Runic Films has teamed up with award-winning visual effects software company The Foundry in their NUKE Non-Commercial Summer Competition 2015. With over $40,000 in prizes, the competition challenges visual effects artists from around the world to use The Foundry’s new non-commercial version of their award-winning NUKE software to create the visual effects for a sequence of raw footage from Runic Films’ and Little Empire Production’s science fiction thriller Hashtag.
Hashtag stars Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge) as “X”, the ultimate social media maven. In the film, X uses a new kind of computer interface. What kind you ask? That’s what the artists must create! “I have a defined concept of how X’s interface will work, but it will be great to see what other artists come up with,” says Ben Alpi, the director of the much anticipated short film. Ben added, “We’re thrilled to be a part of this contest. NUKE is a fantastic product and we’re really happy to support the free version so more artists can learn it.” Prizes in the competition include hardware, software, and subscriptions from The Foundry, Wacom, NVIDIA fxphd, and the Production COLLECTIVE for the winning sequence and/or shot.
As Hashtag moves to the visual effects stage of post production, part of their visual effects pipeline will include The Foundry’s NUKE, the world’s leading compositing software. NUKE, like many of The Foundry’s products, has been used in numerous feature films, television series, music videos, and commercials. Some major examples include Pacific Rim, Star Trek, The Hobbit trilogy and Oscar® winners Lincoln, Gravity and Life of Pi. Further, every film since 2008 that’s been nominated for a Best Visual Effects Oscar® has used The Foundry’s software, particularly NUKE. In television, examples include Once Upon A Time, Falling Skies, and Emmy® winning series Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones.
But what is compositing? “Compositing is cutting out and putting together two or more images to make a single image,” says Deke Kincaid, the Visual Effects Supervisor of Hashtag. “Placing a hand painted matte painting of a deep canyon under “Luke” in Star Wars, or a digital dinosaur into a scene in Jurassic Park, that’s compositing.” Deke is also Media and Entertainment OEM Development Manager for The Foundry. “When they told me they were looking for footage to use as the basis for the NUKE non-commercial competition, I knew Hashtag would be a perfect fit.”
Hashtag was funded by a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in December 2014 with the film quickly going into production the following February. The Backers of the project got news of the contest, and of the release of several seconds of raw Hashtag footage, on the day it launched. Backers enjoyed getting a first glimpse although one Backer @Ulathar Tweeted, “Teasing us with a 10 seconds clip has me convinced that @JyovianStorm [producer Jyotika Virmani] is evil and enjoys torturing backers.” Jyotika replies, “Our Backers are great, and obviously funny! I know the Backers are waiting for more, but I was super excited to be able to share even this. It shows the Backers a rare insight into the complex movie-making process.”
“Deke reports that 500 contestants downloaded the content for the contest on the first day. That’s great!” added Ben. “We hope there are many more.” Runic Films will not use competition submissions directly in the final film, the footage from Hashtag is only intended as the foundation of the contest.
The NUKE Non-Commercial Summer Competition 2015 is going on now and with a deadline of 15 September 2015 at 11:59 PM (PDT). Entries will be judged by an expert team with winners for the best sequence and best shot. To take part in the competition, artists enter here: https://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/nuke/non-commercial/nuke-non-commercial-competition-2015/
[Edit: NVIDIA joined the competition bringing the prize total increased from $34,000 to over $40,000.]