Project Lead: Matthew Taylor

Number of participants:  18

Duration: 5 days

Project Outline:

A five-day workshop where participants will be introduced to creating visual effects simulations inside the software Houdini. They will also be challenged to approach the process critically by being introduced to artwork, writing, and film that sheds light on the labour intensive practices of the visual effects industry. The goal of the workshop is twofold: to create a simulated 3D animation and render it for the final outcome and to develop a knowledge of the craft of visual effects. We will discuss the current industry standard practices and techniques as well as their history, and the political issues attached to the industry. The aim is to develop problem-solving skills to tackle complex software. On completion of the workshop, participants, even those with little to no experience with 3D software, will be equipped with knowledge of the processes of computer generated animation, and will be encouraged to continue to develop them afterwards through recommendations of online learning resources.


Day 1 – Monday 4th November:
We’ll start each day with short screenings and round table discussions aimed at generating ideas/questions participants may want to explore in their projects

AM: An introduction to the workshop by Matthew Taylor, MA Experimental Animation student and 3D artist. We will start with a lecture introducing participants to experimental 3D animation that critically questions industrial practices, as well as breakdowns of professional visual effects simulations. A list of online resources for highly technical 3D learning, and a recommended reading list of relevant critical theory will be provided.

PM: Guided training session of Houdini and an overview of 3D software fundamentals. How does Houdini compare to other software? What is proceduralism? Participants will then be encouraged to experiment in an attempt to find a part of the software they enjoy most, so they can focus on it for the next few days; they may choose to form small groups of similar interests.

Day 2 – Tuesday 5th November:
Guided instruction continued. The goal is to help participants develop their technical understanding, while maintaining their critical underpinnings. We will go through types of simulation models in 3D including; Pyro Simulation, FLIP Simulation, and Finite Element Simulation. Participants will be walked through how to start creating simulated animations.

Day 3 – Wednesday 6th November:
 Guest lecture

PM: Individual or group work with optional guidance from guest lecture or myself.

Evening (optional) – 3D artist talk as part of the CGI Society.

Day 4 – Thursday 7th November:

AM: The workshop group will gather to plan the installation set up. Depending on the group’s decision, screens may be rented to install across the RCA campus for a campus-wide takeover.

PM: Final preparations for overnight rendering.

Day 5 – Friday 8th November:

AM: Final group discussion where we will review the group’s work over the course of the week. Followed by installing and set up of screens.

PM: Screening/Exhibition – Celebration of the week’s work!

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