FMX Adds ‘Valerian,’ ‘Rogue One’ to VFX Track; Plus ‘LEGO Batman,’ ‘Moana,’ ‘Smurfs’

The audiovisual confab FMX is rapidly approaching, with the organizers announcing even more cutting edge additions to its informative tracks on animation, effects, VR, games and more. Recently confirmed sessions will explore the artistry and technology of VFX showpieces Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and animated features The LEGO Batman Movie, Moana and Smurfs: The Lost Village.

The conference is set for May 2-5 in Stuttgart — registration and schedule available at


Joining the lineup of visual effects case studies is Luc Besson’s highly anticipated sci-fi adventure Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, two months before its official release. The film is the Fifth Element director’s take on the groundbreaking comic-book series Valerian et Laureline. A two-hour first-look presentation will be presented by VFX supervisor Scott Stokdyk, Martin Hill (Weta Digital), Philippe Rebours (ILM) and François Dumoulin (RodeoFX).

Industrial Light & Magic Chief Creative Officer and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story VFX supervisor & executive producer John Knoll will present a case study on the challenging production, from concept to post. He will be joined by Margaux Durand-Rival (The Third Floor) to discuss their studios’ collaboration, and director Gareth Edwards. The film’s concept art will also be included with work from Star Wars: The Force Awakens for a separate session with ILM’s Christian Alzmann.

Also in the VFX spotlight: A Cure for Wellness will feature in two talks, with Ben Wiggs (Double Negative) talking creature creation, and Florian Gellinger (Rise FX), who will also discuss Doctor Strange. The VFX for Commercials track will cover the buzzworthy John Lewis Christmas campaign and VR project with Diarmid Harrison Murray (MPC Advertising) and Dan Phillips (MPC Creative); Steffen Hacker and Alexander Kiesl (unexpected) present making-ofs; and The Mill’s Hugo Jackson and Ashley Tilley share the studio’s latest work.


IndieWire Crafts Editor Bill Desowitz will have a sit-down with Aardman Animations co-founder, director, producer and writer Peter Lord. Sony Pictures Animation is sending director Kelly Asbury over to showcase key art from Smurfs: The Lost Village. Disney Animation’s Dale Mayeda, Justin Weber and Brian Whited will discuss combining hand-drawn and CG animation for Moana. And Grant Freckelton (Animal Logic) will spotlight the brickification of The LEGO Batman Movie.


Soundcraft is key to convincing story experiences: Hear from David Fluhr (Disney Digital Studio) about Moana and Zootopia audio, and catch his immersive soundmixing Masterclass by registering via Kevin Bolen (Skywalker Sound) talks VR & 360 like The Jungle Book: Through Mowgli’s Eyes. Tom Ammermann (New Audio Technology) details immersive audio for the Blu-ray Kraftwerk 3D. Plus, keynots and discussions with Audiokinetic Wwise, BBC, Facebook, Fraunhofer ILS, Google, Headspace Studio and Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe.


MFG Foundation presents a series of VR research projects: A live presentation of award-winning game Elena and inside look at InViRa with Prof. Uwe Shulz and Kasimir Blust (Stuttgart Media Univ.); Prof. Matthias Woelfel (Hochschule Furtwangen) takes up Etienne Souriau’s concept of diegetic facts; and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Scheible (Stuttgart Media University) ventures into the realm of drone art. Scanning, tracking and localization will be tackled in three sessions: Valérie Allié (Technicolor) explains how light fields improve immersive VR experiences; Edward Miller (Scape Technologies) elaborates on the use of localization technology for AR experiences; and Sebastian Marino expounds on the practicalities of  volumetric filmmaking.


Kathleen Maher (Jon Peddie Research) will host two panel discussions dealing with real-time experiences and the future of real-time workflows, where pioneers cover real-time technologies for previz, on set and VFX, and discuss the collaboration between content creators and tool providers on the other. Jon Peddie (Jon Peddie Research) rounds off the panels on real-time production pipelines with a look at VR and AR and how they impact present and future entertainment. The track Tools of Tomorrow looks at future technologies. Paolo Selva (Weta Digital) showcases current R&D with a specific focus on crafting tools that manage scale. Annekatrin Baumann (High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart), Dr. Ari Harjunmaa (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg) and David Koerner (Stuttgart Media Univ.) present research findings in high-performance computing accumulated as part of the Media Solution Center BW project. And Jonathan Stark (The Foundry) ponders the question of how live-action VR can be made better with “6dof VR.”



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