***Meeting Summary***

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Gallery Theatre at Barnsdall Art Park (our new location!)

LINEUP: Pixel Corps Presents: Camera Mapping / BDA Presents: Aerodrome Pictures / artist Ken Locsmandi of Filmworks/FX / Zaxwerks Gradientwerks tutorial / door prizes

We had our regular presentations from the Pixel Corps and the BDA, plus guest artist Ken Locsmandi of Filmworks/FX and the new Gradient Designer plug-ins from Zaxwerks. We also had a very large haul of door prizes (worth nearly $4000 in total!).

This month, thanks to sponsorship from Discreet, the adjacent Municipal Art Gallery was open - FREE - from 5:30pm through the mid-meeting break. (The same exhibits will be on show during our March meeting.) For more information on the upgrade we performed to the Barnsdall theatre, click here.


Among other topics the idea of Mac Mini render farms was discussed, it seemed like the 100 base-t networking would be the bottle-neck.

Pixel Corps Presents: Camera Mapping (7:30-8:00)

From adding a few buildings to the skyline to entire set creation, Digital Mattes are used in many of the TV shows and most major movies you see today. Alex Lindsay from the Pixel Corps showed us one of the secrets of this invisible art called "Camera Mapping". Alex showed a picture of Bangcock, Thailand, and explained how he broke up the photo in Photoshop and projected it onto simple geometry in a 3D application such as Maxon's Cinema 4D. Alex also showed how you can use a program like REALVIZ's Image Modeler to create geometry from a series of photos taken at different angles. Both Alex and Maxon donated valuable door prizes (see list at the bottom of this page).

GradientwerksZaxwerks Gradientwerks Tutorial

Zaxwerks, long known for the 3D Invigorator, has recently released a new set of 2D plug-ins called The Werks Vol. 1. One of the plug-ins in that set, Gradientwerks, is a deep featured gradient designer capable of producing beautiful colorscapes in a variety of styles. Zax Dow came down to give us an in-depth tutorial on how to get the most out of this plug-in. He covered topics such as Spotlight effects, Psycho Tunnels, Altering Color Schemes, How to Create Looping Gradient Animations, Simulating 3D Effects, Advanced Gradient Editing and more. Of particular interest was the Photoshop-like gradient designer/editor that added numerous very useful and powerful features. Zax also donated a copy of The Werks as a door prize.


Drinks, cookies and an open art gallery - what more could you want?

BDA Presents: Aerodrome Pictures

BDA - the Broadcast Designers Association - will present a case study from one of their members at each of our meetings in 2005. This month Hollywood-based brand identity design firm Aerodrome Pictures discussed the creation of the main titles and program packaging for American Idol season 4: 3D in HD. Creative Director Scott Miller, Senior Designer/Animator Steve Fitzgerald, and Designer/Animator Andrew Marshall showed us how they developed their concept from initial ideas, to final renders.

American Idol title

The new look for the opening title was developed from a Promotion package that was created a year ago for FOX TV. When the show producers saw the package, they embraced it. When it came time for the season 4 open, they went directly to Aerodrome.

Scott explained that they used an "elevator" as a metaphor for rising to the top, we see new stars rising up past large video screens of former American Idol greats, like Fantasia, Ruben and Kelly.

Scott, Steve and Andrew took us from original story boards through final layered renders. They showed us how they mined the internet for interesting-looking buildings which inspired them when creating their own "set design " for the opening. Once they had the geometry built, they flew cameras around it and rendered out numerous low rez temps. They took these temps and, in Apple's Final Cut Pro, edited together an animatic of the open. They then went back and rendered only the parts they needed in High Def. They also explained how they rendered in Cineon format out of Lightwave. This allowed them to work with a much higher dynamic range and extract lighting that was crucial to their design. They also covered how they used both low-rez models of fans, and shots of real folks (actually their friends and families) for the important crowd scenes.

The end result was very impressive. For more information on the project, and a downloadable movie, see this article on the Dzine.tv web site.

Guest Artist Ken Locsmandi of Filmworks/FX

Long-time MGLA friend and favorite Ken Locsmandi of Filmworks/FX was our final presenter of the evening. This time instead of showing a music video, he shared with us some visual effects he had created for the TNT movie The Librarian, staring Noah Wyle.

The Librarian

Ken discussed how he integrated HD footage with CG, and composited all the elements together to look photo-real on a very small budget and tight timeframe. Ken noted that, even if a 3D object is small, having an appropriate amount of detail is the key to selling the shot. In other areas, you can cheat and compromise, but not there. Ken also discussed the critical need for organization - especially when you're working with folks who are on the other side of the world.

And again, thanks to Adobe's sponsorship of MGLA this year, admission was free!

Chris, Trish, Lucky, Tony, and Warren
Your MGLA co-hosts


Door Prizes

As always, we thank the gracious companies that provided door prizes for our give away this evening -- worth nearly $4000!

Door prizes provided by:
Maxon dvGarage Moviola Artbeats 12 Inch Design Zaxwerks broadcastGEMs Total Training Final Draft CMP_Books Focal Press 3Dconnexion The Anvel O'Reilly

The list of prizes included:

* the 3D software package Cinema 4D R9, courtesy of Maxon US ($695 value)

* a certificate for half off any of the wide variety of 3-day training seminars at new MGLA sponsor Moviola ($500 value; ACSR certification classes are not included)
(click here for additional discounts for all MGLA members!)

* Cyber Journeys stock footage library, courtesy of Artbeats ($499 value)
(by the way, buy any Artbeats library worth $229 or more this month and you can add a copy of their Majestic Scenics library for only $199)

* PowerBlox Unit01 stock footage library, courtesy 12 Inch Design ($299 value)
(by the way, 12 Inch Design is offering very deep discounts for those cross-grading from Digital Juice or other motion graphics libraries - click here for more details)

* dvGarage's Surface Suite texture and reflection map library ($249 value)

* Zaxwerks' The Werks Volume 1 plug-ins for After Effects ($249 value)

* Volume 1 of the AE Pro Series stock footage and projects, courtesy of broadcastGEMs ($229 value)

* the winner's choice of either the screenwriting software Final Draft or the script processor software Final Draft AV, courtesy of Final Draft ($129-229 value)

* What's New in Adobe After Effects 6.5, courtesy of Total Training ($169 value)

* a Pixel Corps 3-Month Membership ($135 value each)

* Logitech cross-platform compatible cordless MX Duo: their Cordless Elite keyboard plus MX 700 cordless optical mouse, courtesy of 3Dconnexion ($100 value)

* a copy of dvGarage's Camera Mapping Lab ($99 value)

* a 5 CD set of motion graphics project lessons for Photoshop and After Effects from The Anvel ($75 value)

* Steve Wright's Digital Compositing for Film and Video, courtesy of Focal Press ($55 value)

* Trish & Chris Meyer's After Effects in Production, courtesy of CMP Books ($50 value)

* Steve Hullfish & Jamie Fowler's Avid Xpress Pro Editing Workshop, courtesy of CMP Books ($50 value)

* Darren Brooker's Essential CG Lighting Techniques, courtesy of Focal Press ($50 value)

* Adobe Photoshop Tips & Tricks training CD-ROM, courtesy of Total Training ($49 value)

* Stuart Blake Jones' Video Color Correction for Nonlinear Editors, courtesy of Focal Press ($45 value)

* Ed Gaskell's Creative Titling with Premiere Pro, courtesy of CMP Books ($45 value)

* Marc Loy's DVD Studio Pro 3: In the Studio, courtesy of O'Reilly Media ($45 value)

* Douglas Dixon's Adobe Encore DVD: In the Studio, courtesy of O'Reilly Media ($40 value)

* Richard Harrington & Abba Shapiro's Final Cut Pro: On the Spot courtesy of CMP Books ($28 value)

* Mark Dileo's Instant DVD Workshop 2, courtesy of CMP Books ($25 value)


digital projection made possible through the generous sponsorship of
Apple Computer and the Pixel Corps

with additional support from Adobe Systems, AJA, ProMax Systems,
BIAS, Inc, DigitalFilm Tree, and Gefen Inc.

Barnsdall Gallery Theatre and Art Park is a facility of the
City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department