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Cow News DroidNews: Autodesk Flame Fires Up VFX Production for The Vanity
by on Apr 25, 2013 at 5:00:00 pm

(April 25, 2013) Founded in 2010, Toronto-based independent post-production company The Vanity works on commercials for notable brands that span a gamut of industries, from automotive to fashion, sports drinks and fast food.

In 2012, the company’s seven-person team helped create “Straw Slide" – a McDonald’s spot that visualizes a man using the iconic striped McDonald's straw as a water slide. With a limited budget and a tight timeframe, The Vanity not only directed the spot, but also created an animated concept clip – all using Autodesk Flame workstations. Having the ability to quickly iterate client needs and changes in Flame not only won them the job, but also proved essential throughout the project.

“I think there's nothing like Flame. There are other compositing tools. There are other tools that do animation. There are other tools that do editing. But there's nothing that does all those things as well or as quickly as Flame can do,” said Naveen Srivastava, Flame artist, co-owner and partner at The Vanity. “Flame is invaluable to my day-to-day working schedule because commercials typically have a one- to two-day turnaround in post. Flame allows us to quickly make changes, to do a little bit of paint work, to do a little bit of editing, tracking and then combine it all together and put an animation on top of it, and get it out the door before five o'clock. Flame is the only tool I can imagine that could allow us to meet that deadline every single time. And we haven't missed one yet.”

The Vanity also regularly collaborates with Nissan, one of its biggest automotive clients, to push creative and technological boundaries with post-production technology, virtual cameras and computer generated cars. To create eye-catching visuals for Nissan, the team relies on an integrated workflow with Flame and Autodesk Maya. Using captured images of cars and models created in Maya, they’re able to project the photographs onto Maya models. To further polish each model and create environments around the cars, the team then moves the virtual camera around in Flame to produce the final shots.

“Flame is speed. That's it. Yes, you can go and get these other pieces of software. But there's nothing that I've played with that's as fast as Flame. And for me, that's the number one thing that I need,” shared Sean Cochrane, Flame artist, co-owner and partner at The Vanity. “With the 3D station with Maya, we can port things back and forth very easily, very quickly. When I import it, it's exactly as our artist had it and I don't have to spend time editing.”

In honor of Flame Artists such as Srivastava and Cochrane from The Vanity, Autodesk introduced the first-ever Flame Award at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Conference 2013. Created to recognize the achievements of Flame artists who have advanced visual effects creation over the past 20 years, the nominated artist who demonstrates the highest level of creativity, originality, community involvement and dedication to advancing the art and science of visual effects through skilled use of Flame will receive the award.

A special advisory board comprising of independent visual effects and industry experts, along with Autodesk, will select the final winner. Nominations are open to the public until May 17 through the AREA.

To learn more about The Vanity visit: http://area.autodesk.com/inhouse/videos/the_vanity. Additional information about Flame can be found on AREA.


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