Program 2018


The Rise of Virtual Studios

Hugo Guerra (fire without smoke), Mathieu Mazerolle (Foundry), Mathieu Muller (Unity), Ton Roosendaal (Blender)

Faster than anyone could have imagined, the virtual studio has become a reality. For years now production groups have come together in an ad hoc fashion across disciplines and geographical distances to collaborate on projects. They've been taking advantage of tax breaks and lower costs of labor and living but in the end, it's really been about finding the best talent for the job and the budget. Cloud infrastructures, distributed processing, and real time rendering among other technologies have advanced every year to make digital production a practical reality. At FMX this year we'll talk about how the rise of virtual studios are enabling production from independent houses and individuals. Speakers will include tool makers and tool users.

Moderated by: Kathleen Maher, Editor-in-Chief, Jon Peddie Research

Hugo Guerra

Hugo Guerra , Director & VFX Supervisor, fire without smoke,

Hugo is an award-winning Director and VFX Supervisor working in the industry since 1998.

After finishing his Fine Arts degree in Portugal he worked as a freelancer in Sweden and London. in 2010 he joined The Mill as a VFX Supervisor and Head of the Nuke compositing Department. Over that time Hugo has a Lead Artist and Onset Supervisor managing large teams in more than 100 productions including the VES awarded "Audi Hummingbird", the "Call of Duty Ghosts" in-game cinematics, The BBC Music “God Only Knows” to name a few.  

Since 2014, Hugo has been working with Fire Without Smoke as a Director and Visual Effects Supervisor working in games trailers for triple-A. He has directed and supervised trailers for Activision, Ubisoft, Square Enix, Sony, Deep Silver, CCP among others.  

Hugo is also a member of the Visual Effects Society and part of the advisory board for both the NFTS and Escape Studios. He’s been very active as teacher and lecturer of Visual Effects, making many talks, tutorials and keynotes for Fire Without Smoke, The Mill, FXPHD, The Foundry, NFTS, Campus i12, Animation Workshop, BenQ and Escape Studios all over the world.  

Hugo also runs the YouTube channel Hugo's Desk where he makes free tutorials and videos about VFX, gaming, and tech.

Check out his work at

Mathieu Mazerolle

Mathieu Mazerolle, Product Manager, Foundry,

Mathieu’s passion is technology in all forms - from film to games to the cloud. He programmed his first video game at 7 years old, and has been instrumental in the development of Elara, Foundry’s new cloud-based service for post production.

Foundry designs creative software technologies used to deliver award-winning visual effects and 3D content for the design, visualization and entertainment industries. Our software advances the art and technology of visual experience in partnership with creative leaders across the globe.


Foundry enables clients like Pixar, Mercedes-Benz, Google, ILM, Weta Digital, The Moving Picture Company and Sony Pictures Imageworks to turn incredible ideas into reality, by solving complex creative challenges.

Established in 1996, Foundry is headquartered in London, with offices in Manchester and Austin.

Mathieu Muller

Mathieu Muller, Field Engineer, Film and TV specialist, Unity Technologies,

Born between Atari2600 and Commodore64, studied in France, Switzerland and Canada and worked the first 13 years as a software engineer on professional flight simulators graphics engine, realtime middleware (Kynapse and Autodesk Navigation) and game engine integrations. Now Field Engineer for Unity, specialist for film and TV using realtime, based in France, talking tech with studios all over the world and making the link between users and internal devs.  
Ton Roosendaal

Ton Roosendaal , Founder / Chairman, Blender Foundation,

Ton Roosendaal studied Industrial Design in Eindhoven. Here he  co-founded the animation studio NeoGeo, in 1988. This studio quickly became one of the largest 3D animation houses in the Netherlands. Within the studio Ton was responsible for both art direction and 3D software development.

In 1998, Ton founded a new company called Not a Number (NaN), to further market and develop NeoGeo's in-house 3D tool Blender. In 2000 the company secured 4.5 M growth financing by several investment companies. In 2001 NaN released a web browser plug-in for interactive 3D playback and games. Target was to share a free creation tool, and commercial versions of the software for distribution and publishing. Sadly, due to the ongoing difficult economic climate, NaN operations were shut down early 2002.

In May 2002 Ton Roosendaal started the non-profit Blender Foundation. He managed to get the former investors to agree on a unique plan. The "Free Blender" campaign sought to raise 100,000 EUR, as a one-time fee to make Blender open source. To everyone's shock and surprise the campaign reached the 100,000 EUR goal in only seven short weeks. This is commonly regarded as the first big 'crowd funding' on the internet.

Blender development continued since that day on driven by a team of far flung dedicated volunteers from around the world led by Blender's original creator, Ton Roosendaal. With Blender originating as an in-house creation tool, the day-to-day feedback and interaction of both developing and using the software was one of its most outstanding features. To bring this back, Ton established the Blender Institute in Amsterdam and organized a series of crowd-funded "Open Movie" projects. The best known films, with 10s of millions of views online, are Big Buck Bunny and Sintel - widely considered to be masterpieces of Free Culture.

In July 2009, Ton received an Honorary Doctorate in Technology from the Leeds Metropolitan University, for his outstanding contribution to creative technology.

Ton's recent highlights were the launch of the 'Blender Cloud' platform, to produce several well received short films, and to watch Pixar give a Blender demo in the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. This strengthened him in the motivation that the time is ready to a next step - establish an feature animation film studio in his home-town Amsterdam.

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with the VES Visual Effects Society and ACM SIGGRAPH. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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