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Rising To Visual Challenges: Engine House VFX

Picturesque beaches and sandy shores are not the only thing placing Cornwall, England on the map these days.  The picturesque peninsula is also home to Engine House VFX, an animation and visual effects company that’s making some pretty big waves.

Mike Richter, a 3D freelancer whose architectural visualization skills enabled him to create extremely realistic building and interior rendors, launched Engine House VFX in 2008.  As his list of national clients grew, so did his core staff. Currently, the three person leadership team includes Richter, co-director Jason Robbins and business development/marketing manager Natasha Price.   Focused on tailoring their work to their clients’ needs, the team at Engine House VFX specialize in finding the most creative solutions to help deliver their client’s message.

“We love a simple message told well,” said Richter.  “We get to the leanest version, then figure out the best way to tell that narrative.”

The Engine House VFX relationship with their client starts with the development of an idea.  They’ll either work with a set of parameters presented by the client to flesh out the budget and timeline, or begin crafting a creative method to illustrate a truly unique idea.  After scripting their concept, the Engine House team storyboard their idea to provide the client a launching point.  Armed with creative direction the team and client can reflect on the creative direction and refine or redesign the concept.

Constantly experimenting with the latest technology, Engine House VFX is completely maliable, able to accomidate any innovation in the creation of their concepts.  In addition to traditional 2D animation, the company is able to provide 360 and VR content as well as any form of computer generated VFX.  They will adapt the method of delivery to whatever best serves the concept – or their client’s vision.  To help clients understand the breadth of possibilities, Price produced the company’s “A Cup of Tea at Engine House” video , illustrating how a wide range of visual effects and references can drastically enhance a simple idea.

“The most successful are the ones with the biggest risk, that are willing to revisit their ideas,” said Robbins.  “We are very adaptable.  We’re happy to suggest whatever will work with what they want.”

Engine House VFX have fostered a stable of select artists who share their enthusiasm for a balance of creativity and technology.  Scattered around the globe, the Engine House VFX team connect with their artists via internet platforms, including skype, to discuss the needs of the project and visuals.  While they have been made keenly aware of deadlines, Richter fines clear direction and the opportunity to conduct their tasks autonomously encourages the artists to work three times faster.

While a vast number of projects have involved advertising for clients as diverse as Dolce and Gabbana and Junior’s Mini Croissants, Engine House VFX has tackled narrative content as well.  One recent endeavor found them working with NASA to present an accessible to the masses interpretation of a recent Hubble telescope discovery.  Engine House VFX helped animate the atmosphere of exoplanet WASP-12b, where water molecules were discovered to be giving off radiation as they lost energy, a phenomenon that presents infared light that the human eye can not detect.  Engine House VFX rose to the challenge of illustrating the discovery, presenting a 360 animated video.

“They didn’t know anything about animation but had a TED talk and wanted to know what we could do to help,” said Richter.  “It was such a good subject.”

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