VFX Supervision Workshop in Montreal with François Lambert of ILM

Posted on February 26th, 2008 in CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais

A big component of our company philosophy at Modus is to take an active part in the growth of the digital effects community in Montreal. A way to do this is to invite valued colleagues from around the world to share knowledge and ideas. Our first go at this was a VFX Supervision Workshop held on Monday, February 18.


The event was presented by the Quebec Film and Television Council in collaboration with the NAD Center. Modus FX and Mokko Studio were involved as consultants to help setting up the presentation.

We invited François Lambert, sequence supervisor at ILM, to talk about his work and give insights on how one operates in a large scale VFX production. François knows the region very well, having worked at Hybride and Big Bang before heading to California in 2003. His many film credits include Star Wars episode III, Harry Potter IV and Pirates of the Caribbean II & III.

The gathering was a great success; over 80 people signed up for the event. François gave an excellent presentation and the response from the crowd was very positive.

You can be sure this is the first of many; stay tuned for more events…


Yanick Wilisky, Modus - François Lambert, Industrial Light & Magic

The First Thing to do on a Movie Set

Posted on February 19th, 2008 in Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

… is to mark your territory.

The days on a movie shoot are long. VFX sequences take time to set up and are usually over very quickly. As a VFX supervisor you have to be prepared to wait for hours before you get thrown in the action when the assistant director calls for a VFX shot. So when you move around from location to location, your first goal is to quickly get a table, a chair and somewhere you can plug your laptop.

Your best friend here is the locations manager, who takes care of everyone’s needs on a movie set. The power crew is a close second, they can hand you a cord, some lighting and electricity. Also a good thing, find people to share your working space with; it’s a lot easier to ask for a table for 3.

In this shooting I’m presently on, I’ve spent days in:

  • A deserted hardware store;
  • An abandoned mine;
  • A cavern carved in rock at the end of a 300-foot long tunnel;
  • The basement of a University;
  • A closed down supermarket.

Here are some samples of my on-the-road VFX department:




Mathieu Phaneuf, 3D Modeler at Modus

Posted on February 16th, 2008 in The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais


Our team is growing! A few days ago Mathieu Phaneuf has joined Modus as a 3D modeler.

Mathieu has worked as a 2D/3D technical illustrator for 10 years. After attending the NAD Center in Montreal, he made a career change towards digital effects. For the past two years at Buzz, he has done 3D modeling for movies like The Covenant, Killer Wave, The Flood as well as commercials for Bell, Irving and many others.

He is already hard at work on our current projects. His skill and passion for modeling are more than welcome!

Modus is looking for 3D animators

Posted on February 13th, 2008 in CG Community, The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

We have two projects as well as a number of smaller assignments going on and we are looking for talented 3D animators. Our internal software for animation is XSI but we are hiring skilled individuals using any 3D solution.

Our projects involve realistic 3D characters, animals and vehicles. We have open positions for the next 6 months and maybe more. Positions are available immediately.

Please send your resumes, online demos and questions to : jobs(a)modusfx.com

Or at the address:

120 Turgeon
Sainte-Therese (Quebec)
J7E 3J1

A VFX Shop in my Tub

Posted on February 11th, 2008 in Working in CG, Technical, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

Still on location… Not too many CG characters in this movie, but scripts can change… And after a few discussions with the director and producer, a new shot concerning CG critters set in moody lighting was added. All the other shots involved props, so matching the lighting would be easy. But with this new shot, I would definitely need a shading sphere*. Shooting starts in a couple of days. What to do?

Simple. Get a cheap, round light fixture (4.50 $). I prefer neutral grey than pure white; grey primer will do just fine (4 $). Because it needs a lot of coats and I did not want to go back in forth from the studio shops, I made my own paint shop in my hotel bathroom…. Don’t tell the hotel managers.

The trick is to spray enough coats of paint to get a nice even look, while keeping the paint fumes out of the hotel corridor. I found it safer to do it at night. And voilà! A nice grey shading sphere for under 10 bucks!


* For the non VFX-savvy folks reading this, a shading sphere is just a flat colored sphere that is used to capture the lighting, shadows and some color bleeding on a movie set. You move it around in spaces where CG characters will be inserted later as the camera is filming, so it gives you a visual cue to start building your CG environment. In the same fashion, white spheres are also used, as well as chrome balls for highlights.