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14 Jan: One of my favorite things about Houdini

One of my favorite things about Houdini is the diagnostic tool used to identify missing images in a render.

When your average render engine goes to do a job, it begins by loading referenced geometry, images and whatever else might be needed for a given frame. If an image is missing, it won’t show up in a render.

earth from space

07 Nov: Decision Making in VFX Production: What is “correct”?

Recently I was part of an interesting discussion about doing things the “correct” way in a VFX production pipeline. Specifically, we were talking about scene scale and relative object scale. In general it is a good idea to build geometry to “correct” scale and to build scene environments to “correct” scale so that for any given situation, any arbitrary object will just drop into any arbitrary scene and fit without puzzling over math and doing research to check real scales and make adjustments.

penumbra and umbra example

29 Sep: Contact Shadows & Cast Shadows: A myth

Cast shadows, we are told, are the sharp shadows you can see cast by an object that is lit by a light source like a sun or light-bulb while contact shadows, apparently, are those kind of indistinguishable darkenings without a discernible edge that seem to appear as an object gets close to, and touches, a surface, like a car tire on the road on a cloudy day.

astronaut

11 Aug: University-itis: Why it is so hard to train university graduates.

Smart people tend to come to CG Masters for visual effects training. Often these smart people will already have a credential from another institution, usually an accredited university. Sometimes they have completed a visual effects training program at a university. You’d expect this to be a very good thing. After all, they have shown resilience, commitment, and perseverance.