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MINGR Jewelry

Just before Christmas I finished an HDTV commercial for China’s largest gold, platinum and diamond manufacturer featuring Japanese-Brazilian model Akemi Katsuki.


VFX were done at Pixomondo’s Shanghai office where I had the honor to fill the positions of art director & lead compositor. Thanks to my fellow artists for the great and hard work: Simon (particle FX), Jonas (VRay), Lin Kai (modelling), Benson (digital beautification), Mael, Max, Robert and Steffi (additional compositing) as well as Andy (coordination and interpretation). Video clip coming soon.

Director: Stepby Leung
Production: Standard Work Productions
VFX: Pixomondo
Format: 1080p, 30″ – 15″ – 10″ – 7.5″ – 5″
CN 2009


Avatar movie poster in ShanghaiOh my, what a cinematic milestone. The storyline is a bit of a nerd’s juvenile Mechwarrior dreams mixed with clichés from Pocahontas, but we’re not wearing those heavy unwieldy 3D glasses for the story, right? The level of realism they achieved when it came to motion capturing and CG environments was incredible. The camera moves felt very real, and the 3D really was as great as they claim it is.

It worked best for narrow spaces and closeup shots of the actors. The shots where they added defocused elements very close in the foreground mostly looked weird though, because these things get cut off in mid-air by the edges of the screen. The Chinese subtitles, floating in the air in front of the screen, were an unusual but funny addition.

Anyway, quite an experience and it I hope the technology becomes common knowledge sooner rather than later so that directors can afford to do interesting plots or arthouse stuff in 3D/CG instead of just blockbusters.  And some lighter glasses.

Ninja Assassin Teasers

Some new Ninja Assassin teasers are up on Youtube! In case you don’t know about the film, check out IMDB. In a nutshell, it’s bloody ninja action directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta), written by J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) and produced by the Wachowski Brothers (Matrix).

A bunch of German VFX houses were involved… RISE in Berlin, Trixter in Munich and Pixomondo in Ludwigsburg. I’ve freelanced for the latter one and a few of the shots I had worked on almost a year ago can finally be seen in those teaser clips. Enjoy!

(The clips can’t be embedded here, so just click twice to watch them on Youtube. They’re even in high quality.)

Free Greenscreen and Tracking Plates

VFX Supervisor Scott Squires’ blog “Effects Corner” links to some nice and freely available greenscreen footage from Hollywood Camera Works. I’m probably the last guy to discover these, but nevertheless the plates are a great training resource. Each shot has some notes about possible keying and matchmoving problems.

And by the way, Scott also has some great articles on various areas of VFX like pre-production, workflow and shot breakdowns.

Eyeon Generation 2 and File Naming Conventions

Just read about the upcoming release of eyeon’s next version of Generation. I’ve evaluated version 1 last year and while it was a really promising versioning and viewing solution for vfx shots there was one show-stopper for us: Its nifty incremental saving feature was hard-coded to a version number at the end of the file name. Since our pipeline had a more complicated naming scheme we couldn’t just drop Generation into it.

However, this bit from the press release sounds like they’ve made some improvements in that area although I’m not sure if that extends to incremental saves or just searching metadata:

A sophisticated search-function allows artists to define in-house filename conventions as a pattern and search by fields.

In case you want to know how that particular pipeline’s filename convention looked like:

[project]_[shot]_[status]_[version]_[artist name].comp

Yes, squeezing the artist name into the file name is naughty. And it’s just a way to cure symptoms, not to solve the problem. (The problem being lack of metadata about who worked on the most recent version of a packshot in case somebody else has to modify it when the ad agency asks for an updated version a few months down the road).

But it’s the best you can do without using a database or asset management system since it’s easy to use regular expressions on this and in a multi-OS environment it sorts nicely in Explorer / Finder / the console. A better way would have been to store this metadata inside the Fusion composition, and make no mistake, Fusion is indeed flexible enough to do this. But that would have meant circumventing the “Save As…” dialog with a custom script (did that too on a different job) and even then this metadata would have been hidden from view in Explorer.

But enough nerd talk for tonight 🙂

Einleitung / Introduction

Willkommen auf Comp-Fu. Ich bin ein freiberuflicher Compositing Artist aus München und arbeite von Oktober 09 bis Weihnachten in Shanghai. Dieses Blog ist mein Reisetagebuch für euch und auch eine Art Notizbuch für Sachen, die mit Visual Effects zu tun haben. Und doofe Youtube-Videos. Aber keine Katzenfotos.

I’m a freelance compositing artist from Munich/Germany and from October ’09 right until xmas I’ll be working in Shanghai. Comp-Fu is my public diary for sharing travel reports from Shanghai for my German folks at home and will also be a notepad for stuff related to visual effects. No photos of kittens. But probably the odd youtube video. Please scroll down for my latest posts.

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