Tag Archives: event recap

Cheers to an Epic OMSI Science Pub w/Cardboard Castle and CCC!


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T pose

Everyone warm up with a T pose!

Just wanted to take a moment out to raise a glass to Cooper Johnson and the crew at Cardboard Castle, as well as Damon Redmond/Andy Mingo and the Motion Capture crew at Clackamas Community College’s DMC program.   Lots of pics below, all courtesy of Kurt @ 3DV.

The presentations made for a scintillating OMSI Science Pub – a fun tribute to technology like motion capture, and the role that tech plays in the creative process as a whole, at a scorching shop like Cardboard Castle.

CBC presentation

Cardboard Castle presentation

MoCap demo

The MoCap demo

Damon Redmond

Damon Redmond of CCC/SuperGenius

The pixels, literally, danced.  And if your interest was piqued by the MoCap demo, let me just remind everyone that this was only the tip of a Day After Tomorrow sized iceberg!  The class at CCC offers 10+ weeks of hands on MoCap action under the tutelage of Damon Redmond, and is a key part of CCC’s joint “SuperGenius Academy” program – professional level training for the community college friendly price of $543 (that’s a 4 hr lab/lecture, w/fees).  A huge score for local area VFX’ers.

Andy Mingo

Andy Mingo of CCC

Cardboard Castle gave us an unprecedented look inside closed doors at what makes them tick.  No cardboard stone left unturned.


Cooper Johnson and Cardboard Castle

Cooper spoke about his career, early days of the studio, the thought behind the environment design and studio space as they transitioned into owning their own building last year…  and then came the spots.  The spots!  Cooper meticulously went over several commercials and promos in the Cardboard Castle canon.  What was most interesting to me (IMO) was the attention given to the process, and how much amazing work ends up on the cutting room floor or goes no further than an R&D test as they blaze to the finish line.

CBC crew

Cardboard Castle crew watches their pixels fly

Looking at the breadth of work presented, it’s easy to see that Cardboard Castle is primed for big ideas that are just begging to be unleashed.  It was fantastic to have the entire company on stage for the final Q&A.

I need to stress that preparation was especially difficult for this event for the presenters, as whenever there is an expected crowd of 400 (and lots of “civilians” at that), it ups the ante and the “Pressure Drops,” as the Maytals song puts so well.  Cooper & Co, Andy and Damon (and the CCC crew) all rose the occasion, put in the necessary time, and made this a huge success.  I hope I speak for everyone when I offer up a huge thanks for taking the time out and helping to inspire and educate as we push the VFX envelope forward here in the Portland area.

Until next time!

Crowd pano

Thanks for coming out!

ILM + LAIKA = Incredible!


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Jeff White's ties are stong - despite the CA license, a Portland address!

Jeff White’s ties are strong – a CA license, but a Portland address!

Another big thank you to all who came out for “Avenge of the Zombies” on a near perfect Saturday down on the park blocks at the NW Film Center. It was a testament to the old phrase “if you build it, they will come,” and I’m happy to report over 300 Portlanders helped make a mind blowing memory!  Courtesy of Jeff White and the crew at ILM + Andrew Nawrot and company out at LAIKA, who deserve the biggest thanks of all.

A great turn out!

A great turn out!

Any Oscar nominated VFX film is wrought with challenges, and it’s easy to see why Jeff is an undeniable, major heavyweight talent in our industry.  The Avengers represents the collective strength and VFX execution that ILM brings to the table, well placed in the context of a story we can all get behind.  It was one of the most entertaining films in recent memory, vetted with a box office of over $1.5 billion;  the kind of movie that stands up to multiple viewings.  I was happy to take it in again a couple days before the presentation.  And that said, it was fresh in my mind and I can safely say that no stone went unturned – we were given a full tour of every major effect and character in the film, laced with some razor sharp wit and genuinely hearty laughs in there (Green Steve…  need I say more?).  Jeff knows this film like the back of his hand and has honed his presentation, no doubt, through Siggraphs and Oscar bake-offs and who knows what else.  It’s clear he brought his best to Portland!


Andrew Nawrot, LAIKA’s secret weapon

And speaking of P-town, it was fantastic to celebrate LAIKA’s work on ParaNorman from a VFX standpoint with the prodigious Andrew Nawrot as our guide.  So much goes into crafting a LAIKA movie and creating those worlds within the realm of stop motion, and VFX continues to play an increasing (dare I say major?) supporting role.  The army of “Laikans” out there in Hillsboro are doing world class work, and I hope we can make this a regular thing to take the time out after each feature cycle is complete and do up a proper show & tell for the home crowd.  If Andrew’s ParaNorman presentation was any indication, there will be some amazing (and beautiful…  and unique!) war stories to tell.  I was very happy to see ParaNorman Writer/Director Chris Butler in attendance for this trip down memory lane.  Hats off to all of the LAIKA crew.

Despite some early technical issues that gave me some unplanned (complete with jitters!) mic time in the opening minutes and made us run long, the event was otherwise a huge success.  I can only speak for myself, but wow – I was loving every minute and it immediately had me getting nostalgic about “landmark” events of past.  Time will tell, but it may even have topped my previous fave – the animation festival at OMSI in 2006 when I saw Moongirl (along with several other Portland based shorts) and decided then and there that I wanted to move here and set up shop in this beautiful town.  Again, thanks to Jeff and Andrew for a hefty supply of inspiration and a boost of motivation to power us all through a rainy spring.


To round things out – another quick shout out to our openers, Aidan Fraser with his short film “Space Out,” Carl & Felipe from Delerium showing off the “Fear Agent” trailer, and James & Karim from HIVE-FX with an updated reel of their work on Grimm.  Fantastic images from around town – and made for a good opening Q&A with the filmmakers to get us primed for ILM & LAIKA.

Last but not least – our sponsors deserve a drop for supporting an event of this size and helping to keep it free (which was a big priority).  Thanks again to 3DV, 52ltd, Autodesk, the Oregon Film Commission, Red Giant Software, the Art Institute of Portland, Imagineer Software, Artbeats, Make Magazine and the NW Film Center.  Whew!  A mouthful.

I think it’s safe to say – “let’s do it again sometime!”  And in fact big plans are in the works for our Summer meeting.  Loosely on the calendar for late July.  Until then!

Thanks to Jalal Jemison (Bent) and James Chick (HiveFX)


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James Chick/HiveFX

Another giant thank you to James Chick from HiveFX and Jalal Jemison from Bent Image Lab for putting together a great night of VFX from around PDX.  I was impressed with the refined approach that HiveFX takes with Grimm and their commercial work – they are clearly a force to be reckoned with and wise beyond their years and James is a great example of the young talent that is booming over there.  Jalal gave us an interesting look into the mind of a colorist and a taste of that world.  I think we’re all envious of the power and control that he wields with that sweet DaVinci Resolve setup.

Everything was recorded and I hope to get clearance to post a highlight video soon – watch this space!  Bits of the Silhouette demo will be included as well.

The raffle was a big success and thank you all for contributing!  We were able to raise about $100 to help defray the costs to import next meeting’s headliner, and that should knock the dollar amount down to a reasonable level that a sponsor can help cover.

Congrats to our raffle winners Chris Greene, Matt Keyes, Steve Molin, and Justin Nichols.  Another huge round of thanks for our meeting sponsors 3DPDX and Autodesk, and our raffle sponsors Silhouette, Blackmagic Design, Artbeats and O’Reilly Media.

The Spring meeting is shaping up to be the biggest yet, stay tuned for more info!


Jalal Jemison/Bent Image Lab

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