Meet The Artist :: Allan McKay

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  01 January 2014
Meet The Artist :: Allan McKay

Hi all - Welcome to our Meet the Artist series for 2014. This year we're adding a live element. As well as posting questions in the thread for our artists to answer, you'll have the chance to log in and quiz them live in an online web session - all totally free.

Our first artist this year is the king of blowing-stuff-up, Allan McKay.

Allan McKay is a VES member, an award winning Visual Effects Supervisor and Technical Director working all over the world on many Hollywood feature films, AAA video game titles, Cinematics and special projects.

He also consults on-site at many game and film studios, working in tight focus groups with staff to bring studio team members up to expert level as fast as possible within a set amount of days including consulting and/or teaching classes at Ubisoft, Prime Focus, Psyop, Autodesk and Industrial Light + Magic etc.

Allan has worked at many of the leading visual effects studios to create ground breaking visual effects for titles including Star Trek 2, Transformers 3, 2012, The Last Airbender, Priest, Looper, Blade Trinity and hundreds of other high profile projects. More recently working on the highly acclaimed Warcraft the movie teaser at Comicon, Metallica’s ‘Into the Never’, high profile Superbowl hit “God of War” and Witches of East End.

Not content with just being an amazing VFX artist, he's always sought to educate and help others in the industry. He's held keynotes at dozens of large events including organizations such as SIGGRAPH, Northern Games Summit, Gnomon, FXPHD, CG Society, CG Overdrive, Mindtrek etc.

Allan has over 200 videos and articles published online, 20 training products, as well as dozens of workshops and online master classes on visual effects. Over the duration of his career he has had keynotes, workshops and lectures in person in front combined of over 20,000 people. He's currently running a brand new CGWorkshop in FumeFX for us here at CGSociety beginning March 3rd.

Please welcome him to our forums by posting a question below. You're also welcome to sign up to the live session and talk to him personally. It's at 6pm PST (LA Time) next Monday 20th Jan. It's free and registrations are essential - sign up here.
  01 January 2014
I don't really have a specific question, but I think a big thank you is in order for all the tutorials and educational content you have provided over the years. Helped me a lot and I"m sure many others would agree.
  01 January 2014
Thumbs up Fume FX

My question,

Hi Allan, in Fume FX what are the best PC Specs you could recommend, is it more important to have more Ram, a good graphics card, a kick ass CPU or are all three just as important?


Ian S.
  01 January 2014
My question:

Hi Allan, which was the most difficult shot with fume that you have made in your life?

Joan Andreu (Valencia, Spain).
  01 January 2014
Hi Allan
Thanks a lot for your continuing support and sharing your knowledge....
My question is how do you tackle closeup shots of cg me, no matter how high res i sim, it tends to look blocky...or may be a shot where you go through fire!!

What was the most challenging stuff you did with fume and how did you resolve it?? A litttle breakdown would be great...

  01 January 2014
Hey Allan, that's cool interview, and reminded me a lot on myself in the late 90's, when I have started using Deluxe Paint on Amiga, and Real3D (and also, being stubborn, and not taking seriously any negative attitude from people around me).

Thanks for all the help these years, and your free tutorials got me into (core) understanding of Particle Flow and Fumefx, which I use very often. Will try to save some money for your march FumeFX-8 weeks workshop. I hope you will soon also doing some workshop on the 3DS Max script. I am still avoid trying out 3DS Max script, though I have some "programming experience" with Commodore 64 Basic, and PC Pascal.
Will try that also asap.

My questions:
1) Same as above comment: "Close fire". I am talking about really close up sequence, and I never been able to do it, even with wavelet turbulence.
2) When watching other (people) Fumefx test, do you have "feel" that it is (almost) always somehow in slow-motion? I constantly get that feel, and trying to always raise my temperature, or timing, or even speed it up in After Effects. Because of that, I also think that (some of the) Afterburn explosions gets more realistic then Fume's (in terms of timing). Do you also have that feel?
3) Have you ever used Fumefx with "linear workflow"? Does it make any sense to you? Could fire get more "bright/dark" variation in compositing?

That's all for now, I'll leave some space to the other people asking questions.

Last, but not least, I'll be a little bit selfish (or rude), and leave a link here to my particle/fumefx test if you have time to look at it, and tell me what you find to be weakest part in my sims. I know you're very busy man, and will not take it wrong at all, if you just skip it.

Best regards,
Now it's the time to be extreme!
  01 January 2014

hi Allan

i'm currently living in sao paulo(brazil) and around here there is not much vfx nor even feature films that have vfx or so. it's still growling up and what people are looking for is only compositor or 3d generalis(more max then maya).
is it to mush risk to give a shot in US applying for jobs to specialise myself?
U.S. vfx industry is friendly to foreign?
  01 January 2014
Recording of live Meet The Artist session with Allan McKay

Hi all - great to see some of you at the live webinar session at 6pm Monday 20th Jan. Thank for asking so many great questions - Allan also answered questions previously posted in this thread. The recording is below - it's mostly voice, so you can listen while you work. Enjoy, and feel free to keep posting questions in this thread - Allan will log on and answer them.

  01 January 2014
Hi Allan! i am an artist in Central Coast NSW, and i create many sculptural painting.
  01 January 2014
Hi Allan, I am Bobi, and I am alcoholic.

Joke aside, thanks for the great interview, and great answers.

One more question:
- Any tip on how to achieve shading of the particles similar to Krakatoa shading (scanline, vray...)? I mean some translucent behavior on tons of particles?
I am trying to do similar effects like from the underwater scene from the movie Life of Pi:
Here's the video: (3:35).
While I know how to transfer particles from object A to object B, It's really difficult to me, to get right shading. Additive mode just don't look this nice.

Now it's the time to be extreme!

Last edited by d4rk3lf : 01 January 2014 at 03:55 PM.
  01 January 2014
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