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John Gaeta & Kim Libreri to Present Groundbreaking VFX on ‘The Matrix’ at FMX 2019

Leaders on the team behind famed effects like ‘Bullet Time’ will share insights on their seminal cinematic innovations; ‘Aquaman,’ ‘Lego Movie 2’ and ‘Alita’ sessions also added.

FMX 2019 has unveiled more programming announcements for the upcoming international conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media running April 30 through May 3 in Stuttgart, Germany.  Among the latest confirmations are DC’s Aquaman as well as John Gaeta (Magic Leap) and Kim Libreri (Epic Games), who will talk about the groundbreaking effects seen in The Matrix, while taking a look at the present and future of content creation. FMX will also be exploring Ray Tracing technology, new ways of Storytelling and Digital Humans.

Discounted early bird tickets can be purchased on the FMX website until March 29, 2019. In addition, the official FMX 2019 App for iOS and Android will be available on April 1.

Groundbreaking Effects - John Gaeta & Kim Libreri on The Matrix

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 first of a kind media formats such as Bullet Time, Virtual Cinematography and Volumetric Capture. These approaches foreshadowed today's XR platforms (Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality, Holo Cinema).

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 John 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 beforehand, to 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.

The State of VFX – Fantastic Characters and Singing Cowboys

As visual effects have become one of the deciding factors for box office success, the artists and technicians working on VFX keep raising the bar in terms of what is possible.

Gary Wu, Creature Supervisor, and Rachael Dunk, Look Development Lead (both Industrial Light & Magic) will talk about the 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 Award 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. At FMX 2019, they will recount the creation process, from script and storyboard to shoot and post-production.

Storytelling – Exploring New Ways of Story-Building

It all starts with a story - 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, that features a high level of theming and an 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 - Changing the Game of Content Creation

Ray Tracing is changing the way content is being created. At FMX 2019, curators Jon Peddie and Kathleen Maher (both 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 pitchvis is changing, discussing tools are 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 previs. Getting on stage for another panel, Emily Paige will be joined by Brian Savery to discuss the challenges that teams are facing during early production stages.

Digital Humans – Machine Learning, Facial Pipelines & Ethics

Digital Humans are the most complex and interesting challenge that computer graphics and image processing are facing. 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 – be on stage again and 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.

FMX Partners and Forum

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 invites FMX visitors to their Company Suite and booth at the Recruiting Hub. Esri and Intel will be offering workshops.

Source: FMX 2019

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.