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2013 Q1 – VFX Reel

So this is a bit old now but I cut a new reel recently’ish

Enjoy! And if you need VFX Supervision on a project, or simply need some stuff blown up – shoot me an email! I’m always looking forward to working with new talented teams!

Thanks guys

Allan McKay

Allan McKay – VFX Reel 2013 from Allan McKay on Vimeo.

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Fast Track your Career – Autodesk University

I recently was flown out to Vegas to give a talk at Autodesk University Conference, which is the biggest of it’s kind, had a total blast but hectic as hell as it was in the middle of God of War’s production – I actually canceled my flight 5 times that week because I kept leaving to go to the airport and having to come back to the office over and over. STRESS!!!

Autodesk University – How to Fast-Track your Freelance Career and Make Yourself 10 Times More Employable from Allan McKay on Vimeo.

This talk has no video, it’s just audio and it’s very much going in rapid-fire the entire time, but listen carefully there’s a load of great information in here on how to fast track your career and make yourself more employable!

-Allan

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Production FX – Volume 1 new DVD!

Well after over two years since I released my last DVD! (Fume FX Core Fundamentals) I’m happy to show off what I’ve been working on lately! I wanted to put together a DVD that not only covered some really cool fun and killer content – but also something that really takes you through the stages of approaching an film FX shot and addressing all of the challenges you’re likely to come across. We go through using Thinking Particles as our primary FX tool, and Rayfire for initial fracturing of geometry, but also then building up our dynamic setups and demonstrating sub-fracturing and choreographing explosions at key times so various areas of a large bridge blow apart and do EXACTLY what we want them to do. I feel like most peoples training material out there these days is more tech demos specifically showing off a feature and not really getting under the hood on how you would approach it if it was a real production shot. And I want this to be something that tackles everything in a way that I or other experienced FX Technical Directors would go about doing a real production shot for a movie!

Production FX Volume 1

Production FX Volume 1

Production FX – Volume 1 – Download it right now!!

It’s $59 if you get a chance, I really recommend checking it out! And I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks guys!

Allan

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Artist Insight Series Launched

So over the past two years I’ve been shooting laid back videos with various high profile artists around New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The idea was to do what we usually do on panels, or casually over lunch and that is to chat chat about various interesting subjects. The amount of times I’d be out with guys from Pixar or ILM and just casually having a beer and realize the information we would be covering is pretty damn informative and I think a lot of people would kill to get an earful of, I thought it might be interesting to shoot some of these and give a bit more of a laid back approach to discussion various key subjects that most people would find inspiring.

So there’s plenty more to come, but Artist Insight Series is officially announced! Check it out when you get a chance!

http://www.artist-insight.com

Also you can find a few recent ones below:

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New Music Video from Young Empires

Recently I worked on a music video for Young Empires, which was a blast to work on and involved the creation of a lot of digital fire using Fume FX. I will be putting up more info soon on the development of it, however in the meantime you can check out the video below.

One cool thing to point out is that if you check the facebook link, they’re using some new tech which is pretty awesome for digitally inserting your photos into all of the photos in the music video, which I thought was a pretty awesome touch! And they’re the first production to take advantage of this.

The Music Video was developed through 567 VFX in Canada.

Facebook version of Music video found here

WHITE DOVES - YOUNG EMPIRES from Miles Jay on Vimeo.

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3D World Magazine Interviews Allan McKay

Just a quick update about an interview I did recently with 3D World Magazine for their ‘Meet the Artist’ Spot. This was a quick interview I was lucky enough to do with 3D World Magazine, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest 3D News source out there! So I’m very excited to be a part of this!
interview

3D World Magazine Interviews Allan McKay

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Allan McKay – Speaking at Autodesk University 2012 in Vegas

OK Guys, some big news which I’m really excited about, for many reasons, but I’ll be speaking at Autodesk University in Vegas this year – I’m covering a couple of different subjects which I’ve listed below. One is a very intense VFX class that goes through a lot of very cool subjects.

The OTHER is something I’m VERY excited about and that is that I will be doing a talk on career development. More specifically how to fast track your career and build a name for yourself in the vfx industry. This is something I’ve been focusing on very heavily for the past two years, consulting with a lot of people and mentoring a lot of more senior friends in the vfx industry with how to build their career up to where they want to be. So finally I will be talking a bit about this and how you, yourself will be able to apply this to your career and start to push your name out there and position yourself in the most employable position doing exactly the type of jobs you want to do and with offers landing at your feet!

DG3548-P – Advanced Visual Effects Techniques for Technical Directors
Click here to view course
DG3563 – How to Fast-Track your Freelance Career and Make Yourself 10 Times More Employable
Click here to view course

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Overtime Vs Productivity

Is it worth it working extreme hours all the time, day in day out – more importantly are you actually getting that much done during that time?

Foreword

This article isn’t a stab at the industry, nor should it be perceived as such. It’s actually a 2 part article which looks at how people, both from the management side and from the artist side work and why we get burned out, ways to avoid this and hopefully inspiring some to reevaluate how they work. I personally think that there’s two sides to the coin, and although a lot of the time management could work a bit better on making sure artists are appreciated for their efforts when they are killing themselves to deliver a deadline, artists too can look at bettering their efforts in terms of communication and self management, and even just raising their hand when they think something mightn’t be delivered on time, rather than waiting until it is in fact too late to do anything about it. The industry itself is pretty shaky right now, both with work being outsourced to other countries, and forcing studios in the US and other countries to underbid to actually be awarded a show, which then reflects back onto artists needing to double their efforts to deliver the same amount of work in a less amount of time to compensate for this.

I want to mention this, as I’m not bitter, or have any grudge the vfx industry as it stands, I work both as an vfx artist, client and producer so I’ve been on every each end of the stick. But I do believe it’s an interesting topic and I’ve wanted to discuss this for some time. Currently I’m in the middle of putting together the VFX Artist Insight Series which while filming this across the US in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City and other cities I’ve spoken with many artists and it’s really been interesting discussing topics such as this, and some of the current events that are happening that relate back to this. So I definitely think it will be interesting not only to write about this, but also to hear from all of you about your insights into this as well. I have so many talented and smarter people than myself visiting my web site on a daily basis and I’m sure a lot of you will be able to share some of your own insight onto the subject as well! But if not, then I at least hope you take something away from this.

Overtime vs Productivity

Working in the VFX Industry the one thing we can all associate ourselves with is working too much overtime. People constantly burn out, either temporarily or permanently. Others lose it during a project and storm out…

I’ve witnessed plenty of relationships and divorces occur, and most people sick for weeks after a long form project. The thing is, can this actually be avoided? Do you really need to work all of those late nights to deliver your work? Most of the time it’s management wanting artists to burn the candle at both ends to deliver a project. In some cases it makes sense, to save your energy until you reach the finish line and then you gun it as hard as you can to achieve your desired goal. However, there are plenty of people who make the call too soon, and start getting people working late nights when it’s not necessarily called for, such as mid way through a project, rather than when it’s absolutely necessary. And then what happens, you are literally burned out when you actually are at the crucial point.

The truth is that everyone does it, whether you’re a client, manager, producer, supervisor or anyone managing people, you put them through the extra yards to get extra work out of someone for usually no added cost. I mean, if you get an extra 5-10 hours a week out of each of your staff mid way through the project, then that surely means that toward the end of the show you’re going to be days or weeks ahead of schedule right?

The downside is that when people begin to burn out, they lose focus. They begin to make mistakes and fail to concentrate at the pace they should actually could work at. Some get bitter, others just lose any real care for doing their work.

I remember one movie I worked on where I was literally working 145 hour weeks literally living & sleeping at the office, and at the end of the day pretty much getting nothing done. Probably what would have made more sense is working normal hours and actually getting a chance to catch up on sleep, as well as process mentally the tasks I needed to solve. Rather than being so busy trying to get things done and try to concentrate when it felt nearly impossible to see straight, eyes stinging and ears ringing (seriously) that the work I did produce was probably about 10% what I could be producing. I like to think one of the most common issues that comes up is human error, people make mistakes. People take things for granted, miss bits of information they need and have their mind elsewhere and then, make mistakes. However, if they’re well slept, and able to concentrate, they’re less likely to make mistakes. There are plenty of additional things they can do themselves to manage themselves better, and I will get to that at a later time – but when it comes down to it, the less burned out and tired, stressed and used up you feel the more likely you’re able to keep your eye on the ball and do good work.

Recharging and revitalizing

At the same time, if you’re extremely happy, charged and into the work you’re doing, you’re going to care even more and do even better work! So getting appreciation from your peers and seniors, as well as acknowledgment for your good work helps to do this. Just the same if you’re taken out to lunch or other events to help you recharge and also solidify your team better. Taking a Friday afternoon off to go out for some drinks and give everyone a chance to recharge, not  only boosts morale but gives everyone a chance to talk with each other and let ideas fly. Taking people outside of their work environment resets their brains enough to start thinking about new things to try and ways to work together. The same reason most business is done over drinks, everyone loosens up and you’re given time with your co-workers to sit in the sandbox and play a little, without needing to have your eye getting something done.

One of the most common mistakes I see, which falls more on the artist – is that people are so busy trying to get their work done, they’re not looking at the big picture, and they’re not looking at whether the direction they’re going is the right one and any possible issues lingering that they’ve overlooked. I honestly think that 99% of most visual effects work you can do sitting under a tree with pen and paper, the same reason I love planes/airports and theaters so much – because it gives me a chance to reset my brain and start to think about my work without physically doing it and narrowing my ideas through false progression. So many people are busy trying to get the work done, that they head down the wrong path and not only do not realize this until much later, but only once they finally are at the point of realization that they have made so many mistakes, that they cannot actually backtrack very easily. But when the pressure is on, and you’re overworked, it’s much easier for this to happen as you’re under too much pressure and limited time to actually question yourself whether what you’re doing is ultimately the best solution?

Another example of burning people out midway through a project, the earlier things begin to be finalized.

The earlier in a show things are pushed to be finalized the more leeway and room for changes. I’ve sat in shows where I’ve completed my tasks sufficiently, however then more unnecessary tasks have come up, rather than moving onto the next stage in the process, purely because there’s time to do it “oh cool, ok well lets try this and this as well, you know, just in case they decide to go down that path, or something” Again this too can be pushed onto the artist and everyone really, to look at the big picture, but preparing and getting a project out the door should be on every one’s mind from the beginning, rather than the last 30% of the schedule when everyone begins panicking how they are only 15% into the actual project’s completion. Looking at the big picture allows for people to push to get things signed off sooner, and get more of the project as a whole done, and fill in the blanks later where necessary. Later revisit those bits for sign off. Some clients are the major fault here, and they see it as having too much time, so they start making changes that aren’t needed. Why do you think on most projects everything gets finalized and approved in the last week? Of course it’s because most of the work is finished by then, but also at that stage people are forced to make decisions and sign off on the studio, and your work. So is it really worth killing everyone mid way through a project when it’s clear the client isn’t in fact making any real decisions until the last quarter of the schedule.

Konami – “Dark Nekrafura”

A great example of this was a Konami project I did in Sydney 10+ years ago, where the client was notorious for having the entire team work the entire 48 hours or so of the end of the project, when they literally come in and make changes in person. They would literally come in from Japan with 15 or so people, take it in shifts art directing our artists, taking turns as each other slept in a non going wave of changes, and in some cases even try to ask if they can supply a completely new script and concept, or new features that were never ever discussed in the month of production leading up to then.

This was common with this client, and it was one of the type of projects artists would try not to get put on because it had such a potent burn out rate (this was actually the last Konami project we ever did before finally thanking them and asking them to find a new studio, as it was particularly brutal this one time). But because we knew how they worked, we were expected to go about our days and not really do any overtime, just do the changes and work the hours we were expected, because we knew everything would probably change once they actually arrived – they were pretty notorious for simplifying a lot of the concepts and animation, perfectly articulated tiger crawling through the jungle then became flying tiger with no body movement and glowing red eyes. “ok, cool, delete all key frames, add glow, goodbye last 2 weeks of work”. Rule of thumb with this client was to “increment on save” because you’ll probably go back to version 01 out of the 500 you have, and they will instantly approve that one on first go.

So in a way we knew what was asked of us, do your job, don’t burn out, and don’t work yourself too hard, because you WILL be required to work crazy hours the last 3 days of the job, let your husband/wife know too so they mark it on the calendar you’re “out of town” for 3 days.

Superman

One of my fondest projects I’ve ever worked on IS in fact probably one of my most ridiculously tight deadlines I’ve ever had to endure. What made it different was that on Superman Returns we had 3 weeks to recreate the entire opening sequence to the movie.

One shot, all CG, 2.5 minutes, 3 weeks to do it. However what was different about this was that I felt like we didn’t really make any mistakes at all on this project. We had a solid crew of people and we had a plan. I was lucky and managed to hit all the right points, getting my initial look for the core of the sun exploding approved first go, and told to proceed and essentially just do whatever it was I was doing. But I also was given the support I was by management to keep me going, rather than putting too much pressure on me, I was given talented and pretty much genius people to take the more redundant parts of my job away from me to focus on building the effects I needed.

At the same time, management – although was applying pressure as we did need it, and they too were getting pressure from Warner Bros. they focused on helping us take our minds off the stress by making work fun. I haven’t really ever seen the President of a vfx studio at 3 in the morning walking around with a blender full of margaritas, or taking all the guys and girls out for Mexican, tiki bars and then a trip to a gentleman’s club some nights (despite how this might be perceived, both the male and female staff would all go along and it was quite an amusing environment to have some drinks in). Encouraging gags and letting people joke around and leave when they needed to, and the rest of the time keep out of our way rather than making us feel like we need to work harder. This is still one of my fondest projects to have worked on, also one of the more stressful, however I was never bitter, and I also think that I did some of the best work I have ever done on this project because we were managed so well.

I did get sick for 2-3 weeks after the project, after all, my mune system totally crashed from lack of sleep. And this isn’t healthy. And there were people who did respond negatively to the project and pressure, but everyone has their breaking points. The fact we were paid hourly rather than a day rate meant I never got bitter or felt like every hour extra I worked, was essentially an equation as to how many dollars less per hour I actually am earning that day. Instead I was able to use a calculator at 6 in the morning to work out how much money I earned that day and feel good about going back to my hotel for a couple of hours and returning at 10am to start a new day.

This is what made it different! We were compensated for our time, and better yet, we felt appreciated for the work we were doing. The environment was fun and people were making the right decisions in regards to what we needed to get done, so we could focus on our work. If at any point I felt like we had wasted a day or a week because of a bad call or decision, I would have lost it. But we were guided in the right direction and left to do what we did. Everyone knew each other on the project, which made it work much better too. We all had a familiarity with each other, and knew our strengths in the workplace, we were all fond of each other and we were all able to communicate, rather than wait for meetings to feel like we need to talk. People could joke or tell stories while we all laughed and continued our work, or help each other out when we got stuck. Because we all were actively going out and having a beer or spending time together relaxing and we were therefore comfortable doing all of this. Which is a key factor to making this all work.

At the end of Superman, the VFX Supervisor who had recently bought a bus company, gave us a bus we could drive to Vegas in. The owners put us up in Vegas for free, and organized loads of events for us there. We stocked the bus full of booze and went alongside the production team from Warner Bros to Vegas, drinking the entire trip. We fired machine guns (well I and a few others did, everyone else was too hungover), Cabaret shows, big dinners, gambling, you name it. It was a chance to relax and celebrate what we had accomplished. We got vfx crew shirts, and we all got to drive back on the bus hungover beyond all hell two days later. This did make the trip, getting a chance to relax, it was a light at the end of our tunnel. And we didn’t feel used up after the show, or worse yet told we need to work late on the next show, days after this one had wrapped (which I’ve seen all too often). During Superman I did witness one divorce personally, and heard of plenty more that had happened at other studios working on the film.

The industry and where it currently stands

The visual effects industry can be very shaky, and a very competitive industry, at the same time making bad calls on bidding, or worse underbidding to be awarded a show can mean that rather than tighter calls on changes etc. Artists just need to work more hours to handle the workload.

I find at times, artists being compensated hourly is great, because it means they are being paid for the hours they work, and are more happy to work the additional hours when they need to rather than being bitter or fighting it. At the same time, it forces management to be more careful with artists working OT because it actually does cost them money. Essentially everyone is paid the amount they’re owed and they can feel more appreciated knowing that they aren’t essentially having their life sucked out of them, and for free. However, that isn’t always possible. And it’s not because of a job is severely underbid, there can be many reasons. Everyone needs to eat, and just turning jobs down because the client obviously isn’t willing to spend the money is going to still lead to studios pockets emptying if they do not take on work. But that doesn’t mean they can’t still try to compensate with a more positive work environment and a show of appreciation for the artists.

An example of semi-successful handling OT

I produced a commercial probably 2 years ago, where the budget was tight, but the deadline was even tighter. 3 weeks to complete a pretty ambitious commercial, I hired another studio to help out with the commercial just so I knew we would have the support we need, however their work wasn’t really as up to par as I expected and they ended up costing more than half the commercial for work we later had to redo. I had a core team of artists on the show, and they performed miracles. They literally killed during this time, performing amazing work and literally saving the day. We had 3 weeks, and I knew there was going to be a ton of overtime, and that wasn’t in the budget. They knew that, I warned them before they came on board. So it wasn’t news to them, and they were all prepared to do it.

However, even though I was VFX Sup’ing the show and wasn’t hands on as an vfx artist, I did stay back late every night to ensure that A) they had everything they need and if a decision was needed to be made I was there to make it and B) for morale so I wasn’t at home snug in bed or watching tv while they were slaving away, rather I was there and helping them wherever I could. Each night I would take them out for dinner, maybe a beer or two but I would warn them not to overdo it as we had to work, but there were times where we’d end up bringing some bar staff (girls obviously) back to our studio to hang out if we had a late dinner, and we balanced having a life and fun with getting the work done. More importantly I made sure they were being taken care. A $40 meal per person isn’t that expensive compared to them working an additional 7 hours that night, I don’t really understand studios who do expect you to work hideous amounts of overtime and not compensate you with a meal, or a taxi home late at night. At the same time if they were to sleep at the office, which unfortunately on this one project it did happen a few times – I would always call my producer on his way into work to bring breakfast in for everybody.

Again such a small thing, but it always went a long way. At the end of the project, again I took everyone out for a very expensive meal and a night of drinks, I was very grateful for their work and also ensured that any future employers knew of this too. I was glad to hear everyone say it was the best team/project and management they had worked with, ever. And I think it was more just the fact that if they aren’t being paid at least they are being treated like human beings and not like machines. I mention this as it is proof that if you are going to make people work late, it’s not the end of the world but you do need to make sure they are appreciated, and compensated as such.

Artists under pressure

People under pressure are more likely to snap, crazy deadlines and depressing work environments lead to people panicking, hating work, not thinking clearly, avoiding talking with management or showing their work in fear of bad responses. There are plenty of reasons and a lot of effects to this. Some people when yelled at, respond well they buckle down and do the work, most however freeze. I’ve seen this even on recent projects I’ve seen artists literally stop what they’re doing for a day because the pressure is too much, most of the time it’s purely all in their head, and this is something I will cover in chapter 2 – but never the less people do freak out and become counter productive. People deal with stress in many different ways, but there are plenty of support people can be given as well as positive feedback to go with the negative to help keep everyone on track.

What is clear is that it is sometimes necessary, not every job has the budget, or there might be other circumstances. However carefully planning projects, asking artists if they are comfortable with their workload and getting others involved will allow for better scheduling of workloads. However more importantly, pushing artists to work too much overtime when it’s not needed can be extremely counter productive when they then begin to make mistakes and slow their pace, mess up and lack the energy to really care anymore, or communicate/play well with others. This ends up making the schedule fall further behind, than if they were well rested and inspired to work faster. Some of the best producers I worked with in my early career literally got into what you were doing, learned how to load a RAM player to view some videos, so they weren’t waiting for you to come in in the morning to show a client a video, they were able to go an extra step to run and get you a coffee or pay a few bills online, or at least have someone else do these things, move your car etc. which sounds extreme, but if you really look at it, it actually keeps you at your desk working, rather than losing time doing these things, and for you it’s one less thing to stress about. Everyone wins, maybe even management more than the artist really. So those little things are just the tip of the iceberg but essentially it’s a good way to keep your machine all lubed up and ready to rock, rather than having minor breakdowns and halts as it functions.

I would be very interested in hearing others insights as well as situations they’ve experienced. I’m not looking to have negative comments or complaints and comments, I’m looking for productive insights into projects people found to be successful and why, or where shows or productions could have been handled more efficiently. As I stated in the foreword, this isn’t a counter productive article, it’s purely an insight into something I strongly believe, that overtime really is counter productive, and the more people all mesh together and calibrate each others work flow to make sure everyone is working efficiently the more things get done efficiently.

The Flip Side – Chapter 2.

So the flipside to this is the fact that although there are good and bad work environments, and managements do have a lot of influence on how much you are going to work – artists are just as responsible for working long hours and burning out. That being said a vast majority of people out there do tend to want to be lead and do not want to seek responsibility for managing themselves and making themselves more efficient through coming in on time, staying focused and communicating and managing the workplace as much as the workplace manages them. But ultimately you are responsible for what you do and do not put up with, and you are also responsible for raising a flag if you think some schedules are unreasonable. It’s better for people to be aware of it then and there and re-coordinate resources to compensate, rather than you taking it on the chin and then later not delivering and saying it was because the schedule wasn’t fairly placed.

A lot of this comes with experience, and a lot of this can be argued. But there is plenty YOU can do on your end to avoid working unnecessary overtime, and helping yourself work more efficiently. I will be following up on chapter 2 of this article shortly!

Click here to read part 2

Article translated to Spanish – Thanks Gabriel Gazzán

// Any other people interested in translating this article to your native language please contact me

-Allan McKay

New York City, November, 2010

Allan McKay is an award winning Technical Director & VFX Supervisor, working in visual effects for Hollywood films for over 15 years. Also a Public Speaker & Author. Teaching master classes at events such as siggraph and for Autodesk and other events all around the world.

Allan has previously worked for studios such as Industrial Light + Magic, Blur Studio, Ubisoft and many others and was awarded as an Autodesk Max Master as well as working on dozens of projects that either received or were nominated for Emmy and Oscar awards.

McKay lives in Los Angeles, CA and is the director Catastrophic FX film studio.

http://www.allanmckay.com

amckay@allanmckay.com

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FX Workshop + Fume FX 2 Auto Sim Script

Fume FX 2.0 Auto Script v1.0

So this is more a 5 minute thing I wrote for my own uses, however I posted this on a few forums and a lot of people have gone crazy for it. So I’m releasing it publically for anyone who needs it. It’s written ‘as is’ but I find it useful for production.

Basically set up your container with all the correct settings you need (I have had one or two people run the script right after making their grid expecting it to do something magical for them, so keep in mind you SET UP YOUR CONTAINER and then once you have everything how you want it, ie. simulation, wavelet, retiming and rendering all set up. You can run the script, and it will initially simulate your container, and then run the wavelet and retiming sims and then render it. Which means rather than hitting sim several times at each phase, you can run the script and it will simulate each phase for you and then render it once it’s done. Which means you can go get that beer at the pub that you’ve been craving all day. (or focus on other shots without needing to baby sit this one).

Download AutoScript v1.0 here

Get Hollywood Live Action Workshop

So in the past two months both CG Society and I both have had a LOT of traffic requesting the Hollywood Live Action Workshop which I designed last year run at least another time.

So for those of you who don’t know, this workshop focuses over 8 weeks hands on with me, on simulating a real production environment, conceptualizing your effects, building all your hold out geometry and matching your camera. Building the effects and projecting footage etc. and compositing elements to make your final shot. Essentially replicating what you do in the real world day to day. This is one of my favorite workshops as I think this is real world knowledge that really does train you for working on high end films, and so far we’ve had a great amount of people both experts in the field and some more budding artists all attending, and some of the bigger names too such as Mir Vadim (creator of Rayfire) and various other guys from Ubisoft and other studios all doing the workshop.

The workshop focuses on Fume FX, Afterburn, Fracturing, Scripting tools, Compositing, painting concept art, camera matching, dynamics, rayfire and a heck of a lot more

So we’ve just announced the workshop today -a lot of spots are already taken because of the general interest leading up to it. But if you want to attend the workshop go over to CG Society and sign up! This will be a really exciting workshop and I gaurauntee all of you will take a lot away from this!

Hollywood Live Action FX Workshop

Now serving Los Angeles

After almost a year of living in San Francisco while I was working on The Last Airbender, and Priest at ILM and Spypost. I will now be officially relocating and setting up permently in Los Angeles. This has been a long term plan that is finally coming together, with plans for later this year to move Catastrophic FX and a lot of my resources over to LA as well.

This to me is a very exciting time, as I will be shifting all of my resources together and setting up a small studio to collectively build a team of solid FX artist and compositors to push through high level production work and work as a support system for other visual effects facilities throughout their productions.

There will be a formal announcement coming in the later months, but I did want to share this news, as now I will be based in LA and I will be looking to pull together 3D resources and also help with other vfx studios if there need be any VFX or supervisional work!

For the remainder of the year I while setting everything up, I will be focusing solely on freelance work, so anyone needing FX drop me an email

Any questions or need for vfx services feel free to contact me at amckay@allanmckay.com

Teaser Trailer for Priest!

So one of the recent films I completed, Priest – has now got a teaser trailer available. This film, I think by far is my best work yet! Obviously once the film’s out I’ll be excited to cover more indepth the work I created for this, however in the meantime check out the new teaser trailer located here!

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Want some Fume FX 2.0 lovin?

Fume FX 2.0 Fluids Feature Overview video

Below is a link to a 30 minute video I put together just discussing some of Fume FX 2.0′s new features, as well as walking through how some of them work. feel free to click on ‘like’ if you like it!

Also on a separate note, I will soon be updating this website with high resolution downloadable versions of all of my tutorials, as well as ipod versions if you want to watch them while you’re on your way to work each morning! So keep an eye out for this!

Fume FX 2.0 – Fluids Feature Overview from Allan McKay on Vimeo.

Join Facebook Public Page so you can share knowledge, win prizes and find other VFX artists!

I now have a public page you can join, the idea is to build a great community of visual effects enthusiasts

With so many talented and creative people visiting this page, I wanted to find a way to pull everyone together in a way that we can all share information and knowledge, as well as post information related to visual effects and the film industry. It will be the most up to date way to find out about new tutorials and information, as well as contests being held to win prizes such as personal tutoring and training DVD’s amongst other great stuff! So when you get a chance, join my facebook page!

Allan McKay to judge VFX Wars!

So not major news, however I thought it would be worthwhile mentioning I am going to judge this coming VFX Wars challenge.This should be fun! Read more on VFX Wars here…

Want to win Advanced Visual FX 3 DVD?

Although this is jumping the gun a bit, I thought it would be a great way to announce the new Visual FX DVD I have been working on the past 6 months! More information will be coming on it soon, but if you’re interested in winning a free copy to download, I thought it might be fun to put up a thread on my Facebook page, just discussing some of your favorite all time FX movie sequences. Already there are dozens of posts about this, and it’s been great to interact with so many people and see their insights into what makes a great FX movie! I will be randomly picking one of the contributors on September 15 to receive a free downloadable DVD of Advanced Visual FX 3! Check it out here!!

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Wrapping Tasks UP

Very brief demo on building basic tasks such as in this case creating customized forces and wrapping them into a one-click process.Originally this was going to be just a 3-line script, however I thought I would present it like this as it might explain what I’m trying to get across a bit better.Anytime you’re doing a task more than a few times, you might as well wrap it into an automated task and save yourself the hassle, freeing you up to focus on more pressing tasks.

http://www.vfxsolution.com/site/video/tuts/Pflow_PreBakePos/prebakeposv2.avi

Download Tutorial

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Website update

A little overdue, but finally a new website up and running! I’ve been running this webpage for 13 years, 6 of which have been as allanmckay.com, however averaging over 1,000 hits a day the bandwidth has not been able to keep up in the past!

I’ve switched over to a lightning fast server, and unlimited bandwidth, all of the previous tutorials are online, and loads more are going to be popping up very soon, as well as other content, maxscripts, Real Flow, Maya and various other material too.

Bare with us over the next coming weeks as this website comes online, however I now have other people running and contributing to this website so it will become a lot easier for myself and others to keep it up to date and make more frequent updates.

I will be putting up a newsletter soon, so people who are interested in participating in CGWorkshops or other events that sell out quick can get a heads up before they are announced, ensuring their place in the workshops ahead of everyone else, as well as gaining access to exclusive content and other cool material that noone else has access to.

I’m excited and looking forward to getting this website online both to put together a focal point for solid visual effects content as well as various other areas I’m tied to such as travel, writing and film production.

Any ideas or things you would like to see covered, or anything else feel free to contact me! amckay@allanmckay.com


Allan McKay

Gold Coast, Australia

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