(Source: vfxsoldier.wordpress.com) The visual effects business is one of the most bizarre professional industries to work in because some of the most prestigious and successful companies in our industry are the ones that pay the lowest.

In my last article I wrote about vfx salaries at many facilities and how I found it a bit odd that companies like Pixar Animation paid salaries sometimes 20-30% lower than other facilities.

(Source: tcpalm.com) As Digital Domain Holdings Corp. moves into a temporary workspace at Indian River State College, the animation company is in the midst of a hiring spree.

Digital Domain has hired about 46 people and the company expects to easily exceed 65 by the end of the year. The company plans to do digital animation for feature films and military applications.

Digital Domain and Port St. Lucie agreed in November 2009 to a $51.8 million deal helped with state contributions. The money will go in part to building a 150,000-square-foot facility. The company must create up to 500 jobs at an average salary of $64,233 by 2014.

(Source: forums.cgsociety.org) [Demo video below]  There were many drawbacks to traditional texture mapping methods that led to the development of Ptex:

  • UV assignment was a tedious task, and making good UVs on complex models was difficult.
  • Texture seams could produce visible artifacts especially with displacement maps.
  • Large numbers of texture files were required creating a significant I/O bottleneck.

Ptex addresses all these issues by eliminating UV assignment, providing seamless filtering, and allowing any number of textures to be stored in a single file.

(Source: CGW) The Visual Effects Society (VES) announced that Dr. Rich Terrile, NASA astronomer and evolutionary computer visionary, will be the featured speaker at the VES Production Summit 2010 on October 23rd. Dr. Terrile is the director of the Center for Evolutionary Computation and Automated Design at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Terrile uses techniques based on biological evolution and development to advance the fields of robotics and computer intelligence. He has a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the California Institute of Technology and has developed missions to Mars and to the outer solar system. Terrile’s other areas of expertise include the development of medical instrumentation for neurosurgery and the study of planetary rings and geology. He has discovered four moons and is the first to photograph another solar system.

(Source: Variety.com) Not long ago I got a call from a Time magazine reporter working on a story on the visual effects business. As we discussed the dire financial straits of many vfx companies despite their growing importance to studio movies, she asked, “Don’t these people have business plans?”

I told her she was proceeding from the false premise that people start vfx companies to be business owners. Most people who go into vfx do it for the same reason people become actors: They love the work. But when they fail as businessmen, the result is too often misery.

(Hollywood Reporter) As “Battleship” steams towards a start date this month, the pricey adaptation of the Hasbro board game is entering deep, treacherous waters.

With a budget of $200 million (£128.3 million) or more and no major movie stars on board, the Universal project is raising eyebrows among industry insiders who question whether the expensive gamble will pay off when the film comes out in 2012.

“It’s a big bet like many, many big bets from many studios,” Universal chairman Adam Fogelson told The Hollywood Reporter. “We will be nowhere near the high point and nowhere near the low point of what people are spending.”

(Source: femalefirst.co.uk) Steven Spielberg believes that there are too many special effects in cinema today.

The director has hit out at CGI fuelled movies and believes that these techniques are being used just for the sake of it.

In an interview with Empire magazine the director said: There’s so many tools we have now in the tool shed and it’s just a matter of individual choice of how we use these tools.

“I frankly think that special effects are becoming too special. There are too many special effects in all these movies today.

How to break in as a Hollywood concept artist: Artists share their secrets

(Source: i09) Working as a concept artist is one of the coolest careers you could possibly imagine. You get to paint pictures of spaceships and heroic battles, and imagine strange new worlds. How can you get in on this action?

We asked a ton of our favorite Hollywood concept artists for their advice on breaking in, and they offered some helpful tips. But don’t get your hopes up: It’s harder to break in than ever before. Says Miles Teves (Iron Man, Terminator Salvation):

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