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MIB – © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

When Nebulae and Aliens Collide

Men in Black: International, the latest installment of the franchise, takes us on a global journey of mystery, redemption, FX and aliens. In Part 1 of this series, I had the pleasure of chatting with Frederik Lillelund, CG Supervisor at DNEG Vancouver, about his studio’s work on the project.

DNEG was the lead VFX vendor on the project, working on nearly 600 shots, across multiple internal sites (led by the Vancouver team, and complemented by the Montreal, Mumbai, and London locations). Coming onto the project quite late in the game, they faced an interesting challenge right out of the gate — all the sequences they were involved with had already been shot. As such, as Frederik pointed out “a lot of the looks had to be developed more or less on the fly, while shots were in progress, so we didn’t have the luxury of being able to start development while the filmmakers were still on set. We had to basically just keep up, and keep up with the editorial changes that were coming in left and right.”

Watching the final film, it’s evident that they rose to the occasion, creating spectacular effects, including my favourite: the twins energy state.

Read the rest of Jessica Fernandes’ interview with Frederik here.

MIB – © 2019 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Crafting Aliens for Men in Black: International

Men In Black wouldn’t hold the same place in our hearts without the fun, quirky, and sometimes threatening cast of alien characters we’ve grown to know and love. I sat down with Sony Picture Imageworks’ Animation Supervisor, Craig McPherson, to hear what it took to bring Pawny and the Hive creature to life.

Which characters did Sony focus on for this film?

We worked on Pawny in third act and all the Hive creature stuff.

What were some of the biggest challenges encountered?

The biggest challenge was nailing Kumail [Nanjiani]’s performance. He has incredibly expressive eyes and a really deadpan demeanour. He’s got this really funny, dry, sarcastic humour, and that stuff’s just really hard to get in a full CG character. It was especially hard to get this in the character model we have, as he has such a different facial structure to Kumail — he’s got these big, round bulbous eyes, and Kumail’s got very expressive shaped eyes. Our biggest challenge was to nail the really subtle stuff that Kumail does.

I’ve been a big fan of Kumail for years. I loved his work on Silicon Valley and The Big Sick and I was really excited when I heard he was going to be the vocal performer for Pawny. I really wanted to do him justice because I love his comedy so much.

Did you have to re-designed some of the original concept, to better accommodate the performance?

Yeah, there’s a little bit of redesign work that always goes along with that. We did some concept work, but things that look great in 2D don’t always translate in 3D. And of course things don’t always translate to the performance we have in mind for our actor.

Once we start building the character in 3D, we start to see what works and what doesn’t work, then we integrate some of the vocal performance work, and see where that leads us; there’s always a little bit of redesign that has to be done. In Pawny’s case, we introduced a little more facial anatomy than the concept art had originally. [The concept] was this beautiful caricature of a bullfrog character. To get that to play in our photo-real environment, we had to add a little more physical structure — we added a little more brow structure, and muscles under the eyelids that shape his face a little bit more.

Read the rest of Jessica Fernandes’ interview with Craig here.


The Angry Birds Movie 2 © 2019 Columbia Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Behind the Making of Angry Birds 2

The birds are back and this time, they’re doing the unthinkable: teaming up with their arch enemies to take down a common foe.

For the sequel to the wildly successful Angry Birds, the team at Sony Pictures Imageworks were once again tasked with bringing the world of Angry Birds to the big screen.

On Wednesday, 28 August at 7 pm, join animation leads John Vassallo and Rohini Kumar, lighting lead Shreyasi Das as well as VFX supervisor Stirling Duguid as the team takes us behind-the-scenes at the artistic and technical challenges they faced in creating new characters, environments and effects for this new animated adventure.

This event is free but space is limited! To reserve your spot and for more information, visit the event page.

When: Wednesday, 28 August 7 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm)
Where: VFS Digital Design Campus
420 Homer St (@ W Hastings)
Vancouver, Canada
Admission: Free
Info & tickets: Event Website

Community News

Vancouver Animation Network’s Mixer is August 30

The Vancouver Animation Network is hosting its next mixer on Friday, August 30. The free event is a great way to meet industry peers, share stories, tips, ideas or simply hang out with friends and make new ones.

The mixer kicks off at 6:30 pm at the St. Regis Bar & Grill and includes free pizza, 15% discount on alcohol, 10% discount on food and a 50/50 raffle.

For more info and to RSVP, visit the event page.


20 Tickets Left to Sandro Cleuzo Masterclass!

There are only 20 tickets left to the two-day masterclass with character designer Sandro Cleuzo!

Over the weekend of Saturday 14 September and Sunday, 15 September, Sandro will share with attendees the step-by-step process he uses to create his characters.

Both seasoned professionals and students in training will benefit from this two-day masterclass which will give attendees the opportunity to learn firsthand from an industry master who possesses the skills, experience, and inside track on “Injecting Personality Into Character Design & Animation.”

Tickets to this very special two-day event are only $150 ($135 for groups of five or more). Admission includes a box lunch on each day as well as all taxes and fees.

If you plan on attending, don’t delay! There are a limited number of tickets left for this event! For more details on the program, schedule, and to purchase a ticket, visit the event page.

When: Saturday, September 14 & 15 @ 10:00 am (doors open at 9:15 am)
Where: Bosa Theatre
Nat & Flora Bosa Centre for Film & Animation
Capilano University
12055 Purcell Way
North Vancouver, Canada
Admission: $150 // Groups (5+): $135*
* Group pricing only available through on-line advance sales.
Info & tickets: Event Website

Festival News

SPARK Submissions Close Next Week!

There is only one week left to submit your film for consideration for this year’s SPARK ANIMATION Festival which is taking place 24 to 27 October. Regular submissions close next Friday, 23 August with the extended deadline closing on 12 September.

This is your opportunity to join the ranks of SPARK ANIMATION Festival Award Winners including The Dam Keeper, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos, Borrowed Time, Garden Party and Late Afternoon.

Whether you’re a student or polished filmmaker, working independently or a studio, SPARK is pleased to accept all types of animation and offer a wide range of categories for submission not to mention a Festival Jury made up of animation industry luminaries.

Important dates:
  • August 24, 2019 — Regular Submission Deadline
  • September 12, 2019 — Extended Submission Deadline
  • October 1, 2019 — Notification Date
  • October 24 — 27, 2019 — Festival Dates

For more details on the festival, submission details and to submit, visit our submission page.

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