Welcome to OpenVisual FX!

Hello and welcome to OpenVisual FX! My name is Sean Kennedy, and this is my new blog and training site for professional visual effects using Free & Open-Source software (FOSS).

I’ll keep this intro nice and short. I’m a professional compositor and vfx artist and have been working on feature films, television, and independent projects in various effects positions since 1997. If you’re interested in exactly what projects, you can see my IMDB page here. For a few years now, I’ve been very interested in Free & Open-Source Software (FOSS), and I use these free programs both at my full-time studio jobs and when I do freelance work from home.

This blog is my outlet to share what I’ve learned.

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Rotoscoping in Natron.

A lot of people in the visual effects industry don’t take FOSS tools seriously, thinking they must be missing features that are necessary when doing professional work. And many hobbyists embrace the tools, but just don’t have an understanding of the techniques we use when working on high-end visual effects projects. I’m going to do my best to bring those worlds together.

Just like the tagline at the top of the screen says, there will be all kinds of tutorials, tips, and resources posted here. Resources like reviews and comparisons of software, free node setups you can download and use, and interviews with professionals working in visual effects. Tips will be short video clips showing specific tools or techniques. And tutorials, there will be plenty of those, too. Most will be free, but every once in a while, for larger, more structured courses, I may charge something for them. Just being honest with you from the beginning. I promise they’ll be worth it. 🙂

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Adding security lasers to a shot in Blender.

Something I’m very excited to address on this blog is real-world compositing. Sure, everyone wants to be able to composite a dinosaur into a jungle or create a massive spaceship destroying the Earth, but actually working in the industry is a bit different. There’s a lot of fixing things. Crew members will accidentally stand in a shot, props will be left in the scene, wires and rigs will need to be removed, colors will need changed and labels will need replaced. Even cosmetic fixes – taking weight off of an actor, adjusting their make-up, covering up some nudity to keep the rating of the movie PG. And yes, ok, every once in a while, you get to composite a dinosaur or spaceship.

I’d also really like to do some tutorials specifically aimed at professionals who already know commercial software like After Effects, Nuke, Mocha, Maya, 3dsMax, and others. You guys and gals already know the techniques, and may be interested in just porting those techniques over to free software.

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Adding a light and glow fx to a bomb in Blender.

There will be things I don’t cover. Blender, for example, already has an overflow of entry level tutorials out there, so there’s no reason for me to cover that ground. If someone else has done it already, I’ll happily link to their work. I’m only going to be focusing on things related to professional visual effects.

I’m planning to cover programs like Blender, Natron, Fusion, Krita, Gimp, and more. While those are the big ones of the FOSS world, I’ll hopefully also introduce you to some smaller tools you’ve not yet heard of, things to help build your home production pipeline. Eventually I’d even love to get into some filmmaking, where we would explore programs like Trelby (screenwriting) and Audacity (audio editing). And wouldn’t it be great if we even dabbled with physical effects? Props, miniatures, make-up fx, stuff like that?

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Shooting a short film in 2006.

I’d love to get some feedback and ideas from everyone. I really want people to be involved, so please comment on things or use the Contact Me page. Ideas, requests, critiques, whatever ya got! I’m going to try to keep it a bit informal here. I think this is going to be fun!

6 comments

  1. Woow! the site is finally up! and it’s looking uber-pretty! I love where you’re going with this, and personally I think there is a huge demand for professional “real life” VFX instruction in the community. I will be following this awesome site very closely. Good luck sir!

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  2. I first saw your video from Blendercon 2015 and signed up for notification on this site. There are many sites already for beginner tuts and exercises for Blender and others but to actually have practical examples or even workflows from real-world projects would be so much more enlightening! People always talk about using compositing software for removing wires or fixing set-crew glitches, but your talk was the first shown example of such work I had seen. And that caught me.

    I’m very looking forward to the direction your site is leaning and will be following closely to see just how you’ve put Blender and other programs like GIMP and such to use in the professional world. Myself I’m a complete noob looking simply for the “hobbyist” level of applications, but who knows where things could take me later on 😉

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  3. Very excited with this! Since the Blender Institute Podcast talked about your site, I’ve read every post, saw your Blender Conference videos and searched for your earlier courses at CGCookie.

    I think the community is going to benefit a lot from your experienced point of view. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Sean!

    Like

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