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Leonard
05-24-2005, 12:35 AM
http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/blur/header.jpg

Blur Studio
Los Angeles, California

Blur Studio was established over 9 years ago to create an environment where artists can thrive and create great imagery. Since then, it has grown in virtually every area; from the number of staff and artistic ability to technical expertise, while retaining its mission to tell stories through beautiful animation. To achieve its goal, Blur relentlessly pursues a creative business path by only choosing to do work that it regards as ‘creatively fulfilling’ as opposed to simply working for money. Its staff are long-term team members instead of hiring hordes of freelancers when needed. Through its growth, Blur has remained true to its mission to create a unique group of artists that push the envelope of creative computer graphics today.

Recently, Blur Studio has been responsible for short films such as ‘In The Rough’ (directed by Paul Taylor) and the Academy Award nominated ‘Gopher Broke’ (directed by Jeff Fowler). It also blurred the lines between game and film quality animation with its Warhammer 40,000 game intro cinematics, which took the CG world by storm.

In this CGTalk Q&A session, we are pleased to present the artists from Blur Studio who will be answering your questions, and critiquing your work.

Representing Blur are:
- Tim Miller, Founder and Creative Director
- Jeff Fowler, Director and CG Supervisor
- Paul Taylor, Director and CG Supervisor
- Dave Wilson, CG Supervisor
- Ian Joyner, Character Modeler
- Jennifer Miller, Public Relations
- and more...

Blur Studio Website
http://www.blur.com

Gopher Broke
http://www.cgnetworks.com/story_custom.php?story_id=2861

In The Rough (video)
http://www.cgnetworks.com/story_custom.php?story_id=2808

Warhammer 40,000 Cinematics (video)
http://www.cgnetworks.com/story_custom.php?story_id=2538

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/blur/gopherbroke.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/blur/intherough.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/blur/warhammer.jpg

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Post your questions or request for critique

The "Meet the Artists" forum provides a conducive environment where CGTalk members can have the opportunity to speak to some of the finest digital art talents in the world! CGTalk members can post questions and artwork, and have them answered or critiqued by these master artists. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insight from seasoned industry veterans!

Rules for Q&A/Critique:
1. Use your real name (edit your CGTalk profile in UserCP). Note: Anonymous postings may be removed at CGTalk's discretion.
2. Please be polite when asking questions or for critique.
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5. Note that the Artist is under no obligation to answer all questions or critique all work posted. It is at his/her sole discretion to answer questions or critique work.
6. If the Artist does not answer your question or critique your work, do not harass him/her.
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thesuit
05-24-2005, 12:50 AM
Wow!
Ok first and only question... please comment details on the mud effect during one of the final scenes of "In the rough"...

sphere
05-24-2005, 12:53 AM
Hey,

- Any word on a future feature film project?
- What's the biggest lesson learnt from your time with Blur (one per artist)?

Thank guys! :D

tki
05-24-2005, 01:08 AM
Great! great GREAT! Ok...

What is the Key things that People needed to have to work within the Blur Domain and whats the longest time it took to finish a project from start to finish and what was the major problems faced.

this question is to all...

Thanks Blur...

Mysterious X
05-24-2005, 01:09 AM
first of all congratualtions for the wonderful job your doing and keep on trying and you'll nail the oscar soon :thumbsup:

my question is when will we be able to download the full version of Gopher Broke ?

zman
05-24-2005, 01:11 AM
Cool, you guys are one of my favorite studios.
I know you use (or at least used to use) max. I'm just interested to know what you think of it comparing to other programs (I am talking mainly for pipeline comptability and stability in large projects). I also know you have an RnD team and i wonder what they think of max's source (comparing mainly to maya).
i am asking this mainly because alot of ppl i know from large studios keep on claimming that maya is way better for those things and i cant convince them to see the light :)

anyways, you guys rule :thumbsup:

comic-craig
05-24-2005, 01:23 AM
What do you like for in aspiring talent- with regards to 3D artists? What is the kind of demo material that amazes you? What doesn't impress you?

overcontrast
05-24-2005, 01:25 AM
This is great. Hello BLUR guys, first of all, u guys rock, i'm a big fan of urs. okay i have so many things to ask. heres some that i can remember

- I wanna know how you organize a team who will work on a short or game cinamatics. And how many people do u work with in projects like 'Gopher Broke' or 'In the Rough'?

- What are the softwares you use to do dinamics?

- Do you guys use a lot of GI? or what kind of lighting do u mostly prefer?

- What software do u use for rigging?... i dont think Max's built-in rigging/skinning system is not good enough for your kind of works. or do u use any inhouse sotwares for that?

- as many wants to know, what are your future plans? is there any ned masterpiece in making?

well thats about it... i'll be waitng for ur replies

tevih
05-24-2005, 01:27 AM
This is exciting! http://cgtalk.com/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif Love you guys!

Gopher broke really blew me away with the stunning visuals and an excellent and entertaining performance all held together by a simple story line. It really shows that a simple story can be wildly fun if its done well. So, how do you decide which story to choose for your shorts? And how do you see the potential a simple idea can have?

FUG1T1VE
05-24-2005, 01:30 AM
Hello folks at Blur.

Is it possible that we will be seeing a "trend" of other studios, setting up their pipelines to create their own shorts. Given that it took you guys 3-4 weeks to complete the Warhammer cinematics. Maybe not a trend, but given the success of your shorts it has certainly made some people go "hey, we can do it too".

If so, how would it affect the independant folks creating their own shorts.

Thats it for now.
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.

marciowski
05-24-2005, 01:46 AM
Hello,

I´d like to know how many animators you have there. Not all 3d people. Just the animators. And How many do you need to do a feature film?
By the way... When will you make a feature film?


kisses

Voldron
05-24-2005, 01:47 AM
Where did you guys go to school or have you just learned alot by doing it? What do you use for compositing? Last question.........Have you used any other 3d packages besides 3DS Max?


Thanks in advance

Infinity3d4life
05-24-2005, 01:51 AM
First off you guys are spectacular.

I would like to know if you could give some pointers for someone trying to start an animation studio of their own.. Maybe some of your experience, and things to look out for...

geneticlone
05-24-2005, 01:57 AM
wow you guys are definatly the next pixar this stuff is so awsome and original i can't get enough great work and keep going. I am wondering if you guys are going to make a feature film and if you guys could give us any details. Anyway awsome and luck to all in the future.

By the way I always loved the wolfenstein cinematics they made the game what it is lol :D

Ducimus
05-24-2005, 02:16 AM
Greetings, I have been a a great fan of all the work you guys/gals have produced over the years...

The visuals are stunning and the animation is top notch...

I am currently in Animation and are anxious to get out into the fray of things...

Hopefully my demo will make it to you...

I have just a few questions:

#1) Does Blur work only with 3dsmax, if so are there any plans on expanding to different software such as XSI?

#2) I am also a digital Grunge/Graphix/PhotoManipulation Artists, I have seen some bits about your 2D side, I am wondering what kind of opertunities lie with Blur in a 2D Advertisment feild?

Cheers

Jonathan Jacobs-Durocher

Viper
05-24-2005, 02:17 AM
I'm gonna go with the flow and first congratulate you guys on every single project you've done so far. All the shorts, plus the game cinematics and so on are all really awsome. I'm definately a fan...if a feature film does ever come out, you have my ticket :D

As for questions, I think most of it has been covered, but I wanted to know, if having a college background is often necessary when hiring someone?

Also, do you guys look for specific skills too? For instance, if someone can't really texture well, but can do great modelling work, or lighting work, he might be considered?

Finally, does drawing godlike (IE: Feng Zhu) is a necessity to all positions? Or having basic notions, maybe enough to pass on an idea, is enough? Granted, the person meets other requirements...

I'm really just curious about your hiring guidelines. I'm thinking of getting in the industry, and wanted to have an idea on how a studio like yours goes with that stuff :) Thanks in advance :)

NoSeRider
05-24-2005, 02:18 AM
http://academy.smc.edu/

What do you think about this school for animation?

I know you'd preferr CalArts Alumni, but I keep seeing people that teach at CalArts also teach at the Academy......You're in Venice, the school is in Santa Monica...I was hoping you would have some insight.

Thanks!

butlafer
05-24-2005, 02:20 AM
Hey blur!!!

Blur is a place I would dream of working sometime after I am done with college. What things could I do or should I do to be about the competition? examples would help!

Thanks, keep up the awesome graphics

matt butler

-Vormav-
05-24-2005, 02:49 AM
Meet the studio? Heh, nice surprise.

Anyway, might as well throw a few questions out.

-I hate to come off as a nuissance or anything (I'm sure you get these kinds of questions every day), but I'm particularly interested in how internships are handled through you guys. I guess I'm just assuming they're offered, though I didn't really see anything on it through your website.
It's really hard to gauge exactly what level a studio expects an intern to be at when just starting out; people mostly just tell you that you need to be very good, and that you probably shouldn't keep your hopes up. When it comes to finding a job, I can just take a look through the galleries here, and get a pretty good idea of the competition I'm up against, and how good I'm going to need to be. But then, most of the better stuff in these galleries is coming from people with a significantly greater amount of experience than your average intern.
Could you offer some insight on this, perhaps? Maybe some examples of the kind of work that has gotten people internships at your studio in the past (again, based on the assumption that you offer internships)? Obviously, there's going to be more to it than how pretty your renders are. I'm starting to feel like I have the technical knowledge to be able to take on an internship, but can't say much beyond that.

-You all obviously have your Max pipeline worked out well enough to be able to produce film-quality animations. I'm sure I've read interviews in the past where some of you have spoken of the way that using Max has strengthened your pipeline, but are there ever any cases where some aspect of Max completely breaks the development cycle apart - where you've started concidering adding additional 3d apps to the pipeline? Some apps just do some thing better, but then with a studio like Blur, I would guess that the artists are always able to find ways to get around some of the problems well enough for it to not affect the workflow too greatly.

-Somebody needs to give your web designer a pat on the back. That menu bar is quite sexy. ;) Of course the same comment applies to all of the animations as well, but web designers need a little bit of recognition too.


Probably more to follow. But I'll keep things simple for now. :)

Kramerica
05-24-2005, 03:13 AM
:buttrock:Hey, Blur. As everyone has said, I hold your work among the greatest out there, and am eagerly awaiting the first feature film. Whenever I get the dreaded "dream job" question, I find your studio coming up more and more in my response.

I am very intersted in how you came together and initially started Blur. What's the breakdown of your core staff, and how many projects do you generally work on at once?

Also, I know this may be an unanswerable question for legal reasons, but any ideas a brewin as far as feature film goes? Anything you know you're NOT going to do? Anything you might be willing to reveal about what kind of film you'd like to make? Animated cartoon? Science fiction?

RockinAkin
05-24-2005, 03:36 AM
I think everyone else has already covered any questions I had...

So I'll just take this opportunity to congratulate all the amazing artists at Blur.
Thanks for the inspiration - keep up the great work!

tilite
05-24-2005, 05:13 AM
hello hello bur...

to all u guys responding to this?... nice lil task u have here, enjoy... :thumbsup: lol.

it funny that this pops up today not even 10hrs ago i sent an email to Bobby Beck threw his site asking where i could find a downloadable copy of Hubert's Brain and Vanilla Pudding. After i went to your site and was planning sending and email to you guys to find a downloadable copy of your films, but fatiuge assaulted and i had to go to bed:sad: . I was hoping that seems cgnetworks has preview of 3 of your fine films it wouldnt be that bizarre to download them from somewhere? (i ask this because it is soooo much easier to download the film once and stop wasting my downloads on viewing all of these once a week:) )

ok so i think im safe with that question above but i do hope this post doesn't become redundant now.

i wanted to ask what in the next short the studio is working on and if there was a url to check it out?? and also what is there to look out for in the future for blur??

oh 1 more thing (i promise) i wanted to know what u guys think is quality inspirational animation... and by that a couple urls to artist and animations. And if like your films they are 'protected'?? pfffft please just mention them and ill do my own research:thumbsup: .

Dont hold back... even if u guys can just bounce and inspire each other instantanously i know you all have a atleast small collection!! ok this wasnt planned it popped into my mind so u cant hpld it against me.. i just mention the studio life of Blur... what is it like to work in a studio with so much respect and expectation?? im sure u can scrounge together a dig camera... take a few pics!!

ok taken up way to much of your time and other cgtalk users so i apologise, (but respond :bounce: hehe)

and congrats on all of you achievements to date and best of luck for the future

cheers
tom

Peddy
05-24-2005, 05:34 AM
Congrats on getting even more attention =]

The cinematics you guys and gals at Blur made are the kind of material that make me want to buy a game, most evidently with the Dawn of War cinematics. I'm not too keen on the idea of Warhammer (the original game), but the cinematics were done so well that I almost couldn't not buy the game. Same goes with the Hellgate: London cinematics I saw the other day.
And I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates how much a good cinematic adds to the potential of a game. However, we all all aware that Blur aspires for greater things, such as feature films, but if such an endeavour doesn't arrive as soon as the studio would like, are game cinematics and short films enough to sustain the (or any company, for that matter) company until the studio has enough corporate presence to create an I.P? What does it take for a studio to make the jump from short film to feature film, to fully independant production?

blaXX++
05-24-2005, 05:41 AM
Well this is a first for me, asking questions to the pro's!

First of all:

-Where do you get your inspiration?
-How do you get the motivation to keep the shorts at maximum quality?

Could you give any tips or pointers for CG artists wanting to do the same sort of stuff you guys do now?

Paul D. Taylor
05-24-2005, 05:48 AM
Hi everyone! Since there are a bunch of us from Blur here answering questions I'm only going to field the ones that I think I can answer best. So big picture studio stuff I'll leave for Tim Miller to answer. And knitting questions I’ll leave for Dave Wilson. Just and FYI. ;P



thesuit-

Wow!
Ok first and only question... please comment details on the mud effect during one of the final scenes of "In the rough"...


Thanks, thesuit. I'm very proud of the way the FX turned out for ITR. The FX guys kicked major ass. As you probably know, organic FX like water, mud, and hair are pretty difficult to pull off well in 3D. That's why we chose to do all three in this short! Haha. But seriously, the shorts are a vehicle for technical R&D as well as for stretching our creative storytelling muscles here at Blur.

The mud illusion was achieved by layering several simple FX. First there is a displacement on the ground geometry as the character passes by. Then there is a particle system on top of that for the spraying water. On top of all of that, there is a 2D animated texture of rain water flowing along the ground. Also, if you look closely (you can see it on film) the ground texture changes as the character wipes the mud up. Lastly, we swapped out a muddy version of the caveman (Brog) so the audience is tricked into thinking his face got splattered. Even though you never actually see it happens. When you combine all of that with the CG rain coming down, splattering and materials adjusted to look wet with the proper specular highlight AND lighting... it starts to look pretty convincing.


sphere-

Hey,

- Any word on a future feature film project?
- What's the biggest lesson learnt from your time with Blur (one per artist)?


We're getting a lot of calls for possible features since Jeff Fowler's short, Gopher Broke got a nod from the Academy. Thanks Jeff... I mean Mr. Fowler! Hehe..

TEAMWORK. Yup. That's the one for me. You just can't do this level of work alone. At least I can't. Besides, it's fun to work with other people with amazing talent. Not only do you learn a ton and have a blast with your friends, but you play jokes on them when they are crashed out on the couch at 4am. :P


comic_craig-

What do you like for in aspiring talent- with regards to 3D artists? What is the kind of demo material that amazes you? What doesn't impress you?

This is really a Tim Miller question since he hires people. But one thing I will tell you that is a reality at any studio you apply to, is ONLY PUT YOUR VERY BEST WORK ON YOUR REEL/WEBPAGE. Read that again. No really. Ok, here is a good way to make sure you understand it. When you are done cutting your reel together cut it in half. This is a trick I learned from editing my writing but it works with demo reels. That stuff that is so precious to you because you spent 100 hours on it may be hurting your reel and chances of getting work! Check out this hypothetical conversation:

EMPLOYED ANIMATOR
Wow. That's a big stack of reels.

STUDIO OWNER
Yup. Not much so far though so don't worry about your job yet.

EMPLOYED ANIMATOR
(nervous laughter)
hahaha... Hey, that guys stuff is pretty cool.

STUDIO OWNER
(rewinding tape)
Yeah, I thought so too but look at this.

EMPLOYED ANIMATOR
Yesh. That's bad. Looks like his old student work.

STUDIO OWNER
Yup. Gotta wonder about this one's eye if he's putting that on the reel.

EMPLOYED ANIMATOR
Yup. Well, back to work!


overcontrast-

This is great. Hello BLUR guys, first of all, u guys rock, I’m a big fan of urs. okay i have so many things to ask. heres some that i can remember

- I wanna know how you organize a team who will work on a short or game cinamatics. And how many people do u work with in projects like 'Gopher Broke' or 'In the Rough'?

- What are the softwares you use to do dinamics?

- Do you guys use a lot of GI? or what kind of lighting do u mostly prefer?

- What software do u use for rigging?... i dont think Max's built-in rigging/skinning system is not good enough for your kind of works. or do u use any inhouse sotwares for that?

- as many wants to know, what are your future plans? is there any ned masterpiece in making?

well thats about it... i'll be waitng for ur replies

Since we did ITR and Gopher at the same time animators got to read the scripts and choose which project they preferred to work on. For the most part I think they got on the projects they preferred.

We use 3D Studio Max, Adobe Photoshop and Premiere, and Eyeon's Digital Fusion.

We didn't use any GI for ITR. I think GI is cool but it can be overused and a bit of a crutch if you aren't careful. It can also be very slow if you have a complex scene and are rendering to film or HD res. (Both ITR and Gopher were 1920x1080). We do use it on other projects as a layer for its deep shadow capabilities. For example, the Warhammer 40k cinematic used GI in the character pass. But for ITR we used a lighting rig comprised of a simplified light dome (giving us the GI effect with faster rendering), key light, rim light, fill light, and special eye lights that excluded everything but the eyes because I wanted the eyes to look alive all the time.

One thing we wanted to push on both shorts was our character pipeline. We use Character Studio and Biped for a lot of game cinematics because it handles mocap so well. But for the shorts we made a custom skeleton with max bones and, believe it or not, we used Max’s skin modifier! Of course, we have some pretty snazzy max scripts that have been written by our scripting studs! We did this for two main reasons. One, we knew the shorts would be keyframed and use no motion capture. And Two, we wanted to really push the squash and stretch. Biped can do it, but it's painful and you wind up counter animating a lot of stuff.

FEATURES are the holy grail! I think one of the coolest things about Blur is that we want to do the Pixar style stuff as well as the genre stuff like sci-fi, fantasy, and horror movies in CG. I love bouncing between both worlds, from Warhammer 40k to ITR style stuff. And one day, if the planets align I'd love to work on a CG horror film in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthullhu!


FUG1T1VE -

Hello folks at Blur.

Is it possible that we will be seeing a "trend" of other studios, setting up their pipelines to create their own shorts. Given that it took you guys 3-4 weeks to complete the Warhammer cinematics. Maybe not a trend, but given the success of your shorts it has certainly made some people go "hey, we can do it too".

If so, how would it affect the independent folks creating their own shorts.

That’s it for now.
Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions.

Well, I think the trend was set by Pixar already years ago. At least for CG shorts. Blue Sky winning the Oscar for Bunny certainly gave them a shot at doing features and now they've done two. I think we all know the up side to doing shorts, the biggest being there is no client interference because you are the client! But the downside is there is no money either! Haha. And to do a short well on all levels, story, direction, editing, animation, modeling, lighting, rendering, FX, etc, etc. it takes a lot of dedicated people willing to sweat blood and tears. I'm not saying that one person in a garage can't do it alone. I think very talented artists do. But if you want to compete with the big boys like Pixar, Dreamworks, and Blue Sky... well, then you need a lot of resources and a studio willing to back your crazy dream, right? So, yeah, I think there will be more people making shorts as it gets easier to do, for sure. But there will always be an illusive bar that the Bigger fish set because they simply have more cash to spend. Best bet is to make the STORY as good as you possibly can. A good story, well told will make up for a lot of technical shortcomings, IMHO. That “well told” part is a key point (or secret)! Seriously. In the hands of a master storyteller, like

As for the Warhammer cinematics being done in 3-4 weeks... The guys that worked on that BLED to get that thing done in that time frame. I was one of them, but I didn't bleed as much as Dave Wilson and his crew of scene assemblers. Don't get me wrong, our pipeline destroys but it was defiantly a labor of love that gave that beast life! And we all begged for Tim Miller to accept the job to boot! I'm a big Warhammer 40k fan. I still have part of my hand painted Ork army on my monitor here at work! Hehe.


kisses



Voldron -

Where did you guys go to school or have you just learned alot by doing it? What do you use for compositing? Last question.........Have you used any other 3d packages besides 3DS Max?

Thanks in advance

I graduated from the Academy of Art University (used to be College) in San Francisco with a B.A. In traditional illustration. When I went to college they were just bring in computer classes on my last year! I took on class called like Pixel Paint 101 or something before I graduated. But I got an internship at a studio called Storyboard Express my last two years of school and they had a bad-ass 286 IBM clone with Crystal Topaz 3D on it and some funky Pinnacle paint system that I just started learning because nobody else wanted to. Haha. From there it was all self-taught as I moved to the mighty 3DS dos ver 1. I've dabbled in other 3D packages but have always returned to max for any serious work. Just a preference. I think it's ultimately the skill of the artist, not the software that matters most.



Infinity3d4life-

First off you guys are spectacular.

I would like to know if you could give some pointers for someone trying to start an animation studio of their own.. Maybe some of your experience, and things to look out for...

Thanks, Infinity3d4life! I've got some advice for you! For you see, I had TWO companies before I finally gave it up to join Blur. I'm sure Tim will have great advice on how to succeed but sometimes it's nice to hear about other peoples failures so you can learn from their mistakes! Haha... Ok, on to the advice –

The first thing I'd say is ask yourself why are you starting a studio and not joining an existing one? Everyone has their own reasons and I think if you are going to do something as important as starting a studio you should do some soul searching first. This question might lead you to...

What is your ultimate goal for having your own studio? Money? Power? To direct your own movies? To own your own intellectual properties? To tell your stories? To make cool images and animation? I think a lot of people (me included) jump into “the American dream” of owning their own business without thinking of the down sides. Like, looking for work CONSTANTLY. Never having any free time. Being responsible for employees. Having to run the boring business side of a studio, taxes, payroll, hiring, firing, sick days, etc, etc.

Also, if your goal is to say, direct your own movie then who is going to run the studio while you are focused on your movie? Partners? Ok, who do you trust enough to partner up with? Your bestest buddy since the age of 5? That's what I did and after two years we decided the business was ruining our friendship so we dissolved the company to save it. (One of the reasons anyway).

Do you have the right personality for running a studio? I think it takes more than being a creative person. How are you with your own personal finances right now? Balance your checkbook? Got the cheapest cell phone plan? Do you like to lead people? Speak in front of 20, 30, 50, employees?

Do you want the responsibility of hiring and firing employees? Are you a softy that won't fire someone not pulling their fare share of the workload if need be? Easier said than done when that person has a wife, kids, mortgage, etc.

OK, after saying all of that, I don't want to sound too negative! If you think you have what it takes to start a business and maintain it... go for it! And if you aren't sure, my advice would be work for someone else’s studio and learn... or start freelancing and see if you dig on that. Oh, and Good Luck! ;)

Well, that’s all from me tonight folks. I’ll answer some more tomorrow! Great questions so far! Hope I've helped.

requiem
05-24-2005, 05:55 AM
Hello everyone over at Bur. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions.

I'm currently graduating and finishing up my modeling reel. I'm finding that the bulk of my reel is cartoonish characters (like my avitar) and I'm wondering if a lack of realism is a bad thing.

What do you look for in a modeling reel?

Thanks for your time.

Jason

UnSa
05-24-2005, 06:06 AM
Hey Blur,
first off I want to say how much I love your work and how inspiring it really is to see what you guys can come up with. I'm a junior student in high school right now and I'm seeking good Colleges where I can excel in 3d. I was curious to know if Blur knows any good colleges where they would recommend me going. Also, does Blur set up tours of the studio? I live in Los Angeles and would love to come by and see how Blur opperates. Thanks!
-Colin Duffy, 17

Heber
05-24-2005, 06:20 AM
hi guys, i absolutely love your work its very inspiring to me, i have some questions regarding modeling in particular:

1-do your modelers create models than can perform in various situations and extremeties or do you create models than can work for the shots that they need to be in and then repair in post?

2-What do you look for in a good modeler? are you looking for someone who can model characters or environments really well and can do just that? or do you like to see range , aka someone who can model and build in all different kinds of styles?

thanks for taking the time guys.

-Heber Alvarado

thesuit
05-24-2005, 06:30 AM
Cool.
Heres a couple of technical questions I'm dying to know.


Does BLUR use referencing for their characters in a normal animation pipeline? If so, do you work on different stages of production at the same time using referencing technique or do you have a more linear workflow
How many Brogs do you think you have around for the ITR production? So far, normal brog, wet brog, muddy brog... do you make special rigs for special situations or a master rig that works wonders?
Thanx for taking the time to answer. Keep the good work comming.

rickmann
05-24-2005, 06:52 AM
Well this is a first for me as well!!


My questions which may have been ask in many different ways is: Do you see your animators using other tools other than 3DS Max, like Maya or Softimage, or do you prefer them to use properitary software built by your programmers? Also as a person with not too many drawing skills to you ever hire animators (in general) based soley on there skills applied through a computer?

Thanks guys for aspiring so many with your workmanship!!

Rick

Pyke
05-24-2005, 07:08 AM
Hello Blur!

Just wanna add into the fan-boyism here, and say that you guys are all fantastic, and If given the oportunity (and were I not a guy), I would gladly have your respective children.

OK-Enough of the wierd stuff! Question time:

* I've read in previous articles about your work that you use mo-cap in some of your shorts (Warhammer, Rockfish, Wolfenstein...). Do you guys have your own motion capture studio, or do you outsource your stuff?

* There are several studios that have a definitive 'you are a texture artist...texture, you are a modeler-model' mentality. Is Blur like this, or is it more of a jack-of-all-trades studio?

* How many people now work at Blur? Do you seperate into different 'groups' when handeling multiple projects, or are you guys already in different sections?

* With your foray into features-are you going to continue doing game cinematics and shorts?

* This question is specifically for Dave Wilson: As a South Africa (or any person from another country) looking at getting into Blur-how did you do it? Apply from SA, get accepted, and then go Visa hunting? Or were you already in the states when you applied for the job? What is Blurs policy on hiring 'foreign' staff? And how on earth do you live without Biltong? :)

And finally!

* On average, how many cups of coffee are consumed on a daily basis? :)

Just want to say again what an inspiration Blur studios is! And I hope to be working with you guys-one of these days!

-Chris Bischoff-

jason-slab
05-24-2005, 07:29 AM
hey hi

i'm not gonna say much more than, u guys are doing some amazing work and i'm looking forward to seeing your upcoming projects!!

|jason

lukx
05-24-2005, 07:55 AM
Hello Blur
First of all, RESPECT for all you're doing.
I got one question:
How is it at the begining. I mean how did you know how to do things. I mean compositing effects, knowing stuff about using proper resolutions and so. Everybody have to start and let's say you finally got a client who want to do comercial with you how did you know at the begining how to work, what to do first, and how to do it?

Tim Miller
05-24-2005, 08:07 AM
Hey,

- Any word on a future feature film project?
- What's the biggest lesson learnt from your time with Blur (one per artist)?

Thank guys! :D

I'm gonna try and answer questions one at a time....otherwise I think I'll get corn-fused.

I checked out Paul Taylors (aka Flappy Fish) answers and I already feel inadequate! He answered a ****load of stuff already! But I'll try and throw in my 2 cents....

Feature films. Lots of talks--no deals signed as yet. We've got Rockfish in development with Vin Diesel's One Race Films and we're talking to virtually ALL the major studios in Hollywood about feature projects. BUT.....this shit takes a long time....and I don't take ANYTHING seriously until the ink is dry on the contract....and not even then! :deal: I will say that I think big shit is in the pipe. :thumbsup:

Lots of buns in the oven and I've very hopeful that some of them will get bake up warm and tasty, well holler out when it's REAL. But how could it not happen with so much talent concentrated in one space! :buttrock: I'm honored to work beside the folks at blur.

Tim Miller
05-24-2005, 08:16 AM
Great! great GREAT! Ok...

What is the Key things that People needed to have to work within the Blur Domain and whats the longest time it took to finish a project from start to finish and what was the major problems faced.

this question is to all...

Thanks Blur...

Not sure I understand that first question....do you mean what do you need to work at blur? If so the answer would be 1. Talent 2. Endurance 3. Bullet proof ego 4. Talent 5. Great teamwork skills. 6-100. More talent. In my experience hard work can NOT make up for lack of raw talent. I get emails and reels everyday from animators swearing they'll work their fingers to little bloody nubs if we give them a shot at. But if you look at thier reel or samples and they don't have "The Eye" then it just doesn't matter--no amount of hours will make thier work great. Just better. Sad but true.....

I think Disney's "Mickey's Twice Upon a Xmas" was our longest gig at 14 months.

KingMob
05-24-2005, 08:18 AM
Hi People

I am just a humble character modeling type here at blur, and definetly the newbie of the bunch, so I will just answer questions pertaining to that stuff. The others guys are way more interesting...and oh so dreamy.



hi guys, i absolutely love your work its very inspiring to me, i have some questions regarding modeling in particular:

1-do your modelers create models than can perform in various situations and extremeties or do you create models than can work for the shots that they need to be in and then repair in post?

2-What do you look for in a good modeler? are you looking for someone who can model characters or environments really well and can do just that? or do you like to see range , aka someone who can model and build in all different kinds of styles?

thanks for taking the time guys.

-Heber Alvarado

1. We usually try to do as much as we can with the models int he time frame given, usually haivng a base idea of what the character will need to do, very rarely do we actually fix them after they are rigged and in scene, tho occasionally that does happen for certain extremes.

2. I can not say what they look for, but I can say at Blur they want variety, and you have to be able to both texture and model (and anything else you do is a plus) usually breaks down to two groups, character modelers and environment modelers, and most of them (environmnet) also do scene assembly so lighting and such is key. Different styles is a great thing to, cause at Blur we do everything from Warhammer and X-Men to In the Rough and Mickey stuff, tho most people are put where they are strongest.




Well this is a first for me as well!!


My questions which may have been ask in many different ways is: Do you see your animators using other tools other than 3DS Max, like Maya or Softimage, or do you prefer them to use properitary software built by your programmers? Also as a person with not too many drawing skills to you ever hire animators (in general) based soley on there skills applied through a computer?

Thanks guys for aspiring so many with your workmanship!!

We are primarily a Max place, but we do use other peices of software for certain aspects of the pipeline. I use Zbrush and Bodypaint a lot, but for the most part we do as much as we can in Max.

I dunno about the drawing skills for Animators tho...Tim will have to field that one.


Hello Blur!

Just wanna add into the fan-boyism here, and say that you guys are all fantastic, and If given the oportunity (and were I not a guy), I would gladly have your respective children.

OK-Enough of the wierd stuff! Question time:

1.* I've read in previous articles about your work that you use mo-cap in some of your shorts (Warhammer, Rockfish, Wolfenstein...). Do you guys have your own motion capture studio, or do you outsource your stuff?

2.* There are several studios that have a definitive 'you are a texture artist...texture, you are a modeler-model' mentality. Is Blur like this, or is it more of a jack-of-all-trades studio?

3.* How many people now work at Blur? Do you seperate into different 'groups' when handeling multiple projects, or are you guys already in different sections?

4.* With your foray into features-are you going to continue doing game cinematics and shorts?

5.* This question is specifically for Dave Wilson: As a South Africa (or any person from another country) looking at getting into Blur-how did you do it? Apply from SA, get accepted, and then go Visa hunting? Or were you already in the states when you applied for the job? What is Blurs policy on hiring 'foreign' staff? And how on earth do you live without Biltong?

And finally!

6.* On average, how many cups of coffee are consumed on a daily basis?

Just want to say again what an inspiration Blur studios is! And I hope to be working with you guys-one of these days!

-Chris Bischoff-

1. We have our own Motion Capture stage but I couldnt tell you any specifics on it...its big...padded walls and shiny balls(hehe)

2. A 'modeler' (character wise)at blur is also responsible for texturing and lighting for sample stills, surfacing, hair, and even basic rigging(and boy do I mean basic...tho it still manages to take me a while hehe) for posing.

3. I think we have about 65-70 full time artists...Tim would know the specifics on that.
Project leads pick out their teams of character modelers, environment and scene assembler and fx artitsts, oh and concept artisits, then that team works on that project. This makes it sorta fun cause you get to work with a variety of people in your time at blur, always learning something new...huzzah.

4. Tims gonna have to answer that one... The game stuff is a lot of fun tho. Lots of variety.

5. I won't answer for Dave (he would slap me) but I will say we have a large variety of people from all over the land.

6. Enough that I always have to brew new pots when I want a fresh cup... and I always want a fresh cup :D

Tim Miller
05-24-2005, 08:21 AM
first of all congratualtions for the wonderful job your doing and keep on trying and you'll nail the oscar soon :thumbsup:

my question is when will we be able to download the full version of Gopher Broke ?

I'm sorry to say it might be a good long while. You guys KNOW we really like to share our shorts with the animation community. But we may be developing Gopher into a larger project with a studio and they'd prefer that we keep it's exposure limited. It kinda sounds like we're selling out a bit--and we are. :shrug: But the chance to tell a bigger story seems worth it. It sucks that we can't share it.

RAINpit
05-24-2005, 08:28 AM
1000 kudoz to u blur people
one studio that still kicks a.. in this pool of CG.
love the fact that u's sticking to simple tools doing some seriously amazing stuff.
as for mr. miller, i think u'r the only guy i've ever heard using the word f.. in an official
interview, that was hilarious (i think it was on some eyeon tape, anyway, funny as hell).
love the don;'t give a sh.. attitude (works alot for the whole studio i think)

questions, sh.. i'd have a hundred, but i'll spare u my sharp spear, and just ask a few directly related to smthng others haven't asked:
like: how's xsi workin' for you guys?
what do u think about it and how do u feel workin with it?
does it integrate well into the pipeline?
what do u use it for besides crowd/character anim?
ain't it a cutie ?

PS. this is not a question, this is a direct threat :))
don't screw up the story for Rockfish, whenever that gets done, whatever gets done
make us proud.

keep on doing the kick ass work u guys do
love ya

Lunatique
05-24-2005, 08:29 AM
I had sent Tim a message before, and I'm not sure if he received it. I'll repeat it briefly here, but without the details:

Would you guys be interested in doing a project using a non-internal director and his screenplay? My Promise project was supposed to be produced at Optidigit, but it has been put on hold due to funding problems. I'm shopping around for likely studios to pick up where Optidigit left off.

Tim Miller
05-24-2005, 08:31 AM
What do you like for in aspiring talent- with regards to 3D artists? What is the kind of demo material that amazes you? What doesn't impress you?

Not trying to be flip when I say it's all about the WORK. Talent....pure and simple. Screw the cover letter.....forget the fancy packaging....don't bother with the clever "gag" or tricky gimmick....show some great work. A good judge of creative talent should be able to spot genius in a very small amount of submitted material--so only show the best stuff you have.

Over the years I've noticed that the FANCIER the packaging the worse the reel. When I open a submission where somebody OBVIOUSLY spent a lot of time and energy on the presentation--nice box, lovely cover letter, slick demo labels, etc. I immediately think, "Okay, this reel is gonna suck--they're trying to put a pretty frame on a crappy painting." And it's true 90% of the time. The really good people don't have time for all that fancy shit--they're busy making great CG.

Of course I seen a lot of bad work presented badly too. :)

Pyke
05-24-2005, 08:39 AM
So I should cancel that scented cover letter page then? :D

Tim Miller
05-24-2005, 08:42 AM
I had sent Tim a message before, and I'm not sure if he received it. I'll repeat it briefly here, but without the details:

Would you guys be interested in doing a project using a non-internal director and his screenplay? My Promise project was supposed to be produced at Optidigit, but it has been put on hold due to funding problems. I'm shopping around for likely studios to pick up where Optidigit left off.

I got it....sorry about the delayed answer. It's been a bit crazy around here with all our E3 shizzat delivering. The short answer would be, "not so much." Truthfully we have a LOT of ideas ourselves and we're developing several original concepts....and then there's more coming in from bonafide Hollywood sources. My first allegience is to the folks here who have fallen on thier swords for blur time and again.....so if we do any non-big Hollywood studio funded stuff it will most likely come from the talented folks INSIDE the asylum. I wouldn't say NEVER, but it would have to be pretty ****ing amazing to make us turn off that course. When a big studio wants to come in and pay us to do a feature THEY have in development.....well....that's a different story. Sorry! :shrug:

Tim Miller
05-24-2005, 08:48 AM
Hello,

I´d like to know how many animators you have there. Not all 3d people. Just the animators. And How many do you need to do a feature film?
By the way... When will you make a feature film?


kisses

We have approximately 20 character animators on staff.

How many for a feature? Can't say with any accuracy--# of animators is dependent on the length of the schedule and the complexity of the animation. I can safely say that we'd probably need a least a FEW more for a feature. :)

We'll make a feature when somebody coughs up enough cash for us to do one. I've tried many times to get the animators to work for free so we could get started NOW....but for some reason they just won't go along with that plan. Bunch of pussies. :rolleyes:

lukx
05-24-2005, 08:54 AM
I'm sorry to be out of topic but I've noticed that most of guys here are trying to drag out Blur Studio of using 3dsmax. I really don't get it.

eddieellis
05-24-2005, 09:07 AM
you guy's rock and im not going to stop until i get a job with you..:thumbsup:

siquier
05-24-2005, 09:21 AM
Hello Tim and the rest of Blur
I just want to show my respect and admiration, I wish you good luck in the next Oscar´s nomination.
Say hello to my friend Daniel :)

arizaga
05-24-2005, 09:22 AM
Hi boys from Blur, My name is Luis, I'm from Spain and I'm 27 years old, 8 years working with CG, I've followed your work since a lot of time, I love it, you have made the 3d world more and more interesting along this years also you've created thousands of fans that are waiting for your next game cinemantics, short film or movie. I'm one of them of course http://cgtalk.com/images/smilies/smile.gif. I've some little questions for you guys:

1) Are you planning to do a last jump to the cimena industry with a large film like dreamworks, pixar... or your work is more aimed to the videogame industry where you are a leader?

2) Do you work in some case with freelance employees from other countries throw the net? In that case Do you accept a colaborative freelance that works for free?
(People that don't want to be payed only be a little part of your great work and that your name appears in his/her curriculum or be a part of your team in the future).


Thanks for your time.

ffourier
05-24-2005, 09:38 AM
hi blur,

first of all I would like to congratulate you for all your work. You are more
and more famous here, in France. I am currently student in a CG school
and everyone remains admiring in front of your exceptional work.
All your movies are incredible. You are my favorite company with pixar.

I would have so much question to ask you...

hmmm first how much employee have you got and which is the number of
French artists ? which is nationality the most represented ?

2- I had the occasion to read that to realize your short collect all
the suggestions of your employees in one "ideas box" and that the best
of these ideas was retained. Is it true ?

3- Do you recruit sometimes trainees?

4- For our film of end of study we also had to realize a jungle. And I
must say that "in the rough" is an enormous source of inspiration.
Which councils could you give us to conclude this project ? (here is a
wip of the jungle)

5- And which councils would you give to a person, like me, who wishes
to work in a company as talented as your ? (and even if possible in your :))

..... I still have so many questions... but that's all for now :)
And... CONGRATULATION ! You are an example for each artist all over the world.
thanks for your reply.
Frédéric FOURIER

mattmos
05-24-2005, 10:34 AM
Hey Tim, Paul, and everyone at Blur,

1, I saw both In the Rough and Gopher broke at the Animated Encounters festival in Bristol recently, and thoroughly enjoyed them both! The level of detail can really be appreciated at film size. Is there any reason that Gopher Broke was the only film nominated for an oscar? I thought In the Rough was also an oscar-worthy film.

2, At the same festival I asked Jeffery Katzenburg whether he saw any point in creating short films at Dreamworks, and he basically replied that there was no economic reason for doing so. He could see the benefit to the artists but couldn't justify the cost. If you do grow to feature size do you still think you will be able to produce shorts or do you think they will be side-lined gradually?

3, If you are intending to grow to tackle feature-film work how are you planning to avoid the pitfalls of smaller studios growing beyond their capacity?

4, Lastly, if you were looking for an animator would you be more impressed by a kick arse short film or a reel of solid animation tests showing weight, timing, all the essentials?

Thanks for your time and keep it up! You're an inspiration :)

Matt

jampoz
05-24-2005, 12:04 PM
Well Well... Blur Studio... happy to join the party!

First of all I'm gonna say how much I appreciated Rockfish, everybody is talking about Gopher and In the Rough but let's not forget Rockfish, it was really good!
Of course they're all great in their own ways and that's what I love about Blur, you guys can put something unique in each one of your works, which is pretty rare I must add

What now, questions? Uh yeah, let's ask questions

1- Why BLUR? I hope we all know what a Blur is, but why did you pick that?

2- Know about Exile-Films (http://www.exile-films.com/)? They pretty much failed but you guys could produce an outstanding WH40K movie, why don't you ask Games Workshop?

3- Need an Italian guy who can cook great pasta and make serious coffee... and can model stuff in the spare time?

4- Ever thought about joining a Software House and produce your own game? They do the code and supporting design, you do the kick ass graphics/animations plus, of course, short movies here and there

5- Any project for your next short? You're not going to sign any contract here, just feel free to talk about future projects if you can, would be interesting!

6- What's the average age in there? Guess something around 30 'cause you need the talent but you also need experience to join the group, don't you?

7- You are going to update your site with the new E3 animations, now. (Fear my Jedi tricks)

8- Uh yeah, forgetting about the Blur Beta page full of cool Max plug-ins, what happened? Will you ever work again on that?

Thank you for reading thru all this shit, know we all love you for being such an amazing inspiration, keep it up! :thumbsup:

Lunatique
05-24-2005, 12:11 PM
I wouldn't say NEVER, but it would have to be pretty ****ing amazing to make us turn off that course.

Would you like to take a look at some material?

Voldron
05-24-2005, 12:13 PM
This isn't a question but rather a sort of praise thing



CAN WE GIVE IT UP TO BLUR FOR ANSWERING OUR QUESTIONS!


Thanks to the guys at Blur for taking time out of their day to answer our questions and not being completely aggravated by it. Or it could be the massive amounts of coffee we know they drink to get their work done that is keeping them calm lol.



Now this is a question:

Do you guys use MOCAP?

Zac256
05-24-2005, 12:48 PM
you guy's rock and im not going to stop until i get a job with you..:thumbsup:
Why stop then? Only the beginning my friend. :)
-Zac

eddieellis
05-24-2005, 01:18 PM
Why stop then? Only the beginning my friend. :)
-Zac

Because BLUR has always been the place where i have aspired to get too, ever since i started on the road to a 3D career. So when im there i'll know i have accomblished all my 3D dreams. :thumbsup:

ryusen
05-24-2005, 01:32 PM
Hi Blur people.. You're the men.. You kicked everybody's asses so hard, I still can feel the pain.

Anyway, here are my questions:

1. How advance are your character rigs? Can we still open them with our maxes, if by any chance we have the opportunity to get our hands on them? Can you elaborate how you rig a character, part by part (for example, how to switch IK/FK *hint*)? :applause:

2. How do you do facial rigging? Do you use spline, bones or morpher, or all of them?

3. When you decide to hire someone, do you put them through training first, or just flood them with all the s**t load of work you can find? :curious:

Congrats to all Blur peeps who do what they love, make my day a little better and get paid for doing all that.

HellBoy
05-24-2005, 01:36 PM
Hi Blur Team

I apologise if these questions are kinda odd, they're not planned :buttrock:


Assume the studio were hiring people, what would be the major things you would advice people to have/studied
after graduating, how hard is it to get into a great studios like Blur

to Ian Joyner, for the people who model, is 2D skills necessary?

to Paul Taylor, whats involved in your position, as in CG Supervisor and Directing

thanks guys

FloydBishop
05-24-2005, 01:52 PM
Hey everyone,

Thanks to everyone for setting this up. CGTalk needs this kind of thing, and it's nice to see it happening.

Anyway, here are my questions, in no particular order:



What was the "breakthrough project" for your studio? I don't mean the one that got you the most accolades, but the one early project that you are most proud of and maybe represents the first project that shows best what you are all capable of?
What was the biggest hurdle in starting up your studio?
Is there anything in production or day to day business that you wish you could go back to and take another shot at?
Have there been any clients that you've worked with in the past (no names or anything) that you would never work for again? If so, why? (again, no names or specifics)
I also wanted to add that by putting out consistently great work, working on projects you obviously enjoy, and keeping your crew around from project to project, you guys are setting a bar in the industry that I would hope many more would try to match.

jampoz
05-24-2005, 02:08 PM
I'm sure they have fun doing animation, but working for only 3-4 weeks on stuff like the WH40K intro must be frustrating, you guys even said you wanted to add more things and couldn't do it 'cause of the time limit

Fun once you finish, but must be frustrating to work SO hard and SO fast

AmirP
05-24-2005, 02:26 PM
Hey everyone from Blur :)

Im glad to see your doing a Q&A, I love your work

My question is, in your "In The Rough" short film, you've built an amazing environments, Im curious about how you manage to do it ? how much work does it take and how meny people ? The result was amazing !

Thanks in advance

neutronrobot
05-24-2005, 02:41 PM
Here's an easy question for you guys:

Will "Gopher Broke" be available in it's entirety on the web anytime soon?

I know it wasn't posted because of Academy award rules about shorts, but is there a reason it can't be made available now?

Also, as stated by someone above, I'd love to hear more about your custom animation rigs and facial set ups.

You guys are the best!

gaborca
05-24-2005, 02:51 PM
Hi Guys,

My name is Gabor Marinov and I work at Digic Pictures. It's a small but very enthusiastic VFX/CG Animation studio in Hungary.

First I'd like to congratulate you, your work is really spectacular and we all like them very much here. It's absolutely fantastic how you've grown and how you handle the various jobs while keeping the very high quality.

My question is connected to that topic too. Are you using any commercial project management system? Or do you have an inhouse one? And how about asset management? Are you using Alienbrain or any other CMS system?

Thanks,

Gabor Marinov
www.digicpictures.com (http://www.digicpictures.com/)

Tsahi
05-24-2005, 03:20 PM
howdy blur ppl.
aside from all the artistic, technical and cinematical compliments that i can shed for you
(and so many did before me), i'd like to say that for me, you guys are really a studio to
look up to, in terms of studio goals and development. and thats mainly what i wanted to ask:

- in this highly competitive and expensive industry, its hard to keep your head above the water,
let alone do things you really love or believe in, and not just work for the money.
you guys, seem to be going by your goal in great persistance and success.
how do you manage to do it ?
you've been there for over 9 years, and started it because you didn't like what you had to do out there, for other bosses....
how do you manage to get funding for "fun" projects from the heart ?
it is widely believed that shorts don't pay, but that they are a mean to prove yourself feature-worthy.
it seems you guys are proving the second part of that belief right.
so what about the first part ? how do you manage to pull out all these shorts, if a client didn't order them in advance ?
do you take strictly "for the money" projects on the side ? how do you balance between the two ?
it seems to me, that to anyone aspiring to establish a studio, and create good stories and animation,
this is one of the biggest issues to deal with.
since you are almost the only example of a growing studio that did it,
i'd love to hear about it.

- and a small second question, that might have been asked here before-
whats the chance for foreigners with no US passport, to get accepted to work with you
and obtain a work visa ? (assuming the applicant is good enough to be accepted).
are you accepting applicants only from the US or that are already working in the US ?


keep up the excellent work, and setting an example for the whole animation world.

Tsahi.

SCIFI-3D-zoo
05-24-2005, 04:20 PM
I just read that you guys did the HELLGATE trailer too?? I think that is my favorite so far.

ffourier
05-24-2005, 04:35 PM
yes i've also just seen this and it is amazing job. but i prefer dawn of war :)

TraceR
05-24-2005, 04:43 PM
Just figured I'd throw my name in here. You guys are amazing and I really admire your work. I loved the WH4K reel.

I would love to work for someone like you when I graduate collage. I am only in highschool now, so I plan to work as hard as I can now so that I will have some experience when I go to collage. I know this is a very difficult industry to get a job in.

I know this has probably already been posted, but how would you suggest the best way to get a job with a top name studio such as Blur? What do you guys look for when hiring? Do you take into consideration collage degrees, or are you just focused on portfolios and resumes? What kind of roles do you most look for?

Thanks,


Zach

neofg
05-24-2005, 04:53 PM
Hi all at Blur Studio!
It's a priviledge to ask something to you experts in this wonderful art...
I have a tecnical question... I find really difficult to work with 3D environments(lands , sky and clouds...etc...) In particular I find difficult the horizon zone. Do u have a suggestion for how setup and paint a 3d environment?

PS.= I.E. The project where I have this problem now, is a plane (the mytical Hiroshima's Enola Gay) that fly with camera that move around him. Now, I modelled it in Maya, I try to make a 360° environment in terragen with a bit of post 4 make it real,and I mapped it on a sphere, but I don't like the result...Background appear flat.
:sad:
I go crazy... Can u gimme'suggestions?

emptyvoxel
05-24-2005, 05:03 PM
Thanks Tim, Paul, and Ian for answering our questions and giving us a peek inside of your world.

My question is concerning the diversity at Blur. How many, if any, female modelers, animators, texture artists or compositors do you have on staff, and can you estimate how many demo reels you get from women?

In my opinion one of the major elements missing from animation (and most modern forms of storytelling) today is a female perspective, much as it was missing in other areas of creative employment such as industrial design and web design until recently. As grizzled veterans, have you seen a rise in the participation of women in this industry, or has the interest level remained steadily low throughout your experience?

(can of worms warning!) Any opinion why?

Also, it was great to see Rockfish on the big screen at the Animation Show 2005. I know you have said that Gopher Broke will probably be unscreenable for a while, but I would like to put my vote in to see In The Rough on the 2006 edition.

Thanks for your brief and very valuable time.
~T

Sollesnes
05-24-2005, 05:10 PM
Hey people at Blur Studio.

- Roughly, how many shorts/trailers and so on have you made?
- Was there any reason for starting Blur Studio? Did it just happendt by working with friends, A long time plan, or did you just think "hey, i'll start a kick ass animation studio"?

Thanks for answering everyones question. :)

Best Regards, Øystein Sollesnes

Snake Eyes
05-24-2005, 06:20 PM
What did you use (programs) to create the Warhammer video ?

urgaffel
05-24-2005, 06:24 PM
Hey guys, a quick question about employment and Visas from me.

What's your policy on hiring people from outside USA? Do you go through the whole visa dance or do you prefer to keep it simple and hire people that already have either a visa or a us citizenship?

I'm wondering since I've been wanting to work for you for almost as long as I've been using 3d studio (started on release 2.0 for DOS :D). And being a swedish citizen it feels like the chances of getting hired by you or any other studio in the states are pretty slim since most don't want to bother with the expenses and trouble getting a visa entails...

Looking forward to seeing Gopher Broke in the future and keep kicking ass :)

dominicqwek
05-24-2005, 06:35 PM
Hi Tim,

1. In your experience, when hiring foreign talent to work in Blur, is a degree crucial for acquiring a visa? Would a diploma coupled with a few years of work experience suffice? I have had a few interviews with US-based companies and after they check with their lawyers, they say it is worth way too much effort to bring in someone into the states with the credentials i just mentioned.

2. What do you catch artists often doing in office apart from work?


Thanks! :)

maninflash
05-24-2005, 06:48 PM
Hi,

I have a few question about animation that I'd like to ask Jeff Fowler. These are very basic questions so I hope I wouldn't bore you :)

1. When animating a character in different emotions, for example in a scene he is happy, in the next, he is sad, do you think the animator should use the body weight to communicate emotion (make him heavier when sad or lighter when happy) or should the weight of a character remains constant throughout the film?

2. On walks, specificaly a walk that shows personality and attitude, what are the questions you ask yourself before and during animating?

3. Where do you find inspiration for the poses/gestures of a character?
do you put yourself inside his head or does it come from memory and observation of real life and live action films? for example, the little dance the monkey does in the "Monkey Pit", where did you get that idea from?


And...

4. what would be the most important animation-principle for a student to nail down? I know they are all equaly important, but if you could only pick one, which one would it be?

And lastly...

5. Who's your all-time favourite animated character? and why?


thanks :)

seespotmove
05-24-2005, 08:33 PM
You guys do fantastic work....

a simple critique of my work from you would mean a great deal.

http://www.seespotmove.com/animation.htm

thanks,

jerry123
05-24-2005, 08:49 PM
hi,i have a somewhat banal question,but i found out its actually pretty tricky.
i find that as a studio that produced lots of very succesful shorts and no larger scale
features,its seems the right place to ask

im an animator,but i go around on all the rest pretty reasonably too,and now i feel like
having my very own 5min short.

the point is,im having a problem getting a proper story,since you usually will have an idea
that will be way too wide or complex for a 5 min short,my question is how do you keep it
simple and restrained...meny bad shorts have that problem that they just go all over the
place,and its either very boring,not very clear,or just plain annoing...
it may sound stupid,but its actually pretty complicated to get it just right.
most your shorts seem to work great,very small story,very simple...

are there any methods?are there specifics you should avoid,or care for?
what makes you see that"this ones gonna work"?
in case you dont have any direction at all(in terms of subject),how do you build it?
do you start whith a character and then build a story around it,or try have a story
and then build what you need for it?
are there any prefered or better ways of aproaching it?
how do you build a small simple idea to have a point?(otherwise there wont be a point
watching it).
how do you make your story fit the fact its animated?(or doese it matter at all,i meen,
should a short be fitted for animation or treated the same as live ones?)


thank you.

DaveWilson
05-24-2005, 09:35 PM
Ok, here goes...... I may skip over a few that Flap and Miller have already answered...

SPHERE:
- What's the biggest lesson learnt from your time with Blur (one per artist)?

When sleeping on the library couch, head towards the bookshelves feet towards the door.

TKI:
What is the Key things that People needed to have to work within the Blur Domain and whats the longest time it took to finish a project from start to finish and what was the major problems faced.

I think Tim has already answered this one.

Mysterious X:
first of all congratualtions for the wonderful job your doing and keep on trying and you'll nail the oscar soon

Thanks, we're definately gonna keep on trying :)


zman:
Cool, you guys are one of my favorite studios.
I know you use (or at least used to use) max. I'm just interested to know what you think of it comparing to other programs (I am talking mainly for pipeline comptability and stability in large projects). I also know you have an RnD team and i wonder what they think of max's source (comparing mainly to maya).
i am asking this mainly because alot of ppl i know from large studios keep on claimming that maya is way better for those things and i cant convince them to see the light

Thanks Dude. We still use Max, I was personally using lightwave before I joined Blur and started to use Max, I think it's great, no problems switching over at all. I came from a small studio in South Africa and it's amazing to have scripters here constantly provide us with kick-ass tools to get our job done faster and make it all look better. It's just awesome to walk over to some of our guys and say "Hey, I've been thinking, it would be great if we had this tool which would....." and then a few days later..... there it is. It's amazing. I can't really make any comparrisons between maya and max since I've never used Maya, but all I can say is that we are really in NO way limited by using max, if we ever do find that we need to makes things better in Max, we're always able to, but at the end of the day it ALWAYS comes down to the talent of the artist or skill of the scripter using the package.

comic_craig
What do you like for in aspiring talent- with regards to 3D artists? What is the kind of demo material that amazes you? What doesn't impress you?

Again, I think Miller has answered this, but a short kick-ass piece of JUST your best work is most likely to get you in. Even 30seconds of amazing work is often enough. We've hired quite a few people just based on work on their website, that just being stills and a few tiny clips of animation.

overcontrast
This is great. Hello BLUR guys, first of all, u guys rock, i'm a big fan of urs. okay i have so many things to ask. heres some that i can remember
- I wanna know how you organize a team who will work on a short or game cinamatics. And how many people do u work with in projects like 'Gopher Broke' or 'In the Rough'?
- What are the softwares you use to do dinamics?
- Do you guys use a lot of GI? or what kind of lighting do u mostly prefer?
- What software do u use for rigging?... i dont think Max's built-in rigging/skinning system is not good enough for your kind of works. or do u use any inhouse sotwares for that?
- as many wants to know, what are your future plans? is there any ned masterpiece in making?
well thats about it... i'll be waitng for ur replies

Thanks!!! Once we've bid out a project supervisors will pick their team based on what they need. It normally begins with a CG Supervisor and an Animation Supervisor on a project, CG Supervisors handle pretty much everything but the character animation. The Animation Supervisor handles much of the story work, day to day animation supervision, mocap shoots etc... Cg Sup will handle, modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, compositing, clients, etc etc...

Jeff and Paul can let you know exact numbers on the shorts, but we do often ramp up a little more towards the end of productions, so we can keep the quality high and meet our deadlines.

Yeah we have been using Brazil's Skylight for Ambient Passes on Characters with some custom light rigs thrown in there too to accompany it, but we've started to switch over to HDRI lighting on some of our character passes now too. GI is great, but it's great in certain areas, we still use normal point and spot lighting ALL over the place, nothing beats a great eye for awesome lighting.

We do have custom rigging tools we've developed here at Blur, but I'll let those more appropriate than I give you those answers.

As always, we're on the move towards a Feature Film, we're all VERY excited about it!!

tevih
So, how do you decide which story to choose for your shorts? And how do you see the potential a simple idea can have?

Everyone in the studio can submit ideas for a short story and the Supervisors vote for the best one, then after Miller has gleefully re-read his 200 times and skimmed over everyone elses, the best short wins and is made into that years shortfilm.

FUG1T1VE
Is it possible that we will be seeing a "trend" of other studios, setting up their pipelines to create their own shorts. Given that it took you guys 3-4 weeks to complete the Warhammer cinematics. Maybe not a trend, but given the success of your shorts it has certainly made some people go "hey, we can do it too".
If so, how would it affect the independant folks creating their own shorts.

I think one of the reasons we were able to get the Warhammer project done in 3 weeks was because we have been around for a while and our pipeline has been refined down to the point where we can handle stuff like that. Don't get me wrong, we carried our bleeding bodies over the finish line to get it done, but there was nothing but big smiles on our faces when we did. I had so much fun supervising and working on that project, everyday was like Christmas seeing all the cool shit we were producing. I don't know if we would have been able to get that sort of project done in that short amount of time at that quality 2 years ago, the tools we've developed over the past 2 years, especially with regard to Scene Assembly are amazing and they've really allowed the incredibly talented artists here to just focus on making their shots look cool!

I don't know if you'd just be able to set up a studio and immediately start banging stuff out like that that quickly. I think we were just ready for a project like that when it came along, and it was a great test to see just how far we could push our pipeline, and ourselves :) Plus the talent on that project was amazing, 10 years of getting some of the best artists out there resulted in Flappy and I being able to have our team of "untouchables" as I liked to call them making us incredibly proud every day on that project. It was AWESOME!

marciowski
I´d like to know how many animators you have there. Not all 3d people. Just the animators. And How many do you need to do a feature film? By the way... When will you make a feature film?


I think Miller got to this one.

Voldron:
Where did you guys go to school or have you just learned alot by doing it? What do you use for compositing? Last question.........Have you used any other 3d packages besides 3DS Max?

I studied Computer Science at the University of Cape Town, dropped outa that :) Then a small traditional animation school in Cape Town for one year, after that I worked at various studios in Cape Town and then moved out here, I learnt a lot all along the way, but my learning curve just sky rocketed when I got out to Blur, the environment here is so conducive to interaction between artists that it's difficult NOT to learn something new everyday, I had a great mentor when I got here too, lil Timmy Wallace helped me get rid of my max training wheels in no time at all :)

Infinity3d4Life
First off you guys are spectacular.
I would like to know if you could give some pointers for someone trying to start an animation studio of their own.. Maybe some of your experience, and things to look out for...

Uh..... don't :) No, I didn't care too much for the business side of what I do, I always just wanted to really focus on the creative end, a small degree of it is fine, but having to deal day in and day out with corporate crap can get your creative side down. If I was to give some advice, I would just say read flappy's reply :) He He, no seriously, he is right though, at the end of the day you gotta do what makes you happy.

Ducimus
The visuals are stunning and the animation is top notch...
I am currently in Animation and are anxious to get out into the fray of things...
Hopefully my demo will make it to you...
I have just a few questions:
#1) Does Blur work only with 3dsmax, if so are there any plans on expanding to different software such as XSI?
#2) I am also a digital Grunge/Graphix/PhotoManipulation Artists, I have seen some bits about your 2D side, I am wondering what kind of opertunities lie with Blur in a 2D Advertisment feild?

Thanks! Yeah we really only use Max, we have a few licenses of XSI which we're using to test out a few ideas, but no big plans to move off Max just yet.....
As for the 2D field ? Not too sure there, our Design Department may do some of that but I am not 100% sure, Jen might be best suited to this. We do do some promotional material, magazine covers, billboards, posters etc... but it's usually an add on to 3D work we're already doing for our clients.

Viper
I'm gonna go with the flow and first congratulate you guys on every single project you've done so far. All the shorts, plus the game cinematics and so on are all really awsome. I'm definately a fan...if a feature film does ever come out, you have my ticket
As for questions, I think most of it has been covered, but I wanted to know, if having a college background is often necessary when hiring someone?
Also, do you guys look for specific skills too? For instance, if someone can't really texture well, but can do great modelling work, or lighting work, he might be considered?
Finally, does drawing godlike (IE: Feng Zhu) is a necessity to all positions? Or having basic notions, maybe enough to pass on an idea, is enough? Granted, the person meets other requirements...
I'm really just curious about your hiring guidelines. I'm thinking of getting in the industry, and wanted to have an idea on how a studio like yours goes with that stuff

Thanks! A college background is definately not neccessary, all comes down to talent.
For sure we look for specific talents, we do split up the production here, generally modelers do their own texturing. Like I said earlier most environment modelers move on to lighting and scene assembly but Character modelers generally just stick to character modeling. If you ARE particularily strong in one area, then go for it, tailor your reel to that, but yes, we do hire specific skillsets.
Drawing is not a neccessity at all. hiring guildines are simple.... you're talented, welcome to Blur :)

NoSeRider
http://academy.smc.edu/ (http://academy.smc.edu/)
What do you think about this school for animation?
I know you'd preferr CalArts Alumni, but I keep seeing people that teach at CalArts also teach at the Academy......You're in Venice, the school is in Santa Monica...I was hoping you would have some insight.

I'll check it out, although Miller would really be the one to comment here.

butlafer
Blur is a place I would dream of working sometime after I am done with college. What things could I do or should I do to be about the competition? examples would help!
Thanks, keep up the awesome graphics

I think Miller has kinda answered this already.

-Vormav-
-I hate to come off as a nuissance or anything (I'm sure you get these kinds of questions every day), but I'm particularly interested in how internships are handled through you guys. I guess I'm just assuming they're offered, though I didn't really see anything on it through your website.
Could you offer some insight on this, perhaps? Maybe some examples of the kind of work that has gotten people internships at your studio in the past (again, based on the assumption that you offer internships)? Obviously, there's going to be more to it than how pretty your renders are. I'm starting to feel like I have the technical knowledge to be able to take on an internship, but can't say much beyond that.

We don't really do internships, I think Miller would be best suited to answer your questions here. He does occasionally take on people to prepare his cabbage diet lunch for him, stroke his fragile ego, read his shortfilm submissions and tell him how great they are and to rub his belly while he works to keep the hunger pangs down, but he can elaborate on the whole internship thing for you.

-You all obviously have your Max pipeline worked out well enough to be able to produce film-quality animations. I'm sure I've read interviews in the past where some of you have spoken of the way that using Max has strengthened your pipeline, but are there ever any cases where some aspect of Max completely breaks the development cycle apart - where you've started concidering adding additional 3d apps to the pipeline? Some apps just do some thing better, but then with a studio like Blur, I would guess that the artists are always able to find ways to get around some of the problems well enough for it to not affect the workflow too greatly.

We've always managed to work around any problem we've had software wise, the scripters here are awesome at helping us solve problems that we can get done with our usual tools. Discreet is also pretty good at updating us when we run into issues, I can't tell you how amazing it is to work at a studio where when you pipe up about something that isn't working properly or could be better the developers actually listen and fix it for you, that concept was just unfathomable for me before I reached Blur.

-Somebody needs to give your web designer a pat on the back. That menu bar is quite sexy. Of course the same comment applies to all of the animations as well, but web designers need a little bit of recognition too.

I'll make sure our Design Department sees this then :) Thanks !

Kramerica
I am very intersted in how you came together and initially started Blur. What's the breakdown of your core staff, and how many projects do you generally work on at once?

Tim can answer how Blur started for you, but breakdown wise, I'd say 20 Animators, 5 Dedicated Character Modelers, 20 Modelers and Scene Assemblers, A few dedicated rigging guys, 6 Dedicated FX Artists, Couple of Layout Artists, Handfull of Producers, 3 Concept Artists.... I'm sure I am missing something, and I really plucked these numbers out of the air.....

DivideByZero
I think everyone else has already covered any questions I had...
So I'll just take this opportunity to congratulate all the amazing artists at Blur.
Thanks for the inspiration - keep up the great work!

Thank YOU!

tilite
it funny that this pops up today not even 10hrs ago i sent an email to Bobby Beck threw his site asking where i could find a downloadable copy of Hubert's Brain and Vanilla Pudding. After i went to your site and was planning sending and email to you guys to find a downloadable copy of your films, but fatiuge assaulted and i had to go to bed. I was hoping that seems cgnetworks has preview of 3 of your fine films it wouldnt be that bizarre to download them from somewhere? (i ask this because it is soooo much easier to download the film once and stop wasting my downloads on viewing all of these once a week

Are you asking where you can download copies of our shorts ?

i wanted to ask what in the next short the studio is working on and if there was a url to check it out?? and also what is there to look out for in the future for blur??

We have selected and begun preproduction work on our next short, but nothing is publically available yet. As for the future, we're all holding thumbs for the feature film.....

oh 1 more thing (i promise) i wanted to know what u guys think is quality inspirational animation... and by that a couple urls to artist and animations. And if like your films they are 'protected'?? pfffft please just mention them and ill do my own research

Hmmm, to be honest I couldn't metion one thing in particular that inspires me, everyday I am either sent some new amazing animation I've never seen before, or I find something awesome up on CGnetworks. There's just too much out there...... I will however see what I do have stashed on my PC at home and maybe a few old inspiring pieces of work will come to mind. Sorry nothings popping up there right now other than I'm only on page 2!!! of this questionaire :( I'm SO slow......

and congrats on all of you achievements to date and best of luck for the future


Thanks.

DaveWilson
05-24-2005, 09:36 PM
Peddy
Congrats on getting even more attention =]

He He thanks ;)

The cinematics you guys and gals at Blur made are the kind of material that make me want to buy a game, most evidently with the Dawn of War cinematics. I'm not too keen on the idea of Warhammer (the original game), but the cinematics were done so well that I almost couldn't not buy the game.

Thanks, that was an awesome project to work on, Glad you enjoyed it !

Same goes with the Hellgate: London cinematics I saw the other day.

That was Jed and his superstar team on that one, they did an amazing job with the amount of material they had to get through in the short time they had to do it. His ass is a little sore from all the love pats now, and he's finally back from E3 after spending everyday oogling at his work at the Namco booth, although, I know he was really just drooling over the Namco girls.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates how much a good cinematic adds to the potential of a game. However, we all all aware that Blur aspires for greater things, such as feature films, but if such an endeavour doesn't arrive as soon as the studio would like, are game cinematics and short films enough to sustain the (or any company, for that matter) company until the studio has enough corporate presence to create an I.P? What does it take for a studio to make the jump from short film to feature film, to fully independant production?

CASH! No the shorts are great for showing what we can do when it's just US, just Blur, totally 100% Blur, the shorts are a great way of showing the quality we're ready to put towards a feature. We've been gearing our pipeline towards long format storytelling for a while now, all the tools and pipeline modifications we make are geared towards feature film production.

blaXX++
-Where do you get your inspiration?

Everyday when I come into work and see all the cool shit around me!

-How do you get the motivation to keep the shorts at maximum quality?

I demand manly love from Tim Miller ! Ok, seriously, it's just something we LOVE doing. We know we could stop at one point and call it done, but we keep saying "Oh, man what about if we just add this in and that". Al Shier and Jeff Fowler were great on Gopher in terms of keeping us all happy and pumped, even after some long nights, it's always fun. When I look back at some last tough stretches on Warhammer and Gopher, to be 100% honest, they have been some of my most fun and memorable moments here at Blur.

Could you give any tips or pointers for CG artists wanting to do the same sort of stuff you guys do now?

Just keep at it, it takes a LOT of dedication and Talent. I know that's like the cop out answer, but seriously, the arists here are as good as they are because simply put they're talented and they work hard to stay at the top of their game. I personally feel if I am away for 2 weeks I have a lot of catching up to do :) It's just that fast ;)

requiem
I'm currently graduating and finishing up my modeling reel. I'm finding that the bulk of my reel is cartoonish characters (like my avitar) and I'm wondering if a lack of realism is a bad thing.

Nope not at all ! Especially here, we do a WIDE range of work.

What do you look for in a modeling reel?

Just good modeling skills. Attention to detail. Clean Meshes. Texturing skills.... you can really see straight away if someone has talent and knows what they're doing.

UnSa
first off I want to say how much I love your work and how inspiring it really is to see what you guys can come up with.

Thanks!

I'm a junior student in high school right now and I'm seeking good Colleges where I can excel in 3d. I was curious to know if Blur knows any good colleges where they would recommend me going. Also, does Blur set up tours of the studio? I live in Los Angeles and would love to come by and see how Blur opperates. Thanks!


I am not sure of all the good colleges, but I know there is a thread somewhere here on CGTalk about that, or am I wrong ? We do do tours here too, generally schools come and tour through, I am not sure about individual tours though, I don't think we do that.

Heber
1-do your modelers create models than can perform in various situations and extremeties or do you create models than can work for the shots that they need to be in and then repair in post?

We do both, if we need different models for extreme cases then we do go ahead and alter the models for those shots, we do however try and create a model that will cover everything we need on a project. We also do do some repair in post, and some in scene assembly too.

2-What do you look for in a good modeler? are you looking for someone who can model characters or environments really well and can do just that? or do you like to see range , aka someone who can model and build in all different kinds of styles?

Character and Environment or Hard Surface modelers (i.e. Props Vehicles) are generally seperated, there are those here who can do it all, but most of our Character Modelers just stick to characters, simply cause it makes them better just getting more and more experience modeling characters and often they just enjoy the characters more.

thesuit


Does BLUR use referencing for their characters in a normal animation pipeline? If so, do you work on different stages of production at the same time using referencing technique or do you have a more linear workflow
We don't reference the characters that much, there are specific cases where we do. We are able to work on different stages of production at the same time, although it's not ideal, but one of the main tools allowing us to work on Animation and Scene Assembly at the same time, for example, is that we use Point Cache to drive the meshes in the Scene Assembly file, which updates as soon as the animator bakes the animation out of their animation file, in which they would have their rigged and skinned character, also allowing the scene assemblers to work in their files with no rigs at all, since the mesh is totally driven by the PointCache.


How many Brogs do you think you have around for the ITR production? So far, normal brog, wet brog, muddy brog... do you make special rigs for special situations or a master rig that works wonders?
Flap will have to answer this one for you.

rickman
My questions which may have been ask in many different ways is: Do you see your animators using other tools other than 3DS Max, like Maya or Softimage, or do you prefer them to use properitary software built by your programmers? Also as a person with not too many drawing skills to you ever hire animators (in general) based soley on there skills applied through a computer?


We use max and our own custom tools we've developed, and yes we do hire based soley on 3D skills.

Pyke
Just wanna add into the fan-boyism here, and say that you guys are all fantastic, and If given the oportunity (and were I not a guy), I would gladly have your respective children.

Ha Ha, Thanks, I think.

* I've read in previous articles about your work that you use mo-cap in some of your shorts (Warhammer, Rockfish, Wolfenstein...). Do you guys have your own motion capture studio, or do you outsource your stuff?

Yeah we have our own Vicon 8 system.

* There are several studios that have a definitive 'you are a texture artist...texture, you are a modeler-model' mentality. Is Blur like this, or is it more of a jack-of-all-trades studio?

You're really whatever you want to be here, if you've got the skills and want to try something new, not just say modeling anymore, and want to try animation and you can prove it, you can do it. Most modelers do do their own texturing though. We don't usually split those, I mean who would really just want to have the job of unwrapping UV's ALLL DAAAY LONG. :(

* How many people now work at Blur? Do you seperate into different 'groups' when handeling multiple projects, or are you guys already in different sections?

Ah, I see Ian got to this already.... I should read ahead more......

* With your foray into features-are you going to continue doing game cinematics and shorts?

Pretty much, until we don't have the bandwith anymore, but I think we'll definately not close the door alltogether on Cinematics and Shorts, obviously the goal is to produce the feature, but cinematics have been our bread and butter for a long time and the shorts are just awesome to work on.

* This question is specifically for Dave Wilson: As a South Africa (or any person from another country) looking at getting into Blur-how did you do it? Apply from SA, get accepted, and then go Visa hunting? Or were you already in the states when you applied for the job? What is Blurs policy on hiring 'foreign' staff? And how on earth do you live without Biltong?

I was pretty lucky with getting out here, Miller found my website and emailed me asking if I wanted to come aboard, that was really as simple as it was. Blur was AMAZING in getting me out here, it was a LONG process getting my Visa but Blur kindly sorted most of it out for me.

We have no official policy on hiring foreign staff, Miller looks ALL the time for talent, if he finds it in Finland, South Africa or some other far away land he's more than happy to bring you aboard if he thinks you've got what it takes, Visa can be a problems sometimes though, but if it's possible he'll do what he can to get you out here.

Yeah.... Biltong..... Sigh. Although there are some speciality butchers in L.A. that sell it, I even found a bar that makes BoerieRolls, MilkTart and sells Castle Lager the other day ;) Was just like home..... until I got back on the 405.

* On average, how many cups of coffee are consumed on a daily basis?

None by me, my stash of rooibos is still lasting me :) and that Redbull stacked fridge gets me through the late nights.

Just want to say again what an inspiration Blur studios is! And I hope to be working with you guys-one of these days!


Thanks Dude !!

jasonslab
i'm not gonna say much more than, u guys are doing some amazing work and i'm looking forward to seeing your upcoming projects!!

Thanks Jason!

lukx
First of all, RESPECT for all you're doing. I got one question:
How is it at the begining. I mean how did you know how to do things. I mean compositing effects, knowing stuff about using proper resolutions and so. Everybody have to start and let's say you finally got a client who want to do comercial with you how did you know at the begining how to work, what to do first, and how to do it?

I think Miller's gonna have to hit this one.

RAINpit
as for mr. miller, i think u'r the only guy i've ever heard using the word f.. in an official
interview, that was hilarious (i think it was on some eyeon tape, anyway, funny as hell).
love the don;'t give a sh.. attitude (works alot for the whole studio i think)

Miller's vocabularily is actually very limited, so he's adopted the "I don't give a shit" attitude to cover up for all his profanity, but we still love him.

like: how's xsi workin' for you guys? what do u think about it and how do u feel workin with it?
does it integrate well into the pipeline? what do u use it for besides crowd/character anim? ain't it a cutie ?

Only a very select few guys here are working with it, it's more like, we're just trying a few new ways of doing things.

don't screw up the story for Rockfish, whenever that gets done, whatever gets done make us proud.

Don't worry that's Miller's baby and he'll do you proud I am sure, I think I see him re-reading his script again with that gleefull smile......

eddieellis
you guy's rock and im not going to stop until i get a job with you..

I like it !! :)

PHEW, that was a lot longer than planned :) , Ok, well I guess that'll have to be it for now.... i better get back to work before Miller comes over and craps all over me.
Thanks for all the kind words and great questions.... I'll get to some more of them tonight.

Cheers, Dave.

jampoz
05-24-2005, 09:52 PM
Holy poly it's just like stepping into Blur Studio and grab each one of 'em from the hair "now tell me this and that, speak!"

Rude but lovely, it's working and it's great!
Thank you guys! :thumbsup:

madmanmagic
05-24-2005, 09:57 PM
I see many references to Flap's answers to questions, but I can't find Flap?

DaveWilson
05-24-2005, 10:04 PM
Sorry Flappy or Flap, that's Paul Taylor.

Glenfx
05-24-2005, 10:56 PM
Hi, i wanted to ask you guys, i just saw a cinematic animation from the game "Hellgate London" and is said it was made by Blur studios thouh it doesnt contain the credits.

If you created that amazing piece of animation:

I wanted to ask you guys, how do you approach each animation?, i mean, you have really different styles that go from cartoony to very realistic ones.

I also saw many details on each model, is most of it displacement? do you use Zbrush?

Another question i have is, how do you animate human characters? motion capture and keyframes, or its completly keyframed?

i have more questions, but i dont have much time.

Cheers

andreasng
05-24-2005, 11:00 PM
Greetings Blur

What we have seen from you guys have been quite diverse, I really love that. But when you someday start earning the big $, are you then going to follow the great companies' (disney,dreamworks,pixar(sometimes),etc. etc.) path and become undaring and unexploring, making the same thing again and again, because you know thats the recipe for succes???

Or do you not see the great companies like that?

Would you ever consider trying out some really graphic style? Or will you always make stuff that looks real (maybe charicatured, but not graphic) ?

Have you ever considered bringing in some programmers and start making games ? Your ideas seem quite game-friendly. (rockfish would make a great consept)

... Anyways I really adore your work... IMHO OMG WTF everything looks absolutly amazing. Gods speed to you all!!!

agravois
05-24-2005, 11:04 PM
Thanks for taking the time to drop some science, blurfolk! Your work just gets better and better & I've always appreciated the prodigious tool sharing you've done in the past via blurbeta.

My questions are about pipeline:
How linear and/or locked-off are the phases in your schedules? It's hard to avoid the temptation to fix this model or add that shot late in the game. I've found that one simply can't spend too much time on the animatic... but that postpones animation, motion capture, and to a lesser extent, scene modeling. Where do you strike the balance?

Also, how much do you rely on producers? That is, do you have one or more producers per job, tracking assets & shots, organizing artist time, etc, or are the artists primarily self-scheduled and organized? Does the CG supe do all the producer tasks?

Do you generally use one Max file for multiple shots or is it one shot-one file? If you don't rely heavily on x-refs, how do you maintain asset consistency across shots and sequences? (Maybe you lock down the models early? If so, HOW?!)

Finally, how do you manage render passes within Max? What are the tools like? Are they comparable to XSI's render passes (if you are familiar with those)?

Thanks for the wisdom!

hhssuu
05-24-2005, 11:21 PM
Hello Blur,

I'm a max user and I love the stuff blur makes using max. So here are my questions:

1. I know you've got programmer to make custom tools for specific jobs so max really has no limitations at blur. But with no custom tools what aspects of max would you think need a bit of improvment?

2. Another question is, ther are so many ways of facial setups these days: morphs, bones, spines etc. What do you guys use and what do you think is the most flexible?

That's all, and i really love the shorts you guys did. And i love the way you guys make max look great.

tki
05-24-2005, 11:45 PM
Thanks Blur,

Ur answer was really tight.... Sorry if i wasn't clear but u got me any how..


thanks......

Jed
05-25-2005, 12:17 AM
Hi, i wanted to ask you guys, i just saw a cinematic animation from the game "Hellgate London" and is said it was made by Blur studios thouh it doesnt contain the credits.

If you created that amazing piece of animation:

I wanted to ask you guys, how do you approach each animation?, i mean, you have really different styles that go from cartoony to very realistic ones.

I also saw many details on each model, is most of it displacement? do you use Zbrush?

Another question i have is, how do you animate human characters? motion capture and keyframes, or its completly keyframed?

i have more questions, but i dont have much time.

Cheers


Animation on Hellgate was a mix of mo cap and keyframes. We used keyframes on everything where mocap was not possible : quadrupeds, superhuman backflips, etc ... The mocap we use is usually heavily tweaked by hand afterwards anyway.

We only used displacements on one character, the big-mouth demon with no eyes in the first sequence, but we used normal maps exported from Zbrush on all the other demons. Normal maps usually give us enough detail, and we've always had better results with characters that have lots of modeling detail than displaced lo-poly cages.
The two heroes have no displacements or normal maps but were going above a million polys at render time.

young_927
05-25-2005, 01:32 AM
Hey blur~

you guys are one of my fav studios around~! really artist driven~ :)

one question i have is,,
since you guys do lots of different projects..
do you guys have lot of down time between projects?
if you guys do? what do you guys work on ? or do some people get laid off? like contract basis?


thanks!~

overcontrast
05-25-2005, 02:04 AM
sorry for asking another questions. but i really wanna know this.

When you guys begin with BLUR studios, how did u financed it. Was it your own pocket money or was it loan or something. Or was it like some kind of project with some awesomely talanted people wanting to work for free for some higher ambition?And when u started how did u grow? Did u use to do any comarcial works for TV? or what sort of work did u guys use to do when u first started?....

thanx for ur time.... love u all :thumbsup:

tilite
05-25-2005, 03:50 AM
thanks for getting back to me and most importantly not ending the conversation with blunt words and allowing me to waste more of your time.... here it goes

it funny ...//...once a week

Are you asking where you can download copies of our shorts ?

haha.. yes that excatly what im asking. thought if i put a spin on it, it may not sound like im jus trying to rip the blur shorts... but yes, can i get them anywhere?

i wanted to ask what in the next short the studio is working on and if there was a url to check it out?? and also what is there to look out for in the future for blur??

We have selected and begun preproduction work on our next short, but nothing is publically available yet. As for the future, we're all holding thumbs for the feature film.....

NOW THAT IS SOMETHING I MUST SEE!! well why dont you just fund your own... then you have full creative control, haha. i'll tell you what ive got $20 that may get u started and im sure it enough to buy myself into a ping-pong ball suit and have your way with me! realistically i wish you the best of luck and make sure the whole world knows about it when it happens.. it will:thumbsup:

oh 1 more thing (i promise) i wanted to know what u guys think is quality inspirational animation... and by that a couple urls to artist and animations. And if like your films they are 'protected'?? pfffft please just mention them and ill do my own research

Hmmm, to be honest I couldn't metion one thing in particular that inspires me, everyday I am either sent some new amazing animation I've never seen before, or I find something awesome up on CGnetworks. There's just too much out there...... I will however see what I do have stashed on my PC at home and maybe a few old inspiring pieces of work will come to mind. Sorry nothings popping up there right now other than I'm only on page 2!!! of this questionaire :( I'm SO slow......

if you could look that would be awesome! i'm sure your could send a dvd data vd to australia on the company account :thumbsup: oh poor effort on the questionaire replys you really should be on page 5 by now - but im glad you are taking your time, giving us proper answers is what makes this thing so damn great!!!

and congrats on all of you achievements to date and best of luck for the future


and congrats on all of you achievements to date and best of luck for the future

Thanks.

nps i mean it you guys do great work and deserve to be praised!
cheers
tom

elfling bard
05-25-2005, 04:29 AM
Hi my question is more music oriented. I found your animations quite distinctive and inspiring.

Do you have music composers in-house or work with composers in your area or elsewhere in the world?

If you do work with composer out of town, I will send my demoreel to you.
I really enjoy your work!

Thank you

[blur] brobison
05-25-2005, 05:51 AM
quick question for Dave Wilson:
why are you such a rail whore?

Viper
05-25-2005, 06:05 AM
Dave, thanks for the answers mate. Blur just scored a few more positive points on my list heh. I have to get my act together and do more work again...been kinda lazy :)

I have another question, but this time related to techiniques...Can you give a quick description of how you do natural enviroments? Like for instance the enviroments on Rockfish, was that displacement mapping or something else?

Also, when doing multiple characters for an animation, do you guys do a base mesh and modify it from there like Pixar did in The Incredibles, or do you take a diferent aproach? I of course mean for the more secondary characters. For main ones, I'm sure you do them separately...but take for instance all the zombies in Hellgate: London...was that one mesh modfied to make the others? And then if doing Human characters would the aproach be the same?

Thanks for the time...It's really cool what you guys are doing here :)

belail
05-25-2005, 07:09 AM
This is just something I've been wanting to ask someone from Blur for a while so I'm happy to see the opportunity present itself. Whatever happened to Mindbridge and Out of Time? I'm more interested in Mindbrige since I seem to remember hearing that Warren Ellis wrote a script for it something like that. I saw some designs and 3d renders for both a while back but haven't heard anything about them since.

Thanks.

jason-slab
05-25-2005, 07:25 AM
quick one

how many compositers do u guys have? and do u only use DF?
ok another one, and how many VFX/particle guys do u have?
ok ok one more:), what is your prephered output for renders from 3d, tiff? and do u usually use 8, 16 or 32bit?

|jason

phreakmonkey
05-25-2005, 07:26 AM
Good stuff. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
For some reason scene assembly really catches my attention. Maybe it's because I've rarely heard this term used before.... or have I just been stuck in a closet?

+What exactly do scene assembler's do?... I guess... other than assemble scenes.
+Are there any specific skills needed that comes with scene assembly? Obviously talent...but what else should someone be good at to be a good scene assembler.
+Since environment modelers cross over with scene assembers, do environment modelers cross over much with hard surface modeling? correct me if I've misunderstood some things.
+Any hopes of ressurecting MindBridge? Concepts, and producton done on that were looking sweet.

Thanks in advance for your replies and spending the time. If its 2 in the morning... no worries... I can wait the next round. Sleep is good :) Keep inspiring...

-phi-

neofg
05-25-2005, 08:04 AM
Hi all at Blur Studio!
It's a priviledge to ask something to you experts in this wonderful art...
I have a tecnical question... I find really difficult to work with 3D environments(lands , sky and clouds...etc...) In particular I find difficult the horizon zone. Do u have a suggestion for how setup and paint a 3d environment?

PS.= I.E. The project where I have this problem now, is a plane (the mytical Hiroshima's Enola Gay) that fly with camera that move around him. Now, I modelled it in Maya, I try to make a 360° environment in terragen with a bit of post 4 make it real,and I mapped it on a sphere, but I don't like the result...Background appear flat.
:sad:
I go crazy... Can u gimme'suggestions?

EVERYONE LOST MY QUESTION... :shrug:

ido
05-25-2005, 08:30 AM
First I would like to say I just love all your work :)

How many hours do you work every day, do you manage to lead a healthy life with all those deadlines, do you have time to workout or do you all look like couch potatoes? :D

Leonard
05-25-2005, 08:50 AM
EVERYONE LOST MY QUESTION... :shrug:

Hey Francesco...can you please stick to the rules? The rules state that if they don't answer your question, to leave it and not harass them further. If they choose to answer it later, that's fine. But please refrain from bumping your question or harassing them to answer it.

Thanks.

Paul D. Taylor
05-25-2005, 09:26 AM
Young_927
one question i have is,,
since you guys do lots of different projects..
do you guys have lot of down time between projects?
if you guys do? what do you guys work on ? or do some people get laid off? like contract basis?

We don’t normally have too much down time. Miller works hard to pimp the studio and keep everyone busy. But if you’ve really burned on a project like a lot of people did for E3 recently, then you get comp time off. Also, we have an on going in-house project called Lil Hellions that animators work on if they do find themselves with a little idle time. And since most project deadlines overlap there is always something to jump on and help out our fellow Blurians. ;)

Elfling bard

Hi my question is more music oriented. I found your animations quite distinctive and inspiring.

Do you have music composers in-house or work with composers in your area or elsewhere in the world?

If you do work with composer out of town, I will send my demoreel to you.
I really enjoy your work!

Thanks for the complement, Elfling. We do have a couple of music composers that we work with that live in L.A. You are welcome to send your demo reel to us, sure. Just know that we are picky about music and SFX too! J

Brobison

quick question for Dave Wilson:
why are you such a rail whore?

I think I can answer this one. Because he’s a little campin’ bitch who likes to suck down my rocket sandwiches? Could that be the answer? LOL


Or could it be that you just miss playing quake with us, Hmmm, B?

jasonslab

quick one

how many compositers do u guys have? and do u only use DF?
ok another one, and how many VFX/particle guys do u have?
ok ok one morefile:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CPAULTA%7E1%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image001.gif, what is your prephered output for renders from 3d, tiff? and do u usually use 8, 16 or 32bit?

Every Scene Assembler is also a compositer. We don’t have anyone that JUST does compositing. We only us DF but Blur Design uses After Effects. We have like 6 or so VFS dudes (and one is a gal!) We output TGAS at 32 bits if they have alpha channel info… 24 if not. Also, we compress the with the lossless compression.

Phreakmonkey

Good stuff. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
For some reason scene assembly really catches my attention. Maybe it's because I've rarely heard this term used before.... or have I just been stuck in a closet?

+What exactly do scene assembler's do?... I guess... other than assemble scenes.
+Are there any specific skills needed that comes with scene assembly? Obviously talent...but what else should someone be good at to be a good scene assembler.
+Since environment modelers cross over with scene assembers, do environment modelers cross over much with hard surface modeling? correct me if I've misunderstood some things.
+Any hopes of ressurecting MindBridge? Concepts, and producton done on that were looking sweet.

Thanks in advance for your replies and spending the time. If its 2 in the morning... no worries... I can wait the next round. Sleep is good file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CPAULTA%7E1%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image001.gifKeep inspiring...

-phi-

Yo, Phreakmonkey. Scene Assemblers are the guys that finish the shots. They take all of the animation, FX, camera data, etc and stick it all together. They also light, render and composite the final shots so they must have a good eye. They do whatever needs to be done to finish their shots. So they have to be real strong all around 3D bad-asses that are well organized and that can problem solve like a mad-zombie-scientist. Also a fondness of coffee or redbull helps. They are called different things depending where you go. I think Blizzard calls them Finishers. I just call them GODS and call it a day.

ido

First I would like to say I just love all your work file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CPAULTA%7E1%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image001.gif

How many hours do you work every day, do you manage to lead a healthy life with all those deadlines, do you have time to workout or do you all look like couch potatoes? file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CPAULTA%7E1%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image002.gif

Thanks, Ido. Most people work 8-10 hours a day on average. But we do have our crunches towards the end of projects and that can shoot up to 12-16 hours a day. Then if we are REALLY crunching like say, for the shorts or for an E3 project that we just love so much we can’t bear to leave it alone for more than a few hours… well, then we just stay all night until it’s done. Of course, nobody can sustain that level of burn indefinitely. So people take comp days off after a deadline to recover. And deadlines like that don’t occur all of the time. Also, when we worked on that long Disney job (14 months) the schedule was a normal 8-10 hour days with very little weekend work.

Believe it or not, 90% of Blur employees are in good shape. At least they look healthy to me. I walk my dog with my wife every morning for about an hour and my dog looks pretty fit. ;)

neofg

Hi all at Blur Studio!
It's a priviledge to ask something to you experts in this wonderful art...
I have a tecnical question... I find really difficult to work with 3D environments(lands , sky and clouds...etc...) In particular I find difficult the horizon zone. Do u have a suggestion for how setup and paint a 3d environment?

PS.= I.E. The project where I have this problem now, is a plane (the mytical Hiroshima's Enola Gay) that fly with camera that move around him. Now, I modelled it in Maya, I try to make a 360° environment in terragen with a bit of post 4 make it real,and I mapped it on a sphere, but I don't like the result...Background appear flat.
file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5CPAULTA%7E1%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_image003.gif
I go crazy... Can u gimme'suggestions?

Hey neofg.


3D environments are tough. Especially if you are really moving the camera around and seeing a lot of it. The first thing I’d do is limit what you see. Dave Wilson might be able to help you out with this question. For Warhammer 40k we hired a very talented matte painter by the name of Dylan Cole. He worked on the Lord of the Rings movies. But I know that Dave and his crew still had to customized every camera angle to make it look good. And that just takes good old hard work.

Once you lock down your camera move you just keep adding stuff ONLY where you need it and see it. For example, if you took any one of those shots from the Warhammer 40k cinematic and moved the camera slightly left or right… it would fall apart because there isn’t anything there in the scene outside the cameras range of view.

So my guess is, you are trying to make a generic environment that works when viewed form any angle, right? That’s just too hard! Haha.

Good luck! Sorry we missed your question. I know we are missing other questions too, guys. Sorry about that.


Paul (AKA Flappy)

jampoz
05-25-2005, 10:13 AM
Hi Blur(s)!

Thank you for all the answers here, it's cool to see you are people like us, with problems and/or troubles during your daily works.

So why did you pick 'Blur'? It's a cool name, but why Blur?

And will you ever have a Bios page on your site so we can check details on each one of you artists, with a picture and previous job experiences, it would be cool.
What do you think about it or about agencies that have pages like that on their site?

Sorry for not directing my questions to anybody but I feel they're just generic questions.

Keep up the amazing work guys! :thumbsup:

madart
05-25-2005, 11:24 AM
First off, I'd like to say that I like your work very much!

I'm interested in Gopher's fur, which program have used for making fur and have you made any changes to the program to better suit your needs? Do you keep the UV's in one piece (where there is fur)? It looks as if there is only one layer of fur covering the body, is that right? How many fur descriptions (Maya) does Gopher have? (different fur settings)

For the birds, what will you do for feathers?

Hope you understand my questions.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer all our questions!

BillSpradlin
05-25-2005, 12:55 PM
This goes out to all of ya: If you were a hot dog and you were really hungry, would you eat yourself?

ThomasMahler
05-25-2005, 01:12 PM
Just wanted to say that I love your work, guys! Especially Gopher Broke was awesome, Gopher's got to be the cutest CGI-character I've ever seen - I really hope that we'll see him again, in shorts, ads or whatever. It'd be a shame not to give Gopher another chance! :)

Also, he always reminds me of John Candy - Is it possible that you guys had him in mind while doing the character design? The way he looks and acts...

And if it's not too much work, I always love to hear some comments about my work from industry professionals - I'd be eternally grateful if you guys could give me C&C on my work (see Signature)! ;)

Thanks and keep that attitude, guys - It's always fun to read about you Blur guys and your upcoming projects!

neofg
05-25-2005, 02:03 PM
No problem for the missing. I appreciate the time u spent for answering me.
So I must to select and matte paint only the zones where I render... Hi Hi, nice... I must to go at 360° arount the plane...:banghead: ...
If u know a tutorial page about how setup a scene for a static environment, and how apply mattepainting in a 3d scene send me...
Thank U for all...and...GOOD ART

Blusoul
05-25-2005, 02:15 PM
Hi Blur,

I truely enjoy your work as it is always inspiring and constantly pushes fwd, bringing us great animations. U guys inspire me:thumbsup: , I havnt done any new stuff as yet but I would most definetly try my chances wid u guys in the future. My question is more for Tim,
'How r things with Uk animators tryin 2 work at Blur with the whole Visa situation? '

Thanks:)

harmonic01
05-25-2005, 02:49 PM
Hello Blur. First of all, thanks allot for taking time to answer questions. You're an amazing and a very inspirational studio. I'm a huge fan. I also would like to thank blur for making allot of your plugins available for public. You totally rock. :)

Most of the questions has been answered already but I would like to poke at one more answer by Dave Wilson, if that's alright :)



1)
Do you use PointCache characters just so you can work in paralel with the animator? But later when the animation is done do you load in the character with it's actual rig? The reason I'm asking is because of things like eyes that are manipulated by their Transforms, rather then mesh points. [edit] Heh heh, I love cgtalk community. Aearon sent me a private message explaning you can just skin the eyes to a helper/bone object and even use a "convert children to skins" cript from Paul Hormis script pack. So I guess that answers it. It's so simple I'm embarrased I havn't thought of that.


[edit] just though of 2 more questions regarding deadlines or quotas.

2) For character animations, how much should be animated in one week?

3) For character modeling, how much time allowed to complete a model? (say one from HellGate)

Pyke
05-25-2005, 03:37 PM
Wow-thanks for all the answers guys. Really inspiring stuff!

Do you have any team photos, or photos of Blur HQ? Just would be interesting to see where you guys work-and...well...what you look like. ;)

lukx
05-25-2005, 04:41 PM
yeah! pictures would be awesome!

Jeepy
05-25-2005, 04:55 PM
Blur Studio rocks... or rocksfish..!!! :D


You guys are really great, you are the studio to watch for the next few years.

So, quick question, since you are using max for all your projects, beside in house maxscripts do you use third party plugins? For animation, modeling...

Best luck for Rockfish feature movie and other features movies... Can't wait you guys do one!:bowdown:

Cheers! :thumbsup:

武文龙
05-25-2005, 04:59 PM
Very Cool , Very good !!!

^^*

I'm from China,Welcome to us webstie:www.chinavisual.com

Happy Trees
05-25-2005, 05:05 PM
I have noticed a few people say that they studdied other fields and then stumbled into the industry. Do you think that acounts for most of your staff or are there some artists that have sought to be what they wanted to be and came to you?

Most people including myself are trying to take classes for animation/ modeling ect right out of highschool trying to become people like yourselves.

Do you think its more important to establish a clasical arts background before starting to evolve in cg?

ffourier
05-25-2005, 05:14 PM
an other big big thanks to blur for taking time to answer our questions. And congratulation.

Pynion
05-25-2005, 08:49 PM
When is mindbridge comming out? I'm pretty sure I need to see more videos and renders of the Tamer.

arkinet
05-25-2005, 09:42 PM
wow, the amazing blur guys. 1st of all, compliments from your lowly fan for all the great stuff that comes out of your studio.

my questions:

1. How do you guys handle crunch time? I know it may had been answered already, but do you guys bring work at home?

2. would your studio consider a talented 2d artist but have a limited max experience? If so, what would be your advise to a 2D guy like me portfolio wise?

Thank you so much for your time guys, I know you are so bz. More power to all of you!!!

young_927
05-25-2005, 09:57 PM
Hey Blur~

I read that you guys might be switing XSI for character animation?
is this true?
or are you guys just testing it out?


thanks~

greyface
05-25-2005, 09:57 PM
Hello to everyone at Blur and thanks for all the inspiration!

I am interested in the 2D aspect of your shorts:

1. When do you usually feel you have to use a 2D matte instead of a 3D envrionment?

2. "In The Rough" seems to use mostly matte paintings for the scene; with only moving objects being 3D, don't you find any limitations with camera movement and directing?

3. At what resolution do you usually work with the mattes, for example, in ITR?

4. How much time can be gained by using 2D over 3D, for static objects, considering the amount of alignement, compositing and work-arounds you have to do with 2D?

5. Is the opening shot of In The Rough entirelly painted (appart from character and his belongings) or have you used a 3D model with a texture?

6. Any further comments on 2D vs 3D, for environments?

Thanks a lot for reading and great continuation to all of you at Blur!

desty

L.Rawlins
05-25-2005, 10:27 PM
Salutations 'Blur-ites'.

I don't have anything particularly taxing to ask of you that hasn't been covered already, but I would like to say that 'In The Rough' was anything but.

Inspired idea and vibrant visual aesthetic.

Ug!

(That's caveman for 'ace!')

:)

jackburton
05-25-2005, 11:07 PM
Hey guys from Blur!

First off let me say thanks for all the free scripts and plugins that have been released throughout the years, a lot of those have really come in handy. There have been a few times when I probably wouldn't have gotten projects done in time without them. You rock.:buttrock::applause:


I don't know if this has been asked yet(this thread is gettin loong) but what's the turnover rate like at Blur? Do more than a few people leave and then come back because they liked it so much?

Landru24
05-25-2005, 11:08 PM
Hi Blur peoples, I really like what you do and it's nice of you to take the time to answer
Like Paul D. Taylor (http://www.cgtalk.com/member.php?u=171474), and his great answer about finding the reals motivations for opening an animation studio. And many more.

Ok, my question is about reasearch and developement.
How does it works ? Do you have dedicated people working on it or is it everybody when they can find time ?
Does the R&D forecast the needs, or the oposite ?
And what did it already have "invented" for the studio ?

Thank-you
Have a nice day vbmenu_register("postmenu_2319393", true);

Bonedaddy
05-26-2005, 12:03 AM
First off, much love. Y'all rock.

Secondly: I read in one of the earlier questions that you have several dedicated effects guys. Does this mean you hire freelance effects guys on a per-project basis?

Thirdly: I may have missed this somewhere in the thread, but any plans for a SIGGRAPH party this year? Last year's was pretty damn fun.

SpeccySteve
05-26-2005, 01:52 AM
No real questions, I'd just like to make a blatant fanboy post.

I'm only familiar with your work from Warhammer and Hellgate but as a noob it's really inspiring stuff to see and it makes me want to attempt unrealistic projects that are clearly beyond my capabilities, ta.

-Steve

Jinian
05-26-2005, 04:32 AM
Hi Tim,

1. In your experience, when hiring foreign talent to work in Blur, is a degree crucial for acquiring a visa? Would a diploma coupled with a few years of work experience suffice? I have had a few interviews with US-based companies and after they check with their lawyers, they say it is worth way too much effort to bring in someone into the states with the credentials i just mentioned.

2. What do you catch artists often doing in office apart from work?


Thanks! :)

Being an international myself, i'd just like to re-post this good question by dom. I think it would really be a lot of help for the huge number of internationals to know how big companies like Blur handle incoming talent from overseas.

UnSa
05-26-2005, 05:54 AM
Peddy
Congrats on getting even more attention =]


UnSa
first off I want to say how much I love your work and how inspiring it really is to see what you guys can come up with.

Thanks!

I'm a junior student in high school right now and I'm seeking good Colleges where I can excel in 3d. I was curious to know if Blur knows any good colleges where they would recommend me going. Also, does Blur set up tours of the studio? I live in Los Angeles and would love to come by and see how Blur opperates. Thanks!


I am not sure of all the good colleges, but I know there is a thread somewhere here on CGTalk about that, or am I wrong ? We do do tours here too, generally schools come and tour through, I am not sure about individual tours though, I don't think we do that.



That's really ashame, the school I go to currently has no computer classes that excel in anything, at all. My teacher gave everyone an A for showing up to class.. What the hell? Post some pictures up of the studio on your Blur Site so at least I can imagine what it'd be like :\

kerosene
05-26-2005, 06:51 AM
I think the immigration stuff would be easier to check from sites specialised in that kind of stuff. maybe immigration.com ?

For H1 visa which is the most common I think you need 4 year degree from accredited (or whatever the word is) college/university or serious 5 years of experience. Freelance type of stuff might be so and so to qualify.

When I cam over 2 years ago it was way easier than now to get the H1 simply because the quota per year has been lowered. Also I think soon after my visa the whole interview thing got more complicated. This is one major reason I personally recommend university/college besides two other facts: a) its fun, you are not in a hurry to get into working world - enjoy your young years b) experience in 'deadlined' face to face creative teamwork and harsh critiques are difficult to find from self teaching / forums.


Heikki

KingMob
05-26-2005, 07:09 AM
Ok first off, I have some pictures at work I will get hosted and put up tomorow.

Straight from mr miller himself :)

and now for some questions, I am not ignoring the ones I skipped, jsut figure the other guys are better to answer those.



Also, when doing multiple characters for an animation, do you guys do a base mesh and modify it from there like Pixar did in The Incredibles, or do you take a diferent aproach? I of course mean for the more secondary characters. For main ones, I'm sure you do them separately...but take for instance all the zombies in Hellgate: London...was that one mesh modfied to make the others? And then if doing Human characters would the aproach be the same?


We have a really big library of models that we have made, and VERY rarely do we start anything from scratch, we have very tight deadlines and that would just be a waste of time, we usually amalgamate a bunch of older models rebuild what we need or do not like and then texture from that.

No problem for the missing. I appreciate the time u spent for answering me.
So I must to select and matte paint only the zones where I render... Hi Hi, nice... I must to go at 360° arount the plane... ...
If u know a tutorial page about how setup a scene for a static environment, and how apply mattepainting in a 3d scene send me...
Thank U for all...and...GOOD ART

Thats a reeeeally big question to answer in a q&a thing. Use cgtalks search functions for matte paintings, camera mapping etc, I am sure you will find a ton of info. Plus you learn more by doing and experimenting and finding what works for you. Sorry that answer kind of sucks :)



... 3) For character modeling, how much time allowed to complete a model? (say one from HellGate)

I can't say for sure what the time frames were for the hellgate monsters, but I will show Laurent this thread and see if he can answer your question specifically, But we usually get between 5-9 days for a character including textures etc, sometimes including morph targets as well. I have done 7 character models in 2 days but that was mostly just using old models and updating the srufacing and proportions and building soem new props, and had as long as 10 days before... but sometimes you get client revisions, or other things happen that blow your schedule away. But in general the deadlines are very trim, but the bottom line is it has to look kick ass.


I have noticed a few people say that they studdied other fields and then stumbled into the industry. Do you think that acounts for most of your staff or are there some artists that have sought to be what they wanted to be and came to you?

Most people including myself are trying to take classes for animation/ modeling ect right out of highschool trying to become people like yourselves.

Do you think its more important to establish a clasical arts background before starting to evolve in cg?

The more you know about creating art, anatomy, lighting, color theory, cinemotography the stronger you will be in 3d bottom line. I think it is a mistake to focus all your energy learning to use a software or specific 3d task because these things evolve every day... and you can learn those things a lot faster than learning good foundations. Hoorah for cop out answers eh?

wow, the amazing blur guys. 1st of all, compliments from your lowly fan for all the great stuff that comes out of your studio.

my questions:

1. How do you guys handle crunch time? I know it may had been answered already, but do you guys bring work at home?

2. would your studio consider a talented 2d artist but have a limited max experience? If so, what would be your advise to a 2D guy like me portfolio wise?

Thank you so much for your time guys, I know you are so bz. More power to all of you!!!

1. We handle crunch time by crunching, sometimes we can do stuff at home when its simple modeling stuff or whatever, but usually its faster/easier to just stay at work witht he better resources etc. We have a strange time schedule where there is nearly always someone at the office, so very rarely are you all alone. Usually the guys are sleeping on the couch durring crunch times...they are some talented/dedicated foo's.

2. I think it would be hard to get a 3d job without showing skill in 3d...maybe you could get a concept job tho. Or do you mean having stronger 2d over 3d...in that case they may see potential, but I would guess thats a case by case basis.


Hey Blur~

I read that you guys might be switing XSI for character animation?
is this true?
or are you guys just testing it out?

As miller and Flappy said earlier, we have not switched over to XSI, we use it for a few things currently tho. With Max.


If I forgot anyone I am sorry, and thanks to everyone for the kind words! It is really cool to see that. SOme more Blurians might be coming in to answer some questions to, and a few already have.

thatoneguy
05-26-2005, 07:26 AM
First off I would just like to thank Blur Studios for the commitment they have made to the community. I was privileged enough to be able to 'grow up' with a copy of Max, and I knew "the place" to get the extra little tools that I needed to bring a project together, and that was Blur's beta page. Over the years you guys have really been the driving force behind the 3d Studio Max community, and I feel you just don't get enough credit to that effect. You don't snub the community you embrace it.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way (I've been waiting years to say that ;) I have a few questions specifically about Blur and Generally about the "biz".

I'm currently a BA student dual majoring in 3D animation and Film production. For years I have been torn between trying to get a job at Blur or trying to get a directing job. To tell you the truth, I absolutely adore 3D but only so that I can tell great stories. Is there a place for story tellers at animation studios such as Blur or Rhythm, or is it just about the visual whiz-bang? Is there space to grow as an artist beyond what position you're hired into?

As promised I had a specifc question about Blur. When you're looking at Portfolios, I recognize you aren't looking for "one thing", but as a general rule do you weight character models over mechanical models?

Thank you again,
Gavin

OzzTheForester
05-26-2005, 08:21 AM
I am CG artist who works for a small studio wich has to accept almost all projects to survive dependless how boring they are how comercially orientated they are. ( well mostly residential exteriors if you want to know )
And i am one of the thousands who's willing to have his own little animation biz one day...

My Question:

How did you guys manage to accept the projects that only you'd be interested in making, especially at the first days of the studio?Did you have lots of money to cover the expenses during the period of waiting for new projects or are there some projects that you did just for "business" purposes and prefer to keep away from eyes now?

-I am really curious about that because i started to believe thats faith, to accept all the ******g. boring jobs that you can get till you manage to get a big contract with a big media client.

arizaga
05-26-2005, 09:39 AM
Hi boys from Blur,

1) Do you accept workers for free that only want to collaborate in a project or be part of your team in the future?

2) In case 1st question ok. Do your work with freelance people arround the world?

3) Do you plan to work with people of other countries online with a contract?

arizaga
05-26-2005, 09:41 AM
Sorry I didn't said that i offer my congratulations from Spain and my name is Luis Arizaga,

Thanks for your time.

aiTOR
05-26-2005, 12:59 PM
hello blur people!

i am aiTOR from Bilbao > Spain.

one questions:

1.- Do you think that is really good for the project and for the company that the employee works more than 8-10 hours followed the day?

I think that this situation is not good. the talent is not good talent if it is tired.

what do you think?

thank you.

aiTOR

vfx
05-26-2005, 01:58 PM
Hey Blur, Won't fill this post with praise as I think thats been well and clearly covered over the posts.:thumbsup:

Anyway, 3 questions mainly aimed for Mr Miller...

1. What ever happened to your visual effects work? Are you now only pursuing animation projects like shorts and FMV's, although related, was it not fx work that got Blur up and running? Just guessing, but if that was the case how did it change?

2. Many education facilities including the University I attended, required that we produce full rounded cg pieces, this meant being the modeller, the texture artist, the animator, the lighter and compositor. This can lead to a jack of all trades king of none, but I found that working this way, has helped me realise that my passions really lie in 2 areas - Firstly - modelling and secondly and strangely enough (or maybe not) comping the models in footage. So anyway the question is, do you frown on someone who wants to get their fingers wet in multiple skill areas other than their main one? Or is it factory line stuff?

3. As Dom pointed out earlier.....Really.......How good do you have to be to get a job at Blur if you are a foreigner - having to apply for a visa and all? Please by all means use me as example - Art Foundation, First Class Computer Animation BA, Some freelance and lecturing work and of course my portfolio.

Many thanks for your precious time away from your work!

D.:)

3dsmaxfreak
05-26-2005, 02:05 PM
Hello blur people ! Love your work .. my favourite would have to be jungle person from In the rought ! Just wanted to know when your beta site will be up and running again ? as can't see any tools on it.

Thanks

ashishdantu
05-26-2005, 03:05 PM
:bowdown:me..bows down........!! my respects to all BLURians !! :bowdown:,

i'm ashish from india. You are exceptionally good and sure are worth the recognition!

I have specific questions (techy stuff ..maybe)..

#1) i'm on maya but production requirements run the same. so would like to know what things and processes make up your pipeline. Can you please outline things that your pipeline is and is capable (made to ) handle ? what percentage of your pipeline is custom developed ?

#2) what type (any examples would help) of custom tools are generally required and in which departments ? and do you use any plugins for FX or you have your custom volumetric and dynamics engine ?

#3) in rigging, do you follow any particular guidelines ? You must have defined one already ! Since i love rigging stuff, can you elaborate on your rigging process ? you have separate rigs for (stretch / squash) / normal character rigs or they are all integrated in one ?? do you find muscles being needed for any of your work ?

#4) what are your major areas where artists seek technical help ? and how many people do you have for tech support ?

#5) lastly, can you point and guide us, how and what make a character TD ? what are the skills you look for a TD post ? are C or VC++ or shell scripting skills ( apart from MAX script) required ?

thank you for your time and thanks a TON for the inspiration...

Cheers,

Viper
05-26-2005, 04:38 PM
We have a really big library of models that we have made, and VERY rarely do we start anything from scratch, we have very tight deadlines and that would just be a waste of time, we usually amalgamate a bunch of older models rebuild what we need or do not like and then texture from that.

Ah, ok...that makes a lot of sense. But I guess that my idea of having a base mesh and modfying it for other using maybe Zbrush, would work too for someone that doesn't have a large library of models. Thanks for that mate!

DaveWilson
05-26-2005, 05:16 PM
OK, here we go again.... struggling to keep track of what has and hasn't been answered by Flap, Miller or Ian, so I might double up on some answers here, or miss one or two.... but here goes.

siquier
Hello Tim and the rest of Blur
I just want to show my respect and admiration, I wish you good luck in the next Oscar´s nomination. Say hello to my friend Daniel.

Thanks mang! :) I'll tell Daniel you say Hi, although I am sure he's reading this :)

arizaga
1) Are you planning to do a last jump to the cimena industry with a large film like dreamworks, pixar... or your work is more aimed to the videogame industry where you are a leader?

Yes we are planning on moving onto long format storytelling, i.e. Full CG Feature Films. I don't know if we'll stop doing game cinematic work when that happens, we'll see.

2) Do you work in some case with freelance employees from other countries throw the net? In that case Do you accept a colaborative freelance that works for free? (People that don't want to be payed only be a little part of your great work and that your name appears in his/her curriculum or be a part of your team in the future).

We do occasionally work with overseas freelancers. It's usually modelers, but yes we do. To my knowledge we've never outsourced any colaborative freelance for free, as you say. I doubt we're planning to either.

destroyfred
hmmm first how much employee have you got and which is the number of
French artists ? which is nationality the most represented ?


I think I've already answered how many in total we have, as for how many are French..... Hmmmm, I think we have four little Frenchman right now. As for which is most represented, I think it would be American.

2- I had the occasion to read that to realize your short collect all the suggestions of your employees in one "ideas box" and that the best of these ideas was retained. Is it true ?

Yup, we collect all the ideas and the supervisors vote on the best one.

3- Do you recruit sometimes trainees?

Nope. Not really.

4- For our film of end of study we also had to realize a jungle. And I must say that "in the rough" is an enormous source of inspiration. Which councils could you give us to conclude this project ? (here is a wip of the jungle)

Uh.... Where ? :)

5- And which councils would you give to a person, like me, who wishes to work in a company as talented as your ?

I think this question has been answered by myself and Paul in some of our other answers.

And... CONGRATULATION ! You are an example for each artist all over the world.
thanks for your reply.

Thanks You !!

mattmos
1, I saw both In the Rough and Gopher broke at the Animated Encounters festival in Bristol recently, and thoroughly enjoyed them both! The level of detail can really be appreciated at film size. Is there any reason that Gopher Broke was the only film nominated for an oscar? I thought In the Rough was also an oscar-worthy film.

Your guess is as good as mine :) The voting process is a mystery to me personally, we were THRILLED to have Gopher nominated though, I think we were all very proud just having one nominated, not sure if Miller's ego could have handled two.... :)


2, At the same festival I asked Jeffery Katzenburg whether he saw any point in creating short films at Dreamworks, and he basically replied that there was no economic reason for doing so. He could see the benefit to the artists but couldn't justify the cost. If you do grow to feature size do you still think you will be able to produce shorts or do you think they will be side-lined gradually?

Well the shorts are really made to show people what Blur can do, what we're capable of in terms of creating characters and a story and taking it all the way through storyboards to final composites. The shorts also help prepare ourselves so that we can eventually do feature films, I am not sure if we'd keep on doing them once we start doing features, but maybe.


3, If you are intending to grow to tackle feature-film work how are you planning to avoid the pitfalls of smaller studios growing beyond their capacity?

We'll see when we get there, but I am sure Miller has his ways :)

4, Lastly, if you were looking for an animator would you be more impressed by a kick arse short film or a reel of solid animation tests showing weight, timing, all the essentials?

Which ever one you can kick more ass doing the better. If it's 5 mins on mediocre animation in a shortfilm, and 30seconds of AWESOME animation in the tests, the test will give you a better chance, if you're applying for an animator position, but if the shortfilm's animation IS kick-ass and it's only complimented by great modeling, environments, lighting, compositing, then OF course the shortfilm would be great, if you did all those other things too, but generally that's a LOT for one person to undertake and do well, which is why a few short good pieces are good.

jampoz
1- Why BLUR? I hope we all know what a Blur is, but why did you pick that?

The name ? I think this has been answered. But Miller would have to give you the details.

2- Know about Exile-Films (http://www.exile-films.com/)? They pretty much failed but you guys could produce an outstanding WH40K movie, why don't you ask Games Workshop?

Ha Ha, we're working on it....... there's more too it. Trust me Flap and I would LOVE to !!!

3- Need an Italian guy who can cook great pasta and make serious coffee... and can model stuff in the spare time?

Ha Ha, Miller's on his cabbage diet now...... sorry to say.

4- Ever thought about joining a Software House and produce your own game? They do the code and supporting design, you do the kick ass graphics/animations plus, of course, short movies here and there


Nah, don't think we're headed that way,
5- Any project for your next short? You're not going to sign any contract here, just feel free to talk about future projects if you can, would be interesting!


I've already answered this in previous posts, but yes new one in the works, still in pre-prod, can't talk too much about it.
6- What's the average age in there? Guess something around 30 'cause you need the talent but you also need experience to join the group, don't you?

Any age is good as long as you're talented, Age ranges from like 22 to around 50. I think yes the average would be around 30 or so.

7- You are going to update your site with the new E3 animations, now. (Fear my Jedi tricks)


As soon as we are allowed to. I do think we're updating pretty soon though. Check in a week or two.

8- Uh yeah, forgetting about the Blur Beta page full of cool Max plug-ins, what happened? Will you ever work again on that?

Yup, we're planning to fix it up with all the cool new tools we've made, but we've just been really busy. We KNOW it needs to be done, Sorry :(

Thank you for reading thru all this shit, know we all love you for being such an amazing inspiration, keep it up!

No worries, you're welcome!

Voldron
CAN WE GIVE IT UP TO BLUR FOR ANSWERING OUR QUESTIONS!
Thanks to the guys at Blur for taking time out of their day to answer our questions and not being completely aggravated by it. Or it could be the massive amounts of coffee we know they drink to get their work done that is keeping them calm lol.


Ha Ha, thanks!

Do you guys use MOCAP?

Yes, I think this has been answered in detail over a few questions though, I'd have a read through, Jed answered some questions about it somewhere I think.

ryusen
1. How advance are your character rigs? Can we still open them with our maxes, if by any chance we have the opportunity to get our hands on them? Can you elaborate how you rig a character, part by part (for example, how to switch IK/FK *hint*)?

Unlikely that you will be able to open them, we do use quite a lot of custom stuff in there. I don't think we have plans to make any of them publically available. Wow, uh.... that would take a little long.... and I am probably not the best man for the job. Maybe one of the riggers would see this and get the urge to respond.....

2. How do you do facial rigging? Do you use spline, bones or morpher, or all of them?

Our facial pipeline is one that's been worked on a LOT lately, I again am not the best man to answer there, there's again a lot of custom stuff we're using, but I'll maybe as Jeff Wilson to pipe in and give his two cents.

3. When you decide to hire someone, do you put them through training first, or just flood them with all the s**t load of work you can find?

No training, we don't flood them either, in fact they are given some breathing space, i.e. no crazy schedules, but we find the best way to learn is to just do the shit.

MWarsame
Assume the studio were hiring people, what would be the major things you would advice people to have/studied after graduating, how hard is it to get into a great studios like Blur

I think both these have been aswered in other posts.

jampoz
I'm sure they have fun doing animation, but working for only 3-4 weeks on stuff like the WH40K intro must be frustrating, you guys even said you wanted to add more things and couldn't do it 'cause of the time limit Fun once you finish, but must be frustrating to work SO hard and SO fast

No it's not frustrating to work "SO hard and SO fast" as you put it, I enjoyed the Warhammer stuff, had a lotf of fun, it was tough, but I wouldn't call it frustrating.

AmirP
My question is, in your "In The Rough" short film, you've built an amazing environments, Im curious about how you manage to do it ? how much work does it take and how meny people ? The result was amazing !

Brian and Barret were big parts of the In The Rough environment work, I am not 100% sure who else played a big part there. I wouldn't say there we're more than 3 or 4 guys doing environments for In the rough though.

DaveWilson
05-26-2005, 05:17 PM
neutronrobot
Will "Gopher Broke" be available in it's entirety on the web anytime soon?

Miller answered this question on a previous post.

Also, as stated by someone above, I'd love to hear more about your custom animation rigs and facial set ups.


I'll see if one of the riggers has time to answer, but they're pretty busy guys :)

gaborca
My question is connected to that topic too. Are you using any commercial project management system? Or do you have an inhouse one? And how about asset management? Are you using Alienbrain or any other CMS system?

We're working on developing, or should I say furthering, our asset management tools. As for project management, we are also developing some in house tools to manage projects, especialy long format projects. We don't use Alienbrain or CMS.

creature monkey ape
- in this highly competitive and expensive industry, its hard to keep your head above the water,
let alone do things you really love or believe in, and not just work for the money.
you guys, seem to be going by your goal in great persistance and success.
how do you manage to do it ?


Talent, Passion, Dedication and Hard Work. Everyone occasionally has to do the my little pony commercial to make some cash, it is a business and overheads have to be paid, but I think Tim has always tried to keep the artists happy and bring the project in that we thinks we'll enjoy working on. He's great at that. Often times turning down projects that would pay well that wouldn't be fun to work on. He also lets us make decisions too, like on Warhammer, he knew we had 3 weeks and he didn't say we HAD to take it, he came over and asked would you like to do this one we only have 3 weeks, Flap and I we're like "HELL YEAH!!, Bring it On!" It's all about dedication and passion in doing what you love doing.

how do you manage to get funding for "fun" projects from the heart ?

We work it into the studio costs, it's all paid for by Blur, I take it you're refering to the shorts ?

so what about the first part ? how do you manage to pull out all these shorts, if a client didn't order them in advance ?

I think this has been answered in previous posts, but like I said, they're 100% funded by Blur, and they're 100% Blur created, from script and storyboard all the way to the final frames.

do you take strictly "for the money" projects on the side ? how do you balance between the two ?
it seems to me, that to anyone aspiring to establish a studio, and create good stories and animation, this is one of the biggest issues to deal with.

I think I have answered this question above.

- and a small second question, that might have been asked here before-
whats the chance for foreigners with no US passport, to get accepted to work with you
and obtain a work visa ? (assuming the applicant is good enough to be accepted).
are you accepting applicants only from the US or that are already working in the US ?

I think this has been answered in other posts too.

.:Tr@cer:.
I know this has probably already been posted, but how would you suggest the best way to get a job with a top name studio such as Blur? What do you guys look for when hiring? Do you take into consideration collage degrees, or are you just focused on portfolios and resumes? What kind of roles do you most look for?

Yeah, I am sure it's been answered in other posts, have a look.

neofg
PS.= I.E. The project where I have this problem now, is a plane (the mytical Hiroshima's Enola Gay) that fly with camera that move around him. Now, I modelled it in Maya, I try to make a 360° environment in terragen with a bit of post 4 make it real,and I mapped it on a sphere, but I don't like the result...Background appear flat.

I think Ian and Flappy answered what they can, but yes, you would actually have to model a large kick-ass environment, especially if it's just one camera move, there are a lot of different ways to do it though, but again, there's not just ONE trick that's gonna make it all look great.

Tencendur
My question is concerning the diversity at Blur. How many, if any, female modelers, animators, texture artists or compositors do you have on staff, and can you estimate how many demo reels you get from women?

Not many ladies.... I guess 1 Character Modeler, 1 FX artist, as for how many demo reels from woman, Miller ?


AZTGlorY
- Roughly, how many shorts/trailers and so on have you made?

trailers ? You mean like game cinematics ? No idea, LOTS. As for short films, 4, Aunt Luisa, Rockfish, Gopher Broke and In the Rough.

- Was there any reason for starting Blur Studio? Did it just happendt by working with friends, A long time plan, or did you just think "hey, i'll start a kick ass animation studio"?

I think this has been answered, but it would be best answered by Miller.

Snake Eyes
What did you use (programs) to create the Warhammer video ?

3DStudio Max, Digital Fusion, Photoshop, Zbrush and a whole bunch of in house tools.

urgaffel
What's your policy on hiring people from outside USA? Do you go through the whole visa dance or do you prefer to keep it simple and hire people that already have either a visa or a us citizenship?

Nope we hire from anywhere.....

dom
1. In your experience, when hiring foreign talent to work in Blur, is a degree crucial for acquiring a visa? Would a diploma coupled with a few years of work experience suffice? I have had a few interviews with US-based companies and after they check with their lawyers, they say it is worth way too much effort to bring in someone into the states with the credentials i just mentioned.

I think this has been answered somewhere already, but it's all point based or something, like 1 year of tertiary education is equivalent to 4 years work experience in a related field. (bit out of whack if you ask me).

2. What do you catch artists often doing in office apart from work?

Kicking each others asses in the Blur sanctioned daily Quake Games :)

jerry123
are there any methods?are there specifics you should avoid,or care for?
what makes you see that"this ones gonna work"?

The submissions are pretty simple and basic to start with, the supervisors will immediately be able to see what we can and cannot do in the timeframe. Once we've picked one short, it does go through quite a bit of reworking to make it fit into a short format and still be kick-ass and achievable.

andreasng
Would you ever consider trying out some really graphic style? Or will you always make stuff that looks real (maybe charicatured, but not graphic) ?

I think we'll try whatever we think is cool and suits the story we're doing. I am not sure exactly how things will go since it will be new for a lot of us, but I we'll make it as cool and original as we can :)

Have you ever considered bringing in some programmers and start making games ? Your ideas seem quite game-friendly. (rockfish would make a great consept)



Nah, I don't think we're headed in that direction.

agravois
How linear and/or locked-off are the phases in your schedules? It's hard to avoid the temptation to fix this model or add that shot late in the game.

We do it all the time :)

I've found that one simply can't spend too much time on the animatic... but that postpones animation, motion capture, and to a lesser extent, scene modeling. Where do you strike the balance?

We try to get as much done linearly as possibly, but there are often overlaps and the scene assemblers generally bare the brunt of the pain caused by production going over schedule, but they're all Men of Steel, the scene assemblers. We just try to get everything done on time, but it has to look good, and we will keep working it till it is.

Also, how much do you rely on producers? That is, do you have one or more producers per job, tracking assets & shots, organizing artist time, etc, or are the artists primarily self-scheduled and organized? Does the CG supe do all the producer tasks?


Nope we have producers on projects, they're great, they work alongside the CG Sups to work out schedules, they check in with artists and give the sups updates on how things are going. Blur is very self organised though, the owness is on individual artists to be repsonsible and mature about their work, we don't micromanage their time, they know what their deadline is and how they meet it is their choice, as long as their work is kick ass :)
Do you generally use one Max file for multiple shots or is it one shot-one file? If you don't rely heavily on x-refs, how do you maintain asset consistency across shots and sequences? (Maybe you lock down the models early? If so, HOW?!)

Yup, one shot one file. The assets are generally all modeled before scene assembly, so everyone will have them. We HAVE to lock down everything we can. Just the way it goes.

Finally, how do you manage render passes within Max? What are the tools like? Are they comparable to XSI's render passes (if you are familiar with those)?


Yes I know about XSI's render passes, we have written our own tools to handle that, we have our layer manager called The Onion and our "Render Passes" manager as you call it, called Render Elements, it's AWESOME, I don't know how we got stuff done before we made it :)

[blur] brobsion
quick question for Dave Wilson:
why are you such a rail whore?

Barry you little bitch..... "Just Rockets and I'll beat you, I bet you NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS". Ha Ha, we miss you man, hope you're having fun over there. You'd better be coming here for Siggraph!!!

.......

Ok I know I've got more pages to go, but I gotta wrap this up for now, I'll see what more I can get through today, and then hit the rest of the pages tommorrow. Thanks for all the questions and kind words !!

-Dave.

Giant
05-26-2005, 06:28 PM
What was your first project that really made you "official". And how long after you started Blur Studios did that happen?

dominicqwek
05-26-2005, 06:32 PM
like on Warhammer, he knew we had 3 weeks and he didn't say we HAD to take it, he came over and asked would you like to do this one we only have 3 weeks, Flap and I we're like "HELL YEAH!!, Bring it On!" It's all about dedication and passion in doing what you love doing.
.

LOL. This really cracked me up. Goes to show how important it is to do what you like. And thanks for the reply to my question.

urgaffel
05-26-2005, 06:42 PM
Thanks for the answer Dave, and I have to say that your robotic creatures are among the coolest I've seen! Good to hear you've found a good home at blur :D

jampoz
05-26-2005, 06:47 PM
Thank you Dave!

That was an amazing job you did answering all those questions
Didn't mean to hurt with the Warhammer question, I'm a great Games Workshop fan myself, just read on the article that you guys wanted to add much more to that intro and in fact you were allowed to work on it for a really short time.

Would be a dream for me to work on something like that even for just 1 day, so yeah "frustrating" was a bad word to use, sorry :)


EDIT: Sorry for asking twice about the meaning of the BLUR name, searching if it has been answered!

n-drew
05-26-2005, 07:26 PM
hi

i put all the kudos aside coz u know that u gyus rock...ok my question is, do u have a secret nobody knows ? like using poser for storyboard, other firm that makes textures for u etc.

greetz
n-drew

ffourier
05-26-2005, 08:06 PM
4- For our film of end of study we also had to realize a jungle. And I must say that "in the rough" is an enormous source of inspiration. Which councils could you give us to conclude this project ? (here is a wip of the jungle)

Uh.... Where ? :)



sorry, here is an image of our jungle. We are relatively beginners in the field and you will probably not have time to look at. But I decide nevertheless to post :)
http://fred841.free.fr/fichiers/intro.jpg

Colin Campbell
05-26-2005, 09:55 PM
Hey,

I was just wondering what you guys think about innovating in the CG industry. A lot of people are throwing out rehashed concepts and storylines, what do you guys think it takes to separate one studio from another in those terms?

Also, what does Blur do to nurture a creative and fun environment for its artists to work in? Is there a "games corner" or company get-togethers to really bring the team together as people, instead of just co-workers?

Any plans to look into interactive design? As in, using direct user input to affect the way a movie plays out? Or are you guys more looking at doing "traditional" movies and short films for the foresee-able future? What are your take on technologies like Flash, that while they are in their infancy, they lend to more interactive experiences?

Thanks.

jerry123
05-26-2005, 11:00 PM
The submissions are pretty simple and basic to start with, the supervisors will immediately be able to see what we can and cannot do in the timeframe. Once we've picked one short, it does go through quite a bit of reworking to make it fit into a short format and still be kick-ass and achievable.

yea,i assumed that....i guss what i meant to ask was ,are there any guidlines to a
succesful short?what should i look for,or try to avoid while planning for a short?that is,
to your point of view,since it did work for you.

and i think its more in terms of a story im having a problem whith...maybe its not a very
relevant question,because while i was working for a large studio,they just hired writers....

its just this problem of where to start,so i understand for you its a combination of a story
you like and how technically demanding it is for you to afford working over it.

its kinda funny thogh,i think you are the only studio i didnt send my annoing reel to...
the whole max thing kinda scared me...a coworker of mine did thogh,he said youre
negotiating on it....you know...hes that crazy guy whith the grim envierements...the
train,and the amusement park...

well thank you for your answer,and good luck whith your work.

Hexodam
05-26-2005, 11:47 PM
First of, always a pleasure seeing Blur shorts, gives me the same feeling when I see Pixar shorts :thumbsup:

Now the question. Are there any companies in the same field in the game area as you guys are which you consider your nemesis? Then I mean for example the quality work of Blizzard and not forgetting some of the amazing work we see coming from asia in the console arena.

Dave3D
05-26-2005, 11:54 PM
Hi, I love the in the rough short. I studied the animation and loved the squash and stretch in the animation. Could you explain how you rigged the character to be able to loose its original shape, and were able to create such a great piece of animation?


Thanks a lot David Deacon, UK

mattmos
05-27-2005, 03:19 AM
Dave, thanks for the answers man, you rock! I hope you guys can follow the Pixar model when you start doing features and keep the shorts going! Best of luck with it all :beer:

Julez4001
05-27-2005, 05:09 AM
Whats the difference between scene assemblers and layout artist?


Will you guys always be 3DSMAX house, do you hire greattalents from different software background?

Paul D. Taylor
05-27-2005, 05:53 AM
n-drew

i put all the kudos aside coz u know that u gyus rock...ok my question is, do u have a secret nobody knows ? like using poser for storyboard, other firm that makes textures for u etc.

Hey n-drew. I don't think there are any great secrets like that really. It's mostly talented people who are passionate about what they do and aren't afraid to work very hard. I think a lot of times people look for the quick route and yes, there are tricks and things you learn along the way to mastering anything in life, but for the most part you just have to put in your dues. Plain as that. I believe that if you are very passionate about something and won't stop until you achieve your goal then you will eventually figure a way around any road blocks that pop up along the way. Once you put yourself on that path possibilities spring up and you learn things, meet people, etc that you never could have planned. It's kinda weird but it happens. Just keep pluggin' away. It's funny, when I first was dating my wife she asked my why I worked so hard. I told her that even if I was pumping gas for my job I'd still be doing CG for free at night. And I'd try to be the best damn gas pumper dude I could by day. ;)







Colin Campbell

I was just wondering what you guys think about innovating in the CG industry. A lot of people are throwing out rehashed concepts and storylines, what do you guys think it takes to separate one studio from another in those terms?

Also, what does Blur do to nurture a creative and fun environment for its artists to work in? Is there a "games corner" or company get-togethers to really bring the team together as people, instead of just co-workers?

Any plans to look into interactive design? As in, using direct user input to affect the way a movie plays out? Or are you guys more looking at doing "traditional" movies and short films for the foresee-able future? What are your take on technologies like Flash, that while they are in their infancy, they lend to more interactive experiences?

Thanks.




This might sound kind of strange but I think every story has been told and we keep telling the same stories over and over again. Everything is a rehash! But what makes it unique is your particular take on it as a film maker or storyteller. For example, Pixar's A Bug's Life is a retelling of a classic fable, the Ant and The Grasshopper. But they gave it a new twist. They had their own point of view and made a comment on the original. The more I learn about storytelling the more I'm beginning to suspect that there are no BAD STORIES. Not intrinsically so anyway. Only POORLY TOLD stories. A master storyteller could turn a simple trip to the grocery store into an entertaining event, right? We all know people that are naturally gifted at this. They tell you a story about how they got to work, or school and your entralled – cracking up! Then the fellow next to him starts to tell you a story about the most amazing event in his life and your bored stiff! Haha.




We have a game areea that Tim Walace put together. Pool table, classic arcade games, etc. We have as many snacks and sodas as you can possible want in a lifetime for free in the kitchen area. Chips, beef jerky, m&ms, gum, well, just think of a 7-11 isle. Yeah, that's it. As Dave Wilson mentioned we all play capture the flag every day for 45 minutes at around 2:30pm so we can scream and bitch slap each other with rockets and rails. Some peeps play Battlefield instead during that time but it's still a CTF mod; more of a team building thang.




We want to do movies. Period. Games are games. And although I love playing games I don't think they are a great medium for storytelling. Basically, games and storytelling have been around forever. They serve different needs for human beings. I think it's been a buz word of storts to have interactive games with stories in them but they always fall short. I played Half-life 1 and 2 and loved them. But are they great stories? Nah. Better than most games. Like Doom 3, where they didn't even try. But Saving Private Ryan they are not. But these are just my opinions. ;)




jerry123

yea,i assumed that....i guss what i meant to ask was ,are there any guidlines to a
succesful short?what should i look for,or try to avoid while planning for a short?that is,
to your point of view,since it did work for you.

and i think its more in terms of a story im having a problem whith...maybe its not a very
relevant question,because while i was working for a large studio,they just hired writers....

its just this problem of where to start,so i understand for you its a combination of a story
you like and how technically demanding it is for you to afford working over it.

its kinda funny thogh,i think you are the only studio i didnt send my annoing reel to...
the whole max thing kinda scared me...a coworker of mine did thogh,he said youre
negotiating on it....you know...hes that crazy guy whith the grim envierements...the
train,and the amusement park...

well thank you for your answer,and good luck whith your work.




Hey Jerry123. I think one guideline I'd suggest for a short story is keeping it simple. It's hard to do! I think Jeff Fowler was very good at keeping Gopher Broke super simple. And in a lot of ways the story is stronger than In The Rough because of that. Personally, I've always had a hard time keeping things simple. Maybe I'm cut out for a longer format film type thing... let's hope so. Heheh... I'm the type of guy that has like a million ideas a minute and it's easy to lose your focus if you are that type of person. So keep it simple.




If you are interested in storytelling you should research a little. Yeah, there are writers out there but maybe you're a writer too? You can write as story for a short with pictures too, right? Storyboards. I mean, the ultimate purpose of a screenplay is to provide a blue print for what goes on the screen. Hence the name. They don't call it a scriptplay. So you don't even have to have good grammar or know how to spell for that matter!




I like to start stories with a character in mind. Then build the world around him. Then things from the world suggest more about the character and vice versa. And you start to ask the What if questions. What if he was lost? What if in his world the they eat the lost? And so on. Some ideas will be stoooooopid. Like the two I just mentioned.. But eventually it will start to grow and have a life of its own. We all have that ability to come up with stories. Every kid does it when they play. Sprinkle in a little of what interests you... say Zombies or sci-fi stuff.. or cavemen... etc. and you're on your way. This is just my method. Other people like to build the world first. Like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. He was more interested in how the world worked and the characters were a tool to move the reader through the world and discover it as they went. These are the songs they sing, this is the food they eat, etc.




Hexodam

First of, always a pleasure seeing Blur shorts, gives me the same feeling when I see Pixar shorts

Now the question. Are there any companies in the same field in the game area as you guys are which you consider your nemesis? Then I mean for example the quality work of Blizzard and not forgetting some of the amazing work we see coming from asia in the console arena.




Thanks, Hexodam. We don't really consider any other companies our nemesis. Well, we do play paintball against Blizzard folks every now and then so yes, I can honestly say we'd like to shoot them all. Hehe. Oh, and Tim Miller hates Sony Image Works. But it's only because he used to work there before he started Blur. Ahaha... JK. But seriously, ther e is a ton of great work out there and I think healthy competition is a good thing. Keeps everyone sharp. ;)




Dave3D

Hi, I love the in the rough short. I studied the animation and loved the squash and stretch in the animation. Could you explain how you rigged the character to be able to loose its original shape, and were able to create such a great piece of animation?







We made a custom rig with Max's bones and skin. The squash and stretch was done by scaling the bones and then snapping back to the original scale to get back on model. It's really the skill of the talented character animators and our bad-ass animation supervisor Leo Santos. Now, I'm not trying to take anything away from our rigging guys. They did an Amazing job too. The biggest thing that helps a talented animator's work improve is speed. The faster the rig is, the more interactive it is, the more easiliy the keyframes can be managed etc, the more ITERATIONS the animator, supervisor, and director will have to push it, refine it, and make it better. That is what I think you are impressed with. If you saw all of the many passes each shot went through you'd see that they all start out very rough and then just keep getting more and more refined.




Well, I need to go to sleep now! Thanks again for all of the great questions!




Paul

maninflash
05-27-2005, 07:32 AM
Question to Paul Taylor,

1.when developing a character, in the story phase, how do you define the personality? do you invent more or do you try to find a similar person that you know and draw ideas that way?

2.do you write visualy, like drawing frames and compositions and poses? and if you storyboard the story, how close do you follow it in production, do you give room for new ideas to come in or is it strickly storyboard?

3.what would be some piece of advise you could give to someone interested in directing, specificaly, directing animated shorts.

4.What's your most favourite animated film?

thanks :)

-Michael Lee

jerry123
05-27-2005, 07:40 AM
thanx Paul Taylor...those are very useful advices.
and i know what you meen,i suffer from the same problem,thats why i was asking.
thank you.

ARI-PANZER
05-27-2005, 09:28 AM
hi , how do you chaps think you can push the level of animation in appose to whats currently being produced ?

Anubis
05-27-2005, 10:19 AM
This thread has been a great read, I just wanted to say that your second Pit animated short is one of my favorites. I really think it's a great mini-commentary on not only the game industry, but the artist/production/client relationship in general and I am glad you took the time to make it. I would love to see more shorts in this same vein, even though the audience is somewhat limited. Oh, and thanks for some of the best SIGGRAPH parties I can remember, over the years you guys have really outdone yourselves, not to mention set the bar for everyone else.

I feel like this post would just be another 'way to go!' post clogging the artery, so I will try to offer up a question:

Do you guys enjoy working with game studio clients? And how is that relationship/pipeline different than say creating FX shots for a film or something similar?

B.R.Rajeev
05-27-2005, 10:52 AM
hi guys, first of all, like of us here, i really really love the work you people are producing, its just amazing, and it has a fresh feel to it. Its just - very inspiring. I wish best of luck to all you guys to keep producing such awesome work, which inspire people like me.

Here's my question, ( though i have been contemplating if i should be posting it ), I work mostly on lighting and modelling- I have a doubt on the procedure you people follow during lighting. I would like to know if u people follow procedure 1 or 2. ?

Procedure 1 : After the camera's are locked (3d-animatix) in the scene - 1 set of files goes to the animators & another set goes to the lighting artists, both start work simultaneously. After the animation reaches the final stage, the final animation files are given to the lighting artists, and they import the lights, done on the 3d-animatix file ( they do all the light linking again )into the animation approved file. So by the end of the project the lighting guy would have done the same work twice. (thats how some studios, which i have seen do it.)

Procedure 2 : The lighting artists start the lighting after the final animation file comes to him. So in this way, he is not repeating the process of importing / linking the lights.

Thanks in advance for the reply, and best of luck again :)

n-drew
05-27-2005, 11:07 AM
thx a lot for the answer mr taylor, but i thought u guys have a little secret at least :D

greetz
n-drew

jampoz
05-27-2005, 11:23 AM
This thread is just like a bible to me
Thank you Blurians! :thumbsup:

jason-slab
05-27-2005, 12:15 PM
hi Paul

thanks for answering my questions, what i meant by 16 or 32bit was color depth(sorry i should have been a little clearer), but seen as how you guys are rendering .tga's you must or can only be rendering at 8bit!

|jason
**cough*cough*DAVE*cough*hireMe!!*cough*cough**

Pyke
05-27-2005, 01:51 PM
I'll bring you more rooibos... :D

PMikk
05-27-2005, 01:56 PM
Hi, you`re the best.
I know that you and everybody else is still using manually set lighting not GI for animations but are there going to be any animations with full GI in the future?

NeptuneImaging
05-27-2005, 02:46 PM
Hey, after watching ITR, I was in stitches :). I really love the designs and rendering style of the short film. The question I would like to ask is how did you get the rain to wet the character during the rainfall? I have always wanted to do that to an environment, or especially a 3d character...

Thanks a bunch :)

Antonym
05-27-2005, 03:34 PM
Hey Blur...first off I just wanna say that I love your work.

My question is that I know you guys use Max, but I was wondering if you get someone's reel of really great animation, and they animated in a different software package, would that hurt his/her chances of working for you guys? Or do you guys look at skill and ability as an animator first, and then worry about what software package that animator is used to?

ryusen
05-27-2005, 05:01 PM
ryusen
1. How advance are your character rigs? Can we still open them with our maxes, if by any chance we have the opportunity to get our hands on them? Can you elaborate how you rig a character, part by part (for example, how to switch IK/FK *hint*)?

Unlikely that you will be able to open them, we do use quite a lot of custom stuff in there. I don't think we have plans to make any of them publically available. Wow, uh.... that would take a little long.... and I am probably not the best man for the job. Maybe one of the riggers would see this and get the urge to respond.....

2. How do you do facial rigging? Do you use spline, bones or morpher, or all of them?

Our facial pipeline is one that's been worked on a LOT lately, I again am not the best man to answer there, there's again a lot of custom stuff we're using, but I'll maybe as Jeff Wilson to pipe in and give his two cents.

3. When you decide to hire someone, do you put them through training first, or just flood them with all the s**t load of work you can find?

No training, we don't flood them either, in fact they are given some breathing space, i.e. no crazy schedules, but we find the best way to learn is to just do the shit.
Phew, finally some answers. Thanks a lot dave. I really appreciate it. Good things come to those who wait. :applause:

maxflame
05-27-2005, 05:59 PM
:bounce: I know you guys have heard this alot but i'll say it anyway! YOU GUYS ROCK!!:buttrock:

I also know you've answered the question about your beta site but what i want to know is if you have anything to help us max users with raymarching!? Coz getting pluggins like afterburn is a major cash grubber.And don't forget water simulation! Hope i'm not making you guys feel like Santa!?

Big ups to Blur and Discreet....sorry Autodesk media....:applause: :thumbsup:
ROCK ON!!!:buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock:

arkinet
05-27-2005, 06:26 PM
appreciate the answers guys... more power to you all!

CryingHorn
05-27-2005, 06:47 PM
Hello Blur!

I want to use this chance and congratulate you all for you great work there!

Now for some few questions... If my question are already answered so just skip them..

1. I want to know what's the decent resolution is being rendered for cg film... well for example ITR or xbox intro?

2. I want to know how do you organize the sound and video sinchronization... for ie I enjoyed xbox intro music and it's interesting if that music was created specially for that intro or it was an inspiration or whatever?

3. Are you going (would like) to make something alternative to xbox intro for xbox 2 or any other cosole... (this is more to: are you happy about that project you made comparing to other projects...)

Dutchman
05-27-2005, 07:50 PM
No questions here, I think you crazy-awesome-guys'n-galls been clear enough to me the past 11 pages! :thumbsup: :bounce: I just wanna say that I'm really a fan of your work... I've no words for such an tallented animation-studio that cares so much about the interested people around them, and tell them all they want to know, and even release their scripts for free....!!! :buttrock: :applause: I can't tell you with even 1000 words, how much I look forward to updates in the full-time Rockfish-project! :rolleyes:

Good luck you heros! :thumbsup: :buttrock:& thanks for answering all questions before!!!,
Gijs Leijdekkers (from Holland ofcourse ;) )

Gluge
05-27-2005, 08:59 PM
I'm just gonna answer a few questions I feel I know something about....

AmirP
My question is, in your "In The Rough" short film, you've built an amazing environments, Im curious about how you manage to do it ? how much work does it take and how meny people ? The result was amazing !

Thanks! We made a little library of 3 or 4 different plants, with low - high poly variations, based on some excellent concept art. Then we built the ground in and put in some temp shapes for the big trees etc. and went to work with the advanced painter tool in max, which we used to quickly place the plants, applying some random scale etc. Then we went back and modeled the special trees rocks etc. and adjusted the plants to try and form larger 'shapes' of light and dark, so if you look at one of the jungle shots from in the rough you might see dark plants in the foreground then a light middle ground with brog, then some dark shapes formed by plants or trees behind him.. etc. Overall we also tried to gradate the environments so they're basically going from dark forground to light background, to try and give the feeling of depth. Brian headed up the scene assembly and environment modeling, and helped me a lot. Using spheres of dark and light fog we could tint areas and further the light-dark composition and make visual 'groups' of plants. I think it took me 12 days or so to do one of the three base environments.



HaloAnimator
Hey, after watching ITR, I was in stitches :). I really love the designs and rendering style of the short film. The question I would like to ask is how did you get the rain to wet the character during the rainfall? I have always wanted to do that to an environment, or especially a 3d character...


Glad you liked it! We had a wet brog texture, I'm not sure what exactly was done to make him look wet (probably a shellac). But for the environment, Tuan made a shellac material that had an animated worley ripple procedural that we took and put on almost all the materials, some tweeking was sometimes necessary to make sure the ripples weren't going in weird directions. That combined with a bunch of little splash fx's and the rain coming down was all there was too it. All in all though it combines to make a pretty convincing rain I think.
In the slo-mo shot almost all the rain fx's were done in fusion, with particles.
As for actualy seeing things get wet, it just happens as a fade from the dusk shot to the night time shot.


ryusen
2. How do you do facial rigging? Do you use spline, bones or morpher, or all of them?

For In the Rough, and Gopher Broke we used a new facial setup that Jason Taylor came up with. We used a combination of morph targets and carefully aligned facial bones that track the morph targets. For the gopher I used about 10 around his lips, 4 along each eye brow, 3 for each eye lid, etc. etc. All carefully hand weighted, about 50 in all. They were aligned so if you rotated the lip ones in one axis it would give you some lip roll etc. I think they were mainly used to supplement the morph targets and give some asymmetry, overlap, and off-set to the morph target animation, though they could be used to make whole facial expressions. Jason did the prototype on the squirrel from gopher broke. It was then used on the gopher, brog and the bear from In the rough.

Crying Horn
1. I want to know what's the decent resolution is being rendered for cg film... well for example ITR or xbox intro?

ITR and almost all our higher resolution projects were done at 1920x1080. But we first do them at 720x405 and try to get them close at that resolution before moving to the higher and longer render times.

Thanks for the kind words!
-Barrett

NeptuneImaging
05-27-2005, 11:01 PM
HaloAnimator
Hey, after watching ITR, I was in stitches :). I really love the designs and rendering style of the short film. The question I would like to ask is how did you get the rain to wet the character during the rainfall? I have always wanted to do that to an environment, or especially a 3d character...


Glad you liked it! We had a wet brog texture, I'm not sure what exactly was done to make him look wet (probably a shellac). But for the environment, Tuan made a shellac material that had an animated worley ripple procedural that we took and put on almost all the materials, some tweeking was sometimes necessary to make sure the ripples weren't going in weird directions. That combined with a bunch of little splash fx's and the rain coming down was all there was too it. All in all though it combines to make a pretty convincing rain I think.
In the slo-mo shot almost all the rain fx's were done in fusion, with particles.
As for actualy seeing things get wet, it just happens as a fade from the dusk shot to the night time shot.


Sweet, that answered all of my current challenges. I am using XSI to do a small martial arts sequence in the rain, and I want the character to get wet. Cool, that is a stroke of genius :)

Keep kicking ass with the short films!!

Hexodam
05-28-2005, 01:14 AM
Gluge,
thanks so much for your info on the facial rigs. Its probably way too much to ask but would it be possible to see a screenshot of one of your facial rig setups :D

ma13pramod
05-28-2005, 01:59 AM
Hey,

My only question is.

How many ppl did BLUR start with, and if u can, please take me thru 9 years of BLUR.


bye
Pramod

timothyjpalmer
05-28-2005, 02:25 AM
You guys have been great answering all these questions and I hate to pry further, but **** it.

With all this talk about features and shorts I was wondering what your stance is on proceeding in the motion graphics field? You have done some great work and it would be a shame to take all focus away from that. I was also wondering, as a soon to be grad, if you hire designers specifically, as in having a department, or if you just assign the regular staff to these projects?

EricLyman
05-28-2005, 03:12 AM
Hi everyone at Blur- thanks for giving everyone great feedback.

I'm wondering how much experience is typically required to be considered to work at your studio, bearing in mind that there are exceptions to everything and that talent is the end all.. Are newly graduated students ever considered? Also, how heavily does specific software experience weigh in for a potential Blur-candidate? For example, would you consider someone with years of Maya experience but no Max experience? Finally, could you induldge us all with some render farm stats. THANKS!

Rogelio
05-28-2005, 12:34 PM
Hi Blur, love your work.

I was wondering, what are the specs on the machines you work on?

When animating high poly characters in Max, I've notice my machine really suffers. With all the stuff you have going on in any given scene of one of your shorts, are there workarounds when the machine starts to slow down while working on these complex scenes? or you don't even worry about this because of your fast machines.
keep it up guys!

TTYO
05-28-2005, 03:47 PM
how did you do the fur and hair?

nikudy
05-28-2005, 04:19 PM
Hi Blurs!
You're doing a very good job with the game cinematics and shorts.


1 ) How do you find the new rigging/skinning/animation tools from max 7 ? Are your custom tools something similar or far more advanced ? Can you illustrate one such tool ?

2) What do you use more Skin or Physique, and what are the advantages ?

3) Didn't see your first short, but i noticed that the majority of your shorts and cinematics don't involve lipsync. Considering your aspirations for a feature, which would involve a lot of dialog, i wonder why did't you do something like that. I understood that all your shorts are intended to show your capabilities and to make tests to improve your pipeline. Will your future projects involve this side of animation ?

-Claudiu

igorstshirts
05-28-2005, 10:37 PM
Hey Blur,
So is it safe to say that curse words are not only tolerated at your studio but actually encouraged? HaHa... Nice work. Rockfish was my fave.

shoaib
05-28-2005, 11:56 PM
hi everyone,
i'd wanna say that you guyz have done an amazing job throughout (i m sure you are already aware of that ..ha ha ha) but wanted to appriciate your efforts since Blur is one of my most fav studios. i have got a couple of questions for you.

1 - could you please speak up about your pipeline in detail a bit (if possible).

2 - you mentioned that u use/used GI passes on your characters. so how do you manage render times. and you guyz might be using some renderfarm??? how big????


thanx in advance and keep up the good work.

mireneye
05-29-2005, 12:38 AM
Hi, im using max mostly myself. And, i must say, your doing a great job using it, your really realising its full potential ;), big creds to you for that. As am I ofcourse, tryin to make most of the application and all.

My question is what plugins you are using to complement the application aside from your homecreated plugins ? Personally im using Hair FX/Fur Fx for hair and fur and Brazil for most rendering, and most recently been tryin different cloth simulators... Do you have any good advice on what plugins are good for any of these areas that you use yourselves ?

Also, is there any other application commonly in your work pipeline like Zbrush or other painting applications then Photoshop like Painter or other ?

Almost forgot.. How do you handle glowing things like Lava or the markings on those kickass armor from Hellgate London trailer ?

Last but not least, I watched the Hellgate London trailer just recently. And im really wondering how you pulled off the fire on the beast made of fire. I see its particles and alot of texture work, but more indepth would be awesome to hear ? I was also very blow away by the athomsphere of the video, on the other hand, I think, the action can be improved upon some, maybe timing some things with the fastpaced music music had enhanced the overall feel.

Keep it up Blur! Your doin some awesome videos!

Seraph135
05-29-2005, 03:29 AM
2 - you mentioned that u use/used GI passes on your characters. so how do you manage render times.

Actually this isn't exactly correct. We use Brazil's skylight for ambient passes on characters, but don't turn on indirect lighting. So its not really GI. Rendertimes for this are usually quite fast.

Almost forgot.. How do you handle glowing things like Lava or the markings on those kickass armor from Hellgate London trailer ?!

Glows are always done in the compositing stage. The armor reflections from Hellgate were rendered with HDRI maps created from the environments we built for the project. We also used HDRI for the ambient light pass on the characters.

Tim J

MuseSyndrome
05-29-2005, 05:14 AM
I love your shorts! (that came out wrong...:D)

My question is: How is the work distributed at Blur - do the artists specialize in one field and do only that sort of work (e.g. modeling, animation), or do they know a bit in each field and exercise all of their skills (e.g. rigger/animators, modeler/texturers)? Which way do you think is more productive?

Thanks.

slime
05-29-2005, 08:36 AM
I watched the Hellgate London trailer just recently. And im really wondering how you pulled off the fire on the beast made of fire. I see its particles and alot of texture work, but more indepth would be awesome to hear ?

As you said, it's a combination of animated textures, particles and some post-production.
The textures were animated and rendered as an independent pass so they could be processed with glow in digital fusion.

For the particles, Thinking Particles 2 was used, since the fire was only emitting from some parts of the mesh, and it's Matterwaves allows particle creation by texture. To get a nice distribution, we had to duplicate the mesh with an optimize to reduce the number of poligons and speed the calculations, using black and white textures representing the zones the particles were emitted. We used those particles in digital fusion as a distortion and difusse layer. The scenes assemblers, specially Corey Butler and Laurent Pierlot helped a lot merging the basic setups in all the shots. Then they had to be finetuned individually.

One of the problems that happened and might be interesting to comment is that the particle motion was driven by some motion inheritance and a array of winds for the turbulence, and a lot of particles were getting into the own creature's mesh that we were using as a matte object. To fix that problem we should had setup some deflectors, but since we didn't have enought time for that and the original mesh (even optimized) was way too heavy, we solved it placing a wind that made the particles go to the camera.

I hope this was interesting :p

mireneye
05-29-2005, 09:07 AM
Aah yes, defineatly interesting read. Thanks for your time, im looking forward to whatever your next creations may be.

Cheers

keithlango
05-29-2005, 09:53 AM
Believe it or not, 90% of Blur employees are in good shape. At least they look healthy to me. I walk my dog with my wife every morning for about an hour and my dog looks pretty fit. ;)


Your dog also looks alot better than you do, Flappy! :D

Just wanted to hassle you, heh. And yes, Wilson is a rail whore. I haven't played quake since moving on. It's just not the same without Miller screaming out "Taste it!". Heh
I miss you all a bunch. Keep kicking arse. Good things are gonna roll out for you guys, I can feel it!

-k

thedoc
05-29-2005, 03:03 PM
oyu guys rock (as if you have'nt heard that one) I'm stunned atthe levelof detail you pump out... great!

I'min Zimbabwe and i dowloaded a couple of your fliks and i'm inspired!

Reality3D
05-29-2005, 03:56 PM
Yes, about the fur and hair. It would be interesting to know a bit about your methods :)
Also, how do you face up motion blur(exporting always a velocity pass and doing it in postpro?)
Thx!

jampoz
05-29-2005, 05:22 PM
Actually this isn't exactly correct. We use Brazil's skylight for ambient passes on characters, but don't turn on indirect lighting. So its not really GI. Rendertimes for this are usually quite fast.

Tim J

Hi Tim, great suggestion you got here, I always render one time only and using indirect illumination, I never tried any compositing, could you give me some help on how you usually split your renders and how you composite them?

I've watched the Warhammer featurette and you guys show lots of different passes to achieve the final effect and it was pretty amazing, so well... once you render without indirect illumination what you do in order to give it an extra realism?
Do you render other layers and composite 'em with the no-indirect one?

I wish I could learn how to do it, makes me think its quite fast to change small things in compositing without having to render it all from the beginning

Seraph135
05-29-2005, 10:19 PM
could you give me some help on how you usually split your renders and how you composite them?

I've watched the Warhammer featurette and you guys show lots of different passes to achieve the final effect...once you render without indirect illumination what you do in order to give it an extra realism? Do you render other layers and composite 'em with the no-indirect one?

Dave Wilson goes into some detail about this in this interview about Warhammer. His breakdown of how Warhammer was split up in passes is pretty common from project to project.

http://www.cgnetworks.com/story_custom.php?story_id=2538&page=1

how do you face up motion blur(exporting always a velocity pass and doing it in postpro?)
Thx!

We use max's image motion blur. Its rendered in each pass and not composited. In some cases (usually for particle effects) we'll use object motion blur.

Tim J

jampoz
05-30-2005, 01:15 AM
Thank you!

For the records: The WH40K game so damn fun, took me back to the old Westwood's C&Cs
Been awhile since I spent money for a game that was worth it!

sinaris
05-30-2005, 01:30 AM
(The emperor commans tim miller and his space marines to make the winter assault cinematic now.)


lol sorry guys i just had to say that please make another warhammer 40k cinematic.
please
please
please

jampoz
05-30-2005, 01:34 AM
Drooling at how cool would be having a squad of Space Marines break into a space hulk full of Tyranids, old-style stuff yo... made by Blur, would be awesome :bounce:

notavailable
05-30-2005, 10:12 AM
Well I couldn't resist after my friend sinaris posted...

Hi guys good job on all of your shorts (Warhammer 40K intro my fave)

Somebody (working in Blur) said earlier that: u" should put only your best work on your site"..I can understand that for a showreel, but a website is different... i think of it like a diary of images, showing your progress...what u learned how to make great images in one day?... i think not, so why give the wrong impression? plus if talent is so obvious, then it will be apparent in all the little experimental doodles...if u are looking for work, then actively do so, don't wait until somebody stumbles on your site... anyways

ANother thing: i think u can teach people to become better artists, raw talent needs guidance. If somebody helps u, u make great leaps in a short space of time, i've noticed it at work, there are these two great guys (they come from 2d fantasy art world). since I've met them my artwork has made leaps, I started noticing stuff i didn't see before, i tried to maximize the impact of my images. my ego got bashed again and again. things i could get away with cos my friends couldn't draw, now fall on my head. and we 're talking about small stuff like: "hmm, that shoulder is crap" or "bliah! that's not a face" or "stick to 3d, hahaha", but i like it, cos i'm pushing myself... so i'm now not only trying to be a better 3d artist, but i'm developing my forgotten 2d skills and i've started sculpting.
now they say: "leave 3d and continue with sculpting, no seriously"
what i'm trying to say is that some times u need a nudge towards the right direction and u guys out there don't give up cos u think u don't have "raw talent", it may not be in 3d character faces, but u might be able to make the coolest armour ever and u should deffinetely try zbrush (all those dots and crude lines u sketched can now be easily palced on your 3d model and there is now stupid dispacement mapping involved, long live normal maps).

i still have a long way to go to becoming a great artist, but saying that people shouldn't even try cos they don't have raw talent is just "snobish" to me

plus i saw a (3d animated) movie called running away, that had some lame character models, but had action, a superb sence of directing and montage, great music, i watch it again and again and gets my hairs standing on end (more than the WoW cinematic from Blizzard and more than WH 40K)...

i wrote this cos i thought there is a bit of discouragement in the air...

now my questions are:

1. do u have strict deadlines for shorts, or do u stop working on them if a big project comes in?

2. what is the make of the mo-cap system u use? (if u can't specify, give some pointers:like is it wireless, for how many people etc)

3. i'd like to repeat the question about the hair system (i was struglling with hairfx, mainly due to lack of experience. ended up compositting all the time)

4. i read u use max 5 and your custom tools, do u find it more stable, or is the upgrade not worth it (i use max 7, but i would like to know the reason u still use max5)

5. i've covered all my cloth simulation issues with cloth extensions, but i would like to know what u use...(by the way awesome cloth sims with cloth extensions, characters can handle clothing , i mean really handle it, my tests have left me blinking)

6. and finally how many people work on a project (if it varies, just give me a range)


i don't know if some of them have been answered, if they have don't bother answering them, I re-reading the whole thread anyway (other questions have already been answered,concerning rendering and setups)

PS sorry for my spelling mistakes

Leonard
05-30-2005, 10:13 PM
Hi all,

Let's finish off this Q&A session. If you have any more questions, please ask them now. We'll close this session at the end of 31 May.

Thanks,

Leonard

Kansai
05-30-2005, 11:20 PM
Hello blur studios. thanx for taking time to answer questions here at cg talk.com

well i recently started to do a search for studios to apply for a job in my area. I attached samples of my work that i would send out to apply for a concept artist position. Just wanted some feed back from one of the studios in my area.

Also for the current concept artist working at blur what is the time frame and work amount required in a given period of time. To be honest just trying to find out if i have what it takes to become a conceptual artist. Thanx for taking a look at my work.

cg219
05-30-2005, 11:38 PM
Hi Blur, its an honor to have you guys come and answer our questions. Your one of my favorite studios. I have a few quick questions. Sorry if they were asked already.

1. Is there ever going to be a time when you give out or sell the inhouse maxscripts you use in the studio?

2. If not, do you plan on updating the BlurBeta site?

3. Have you or will ever hired someone who hasn't gone to College or had any real previous studio work?

4. Do you plan to have any internships for College students as well as High School Students?

5. Is College necessary to get into the industry?

6. Can you check out my website(www.artbycg.com) and tell me what I could work on to make it Blur Worthy :)?

7. Do any of you have a messenger tag that I can get to chat with you? You can PM me that if you dont want EVERYone to know it. Or you can add me.

THanks for taking the time to look over and answer my questions. Maybe in a couple of years, I can answer tsome questions as a Blur employee. :D

TTYO
05-31-2005, 02:39 AM
does gopher's fur show up in refractions and reflections?

maxflame
05-31-2005, 12:18 PM
You guys are the greatest! Love your work, used your too, love your work some more! :bounce:

My question is about your beta site! you mentioned earlier about reopeming it with more and updated plugins.Thanks alot for that coz it helps us save cash getting expensive ones.Just want to know if it includes raymarching, fluid simulations, hair and more of your fantastic shaders!?

Second question:You guys have the most wicked texturing i've ever seen! Is it possible to make a tutorial well more like a full project training of texturing one of you character(maybe one from hellgate london)?

3rd:Must all CG artists you employ have the knowledge of maxscript!?

Thank you verymuch for your time.You guys rock!:buttrock:

Had posted earlier but got it removed coz i forgot to read the rule,too busy learning CG!;)

NoSeRider
05-31-2005, 04:00 PM
http://academy.smc.edu/ (http://academy.smc.edu/)
What do you think about this school for animation?
I know you'd preferr CalArts Alumni, but I keep seeing people that teach at CalArts also teach at the Academy......You're in Venice, the school is in Santa Monica...I was hoping you would have some insight.

Basically I'm just repeating myself, but I've been researching the people that teach there:
http://academy.smc.edu/people/faculty.html

If you're not familiar with the school, are you familiar with the faculty?
Seems impressive to me....This is my last chance. Thought I'd give it one more shot.

Thanks!

Paul Hassett

The-Observer
05-31-2005, 06:19 PM
Hi

First off all, congrats with the great movies you've made and thanks for your plug-ins on the Blur Beta page. :)

Most of my questions have been answered already, so I only have one question left.
How did you create the terrain in Rockfish/Warhammer? You know, the desert-like with rocks scattered everywhere. I'm especially interested in the modelling, although I'd like to know about the texturing too if that's possible. :)

jberan32
05-31-2005, 09:54 PM
Hi guys,

First off, I love the work you guys put out! I just want to ask if you guys can talk a little bit about your texture/rendering process what do you guys use and how did you guys develop the "blur" style look? Also, last question How did you guys develop in Gpher Broke the dirt crumbling where it breaks apart under the gopher?

Thank You

John Beran

Tim Miller
06-01-2005, 06:08 AM
Hello Tim and the rest of Blur
I just want to show my respect and admiration, I wish you good luck in the next Oscar´s nomination.
Say hello to my friend Daniel :)

Thanks Juan! When are you going to come and work for us? I hope Daniel hasn't scared you away with the horror stories of how much HE works.....he's part of our over-worked FX group and I can't stop him! You'd could work with our Scene Assembly guys and their jobs are SUPER easy....they usually only work 3 or 4 hours per day and take 3 hour lunches between massages. :rolleyes:

We're ready for you to come on over now..... :thumbsup:

Paul D. Taylor
06-01-2005, 06:23 AM
blitzze

I love your shorts! (that came out wrong...)

My question is: How is the work distributed at Blur - do the artists specialize in one field and do only that sort of work (e.g. modeling, animation), or do they know a bit in each field and exercise all of their skills (e.g. rigger/animators, modeler/texturers)? Which way do you think is more productive?

Thanks.





HAHA! That’s pretty funny, blitzze. The work at Blur is distributed among artists that specialize. We’ve been moving in that direction for quite some time now. When I first started at Blur almost 5 years ago everyone was more of a generalist. But everyone eventually realized what they enjoyed doing best. Not to mention what they were the best at doing! Now, it certainly is a MAJOR plus to have a broad 3D background because it will help you work with others. For example, if you are a character modeler it would help to have some rigging experience for how to approach your modeling so that when the person who is going to rig it gets it they won’t have too many problems. You can take that example right down the pipeline. Riggers would do well to know animation, animators would benefit from knowing scene assembly, etc. The ultimate goal being the creation of a smooth pipeline with no hiccups. If we had our choice we’d prefer smaller teams with longer schedules. But we don’t always get that. (Warhammer 40k for example).



keithlango

Your dog also looks alot better than you do, Flappy!

Just wanted to hassle you, heh. And yes, Wilson is a rail whore. I haven't played quake since moving on. It's just not the same without Miller screaming out "Taste it!". Heh
I miss you all a bunch. Keep kicking arse. Good things are gonna roll out for you guys, I can feel it!

I thought I saw somebody in the bushes on my dog walk the other day. I thought it was just a fat-furry gopher! But it was the wild and wooly Keith Lango!



Thanks for the kind words, Keith. Well, some of them anyways. ;)



jampoz

Thank you!

For the records: The WH40K game so damn fun, took me back to the old Westwood's C&Cs
Been awhile since I spent money for a game that was worth it!



Jampoz, I couldn’t agree with you more. I had a blast playing that game. My only disappointment, other than not having a kick-ass end cinematic, was that they didn’t allow you to play the other races in the single player mode!



sinaris

(The emperor commans tim miller and his space marines to make the winter assault cinematic now.)


lol sorry guys i just had to say that please make another warhammer 40k cinematic.
please
please
please



Dude, Dave Wilson and I practically BEGGED the Relic booth to let us do a cinematic for the expansion. Keep your fingers and your eyes crossed… you never know. But even I am having my doubts. We even have a wicked story already! Grrrrrr!



jampoz

Drooling at how cool would be having a squad of Space Marines break into a space hulk full of Tyranids, old-style stuff yo... made by Blur, would be awesome





I’m drooling.







kotsos

Well I couldn't resist after my friend sinaris posted...

Hi guys good job on all of your shorts (Warhammer 40K intro my fave)

Somebody (working in Blur) said earlier that: u" should put only your best work on your site"..I can understand that for a showreel, but a website is different... i think of it like a diary of images, showing your progress...what u learned how to make great images in one day?... i think not, so why give the wrong impression? plus if talent is so obvious, then it will be apparent in all the little experimental doodles...if u are looking for work, then actively do so, don't wait until somebody stumbles on your site... anyways



You have a good point here kotsos. I’m only referring to people who are applying for work. If you want to have a diary webpage that’s cool. But don’t expect a BUSY studio owner to look past the 1st image if it doesn’t ROCK is world. He simply doesn’t have the time. He barely has time to look at Blur work between bigwig meetings with studio execs! See what I mean?

ANother thing: i think u can teach people to become better artists, raw talent needs guidance. If somebody helps u, u make great leaps in a short space of time, i've noticed it at work, there are these two great guys (they come from 2d fantasy art world). since I've met them my artwork has made leaps, I started noticing stuff i didn't see before, i tried to maximize the impact of my images. my ego got bashed again and again. things i could get away with cos my friends couldn't draw, now fall on my head. and we 're talking about small stuff like: "hmm, that shoulder is crap" or "bliah! that's not a face" or "stick to 3d, hahaha", but i like it, cos i'm pushing myself... so i'm now not only trying to be a better 3d artist, but i'm developing my forgotten 2d skills and i've started sculpting.
now they say: "leave 3d and continue with sculpting, no seriously"
what i'm trying to say is that some times u need a nudge towards the right direction and u guys out there don't give up cos u think u don't have "raw talent", it may not be in 3d character faces, but u might be able to make the coolest armour ever and u should deffinetely try zbrush (all those dots and crude lines u sketched can now be easily palced on your 3d model and there is now stupid dispacement mapping involved, long live normal maps).

i still have a long way to go to becoming a great artist, but saying that people shouldn't even try cos they don't have raw talent is just "snobish" to me



Again, I don’t think anyone at Blur is trying to come off as being snobbish. I’m just trying to give it to you straight, the way I see it at a real company that DOES hire people with great talent, both honed and in the raw.

plus i saw a (3d animated) movie called running away, that had some lame character models, but had action, a superb sence of directing and montage, great music, i watch it again and again and gets my hairs standing on end (more than the WoW cinematic from Blizzard and more than WH 40K)...

i wrote this cos i thought there is a bit of discouragement in the air...



I think it’s great you wrote this! We don’t want to discourage anyone. Far from that! Personally, I get inspired by a lot of different styles. And not all of it is 3D either… or even animation for that matter.


now my questions are:

1. do u have strict deadlines for shorts, or do u stop working on them if a big project comes in?



We use the Academy Award submission due date as our cut-off and goal. But we submit to a lot of festivals.
2. what is the make of the mo-cap system u use? (if u can't specify, give some pointers:like is it wireless, for how many people etc)



I believe Wilson answered this question earlier.
3. i'd like to repeat the question about the hair system (i was struglling with hairfx, mainly due to lack of experience. ended up compositting all the time)



Sorry, not my area of expertise.


4. i read u use max 5 and your custom tools, do u find it more stable, or is the upgrade not worth it (i use max 7, but i would like to know the reason u still use max5)



We are on max 7 now.


5. i've covered all my cloth simulation issues with cloth extensions, but i would like to know what u use...(by the way awesome cloth sims with cloth extensions, characters can handle clothing , i mean really handle it, my tests have left me blinking)



Sorry, not my area of expertise.




6. and finally how many people work on a project (if it varies, just give me a range)

I think this was answered ealier.
i don't know if some of them have been answered, if they have don't bother answering them, I re-reading the whole thread anyway (other questions have already been answered,concerning rendering and setups)




Hey everyone, I just wanted to say that I had a great time here chatting with you guys. I lot of times we are so busy here at Blur we tend to forget that anyone actually sees what we do. So it’s really nice to hear all of the praise and even some of the bashing. You all had some great questions.



Kotsos brings up a good point. If you do think you have what it takes to be a working artist – in whatever field - then go for it! And if someone tells you otherwise (including some punk-ass bitches at Blur). **** ‘em!!!



Good luck!



Paul

dominicqwek
06-01-2005, 07:29 AM
Big thanks to all the guys from Blur for taking their time to answer all these questions. And thanks to cgtalk for the initiative as well. It's really cool to have these Q&A sessions going on, I've learnt so much from it and it really inspires to actually hear straight from the Blur guys who worked on all the cool stuff.:thumbsup:

Thanks Ian for all the information regarding character work. It gave me a clearer idea of how you guys work and the kinda CG folks you guys are looking out for. :) Thanks !!

jampoz
06-01-2005, 09:39 AM
Thank you for your time Blurians!

(Just wanted to say it once more 'fore the closing)

KingMob
06-01-2005, 04:33 PM
hey guys, Tim had trouble posting last night so here is his replies and answers

BEGIN THE VOICE OF MILLER
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tim Miller here, I’m gonna try and pick up all the last questions I thought were left hangin’…..I apologize in advance if any of the answers seem short….it’s late and I’m want to try and answer these before this thang shuts down. I’d like to thank ALL of you folks for your compliments on our work and your kind words! It’s EXTREMELY encouraging to know that folks out there have enjoyed the things we’ve done over the years—I know we’ve enjoyed doing them!



And thanks to CG talk for hosting this—MUCH appreciated!






as many wants to know, what are your future plans? is there any new masterpiece in making?


We’re just getting started! LOTS of stuff on the horizon for us….too much to tell. More FMV’s, CG films, shorts, game cinematics, etc.








Is it possible that we will be seeing a "trend" of other studios, setting up their pipelines to create their own shorts. Given that it took you guys 3-4 weeks to complete the Warhammer cinematics. Maybe not a trend, but given the success of your shorts it has certainly made some people go "hey, we can do it too".


Well, we certainly HOPE it creates a trend….but I doubt it. Other studios have been doing shorts for years too. It’s just a great film format—all meat and no filling.






I would like to know if you could give some pointers for someone trying to start an animation studio of their own.. Maybe some of your experience, and things to look out for...


Wow….I could write a book on that question. So many answers can only be understood in perspective….and by that I mean by digging through a mountain of bullshit and coming out the other side. If I could go back in time and tell my YOUNGER self what I know now I doubt I’d want to hear my own advice. I guess I’d just say be CLEAR about why you’re doing it. And make sure you’re willing to PAY for it—both financially (I could have made a TON more money working for other people) Physically—I think I could reclaim large chunks of my life if I worked for others. Emotionally---Dealing with the shite of others---especially whiney little punks like Wilson—could try the nerves of a saint. And Spiritually—I’m pretty sure my karma was in better shape 10 years ago when I still had time to help old ladies across the street. But on the other hand there isn’t a man on earth I’d trade places with. J






I'm particularly interested in how internships are handled through you guys. I guess I'm just assuming they're offered, though I didn't really see anything on it through your website.


We don’t offer internships at the moment—sorry.





I am very interested in how you came together and initially started Blur. What's the breakdown of your core staff, and how many projects do you generally work on at once?


I was working at Imageworks and didn’t much care for the corporate environment….so myself and a few others—being much too stupid to know better—decided we could do better on our own. And so we started blur.



75 people at the moment. 6 production folks, 3 IT folks, 1 HR accounting, 3 concept artists, 3 Graphic designers, the rest are 3d folk…..and me of course.




Also, I know this may be an unanswerable question for legal reasons, but any ideas a brewin as far as feature film goes? Anything you know you're NOT going to do? Anything you might be willing to reveal about what kind of film you'd like to make? Animated cartoon? Science fiction?


There are SEVERAL different things on the horizon. All of them are approaching quickly….too soon to tell which ones will arrive first. NONE of them are “My Little Pony” feature films…..



One of the key things that’s different about blur from some of the other folks is that we want to make all KINDS of films—from warm light hearted stuff like Gopher Broke to the hardcore R rated Sci Fi Fantasy stuff. One of my PERSONAL goals is to make a totally KICK ASS comic book film. The Authority by Wildstorm would be my top choice. But really….there’s so much COOL STUFF out there!!






i wanted to ask what in the next short the studio is working on and if there was a url to check it out?? and also what is there to look out for in the future for blur??


It’s called “Gentlemans Duel” but that’s all you’ll get for now. Other than it’s going to be awesome!








The cinematics you guys and gals at Blur made are the kind of material that make me want to buy a game, most evidently with the Dawn of War cinematics. I'm not too keen on the idea of Warhammer (the original game), but the cinematics were done so well that I almost couldn't not buy the game. Same goes with the Hellgate: London cinematics I saw the other day. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates how much a good cinematic adds to the potential of a game. However, we all aware that Blur aspires for greater things, such as feature films, but if such an endeavor doesn't arrive as soon as the studio would like, are game cinematics and short films enough to sustain the (or any company, for that matter) company until the studio has enough corporate presence to create an I.P? What does it take for a studio to make the jump from short film to feature film, to fully independent production?


Well, we’ve managed for 10 years now without doing a feature….so I’m sure we can last a LITTLE longer. J We still enjoy everything we do….and I don’t expect we’ll stop what we’re doing NOW if and when we do features.








I was curious to know if Blur knows any good colleges where they would recommend me going. Also, does Blur set up tours of the studio? I live in Los Angeles and would love to come by and see how Blur operates. Thanks!


I see good reels consistently from Ringling, Vancouver Film School, Otis and a few others. But no tours for you my friend…unless you come as part of a group. We do groups of school kids from time to time…..sorry!






How is it at the beginning. I mean how did you know how to do things. I mean composting effects, knowing stuff about using proper resolutions and so. Everybody have to start and let's say you finally got a client who want to do commercial with you how did you know at the begining how to work, what to do first, and how to do it?


Well usually people that start their own business have spent a good bit of time working for OTHER folks before stepping out on their own. I spent 5 years in post houses and at places like Imageworks to learn the ropes….and the rest of the stuff you just pick up as you go along. Never be afraid to ask questions!








hmmm first how much employee have you got and which is the number of
French artists ? which is nationality the most represented ?


How many Frenchmen you ask? TOO many. J Not true—I love each and every one of them—I kiss them on the cheek in Euro-style greeting each morning. J Actually we have a really diverse group…mostly because I find a lot of guys on the internet from their websites. 4 Frenchmen, 3 Belgians, 3 Turks, 1 German, 2 Canadians, 1 Mexican, 2 Spaniard, 1 South African (no more of THEM please!), 1 Chinese, 1 Japanese, 3 Koreans, 3 Republicans and the rest are good ol’ Americans.







12. I saw both In the Rough and Gopher broke at the Animated Encounters festival in Bristol recently, and thoroughly enjoyed them both! The level of detail can really be appreciated at film size. Is there any reason that Gopher Broke was the only film nominated for an Oscar? I thought In the Rough was also an worthy-worthy film.



Thanks! We thought so too….unfortunately the Academy didn’t! J









At the same festival I asked Jeffery Katzenburg whether he saw any point in creating short films at Dreamworks, and he basically replied that there was no economic reason for doing so. He could see the benefit to the artists but couldn't justify the cost. If you do grow to feature size do you still think you will be able to produce shorts or do you think they will be side-lined gradually?


Well, I’d hate to contradict Mr. K, but we certainly PLAN on continuing to do shorts. In fact I’d think that doing full features might make it easier. But I’ll have to put on his shoes and walk a few miles to figure out if we can still do them.






If you are intending to grow to tackle feature-film work how are you planning to avoid the pitfalls of smaller studios growing beyond their capacity?


Clean living and good intentions!








Why BLUR? I hope we all know what a Blur is, but why did you pick that?


We just sat down at a table and threw out names…..and what we ended up with was “Spiral Blur” believe it or not. When I told my wife she said, WOW that’s super LAME—it should be just BLUR. So being the dutiful husband I am…and wanting to continue getting laid….blur it was.





Know about Exile-Films (http://www.exile-films.com/)? They pretty much failed but you guys could produce an outstanding WH40K movie, why don't you ask Games Workshop?



We did of course! And now I’m trying to convince Hollywood folk WHY it would be cool!











Uh yeah, forgetting about the Blur Beta page full of cool Max plug-ins, what happened? Will you ever work again on that?


Yeah….we feel bad that it’s been down for so long. We’ve now got a new UBER programmer on staff though and it’s on his agenda to get it back on its feet.







What was the "breakthrough project" for your studio? I don't mean the one that got you the most accolades, but the one early project that you are most proud of and maybe represents the first project that shows best what you are all capable of?


Nobody will remember….but it was a bunch of stuff we did for a Jonny Quest animated TV show. It was our biggest and hardest project to date AND our coolest—for me it felt like we crossed a threshold ….although looking at it now I say YUCK! But then…..








What was the biggest hurdle in starting up your studio?


Getting those first few jobs is always tuff….later on there are many OTHER hurdles. J










Is there anything in production or day to day business that you wish you could go back to and take another shot at?


There have been a few of course. VERY occasionally thing have to go out of the shop looking LESS good than they should. It’s almost ALWAYS deadline issues because we won’t let it go if it’s JUST money. But sometimes you run out of time. Or occasionally you have a sucky client. J






Have there been any clients that you've worked with in the past (no names or anything) that you would never work for again? If so, why? (again, no names or specifics)


Lots. Some because they just prove to not know what the **** they’re doing…..some because they’re more interested in personal power and control than making the project good….some because they aren’t NICE…..some because they’re simply difficult to manage.








in this highly competitive and expensive industry, its hard to keep your head above the water, let alone do things you really love or believe in, and not just work for the money. you guys, seem to be going by your goal in great persistance and success. how do you manage to do it ?


That’s a tough question—lots of factors.. The simple answer is because we really really WANT to and we’re willing to sacrifice to make it happen. Most people SAY that—but we really put our money where our mouth is.

KingMob
06-01-2005, 04:35 PM
Millers Answers PT 2
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you've been there for over 9 years, and started it because you didn't like what you had to do out there, for other bosses.... how do you manage to get funding for "fun" projects from the heart ? it is widely believed that shorts don't pay, but that they are a mean to prove yourself feature-worthy. it seems you guys are proving the second part of that belief right. so what about the first part ? how do you manage to pull out all these shorts, if a client didn't order them in advance ? do you take strictly "for the money" projects on the side ? how do you balance between the two ? it seems to me, that to anyone aspiring to establish a studio, and create good stories and animation, this is one of the biggest issues to deal with. since you are almost the only example of a growing studio that did it, I’d love to hear about it.


Well of course we spend the VAST MAJORITY of our time doing paying work….but we choose to spend any PROFIT we make on the shorts. It’s not hard for ME—money isn’t a driving force in my life personally--, but I’ve noticed for some studio owners often say something more like, “wow, we worked hard and had a good year! I’ve got this money in the bank that I could use to buy a bigger house….or do a short film. I choose the HOUSE!!”










Was there any reason for starting Blur Studio? Did it just happendt by working with friends, A long time plan, or did you just think "hey, i'll start a kick ass animation studio"?


I didn’t dream of becoming an Entrepreneur one day….in fact, it never crossed my mind until I got so frustrated with the way things were going where I worked that I had little choice but to leave. It just so happened that there were some others there who felt likewise….










What's your policy on hiring people from outside USA? Do you go through the whole visa dance or do you prefer to keep it simple and hire people that already have either a visa or a us citizenship? In your experience, when hiring foreign talent to work in Blur, is a degree crucial for acquiring a visa? Would a diploma coupled with a few years of work experience suffice? I have had a few interviews with US-based companies and after they check with their lawyers, they say it is worth way too much effort to bring in someone into the states with the credentials i just mentioned.


We have folks from all over the world—we love the diversity. The VISA stuff is always a pain….but I can honestly say it’s never stopped us from hiring somebody we really WANTED to…as long as they qualified. And that’s pretty straight forward—4 years of University OR 3 years of work experience for every year of University you’re missing. No University? 12 years of experience then. We even help some of our employees get their Green Cards….and we pay for all the VISA stuff. And all they owe blur in return? Just their SOULS! J













What do you catch artists often doing in office apart from work?


Well Dave Wilson is either masturbating in the men’s room or pretending he’s a hot chick on internet chat sites. Flappy is usually running home trying to get his wife pregnant..Ian is studying to be a Bukake master along with Derron Ross, another blur supervisor….and me—I don’t do anything BUT work—I have to pay their ridiculous salaries.










When you guys begin with BLUR studios, how did u financed it. Was it your own pocket money or was it loan or something. Or was it like some kind of project with some awesomely talanted people wanting to work for free for some higher ambition?And when u started how did u grow? Did u use to do any comarcial works for TV? or what sort of work did u guys use to do when u first started?....


I borrowed 20k from a relative of my wife’s who---for some strange reason—thought I would pay him back. J And then we took NO money for 6 months….and poverty level wages for another 6 months…..and then we stayed at 1k per week for the next 5 years. And now we’re still making less than Dave Wilson and Flappy. J












Do you have music composers in-house or work with composers in your area or elsewhere in the world?


We have 2 GREAT guys we work with often, Rob Cairns and David Norland.













This is just something I've been wanting to ask someone from Blur for a while so I'm happy to see the opportunity present itself. Whatever happened to Mindbridge and Out of Time? I'm more interested in Mindbrige since I seem to remember hearing that Warren Ellis wrote a script for it something like that. I saw some designs and 3d renders for both a while back but haven't heard anything about them since.


I’m still pitching Mindbridge CONSTANTLY. But truthfully when Final Fantasy came out and TANKED, it really screwed the idea of doing all-CG scifi films for YEARS to come….well until now really. Only recently is anybody even willing to TALK about doing something. That movie really put fear into the hearts of studio folk for years.. Out of Time was just a ridefilm thing….it never went anywhere. I WILL do Mindbridge one day though….mark my words!!









And will you ever have a Bios page on your site so we can check details on each one of you artists, with a picture and previous job experiences, it would be cool. What do you think about it or about agencies that have pages like that on their site?


And why would we do that? So ILM, Sony or EA can poach our people more effectively? Not F%$*#ing likely!! Maybe I should just send them a menu? Today’s special is sliced Dave Wilson, with a side of Paul Taylor with a dash of Ian Joyner. And how about a tasty Jeff Fowler for dessert! J









I don't know if this has been asked yet(this thread is gettin loong) but what's the turnover rate like at Blur? Do more than a few people leave and then come back because they liked it so much?


Considering we’re in LA, our turnover rate is exteremely LOW. We still have the first guy we hired and most of our folks have been here for 2 to 7 years. Some folks leave….but it’s usually the young stupid ones who don’t know any better. Except for Jeremy Cook---who I’m hoping WILL come back now that he’s experienced the dark side of the force. J Actually it IS usually the younger guys that leave…they’ve never worked anywhere else and they don’t know how good they’ve got it. Shitheads. J










Thirdly: I may have missed this somewhere in the thread, but any plans for a SIGGRAPH party this year? Last year's was pretty damn fun.


You bet spunky! Look for a repeat of last years party with the volume turned up a few notches. Crystal Method has already been booked for the gig! It’s gonna be great!!










How did you guys manage to accept the projects that only you'd be interested in making, especially at the first days of the studio?Did you have lots of money to cover the expenses during the period of waiting for new projects or are there some projects that you did just for "business" purposes and prefer to keep away from eyes now?




We never did anything we were ASHAMED of….but we did our fair share of things that weren’t the coolest shit ever. Thankfully though we got lucky and quickly moved on to being able to be a bit pickier.











Do you think that is really good for the project and for the company that the employee works more than 8-10 hours followed the day? I think that this situation is not good. the talent is not good talent if it is tired.




Ha! Ha haaa haaahahahah HAHAHAH! Oh, I’m sorry….that was a serious question….wasn’t it? J I think all artists are different and like to work at different paces. Some guys want to push themselves….some guys want to BE pushed….some want to do their 8 hours and collect their checks at the end of the week. I don’t care much for that last kind, and I wasn’t one even before I had my own company. I’ve been doing 60 hours a week for YEARS now and I feel great. When I was just starting out I didn’t even feel like I was getting STARTED until the 9th hour—I lived, breathed and ate CG for breakfast, lunch and DINNER! Seriously though—I’ve always loved it—and I think that’s the key. If the work you’re doing bores you then 8 hours is a looooong time. 9 or 10 hour days aren’t much in this biz I’m afraid…..













What ever happened to your visual effects work? Are you now only pursuing animation projects like shorts and FMV's, although related, was it not fx work that got Blur up and running? Just guessing, but if that was the case how did it change?




We still do it….it’s just not MY favorite thing so I don’t chase it. But it was never really our bread and butter….






As Dom pointed out earlier.....Really.......How good do you have to be to get a job at Blur if you are a foreigner - having to apply for a visa and all? Please by all means use me as example - Art Foundation, First Class Computer Animation BA, Some freelance and lecturing work and of course my portfolio.


The same skill level applies WHEREVER you come from.












My question is that I know you guys use Max, but I was wondering if you get someone's reel of really great animation, and they animated in a different software package, would that hurt his/her chances of working for you guys? Or do you guys look at skill and ability as an animator first, and then worry about what software package that animator is used to?


We don’t care WHAT you use….as long as you’re willing to switch. We have LOTS of ex MAYA, Lightwave, XSI guys here….








(The emperor commans tim miller and his space marines to make the winter assault cinematic now.) lol sorry guys i just had to say that please make another warhammer 40k cinematic. Please please please


I would suggest EVERY Warhammer fan out there write THQ and tell them you will refuse to buy the expansion pack UNLESS it has a blur cinematic!!! Seriously…I know they WANT to. They just have to find some pennies in their couch.



Okay!!! That’s it for me! Sorry if I missed any questions and thank you ALL so much for the kind words and interest in our little studio. Hopefully we’ll keep making cool things for you to watch!! And if you’re really good—hopefully you’ll want to come and help us make them! Cheers,



Tim Miller

Creative Director

blur

jampoz
06-01-2005, 05:08 PM
We just sat down at a table and threw out names…..and what we ended up with was “Spiral Blur” believe it or not. When I told my wife she said, WOW that’s super LAME—it should be just BLUR. So being the dutiful husband I am…and wanting to continue getting laid….blur it was.

I was SURE there was some fun story behind it, or at least you made it fun, thank you!

Mibus
06-02-2005, 01:25 AM
OK, we're done :)

A big thankyou to Blur Studios for participating in this Q&A!

Good luck for the future!