Wednesday, December 07, 2011


Photographer/film maker Tom Lowe's been working on his film TimeScapes since 2009, and has recently released a new trailer that shows off to stunning effect the Red Epic he's been filming on. Between the Epic and Canon DSLRs, all the shots are of incredibly high quality, filmed and edited at 4069x2304 resolution. Filled with stunning time-lapses and slow-motion photography, each frame is the equivalent of a 9-megapixel still image.

Friday, December 02, 2011

StudioDaily on "Immortals"

More on Image Engine's work on "Immortals".
This time, an article from StudioDaily.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Evolution of Internet Search

Google released a short video today highlighting some of its key milestones in search over the past decade. It’s both a fun blast from the past and a worthwhile reminder of how much things have changed over the years. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Image Engine Immortals

FX Guide talks to Image Engine about the work on Immortals. Mike chats to vfx supervisor Simon Hughes and Executive Producer Shawn Walsh about the film, which was shot in Montreal.

Direct link HERE.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1 TeraFLOPs on a chip

14 years ago, in 1997, Intel demonstrated the first supercomputer capable of achieving 1 TeraFlops by combining 9,680 Intel Pentium Pro CPUs.
Today, Intel unveiled the first chip based on its MIC (Many Integrated Cores) architecture: "Knight's Corner".

It is a single CPU with 50 computing cores, reaching over 1 TeraFlops in one chip. According to Intel,  "the result is a fundamentally new architecture that uses the same tools, compilers, and libraries as the Intel® Xeon processors. 
Intel already foresees a combination of many Intel® MIC processors surpassing the next big milestone: the exaflop barrier."

As a frame of reference, a six-core Intel i7 CPU peaks at 109 GigaFlops.
1 GFlop = 109
1 TeraFlop = 1012 
1 ExaFlop =  1018 (that number would be read as "10 followed by 18 zeros", or "one quintillion" calculations per second

More at INTEL.


NVIDIA Maximus-powered workstations combine the industry-leading professional 3D graphics capability of NVIDIA Quadro® GPUs and the high-performance computing power of NVIDIA® Tesla™ GPUs. Tesla co-processors automatically perform the heavy lifting of rendering or CAE computations, freeing the Quadro GPUs to do what they do best—enabling rich interactive graphics.

Earth is AWESOME!

How can one not stare in absolute awe at the beauty of this little blue marble we live on?
Watch this in HD with full-screen ON!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Katana is out.
The Foundry has finally released the first version on their website and announced ILM has already purchased a site license.
Katana was developed at Sony Imageworks and has been their core lighting and look development platform for a fair number of big productions.
 Paired with either Arnold or PRman, Katana is reportedly a tremendous performance boost for artists lighting and shading 3D assets and environments.
Katana is Linux-only at this point, and price is undisclosed at The Foundry's website. Trust me, this in not software for the "shallow-pocketed" and "faint-of-pipeline".  This is a tool for studios with solid Linux pipelines and cash-fluent production revenues...
For more details, check out Katana's website.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Colour Bleed

Fantastic short by Peter Szewczyk.
Watch from the BBC's FilmNetwork.

Better White LEDs

Researchers are reporting the first use of a fundamentally new approach in the quest to snare the Holy Grail of the lighting industry: An LED (light-emitting diode) — those ultra-efficient, long-lived light sources — that emits pure white light. The new approach yielded what the scientists describe as the most efficient and stable source of pure white light ever achieved. The advance could speed the development of this next-generation technology for improved lighting of homes, offices, displays, and other applications, they say. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Image Engine talks "The Thing"

Watch FX Guide's podcast as they talk to Image Engine about the creature and environment visual effects work in director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s The Thing.
Jesper Kjolsrud, our VFX Supervisor for the show and Steve Garrad, VFX Executive Producer, talk about the challenges and accomplishments of working on this project.
Check it out at FX Guide's website HERE.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Touchscreen Distinguishes Different Parts of Finger

By attaching a microphone to a touchscreen, the CMU scientists showed they can tell the difference between the tap of a fingertip, the pad of the finger, a fingernail and a knuckle. This technology, called TapSense, enables richer touchscreen interactions.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Say hello to Lytro...

Lytro has unveiled a little something it calls the Lytro camera - the world's first consumer light field camera.
Within the anodized aluminum frame, the friendly camera totes an f/2, 8x zoom lens which utilizes an 11-mega-ray light-field to power all that infinite focus magic.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Immortals Trailer

A new trailer is available for "Immortals", Tarsem Singh's vision of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Titans.
I was senior digital artist on this project for a good chunk of 2010 and early 2011.
"Immortals" will be in theaters November 11, 2011.
Link HERE.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Google Ngram Viewer

Google has been digitizing books. MILLIONS of books...  Well, the goal is pretty much to digitize ALL books printed by humankind since the invention of the printing press. (not very ambitious. heh?)
Realizing that they had a MASSIVE database of words, they put forth a search engine (because, after all, they are Google) that allows you to search the occurrence of a particular word or words through their ENTIRE books database.
You may ask "why the heck do I want to do that?!"... Elementary my dear: besides satisfying whatever geek drive you may have in you, the tool allows you to spot and compare cultural trends through time.
Google's database holds printed matter from the 1700's or earlier, so you can actually see how popular has the term "fame" (for instance) has been through centuries. By entering multiple terms separated by commas, you can compare them all in the same graph and infer some interesting cultural repercussions around that. 
Click HERE to go play with Google's Ngram Viewer.
Well, if you still think it's dumb, I apologize. You can go back to watching "Jersey Shore" now...

Thursday, October 06, 2011

VFX Bill of Rights

In response to the current production environment, the VES offers this visual effects Bill of Rights, and a dedication to work with the entertainment industry at large to transform the visual effects industry into a model that is mutually sustainable for artists and practitioners, facilities and studios.

Head over to the VES website for the complete text.

Monday, October 03, 2011

"District 9" - Lighting Reel

In lieu of a full demo reel with shots from most of my work for the past 3 to 4 years, I have included a lighting reel with the shots I worked on for "District 9".
Sorry, it's the only edited reel I have at this point. But I am working hard to finalize a proper demo within the next couple of months!
You can hop straight to the D9 Reel page HERE.

Image Engine Designs

I have been flexing my rusty graphic design muscles at Image Engine, creating pieces for our marketing department over the last months.
Worked on some banners, promo posters and crew t-shirts for "Disctrict 9", "The Thing", "The Twilight Saga" among others.
You can see a few that are available at the Personal Works area of the website. Direct link HERE.

Best 2011 Electron Pics

FEI, a company from Oregon that makes electron microscopes, sponsors a contest every year to find the best electron microscope images.
There's a whole world out there that we're incapable of seeing without the aid of very complicated an expensive electronics. On the large scale, we're talking about looking at the universe through telescopes, but it works the other way, too, using things like electron microscopes to explore the inherent beauty of the very, very small.
The images can be seen on FEI's website or available in desktop wallpaper-sized versions on Flickr here.
Also, do not miss their Nanoscale Bug Image Gallery showing some extreme close-ups of common bugs - GREAT reference material!

Fly away with GoogleMaps

Google Maps has long been my favorite way to get driving directions, but now they've added a cool new 3D preview feature that lets you take a virtual flight along the route before you hit the road.
To make it work, you simply enter your start and end points as usual, choose whether you're walking, biking or driving, and click the "3D" button at the start of the written directions list. The program will zoom into your start point, then take you along the route using an angled view from above as if you were in a helicopter. What's really cool, is that unlike a regular overhead map or satellite image, you can really see the terrain and what types of difficulties you might encounter when you actually travel along the route. That's cool if your driving, but it's especially useful if you're going to be biking or walking and want to know where the hills are.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Digital Scrolls

The Israel Museum welcomes you to the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project, allowing users to examine and explore these most ancient manuscripts from Second Temple times at a level of detail never before possible. Developed in partnership with Google, the new website gives users access to searchable, fast-loading, high-resolution images of the scrolls, as well as short explanatory videos and background information on the texts and their history.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, which include the oldest known biblical manuscripts in existence, offer critical insight into Jewish society in the Land of Israel during the Second Temple Period, the time of the birth of Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.
Five complete scrolls from the Israel Museum have been digitized for the project at this stage and are now accessible online.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wacom announces it's new Cintiq

The 24HD is three inches bigger than last year's Cintiq 21UX, covers a greater color gamut at 92 percent of Adobe RGB, and costs $500 more. But again, none of this really explains how outlandish the 24HD really is: at 65 pounds thanks to huge bezels for resting your elbows on and housing large scroll-wheel controls, as well as a sturdy spring-loaded base that lets you work in a myriad of positions.

The H-IPS panel might not sound that special on paper -- 1920 x 1200 resolution, 550:1 contrast, 178 degree viewing angle -- but those specs overlook the gentle matte quality of the anti-glare display, which is clearly designed to be stared at closely for hours on end.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Autodesk Photofly

Autodesk is offering free access to Project Photofly.
Project Photofly 2.0, which is currently available via Autodesk’s R&D site, Autodesk Labs, enables users to turn uploaded reference photos into downloadable 3D models.
The service, which is still officially a ‘technology preview’ will remain live until the end of 2012.
Project Photofly, developed by the same team that created Realiviz’s ImageModeler software, has been available since last summer, but did not generate meshes until the latest update.
For more information, visit Autodesk's Project Photofly website.


From Cinefex:

“We’ve just received the sad news that Kerner Optical has closed for business. Kerner had its origin in the fabled model shop of Industrial Light & Magic, spinning off — after 30 years of stellar work — into a separate modelmaking entity when Lucas opted to shutter the ILM model shop in 2006. After struggling for some time, Kerner finally succumbed to the harsh economy and the industry’s waning interest in miniature work. End of an era.”

Indeed. The astounding work produced at the ILM Model Shop and it's last incarnation as Kerner Optical has paved the way to modern film-making and influenced generations of moviegoers and industry professionals.
Would ILM suffer the same tragic fate?...

Here is the farewell letter posted in their website.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Inkling of Genius

Wacom strikes again.

For a while, they have been showing a cryptic countdown on their website; building momentum towards the release of some mysterious new product.
Today they have unveiled Inkling. And if the actual product experience holds true to the demo videos they have released, sketching on a surface (any ball-pen-friendly surface) has taken a new leap into the digital age.

With Inkling, Wacom ditches the electrostatic tablet surface and focuses the technology into the pen. With an attached receiver, the pen's movements and tip pressure are stored, digitizing whatever you are sketching.

True, digitizing pens have been around for a while, storing actual writing gestures into text. sort of a "reverse OCR" type of thing. But I am curious to see how Wacom has finessed the approach to store sketches. I am also curious to see the system's fidelity.
You can take a peek at

Monday, August 15, 2011


OpenColorIO (OCIO) is a new open source project from Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI), which they hope will soon be widely adopted across the Industry.

Based on development started in 2003, OCIO enables color transforms and image display to be handled in a consistent manner across multiple graphics applications. Unlike other color management solutions, OCIO is geared towards motion-picture post production, with an emphasis on visual effects and animation color pipelines. Today there was a small but powerful group of colour science experts such as Charles Poynton, and expert users, as well as manufacturers such as the Foundry all gathered to discuss and listen to the latest advances in the 0.8 project from lead developer and advocate Jeremy Selan, Imaging Supervisor from Sony Imageworks.

For more info:


Alembic 1.0 is released and is in production at Industrial Light and Magic/LucasFilm (ILM) and Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI), on such productions as The Avengers, Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spiderman.

The file format allows for much greater standardization for production, reduced files size, non-linear access and a universal baked geometry format that is both flexible and production tested.

Developed to be open source, by a joint initiative from both ILM and SPI, and is in the great tradition of OpenEXR. It is production ready, able to be used commercially but hopefully widely supported allowing for greater collaboration between facilities.

 You can get more details and read the press release at the Alembic site:

Siggraph Diary

Siggraph Vancouver is now over.
According to the conference's organization, it was a success, and we should look forward to the show coming back to Vancouver in the future.
CGSociety posted a day-by-day diary of the event for those who couldn't make it to Canada.
You can check it out HERE.