AEAF Awards Set to Sparkle in Sydney on 16 August
AEAF Awards have experienced their largest ever number of entries since starting out 22 years ago. While technical expertise, artistry and storytelling are evident in every category, extreme creativity shines out as the major feature. If you have not already been watching the Entries Online section of the website, the links and descriptions below are a good start.
Just a note. A large number of feature films projects – from massive blockbusters to smaller-scale independent projects - from many different studios have been entered. Several of these VFX reels, and those of entries in some other categories, cannot be posted online, so make sure to come to the AEAF screening on 16 August, see everything on the big screen at Chauvel Cinema and have a drink with the artists and organisers.
Better still, come to the Speaker Sessions during the day of the 16th as well, to see presentations on several of these projects (and more!) from the effects artists, animators and supervisors themselves. Book tickets for both of these events HERE. Don’t miss it!
Look for more articles like this one in the coming weeks ahead of the show.
Dreamed Japan – Danny Rose Studio Live Event Installations & Projections
Danny Rose Studio created this immersive art experience to pull spectators into the Japan of the classic prints emerging in the late 19th century that began to influence Western artists, painters, decorative art, music and dance. Viewers take a dreamlike stroll through Japan’s cherry blossoms and forest spirits as gigantic waves submerge them, accompanied by the music of Claude Debussy. Charming geishas in kimonos behind rice paper screens are suddenly replaced by a fierce war dance of Samurais, all soon carried away by the wind among lanterns floating in the night sky.
Danny Rose Studio themselves orchestrated the show, choosing the motifs to create, producing a 24 audio channels spatial soundtrack and designing a made-to-measure version for each space within the two exhibition locations. All together, it uses more than 250 video projectors to immerse audience into the experience. Project design and the absorbing motion graphics and CG effects were accomplished in Photoshop, 3dsMax, Black Magic- Fusion 9 and After Effects. The project was displayed at Atelier des Lumières in Paris and Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux de Provence.
I Am Mother – Feature Film VFX Fin Design and Effects
In ‘I Am Mother’, a teenage girl is raised underground by a robot ‘Mother’ designed to repopulate the earth after an extinction event. Fin worked with director Grant Sputore, built a CG version of the AI robot ‘Mother’ to be used interchangeably with the practical robot suit the actor wore, built by Weta Workshop.
Fin was involved from the early stages of the process and helped the production develop the look of the Mother charaacter, completing much of the design work and testing, which then fed back into the practical suit as well. The team’s contributions to the film also involved creating a menacing droid army and generally enhancing the environments and bunker where the story unfolds. In total, Fin produced more than 220 VFX shots
Fin updated and refined its automation pipeline for this project. Built for efficiency, the system allows animators to push their work through lighting and compositing in a single step where necessary. For example, if a shot didn’t have a specific light rig made for it, animators could automatically apply a generic light rig that suits the whole film. This controlled, monitored system meant that Fin could keep just one lighter and one animator working on 200 shots without compromising on the quality. ‘I Am Mother’ premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed globally on Netflix on 7 June 2019. You can also see the Title sequence for this movie here, another entry in the Awards.
Unleash - MPC Commercials – VFX
Apple wanted to show off the ability of their new A11 Bionic chip to enhance the phone’s
performance during gaming. As a result, when this hero character plays a game on his phone, the game creatures come to life as he battles his way through the bustling city streets. The idea of throwing gamers into their game is not new, but this one is like no other.
MPC created the real-world version of the game in two ways - adapting the location background plates just enough to create a fantasy environment, and bringing the three main characters to life as photoreal CG creatures.
The team used Lidar to scan each of the four key filming locations for tracking in multi‐level environment transformations. A range of levels that had to be worked out - the far distance level based on compositing in 2D matte painting work, mid- ground elements created as FX simulations of growing vines, trees and cracks around buildings and architecture, and the carefully choreographed animations in the up-close level with supporting FX debris, dirt and leaves.
The team took the game level characters as their starting point and produced many variations on
the concept art to create the best interpretation of a film‐ready hero. From this foundation, the artists modelled and textured each creature knowing that they would be seen at extreme
close‐up on screen, sometimes filling the entire frame. They also studied gameplay sequences to understand the basics for the design, texture scale and movement. The process was additive –
judging how much colour, reflectivity, shine, grit and realism could be injected to make it exciting without losing their essential identity.
Every shot in the film was touched by visual effects, from altering backgrounds to make themless
recognisable, to environmental skinning and landscape development as trees and shrubbery grew out of the structures, to full background re-creations behind the CG. moving-picture.com
Avalon Airshow Interactive Domes - Spinifex Group Live Event
Spinifex created two immersive activations for the Avalon Airshow 2019 that used 360 Dome projection. The 15m Jasper dome is Australia’s largest negative-pressure dome projection screen, built especially for Avalon and featuring the character of Jasper, an animated little girl which the Air Force had already created and is using to interest young girls in science and technology. The brief was to bring Jasper to life in a way that would allow large groups of children to experience her thrill of flight. A projection Dome was chosen to form the framework for an immersive experience, with an extra layer of interactivity.
Four months later, Spinifex ahd built a dome that featured 16 touch tablets allowing users to choose a jet design, and customise and launch it into the projection on the Dome – and then how fast their jet had flown. The dome’s film features Jasper running and playing through a stylised landscape, stopping to interact with the jets being launched.
The second exhibit, the 5th Gen Edge Experience Jericho Dome, told a story through a 360 projection within an 8m dome to show the RAAF’s transformation into a fifth-generation Air Force. Spinifex created a three-chapter script in which the same incident is seen from three different viewpoints, demonstrating how the incident would take place in current-state in comparison with how it would be addressed in a fifth-generation Air Force. Perspective and angles were adjusted to work for viewing from below. Drawing focus to the important story points while keeping the rest of the dome active was critical to its success. Spinifex used a combination of green screen filming, CG environments, 3D models and motion graphics overlay to create a dynamic, cinematic view of each scene.
Technical challenges included creating a 16 user multiplayer system, real-time projection mapping from a game engine, speed recognition and many types of 2D/3D integrations.
The Mystical Journey of Jimmy Page's ‘59 Telecaster - Commercials – Animation Nexus Studios
For nostalgia and fun, Nexus Studios has created an absorbing example of flowing one-shot animation for a Fender guitars. The 3-minute short film was made as part of Led Zeppelin’s 50th anniversary celebrations, telling what happened when legendary guitarist Jimmy met the Fender Telecaster and rock history was made. Nexus immersed themselves in the atmosphere of the late 1960s and take viewers on a psychedelic tour through a critical time in music. Their work is shaped around Jimmy’s own words on his relationship with the iconic guitar. The team’s combined 2D and 3D animation creatively extends Jimmy’s narrative to visualise the times when their creative energies collided.
Game of Thrones – RealtimeUK Game Trailers
RealtimeUK’s team are all great fans of the TV show, of course, making this project a dream to work on. But it came with the pressure of knowing how well-known and loved the characters are all over the world. They had to nail the quality and create an authenticlly GoT experience.
The task was to introduce viewers to the official HBO licenced game and create a trailer that was true to the show in every way, forming a teaser for the epic battles to follow. The trailer is split into two sections, one literal to show the characters in real locations from the show, and the other more abstract to show the Sigils, representing the winter frost overcoming the houses.
The team chose to use the raven as the thread weaving through the two sections and illustrate the journey of the message of war.
This project marks the first time they were tasked with creating CG versions of well-known characters. They also had no access to the actors or any scan data. The search for reference began, from onset photography to the web.
The main challenge of using multiple sources of reference was variations in camera lenses and lighting, making it very hard to achieve a recognisable read in the characters’ faces. After multiple iterations, the modelling and lookdev team had created beautiful assets, but still needed to go back and adjust all the lenses and camera positions to replicate the show’s cinematography. This was the only way to achieve that instant, on-character read they had been looking for. At that point, the whole project came to life and all of their hard work found its way into the final Trailer. www.realtimeuk.com