Megabrain Masterclass Series2024-05-23T17:29:56-07:00

Megabrain Masterclass Series

Presented by:

The Megabrain Masterclass is a format that was brought originally to us by our VES Member and former Germany Board Member Oliver Markowski. The event was held onsite three times (Megabrain 1-3) in Munich and other cities in Germany.

When Oliver Markowski retired from the Board, Agon Ushaku took over the Megabrains format so it could continue on.

The pandemic led to moving the Megabrains to an online event that was then extended to a VES worldwide event. This virtual accessibility allowed Agon to bring in speakers from around the globe.

Since Agon has been in the industry for a long time, it allows for his many connections, which he uses to find good series themes and speakers that create state-of-the-art content for the Visual Effects Society.

His motivation for this series is “I grew up in the era of 3D and VFX before the internet, where it was difficult to access tutorials or even basic books to improve my skills. My family consists of teachers and I am also a lecturer of 2D/3D design and 3D modeling and animation at the University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart. Sharing knowledge is ingrained in me. I think VES Megabrain masterclasses are a wonderful way to enhance our artists’ skills and inspire each other with our creative visions.”

If you are interested in presenting at an upcoming Megabrain session, you can reach out to Agon at agon@ushaku.com

Series Curator:

Hello! My Name is Agon Ushaku and I’m a VES Member 6242. I’ve been a Board Member of the Germany Section since 2019 and from January 2023, I’m the CO Chairman. My main responsibility is designing, organizing, promoting and hosting the Megabrain Masterclasses.

As Head of CAD Management at Unexpected GmbH in Stuttgart, I am responsible for industrial visualization and the studio’s 3D data management pipeline. In this role, I’m in charge of setting standards for CGI lighting/shading, implementation of real-time technologies, and the development of applications and various other CGI solutions. I am also active as a creative Producer for CGI/Animation and an independent Visual Computing advisor for 3D and animation companies. Furthermore, I am also a Lecturer for 2D/3D Design and Modelling at University of Applied Sciences in Stuttgart. I was twice a Speaker at FMX, Jury expert for Animago Award and independent EMIL expert evaluator for EU funding XR/MR research Projects

View Past Webinars

Series 9

Session 1/3: Aesthetics of Photorealistic Compositing: Science, Technology and Art

Victor Perez

Victor Perez is a renowned figure in the global visual effects industry. His career spans over 25 years so far, and he has worked in many areas. Starting as a photographer and cinematographer, extending his interest to the whole image post-production process and evolving into a visual effects artist with a special focus on photorealistic compositing of CGI. Along the way, he has worked on a number of Hollywood films, including Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’, plus many more. Eventually, he became a Film Director, and his career naturally led him to his current role as a Visual Effects Supervisor.
What really drives Perez is his focus on storytelling. He is fascinated by how new technologies can help filmmakers tell stories in ways never seen before. His work is a fine alchemy of Science, Technology, and Art, reflecting his passion for innovation and creativity.
In parallel and compatible with his professional career as a production visual effects supervisor, Victor Perez has built a name for himself in the visual effects industry worldwide by sharing his knowledge and work with the global community of visual effects professionals. Regularly invited to renowned events such as Siggraph, FMX, VIEW Conference, and more, he has become an influential figure in the field. His insights and accomplishments have been featured in specialised press, including Cinefex, FXGuide, The VFX Voice, and Before & Afters, to mention a few. In 2012, he was voted one of the most influential visual effects artists in the world by the specialised press of Nukepedia.
Acting as Brand Ambassador for ASUS®, Autodesk®, and Foundry®, Perez receives sponsorship, the latest technology, and financial support for his pioneering artistic research. Internationally regarded as a VFX compositing guru, he has delivered Masterclasses on Photorealistic Full-CGI Compositing at industry-leading institutions like Pixar Animation Studios, Dneg; and educational institutes like Escape Studios, and The Animation Workshops.
In 2016, he was invited to speak at TED, showcasing his research and its connection with his personal life, featuring a live demo of the visual effects compositing process. Perez’s publications on various facets of visual effects are available through Focal Press®, Netflix®, FxPhD®, and other outlets.
Victor Perez’s multifaceted career in filmmaking has been honoured with over 50 awards and nominations. He has been recognised for his roles as visual effects supervisor, director, writer, and producer. Among these honours is the prestigious Italian Academy Award “David di Donatello,” which he received in 2019 for his outstanding work on “The Invisible Boy: Second Generation.” The same year, he made history with his experimental project “Echo,” which he also directed. It earned a nomination at the Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards for Best Virtual Cinematography, marking the first time a short film had ever been nominated for this prestigious award.
Through his extensive career, Victor Perez continues to be a beacon of innovation and divulgation in the visual effects community, bridging the gap between technology, creativity, and storytelling.

Session 2/3: USD in large scale environments / What to do and what not to do.

Stefan Bernscherer

While currently acting as interim Head of Department for the EnvGen at DNEG Montreal, Stefan Bernscherer has had a long career in VFX, with previous positions as Environment Supervisor, Lead environment artist, matte painter and compositor with a background in 3D.

Stefan is both a specialist and a versatile generalist, covering all aspects of post production needs, with over 10 years experience working as a NUKE compositor, 3D generalist and mattepainter with teaching and supervison experience.

Session 3/3: Willow – And the network of magic

Robert Zeltsch

Robert Zeltsch already started to work in the field of 3d animation and visual effects during school- and studytime. Along with achieving the diploma degree in media technology (2008), he became a technical director for compositing and effects development. With his work in leading technical and supervising positions for “Anonymous”, “Fast5” and “Hugo”, he made an international career. After leading the vfx work on “Lost Place”, a german stereoscopic feature film, he moved to London where he now works at Industrial Light & Magic for already 7 years.

Series 8

Session 1/3:  Visual Effects Creating Change

Ian Comly
Visual Effects Supervisor | Industrial Light & Magic

Ian is a Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, for recent projects, including the groundbreaking and VES Award-winning ABBA Voyage virtual concert, and Gareth Edwards’ The Creator.

His path through Lighting, Pipeline, Look Development, CG Supervision and as ILM CG Technology Supervisor, has allowed him to contribute to creative and technical innovation over almost 20 years in Visual Effects; strategizing key studio technology, and making images for notable projects including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Paddington, Guardian’s of the Galaxy, and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity.

As a father of two, Ian is always in pursuit of a healthy work-life balance, and occasionally has time for making music and photography. He has participated in the UK Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths (STEAM) program, been speaker at SIGGRAPH, FMX, SCA, Ciclope and for the Tri-Livery Digital Media Group, and ran Master Classes at the National Centre for Computer Animation.

Session 2/3:  Lights, Camera, Unreal! Redefining the Cinematic Workflow at Platige

Sara Pereira

Software Engineer| Platige

I’m Sara, a Software Engineer based in Portugal, with a great passion for creating characters and stories! I have been working in the game and VFX industry primarily as an R&D developer. My experience includes working with Unity in game development, porting games to platforms such as XBOX and Switch, and most recently at Platige Image, researching the new Unreal Engine features and developing tools. I also worked as a Professor at the Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal, teaching subjects such as UI/UX, Databases, Videogame Design and Programming and Object Oriented Programming. I hope sharing my little experience and current Unreal Engine knowledge can help inspire new creative minds! 😉

Mateusz Wójt

Lead R&D Developer| Platige

Hey there! I’m Mateusz. I’ve been diving deep into the VFX world since 2010, and it’s been one heck of a ride. I’ve worn a few different hats over the years – from a technical director to a software engineer, mostly navigating the waters of compositing, editorial and color management. Now, I’m the Lead R&D Developer at Platige Image, and I’ve been steering the ship on our Unreal Engine pipeline integration since 2021. Every day’s a new adventure, and I’m loving every bit of it!

Kacper Bartnik

Senior Unreal Engine Generalist | Platige

Kacper is a Senior Unreal Engine Generalist at Platige Image Entertainment with over 8 years of experience working with Unreal Engine. He started making level art in Unreal Engine 3 and then started growing as a 3D and Technical Artist. With a love for real-time productions, he proudly wants to share his knowledge with other enthusiasts.

Session 3/3:  Automotive Production with Unreal from A to Z

Radoslaw Jamrog

VFX Supervisor | bEpic Studios

Radoslaw Jamrog is VFX Supervisor at bEpic in Berlin. Working in this industry for about 20 years now he was responsible in this role for numerous commercials for clients like Audi, Hyundai, Mercedes, Sixt, Ikea, O2, Netto and Kärcher and movies like Jim Knopf to name a few. He is also taking care of bEpics virtual camera and motion capture system that is being constantly evolved for use on projects in the studio.

Sebastian Ziliussz

VFX Supervisor | bEpic Studios

Sebastian Zilius is a VFX Supervisor at bEpic Berlin.
By now he has been working in VFX for almost 20 years – working on Ads for companies like VW, Coca Cola and Audi, as well as feature films and episodic projects like Avengers: Infinity War, Suicide Squad, Ms Marvel and Loki. He is with bEpic for a bit more than a year now, leading mostly Automotive projects for Mercedes Benz, utilizing Unreal for Virtual Production Shoots as well as Production Renders.

Series 7

Session 1/3:  3D fashion: A New Species of 3D Artist

Anne Lupas
3D Fashion Expert | Co-Founder STUDIO LUPAS

Anne has been working for many years in the field of 3D virtualization of fashion, and orginally comes from architecture. She has experience in creating digital clothing, managing projects, training and leading others. In 2019 she founded her own company, together with her partner Sophie Lupas, to share her knowledge and experience with others through presentations, training, articles and personalized sessions. The goal is to bring clarity into the complex topic of virtual fashion.

Session 2/3:  Flow-Superprod’s New UDS Based Pipeline

Marc Dubrois
Head of Pipeline – Film | Superprod Animation

Formerly an Artist, Supervisor, and then CG Sup for Feature films, Commercials, and VFX Movies for more than ten years, Marc worked in several French companies such as Attitude Studio, Mac Guff Ligne, Duran Duboi, and Digital District. During those ten years, he was always interested in development and has learned with talented developers how to make tools for himself and his departments. After that, he moved to the development side to make tools and pipelines full-time. He had the opportunity to work for companies like Fix Studio, Mikros Animation as Pipeline Sup, Head of RnD, and now Superprod where he took up the challenge with his colleagues to create a new USD based Pipeline from scratch.

Session 3/3:  A Merging of Worlds, a Study of how Lighting from Games, VFX, Live Action and Theme Parks are Colliding

Jeremy Vickery
Founder & CEO | Lighting Mentor Inc.

Jeremy has worked as a Lighting Artist for the past 25 years in film, television and games. His projects include The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Brace, InsideOut, Westworld, Fallout, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, Uncharted: Lost Legacy, and Days Gone. Jeremy also worked as a freelance illustrator for clients such as LEGO, Disney, Ubisoft, Sony, Mattel, and more. He now runs an art mentoring business training people in cinematic lighting and color.

Series 6

 

Session 1/3:  Challenges in the Creation of Procedural 3D Cities

Matthias Buehler
Founder & CTO | vrbn Solutions

After graduating from ETH Zurich (MSc Arch ETH), Matthias has worked in landscape architecture, architectural visualization and then has been part of the CityEngine development team for almost 5 years. He has a profound knowledge of 3D Modeling, Rendering, Visualization, Digital Sets and VFX in general. He has been the CityEngine Tech Support Lead, has hosted countless international presentations, workshops and training. In the field of 3D Urban Design, 3D Geodesign, 3D Facility Management and Master Planning, he has designed key workflows and pipelines. He was responsible for CityEngine services, consulting, training, procedural city modeling, custom CGA rule development and advanced visualization.

Session 2/3:  The Future of Movie Making

Simon Spielmann
R&D Engineer | Filmakademie Baden Wurttemberg

Simon Spielmann is part of the R&D Department at the Animationsinstitut with focus on software development, real-time graphics and XR. In 2009, he graduated from Bauhaus-University Weimar as Media Scientist and Mathematician, He started his career as a freelance software developer in 2006, three years later he joined the research team at Animationsinstitut. Today, Simon is the Principal Engineer at Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg. He is also responsible for the scientific counselling and supervision of the Technical Director Course at the Animationsinstitut.

Session 3/3:  Creating a stadium crowd with Houdini

Tony Atherton
FX Supervisor | The Mill

My name is Tony Atherton. I’ve been working in Visual FX for 13 years. Over my career I’ve the pleasure to work on films in blockbuster franchises such as Harry Potter, Narnia and The Avengers. I’ve worked on long form jobs for companies such as Netflix and Apple TV, as well as working on adverts for companies such as Amazon, Coca Cola, and John Lewis. I work at The Mill in London and I’ve been running the FX department there for the last 4 and a half years.

Series 5

Session 1/3:  Democratizing Storytelling

Ben Radcliffe
Media & Entertainment Solutions Engineer | Unity Technologies

As a Senior Technical Specialist, Ben works with Unity’s creator communities and influencers to advance the art and science of storytelling and digital transformation through the use of real-time 3D technology. Ben has over 20 years of experience leading international production teams, creating location-based entertainment, animation, and visual effects for companies such as Disney, Lucasfilm, and Industrial Light + Magic, as well as transportation design and visualization for Gulfstream and Bombardier.

Session 2/3:  VFX Asset Management

Jonas Kluger
Founder | “das element”

Starting out as an artist and moving to work as a VFX Editor and Pipeline TD for feature films like Marvel’s The Avengers, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Transformers: The Last Knight, Jonas knows both the creative and also technical side to the VFX Industry. For years he has been building tools to make the artists life easier. With his focus on the technical side but the passion for the creative, he started to implement machine learning into todays VFX pipelines. He is the founder and creator of the VFX library software ‘das element’. It is powered by machine learning and supports visual effects studios with the tagging and organizing process of assets libraries.

Session 3/3:  THE VFX Pipeline at DNeg

Kevin Campbell
Pipline Supervisor | DNeg

Kevin is a Pipeline Supervisor at DNeg. Over the last twenty years he’s previously worked at Cinesite and Rising Sun Pictures in London, Adelaide, and Montreal. During this time he’s on feature animation, visual effects, and episodic TV projects such as Gladiator, V for Vendetta, X-Men: Days of Futures Past, Lost in Space, and Riverdance. Kevin is interested in designing flexible pipelines that work for a wide variety of projects, from tens of shots for episodic TV, to two thousand shots in an animated feature film. He is also interested in the challenges of working across multiple sites and time zones. He has a PhD in Mathematics from Warwick University, and has recently been a mentor for the VES, and a career coach for DNeg.

Series 4

Session 1/3:  The Secret Camera Rules of Animated Film

Sandy Karpman
Camera & Staging | Pixar Animation Studios

Sandra Karpman has over 30 years of experience in the film industry. She spent 18 years at Industrial Light + Magic, starting in the FX animation department working on such films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Willow, then transferred to the newly established Computer Graphics Department. She brought her production experience to the new department, building workflows and pipelines to produce multiple shots for films such as Back to the Future II & III, Die Hard II, The Mask, Flubber, Hook, Star Wars Episode 1 & 2, Terminator 2, and Twister. Sandra joined Pixar 18 years ago to work on The Incredibles as the Effects Supervisor and currently works in Camera & Staging department which creates the camera view for each shot in every Pixar film.

Session 2/3:  Advanced Substance

Mike Kuhn
3D Specialist & Lecturer

During his study as Industrial Designer, Mike Kuhn came in touch with 3D software for the first time. Followed by an employment as an Application Engineer for 3ds Max at Discreet, a division of Autodesk, he fell in love with the procedural ways of creating content. Even though the Substance plugin was introduced in 3ds Max already around 15 years ago it took some more years until the average user was finally able to use this powerful tool. The cool thing about Substance Designer is that it is not only for creating textures, but also to create procedural art.

Session 3/3:  Production Strategies for Large FX Sequences in Animation

Ilan Gabai
Lead FX TD | Blue Sky Studios

Ilan Gabai is a Senior FX Artist at Blue Sky Studios, and most recently was the FX show lead on the 2019 release Spies in Disguise. He has been a member of the FX team at Blue Sky for over ten years, and during his time at the studio, has worked on Rio, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Epic, Rio 2, The Peanuts Movie, Ice Age: Collision Course, Ferdinand, and look development for Nimona (2022). Ilan is interested in solving problems that bridge the gap between physically accurate simulations and expressive animated effects, and enjoys exploring these challenges using hand drawn and procedural techniques. He holds a BFA in Computer Animation from Pratt-Institute, and has a VES Award nomination for Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature for his work on The Peanuts Movie.