Modus FX creates digital worlds for Mr. Nobody, winner of the Osella for Best Technical Contribution at the 66th Mostra in Venice

Posted on September 13th, 2009 in Software, The Company, Working in CG, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais


Sylvie Olivé, Production Designer on Mr. Nobody receiving the Golden Osella for Best Technical Contribution

Today, Modus FX announces having delivered 121 digital visual effects shots for the feature film Mr. Nobody, recipient of the Golden Osella for Best Technical Contribution at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. The film was produced by Pan-Europeenne, co-produced by Integral Film, Lago Film, Christal Films Productions and Toto & Co. Films, directed by Jaco Van Dormael, with visual effects supervision by Louis Morin. The film is also an Official Selection at this year’s Toronto Film Festival.

Despite recent slow-downs in the film industry, Quebec’s expertise in digital-effects production holds strong. All 500 visual effects shots for this sci-fi fantasy movie were produced in Quebec by Quebec companies. Modus FX was entrusted with complex sequences which could not be captured on film, involving the digital reproduction of entire cities, villages and other-worldly settings. Modus also worked on several complex transitions between the different worlds and multiple lives of Nemo Nobody.

Modus’ post-production contributions involved 37 digital artists and technicians across a six-month period. A long list of software, including Autodesk’s Softimage and Maya, Side Effects’ Houdini and The Foundry’s Nuke, and the creation of a multitude of innovative in-house tools, programs and techniques was required for the 121 shots delivered.

Co-founded by VFX industry veterans Yanick Wilisky and Marc Bourbonnais, Modus FX offers a full range of digital production services for film, television and new media. Boasting a 12,000 square-foot studio to house its team of seasoned artists, Modus FX has quickly become an industry leader, working on high-profile projects for clients and distributors such as Sony Pictures, TF1, Discovery Channel, Warner Bros. Interactive, BBC-1, and The History Channel.

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!


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!

Jacinthe Côté, VFX Coordinator at Modus

Posted on March 20th, 2008 in The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais


We are already a fine panel of excellent artists and technicians, but even with the best lineup you need people to keep it all together for our common goal : delivery. Enter the VFX coordinator.

Jacinthe started her VFX career with a college degree in Media Arts and Technology at the Jonquière CEGEP. She held numerous titles in post-production, I/O, editing and compositing departments of established houses like Hybride, Technicolor, Wizz and Fake Studio.

Her role at Modus is essential for our level of production. She has to keep the projects on track, monitor the input/output of the crew and take care of client requests. An important job with a lot of challenges, but Jacinthe takes care of it daily with panache and brio.

Welcome, Jacinthe!

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!

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.

Quebec at the VES Awards

Posted on January 9th, 2008 in Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

The Visual Effects Society is a professional, honorary society, dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences, and applications of visual effects with over 1,600 active members from around the world, including yours truly. The VES will hold its 6th awards show next February. This year 3 nominations are from productions completed in Quebec:

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program : Marie-Antoinette from Hybride;

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project : Sea Monsters : A Prehistoric Adventure from D.A.M.N. fx;

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special : Race to Mars, from Digital Dimension;

Sorry, forgot to mention : 

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project :  Dinosaurs, Giants of Patagonia - 38_011, from Studio Virtuel Concept.

Good luck to all! You can see the complete list of nominees here.

Short Term and Medium Term Projects

Posted on December 17th, 2007 in Entrepreneurship, The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

We knew that a key aspect of our success was to fill up our production calendar as soon as possible. We decided to set up strategies for short term (end of 2007) and medium term (early 2008) prospects.

Short term pitching (i.e. right now) requires a lot of work. It is fairly easy to present our company to possible clients and partners in the Montreal region and cold calling current projects in production. The process went well and the feedback was great, but it took a lot of our time with numerous daily visits. Autumn is not the best season to get involved in VFX projects and last November has been pretty awful for the CG/VFX community in Montreal.

2008 is looking much better, and we have been following up on a few projects for early next year. For longer productions, the important issue is to build confidence in the course of a few meetings while demonstrating your know-how. Our very large studio space helped us show our potential as well.

Our calendar is definitely shaping up after a rather slow start and a few delays the past few weeks. We’ll finally be more into pixels and less into 2×4, accounting reports and city permits.

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