Various jobs whilst at Glassworks (London)

From August 2015 I spent 4 months working at Glassworks on multiple jobs.  Initially I was brought in to work on a Doir commercial that I believe was aimed at tablet/website style adverts.  I was tasked with the beauty work required on the 3 commercials.  Shortly after this project finished I was moved over to a video for Samsung.  Compositing various greenscreen shots and tracking in screens.  Some of these used camera tracking data to speed up roto work and the placement of said screens.
I was then moved on to a job I had been keeping my eye on, some colleagues around me were working on the new music video for The Shoes titled Submarine.  It interested me because all the VFX work on the people in the video was being done in 2D and had to be very clean as it was mostly slow motion.  I worked on various shots for this video but the one I enjoyed the most was the slow motion punch shot at 3:15 minutes.  The face that gets hit distorts visibly requiring the artwork and paintwork to be tracked and warped very carefully to keep the form of the face.  This video was constantly asking for the highest quality of compositing and there was no room for cheating.  Once the music video was finished I had a quick stint on a PS4 commercial tweaking a shot that the client wanted changes made to.
The final job I worked on during this 4 month period was an exciting Oculus Rift 360 degree VR experience directed by Chris Cunningham.   The job required a fair amount of cleanup work and preparation of animated textures built from live action miniatures, using just small portions of each take.  These were then rendered through Nukes scanline renderer to create the illusion that the elements were locked to the live actions movements.  The piece from memory is over 4 minutes and very quickly become the job that was filling all of Glassworks server and resources.  Hopefully it will be released to the public in the near future and I can highly recommend viewing it when that happens.

Below is a video of The Shoes “Submarine”

Molinare – BBC Two London Spy

I had the pleasure of working with the lovely people at Molinare again recently on the new TV Series “London Spy”.  You can view the BBCs website for it via this link

We had quite a handful of VFX shots to work through for the five episodes this series was running for.  I worked on more than 60% of those shots that were allocated to our small and highly experienced team.

The work consisted of removals, invisible fixes, matchmoving, screen replacements and the part I enjoyed the most was a small motion graphic section demonstrating the voice recognition technology they spoke of during an episode.  This part was done in After Effects using the new facial tracker tools and various scripts, the main bulk of compositing was done within Nuke(X) and using Mocha Pro 4 to assist in tracking.

Below is a clip that shows the cleaned up footage and the section with the graphics, closed captioning describes the work that was required.

The Bank – Lumene True Mystic Volume Mascara Commercial

I was recommend to The Bank by Caroline Matthews (Marketing Director) whom I have worked with multiple times during her time at Airside and Rupert Ray she is now at Koto and it is always a pleasure working with her.  Initially I met with the team and was shown the project.  I loved the concept they were proposing of a continual loop.  We were to start with a sky full of northern lights and the product above the treetops the camera would move down through the trees to reveal the talent applying the mascara, further transitions would happen until we found ourselves again above the horizon viewing the northern lights and the product.  This was an ambitious job for The Bank as it was to be done internally to give them full creative control but they needed someone with the experience to guide the job and work closely with the inhouse talent to produce the final commercial, this was my role.  It was very much a hands on role, I was planning and supervising how we were going to solve each problem and working up shots early on to show timings and how the piece would look before the heavy duty VFX work was to proceed.
Running up to the shoot and during, the initial storyboard concept got diluted a little as you’ll see in the final video.  We did still get to work in half of the video as seamless transitions but the need for locked off beauty shots was strong that it had to change, we were able to end on a similar frame to how we started.

The first 5 seconds of the commercial had a camera solved so we could start to build the environment in After Effects.  The tail end of this 5 seconds was heavily styled to look more magical and lit.  I created a fake zDepth pass to add depth of field to the shot.  The same pass was used to make the cone of light moving through the trees react in a more realistic manner.  We pull further away from the forest out through the pupil of an eye.  The eyelashes don’t yet have the mascara applied as the brush passes through the eyelashes we reveal the now strong vibrant bold black lashes.  This shot required a lot of warping and stabilising to match the two takes together.  There was a lot of detailed beauty work done to the final close up of the eye; removing mascara clumps and smudges that are really now only picked up by the high resolution cameras used in productions.  After the mascara application shot it was mostly beauty work.  Frustratingly it rained a little during the shoot and the water droplets left odd smudges and white spots on the talent, along with those fixes we worked to make eyebrows look tidier and softened off shadows and creases.  We were taking care to keep the original skin texture and made sure the beauty work was subtle and local to the fixes required.  In comparison to the original it made a positive change.
In total including myself we had up to 4 of us working on various parts of the VFX for the commercial predominantly we started off with myself and Luke Doyle.  Luke Doyle, The Banks in house designer (now freelance) had been working on the look for the northern lights and built the product in 3D and animated it.  He took care of the CG compositing for that section.  Luke Carpenter and David Robinson were later brought to complete the team.  Luke Carpenter worked on the final packshot, and put in some R&D for the northern lights (which sadly went the live action route at the very last moment) and Dave Robinson was stellar in assisting me with the beauty work.  I have known both for a long time so knew to expect good things.



Modern Warfare 3 – Mission Control Screen

David Sayeed of Animated People arranged for me to interview with a company who deal mostly with computer game motion graphics. My previous work has not really been in that area so to sweeten the interview we decided I would mock up a Modern Warfare 3 style video clip. The clip was used to demonstrate my wide range of skills in After Effects and SynthEyes, I set out to demonstrate that I understood the look and feel for their work and to show my technical knowledge and work methods that allow for swift changes to be made and for shots to be re purposed quickly. The company was very pleased with the extra effort put in, they understood that the framework for the project had been put in place and that with more design time I could easily produce the work they would require.

The video below is a presentation of some of the steps involved in creating the above piece. Please view it in full screen mode for best results.

I also created a pdf document which outlines the important steps I took in creating this clip, you can view it here

Flash Man To The Victor The Spoils

You can read a little about the album here

This project was a little outside of Airsides comfort zone in that it was a full live action music video, wanting this piece to be great they brought on board a lot of talent who were very adapt in this area. Directing the piece was Tim Bricknell, and DOP was Carlos De Carvalho who has a long list of feature film work under his belt. I was brought in to head the compositing and 3d work, this involved a mixture of camera tracking, set building in 3d, and a fair amount of keying/rotoscoping. We had a small team of 4 working on the many shots, this video had a fairly quick turnaround and after seeing all the care and attention that had gone into the filming we did not want to compromise on the post production. I had trained an assistant to do some rotoscoping and guided her through her shots. Alasdair Brotherston was a pro and really helped us out in the last week to get the final long shots out.
During the start of the project it was just myself. I was going through each shot preparing the tracks and match moves so that they were ready for background artwork and keying. Once Everything had been setup I started to work on all the keying to a finished standard and adding extra touches to some of the shots, these included a snow storm and some squirting blood. The opening and closing shots were started by Simon Goodchild using Maya, I supplied the match moves and rough geometry in place for him to build the set around. After he finished we had to adjusted the closing shot to pull out from the crowd shot into the gallery as if it were the picture frame. This involved me setting up the camera move in Maya and then exporting it back into after Effects for me to build the crowd scene, this had some extra problems as the shot with the kiss was filmed with a pull out so it first had to be stabilized and then implement it as a 3d plane. The original picture frames were remodeled and a mixture of bump maps and displacement mapping was used to add the detail. I used high res photographs of the frames as the base for my textures, this really helped to add detail and form to the main picture frame that we move through.

Airside also commissioned a making of video for Flashman which can be viewed on Vimeo

Uli Meyer Studio – Domestos “Touch Me”

This commercial was made at Uli Meyer Studios, my role was senior compositor. 3D generalist and lighting TD Mark Bailey took the animated shots and brought them alive in Maya.
I used After Effects and Nuke for compositing. After Effects was used to stabilize some of the footage with its warp stabilizer, and handled the pack shot animations easily. Nuke was used through out for all the CG compositing. The live action shots required some cleanup and rig removing along with tracking points needing to be painted out, I first used SynthEyes to do a camera track this was very useful for some of the tracker removals as I would convert 3d points into 2d ones and attach my paint strokes to it. This workflow allowed the plate to be cleaned very quickly. I also used the tracking data to create a new floor and some geometry of the toilet inside so I could project some dirt and muck onto the live action plate. Geometry was created in Maya, and all projections done inside of Nuke for convenience and flexibility. Most of the CG was graded with mattes or subtraction of passes on the beauty and re-addition of the same pass that we wanted to adjust, this workflow was preferable for Mark as he had the time to tune his materials and lighting of shots to produce a very good looking render. Our renders were all done in house using Smedge, during the first couple of days I spent the time setting up each machine to be consistent with the software we were using and to pull all our plugins from a network source rather than locally. I also created a customized Nuke interface for submitting jobs to Smedge and for our gizmos along with bench-marking and prioritising machines for particular jobs . During the job I render wrangled and made sure we had the resources to get the job out in a timely manner. The fun part obviously was working with Marks renders. I setup a system of taking his Mattes and filtering them into my own channels in Nuke, I knew a certain amount of them would be standard and could be reused through out other Nuke scripts. This worked well in that most of my scripts were grade nodes using a channel for the matte. It kept the script tidy and compact, I would also leave notes in the nodes to make it clearer still what was going on. We added quite a lot of atmosphere to the shots with glows, trying to boost a wet look on the germs, and in camera effects like motion blur and depth of field. Mark worked very hard to make the Motion vector pass work exactly as it should and I have no doubt if it was the newer version of Maya that we were using it would have been easier but due to the germ rigs and associated scripts/ materials we were forced to use Maya 2009.

Mark Baileys website.