— Vanilla Box Blog

A few pictures taken on a recent trip to the beautiful little town in Kent called Deal. A real gem of a coastal town, nestled between Sandwich and the white cliffs of Dover. It used to be a smugglers port, and you can see France on a clear day!






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Concept, Design & Direction: ManvsMachine
Agency & Production Company: 4creative
Creative Director: Dan Chase (Channel 4)
Producer: Liz Arnott (Channel 4)
Post Production VFX: Analog

A little Breakdown of the Film 4 Idents. My main focus was the piano breaking, which took about 30 takes by the end. Using Maya and DMM, then cached via Alemic, brought into Softimage and re skinned with a high res model. Rendered with Vray.

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Concept, Design & Direction: ManvsMachine
Agency & Production Company: 4creative
Creative Director: Dan Chase (Channel 4)
Producer: Liz Arnott (Channel 4)
DoP: Alex Barber
Art Direction / Set Design: Simon Davies (UK) Max Orgell (US)
Post Production VFX: Analog
Colourist: Aubrey Woodiwss (Electric Theatre Collective)
Offline Editors: Alex Lea (Envy) Nick Armstrong (Envy)
Music Composition: Resonate

Here’s another new bit of work. Completed over the past few months. Analog consulted on the shoot and live action. Then we did all the post, which even though it looks limited, was a huge amount of work. Hopefully there will be a making of shortly.
It’s testament to my fellow Analog colleagues how invisible all the post stuff was, as many still cling onto this being completely ‘in camera’.
My main task was fracturing the logo and the piano. This was done using DMM in Maya, after about 30 takes we got the right version. After this we cleaned it up in Softimage by ‘wrapping’ more detailed geo back the fracturing/flexing forms using ICE. It would have been nice to add all the strings etc, but it became way to complicated.

I also had to animate the logo for each version. This consisted of 20 ‘stop frame’ positions to get the right feel as the footage ramped up and down.

There is a ton of work in progress stuff on this, I may post it up once the dust has settled.

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A collaboration between Analog and Director Barney Steel at Marshmallow laser feast.
Model scanned by the amazing guys at FBFX.
Analog created all imagery, 3d, Rendering and composting.
Director : MLF
3D Scanning: FBFX
Producer : Emily Rudge
CG Direction / VFX : Analog
Music : Duologue

This amazing project was just finished at Analog, and was the culmination of several months work by our VFX Supervisor.
I was really lucky to be able to contribute a tiny tiny fraction, simulating some cloth for various shots, a few of which didn’t make it to the final cut.
Amazing to think the rest was completed by a one man army.

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It’s been a while since I’ve used ICE, but on a recent project involving lots of Alembic caches I thought it would be nice to be able to augment baked geometry. In 3dsMax the attachment constraint is perfect for this, but in Softimage there isn’t really anything similar.

Needless to say I didn’t get this implemented before the project was finished, typical. Anyway, now that project is done, I’ve made an effort to finish it.

To make this work, simply add the compound to a null, link your geometry to said null. Input the link to object name, and the polygon number you want to attach to.
Note: When working with kinematics in ICE. One very helpful tip (thanks to my co worker Simon Reeves for this one) is adding a key at frame 1. So when, as is normally the case, the kinematic tree gets ‘dirty’, Softimage can then work out where the null was originally, then re-apply the ICE kinematics. This saves, removing the ICE execution, zeroing and re applying it.

This compound works on quads, and Tri meshes, normal keyframed objects, and critically for me, imported alembic geo.




How it works:

If anyone is interested in how this works, you can of course open the compound.

But in short I create all the matrix transforms in a temp pose, then apply it in one go at the end. It starts by grabbing the polygon position, this becomes the snap transform. Then I get the polygon normal, and multiply it by the matrix rotation only, of the attach object. Then using the snap location, closest location will give the point ID’s of the polygon I’m attaching to. I then use two of these to find a poly orientated axis. Cross product this axis with the polygon normal, and you get a rotation matrix.

The trickiest part was working with an ice tree on the local object and referencing another object. Once the current null moves you cannot do any more computations, as you have the attachment object global position and the null objects new location, which causes problems in the kinematic stack. So you work everything out once, then apply the kinematic once.

A big issue I found was grabbing the normal off attachment object. If you use multiply by matrix on the normal, you get a distorted normal that is pushed from the null’s zero, to the attachment object. Thanks again to Simon, I use only the matrix rotation in the multiplication, and ignore the rest.

Scale is not supported, but if you need it, it could be added easily.


TW_ConstrainNullToSurface 1.1

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A little animation using my finished Mini Cooper. Still a few things not quite right, but it’s time to archive and move on!

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Brugge has to be the prettiest town I have ever visited, without a doubt.
Over the past few years we’ve been around the block quite a bit, to far flung places all over the world. Little did we know that Brugge was only 3hrs away on the Eurostar.

The little gothic town is like an espresso shot of coffee, tiny, but packs an almighty punch. As the crow flies you can walk from one side to another in 30 mins, but every corner you turn there is something waiting to be gawked at, my camera stayed stuck to my eye for hours.
You can spend days just loitering along the canals, bridges and alleyways, and I’ve never been to a town with so many gothic churches crammed into such a confined space.

Overall it’s one to put on your bucket list. London to Brussels 2hrs, Brussels to Brugge 1hrs, why are you still here, go now.

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Ghent was a very pretty town too, bigger than Brugge, but very similar. More industrial and built up,  it still had charm.

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A few photos from a long weekend in Belgium. We visited some family in Bruges, and on the way stopped at Brussels and Gent.
Belgium is a fascinating place, full of history at every turn of a corner. At some points I wasnt sure which way to look, with jaw dropping architecture littering every spare millimeter of lense space. Bring a spare memory card! Well worth a visit.

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A little visit to the hills surrounding Hastings. Great views of the sea, and an opportunity to push some photo exposures to the limit. Not great shots, but trying to manipulate them in the raw format.

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