Twelve – A Short Comedy

I’ve decided to release to the internet the short film I wrote and directed while I was back in school at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh finally getting my bachelors degree uh… some years later than when I had originally started at Ohio Universty. (hint: Dukakis was a presidential candidate)

My film is called “Twelve.” It is a short comedy about the dating woes of a twelve inch tall man.  It was a student project for the Visual Effects department at AIP.  Some of the effects could be a little better, but we were somewhat limited by the size of AI’s greenscreen studio.

I do think it turned out as a fun little film.  I hope you enjoy it!

Titanic 3D – “Best Conversion Ever”

Titanic 3D movie posterI’m definitely proud to say that I was part of the team (as a Nuke Compositor) that is bringing the 3D version of “Titanic” to the big screen.  We definitely did our best to “dimensionalize” James Cameron’s vision of this film.  We were also fortunate that Cameron gave us the time to do it right.  No rush job here!

The results?  Early reviews from the Valentine’s Day preview screening consider the 3D version of “Titanic” the best 3D conversion ever!



TITANIC Comes Back to the Big Screen in 3D!

Early Review: Titanic 3D

This conversion will blow your socks off, I guarantee it! (I’ve been barefoot for months now)  :-D

Busy, busy, busy

Hugo - Safety Last homage
“Hugo” – an homage to Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last”
Harold Lloyd - "Safety Last"

Harold Lloyd - "Safety Last"

Please pardon the lack of posts and responses to the comments of late.  I am currently working as a compositor on the 3D conversion of a major motion picture and will be working 80+ hours per week until we deliver at the end of the month.

In the meantime, check out this in depth article on the making of Hugo the great Scorcese homage to the father of visual effects Georges Melies by my good friends over at FXGuide.

Hollywood here I am!

It’s been a little while since the last post. I was a bit busy with the drive back out to Los Angeles from Ohio and the whole moving in thing.  But now I’m settled in and back to work.

Telecine 4 at FotoKem

Currently, I’m re-editing a short film I worked on 14 years ago.  The producer/director decided he wanted to re-insert some previously cut scenes and otherwise try to extend it out to fit an hour long TV slot.  It’s been interesting going back to that footage… it was a different time and a different place!

The Avid we used was a Quadra 900 based Avid… Two Apple processor generations ago… not Intel… not PowerPC… but the Motorola 68040!  Steve Jobs was still at NeXT and I was a 20-something.  ;-)

I’m in the process of doing telecine at FotoKem in Burbank of the original footage.  I’ll begin editing as soon as that’s done.

Sunset from the Hollywood apartment balcony

Found a nice apartment in Hollywood, just down the street from AFI (American Film Institute). The balcony looks up towards the Hollywood sign and Griffith Observatory.

It’s good to be back!!


Los Angeles here I come! (again)

Well, I’m heading back out to Los Angeles. I’ve completed my Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects… it’s good to finally have my degree 20 years after I first went to college!  What can I say? I started getting movie work back when I was in my early twenties and no one ever asked me if I had a degree.  :-D

I’m looking forward to getting back to Los Angeles… getting back to friends and places I know. I’ve enjoyed my two years back in Ohio and am so glad to have met everyone that I did at school (ok mostly everyone!) but it’s going to be nice to be back on my familiar turf out there.

The Elastic Renderfarm: Rendering for $0.06 per core hour

I just posted a series of videos to the tutorials section of my website detailing how to set up your own Autodesk Backburner renderfarm for 3DS Max or Maya on Amazon Web Service’s EC2 Elastic Computing machines.

If you have some patience and a little technical know-how, you can wrangle yourself up a renderfarm of a virtually unlimited number of servers at a price as low as $0.06 per core hour. Many of the reputable commercial cloud renderfarms charge upwards of $0.70 per core hour.

This is a great service for the independent 3D animator or visual effects artist who doesn’t have the time to render on their own single machine or the money to spend on a full service renderfarm solution!


Had a great time at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver this year. Met a lot of great people. It’s so revitalizing to be around so many smart and talented people… it really makes me anxious and excited to get back to my own work!

Vancouver is still a gorgeous city. It’s changed quite a bit since I lived there in 1997, but I managed to find some familiar landmarks.

I picked up a couple of Python books while at SIGGRAPH. It’s been years since I did any sort of coding, but Python seems to be quite a valuable skill to have with Nuke and some of the other visual effects software. I really like how scripts can be used to expand what you can do with the software. A while back I dragged out some old trigonometry skills to do some motion graphics tricks with expressions in After Effects. Those sorts of things make it possible to do what would be impossible with just keyframe animating.

I had to make a change to my travel arrangements due to a last minute meeting (great meeting!) that came up on Thursday. The airline wanted upwards of $800 to change the ticket so I will be returning to Pittsburgh via Amtrak’s Empire Builder line instead. It should be a beautiful ride!


I’m just a couple days away from SIGGRAPH in Vancouver.  It’s going to be fun this year!

I went to SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles last year and met some great people.  I was still fairly early in my Visual Effects training at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, though, so I wasn’t quite ready to hit the job fair at that point.

Not so this year! I’m dutifully putting together my reel and various other sundry items. I’m keeping the fingers crossed for a great run at the job fair this year!


Jud’s Renderfarm and Reptile Shack

This just in from Jud’s Render Farm and Reptile Shack…

110 hours of rendering time on the “High-CPU” machines at Amazon EC2 cost me $55. The storage and transfer fees were negligible.

High-CPU machines are 8-core with 7 gigs of RAM… so, as the cloud render farms calculate it, I had 880 core/hours.

One of the cloud renderfarm services charges $.70 per core hour. 110 hours * 8 cores = 880 core/hours. 880 core/hours of time on their service would have cost $616.

I’d say Amazon EC2 is one hell of a bargain if you have the technical know-how to do it yourself! ;-)