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robertoortiz
12-24-2010, 06:53 AM
It sadden for me to say this...
CafeFx Closes Shop
http://www.cafefx.com/

OnlineRender
12-24-2010, 07:09 AM
f***** nightmare ,look at the projects they worked on , how can this be ? ......... goodluck to everyone .......


RIP CafeFX

Samus
12-24-2010, 07:11 AM
Sad...Cafe Fx crew will bounce to other vfx Companies i HOpe.

Good luck and thanks for those inspiring well crafted VFX.

cresshead
12-24-2010, 08:54 AM
tis the season to fold up shop...(not joy)

where will it end..? just ILM?

rezman
12-24-2010, 09:24 AM
Thank sites like this:
http://www.poptent.net/

robertoortiz
12-24-2010, 09:26 AM
Thank sites like this:
http://www.poptent.net/

WOW.
Talk about an industry cannibalizing itself.
Thanks for the link.

Greenlaw
12-24-2010, 09:37 AM
Sigh! I heard this was coming from friends who worked at CafeFX. I know a lot of people who worked there (some have even come to R+H,) and they all expressed fondness for Cafe. Very sad to see it finally happen. My wife worked there on Pan's Labyrinth and she found it to be a great experience too.

G.

Matt
12-24-2010, 09:56 AM
This really sucks. Good luck to all those affected.

lightmann
12-24-2010, 12:57 PM
:( :( :( :( :(

Philbert
12-24-2010, 01:32 PM
I thought they closed last year. No?

SplineGod
12-24-2010, 03:00 PM
Ive seen it happen to alot of studios over the years. Its sad but what usually happens is that people get recycled into other studios and new studios are created in the process. It usually works out in the end. :)

Titus
12-24-2010, 04:13 PM
Thank sites like this:
http://www.poptent.net/

Wow, simply wow! Those prices are ridicolous even here.

It's sad. It's not just that they (CafeFX) shuffle the talent to another studios. I love the creative work they did in the past.

rezman
12-24-2010, 08:33 PM
Wow, simply wow! Those prices are ridicolous even here.

It's sad. It's not just that they (CafeFX) shuffle the talent to another studios. I love the creative work they did in the past.

I know (and I'll try not to get preachy) it is truly amazing on so many levels. People, and companies, who submit to that site and others like it hurt the entire industry. It's their business if they want to sell themselves short...but in so doing it devalues everyone's work.

It makes me wonder if creatives will continue working for "offshore" level of income, or if they will simply move on to something that pays the bills.

robertoortiz
12-24-2010, 08:56 PM
I
It makes me wonder if creatives will continue working for "offshore" level of income, or if they will simply move on to something that pays the bills.

I feel strongly in my bones that we should move more towards developing our own IP.
Thanks to the power and speed of 3d tools a reasonable sized team should be able to develop content.
We could copy the way it is done in the comic book industry.

I know it sounds a bit nuts, but it beats this flight to oblivion we all seem to be headed.

ericsmith
12-24-2010, 10:30 PM
I feel strongly in my bones that we should move more towards developing our own IP.
Thanks to the power and speed of 3d tools a reasonable sized team should be able to develop content.


That's exactly what I'm doing now, so I'm in agreement, but it's not as easy as it seems.

There are a lot of elements that need to line up with each other for it to actually work, and many skillsets need to be well represented.

If you're going solo, that requires one person to be very good at a lot of things, which is rare, especially considering this industry as pushed most of it's workers towards focusing on one particular specialty.

On the other hand, the team concept breaks down very quickly when there isn't a clear hierarchy of leadership. If you follow this to it's logical conclusion, you end up right where the industry is now.

So the bottom line is, I'm a hundred percent in favor of the idea, but unfortunately for most, it's going to require some big changes in mindset to accomplish.

Eric

LazyCoder
12-24-2010, 10:41 PM
Oh no! Aren't those the people that did Pan's Labyrinth?

Terrible day for the vfx community... :(

warmiak
12-24-2010, 11:02 PM
WOW.
Talk about an industry cannibalizing itself.
Thanks for the link.

No, it is the natural progress of things .... it used to take days or weeks for a well trained ( we talking here decades of experience ) individual to produce something while these days an average factory can spit out high quality items in tens of thousands per day.

Your tools, which used to costs tens of thousands of dollars, are now available at 1/10th of the cost so by definition there will be more and more people capable of doing this type of work for less.

Dexter2999
12-24-2010, 11:08 PM
Well, it would mean that a principal partner in the firm would need to be a producer rather than a TD/Supervisor. Someone who finds/cultivates a property and investors. Rather than a sprawling sales department (as I saw one facility turn it's soundstage into... :::cough::CIII::cough) expanded production offices.

It can also be a risk to try to make something great. Or swallow ones pride and crank out formulaic product that is guaranteed to find an audience and make a profit if not a windfall like the riskier product might. I guess you could treat the assets like a sound investment portfolio where you keep 75 to 80% in the safe media (or Blue Chip stock) and risk the rest on potentially riskier higher profile fare that could make higher returns.

Key is capital. And that is easier said than done.

Dexter2999
12-24-2010, 11:12 PM
No, it is the natural progress of things .... it used to take days or weeks for a well trained ( we talking here decades of experience ) individual to produce something while these days an average factory can spit out high quality items in tens of thousands per day.

Your tools, which used to costs tens of thousands of dollars, are now available at 1/10th of the cost so by definition there will be more and more people capable of doing this type of work for less.

I agree with some of what you said on a certain level. The problem is that just because someone has the tools doesn't mean they know what they are doing or do it particularly well.

Most people have a word processor. That doesn't make them writers.
Many people buy editing software. That doesn't make them good editors.
I can buy a camera. It won't make me a DP.

Certainly lower costs does open the gate to more talent. But it shouldn't mean that the newcomers should undermine the industry they wish to be apart of by devaluating it.

warmiak
12-24-2010, 11:23 PM
I agree with some of what you said on a certain level. The problem is that just because someone has the tools doesn't mean they know what they are doing or do it particularly well.

Most people have a word processor. That doesn't make them writers.
Many people buy editing software. That doesn't make them good editors.
I can buy a camera. It won't make me a DP.

Certainly lower costs does open the gate to more talent. But it shouldn't mean that the newcomers should undermine the industry they wish to be apart of by devaluating it.

Sure, but the great majority of typical clients aren't looking for an artist but for someone solid enough who will do the job and frankly, it matters not if it is an academy award winner or a machine.

As in every industry, the market for true artists is very small.... a solid "engineer" type of person who knows what he/she is doing is often more than enough and face it, majority of work out there doesn't require anymore than that.

robertoortiz
12-25-2010, 01:04 PM
Agreed...

Another big obstacle is that we have to change the freelancer culture.

Here in DC i have spoken to artist organizations on the need to break from the "GOLUM" mentality on projects.
On one hand artists who come from big studios suffer from specialitis.
Freelancers tend to be generalists, but some times they forget that they have limitations.
(Character animation is a BIG one)



I
Most people have a word processor. That doesn't make them writers.
Many people buy editing software. That doesn't make them good editors.
I can buy a camera. It won't make me a DP.



Agreed!
Add to that that a lot of freelances are afraid to collaborate on projects, since they fear the client will go eventually with their coolaborator, but then complain that some commisions are to big for them to handle on their own.




As in every industry, the market for true artists is very small.... a solid "engineer" type of person who knows what he/she is doing is often more than enough and face it, majority of work out there doesn't require anymore than that.

Well a client might say that they dont care how a product looks until they turn blue in the face.
But this is a lie and they know it.
Human beings have that capacity to know when somethings "looks" right or looks like utter dreck.
A cheap looking video for a brand will cheapen the perception of a product.


An indie director might say that he does not need a DP.
Here is the thing, a lot of these films dont have DP and frankly it shows.
A lot of these films look like someone handed a monkey a red camera.
Look at cinematography of a film like
The Assassination of Jesse James
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp2ppYB9fDo

and compare it with a film like
'Rachel Getting Married'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tIvMUy8UDs

One looks like a film I might pay to own.
The other looks like utter crap.

This applies the same to animation
A money guy might say that a money like Hoodwinked! is a great investment.
And that might be true IN THE SHORTR TERM.
Never mind that it looks like crap and that the IP will be worthless.


Say what you might about Disney they Know how important is to deliver a product that looks professional.

This is why Disney takes care in delivering a quality product.
It will have a repeat value, and the IP will be protected.

robertoortiz
12-25-2010, 01:26 PM
:( Sad to hear...
All the best to the people of CafeFX on their future endeavours.


Agreed.
It also bothers me that Asylum FX went under.
These people with all their talent deserved better.




Well, it would mean that a principal partner in the firm would need to be a producer rather than a TD/Supervisor. Someone who finds/cultivates a property and investors. Rather than a sprawling sales department (as I saw one facility turn it's soundstage into... :::cough::CIII::cough) expanded production offices.

It can also be a risk to try to make something great. Or swallow ones pride and crank out formulaic product that is guaranteed to find an audience and make a profit if not a windfall like the riskier product might. I guess you could treat the assets like a sound investment portfolio where you keep 75 to 80% in the safe media (or Blue Chip stock) and risk the rest on potentially riskier higher profile fare that could make higher returns.

Key is capital. And that is easier said than done.

Agreed that is why I think we should look into ways to minimize the risk, and allow for the cultivation of ideas. (The more IP an artist generates is a good thing).

Look at Dark Horse Comics, and Image Comics. How they have become cultivators of IP.

Dexter2999
12-25-2010, 02:05 PM
Well a client might say that they dont care how a product looks until they turn blue in the face.
But this is a lie and they know it.
Human beings have that capacity to know when somethings "looks" right or looks like utter dreck.
A cheap looking video for a brand will cheapen the perception of a product.


This applies the same to animation
A money guy might say that a money like Hoodwinked! is a great investment.
And that might be true IN THE SHORTR TERM.
Never mind that it looks like crap and that the IP will be worthless.


Repeat value is gone sure. But even more revenue can be lost because there will be a lack of merchandising and corporate tie ins and promotions...and the ever important, higher grossing sequel is certainly not going to happen.

Yeah, cutting costs can be a "penny wise, pound foolish" endeavour.

cresshead
12-25-2010, 02:17 PM
i think the messages here are

1.- the world has 'shrunk', no longer do you need to be in the USA to get a job done that's for the USA market>> the net is fast enough to work anywhere from a net connection...this means USA pay scales work against studio's bidding for work when up against india/korea/eastern europe and russia animation studio's.

2.- 'special effects' are no longer special...all the stuff people had to invent new plugins/methods have been done- sorted and are now more or less 'off the shelf' with a click/click done.

3. - the rest of the world has caught up in training their 3d artists to a good standard and many USA born artists now work overseas anyhow.

4. 'good enough' - this has been around forever but some clients just want you to copy a film effect for a tv show/advert or other film effect and not invent something new...'just make it look like that>>'

5. with advances in off the shelf software such once cutting egde hi end tasks like cloth, fluids, radiosity, hair, fur have all been solved, packaged and put in all the 3d apps so are just a training video from digital tutors away.

..oh yeh...Merry Xmas:devil:

Titus
12-26-2010, 12:11 AM
i think the messages here are

1.- the world has 'shrunk', no longer do you need to be in the USA to get a job done that's for the USA market

I'm just back from watching Tron, the last company listed in the credits is local. They have decided to invade Hollywood and now they have credits in movies like Benjamin Button and Zodiac.

Greenlaw
12-26-2010, 02:46 AM
the world has 'shrunk', no longer do you need to be in the USA to get a job done that's for the USA market>> the net is fast enough to work anywhere from a net connection...this means USA pay scales work against studio's bidding for work when up against india/korea/eastern europe and russia animation studio's.
I think things may eventually balance out everywhere and companies will go back to hiring locals. I remember reading an article about Dreamworks Animation setting up shop in India and how they paid top rates in order to attract the best talent in the region. The effect was that it raised salaries for all the local artists, even those not working for Dreamworks Animation. Sooner or later, the savings in cost by sending fx and animation work abroad could become less significant.

Or I might be just dreaming. :)

G.

erikals
12-26-2010, 06:04 AM
like i said in another thread,... adapt... :]

if you adapt in a smart way it might be even better than before... :]

Elmar Moelzer
12-26-2010, 09:14 AM
I think things may eventually balance out everywhere and companies will go back to hiring locals.

Yeah, like all the car manufacturers did, hu (which really did not do you any good, btw)?
The problem is the hire and fire mentality in the US. It is ruining your country. Holywood is destroying itself, just like the car industry in the US does too. I wonder when they will need a bail out (which they will emmediately pass on to China where they mass produce their crap like the car industry did as well)

warmiak
12-26-2010, 10:44 AM
Y Holywood is destroying itself, just like the car industry in the US does too.

Toyota and others (outside of the UAW cartel ) maintain dozens of manufacturing plants and eploy tens of thousands of people while making profits.

There are huge problems with GM and Chrysler but there is nothing wrong with the US car industry.

Ivan D. Young
12-26-2010, 10:48 AM
Well this is a fundamental problem that is lurking for the Modern world which no one has an answer. What to do when we have automated ourselves out of our own jobs?

Theoretically Creative fields are suppose to be the more resistant to this, I do not think that is what we are seeing. Which is also a problem. We are not seeing the Liberation of Creatives to take full advantage of the access that they have. The Field is quickly going to large array of lesser talented individuals, but what they lack in skills they make up in numbers.

IT is not that they are lacking skill, it is that in sheer numbers of facilities globally that have the right mix of skills needed for a particular task is growing. Traditionally, one VFX house very high concentration of skills for a wide range of tasks. They are expensive. Now we see a wide range of shops with varying skills and slightly narrowing skill sets. The Studios shop till they find what they need and get a savings on money.

Plus the software definately is adding to this, as the technology advances it requires less people. I am not sure really ultimately where the failure is?
Maybe software companies slowing down the rate of technology progression is having an effect? ALL Software companies have slowed thier tech rates and now the "so-Called" cutting edge artists are not as cutting edge based on artists globally.

Most of Us were learning lots of new skills every year, you could not keep up, there was so much it was hard to manage. That was like 10 years ago now.

Now software has plateaued in a sense, the rest of the world has caught up and many artists are in a sense stuck. Yeah you can always develop you art skills but the added factor of Times Savings and previously Unknown skills sets is not really there right now.

Lets be Honest, many many folks in this field were a Combo_Artist. Half Artist and Half Technology maven. Now that Half of your arsenal is not really there.

I guess that is an element of the Intensity that is thrown at Newtek. It is something that the Artists are feeling but not able to articulate. We need the speed the new technology but not necessarily know why.

Now we know why, The speed of "easy" (relative term) software, large pools of talent, cheaper pools of talent. Are making the industry cannibalize itself.

The World is getting smaller, but at some point the sheer numbers of artists is going to shrink. we are not seeing the rise of more companies based on Highly skilled Artists, we are seeing the rise of moderately skilled just good enough Artists. That type of cycle will always lead to the "Rush to the Bottom" that everyone talks about.

Should Newtek start spending more time on a Chinese version of LW?
Maybe a version of LW that is more friendly to other languages?
Based on the Trends we are seeing I think so, the VFX industry in the West is taking a pounding right now. The technological De-Centralization of the Industry is not going to stop.
Unless maybe the Internet dies? Or it becomes more expensive somehow to be De-Centralized. Which right now does not seem like a possiblity.

Sorry for the long post, but this seems to be a topic that is occuring alot these days. Cafe FX is just a company that got stuck in the middle and we all hate this situation, but it is also a Clarion call to arms.

I love this field, but the rate it is deteriorating as a young industry is amazing! It is not aging well. we all wanted the Democratizing of 3D and VFX, but it is not what is happening really. For those outside of the West, be careful, the Locust nature of the Biz is fickle.

It should not be like this, but what the hell it is.

robertoortiz
12-26-2010, 10:54 AM
Great post Ivan
I do have a question.
Why are artits so resitant (or incapable) to producing their own IP?
And why are we so resitant of working in groups outside companies?
The comic book inustry is filled with tons of indie projects, so why we dont see more of this in CG?

-R

Dexter2999
12-26-2010, 12:01 PM
The "IP" of the CG medium is collaborative by nature.
CG artists are people who create the visuals for a story. That doesn't mean they are writers. For that matter that doesn't even mean the are good Directors. The animator may not even be particularly good at character design. I have seen any number of examples of work in the CG community where the vast majority is "good" or even "very good" but it is very little that I look at and say "there IT is!"

I have commented about the pitfalls of the independent versus the collaborative process before online. The process is what it is and there are detriments to both systems. They key is to know where shortcomings are and be proactive in addressing them.

So CG artists creating original IP doesn't automatically doesn't translate into a complete, marketable (therefore valuable) property.

Here is yet another issue is that if a CG artists puts forth an idea while working for a company what is the just compensation for that individual? Promotion in position for the duration of the work? Percentage points of the production? Points could certainly motivate employees to generate original IP.

Working in groups outside of companies? Artists I have found in my experience get bored easily and without the monetary motivator they drift off to new more interesting things.

Oh well, gotta run. Time to get ready for work.

Intuition
12-26-2010, 12:08 PM
The 3d industry is getting invaded on all fronts. As end users have become more dependent on smart software, the result is that the software is easier to use which results in more people using it. This ultimately ends up making things cheaper overall as supply and demand economics take over.

I have learned so many 3d apps to keep myself useful. I learned so many render engines as well. Now you have Vray and Vray RT making life super easy in the lookdev department. It used to be that you needed lighting/shading specialists with renderman, mental ray, etc. But now Vray makes life easy. It is the look most people want and it gets it easily. We train people here at DD in less then two weeks to be good Vray people. Sure, they make some mistakes here and there on a few projects but they can leave DD and be ready for Vray work anywhere.

So, what is still in demand in 3d?

Good modelers are still in demand. Especially subD modeling.
Good sculpting (zbrush, Mudbox)
Good riggers
Good Animators
Good TD's

I've been learning python and MEL this last year and finally have been applying it in Maya. Learned how to call up QT interfaces and streamline numerous processes. I've been doing this for two reasons.

1. I hit a wall in all apps when they have feature limitations. Many of which some good python and MEL can get around.
2. I am trying too keep myself useful.

Number two is huge.

I learned rigging/animating for this same reason.

You are starting to see and endless pile of demo reels where people are showing their lighting and shading capabilities. But these are no longer in demand unless you can show you have specialty experience with custom shader and lighting setups.

What you don't see very often is good rigging reels, good coding and/or TD resume, and great character animation reels.

I used to love lighting and shading. Now it just seems like every project I work on has interns showing up thinking they are some kind of genius because they have been given Vray to use. And I love Vray and love to use it. But it takes little skill to get up to speed with it. So It seems more and more I am focusing on rigging... or dynamics, or writing some custom tool out of necessity.

Sure, I get dragged in on some lighting setups that need special attention like a pearlesce car paint shader or some sort of distance to camera based shader. Something that actually requires some custom written expression.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love to geek out on this stuff but I am also prodding myself into these skill sets so that I can try to stay employed.

As we demand the 3d apps to do more for us we are slowly demanding it to be easier for the less informed.

I've seen so many people converted from Lightwave or 3dmax into Maya or Houdini just to get work in SoCal.

Friends of mine have broke off from Eden FX to work at a place called pixomondo and I hear tale that its going to be a Maya/Vray house.

Hmm.. big surprise. Animation/Rendering powerhouse combo.

Yet as this skill set spreads it will be in less demand.

I am bummed to hear about CafeFX and even Asylum. CafeFX had a good portion of Softimage people. Blur still uses Softimage to some extent I think... side by side with Max.

I don't mean to sound the alarm but we have all had a pretty nice time in our CG world over the last 15 years+. But the world has taken notice and wants to play too. Keep your self useful.

It reminds me of all the font and print experts that lost work and closed shops wih the advent of photoshop and postscript fonts. You didn't need the metal letters and ink anymore. Just a computer and PS. Some of these people adapted. Same thing happned to practical effects people jumping into 3d.

Of course, you also needed a great sense of design and vision on top of the tech know how but, tech knowledge can get people in the door. Especially when they have a lower pay rate (read China).

So you have to bring your A game to the market.

Stay useful. :D

And good luck to all the Asylum and CafeFX employees out there fighting for a slice.

Ivan D. Young
12-26-2010, 12:14 PM
Wow! I am not even remotely qualified to really answer that sorta question.

I think many Artists are creating IP. I would bet money that every individual on this forum has something, a story, a character, a toy, something.

Why they are not pursuing it is another completely different question. When William Vaughan and I worked together it was in some of the early years of development of Tofu the Vegan Zombie. I am not here to tell his Story, William is better suited to that. But my observations from the immediatle sideline is where I think the situation is. There is a lot of Ebb and Flow to getting a Burgeoning IP off the ground. Some of that Ebb and Flow is Months to Years in the making.

Roberto you I think are right on with the Comic Industry angle. But there is the very real possibility that an IP take years to gestate. I think for many folks that is the problem.

Nurturing an IP takes alot of everything to have success. Plus, there is the whole aspect of making sure your IP is yours, that your IP is differentiated from extablished IPs, and how to protect your IP.

Also in many cases folks need help in some aspect of their IP work. There will always be some area where each of us might need some help.


Then there is the question of why do more folks not work together? It is like herding Cats! Just with my circle of friends that talk about this endlessly, at a certain level I think some of it is that Our Collective Tastes are so different it makes it difficult to find consensus.

The Same skills that make us very complimentary in an Animation or VFX pipeline makes it difficult to agree on group projects.

The Key to making this work, in my opinion, is to NOT tackle projects that you are Married too! A group project, has to be flexible, It should not be someone's personnal artistic vision. That is how the personnal stuff gets in the way.

Roberto do you think the CG industry is as helpful to young IP developers the way the Comic's industry is?

I do not think so, I have gone to some Comic Conventions in my time. When you go, many folks in the field are not just training fellow artists on their art skills. They also spend lots of time of building the next generation of business talent. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not see the same level of business/IP dev. from our field like I do thiers.

The CG field needs to be like the Comic Book guys, ways to pass successful IP knowledge on and get folks to success. There needs to be a repsitory or knowledge base for where to find access to support systems we would need.

It is not that Artists here can't do it, I think most of us have spent so much time Honing our skills in one direction and now we need to go in another direction and just need some help.

The Last comment I would add, everyone wants to make thier own movie. The problem is that it takes time and money, but also you need help from "GateKeepers" the distributors. I think we all know that the large Media companies do not risk themselves on New IP readily. So we are back to the Gestation period of your IP.

Look at your skill set, look at what is acheiveable in a reasonable amount of time, and figure out what you like. Plus not every IP will be successful you might need several.

NanoGator
12-26-2010, 07:11 PM
Great post Ivan
I do have a question.
Why are artits so resitant (or incapable) to producing their own IP?
And why are we so resitant of working in groups outside companies?
The comic book inustry is filled with tons of indie projects, so why we dont see more of this in CG?

-R

I personally think it's barrier to entry. Id love to create my own short, but that is lots of assets, animation, and voices. Those are all steps after the screenplay and storyboards etc are done.

robertoortiz
12-26-2010, 08:17 PM
Roberto do you think the CG industry is as helpful to young IP developers the way the Comic's industry is?
I do not think so, I have gone to some Comic Conventions in my time. When you go, many folks in the field are not just training fellow artists on their art skills. They also spend lots of time of building the next generation of business talent. Maybe I am wrong, but I do not see the same level of business/IP dev. from our field like I do thiers.


No we are not.
This is a mentality I am trying hard to change. Here in Washington DC we have done some progress into changing this culture. Right now we still drink the cool aid of the "Rock star" artist. The fact that students in art programs are @#@[email protected] clueless about the industry is one of the many factors that is killing us.

Ignorance most artists have about their rights is mind blowing.
2 years ago when we (We being the CGSOCIETY, Concept art, and a Boatload of artists organizations) fought the orphan works act, it blew my mind how little artist knew about their IP rights. About how there are intellectual property laws that are there to protect their rights. But hey, Google says "we do no evil" so lets give them all our artwork as clip art.


Hell the fact that we don't educate more people about the evils of the 1099 contract is a sin. And while these companies rake in the millions, and a a lot of us are heading into our 40's with no decent health care.

Job related Carpal tunnel , Diabetes, back conditions are rampant in this industry, but hey we love the glamour.

And to top it all these companies collude to keep salaries low...
case in point:


DOJ investigation of Lucasarts,Pixar, colluting to keep Animators salaries low (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=115336)

Now look at the comic book industry:
Did you guys know that comic book artists get their artwork back and they can sell it?
Some comic book companies actually offer their freelancers healthcare? Comic book legend, George Perez in a recent con was talking about how DC comics hired him part time to help him with his diabetes expenses.

Jebus...
They are now publishing a lot of comics with old school artists for a reason.
And they pay royalties.
Here is more on the subject:
http://www.comicsbeat.com/2010/06/24/dc-digital-fall-out-royalty-war/

VonBon
12-26-2010, 09:32 PM
:rock: Preach Brotha, Preach

robertoortiz
12-26-2010, 11:18 PM
The CG field needs to be like the Comic Book guys, ways to pass successful IP knowledge on and get folks to success. There needs to be a repsitory or knowledge base for where to find access to support systems we would need.

It is not that Artists here can't do it, I think most of us have spent so much time Honing our skills in one direction and now we need to go in another direction and just need some help.


This dawned on me today.

Maybe the problem is that we are going at this problem the wrong way.
The film industry has been crooked from DAY ONE. If there is something I learned watching docs on TCM is that Hollywood has always been a nasty town.
It is in its DNA as Raymond Chandler can attest.
But to be honest Hollywood has been good to CG.
It is true that it provides a much needed infrastructure for the development of animated content and visual effects.
But the IP stays in the hand of a few, and the process itself is very top heavy.
The IP is owned by a few, and the process favors more bigger teams to develop any content.

So why not look at another industry that is almost as old as motion pictures?

Why CG artists don't try their luck by making contacts in comic book industry? Developing IP is their bread and butter after all.

Maybe we could learn from them a lot, like streamlining our processes, and property development am not saying that CG artists should start doing web comics all of the sudden.
I am saying that maybe we could learn a few things from that crowd.

robertoortiz
12-26-2010, 11:24 PM
BTW I dont want to lose sight of the tragedy of this closure.


Here is link to the story
http://www.maxunderground.com/archives/12365_cafefx_closes_doors.html

JonW
12-26-2010, 11:33 PM
The same issues are in the physical model industry & photography. Customers are just getting models done off shore. They are built in a week by a hundred slaves.

I remember when I got into model making a very long time ago, the elders in the industry then were complaining how much it had changed, pricing being the number one issue. These days a model is more complex than ever due to the building designs. On top of that the appalling lack of quality of rushed drawings is worse than ever, for which you are expected to solve, & you are required to deliver it in a week for a bowl of rice.

As we all know there are more overheads than ever. There is an ever increasing amount of administration etc. You are required to know more & more, with less & less time available for actual tangible work.

It’s the same with photography. I used to have large format 5x4” film, then started using medium format. Which can now be done quicker, easier & better quality with a digital camera. & even then one could get away with compact camera for most work.

A few years ago, I sold a house & didn’t even bother to do the photography myself as the real estate photographer did the lot plus retouch all the images for a price I would not get out of bed for.

The day will come when the whole industry is so automated by computers that for 99% of work, a program will do virtually everything. Other than all the ever increasing essential ancillary work load which will be even more tedious. It will be very sad. The tremendous range of skills that we all have will not be required & the remainder will peter out to a niche market.

Ivan D. Young
12-26-2010, 11:50 PM
Well I remembered something today. I worked a couple of contracts at EA Tiburon and while I was there once. They had Comic books around all the time. EA has its own EAComics brand. They partnered with IDW I believe.

http://www.eacomics.com/

http://www.behance.net/gallery/EA-Comics/742942

http://www.ea.com/news/ea-comics-announces-dragon-age-series

http://www.ea.com/news/ea-launches-ea-comics-brand-with-army-of-two-1

Why can't Studios do this too?

I know for dyed in the wool Film and TV people I guess this is lowering yourself, but why could'nt studios do this too?

I mean most VFX houses have someone who does Camera setup, the Modeling and Posing should not be a problem, and backgrounds should be easy too. The only potential weak area could be story if you did not have a story person or writer. Just partner with a Comics company for help.

I mean Disney, Pixar, ILM, Lucasfilm, and probably some others are doing Comics work either thru their labels or partnered up with someone.

But all these other VFX houses, who are they partnered with? I know Blur is trying to partner or at least was trying to partner with Heavy Metal Magazine. How about these other facilities?

If this sounds crazy, why? Lucasfilm is partnered with Dark Horse comics for like forever. Disney now owns Marvel.

Supposedly I heard somewhere that alot of major hollywood movies were actually pitched as comics first. matrix, transformers, and so on. I can't seem to find the link to the article at the moment.

I think maybe the middle of the pack studios on down have done themselves a disservice by not trying to creep into new fields. But what do I know?

Dexter2999
12-26-2010, 11:58 PM
Maybe an interview with Todd McFarland is in order?
Started his own IP with SPAWN. Spun it into the HBO animated series and started his own merchanise brand with it.

::EDIT:: Forgot the live action film as well...then again it was kind of forgetable.

lino.grandi
12-27-2010, 02:25 AM
Maybe an interview with Todd McFarland is in order?
.

You mean Todd McFarlane, right?

OnlineRender
12-27-2010, 02:35 AM
remember going to cinema to see Spawn ,'good at the time'actor now plays black dynamite 'great film' ..............


this is on topic : http://www.freepatentsonline.com/

silviotoledo
12-27-2010, 08:39 AM
Sad they broke

We use to be familiar with the software evolution but not with the world evolution. Process and necessities changes too.

Profesionals need to keep in touch.

Someday ( in a near future ) CINEMA will not be necessary anymore too.

Dexter2999
12-27-2010, 10:43 AM
Sad they broke

We use to be familiar with the software evolution but not with the world evolution. Process and necessities changes too.

Profesionals need to keep in touch.

Someday ( in a near future ) CINEMA will not be necessary anymore too.

Well...I have to take issue with a couple of points here.

One, I think this has little to do with someone not keeping in touch. The US post houses mix and mingle at NAB and SIGGRAPH. Every article I read usually is about how this or that house has the latest and greatest in technology. It has been about bragging rights. Luxury offices in post facilities that are client based meeting all the requirements for "creature comforts". Also the location of many (not all) is at a premium for real estate. All of this overhead of tools, amenities, and location doesn't help matters. For years this has been the game.

Now the game is changing because above the line wants more money or more "bang for the buck" and the budgets aren't getting any bigger. So it is no longer about bragging rights, now it's about the bottom line.

Secondly, Cinema has never been a necessity. It is a luxury. A luxury that draws in a huge amount of money. In that respect I think cinema will be around for a good while. TV and Pay Per View can't approach the earnings of movie theaters. When a family of five can watch the movie for $10 at home instead of spending like $35 dollars in tickets (more or less). The movies won't have the same earning power. When this happens, budgets go down. Why risk a fortune if your best hope is a break even? Even now, I have read where box office earnings are largely just break even earning for the production company as the distributor and theaters get somewhere in the neighborhood of 65% of the earnings. And Foreign distribution keeps almost all of what they make. But they do it anyway because that way the movie pays for itself at the theater, then all the cable rights, DVD sales, etc.. are all profit.

The motivation in both points is greed.

metahumanity
12-27-2010, 11:26 AM
TV and Pay Per View can't approach the earnings of movie theaters. When a family of five can watch the movie for $10 at home instead of spending like $35 dollars in tickets (more or less). The movies won't have the same earning power. When this happens, budgets go down. Why risk a fortune if your best hope is a break even? Even now, I have read where box office earnings are largely just break even earning for the production company as the distributor and theaters get somewhere in the neighborhood of 65% of the earnings. And Foreign distribution keeps almost all of what they make. But they do it anyway because that way the movie pays for itself at the theater, then all the cable rights, DVD sales, etc.. are all profit.


True.

I go to the movies maybe once a year, if that. Since AVATAR I havenīt gone once.

And many people I know donīt go at all. Why would we? Cable in HD and big tv-sets offer a very cinematic experience (if not better), and some rushed stereoscopy jobs like weīve seen this and last year donīt help to convince me to shell out 20 bucks for a movie (including popcorn and gasoline to get there).

Resolution and framerates at the movies are simply not enough for the size of the screens.

Dexter2999
12-27-2010, 11:44 AM
True.

I go to the movies maybe once a year, if that. Since AVATAR I havenīt gone once.

And many people I know donīt go at all. Why would we? Cable in HD and big tv-sets offer a very cinematic experience (if not better), and some rushed stereoscopy jobs like weīve seen this and last year donīt help to convince me to shell out 20 bucks for a movie (including popcorn and gasoline to get there).

Resolution and framerates at the movies are simply not enough for the size of the screens.
Yeah, your argument supports silviotoledo's statement about the demise of cinema. (And to be fair I made a similar observation 20 years ago, two years after I first saw HDTV)

My comment is more about the idea that without box office earnings there won't be another AVATAR, or JURASSIC PARK, or STAR WARS. TV productions or straight to video can't make enough money to pay for movies like those.

silviotoledo
12-27-2010, 12:09 PM
I have read where box office earnings are largely just break even earning for the production company as the distributor and theaters get somewhere in the neighborhood of 65% of the earnings.

In Brazil, the producers get only 10% if they distribute by international distribuitors ( Universal, Warner, Paramount... )

accountability is not made by the film, but for packet and the producer never knows what his film actually earned since his ( less sucess ) film is released with a great success one to which all income is allocated.

I agree with you. The industry is supported by superfluous luxury, but the space for this is going reduced.

But at the end there will be always opportunities for spetacles, no matter the new process it will require.


Who knows the future will ask for less cost and more inteligent films. Oh, I'm wrong, people just want to have fun in stupid ( and expensive ) shows :)!

Dexter2999
12-27-2010, 02:09 PM
accountability is not made by the film, but for packet and the producer never knows what his film actually earned since his ( less sucess ) film is released with a great success one to which all income is allocated.


Interesting, from what I have read here, they do the exact opposite. Here they shift earning from the higher to the lower grossing movie. To deflect "first dollar gross" deals made with star talent.

Truth is probably both are going on and they just change their reports based on who they are talking to, "juggling numbers" as it were.

jeric_synergy
12-29-2010, 12:32 PM
Oh, I'm wrong, people just want to have fun in stupid ( and expensive ) shows :)!
I like stupid and expensive spectacles. Neo-puritans can hit the road.

I like 'em even more if they hire me.

The Dommo
12-29-2010, 08:08 PM
It's really sad this has happened but I must admit, Splinegod did make me see it from another point-of-view...

robertoortiz
12-29-2010, 09:19 PM
It's really sad this has happened but I must admit, Splinegod did make me see it from another point-of-view...

Agreed.
It is a sin that a lot of the people who build with this industry are right now without healthcare.
A good friend of mine knows of an older VFX artist who is currently homesless.

these is something wrong with our industry whenyou hear of producers bragging about the number of VFX companies they have driven under.

metahumanity
12-29-2010, 11:29 PM
Yeah, your argument supports silviotoledo's statement about the demise of cinema. (And to be fair I made a similar observation 20 years ago, two years after I first saw HDTV)

My comment is more about the idea that without box office earnings there won't be another AVATAR, or JURASSIC PARK, or STAR WARS. TV productions or straight to video can't make enough money to pay for movies like those.

Give it a decade and one well-rounded generalist will be able to make a movie like Avatar.

VonBon
12-30-2010, 10:45 AM
I think there will still be room for Cinema once they find some "New"
insanely expensive way to present media. IMAX was a shift in that
direction. I saw Spiderman 2 on it but i dont think it was formatted
for IMAX, if it was it was wack and gave me a headache.

jeric_synergy
12-30-2010, 01:51 PM
(And to be fair I made a similar observation 20 years ago, two years after I first saw HDTV)
Ummmm, how far out were you predicting? 'Cuz the fact is, 19 years after your observation, AVATAR was released.

IOW, I think you can drop 'prophet' from your job description. :tongue: :D

jeric_synergy
12-30-2010, 01:52 PM
I think there will still be room for Cinema once they find some "New" insanely expensive way to present media. IMAX was a shift in that direction.
Good. I don't wanna be in an industry where any snot-nosed brat in East Bumblesnog can compete.
-----------
How is it that VFX houses don't seem to have a viable business model? I mean, the two big houses that bit it this year (2010) both had scads of credits.

Is it bad producing on their part? And by 'producing' I mean the business side of the equation-- did they underbid? Allow mission creep? What???

Mr Rid
01-04-2011, 11:54 AM
Its nostalgia sad about CafeFX, but I always thought they REALLY needed to move out of such a remote location. When I worked on Sin City there was a real problem finding experienced LW & Fusion artists who wanted to live out of a hotel for six months in Santa Maria. I liked Cafe but I could not stand that town. Unless you're a farmer, I have no clue why anyone wants to live in such a dull place. And every week I had near run-ins with dumbass locals with no lives but to look for trouble. I dont know why Cafe didnt at least try to open an office somewhere with a tax break. Some FX offices popped up in Lousiana recently (yeah, but it cant be any less exciting that Santa Maria) due to a 35% break. Yes, there are actually animation houses opening. Then there's always Bulgaria.

Titus
01-04-2011, 12:43 PM
Good. I don't wanna be in an industry where any snot-nosed brat in East Bumblesnog can compete.
-----------
How is it that VFX houses don't seem to have a viable business model? I mean, the two big houses that bit it this year (2010) both had scads of credits.

Is it bad producing on their part? And by 'producing' I mean the business side of the equation-- did they underbid? Allow mission creep? What???

It's the nature of today economics. Investors looking to maximize profits at any costs. There are several creative industries suffering: today I'm more into TV series and at this moment there's a trend were you as a producer have to actually pay to have your series on air, so the only money for your company comes from merchandising.

Netvudu
01-04-2011, 01:15 PM
Give it a decade and one well-rounded generalist will be able to make a movie like Avatar.

In your wildest dreams maybe. Not happening. I imagine thatīs coming from the thought that a movie like Avatar is completely created with a computer...it is not.

NanoGator
01-04-2011, 01:22 PM
In your wildest dreams maybe. Not happening. I imagine thatīs coming from the thought that a movie like Avatar is completely created with a computer...it is not.

Ain't that the truth.

ericsmith
01-04-2011, 01:51 PM
Its nostalgia sad about CafeFX, but I always thought they REALLY needed to move out of such a remote location. When I worked on Sin City there was a real problem finding experienced LW & Fusion artists who wanted to live out of a hotel for six months in Santa Maria. I liked Cafe but I could not stand that town. Unless you're a farmer, I have no clue why anyone wants to live in such a dull place. And every week I had near run-ins with dumbass locals with no lives but to look for trouble.


Not to take this thread too off topic, but I've lived in Santa Maria for 8 years and I love it here. I have a wife and kid, and we live within walking distance to one of the best public parks in the state. The locals I know are very different from what you describe. Clerks at the grocery store will smile and talk to you, we actually know our neighbors, and overall, there's just a "niceness" to most of the people I encounter here. It's known for being a pretty family-friendly place.

Eric

erikals
01-04-2011, 04:12 PM
Give it a decade and one well-rounded generalist will be able to make a movie like Avatar.

make it 3 decades and i'm game :]

Mr Rid
01-04-2011, 05:20 PM
Not to take this thread too off topic, but I've lived in Santa Maria for 8 years and I love it here. I have a wife and kid, and we live within walking distance to one of the best public parks in the state. The locals I know are very different from what you describe. Clerks at the grocery store will smile and talk to you, we actually know our neighbors, and overall, there's just a "niceness" to most of the people I encounter here. It's known for being a pretty family-friendly place.

Eric

Do you work for Cafe? I wondered what staffers that live there are going to do.

I used to walk in the evenings in Santa Maria, and every night someone driving by would yell or throw trash at me, or goons walking the other way would leer and take up the sidewalk trying to start a fight, and was also chased by buttheads in a pickup one night (I started walking in the river bed at night where it was much safer). Its the same idiotic small town 'sumpn to prove' crap I dont miss at all where I grew up in Texas that is a syndrome of young males who, as one animator who grew up in Santa Maria put it, 'feel like they have nothing to lose.' A couple times some dork would start a full volume cell conversation in the middle of a movie so my girlfriend and I quit going in town. My supervisor related a similar story of nicely asking a guy to keep it down in the theater and the dufus just started a fight. Two other animators had run-ins with other buttheads at bars while I was there, you know, when they just dont like the way you look or whatever. I knew if I stayed any longer a pointless skirmish was inevitable.

Also while I was there I had my tires changed and Discount let me drive away with none of the lug nuts tightened. My girlfriend was ripped off by a Jiffy Lube that didnt actually change the oil. At the 7-11 by the hotel there were always bugs crawling over the doughnuts in the case, and when I mentioned it to the guy he just said, 'yep.' The Holiday Inn wreaked of I dont know what, and had a major ant infestation on the bottom two floors as they were always all over my kitchen, and I threw up on the hotel restaurant food twice. Top shelf.

NanoGator
01-04-2011, 05:53 PM
Blimey, I'm glad I missed that part of Santa Maria.

ericsmith
01-04-2011, 07:49 PM
Do you work for Cafe? I wondered what staffers that live there are going to do.

Nah, They called and offered me work back when they were up to their eyebrows with Sin City, but I wasn't available. I've also connected with Dave and Jeff on a few occasions. They seemed like really nice, down-to-earth guys. I've thought on more than one occation that it would be nice to work there, but that's obviously no longer in the cards.

It really is sad to hear your experiences living here. It's completely different from what I've experienced. It makes me wonder if the northern and downtown areas of town are very different from areas like Orcutt or Arroyo Grande. Kind of how most cities work, where the center ends up getting run down and disreputable, while the areas around the outskirts are newer and nicer.

Eric

robertoortiz
01-04-2011, 08:04 PM
From the TAGBLOG:
The doomsday stories of visual effects houses closing have been abundant with the recent closure of Cafe FX in Santa Monica. These stories generally circulate around the buzzwords "profit margin" and "globalization". In statements regarding the closure of CafeFX and Asylum, these points were used as the core reason for the studio closures.

In my post on Cafe FX closure, I postulated the following in the comments:

The global marketplace and current economic climate aren't reasons that effects shops are closing. Change is inevitable, the mettle and desire to deal with it is what wanes.
So, imagine my surprise when I read that my theory may be correct.

In a recent press release by David Cohen of Variety, Gravity Effects announced the opening of a Los Angeles visual effects office. Randall Hand commented about it on his VizWorld site. This is one of a few press releases made this year of the opening of visual effects shops in Los Angeles.

If the industry is collapsing around us and work is fleeing Los Angeles at the maximum speed possible on the 405, how in the name of good business could a company want to establish itself here in the City of Angles? The answer is simple: the work is here because the studios and the talent are here.

I'm not arguing that there aren't talented artists elsewhere in the world. When a studio has to establish a pipeline that stretches across oceans, costs increase and feasibility decreases. While subsidies help soften the blow, having the work done locally where modifications can be made quickly is always a priority that wants to be satisfied. Thus, local studios have a greater chance of succeeding in our tumultuous climate that is believed to be possible.

In the spirit of continuing to offer a counter point to the FUD arguments submitted regarding the downfall of visual effects in our fair burg, I'll be glad to keep up with such announcements and share them with you here.
http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/miracle-of-miracles.html

metahumanity
01-04-2011, 08:04 PM
In your wildest dreams maybe. Not happening. I imagine thatīs coming from the thought that a movie like Avatar is completely created with a computer...it is not.

I'm fully aware of what kind of work goes into a movie like Avatar today and didn't want to diminish the achievement in any way!

But yeah, a decade, give or take 5 years. That includes fully believable humans (as believes as Sam Worthington, anyway).

Netvudu
01-04-2011, 10:06 PM
no way

MrWyatt
01-05-2011, 03:59 AM
Exactly: Behold - this time is already there, at least person number 1 is already done. Number 2 is still looking for the "generate alien forest" button, but only found "realistic" ones in Vue.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WUVdLRlFYnA

Presets, canned animation... yeah, I guess for some that really is the future of moviemaking. And one "well-rounded" person will inhale the talent of hundreds of individual artists. Because CG is all about the computers, right...?

You finally saw the light!
(now going back to look under the desk where I lost my "create-best-script-ever" button, got to be somewhere right?)
:D

tischbein3
01-05-2011, 07:36 AM
Presets, canned animation... yeah, I guess for some that really is the future of moviemaking. And one "well-rounded" person will inhale the talent of hundreds of individual artists.

Mhmm...so what about this little mashup:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN29vJBczZw

And yes, l think that we are close to see something in quality (of todays pov) and originalty (from an end-70th pov) of a starwars episode IV on youtube in the comming 2 years. (Of course, not a one man show... )

Lightwolf
01-05-2011, 07:59 AM
(now going back to look under the desk where I lost my "create-best-script-ever" button, got to be somewhere right?)
:D
Luckily that's something you won't need for an Avatar remake ;)

Cheers,
Mike

erikals
01-05-2011, 08:04 AM
skynet will scan old movies, and based on this store face expressions and bvh files in an emotion library...

google acquires world domination...

 

Dexter2999
01-05-2011, 08:23 AM
ILM will scan old movies, and based on this store face expressions and bvh files in an emotion library...

google acquires world domination...

 
Fixed that for ya.
http://www.examiner.com/where-are-they-now-in-national/where-s-george-lucas-been-digging-up-dead-celebrities-is-the-rumor

erikals
01-05-2011, 08:47 AM
Fixed that for ya.
http://www.examiner.com/where-are-they-now-in-national/where-s-george-lucas-been-digging-up-dead-celebrities-is-the-rumor

LOL, it had to be him, didn't it... :]

tischbein3
01-05-2011, 09:49 AM
I really hope this makes some sense, since I know how my longer "rants" do read :confused:



EDIT: Ah, think I now see what you were getting at - everything relevant to tell any story has been created already in some form (doubt it), so stuff will be able to be reused...

Well the point is actually a bit more complicated :)
First, to make it clear:
I _don't_ think we will see an movie done by a handfull of people wich is on the same level as avatar itself in every aspect. Neither today or tomorrow. This is unrealistical.

But I do believe that a significant smaller budget/crew could come up with something, wich would also feature the same level of story and visual _entertainment_ by using shortcuts:
Using smaller sets, lower resolution*, shorten the story, etc... and yes, recycle / use premade assets....

Or even better (and thats the reason for posting the link / answer to your youtube link :) ),
Use the cinematic knowledge of other movies to fill budgetary holes: You doesn't need to model the full na'vi tree any more, or even a full na'vi, or a deathstar... people have them already in their head in all deatil. So some well crafted references could result in the same level of _experience_ in the viewers head. And when done craftfully, the viewer doesn't even recognize that this has happened.



Skyline, isn't even worth discussing in this context (what a mess).
I actually thought in my last post to include it as good counter argument for my own theory / expand it :devil: :

Its a perfect example that besides all creative ideas and technical 'finesse' (= make the best out of the tight budgetary boundaries) you can still go downhill with it, with a script wich hadn't enough peer reviews / rewrites and input from a lot of people.
I'm quite sure, that we will see this problem arise a lot more in comming indie productions.

I know, its again a bit weirder post, but I hope I could make my point on this.

Thanks for reminding me of monsters.. still is on my "want to see" list. :)


(*btw: why do a lot of the indy filmmakers suddenly go the massochistic path, and try to release their movies in hd ?! Don't get it)

jeric_synergy
01-05-2011, 11:26 PM
Its a perfect example that besides all creative ideas and technical 'finesse' (= make the best out of the tight budgetary boundaries) you can still go downhill with it, with a script wich hadn't enough peer reviews / rewrites and input from a lot of people.
I'm quite sure, that we will see this problem arise a lot more in comming indie productions.
So, a committee is going to result in better scripts??

Yeahhhhh, not so much. I'm pretty sure "Ishtar" got all sorts of rewrites.

There's a famous story where Lucas invited a bunch of his film director buddies over to see a rough of STAR WARS, but without the music. We're talking Spielberg, Milius (sp?), heavy hitters. There were all like "ahhh, geee, I dunno George...."

A week later they saw it with the music, and it was high-fives all around.

If those guys can't see the vision in a rough cut, what's the hope of a bunch of indies seeing it in the script??
++++++++++++++

(*btw: why do a lot of the indy filmmakers suddenly go the massochistic path, and try to release their movies in hd ?! Don't get it)
In contrast with what alternative?

metahumanity
01-06-2011, 12:01 AM
But we were talking about "Avatar"... hello? More than 2 hours of highly detailed environments, complex character animation/mocap, effects and destruction, let alone the compositing side with tracking, matte paintings, set extensions, computer displays... I don't even know where to really start. Anybody seen it? Not in the next 10 years, maybe the technical side can be managed, but the tons of creative work can not be done... unless, maybe, well... if this then legendary "well-rounded" artist starts today... :D

EDIT: Ah, think I now see what you were getting at - everything relevant to tell any story has been created already in some form (doubt it), so stuff will be able to be reused... I see. I guess that still does not certify as "create something like Avatar", at least for me. It might certify as "re-play something like Avatar on a much lower presetty quality" - not the same for me. No worries though - we can see what people are satisfied with today in cinema. :) So I guess a Poser-recreation seems to count as "something like Avatar" for the OP. Wasn't that far off with my youtube-link then. :D

Oliver, I was very clear about the the level of quality I was referring to. No need for that condescending tone. Throwing out "Poser" to discredit others in a discussion about 3d is really getting old, anyway...

Hey, wow. Today is my birthday, LOL!:bday::bday:

tischbein3
01-06-2011, 04:55 AM
So, a committee is going to result in better scripts??

Oh yes, thanks for bringing this in:
please no committee... they usually try to find compromises even before they start. :devil:

Its about having input on the script creation process by people wich actually
do _not_ share (or as little as possible) the original script writers
vision at all. ( or the the less as possible.. and preferable know their job)
So they an evaluate the script much better for coherence
and point out loose ends in the story.

People who are actually willing, and have the freedom, to kill
whole subplots and scenes if they disturb the whole pacing of the movie.
No matter how much the director "likes them".
(If he really does, he find a way to include them anyway)

And yes of course there many scripts wich do work in their first
(fresh) version best. This isn't a rule or something...
but for me this recomendation would have realy helped skyline a lot.



If those guys can't see the vision in a rough cut, what's the hope of a bunch of indies seeing it in the script??
You are right, on the other side , its certainly easier for them to get an
unbiased critique, as for george lucas on starwars.
:D



In contrast with what alternative?

To make it more understandeable: Its primarly about the idea to shoot in the best
format you can get, but to plan out for a lower before the post process starts:

From my experience the general viewer is quite more willing to accept a lower
resolution, than seeing cheesy/ disturbing effects, cheap sets and props,
and a general lower quality of the material (noise, fringing, etc).
All problems, wich becomes more drastically into play the higher your
end resolutions is. Especially on tight equipment budget.
(Theres a bit more on this, but I try to keep this post as short as possible)

Mhmm so currently, evaluating all points on my side I would release in 720p, but this is really just a personal decission, and as as far as for online releases you can more or less go with any number you want.
To make my point more drastical: even _SD_ would be fine, if we consider that a lot of people are still used to get their daily dose of entertainment in that format.

Again, mea culpa if this sounds strange

inakito
01-06-2011, 05:59 AM
I think it is really in our hands, industry workers, to keep the prices up on a good product ending basis and make the clients understand that enough time and money is needed to deliver a good and unique product.
Do not ever put your trousers down and learn when not to take a job if the client is not paying what the job is worth. If we do not do it anyone will do it for us and the market will be flooded with cheap crappy work as we seeing so often lately...
It is true because of globalization that there are more existing small companies appearing lately and finishing jobs for half of the worth money therefore half or less of the quality and the client is happy because at the end of the day the client will be always happier to pay the less on a finished product so it will be our task to make the client undertand what quality is and what effort is needed in every single different project.
I am really sad of Asylum and Cafe FX companies closing as they are reference as great artist capable of delivering splendid products as they had shown all of us.
I encourage them to keep going and every single one of us to stay sharp and make people understand that in order to make not even just a master piece such Avatar work, but a smaller piece of advert or shortfilm, much more than a simply "one click button" or "one key press" is needed.
Cheers and keep working hard!

evolross
03-01-2011, 04:30 PM
I think the idea of a generating our own IP is a great one, but there's still too much of a "gatekeeper" paradigm in the media industry today. Your IP is basically a needle in a haystack until one of the gatekeepers decides to invest in you and spend millions of dollars on advertising to get some national awareness for your idea and IP. I think that's what it takes to get an awareness in today's world of constant media static stemming from sources like YouTube, Facebook, and UStream. Now days, everyone's got a project, everyone's got a business page on Facebook, everyone's blogging about the next big thing. Last time I checked, Superbowl commercials still worked pretty darn good. To stand out it still takes major marketing dollars.

I don't mean to be pessimistic, but I get annoyed when I hear people boasting about releasing an independent mini-series, or a movie, or whatever on the Internet... "All we have to do is make it, then release it on the INTERNET!" Can anyone here think of a single successful brand/show that originated on the Internet? I remember a comedy series they tried to spin onto network TV that originated on the Internet but it failed on network television.

It seems like to have success, you need NATIONAL success. I can't think of any examples of a regional/small-distribution success for motion picture media. It works in the comic-book industry yes, but currently not in media.

Maybe that fact that there hasn't been a success is all the more reason to carry on... to come up with that first BREAKOUT hit, that opens up the Internet as a true marketplace for media. A brand where the owners of the IP don't immediately sell out to a major network/corporation. Similar to how Facebook is still private and refuses to be sold. There needs to be a really popular Internet show/movie that does that.

Otherwise... go pitch the gatekeepers. And good luck keeping your IP.

SplineGod
03-01-2011, 09:18 PM
Thats generally true but there are exceptions to this.
Voices of a Distant Star was created by a 24 year old Japanese kid by himself in his bedroom using LW, PS and AE. Initially it was released as zip file Webisodes then later picked up by Bandai and sold as a DVD thru ADV. I understand that later he was paid a substantial sum to produce another. His first film took him 8 months by himself.
I also worked on a project that was funded by Sony for a very modest amount (Afterworld). The idea was to develop a modest/cost effective show as Webisodes that could be viewed/streamed to cell phones, PCs etc rather then invest millions in a movie or TV series that could flop. If the webisodes did well this could be also brought to DVDs or developed further into a film or TV series after a following had been created.
The series did very well and had hundreds of thousands of followers. All of the marketing was done thru social networksing sites. It was also picked up by the SciFi channel in Australia and the short episodes were shown in between other shows. It was also released on DVD. The episodes were short and easy to structure to view on different devices. They could be edited together into longer episodes etc.
I think theres a lot of opportunity especially with the current financial climate.

robertoortiz
03-01-2011, 09:55 PM
Good One, Splinegod.

Here is a trailer for the project:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dc--DFC2w00

evolross
03-02-2011, 12:58 PM
Thats generally true but there are exceptions to this.
Voices of a Distant Star was created by a 24 year old Japanese kid by himself in his bedroom using LW, PS and AE. Initially it was released as zip file Webisodes then later picked up by Bandai and sold as a DVD thru ADV. I understand that later he was paid a substantial sum to produce another. His first film took him 8 months by himself.
Well I'm glad to hear that. It sounds like he's making enough money to earn a living from it and could pay himself and the people who help him produce his work.

I think that's what this all comes down to... how do I monetize my IP? I suppose one doesn't need a huge success, just enough of a success to live and maybe earn a profit. I still think that's really hard given the system. I guess you just have to think of something really good and worthy of a viewer's attention, worthy enough that they'd pass the word on via social networks, etc.

I still don't think people are really watching independent movies or episodic media on the Internet (independent works that is, not Netflix which is major studio content). I think the studio system still prevails in media, largely because there's an actual brick and mortar system of agents, producers, distributors, theater houses, equipment, etc, that all operate on million dollar budgets. Unlike media, an Internet startup company can just startup and deliver their product over the Internet. An indie comic can be printed and sold at indie stores and conventions. An indie band can tour playing gigs and selling their music. All these types of content have options to monetize... where media is trickier. It just seems like every indie project's ultimate goal is to sell out to a major studio, and most likely their IP too. It's like the ultimate goal is to "get into the club" not "start a new club", because starting a new club is pretty difficult. There is no OpenMovieTheater project.

It seems like ads and banners are the only way to really monetize if you distribute on the Internet, and that's if you have enough visitors per month. I really think this conversation is a good one, because the more people who start generating more and more independent IP and content, the gatekeepers will have to start opening up the system more and allowing artists more rights in negotiations (like keeping IP). So yeah, I have hope for the future, we're just not there yet.

Even with the success stories you mention, the author got involved with major studios, and I'd be curious if he kept rights to his IP.

Dexter2999
03-02-2011, 01:27 PM
I guess you just have to think of something really good and worthy of a viewer's attention, ::snip::

This should be your intention from the outset.

You could go with "What can I do to make money?" But that usually produces garbage because at that point the attention has gone from innovation to looking around to see what other people have done, and how can you replicate that success.

evolross
03-02-2011, 01:54 PM
What about Atom.com?
Yeah, I get really annoyed by these kinds of sites. They seem as though they're for the grassroots, upstart content creator, but they're all owned by media conglomerates. None of these sites pay anything, and if they do it's probably pennies, and to top it all off, check out paragraphs 5 and 6 of their User Content Agreement (http://www.atom.com/legal/user_content_submission/). They pretty much own you, your IP, for life, in perpetuity, for use by any of their companies in any way they want. The whole point of this is creating and keeping your IP. And that one has a big "Comedy Central" stamp at the top of it, which is owned by Viacom, which is owned by CBS. "Funny or Die" is the same way. I hate to be pessimistic, but this is just the gatekeeper trying to squeeze money out of independent content-creators. You're better off uploading to Vimeo or YouTube, or creating your own website, and streaming and marketing it yourself. Which leads me into my next point...


I guess you just have to think of something really good and worthy of a viewer's attention, ::snip::
This came out the wrong way. Obviously this is the goal from the outset, I meant that if you're a needle in a haystack of indie content (i.e. no million dollar marketing budget), you pretty much have to have a HUGE BREAKOUT success to stand out and get attention. And my point, was that without any major marketing dollars, that's really, really hard to do. The thought is enough to make you give up.


You could go with "What can I do to make money?" But that usually produces garbage because at that point the attention has gone from innovation to looking around to see what other people have done, and how can you replicate that success.
I agree this is true, but a little bit idealistic. You have to make money doing this, if you want to do it professionally that is. Sometimes that means generating IP that's not "your vision", but a compromise of "your vision" and "what sells". In a way you start to see the angle the major studios are coming from, it's about making money. People have to live at the end of the day.

mcotner
03-02-2011, 02:21 PM
This should be your intention from the outset.

You could go with "What can I do to make money?" But that usually produces garbage because at that point the attention has gone from innovation to looking around to see what other people have done, and how can you replicate that success.

I'm the bad bad hobbyist here, but I've been a hobbyist for 15 years and I've never taken a project willing to pay a true artist like yourselves.

I'm working on my first extensive project in Lightwave at the moment(yeah, I know after 15 years you'd think I'd done something worthwhile) and have been watching as many demo reels as I can find to get that "current" look.

I don't think you vets should worry too much. The race to the bottom just occurred in the software industry with Java and Windows certification. It's now impossible to hire either. You can never tell the skill level since there's a sea of bad talent out there. The innovators picked up ruby/rails and floated to the top.

The old school guys who know what they're doing use Lightwave, or wish they could if it had great particle/animation features. 3D shops looking for the best and brightest will be looking for that on your resume, not Maya after the dust settles. There will be a sea of bad talent out there if it happens anything like it did in the web development arena.

If you're skilled you survive and if you follow the crowd you lose big in the end . . . even if it seems everyone is switching at the moment. Lets hope core pulls NT through the rough spot. I think Lightwave _needs_ better particle and animation features to survive at this point.

Disclaimer: I'm not really in the industry, just an observer. Feel free to roast away if I'm way off base. However, I just survived the commoditization of talent in IT . . . and the truly skilled people generally stay employed.

jeric_synergy
03-02-2011, 03:11 PM
...(yeah, I know after 15 years you'd think I'd done something worthwhile) ....
::cough:: ::cough:: ::looks around:: ::scurries away::


:D :D :D
You are not alone, young Jedi. Not by a country mile.

SplineGod
03-02-2011, 04:46 PM
I cringe when I see kids and others posting crap on facebook that only serves to portray themselves in a bad light. More and more potential employers are looking to facebook and other social networking sites to get as much background information as they can. Schools are doing it as well.
The BEST use of social networks IMO is to properly market yourself and your "product". Theres many social networking sites as well as many professional ones like linkedin, plaxo etc. There are also many sites set up specifically for finding short term jobs like elance.com, dice.com, odesk.com. fiver.com etc etc. These also act as social networking sites. It also never hurts to blog about your prject and linking your blog to your other social networking sites. Use twitter to actually send out USEFUL tweets as opposed to "going to the bathroom now..." Surround yourself with like minded people. This is possible to do now via the internet on global scale. The bottom line is this:
IF facebok and other soclial networking sites can be instrumental in overthrowing a government (egypt) SURELY it can help you to sell your movie. :)

Intuition
03-02-2011, 06:50 PM
I

The old school guys who know what they're doing use Lightwave, or wish they could if it had great particle/animation features. 3D shops looking for the best and brightest will be looking for that on your resume, not Maya after the dust settles. There will be a sea of bad talent out there if it happens anything like it did in the web development arena.



I generally agree with the sentiment of your post overall except this particular statement.

If anything, there was a burst of bad talent in the industry because of Lightwave being so easy to get back in the 90s as opposed to the SGI based Softimage and Maya.

I remember seeing demo reels where people literally rendered the Lightwave content out and put it on thier demo reel as shots they had made. As if they didn't know anyone else had discovered Lightwave.

In general more and more places are going Maya that even used to be Lightwave houses. I have probably trained around 30 Lightwave based people into full Maya generalists in the last single year.

Thats not to say that knowing Lightwave is bad for your career either. There are quite a few houses still in L.A. that use Lightwave and will continue to do so. Lightwave and Softimage kind of fit in the same catagory right now. They are used less then max and Maya overall but the smaller houses that do use them are probably working more lean and consistent in the current economy.

Still, the wave of Artists needed with Maya experience (proper maya experience) eclipses most other apps right now and will continue to do so for some time.

The dust has settled and knowing Lightwave is no longer a way to get hired at many facilities that used to. We had a wave of layoffs in late 2008 that pretty much stated "Learn Maya or Houdini or we can't utilze you".

Again, this isn't to dog on Lightwave at all. I mean BSG is working on a show that is Lightwave or nothing, but saying that knowing maya will be ultimately bad for your career is not really accurate.

colkai
03-03-2011, 04:10 AM
::cough:: ::cough:: ::looks around:: ::scurries away::
:D :D :D
You are not alone, young Jedi. Not by a country mile.

Alas my friend, you are not wrong, he is far from alone. :p
>>embarrassed look<<

colkai
03-03-2011, 04:12 AM
I cringe when I see kids and others posting crap on facebook that only serves to portray themselves in a bad light.

To be blunt, that's the reason I took my website down, I didn't have the time to put in for newer better stuff and felt it wasn't doing anything but showing me for the "N00B" I am. Maybe one day I'll actually get time to put something I'm happy with up again.

Mr Rid
03-03-2011, 04:30 AM
...
I remember seeing demo reels where people literally rendered the Lightwave content out and put it on thier demo reel as shots they had made. As if they didn't know anyone else had discovered Lightwave....

We had a special shelf at U.F.O. for the most amusingly awful demo reels. I wish I still had them. One minimalist standout was the Lightwave content chair rotating around and around for a about half a minute... that was it.

Most demos consisted of two flying logos and a dozen Roughnecks shots (which immediately compelled me to press eject) where all the guy did was partially light a background or add lens flare muzzle flashes.

My advice to eager students has always been to go learn Maya as there are WAAAAY more opportunities (and support) in all areas of CG. Why limit yourself? Price is the only reason I have ever seen anyone (or house) get into LW.

Titus
03-03-2011, 07:25 AM
I remember seeing demo reels where people literally rendered the Lightwave content out and put it on thier demo reel as shots they had made. As if they didn't know anyone else had discovered Lightwave.


Once received a demo, for the modeling part it had William's ninja model. I had to rewind a couple of times to try to discover if this guy did something to the model, but no it was rendered with no changes.

robertoortiz
03-03-2011, 08:57 AM
I once attended a lecture by an artist at Gentle Giant studios where a person has the balls to submit to them work that they had done.

jeric_synergy
03-03-2011, 09:39 AM
Huh. My work may be crap, but at least it's MY crap.

Cryonic
03-03-2011, 10:39 AM
I've seen a few Indie shows make a success off of starting on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/user/watchtheguild

About to start its 5th "season" with Microsoft as a sponsor and they've done a few music videos in character. The creators also do other shows, like the "Legend of Neil".

Dexter2999
03-03-2011, 11:22 AM
So....

Do we need to say "Create original IP for profit...and your demo reel."?

Kionel
03-03-2011, 12:49 PM
Agreed.
It is a sin that a lot of the people who build with this industry are right now without healthcare.

Healthcare is an enormous issue here. There isn't an artist out there who isn't one diagnosis away from needing a whole new career at best, and possibly finding themselves out on the street at worst.

I speak from personal experience. When my wife got diagnosed with MS in 2009, I had to close down my own one-man shop and find a job back in Corporate America. Not because of choice. No, I ran back to the Corporate teat because the pre-insurance cost of my wife's monthly MS medication is almost double the cost of my mortgage.

We were lucky. I was able to get a well-paying job in my old field, with good bennies. My wife kept her job, and is doing great. We're fine now. But it could have just as easily gone very, very badly.

Had I not been flexible enough to leap back to my other skillsets, I really don't know where I'd be right now.



A good friend of mine knows of an older VFX artist who is currently homesless.


That's awful. You'd think that someone would want him working with any studio, even those off-shore. Sure, he might have to live in another culture, but a job is a job.

(Of course, for all I know, his age might also hurt him. Back in my UNIX days, we had a candidate come through for a Web Admin job. This guy's resume was incredible. Big names, of which my favorite was that he worked at Cray. He was a charming, funny, and capable guy.

I wanted to bring him on, because his resume -- to say nothing of his personality -- spoke of a guy who could teach the entire team something. Unfortunately, the Team Lead nixed him. Only years later did the he admit "...he was too old for our team." And that was freaking IT. :bangwall:)



these is something wrong with our industry whenyou hear of producers bragging about the number of VFX companies they have driven under.

But we also live in a business environment where profit at any cost -- up to and including the long-term viability of the freaking company -- is the entire goal.

Sadly, I don't see a way out of that particular death spiral any time son.

cresshead
03-03-2011, 01:51 PM
working for others is my 'day job'....MY job though, is to make my own sci film...huge uphill struggle but ya only live once!

robertoortiz
03-03-2011, 02:37 PM
If you want to create IP I would suggest reading this book:



Creating Animated Cartoons with Character by Emmy award winner Joe Murray (Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo).

It has been an amazing read for me:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0823033074/ref=s9_simh_gw_p14_d1_i1?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=16MNQ4QRY46ZKSAF5MDB&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846




The book is packed with interviews by animation leyends Steve Hillenburg (SpongeBob Squarepants), Everett Peck (Duckman), and Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), and it goes into detai lof the production process for animation for TV and the creation of IP.




-R

From the book :
"From the Emmy Award-winning creator of Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo comes Creating Animated Cartoons with Character, a comprehensive, fully illustrated guide to creating and producing a successful animated series for television, short film, and the Web. Joe Murray offers his substantial wisdom and expertise – honed from more than twenty years in the business – in creating and producing characters adn stories in an authoritative yet conversational narrative that answers such questions as: How do you create good characters? How do you conceive the world they inhabit and tell their stories? And once you've breathed life into your ideas, how do you successfully pitch your series to a network?
This book won't tell you what characters to create or how to draw them. What it will do is guide you in discovering and exploring your own creative sweet spots and help you to navigate the process that links your unique artistic vision with the realities of producing a commerical cartoon. Packed with art and photos from Murray's many film and television projects, as well as behind-the-scenes anecdotes and insider advice from such highly successful contemporaries as Steve Hillenburg (SpongeBob Squarepants), Everett Peck (Duckman), and Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), this book explores in detail the importance of character and story hooks; how to put together pitch materials; what goes into producing a series pilot; and how to build the best creative team to produce your show. Whether you’re an aspiring cartoonist, experienced animator, hardcore fan, or you simply like to draw and tell stories, Creating Animated Cartoons with Character is the ultimate entrée into the world of animated cartooning from a master of the craft. "

jeric_synergy
03-03-2011, 04:18 PM
But we also live in a business environment where profit at any cost -- up to and including the long-term viability of the freaking <strike>company</strike> country -- is the entire goal.

Sadly, I don't see a way out of that particular death spiral any time soon.
Fixed that for you. (well, if HTML tags worked.)

evolross
03-03-2011, 05:05 PM
IF facebok and other soclial networking sites can be instrumental in overthrowing a government (egypt) SURELY it can help you to sell your movie. :)
Agreed and well put.


One minimalist standout was the Lightwave content chair rotating around and around for a about half a minute... that was it.
:lol: That's funny.


I've seen a few Indie shows make a success off of starting on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/user/watchtheguild

About to start its 5th "season" with Microsoft as a sponsor and they've done a few music videos in character. The creators also do other shows, like the "Legend of Neil".
That's really interesting. Thanks for pointing it out.

While we're on this topic of creating IP, does anyone know the story of William Vaughn's Tofu the Vegan Zombie? The episode that he and his team created looks like it was designed to be pitched as a pilot for a series. I was wondering if that was true. And if so, what happened with it? To my knowledge I haven't seen any additional episodes, but the character is amazing. It seems very deserving of some kind of future. I'm surprised it hasn't been expanded/bought/sponsored/etc.

Anyone know the story?

jeric_synergy
03-03-2011, 11:19 PM
While we're on this topic of creating IP, does anyone know the story of William Vaughn's Tofu the Vegan Zombie? The episode that he and his team created looks like it was designed to be pitched as a pilot for a series. I was wondering if that was true. And if so, what happened with it? To my knowledge I haven't seen any additional episodes, but the character is amazing. It seems very deserving of some kind of future. I'm surprised it hasn't been expanded/bought/sponsored/etc.

Anyone know the story?
It certainly looked promising.

Titus
03-04-2011, 08:02 AM
working for others is my 'day job'....MY job though, is to make my own sci film...huge uphill struggle but ya only live once!

That's good! creating a movie or a short is hard work. And there's a reward when you finish it.

Kionel
03-04-2011, 02:57 PM
working for others is my 'day job'....MY job though, is to make my own sci film...huge uphill struggle but ya only live once!

As a guy who made six shorts, shot two seasons of a local horror TV show, and made one feature-length indie while also working for others as a 'day job', my hat is officially off to you.

These days, I'm actually going backwards a bit for my IP. Something that uses all of my new skills, but doesn't have the enormous, nut-crunching demands of DV projects.

For now, that's all I'll say about that. :)

Good luck, Cress!

Greenlaw
03-04-2011, 03:43 PM
I make my living working on commercials, game trailers, shorts and the occasional feature film, but it's different when you're doing it for somebody else. Creating my own work, small as these projects can be (webcomics and mini-movies mostly,) has been far more satisfying than the higher profile work I do for paying clients.

But I need to do both: the job pays for my little projects and these little projects help keep me sane on the job. If I didn't have my personal projects to work on, I think I'd be a bitter and even crankier person. :)

G.

Titus
03-04-2011, 03:58 PM
We produce commercials for a living, doing short films as side projects. We have been pitching a couple of animated series at tv markets like Cartoon (http://www.cartoon-media.eu/). It's a though business, the age targets are very specific and you find that many producers really don't want to risk buying new stories. The tv industry seems to move to a business model where you have to pay for your content to be aired, merchandising being your main source of income . Co-production is done via mixing capitals from different countries, etc.

So, many studios are trying to produce their own IP but as in any industry the ecosystem is limited and only the best will survive.