For a few weeks in June, the focus of many in the visual effects industry was centred on Barcelona, for the first b'Ars International arts & VFX festival (opens in new tab). Being lucky enough to attend the entire event, I came away feeling both informed and inspired.
The event was not just about the industry as a whole, but was in part designed to celebrate Spain and Barcelona's talent. It was obvious from the outset that there are a number of local studios producing top flight work, i-Real studios, for example, produce movie-quality animation and vfx work.
It isn't all about the studios however. Spain has produced many exceptional artists who have travelled the world making their mark at various vfx houses, from London to New Zealand. Inaki Gonzalez, of Leanord Blum, spent seven years working in London and from the many artists I spoke to almost all of them had spent time working at places like Framestore, MPC and Weta Digital.
On top of the opportunity to network with the local talent the show hosted some of the best speakers you will find at any show. The opening evening's highlight was a talk by Ryan Church and Dan Gregoire, looking at their experiences working together on a number of projects including the Star Wars franchise. Church shared some never before seen sketches, giving a fascinating insight into his methods and thought process.
Something for everyone
As well as talks and demos for the more digitally-minded attendees there were daily practical workshops, with artists popping along to sculpt, paint and draw. Some days there was a Darth Vader-alike model and set, others a more tradtional life drawing. Most importantly there was something for almost anybody with an interest in improving their art.
It's fair to say that the entire event was a success, both in terms of workshops and talks and as a showcase for what Spain has to offer the vfx community. I interviewed a number of artists while I was there, so check back to read more over the next couple of weeks.
If you missed b'Ars International arts & VFX festival, fear not! There's plenty of other great events for animators and 3D artists (opens in new tab) coming up.