VFX/Animation News & Developments for December 2021
  • Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021
Nathalie Girard

Rodeo Corrals VFX Pioneer Nathalie Girard
Nathalie Girard has joined Rodeo FX’s Montreal studio, marking her return to Canada after more than a decade in the U.S. She had been sr. lead compositor and comp supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. 

Over the last 18 years, Girard specialized in compositing and continuously explored new software and solutions. She trained herself on Flame very early on and was one of the first few women at ILM to be trained on Nuke. Besides working on Oscar-nominated pictures such as The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, War of the Worlds, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers and Iron Man, Girard supervised ILM’s first theme park project at Universal Studios, The Transformers ride. For that effort, her team later received a VES Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project. Girard was additionally behind the Warner Bros. feature Happy Feet, a winner of the Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards--a first for the studio--and at the BAFTA Awards in 2007. 

As Rodeo FX’s sr. head of 2D, Girard will be developing new workflows and technologies as well as leading the department. One of the few female leaders in visual effects, Girard is enthused over the prospects at Rodeo--as well as being back in Montreal.

Rodeo FX was recently nominated for three Emmy Awards--for its work on the series Lovecraft Country, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Founded in 2006, Rodeo FX has close to 600 artists, with studios in Montreal, Los Angeles, Quebec and Munich. Notable projects include Blade Runner 2049, IT Chapter 2, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Aquaman, Arrival, Fantastic Beasts, the Crimes of Grindelwald, Watchmen and Stranger Things (season 3). The latter recently earned Rodeo FX two VES Awards. The studio won a VES Award in 2019 for its work on Jack Ryan. Emmy honors include three wins for Game of Thrones in 2014, ‘15 and ‘16. 

FuseFX Tech Alliance Brings In DNE Volumetric Studios
FuseFX, a visual effects company with facilities across the globe, has added Digital Nation Entertainment (DNE) volumetric studios to its virtual production and real-time tech alliance. FuseFX tech alliance is committed to accelerating and adopting cutting-edge technologies for virtual production and real-time technologies for TV and film.

One of the most complex challenges in the virtual production space is creating locations that appear lived-in and realistically populated. Up until now, most virtual locations were well crafted but remained largely uninhabited. FuseFX is changing that by developing the technology to allow productions to populate the space with virtual extras and digital humans. 

Julian Sarmiento, global director of virtual production and real-time at the FuseFX Group, said that connecting with DNE’s volumetric studios “will allow us to bring virtual extras even closer to the physical stage and keep on extending the uses of virtual production content.” 

Sarmiento added, “Having digital extras is extremely powerful; this enables smaller spaces to be populated by hundreds or, in some cases, thousands of digital extras. The added features include facilitating full control over their performances, reactions, set positions, and motions at the push of a button, all at a bird’s eye view. In addition, volumetric performances will help to narrow the gap between real and digital background talent.”

“FuseFX is at the forefront of virtual production, and we look forward to this collaborative opportunity to provide volumetric authenticity to the VFX industry,” said Addie Reiss, chief content creation products officer at DNE.

The FuseFX tech alliance extends to practical case studies powered by Unreal Engine and stress-tested against real-world on-set production. In addition, systems are being developed to add direct on-set manipulation and logic that can react to practical events.

With DNE as part of this alliance, FuseFX now has the power to extend its range of photo-real opportunities by adding mid-ground digital extras to physical production. In addition, the teams will collaborate on research and development to expand the synergy between virtual productions and volumetric technologies for visualizations and traditional visual effects.

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