International Conference on Animation,
Effects, VR, Games and Transmedia
April 24 - 27, Stuttgart, Germany

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Newsletter #4: Film Engine premieres at FMX plus presentations on The Jungle Book & Zoomania


Film Engine hosts a Virtual Production Stage, Star Wars and the Bullet Train come to town!

Worldwide premiere at FMX: Film Engine - the successor of Crytek's Cinebox - is unveiled at FMX, allowing attendees to experience real-time movie making at the Film Engine Virtual Production Stage. It is the first time that FMX offers attendees the opportunity to put their hands on virtual cameras, experience directing in virtual reality and working in a virtual production pipeline "live" on-stage, a performance made possible with the support of Ncam, OptiTrack, ARRI, AMD and HP. Rob Legato, two-time Academy Award winner for his work on Titanic and Hugo, hosts a masterclass at the Virtual Production Stage on Thursday, April 28, from 3 to 5 pm.

Film Engine is also one of the FMX 2016 main partners, alongside the Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS), AMD, Backstage, CryEngine, Dell, Epic Games, HP, Nvidia and Intel.

Did you check out the full FMX program yet? Here it goes:

Effects: From Star Wars to the Chemical brothers

FMX sees as much as twelve VFX case studies this year. Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach and Paul Kavanagh (all ILM) talk about blending practical and digital effects for the latest Star Wars instalment The Force Awakens. The DC comics-based Batman vs. Superman (Keith Miller, Weta Digital and Dan Zelcs, MPC) and two Marvel productions, Deadpool (Jan Philip Cramer, Digital Domain) and Captain America: Civil War (Florian Gellinger from RISE FX and Alessandro Cioffi from Trixter), are being discussed. Also in the spotlight: Ex Machina, which won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects this year (Paul Norris, DNeg), Gods of Egypt (Julian Dimsey, Iloura), San Andreas (Thomas Zauner, ScanlineVFX), Bridge of Spies (Sven Martin, Pixomondo), and the Chemical Brothers' music video Arms Wide Open (David Fleet, The Mill). Will MacNeil dedicates his case study to motion design for MPC and Fon Davis (Fonco Creative Services) talks about miniature FX in the digital age.

Virtual Reality for Production: The Jungle Book & More

David Morin (Chairman of the Virtual Production Committee) curates a series of talks on Virtual Reality for Production. In this track, VFX Supervisor Rob Legato as well as Adam Valdez (MPC) and Keith Miller (Weta Digital) describe the creative and technical process behind the VP of Disney's The Jungle Book. Duncan Burbridge (The Third Floor) digs into immersive moviemaking in VR, whilst Ron Frankel (Proof) illuminates VP for Pan and Gods of Egypt. Furthermore, Kevin Margo (Blur Studio) uses his own film CONSTRUCT to exemplify his virtual production pipeline. A panel with selected speakers deepens the discussion on the impact of VR on movie-making.

Animation: Zoomania in-depth

The series of presentations on "The Art of Animation" grows with a panel discussion on the research and realization of Disney Animation's adventure Zoomania (Scott Kersavage, Brian Leach. Matthias Lechner, Michelle Robinson). Thomas Meyer-Hermann and Angela Steffen (both Studio Film Bilder) speak about the international series Patchwork Pals and its realization in Stuttgart. Moreover, Zoomania's concept art becomes the center of Matthias Lechner's (also Disney Animation) talk. A case study is dedicated to Manou the Swift (Andrea Block and Christian Haas, LUXX Studios).

Virtual Reality from Games to Films

The VR Opening Panel "The Present and the Future of Virtual Reality" zooms in on VR as it now stands on the brink of becoming a medium for mass adoption in the PC, mobile and console markets, with Neil Schneider (The ITA), Simon Benson (SCE WWS), Daniel O'Brien (HTC), Billy Harrison (Optoma), Alon Melchner (wakingapp) and Dr Michael Madary (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz). Various speakers talk about their experiences in directing and designing for VR: David Bowman explains the joy of making Crytek's The Climb and Nick Whiting (Epic Games) showcases the work on Bullet Train. Moreover, Anrick Bregman and Yates Buckley (both UNIT9) approach VR from a filmmaker's and a neuroscientific point of view, Colin McGreal (Reel FX) defines dos and don'ts for VR filmmaking in advertising, and Tristan Salomé adds his perspective as the CEO of PresenZ, a new patent-pending technology. Personal experiences become the focus of the discussion "What it Means to Direct & Design for VR," with Andrew Daffy (DAFFY LONDON), Rainer Gombos (REALTRA) and Alex Hessler (Tippett Studio).

Games - Paragon and Hellblade

Kim Libreri, Michael Gay and Haarm-Pieter Duiker (all Epic Games) present the work on the cinematic reveal for Paragon, a MOBA for PlayStation 4 and PC. Tameem Antoniades (Ninja Theory), Steve Caulkin (Cubic Motion), Vladimir Mastilovic (3Lateral) and James Golding (Epic Games) team up for a case study on the digital human Senua in Ninja Theory's Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, focusing on the strong artistic intent, and also on some impressive motion-capture technology that was conducted in order to create a one of the most believable, complex, traumatized characters ever seen in a videogame.

Technology - Discover the light fields

Techniques such as light field video, high dynamic range imaging, and multispectral lighting are at the heart of the "Computational Cinematography" set of talks, curated by Paul Debevec (USC). Presentations are provided by Jon Karafin (Lytro), who spotlights light field technology and the future of filmmaking, Gaël Seydoux, who introduces Technicolor's light field-related R&D work, and Abe Davis (MIT), who contributes how the information present in data-intensive light field photographs can be reconstructed from a small subset of the light field photographs. Paul Debevec himself talks about practical multispectral lighting reproduction to simulate a real-world location. All speakers come together at the end for a discussion of the current state-of-the-art in computational cinematography.

Full Forum Force ahead!

The Virtual Production Stage is one integral part of the "Blending Realities" section that immerses you in virtual worlds. Here's what else our main partners contribute to this section, in alphabetical order. First, there's the VR Experience by AMD, DELL and Intel: AMD FirePro professional graphics and Dell Precision workstations present an immersive experience. They furthermore invite attendees into the Business Lounge to hold business meetings, or just recharge and relax. Then there's the VR Jam hosted by Epic Games, where a few small teams will go head to head creating new VR projects over the course of four days, with the culmination, judging and prizing taking place on Friday. In addition, HP and Nvidia install their famous interview situation that provides you with the realtime opportunity to listen to your favorite speakers.
The Recruiting Hub is now at the point of near-overflow: Never before has this part of FMX seen a comparable density and quality of international companies looking for the best of the best. Before you tug in your most festive sweater, you'd better look at this incredible line-up first:

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and the MFG Film Funding, taking place in cooperation with VES Visual Effects Society, ACM SIGGRAPH and the World Building Institute, supported by Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS), AMD, AutodeskBackstage, Epic Games and Mackevision. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by the Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Day (APD), a joint venture with the Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart (ITFS).