Good times on a Thursday night!

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The Foundry's Tom Rockhill kicks us off with an intro

Just want to take a second and thank everyone who came out to our first meet-up the other night. Feedback has been good and this is DEFINITELY something we’ll do up again.

What an incredible, jaw dropping presentation from Fred Ruff @ Bent Image Lab.



Fred Ruff of Bent Image Lab


Wow. I mean WOW. I’ve seen a lot of breakdowns and demos in my day, but the depth and scope of what Fred showed us still has my head spinning. The creature work on Grimm is nothing short of incredible, especially when you take into account the limited resources and tight turnaround they’re on with that show. I know we don’t have a baseball team anymore, but if you ask me, Fred hit a walk off homer straight outta PGE Park. Bravo!


This one had me saying, "Huh? You rigged a fluid?!?"

Also a big hand for Deke Kincaid from the Foundry for some cool new software demos, keeping us up to date. Hiero (pronounced “Hee-row”) looks like a very powerful tool to bridge the gap between editorial and vfx. In a nutshell, it imports the cut and proceeds to divvy things up for us VFX’ers like no tool I’ve ever seen before. It creates the entire VFX folder structure from a predefined template and masters each shot from the cut into it’s place on the tree, complete with an editable Nuke script for the conversion. It can also use those same timeline and pipeline capabilities to run Dailies. Hiero clearly automates and mops up what could otherwise be a complete and total mess when you’re bringing a new project online or reviewing shots. This type of magic is usually reserved for the big studios with custom coded pipelines and a staff of programmers, but with Hiero it looks like the rest of us can get a taste of the “organized life” and make things a little less cowboy.  Like many of you, I’d not had a chance to check it out yet and the in-person demo was gold.

Deke Kincaid

Deke Kincaid shows off the upcoming version of Nuke

We probably didn’t give it the amount of time it deserved because things ran long, but the upcoming version of Nuke looks like it’s packing some long sought after tools. Yee haw, the viewer can finally be used to reliably flipbook shots, thanks to an improved RAM caching mechanism that clearly shows what frames are locked in memory and cached.  This is big, and has the potential to replace Framecycler in the standard comp workflow. There’s a new node for doing tastier Lens Defocus (with super easy custom shape support, no more having to make custom convolves!) and Z Defocus – looked to me like they are starting to tie the GPU in for certain ops like the Z Defocus, too!  Updates to the modeler and point cloud system look tasty… those are tools that everyone definitely wants to see take the next steps. After seeing Fred demo some really hardcore warping and morphing for Grimm, it was nice to hear the that Splinewarp node is getting an overhaul and is targeted for independent source + destination spline support. Also on the radar, they quietly have rewritten and streamlined the RotoPaint node – although there’s not much evidence of it on the surface – but it should result in smaller project sizes and less chance for a script to go corrupt. And the last one worth a mention (but definitely not least) is vastly improved Photoshop psd support: the Photoshop merge node + layer breakout scripts are going to make dealing with matte paintings and the like a whole lot smoother. That’s just a taste of what Deke laid on us, and in record time!

Red Giant

The Red Giant Software crew was in attendance, from their office in Old Town

Worth mentioning that we were a little overly ambitious thinking that we could get to so much during the meeting and we weren’t able to show off any of Katana. With any luck we can get Deke back for a future meeting and we’ll pick up where we left off.

I’ve already had requests about if the presentation was recorded or will be posted online anywhere – sorry to say that there are generally not going to be any recordings of our user meetings, since the material is almost always sensitive. You know, the usual behind the scenes, copywritten, beta software, bleeding edge type stuff. Even more reason to make the effort to come out and catch it live next time!


Loren from Laika's got the right idea - have a brew and some pixels too!

Speaking of next time, we’ll get it going again in a few months. Have a nice summer and I’ll see you all then!  Make sure you sign up for the email list to be notified of the next round up, and watch for the website to continue to develop as I get time.

First VFX/PDX meeting this Thursday, June 14th


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Fred/DekeAlright good Portlanders – many Bothans died to bring you this message so huddle up and listen close. After months of prep, the first VFX/PDX meeting is ON like Krylon – and set for this THURSDAY! Numero Uno is not to be missed.

Fred Ruff, Visual Effects Supervisor and Lead CG Artist at Bent Image Lab, will be presenting a giant platter of Bent’s recent tasty work in detail. And as if that wasn’t enough, Deke Kincaid from The Foundry is in town and is going to give us a sneak peek at the next major release of Nuke, as well as Katana, Mari and Hiero. A little something for everyone. Need I say more?

Short notice – again, all of this and more will be happening this Thursday night, June 14th, from 7:00-9:00pm, at:

The Living Room Theaters
341 SW 10th Ave

With the help of the Oregon Film Commission and The Foundry, this is a FREE event. All are welcome, professionals and students alike. The Living Room Theater lounge will be open from 6:30pm as well as following the presentation for those who want to catch up & mingle. The presentation is all ages, but 21 & over only in the lounge please – Oregon law don’t ya know.

Seating is limited and since it’s our first meeting, please send a quick RSVP to so I can watch our capacity. That said, don’t wait – lock in! In just a couple short days the sparks will fly. See you there.

It’s Alive!

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Thanks to your world class work, Portland officially has a visual effects scene. Frightening!  At this very moment, with Bent and HiveFX Grimming it up, LAIKA ParaNormaning, Hinge working on a full slate of VFX heavy spots for the summer…    it just feels right to pull the trigger and start a user group.

This group exists…   specifically for VFX but with overlap into Motion Graphics, 3D design, and Animation…   to occasionally bring everyone one together and mix it up under one roof. Critique and promote each other’s work, learn new tricks. After all, if a tree falls in Forest Park but no one is there to hear it, did it really fall?

The goal of VFX/PDX is to provide a conduit for provocative events and discussion that push us forward. Upward. No affliation, no agenda, no paid sponsors here. Just moving images that move us. A casual meeting 2-3 times a year to reflect on the best of the best from the streets of Portland. And occasionally we’ll host an out-of-towner who’s passing through and show ’em a little Portland hospitality.

If you like what you hear, sign up for the email list and stay tuned as things develop.

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