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EVENT: FMX 2022, Stuttgart / Wrap up

Summary by Zoltan Batho G, May 8, 2022.

After 2 years of cancelling the festival, FMX finally went IRL last week in Stuttgart, Germany. Here is a quick summary of the conference, which was one of the best ones I’ve ever been. You could really feel that all the professionals were super thirsty for meeting up, listening to the latest industry trends and networking again.

There were quite a few virtual production and real-time related presentations, there was even a small VP stage here operated by Unreal, disguise and ROE (just to name a few).

Although the traditional VFX / animation pipelines and tools were still dominating the space, but you could hear real-time and Unreal in almost every presentation. As UE5 has just been officially released recently, obviously it was still something that the industry players would need to stress test before making any changes in their well-developed, robust pipelines. Having said that I am fairly confident that this time next year we are going to hear quite a few presentations about how UE5 did an amazing job optimizing or changing their workflows, methods for the better. Go, EPIC, go!

Key takeaways:

  • Loads of projects, not enough artists. Therefore, vendors are in a great position in these days and they are not afraid of choosing a “no asshole” client rather than a client with a bad track record in treating the providers badly.
  • Same goes for the artists. As there are not enough available artists out there, they can ask for more: paid overtime (crazy, right??), better life-work balance, more support and training, and obviously more money!
  • Onboarding juniors is difficult when working from home. No one cracked that yet. How do you help those freshly hired artists to feel like they are part of your team? How do you train them without burning your senior’s time too much? Etc., etc.
  • The USD format is really solving a lot of the asset/scene issues larger 3D companies are having. But it’s not an easy implementation at all!
  • Pixomondo did an AMAZING Virtual Production job with the new Star Trek episodic. I was blown away when seeing the Volume they built and the final pixel they managed to get out of it. We definitely need more of these high quality references so that people can really understand what is achievable with VP.
  • The Third Floor and Brad Blackbourn amazed me with their advanced previsualization custom solution suit: Cyclops – AR virtual camera tablet app; Chimera – Hololens 2 based synchronized and interactive scene visualization app; Kraken – Virtual location scout app.
  • Balenciaga Fall ’21 campaign by The Mill and Kristian Bonne Jensen was done in Unreal Engine which made the creative process much more iterative than with the traditional offline render method. Houdini still played a major role during production and asset importing/exporting is still a major hurdle
  • Led Cave shared their bumpy, but exciting ride of putting together Germany’s first LED volume. And putting it together again. And again. But every single time it evolved, and now there are 3 of them in Germany providing great services for all sorts of VP projects.

All in all, this this was a great come back from FMX, great presentations, round tables and networking opportunities. We all missed it a lot!

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