Jan 08

Interview with Sofia Delis, Program Director – Digital Visualization, Campus i12

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Check out this Interview @ Vray with Sofia Delis, Program director at Campus I12.

 

Sofia Delis

The 3D and Digital Visualization is based in Eksjö, managed by Campus i12 and Jönköping University, School of Engineering. In the program we offer two profiles, 3D visualization and Digital Compositing. The profiles run side by side with collaboration courses keeping them close together.

Download PDF version of the interview 

 

 

TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE SCHOOL’S HISTORY AND THE COURSES TAUGHT.

We started in 1999 by the name Interactive Academy. The courses were then more focused on programming, games and Flash. In 2003 the first post-production classes started and the program gradually formed into teaching visual effects for film and commercials, specializing in the collaboration between compositors and 3D artists and making CG and live action integrations. In 2009 I joined forces and renewed the curriculum together with Andreas Bravin Karlsson, currently working at WETA. The new courses were presented to a couple of the best visual effects artists and companies in Sweden. The courses took almost two years to set up and I am constantly working with the industry to refine and develop the content.

The interest towards our program has grown during the past three years and leading post production companies, both in Scandinavia and internationally, have given us much attention. Starting in the fall of 2014, we will be offering the program in English to advance on the international market. We are expecting passionate aspiring VFX artists to apply from all over the world. The program has a two-year duration with five months of work experience at a post-production company and 50% of our students currently choose to do their work experience abroad. We have had students doing their work experience in Shanghai, LA, New York, London, Vancouver and many more places around the world.

The program is based on the three phases of the production process: preproduction, production and post production. We believe that it is important for students to understand their role in the production chain. Communication is the core of all that we do and we know that it really makes a difference if it is done in the right way. Great teams can do wonders in production! All our projects are mainly two-five weeks long to practice the ability to time-estimate work, not get stuck on problems, but rather how to solve them. The students learn how to contribute to production scheduling and understanding the role of a line producer.

IS THERE A SPECIFIC TEACHING APPROACH UNIQUE TO THE SCHOOL?

All students are unique in their styles of learning so we mix different methods in teaching throughout the program. We use feedback and coaching as main tools. We try to find different methods and the teachers we bring in also have many good ideas how to teach in more efficient ways. Students do evaluations during and after each course for us to improve both the content and teaching methods. The most important thing for us, in the long run, is to teach students in a way that they learn to trust their ability. Teach them how to find solutions and learn new things rather than handing them the answers to their questions and solving their problems. We want them to learn from their mistakes. We never underestimate failure; it is a great way to learn.

Sofia Delis and representatives from different companies on the annual Recruitment Day when companies are invited to recruit students for upcoming work experience.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR CLASS.

We focus on giving students a technical ground to stand on and giving them an understanding to what the industry is about and what the different phases include or should include. Then we move on by making it more complex collaboration-wise. In their second year we bring in directors which make it much harder. Not only do students need to do their job, they need to make sure they share the same view as the director and how to interpret his/hers vision into stunning imagery. They also need to shift tasks to be able to keep up to speed and to keep everybody busy. Discussions on different approaches between compositing and 3D are constant, and students have meetings on a daily basis. We believe that it is a good way to teach them to be solution orientated instead of focusing on the problems. If you give students a lot of responsibility and the right tools, you give the power of control to them, then anything can happen. We are amazed by the progress the students make and they are themselves surprised on how rapidly they have progressed during a very short period of time. Feedback during this process is absolutely necessary, both on the technical/artistic side and on the “softer skills” e.g. communication and collaboration. Always with the question, how can we make it better?

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CULTURE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE CLASSES/SCHOOL?

EDUCATIONAL – We educate, we teach the students to learn for themselves, we provide the platform that makes it possible.
CREATIVE – We encourage creativity, vision and imagination, our passion is the creative process.
IMPRESSION – We develop a sense of form, detail, and overall storytelling.
TECHNOLOGY – We embrace the advanced digital technology combined with analogue techniques.
DEDICATED – We are active and focused, we are a niched school with a generous heart.

At Campus i12 we provide the platform, the network and the methodology for students to create their own future. We show students the way but it is the group and the individual who make the journey.

Watch the Project “Wings”, 2013
Course “Post Production – workflow and process I”

TELL US MORE ABOUT THE STUDENT PROJECTS – WHAT ASSIGNMENTS DO YOU GIVE STUDENTS, DO THEY GATHER IN GROUPS ETC?

This fall we made two projects over a five week period with previously assigned groups of 3D-artists and compositors. One being with a predefined rule set where they were supposed to create a story based on a character they built. The character itself was supposed to be fairly simple and we saw them create walking eggs and a live flame for instance. The other project was a film effect of their choice. Both of these were supervised by Director Marcus Engstrand, Compositing Supervisor Andreas Cronström and 3D Supervisor Jimmy Johansson. The groups had to plan out these two projects within the given timeframe and map everything out. It was interesting to see how some groups solved it by doing them both at the same time and some groups divided into two teams. Supervisors requested frequent meetings where they looked at the plates shot and the production in general to make comments accordingly. The whole idea was to simulate a real life production.

Watch the Project “Golf”, 2013
Course “Post Production – workflow and process I”

WHICH WERE THE MOST CHALLENGING PARTS OF THE PROJECTS (THE ONES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE)? WHAT TECHNICAL APPROACH DID YOU USE TO SOLVE THEM?

Since they always blend live action with CG elements there was a fair amount of problems. Integrating these CG elements to a live action plate is a hard thing to do as they had to simulate real life scenarios. One being a running golf ball in grass, were we had to come up with some clever solutions to blend the golf ball in properly. The students were picky with getting all the needed information from set in order to replicate everything properly virtually. In some occasions the students even created their own custom HDRI’s to get the proper light sources along with reflection and diffuse references. They had some simulations that were tricky, one character was made out of paint where different colors would blend inside of it. In that case they first looked into simulating a fluid and using his modeled body as a container, however as time was short they had to find other solutions and they ended up creating various custom render passes to solve this blending method in composite.

 

Watch the Project “Egg”, 2013
Course “Post Production – workflow and process I”

 

ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE CONTROL THAT V-RAY GIVES YOU?

We are completely satisfied with how V-Ray delivers for us. The students can swiftly get nice results and in combination with the supplied materials the students are able to create shading networks which delivered fast and reliable results. Students had previously been concerned about how to do more procedural materials and especially when it comes to making things look messier, but by giving them an introduction to the dirt node they managed to pull through. V-Ray has been a great part of the student productions; they no longer have to worry about all the settings – or at least as much. With Elements they can get anything out of the render that the compositor requests.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE ROLE OF V-RAY IN THE STUDENT PROJECTS? WHICH FEATURES DID YOU FIND MOST HELPFUL?

As we have 3D and compositing driven profiles going side by side we let the students use Render Elements quite a bit. Not only to set up the default ones but also to let them create custom elements to ensure our compositing students full control over the image. We try to give them a full understanding of the wonders Elements can do for a project. Not only this but we push the students to get more involved with the DMC Samples and how GI works, all under a linear workflow.

Project “Makyo”, 2013
Course “Post Production – workflow and process II”. ( Work in progress. To be released in 2014.
)

TELL US MORE ABOUT THE CAREER OF YOUR STUDENTS AFTER GRADUATION

Many of them end up at the post production facilities where they did their work experience (Copenhagen Bombay, Chimney, Double Negative, Filmgate AB, Framestore, Ghost A/S,Gimmick VFX, Important Looking Pirates, MTV Networks, MPC, Picture Mill, Rising Sun Pictures, Storm Studios, Svensk Filmindustri/SF Produktion, DICE, Swiss International, The Mill). Some freelance while others take their knowledge into other industries or start their own companies (Frost VFX, Upper First etc.)

Project “The Fields”, 2012 (Read more about the project)
Course “Post Production – workflow and process II”
Director: Duncan Guymer
Supervisors: Hugo Guerra – The Mill, Andreas Cronström – Svensk Filmindustri,Oskar Wahlberg – Chimney

WILL YOU BE INTRODUCING ANY NEW CLASSES?

Yes! Three new classes. Look Development, Technical Direction for 3D and in depth roto/paint for the compositing students.

Watch the Project “Toys”, 2013
Course “On Set Supervision DC/3D”

Learn more about Campus i12 at www.campusi12.com

 

 

CSS_Campus-i12

http://www.chaosgroup.com/en/2/envyspot.html?i=47

Feb 28

gscept showreel 2013

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Check out the upcoming talent from Gscept school in Skellefteå, who has bred a lot of fine talent through out the years.

[vimeo=http://vimeo.com/59085855]

Mar 31

Digital Graphics

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Digital Graphics

Do you wanna be a CG-artist?  Than it is time to start applying for schools such as Digital graphics in Stockholm.

Read more below in Swedish.

”Nu är det dags att söka till Digital Graphics för höstens start. Digital Graphics är en 2-årig 3d-utbildning främst inriktad mot reklam och filmproduktion. Sista ansökningsdag är 30 april. Studentarbeten kan man hitta på www.digitalgraphics.se och ansökningsinstruktioner på www.nackademin.se.”

 

 

Mar 27

“Paying To Work For Free” VFX Business Model | Vfx soldier

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The big talk of today in the US vfx community.

Digital Domain:The “Paying To Work For Free” VFX Business Model

Read more at vfx soldier.http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-paying-to-work-for-free-vfx-business-model/#comments

Feb 27

Slug invasions | The animation workshop

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Yet another great Bachelor film from the students at The animation workshop in Denmark. Great work!

[vimeo=http://vimeo.com/34072719]

Bachelor film project 2012 from The Animation Workshop.

Story:
As morning dawns on a Norwegian suburb, a detachment of killer-slugs, led by the notorious Sergeant Slug, prepare for a heads-on attack on a small garden – their objective? A juicy, delicious flower on the other end, deep within a flowerbed.
A new conscript and his close friend, a medical officer, both suit and join in the massive charge into the garden. But as the slugs emerge into the exposed field, they stand head to head with a diligent, elderly lady, hell-bent on keeping her garden pristine and safe from pests.
As the two sides clash, it is as the saying goes: All’s fair in hunger and war!

By: Morten Helgeland, Casper Wermuth, Lasse Rasmussen, Carina Løvgreen, Kirsten Bay Nielsen, Polina Bokhan, Peter Egeberg, Magnus Myrälf, Maria B. Kreutzmann

animwork.dk/en/
facebook.com/pages/The-Animation-Workshop-Official-Page/10452541819

Feb 24

VAESEN

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Great animated film from Adrian Dexter (working @ ILP) and his fellow students on his Bachelor film at the THE ANIMATION WORKSHOP in Denmark.

[vimeo=http://vimeo.com/36888803]

Adrian Dexter and a very talented team of fellow students have just completed Vaesen, their 2012 Bachelor film project for The Animation Workshop.

Vaesen is a great project for two reasons. It’s a visually lush, fantastically animated film with an absolutely perfect soundtrack. When I chatted with Adrian about the thinking that went into the film, he had this to say:

Visually Vaesen is inspired by Harry Clarke, Ivan Bilibin, Arthur Rackham, and Edmund Dulac. The backgrounds are also heavily inspired by 19th century German and Russian landscape painters.

I wanted the film to feel like some forgotten Rankin & Bass cartoon, that a down and out Tarkovsky directed under a moniker, embarrassed by how it turned out.

The score had to be original, but very much an homage to 70′s psych. I enlisted a good friend of mine Nick DiSalvo of the band Elder to score the film. I have done album covers for his band in the past, and we have a good relationship discussing music in visual terms, also we are both obsessed with 70′s Swedish psych master Bo Hansson, and basically just tried to emulate what he had going on, and infuse some of our current influences.

The storytelling is also incredible. Epic, ambiguous, and open ended – Vaesen combines the feel of an epic folktale with a deeper level of mysticism and hermetic symbolism. I love how the Vaesen begins as a seemingly standard epic quest and quickly confounds your expectations by raising questions about the true motivations of the hero and refusing to provide any sort of easy answers. And all of this in a film with no dialog.

Adrian mentions that he was reading a lot of Lord Dunsany and Jorge Luis Borges as he wrote Vaesen, and it absolutely shows through in the finished product. I personally was strongly reminded of the mystical reinterpretation of the folktale that you often see in Miyazaki’s work.

So check out Vaesen. Adrian and the team have also put together a great blog for the project at vaesen-film.blogspot.com that has lots of behind the scenes and process information.
Adrian Dexter: Director, Story, Backgrounds, Editing, Sound, Compositing, CG Artist
Birk Von Brockdorff: Storyboard, Environment Lead, Layouts, Backgrounds, Rigging, Modeling, CG Artist
Arnold Bagasha: Animatic and Pipeline supervisor, 3D Modeling and Rotoscoping, Backgrounds, CG Artist
Mikkel Vedel Petersen: 2D and 3D Animation, Storyboards
Jody Ghani: Production Designer, Character Design Lead, Technical Art Director, 2D Animation
Drude Mangaard: Art Director, Production Manager, Character Design, 2D Animation

Dec 30

3rd of January | Danish Filmschool

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The 3rd of January is the last day to apply to 4 1/2 year long course to be a director majoring in animation.

Read more at http://www.filmskolen.dk/uddannelserne/animationsuddannelsen/ (in danish).

 

Dec 12

Gscept Alumni working on big feature films.

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Gscept in Skellefteå is continuing to supply the Vfx society with great artists. This time it is Olle Rydberg, Kristin Stolpe, Fredrik Lindbom and Joaquin Karlsén Gutierrez, who has just finished working on “John Carter” and “Snow White and the Huntsman”.

Olle Rydberg has been working with characters for 9 month mostly on John Carter,

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlvYKl1fjBI]
 Kristin has mostly worked on Snow White and the Huntsman
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXb6l9Dzo14]
Mar 18

Media Technology Days 23-24th of March

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The Media Technology Days offers students and the public free lectures given by industry leaders and scientists from both Sweden and the world. The event, which will take place between march 23-24th, boasts ten lecturers who will inspire listeners at the two day long lecture series. One of the lecturers is Marcus Nordenstam from Exotic Matter, the company responsible for the dynamics solver Naiad. Their software has generated simulations which you will recognize from feature films such as James Cameron’s Avatar. In addition to the lectures, a work-fair is held with companies from the whole spectrum of the media technology industry. Media Technology Days 2011 will be held in Nya Kåkenhus at Linköping’s University, campus Norrköping, and no registration is needed to attend. Please join us!

For more information, see http://medieteknikdagarna.se/ or contact project manager Marcus Stenbeck on telephone +46 707 904 511 or through e-mail projektledare@medieteknikdagarna.se.
Mar 17

March 24th GradShow 2011 | Gscept

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March 24th GradShow 2011

The GradShow is an annual event arranged by gscept.com and Luleå University of Technology. GradShow 2011 will be on March 24th this year and a full day of presentations, talks and fun is planned. The event includes project presentations by students studying computer graphics and computer game development. Besides student presentations, GradShow also includes presentations by well-known vfx companies. This year Moving Picture Company, Double Negative, and Framestore will be holding talks in Skellefteå.
To see this year’s student projects and find out more about GradShow 2011 and the presenters, check out gscept’s GradShow website