Tag Archives: cgi

Richard Hammond’s Journey to the Bottom of the Ocean

Just to confuse me, the second of the Richard Hammond documentaries has a different name, Journey to the Bottom of the Ocean!

It’s on Tuesday 26th July 9pm BBC One.


The first part, Journey to the Centre of the Planet, received praise all round on the whole which is great. Best thing I saw on Twitter was “Wouldn’t it be great if Richard Hammond reached the centre of the planet only to discover it was made of lego?”

A fair question I’m sure you’ll agree.

Atlantis – End of a World, Birth of a Legend

From September til December-ish I was working on Atlantis. Lola (www.lola-post.com) was creating visual effects for almost the entire thing, 550 shots, so there was plenty for each of us to do. In my case, I was working on falling volcanic rocks and boats, then seas. There’s a lot of sea involved in this show, much of which is actually real, but the rest is created using Aaman Akram’s aaOcean suite of shaders and deformers in Softimage.

All the shots were broken down into different passes, with that being especially essential for the sea shots. Water behaves oddly at sea. It’s hard to tell the scale of a large wave versus a small one without something giving you a visual cue. By creating various mattes and animating the large waves at different speeds to the smaller waves sat on top, we were able to keep the scale in check, adding elements like foam and colour variation depending on the shot composition.

Prior to this, I was involved in the pre-vis stage of the boat shots. Many of them involve particularly dramatic moments and it was necessary to nail exactly how they were going to work before getting bogged down in rendering water at HD. Pre-vis is short for pre-visualisation, whereby each shot is roughed out using rudimentary elements or low detail assets to get a feel for timing, scale, composition and so on. By having this stage, it’s possible to work something into the edited sequence as quickly as possible to see if it actually works. It saves a lot of time and takes some guesswork out.

Atlantis – End of a World, Birth of a Legend will be broadcast in mid March.

For now, here’s a preview on Youtube. There’s a making of and a couple of sequences in there too.

Strike Back has airing dates

Set your recording equipment up for 9pm on May 5th as that’s when Strike Back is due to begin! Oddly although it’s 6 episodes long, they’re being shown in pairs, so air dates are as follows:

Episodes 1 & 2    Wed 5 May 21.00 Sky1 HD & Sky1
Episodes 3 & 4    Wed 12 May 21.00 Sky1 HD & Sky1
Episodes 5 & 6    Wed 19 May 21.00 Sky1 HD & Sky1

Looking forward to the 19th!!! That’s where a lot of our work went.

I’m gonna get a few people to record this for me in case one or the other reveal themselves to be lame at setting recorders. There are people out there who can’t use Sky Plus let alone set an old VCR.

More details at http://sky1.sky.com/strike-back-about-the-show-the-story

Coming Soon… Chris Ryan’s Strike Back

During the past 5 weeks or so I have been working on some VFX shots for Strike Back, soon appearing on Sky 1 and Sky 1 HD. Trailers and teasers have appeared on TV and inevitably Youtube and pals. Myself, Sascha Fromeyer and Ashley Hampton, have been beavering away on all manner of things.
I’m looking forward to watching this. All of my contributions to this are in Episode 5, so I know what happens in that and the final episode and have no idea what happens at the start!

Strike Back is based on a novel by Chris Ryan, set in the Middle-East and filmed in South Africa. It’s a hostage situation and my God… it’s cool. Watch it.

2010 VFX Reel

After what seems like an eternity of promising it’s on its way, the VFX reel has arrived. A fair amount of this is new to the site. Some of the new content relates directly to previous posts on TV shows that have been on in the past year.

The 2010 reel is also available as a quicktime. Right click here and select Save As.

Reel - Click to Watch

Human Centipede shown at Frightfest!


Update: SEQUEL

Film 4’s Frightfest was on again this year at the Empire in London’s Leicester Square.

I was one of a few freelancers lucky enough to work on Tom Six’s ‘Human Centipede’, a thoroughly odd concept for a film. I briefly mentioned this in a previous post, incorrectly referring to it as the Human Caterpillar. I guess a caterpillar does seem slightly cuter than a centipede! The rough premise for this is that a surgeon, previously separating siamese twins for a living, is now collecting people to build a centipede where each person’s mouth is stitched to the anus of the person in front. Yup. You read that correctly.

My part in this was to fix a few things in After Effects that couldn’t be sorted on set. The lady above is having her teeth removed in order to facilitate the passage of waste from the person in front. In that instance is was up to me to remove teeth from the 3 shots involved. The rest was mostly tracking stuff, and a few blood spatters, but there were a couple of time consuming shots involving animating a load of rain drops on a car window. The shots were filmed out of sequence on a night when it genuinely was raining, but some were missing the obvious rain drops one expects from having just driven through rain. The best bit about this was Tom Six saying something like “Rain from a rain machine always looks shit. Nothing like rain,” a statement I highly agree with. Lovely guy. The kind of person you wouldn’t expect to come up with a film about stitching people together in a chain.



Kenneth Branagh picks up Television BAFTA for Wallander

Last night was the Television BAFTAs, this being the time of year when shares in sequins go through the roof. The Best Drama Series Award went to Wallander, produced by and starring Kenneth Branagh.

So how does this relate to me in the slightest? I did a couple of VFX sequences in that I’ll have you know! All being well, one of them will be in the show reel I am currently piecing together. There was a lot of fog at one point, some of which is 3D fog created in XSI’s ICE engine then composited in After Effects, the aim being to cover up gaps in the smoke machine’s efforts.

Check out the rest of last night’s winners and losers at http://www.bafta.org/awards/television/tv-noms-2009,709,BA.html

BBC iScience was on iPlayer

[Edit again!] iScience clips are now online at BBC – Learning Zone.

[Edit] Now that March 12th has past, iscience is now longer on BBC iplayer.

My work on BBC iScience is on iplayer again now. This particular episode is nanotechnology. (Can I get a woooOOOooo?) Pretty much all of the 3d graphics are my creation, even the ones which seem at first glance to be 2d. They are cel shaded 3d! (Same approach as on Futurama)  They include animations on fusion, uv radiation, cell division and all sorts.