Dads Army Movie (2016)

April 2015 I was part of the team at Molinare who were working on the VFX shots for Dad’s Army the movie.  The film is due to show within a couple of days, but if you can not wait that long you can view the trailer below. Interestingly this trailer has some shots I worked on.  At 1 minute 37 seconds you will be viewing the bull gag, I composited the bull chasing Mr Mannering along the screen and then when he dives over the bush for safety.


Nexus – BBC One Sprout Boy

I had a couple of visits back at Nexus Productions during November both to work on Christmas themed commercials. This one was for the BBC titled Sprout Boy meets a galaxy of stars. I was in for a very short period of time at the end of the schedule to help with the very last push on this piece. The section I worked on was from 30 seconds in, the snowman throwing a snowball at Sprout Boy. I was adjusting the matte painting and multipass compositing of the various elements to produce the final shot within Nuke.

You can view the entire video below.

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.



Nexus Productions – Smith & Foulkes – Orange Commercials

I had the pleasure to be the sole Nuke compositor on one of these fun commercials for Orange (Romania).  These two characters are always getting up to some kind of mischief or mini adventure.  The animation is entertaining and really catches your eye.  This was rendered multipass to allow a lot of flexibility within the composite and also required a little clean up on the CG.  I am looking forward to hopefully working on more of these in the future as I very much enjoy seeing the work of the animators bringing these two characters alive!


American Greetings – Thank You List

Being a fan of the artist Keira Rathbone for her typewritter art work ( I was excited to work on this project because the style reminded me of her work, sadly she was not invovled in the project. This piece was created for the online site it is an interactive piece whereby you choose whom you’d like to thank and your message to them along with a photo and it will create your very own personal video that you can then have sent to your choosen person.
I was involved in the compositing for this piece within a small team, we used a mixture of Nuke and After Effects. A version of the film can be seen below but the site is also still live so I highly recommend you give it a try if you have a friend you’d like to thank!


Film Team
CG Lead: Dara Cazamea
Storyboards: Cyrille Nomberg
Animation: William Lorton
Animation: Sabrina Lecordier
Animation: Ines Pagniez
3D: Pierre Clenet
3D: Remi Cauquil
VFX: Stuart Armiger
VFX: Pierre Clenet
VFX: Zoubein Rana
Compositing: Bence Varga
Compositing: Aitor Arroyo
Compositing: Chris Forrester
Compositing: Gianluca Vecchio

Nuke – How customizing, and python scripting made me enjoy using it

I have been using Nuke by the Foundry for a long time now as a freelancer.  Having used After Effects for a large majority of my career it took a while to fall in love with Nuke.  It was not the fact that Nuke was node based ( I had used Shake before) nor that it had a limited timeline, I just felt you had to spend a lot of time as a single user homing your gizmos, toolsets and to create the experience you personally wanted.  I started to enjoy using it once I got into doing this.  I started small,  just setting up node defaults in my  I progressed to adding a user tab to some nodes that automated certain actions, for example shuffle node to set all the RGBA channels to be all Red or Green.  My next step has been jumping into python.  I can not count the times I have been working on a job where at some point I have turned to someone and said ‘I wish this would work this way, or I know this could be sped up with a small bit of python’.  I joke with a good friend of mine Tim Bacon that we send Dear Mr. Foundry letters, pointing out why on earth does something work like this.  Well with python that can all change!

I had one of those conversations this week about something that was annoying me.  We are doing a lot of Nuke 3d and I felt it would be better looking in the node graph if the nodes spread around the scene node…and there it started.  I started to write something simple that would just place dots in an arc that had a start and end angle, then this moved into selecting some nodes and moving those into an arc.  If we move those though what about the nodes above?  Well we best move those into there new place also.  I soon realized that you might want the two angles not to go left to right, and you might want to reverse the order of the nodes.  This all works great as a function.  I have yet to make a dialog box to interface with it, but I could write a function that is attached to a shortcut to make it run in the GUI.  I realized that I would probably rather in this instance select my main node and have any nodes above that to move, and this is where I am at.  A weekend of coding and a nice tool to position my nodes.  I think it is just the start of this problem as pressing “L” in Nuke just does not cut it, it needs to be improved and I am sure it could be.  this is just the start of me writing python code to fix my day to day issues.  I am going to test this some more in production and once I get a GUI made to allow users to interface with all the options release the code.  I am sure the code is not pretty and could be improved but it does the job!  You can see a video below of it working.



Nexus Productions – Johnny Appleseed

Some of this commercial was shot with a motion controlled rig, however it was not very stable nor the move as smooth as we had wished.  My job was to stabilise and smooth the live action and lock the end position in place for the transition into the following shots.  I created various setups that the CG team would use as a reference for matching the animation to.  The bottle also required various cleanup and grading to match the clients taste.

You can view the completed video below.


Ubik – Luna – Perfect Moment

I worked with the great duo of Ubik on this advert for Middle Eastern evaporated milk brand.  My role was a compositor ( full credits here ) .  The shots were all rendered from Houdini as different passes and as layers of different depths.  Shots were composited in After Effects in linear work space at 32 Bits allowing us to keep all the fine details in tone.  I worked mostly on the last milky shot with the family, but we had some time to develop looks for the final composite and how the tea backgrounds were going to look.  The live action had some cleanup work done to it using Nuke.