The 2019 FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media (April 30 – May 3, Stuttgart) is quickly approaching, but there are still new additions filling out the program. Tickets can be purchased at fmx.de for an early bird rate until March 29.
John Gaeta (Senior Vice President Creative Strategy at Magic Leap) is an inventor, innovator and an Academy Award-winning designer. He is best known for his work on The Matrix trilogy where he explored groundbreaking techniques like Virtual Cinematography and Volumetric Capture. These approaches foreshadowed today’s XR platforms. Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri’s career in digital technology and visual effects spans over 20 years. Prior to Epic Games, he was the Chief Strategy Officer at Lucasfilm, responsible for the company’s Star Wars technology strategy and innovations in interactive storytelling. For The Matrix, he and Gaeta were among the team of artists responsible for the film’s signature “Bullet Time effect.” At FMX 2019, they will trace the path from The Matrix — and from even earlier — to look at what is happening now and into the future in the realm of storytelling, entertainment and human experience, with imagination, innovation and transformation at the core of that discussion.
Gary Wu, Creature Supervisor, and Rachael Dunk, Look Development Lead (both Industrial Light & Magic) will talk about the effects of DC superhero movie Aquaman. The VFX behind the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be the topic of a talk by Thomas Hullin, VFX Supervisor & Head of Munich Studio, Rodeo FX. Christian Kaestner, VFX Supervisor at Framestore, will give insights into the studio’s work on the Annie Awards winner Mary Poppins Returns. For the Coen Brothers’ latest film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Alex Lemke and Michael Huber (both Co-Founders and VFX Supervisors, east side effects) supervised the creation of over 700 visual effects shots.These VFX maestros will recount the creation processes behind these projects, from script and storyboard to filming and post-production.
The Storytelling track at FMX 2019 will shine a light on practitioners and academics who bridge the gap between the universal basics of story-building and the latest world-building happening on screen and in immersive experiences. Trisha Gum, Head of Story on The LEGO Batman Movie and Co-Director/Animation Director on The LEGO Movie 2 will be walking the audience through the importance of story in an animated feature. Craig Caldwell, Professor at The University of Utah, will dedicate a session to character development in storytelling. Jörg Ihle will shine a light on Voletarium, Europe’s largest flying theater, offering a highly immersive storyworld. Jan Pinkava, director of Oscar-awarded Geri’s Game, will review Google Spotlight Stories‘ greatest hits and biggest learnings, bringing the visitors up to date with an in-depth look at the Oscar shortlisted Age of Sail.
Ray Tracing is changing the way content is being created. FMX curators Jon Peddie and Kathleen Maher (both of Jon Peddie Research) will conduct three consecutive panels on how it is used in the film production pipeline, including conceptualization and design, realization and marketing. Blue Sky Studios’ CTO Hank Diskill, Davide Pesare (Allegorithmic), Brian Savery (AMD), Mauro Van der Vlasakker (MAXON) and Philippa Carroll (Glassbox Technologies) will talk about how pitch-viz is changing, tools being used and how having fast, full-resolution rendering is impacting the process. Hugo Guerra (fire without smoke), James Jeffers (Intel) and Emily Paige (e→d films) will explain the cost benefit of good pre-viz. Paige and Savery will also discuss the challenges that teams are facing during early production stages in another panel.
The Digital Humans track will explore the very best of both cinematic and real-time digital humans. Mike Cozens (Weta Digital) will – in addition to his Alita: Battle Angel talk in the The State of VFX track – elaborate on Alita’s facial pipeline. Justus Thies (Technical University of Munich) will present facial performance capture using commodity hardware (such as a standard webcam). Akihiko Shirai (Director, Gree VR StudioLab) will share his knowledge and a future forecasting of the new ecosystem Reality in VR 4.0. Doug Roble (Digital Domain) will discuss how new machine learning techniques can be applied to the creation of digital humans and how these characters work in real time. Track curator Mike Seymour (fxguide) will host a panel discussion on the ethics of virtual humans, the role of identity and the nature of who can represent you, impersonate you and even pass themselves off as you.
The organizers also confirmed that Backstage will be supporting FMX as a Main Partner once more. The Marketplace will be extended with AMD, Fraunhofer IIS, Gravity Sketch and Wacom. Industrial Light & Magic invite the FMX visitors to their Company Suite and booth at the Recruiting Hub. Esri and Intel will be offering workshops.