Technical Directors work on film production just as if they were part of a real production studio: they develop the pipeline, set up the renderfarm and work, in close collaboration with the digital directors, to create the tools necessary for film creation and production. Their training goes quite deep: they are initiated into project management, and delving real time technologies, artificial intelligence, software engineering, rendering programming and procedural generation. ARTFX TDs can also work in positions related to R&D development.
[Julien Rippstein] Hi, we are the Technical Directors from ARTFX and we are going to show you the tools & scripts we made this year to help the graduating students produce their movies.
[Lee Geertsen] We made a custom pipeline software called Pulsar which allows students to easily manage their projects and automate tasks. One of the main components of Pulsar is the file manager. The file manager simplifies the hierarchy of a project to make it easier to find files or assets. To do this we have abstractifed the folder search.
[Cédric Moens De Hase] As a VFX student, I knew our needs and took part of the pipeline development as the link between artists and technical directors. I used Python to develop pipeline tools and user interfaces and helped other VFX students with troubleshooting. I also added features according to the needs all along the year.
[Julien Rippstein] Pulsar is a standalone application, so we created plugins for 3D software such as Houdini, Maya & Nuke. These plugins connect the software directly to the pipeline through sockets, which in turn allows users to directly open, save, increment & publish scenes within our pipeline.
[Lee Geertsen] To be able to render the movies of the graduation students, I installed the Tractor render farm at ARTFX. But to be able to manage the renderfarm, we needed a custom tool. So we created a tool that allowed us to manage the renderpools. We could also kill processes or reboot computers when crashes or ghost renders appear.
[Julien Rippstein] VR lets you immerse yourself in a virtual world. I studied the interaction, movement, motion sickness and constraints of VR to develop tools to use in production and to help the game designers in the video game program at ARTFX including VR in their gameplay. In UE4 or in Unity, virtual reality lets you play, estimate or interact with new possibilities and experience different points of view for your scene. I developed a tool in Unity that lets you record the movement of objects, like a Camera, in VR. This animation can then be imported directly into Maya.
[Lee Geertsen] I developed a mobile application that enables camera animation inside Maya, Houdini or Blender. The movements of the phone are tracked using augmented reality and are sent in realtime to the software and registered as keyframes. This allows artists to use their phones as well as their computers to solve issues. This facilitates the work of artists for animating cameras.
[Julien Rippstein & Lee Geertsen] We had a really great year developing these tools for film and game artists and working with new software and technologies. Thank you to everyone who helped us.