Movies, TV shows, Entertainment hubs in popular malls, video games, advertising, house/interior designing, medical field, the fields where VFX employs as a popular tool are numerous and extensive. Only a solid artistic mind, technical skills and hard work matter if you’re an aspiring VFX artist. The umbrella term “Animation/VFX and Graphic Designing”, covers various techniques that are handled by a pool of technicians. Each department is equally important so as to achieve the finished outlook. One particular step is incomplete without the proper finishing of the preceding or succeeding step. Although, there are some crucial positions in VFX which are highly demanding due to myriad reasons. Let’s have a quick peek into some of the most demanded positions in VFX.
As demanding and highly paid as this job is, as crucial as it is the role of VFX artists. Along with the advancement of technology, there grow respectively the demands of prospective clients and it’s not even an exaggeration if we say their demands and expectations have no ends or limits. Thus it is important for an VFX artist to have these below-listed skills:
- Thorough knowledge of the subject
- Keeping oneself updated
- Creativity and aesthetic sense
- A craving for perfection
- Problem-solving skills
- Solid artistic mind and visual awareness
- Basic knowledge of photo/videography
- Time and speed managing skills
- Drawing/animation skills are a plus
- A basic understanding of physics
- Software, programming, and coding knowledge
Generally, the Technical Director makes the VFX artist’s role easier and quicker. A TD is required to have an elevated sense of lighting and rendering. It is the meticulous planning of a TD that gives the frame/sequence a finished outlook. Strong coding and programming skills are fundamental qualities since effects are created using the CLS (computer language scripts) written by TDs.
These specific quality requirements make TDs a hard-to-find by VFX supervisors, ideally making it a handsomely salaried job.
Compositors are responsible for generating the final output of a VFX sequence or frame. Controlling the lighting and making it look realistic is one of his/her important roles. Linking various components and close-knitting them altogether resulting in to look like a single shot/frame or image could be said as the predominant craft of a compositor.
Supervisors oversee the compositor’s work and deduce what’s to be done, the sequence, format, frequency, color matching, and everything else related to the compositing work that will be under the scrutiny of the supervisor. A veteran artist with solid knowledge about the subject eventually turns out to be a compositing supervisor. The experience factor adds up value to this position.
Commonly referred to as “roto”, this process aids in creating life-like animated characters, unlike the movement of drawn-on pictures. The recently updated version of the Lion King movie is the best example of Rotoscoping. Mastering Rotoscoping is indispensable according to VFX students as it could be said as the ‘gold mine of the animation industry naturally making the roto artist high in demand. Companies do not hesitate to hire a highly-paid roto artist as the quality of the product is a matter of company integrity. Experience plays a vital role in molding a talented roto artist.
A picture editor works directly with the project’s director in order to decide and select the shots and frames. Therefore, the selection of shots is determined by the collective thoughts of the director, producer, and picture editor. Usually, a picture editor’s role comes in the post-production unit, thus s/he joins the team after the shooting.
Collaboration and Brainstorming is a key soft skill a picture editor should possess for the sake of career enhancement. A productive discussion with the writer, creator, and director is indispensable so as to hit the targeted output. Fruitful results of such collaborations will launch you towards much more reputed and esteemed heights.
The skills that are already listed above are applicable to rigging artists as well. Rigging refers to the generation of skeletal or base models for computer-generated images. The artist draws static models of characters along with the concept of how characters are supposed to move, their facial expressions, etc. This works as a great aid for the rigging artist. As per the idea received, they manage the simulation of the bone/cheek/eye/eyebrow movements of the character and assign their movements and postures.
Refined and excellent 3D models are fashioned by talented Rig artists making them popular in demand.
Digital preparation/paint artists, also known by the name of ‘Prep artists’ usually work with compositors and roto artists. The background in which the sequence is originally shot is called ‘plates’. Cleaning up these plates to prepare for the visual effects is implemented through the service of prep artists. With the support of well-equipped software programs, they can clean up anything from the screen.
Why expert prep artists are in demand? The need for paramount patience and impeccable attention to detail is the answer. A perfectionist mind should be developed even to focus on minute/silly details.
The bottom line of any profession is ‘be so good that they can’t ignore you’. No matter which technique you’re into, your alma mater and experience play a noticeable role in carving you as a VFX artist. So take good care while choosing an institution to build a career in the Animation and VFX industry. It is of utmost importance to develop your soft skills along with the technical skills you possess. Networking is cardinal in making you look relevant to prospective companies. Basically, it’s all about choosing your forte that matches your taste. Choose it wisely