November 1, 2008
The team at SIGGRAPH Asia organised a series of seminars in Southeast Asia with animation and VFX technology guru Craig “Xray” Halperin. Halperin gave a procedural perspective on FX in live action and feature animation. Craig began the event with his background and how he ended up in the visual effects industry through a series of fortunate accidents. He also talked about his experience and approach while making the visual effects for live action films such as Titanic, X-Men 2, The Sum of All Fears, Bee Movie, Kung-Fu Panda and the upcoming A Christmas Carol. Speaking to Asia Image, Halperin said, “I am really looking forward to the seminar. This is my first series in Southeast Asia and I hope for an enthusiastic response from the audience. I have always enjoyed education and love sharing information with people. I started out in this career at a very low position with no formal training in computer graphics. I had to work my way up to where I am today. “So I think my story may help artists who wish to start out in this field and give them a perspective on VFX as a career. I will also be explaining how some very complex VFX shots were put together and so it will not only help aspirants but also artists already in the field,” Talking about the changes in the industry in terms of creatives and technology, Craig demonstrated in detail the approach to the FX done in specific scenes, such as Cyclops’ Optic Force Blast in X-Men 2, the meteors in Armageddon, and the Cadillac Turbulence commercial. He also explained the compositing for visual effects through case studies such as rebuilding of locations in China for Red Corner and the blurry guy effect in What Dreams May Come as well as the techniques of crowd animation with Sprite-based system as used on Titanic, DreamWorks Mob system used on Bee Movie and Kung-Fu Panda and massive crowd animation software. Commenting on SIGGRAPH Asia’s initiative in bringing this series of seminars to Asia, Halperin said, “Bringing the conference to Asia will enable many more people to participate in it. The content it brings into the industry is very valuable and not just through its courses and computer animation fest but also through enabling networking. It can also be a great place for job hunting and catching up with colleagues in the industry.” “I would encourage everyone to join the local chapter of the conference and being a volunteer organisation, get involved in its work. If you have an idea for an event, join SIGGRAPH and make it happen. You will find many people stepping up to help you in your initiative,” Craig concluded.