LOS ANGELES - May 25, 2011 - Imagine a four-horned, mummified creature surrounded by the fires of a hellish world, holding an intricately designed, menacing staff shaped like the wings of a raven. From the mind of "Avatar" creature effects artist Alex Alvarez, founder and president of the Gnomon school of Visual Effects, The Gnomon Workshop today announced an all-new instructional video for download and DVD formats titled The Making of 'Dirge.' An all-new release from The Gnomon Workshop, the leader in professional training for artists in the entertainment and design industries, The Making of 'Dirge' features the technical and artistic creation process behind Alex's animated personal project. 

?From concept to completion, Alvarez takes viewers on an eight-hour journey through the fiendish world of 'Dirge.' Beginning with his initial sketch, Alvarez demonstrates attention to detail as he creates a frightening, fully sculpted 3D character, then brings the world around it to life with atmospheric effects like volume fog, burning embers and falling ashes. 

?Utilizing tools with rich feature sets like Maya®, ZBrush®, Adobe Photoshop®, Adobe After Effects® and Mental Ray®, Alvarez explores the entire workflow used in the creation of 'Dirge,' including character and environment design, modeling, sculpting, texturing, shaders, dynamic effects, compositing and more. Throughout the process, Alvarez also explains the artistic decisions and discoveries made during The Making of 'Dirge' to bring a dynamic and cinematic 3D digital environment to life.

?"In order to bring an idea to fruition, the artist must approach an idea without any preconceived notions of what is possible," said Alvarez. "Each piece of art requires certain technical skills and knowledge. In this video, I take viewers through the necessary steps, along with my own artistic inspirations, that brought 'Dirge' into reality and will help them develop their own unique creations. "

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 more than a decade to educating students and professional artists around the world, Alvarez has helped change the face of computer graphics and design education. Alvarez 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 J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek." Alvarez is an alumnus of the Art Center College of Design and the University of Pennsylvania. He has said that he would have attended Gnomon if it were in existence at the time.

To purchase a downloadable version of the video or a DVD, or for further information, please visit:

Further instructional DVDs for 3D modeling and sculpting can be found at The Gnomon Workshop 3D Modeling and Sculpting page. For additional info and assets (media only), please visit the company's press site.

About Gnomon Workshop

Since 2000, The Gnomon Workshop has provided artists and students with the educational resources they need to succeed as artists in the entertainment industries. Whether they're interested in design, modeling, effects, animation, storytelling or matte painting, these DVDs provide a valuable educational resource for students around the world. The Gnomon Workshop is the sister company of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, which provides professional caliber visual effects instruction to students and professionals in Los Angeles.


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