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ActionVFX Phase II

Rodolphe Pierre-Louis, CEO of ActionVFX talks to 3dtotal about Phase II of the companys endeavor in stock visual effects...

Rodolphe Pierre-Louis, CEO of ActionVFX talks to 3dtotal about Phase II of the companys endeavor in stock visual effects...

A few months back, 3dtotal interviewed Rodolphe Pierre-Louis, CEO of ActionVFX, in which he explored and explained some of the objectives of the company and its products. As the company prepares to release its second phase of effects, 3dtotal once again sat down with Pierre-Louis who talked about the shoot and the rapidly approaching launch.

Lights, camera, ActionVFX

For those not in the know, ActionVFX is a stock footage company created specifically for VFX artists. The companys stated goal is to help compositors create faster, and more realistic, VFX shots by providing them with a high-quality library of mostly real VFX elements. Its collections currently include effects such as explosions, fire, smoke, debris, gun FX, and more. ActionVFXs next project promises more effects, with greater clarity than ever before.

Our vision for ActionVFX is so ambitious that we realized it would be best to break it down into phases. CEO of ActionVFX, Pierre-Louis states, Its never a good idea to try to do too much at once, so were dedicating specific periods to focus on different parts of that vision.

While Phase I was about finding a footing within the industry and about proving that the company had the skills and infrastructure to produce stock footage that can be used at the highest-level of post-production, Phase II is using everything theyve learned and built, and capitalizing on that to produce a new, more ambitious, wave of products.

We launched ActionVFX because we noticed a lack of variety when it came to high-quality VFX stock footage, and fixing that has been our main goal since we launched.

On the set filming the new Explosions Collection for Phase II

On the set filming the new Explosions Collection for Phase II

The new range of effects by ActionVFX not only builds on the experience accrued through its initial step into stock VFX, the company is building its range of effects in line with the demands of its users. As Pierre-Louis puts it Weve really paid a lot of attention to our users requests during the last two years, and were now at a point where even the craziest request can become a reality.

Phase II The difficult second album
Phase II includes some interesting additions including aerial explosions, dust explosions, large scale water FX, flamethrowers, weather effects such as snow and fog, many of which the community has been pining for.

Our Phase II products will bring even more variety to the market than we already provide, which can only benefit the industry. Everybody wins when artists have multiple options to get the tools they need.

However the project hasnt been without its trials and tribulations. Anybody involved in film will tell you production is almost always a movable feast, and when the project involves anything that goes bang!things can go sideways pretty quickly.

The biggest challenge was staying sane while shooting everything! Pierre-Louis explains. Clearly shooting the entirety of the effects over five weeks straight was a serious challenge by the third week it was hard to differentiate between up and down.

Action example from the upcoming Water Splashes Collection

Action example from the upcoming Water Splashes Collection

Hazards and accidents abound in a shoot like this one; Something tragic that happened was with our pool. For our large-scale water effects, we spent about three days putting together this large pool. When it was finally done, we began filling it up and left for the night. The next morning, we came on set to find that the pool had exploded!

Safety is paramount when pyrotechnics is involved, fortunately the team has never had any major accidents, and thankfully Pierre-Louis isnt without a sense of humor, I did almost get fried by the flamethrower once though, so that was fun!

But Pierre-Louis is sure that the blood, sweat and tears (and scorch marks!) are worth it and hes confident that the users are going to love what the team has put together.

These products are also the direct results of hundreds of user requests and feedback, so they will fix many needs that compositors currently face, and allow them to work better.

Big bada boom!

Among the new effects is a hotly anticipated range of explosion effects that look to be exactly what the community has been clamoring for.

Actual example from the upcoming Explosions Collection

Actual example from the upcoming Explosions Collection

For as long as I can remember, VFX artists have been requesting high-quality explosions that are shot over a blue or green screen instead of the usual black.

The main reason for that request is due to the loss of fidelity when shooting explosions over a black background. [Y]ou lose a lot of the smoke. The smoke essentially becomes transparent which can be a major problem when working on daytime shots, for example.

This time around, we opted to shoot our explosions in 5K resolution over a blue background, which means they all retain the smoke and dust perfectly!

Additionally, the team is including a set of aerial explosions into Phase II, which ActionVFX believe will fill another niche; making it easier to create scenes with mid-air action.

Not every explosion happens on the ground, so were releasing an Aerial Explosions collection for anytime you need to blow something up in mid-air. Its been a highly requested collection

Actual example from the upcoming Dust Explosions Collection

Actual example from the upcoming Dust Explosions Collection

After the dust settles

There seems little doubt that fans and creators of things that go boom will be well served by the new effects, but what those of us who favor a little more subtly; perhaps a creepy horror film featuring a thunderous rainstorm? Or an arctic adventure in the frozen wastes?

A big part of Phase II is widening our range a bit more to go beyond just action-based effects. Its always fun to blow up and shoot things, but sometimes artists need something subtler to complement a shot.

The upcoming Weather category will include more of these specialized effects. For example, a Cold Breath collection; it may not sound like the most exciting effect, and in Pierre-Louiss words itll most likely not be the most popular, but when you need it, youll be glad it is on offer.

More specialized effects like this are intensive and often difficult to make, especially for an amateur. Among the many requests that the company gets, good quality water effects is surprisingly high on the list.

Creating realistic water visual effects, especially at a large scale, was always something that had to be done through CG simulations. With our upcoming Real Water collections, we hope to provide users with another option.

Testing out the XM42 flamethrower before a shoot

Testing out the XM42 flamethrower before a shoot

On the horizon

With all thats on offer no doubt users will be eager to get their flame retardant mitts on the new effects, fortunately you shouldnt have to wait too long. Now that Phase II is coming up to release Pierre-Louis is bullish that the work the company has done will satisfy and keep users happy for the time being

Phase II will last at least a year, which gives us plenty of time to release even more new products. Thats really our main focus at this pointcreating and releasing new VFX elements.

Naturally the company is already looking to what they can do in the future, The plan is to triple the size of our library, so we have our work cut out for us! Pierre-ouis hints that Blood effects could well be on their way soon,

Theyve been highly requested, and I believe we have a unique way of creating them that should result in some fantastic compositions.

We can hardly wait to see what unique and incredible things users can create with Phase II; likewise we look forward see what insane shenanigans the flamethrower-toting-maniacs at ActionVFX get up to next!

Related links

Head on over to ActionVFX to see what magic you can create
Read our interview with Rodolphe Pierre-Louis

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