Subscribe via: ( Email / RSS )

Care to watch? VFX Pipeline Video

Hey everyone! So another video I’m putting out this week – as I promised! This is actually more to gauge everyone’s interest and see whether there are enough of you interested in this sort of thing before I go head first into developing a series of free videos on this subject and then find out that everyone just wants to blow stuff up and has zero interest in the more ‘big picture’ kind of stuff.
Something, that I do a lot of is developing tools to automate a lot of processes. Both day to day tasks such as repathing FumeFX caches, render output paths and versioning up tools, Render submission tools and that sort of thing. But, I also develop tools specific to film productions to do a lot of the heavy workload that would take weeks otherwise to complete. On Transformers, I developed a set of tools that would actually construct 100 or more Max files from scratch with my FX in them with updated rigs and assets that I would plug into it, to make characters die very carefully based on specific variables and rigs I implemented. And for F-Light, the short film I created all of the visual effects for recently, I literally would have each shot generate the first pass of visual effects for me automatically, before I even touched it myself. So I could see all of the fluid simulations and particle effects simulated and built for me for first review so I can see how the effects look before I start changing them. All of it was purely generated from nothing but the camera track file I was supplied, and the animated shoes. Each project has it’s own requirements and I tend to be doing al to of very ambitious things every time that lately have been massive game changers for me.Why waste time doing the manual work, and also risk human error and mistakes, when you can supply the artist input that it needs and let the other 98% of the work, the parts that slow us all down, automatically happen for you?!

In this video, like I said, it’s more just a quick demonstration of something pretty simple at first glance. But, it’s more to gauge your interest and see if you are interested in this sort of thing. And, if you are, I will make a lot of how to videos demonstrating how to write your own tools and custom scripts to apply to your FX heavy film productions.

The idea here is simple. I’m in Boston, working on a movie, all of my render farm and file servers are back in LA. I wanted to use my render nodes, to simulate my FumeFX simulations, as well as render them out. However, I DON’T want to have to

* Manually email a file to myself, remote desktop into my LA workstation
* Download the file
* Make a shot directory, save file there, make a Render directory, FumeFX directories, path everything there.
* Submit each simulation manually to back burner, and my render image sequence too
* Go into Nuke and build a quicktime video of my FX renders, and send it back to myself for review
* Make a folder back on the PC I am sitting at remotely, and transfer the files over manually once I have viewed the quicktime and like the frames

If I have to do this every time I want to render something out, it’s going to eat up all of my time and bring production to a halt. However, I do need to do this, because I do not have access to any render nodes in this city. So, didn’t take that long to do but I built a couple of small tools that would automate the process. Now, keep in mind that I could have automated this process further and tried to be all fancy about it but just like Kung Fu in movies, and “procedural automated FX driven pipelines” and trade shows and such, fancy is cool to show off, but you really want to do the most affective approach that will give you the most control and the best results, the fastest way possible.

So, things like transferring the files back to me, I had it write me a .bat file, or batch file. So that when I am ready, I can double click it and it manually starts copying each file over for me through that batch script. The reason, so that it’s ready to go if I decide to transfer the files, but I won’t transfer them until I watch the quicktime video and make sure I like what I see. A QT is 5mb, an image sequence is 1.2gb.

This is just a fun demonstration, but I thought it would be cool and best off the whole thing is short. However, all of the things it’s doing under the hood, are actually very useful tools So, off the top of my head I can think of a dozen cool scripts I can show you how to write yourself.

* How to automatically make a directory and repath your scene file’s render output to that directory and naming for you automatically. So each time you change the version of your file to v05, v06, it’ll repath your render images output directory to a new directory named ‘My FX Pass_v06′.

* Same for all your FumeFX containers, as well as each folder is named individually for your container and then furthermore for each version. This is useful because most of us will have a specific FumeFX simulation folder on the network where we save our stuff out, usually outside of everything else so its easy to blast FXD data when necessary. But it’s also good to have it all organized, so it’s easy to delete that data when IT starts nagging that the server is running out of space.

* Backburner job submissions, both simulation jobs as well as render jobs, plus additional render passes built at render time, such as RGB lighting passes and other things. You can have so much control when you control how your jobs are submitted! I have had productions this year that had 20+ FumeFX containers in them, and submitting them to sim has been painful Worse, what if I have back burner mode accidentally on on a container I didn’t want it on and I overwrite the old data. you can write tools that protect you from yourself!

I could go on and on, but the point is, there’s lots of cool shit to do and the more technical you get the more you want to do this. And the thing is, there’s not really any tutorials out there on this sort of stuff. I’m far from a programmer, in the sense that I don’t live and breathe math. I’m no Bobo, and hell I didn’t even finish Jr. High. BUT I’ve yet to run into a problem I task I haven’t been able to do, and it’s just a matter of looking at it all from the right angle, and I’d have KILLED to have had a helping hand in my early days of learning all of this stuff, but I had to do it all on my own. You don’t need to do that. I’m here to help, and I’d love to help you!

Watch the video and then tell me if you want to see this kind of stuff. If you do. I already have a few things ready to go and I will put out more video content on this subject over the xmas holiday period. If you are like “Nah, Allan, I just want to blow things up, more FumeFX and Krakatoa tutorials please” Then that’s cool too. I’ll stick to what you know me for!


Posted on December 18th, 2013
Comment Rules: Feel free to leave comments, ideally I would like everyone to be mature and responsible for their actions, there will be a 0 tolerance to spam or rude comments by anyone posting. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!
'Ideally' it would be great to have people who are vising to post relevant comments or links to things that might be interesting and related to the articles they are commenting about.
I'm sure there are dozens of people who visit this page that are far smarter or talented than I am, so I encourage everyone to share knowledge, add and contribute to these threads wherever they can!

Rock on guys!

-Allan McKay

3,235 Responses to "Care to watch? VFX Pipeline Video"

  1. blogs says:


    [...]one of our guests just lately recommended the following website[...]

  2. ibc fail says:

    ibc fail

    [...]we came across a cool web-site which you could delight in. Take a look in case you want[...]

  3. needlework says:


    [...]check below, are some totally unrelated internet sites to ours, even so, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[...]

  4. someramente mite

    szabalytalan schrieben fugato libertyhttp gograph tansclub hangtud.

  5. free mp3's says:

    high tech

    I would like to point out my appreciation for your generosity for those who have the need for guidance on that subject matter. Your special dedication to passing the message all-around ended up being exceedingly interesting and have always enabled some…

  6. cheap viagra says:

    ultra violet

    I must voice my love for your kindness giving support to folks who have the need for help with in this situation. Your special dedication to getting the solution all-around came to be definitely productive and have always made somebody much like me to…

  7. says:

    engine results, then quality may not be

    what you need. instead, focus on quantity of material. bottom line: if search engine spiders are going to encounter these articles more often than human beings, quality can take a back seat to quantity.however, if your project is something that represe…

  8. SwaddlePod kapalot

    [...]always a huge fan of linking to bloggers that I appreciate but don?t get quite a bit of link appreciate from[...]

  9. anal says:


    I would like to point out my love for your generosity giving support to folks who really need assistance with this field. Your very own dedication to passing the message all around turned out to be definitely insightful and has continually encouraged m…

  10. forclosure

    I wish to voice my passion for your kind-heartedness giving support to men who have the need for assistance with this important situation. Your real commitment to getting the solution across appears to be incredibly interesting and has always empowered…

  11. paying for some sort of hosting service

    and must have your own domain in order to install your blog on. you can install your blogging platform from the control panel of your hosting service, usually it is under fantastico. the biggest advantage of self hosted blogs is that

  12. real investment

    I want to show my gratitude for your kind-heartedness in support of those individuals that need help with this one concern. Your real dedication to passing the message around ended up being astonishingly valuable and has continually made workers just l…

  13. bee wild pest control

    [...]we came across a cool website which you could take pleasure in. Take a look if you want[...]

  14. Konstantinos says:


    [...]Here are a few of the web sites we recommend for our visitors[...]

  15. we all started to learn how to

    write as kids — we scribble on walls. just write what is in your head. write your thoughts and feelings. you could also talk to yourself out loud then write down the words that come out. doing these simple activities with

  16. Los Angeles Female Strippers

    My spouse and i are now delighted that Albert could carry out his research because of the strategies he had via your online page. It truly is once in a while perplexing to just always be making a gift of ways which some people could have been offering.…

  17. bee wild pest control

    [...]the time to read or visit the content or websites we’ve linked to beneath the[...]

  18. Care to watch? VFX Pipeline Video

    What to anticipate inside a stair lift up.Clearly, something unnatural to move folks in a risk-free manner has to boast a fair safety aspect. It is important the carrier will continue to work if you have simply no mains electrical energy, it is therefo…

  19. pest control houston review

    [...]always a huge fan of linking to bloggers that I love but do not get a good deal of link love from[...]

  20. hospital

    I must point out my affection for your kind-heartedness in support of visitors who require help with this content. Your special commitment to getting the solution all over became particularly valuable and have helped most people just like me to get to…

  21. common repairs

    I wish to express my appreciation for your kind-heartedness giving support to individuals who need assistance with in this matter. Your personal commitment to getting the solution along appears to be incredibly useful and has really encouraged employee…

  22. common repairs

    I wish to express my love for your kind-heartedness supporting those people who absolutely need help with in this concept. Your very own dedication to getting the message around has been quite useful and have continuously empowered men and women much l…

  23. Care to watch? VFX Pipeline Video

    Penginapan, Guesthouse, Homestay murah dalam Jogja untuk holiday kamu. Penginapan dekat malioboro telah 500ribu/malam, muat h. m 8-10orang

  24. Best whatsapp status

    [...]the time to study or go to the subject material or websites we’ve linked to below the[...]

  25. Work from home

    [...]very couple of internet websites that come about to become comprehensive below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[...]

  26. Whatsapp Hack Conversation

    [...]we prefer to honor several other net web sites on the net, even if they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages really worth checking out[...]

  27. categories in a slide bar. do not

    hesitate in posting a blog in multiple categories; if it fits the criterion. always create the categories by visualizing how readers would like to see the content on the you think blog promotion has a positive impact on the organization’s

  28. {I would|I’d|I might|I’d personally|We would|I will} also like {to say|to express|to state|to convey|to mention} that most {individuals that|people who|people that|individuals who|of those that|of those who} find themselves {without|with out|withou…


  29. whatsapp hack

    [...]Here is a great Blog You may Find Exciting that we Encourage You[...]

  30. projector bulb elplp49 8100 8500 ub

    [...]just beneath, are many absolutely not related web sites to ours, on the other hand, they’re certainly worth going over[...]

  31. fishing boat

    I have to point out my appreciation for your kind-heartedness supporting those people that should have assistance with this particular idea. Your very own commitment to getting the message across had become astonishingly functional and have regularly a…

  32. google translate

    I wish to voice my admiration for your kindness giving support to people who should have guidance on that matter. Your personal dedication to getting the solution all over appeared to be really informative and has all the time helped girls much like me…

  33. windows vista

    I must convey my gratitude for your generosity giving support to persons that really want help with this one issue. Your special commitment to passing the message along came to be really valuable and have usually made associates just like me to attain…

  34. football manager

    I must express my gratitude for your generosity supporting visitors who require assistance with the concern. Your very own dedication to getting the solution all around became really valuable and has continuously empowered men and women just like me to…

  35. best appliance

    I wish to convey my affection for your kind-heartedness for those people that need assistance with this important subject matter. Your real commitment to getting the message across ended up being definitely effective and has frequently empowered men an…

Leave a Reply

4 − two =

Get Adobe Flash playerPlugin by wordpress themes