Meeting Report: The Fantastic and the Invisible – Ken Turner on VFX

chopperKen Turner mesmerised our April meeting with his  show reel of 2D 3D generalist animation and composition work showing spaceships, aliens, angels, falling bombs, helicopters crashing into skyscrapers; all without anyone being hurt in the making of the film.

He was talking to a standing-room only audience about his career. Amongst his many accomplishments Ken supervised computer graphics on The Fades and picked up the RTS award for best effects digital along with Alexis Haggar and Dan Marbrook of Lexhag.

KenTurnerAn illustrator at heart Ken has spent the last 15 years leading teams in animation and visual effects mainly for drama on the BBC but also for computer games. His most recent success was creating composite scenes for the BBC production Poldark.

Using Fusion 7 from Black Magic Ken demonstrated how he used the product to add a non-existent roof to a Cornish mine. He also removed a number of people from the skyline whilst cast members walk in front of these added and removed parts of the scene.

poldark1The tin mine before composition

poldark2The final composited scene

Similarly Ken showed how he had been able to add buildings to a scene along with smoke from chimneys, making ground less green and more industrial, as well as adding a galleon sailing past the coastline, creating what he referred to as a ‘moving collage’.

In addition he displayed a sequence and explained how he used Fusion to create the illusion of a large crowd walking up a long coastal track. The actual scene was shot numerous times as a small group of actors walked up the track. Ken composed the final scene by merging numerous sections of the timeline together to give the illusion of large crowd of people walking up the track.

Ken pointed out that Fusion 7 is available free of charge by simply downloading from the Black Magic site. It runs incredibly quickly allowing for great productivity on the part of the animator. Currently only available for Windows PC a Mac version is being created by Black Magic.

“Most of my work starts with mood boards in Pinterest” said Ken whilst emphasising the critical need for research. “So far I’ve enjoyed a 15 year career in Computer Games and TV. Now with Digital Cinema production the next 15 years promises to be even more exciting.”