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Gnomon Adds Maya and Photoshop DVDs

The Gnomon Workshop welcomes two new instructors to its training library, with the release of MAYA DYNAMICS: OUTER SPACE ENVIRONMENTS and FROM SPEED PAINTING TO CONCEPT ART Photoshop DVDs.

John Clark, an effects lead at Sony Imageworks, and David Levy (aka Vyle), senior concept artist at Steambot Studios, have produced two unique and inspiring titles. Clarks DVD gives an in-depth look into the creation of an outer space animation sequence using Maya's dynamic effects and rendering tools. Levys DVD shares his amazing concept design speedpainting workflow, using custom Photoshop brush techniques to quickly and effectively illustrate his beautiful designs.

"It is with great enthusiasm that we are releasing these lectures," states Alex Alvarez, director of Gnomon. "Both John and Vyle have put a lot of effort into these new titles, sharing many years' experience in each DVD. John has worked on many amazing projects during his career, including a lot of experience with sci-fi outer space scenarios. It is exciting to be able to learn the effective techniques he has developed with Maya... methods that would take countless hours of experimentation to arrive at on one's own.

"On the flip side of things, we have Vyle's DVD," continues Alvarez, "2D design is of course the foundation of all the work we do in the gaming and vfx industries and Vyle is one of the top artists. At the last Gnomon Workshop Live event we were treated to a demonstration by Vyle and Barontieri on their Photoshop speedpainting techniques. Through the creation of custom brushes, they has developed a workflow for the quick ideation of everything from architecture and landscapes to vehicles and characters. This DVD shares those techniques via inspiring and informative demonstrations."

In MAYA DYNAMICS: OUTER SPACE ENVIRONMENTS, Clark presents the entire process of creating an outer space effects sequence. Starting with a space ship and a camera move, he takes the viewer through a step-by-step look at how to create a sequence that includes following a space ship as it breaks free of a tractor beam, launches out of planetary orbit, then flies through a field of asteroids and starbirth nebula clouds. He uses Maya's Dynamics system to build elements in the shots, demonstrating their use within the shot environment. He shows how to use cloud particles as a volume surface on which to project shaders to simulate nebulas that can be both stunning backgrounds and realistic clouds that can be flown through. He also walks you through a series of simple effects that add dynamic detail to the shots: sprite-stars, tractor beams, explosions, an energy field and an asteroid field.

In FROM SPEED PAINTING TO CONCEPT ART, Levy demonstrates the Adobe Photoshop techniques that he uses to create environments for the entertainment industry. He specifically reveals the custom brush creation techniques that have been perfected by a small group of passionate artists in Montreal. From two basic brushes, he shows you how to develop your own library of custom brushes that will allow you to gain speed and efficiency during your speedpainting process. Beginning with examples such as mountains, forests and clouds, he then leads you through the creation of a concept art painting, from rough sketches to a final piece with environment, vehicles and characters. Using texture brushes, you will then learn to refine and complete the painting without losing the original dynamism and composition of the sketch. This DVD includes the set of brushes that are created in the lecture, as well as the layered PSD files.

Clark has been working in the film and television industry for over fourteen years, creating scenic art and practical effects before moving into digital animation and visual effects. For three years he was vfx supervisor for the award-winning digital production house Motion Theory, where he garnered commercial credits with campaigns for HP, Budweiser, Toyota, Direct TV, Mervyns, Johnson & Johnson, Mazda, Nike, Fox, ESPN, EA Sports, Met Life and Cingular. His broadcast credits include: SCI FI Channel IMAGINATION and SCARE TACTICS show opener; Showtime OUR FATHERS, SOLDIER'S GIRL teaser and THE LION IN WINTER show teaser. He also helped create music videos for The Used, Papa Roach, REM, Less Than Jake, Velvet Revolver and Beck. He is currently at Sony Pictures Imageworks, where he is the wave animation lead on the 3D-animated film, SURF'S UP. His awards for animation and vfx include: five AICP awards, International Art Directors Silver Cube and Gold Cube and multiple Telly awards. He has also had two animation pieces accepted to the SIGGRAPH animation festival.

Levy attended the European Design Institute (FR) and the Academy of Fine Arts Maastricht (NL), where he graduated with honors with a B.S. degree in Industrial Design and Interior Architecture. Upon graduating, he was recruited as a concept artist by various videogame companies in Europe. With more than 11 years experience in the game industry in more than four countries, he has built a strong reputation as a lead artist, and he has been invited to speak at various events and workshops, including the Game Developers Conference. He currently works as a senior concept artist and has participated in the development of TUROK, THE RED STAR, PRINCE OF PERSIA THE TWO THRONES and ASSASSIN'S CREED. With his friend Barontieri, he recently created Steambot Studios, a collective of artists dedicated to create, inspire and push the boundaries of concept art.

Since 2000, The Gnomon Workshop ( has provided artists and students with the educational resources they need to succeed as artists in the entertainment industries. Whether they're interested in design, modeling, effects, animation, storytelling or matte painting, these DVDs provide a valuable educational resource for students around the world. The Gnomon Workshop is the sister company of The Gnomon School of Visual Effects, which provides professional caliber visual effects instruction to students and professionals in Los Angeles.

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Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.