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What should I teach?

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Hi Guys,


I put my reel out a while ago and since then I've recieved quite a lot of emails asking questions about some of the work and for tutorials etc. Mostly from people who are still trying to get into the industry.


My reel:


I'm thinking about making a course for those people specifically, focusing on some of the usual FX challenges and helping to create some work to add to their reels and hopefully make them more hire-able!


I do a fair amount of interviewing people and watching reels for potential new people to bring onto the team, so I have a good grasp of what we/others look for in showreels.


So I'm looking for some advice or suggestions, should I do a course that covers a broad range of topics and how to make them as pretty as possible for a reel? Should I maybe focus on one type of effect and then introduce other courses to tackle the rest one by one?


Any other suggestions or requests from people who would be interested in this sort of thing would be much appreciated!


Thanks in advance :)


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That is an amazing reel. When I was playing the Dead Island game I was always impressed with those intro scenes. The lighting, effects are all top knotch.


I would like to see some information on how to get the effect out-the-door. How do you complete an effect? 

I am at the point where I can cobble together a proof-of-concept for an effect but how do I put it into action?


Pick any one of your effects in your reel. Like the disintegrate attack effect that the cloaked soldiers are using. Once you have it developed how is it used in a practical manner throughout production? That lightning along wall trick. If that happens in several places in the movie how do I construct my effect so it is flexible enough to be used in multiple cases?


Also the beautification or finalization of the effect would be a welcome topic too. I notice the basic green alien head in your reel. How do you go from this direct lighting proxy to the full and final shot (assumed to be rendered at 4K or better)?


How much needs to be rendered in Mantra, how much is done in compositing? 


What is expected of me as an effects animator in regards to tracking footage? Is that typically handled by another department or am I expected to be a tracking wizard as well as a VEX master?


As an Indie user I don't have access to 3rd party render systems so is that a show stopper? Is Mantra really used in production or does everyone just use Arnold, Renderman, v-Ray...?

Edited by Atom
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Guest tar

It would be nice to highlight the number of years experience that the team members have when you create a shot. Point to a shot and say 'this had x number of people working on it, with x number of years experience, in x number of disciplines.' From producers, artists to the render wrangler.

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That was enjoyable to watch Jayden. Awesome work.

Any Particle fx tutorial would be most welcome. Houdini is known for it's particle effects, yet good H14 tutorials on this subject are hard to find.

So far I'm finding Houdini wonderful to work with, but pure particle fx seems much harder than they should be(compared to SoftimageICE).

The ground sinkhole effect in your reel would make for a great tutorial as well.


Again, well done.

Edited by Werner

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Thanks guys, some things to think about there.


I'm also wondering, what's better:


A: One course that goes briefly into eg Grains, volumes and magical FX (particles) with a small final render of each

B A more detailed course on just one of those topics with a more complete FX shot for a reel.


Wondering whether people prefer a broad stroke understanding of "bread and butter" FX tasks or if more would prefer to enrol in something far more focused.


Any thoughts and suggestions or maybe options C and D would be great to hear :)




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I agree with Diego there isn't enough out there about Microsolvers.


But if that is getting to specific maybe just some more advanced topics. I think there is more than enough "bread and butter" FX training out there and to put it in FXPHD terms I would like a 300 level course. 

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