Whether you are an aspiring VFX professional or a superhero movie enthusiast, you are here because you are impressed by the visual effects of the original MCU series, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
The MCU, for more than a decade has been carrying the Torch of legendary CGI epics. But lately they have been trying to shift your attention from heavily CG-ed wars to grounded and realistic TV series like The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. These shows have given us CGI scenes so perfect that none of us could have ever doubted it to not be real. From the aerial chase in the first episode and a few others that we would be exploring shortly. And who other than Weta Digital could have been trusted with such epic sequences amidst the global pandemic!
The show received a total of five award nominations including a nomination for a 2021 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Special Visual Effects. The VFX team involved was supervised by Charlie Tait who alongside Eric Leven have been part of the Weta digital team for over two decades. You may not have heard his name but we are pretty sure that you would have enjoyed his work, which includes Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool, Alita: Battle Angel, and Game Of Thrones Season 8. K
Meant for theaters, the production had a blockbuster budget with each of the six episodes reportedly costing $25 million and featuring a total of 2,500 visual effects shots.
Here are our top 3 favourite breakdowns of the VFX shots:
Establishing shots of Madripoor were entirely CGed with Hong Kong as the key reference for it. The uniquely shaped sky-scrapers and the dense slum was a mixture of on-set special effects and VFX. It’s amazing how they could show the stark contrast between the slum life and the riches all through CG, since Madipoor was essentially a pirate city.
Credits: (c)Weta Digital and (c)Marvel Studios
Canyon chase sequence
It was the first of the sequence to make us realise the brilliance of MCU’s execution of fight scenes. But what makes it unique from the ones we saw in the movies was the different visual language using the GoPro mount.
Credits: (c)Weta Digital and (c)Marvel Studios
Digital double of Walker
The Walker you saw running and jumping through the window was a CG John Walker. A stunt double enacted the fall through the window on the car but the dents, exploding car windows, and the smashing through the house window was CGed. It might seem simple to create it but calculating the intensity of the smash is challenging.
Some scenes had digital doubles of both Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. And since they have been in the MCU for a long time, they have become a few of the recognisable faces in the industry. Thus there wasn’t any room for the slightest of the mistakes in creating their CGs.
Credits: (c)Weta Digital and (c)Marvel Studios
The trucks were absolutely stationary! The only thing moving was the CGI-Ed road. The road was moved at the required speed (120km/s) while adding bits of rocks, dirt and dust being kicked up subtly to enhance realism in the scene. In addition to that the sequence was shot in Atlanta (USA) and thus sign boards and surrounding environment was required to be transformed to that of Germany.
Credits: (c)Weta Digital and (c)Marvel Studios via beforesandafters.com
Marvel is stepping up the game for other superhero franchises like The Boys (Prime) and the DCEU. We believe there are much more surprises waiting for us in ‘Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness’.
Research shows that the average time spent by a consumer on a website is 45 seconds. Not minutes, but seconds! And with a million websites dwelling on the Internet, how would one make their visitors stay longer on their website? The answer is in web designing .
Understanding web designs is easy once you realise the needs of the website visitors and the vision of the brand. Sometimes it may seem overwhelming, especially when you are making changes to keep up with the latest trends, which is necessary, because traditional aesthetics go stale and boring in no time. But it is important that you translate the identity of the brand into your design. One of the best ways to achieve this is to choose images effectively for your website.
In this article, we will explore a crucial aspect of web designing that has stayed irrespective of the trend, i.e. images. Images trigger emotions, boost audience response, and increase engagement rates. Below are some image optimisation tips that every aspiring web designer should know.
1. Use the Right Image File Type
The common image file types are JPEG and PNG. PNG format is a lossless compression file format, which makes it a common choice for use on the web. But PNG is only a good choice for storing line drawings, text, and iconic graphics at a small file size. If your website intends to have photographs and realistic images then JPEG is your best bet. GIFs are acceptable for minimalistic animations.
2. Resize Images
Choose images in web-friendly sizes for the purpose of both beauty and function. Resize them to optimise page speed and appearance. This makes the website look balanced, and helps it to load faster. Image heavy websites take a long time to upload this resulting in higher bounce rates. According to Google, an image size less than 500kb is recommended. Compressing your images to 60-70% of original size is satisfactory. Use Compression plugins for this purpose.
3. Name Image Files & Add Alt Text
Website images improve SEO. Input the label for each image correctly and optimise its alternate text (Alt text) for SEO purposes. Do not waste the opportunity of boosting your SEO rankings with the right filename and Alt text. File names should be such that it gets readily accessed on google images. For example, instead of naming a file ‘Greenscreeneffect123.jpeg’, rename it to ‘before-and-after-green-screen.jpeg’. Use relevant titles and captions to describe the image.
4. Make it Social Media Friendly
Social media is a huge potential market for any business. To get the biggest social boost from your website images, make it easy for visitors to share your content by including buttons to instantly post to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites.
For exclusive social media design tips, click here .
5. Create Attractive Website Banners
The purpose of a website banner is to create a focus point as they are the first thing noticed when a visitor enters the website. Hence, it is important to get the banner right as it only has mere seconds to capture the interest of a visitor and encourage them to stay on the website for further browsing. The only way this can happen is if the banner is attractive, unique and appealing to viewers. It has to convey the right message too. Its main purpose is to advertise your product or brand.
Implement these strategies before uploading image elements to a website. It will not only improve the website’s aesthetics, performance and SEO rankings, but also enhances the overall user experience.
Mastering these techniques will give you a head start in the web designing industry. To secure a career in the web & graphic designing, get the right skill sets with the help of a web & graphics course that suits your interests.
Animation Software that the Aspiring Animators Should Consider Learning
Is there a must-learn software that will help you create the highest quality animation? Of course there is more than one. But the real question is, which software you would be most comfortable with. There are many options out there, but given the time and energy being invested in learning a software, choose the one that will give you an edge over others. Achieve mastery in that tool.
For those who are considering working on animation software, the top four contenders are Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Blender, and Houdini.
While the first two are advanced software used by professionals, Blender is free and perhaps the best choice for a beginner. Netflix’s ‘Next Gen’ was created in Blender and to quote the director Joe Ksander: “Artists, not tools, yo.”
If you wish to make a career in the animation industry, you may have to use the software that is being used in the studio you join. In such cases, knowing the fundamentals of one software can come handy as the workflow is almost the same across all. Flexibility can help you a long way. Below is a list of popular animation software, and why you should consider learning them.
Modeling, Animation, Rigging & Simulation
Autodesk Maya is the most commonly used animation software! The latest versions have brought in huge improvements. While Maya is an ecosystem, its UI setups can be divided into Modeling, Rigging, Animation, FX, and Rendering. If you choose this software, you get access to plugins, scripts, learning materials, and tons of materials online as large and small studios across the world have been using this software for years now.
Contrary to the belief that Maya is hard, it isn’t. It takes a while to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you can work faster. Thorough knowledge of Maya could be your first step to a career in animation, game development or VFX.
Autodesk 3ds Max
It is an out-of-the-box software for poly modelling. It gives you a more direct and in-control feeling. As compared to Maya, 3ds Max is said to be more user-friendly. It is widely used in the creation of commercials and games than movies. A lot of indie studios are opting for 3ds Max rather than Maya.
Houdini comes into the picture if budget is a concern. Maya is expensive than Houdini. However Houdini has an edge over Maya for dynamic simulations and time efficiency. It has been used for movies like Pacific Rim and the Harry Potter series.
It is an open source software. If you are a beginner, Blender is a good place to start. It supports asll aspects of the 3D pipeline including modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and video editing.
Nuke is the industrial standard for compositing. It is versatile, customisable, and user friendly. It comes with hundreds of creative nodes including rotoscope and vector paint tools that allow you to master digital compositing. The deep image compositing tools help you to work with images of various opacity, colour and camera-relative depth. The machine learning tools save your time, especially when creating sequence-specific effects. You will not need to explore others if you master this node-based software.
Arnold is an advanced renderer and is used for feature-length animation and visual effects. It is capable of great photorealistic renders. Arnold’s plug-ins are available for Maya, 3ds Max and Houdini.
If you are looking for a single solution when it comes to animation software, the best consideration would be Autodesk Maya as most studios are interested in hiring professionals with expertise in this software. Once you know Maya, you can adapt to any program within a short period of time.
Customer engagement concepts have been constantly evolving. The surest way to have your customers’ attention is with the help of an eye-catching image. Studios make their movie posters impressive, and ad agencies create attention-grabbing ads. These designs guide businesses toward the intended audience. They work not only for social media but also for all areas of digital marketing.
When it comes to the best types of social media designs, it is the one that communicates the underlying motive and not the one that just hooks up with the current trends. However, there are some basic design principles that you can follow to develop impressive visual content for social media.
Perhaps the most important principle of good design is the most obvious one: make sure the text is easy to read. Don’t overdo it with fancy typefaces that might look pretty, but ultimately will lessen legibility.
Visual hierarchy is the use of stylistic elements like colour, type size, and positioning to convey the relative importance of information on a page. This simply means that the text or elements of higher importance are usually bigger than the rest, and stands out in the design.
Colour is an invaluable tool for creating contrast and balance. But it is important to be aware of how certain hues or pairings influence perception. Some colours such as those in the red and yellow families can stimulate and energize, while others such as those in the blue spectrum can convey calm and trustworthiness.
Much like colour, typography conveys mood and tone, sometimes more powerfully than the copy itself. When choosing a font, think about the desired tone of your words.
Distribution may come at the end of your content workflow, but it is important to be thinking about where your visuals will live every step of the way so that you can tailor your graphics to the sizes and preferences of the respective social media platforms.
The fundamental building block of a brand is consistency. It takes five to seven impressions for people to begin to identify with your brand. This means that repetition of key brand ingredients — logo, colours and typeface — is essential. If your graphics look and feel cohesive and related, then users can form a clearer association of your brand in their minds.
Authenticity and Efficiency
Show your differences and uniqueness from fellow competitors first hand. Your designs should be unique and in sync with the requirements of the website or brand that you are designing for. Authentic designs are always appreciated!
If you are an absolute beginner to designing, Canva and Adobe Spark are great tools to start with. However, if you intend to be a professional graphic designer, it is important for you to join a career course in visual content development, and gain the skills set that the companies are looking for.
Unlike the olden days, creativity is now swiftly transitioning itself to digital. And in this era the price of software, hardware, and related camera equipment to capture creativity is relatively inexpensive. So much so that anyone with aptitude can learn VFX by joining a career course with a reputed VFX institute. The VFX industry is gaining traction and is becoming competitive for those who want to make a career in it.
In this article, we will discuss the two major questions that most VFX career aspirants ask, “Is it absolutely necessary for me to join a professional VFX institute to learn visual effects? What skills must I gain to become a VFX professional?”
Should You Join a VFX Institute?
In simple words, yes! Today, most recruiters value skills over qualifications. Even though one can learn VFX and CGI using free open source software like Blender, there are loads of other benefits that an institution provides. To know the intricacies of the field, one has to be involved with others who have mastered the game, and for whom it is not just some hobby. Rarely will you find others with whom you can collaborate at such a high level, for free, for extended periods. VFX training institutions are one of the few places where you can connect with others with similar passions and goals.
Apart from that, when you join an institute, you follow an industry-relevant curriculum, get assistance and advice from experienced faculty, develop social skills, gain hands-on experience through projects, and create your own demo reel. Most reputed institutions offer placement assistance thus boosting your chances of landing a job immediately after the successful completion of your course.
It is true that VFX and design are skill-based industries. Your portfolio and reel speak for you. Companies will look at your past experience, your showreel and will probably talk to people who have worked with you when they are considering you for a job vacancy. Venturing out alone as a VFX artist without any job offers at hand could be overwhelming and exhausting. When you are a part of a training institute, you will get ample guidance during every step of your journey to a VFX career.
What VFX Skills Should You Gain?
As for the skills needed, start with the basics such as digital illustrations, storytelling, and anatomy study. As your course progresses, you will start learning more complex concepts such as character design, audio-video editing, rotoscopy, matchmoving techniques, compositing, pre-visualization, and VFX filmmaking. Consider learning some of the most in-demand software such as Nuke, Blender, Houdini, and Autodesk Maya.