Posts from the ‘VFX’ Category

“The Great Marcusio” 15 minute short film

The Great Marcusio is Marcus, a bumbling high school senior desperate to prove his magic chops to his family. Though Marcus struggles to master his dime store illusions, it’s overcoming his annoying sister and doubtful parents which proves to be most difficult. When Marcus lines up a big magic gig for a young girl’s birthday, his parents are thoroughly unimpressed, though he sees it as his next big break.

Pushed to his emotional limit, Marcus is determined to make the party a success. When he dares to perform a dangerous trick for the young party guests, will he unleash a power he never knew he possessed? And will it be enough to prove the doubters wrong?

“The Great Marcusio” is a 15 minute live action short film I directed in 2010. I shot the film on a RED1 with Zeiss Super Speed lenses. It was featured in the NewFilmMakersLA film festival. It was an amazing learning experience that I am quite proud of. If you like the film please feel free to comment. For more information about the film please check out

“Skyline” vs “Battle: Los Angeles”: Legal or creative?

“Skyline” is a movie I am interested in because A: I LOVE Alien Sci-Fi and B: it’s being produced and directed by the Strause Brothers. (owners of Hydralux VFX) “Battle: Los Angeles” will also be seen by me for reason A: above.  I recently found out the Strause Bros. are in legal turmoil with Sony over I.P. rights and something to do with their involvement with contributing VFX to “Battle: Los Angeles.” It looks like we’re going to have another “Deep Impact” vs “Armageddon” on our hands with this one. Sony is saying that The brothers jacked the idea for the film from their involvement with “Battle: Los Angeles” as VFX vendors. The bros look like they’re telling the studio their main inspiration was not the script for “Battle: Los Angeles,” rather “Paranormal Activity.”

I always find this sort of thing interesting. As my momma would say, “The proof is in the puddin.” If in fact the bros ripped off “Battle: Los Angeles” then it will clearly show in a similar plots. If Sony is saying that “Skyline” is infringing do to having similar shot / art direction then I think they should consider why they went to Hydralux in the first place. I think it may have been because they like the way they design Aliens. It’s not as if Sony has a patent or TM on Alien movies.

I think there is enough room in the collective nerd kingdom for two Alien movies in one theater season. Face it, Aliens are cool. My prediction is that they both make money.  I am not necessarily pulling for either side in this case rather Hollywood film making in general. I do however have a desire to root for the indie film maker due to the nature of the process. I suppose time will soon tell.

Here’s the link to the article i first read.

Avatar review: D. Ryan Reeb

still frame from jim camerons avatar

I just got back from seeing Avatar at the Sherman Oaks Galleria Arclight. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The visual effects have definitely raised the bar for many studios. I now see how outsourcing is not the problem but a solution to making film on this scale. This film will be the first of many of its kind. It will take a worldly effort to make more pictures like this, I fully expect this type of film making to succeed and become a standard. The 3D stereoscopic technology is still new and has a ways to go but it was not inhibiting whatsoever, lets get past the whole wearing the polarizing lens on our face and well be good. This is coming from a guy who was wearing his vision glasses during the movie along with the stereo glasses. My hat was more annoying that the glasses were.
As a CG artist / aspiring director I’d love to talk about the CG first but I have to comment on the story. I have read a few articles pinning the film into a category like 2012, Transformers Star Wars etc. Yes its was a high octane ram it up your ass movie firing on all 8 cylinders, but it is also a spiritually awakening humanitarian film that the environmentalist inside of me came all over. If the majority of the population actually gets the moral of this story our culture may still have some hope. I don’t think its irony that this movie came out the same week as the UNFCCC in Copenhagen. Its great timing! The message and story in this film is so utterly important as we move into the next decade. Thank (god?) someone like Jim Cameron has the ability to make this film. This story needs to wake people up that these are times to change over from the old system and focus on the new way of living in harmony with our environment. I have heard people say that this is Jim’s last dying breath at trying to make a film. I don’t think you can believe that after seeing this movie. I think if he is going to tell this story correctly that he will have to maybe spend the rest of his life buried in this franchise making sure it stays true to its story and characters. That isn’t a bad thing. George Lucas did just that with Star Wars. At least Jim Cameron told a bunch of other stories before he opened a can of worms like Avatar.
Technically there were many things I have never seen before at the level that Avatar brought them. Definitely raised the bar. The fluid dynamic effects specifically were more believable than I have seen before. The scene where one of the Navi 😉 is being wiped down with a white liquid all over its body as a right of passage looked so real. It interacted between the two characters so realistically. Typically its the things that interact dynamically in cg with the real world that throws me off and loses me. Another great example is the scene where one of the Navi bite into a piece of native fruit and the fruit just peels open spilling out its insides. It looked the opposite of the goop coming out of shreks ears. Since im referencing other cg films I should take a moment to mention that this film and Delgo should never be mentioned in the same sentence again. Delgo was a small puttering fart next to this massive cannon. They captured the essence of human skin on something as outlandish as a blue biped, the subtle imperfections and the way light is distributed with the SSS was not your typical blown out tips of the ears and fingers. The facial movements were for the first time captivating and came across as adding character instead of instantly pulling away from the character. I think that performance capture has matured to a point where people can sink in and believe instead of judge and doubt its possibilities.
This film is a must see! I am so tired of this string of post apocalyptic dystopias. All those films do is plot out how we will end. I personally would like to see our cultures as humans survive. Not just survive but survive harmoniously and thrive. If we shift gears and start thinking of positive outcomes, hopeful endings then we may be able to artistically help steer our way of life out of an inevitable demise. I will try to see this movie again hopefully in IMAX next. I would also like to see it in 2D just to make sure I wasn’t just wowed by the tech. Although, if it was the tech that sucked me in then I expect to see a lot more stereo projects in the future.
9.5 out of 10

“Lilith & Thatch”animated short film

A close friend of mine Gunnar came to me with an idea he had for an animated short film called “Lilith & Thatch.” It was dark, creepy, fun filled, loving and scary. The best part is that Gunnar was willing to complete the majority of the concept art himself. I love Gunnar’s style. I have been a fan of his art ever since he designed my friends band “New Found Glory’s” album art. I read Gunnars initial short story and fell in love. He let me run with the idea and I turned his poem into a screenplay. Today we’re halfway to having a completed cgi animated short.

With the help of talented artists such as Jean Choi, George Mehlan, Rob Burton we have been trying to assemble this cg short since January 2009. We have hit a small road block and initiated a fund raising event through the web site in hopes of raising the funds necessary to complete our film.

I hope you will all go to this site and re post the link or possibly donate to our cause. We are deeply invested in this project and have to see it through to completion. If we meet our fund raising goal we should be in a good position to finish the project. We need your help.

Please click this link below to navigate to our fund raising site.

Halo 3 ODST

This video represents the hard work of a handful of talented artists from Asylum VFX. This spot was VFX Supervised by Jens Zalzala and turned around in record time. I think you can all agree that if there were a Halo live action film that it should look and feel like this. I helped on this spot by doing a lot of the match moving and camera tracking as well as texturing the Banshee ship. The banshee is the purple ship that crash lands with a plume of smoke. So happy to have worked on a property such as Halo. Hopefully bungee will pick me to direct the feature and Jens to VFX Sup the entire feature! 😉

Q&A: King of Mo-Cap Andy Serkis on Digital Acting and Gollum’s Oscar Diss

Andy has graced the screen on many occasions including Lord Of the Rings, King Kong and The Prestige. Get up close and personal with him in this interview featured in wired magazine.

Click Here
to go to the WIRED Magazine interview with Andy.


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