The Making of ‘Dirge’ with Alex Alvarez

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on MAY 11, 2011

The Making of ‘Dirge’ with Alex Alvarez

This week, The Gnomon Workshop releases the next title in the “Making Of” lecture series from Gnomon Founder and Director, Alex Alvarez. In The Making of ‘Dirge’, Alex discusses the technical and artistic creation process for his latest project, titled ‘Dirge’. The project originates through an initial sketch, which quickly morphs into a fully sculpted 3D character. The world of ‘Dirge’ is then fleshed out as Alex designs the devil’s horned walls that surround the fiery pits of this hellish world. Alex discusses the various iterations of lighting and texturing that the character and environment underwent on his way to the final look. The world then comes to life with the addition of effects and animation. Alex builds up atmosphere by adding volume fog, burning embers and ashes, and a plague of locusts for good measure. Fire and smoke are then added in the final composite. Through it all, Alex discusses not only the technical aspects of this project, of which there were many, but just as important, the artistic decisions and discoveries made during The Making of ‘Dirge’.

DVD Description:
In this extensive eight-hour DVD, Alex Alvarez delves into the the creation of ‘Dirge’, his hellish new animated personal project. Created as a high-resolution two-minute animated loop at 2560×1600 for viewing on a 30″ framed display, ‘Dirge’ was created using Maya, ZBrush, Photoshop, After Effects and Mental Ray. The entire workflow will be explored, including character and environment design, modeling, sculpting, texturing, shaders, dynamic effects, rigging, animation, lighting, volumetric effects, and compositing. As this project represents a diverse range of tools and techniques, it is an in-depth look at the process with an assumption that the student has an intermediate understanding of the tools. Anyone interested in creating a dynamic and cinematic 3D digital environment will benefit from Alex’s approach and breakdown.

"Whenever I need to breathe life into my characters, Alex Alvarez is where I go. Whether it be to collaborate on concepts with him directly or to watch his DVDs, I am always confident in accessibility to great information. Not only has his technical prowess pulled me out of many holes, but his character sense has given rise to some wonderful moments on some major motion pictures (Avatar and Star Trek). These new DVD’s encapsulate what I gush about. Crazy and creative character design coupled with empowering technical know how."

- Neville Page
Character/Concept Designer

Instructor Bio:
Alex Alvarez is the founder and president of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in Hollywood, The Gnomon Workshop, Gnomon Gallery, Sketch Theatre, Gnomon Studios and the president/CEO of CG Channel. Having dedicated over a decade to educating students and professional artists around the world, Alex has helped change the face of computer graphics and design education.
Alex has been published in industry magazines, websites and books and has also taught courses at several major trade conferences. He recently worked as a creature development artist on the James Cameron film Avatar and JJ Abrams’ Star Trek. Alex is an alumnus of the Art Center College of Design and the University of Pennsylvania, but would have gone to Gnomon if it was around at the time.

Alex Alvarez


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