In pictures: HP ZED London ends on a high

The Mill's Adam Dewhirst spilled the secrets of Guardians of the Galaxy at Friday's talk. Photo:

For the last two weeks, London's CG community have enjoyed a rare break from their workstations to gather, network and socialise in a specially designed 'popup studio' in the heart of Soho.

HP ZED London has been a place where animators, 3D artists and VFX specialists could grab a beer, try out the latest HP hardware, and enjoy talks, workshops and challenges led by some of the industry's leading experts.

The last night, suitably, was a sell-out, with the space packed full of CG artists eager to hear Adam Dewhirst - recently of Framestore, now at The Mill - spill some of the secrets of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Dewhirst spoke about both characters that did make the movie and those who stayed on the cutting-room floor. Photo:

His talk was evenly split between the CG characters that did make the film and those that didn't, beyond a blurry appearance in the background.

Most memorable of these was what Framestore dubbed the 'c– monster' (it rhymes with something you put on your feet, and was well named as such).

The audience enthusiastically entered a Twitter competition to name an unused Guardians character. Photo:

There was plenty of technical talk too, of course, and the audience were most intrigued by Dewhirst's demo of how to speed-sculpt a basic character while travelling on the London Underground.

HP's Delphine Simiand introduces Adam Dewhirst. Photo:

The level of detail, and amount of work, that went into even the most minor creatures in the movie was astonishing when broken down by Dewhirst.

But interestingly, he also paid tribute to its non-digital creatures, as created by the makeup, prosthetics and costume departments.

The room was packed for an inspiring talk. Photo:

Such a mixed-media approach, he believes, makes sci-fi worlds more believable, and he criticised the movies like The Phantom Menace for "using CG when it just wasn't necessary" and overegging the whole effect.

Guarded approach

Following a rapturous reception to Dewhirst's talk, the newly formed SIGGRAPH London chapter took to the stage to present the results of an animation challenge they'd been holding at HP ZED all week.

SIGGRAPH London takes to the stage. Photo:

Teaming up beginners with expert mentors, the group managed to produce a brilliantly amusing short about the travails of a Buckingham Palace guard.

That put a smile on everyone's face as they repaired to the bar to discuss a great fortnight for the capital's CG community and the fervent hope that HP ZED London returns next year. Fingers crossed...

Photos: Dave Cox and Mike Griggs

  • Dave Cox is a London-based street photographer available for events & private bookings. Visit his website, and follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.
  • Mike Griggs is a freelance concept 3D, VFX and Mograph artist working across TV, exhibition and digital design. Find him on Twitter @creativebloke.

The pop-up studio was adorned by suitably kooky fellas like these. Photo:

In a word, what it was all about... Photo:

A great opportunity to meet other artists in relaxed surroundings. Photo:

Bigger than ever, the ZED London space had many nooks and crannies to explore. Photo:

The talks were fast-moving and engaging. Photo:

A sold-out night meant a packed room. Photo:

There was plenty of space to spread out and chat afterwards. Photo:

A camera phone was a must! Photo:

An opportunity to take HP's latest workstations for a spin. Photo:

Two weeks that London's CG artists will never forget. Photo:

Discover more about what went down at HP ZED London here.