Tag Archives: Method Studios

VFX studio Atomic Fiction to be acquired by Deluxe’s Method

In Q3 of 2018, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group will acquire visual effects house Atomic Fiction, which has studios in Montreal and San Francisco. Atomic Fiction will join Deluxe’s Method Studios and take on its name.

Founded in 2010, Atomic Fiction is known for creating high-quality VFX in efficient ways, often employing the cloud in its workflows. The studio has worked on many of director Robert Zemeckis’ films, including The Walk, Allied, Flight and the upcoming Welcome to Marwen. They have also provided VFX on Star Trek Beyond for Paramount Pictures, Deadpool for Fox, Ghost in the Shell for DreamWorks, Stranger Things 2 for Netflix (they got an Emmy nom for their work), Fox/NatGeo’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, along with episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and the upcoming upcoming Stranger Things 3. Additionally, the studio contributed to the Oscar-winning VFX on Blade Runner 2049.

Atomic Fiction has been a long-time collaborator with director Robert Zemeckis. He said, “Throughout my career, I’ve always felt that it’s important to surround myself with the best of the best in their craft. Kevin Baillie and the team at Atomic Fiction are exactly that and, with the resources of Deluxe and Method behind them, I’m excited to have an even stronger team by my side.”

Bringing together Atomic Fiction and Method extends capacity and talent for both studios, enabling the combined entity to take on the biggest VFX sequences and even full features, spread work across global studios to match talent with project requirements, and offer clients the most advantageous cost structure through incentives and low-cost production centers. Atomic Fiction’s Montreal location will become a flagship studio for Method as part of a larger global strategy that also includes a substantial expansion of Method’s VFX capacity and capabilities in Pune, India that is already underway.

“We’ve been fans of Atomic Fiction’s work for a long time — it is outstanding and clients love them,” said Ed Ulbrich, president of Deluxe VFX and VR/AR for Method Studios. “When we started talking and met (Atomic Fiction founders) Kevin Baillie and Ryan Tudhope, we learned what a great culture they’ve built, and our vision for the business resonated with them as well. It was clear to all of us that we will reach our goals faster together.”

Atomic Fiction’s Ryan Tudhope will continue to lead the Montreal team creatively with the new title executive creative director, Method Studios. Kevin Baillie will take on the new role of creative director and senior VFX supervisor, Method Studios, and will continue to be based out of San Francisco. Both will report to Ulbrich. All of Atomic’s approximately 300 full-time and freelance employees are expected to join Method Studios when the transaction closes.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.

See our Q&A with Baillie from when they opened their Montreal Studios here.

Main Photo Caption: L-R: Ed Ulbrich, Kevin Baillie and Ryan Tudhope.

VFX vet Andrew Bell Joins Method Advertising

Long-time VFX executive Andrew Bell has joined LA-based Method Studios as senior EP/VP of its Advertising division. He will report to Method Advertising MD/EVP Stuart Robinson.

Bell moves to Method after spending nearly two decades with MPC, first as a producer in London and then as head of production and managing director, spearheading MPC’s initial foray, then expansion and relocation, into Los Angeles. There he oversaw all operations, from bidding to building to managing the talent and client rosters in addition to working with directors producing large-scale VFX projects for Coca-Cola, Nike, DirecTV and other brands. Bell also previously served as managing director for Brickyard VFX in Boston and has consulted on VFX operations for Apple.

In LA, Bell will work alongside Method Commercials VFX senior EP/VP Stephanie Gilgar and Digital Studio head Jeff Werner to drive operations, curate talent and bring clients on the West Coast. Method is a Deluxe company.

Company behind Arnold renderer brings on studio tech vet Darin Grant

VFX and animation technology veteran Darin Grant has joined Solid Angle, the developers of the Arnold image renderer, as VP of engineering. Grant has a held tech roles at a variety of VFX houses over the years, including time as CTO of Digital Domain and Method Studios. He also held senior technology titles at DreamWorks Animation and Google.

“Darin has a long history leading massive technology efforts in VFX and computer animation at big global studios,” reports Solid Angle founder/CEO Marcos Fajardo. “And, like we are, he’s passionate about making sure production needs drive development. Having Darin on our team will help us scale our efforts and bring fast, accurate rendering to all kinds of productions.”

Prior to joining Solid Angle, Grant was CTO of Method Studios, where he focused on unifying infrastructure, pipeline and workflows across its many locations. Prior to that he was CTO of Digital Domain and head of production technology at DreamWorks Animation, where he guided teams to maintain and enhance the company’s unified pipeline.

He has also provided strategic consulting to many companies, including The Foundry, Chaos Group and Autodesk, most recently collaborating to create a Pipeline Consulting Services team and advising on cloud enablement and film security for Shotgun Software. He began his career in visual effects, developing shaders as rendering lead at Digital Domain.

“Having followed the development of Arnold over the past 17 years, I have never been more excited about the future of the product than I am today,” says Grant. “Broadening our availability on the cloud and our accessibility from animation tools while allowing Marcos and the team to drive innovation in the renderer itself allows us to move faster than we ever have.”

We’ve known Darin for years and reached out to him for more.

What’s it like going from a creative studio to a software developer?
After spending a career helping teams create amazing content at individual studios, the opportunity to be able to help teams at all the studios was too good to pass up.

How are you taking your background as a studio guy and putting it toward making software?
On the studio side, I managed distributed software teams for the past 15 years, and I can definitely apply that here. The interesting piece is that every client meeting I walk into ends up being with someone who I’ve worked with in the past, so that definitely helps strengthen our already solid relationship with our customers.

The main difference is our company’s focus is on building robust software to scale versus trying to do that while the rest of the studio focused on creating great content.  It’s nice to have that singular focus and vision.

——
Grant is a member of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee for AMPAS and the Visual Effects Society.

Deluxe latest studio to get into VR, immersive entertainment offerings

Deluxe is the second studio this week to put their hat in the growing VR ring — Lucasfilm and ILM also announced ILMxLAB. Deluxe is now offering a new slate of technology and services to develop content for immersive entertainment and virtual reality experiences.

Drawing on talent at Deluxe companies including Method Studios and Company 3, the new suite of virtual reality services extends Deluxe’s digital post capabilities into this new, high-growth content arena and establishes a workflow for building high-res 360 content.

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The company’s first VR project, Neuro (above), was developed with creative VR studio Kite & Lightning for GE, and it debuted on June 16 at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles. Developed using AMD graphics technology, Neuro is a computer-generated five-minute immersive film shown on the latest VR headsets.

The video’s main character is a detailed photoreal digital model of Ladytron DJ/band member Reuben Wu, whose facial performance was captured and animated to match the narrated voiceover. Deluxe’s audio post department also provided ADR for the project. The Neuro VR experience will be featured again during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, June 21-27 in Cannes, France.

Main Image: Kite & Lightning working on Neuro.