Usher: “Love in this Club”

ROLE: Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Hydraulx
CLIENT: Hydraulx Films
DIRECTOR: The Brothers Stause

Slick and sexy, Usher’s “Love in this Club” plays more like a surreal short film than the typical music video. Sure, it’s got the typical ingredients you’d expect to accompany an R&B hip-hop infused hit synth-single – live performance, choreographed dancing, sexy ladies, lots of mugging for the camera. But there’s also a wrap-around mystery, cloaked in the warm-hued, lens flared environment of an almost ghostly Vegas nightclub.

The premise is simple – Usher enters an empty nightclub, one which looks as if deserted only moments before he enters. Once inside, he can’t leave. Every door returns him to where he started. And that’s when he sees the mystery woman. The music starts, the club fills up, and it’s business as usual – until she vanishes.

Much of the atmosphere was achieved in camera, but many elements still needed to be added or augmented to achieve the final product. Of these, I was tasked primarily with beauty work for Usher and his lady, making them look as good as possible. Also, I contributed some stylized lighting and lens flare effects, to intensify the surreal sensuality of the club interior.

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem

ROLE: Flame Artist | VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Hydraulx
CLIENT: 20th Century Fox
VFX SUPERVISOR: The Brothers Strause
DIRECTOR: The Brothers Strause

Regardless of one’s opinion on this somewhat anticipated sequel’s merits, “Alien vs. Predator: Requiem” represented a huge amount of quality VFX work accomplished by a rather small team of artists.

“AVP-R” was the directorial debut of Greg and Colin Strause, owners and VFX supervisors of the mid-sized shop Hydraulx, known for producing high-end work with limited resources on a compressed timeline … among other things.

Like previous projects, this film proved to be no different, conceived as an A-level visual effects blockbuster with a B-level budget. But this time it was produced entirely in-house.

I worked on a number of shots, utilizing every trick in the book to get away with as much as possible, as quickly as possible: CG aliens and jaw strikers; CG helicopters; CG and practical blood and gore (complete with parasitic flies); practical and painted spark hits and explosions; matte paintings for wounds, landscapes, and battle damage; monitor comps; various rig removals and clean-ups; and grading of all types.