Ric Holland's Blog

Chris Edwards – Third Floor

1. Are Wacom tablets essential in your work flow?

Wacom tablets have become increasingly important in our modeling pipeline where software tools like Mudbox and ZBrush are used to ‘sculpt’ the geometry used in creating organic 3D worlds and characters. Also concept paintings and background matt paintings are all originated using Intuos and Cintiq tablets.

2. Do you see Wacom tablets being used more frequently in the multi-disciplined work flows in the production of 3D/Live action feature films?

Some of our artists not only use Wacom tablets for expressive interaction with specialized software applications but as a general interface device instead of a mouse. The long hours that are involved in CG production give rise to the risk of RSI injuries and the use of pen/tablets reduces those risks.

3. Do you use Wacom tablets in the stereoscopic pre visualization process/workflow?

Yes we have developed a system incorporating proprietary software/hardware, Motion Builder and Wacom Cintiq12 as a visual interface to our 3D virtual environments. This allows for camera shots to be interactively pre visualized with the director present and opens up new avenues for early previs development. These innovations mean that it is no longer a process just reserved for the highest profile directors and most sophisticated visual effects facilities even independent filmmakers can harness the power of previs to prepare their ideas.

4. What would you like Wacom to create as tools in the future?

In the case of our 3D previs virtual camera system we would like to have an HD resolution screen on future Cintiq12s, Handles on the sides for more convenience (they could be a clip on off accessory), Extension cable to add between the breakout box and Cintiq to provide greater freedom of movement and limit the amount of equipment that has to be moved around with the tablet, wireless and rechargeable batteries would also greatly increase its mobility and versatility.

5. Open question about your work.

Third Floor does high quality previsualization and animatics for major motion film productions such as Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Star Trek, CloverField, etc. The team formed during work on Star Wars : Revenge of the Sith at Skywalker Ranch (on the third floor) and is now responsible for visualizing some of Hollywood’s most CG ground breaking blockbusters. Pre-visualization and modeling of Avatar’s Pandora world with floating rocks and home tree were all done with break through techniques developed by Third Floor.