Multiple job openings at Modus FX

Posted on May 3rd, 2010 in The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

Currently, Modus is actively on the lookout for:

  • SFX/Particle/Simulation Artists/TDs
  • Experienced CG particles and simulation artist/technician for film VFX and CGI features. All software background with solid experience will be considered.
  • Lighting TDs
  • Lighting Technical Director in charge of lighting CGI/VFX shots following setups and instructions from the artistic direction team. Autodesk Softimage (XSI) working environment.
  • CG Character / Creature Animators
  • Experienced Animator for a full length CG feature and animation for feature film VFX; Autodesk Softimage (XSI) working environment, but we are looking for raw talent from any software background.

All positions are available immediately. Apply at
Good Luck!

Modus, The History of America, Digital Effects, and President Obama

Posted on April 29th, 2010 in Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

We are always excited when finally a feature that we have contributed to with our digital effects is distributed in movie theatres or on TV. After months of hard work we can sit back, relax and enjoy the show. One of the latest projects we were involved in is the TV documentary America : The History of Us. We collaborated with our partners in the UK, Jellyfish Pictures to help relate the history of the United States using all sorts of digital animation, transitions, set extensions and full landscapes.



This 12-part miniseries for the History Channel premiered last Sunday, following a massive campaign. Already the numbers are impressive, the first night of this special broadcast becoming the highest rated and most watched TV show for the network.

Part of the enjoyment of our involvement in shows like this is to check out all the following in the media; in this case it has been extremely well received. But the best publicity feat about The History of Us is certainly it’s announcer: President Obama, with a special introduction kicking off the series. That was quite a surprise!


You can watch the trailer from President Obama here.

Montreal Offers Expert Work in Digital Effects for Movie Production - Variety

Posted on November 2nd, 2009 in CG Community, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

An interesting poll was published in Variety last week. Film industry insiders rated their favorite filming location using different criteria related to movie production. Montreal did not make the high list, but a very special honor was given to our VFX community… Read more below;
Here is the North American filming locations top 5 :

  1. California - Los Angeles and environs, San Diego, San Francisco and spots throughout the state
  2. New York - Manhattan, the rest of New York City plus upstate locations
  3. New Mexico - Albuquerque, other cities and remote areas
  4. Chicago - Prototypical urban America
  5. Louisiana - New Orleans, other cities and parishes

And the international locations top 5 :

  1. Morocco - Cities and landscapes
  2. France - Paris, Provence and the Dordogne region
  3. Prague - Center of Central European filmmaking
  4.  Spain - Madrid, Barcelona and the Canary Islands
  5. U.K. - London, Edinburgh and elsewhere

In the honorable mentions, Sydney, Montreal and Toronto are featured for Best Production Resources. Here is what the poll had to say about Montreal :

“Montreal offers expert vfx work, spurred by tax breaks. High-profile films including The Golden Compass and Indiana Jones 4 might shoot elsewhere but still use Montreal’s talent pool for effects.”

Kudos to our good friends from Rodeo FX, who participated on both features! I can only agree when it come to foreign film shootings having its VFX produced in Montreal; it certainly represents the vast majority of our projects here at Modus.

You can read the full article here.

Modus FX Around the World

Posted on September 10th, 2009 in The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

When you think you can just work on a few contracts and deliver nice images with cool digital effects in the comfort of your studio, suddenly you need to send personnel all around the world for on-set VFX supervision and coordination… Luckily we have great people ready to go on remote locations and be our eyes and ears; here is what is happening around the globe…

Shooting in Tasmania :


Martin is on top of Wellington Park overlooking Hobart, Tasmania

Martin Pelletier, our artistic director/look developer, is currently supervising the on-set VFX of a 4-week shooting happening in Tasmania. Setting up communication schedules is not easy, with a 10-hour time difference. Combined with the hectic schedules of film shoots, you have to be ready to chat at weird hours every day… and night.

Supervision in London :


Éloi, probably looking for a good pint o’lager in London, England

Éloi Brunelle is currently in London, England in preparation of a large-scale documentary, a joint venture we are working on with the fine folks at Jellyfish Pictures. Éloi is going through some previz and special techniques for the project, getting ready for the shooting in a few weeks… in South Africa.

With all this going on, thank goodness for Skype, Flickr and Instant Messaging.

Two Years Ago

Posted on June 22nd, 2009 in Working in CG, Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

June 1st, 2007 was my last day as an employee and the first day of this blog, intended to follow my steps in the starting up of a visual effects company. Modus FX will be two years old in a few weeks…

We had a good feeling we could get through the market; we have a strong know-how for client relations, project management and, well, making VFX. The things my associates and I have learned about business administration, management and finances are overwhelming. Quickly identifying your weak spots and taking care of them, one problem at a time with clear, concise and easy solutions is key in entrepreneurship.

I’m not saying we’re on top of the world and our digital effects studio is this well-oiled machine, rendering away while I’m sipping a drink by the beach. We’re pumping a lot of hours; stress is high and our space still in renovations. But at least we have satisfied customers (even repeat business!) and we’re delivering our product.

Ubisoft buys Hybride

Posted on July 11th, 2008 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

So earlier this week video games maker Ubisoft announced its acquisition of VFX studio Hybride. Very big news for the VFX industry, and a huge event for the VFX and games community in Montreal.

The convergence of video games and digital effects industries is not new. In 2005, Lucasfilm’s new Letterman Digital Arts Center was a way to bring closer together its video game division (LucasArts) and VFX studio (ILM) to share technical knowledge and creative power for added value. A new Indiana Jones title is one of the first projects of this new collaboration, for example by pushing the limits of the Euphoria engine from Natural Motion. Just last year VFX studio Digital Domain announced the creation of a video games division, right after working on the impressive Halo 3 trailer. One memorable result is the “Mad World” teaser for Gears of War. You can read more about it here.

The difference here is having a multinational video games company acquiring an established VFX house. In fact, Ubisoft has been working on building their own CG studio in Montreal (Ubisoft Digital Arts) to refine the cinematics of their production titles, as well as start short and long movie spin-offs using these same titles. The acquisition of Hybride is a huge leap foward.

But I’m no prophet. What will precisely happen with this acquisition is everyone’s guess. Having been an employee of Hybride for over 10 years, of course my thoughts go to everyone at my last employer; I’m more than proud for all the owners at Hybride that I’ve worked for during over a decade. I’m also very happy for my ex-colleagues that have exciting new opportunities with the added support of a new respected corporation.

Finally, as a VFX studio owner myself, this happening is extremely positive. It has brought Montreal in the limelight and shows the vigour of both industries. For Modus, Ubisoft’s ownership of Hybride gives us a new opportunity to differentiate ourselves. Not forgetting the immediate added value this transaction has brought for all VFX studio.

Exciting times are up ahead. Can’t wait to see!

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.

My VFX Supervisor kit

Posted on January 31st, 2008 in Working in CG, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

Before going to this 30-day shoot that will take me to next March, I had to get my gear set up. I have to mention this post by Zoic’s Andrew Orlof. It is by far the most elaborate description of what a VFX Supervisor’s on-set luggage should contain, with all the gear neatly pictured (check out the link on Flickr). My own stuff is not as complete and I will not go into such details; so go read it. Now.

As for me, I too got a Tamrac bag, as a backpack because I’ll be moving quite a bit during the month to different set locations and between shooting units. I have another smaller pack for my laptop and documents. Here’s what my main bag looks like, minus the camera of course.


What I have in it:

  • Multi-colored hi-liters
  • Pencils, pens, sharpies, markers, post-its
  • Colored tapes, vinyl and masking
  • Colored spots, markers, single and double-sided tape
  • 18% grey card
  • Short (16’) and long (100’) measuring tape
  • Chrome ball bearing
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Memory cards, chargers, batteries and extra batteries
  • Tie-wraps and Velcro wraps
  • Camera, lenses, mini-tripod, remote control
  • First aid kit

 In my laptop pack I have

  • USB keys and card reader
  • Extension cord and splitter
  • Ethernet cable
  • Ethernet crossover cable
  • USB TV tuner with cable adapters
  • The current movie script
  • The current call sheet, crew list, schedule, tec survey
  • Our complete VFX bid

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