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February 2018

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Page 37 of 43 36 POST FEBRUARY 2018 OPEN HOUSE esponding to the rapid changes and new challenges confronting post facilities, Dallas-based Post Asylum recently unveiled major addi- tions to its array of services. Graham Hagood, Post Asylum's managing direc- tor and executive producer, announced the facility recently merged with acclaimed animation and VFX studio Element X Creative. "We've brought these two companies together to create a new, fully-inte- grated, one-source creative shop," says Hagood. "Offering this array of talent and capabilities under one roof has been a dream of mine since my days as an editor. It's been a perfect fit." Post Asylum began as a tradition- al post house and expanded over the years to include production services and original music, with the launch of Pure Evil Music in 2009, to complement its award-winning editorial, color and fin- ishing talent. "We've always had motion graphics capabilities," adds Hagood, "but we saw an opportunity with Element X to create something new and unique." Post Asylum/Element X now boasts an extensive 3D animation and VFX pipeline with specialists in every area, from illustration and design to lighting and animation. "We're now on the leading edge of VR, AR and interactive content cre- ation," stresses Hagood. "Along with our sister company, Pure Evil, providing original music and sound design, we've created a new, unified creative solution for both agencies and brands. We can handle it all, from concept development through project completion, seamlessly and efficiently. This merger has just been a home run from day one." According to Hagood, this expansion is by way of responding to the shift- ing changes in the industry over the past few years. "There's a lot of vertical integration going on, with agencies developing production and post pro- duction capabilities," he explains. "Many traditional post production companies have seen what's happening with all the agency insourcing as a major problem, but we see it as an opportunity." Hagood sees Post Asylum/Element X as "a new creative powerhouse, perfectly positioned to partner with agencies, even those that have added in-house produc- tion capabilities." Another growth area, as Hagood points out, is working directly for brands as a one-stop creative resource. Post Asylum/Element X has partnered with industry leaders such as Oculus Facebook to create 360 and interactive VR content for the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR. It has also recently completed projects for American Airlines, The Container Store and HP. Executive creative director Chad Briggs points out that Post Asylum/ Element X has made a major commit- ment to both virtual reality and aug- mented reality, including the addition of two VR/AR demo suites. "There's been a lot of buzz about VR and AR, but we noticed early on that most people really haven't experienced true room-scale virtual reality, nor do they understand what it is. Some people have put on a mobile VR headset, but there's a marked difference between just looking around from a fixed perspective as opposed to actually being able to move your body in 3D space and interact in a room-scale environment." Post Asylum constructed suites specif- ically for room-scale VR, using both HTC Vive and Oculus Rift technology. Audio is a critical part of the immer- sive VR/360 experience, according to Gary Parks, senior sound designer and composer. "It's exciting for me to work directly with the guys designing and implementing this technology. The new audio workflows we're developing at Pure Evil Music for immersive and inter- active content will allow us to deliver the most impactful and immersive experi- ence possible." "Almost all of our VR and AR inter- active projects are done with Unity 3D along with some Unreal Engine," says Briggs. "Our traditional animation/VFX pipeline is built around Maya, Nuke and the Adobe Suite. As a result, we've developed a lot of proprietary pipeline hooks and plug-ins allowing us to take that same content and quickly prep it for Unity/Unreal. We can then basically click a button and pump it out to the desktop for a high-end interactive expe- rience, but also pump it out to a mobile Web experience via Web GL. We've also added the ability to export our VR projects as AR projects by employing Apple's ARKit and Google's ARCore." Hagood and Briggs are also high on their pre-rendered animation pipeline focused around Redshift. Briggs points out the studio uses Arnold for certain projects. "But that's a CPU-based render as opposed to a GPU-based render. Most of the projects we do are fairly short-term with aggressive deadlines, so we need to be able to iterate quickly through lighting, textures, modeling and animation...That's the beauty of Redshift. It's an amazing render engine." Briggs is particularly proud of a pack- age of two animated national PSA spots the studio recently completed for Atmos Energy Corp., a natural gas distribution company headquartered in Dallas, fea- turing a gopher named Gus and a skunk named Rosie as safety ambassadors who educate the public. "With a short turnaround, we really put Redshift to the test," Briggs explains. "There was a lot of grass, tons of vegetation and both characters are covered head to toe in fur. Redshift really came through." Hagood concludes, "At the end of the day, it's about talent, teamwork and passion, so I'm very grateful for the incredible creative team we have here now. It's a blast to come to work everyday and see the compelling content and immersive experiences we're creating with all these new tools." POST ASYLUM MEETS NEW CHALLENGES R Graham Hagood and Chad Briggs Rosie the skunk Atmos Energy's Gus

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