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Old April 13th, 2005, 10:10 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Location: denton, texas, usa
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Good packages to learn real fx? Answers please!

I know nothing about how to do FX really. I mean, I understand the concepts and stuff, but I'm really a director, not an fx artist. Can anyone suggest good books on getting into certain software packages. I'm looking to deal with green screening, fake BG and mattes, lasers, fire, smoke, etc. And stuff that actually looks real, not like on cheap bad TV shows.

Any suggestions?

Laurence Maher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 14th, 2005, 07:34 AM   #2
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The software used in high-end productions is really pricey, and uses massive computer systems. The people who do those effects, have made a career out of them.

Having said that, you can still learn systems like Maya, Discreete, and Smoke, but the learning curves are very steep.

The effects systems commonly used for desktop computers, would be After Effects, Boris (Red), Commotion,(etc.) and there are plug ins for different specific needs like Ultimatte for green screening, Digital Film Tools for film effects, (Magic Bullet is another). Plenty of people on this board will chime in with their personal preferences.

So to answer your question, if it were easy to do the great looking stuff... we'd all be doing it! Some effects programs will only work on specific platforms, some with specific NLE's... so you'll have do do your homework. All of them have books and traiing tutorials available.

But truly good effects, are another skillset. The problem with most of us who are trying to do it all, is that we just don't have the time or money to master all of the skill sets. There's a reason it takes a huge budget and a crew of people to get those effects you like, and a reason you don't like the 'cheap' effects.
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Old April 14th, 2005, 11:15 AM   #3
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I agree with Richard there. I am Maya certified and still wouldn't do it myself because it's very complex. If you want to just increase your understanding a little better you could play around with tons of programs but I would start by checking out magazines like Cinefex and reading up on what the industry is doing.
You could spend the next couple of years doing NOTHING but training for FX and still be at an entry level. If you really want to just specialize in FX then that's a good road map but if you just want to understand them better and start incorporating them in your own productions you would be better off partnering with a special effects wizard (or someone who wants to become one). Spielberg doesn't do his own effects, he's a producer/director who hires fantastic FX talent.
Rhett Allen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 15th, 2005, 07:05 AM   #4
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Location: Granada, Spain
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Rhett, you are right about Spielberg, but maybe the reason hes asking to learn one of these power tools is because we are usually a "one man army" and if we dont know a combustion wizard, better start to lear it.

I know its a big problematic, and the curve is as hell, but, better try than run away. Actually im getting better in FCP and im eager to leap into Combustion... Im getting old (near 30s depression...) and have no time to waste!
Ivan Hurtado is offline   Reply

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