Friday, 21 December 2012


Just in time for Christmas - Pixologic update zbrush with 5.
Lots of workflow improvements and faster saving, along with more great Dynamesh improvements.
I love using the Dynamesh feature for the flexibility and speed you can sculpt at.

Heres a 40 minute doodle for fun

Saturday, 24 November 2012

GIANT fluid simulations at GIANT resolution!

Earlier in the year I was wrestling with Realflow to get some art-directed, continuous fluid simulations rendered at 8K out for the guys at Universal Everything.
There were a number of films designed to play at a huge size and the rest of the team at ANALOG sorted those while i sorted the fluids.  There were 3 sims in all - two i rendered with Krakatoa and the third one was made of millions of individual balls/spheres and rendered with Vray.
The shading is speed via velocity.

It was a huge challenge to maintain control of the fluids throughout each sequence and maintain the energy and dynamism the designers required. I used the SPH fluids only and would run low resolution versions to get the timings and daemon/collision animation right. The final simulations often took up to 2-3 days with millions of particles to hold up at 8k rendering!

You can have a look at the ANALOG website for more info and ive posted some full resolution frame crops and sequence frames here on the blog. Head over to Universal Everything if you want to see more of what those guys get up to.

click to enlarge

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Interview with ITSART

I was interviewed by Sebastien Tafani for ITSART online magazine where i talk about where im from, where I started, how I entered the industry and what we do at Analog Studio.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

ANALOG rebrand/relaunch and updated REEL

Its been a busy summer at ANALOG studio - with lots of international shoot attendances to Prague, Japan and Malaysia.  We have also had our studio rebranded and redesigned by the talent at A Practice for Everyday Life - including website, typography and an all new Showreel for public launch.

Analog Showreel 2012 from Analog on Vimeo.

I then went out to LA with my girlfriend to attend the Emmy awards. I was nominated for outstanding visual effects and the work was up against the American Juggernauts of television - such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones! The latter scooped most awards that evening - and deservedly so - it was an honour to be rerecognized up there with the best of the rest.
The aftershow dinner and party was pretty epic.

Ive also just returned from a long awaited holiday in Peru. A 4 day trek through the mountains and outer jungle regions, passing through ancient Inca ruins and finding our way to Machu Picchu.
I can assure you that it was EPIC and well worth the knee punishing ascent/descent through the mountains.  Camping at 4300 metres above sea level and above the clouds was a particularly inspiring moment.  
All i gotta do now is sort through the thousands of photographs i took....and no - the weren't all texture references.

Friday, 7 September 2012


Heres the commercial we did for Citizen - starring Mr Takeshi Kaneshiro and ALOT of particles.
The shoot was around late April in Prague and myself and co-director Arvid were there to supervise the shoot and get all the information we needed to rebuild the stunning set...and then blow it all up.
Rayfire and particle tools were used intensively through out - with the only real element being Mr Kaneshiro himself and the final two shots.  
A making of will be posted soon with a look at the dense geomtry and details that were created.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Sneak peek

Its been a busy year so far at ANALOG - with a move to a larger studio space, many commercials and visual effects projects and a lot of international shoots attended.

Squeezed in between all the official works - almost 10 years after myself and co-writer Alex Burton first came up with the idea - a project is developing that I hope will be ready in time for display at Siggraph next year.  Its literally a monster of an undertaking - with many terabytes of fluid and ocean simulation already committed to disk and a frail old man standing between oceanic titans and destruction.....
Heres a few images from data & work in progress so far. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Robinsons Commercial

The studio recently completed work on a Robinsons Squash/Juice drink commercial and here is a little making of/breakdown.
Alot of RD went into creating the look the director was after - though much of the finer details and elegance of the fluid effect itself was lost in the choppy editing style.  This making of shows a number of RD tests for fluid entering and dispersing within water.
FumeFX was the primary fluids tool for simulating the orange, with additional 2D fluid simulations from Maya and stock footage elements.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Another 3DCreative Tutorial

The August 2012 issue of 3DCreative Magazine is out now with another tutorial I put together. This time its a simple Pflow setup for Falling leaves/petals.

Sunday, 29 July 2012


The commercial we did the visual effects for at ANALOG has surfaced online.
Look out for an official release from our site and in depth making of videos very soon....

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

3D world feature

The August edition of 3Dworld features the ident visual effects we did at ANALOG for DixonBaxi earlier this year.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

EMMY Nomination!

The 64th Primetime Emmy® Award nominations were announced today and im in there with my old collegues and friends for Inside the Human Body - a VFX heavy project we approached more cinematically than the usual visual effects fests with explosions and crazy zero gravity cameras.

Here is some of the stuff i developed and created with fellow, talented artist Dan Upton.

Its already won other nominations and a VES earlier this year. Congratulations to all of the team for creating such visually arresting imagery.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Free HDRI's!!

I was in Tokyo recently VFX supervising a commercial shoot and had an awesome view out of my hotel window. I was staying on the 23rd floor of the Cerulean Hotel in Shibuya.
Jetlag was kicking my ass at 5am - so i made some HDRI's with the 4mm fisheye lens and Canon 550d. They are'nt quite perfect...but hey, i was half asleep!  
They work well for some interior lighting scenes/setups.

You can download them HERE

Thursday, 21 June 2012

SCI - Collider

The making of the SCI 'Collider' ident.  We were asked by our good friends at ManvsMachine to help create their Collider concept for Discovery Science.
Working from numerous references, we created the interior/lab and higly detailed collider/accelerator model before focusing on the visual effects for the evolving substance and rocks/crystals the collider seemingly creates. The tweezers and gloved hand that enter the frame are shot elements that we did against greenscreen in the studio. The effect of element/rocks that form and evolve was created with a combination of morph targets, Krakatoa volume filled Rayfire fragments and carefully chosen keyframes for each evolution stage to take place.

Making of SCI - Collider from Matt Chandler on Vimeo.

Friday, 8 June 2012

EUE 2012 watch ident talk

As with the Swarm making of presentation i recently did at the End user event in Utrech, i shall also be posting up the making of the WATCH idents due to many requests from those who attended and those who couldnt make it to Utrecht this year.

Again - i will be re-recording the audio, as the live recording didnt come out too well and theres over an hour of material.
This talk was a little more dense and technical than the Swarm presentation - focusing on the Smoke and Fluid idents and the huge amount of storage that was used up with the simulations. I go over transfering velocity information from particles to mesh surfaces using the krakatoa KCM tree and how colour ramps/gradients could be tweaked on the particle caches after 18-36 hour partition baking.

Creative agency DixonBaxi, who commisioned us to create the idents, are soon attending Promax LA to talk about the creation of the idents.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A big thank you to Joep, Mike Quist and the rest of the EUE crew for inviting me as a speaker this year and for all their hospitality.... (Mike Quist can cook some good stuff).
Unfortunately i only managed to show up for a single day and Arvid ended up not making it at all due to studio commitments. 

It was a pleasure to do the presentations and thank you to all who attended my talks. I knew alot of you and it was great to finally put faces to names.  We have all been connected online for years but never met until now.  We must be geeks.

Both the talks went down well and due to numerous requests - i WILL be posting the making of presentation videos i did with a new voice over once i get the chance.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

My messy Kitchen....HDRI

We recently got a 4.5mm fisheye lens (for APS-C) in the studio for getting HDRI information when we are out and about on shoots/location.  Creating HDR/lightprobes this way has many advantages both cost wise and practically.  
Spheron cameras are in my opinion - the most overrated, slow and overpriced pieces of crap that people think you have to use to create an HDRI. 
OK, its somewhat automated and accurate - but its slow and its a big bit of kit to drag around and you almost dare not touch it because it cost so much. You can get just as good results with a DSLR and a fisheye.
Lets think back to the early days of high dynamic range light probes.  They worked and most were done by taking photographs of a polished chrome ball, ball bearing or in my case....a crappy Christmas decoration ball. As long as you captured the light intensity - it was fine.

Being able to use 180 fish-eye lenses, unwrapping them and stitching them together in 15 mins with something like PTGui is awesome.  Plus you are shooting RAW on the DSLR - so you can get HUGE resolution and detail. I shot 6 sets of 7 ev exposures on a Canon 550d.

Here's an HDRI of my messy kitchen that you can download and use for whatever you like.

The 3k map you should use for reflections and the small convolution map you should use in the skylight/dome-light slot for optimised light sampling and faster renders.

Heres a simple test render of some good ol' teapots using this HDR

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

More to Watch

The second of four idents we made at the studio, commissioned by DixonBaxi.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Pocket Anamorphic

A couple years back i managed to get hold of a couple 16mm anamorphic projection lenses off Ebay. You can still find them on there - but now that EVERYONE wants to strap one to the front of their DSLR - ebay sellers have gotten smart....well...greedy.....and the prices are often rather insane. I got hold of a Sankor 16c and a Kowa for about $60 each. Now they are often starting at $500 or more! But i digress....

So recently ive found some spare time again and realised that these things also fit rather well to the front of my old Sanyo Xacti 1010. The Xacti range is probably (in my opinion) one of the most under-rated consumer, HD camera ranges - with a pretty decent sensor size and on the later Xacti 2000 model...FULL HD 60p! Ok...its compressed at a crappy 24mbps - but the image quality was still pretty awesome. I went to Japan a while ago and wondered about with one - those videos can be seen here and here

So ive stepped back from the DSLR for a while and put the anamorphics on the front of the Xacti via a step-up ring (ebay) and a lens clamp (ebay). Even with the Sankor clamped of the front - its still pretty much a pocket sized camera....but with anamorphic scope and those tasty little lens flares pop up from time to time.
Definitely the lightest and literally pocket-able 'run and gun' rig Ive played with for a while.

Xacti 1010 = £200
Sankor anamorphic lens = £80
stepup rings/adapter = £20

A fun setup for not much overhead. Of course - the results on a DSLR are superior in countless ways, but i just wanted a pocket setup solution.
Heres some pics and stills from some rather boring footage in the kitchen.

Friday, 6 April 2012

End User Event

Co-director Arvid and myself will be showing up at EUE (End User Event) in Utrecht, Netherlands this year to talk about recent VFX projects such as SWARM and WATCH. Il be going over some of the processes and techniques that were developed to not compromise on quality but saved render/production time in order to meet the tiny schedules. A number of custom shaders and scripts were also developed to handle the large data sets and colour retargeting.

EUE has been described as Siggraph in a pub, with your mates and no commercial stuff.

Il see you there.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

RealFlow tutorial for 3DTotal magazine

A written tutorial and accompanying video with source files I created for Aprils edition of 3Dtotal magazine is out from today.
Its a beginner/intermediate exercise on how to get some geometry over into Realflow and get some cool fluid behavior happening quickly.
I also go over some psuedo fluid options within 3DSmax.

Monday, 19 March 2012

THE SWARM part 2

So here is the full HD, official version of the commercial we did for 'The Swarm' at Thorpe Park.
Directed by Matt Westrup at Joyrider Films and VFX by my studio Analog - this was a monster project for us, with Matte paintings, full CG cityscape, explosions and lots of fun with general FX by a crew of 5-6 people.

The Swarm

Here are some stills from 'The Swarm' commercial. This was probably one of the larger projects our studio has taken on to date - with a fully CG cityscape sequence filled with alien swarms, explosions, crashing helicopters and collapsing buildings.
Shadows from the 'swarm' had to be added to many live action shots also, making this a huge amount of work for us to achieve in a few weeks.

The spot premiered on UK channel 4 on Sunday the 18th March.

Friday, 9 March 2012

A few terabytes of fluid simulation

The studio is currently collaborating with DixonBaxi on creating a vibrant, rebranding campaign for WATCH and here are some frames from one of the completed idents so far.
The amount of data generated for 32 seconds of fluid simulation was HUGE - amounting to terabytes of particle partitions to achieve the required density, complexity and slow-motion.
All in 8 working days, hourly coffees and a couple bags of satsumas!

View the full ident HERE

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Recieved a shiny Visual Effects Society award today.
Inside the Human Body was one of the last projects I was involved with a couple years back at JellyfishPictures and one of those rare opportunities to flex the visual effects toolkit.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Leon Kowalski

Leon Kowalski. If you dont know who that is and you consider yourself a scifi fan, you should probably go sit down and watch your scifi collection again.
Blade Runner was a seminal movie in my life - having first seen it at around the age of 12 or 13 when I was watching SKY tv at someone elses house. We never had SKY at home and i still dont have it actually. Hundreds of channels of crap.
For months afterwards I was drawing and painting cityscapes with flying vehicles and started to become obsessed with models and minature FX. Of course I eventually went to University and became a Modelmaker - making props and minatures before I started to realise I could make stuff in computers AND do the camera AND do the lights AND not inhale paint fumes or MDF dust!

Following that epic and arguably unrivaled opening sequence in BladeRunner was the introduction of Leon Kowalski and his parental troubles....
Perhaps for me one of the most tense opening sequences in film, Brion James plays the mysterious and dangerous Leon - framed and lit via the awesome collabortion of Jordan Cronenweth and Ridley Scott.
A favorite film character of mine, I have begun a challenging character project of sorts that Im hoping to utilise alot of my tools and new processes on - creating Leon Kowalski.
I managed to get hold of a makeup/production casting of the actor Brion James which had some excellent surface details and mould quality.
Im also using a combination of Photoscan and some home laser scanning (courtesy of the excellent and versitle DAVIDscan) to build a digital double/version of Leon.

Monday, 30 January 2012

BT Vision ident

We collaborated with ManvsMachine again to make an addition to their BT Vision ident package.
Under their direction myself and co-director Mike Merron setup studio lit panels of glass that shattered sequentially. I used rayfire and pflow and baked out the heavy particle data to disk with SuperMesher.

Rendered with Vray with DOF in camera due to the transparencies and reflections.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Latest Commercial

Heres the commercial the studio completed just before Christmas for the O2 January sales.
Completed in two weeks from almost scratch, as almost all the footage and plates shot on location in Athens proved useless. The opening shot was composited together from about 5 different takes and elements.
The lanterns were modeled up from reference photographs of the designed lanterns and we kept the textures floating point so we had alot of control within the material editor to ramp and mix lighting and shaders.

Click here to watch

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Pointcache is an old and essential, bullet proof method of getting what you expect out of a render.
Everything is 'baked' - plotted down and everyframe of movement and deformation is recorded. Its a great way of passing shots/elements along to the next artist without the fear of an accidently movement or delete of something essential in the scene or character rig.

This little script caught my eye recently. There are options out there already - SuperMesher from Boomerlabs and more recently Xmesh. Both of these feature advanced cache options (such as baking changing topology, but for a freebie script - this one is pretty damn good.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New year - more new RayFire

Mir Vadim, the developer of one of my favorite FX tools RAYFIRE - has posted a demonstration of his latest and possibly greatest addition to the plugin called 'dead objects'.

The simple examples he examples speak for themselves.