Our time is not stayed and always in motion. Each year new companies with high-end technologies appear on the market.
The two main factors of that are unstoppable growth of population and simplifying technologies. And these two factors affect entirely on each niche of business.
VFX is not an exception. It doesn't matter if it is a small company that uses new technologies, or a big company with huge investment capital that uses old techniques and approaches, but they just appear.
To stay on the road, companies must be trendsetters or inventors that could bring innovation on the market that changes the game. It's a deadly race where the strongest survive and the weakest will die out like the dinosaurs.
Image Engine isn’t the world’s biggest visual effects facility, but it certainly works on some the world’s biggest films. As a medium-sized company tackling high-end work for a number of prestigious clients, an ethos rooted in careful preparation is key.
Image Engine Reel
VES Award Nominee 2014
Whatever the project, whatever the creature, we make sure we spend as much time up front to get that digital asset completely production-ready.
While other companies might throw armies of artists at shot work and solve every little rigging issue at shot time, we make a conscious decision to take the investment up front – we pour our efforts from the outset into extra lookdev work, and build our rigs with that extra intelligence.
A great example of this is the automaton with attitude, Chappie. We spent a huge amount of time working on that character.
Once it was in production it rarely came back needing higher resolution geo, or textures, or any tweaks to the lookdev to get it to look right in a different shot. We put all of the fine details into the model on every square inch of his body, because the camera could go anywhere.
Investing up front really pays off in the end. No time is wasted and our artists’ time is spent pushing that last 5 per cent, and really making the character feel beautiful, real and perfect.
Our rigs work properly from the get go – we don’t have to go back in there and correct pinches and folds in the legs – we’re not sculpting 3D for every muscle flex after the fact. It lives on the rig and it’s always there.
This meticulous approach to creature design means that Image Engine assets are totally ready to be animated, integrated into shots, and rendered with very few tweaks necessary.
We build our lookdev and lighting setups so they’re completely calibrated against real-life photography and real-life reference. By the time an artist gets a hold of the character, it can do anything they need it do, quickly and efficiently.