What do you do?
I am a Visualisation Lead, which means I manage and look after the assets team who produce assets for animation and environments for our Unreal pre visualisation projects. In addition to this I also implement new workflows and develop tools which the team can utilise. More recently, NVIZ has been extremely busy with Post Visualisation shows and I now work as a VFX generalist in all areas from 3D to 2D.
What did you study?
I come from a background of Music, Film and Live Visuals/3D Mapping.
I entered the world of visual effects through a 12 week course in 3D Fundamentals at Escape Studios, which then led onto an MA in Digital Effects at the National Film and Television School. Both courses provided an excellent overview of the whole VFX pipeline from 3D to 2D as well as on set VFX.
What was your path into the industry?
Once I had graduated from NFTS, I began working on various small gigs for AMD games and other freelance projects, I also returned to the NFTS to teach and support 3D learning. I had reached out to NVIZ through a direct connection and was invited for an interview with Janek Lender (NVIZ’s Head of Visualisation). I was hired initially for three months to work on Postvis for Robin Hood and fortunately, I have been here since, five years later.
What’s a typical day for you?
A typical day, post COVID, working in the new hybrid model would start out with my morning coffee and muffin. From 9.30am our Previs team meeting begins. With the rapid growth of NVIZ my day consists of a lot of meetings. Once these meetings have finished I usually check in with the assets teams to see how they are doing or brief them on incoming shows. Next, I usually speak to production about their specific needs for shows - whether this is sending material to clients, addressing additional feedback post delivery or bids for asset creations. If time allows, I have a task list which consists of a variety of shot based/ asset based work that I can always get through too. My working day is always eventful and I rarely find myself doing the same thing.
Who’s your favourite filmmaker/visual artist? Why?
My favourite filmmakers are Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson because they have helped bring some of my favourite stories to life, such as Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings. Their eye for detail utilises VFX seamlessly with alternative film techniques and that is when I believe VFX is used correctly.
Is there a show you are working on right now that you can talk about.
I'm currently working on a number of postvis sequences for a Disney project, but unfortunately I can't name it!
Are you exploring any new workflows, personally and company-wide?
As NVIZ is extremely adaptive, I always find myself working towards developing new tools and workflows. Currently, I am creating tools to support our Arnold and Unreal Engine’s render pipeline. A big challenge we are also facing is figuring out the correct colour pipeline for Unreal Engine.
What do you think is the most important development in visualisation recently?
The use of real time game engines such as Unreal Engine for previsualistion workflows has definitely been an important development, as it now allows us to carry out tasks which we were unable to do before such as visual location scouting, virtual camera, using AI technology, LED screen solutions and much more. For a department which has such a demanding and fast turnover, there have been numerous benefits.
What do you think the future of visualisation will look like?
I believe that post visualisation, in the not too distant future, will become our finals. Meaning we will be able to render high quality VFX and composite plates together with an increasingly fast turnover.
What’s your work highpoint/achievement/proudest moment?
A big achievement and one of my proudest moments had been working on the post visualisation of Fantastic Beasts 2. It was the first time the team and I started using Unreal Engine and Houdini. This challenge required a diverse team, knowledgeable with all areas of the VFX pipeline. Since then, it has fueled consistent development of workflows within.
What’s special about NVIZ?
NVIZ is a small and welcoming family. The thing that makes it special is the company’s ability to adapt and grow together, as well as individually.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received, or would like to give to aspiring visual artists?
The best pieces of advice I have received was to always keep learning, for our industry is ever changing. To add to this, if I had to give advice to aspiring VFX artists, it would be to always share amongst yourselves, help each other learn and grow, as what may be revolutionary now, might not be relevant in 10 years time in our industry.