Lineup : Wacom / Duality / electricFX / dvGarage
We had a well-rounded meeting in October-a little software, a little hardware, a little "how we did it" and we even had time for demo reels!
* pre-meeting Q&A *
Co-host Chris Meyer opened our Q&A sessions be talking about an interesting new camera/recording system from Panasonic that takes a new approach to vari-speed recording. A white paper on this camera can be downloaded here. Co-host Dan Warvi mentioned that Fan - the company out of Sweden that has Quantel to After Effects file format translation software - has a very inexpensive color correction plug-in for AE. Finally, co-host Lachlan Westfall mentioned that he had just installed Mac OS 10.1 and found out that you can now burn data to DVD-R discs via the SuperDrive.
* Wacom Intuos 2 & Cintiq*
Our first presenter of the evening was Michelle Lindsey, the Western Region Sales Manager for Wacom. She came down talk about the Graphire tablets they introduced a few months back and introduce us to the new Intuos 2 tables which come in five difference sizes. The have both USB and serial versions and now come with the new Intuos 2 pen which features Dr. Grip technology. All tablets are pressure sensitive. The 2D pen features three programmable buttons. The larger sized pads come with the Intuos 4D mouse which had five programmable buttons. The pad was demo'd via Adobe Photoshop, but it works with many other programs, including some 3D packages where you can use the mouse to rotate a model, and the pen to paint it.
Michelle also showed off the new Cintiq pad which is flat-panel LCD display that also functions as a pressure sensitive pad allowing you to draw and paint directly on the display. She had one set up in the lobby for members to try for themselves - it's impressive how quickly it responds. The Cintiq pad sells for $1899.00. The Intuos 2 pads sell for $199.00 (4x5-inch), $349.00 (6x8-inch) and $469.00 (9x12-inch) and $749.00 (12x18-inch).Wacom also generously donated one as a door prize - thank you!
* Crew of Two & Duality*
Next we were very pleased to have David McCumber come by to show Duality, a short movie he produced with his partner Mark Thomas along with Director of Photography Kevin Jones. Duality is a Star Wars homage originally conceived as an light saber fighting audition piece for Star Wars - Episode Two. David and Mark originally produced a short called Dual, but with Duality they wanted to do something better-shooting on blue screen and incorporating visual effects and 3D elements.
They shot with both a Canon GL-1 and XL-1 and used the Primatte keyer and composite wizard to get a good key from the problematic DV footage. For the 3D work they used Electric Image Animation System version 2.9. The models and animation were impressive--especially in light of the fact that this was their first foray in 3D. The light sabers were animated frame-by-frame in Commotion and composited in After Effects. The entire movie, as well as many tutorials, can be viewed at their web site.
* electricFX eFX Pyro & Channelizer *
On the software side of things we had John Crawford from electricFX drop in to show EFX Pyro. This is a flame and smoke simulator that works as an After Effects Plug in. The simulator is based on the Arete technology and produces fully volumetric smoke and fire using implicit surface modeling. These elements are then placed on a 2D layer in AE. eFX Pyro lists for $195.00.
John also showed us a preview of an upcoming plug in for AE called Channelizer. This very cool plug in allows to manipulate the many channels included in and RLA or RPF file. John generously donated a copy of Pyro as a door prize - many thanks!
* dvGarage & new products *
Finally, after a few months away from us, Alex Lindsey of dvGarage came down to show off DV Garage's 3D Toolkit. The Toolkit is a unique training package that features 3D modeling, animation and rendering software - which is essentially Electric Image v2.9.3 - and numerous tutorials for only $199.00 on the web. Alex donated one as a door prize. Alex also discussed their Surface Toolkit and the concept of subconscious detail-where the lack of organic detail in 3D tends to make scenes look "fake."
Next Alex shared his latest obsession with the group: panoramic environmental reflection maps. In order to successfully integrate a 3D object into an existing environment, accurate reflection maps are critical. Alex showed how he takes a series of pictures of an environment at specific angles. He then uses a program called Stitcher by RealViz to blend them into a seamless 360-degree texture map. Alex also showed us his cool Kaidan Kiwi tripod which lets him accurately rotate his still camera to take the series of images required to construct the panorama. Alex also mentioned that dvGarage will be offering a large amount of panoramic texture maps.
* demo reels & door prizes*
Finally, we had some bonus time that allowed us to show some attendees demo reels. A list of those who presented are included at the bottom of this page.
Many thanks to all those attended, especially in the wake of the terrorist attack of September 11. Also, a special thanks to ProMax for sponsoring the meeting, and to Wacom, electricFX, and dvGarage for donating door prizes.
Trish, Chris, Lucky, and Dan
Your MGLA Hosts
demo reel presenters:
Erik Montros - 3 minute music video
"Calling all Robots" for the band Vapor Flux
Arron B. Trask
Octogon Digital Design
Jose Alex Aranda