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Old 12-04-2009, 12:24 AM   #1
PaulHellard
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Meet the Artist :: Mark Breakspear



Mark Breakspear
VFX Supervisor
CIS Vancouver


Read Mark's article on the first-hand view of VFX for 'Zombieland' HERE, his Artist Profile on CGSociety, right HERE, and then come on back HERE to talk to the man himself. Please feel free to post your questions and comments.

Please make a warm welcome to CGSociety’s Meet the Artist, Mark Breakspear.
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Old 12-05-2009, 04:13 AM   #2
TyroneMaddams
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Mark Breakspear you are a pimp, excellent work on Zombieland and welcome to CGS!!

My two part question to you is, when do you think the zombie apocalypse will happen?

And when it does, what will be more important, weapons or food and water?



-Ty
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:50 AM   #3
dayaki
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though i havent seen the movie, i was able to see the trailer and much impressed, good work Mark Breakspear.

JUst wanna ask;

1. How long it took you to finish your work(effects) on the movie?

2. how many percentage of the movie is CG related?
 
Old 12-09-2009, 10:17 PM   #4
MarkBreakspear
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Hey Dayaki,

1. How long it took you to finish your work(effects) on the movie?

We had about 7 weeks from full turnover to completion. We were able to start on some of the shots slightly earlier than that, but the big shots had a very tight window.

2. how many percentage of the movie is CG related?

It's tough to say... If by CG related you mean actual fully created CG elements in 3D, then not that much, only really a handful of shots... But in terms of how much is visual effects, the overall movie had about 600 shots in it done by various vendors. That's a pretty respectable number of vfx shots for any movie.
 
Old 12-09-2009, 10:25 PM   #5
MarkBreakspear
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Hey Tyrone Maddams,

When do you think the zombie apocalypse will happen?

February at the earliest, depends on the market for human skin.

And when it does, what will be more important, weapons or food and water?

The most important thing will be making sure we take good reference of the apocalpse for later on in the design phase. We'll have to get great HDRs of the main attacks, and ask some of the leaders of the armies to pose for character reference, various poses, standing, sitting, smiling etc... We'll also need to get good reference of the skies as typically in past apocalypse's they turn different colour very quickly. During the last end of the universe I was part of, I mistakenly took only JPEG ref and not both RAW+JPEG. I blame the general carnage, maiming and blood lust going on around me, but it really isn't an excuse now I look back at it all. It was, however, a pity some many of the vfx team died measuring the location, but it's what we do, and we know the risks.
 
Old 12-09-2009, 10:54 PM   #6
PaulHellard
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What's a good cleaner for sprayed coffee stains on computer screens and keyboards?
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:40 AM   #7
Digiegg
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Hello Mr. Breakspear. I read the article and wow... you truely did climb up from the very bottom to the top. It's very inspiring and congrats!

As a VFX Supervisor, what are the KEY skills that you need to have?
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:00 PM   #8
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Hi Digiegg,

As a VFX Supervisor, what are the KEY skills that you need to have?

-- Sense of humour (I used the correct British spelling, as to spell it without the u as the American's do would be the height of irony having watched their television and realizing they know very little about the word)

-- Visually aware of everything around you. Sounds poncy, but you need to have studied all the things you take for granted that exist around you every day... I could describe a thousand things to you to look at, but then, if I have to tell you what to look for... you're in the wrong profession.

-- Be design creative (make things better through good design) Easy to say that, but good design is something that comes about normally from getting lots of very talented people together and really thinking something through. When you turn up on set to shoot something, it's too late to start planning how you are going to shoot it... Plan it, plan it, and then plan it again.

-- Be a problem solver (a different type of creative that is able to find a solution to a given issue within the confines of a pre designed brief or set of guidlines.) If you went to a snobby university (I did) you get to learn all these great things about art and design and how you're going to come out of university and save the world... [insert needle scratching across record] It doesn't work that way. When you come out of college, you're basically an ass spec of shit, no experience, no respect and no chance of showing what actual talent you might actually have. Solving other people's problems is your single best way of getting yourself noticed... Occasionally, once every 10 projects, you might get to suggest something that is a purely creative piece of brilliance... but for the most part, your expensive degree will initially be spent removing the turgid stiffy from a Monkey on a TV commercial, or ironically, painting out the left nut of a famous person who for fun decided to let it hang out during the filming of an entire scene... (yes... I did both, and no, I won't tell more than that)...

-- Politically savy. Don't say anything ever to anyone about anything...

-- Care about the quality, but don't be blind to the economics of movie making... Imagine a graph where you have cost on one axis, quality on the other, and a 3rd axis that is for time... Don't know what that would look like, but it sounded good.

-- Stay healthy, don't camp out at crafty...
 
Old 12-11-2009, 03:05 AM   #9
PaulHellard
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Hey Mark,

If you had the choice of recreating another internal of a cathedral for 'Angels and Demons', or throwing another stuntman out of a vehicle and popping some blood bags, the second choice would be yours yes?

But even in Zombieland, realizing you had to recreate the White House as a background is no small deal. How much do you build in a buffer of resources for sequences such as these that seem to expand as you approach shoot date?

An extra question is, how do budget limits effect each genre of film differently?

Is there more leverage for anarchy involved in making something look messy, or is it just as exacting and precise?
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:41 PM   #10
MarkBreakspear
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Hey Paul, good questions... ummm...

If you had the choice of recreating another internal of a cathedral for 'Angels and Demons', or throwing another stuntman out of a vehicle and popping some blood bags, the second choice would be yours yes?

Actually, I massively prefer making the environments out of those two specific choices... lots of reasons why, none of which I'm going to put on this forum!

But even in Zombieland, realizing you had to recreate the White House as a background is no small deal. How much do you build in a buffer of resources for sequences such as these that seem to expand as you approach shoot date?

I'm thinking you mean the Capitol building, ironically, we're building the "other" place you mentioned for a different project. We always have to balance our resources for any project, especially when it's awarded before the shoot. You have to be careful not to spend all your budget making models before hand that might end up on the CRF. But you also have to be willing to commit the relevant forces to a project up front to be in a position where you can react with accuracy and preperation on set.

An extra question is, how do budget limits effect each genre of film differently?

Good question, and I'm sure various genres are affected in slightly different ways by their budgets, but in general, I think the factors that affect visual effects transcend the genre for the most part. Your budget is a finite amount, the project is finite chunk of time with a scope of work that is part determined, and partly undetermined. The secret is to balance that all together and not let any one thing run away on it's own. What's worse than saying "no"? Answer: Saying "Yes" and not being able to pull it off for any reason.

Is there more leverage for anarchy involved in making something look messy, or is it just as exacting and precise?

Depends on the director!

Last edited by MarkBreakspear : 12-11-2009 at 09:59 PM.
 
Old 12-18-2009, 02:03 AM   #11
TyroneMaddams
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Thanks for your awesome answers Mark!!

watched the movie again, 3x now, its really very cool, great work


- Ty
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