25 May 2012
POSTED BY (Events, Industry)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What is your career path?
Both Nancy and I began our careers in entertainment (Film/TV/Media) and while in Hollywood producing and writing for the majors, purely out of a survival instinct I researched what makes any media product successful. And that soon extended to books, plays, video-games, and businesses in general. I discovered eight common denominators that became the “Think8″ methodology for igniting creative thinking in every field. Creativity is the basic and most vital asset that any individual or enterprise possesses as it’s the undercut to all problem solving. My trade-marked method is now in use by thousands globally – individuals and corporations – and it’s very gratifying for us to be able to help others achieve their full potential.

2. What does your master class consist of?
We explain the theory behind the Think8 tecnhique – how and why it works to stimulate (or unlock) creativity in anyone. Creativity is the building block of developing a dynamic “Creative Vision” for any project or enterprise. And it’s based entirely on formulating a “Powerful Narrative” which is the driver for all works of art, media, and successful businesses. This theory is twinned with practical fun exercises to familiarize oneself with the basic tools to demonstrate their value in conceiving, evaluating and executing any creative project. What I discovered in my research and through years of delivering our system around the world, is that Creativity can be learned. It’s not just something you are “born with”. You don’t have to be a creative genius to think like one. And once someone understands the mechanisms behind creative thinking, the process becomes intuitive and can be applied to any endeavor. The Master Class in an introduction to Think8 and how it can become an indispensable tool for any creative individual at any level of design, production, financing and management.

3. Who is your master class aimed at?
Our Master Class is for anyone who wants to tap into their full creative potential. Participants better understand (and in many cases “decode”) the creative thinking process and how to unleash it, literally, in their own work. The class is for virtually everyone – producers, creative directors, writers, graphic artists, designers, programmers – anyone and everyone who works in a creative industry (and what enterprise isn’t fueled by creativity!).

4. What will the participants learn?
The basic “take-away” is a real grasp of the mechanisms of creative thought and the tools to apply them to their respective fields of work. Creative thinking is “directed thinking”, contrary to popular belief. It’s focused, channeled, targeted thought. But how to bring this about is the breakthrough that is Think8 methodology. It’s been called “Creative Thinking Software” which is actually an apt description of its value.

5. A brief word for future participants?
Nancy and I look forward to bringing our methodology to a even wider audience as we are deeply committed to enabling other to succeed in their fields. We have learned through years of application and measurable results that if the creative thinking process is fully understood and its tool applied, it can help guarantee the success of any project. So anyone with a sincere desire to expand their own capabilities is encouraged to attend.

Visit Think8 website for more information

ELITE 2012 – Interview with Mike Beaulieu, Sony Animation Pictures

25 May 2012
POSTED BY (Events, Industry)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What is your career path?
I got into the Animation field because I love movies. I love storytelling. The thing I love about animation is that it’s pure creation. It’s breathing life into a character on screen that audiences connect with and root for. As an artist, I think that’s an amazing thing to achieve. I originally wanted to be a comic book artist, but that never panned out, so I went to study 2D animation at Sheridan. I gradually worked my way into CG features and VFX films. I don’t know what path my career will take me down, but I’ve enjoyed it so far and look forward to the future :)

2. What does your master class consist of?
I want to share the tips and tricks I’ve learned about how to create a performance or action in a realistic style of animation. These tips can be applied to any style of animation, but they have a specific application to VFX that I don’t think is taught often enough. Creature work or realistic humanoid animation is extremely difficult, because we all know what a human looks like in movement. Being humans ourselves we’re all experts on how we move, so it’s very hard to trick an audience into believing what they’re seeing is in fact real and not CG. What I will be covering is an overview of the things I’ve learned along the way.

3. Who is your master class aimed at?
Any Animator who is open to learning and sharpening their skills.

4. What will the participants learn?
My goal is for the attendees to take with them some insight and knowledge that will help them animate stronger performances.

5. A brief word for future participants?
Animation is like any skill that requires practice and study in order to improve. I have been fortunate to have animated with and be supervised by some animation greats. One thing that always stands out to me is how open they are to learning and improving. As amazing as they are, they are still learning and by no means think that they “know it all”. Attending classes like these is invaluable to animators who are open to improving and learning. I hope that what I’ve gathered along the way can help other artists improve, just as discovering these tips and tricks did for me.

ELITE 2012 – Interview with David Hubert and Pierre Perifel, Dreamworks

24 May 2012
POSTED BY (Events, Industry)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What is your career path?
David: I graduated from Collège Inter-Dec in 2000. Thought my interest in surfacing and lighting, it is as an animator at TVA International that my career started. After a few years at Montreal, this reached its peak with a job as lead animator on Pinocchio 3000, I decided to go and travel around the world to pursue my career abroad. Marseille, Sidney, London, Los Angeles and more recently Bangalore in India, gave me rich experience both professionally and personally. To be able to adapt to new cultures, new environments, new structures and ways to do things, gave a good perspective of the world of animation. I worked in both the best and the worst conditions possible, worked along exceptional artists and others not so much, and I got the chance to learn beside the best. Today, I teach to ones who, like me years ago, wish to one day live their passion.

Pierre: After training as an illustrator and a designer at the Emile Cohl School in Lyon, France, I integrated the Ecole des Gobelins in 2002. Three years later, I got out rich with a formation of quality in animation drawing, but who proved to be only the tip of the iceberg of a fascinating world. After working a few years in Paris on films and 2D series as an animator, storyboarder or character designer, I left France and 2D animation for the US and Dreamworks’ CG animation. Ironically, my first experience in Los Angeles has been in traditional animation for the Special DVD Kung Fu Panda: Secret of the Furious Five. I then joined the ranks of CG animators at Dreamworks and I worked on Monsters VS Aliens, Shrek 4 and Kung Fu Panda 2 where I learned the role of character lead as I developed the villain. In the movie, Rise of the Guardians, I work as an animation supervisor, a job that allows me to thrive in this role that is both didactic and of a leader, like the classes and master classes I give from time to time in Europe or Asia.

2. What does your master class consist of?
It is an expose about the physical aspect of a character animation. Human anatomy, the laws of physics, body language, the study of a realistic movement, its visual adaptation and the various animation techniques are a few of the subjects that will be presented.

3. Who is your master class aimed at?
The laws of animation are universal and can be applied to all mediums. Of course, this class is mostly designed for animators (animation films, VFX, video games, etc.), but also for riggers and modellers. A good knowledge of human anatomy and movement amplitudes necessary for the animator are essentials for the conception (modeling) and preparation (rigging) of a CG character.

4. What will the participants learn?
Everything we learned from the best of the industry.

5. A brief word for future participants?
This master class is centered on the quality of the execution of a character animation. We won’t talk about acting, the personality of the character or software used in animation but we will focus the precision of the physical aspect of an animation.

Before writing a complete piece, the writer must learn to write without making mistakes. This is also true for animation. Although, it is true that the ultimate goal for an animator is to communicate emotion through acting that is original, genuine and precise, to animate honoring the laws of physic and the limits of the character anatomy is the basic of creating quality animation.

Hoping to see you again and share with you what, through our respective careers, our mentors taught us what they learned.

ELITE 2012 – Giovanni Nakpil, ILM

23 May 2012
POSTED BY (Events, Industry)

1. Please tell us about yourself. What is your career path?
Being a child of the 80′s, I grew up watching many monster and horror films. Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, Stan Winston and other Make-Up FX gods were my idols. Most of all, I was influenced by the works of ILM, the company I’m working for. Not many can say that they’ve achieved their childhood dream but I am lucky enough to reach my goal. I was able to collaborate with many artists who have greatly influenced me in becoming the artist I aspire to be. I am nowhere near there yet since it would take a lifetime, but I have been extremely fortunate to be mentored by these industry legends.

Being a 3D modeler for most of my career, I now want to expand my knowledge beyond that point. Along with modelling my creations, I also want to design and animate my artwork. Eventually I want to collaborate with my wife (who’s an amazing writer) and produce a few animated short films based on her wonderful ideas.

2. What does your master class consist of?
The master class will consist of two things. The first part is the pre-production aspect of the process. I will go through the entire process of taking a 2D concept piece and converting it into a 3D concept with Zbrush. In the creature’s construction, I will discuss the importance of creature form in their primary, secondary and tertiary stages. The intent is to get approval from a fictitious client on the design, so we will touch on the various methods of achieving that through a presentation, which will range from a dynamic still image, a turntable and an animated “life test” that shows the creature in motion. Modo’s rendering tools will be explored as a way to present the creature in the best possible light.

The second topic is production modelling. Building upon the “approved” creature from the first part of the class, I will go through the process of how a production modeller typically approaches a high resolution build of a creature. Topics such as proper topology for facial and body deformations will be touched on along with proper construction of facial blend shapes.

Monthly profile : Maryse Bouchard, Graduate from the Film and Television Program

09 May 2012

Interview with Maryse Bouchard, Graduate from the Film and TV Program, Fall 1998 and Textures and Lighting Artist at Hybride Technologies.

1. Where do you work and what is your job?
I work as a Lighting and Textures artist at Hybride Technologies, since 2003.

2. Why did you choose a career in 3D?
Because it was possible! What I mean by this is: when I was in high school, 3D did not exist. Or rather, it wasn’t known. I would have loved to work on animated cartoons but I believed that it all came from the USA and thus, wasn’t available to a little girl from St-Jean Lake like me. While I finished my degree in Pure Sciences, special effects movies such as The Abyss, Total Recall and Terminator 2 were presented in cinema. It was “never seen before” and very exciting! At the same time, I saw the first animated short-film Tony de Peltrie. It wasn’t an animated cartoon: it was totally different from anything I saw before and I was totally mesmerized. I learned that the film has been produced by Montrealers and that one of them had started his own company: Softimage. I was also very happy to learn from my brother, who was studying at the Cegep de Jonquière, that the school was starting a new introduction course on Softimage. I then stop question myself about my registration to university and I completed my course at Cegep in marketing. Softimage was a revelation and it was perfect for me: I was going to be a 3D artist.

 

ELITE 2012 – Realistic Animation in Live-Action films

24 April 2012

VFX animation has a style all its own, which gets lesser attention than skill sets taught to most animators. In this master class, participants will learn ways to see their animation with a critical and realistic eye.

Michael Beaulieu currently works at Sony Imageworks Vancouver as an Animation Supervisor. Michael trained at Sheridan College’s Classical Animation program and began his career at C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures soon after graduation. While at C.O.R.E., Michael helped design the movement of a creature in the film They and worked on various TV series. His filmography includes many feature films such as Jumper, Transformers, How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind, Smurfs and Amazing Spider-Man. Feeling fortunate to have learned tips and and tricks from some industry greats and to have been a part of some amazing projects, Michael’s main focus now is to mentor animators and supervise animation on exciting films. You can check his latest demoreel for more examples of his work.

The master class will take place on May 25th, from 9AM to 5PM.

Visit the ELITE website for the complete master classes’ schedule and our Facebook page for the latest news regarding the convention.

Matt Guetta will give a Lighting and rendering master class during the ELITE Convention

20 April 2012

This one -day workshop will introduce the advanced techniques of lighting created using the rendering tools of ChaosGroup V-Ray. The workshop covers base techniques of lighting, linear workflow, realistic shader creation and rendering optimization. It is designed for 3D artists, industrial designers and architects.

Matt Guetta is a CG and 3D artist specialized in architectural visualization. Starting as a hobby, Matt was soon fascinated by the 3D universe. In 2009, he decided to reorient his career and started to learn V-Ray in order to become a lighting artist. Check his website to discover more of his work.

The master class will take place on May 29th, from 9AM to 5PM

Visit the ELITE website for the complete master classes’ schedule and our Facebook page for the latest news regarding the convention.

Monthly profile : Mark Morissette, Graduate from the Film and Television Program

11 April 2012

Interview with Mark Morissette, Graduate from the 3D Animation for Film and TV Program, Fall 1998 and 2D Supervisor for the VFX Department at Vision Globale. Mark is also the president of the Montreal Nuke User Group.

1. Where do you work and what is your job?
I am the 2D Supervisor of the Compositing Department at Vision Globale. I make sure every VFX production work perfectly in the company.

2. Why did you choose a career in 3D?
I discover Autodesk 3ds Max when I was studying aeronautic at ENA. I then found out about Centre NAD and I switched to my second passion in life: movie and cinema.

The Power of Narrative : Building a Creative Vision

20 March 2012

Most people in the business have been either brainstorming or have taken part in “out-of-the-box” thinking sessions when building a Creative Vision. But the problem is, while some ideas stick many don’t. And then, once committed to these ideas, two nagging questions often rear up: are we moving forward on the right track? Will this approach actually deliver results?

This master class will be delivered by Mark Shekter and Nancy Trites Botkin of First Star International. They will introduce an entirely new and proven methodology (Think8) for building a Creative Vision for any type of media project. The value of the Think8 system is that it’s a natural complement to all computer and graphics technologies and has been called “Creative Thinking Software” for the digital age. After years of research into the patterns of success (books, TV shows, films or other media), Mark Shekter found that “creative thinking” was not random, but rather “directed thinking”. His system has been taught to thousands, enabling creative directors, designers, game-developers, artists, and programmers to “rethink how they think” about building a creative vision, strong characters and immersive stories for their products.

Monthly profile : Michel Lanoie, Graduate from the Digital Design and Video games Program

14 March 2012

Interview with Michel Lanoie, Graduate of the Digital Design in Video Games, Fall 2006 and senior texture artist at Eidos Montreal.

1. Where do you work and what is your job?
Senior texture artist at Eidos Montreal.

2. Why did you choose a career in 3D?
Since I was young, I was always captivated by video games. As I grew older, I began to wonder how they worked. How was it possible to create something as wonderful, seemingly from nothing? That what was intriguing in 3D.

Also, being able to move vertex and polygons, to use simple geometric shapes in order to create a complex structure and to create a 3D object from 2D shapes, is a process that I find wonderful. At this point, imagination is limited only by the obstacles that we set up ourselves.