaming on and tournaments. Basic game is F2P (free to play) and it`s not "pay to win" system.
Check out their job list if you are interested (texturing, animation, programming etc.).

Monday, 4 November 2013

character TD from DNEG

DNEG has just posted a career profile about Character TD (rigger) where they interviewed my friend Marco Burbano. Nice one!
He works on Godzilla btw. ;)

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Ftrack link to shot

this is really cool feature in Ftrack, where you can easily link your asset builds to particular shot. Btw. here is link for latest Ftrack Maya Plugin download - you need to create and account to access.

Computer Graphics Programming Techniques and Ray Tracing Tutorials »

Scratchapixel is the first complete interactive resource on the web for anyone (beginner or expert) who seeks to learn 2D and 3D computer graphics techniques from the ground up. Follow the link to find out more about who we are, what you will find here and why scratch-a-pixel is the right place for you to learn these techniques.

Computer Graphics Programming Techniques and Ray Tracing Tutorials »

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Ftrack Maya asset management

I really like this recent Ftrack demo showing current asset management workflow for Maya.

ftrackplugins - Maya from FTrack on Vimeo.

Here is post about Ftrack Locations system. Very cool this was actually realised by this development team. This allows artists around multiple locations anywhere in the world to cooperate on one project easily.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Pictures from Splash 2013

So Splash 2013 CG conference ended, it was super exciting as always and here are few pictures from my Procedural Rigging panel

Monday, 16 September 2013

Maya command

this is a nice command to fit your view on objects in scene, found during work on Splash Rigging panel

import maya.cmds as mc

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Making of White House Down by Prime Focus

Recently finished project of Prime Focus with lots of challenging environment work, FX, crowds, vehicles and digi doubles. Nice pallete of different departments involved. There were also couple of full CG shots like F-22 jets flying over Washington.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Rigging for Splash WIP

here is some WIP for Splash 2013 Rigging talk. I was editing the mouse model for better pose (click on image for bigger size). T-pose is generally best for cartoons and closed eyelids are easy to bind and detect contact point. Mouth was also closed for the same reasons.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Michael Abrash Interview (Quake, Game Programming)

Michael Abrash is an icon in game programming. This is a nice short interview about his recent work at Valve, where he focused on Virtual Reality control programming, he mentiones his past work, beginnings and shares some advice for new game developpers.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Autodesk considers rental model

Similar as Adobe, now Autodesk as well looks at software rental model. But they want to rather enhance the offers and keep their maintanence model, not replace it, according to this article:

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Monday, 26 August 2013

Bloodshed download link

If you needed a free C++ compiler under Windows, Bloodshed is probably a common choice. But you could have a problem with missing GNU C compiler (GCC). This link has installation file which contains Mingw to simulate GCC on Windows, file size 8.9 mb.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Milk postproduction

New commercials and film postproduction studio MILK was recently founded by veteran cg artists from the Mill:

Based on the studio website the capacity is 100 artist seats.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Model for splash 2013 Rigging talk chosen

So I received couple of creature models for my Rigging talk for Splash 2013, based on my advert posted before, and this is the one! I have chosen this cool cartoon mouse model made by Petr Vykoukal. You can see more of his work here:

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fabric Engine Splice: Siggraph 2013

Here are some opinions from technical directors and supervisors from leading VFX companies about Fabric Engine product Splice filmed recently at Siggraph 2013.

Fabric Engine at Siggraph 2013: Opinions from the VFX industry from Fabric Engine on Vimeo.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

John Carmack explaining principles of light and rendering

Although DOOM 4 was no-show this Quakecon, there was a cool lesson from John Carmack, apart from classic game programming talk, Principles of light and rendering, mainly focused on game developpers. Here is first video starting with funny introduction by Tim Willits jokingly threatening the audience with physical attack if someone asks about Doom 4! This guy will need a psychoterapist soon :) But now John Carmack casting more light on topic of ... light! More parts of this presentation should come up after the end of the video.

Doom 4 latest news

So we have Quakecon getting closer to its finish and there was John Carmack`s highly awaited keynote as every year for many expecting to hear or even see something new about Doom 4. As probably one of the biggest dissapointment, Carmack could not say anything and so was eveyone else from ID or Bethesda, like Tim Willits or Pete Hines. There was only assurance for Doom fans, that the game is deep in its development and announcement about hiring art director Hugo Martin, who recently worked on designing Jeager huge robot machines for Pacific Rim. has written an article covering this in more detail.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Massive 6.0

This looks like a really cool update. A major new features that bring Massive software functionality closer to a highly developped custom crowd systems only available to couple of facilities.
Link to Massive press release page

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Creature model needed for rigging panel

hello modellers! I am looking for a cool looking creature model (something like the one on the left *) that I would use at CG conference in Prague for my panel on Procedural Rigging which will take place on September 28-29. This can be a good way to show your work to wider audience (name and website would be mentioned). Models can be both stylized or realistic.
Contact: or Jakub K (google+)


* Image above courtesy of Frederik Storm

Monday, 29 July 2013

Rigging Tutorial Volume II

Almost a year ago I have introduced a Rigging Handbook by experienced Creature TD Simon Payne. Now he has released a Volume II of the same series, which focuses on the spine setup and all examples being made in Maya. Link to online shop here.
Here is the post from last year september when Rigging Handbook volume I was released:

Thursday, 25 July 2013

correct facial topology

I often see modellers making face topology which is not right, missing important loops or with wrong edge flow which makes it difficult for sculpting face expression shapes.
This tutorial done by Sergi Caballer shows clearly a good topology and a workflow for adding more detail. Also notice that eyes are closed, which is by my opinion also easier for binding and deformation. This also give you one of the extreme poses - closed eyes - and the line where the eyelids are touching, which can be later modified and offset.
Also notice that number of edges on upper eyelids is the same as the lower eyelids. And same applies for upper and lower lips. This is important for sticky lips/eyelids setup.

Sergi Caballer - Facial Modeling Timelapse 2/3 - FINAL TOPOLOGY from Sergi Caballer Garcia on Vimeo.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Saturday, 13 July 2013

TD Channel on youtube

And here is another great looking youtube channel with videos about programming and scripting. And there is a lot of videos focused on programming for Maya. Definitely check this out if you are a Maya TD either working in pipeline or for a specific department.

Autodesk learning channel for TDs

This is great channel which is run by Autodesk for learning their products, including Maya. I have found really good videos for making python plugins for Maya starting from a basic level. Even explaining ideal installation of my favourite python IDE, Eclipse.
If you want to learn developing tools for Maya or need to be more efficient as a TD make sure to check out this channel, there might be some useful information for you.

ftrack online pipeline v1.5

Ftrack, which is one of the commercial solutions for online pipeline has recently released new version of its tools.

It looks very promising, as now it is pretty much a plug`n`play installation to get a user working and publishing the work.
The assets published are stored on cloud with no setup needed, although this can be customized as many other parts. Current applications with provided tools are Maya and Nuke. Other applications can be connected as well via ftrack python API.
I think Ftrack is going in good direction providing a cheap pipeline and production tracking solution for smaller teams who can manage all their work online working from home. No need for opening and renting an office spaces somewhere and paying all the bills.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Hollenshead leaves ID

After 17 years Tod Hollenshead leaves ID Software. I just found when searching for some ID news. I think this is connected to overall organisation crisis at the company after failing to deliver Doom franchise in time. I was writing a post on this blog a while ago, linking an article from Kotaku. Id Software will hopefully re-organise its team and get more focused on the direction and delivering on a settled deadline. One would think that loosing the burden of developping new engine will make it much easier to make a new game in shorter time. As ID had chosen to use the same idTech5 engine used on Rage for making Doom 4, although with few modifications. It seems even this did not help.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Saturday, 15 June 2013

DNEG Open Day

This is a special event by DNEG to introduce their facility to students who are about to graduate. Part of the tour is a chance to apply for entry level position.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Trixter hiring

If you are looking for a job, check this list from german vfx company Trixter. They recently finished their work on Iron Man 3 and I have heard they have some cool projects ahead...

Monday, 3 June 2013

Wreck-it-ralph models

These models are just awesome!

If you are interested in the Disney Animation modeling production, make sure you read the comments below the images.
This is unique chance to get quite detailed insider info on modelling process how it is seen by the Disney feature animation modellers. I`m sure something to check out for anyone interested in cartoon modelling, or even from film visual effects.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

straps rig setup

I have been asked about strap rig setup many times by students and people learning rigging. So here is one made using Maya Muscle Spline and keepOut nodes (part of Maya Muscle) and rivet system rivetBaz (free download from

strap rig download link (Maya Binary 2012)
And here is step by step tutorial.

Friday, 17 May 2013

P3D - free online model viewer

this stuff looks great! very useful for asset viewing for your client or members of your team from anywhere online. And it`s free. - your 3D online

here is one similar:

And this is how this P3D works - I have uploaded my first model which is easy to share and view in 3d:

Also offers to easily embedd the model in your html code:

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Star Wars production set to UK

BBC informs of what is amazing news for UK or rather London based VFX industry.

Shooting locations where confirmed to take place in studios around London. Leavesden, Shepperton, Pinewood and others are on the list.
This pretty much makes ILM setting up their new facility in London a certain thing. But it seems that maybe even more jobs will be created for live action shoot and practical effects. This is great for many UK based proffesionals who used to work on Harry Potter series before.
What is also a question, if Disney or ILM will outsource work to other vendors as well. A movie like Star Wars can have at least 1500 visual effects shots, many of them being also very challenging. This might not be with all other projects going at ILM fitting the capacity and could end up at other vendors as well...

Taken from the article comments: "Powerful, the tax break incentive is..."  :)

Thursday, 9 May 2013

James Jacobs on Tissue and Weta

Here is nice article with few interview parts about James Jacobs (photo: in the middle), a character TD and developper who was recently among three CG technical directors who received Oscar for Technical Achievement in Film for their work on creature deformation system Tissue.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Maya new modelling tool

This is a sneak peak to a really cool Maya modelling tool coming with 2014 version. Similar ones are probably in packages like 3DCoat and MoDo. You can easily retopologize or make clean model on top of a hires scanned mesh.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

ID software and Doom 4 situation

Interesting article with some insider info on recent ID software situation developping Doom 4. Unfortunately no good news:

ILM London considered

The possibility of ILM London division has been mentioned again. This is in connection with a production of new Star Wars film sequels which will take huge amount of CG artist and facility resources. The Singapore and Vancouver offices are probably busy already. One of the reasons for considering London is obviously infamous tax subsidies, but we need to add that there is also large amount of CG artist talent pool quite easy to find. It might be a tide in of many who had to leave DNEG and Framestore and most recently Cinesite, which had large layoffs including HOD positions (head of department). And also nice breeze of employer competition as the legendary name will attract lot of talent both junior and senior.
The article also mentions that headquarters stay in San Francisco and the size of the team there will not be reduced in favour of possible London branch.
Possible location according to different sources could be Docklands, near Canary Wharf. I guess this is due to high rent prices in Soho.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Leadership divided in 2 types of strategies

Quite interesting for those who have some leading roles in a company where they work. This article is about 2 general types of approaches in communication with people in their team presented at Chris Argyris seminar.
The first one is pretty much based on mis-use of power and manipulation by censoring information. Some of us could find themselfs practising this model sometimes and the research actually states that a lot of managers work in this way.
The second model shows more human tolerant and open communication learn-from-others approach and seems as an inspiration for improvement. This one by my opinion takes a bit more work, but is worth it if you want to reduce serious mistakes, have good relationships in long-term and less fluctuation of human resources.

Read more here:

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Maya 2014 What`s New

Probably best source of What is New in upcoming Maya 2014, the Autodesk online help:

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Lagoa - cloud based 3d application

Imagine you collaborate on creating 3d design content in the same way you work on shared Google documents. This is now possible with new ground breaking cloud-based application Lagoa. The only thing you need is your laptop and web browser. All the rendering power is accomplished on cloud, that is, on servers that you are connecting to. More in this article and video below:

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Josh Carrey from REEL FX to teach rigging at Anomalia

Based on announcement from Anomalia, czech animation summer school, rigging guru from Texas, Josh Carrey will be leading their rigging course this year! Great opportunity if you will be around and want to learn from a senior specialist in this field:

ANOMALIA 2013 Advanced Cartoon Rigging with Josh Carey [REEL FX] from ANOMALIA on Vimeo.

Ftrack 1.5 announced

Ftrack - the cloud based pipeline system for shots production and asset management has announced upcoming release 1.5. Lots of cool new features!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Double Negative career profiles

If you want to pursue a career in Visual Effects and have questions about particular job, for example being a texture artist, this is where your questions can be answered. An acclaimed international visual effects vendor Double Negative has made series of interviews with their artists across the board. This one is about texturing and person interviewed is experienced texturing artist Phil Young, who worked at MPC for few years and now has been at DNEG London for another couple of years, working on projects like Iron Man and Dark Knight. Browse through other disciplines shown on the left side of the page:

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Airmech Prime

Some news from the gaming world:

Beta Bundle is over in AirMech, it`s Prime time! A replacement for Beta Bundle offer to AirMech players. Main features are having all current and future airmech classes without buying them for Kudos or Diamonds. Plus ton of diamons 30 day boosts.
Lot of things going on with AirMech, this indie game which is Free to Play and considering its high quality and fun factor, it`s quite amazing. One could say with the strong community and frequent patches, this game is a living element. It`s one of those new games developped along a popular model not as a product, but as a service to players and their community. If you like action strategy or even if never played it, you should give it a go. Best way to get it is on Steam, but it can be downloaded from Chrome too.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Fabric Engine crowd simulation

If you are interested in crowd simulation make sure you check out the latest module which Fabric Engine team has been working on. Very impressive.

Creation: Horde - Rigs from Fabric Engine on Vimeo.

Also check out other modules, based what field in CG content you are interested in. They also work on Tree (plant) generation, Muscle Skin deformation and so on:

Friday, 15 March 2013

VFX pipelines

I was just making a compilation of articles about pipelines at different VFX facilities for a friend. So I am putting it here as well for anyone interested in this very undocumented subject (almost nothing about it is taught at universities, for most graduates "pipeline" is a mystery):

tutorial on a simple rigging/animation pipeline (copy of an old classic tutorial by P.Thuriot and E.Miller):


Tippet Studio

Weta creature pipeline:

Weta skinning system:

Framestore animation pipeline, body/facial rigging:
(starts 20:35)

Commercial Pipeline Systems:

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Yeti used to generate feathers in Ftrack pipeline

I really like this demonstration of using Yetti in production. Swedish VFX company FIDO has made this realistic CG falcon and used new software for Fur and Feathers - Yetti. See how they handled this challenging task making realistic bird:

Yetti website:

Also, the pipeline used at Fido is built on Ftrack. Similar to Shotgun, this is online commercial VFX production and asset management system. They currently offer less features but have also currently lower pricing then Shotgun, which is interesting. See bottom of the same page.
According to ftrack on twitter, they are working on better integration and some publishing tools for common VFX applications like Maya and Nuke and even adding support for RV as review system and Dropbox for storing assets and shots online.

Ftrack website:

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Alkay in development of new CG feature

After sucessfull delivery of their first full CG feature film "Ctyrlistek" ("Quarterfoil"), Prague based animation production Alkay is in development of new film. With well known czech producer Ondrej Trojan they work on "Lichozrouti" (tricky to translate, "Sockeaters"?). The art design looks very interesting and non-hollywod-like. This is what I like behind this, it`s more like czech traditional puppet movie. What can be the challenge is the conversion to 3d rendered characters. The puppets include soft hairy cloth and sometimes dense medium long hair. The faces look very stylized and cartoony needing other setup then a classic human FACS based layout. There is some concept art already on their website along with the first animation/lookdev test:

I should also mention that Alkay is hiring for this production (not sure if relocation to Prague and EU working VISA is required for all positions):

Friday, 1 March 2013

R+H Thaiwan

Interesting, R+H will be based on news portal opening new branch in Thaiwan:


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Animation Mentor mini-pipeline

This sounds like a very interesting system which Animation Mentor offers to their students. They describe it as a pipeline for students and it is supposed to be on internet connection basis. With data publishing system implemented.
Such systems are sometimes called Cloud Vfx Pipeline. I believe this is only a early bloomer stage and with the internet speed going up, such platforms will become used more often in visual effects and animation content productions. Cloud is the future anyway.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Prime Focus Harlem Shake

...and as a part of a continous effort of building the Prime Focus star shining image, here is Prime Focus Harlem Shake! Enjoy :)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Visual effects industry crisis

Well I took some time to add a post about this one as the network is full of comments and articles on the topic of today`s uneasy times of visual effects vendors. I agree with opinion that the bussines model needs a significant change. Vendors have always been divided by the bidding war, which would always be a benefit not for any of them, but for film studios. But from the beginning most of them would always loose film revenue profits while investing as well and often have to argue to get a place in film final credits. In contrast to a fact that all high grossing films were built on visual effects and would not attract the audiences without them: Avatar, Titanic, Avengers, Harry Potter, Transformers, Alice in Wonderland etc. (source: boxofficemojo). And while these titles made all over billion dollars, in contrast to this creators behind the "the magic" are fighting for survival between jobs and some are already gone.
And to add something positive, the demand for visual effects content in film is actually higher then ever before. Also this article is not about to blame film studios, who will always try to get lowest price.

Here is recent article about this topic on

Monday, 11 February 2013

Rage creation toolkit from ID

Wow, isn`t this cool!? Modders, here is a level and game creation tool from Id Software, first time the community can actually make their own IdTech5 content!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Weta talks about Tissue

In this interview Weta Digital supervisors talk about their latest tool for character skinning. Very interesting stuff for riggers.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Gollum facial rigging

Check this video if you are into face rigging or modelling. Latest Gollum facial (and neck) setup by Weta. And a great emotional performance in the movie. There are more behind the scenes on The Hobbit character rigging and 2-parts demo of the Hulk setup from latest Avengers.

Making of - Gollum - The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey by Weta Digital from on Vimeo.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Rage Scorchers: screenshots II and III

More screenshots from Rage DLC Scorchers. Almost every view is worth taking screenshot, I didn`t expect they will make so much new level content and also keep the visual quality of the main game. The IdTech5 and MegaTexture seems to give the level artists very high control of the light and textures. These are also quite rich and unique, probably using huge library of reference and proper concept art before they start. Considering this runs on 60 FPS it is really state of the art game engine.

Scorchers II, Rusty Mansion
Scorchers III, Roulette and Outdoor Bash TV

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Rigging in Total Recall presentation

There will be online presentation on 7th february streamed by Escape Studios about Rigging Synth robots for Total Recall and integrating these robots into shots. I will moderate this from our Prime Focus office and if you are interested make sure you register here on Escape Studios website.

Rage Scorchers: screenshots I

So I had a first look at new Rage DLC - The Scorchers. I was a bit sceptical with £5 DLC coming a year after game release, but I found ID have put quite some work into this. The stuff looks amazing so far. It is brand new location added to the game with some good old mutants and some new enemies - clones of Gearhead and Garage gangs. The graphics are gorgeous, amazing work with the light and textures. They use a lot of different clouds of dust and fog low on the ground which helps blending the environment and add more atmosphere. It felt quite bizar having enemies explode into splashes of blood (rocket shells shotgun) in this paradise looking environment with fern flushing lime caves and of course crystal clear stream quietly bubbling next to dead mutant bodies. Therefore the sarcastic name for the first batch of screenshots Welcome to Paradise. There are even some orange mushrooms you can pick and blue ones putting some more colors to your sight for moment :) You are meeting Sarah (really bad animation in the first scene!), sexy chick (as most female NPCs in Rage) who gives you a new weapon, what would you expect ;) Scorchers so far - great looking and fun, looking forward to test the new nail gun (nice ref to Quake).