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Old 05 May 2008   #31
Thanks for answering my question Ben, it's much appreciated!!!
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Old 05 May 2008   #32
Reply to Rayalistic

Rayalistic's Question: What would u suggest someone who is interested to become a vfx artist to study in college? Computer science or a BFA related major?


We look for a blend of artistic and technical skills at ILM. For entry level positions we definitely require some demonstrated technical abilities and simple programming. If you have a fine arts type background it would be good to show some evidence of having some knowledge of programming or some sort of computer scripting. Or you can take the approach of a CS degree with some elective work in arts. I had a computing degree with a major in film and found my technical training always valuable, indeed I sometimes wish I'd studied math a little harder. For animation jobs we prefer either a lot of experience or formal animation training. We have artists at ILM with all sorts of backgrounds. For the higher end jobs we look for several years film industry experience, but things change depending on supply and demand of course.

For getting into the business I'd say build the skills and have them in your back pocket but start entry level somewhere, maybe in a small facility where you can get rounded experience. Your skills and talent will help you move ahead and ensure you make the most of any opportunity.

I wish you the best.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #33
Reply to Alexander

My question is, what's the best way for a student such as myself to gain useful experience, or to learn more about how the industry works, and how to function within it?


Read sites like this one, plus cinfex, cg world magazine and cinefex. Look at DVD supplements. But like any industry job you want experience and a reel - so try and make animations and renderings as much as you can a Uni. Look for internships in the industry and even consider trying for a summer job at a post house or FX facility. Some people even start out by volunteering. I firmly believe it makes sense to start with a smaller place and get experience before trying to join a larger FX house. If you have a home computer you can download many major software packages for self-training and others have good deals for students. And its a noble art to try and weasle render time or indeed any media resource out of your institute. I actually ran the ANU film group for several years so of course I'd suggest making sure you join them and see as many movies as possible. And put some of that film-making equipment to use if they still have it!

All the best.

Ben.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #34
Reply to Lars_50

Hi

Both the suits you show are the practical suit, and they're beautiful, aren't they? Shane Mahan and the Winston folks did a great job on them. The top one has been touched up a little - most obviously in the glows, and on the bottom one we did some repair work on the neck and made the helmet close a little faster (in 2D). The most obvious give-aways that they're practical are the shoulder pads which are plastic rather than the more metallic finish on the rest of the suit, and thus have a different specular highlight, and also there's no way we'd be allowed to get away with having the faceplate so clean for one of our shots. Funny story about the second image. The shot that appears after it in the movie is also a shot of the practical suit as he readies for take-off. One day I got a call from Favreau asking if we could do something the shot, saying it was the sort of horrible CG look he was afraid of having in the film, and the studio was also concerned. After working out which shot it was I had to inform him it was the practical suit. We tried to sharpen the highlights and do some other stuff in compositing to make it a little less plastic for the final to avoid adding a CG shot.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #35
Replay to Xharthok

I have a technical questions: At what Resolution/shadingrate/pixelsamples ILM renders when they use Renderman? Yes I know this differ greatly from shot to shot but if you can give me the numbers for one or two particular shots i can extrapolate it for most of the others. I'm interested in the demands of Picturequality you guys have (technically).

Reply:
Its something we don't like to get too specific on, but we generally render at 2k which is frankly a little high and soften the Cg in the comp to blend it better. Pixel samples might be around 10 and shading rate 0.5 but on some shots we tried some crazy shading rates to try and get the brushed metal to work (we got around this with some cool shader tricks Doug Smythe and the shader guys came up with). We also vary render resolution sometimes to get extra detail and get around mip-mapping sampling issues - it really does vary greatly shot to shot.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #36
One last question from me

Would you accept a guy in ILM without a degree and no work experience but a really really great reel in his field?
 
Old 05 May 2008   #37
Hey Ben! I got two questions, if it has been answered just tell me which post. Thanks in advance!

Where did you go to college to study and what degree did you get?

And how did you get the job you have now, what were some ofthe steps taken?

Thanks again!!
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Old 05 May 2008   #38
Thank you VERY much, for your answer about Shadingrate/Resolution/Pixelsamples this helped me a lot.

So thank you for hanging around here at good old CGTalk.

Last edited by Xharthok : 05 May 2008 at 09:11 AM.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #39
Hi Ben,

Its great to read about an Aussie that has become so successful in the Visual Effects field. I saw Iron Man the other week and though the CG, compositing and overall the whole movie was great, really enjoyed it and will watch it again when it is out on DVD.

I am in Sydney Australia and currently in my 2nd Year of a Computer Science/Digital Media Double degree. I have just started learning Maya and so far am quite enjoying working in 3D/CG and is certainly one of the fields I am interested in looking at a career in.

Do you feel that if one wants to become very successful in the Visual Effects/CG industry that they need to leave Australia and move to the US?

Is Australia a reasonable place to get started in the industry?

Is having the degrees that I am studying enough to get a reasonable starting position or are there any course/books/learning you would recommend?

Regards,
Zac
 
Old 05 May 2008   #40
Hello Ben

Thanks for your reply on pipeline, Spiderwick and contact with matte painters! Really helpful for me, thank you.

If you get time, I have another question about the role of planning and pre-vizualisation on action scenes. As an example, Jeff Bridges and Robert Downey's fights in Iron Man:

I'm keen to understand, how tightly are the shots pre-vizualised - effectively a fine cut of the finished scene? (apologies if this displays my ignorance of the process here!), but I would like to understand, how much can the director alter shot length by a few frames in the cut?

For fight scenes for instance, how much freedom would you get with the actual content of the scene, once the outcome and general feeling is established in planning?

Thanks again!

Felicity
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Old 05 May 2008   #41
Hi

Hi Ben,

Two questions for you if you'd be so kind,

Looking retrospectively now back on your career so far, what have been the highlights for you in terms of areas that interest you most?

I am most interested in character/creature setup, where do you see this area of specialisation moving in the next decade or so, and what interests you most about this particular field?

Kind Regards,

David

Last edited by d-brooks : 05 May 2008 at 12:44 AM.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #42
Reply to Miyamoto's "last" question.

Question: Would you accept a guy in ILM without a degree and no work experience but a really really great reel in his field?

It would be a long shot - but you'd have to check with recruiting. You can find them on the web. If its a really great reel and the work you display on it is in a discipline they're looking for at the time, I'm sure they'd love to see it!

All the best.

Ben.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #43
Reply to Dudebot13

Where did you go to college to study and what degree did you get?

And how did you get the job you have now, what were some ofthe steps taken?

Hi Dudebot13

The answers you seek are all in the profile on the CG Society site - pretty much in the first few paragraphs, so check it out.

cheers.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #44
reply to zac

Zac's question: Do you feel that if one wants to become very successful in the Visual Effects/CG industry that they need to leave Australia and move to the US?

Certainly not - there are a bunch of great companies in Australia now working at every level in the industry. Rising Sun, Animal Logic, The Lab, Photon and several others have been doing good work on big FX movies for several years now, and there a bunch of shops doing commercials, graphics for TV etc. as well. There are some very talented VFX supervisors working in Australia and as they gain more experience they'll be lead FX supe on bigger and bigger films. I think its pretty exciting there.


Question: Is Australia a reasonable place to get started in the industry?

Yes it is - and don't forget its not a bad thing to start at a small company, although there are some big VFX houses in Australia. Its great to have the varied experience a small facility can give you.


Is having the degrees that I am studying enough to get a reasonable starting position or are there any course/books/learning you would recommend?

Without knowing the specifics of the courses I'd say they sound fine. But you'll definitely want to put those Maya skills together and do some projects at Uni for a reel of your work, make sure you can demonstrate some coding/scripting ability, and get some experience at a smaller facility before going after a job in one of the big houses.

all the best.
 
Old 05 May 2008   #45
Reply to felicity's question on Previz.

How tightly we hold to the Previz depends very much on the client and how much they like the previz they have. Iron Man was somewhat unique because the director was clearly inviting us to bring ideas and not be too slavish to the previz - a position that was reinforced by the previz lead telling us the same thing! That doesn't always happen but it means that there are some big differences between our final versions of the scene and the previz. Of course its an evolutionary thing, so sometimes the previz gets updated as we go along, incorperating new ideas.

On other projects you do run into a problem where the director loves the previz or boards and doesn't like you to vary from them in the slightest. This can be a problem where the previz or boards haven't been done with reality in mind - ie there are 2D cheats or impossible to shoot angles. The previz I've been lucky enough to work with on my past few projects didn't suffer from that. I've also been lucky in that the directors I've worked with are very clear about what they like and don't like about the previz - especially when asked. A big part of commercial art is about communication, understanding the client's wishes and what they need for a project. Previz can help in that process immensely and is very valuable, but I believe its only as valuable as much as the director is involved in the process and clearly offers their comments on it.

cheers
 
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