The New NAD Center

Posted on October 29th, 2008 in CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais




A few weeks ago I had the honor of being the first guest speaker at the new location of the NAD Center, one of Montreal’s original schools of digital arts and visual effects… for over 15 years! I still remember when I was myself a student at the NAD, in a tiny portion of the 2nd floor of the Softimage building on St-Laurent Street. Today just the administration offices use more space…




The NAD Center now offers a University program, and has considerably grown its training services and research in 3D animation, visual effects and digital arts. High-tech classes and labs stand alongside training studios and traditional art classes.

I was invited to give a speech on the industry, careering and my own experiences in the world of digital effects. The place looks empty, because the kids were busy learning!


Interface[s] Montreal 2008 : Animation and digital effects

Posted on January 21st, 2008 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais


This Tuesday, January 22 will be the first of seven presentations from the 3rd edition of Interface[s] Montreal at the Society of Arts and Technology. The first event will showcase presentations and debates on animation and special effects, featuring:

  • John V. Kennedy, Digital effects producer
  • Benoît Melançon, Director of training in compositing, NAD Center
  • Martin Poirier, Project administrator, Blender
  • Jean-Sébastien Guillemette, Artist, Blender
  • Marc Bourbonnais, President and co-founder, Modus FX
  • Robert Moodie, Technical Director, Pipeline/R-D, Image Buzz
  • Mathieu Raynault, Matte painter and co-founder, Rodeo FX

A first for this year, the night is produced in part by the Quebec Film and Television Council. You can get tickets here.

The Festival du nouveau cinema

Posted on October 9th, 2007 in CG Community, Technical, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais


The 36th edition of the Festival du nouveau cinema will start this week in Montreal. The FNC is committed to highlighting and contributing to the development of new trends in cinema and new media. It is a showcase for new, original works, particularly in the fields of independent cinema and digital creation.

Modus FX will take part in the half-day conference on 3-D stereoscopic cinema on Saturday, October 13. The afternoon will start with a presentation of the existing technologies and the current situation of 3-D stereoscopy in movie theatres with technical showings by Meteor Studios, DamnFX and Sensio to name a few. We will conclude with a 1 hour debate on what we can expect in the future.



The session is part of The Future of Cinema?” event, done in collaboration with the Society for Arts and Technology , a group very used to new medias and upcoming technologies in the field of communication. It will take place at their studio on St-Laurent Street.



Posted on September 17th, 2007 in CG Community, The Company by Marc Bourbonnais

Finally, after securing a fair amount of funds, starting the interior renovations, setting up purchase orders for hardware and tackling on a number of potential contracts, our available jobs board is open. We are lucky to work with remarkable freelancers and we are hoping to also start building an in-house team in October.

Being a start-up, all the classic CG/VFX positions are available. We are setting up a database that we will maintain up-to-date for anyone that will send us their coordinates and resume. We value every application and even if things do not work out right away it is in our interest to keep in touch with a large network of possible employees and freelancers for future work opportunities.

You can check out our available jobs at Hope to hear from you!


Posted on August 20th, 2007 in The Company by Marc Bourbonnais

I thought it would be difficult to explain to investors, bankers and other financial partners how our business usually works. I can understand how hard it can be from someone outside our field of work to grasp the grey area of creative service providing of such a technical nature. When things go well it goes something like this:

  1. You hear about an idea for a TV spot or a film with some special effects;
  2. You pitch a package with solutions, early designs, work calendar and prices;
  3. It gets accepted;
  4. You get paid while some if not all the aspects of the project are modified;
  5. You adjust your solutions, designs, work calendar and prices;
  6. You work until a producer somewhere says it’s enough – until then, go back to number 4.

To my surprise, the financial folks can get this. It’s their business to take risks, and they are willing to take risks with respectable professionals. They also have resources in every business field imaginable, so they will find out if you are pulling their leg. So it goes through, most of the time.

 Then you shop for insurance for your studio. Of course, you have to.

 I thought you just had to shop around, fill out forms to get quotes and just go for the least expensive proposition. But insurance brokers get nervous very easily. When you talk about creative content, expensive computers you change every two years, daily video conferencing over the Internet, sending tons of movie stills through FTP, 4:00 am automatic incremental backups… The big insurance corporations bail out immediately.

 Luckily there are specialized houses that deal with the media and film world, so they are at least knowledgeable of the movie-making process. That’s what we found, after quite a bit of digging around. So that was my small tip after a lengthy post.

Speaking at //ADAPT 2007

Posted on August 17th, 2007 in CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais


I’ve had the honor of being invited to be a speaker at //ADAPT 2007 in Montreal, in the 2D/3D+ program. This conference is about artists and their craft; since I’m becoming more of a manager/producer, my presentation will focus around CG careering. Not just about getting a job in our industry, but also networking, career advancing, production best practices and yes, entrepreneurship.

I’ve got the key points I want to talk about, but I’m still polishing the details. Feel free to make any suggestions on what would be interesting to add in my 90 minute talk.

Hope to see you in Montreal this September.

Bilingual blogging

Posted on June 10th, 2007 in Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

In case you haven’t noticed, you can switch this blog from English to French and vice-versa by using the top menu in the left sidebar. Whatever part of this blog you are reading, almost all you see will be translated. Also, the menu on the grey bar under the header brings you to the main page in one of those two languages. This explains why comments are posted in English or French, sometimes both!

This blog runs the Polyglot plug-in, which can force the WordPress localization (its default language if you prefer). It does not perform the translation; this is done for every post by yours truly. It’s obviously a bit of extra work, but I think it is worth it just to reach the highest number of my friends and colleagues from the VFX community.

Why write this blog?

Posted on June 4th, 2007 in Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

You’ve probably read somewhere one of those dreadful statistics about the very slim possibility that a start-up company will turn out to be successful. So if I have a definite chance I’ll fail miserably, why share it with the world? Here are some reasons that just forced me to get this blog going:

  • Writing the basic steps, day by day, of this endeavor will help me think straight. What’s been done yesterday, what needs my attention today, what needs to be done tomorrow.
  • I have always been in favor of information sharing. Because producing movies cost a boatload of money, this business is heavy on secrecy, copyrights, encryption, proprietary stuff and whatnot. Not everything can and should be shared, but a little openness goes a long way. While on the subject I highly recommend Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders.
  • Like I mentioned in my last post, I like to try new things. My new thing this week is this blog. Setting it up from scratch on a dedicated website took about 4 minutes. Add a few days to find a theme I like, tailor it to my needs, workout the English and French translation, here you go. I’ve done something I’ve never done before.
  • Every blog writer I’ve read is very clear: your writing skills will improve dramatically with a well-kept blog. I hope the same will happen to me. Since I’m writing this blog in two languages, I should get double points… if I don’t throw my English-French dictionary out the window first.
  • This is the cheapest form of instant worldwide visibility I know. Very soon I’ll need help and advice; this blog will keep me connected to old friends and I’ll meet new interesting people for sure.

So for now it’s a lot of work, but in a very short time I’m sure it will be well worth it. For the time being, I’m yearning for any form of encouragement, and the private and public responses I got thanks to this blog have been most welcomed.