CGCircuit Interview: Kevin Baillie, Co-Founder of Atomic Fiction

Kevin Baillie of Atomic Fiction

Kevin Baillie of Atomic Fiction

For visual effects studios, most of the challenges that occur on a day-to-day basis have been identified to the point that there are very few true surprises. In many respects, solutions to these challenges are readily available and it just comes down to figuring out which one works best. Whether it’s specific project management styles, accounting and bidding practices or determining which creative software best fits within their current pipeline, studios quite often have many options available to them.

One studio, Atomic Fiction, headquartered in Oakland, California, not only identified a need but they also created an exciatomicFictionLogoting solution that works not just for their own studio but they have high hopes other industries that need to process, move and store massive amounts of data will agree that this is the time and money-saving product for them.

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When you come to CGCircuit the first thing you might notice are the ever-increasing tutorials populating the site. It’s important to note, though, that CGCircuit would be nothing without all of the amazing instructors who take their valuable time to create lessons that others can use to learn and improve. We at CGCircuit are constantly developing components to help instructors and today we’re announcing two new features focused on improving the very important communication between instructors and students: Email Users and Gifting

Email Users
While the concept of emailing users sounds simple, our implementation creates a powerful tool that allows instructors to send email directly to those who have purchased or subscribed to past tutorials. It’s now possible for instructors to easily keep people notified of tutorial updates or to make targeted announcements of brand new content to those who have already expressed interest in similar topics. Additionally, if the instructor has collected a separate list of email addresses of potential students, they also have the option of including that recipient list with those directly derived from CGCircuit.

As a result, instructors now have an excellent method for keeping in direct contact with past students and an amazing way to increase their reach while developing new tutorials.

The concept is very straight forward. Type in an email address along with a message and any of your selected courses will be gifted to the recipient and they will have full access as if they had purchased it themselves.

So why would you want to gift? We can think of a few good reasons:

  • You know of an influential person who could help to drive other students to your tutorials and giving them full access will help to make that happen.
  • A person you know who genuinely cannot afford your class but would really benefit from your generosity is a good way to create an evangelist for your tutorials (and it may feel good, too!).
  • If you’re being interviewed about your lessons, it might be good to gift your tutorial to the interviewer to ensure they have full understanding of the training content you offer.

We’re sure instructors can find other amazing reasons, both altruistic and pragmatic, to use the new Gifting functionality available now.

Try out the features and if you have any questions, drop us a line at and we’ll be happy to help out.

CGCircuit Now Offers School & Studio Discounts and an Affiliate Program

You're Gonna Love ThisToday, CGCircuit is announcing two new ways to bring our ever growing library of industry tested training courses to the world: School and Studio Site Discounts and an enticing Affiliate Program.

One program makes accessing our course library easier and more affordable, and the other allows 3rd party sites to sell our courses, making commissions on each sale. Both programs are available immediately and are detailed below.

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Creating a Tutorial: Part 1- Research

booksResearch. Eight letters that you haven’t thought about since your high school or college days. It is the very first step in creating your successful video tutorial.  Researching adds a depth and value to your tutorial.

The unspoken secret.


The subject you want to teach is most likely already being taught! We are here to tell you- so what?! The way in which you process and teach concepts is pertinent and integral to your success! Everyone is an individual and learns uniquely.  This is your opportunity to create and teach a  tutorial the way it makes sense to you and to share the information that has helped you the most.  By doing this, you are teaching others from your vantage point and thus delivering them into a teachable space others cannot.  Use the power of your individuality to power others individual learning styles!

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CGCircuit Creates a New Benefit Program for Former PDI/DreamWorks Employees

PDI/DreamWorks Former Employee Benefits ProgramAs many of you have undoubtedly heard by now, DreamWorks Animation made the decision to shutter PDI in Redwood City and make additional cuts at their Glendale studio. Beyond their many contributions to many of DreamWorks’ animated features, PDI was an early innovator in the world of commercially viable computer graphics. Their proprietary tools helped to launch what would become DreamWorks Animation’s fully realized CGI pipeline that drove most of their movies starting with the release of Antz in 1998. Despite PDI’s involvement with DreamWorks Animation’s past, it and many of its approximately 450 employees are not going to be part of DreamWorks’ future.

Our heartfelt sympathies go out to all of PDI’s and DreamWorks Animation’s former employees and their families affected by the cutbacks, but we at CGCircuit believe platitudes and sympathies are not enough. We understand that as part of the job search, sometimes rusty skills need to be honed, new career paths pursued and the generation of additional income is a necessity. To help with all of these aims, starting today, CGCircuit is providing all of the PDI/DreamWorks employees affected by its recent closure and downsizing the following discounts and benefits:

  • All video series are 50% off
  • Content creators for CGCircuit will receive an additional 15% for each video sold
  • Our staff will offer our decades of industry experience to provide demo reel and resume feedback

CGCircuit is made up of industry professionals and no matter how large the industry gets, it’s still small community and the seismic events at DreamWorks and PDI shake us all.

For more information on how you can get your PDI/DreamWorks benefits, please contact us at and we will help you continue your path to success.

Skinning with nCloth

skinning with nCloth banner

Advanced Skinning with Andy van Straten

Andrew van Straten is a Creature TD with big league film credits such as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Adventures of Tintin. While working at Weta Digital he was responsible for research and development for the Creatures department, specifically in regard to physical based solutions to facial expressions. In his tutorial, Skinning with nCLoth, he covers how to build and solve nCloth muscles, fascia and skin. He also delivers ideas on how it might fit into a production pipeline. This tutorial, is best suited for someone who has experience with rigging in Maya or nCloth.

I created this tutorial because I think riggers are waking up to the vast potential of a solution for muscle and skin that is based on a physically based solver. I hope riggers will get another string to their bow as it were, and are able to apply the concepts in their own setups.

Andrew van Straten

Check out the amazing results here!

I do plan to make more tutorials, including a follow up to this one where I’ll build the shoulder as its a fairly complex part of the anatomy. I’d also like to do one on how to manage realistic combination shapes for facial animation.

Andrew van Straten

Creating this tutorial was important to Andrew because, “Riggers are waking up to the vast potential of solution(s) for muscle and skin that is based on a physical based solver.” Hopefully adding another “string to their bow” Andrew is wanting riggers to be able to apply the concepts in their own setups. Indepthly he adds, “Weta Digital use a proprietary physically based solver to generate solutions for organic tissue. This tutorial won’t replicate what happens in the creatures department, but it does employ some of the same thinking with the outcomes, i.e. using a solver to do the ‘heavy lifting’ as it were to generate complex shapes.” Looking forward Andrew plans to produce additional tutorials with subjects such as building the shoulder and managing realistic combination shapes for facial animation. For more on Andrew go to his LinkedIn Profile.

New Feature: Embed Free Courses

Watch a video on embedding free Courses

Today at CGCircuit we are excited to share with you our newest feature that gives users a way to embed free tutorials on external websites! Say that you are browsing through CGCircuit and see a free tutorial, you now will be able to post it on your blog or own website using the new icon on the top right corner of the video player. This feature is useful for personal promotion and bloggers. Here at CGCircuit, we are proud of our player and its features.

  • – Our player lives in its own window, allowing you to practice as you watch and learn
  • – The drop down menu gives quick access to the entire structure of the course and also provides the ability to skip to specific videos. This is extra valuable when courses have multiple chapters and videos

With this new embed feature, sharing your work and CG love is a breeze. You take those effective features and ease with you when you embed our player in another web page!

Thanks for reading our blog post and being a part of the CGCircuit community! One of our favorite things is getting e-mails and comments. All of the user communication allows us to implement new features and improve existing ones. That said, we would love it if you would comment below and share your thoughts.

Until next time, Happy Learning and Happy Teaching!

Teach. Monetize. Learn.

Mechanical Rigging with Carlo Sansonetti


Advanced Rigging Techniques Applied!

I recently finished rigging a mech character named Hatch. Hatch is the latest of the Animation Mentor Rigs that will be used by student attending Animation Mentor classes. This beautiful design and model used was created by ILM’s digital artist Landis Fields.

Get access to animate Hatch when you enroll in Animation Mentor’s Creature Animation Workshops! Learn more about what you’ll learn in Creature Animation: Fight or Flight and get information on how to register.

The final rig is extremely complex. My tutorial takes students through the intensive process of rigging each component of Hatch. The rig features multi-IK limb setup, rolling scapulae as well as scripting parts of the rig in order to make the rig more stable and “production-ready”.

As with all of my tutorials, I try to also convey not just the how but the why. With a character like this one we will apply virtually all Rigging concepts.
I always loved to rig mechanical rigs because they test your rigging skills. For this reason above all, I thought it was a great idea to create a tutorial on this subject.

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Course Rental

CGCircuit Adds Option to Rent Courses

Today CGCircuit releases a new options for authors: a way to rent out their tutorials. This feature gives authors the option of lowering the price (hence making their content more accessible) without diminishing the value of their hard work. We are very excited about this new feature and we are curious to see how Authors will use it.

As always we work really hard to give authors and viewers the best experience, so please give us suggestions on how to make it better.


Teach. Monazite. Learn.