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Bringing Gravity down to Earth

By Henry Winchester

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Date Added: 24th January 2014

The terrifying idea of floating through space is animated by Framestore

He echoes Comley's thoughts on Gravity, particularly in regard to Cuarón's quest for ultra-detailed realism. "The biggest challenge of the film was making our assets as photo-real as possible,” Lambert says. "They would be scrutinized next to their real-world counterparts daily. There were also very complex materials such as cloth and foil that is damaged with rips and tears.”

Framestore's work on Gravity is very much complete, but it's been a huge contribution to the film's 10 Oscar nominations, including one for best visual effects. The trio we've interviewed are already up to their necks in a variety of new projects though: Ian Comley's working on Paddington Bear, which he describes as 'even more epic' than Gravity; David Nolan's bringing José Padilha's promising new Robocop to life, and Ben Lambert is reanimating the prince of darkness for Dracula: Untold.

The obligatory sci-fi chick in underwear scene. See also: Alien

Bournemouth again

As for Bournemouth University's National Centre for Computer Animation, it's busy training up the next generation of visual effects wizards and Framestore employees – which often seem to be one and the same. It's an essential institution if you're considering a career in visual effects – but David Nolan has also offered some tips for getting ahead in the industry.

"Decide what you want to focus on and specialize early,” he says. "Develop an understanding of the whole pipeline, but focus on the tools that you need to do your job. If you want to be a compositor, learn to be a good paint and roto artist. If you want to be in 3D, learn tracking. That's where you will start, and it's important to do so – you'll learn a lot doing those jobs that will be useful down the line.”

Special thanks to Sofronis Efstathiou, Postgraduate Framework Leader and BFX Competition and Festival Director and Bournemouth National Centre for Computer Animation, for helping set up the graduate interviews.

Tiny details, such as the scratches in George Clooney's helmet, were pored over by Alfonso Cuarón and the Framestore team.

The following selection of images give an idea of the types of output NCCA graduates produce in relatively short periods of time – some 6 weeks, other 10 weeks:

Adorn - by Milan Kolar and Tomas Slancik

ESPERO? (HOPE?) - Simone Giampaolo, Yifan Hu and Henrik Linnes

Team Assasin - Magnus Kravik, Katerina Pantela, Aparna Janga, Hemanth Surana, Venkatesh Kongathi

Team Awsomeness - by Harold Cheng, Chua Han Xiang and Lai Yeow Kuang

Trace - by David Nolan

Related links

Framestore's main Gravity page
The NCCA site
The official site for Gravity
NCCA's 3D Animation YouTube channel
NCCA's Computer Animation course information

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