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The Gnomon Workshop released twelve new DVD titles

Posted: August 04, 2005
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July 27th, 2005 – HOLLYWOOD. Just in time for SIGGRAPH, The Gnomon Workshop released twelve new DVD titles today covering a broad range of techniques and software packages. In a first for the industry, the Workshop offers Aaron Sims' ZBrush Alpha Library to aid in character detailing. 3D artists can explore the mysteries of Houdini, and 3D Studio Max artists have the chance to learn Global Illumination techniques using V-Ray. Adding to his highly successful series on Digital Sets, Eric Hanson introduces his fourth title, this time on integrating spherical imagery, DEMs, HDRs and Maya to build 3D image-based terrain and landscapes.

The Gnomon Workshop also introduced eight 2D compositing titles that can teach the novice or hone the skills of the professional. Gary Jackemuk covers the fundamentals of compositing theory; Martin Hall illustrates the fundamentals of Shake, while Matt Linder's four titles teach various tools and workflows within Shake. Another first for the industry, Rob Nederhorst introduces two titles on advanced compositing using Nuke, the award-winning compositing package written and developed at Digital Domain.

Producer Eric Hanson says, "I am very enthused about this current major release of DVD titles. We have a very rich offering of highly production-based titles, and I think people will really benefit from the seasoned backgrounds of the authors. We are providing a much-needed move into offering professional compositing-based content, which is the backbone of professional visual effects work. These titles run the range from an intro to Shake to very high-end compositing technique with D2 Software's NUKE. We are also moving into a broader range of 3D packages, from Vray on 3D Studio Max to a much-needed intro to SideFX's powerful but often-intimidating Houdini. I am continuing my Digital Sets series with a very novel and powerful technique for creating digital landscapes, and lastly, Aaron Sims is contributing a very unique collection of character-based brushes for ZBrush. All in all, this is one of the largest single releases we have made, and we are thrilled to get this valuable instruction made public."

Says Gnomon Workshop founder and director Alex Alvarez, "There's literally something for just about everyone, whether you're a student wanting to learn compositing, an effects artist who's never discovered Houdini, a sculptor immersed in ZBrush, or a background artist who wants to integrate dramatic landscapes into his work. We're very excited about offering these titles to artists and students worldwide, and strengthening the quality of high-end computer graphics education."

DVD Descriptions:

Detailing Characters: ZBrush Alpha Library
Aaron Sims Tethered Islands Series
In this new series from Aaron Sims, he reveals his process for building the 3D world of his project Tethered Islands. In this lecture, Aaron demonstrates his techniques for sculpting character textures using ZBrush. Aaron shows the basics of using sculpting tools, and covers how to use alpha textures for applying detail to a character. This DVD contains a library of over 150 pre-made alpha textures, which are available for your own projects. Aaron also illustrates how to make your own custom alphas using Adobe Photoshop®.

Global Illumination: Exteriors
V-Ray Lighting Techniques with Christopher Nichols
In this lecture on the subject of Global Illumination lighting techniques, Christopher Nichols discusses the subject of exterior lighting. This DVD covers a general introduction to the principles of Global Illumination, which are essential to the understanding of this specialized form of lighting. While the series primarily uses V-Ray as the render engine in a 3ds Max environment, those using other GI renderers will also benefit from the conceptual techniques described. From the general concepts of reflected specular and diffuse light, to sky lights and image based lighting with HDRIs, Christopher shows how to light scenes using real world lighting in a fully reflective environment. He also demonstrates how to tackle the issues of animation by finding the most optimal way to bake lighting for exterior sets. This series is geared toward the CG artist that already has an intermediate understanding of direct lighting and is making the transition to GI lighting.

Digital Sets 4: 3D Image-Based Terrain
Combining Spherical Imagery and DEMs with Eric Hanson
In this continuation of the Digital Sets series, visual effects designer Eric Hanson illustrates a unique and powerful method to capture and re-create natural landscapes within a 3D environment. Integrating disparate technologies such as spherical panoramic photography, digital elevation models, high-dynamic range imagery, and global positioning, Eric is able to provide a reasonable substitute to nodal pan motion picture shooting, with the added ability to modify and enhance the landscape with the rich array of 3D techniques available within Maya. Various case studies are shown and provided on the DVD for the viewer to use in their own projects.

Houdini 101: Interface and Workflow
Procedural 3D Techniques with Garman Herigstad
Designed for the experienced 3D artist new to Houdini, this disc contains over five hours of lecture and extensive example files. With Houdini's strong history as a high-level effects animation package, seasoned feature film effects artist Garman Herigstad helps demystify its unique procedural approach to creating animation. He introduces Houdini's interface to establish familiarity with the software, and then presents its powerful step-by-step procedural approach, which allows for great variations in results leading ultimately to a faster production workflow. Examples include driving animation with audio data, modifying geometry using moving image sequences, particle animation setup, and basic shader creation. Houdini's "Takes" versioning is also introduced. These examples can be used with the apprentice version of the software available at www.sidefx.com.

Visual Effects Compositing Fundamentals
Production Compositing Techniques with Gary Jackemuk
In this introductory DVD, seasoned compositor Gary Jackemuk teaches the fundamentals of compositing with an emphasis on production. Gary starts by creating a sample composite, discussing the essentials of digital formats and color space. From there, Gary illustrates the process of using mattes generated by both 3D applications and live-action plates. He discusses the details of combining and layering by looking at the mathematics behind the most frequently used operators. The DVD covers color operations, filters, transformations and various methods of generating mattes. By walking you through a few composites, Gary shows you how these techniques are applied to actual visual effects production tasks. Although Gary uses Shake to demonstrate these compositing fundamentals, the techniques are applicable to any compositing package, including Digital Fusion, Flame/Inferno and After Effects.

Shake 101: Interface and Workflow
VFX Compositing Techniques with Martin Hall
Designed for the compositing artist new to Shake, this lecture covers the essential capabilities and workflow of the program. Martin discusses the UI (user interface) covering all aspects of its functionality. He focuses on his own production workflow, revealing how to effectively create a professional node-based composite. Topics covered include rotoscoping, color correction, premultiplication issues of a digital image, animation and movement. Learn methodologies and shortcuts that will dramatically improve your efficiency and performance. This DVD is an effective starting point for new users of Shake.

Shake: Expressions, Scripting and Macros
VFX Compositing Techniques with Matt Linder
In this lecture, Matt Linder discusses the powerful flexibility of using the command line and expressions to take your compositing to a new level of speed and efficiency. Matt begins with basic Unix commands for your terminal or shell, showing how to navigate around directories and files, and leads into Shake commands that demonstrate the advantages of command line workflow. Command line tasks run much more efficiently when you do not need to load a user-interface. Matt shows how to composite, resize, color correct, transform and convert your images from the com- mand line. He teaches how to set up batch scripts to run multiple tasks for nighttime renders or a distributed render, and how to build template scripts for repetitive tasks like title slates, wedges, video to film or film to video conversions. Matt uses simple math expressions to add new functionality to Shake, accessing and altering data anywhere in the workflow, linking node parameters, or creating random noise or sine wave expressions. He shows how to customize Shake's interface, how to build your own Macros, and how to build your own Viewer Look-Up-Table.

Shake: Color Correction and Layers
VFX Compositing Techniques with Matt Linder
In this lecture, visual effects artist Matt Linder demonstrates powerful color and layer techniques and how to achieve photo-real imagery in Shake. He discusses digital color theory, the basic math behind each color node, as well as understanding premultiply and unpremultiply, bit depth and Log-to-Lin conversions. Matt shares his tricks for matching colors, targeting specific colors or areas for color, keying for color or using color nodes for keying, and the all powerful ColorX and LayerX nodes. Every color and layer node is thoroughly discussed. The DVD includes color training exercises and numerous production examples.

Shake: Effective Keying Techniques
VFX Compositing Techniques with Matt Linder
In this lecture, visual effects artist Matt Linder discusses the essential keying concepts in Shake. Matt explores each of Shake's keying nodes in great detail, and discusses how to apply them to production shots. Matt explains the concepts of hard mattes and soft mattes and how they are used to equalize the detail of your matte. He shares tricks for edge detail work such as hair, despilling green or blue spill on the foreground subject, maintaining or inserting reflections, and depth of field issues. Matt shows how to utilize multiple keyed mattes to obtain a seamless composite of foreground and background. Included in this DVD are many real-world production examples of blue screen, green screen, sky replacement and color replacement.

Shake: Tracking and Transforms
VFX Compositing Techniques with Matt Linder
In this lecture, visual effects artist Matt Linder discusses advanced techniques for tracking and stabilizing 2D plates using Shake. Using real-world examples, Matt shows his techniques for capturing a move with one-point, two-point or four-point tracking. Each tracking and transform node is thoroughly discussed, including where to place your tracking points to capture accurate track data, how to deal with obscured tracking objects, smoothing and averaging tracks, adding motion blur to 3D renders, and smoothing out camera shake without losing the original camera move. This DVD also contains challenging real-world production tracking examples.

Introduction to NUKE Compositing
VFX Compositing Techniques with Robert Nederhorst
NUKE, short for "New Compositor", began as the in-house compositing and effects application at Digital Domain, where it won an Academy Award® for Technical Achievement. NUKE is built primarily for visual effects film work at a variety of element resolutions and color spaces, all within a floating point 2D and 3D environment. This lecture covers the essentials of working with film-based and CGI elements in a professional, extensible and fast compositing pipeline. Utilizing many techniques for speed and efficiency, NUKE is able to provide rich output results and ultimate customization for the user. In this DVD, Rob covers all the major aspects of NUKE and reveals many areas where the casual user would not have known to go at first glance. Rob also provides sensible approaches for how to lay a good foundation for proper compositing in your own projects.

NUKE Compositing in Production
VFX Compositing Techniques with Robert Nederhorst
In this DVD Rob examines a professional compositing job from an actual commercial production performed at Sway Studio. Using D2 Software's award-winning NUKE, this lecture explores complex systems and approaches for compositing workflows. Rob explains the use of Pan and Tile environments, where 2D images recreate a full 3D environment. All aspects of the compositing process are discussed, including professional methods for pulling keys from difficult greenscreen material. Rob goes over a few methods in meticulous detail for getting a clean key, even when faced with heavy motion blur and significant spill. This lecture provides a seldom-seen look inside the compositing process to aid the viewer's development as a professional compositor.

Since 2000, The Gnomon Workshop has provided artists and students with the educational resources they need to succeed as artists in the entertainment industries. Whether they're interested in design, modeling, effects, animation, storytelling or matte painting, these DVDs provide a valuable educational resource for students around the world. The Gnomon Workshop is the sister company of The Gnomon School of Visual Effects, which provides professional caliber visual effects instruction to students and professionals in Los Angeles, CA.

Visit http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com for more information on The Gnomon Workshop and our library of over 150 training DVDs.

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