Landau to Discuss Avatar Sequel at FMX 2014

Producer Jon Landau will provide a sneak peek of the Avatar sequel at FMX 2014 in Stuttgart, Germany (April 22-25 ), and Warner Bros. animation/VFX president Chris DeFaria will join me in a discussion of the Oscar-winning Gravity with Framestore’s Tim Webber. This will be part of the virtual production track curated by David Morin (Autodesk) and Sebastian Sylwan (formerly Weta Digital’s creative technologist).

Other additions include  an appearance by ILM COO John Knoll, and presentations of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 300: Rise of an Empire, Battlefield 4, and Injustice: Gods Among Us; revelatory Transmedia sessions under the headline 5D Institute: Pipe Dreams, further enriching presentations on concept art, creatures, 3D printing.

The virtual production track assembles a wide range of films, games and TV series. DeFaria, Patrick Smith, and Duncan Burbidge (both The Third Floor) are joined by Thomas Zauner (Scanline VFX) and Don Parker (Shotgun Software) to elaborate on the realization of the Warner Bros. sequel 300: Rise of an Empire from previs to production management. In addition, Russell Earl, (ILM) and Ron Frankel (Proof) deconstruct Captain America: The Winter Soldier from previs to the final image. Two presentations on Roland Emmerich’s action explosion White House Down further complement the array of film favorites: Volker Engel (Uncharted Territory), explains why the virtual production pipeline was the key to the film being finished on time, and Andrea Block and Christian Haas (both LUXX Studios) dedicate their talk to the creation of the full CG helicopter flight. Moreover, Daniel Gregoire (Halon Ent.) analyzes the pre- and postvisualization for Zombie apocalypse World War Z, and Pepe Valencia (BARABOOM! Studios), Gregoire, Isaac Partouche (SolidTrack), and Joe Lewis (Encodacam) share the stage to enlighten the audience on their work on the VFX-heavy science documentary TV series Cosmos.

FMX dedicates a whole track to the creatures that have evolved from marginal cast into viable main protagonists. Curated by Dave Gougé (Weta Digital), the “Creatures” series of talks looks at duelling demons, sea monsters, robots and dragons.  Knoll dives into the wide-ranging scope of ILM’s effects work on Guillermo del Toro’s science fiction epic Pacific Rim. What’s more, Sven Martin (Pixomondo) analyzes the difficulties of dragon upbringing from a technical perspective for Game of Thrones, and Dan Zelcs (MPC) unearths the creation of the fighting Oni Demon for 47 Ronin. Curated by Patrick Hanenberger (THE NEULAND), two concept art presentations explore the power of visual inspiration: While Ravi Bansal (MPC) recounts 17 years of working as a concept artist on films such as Avatar or Elysium, Martin Bergquist (Avalanche Studios) concentrates on “Concept Art in a Real-Time Production Environment.”

Injustice: Gods Among Us is yet another prestigious addition to the Game Cinematics track curated by Dominic Cianciolo (NetherRealm Studios). Cianciolo himself examines the studio’s motion capture process for key scenes of the popular single-player fighting game, including proper casting, detailed rehearsal and pre-visualization. The game engine Frostbite 3 takes another seat in the front row of virtual production at FMX, when Frank Vitz (DICE) shares some of the cinematic techniques and tools available in the latest version of Frostbite as used by the Battlefield 4 team. Dr. Jon G Peddie (Jon Peddie Research) paints a picture of the future of gaming from handhelds to augmented reality in his presentation on high-end graphics for new game platforms.

This year’s Transmedia Experiences focus on holistic thinking. In this vein, Alex McDowell (5D World Building Institute at USC School of Cinematic Arts) hosts this dedicated series of discussions together with Sarah Smith (Locksmith Animation), who directed Aardman Animation’s Arthur Christmas. “5D Institute: Pipe Dreams” dreams up the ultimate blueprint for tomorrow’s animated feature studio, debating issues that revolve around collaborative world building and integrated virtual production. How far should the different processes be integrated? Is 2D concept outmoded, or is it the heart of the artform? Is the storyboard still the creative bible? When does story become previs become layout? And how should production pipes, often built around VFX workflows, change to become part of a holistic creative process? Six different sessions assemble experienced leaders in all areas of feature animation as well as innovative thinkers to discuss, expand and even answer those questions.

Paul Debevec (USC) curates the 3D Printing track that focuses on the advances of 3D printing and its advantages for a broad audience. Prof. Dr. Marc Alexa (TU Berlin) provides the theoretical background when he shares his insights into shading as well as shapes and their perception. In addition, Bernd Bickel (Disney Research Zuerich) invents techniques of bringing virtual characters into the real world and describes his efforts of introducing a “3D Print Button” for animation software. Christoph Voelcker (Purmundus) showcases his company’s approach to 3D-printed lifestyle products and Prof. Dr. Hao Li (USC) looks at the 3D family portrait that becomes possible with the evolution of 3D Selfies.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Education, Events, Festivals, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Production Design, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Videogames, Virtual Production

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